Posts Tagged ‘Superheroes’

Support “The Adventures of Penny Patterson,” A Short Film About a Superhero’s Love Interest

March 1, 2017


So often in superhero narratives, the focus is on the superhero to such a degree that supporting characters rarely get fleshed out in any meaningful way. This is especially true for female love interests, who are regularly limited to a “damsel in distress” role in which they are there solely to further the male hero’s story. The Adventures of Penny Patterson is a new short film that’s set to flip this perspective. It’s a superhero origin story told from the point of view of the hero’s girlfriend, a high school student who just wants to get her science fair project done.

The short is the graduate thesis film project of Stephanie Donnelly, an NYU student and a lifelong comic book fan. She’s writing and directing the short, and has started a campaign at Seed & Spark to finance the project; she’s looking to get $12,000, and is 39% of the way there already at just a week into the campaign.

I got to read the script for the project, and it’s both a fun story and a pointed commentary on the traditional tropes of the superhero genre. Stephanie brings a sharp, feminist perspective to the underrepresentation of women not just in comic book narratives but also in the film industry as a whole. Stephanie’s a female writer and director, and has created a project with a female lead because to intentionally counter the lack of women protagonists in film today. As she explains, “As a filmmaker, I strive to change those statistics by telling more stories about strong, complex women. I think now more than ever, we need to see more empowered female characters in superhero movies.”

The Seed & Spark campaign has a variety of reward levels, ranging from thanks in the credits to a digital download of the finished film to getting to be an extra in the project and even an associate producer. That last one will get you on IMDB, by the way, which is all sorts of cool. It’s a great project with a smart perspective that looks like it’s going to be really entertaining as well. I encourage you to check out the Seed & Spark page, see the video they’ve put together and read up on the project, and consider sending some money their way to help the project come to fruition. You can also sign up to follow the project; more followers can help it get featured on the Seed & Spark homepage and thus reach more folks.

The superhero genre can always use more women in starring roles, and The Adventures of Penny Patterson gives us just that! Check out the project and support it if you can!


New Superman Prequel Show ‘Krypton’ Coming; Have We Hit Superhero Over-Saturation?

December 9, 2014


It seems that every single channel wants to have their own superhero show. We’re already loaded with them during this fall TV season; the only weeknight free of a DC or Marvel property is Thursday. And now, another one is coming: Krypton, a Superman prequel set on the doomed planet two generations before (SPOILER ALERT) it is destroyed. Syfy is developing the program with Man of Steel‘s David Goyer and Once Upon a Time‘s Ian Goldberg at the helm. Here’s a brief synopsis:

Years before the Superman legend we know, the House of El was shamed and ostracized. This series follows The Man of Steel’s grandfather as he brings hope and equality to Krypton, turning a planet in disarray into one worthy of giving birth to the greatest Super Hero ever known.

This could be a pretty cool show, because Krypton is kind of awesome. I love the Silver and Bronze Age comics set on Krypton, and one of my most prized comic book possessions is a digest of World of Krypton stories that tell the history and legends about the planet and its people. I’m definitely going to watch it, even though with the combined creative genius of Man of Steel and Once Upon a Time it’s probably going to really suck. Nonetheless, I am onboard. It’s something different, taking the whole “prequel” thing that shows have been doing lately to a whole new level. It’d be like if Gotham was set in the 1920s or something (also, THAT is a great idea; I’d definitely watch that).

However, I’m worried that we’re hitting a tipping point with super-based properties, especially from DC. They already have four shows airing now, plus iZombie is coming at some point next year. Supergirl and Titans are also in development at CBS and TNT respectively, and now we’re throwing Krypton into the mix. I’m a HUGE nerd, and I can’t even keep up with what we’ve got now. I’m months behind on Constantine because I just have too many shows on the go, superhero and otherwise, and I watch all of my favourites first. If I can’t keep up with four shows, how am I going to keep up with eight? And I’m their target demo.

I think Marvel is managing their television properties in a much smarter way. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D is their only show that lasts an actual full season. Agent Carter is going to be an eight-episode event, while their slate of upcoming Netflix shows will run 13 episodes each and be released separately, creating a similar event feel for each one. The more contained approach seems like a better way to go about things. The shows don’t get drawn out or burn through all the cool characters quickly, and it requires less of an investment from fans.

In general, television is heading towards this model for serialized shows anyway, and this is how a lot of cable shows roll, but I think it’s a particularly good fit for superheroes. Especially on the major networks. There’s always a tension on network shows between serialization and stand alone stories, but comic books are all about serialization. People get bored when there’s a bunch of shows where the Flash just takes down some random dude and a bigger plot isn’t forwarded very much. Fans like the master plan, the build towards the big bad. That’s much better accomplished with a shorter, tighter season than the usual 22 to 24 episode run. All killer, no filler, if you will.

Plus, it keeps things special. A 13 episode show is an event you have to be there for because every episode matters. A regular show is just a show. It’ll pile up on the DVR and you’ll get to it eventually. Imagine if next year there’s an hour-long DC property on every single weeknight, which is a definite possibility. Imagine how full your DVR is going to be. You’re not always in the mood for superheroes, and shows are just going to end up falling through the cracks. Superheroes are a hot commodity and I understand wanting to cash in on that, but glutting the market isn’t good for anyone.

Anyway, I’m still excited for Krypton. I just have no idea when I’m going to watch it. I probably should get through this pile of Constantine first.

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