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Tag Archive: superheroes


Eddie Izzard 27 marathon

But is he Superman or The Flash?

This weekend Eddie Izzard proved he can do anything.  Renaissance man and jack-of-all-trades, he is one of the world’s funniest comedians, performing some of the best stand-up routines you’ll ever watch.  First known for his cross-dressing performances, he became a fixture in some of the best movies and film roles of this century, including key roles in superhero shows like Powers, Mystery Men, and My Super Ex-Girlfriend.  On television, he could be found in lead roles in Treasure Island, The Riches and Hannibal, in popular movies like Ocean’s Twelve and Shadow of the Vampire, and doing voice work on films like The Chronicles of Narnia and the animated movie Igor.  He is one of those rare performers who can play it for laughs and also transfix viewers in the most serious drama.  His work in Valkyrie should have netted him an Oscar.  As for his status in the comedy elite, the members of Monty Python have referred to him as The Lost Python.

Izzard talks the talk and walks the walk.  He’s among the highest echelon of British philanthropists, giving millions over the years to bringing about political change and social reform.

And he has now established he can run with the best of them.

Izzard comedian stand up

Yesterday at age 54 Izzard finished running 27 marathons, more than 700 miles, in 27 days.  His running achievement took him across South Africa for Sport Relief, a charity that benefits the poor and impoverished across the globe.  The 27 days reflected the number of years Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, and Izzard finished his run beneath a statue of Mandela in the city of Pretoria.  In doing so he raised nearly $2 million from donors.  And it wasn’t easy.  He was forced to skip one day for health reasons, but fulfilled his pledge by running two marathons on the 27th day.  Wow.  What did you do yesterday?

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PBS is airing a new documentary series tonight and re-broadcast October 22 focusing on the impact of comic book superheroes on America and American culture, in Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle.  It’s a good history lesson in the creation of the modern comic book and the development since the 1930s of the comic book art form.  Packed with interviews with key creators and industry professionals, and comic book page and TV and movie clips, it tells a history of America as much as the comic book medium.

Not surprisingly the documentary, funded by both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, focuses on U.S. comics and comic stories tied to patriotism across the past 100 years.  Written and directed by Michael Kantor, it covers how changing times is mirrored in comics, but also dictates the stories of comics, from the Great Depression, to World War II, McCarthyism in the 1950s and the Cold War in the 1960s to 1980s, the psychedelic 1960s, drugs in the 1970s, to Watergate and terrorism.

Liev Schreiber hosts Superheroes on PBS

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By Art Schmidt

I was having lunch with a friend the other day and we were talking about comic book movies and the slow transition of the formulas for the ones which have succeeded to television format. My friend was grumbling about the lack of costumed heroes on popular shows such as Arrow or the new Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.  I have to admit, I hadn’t really noticed the lack of costumes in those shows, loving the first season of Arrow despite very few folks with traditional comic book costumes, and enjoying the first couple of episodes of A.O.S. (can you acronym an acronym?).

But the more I thought about it, the more puzzled I was.  Why weren’t there more costumes in Arrow?  Certainly Deathstroke’s mask was a pivotal prop in the series, and the Dark Archer had a cool getup, but they weren’t costumes so much as work attire fitting the villain’s nature.  And of course A.O.S. is a show about normal people, super spies and highly-skilled to be sure, but not superheroes.  And certainly without costumes outside of May’s black leather suit, akin to Fury’s normal wardrobe and the attire seen by many personnel aboard the Heli-carrier in The Avengers.

Speaking of which, The Avengers is a perfect case in point.  The evolution of the superhero sans costume.  I’ll get back to that in a minute.

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