Alternate Mediums-Expanding the Story

Posted: February 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Greetings everyone! This week proved to be very beneficial to the ATLAS Foundation. Regarding Professor Lipsett’s lecture on the benefits of the superhero genre on television, we at the Temple of Atlas feel that the story we are adapting lends itself better to a full length feature film than the “episodic serial form” of television. The first graphic novel, while consisting of five individual issues, is about discovering what ATLAS is and Yellow Claw’s overall plan. It could easily be adapted to a single two hour feature.

Furthermore, many members of the team, specifically Jimmy Woo, Venus, M-11, Ken Hale, and Bob Grayson, were friends before the narrative begins. This stands in stark contrast to the characters on the show Heroes (2006), who have to find each other over the course of an entire season. Even ATLAS characters like Namora and Khanata are incredibly familiar with the other characters, and this helps expedite the narrative. They are also fully aware of their own powers and of the other heroes in the world around them, unlike the characters on Heroes.
Also, we feel that avoiding a heavy use of melodrama is better suited for ATLAS. Whereas “melodrama and action, in television at least, have become intertwined” (Denison 164) we feels that the story we’re adapting does not rely heavily on the emotions of the characters. It’s driven by the action and mystery behind the ATLAS Foundation and Yellow Claw’s plan. With that said, ATLAS is a multigeneric piece. It’s a mystery, action, adventure, and has a decent amount of comedy with Ken Hale’s constant quips. While we still want to have Khanata deal with his conflicting loyalties between the respect he has for Woo and his Agents and his work with S.H.I.E.L.D., this will not be overplayed. Instead, we want to focus on the light-hearted team dynamic that can be seen throughout the comic, such as Venus’ gentle, seemingly naïve nature and Jimmy’s unwavering loyalty to his friends.

However, there are several tips we can take from Heroes to aid ATLAS. We spoke of a viral marketing campaign an earlier post, and Heroes uses this perfectly. The series had a web-comic, which Smallville (2001) also had in “The Chloe Chronicles” (Denison 162). The ATLAS film could have its own web-comic featuring what happened to certain characters, like Ken Hale and his involvement in S.H.I.E.L.D., between their final mission in the 1950s and today. These would serve as “additional storylines that comment on or feed into the core film or television text” (Denison 172). We could also release action figures of the characters, or have marketing deals with certain companies, like having M-11 appear in ads for computers, just as professor Lipsett mentioned with advertising deals for Heroes with Nissan. Another online bonus could be having a radio call-in show, perhaps filmed in the studio where the host is sitting to add a visual element. Fictional people would call in to discuss bizarre sightings relating to the Agents, only to have Ken Hale phone in and complain that nobody is paying enough attention to the talking gorilla. This was done as a transcript at the end of one of the issues of the issues in the graphic novel, and would be incredibly amusing to bring to life.

Looking at Rayna Denison’s article on the Superman franchise, there’s much to consider with DVD extras. The viral marketing campaigns that would precede the film could be included on the DVD and Blu Ray so that the viewers could receive the full narrative. On top of that, we could include several making of features, such as the ones included on the Superman: The Movie (1978) DVD. Whereas Superman included documentaries such as “The Magic Behind the Cape”, which focuses on the special effects of the film (Denison 174), our film’s DVD and Blu Ray could include an entire feature on bringing a character like M-11 to life. We foresee M-11 being a combination of animatronics in the scenes where he simply stands around and walks, and CGI for the more intricate action sequences.

Denison also mentions that many actors from the Superman films have made appearances on Smallville (165). While we do not have a previous film or television adaptation of ATLAS that we could have actors from make cameos in our film, we do have the ever expanding Marvel film universe to draw upon. Actor Samuel L. Jackson has signed a nine picture deal with Marvel to play S.H.I.E.L.D. director Nick Fury, and could potentially have a cameo in our film. He could appear giving orders to Khanata regarding his handling of Woo and his team, or leading the investigation himself.

Denison, Rayna. “It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! No, It’s DVD! Superman, Smallville, and the production (of) melodrama.” Pdf. Web. Feb. 17 2011.

Lipsett, Joe. Week 7: Alternate Media: TV Superheroes. Carleton University. St. Patrick’s Building, Ottawa, ON. Feb 14, 2011, Lecture.

Heroes. NBC. 2006-2010. Television.

Smallville. UPN. 2001-present. Television.

Superman: The Movie. Dir. Richard Donner. Perf. Christopher Reeves, Gene Hackman, Margot Kidder.Warner Brothers, 1978. Film.


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