Homeruns To Hollywood…

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Original Show Features Sports Legends, Iconic Pop Culture Props and Costumes

Baseball meets Batman in the latest special exhibition at Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory (LSMF). The attraction has teamed up with Topps, the legendary card maker, to create the first-ever retrospective of Topps® trading cards. The show opens March 14 and runs through October 4, 2015.

Along with iconic baseball cards, Topps has also produced collectible cards for other sports and pop culture giants such as Star Wars, the Beatles, and Pokémon. Props, costumes and artifacts from movies, television, music, comics and cartoons will be displayed alongside their Topps cards, including these monumental pieces:

· Luke Skywalker’s Light Saber*

· Indiana Jones’ Whip

· Adam West’s Batman Costume*

· Christopher Reeve’s Superman Costume*

· Nichelle Nichols’ Lt. Uhura Costume*

· Elvis Presley’s Scarf

· Ringo Starr’s 1964 Drumsticks

· Jobu Doll from Major League

“There’s something fun for everyone in this show,” said Anne Jewell, VP and Executive Director of LSMF. “Topps has an amazing history and ability to tap into the cultural current. We’re thrilled to partner with such a powerhouse and share their entertaining story with our guests.”

Featuring two thirds of a screenused ‘walking; costume from Superman IV: The Quest For Peace on loan from the Azerian Collection (actual sign, second pic), this splendid exhibition has rightly earned local news coverage (top) for its current occupation of the Louisvile Slugger Museum until this October.

Taking its rightful place in the pantheon of Topps trading card history, the costume is displayed alongside examples of its many card sets, with mint wrapped examples still in their display box from Superman II (bottom).

Thanks to usemycamera.net for the exhibition pics…

Life And Times…

DSC_3414DSC_3418DSC_3422DSC_3424In light of the recent announcement by Titan Books that the Batman 1966 TV Series has an all-new 256 page hardback book upcoming, SUPERMANIA looks back through the history of the publisher for its varied coverage on the Superman movie series.

As we wait oh-so-patiently for the definitive volume celebrating the cinematic adventures of the Man of Steel, it may come as a surprise to learn that its been almost two decades since so much as a chapter was dedicated to a retrospective of the films in an official release.

Though there are many career highlights to cram in across all media, one could be forgiven for thinking that a project entitled Superman: The Complete History – The Life And Times of The Man of Steel (top pic) would grant ample page space to the cast & crew that defined the character for a generation and beyond. Alas, these ground-breaking pictures are allocated a total of 8 out of its 190 pages (most shown above).

In fact, author Les Daniels is given a relatively easy ride here, with his no-frills insight free summary of sixty years (at the time of publishing) leaving little to recommend it past the initial read-through –

So thank goodness for the Art Direction & design by the genius that is Chip Kidd.  Already a legend in fandom thanks to his incomparable masterwork Batman Collected Chip’s unique compositions are the only saving grace for this otherwise mediocre entry in the catalogue of Super-literature.  Committing full pages to contemporary photographs of vintage collectables and classic screen-used costumes, (third & fourth pics) Chip’s layouts dominate the page with splashes of memorable comic-art.

The book concludes with a promise of Superman’s return to the silver screen in a movie directed by Tim Burton (whatever happened to that?) and tucked away in the smallprint of dedications is a thanks to one Jim Bowers, described here as a ‘Christopher Reeve aficionado’, his modest contribution here hopefully a prelude of much bigger things to come…

Alert, Alert..!

Front

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Fleetingly glimpsed in both Superman: The Movie and Superman II and sharing a grim demise in both movies, the iconic, anonymous Kryptonian guard’s scenes may have been short but left a lasting impression.

In fact, the nameless soldier (played by uncredited actors) in Superman: The Movie had a larger role than the theatrical cut led us to believe, where through footage restored for the TV edits (and later, the Special Edition) revealed the guard was despatched by the council elders to arrest Jor-El and was crushed by falling debris from the eruptions enroute.  Despite apparently having being teleported to Jor-El’s quarters (suspended on wires to convey levitation), the intercutting of the extended version suggests the journey took considerable time, culminating in a bizarre closeup of the soldier’s eyes as he’s wiped out.

A similar guard opens preceedings with considerable style in Richard Lester’s Superman II, where an atmospheric tight shot of the helmet reveals it to be somewhat different than Donner’s version.  Although it appears to be the same design, its lack of 3M material shrouding gives it a smooth finish (decorated with aluminium tape?) and its black lenses replaced by mirrored.  Despite a speaking part this time (Alert, Alert!) his screentime is cut short as he’s dispensed with in a swift attack by General Zod’s cohort Non.

So distinct was the guards design that 30 plus years later, talented Superfan Tim Allen sought to recreate the helmet design using today’s technology –

“I was inspired to re-create this Kryptonian guard helmet from Superman (above) because I felt it was one of those props in the movie that often gets overlooked and I thought the fans of this movie would appreciate viewing a unique piece from the film. I created this CG model purely in 3DS Max using the Mental Ray render and procedural texturing. The helmet was created to fit the average human head so theoretically this model could be 3D printed for display or as part of a costume. It could also be scaled down to either ¼ or 1/6th scale for custom collectible figures/statues..”

Watch this space for updates as the Kryptonian guard potentially rises again as a 1/6th figure exclusive to SUPERMANIA..!

Lives..?

Cage_Lives2-001Cage Lives1Cage_Lives2-002DOSLOn the day of what would’ve been Superman co-creator Joe Shuster’s 101st birthday, SUPERMANIA celebrates with a one-time post outside of our established continuity to bring you an exclusive wild card –

Courtesy of El Club El Planet come these rare pics of the abandoned Tim Burton movie Superman Lives – a project that would ultimately be abandoned only weeks before photography in 1997 in a highly controversial move exemplifying the production hell hampering the characters return to the big screen since 1988.  The rejected scripts had begun with Superman V (or Superman: The New Movie) in 1990, Superman Reborn in 1992 and various drafts of what became Superman Lives which was greenlit with the commitment from Burton after the departure of writer/director Kevin Smith.

Lives eleventh-hour cancellation would yield little material in subsequent years save for unconfirmed script rewrites to the point where the whole endeavour verged on myth.  Aside from some concept art, a blurred, unconvincing photo of what pertained to be star Nicolas Cage (above) in a bizzare muscle suit and a poster appearing at a Toy fair was the only supposed proof of any pre-production.

Naturally it would be the persistence of fans that would not only unravel the mystery but prove just how close the picture was to becoming reality with photos and even footage from the project no-one ever thought they would see.

And so thanks to Jon Schnepp and others there is, incredibly, a new Superman film made by fans, for fans to enjoy with the fascinating The Death of Superman Lives, What Happened?  documentary available now as a digital download (bottom pic). where exclusive interviews with the likes of Burton, Smith and scriptwriters Dan GIlroy and Wesley Strick, are presented in irreverent, watchable style (watch the first 10 minutes).

While little could convince SUPERMANIA Lives was anything but a huge misconception, as an ambassador of the character this documentary highlights an important period in its screen evolution and is therefore intrigued.  Indeed, for all the furore surrounding Nic Cage’s casting he nevertheless does embody the Superman comics of the era here (nineties long hair) and would’ve been interesting to watch if nothing else…