When I wrote about George Lucas last year, I called up J.J. Abrams. There wasn’t a hint that Abrams was going to be directing the next Star Wars movie, as The Wrap reported yesterday. There wasn’t even that much of known relationship between Abrams and Lucas. In the movie world, Lucas doesn’t do hands-on, Spielbergian mentorships. But, as Abrams explained, he’d recently sat at Lucas’s knee, like Luke with Yoda, and had learned from the master.
I mean — this one kind of nerdsplains itself, doesn't it? He's Ant-Man, a scientist who can shrink himself down to ant size using science. He also has a helmet that lets him tell ants what to do. Whenever there's trouble — or, at least, whenever there's trouble that can be in some way ameliorated by the timely appearance of a giant swarm of ants and/or a human the size of a G.I. Joe — Ant-Man is there, making himself useful.
Director Edgar Wright's been talking about making an Ant-Man movie for years, and as of Monday, that long-TBA project has an official (yet distant) release date: November 6, 2015. 2015! We are officially scheduling movies for the Back to the Future II time frame now! I can't wait to hoverboard to the multiplex, can you? Anyway, the movie doesn't exist yet except as a script by Wright and Attack the Block's Joe Cornish, but Marvel showed some test footage at Comic-Con over the summer, which a fan subsequently recreated from memory and turned into this actually-pretty-cool-looking animated storyboard:
On the last page of Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates No. 15, on sale yesterday, Captain America gets a phone call informing him that he's just been elected president of the United States. The story is by writer Sam Humphries, newish to Marvel and new to superhero comics in general. (He was previously best-known as the writer of Our Love Is Real, a sci-fi comic set in a future where people have sex with animals, plants, and occasionally minerals. You should read it, it's great. "Not just about people fucking plants!" — Grantland.)
The President America story is less, um, groundbreaking than Our Love Is Real, and — as ripped-from-the-headlines election-year stories go — almost quaintly nonpartisan. Some context: A few years ago, right-wing bloggers jumped on another Captain America story that could be read (especially on a day when the fish were not exactly jumpin', right-wing-blogger-news-wise) as depicting the actual, nonfictional tea party in a light that seemed less than flattering; Fox News's Mike Huckabee got similarly Worst Issue Ever–ish last spring when DC Comics' Superman — sick of "having my actions construed as instruments of U.S. policy" — decided to stand before the U.N. and renounce his American citizenship. (Huckabee, reported Politico, "said he wouldn't purchase the comic book, and that American kids should be taught that their country is great.") And then there was the time Rush Limbaugh transformed into one of comic-shopdom's most durable clichés: Fat Guy Who Is for Some Reason Really Upset About Bane.
Dumb as they are, flaps like these are always bittersweet moments for comics fans; the fact that people still bother to feign outrage about things that happen in actual, printed comic books proves that actual, printed comic books — with a little help from a couple of hundred-million-dollar blockbuster movies, OK — are still culturally important enough to argue about. "We've wanted these characters to be taken seriously for a long time," Humphries says, "and now they are, and we have to deal with that."