My List of the 19 Best Comic Book Adaptations

The Wasted Lands Omnibus, available through Magnetic Press: http://www.magnetic-press.com/wasted-lands-omnibus/

The Wasted Lands Omnibus, available through Magnetic Press: http://www.magnetic-press.com/wasted-lands-omnibus/

While I do enjoy blogging about cuddling with weatherman Tom Skilling during a violent storm and the late night adventures of Jonesie, my hairless cat, today I’m talking comics.

Jonesie the #hairlesscat - #catsofinstagram #felinefemmefatale

Jonesie the #hairlesscat – #catsofinstagram #felinefemmefatale

Specifically, moving picture adaptations of comics–TV and film. The pop culture world has been flooded with comic book movies and TV shows, and it looks like studios won’t be keeping their powder dry any time soon. There are days when I wish film studios would just take a deep breath. Let it breathe, Warner Brothers…let it breathe. Maybe try vacationing in Barbados.

Ahhhh...Barbados...

Ahhhh…Barbados…

I’m not saying every comic book movie is terrible–far from it! There are just way too many. The quality suffers for it. But I’m no Debbie Downer. I choose to walk in the light of Odin, crop-dusting glitter-filled unicorn farts and rainbows. I’ll save the Batman v. Superman and Green Lantern funerals for another day.

Pretty much my favorite Bitmoji.

Pretty much my favorite Bitmoji.

Bloggers are always big on lists. My first inclination was listing my favorite book hangovers–and yes, Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch is on there — but today’s quickie post is just the best and worst comic book adaptations of all time. I haven’t done a Top 15 yet of the most mediocre. If I did, normalman would ascend that list. And then there are those I wish would be made into adaptations–Dave Dorman‘s The Wasted Lands, Mike Baron’s The Badger, and Myatt Murphy’s Fade from Blue and Two Over Ten.

I’m not here to to tell you which media you should be binge-watching. I’ll never sit in judgement if you’re revisiting Howard The Duck. Hell, I’ll cop to getting hooked into Martin Short’s Clifford or Chris Elliott’s Cabin Boy when I’m channel flipping. We all have our guilty pleasures.  (Avid readers of this blog know some of mine already. I may not have mentioned my sugar-free Bubble Yum addiction yet.) You can take or leave these lists as my seal of (dis)approval.

19 of the Best Comic Book Adaptations

  • Suicide Squad
  • Walking Dead
  • Preacher
  • Hellboy
  • American Splendor
  • Superman: The Movie
  • The Dark Knight
  • A History of Violence
  • The Crow
  • Road to Perdition
  • Sin City
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
  • Watchmen
  • Iron Man
  • The Avengers
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier
  • Captain America: Civil War
  • Deadpool
  • Guardians of the Galaxy

14 of the Worst Comic Book Adaptations (Sorry if you liked them!)

Me, apologetic.

Me: The apologetic version.

> Batman and Robin
> Jonah Hex
> Catwoman
> Howard the Duck
> Superman IV: The Quest of Peace
> Green Lantern (2011)
> Judge Dredd (1995)
> The Spirit
> Fantastic Four (2015)
> Daredevil
> Elektra
> Ghost Rider
> Hulk
> Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Disagree?

...here's my #, so call me maybe...

…here’s my #, so call me maybe…

Tell me some of the comic to film or TV adaptations you have liked, hated, or secretly enjoyed.

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#SDCC2016 Attendees – PLEASE Stay Vigilant This Year

The greatest show on earth.

#SDCC – The greatest show on earth.

I debated whether I should even write this blog. I don’t wish to plant ideas in the minds of our common enemy. However, especially in light of recent events, I just beseech and implore every one of you attending San Diego Comic-Con this year to pay hyper-focused attention to your surroundings. Be aware of everything and everyone around you. We’re living in sad times; the anxiety riddled like myself are mapping the fastest route to the nearest trauma center for any major event we attend.

My son and I won’t be attending Comic-Con this year. Frankly, I’m a little relieved. That almost throw-away comment made in the press that the San Bernardino terrorists were actually plotting to attack a much bigger event made my hackles rise. It has festered in my brain ever since. Their distance to San Diego was too close for comfort. I just hope that all of you who are attending this year remain safe. There’s no greater soft target than a convention center full of entertainment industry icons.

Watch.

Look.

Listen.

Be safe.

I hope you all have a fun con. I will be keeping you, and the families of all of the fallen in my prayers.

Madrid Comic Book Convention: Tapas, Tourism & Travails

One of my earliest adventures in comics was the Madrid Comic Book Convention in November of 2002. This trip cemented many comics industry friendships, and I cherish them to this day. My friend Mike Kennedy just posted a Facebook video about Botin, the World’s Oldest Restaurant, which was the first restaurant we tried in Madrid, triggering this trip down memory lane. The first thing that struck me about Botin was the prosciutto, sitting out in the open, and the liberal number of flies alighting on the marbled hunk of meat. I ordered prosciutto-free entrees.

Comics legends, bestselling authors and me at Botin Restaurant in Madrid. L-R: Dave Dorman, me, (can't recall his name), Mike Kennedy, Rebecca Moesta, Kevin J.  Anderson, Chris Warner, Randy Stradley, Randy's former wife, Joyce Chin and Art Adams

Comics legends, bestselling authors and me at Botin, The World’s Oldest Restaurant, in Madrid. L-R: Dave Dorman, me, Ramon Bachs, Mike Kennedy, Rebecca Moesta, Kevin J. Anderson, Chris Warner, Randy Stradley, Randy’s wife at the time, Joyce Chin, and Art Adams. For the paranormal fans among me, note the orb over Randy Stradley’s face.

At this first gathering, we sat across from Joyce Chin and Art Adams, and they were both fascinating to talk with; these were the days before either of us had children. I remember admiring Joyce’s passion for dog rescues and the work she did with dogs. Post-kids, our conversations today would take a much different turn: “How do you arrange the stuff crammed beneath your SDCC booth tables to accommodate a sleeping kid?”

Along with Dark Horse Comic‘s Chris Warner and Randy Stradley, writer Mike Kennedy (now publisher of Magnetic Press), artist Ramon Bachs, and NY Times bestselling authors Kevin J.  Anderson and Rebecca Moesta, we embarked on a five-day odyssey of comics autograph sessions where the crowds rushed the tables and orderly lines were not even a possibility, tapas meals together at 10:30 p.m. were the norm (yes, it IS actually possible to tire of garlic potato salad after three nights in a row), we experienced the world’s best hot chocolate (like hot chocolate pudding poured into a mug), squid ink pasta (I’m not a fan, Kevin J. Anderson ended up eating mine) and Rebecca Moesta introduced me to mango yogurt shakes at the one vegetarian restaurant we hit (I am still hooked). In the hotel lobby one night before going out for tapas, one of our handler Miguel’s friends brought in a platter of thinly sliced horse meat appetizers, which was a delicacy there, but I just couldn’t do the whole when-in-Rome thing. I love my horses too much.

Joyce and I hit the Museo del Prado and followed it up with a lunch at the Hard Rock in Madrid (do yourself a favor and do NOT order the spaghetti there–it was out of a can). Since I’m a morning person, the whole noon siesta and up-all-night culture was an adjustment. I could handle it better today than I did back then. The one thing that stays with me was how beautifully the buildings were lit at night. I’m hard-pressed to describe it, but it’s something you have to see at least once in your life. This was the pre-iPhone era, so few pictures remain of that trip; this one from Mike Kennedy’s archives is such a treasure to all of us.

Immediately following the Botin lunch, I was the naive tourist flinging my purse about like I hadn’t a care in the world–it was promptly pick-pocketed in the town square. Miguel took me to the local police station, but after sitting with the unwashed masses for 30 minutes and feeling more endangered than safe, I begged off. It was fruitless. My wallet was long gone. I spent the next hour on the phone canceling all credit cards. Lesson learned.

On Facebook right now, we’re all posting, reminiscing, and wishing we were back at Botin, reliving that moment.

H.G. Wells, how’s that time machine coming along, anyhow?

What’s Your Favorite Fourth of July Meme?

I spotted this on Facebook and had to share – the Fourth of July Lynda Carter Wonder Woman meme floating around was really great, but this one is–to quote the cray-cray Charlie SheenWINNING!”

I love how this image makes me feel.

I love how creeped out this image makes me feel.

My friend & client, comic book creator and Colorado resident Mike Baron saw me post this and commented, “Come on out – I’ll take you up there.” I’m taking Mike up on this someday – it’s on my bucket list, since I’ve only seen it from afar (As a young teen, I kept glancing at The Stanley Hotel looming in the background as I was sitting in Estes Park, CO reading THE SHINING, having no idea it was Stephen King’s inspiration for the book I was reading, and thinking to myself that it matched the story perfectly.)

My friend Phil Burnett secured this autograph for me at San Diego Comic-Con in 2003, before I was married to Dave Dorman. You know how you have that running list in the back of your mind of items you’d grab in the event of a house fire? Yeah. This is one of mine – the autograph of actor Joseph Turkel (who was also in another favorite film of mine, Blade Runner.)

This is on my Top10 List of items I'd grab in a house fire.

My house fire future rescue.

And here’s an XCU of the personalized autograph:

One of my favorites in my autograph collection. (My other favorite is Frank Darabont's autograph in  my copy of The Green Mile, where it says, "To Denise, who worships me like a God.")

One of my favorites in my autograph collection. (My other favorite autograph is Frank Darabont’s in my copy of The Green Mile, where he signed it as                                                      “To Denise, who worships me like a God.”)

 

 

 

Are You One of the 11% Who Can Lucid Dream?

Ever wonder how writers get ideas? It’s often that random news blurb trigger that cascades into an entire story-building construction project in your mind. Like the other day, I was stopped in traffic behind a car badly in need of a wash. Written in the pollen on the back bumper were the words “Helen isn’t missing.” In a nano-second, my ADD brain sent me off on a storytelling journey from this cryptic, dusty message. Helen was abducted as a child and somehow tracked and found her missing relatives and wrote this note on their vehicle to let them know she was still alive. Or maybe one of her sympathetic captors did? And then I wondered to myself, “Does everyone do this?” At my writer’s group lunch the other day, I shared this story, and they collectively affirmed, “No…only writers think like that. Or people who should be writers.”

So with that, my NY Times bestselling author client Jay Bonansinga took this data point and folded it into his new Young Adult #horror series:

Only 11% of the population have lucid dreams. 

What does that mean, exactly? It means that 11% of us are self aware enough that while dreaming we can control what’s happening in the dream, in real time. How I would love to be in that 11%! And that is how Jay ended up writing LUCID, which launches today through Permuted Press. Here’s a link to Jay explaining more about lucid dreaming and his new book on the WGN Mid-Day Show today in Chicago:

http://wgntv.com/2015/05/20/midday-fix-author-jay-bonasinga-talks-about-his-book-lucid/

This is my favorite picture of Jay, taken by his photographer wife Jill Brazel, in his smartly bespoke garb, in this London backdrop:

Jay Bonansinga, Photography (c) Jill Brazel

Jay Bonansinga, Photography (c) Jill Brazel

Tonight Jay and I will be at the Bucket of Blood Books & Records  at 2307 N. Milwaukee Avenue at 7 p.m. for the launch of LUCID, so come on out, get your very own copy of LUCID and your WALKING DEAD books signed by Jay and have a cocktail (in college, I used to make a drink called “Bloody Brains,” and I might still be able to whip one up for you if you bring me red Kool-Aid, vodka and Bailey’s Irish creme). On your way there, be sure to stop at as-seen-on-Food Network’SuperDawg’s and commemorate the founder Maurie Berman, who just passed, but should be honored for creating Ground Zero in Great Chicago Hot Dog Institutions (right up there with Gene & Jude’s hotdogs in River Grove and The Wiener’s Circle in Chicago).

Of course, if the Bloody Brains drink doesn’t agree with you, I’m sure you’ll have the good taste to let it (and your half-digested hot dog) reappear in the alley, rather than anywhere near me…

Dave Dorman and Mr. T

Every once in a while, the universe conspires to create a magic moment. Take yesterday, for example. I was at O’Hare Airport reading a message on my phone from a friend reminiscing about buying Rocky III on Betamax for $90. Oddly enough, Mr. T was in First Class on our flight. As we walked off of the plane, we ran into Mr. T, who graciously took this photo.

Mr. T and Dave Dorman at O'Hare Airport 4/13/15

Mr. T and Dave Dorman at O’Hare Airport 4/13/15

Mr.T and Dave reminisced about the comic book cover Dave painted for his “Mr. T and the T Force” comic book series from NOW Comics, which you can see here. Dave thanked him profusely for all of his many kindnesses to kids. From our far-flung gate all of the way to baggage claim, Mr. T welcomed people to take photos along the way, always prioritizing women and children first.

Dave Dorman Comic Book Cover Art for "Mr. T and the T Force"

Dave Dorman Comic Book Cover Art for “Mr. T and the T Force”

 

Mr. T exemplifies the type of person you root for to gain celebrity status, because he embraces it. He owns it. He shares it.

I sent the image of Dave and Mr. T to our 10-year-old, whose only comment was, “Who’s Mr. T?” Someone needs a pop culture history lesson, STAT.

 

On Black Friday: The Extendable Fork in Action…and an Unexpected STAR WARS Tee

Here’s Jack deploying a new holiday tradition–the extendable fork trick I mentioned in yesterday’s post. I decided to pass down the torch, since my cousin Jeff read my blog yesterday (D’oh!) and was prepared to expect my hijinks.

I've Passed On the Torch of the Expandable Trick Fork to Jack.

I’ve Passed Down the Torch of the Expandable Trick Fork to Jack and the Kids’ Table.

And here’s the Diamond Comic Previews ad posted by one of Dave’s fans today, advertising a new t-shirt (hey, it’s ONLY $50) featuring Dave’s original STAR WARS artwork, LORD VADER’S PERSUASION of THE OUTER RIM. To understand how stuff like this happens, and how the artists get paid nothing for it, nor are even aware when their artwork is being used for fun and profit, you might want to revisit my previous post, “The Blessing and Curse of Work-for-Hire Illustration.”

$50 Lucasfilm STAR WARS tees featuring Dave Dorman's Artwork

$50 Lucasfilm STAR WARS tees featuring Dave Dorman’s Artwork

I’m so glad Disney/Lucasfilm is able to continue healthfully profiting from Dave’s work-for-hire artwork with $50 t-shirts, making it ever so much more puzzling to me that his artwork wasn’t chosen for inclusion in STAR WARS CELEBRATION 7.

This particular piece of Dave Dorman Star Wars art is so wildly popular, one dedicated European fan, Tomi Demolka, even had it tattooed on his back (as seen below). If you are interested in buying this print, or any of the Dave Dorman Star Wars Artist Proofs still available, here’s the link – on sale now through Dec. 31st with FREE worldwide shipping: http://www.davedorman.com/2014swprintsforsale.shtml

Dedicated Fan Tomi Demollka, with Dave Dorman's Artwork Tattooed on His Back

Dedicated Fan Tomi Demollka, with Dave Dorman’s Artwork Tattooed on His Back

Since I’m posting this on #BlackFriday, if you’re in Chicagoland and looking for something to do, check out Dreamland Comics in Schaumburg, IL today before 3 p.m. Dave is there today signing #comics and five 501st members are there in costume–the world’s largest #cosplay organization, of which we are honorary members–posing with families for photos and supporting the cause, which is building a solid food pantry for the hungry, so bring your canned goods!

Dave at Dreamland Comics today.

Dave’s signing at Dreamland Comics on Black Friday.

DENISE DORMAN DOES NOT BLAME COSPLAY for LOW CONVENTION SALES

Dear Readers,

I wrote my last blog moments after hanging up the phone with Dave, who was reporting in from GrandCon with yet-again low sales, so perhaps in my fit of rage, I was inelegant in wording things as perfectly as some of you may have written them. However, I want to say for the record, I do NOT blame Cosplay for low convention sales. I never said that. However, I realize the link-bait headline on Bleeding Cool News that many of you scanned without reading the whole story may have lead you to that misleading conclusion. I have friends who Cosplay. We let them sit in our booth, park their gear, and rest their feet, and we help them readjust their costumes. We give them food and drink as they need it. We know it’s physically demanding, hard work. We support the whole “Cosplay is Not Consent” movement and we believe that message should be posted widely at every show.

Dave and I love the art and creativity of Cosplay. Dave goes to Steampunk meet-ups at #SDCC to snap photos for his future art pieces. We rely on the 501st to pose for us for all of Dave’s Star Wars paintings. Did you ever stop to consider, in your huge hurry to personally attack me and jump to wrong conclusions, why in the wide, wide world of sports I would ever hate Cosplay, which has given us so much? Dave couldn’t even do his job without Cosplayers to pose for him!

What I had hoped for, igniting an HONEST discussion about what we, as exhibitors (and they the convention owners) could be doing differently and how to give the fans what they want and still be able to afford to exhibit, turned into something ugly. Online harassment. Threats. Hate. To the guy that said “Denise Dorman should just shut the hell up,” I respond, “Do you wear your wife beater shirt when you talk like that online, Troll?”

In the 200+ comments to my blog over the past few days, some great ideas and discussions did emerge, and I am grateful to all of you for those respectful and helpful discourses. I’d recommend you read through them and comment. There’s some great material there.

I think the emphasis on Cosplay is symptomatic of a shift in the larger Cons from being a commerce-driven event to being a social gathering-driven event.  Frankly, when I see someone who prefers to pose with a no-name Slave Princess Leia and completely ignores Neal Adams, that’s when I think the creators have been reduced to background wallpaper. And that’s what breaks my heart–when I see industry giants getting completely bypassed and ignored. It’s not the Cosplayer’s fault. They’re just being gracious and accommodating to the fans. That’s their role. It’s the new breed of attendees who are there because someone said it’s cool to be there; they are the ones completely unfamiliar with the comics industry. They are the ones who attend any hard-to-get-tickets event just to boast online. They are the people I take issue with. NOT the Cosplayers. Those are the people who care only about their selfies on their Instagram profiles. Those are the people who hijack events like #Burning Man, #Coachella and #SDCC with no understanding of why these events exist, or their raison d’être. Once they show up to the party, the event jumps the shark. 

Now, if one more single person accuses me of being anti-Cosplay, anti-Feminist, jealous of Cosplay, or blaming Cosplay for reduced convention sales, I have this very special message just for you:

Screenshot 2014-09-23 13.34.59

The Hidden TRUTH About Comic Book Convention Earnings: For Creators, Have Comic Book Conventions JUMPED THE SHARK?

I’m guessing you’re here because you want to hear all about how Denise Dorman hates cosplayers, n’est-ce pas? Unfortunately for all of the haters still out there perpetuating this myth, that data point remains totally untrue. So…if you’re going to be a hater, read elsewhere. In the words of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi, waving his hand, “There’s nothing to see here.”

So how did this insane myth come to light? On a misleading click-bait headline on Bleeding Cool News in September of 2014. That’s what kicked it all off. And today, two years and 8 months after I wrote that initial article, I’m still getting 200 hits a day on this blog, and having to defend myself to total strangers. One of my best friends, Heather, shared with me that the weekend of C2E2, some of her brother’s cosplay friends verbally accosted her recently at his 40th birthday party, incensed that she was close friends with me, as was indicated on Facebook. They actually sneered at Heather, “I see on Facebook that you’re not just friends, but close friends with Denise Dorman…” Sadly, these are the kind of people who reproduce and vote every four years, and yet they have no intellectual curiosity beyond hearing a rumor or reading a headline.

Hmmm...would a cosplay hater be in the foreground of the 501st? Stop. Think. Listen.

Hmmm…would a cosplay hater be in the foreground of this 501st photo AND be an honorary member of the 501st? Would his wife? Stop for a moment. Think. Listen. Use some logic.

Here are some TRUTHS you need to know:

#1. Neither Dave Dorman nor I hate cosplayers. Never have, never will. We are honorary members of the 501st, the largest cosplay organization in the world. Some of our closest friends are cosplayers. I cosplay. Cosplayers rest their weary feet in our booth at SDCC (or any other show where we’re exhibiting), they elicit my help in adjusting or fixing their costumes, hair, or makeup, and they pose for Dave. My niece Madyson is a dedicated cosplayer, model and actress in Albuquerque. Are the lie perpetuators out there suggesting I would hate or diss my own flesh and blood, or close friends?

My beautiful niece Madyson, cosplayer, actress, model.

My beautiful niece Madyson: Cosplayer, Actress, Model.

#2. Dave Dorman couldn’t do his amazing art work without the help of cosplayers. They pose for him. ALL. THE. TIME.

#3. We admire cosplayers and we understand firsthand the hard work and craftsmanship that goes into their work.

And here is the key interview I did on Yahoo! News with Mat Elfring to clarify my stance on cosplay:

http://bit.ly/DeniseDormanOnCosplay

And if that isn’t enough, as a business decision, Dave and I made the decision to actually invest in the promising New Orleans author MiMi Rawks, whose new geek erotic romance novel, “Cosplay Virgin” from the three-book “Cosplay Confidential Series” should be hitting the stands in the next couple of months. Dave is doing the cover art for her book series, which takes place in the cosplay community. The first cover illustration is breathtaking, and author MiMi Rawks serves up some HAWT geek erotica; her story is as compelling as it is suspenseful and entertaining.

Now…are we done YET with kicking the dead dog?

While the Cat’s Away…

This past week I was on a business trip to Northwest Florida, my second home. Since I have various social media “alerts” set up to monitor every client, including my most reluctant client Dave Dorman, I caught this Twitter comment and I cracked up:

Wife #3?

Could this be Wife #3?

So naturally, my inner smart ass couldn’t let this go without piling on:

Screenshot 2014-09-14 14.42.40

Fortunately, BGF Central is graciously good-natured: 

Screenshot 2014-09-14 14.44.30

And @BGFCentral’s creative new hashtag cracked me up even more: #AwkwardEncounterWithWifeIDidNotKnowExisted

Screenshot 2014-09-14 14.45.36

And so my comments unwittingly became a thread on comics website, Bleeding Cool News:

Screenshot 2014-09-14 14.47.14

Screenshot 2014-09-14 14.48.50

And so BGF Central has become a Sister Wife to me (and I’m not even fundamentalist Mormon!) and she already has a “Honey Do List” started! 

Screenshot 2014-09-14 14.50.23

I wish BGF Central great luck with that! During the first term of the Dubya Administration, I started one of those. Cut to a calendar on the wall, months peeling away in rapid succession…massive amounts of time elapsing…and here we are today. Mission Unaccomplished.

The day I realized there could never be world peace was the same day I realized Dave and I would never agree on how to load the dishwasher. Or the day Dave and I got into a huge argument about where to put his dad’s water distiller, because we cannot communicate. What Dave refers to as “the washroom,” I call the “laundry room.” (Where I’m from, washroom and bathroom are interchangeable terms.) Or the day I realized I would never cook anything that Dave would ever eat (he’s anti-fruit, anti-vegetables, anti-meatloaf & anti-casserole). And then there’s our body clocks. His is geared to being up all night; he MMPORG games on Star Wars: The Old Republic Purge Guild from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. nightly. When he finally comes to bed, I’m post-REM, in my lightest sleep cycle. More often than not, it awakens me for the rest of the night, and I’m ready to strangle him as he snores away, blissfully unaware. My body clock likes to get up about three hours after he goes to sleep. (My clients and friends often wonder why they get emails at 3 a.m. Now they know.)

Paula Abdul was right about one thing: We come together ’cause opposites attract.