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.

Advertisements

#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?

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.

 

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?

The Blessing and the Curse of Work-for-Hire Illustration

File this under: “The Artist is always the last to know.” One of Dave’s fans just posted on Facebook that Dave’s artwork is on a free puzzle inside of Star Wars lunch boxes now for sale at Walgreen’s:

Dave Dorman artwork on puzzle inside of Star Wars lunch boxes, now in retail stores

Dave Dorman artwork on puzzle inside of Star Wars lunch boxes, now in retail stores

And here’s the original art from that free puzzle:

Dave Dorman's Star Wars "Smugglers Moon" Original Art

Dave Dorman’s Star Wars “Smugglers Moon” Original Art 

And by the way, if you’re interested in purchasing this piece as an Artist Proof litho, it’s $75 here: http://www.davedorman.com/swprintsforsale.shtml )

Dave’s Star Wars art is also on a few graphic tees selling at your local Targets and Wal-Marts at the moment, and we’ll probably see a lot more of it on random products as the new Star Wars VII film ramps up its marketing engine. The fans are always astounded when Dave shows surprise that they’re wearing his art. What people outside of the illustration world don’t realize is, the artist is never told where or when his art will appear. (This was especially true when the “Predalien” concept art Dave did years ago for 20th Century Fox as a work-for-hire surfaced in the AVP2 film, uncredited, which totally sucked.) Licensed art is merely a work-for-hire arrangement. I hate to burst everyone’s bubble, but we’re not rolling in dough from Star Wars art, Alien art, or any licensed artwork, for that matter. That’s why it’s so mission critical for artists out there to develop their own creator-owned projects, also known as I.P.’s or “Intellectual Properties,” which Dave has done with THE WASTED LANDS. It’s the only way artists will ever see wealth.

Once the art is submitted to the art director, the only money we make on it other than the commission is when Dave sells the original art. In the case of Star Wars or any Lucasfilm pieces Dave does, George Lucas has automatic first right of refusal to purchase any of Dave’s art, and he owns more than 90 original Dave Dorman oil paintings. (This is why when artists paint digitally, we scratch our heads, wondering how they eke out a living, since they have no original art to sell to collectors once the piece is submitted.) Artwork that has been published–be it on packaging art or a magazine cover–is always worth more to the art collector.

So, what is the blessing, if any, of work-for-hire illustration? The only silver lining to this cloud is that if you’re an artist doing work-for-hire work, it likely means you’re a self-employed solopreneur, and you’re probably leading a much happier life than you would be working for “the man.” You can go the movies at 1 p.m. on a Thursday and not wait in line. Your dry cleaning bills are non-existent. You’re saving money on fuel, lunches out, and let’s not forget all of those glorious tax write-offs!

I recently had the epiphany that we lead weird little lives here at the Dorman household. (I know, I know…all of my inner circle of friends out there are doing the face palm and calling me Captain Obvious as they read this.) So the epiphany happened the day Jack and I were back-to-school underwear shopping in our local Target. As we stood there debating whether to buy the Batman underwear with John vanFleet’s Batman packaging art vs. another friend’s Batman underwear art, I realized it.  The rest of the world would never give this a moment’s thought. To us, the artists–and the art they create–is so precious, so important…and we behold it with such reverence. Even if it’s on a frickin’ underwear package at Target.

So smash cut to breakfast at San Diego Comic-Con with John vanFleet. I shared my Batman underwear narrative, and John was amazed to learn that his Batman art was so dangerously close to 10-year-olds’ skid marks across America. Like I told you, the Artist is always the last to know.

The Pop Culture Kid Enters 4th Grade

The Pop Culture Kid Enters 4th Grade

The Pop Culture Kid Enters 4th Grade

It’s hard to believe we have a 9-year-old, but time flies, even moreso, when your life is meted out in seasons of pop culture conventions. As you can see by his graphic tee (an Indy Pop Con purchase) and his Adventure Time BMO backpack (a San Diego Comic-Con purchase) young Jack has embraced the world of animation. I remember my 4th grade year. My teacher was an elderly woman well past her expiration date, with little tolerance for my 4th grade sense of humor. That was the year that I discovered I truly hated math, and math hated me right back. To quote my favorite deep thinker, the great Jack Handey:

Instead of having “answers” on a math test, they should just call them “impressions,” and if you got a different “impression,” so what, can’t we all be brothers?

Here’s hoping young Jack continues on his current path of friendly relations with Math, Science, Social Studies and all of the other subjects I’ve rarely if ever used in my adult life.

Happy Birthday, Ray Bradbury

We Illinoisans derive some pride in knowing Ray Bradbury’s classic tales were influenced and informed by his environs growing up in Waukegan, Illinois. One of the first books that lit my fire for wanting to write fiction was Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

Today Ray Bradbury would have been 94, and I encourage those of you reading this to pick up his stories again. Really read them. No, really. Read them in the context of what’s happening in the world around you today. Like C.S. Lewis’ stories The Great Divorce and The Screwtape Letters, Bradbury’s legacy is his relevance, which withstands the test of time.

I was fortunate enough to cross paths with Ray Bradbury at San Diego Comic-Con for many years. In this photo, he was still bipedal, walking with his walker in 2001. He was always dressed to the nines, a sweet, pleasant smile planted on his face, always animated with the fans.

Ray Bradbury and Denise McDonald Dorman, San Diego Comic-Con 2001

Ray Bradbury and Denise McDonald Dorman,      San Diego Comic-Con 2001

By the following #SDCC, he was in a wheelchair with a blanket over his lap, but still smiling and very engaged with his fans. He was positively lovely. One of our foremost pop culture expert friends is John Hitchcock, an author in his own right and owner of Parts Unknown Comic Book Shop in Greensboro, NC. I recall him telling me one of his favorite moments in geekdom was witnessing history unfold in a small room San Diego Comic-Con panel Ray did with Forrest J. Ackerman around that time. Miraculously, before that panel, the two had never met before.

When people ask me, “What is so great about Comic-Con, anyhow?” I think not of the crowds, the money we lose exhibiting there, or the sheer exhaustion of the five-day show. I think of improbable, magical moments like this one: Me, a small-town girl from Illinois farmlands, touching greatness for one brief moment in time.

Tobuscus Saves the Day

If you’re the parent of children of a certain age, then the name TOBUSCUS is likely familiar to you. For our son Jack, this was probably the worst #SDCC2014 ever.  After an hour of wearing the morph suit–you know, the suit that nearly cost us our life’s savings? Yeah. That suit. Well, Jack discovered it was too hot and uncomfortable. Total wearing time: 1 hour.

Today Jack returned back to the hotel room around lunchtime. He was experiencing the first sinus headache of his young life, and I felt so bad for him. We snuggled together in the comfy bed and watched “DIVERGENT” together. During the plot peak, I knew they lost him. He started chattering on about how his friend’s mom has a shower that tells him the exact temperature of the water, and did I know that his perfect water temperature was 101 degrees? I felt guilty about it, but I gave him 1 adult Motrin. I worried for his little 9-year-old liver.

Dave returned to the hotel at 7 p.m. and it turns out, one of the girls who exhibited across from us is Tobuscus’ girlfriend. So Dave asked him to cheer up Jack, and this happened:

Jack's Internet Idol, Tobuscus.

Jack’s Internet Idol, Tobuscus.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/l86mg8bmjx21m0q/IMG_3782.MOV

Every so often, we’re in the right place at exactly the right time. This was one of those times.