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Tuesday, November 30, 2004


New Line Cinema and Marvel Studios have signed Nick Cassavetes (The Notebook, John Q) to direct the big screen adaptation of Iron Man. The film is scheduled to be a 2006 tentpole release.

The project, which is being produced by Marvel Studios' CEO Avi Arad and Angry Films' Don Murphy, is based on a script by Smallville executive producers Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, and David Hayter. The studios will begin casting immediately.

"This is an ideal situation because Nick is a tremendous talent with a passion for the material, and we have had such incredible success working with both him and Marvel in the past," said New Line production president Toby Emmerich. "Teaming up again to launch a franchise as promising as Iron Man is very exciting."

"Being able to work with such an acclaimed writer/director as Nick Cassavetes to bring one of our pre-eminent super-hero franchises to the big screen is really special," Arad said. "Nick grew up reading Iron Man and personally loves the character. He shares our vision of how to bring Iron Man to life in a way that will appeal to a mass audience as well as the core super-hero fan base. This deal with Nick marks the perfect way to launch our second big Marvel franchise with New Line, a studio that we have enjoyed a great relationship with in building the Blade character into a Hollywood heavyweight."

Here's how New Line and Marvel describe the movie:

"Iron Man tells the story of Tony Stark, the enigmatic heir to the Stark Enterprises fortune. A driven inventor and executive who seems to have it all, Tony is haunted by his dark side. Though he commands his empire by day, by night he secretly becomes Iron Man, the living embodiment of decades of defense spending and innovation. Strapping on billions of dollars worth of state-of-the-art armor and weaponry each night to fight crime, terrorism and corporate espionage, Tony begins to crack under the strain of his fractured lifestyle and must ultimately confront the one enemy he can never beat -- himself."

Cassavetes' relationship with New Line has also proved to be a profitable one in recent years. His last directorial effort, The Notebook, was one of this summer's biggest hits at the box office. He also directed the 2002 hit film John Q for the studio and is currently in production on the drama Alpha Dog, which features an ensemble cast including Bruce Willis, Justin Timberlake, Sharon Stone and Emile Hirsch.

Emmerich is overseeing Iron Man for New Line along with the studio's senior vice president production Stokely Chaffin, vice president George Waud and creative executive Jeff Katz. Spearheading the production for Marvel Studios are Kevin Feige and Arad.

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The first trailer for the Fantastic Four movie will accompany Elektra when it hits theaters on Jan. 14, 20th Century Fox has told The Continuum.

Both movies are Marvel/Fox projects.

Fantastic Four was featured on MTV's Total Request Live on Monday. Chris Evans, who plays Johnny Storm, and Jessica Alba, who plays Sue Storm, were interviewed during the recent press event in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Evans said the toughest part of the job was wearing the FF costume. "Once you get in it, you're there for a while," he said.

In other Marvel movie news:

* Both Spider-Man 2 and the Daredevil Director's Cut arrive in stores on Tuesday. Sony has made a big marketing push for Spider-Man 2.

"Spider-Man's extraordinary mass appeal crosses demographics of young and old and possesses an allure to both action fans and romantic movie-goers," said Benjamin S. Feingold, President of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment division. "Translating across audiences, the Spider-Man 2 DVD is poised to rank as one of the most popular choices on everyone's year-end holiday wish list and a must-have purchase that will dominate home entertainment revenue in the fourth quarter. It will be an instant collector's item."

With the release of the DVD, director Sam Raimi talked to USA Today about the third Spider-film. Raimi name-dropped such villains as Green Goblin, the Vulture and Kraven the Hunter, but is just set to begin work on a screenplay with Alvin Sargent.

"I'm trying to figure out what (Peter Parker) is going to be learning on this next adventure," Raimi told USA Today. "Once I know this journey and the conflicts to put in, I would choose the villain that best represents those conflicts."

* Blade: Trinity's Ryan Reynolds and Jessica Biel will appear on MTV's Total Request Live on Thursday.


Image Comics founding partner Jim Valentino has assembled a team of top Image talent to do something that's never been done before.

Beginning in March, Image Comics will debut The Pact, a four-issue mini-series starring four of Image's youngest superheroes. Along with Valentino's ShadowHawk, The Pact includes Robert Kirkman's Invincible, Phil Hester's Firebreather, and Jay Faerber's Zephyr, from the pages of Noble Causes.

Each issue will be written by the creators of the characters involved. Part of the fun, according to Valentino, is that each writer is working independently of the others.

"Part of the excitement of this project for me is that I don't know what Jay, Robert or Phil are going to do. I think that 'surprise element' has been gone from comics for far too long," Valentino said. "I'm really looking forward to this, these are great writers, great artists. This, to me, is what it's supposed to be about--fun. And I think this is a really fun experiment."

Each issue will also feature a different artist. Valentino will be handling his own story, kicking off the series. The second chapter, written by Faerber, will be illustrated by Carlo Barberi. Hester's third chapter will be handled by Carlos Rodriguez and Kirkman's concluding story will be drawn by Jason Howard.

Jim Valentino's versions of Firebreather, Invincible and Zephyr

Hester said he sees the book as a chance to rekindle a bit of comic book magic that seems to be missing from most mainstream books these days.

"Remember how you felt the first time you saw Superman race the Flash, or Spider-Man interact with Daredevil, or Dragon mix it up with Spawn?," Hester said. "I see The Pact as a chance to recapture that sort of thrill. You have characters that are just as exciting and well-realized as the big icons, but free from all the continuity baggage encumbering those historic heroes. I hope the feeling readers get from The Pact is that anything could happen in any issue. It's a team book that doesn't have to kowtow to the status quo."

"Jim had me at the words 'team up'," Faerber said. "I love the idea of a shared Image universe, so I'm always up for projects that promote that idea. And the opportunity to write ShadowHawk, Invincible, and Firebreather was too good to pass up! I've wanted to work Carlo Barberi for a couple years now, and when The Pact idea started evolving, he was on my short list."

"When Jim approached me about writing an issue of The Pact I was thrilled," Kirkman said. "When else am I going to get a chance to write ShadowHawk, Firebreather and play around in the Noble Causes universe? These are all characters I love independently. I've followed all their appearances in the past and I'm thrilled to be able to participate in bringing them together. Jim has a great idea here... I'm just glad he let me tag along."

As for the motivation for the characters involved, according to Valentino, it was natural that the younger Image superheroes would hang out together.

"They're all roughly the same age, around 17. They all come from rather dysfunctional families and they're all trying to figure out their place in the world, not just as people, but as heroes," Valentino said. "I think this team has all the elements of a great series. One that can touch upon the drama and the humor of being a teenager as well as provide some kick-ass action. I think there will be a lot of great stories to be told, these will just be the first four."


The "Ultimatum" episode of Justice League Unlimited will premiere on Cartoon Network on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

The episode has a story by Dwayne McDuffie and a teleplay by J.M. DeMatteis. It was directed by Joquim Dos Santos.

Here's how the network describes the episode;

"The Justice League meets the Ultimen, a popular group of young heroes who are about to discover their own horrifying secret origins."

Scott Rummell reprises his role of Aquaman in the episode. "Of all the voices I've done, Aquaman is the one that people come up to me and say, 'Do that one,'" Rummell told The Continuum.

Click on the thumbnails for larger images and look for more Justice League Unlimited news soon here in The Continuum.


For covers and four- or five-page previews of upcoming titles, CLICK HERE.

Titles include JLA: Classified #4 from DC Comics and Flaming Carrot Comics #1 and Lions, Tigers and Bears #1 from Image Comics.

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Marvel Comics has announced it has signed artist Michael Ryan to an exclusive three-year contract.

"I'm pretty excited," Ryan said. "It's great knowing the only place I want to work wants me working only for them!" The artist has worked on Marvel books like Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Spectacular Spider-Man, and, of course, fan-favorite Mystique.

Ryan's credits include Iron Man, Captain Marvel, Spectacular Spider-Man and Mystique. He is currently working on New X-Men: Academy X with Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir.

"Marvel recognized his talent, as have the fans, and it rocks," said Marvel editor-in-chief Joe Quesada. "We don't want him anywhere else but here!"

Click on the thumbnails above for samples of Ryan's New X-Men work.

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  • "Facade" will be the Wednesday, Dec. 15 episode of The WB's Smallville.

  • Coming Wednesday: DC news -- and much more!!!

    WebUndies - It's not just underwear!


    In case you missed The Continuum's recent coverage, here are some links:

    * For Tuesday, Nov. 23, Image Comics' solicitations for February, CLICK HERE.

    * For Monday, Nov. 22, including Fantastic Four movie news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Saturday, Nov. 20, including DC Comics trade paperback news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Friday, Nov. 19, including Marvel's solicitations for February, CLICK HERE.

    * For Thursday, Nov. 18, including Marvel news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Wednesday, Nov. 17, including Black Panther, DC Comics and Justice League Unlimited news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Tuesday, Nov. 16, including Blade: Trinity news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Monday, Nov. 15, including DC Comics' solicitations for February, CLICK HERE.

    * For Saturday, Nov. 13, including Blade: Trinity news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Friday, Nov. 12, including Marvel news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Thursday, Nov. 11, including Elektra movie news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Wednesday, Nov. 10, including Elektra movie news and Dark Horse Comics' solicitations for February, CLICK HERE.

    * For Tuesday, Nov. 9, including an interview with Smallville's Erica Durance, CLICK HERE.

    * For Monday, Nov. 8, including Batman Begins news, CLICK HERE.

    * For Sunday, Nov. 7, including Marvel, DC and Blade: Trinity panels from Wizard World Texas, CLICK HERE.

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