Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Favorite Quote About Superheroes

One of my favorite quotes about superheroes comes from Les Daniels.

He was talking about Superman, and the quote comes from his comprehensive book - Superman: The Complete History. The quote reads: "It's a bizarre story, about a strange visitor from another world, but at its heart it's a very human story too, about the dream of having power, and the hope of knowing love."

Though Daniels was talking about Superman, I believe this quote can be applied to most superhero characters... Minus the "strange visitor" part. 

The most important element is at the end: "The dream of having power, and the hope of knowing love." To me, that pretty much sums up what superheroes are all about. 

I find it an optimistic quote because the most compelling part of the superhero story can be achieved in the real world. It's about finding impossible strength in whatever you decide to do in life, and finding that amazing person to share it with.

So, yes, it is possible to be a real-life superhero!

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

More Details About The New MPSS Costumes

Recently, I wrote about the new costumes that we'll be seeing in an upcoming episode of Mission Park Street Stories. Episode 4 to be specific.

After an involved design process, the costumes are ready, and they look incredible!

We'll be holding a cast photoshoot in the coming weeks, and after that, I'll be posting some pictures of the finished costumes right here on the PWC Blog, so you'll get a chance to see them before the show is released.

I think you'll like what you see because the costumes have a very stylish street-look, but retain a completely superhero vibe that is uniquely Mission Park Street Stories!

I'd tell you more, but If I do, it might spoil the reveal!

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Superhero Genre

It wasn't always this way, but in recent years, "the superhero movie" has become a specific genre of filmmaking. Sometimes people refer to these movies as "comic book movies," but comics have a wide range of genres, which includes superhero adventure stories, so "superhero movie" seems like a more accurate description.

I touched upon the concept of the superhero genre last week, but today I want to dig a little deeper. The superhero movie is unique.  It ties together elements of action, sci-fi, fantasy, and romance. It's also operatic in nature, with larger than life heroes and villains, and readily identifiable costumes.

What makes the Superhero genre so captivating is the precise balance of action, sci-fi, fantasy, and romance. Too much action, and the fantastical nature of the genre disappears. The movie becomes "just another action flick." To much sci-fi, and the movie becomes mired down in the technical details, without exploring the wonder. Too much fantasy, and the superhero story loses it's sci-fi roots, becomes less realistic, and less relatable. Too much romance, and the action diminishes.

It is precisely this reason why superhero stories are so hard for even the seasoned writer to craft.  It takes a special love of the genre to pen a truly exceptional superhero adventure. Everyone has their own interpretations of various characters and stories, and oftentimes, people prefer a higher level of one of the four elements of the superhero genre.  They either want more action, more sci-fi, more fantasy, or more romance.

When a writer is charged with the task of penning the next great superhero adventure, they don't always recognize that the balance of action, sci-fi, fantasy, and romance has to be equal. They favor one element more than the others, and it throws the balance of the story off.

Bad superhero movies forget what they are, and push a specific genre of film on screen.  Good superhero movies balance the action, sci-fi, fantasy, and romance together seamlessly.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Real Heroes & Real Muscle

The days of padded muscles are over.

Years ago, Sylvester Stallone lamented that "tough guy" action stars were being replaced with less muscular counterparts. 

In his words, "It was that first Batman movie. The action movies changed radically when it became possible to Velcro your muscles on. It was the beginning of a new era. The visual took over. The special effects became more important than the single person. That was the beginning of the end."

While I do agree with what Stallone is saying, he misses one key point. Superhero movies are not simply action movies. They're part of a specific genre of filmmaking that combines action, sci-fi, fantasy, and adventure.

The reason less muscular actors can be cast for superhero roles is because the nature of the storytelling is more fantastic. Characters have powers and abilities that don't require the actor to be so physically fit, and they perform impossible feats that demand special effects beyond simply punching and kicking an opponent.  

Casting Michael Keaton as batman was inspired in 1989. His performance was amazing, and he stands out as my second favorite caped crusader. That is... Until Ben Affleck embodied the role.

The rules have changed.

Superhero movies are still evolving, and today, putting an actor in a padded muscle-suit wouldn't work. Part of the pre-production process for a superhero movie now involves actors training for the role. 

People want to see the actor become the hero, and they can't do it with just the costume alone. Ben Affleck seriously put on the muscle for his role in Batman V Superman, and the results are well worth it. He delivers a nuanced performance and he looks the part.

I think this is an important step forward in the superhero genre, because it's going to elevate the quality of film. The idea of a superhero being a spandex wearing adventurer with underwear over his tights is becoming a thing of the past, and I predict a future with action stars like Sylvester Stallone finding a place in the comic and sci-fi genre.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

SDCC Wrap Up

Well, another San Diego Comic-Con has come to a close. The big event took place last weekend, ending on Sunday, July 23.

It was a huge show, filled with lots of fun and excitement, and it's going to be a big year for comic & sci-fi fans.

I'm looking forward to seeing everything new that is just around the corner, and there couldn't be a better time to be working in the world of comics & sci-fi.

There will be lots to talk about next week!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New MPSS Costumes

Today I find myself finalizing new costumes that will be appearing in an upcoming episode of Mission Park Street Stories.

Balancing look and functionality is the hardest part of the design.  The costume need to look great on camera, as well as being easy enough to wear while performing stunts and action.  If the costume is too restrictive, complex movements won't be possible.

I like designing superhero costumes, and I like finding that balance between form and function.  It's an exciting process, and I'm looking forward to seeing audience reactions when the new costumes make their debut in episode 4!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

San Diego Comic-Con 2016

San Diego Comic-Con is just around the corner... July 21-24... And if you can't be there in person, you can watch it on television on the Syfy Network. (Check your local listings for dates and times.)

This is the 49th convention, and SDCC has evolved considerably since Comic-Con #1, which was held on March 21, 1970 at the U.S. Grant Hotel. That year, 145 people were in attendance, and special guests Forrest J Ackerman and Mike Royer made appearances.

Last year, over 160,000 people attended SDCC #48, and numbers this year are expected to be even bigger. Today, SDCC is more than a comic and sci-fi convention.  It's an important entertainment event, not just for comic and sci-fi fans, but for major entertainment companies, celebrities, and brands, who are ready to showcase their latest works.

It's very exciting to see more and more people discovering the wonder of comic & sci-fi entertainment, and the SDCC attendance numbers show just how far we've come. SDCC #1 had 145 people in attendance. Every year, the number of attendees grew incrementally. SDCC #2 had 300 people in attendance. SDCC #3 had 800. The year after that, close to 1000.  

The growth has been gradual, and at no point did comic and sci-fi entertainment become suddenly popular.  I think it shows that this amazing form of entertainment is no passing fad, and as the number of comic and sci-fi readers grows, the SDCC is only going to get bigger.  

With that, I want you to enjoy SDCC this year, and know that we, as comic and sci-fi fans, are a growing number!