“‘Jessica Jones’ Showrunner: “We Went Even Further” Than Original Marvel Comics Series”

“Currently on stage before the Television Critics Association is a panel of Netflix showrunners representing a selection of the streaming service’s top original shows. Melissa Rosenberg is on the Showrunner Panel representing Marvel’s Jessica Jones TV series, which stars Krysten Ritter (pictured above in Breaking Bad). Asked about her upcoming show, the edgy tone Rosenberg described seems akin to their Daredevil series, though she emphasizes the two shows are very different.

And while Jessica Jones is based on the Marvel Comics series Alias (no relation to the TV show), which was one of the first “R-rated” runs from Marvel’s MAX imprint, Rosenberg says the Netflix series goes even further than the comics did. 

“It all starts with Brian Michael Bendis’s Alias series,” Rosenberg said. “He created this incredibly flawed, damaged interesting character. Regardless of gender, it was the character that drew me. He wasn’t afraid to go there and we went even further. We’ve gone further in all of our storytelling.”

Speaking further about the dark tone of the show, Rosenberg said, “Well, is the audience going to respond to this or not? I don’t know, but if I’m afraid of it I’m doing the right thing.”

Krysten Ritter stars as Jessica Jones, a superhero-turned P.I. in Hell’s Kitchen, which is the same NYC neighborhood where Daredevil fights crime. Rosenberg touted Ritter’s commitment to being front and center on the show.

“The one thing [where] Steven [DeKnight] has the advantage, his show was called Daredevil but Daredevil has an outfit,” Rosenberg said. “Charlie Cox can get a break once in a while. My show is called Jessica Jones.  There is no mask. Krysten Ritter is the hardest working actress…”


“David Walker Talks DC Comics’ Cyborg: “I Feel Like I Won The Lottery”

“This week will see the release of Cyborg #1 from writer David Walker and artists Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Adriano Lucas.

The series will put Vic Stone, getting his first ongoing series, against a new threat with its own mythology and ties to the DC Universe while introducing or reintroducing a human supporting cast that runs the gamut from new characters to Vic’s family to familiar characters from Vic’s pre-Flashpoint days as a Teen Titan and more.

Walker joined ComicBook.com to talk a little bit about the series — we’re presenting the first half of the interview today and the second half in a couple of days when Cyborg gears up to hit the stands.

Both artistically and in terms of voice, the alien stuff and the Earth stuff almost feel like they’re two separate books. I’m very impressed by the way the whole thing comes together.

Well, you know, that’s all the art team. Ivan [Reis] and Joe [Prado] and Ardriano Lucas. They are, honestly, the best art team you could ever hope to work with. I say that, no hyperbole at all. Ivan as a penciller is so incredible and he’s bringing a level fo emotion and drama to this, and action as well, that I look at it and the first thing I think of every time I see his pages is, “Wow, this is so cool. Who wrote this? And then I realize, “Oh, I wrote it.”

I feel like I won the lottery, working with them, and there’s been some dialogue back and forth between us in terms of, I said, “What do you really want to draw? Is there anything in particular?” And Ivan’s response has always been, “I just like the character and I want to do interesting things with the character…”


“‘Shaft’ Getting Remake from ‘Black-ish’ Creator”

“New Line wants to give you the shaft.

The company, which opens the reboot of Vacation on Wednesday, is in development on a reboot of Shaft, the cult Blaxploitation movie from the 1970s. Black-ish creator Kenya Barris and Alex Barnow, an executive producer-writer on ABC’s The Goldbergs, have been tapped to write the script.  John Davis, who is producing the upcoming Man from U.N.C.L.E.reboot and the new take on Frankenstein with Victor Frankenstein, is producing with Ira Napoliello.

The original movie told of a private detective named John Shaft, played by Richard Roundtree, who is hired to find a missing girl in Harlem. The movie was on the leading edge of Blaxploitation, a new genre that seemed to embrace and empower a rising black culture (although some said it only enforced stereotypes). The soundtrack by Isaac Hayes (the theme is one of filmdom’s classics) also contributed to the film’s cult status.

Shaft got a slick and polished 21st century reboot in 2000 when John Singleton directed Samuel L. Jackson, who played the nephew of the character.

This new iteration will have a comedic tone…”


“‘Orange Is The New Black’ Cast On How They Moved The Needle For The LGBT Community “

“With the recent amount of progress in the LGBT community, from SCOTUS making same-sex marriage a right to the Boy Scouts ending its ban on gay leaders, the castmembers of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black spoke about how they’ve been on the cusp of this revolution.

The openly gay comedienne shared a story with the TCA press corps of how her life has changed since Orange Is The New Black.

Lea DeLaria, who plays Carrie “Big Boo” Black on the Netflix series, said today during the series TCA panel: “What we’ve done is a large part of the LGBT community getting rights, fighting for rights and achieving our rights. It’s been about winning the hearts and the minds of people, and Orange Is The New Black has been an important part of what has happened in our community.”

“I live in Bushwick, a ghetto in Brooklyn, and an 80-year-old woman came up to me pushing her teenage granddaughter toward me. Five years ago, that would never happen. It’s an amazing turn of events, and I give it completely up to Orange in that respect.”

Added Natasha Lyonne, aka Nicky Nichols, “It’s an extraordinary, profound show to be on that human level; we’re thrilled that we got to be part of this moment and time, being these proxy representatives of things we believe in.”

When it came to an intense scene where Selenis Leyva (Gloria Mendoza) had to “get ugly with Laverne Cox,” Leyva took extra care with the drama in the scene: “I have a transgender sister myself. I had to say things that might be in a fight on a daily basis. It was a hard scene to do, particularly so that I didn’t offend her. The scene had to be done in a way as to educate, rather than foster more hate…”


“Can You Love America And Hate Questlove?’

“Days after Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) announced he is running for president, journalists picked up on an old story about the time Kasich mounted a personal campaign to get the movie Fargo taken off the shelves at Blockbuster. But in the same 2006 book where Kasich told that story, he also discussed the intersection of morality and culture in a context that may provide much greater insight into how he views key issues of race in America.

John Kasich thinks The Roots are trash.

“I still listen to new music, but more and more these days I find there are some thresholds I have a hard time crossing,” Kasich writes in Stand For Something, at the beginning of a 674-word stretch about buying the latest CD from The Roots. He wanted to “give hip-hop a fair shake,” but quickly abandoned the effort. “I slipped in this new CD and was quickly appalled at what I was hearing. The lyrics just put me over the edge. Every other word…was intended to shock and titillate, for no good reason but to shock and titillate, and I couldn’t listen to it.”

Having decided that Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and his guest emcees couldn’t possibly have any artistic reason for cladding their stories and boasts in language he disliked, Kasich apparently started to see a menace to American society.

“The language didn’t add anything to the music, or to the message, which I guess is the very definition of gratuitous. And then I caught myself thinking, What if my wife got in the car and the album happened to still be in my CD changer? How could I ever explain what I was doing buying this stuff?

Or, even worse, what if my daughters chanced to hear it…”


“Stan Lee weighs in on Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch in Fantastic Four’

“It’s no small understatement to say the Internet was agitated to learn Michael B. Jordan had been cast as the Human Torch in Josh Trank’s upcoming reboot of Fantastic Four. In May 2013, upon discovering the character — originally conceived in Marvel’s early ’60s comic series as a hot-headed, blonde-haired, blue-eyed teenager who can burst into flame at will — would be updated by an African-American actor,fan outcry blazed across social media with super-heated vitriol. “The Human Torch can’t be black!” tweeted @ZackosaurusRex, echoing the common sentiment at that time.

But in a personal essay for Entertainment Weekly, “Why I’m Torching the Color Line,” Jordan pointed out that if Stan Lee, the prolific writer and comic book kingpin who created the Fantastic Four (in addition to a host of other immortal characters including Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the Avengers), was okay with him portraying the character, the rest of Fanboy Nation should be too. “[If] Stan Lee writes an email to my director saying, ‘You’re good. I’m okay with this,’ who am I to go against that?” Jordan said.

Contacted by EW, Lee — who shattered comic-dom’s unofficial color barrier during the Civil Rights era, penning such characters as the Black Panther and the Falcon — took pains to make ensure there is no uncertainty regarding his stance on Jordan’s casting in the new Fantastic Four. “It was more than okay,” says Lee. “I thought it was a great idea!”

As the indefatigable 92-year-old superhero conjurer and Marvel Comics chairman emeritus sees it, fan backlash up until this point hasn’t so much been spurred on by racism as much as unyielding fealty to the source material. “They’re outraged not because of any personal prejudice,” Lee says. “They’re outraged because they hate to see any change made on a series and characters they had gotten familiar with. In Spider-Man, when they got a new actor, that bothered them, even though it was a white actor. I don’t think it had to do with racial prejudice as much as they don’t like things changed.”

He adds: “But I think they’re gonna get to love this character. So I’m not the least bit worried about it. I always tried to pepper these groups with as much racial diversity as possible because that’s the way the world is.”

The Fantastic Four opens Aug. 7.”

“The Slow Evolution of Female Characters in Comic Book Movies and TV Shows”

“When it comes to comic book properties, there’s long been common traits to what the heroes look like. There’s been a tendency to have most of the characters be Caucasian males. Little by little, we’d start to see some female characters along with characters from different ethnic backgrounds. Some of these characters grew in power and popularity but it seemed many believed that the majority of comic readers and fans were simply white dudes. These days, it’s clear that isn’t the case. Comic book movies and TV shows have never been more popular but most of the characters being adapted are still males.

2008 marked a turning point for comic book media. With Iron Man, we saw a new focus on bringing the characters to life and remaining true to the original source. The problem is, these movies tended to focus on the guys. AfterIron Man, we had The Incredible Hulk, Punisher War Zone, Iron Man 2, Thor, and so forth. Some of these movies did feature female characters but they were either the damsel in distress or given secondary roles and forced to spend most of their time on the sidelines.

Even though these movies focused on the guys, we did see Black WidowLady Sif, and Peggy Carter fight to show how easily they could fight side by side with the guys. Unfortunately the progress being made still was held back. We saw Gamora, the deadliest woman in the universe, needed Peter Quill to bail her out when they were taken to the Kyln Prison in Guardians of the Galaxy. This might not be a problem for some male viewers but imagine the frustration for the female audience.

Things are slowly changing in the movies. Guardians of the Galaxy featured five main characters and only one was female. The Avengers featured six main characters and only one female (eight characters if you include Fury and Maria Hill with one more female). Avengers: Age of Ultron introduced another female character with the addition of Scarlet Witch. In many ways, Ant-Man also has an ensemble cast. We have five good guys and only one female. Evangeline Lilly’s Hope Van Dyne again showed a female character could be one of the toughest characters on the screen. And she didn’t even have any superpowers or a fancy power-suit…