For all the discussion there’s been about how 2011 is just packed to the gills with comics-based movies, fans and pundits alike have usually neglected to include a few additional titles in the pile because they’re based on foreign comics. While both DYLAN DOG and PRIEST (based on a Korean manhwa and an Italian comic respectively) haven’t faired too well in their releases, I’m not expecting the same fate to befall a certain Belgian comics-based project that’ll be coming out right around Christmas time.
What gives me this confidence? Well, it’s put together by two A-list directors who’ve won multiple Oscars and made a few movies already that’ve earned enough money to fund small countries.
To cease being coy, I’m talking about Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson enormous, computer animated, motion capture-enabled, 3D-presented version of THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN. It isn’t even the only Belgian comic getting such treatment, either. THE SMURFS movie is due later in the summer.== TEASER ==
The latest news about the assured-blockbuster pertains to a new stage of marketing. Two official posters have been released (via Joblo,) the SECRET OF THE UNICORN sub-title has been dropped and, most spectacularly, a crisp teaser trailer has finally hit the web (see that below.) If this all happened for another comics-based movie - - say GREEN LANTERN - - we would’ve just reported the news quickly. However, we’re a little hesitant because we’re not sure how many TINTIN fans there are in the Comic Vine community. It’s bit of an odd situation. In terms of international popularity, Tintin's of the same order as Superman or Spider-Man. His adventures have been translated into more than 80 languages, meaning that the reported 350 million copies sold represent sales from literally every corner of the world. Why, when I was growing up in Asia, I distinctly remember TINTIN volumes being present on the shelves of every respectable book store. Yet, for all the international success, the comic hasn’t seemed to penetrate the American market and popular conscious as thoroughly as you'd expect.
Hold that thought in your head while you watch this highly-charming teaser...
The Value of Euro Comics
We may or may not putting some more material about the intrepid cub reporter and his little dog, Snowy, as the months and week bring us closer to the movie’s release. It’ll really depend on how much interest we see from you maniacs. If it isn't there already, I’d like to use this opportunity to strongly encourage you all to reach out of the familiarity of American comics and try a taste of the European variety. Manga’s more-or-less become the standard “alternate option” for those tired with stateside material, but I’d say that Euro comics offer just as much of an “outside looking in” experience at the other end of the artistic pendulum. If manga’s at one polar extreme with its digest format size, B&W printing and decompressed storytelling, then Euro comics are at an opposite pole with their treasury sized formatting, lushly painted colors and fast, often frenzied, pacing.
Judge Dredd is the de facto #1 character in the UK. The Stallone movie took a lot of liberties with the source material and is thus not that representative of the experience you get reading the real deal 2000 A.D. books (though, wouldn’t you know it, a new JUDGE DREDD movie’s in production right now that’ll be hewn closer to the comics.) I got turned on to 2000 A.D. when I was getting serious about the nuts and bolts of writing for comics after I noticed that many of my favorite writers (Alan Moore, Garth Ennis, Grant Morrison, and so) had all cut their teeth in the mag. I see it as a boot camp for creators because it forces them to tell stories in increments of eight pages or less. Even if you don’t any ambitions of working behind the cover, you’ll find this magazine to be a remedy for every time you’ve been frustrated by “decompression” and padding in American comics.
If you want material that’s a little more “out there” and adult, I recommend turning your attention across the English channel and giving France’s Humanoids publishing a shot. If HEAVY METAL’s magazine house ads are too raunchy for you, Humanoids proper books like METABARONS, SON OF THE GUN and THE WHITE LAMA find a tasteful middle ground for the curious and the adventurous. While there actually was a HEAVY METAL animated movie, the film that most faithfully captures this aesthetic is THE FIFTH ELEMENT, so there's a handy, mainstream reference points for you all.
Anyway, I do hope that many of you will take any interest this new TINTIN movie may have raised from you and run with it to discover this wealth of material you may have overlooked. How often do you hear fans complain about wanting variety when there’s actually a whole industry of diverse and daring content waiting for them outside of the old comfort zone.