Sunday, April 10, 2016

Did 1997's "Batman and Robin" Almost Lead to a "Nightwing" Spinoff Film?


via Comic Book Resources

Comic Book Legends Revealed #570

COMIC LEGEND: Chris O’Donnell was originally going to get a Nightwing spin-off movie in the late 1990.

STATUS: True

There are many things to dislike about the 1997 film, Batman and Robin…

but one of them that you might not know about is that it kept us from getting a Nightwing movie!

Chris O’Donnell debuted as Robin in 1995’s Batman Forever…

Batman-Forever

He returned to the role in Batman and Robin, along with a nipple-riffic costume that appeared more similar to the Nightwing costume than the Robin one…

BatmanRobin.0

Nightwing1

And as O’Donnell revealed to Yahoo! Movies a few years ago, he was going to get his own spin-off after Batman and Robin, whether it was Robin or as Nightwing, but as he noted to them, as well, the relative failure of Batman and Robin ruined those plans:

They were going to do one back in the day. And then [‘Batman & Robin’] was such a bomb, they were like, ‘Scrap that! That was the end of that.

He elaborated to Entertainment Tonight:

You previously revealed that there was going to be a spin-off for Robin, but that didn’t end up happening.

Yeah there was at one point: Nightwing. When the reviews came out on Batman & Robin, that was shut down immediately. This has been a great opportunity for me and I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. It was an amazing opportunity and gave me incredible international exposure. And everyone dealt with it differently. Some people became very reclusive about it and freaked out by it. I thought George handled it great. He was like, “Well, we killed the franchise,” and funny about it. For me, I will always look back with fond memories. But of course, I’m not as proud of the second one as I was of the first one.

I don’t even know if a Nightwing film would have been any GOOD, but it would have been interesting to see!

Thanks to Chris O’Donnell, Yahoo! Movies and Entertainment Tonight for the information!

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Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed at Spinoff Online: Zack Snyder referenced Batman killing in Dark Knight Returns as a partial inspiration for Batman killing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. But DID Batman kill in Dark Knight Returns?
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On the next page, find out if DC Comics barred James Robinson from using Hawkman in his Starman series!

73 Comments

Interesting that The Inhumans/Black Panther combo follows the Marvel system of the time of group book/acrobat. You had FF/Spider-Man, then X-Men/Daredevil, then Inhumans/Black Panther.

COAL TIGER??

I……

I just……

I mean, really? Coal Tiger?

COAL TIGER??

I……

I just……

I mean, really? Coal Tiger?

Hey, at least they changed their minds! :)

@Erich

No worse than Bronze Tiger I suppose….

If I recall correctly Coal Tiger made a brief (re)appearance as an alternate Earth Black Panther in the Avengers during Gatherers story line and I think he had the original design costume as well, but it was a long time ago so i may be mistaken

I love me some crazy Kirby designs, but… WOW. I’m glad Black Panther got a redesign before his debut.

Seeing those photos reminds me how much I liked the Robin costume design in “Batman Forever.” There’s not much else I liked about that movie, but taking the Neal Adams design for Tim Drake and making a few modifications made for a really nice look for the character.

@Paul

It was A-Next.

The Coal Tiger was the alternate universe version of the Black Panther for the Gatherers storyline by Bob Harras, Steve Epting and Tom Palmer…

http://ift.tt/1oO7Wo2

Then A-Next used the name, as well.

Here’s an interesting piece on the name, including the short time he was The Black Leopard:

http://ift.tt/1jaLq6O

Is it true that part of the reason they ditched the Cole Tiger identity because they were worried a visibly black superhero might give them trouble in the South? It is interesting they went from T’Challa having no mask to a suit that completely hid all his features ala Spider-Man.

I think I read all of Starman back in the day. I’d love to see a piece that goes into all the prophecies mentioned above.

I don’t remember. Who was the man with the heart like a cool, green field? What was the bit about a strange wild thought or name popping into his head?

I’m assuming that the New 52 pretty much wiped away everything about the Starman series, based on how heavily it used legacies.

Robinson obviously thought long-range given the references to going into space and Jack having a son. And he got most of the bits to pay off.

Face it, “Coal Tiger”, you’re just not the jackpot.

“a great new one by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze that debuted this week…”

Product placement? So soon after the takeover?

It’s been quite a while since I re-read Starman, but wasn’t Black Condor supposed to be in the mix with that also? Or was he used as a replacement or something? Or was he used as a replacement in a different series that couldn’t use Hawkman? (And I don’t mean Zauriel in Grant Morrison’s JLA.)

I don’t know why that character sticks in my head for that book.

Just finished re-reading STARMAN last week (start-to-finish! wow! talk about rewarding!)

In any case, Jack Knight doesn’t meet HAWKMAN, but he does eventually meet BLACK CONDOR later in the series.

During “City Without Light” and “Grand Guignol”, Black Condor is one of the heroes who answer the call to protect Opal City.

Seeing as how Black Condor guest-spots are a pretty rare occurrence and in low-demand, I would be willing to bet a dollar that the character filled Hawkman’s intended role in STARMAN. There’s even a bit of dialogue in one of the final issues where Jack Knight compares Black Condor’s flight style to Hawkman.

PS- Coal Tiger is an awesome name!

Kudos for KING T’challa’s existence, thanks to KING Kirby.

Seeing as how Black Condor guest-spots are a pretty rare occurrence and in low-demand, I would be willing to bet a dollar that the character filled Hawkman’s intended role in STARMAN. There’s even a bit of dialogue in one of the final issues where Jack Knight compares Black Condor’s flight style to Hawkman.

It seems unlikely that Robinson would have bothered to have the prophecy specifically changed if he could have just put in a different winged man.

two thoughts

1) Coal Tiger? I remember The Gatherers saga (my first Avengers comic, which is why I mistakenly thought that Black Knight was a founding Avenger). A neat little tribute.

2) In regards to the distribution constraint.

A lot of times you hear that the 60s X-Men were so “bad”* that they were eventually cancelled**. What makes it interesting is that marvel kept publishing X-Men, even despite the constraints by DC. I mean, they could have actually cancel X-Men, and instead publish Inhumans or Black Panther***, but they didn’t. It’s fascinating that the X-Men had the privilege of having their own ongoing, series while Iron Man, Hulk****, Doctor Strange didn’t and had to be featured under Tales of Suspense, etc titles. I guess that they weren’t bad after all. Just a thought.

* despite introducing Juggernaut, Magneto, Brotherhood, Sentinels, etc
** the vol 1 actually ended in 2011
*** they eventually had an ongoing, albeit in 70s
**** first series was cancelled after 3 issues. talking about failures…

I really think the original Coal Tiger sketch was just a preliminary idea/pitch rather than an actual proposal, a work in progress, if you will. Although Jack did work fast and generate fully-formed ideas off the bat, some things needed to be tweaked. Ever see the FF with masks and double Fs instead of 4s on their chests?

Hmmmm –

“Bad” is relative. The X-Men were seen by many as the poor man’s Fantastic Four and were somewhat overshadowed by the FF in the 1960s.

Hulk was cancelled after 6 issues, I think.

What makes it interesting is that marvel kept publishing X-Men, even despite the constraints by DC.

By the time it was in danger of cancellation, the constraints were gone.

Hawkworld was a great comic, even if it messed up DC’s continuity, and better than anything Robinson and Johns did with the character.

Ever see the FF with masks and double Fs instead of 4s on their chests?

That was drawn for the actual issue. They just changed their mind after Kirby drew them.

Hawkworld was a great comic, even if it messed up DC’s continuity, and better than anything Robinson and Johns did with the character.

This isn’t Hawkworld, though. This is the series that FOLLOWED Hawkworld, where Carter and Katar merge together, along with the Native American stuff.

Is it true that part of the reason they ditched the Cole Tiger identity because they were worried a visibly black superhero might give them trouble in the South? It is interesting they went from T’Challa having no mask to a suit that completely hid all his features ala Spider-Man.

That’s very LIKELY the reason, but understandably enough, no one has cared to confirm that as the reason.

http://ift.tt/1oO7Wo3

If only Coal Tiger’s secret identity was Cole Tiger…

coal tiger this is the first time i ever heard marvel was considering that for black panther . good thing they never used the name for now a days it would get marvel proably in trouble on racist grounds to some. and always wondered if hawkmans messed up continuity is what got james to not use him in star man at last. or if it was indeed dc editorial saying no given back then hawk man was so messed up that dc decided he was too toxic for any one to use in any book.

Ever see the FF with masks and double Fs instead of 4s on their chests?

That was drawn for the actual issue. They just changed their mind after Kirby drew them.

Now, THAT would make a great Legend to talk about!!!!!!

@demoncat_4

Is Coal Tiger a racist name?

I have never considered it that way. It just sounds like an awesome/ kick-ass/ tough-guy name to me.

Marvel used it through the 90s and in A-Next as Brian and others mentioned.

Now, THAT would make a great Legend to talk about!!!!!!

Agreed, which is why I did so nine years ago. ;)

http://ift.tt/1oO7Wo4

I’ve heard the excuse of Marvel being able to only print 16 comics a month as an excuse not to publish some books for years, and it makes a certain bit of sense, but there is still something that bothers me about that.

Marvel and it’s creators were stretched pretty thin doing sixteen books a month. Several were reprints (Marvel Tales and Marvel Super-Heroes), some were Westerns and there were even books like Millie The Model. I understand that the reprints were books that had low overhead with higher returns, but surely had Marvel really wanted to expand their super-hero line, they had room to do it.

Stan Lee was stretched pretty thin by this time. trying to keep his hand in every thing. Even after bringing in guys like Roy Thomas and Mike Friedrich, he still didn’t seem to want to step back too much. This leads me to believe that maybe Stan didn’t really want to expand the super-hero line much further.

I dunno. It’s just a thought. Maybe a guy like Roy Thomas or Tom Brevoort can expand a little further…

Big Goonie, you seem to be suggesting that Marvel should have canceled “Millie the Model” to make room for a new superhero comic. “Millie” ran for nearly 30 years. It was obviously a popular title.

I can’t recall if Robinson ever said who the “man with a heart like a cool green field” was. he meets Wesley Dodd, which is a major deal for him (though meeting Dian Belmont is a bigger deal), he meets Superman late in the series, and he encounters a couple of people in the space saga, including Swamp Thing. I suspect it was one of those.

The one frustrating bit of foreshadowing was the build up of Nash, the Mist’s daughter. When she returns to face Jack, after the debut storyline, she has him point blank, with a pistol and he can’t defend himself; but, she lets him live, saying it isn’t the right time. They gave us snippetts of what she was up to over time, building to this epic confrontation. However (SPOILER………………………………………) in Grand Guignol, she is a minor player in the whole thing, is pretty much replaced by her revitalized father, who dispenses with her. I thought it was a massive let down, which is kind of how I felt about Grand Guignol, by the end of it. Luckily, Robinson followed it up well with the last few issues. I also expected the Ragdoll to be a major thing, especially with the concepts drawings they had in one of the early issues. It seems like that is something that fell apart after Tony Harris left. Ragdoll was there in Grand Guignol; but, again, he wasn’t as vital to the story as I expected.

Black Leopard would have been a correct name, as a black panther is actually a leopard (well the African and Asian ones; the ones in the Americas are jaguars).

Brett:”Is Coal Tiger a racist name?”

Well, since there are no tigers in Africa, it is a kinda stupid name for an African hero.

@Ananais Dare

“Well, since there are no tigers in Africa, it is a kinda stupid name for an African hero.”

There aren’t any panthers in Africa, either.

Coates’ father was a Black Panther, which makes him becoming the writer of Black Panther that much cooler.

@Brett

“There aren’t any panthers in Africa, either.”

Except for Leopards (Panthera pardus pardus), who sometimes have the genetic mutation for jet black fur, making them…black panthers.

Though Priest (who most likely knows there are no tigers in Africa) worked “Coal Tiger” and “White Tiger” in as ranks in the Panther Cult. Easiest way around that would be “Tiger is the closest English translation from the original Wakandan word”, which still wouldn’t hang together under scrutiny but would at least be worthy of a no prize.

In the link to the other Legend, somebody explains that “coal tiger” was the term for emerging African economies in ’60s. There are no tigers in Ireland, but they called it the Celtic tiger when it was booming.

Jeff Nettleton –

No, Jack Knight never actually met Swamp Thing, though he remade a big portion of Swampy’s journey from the Alan Moore run. The “man with a heart like a cool green field” could be several candidates: Floronic Man, Solomon Grundy in his “gentle” incarnation, perhaps even Alan Scott. Floronic Man seems to fit it best.

I think there was a Comics You Should Own column focusing on Starman, that discussed some interesting issues. Specifically, that Nash being a letdown was dealt with IN story, with how she is killed and spurned by her own father, the one she was trying to impress when she became a supervillain.

The reference is to “an OLD man with a heart like a cool, green field”. The ‘old’ part does tend to suggest Alan Scott.

@Kit Walker

Fair enough! Though I just browsed Wikipedia and it says that “panthers” are the North/South America distinction, while “leopards” is the proper term for African cats. If you go to Africa, you’ll find leopards, but ask for a panther and they might direct you to the state of Florida.

“The reference is to “an OLD man with a heart like a cool, green field”. The ‘old’ part does tend to suggest Alan Scott.”

I would say the reference is to WESLEY DODDS (the Golden Age Sandman), who was aged into his 90s at the time, and appeared in the “Sand and Stars” story arc that began shortly after Starman #17.

Alan Scott was the one JSA member to retain his youth after Zero Hour. Definitely still green, though.

I agree with Waylon Piercy . That Robin costume was one of the few good things about Batman Forever (except for those fershluggener nipples).

Brett- Strange, the disambiguation page for Panther on Wikipedia includes leopard as well as cougar and jaguar, as it should, and under “leopard” it says ” The term “black panther” refers to leopards with melanistic genes” and “The term “panther”, whose first recorded use dates back to the 13th century AD, generally refers to the leopard, and less often to the cougar and the jaguar.” Under “black panther”, it says “A black panther is the melanistic color variant of any Panthera species. Black panthers in Asia and Africa are leopards (Panthera pardus) and black panthers in the Americas are black jaguars (Panthera onca).” I don’t know where in Wikipedia you were looking, but everywhere I look, it makes it clear that “panther” can mean “leopard” (in fact, the word was used for leopards long before it was used for jaguars or pumas).

Yeah, I didn’t buy that explanation, in story or out. It just seemed like a cop out, like Robinson couldn’t write the character anymore or something. Quite frankly, I thought he lost a lot of his narrative power when Archie Goodwin died. It’s like he lost focus, along with the breakup of the team with Tony Harris. It seemed like he just kind of abandoned a lot of things. I still enjoyed the series; but, it felt diminished in the latter stages. Robinson has also been forthcoming about his various substance and compulsive spending issues. Maybe that was part of it; maybe he wrote himself into a corner. I just kind of felt Grand Guignol was a lot of noise and then it ended with a big fart. There were elements I liked, such as Ralph and Sue Dibny and Adam Strange; it was nice to see Robinson show them at their full potential. I wish other writers would have done the same.

Even at its worst, Starman was so far ahead of most of what DC was publishing. I still hold out hopes that the long “In Development-Hell” tv series will materialize, someday.

Brett:”There aren’t any panthers in Africa, either.”

Well, here’s the definition from Merriam-Webster:

“a : a leopard of a hypothetical exceptionally large fierce variety
b : a leopard of the black color phase”

Since leopards exist in Africa, this means that panthers exist in Africa.So, yeah, Coal Tiger is kinda stupid as a name for an African hero. Black Panther has the advantage of being zoologically accurate.

The one thing I wish we would have gotten more out of Robinson’s Starman was his Phantom Lady. LOVED his take on Sandra Knight, and there were some things he said at the end of issue 44 that I looked forward to but never got. Her lover – the one who wanted her dead. How the Shade saved Sandra from that, and how Sandra soon saved him back. Stuff that would have been interesting to see, really.

I think the “an OLD man with a heart like a cool, green field” was probably a reference to Solomon Grundy. This just really seems to sum up the personality of Grundy at that time really well, and he was a big part of that series.

There are still more tigers in Africa than polar bears in Antarctica yet Wolverine still stumbled into one in Avengers vs X-Men.

There’s also a place called Rand McNally where people where hats on their feet and hamburgers eat people.

Heh, as a kid used to get a good laugh out of The Phantom regularly featuring tigers (also, yetis and unicorns) in Africa. Maybe Lee and/or Kirby were just taking their cue from that strip for “Coal Tiger”.

@Ted Craig: yeah, at first I thought “Coal Tiger must be the worst racist slur EVER”, while its anything but. Incredible source here:
http://ift.tt/1VfNziq

The “man with a heart like a cool, green field” was definitely Alan Scott. At the time, he was powered by the Starheart.

The Far East thing never happened, did it? Wasn’t that for the still-to-be-written Jack Knight miniseries that Robinson mentions every now and again.

And I don’t recall – what was the payoff for the “name popping into your head” prophesy?

Jeff, I disagree. After putting so much work into building up Mist II, undercutting her and showing she was just one small pawn in daddy’s plan worked well for me. Though when I eventually get to rereading Starman I’ll see if I still think so.

Brian, while I agree he wouldn’t have written off the prophecy if he’d been planning to switch to Black Condor, maybe he didn’t think about it until later? That version of Condor was hardly a sensation, it would have been easy for Robinson to miss him.

Originally, the Phantom stories did not take place in Africa. The place was unclear, because it was called only “Jungle”.

But I guess it was in southeast Asia, because there were Japanese invaders during WWII.

After the Jungle was later revealed to be situated in Africa, Lee Falk retconned the tiger thing by telling that they were escaped from a mountain prince’s private zoo long time ago.

A Horde of Evil Hipsters: In the strip’s early years, the Phantom was in fact based in India (Lee Falk was a great admirer of Kipling). Then the drive for Indian independence gained force, and Falk did not want to deal with that. So, Bangalla went from being an Indian province to an African country.

Maybe the Phantoms, who have been running the place for centuries, introduced a tiger breeding program a long time ago.

I was too slow in typing, obviously.

As long as the topic has been diverted to the geographical and ethnic peculiarities of the Phantom, perhaps some reference may be allowed to the 1940s movie serial. It was set in Africa–but the natives were all played by white men, and the props were recycled from a movie with a South Seas setting.

(Also, the Phantom’s wolf Devil was played by a German shepherd. If you are familiar with the breed, you will know that, though fierce in appearance, they are usually friendly and playful. So with this movie: Devil would corner the bad guys or jump on them, but do so while his tail was wagging and his tongue lolling. He was supposedly ready to rip the villains’s throats out, but he looked far more likely to lick their faces.)

Well, movie serials are hardly the place for racial diversity or historical and cultural accuracy. If I remember correctly, the Phantom, in the serial, is menaced by an alligator, rather than a crocodile. Despite all of that, it’s a really good serial and one that holds up better than most. Tom Tyler was almost as good as the Phantom as he was Captain Marvel. His father, the first Phantom seen in the film, is a bit long in the tooth, though. He make’s Patrick McGoohan seem spry, in the Billy Zane film (though he is a literal “ghost who walks”).

Jeff Nettleton –

Gotta agree with you that STARMAN was not as good after Harris left and Goodwin died. I also agree with you that it was still much better than 99% of comics published at the time (and published now, for that matter).

But I agree also with Fraser. I like how the Nash story ended.

One of my pet peeves is how pop culture idolizes and builds up serial killers and psychopaths into ubermensch, like the Joker and Hannibal Lecter. In the beginning, it seemed like STARMAN would treat Mist II in a similar way. A grandiloquent, attention-seeking psycho like the Joker, obsessed by her “archenemy”.

The way she is undercut at the ending and realized that she wasted her life and that carrying on like that is pathethic and sick instead of cool was so very satisfying to me.

I realize that it’s impossible to do it with the Joker, for commercial reasons, but a finite series like STARMAN is ideal for such genre-defying twists.

Turan: “Then the drive for Indian independence gained force, and Falk did not want to deal with that. So, Bangalla went from being an Indian province to an African country. ”

I can’t say I blame him. Sax Rohmer had to do some insane contortions to explain why Fu Manchu, a Chinese super-patriot, was fighting in the West instead of driving the Japanese out of Manchuria.

Lee Falk’s strip also had the title THE PHANTOM OF BENGAL (a region now mostly become Bangladesh, but then a province of India). The 1st Phantom was “washed up on a remote Bengal shore”. And the Bengali jungle was of course famous for its kings, certain huge striped cats. “The Phantom has the strength of ten tigers.”

http://ift.tt/1oO7Wo8

@Kit Walker:
“Though Priest (who most likely knows there are no tigers in Africa)”
You have more faith in writers’ research than I do.
Note your answer to Brett: there are a lot of people in the world who believe there is a SPECIES of cat called ‘panther’. (There is not.)
The word ‘panther’ does not MEAN leopard, either. It refers to, specifically, a leopard (or jaguar) with a condition called ‘melanism’. It’s basically a reverse albino, which is kind of like a reverse vampire that only comes out at day.

“Easiest way around that would be “Tiger is the closest English translation from the original Wakandan word””
Actually, the easiest way around it would be:
“Just because I’m from Africa doesn’t mean I have to name myself after an African animal. Why should I be constrained by such an artificial thing? Aren’t plenty of American characters named after non-American animals, and nobody questions it?”
Cobra springs to mind (though I’m not sure his origins, either Marvel or DC). Vulture. Rhino.
There’s sports club near here called ‘The Vikings’ (which, ironically, is NOT in district called Woden) – I live in Australia. I could go on…

Turan:
“Devil would corner the bad guys or jump on them, but do so while his tail was wagging and his tongue lolling.”
That still happens in movies to this day.

… wait… you have vultures in America, don’t you? I’ve even seen them.
My bad on that one. My point stands, though.

Everyone’s upset about Coal Tiger when Coal Bear has his own talk late night talk show.

All this talk of misplaced animals reminds me of the time Lois was in Australia and place the Aboriginies called “The place where the wolves meet” (or some such wolf-centered name).

Dingos or Wild Dogs would have been the way to go.

Ocelot spleens are also considered a treat in many parts of the world.

Come to think of it (about my post above – which, by the way, was meant to point out a foible of human thought – I hope it didn’t come across as an angry rant) – Black Panther inherited his name from generations of worship of a local tribal (panther) god – so tiger would be completely inappropriate to him.

(Though that foible I wanted to point out does still exist. I stand by that.)

We have vultures in America; they are called corporate raiders.

No, seriously, we have vultures and condors, which is a related species.

@Duggy: “Coal Bear has his own talk late night talk show.”

I thought it was a cooking show, I’m pretty sure I heard Bear grylls all the time.

Thanks, Jeff.

I thought they were called ‘lawyers’?

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