We all know who Todd McFarlane is, right? Creator of the redoubtable character that graced his comics company, Image, along with the small and big screen, the back from Hell for revenge psycho, Spawn! McFarlane is back, after a far-too-long hiatus due to the pandemic, to proclaim 2021 the Year of Spawn!
McFarlane starts off by giving us a tour of his office, closed down since March of 2020 due to the blasted pandemic, and the line of toys the King of toys is currently at-work on.
For the DC Multiverse we get new vehicles, a brand new Batmobile, and differently-sized figurines; the Raw10 line will get new mech sharks and gorillas; new Warhammer figures to paint; Dune (related to the new movie) toys, Mortal Kombat (same) toys, Witcher video game figurines, toys from Fortnight, even the anime My Hero Academia. The grey unpainted figurines, known as artists proofs, will be the hardest to find collectibles, McFarlane informs us gleefully.
And of course, it wouldn’t be a McFarlane panel without his talking about the new and upcoming Spawn toy figurines line. The Spawn kickstarter in 2020 earned the Peoples Choice Toy of the Year award for his Spawn figurine; McFarlane promises the Spawn toy of 2021 will be a medieval version of the well-known character, with specially-made accessories of alternate materials.
Moving on to comic books, where Spawn and indeed Image got its start, McFarlane never lacks for passion. Now, while the pandemic is still an issue and most forms of entertainment are still only partially available; if you have an idea for a comic book, now is the time to get into it, he gushes. McFarlane goes on to list the comic books under the Image label that debuted in 2020 to more than 100,000 copies – the color version of The Walking Dead Redux, The Department of Truth, Undiscovered Country, Donnie Cate’s Crossover Event, and Nocterra, just to name a few.
McFarlane happily continues on about creating an entire Spawn universe, that he’ll probably rename eventually, where the well-known character is but one of many. Debuting in 2021 from this whole new universe is Spawns Universe, as the impetus for all the rest of this stuff, possibly in July; then King Spawn, Gunslinger Spawn, and finally The Scorched.
McFarlane gave a whole list of artists and writers and contributors to help with this burgeoning Spawn universe: Art Adams, Carlo Barberi, Brett Booth, J. Scott Campbell, Greg Capullo, Donny Cates, Jim Cheung, Mike del Mundo, Javier Fernandez, David Finch, Kevin Keane, Ales Kot, Puppeteer Lee, Sean Lewis, Todd McFarlane, Ben Oliver, Stephen Segovia, Paulo Siqueira, and Marcio Takara.
Finally, and potentially the most exciting of all, with only a few minutes left to his panel, McFarlane finally addressed the new Spawn movie! Yes, the film is still being made, via Blumhouse Productions, and yes, Jamie Foxx is still set to play the titular anti-hero, and Jeremy Renner has been added to the cast as Twitch Williams. They’re all working diligently on world-building for the film while the pandemic rages, there’s a big meeting next week to finalize the script and send it out.
And of course, McFarlane hints at several secret made-for-tv projects in the works from his Spawn universe. Maybe even a podcast this year! It really is shaping up to be the Year of Spawn in 2021!
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm