Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, May 08, 2006

Stan Lee's holding out for a hero

Just when you thought reality shows couldn't get any stranger,here comes "Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" this summer on the Sci Fi Channel with Stan"The Man" Lee as host. 11 people will be chosen to compete for such honors as having their own comic book created by Stan Lee and getting their character to appear in a Sci Fi Channel movie. Granted,most movies on Sci Fi are of the Black Scorpion variety but it can't be any worse than Halle Berry's Catwoman,now can it?

You can also vote online for your favorite contestants-three of them are now being profiled with audition videos to help you decide(click title link above). The sound on Lemuria's video went out at one point but that might just be my computer. Yes,I did vote and despite loving the concept of Artemis,I had to go with Diamond Girl-that gal really sells her character!

This whole thing reminds me so much of Mystery Men,one of my big guilty pleasures. There was even an audition scene where folks like PMS Avenger("I only work five days a month-got a probelm with that?")and Pencilhead,with Son of PencilHead tried to team up with the likes of The Shoveler,Mr. Furious and the Blue Raja(who never wore anything blue,btw). The one they finally got was The Bowler(Janeane Garofolo,one of those comedians that Hollywood never quite figured out what to do with)
,who right away clashed with Mr. Furious(Ben Stiller,in his pre-Something About Mary days who was alot funnier back then than now,in my opinion). There's some damn funny dialogue in that movie such as "Well here I thought I was with a couple of real superheroes, the Shoveller and the Blue Raja! But really, it's Lazy Boy and... and... the recliner! Lazy Boy and the Recliner! " and"So what do you say? Do we all gather together, and go kick some Casanova butt? Or do I eat this sandwich?"

Superhero comedies can be tricky since it's too damn easy to parody-just compare the Adam West Batman show with Batman:The Animated Series and you'll see what I mean. We're due for another one this summer with My Super Ex-GirlFriend,starring Uma Thurman as Jenny aka G Girl,who does not take breaking up with boyfriend Luke Wilson well. This could be a decent flick,with Ivan Reitman(Ghostbusters)at the directing helm,plus having Rann Wilson and Eddie Izzard in the cast sounds good. However,it could turn out as hokey as John Ritter's Hero At Large or even worse,Meteor Man. Just hope they put out a trailer soon so we can get an idea of how MSEGF is(not that trailers are foolproof but hey,if you watch carefully,it can give you a heads-up).

Superhero satires can also be done right without making the characters too cardboard cutout like-The Incredibles works as an action film and as a family bonding story. Bonding with people is really at the core of what makes a superhero;it's no coincidence that most of the super powered icons of our culture are essentially outsiders who only want to be part of society but have to pull back from true intimacy due to their other life. Plenty of books have been written on this subject already(check out Men of Tommorrow by Gerard Jones or Mythology:The Work of Alex Ross)so I won't write a thesis here but it's hard to deny the allure of superheroes in American culture,despite the many snickers at comic book fans(some of whom are abit too die hard but what fan base doesn't have it's share of zealots?).

So,yes,many will watch "Who Wants To Be A Superhero?" for laughs but there will be some in the audience who'll wish they were there. You gotta have a sense of humor about your fanlove otherwise,you will wind up getting into fistfights over who would win in a fight between Wolverine and Batman(my money's on Batman)and that's not good!

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