Monday, May 19, 2008

MOVIES COMICS- Spider-Man by James Cameron

Not a lot of heavy commentary on this one because I wanted to share it with you ASAP. It is truly one of the coolest things I’ve ever bumped into on the web.

About a year ago Escape Pod featured one of my most favorite stories they’ve done. Episode 105 Impossible Dreams is a rather simple and uninspired alternate universe story where a fellow periodically finds himself in a video rental store from a parallel universe. The thing that makes the story so delightful is that in this video store there is almost every movie you wish you could see but that doesn’t exist. Mention is made of Tim Burton’s Death of Superman with Nick Cage in the title roll, I, Robot with screenplay by Harlan Ellison, an entire Welles filmography including a director’s cut of The Magnificent Ambersons, and many others, all of which are available in this otherworldly rental store.

I kind of feel like I just stepped through the door of that shop myself.

In 1992, fresh from the success of the second Terminator, James Cameron was all set to start production on a Spider-Man movie. Due to a lot of Hollywood and Comicworld bickering over rights and other stuff, the project was shelved and Cameron instead did TRUE LIES. But he did get as far on the Spider-Man project as writing a script treatment that had a few deviations from comic book cannon. The treatment has been available on the web for years (along with other great scripts that were never made- such as William Gibson’s treatment of Alien 3- of which the only thing that survived into the actual movie was the idea of a character with a bar code tattoo) but lacked for images. Artist Daniele Tomasi has fixed that. His web site features a copy of Cameron’s work which he has illustrated in a very realistic style (which makes one wonder if he’s a Neal Adams/Continuity alumni). It isn’t the same as seeing the movie, but it’s pretty damn good. And the artwork is nothing short of fantastic. Why is this guy not working in comics?

I don’t remember if IMPOSSIBLE DREAMS references this particular movie that never was. But here it is as close as you’re ever going to see. I think the Spider-Man movie that we finally got is one of the top three comic book movies ever made. I was initially worried about Sam Rami (visions of the more outlandish scenes in Darkman or Spidy with a chainsaw instead of a hand) but, just as with worries about Michael Keaton as Batman, he made perhaps the best film of his career. And since we won't see Avitar for another year and a half here is what might have been. In an alternate universe, perhaps?

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