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Saturday, May 2, 2015


Meet Linda Thoroughbred: Hitting 30, mostly divorced, and all the way down on her luck. But when opportunity comes a-knockin’, Linda sees her chance to kick the door down.

Whatever, Linda was produced with the participation of the Independent Production Fund and made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation. The original Canadian web series is presented by an award-winning team including Toronto and L.A. based Secret Location, co-creators, writers, and producers Julian De Zotti and Hannah Cheesman, co-executive producer Mackenzie Donaldson, executive producer Kevin Saffer and Touchpoint Films, and director Matt Eastman.

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Friday, May 1, 2015

The Flamboyant Superheroes with their Charismatic Creators

Superheroes! They have lived in our comic books, television shows, movies, and off late, web series, with a charm that is second to none! Some of them were conceptualized a long time back while a couple of them have been conceptualized in the current decade. However, it would be a serious folly to ignore their creators – the brains behind these marvels!

From Batman to Superman, Green Lantern to Silver Surfer, Wonder Woman to Justice Woman, superheroes have left an impact in our lives from a wide variety of angles. They have taught us about virtue, honesty, integrity, bravery and a lot of other values that a good human being should have. They have been idolized and from little brains to big brains – everyone has at some point of time or other done quite a lot to emulate their favorite superheroes.

How did Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster come up with the idea of creating Superman? It was not an overnight, weekly job! It took a lot of time, dedication, imagination, and patience to do what they did – their immortal creation keeps on coming back today in comics, movies and will continue to do so in the future as well. Lots of brainstorming sessions, scribbles, mind maps, storylines, went into the late nights that both Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster put in. Simply, speaking whether it be Superman, Batman, or any other superhero, the role of the creator is essential simply because he himself creates and builds in all the cogs of the concept wheel known as a ‘superhero’.

Having said that, let’s have a look at five such superheroes and their creators.

Batman created by Bob Kane

Bob Kane, an American Comic Book Artist, and the inductee to Jack Kirby Hall of Fame and Will Eisner Hall of Fame, made an entry into the world of comics in 1936. His early years featured many creations like Peter Pupp; Ginger Snap etc. created the breakthrough hit superhero Batman in 1938. The Batman created by Bob Kane was infused with a scientific detective outlook with the entry of Bill Finger in early 1938. Kane said that the idea of Batman came to him as an inspiration from the actor Douglas Fairbanks’ portrayal of the Mexican defender of justice Zorro, Leonardo da Vinci’s sketch of the Ornithopter and a film in 1930s called the Bat Whispers. Batman first appeared in May 1939 in Detective Comics’ Issue No. 27. The fame of Batman grew to the level that the demand for new stories from Detective Comics rose quickly. So, the intellect of Kane and Finger was complemented by the artwork of Jerry Robinson and George Roussos along with scriptwriter Gardener Fox (It was in the Monk – the script was written by Gardener Fox – that the Batman introduced his ‘Bat-equipment). Even the arch-nemesis of the Batman, the Joker was the co-creation out of the inspiration of Bob Kane, Bill Finger and Jerry Robinson. The Joker’s look was inspired from Conrad Veldt – a character from the book ‘The Man Who Laughs’ by Victor Hugo. Kane was the brainchild behind the creation of Two-Face, another bad guy in the Batman series. Robin, the trusty sidekick of Batman, was introduced as the implementation of Kane’s idea that since Batman was a sort of a combo between Douglas Fairbanks and Sherlock Holmes, he should also have the assistance of his ‘Watson’ and, therefore, the character of Robin was introduced. The world over, truly enjoys the character of Batman owing to the hard work and imaginative thought process put in by Kane, Finger, and their associates.

Phantom created by Lee Falk

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Lee Falk was utterly fascinated by the thugs of India. He was also fascinated by a host of myths and legends such as Ei Cid, Nordic and Greek folklore heroes, and King Arthur. He was highly fascinated by ‘Mowgli’ – the jungle boy from Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book and ‘Tarzan’ – a man raised in the African jungles by the Mangani great apes. All of them contributed to the formulation of the Phantom (He initially preferred to name the superhero as the ‘Gray Ghost’). The surroundings of the Phantom was inspired from Jungle Book and Tarzan, while his overall persona was the result of Falk’s desire to create a superhero who was majestic, brave, tough and mysterious at the same time. The costume of the Phantom was influenced from the skin-tight attire worn by the English mythical hero Robin Hood, while the mask of the Phantom – one that covered his pupils – was influenced from Ancient Greek stone busts that did not show the pupils of the eyes. The Skull Cave, Devil – the wolf were also Falk creations inspired from fictional and mythical characters and surroundings. The Phantom was the first ever superhero to wear skin tights – an attire which would later become a standard for all superheroes. The pupil-covered mask was also the first ever of its kind – Again a standard which would soon become a standard for superheroes. Finally, the genius of Falk was also shown in his scripts featuring mysterious nick-names for the Phantom like ‘The Ghost Who Walks’, ‘Guardian of the Eastern Dark’, and ‘The Man Who Cannot Die’.

Captain America created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

The super soldier Captain America who was famous for fighting in the Second World War along with dispatching his arch nemesis HYDRA was the immortal creation of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. Simon and Kirby created him with an alter-ego Steve Rogers, who with the desire to become a soldier was unable to do so due to his frail health. He was then subjected to an experiment which turned him into a super solider known as Captain America. The costume of Captain America with the American flag motif was the brainchild of Simon and Kirby and the original idea led to the superhero becoming the flag-bearer of justice and a symbol of truth especially for the American soldiers during the Second World War. The first issue was released in 1941, but the series was discontinued in 1961. Captain America made a terrific comeback as the leader of the Avengers – a group of super heroes formed to fight terror. The main weapon of Captain America was his nearly indestructible shield which was created from a mix of steel and a fictional element called Vibranium. An interesting feature of this super hero was that his enemies followed actual ‘isms’ for instance Nazism (Baron Zemo and Red Skull), Neo-Nazism (Doctor Faustus and Crossbones), technocratic Fascism (Arnim Zola and AIM), Communism (Aleksander Lukin), Anarchism (Flag smasher) and terrorism (HYDRA). 

Justice Woman created by Vanessa Verduga

A stage, film, and TV actress, Vanessa Verduga is a trained lawyer but is popular all over the world as a lead actress and the producer of the award-winning web series Justice Woman. Sophia Escala, an assistant district attorney during the day works rounds the clock as the protector of justice by donning on the cape of Justice Woman – a superheroine who whips crime into submission. She is aided by her side-kick Roberta (a.k.a Robert Gallion, a colleague and the best friend of Sophia). Together, they investigate the corrupt legal system and seek to bring justice to the innocent and the powerless. ‘Justice Woman Begins’ is the name of the comic book which has gained immense popularity across the world. Vanessa has been a fan of superheroes ever since her childhood. Justice Woman is, therefore, her tribute to the superheroes of the yesteryears. Vanessa’s experiences as an attorney were key inspirations behind of the storyline showing Sophia’s experiences as an assistant district attorney. Her creative genius is proven by the fact that her creation Justice Woman puts forth the horrible face of the corrupt legal system plaguing the innocent and the powerless – A system where the rich and the powerful are able to bend the law for their benefits while the poor and the weak are deprived of justice. Justice Woman has already become an iconic figure as a defender for justice and Vanessa has plans of coming up with a musical as well apart from the highly successful comic book and the web series.

Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster

The name Superman is almost an epitomization of a superhero. Created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, both children of Jewish immigrants, the story of Superman being an immigrant from the planet of Krypton is seen as a fictional depiction of the real life scenario of his creators. The concept of superheroes having their real-life alter-egos living and working as normal human beings also stemmed from Superman, whose alter-ego Clark Kent was raised by a Kansas farmer and his wife and worked as a reporter. Inspired by characters such as Samson and Hercules, Superman is the superhero bent on righting the wrongs and fighting for social justice. The costume of the Superman was inspired by the suits worn by outer-space travelers shown in Pulp magazines and also from the comic strip Flash Gordon. The costume was also inspired by the traditional strongman costumes in circuses. The fame of this super hero was testament to the fact that there was never a dearth of publication houses or media franchises to support it. On top of that, Hollywood also realized the potential of Superman as a movie. The fame of the super hero is such that ever since its first appearance in Action Comics in 1938, things have just got bigger and bigger for this super hero. The hardwork of his creators are becoming quickly immortal as Superman is one superhero who will remain not only in the coming years but also in the coming decades. 

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