Saturday, November 17, 2007

Sunken Spirit

So I, like many comic fans, have some...concerns...about the upcoming film based on The Spirit, being made by Frank Miller. Basically: I think it is going to suck.

Every time I see or hear anything about it, I get cranky. But this quote, from a Newsarama article, is the most bothersome thing I've read yet:

Miller later directs a scene from near the film’s finale in which the Spirit delivers a powerful right cross to the chin of The Octopus, played by Samuel L. Jackson. “From the start, I wanted Sam Jackson to play The Octopus because I’ve always wanted to work with Sam Jackson,” Miller says. “It seems to me he’s always had a part like this inside waiting to get out.”

The villain, who famously never showed his face in Eisner’s comics, will be slightly less mysterious in the film. “I knew I couldn’t get away with two hours of a guy whose face you never see,” Miller said.

WHAT?! The Octopus has existed as a character for almost seven decades. In all that time his face has never been revealed. Now Frank Miller gets to decide what he looks like? And it's Samuel L Jackson?!

Actually, scratch that. It doesn't matter who it is. The point is that Miller has the audacity to feel that, for some reason, he is allowed reveal a mystery that, clearly, Will Eisner never wanted revealed.

“I knew I couldn’t get away with two hours of a guy whose face you never see,” Miller said.

Two hours?! Try seventy years, assface! It worked pretty well in the comics. If you can't tell a good story without Samuel L Jackson's face, that's your problem.


Anonymous said...

Why does DC hate their comics so much?

Johnny Bacardi said...

I dread this SO MUCH.

Unknown said...

I don't know if it's DC's fault as much as it is Warner Bros who owns DC. Marvel shops their films around to different studios, meaning properties are usually given some thought before turning them over.

Pulpatooner said...

I thought the emblematic moment of misgiving was when the actor said that he can't smile when wearing the Spirit's mask, or it falls off.

Anonymous said...

OF COURSE this movie will suck. Absent Eisner's glorious artwork, the Spirit is nothing more than a VERY boring detective in a suit. One question: Who will play Ebony? Chris Rock?

Chance said...

Frank Miller is such a total hack now.

dave howlett said...

Miller has already said that Ebony won't be in it. He says that Ebony was a bad idea on Eisner's part, referring to the racial caricature that he was in his early appearances. So, rather than try to update the character and make him less offensive (like, say, Darwyn Cooke's version), Miller has elected to take the easy route and dismiss him altogether.

DC has no blame or even say in all this--Eisner's estate still owns the character, and is represented by Eisner's longtime friend and former publisher, Denis Kitchen. So if anyone's to blame, it's him...although the film's producers made the decision to hire Miller, and Miller is the one making all the dumbass decisions now, so I'd rather blame them.

This thing is going to be a total fucking disaster--it's likely going to be a "Sin City" movie featuring characters who vaguely resemble mean-spirited parodies of Eisner creations. I really can't imagine what commercial appeal it will have, although Hollywood types probably think Miller's name is guaranteed box office dynamite after "300".

Anonymous said...

Well, at least he's not Sylvester Stallone. Or magically transformed into an unambiguous hero.

(Yes, we Judge Dredd fanboys are still bitter over that one)

Greg said...

I knew this was going to be trouble when the first poster for the movie featured Frank Miller art and nothing of Eisner. To me, Miller has appeared rather full of himself for a few years now, and I will bet that the movie that makes it to the screen is FRANK MILLER'S The Spirit created by Will Eisner rather than Will Eisner's The Spirit directed by Frank Miller. If any good comes out if this, it will be that the television Spirit movie will get released on DVD. I liked that movie and thought it did a good job of transferring Eisner to film albeit at a television movie budget.

By the way, DC has no ownership of the Spirit. Eisner owned the copyrights and trademarks of all his work, and when he died those rights transferred to the estate he left behind. Any licensing of the character is at the estate's discretion and all DC sees out of that is, probably, increased Archive sales that coincide with the movie's release. However, as I write this, I wouldn't doubt that there might be some clause in the publishing agreement with DC that gives them some percentage of the profits the estate sees from the movie after a certain amount of money is made with it.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever heard of a little ole show called Inspector Gadget? With a villain called Dr. Claw? We never saw him. Oh wait. Yeah we do. In the movie with Matthew Broderick. And that turned out oh so well. grrrr.

Anonymous said...

Someone should tell Hugo Weaving. I'm sure he would have loved to take that V mask off at some point during that movie.

Anonymous said...

Miller said specifically:
I knew I couldn’t get away with two hours of a guy whose face you never see.

He never said that no one couldn't, he never said that Will Eisner couldn't, he just said that he couldn't. And he's probably right. Frankly, I find this humble admission that he can't do something to be borderline charming.

I wish he would admit some other things he couldn't do — like telling a decent, original comic book story that doesn't rely on his reputation in order to get attention and sales or depending on cliched dark grit to create the illusion of interesting storytelling.

Frank Miller = ick.