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Superhero movies come of age – Batman XXX: A Porn Parody

When Will Smith promoted his superhero comedy Hancock he joked that when the inevitable porn knock-off was made, the schlockmeisters wouldn’t even have to change the title.  Smith was acknowledging the near pandemic frequency of low-brow, low-budget pornographers who hijack mainstream movies and, with little evidence of wit, transform them into adult entertainment. Edward Scissorhands, West Side Story and Saving Private Ryan, to name a few, have been reimagined as the Edward Penis Hands, Breast Side Story and Shaving Ryan’s Privates.  It’s easy to create a lascivious sounding title; it’s much harder to recreate the essence and look of the original source material.

Vivid Video, an adult film company, has recently released Batman XXX: A Porn Parody.  CNBC.com reported that the film’s “two trailers garnered over 1 million views on YouTube and the DVD has topped sales charts for nearly two months.”  The Hollywood Reporter estimated Vivid films sales account for a “$100 million slice of an industry that has been estimated to bring in as much as $13 billion a year (compared to mainstream box office of $10.6 billion).”

Judging from the two trailers, the filmmakers have accurately and slavishly copied the glossy and colorful look of the popular Batman 1960s TV show. The costumes are near perfect facsimiles of the outfits worn by the original cast (although I’m pretty sure that Adam West’s duds did not have “XXX” emblazed across his chest.)  Reuters reported that Vivid implied that in an effort to make the outfits look authentic they hired the show’s original costume designers.

Batman XXX: The Porn Parody recreates hallmark moments from the original show including: Batman dancing the Batusi, Robin idiosyncratically using the interjection “Holy,” the Dynamic duo chit-chatting while climbing up the side of a building, purple-suited and green-haired Joker laughing maniacally, and sultry Catwoman slinking suggestively around her lair.  Unlike the TV show, the porn version posits what happens when the heroes take off their costumes and make nice with the bad guys and gals.

During production of the original series, Caesar Romero didn’t want to shave off his famous mustache to play the Joker and the producers didn’t want to alter the look of the iconic baddie.  A solution was devised whereby the make-up team covered up and mashed down the offending facial hair with copious amount of white paint.  The near perfect result is that unless you know about the secret stash you wouldn’t notice it.  Amusingly, the actor portraying The Joker in the porn parody also sports a mustache that is similarly but, in this case, purposefully not completely concealed.

In the trailer, we also see a Batmobile so authentic that I wondered at first if the filmmakers illegally used footage from the original show.  They didn’t; they simply rented a replica.  Familiar sound-alike music punctuates the action, and we are reminded of the cartoon that preceded the series starring Adam West and that words like “Kapow!” and “Thwack!” were sprinkled over fight scenes.

Batman XXX, sold for a whopping $36.79 at Vivid’s website, has proven to be so popular that the company created a new division called Vivid-Superhero which will be tasked with creating other superhero-inspired films.  Superman XXX is already in preproduction and future films will feature other DC and Marvel characters, including Spider-Man, the Hulk, Wonder Woman and Captain America.

The roots of these superherocentric porn films lie somewhere between Slash fiction (where writers create stories that depict fictional characters engaged in sexual situations) and fan-films (where amateur filmmakers makes moves based on their favorite characters for their own amusement).

Because fan-films are rarely made as commercial ventures, the fan community was surprised that DC comics (as well as Paramount and other film studios) targeted them, aspiring Christopher Nolans, with legal cease-and-desist letters. The well-intentioned fans were relieved when DC changed its official position in 2008 by stating “We’re against anything that monetizes our assets and our copyrights without our permission. We are not against things where people use our assets if they don’t do anything monetarily with them.”

At the end of the Batman XXX trailer, a disclaimer states obviously that the film is a parody and that Batman and the gang are copyrighted characters that are owned by DC and Warner Bros. who are not affiliated with Batman XXX. Given the all-too-faithful recreations of the original show’s look and sound, Vivid Video is probably testing the legal limits between parody and copyright violation.  The 2011 release of Star Wars XXX: A Porn Parody will no doubt further intensify the discussion.

© 2010 Mark Edlitz

Posted by Mark - October 15, 2010 at 7:21 am

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Hulk vs. Thor VS Hulk vs. Wolverine

Back in the day when I first started branching out from reading Spider-Man comics, I was drawn in by a little limited series called the Inifinity Gauntlet.  I was fascinated by everyday heroes fighting against and amongst cosmic beings.  The thought of Captain America making a stand against somebody like Thanos was awesome and awe-inspiring.  Now that you know my cosmic leanings, you may have guessed which of the two “movies” on this disc that I preferred.

While Thor clocks in as the longer movie of the two, it is totally worth it and makes quite the smashing punch.  I’m not well versed in all the relationships in the Thor corner of the Marvel-verse, but I didn’t feel at a loss as it was easy to pick up on what was happening and who was involved with who, etc.  It was amazing to think about how once Bruce Banner was removed from the psyche of Hulk that he might truly have no upper limits to his strength, endurance, and mindlessness for destruction.  If Hulk can (Spoiler Alert!) beat the tar out of Thor and take out pretty much everybody in Asgard, how would the writers resolve this plot!  Very well and by thinking about the Hulk’s Achilles Heel, that’s how.  I am a big fan of cosmic/god-like characters with great action and Hulk vs. Thor delivered.

On the other hand, we have a more down-to-Earth “Hulk” story.  I put Hulk in quotation marks because this story seems to focus more on Wolverine and his encounter with the Weapon X project with the Hulk thrown into the mix to stir up the pot.  Now I love seeing Lady Deathstrike torn apart as much as the next guy, but I can’t be the only one who found the one scene with her and Hulk screaming at each other pretty funny, right?  I appreciated seeing Deadpool getting his ass handed to him…even though he’s funny, it’s good to see him get a good pounding every now and then.

Overall, I like seeing the Hulk in vs. Wolverine, although it definitely felt like he was an ingredient and not the main course as he was in vs. Thor.  I give the Thor segment 4 stars out of 5 and the Wolverine one 3 stars.  May the Hulk continue to smash for many years to come.

Posted by Jonathan - March 23, 2010 at 12:20 pm

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This week’s comics pick: Countdown #42

Welcome to the first of what will hopefully be a weekly review of my top pick of the week’s new comic releases.  This week’s pick is Countdown #42, written by Paul Dini, Sean McKeever and Tony Bedard, pencils by Carlos Magno, inks by Mark McKenna and Jay Leisten, color by Rod Reis.

Countdown 42 cover artFor those of you who don’t follow DC Comics, Countdown is the follow up to 52, last year’s hugely successful weekly series about a year without Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman.  I didn’t read 52 as it was being released, largely because it was introduced as the follow up to Infinite Crisis, an “event” miniseries which I fould so tedious that I stopped reading after a few issues.  But when I heard that Paul Dini, one of the masterminds behind Batman the Animated Series, was the head writer on Countdown, I decided to give it a try.

Countdown is a weekly series with backwards numbering (counting down, get it?), so issue 42 is actually the 10th issue in the 52 issue series.  The series jumps back and forth between multiple plot lines concerning Jimmy Olsen, Donna Troy (formerly Wonder Girl), Jason Todd (formerly Robin, the one that died), Mary Marvel (the sister of Shazam’s Captain Marvel, with similar powers of flight, invulnerability and super strength), Karate Kid from the Legion of Superheroes, the Trickster, and others.  So far there is little linking the various plots together, but the hope is that the gradual unfolding and linking of these seemingly unconnected events will be the point of the series as a whole.

Issue 42 distinguishes itself mainly by introducing what is probably the most unlikely superhero team up ever: Mary Marvel and the Riddler.  In recent issues of Detective Comics the Riddler has supposedly reformed and now uses his considerable criminal experience as a freelance detective and security consultant.  Of course, no one seriously believes that he’s reformed, certainly not Captain Marvel’s sister, but nevertheless the two enter into an useasy alliance to track down Clayface.  Hopefully it will be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

The rest of the issue moves forward plotlines concerning Jimmy Olsen discovering that he might have super powers, Jason Todd and Donna Troy’s search for Ray Palmer, the original Atom, Batman’s macho feud with Karate Kid (the kid beat him in a fight and his ego really can’t take it), the Trickster’s apparent remorse over  his part in the death of Bart Allen (formerly Impulse and until his sudden demise the current Flash), and, most interestingly, former Joker sidekick Harley Quinn’s new job as assistant director of an Amazon-themed women’s shelter.

So far, Countdown has been an intriguing look at the ins and outs of the DC Universe, seen through the eyes of some of its lesser known characters, and the themes of redemption and change are ones not often seen in comics, especially at DC where most of the major characters have remained relatively unchanged for 60 years or more.  It will be interesting to see what permanent effects the events in Countdown end up having on the DC Universe as a whole.

Posted by Jefferson - July 13, 2007 at 9:12 am

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Podcast Issue #10 – Surf Worthy

Week of  May 23, 2007

Opinions and Corrections:

1. Heroes finale – what the hell?
2. Smallville finale thoughts.
3. Fantastic Four 2 movie trailers – We ask, how many is too many?
4. Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.

News:

1.    Spider-Man box office, Week 3.
2.    The Dark Knight, casting news and viral marketing campaign.
3.    Heroes Season 2 and DVD news.
4.    Thomas Jane out as the Punisher.
5.    Sgt Rock film news.
6.    Robert Rodriguez to direct Barbarella.
7.    Bionic Woman picked up by NBC
8.    Another convention appearance at Opus Fest.

Rumor Treadmill:

1.    The Rock wants to play Shazam/Captain Marvel.
2.    Gerard Butler not in Watchmen.
3.    Possible Watchmen casting, not sure we’re happy about it.

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Posted by Michael - June 3, 2007 at 1:40 pm

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Podcast Issue #4 – The Lost Episode

Week of March 28th, 2007 (This was uploaded 2 weeks late, the next show will follow very quickly)

Corrections and additions from last issue:

1.    Michael does a mea culpa about Captain Marvel/Shazam
2.    Episode counts for the Superman 1966 and Batman 1977 animated series DVDs
3.    Additional details on Whiteout and the Surrogates
4.    Bud Collier’s history playing Superman
5.    Joel Silver quote about the Wonder Woman Movie

News:

1.    Box Office TMNT, 300, and Ghost Rider all on the charts
2.    Gatchaman next animated film from makers of TMNT
3.    Final Spider-Man 3 Trailer
4.    Robot casting finally for Transformers
5.    Emile Hirsch cast as Speed Racer
6.    Original Birdman and Space Ghost series coming to DVD July 17
7.    Masked Magician graphic novel coming, yes, really

Rumor Treadmill:

1.    Alan Dale not in The Dark Knight
2.    Simon Pegg and Jackie Earle Haley for Rorshach?
3.    Is Shaun Toub the Mandarin in Iron Man?
4.    Johnny Depp and Antonio Banderas in Sin City 2
5.    Matthew Modine likely to be in The Incredible Hulk, part unknown

We answer an email from Jared of Pensacola Fl, and talk about who the villain Morlun is from Spider-Man and could he be a future movie villain.

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Posted by Michael - April 13, 2007 at 1:54 pm

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Superhero Theater Schedule 2007

Friday
6:00pm InfraMan (1975)
Bonus: Ultraman (1966) Ultra Operation No. 1
8:00pm Blankman (1994)
Bonus: The Tick (1994) The Tick vs. The Tick
10:00pm The Return of Captain Invincible (1983) w/Oscar winner Alan Arkin
Saturday
9:00am Spider-Man (1994) The Venom Saga
10:30am Spider-Man Unlimited (1999) One is the Loneliest Number with Venom
11:00pm Superhero Cinema News Live Podcast
12:00pm Fan Films/Movie Trailers/Music Videos
1:00pm Smallville Legends: The Oliver Queen Chronicles
1:30pm Spider-Man 3 Video Blogs – Behind the scenes of the new movie!
Bonus: Spider-Man (1967) Sands of Crime
2:00pm The Last Electric Knight (1986) TV Pilot with Gil Gerard
2:40pm Incredible Hulk (1996) Innocent Blood with Ghost Rider
3:00pm Heroes (2006) Unaired Alternate Pilot
4:00pm Fantastic Four (1994) The Silver Surfer and The Coming of Galactus Parts 1 & 2When Calls Galactus with Ghost Rider
5:00pm Silver Surfer (1997) The Origin of the Silver Surfer
6:00pm Captain America (1994) Unreleased Feature Film
Bonus: Captain America (1996) The Origin of Captain America
8:00pm The Last Dragon (1985)
Bonus: Spider-Man (1994) Blade: The Vampire Hunter
10:00pm Surge of Power (2004)
Sunday
9:00am Transformers: The Movie (1986) with Leonard Nimoy
Bonus: The Powerpuff Girls (1998) Slumbering with the Enemy
11:00am Smallville (2001) Justice
Justice League Unlimited (2004) The Great Brain Robbery with Oded Fehr
12:00pm Gametime: Marvel Scene-It Edition Come and play Marvel movie trivia for prizes!
2:00pm Wonder Woman (1976) Spaced Out with Rene Auberjonois
Aquaman (2006) Unaired TV Pilot with Justin Hartley from Smallville
Bonus: Justice League (2001) The Terror Beyond Parts 1 & 2
4:00pm Greatest American Hero (1980) first episode plus
Greatest American Heroine Pilot (Final Episode)

Posted by Michael - March 15, 2007 at 1:37 pm

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Starfest 2005 Video Room Schedule

Superhero Theater

Friday              The New Breed

6:00pm       Blade II (2002)

8:00pm       The Incredibles (2004)

10:00pm     Hellboy (2004)

Saturday       Marvel Madness

8:00am       Captain America (1966) Animated

8:30am       Sub-Mariner (1966) Animated

9:00am       Incredible Hulk (1966) Animated

9:30am       Spider-Man (1967) Animated

10:00am     The Amazing Spider-Man (1978)

11:30am     Spider-Man Animated (2002) Flash Memory with Jeffrey Combs

12:00pm     The Trial of the Incredible Hulk (1989) with Daredevil

1:30pm       Incredible Hulk (1982) Animated Origin of the Hulk

2:00pm       X2: X-Men United (2003)

4:00pm       Fantastic Four (1994) Unreleased Feature

5:30pm       Fantastic Four (1978) Animated and Trailers for new FF movie

6:00pm       Captain America II: Death Too Soon (1979) TV Movie

7:30pm       X-Men Evolution (2004) Animated with Captain America

8:00pm       Dr. Strange (1978) TV Movie

9:30pm       Incredible Hulk (1996) Animated with Dr. Strange

10:00pm     Doctor Mordrid  (1992) “Dr. Strange” film starring Jeffrey Combs

Sunday         DC Dazzle

8:00am       Superman (1966) Animated

8:30am       Flash (1966) Animated

9:00am       Justice League (1966) Animated

9:30am       Justice League Unlimited (2004) Fearful Symmetry

with Jeffrey Combs

10:00am     Batman: Mask of the Phantasm (1993)

11:30am     Batman Fan Films and Trailers for Batman Begins

12:00pm     The New Original Wonder Woman (1975)

1:30pm       Justice League Unlimited (2004) Hawk and Dove

2:00pm       Upcoming Superhero Projects Discussion

3:00pm       The Flash (1990) Captain Cold with Jeffrey Combs

4:00pm       Superman: The Movie (1978)

Posted by Michael - February 25, 2005 at 8:31 am

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