Sunday, October 31, 2010

Possible villains for The Dark Knight Rises

With the announcement of the title of the third movie in Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises, there has been speculation of which villain from Batman’s rogues gallery will be featured in the movie. 

According to an interview with Hero Complex, Nolan said that the Riddler will not be in the movie.  He did say the movie will be introducing new characters, as well as old characters.  While Batman’s rogues gallery is extensive, in each Batman film, the villain is usually someone who can drive the story of the movie and push the Dark Knight.

While there is a wait to see which of the Caped Crusader’s villains will be featured in The Dark Knight Rises, here are several guesses of which bad guys could be appearing along side Batman.


Introduced in Jeph Loeb and Jim Miller’s “Hush” story arc, Hush is a character who was originally a childhood friend of Bruce Wayne’s by the name of Tommy Elliot.  Elliot would grow up to resent him and bring many of Batman‘s enemies together in a plot to destroy the Dark Knight. 


A serial killer introduced in Loeb and Tim Sale’s Batman The Long Halloween.  Holiday would kill a person each month.  He was also a character who was closely involved with the Maroni crime family, who has been featured in the Nolan Batman films.

Calendar Man

A criminal who commits crimes in conjunction to the day they are committed, Calendar Man is one of Batman’s oldest foes, yet is not as well known as the Joker or the Penguin. 

The Ventriloquist/Scarface

Anrold Wesler is a man with multiple personality syndrome, using a dummy to express his darker side.  While Ventriloquist may seem unusual for Nolan’s style of film at first, the idea of a dummy as a mob boss could work as Nolan has used Gotham’s different crime families in his films.  Wesker’s disorder could also work in Nolan’s film.


Catwoman is perhaps the front runner of possible villains appearing in the film, with actresses like Angelina Jolie rumored to play the part.  Julie Newman, who played Catwoman in the 1960’s Batman movie was quoted as saying that Jolie would own the role.  Regardless, Catwoman is not necessarily a homicidal maniac, but having her in the film could not only give Bruce Wayne a romantic interest, but also give Batman an ally.

Maxie Zeus

Like Wayne, Zeus is a wealthy businessman, yet he also has a god complex.  With Zeus in the film, there is a chance to put some beautiful artwork and set design, influenced by Greek lore.

Black Mask

Black Mask is one of Gotham City’s most notorious crime bosses and has risen in the ranks to become one of Batman’s most feared enemies.  Black Mask was also an enemy to Catwoman.  This could reinforce the idea of an alliance by Catwoman and Batman.


Although Bane’s only appearance in the movies was in Batman and Robin, he was one of the Dark Knight’s most formidable enemies.  In their initial encounter, Bane broke Bruce Wayne’s back and sidelined the Caped Crusader for a lengthy period of time.  Bane has also great physical strength, with or without the use of Venom.  One of the misconceptions of Batman and Robin is that Bane is a just a lackey henchmen, when in fact, he is quite intelligent and articulate.

Talia Al Ghul

One of Bruce Wayne’s loves, Talia Al Ghul has yet to make any kind of movie appearance.  Her father was killed in the first film and having her come for revenge in the third film could make the movie full circle, or maybe she will act as a romantic interest.  She is quite skilled in fighting and also has the resources of her father’s League of Assassins.

Scarecrow and Ras Al Ghul
While these two villains were in the first film, who says they can not be brought back.  As of The Dark Knight, Dr. Jonathon Crane is still alive and still has his Scarecrow mask and equipment.  As for Ras Al Ghul, the Nolan decided to keep the Lazarus Pit out of the movie, but he may bring it back to explain Al Ghul’s resurrection.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My five favorite Avengers

With the premier of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, I have decided to name five of my favorite heroes who are Avengers, whether they are currently on one of the teams, or have served on the team in the past.

5. Peter Parker - Spider-man/ James “Logan” Howlett - Wolverine

I placed Spidey and Wolverine together because they both are similar in many ways.  They both have different connections throughout the Marvel Universe, and they have gone up against some of the most dangerous villains on their own.  They also can be loners as well as reliable teammates.

They both currently serve on the main Avengers team and Luke Cage’s New Avengers.  Wolverine also serves on the main X-Men team and on X-Force.

4. Thor Odinson - Thor

Thor is one of the heroes who founded the Avengers back in the 60’s.  He is also someone who has come to the aid of the team almost every time they were in peril (save for the Disassembled event) and can act as a powerhouse when the team comes up against huge enemies.  Although he was away from the team for a lengthy amount of time, the Secret Invasion and Seige events helped bring him back into the fold.

Thor currently serves on the main Avengers roster.


3. Janet van Dyne - The Wasp
The Wasp is one not only one of the founding members of the Avengers, but she also was the first female member of the group.  Although she did not wear revealing outfits like the Scarlet Witch or Tigra, she brought her own sex appeal to the series. 

She also has gone through much trauma on the team, from enduring the abuse of her estranged husband Hank, to her death at the end of the Secret Invasion mini series. 

2. Dr. Henry McCoy - Beast

In addition to being a founding member of the X-Men, Beast was also someone who served on the Avengers for a long time.  He had some memorable moments with the team including the Korvac Saga and built relationships with some of their members, including Wonder Man.  For years he would go between the X-Men and the Avengers. 

After the Disassembled event, Beast was one of the Avengers who attended the last dinner before the team announced with disbanding back in 2004.  Beast recently left the X-Men once more and has joined with Steve Rogers’ Secret Avengers team.

1. Bruce Banner - The Hulk

The Hulk’s tenure on the Avengers is shorter than many.  Despite only serving on a few missions then leaving, the Hulk was an ally and an enemy of the team for years.  He has been known to ally himself with some of the members and even created his own team of Avengers during the Fall of the Hulks event.

Heroes I would like to see on the team

Elektra - She has the connections in the Marvel Universe to both heroes and villains.  She is also an expert in hand to hand combat.

Nightcrawler - The furry X-man has had experience working on several teams.  Although he is dead at the moment, the Avengers could be

Blade - He has worked with different teams throughout his superhero career, his most recent was with Britain’s MI:13.  He could bring a supernatural feel to the team.

Storm - Her husband T’Challa has been a member as have her friends Logan and Hank, but Storm has yet to be on the main roster.  Her work with the X-Men has shown the world that she can lead a team.

Doctor Octopus - He is someone who could have came in during the Dark Avengers series or someone who could have been an instructor in the Initiative program during Norman Osborn‘s .  He has experience but he also has the ability to throw a wrench in Osborn’s plan.


What are some of your favorite Avengers?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Beauty and brawn

Canadian Muay Thai champ and fitness model to make MMA debut

Julia “The Jewel” Budd, a Muay Thai kickboxer from British Columbia is not only making her Strikeforce debut on tonight’s Strikeforce: Challengers 11.  She is also competing in her first official MMA fight. 

Budd will be facing Shana “Rock Solid” Olsen, who currently has a fight record of four wins and no losses.  This will also be Olsen’s debut in Strikeforce.

The Jewel’s background and credentials

Budd was born and raised in Roberts Creek, a small town outside of British Columbia, according to her website.  She competed in sports as a youth and in high school she began training in Muay Thai kickboxing.

Budd trained at Gibson MMA under the tutelage of Lance Gibson, a former UFC fighter.  She became known on the American kickboxing circuit after defeating opponents like MMA fighter Gina Carano and kickboxing champion Keri Scarr.

Although she has no official bouts on her fight record, Budd has fought in one non sanctioned fight back in 2007, according to  She defeated fellow kick boxer Natalie Fuzz by unanimous decision.

Shana “Rock Solid” Olsen

Olsen, said that fighting for a major promotion like Strikeforce has been along time coming.

“I have a strong desire to make it to the top, and right now I am in the process of working my way up.’’

At the weight in, Olsen also said that she has trained hard and is not putting pressure on herself to beat Budd in fashion.

“I am fighting a Muay Thai champion who defeated Gina Carano, so my work is cut out for me,” Olsen said.

“I am fighting someone who’s strong and knows what she’s doing, but I’m also strong, fit and ready to go,” Budd said at the weight in.

Outside of the ring

In addition to boxing, Budd works as a fitness model on television and print.  She has appeared on MTV, TSN, and print advertisements for Impact Magazine. 

Budd also holds a B.A. in kinesiology from the University of British Columbia.  She is also a National Strength and Conditioning Association certified trainer, and operates her own training company out of Gibson MMA.

Budd said she takes her MMA career one fight at a time and works to be the best.

“There is no doubt I am stepping up for this one and will be the underdog,” Budd said.  “I love MMA, putting in the work, the lifestyle and the challenge.’’

Resides: B.C.Canada
Association: Gibson MMA
MMA fight record: 0-0-0
Career highlights: B.C. Muay Thai champion, Canadian Muay Thai champion

UFC 121: Lesnar vs. Velasquez predictions

Main card

Heavyweight Championship bout: Brock Lesnar [5-1] (c) vs. Cain Velasquez [8-0]

Winner: Velasquez by KO

Many say that Lesnar won his last fight due to factors like Shane Carwin being gassed out, and the referee’s inability to the stop the fight when he should have.  Regardless, he is still the champion and has faced a top contender with knock out power, and a former champion with great Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills. 

However, Velasquez has an un blemished fight record and has been able to keep in great condition.  This is going to be a pretty close one.

Welterweight bout: Jake Shields [25-4-1]vs. Martin "The Hitman" Kampmann [17-3]

Winner: Kampmann by decision

Shields is going to be making his UFC debut, with an almost guaranteed title shot if he wins, in a division that already has many hungry fighters.  Standing in his way of this guaranteed title shot is Kampmann, who has won eight of his 10 last fights, including back to back wins against Paulo Thiago and Jacob Volkmann.

Kampmann is also the man who spoiled Carlos Condit’s UFC debut and this may be a repeat for him.

Welterweight bout: Diego "Nightmare" Sanchez [23-4] vs. Paulo Thiago [13-2]

Winner: Sanchez by decision

Sanchez is looking for his first win after returning to the welterweight division, which is already stacked as it is.  He has more experience than Thiago and that desire to return to title contention.

If he can keep this fight at his level, he can win and possibly make it to a Welterweight title shot..

Light Heavyweight bout: "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" Tito Ortiz [16-7-1] vs. Matt "The Hammer" Hamill [10-2]

Winner: Hamill by decision

This is a classic student vs. teacher match up.  Hamill has since left Ortiz’s tutalage and has learned some things on his own.  Also while Ortiz has had time away from the octagon, Hamill has earned wins over Keith Jardine, Mark Munoz, and Jon Jones.

However, it is not wise to count Ortiz out, as he has trained hard since his loss to Forrest Griffin and has battled personal issues.  This fight will surely go the distance.

Heavyweight bout: Brendan "The Hybrid" Schaub [7-1]vs. Gabriel "Napao" Gonzaga [11-5]

Winner: Gonzaga by KO

While Schaub has won his last two fights, he faces his toughest challenge in Gonzaga, who is not only a UFC veteran, has more experience, but also a decorated submission wrestler.

However, like the main event, this heavyweight battle could end up being a war of striking, with a quick finish.

Under Card

Middleweight bout: "The Crusher" Court McGee [11-1]vs. Ryan Jensen [16-5]

Winner: McGee by submission

McGee is coming into this fight with a lot of momentum.  Not only is he coming in as The Ultimate Fighter 11 winner, he also has not had a loss since 2007, which was against Jeremy Horn.  Jensen on the other hand has attained four of his six losses in the UFC.  McGee also has a boxing background which could help him with his endurance.

At TUF 11 finale, McGee won the Submission of the Night bonus, and there is no reason why he could not walk away with that bonus again.

Middleweight bout: "The Predator" Patrick Côté [14-6] vs. "Filthy" Tom Lawlor [6-3-0, 1NC]

Winner: Cote by KO

Both Cote and Lawlor have lost their last two fights, but Cote lost to a champion and one of the UFC’s veterans in Alan Belcher.  He also has a little bit more experience than Lawlor and looks to get back into title contention.

Cote will have no problem taking out Lawlor pretty early.

Welterweight bout: Mike "The Joker" Guymon [13-3-1] vs. Daniel "Ninja" Roberts [10-1]

Winner: Roberts by submission

Despite not having as much as experience as Guymon, Roberts has yet to have a second loss on his record.  Both men are still a little bit fresh in the UFC and will be looking to earn their place in the organization.

Both fighters have also won many of their fights by submission, so much of this fight may be spent on the ground.

Lightweight bout: "Hands of Stone" Sam Stout [14-4-1]vs.  Paul "Relentless" Taylor [10-5-1, 1NC]

Winner: Stout by KO

Of the two UFC veterans, Stout has more wins on his record.  He also has a kickboxing background that could help with his striking and stand up game.

Middleweight bout: Chris Camozzi [13-3] vs. "The Ox" Dong Yi Yang [9-0]

Winner: Camozzi by submission

Although Yang may be making his UFC debut, Camozzi is coming into this fight with much more experience and a victory in The Ultimate Fighter 11 finale.  Camozzi had to exit the Ultimate fighter compeition because of injury, so he is still looking to prove himself inside of the octagon.

He will get the submission in the second round.

Heavyweight bout: Jon Madsen [6-0]vs. Gilbert "The Hurricane" Yvel [35-15-1, 1NC]

Winner: Yvel by KO

Yvel has yet to have a win in the UFC and he is coming up against someone with a perfect record, but with those losses comes experience.  He also has a won many of his fights by submission and knock out.

Yvel will finish this fight pretty early.  If he does lose this fight, he just may get cut from the roster.

UFC 121 preview

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dutch MMA champion makes it to K-1 Grand Prix finals

Alistair Overeem, current Strikeforce heavyweight champion, will not be defending his championship until 2011.  When he does make his next Strikeforce title defense, he may already have another title added to his credentials: 2010 K-1 World Grand Prix tournament champion.

Overeem is getting ready for the K-1 World Grand Prix 2010 Finals, which will take place December 4, in Tokyo. 

Brief bio and kickboxing history

According to his website, Overeem was born in England but moved to the Netherlands with his brother and mother when he was six years old.   He participated in sports like judo and basketball, and would begin training at 15 years old.  He would later go on to train with Bat Rutten, a former UFC Heavyweight Champion.  He currently trains with Team Golden Glory, which is based out of the Netherlands, according to their website.

Overeem had his first kickboxing match at age 17, where he won his first match by unanimous decision.  After losing his next two fights, he would take a break and focus on his MMA career.  He returned to the world of kickboxing in 2007 where he Jurgen Dolch by TKO in the first round at Ultimate Glory 3.

What is K-1?

According to their website, K-1 is an organization where fighters from around the world fight with their opponents using various fighting techniques to defeat their opponents.  K-1 is also known for creating a set of unified rules for their contests.

The first K-1 tournament was held in 1993 and won by Branko Cikatic, a Croatian fighter.  Other fighters who have won the K-1 Grand Prix in the past include MMA fighter Mark Hunt, Semmy Schilt, and Ernesto Hoost.

2010 K-1 Grand Prix

According to the K-1 website Overeem, whose current kickboxing record is at seven wins and four losses, picked Tyrone Sprong (by way of drawing the seventh ball) to be his first opponent in the Grand Prix finals.  He said he was happy to face Sprong, who he said he trained with for seven years.

“It will be the old days of sparring,” Overeem said.

To get to the K-1 Grand Prix finals, he defeated Bosnian fighter Dzevad Poturak in the first round of the tournament in Yokohama last April.  He then went on defeat Ben Edwards, an Austrailian kickboxer, at the K-1 2010 Grand Prix Soul Final 16 just two weeks ago. 

Both of these victories won two minutes into the first round, by TKO and knock out respectively.

MMA career

Overeem had his first MMA professional fight at 19 years old where he won by a guillotine submission. 

Before fighting in Strikeforce, Overeem has fought in major MMA promotions like Pride FC, DREAM, and RINGS.  His current record is 33 wins, 11 losses, and one no contest.

In addition to being the current Strikeforce Heavyweight champion, Overeem has wins over fighters like Vitor Belfort (former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion), Mark Hunt (K-1 2001 World Grand Prix Champion), and Igor Vovchanchyn (Pride 2000 Grand Prix runner up).

Other fighting tournaments

This is not Overeem’s first time participating in the K-1 Grand Prix kickboxing tournament as he had fought in K-1’s 2009 tournament. 

According to K-1’s website, he had fought his way to semi finals where he lost to Badr Hari, who lost in the final match.

He has also fought the Pride 2003 and 2005 Middleweight Grand Prix tournaments, according to the Pride Fighting Championship website.

Possible future

Winning the tournament may give Overeem the momentum to compete in K-1’s 2011 Grand Prix.  It could also make him a bigger star in the world of sports. 

As far as his MMA career goes, he is expected to defend his championship in 2011.  Possible contenders for the title include Fabricio Wedrum, the man he was suppose to defend against, Russian fighter Fedor Emilianenko, and Antonio Silva, who is scheduled to face Overeem’s brother Valentijin in December.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Famous last words

 When a fighter's trash talking backfires.

Trash talking is always a staple in upcoming match ups, whether it is in two world class athletes professional sports, or just two opposing sides on the playground during recess. 

In mixed martial arts, this is no different as most fighters  will talk smack to each other before a fight.  Some fighters do it to gain a psychological edge over their opponents, while others do it because being very vocal is a part of their personality. 

Here are some quotes that seemed to back fire on fighters before their fights.  (If some of these quotes are a little bit off, please forgive me as source material was hard to find for this)

“I am impervious to all pain!” - Pat Smith before his fight against Ken Shamrock

Smith was one of the first fighters to enter the octagon.  He made his mixed martial arts debut at UFC 1.  Although he claimed he was impervious to pain, Smith would tap out to a heel hook applied by Shamrock, just under two minutes into the first round. 

Despite his loss to Shamrock, Smith would go on to accumilate a fight record of 18 wins and 14 losses.  He also has over 60 wins in professional kick boxing.

Shamrock vs. Smith highlights

"I'm gonna choke him, then get him up and send him home." - Royce Gracie before his fight with Matt Hughes at UFC 60

One of the godfathers of mixed martial arts, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu master, Gracie won the first, second, and fourth UFC open weight tournaments and was a finalist in the PRIDE 2000 open weight Grand Prix tournament. 

He returned to the UFC in 2006 to fight then welterweight champion Matt Hughes.  Gracie would go on to lose to Hughes by TKO in the last minute of the third round. 

Gracie training to fight Matt Hughes

"Matt Hughes is a dick, a talented dick, but a dick" - Matt Serra before his fight against Matt Hughes

The Serra and Hughes rivalry was one of the more heated rivalries in the UFC around 2009.  Their rivalry began during The Ultimate Fighter Season 4, where Hughes was a coach and Serra was a compeititor.  They would go on to coach against each other in season 7 of The Ultimate Fighter. 

While Serra talked a lot of smack before the fight, Hughes would go on to win the bout by decision.  Since his loss to Hughes, Serra has go on to defeat Frank Trigg, yet he lost his last bout to Chris Lytle.

Interview with Serra, talking about Hughes, his daughter, and more.

"He can’t even win the belt in his division. he thinks he can just move up in weight and take mine." - Matt Hughes before his title defense against BJ Penn.

This fight came after Penn had unable to capture the UFC lightweight title at UFC 41.  While Hughes’ pre match comments doubted the Hawaiian fighter, Penn was able to beat Hughes in the third round and win the welterweight title.  Hughes would eventually recapture the welterweight title while Penn would later win the lightweight belt, becoming the second UFC fighter to win titles in two different weight divisions.

Hughes has sense avenged his loss again Penn, and the two will once again face off in a rubber match at UFC 123.

Fan made trailer for Hughes vs. Penn 3

“He's gonna leave his chin hangin' out there, and I'm gonna break his jaw." - Chris Leben before his fight with Anderson Silva.

Leben was rising in the ranks in the UFC before fighting Silva, who was making his UFC debut.  With a record of 14 wins, one loss, and the WEC middeweight title (before they had been bought by Zuffa), Leben would talk about how he would take Silva’s punches and throw them back, and how Silva would go back to Japan to find weaker competition.

Unfortunately, Leben would end up taking a knee from Silva and get knocked out 49 seconds in the first round.  He is scheduled to fight against former WEC light heavyweight champion Brian Stann at UFC 125.

Leben vs. Silva highlights

Quinton Jackson’s interview before his fight against Mauricio Rua at the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix opening round.

Jackson is one known for being one of MMA’s most vocal fighters.  Prior to his fight against Rua, he talked about his unpredictability, saying that even did not know what he was going to do in the ring.

However, it would be Rua would get the upper hand against Jackson, as he would end up winning the fight by TKO four minutes into the first round.   A scheduled rematch between the two may in the works if Rua is successful in his title defense against Rashad Evans, and if Jackson can beat Lyoto Machida at UFC 123.

Highlights from Jackson vs. Rua bout

“I want to f$*(…fight Chuck!” - Wanderlei Silva before confronting Chuck Liddell in the octagon.

While this is not necessarily talking smack, Wanderlei’s quote in the octagon is infamous among MMA fans and is sited to be one of their favorite quotes by a fighter. 

Wanderlei would get to fight Liddell  in December 2007.  Liddell would win the fight by decision.

Wanderlei’s infamous declaration to fight Chuck.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

UFC 120 predictions

Under card
Light Heavyweight bout: James McSweeney vs. Fabio Maldonado

Winner: Maldonado by TKO

Maldonado has an overall better fight record and more wins than McSweeney.   He is also training under the Nogueira brothers and has won most of his fights by knockout.

Lightweight bout: Spencer Fisher vs. Kurt Warburton

Winner: Warburton by TKO

Warburton will be making his UFC debut on this card. Having a TKO victory over Warburton would certainly help jumpstart his UFC career

Lightweight bout: Paul Sass vs. Mark Holst

Winner: Sass by submission

Sass has an overall better fight record, with winning eight of his fights by submission.

Light Heavyweight bout: Steve Cantwell vs.  Stanislav Nedkov
Winner: Nedkov by TKO

Nedkoy is undefeated coming into this fight and he will finish the fight undefeated. 

Heavyweight bout: Rob Broughton vs. Vinicius Queiroz

Winner: Broughton by submission

Broughton has the submission power and the home crowd to defeat Queiroz

Light Heavyweight bout:  Cyrille Diabaté vs.  Alexander Gustafsson

Winner: Gustafsson by decision

Despite having less fights, Gustafsson will go the distance with Diabate in this fight and get the decision.

Main card

Welterweight bout:  James Wilks vs. Claude Patrick

Winner: Patrick by submission

Patrick has an overall better fight record and has won most of these fights by submission.  While Wilks won the The Ultimate Fighter season 9, Patrick is also a former title holder from an MMA promotion in Canada.

Heavyweight bout:  Cheick Kongo vs. Travis Browne

Winner: Browne by knock out

I am going with Browne to get the upset of the night.  Kongo may have more fights on his record and have the punching power, but Browne has won 8 of his ten fights by knock out/TKO

Welterweight bout: John Hathaway vs. Mike Pyle

Winner: Hathaway by decision

Although Pyle has more fights on his record, it is always hard not to pick the undefeated fighter, especially when he will most likely have the home crowd behind him.

Welterweight bout: Dan Hardy vs. Carlos Condit

Winner: Hardy by decision

Not only does Hardy have the home field advantage, he is also looking to getting back into the title picture.

Middleweight bout: Michael Bisping vs.  Yoshihiro Akiyama

Winner: Bisping by TKO

With the home crowd behind him, Bisping has the potential to dominate Akiyama and take him out early in the main event.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Legacy of laughs

Mark Hamill to retire his Joker voice

Mark Hamill, known primarily for his role as Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series, has voiced the comic book villain known as The Joker on and off for the last 18 years.  He will be retiring from the role of the Joker after this year.

Hamill’s career

According to the International Mark Hamill Fan Club website, Hamill was born in Oakland, to a large family in September of 1951.  He made his professional acting debut on the Cosby Show in 1971, and would go on to star in television shows like General Hospital and The Texas Wheelers.

In 1977 he would make his film debut in Star Wars and would star in its two sequels The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

After Star Wars, Hamill would go on to make movies and also do guest appearances in television shows, such as Just Shoot Me and the Flash.  He also went on to star in various theater productions. 

Hamill would also lend his voice to different cartoons for the next several years, including the Simpsons, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Spiderman: The Animated Series. 

An avid comic book fan, Hamill is also the writer of the comic book series, The Black Pearl.

Getting the role of the Joker and voicing the character

Hamill was originally denied the part of the Joker in Batman: The Animated Series (BTAS), as the producers had already cast Tim Curry.  Hamill was brought in guest star in the episode “Heart of Ice” as a one-time appearance.  After Curry dropped out of the role, Hamill was one of the first choices to replace Curry.

In an interview, Paul Dini, producer and writer for BTAS, said Hamill nailed the role of the Joker perfectly.

“The second we heard that scary laugh, we knew we had the Joker,” Dini said.

Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett, producers of BTAS, said that the Joker, who in the comics has been depiected anywhere from a homicidal maniac to a comical character, could not kill in the show. 

“Instead of murdering people we would have him give them that hideous Joker grin which on its own way almost worse,” Timm said.

Hamill said that one of the things that of the things that informs the Joker is his laugh.

“His laugh should be like a musical instrument,” Hamill said.  “It should sort of illustrate his mood.”

Hamill said he would practice the Joker’s laugh on the way to the recording sessions.  He also said that he would stand up during recording sessions.

“I thought to energize the character, to shake my fists, I’ve felt I got to stand up,” Hamill said. “I’ve always thought I was in a radio drama.

Hamill’s different Joker moments

Hamill played the Joker in 15 of the 85 episodes in BTAS.  He also played the Joker on various DC Comics related animated series and animated movies, including The New Batman/Superman adventures, Justice League, and Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker.

Kevin Conroy, who has played Batman about as many years as Hamill has played the Joker, said that Hamill played an extraordinary Joker.

“His face transforms and he kind of devours the microphone,” Conroy said.  “It’s something to watch.  The two of us interact really well since we’ve been doing this for so long.”

Hamill has also voiced the Joker on DC Comics video games.  Most recently he lent his voice on the 2009 hit Batman: Arkham Asylum, and the upcoming titles: DC Universe Online and Batman: Arkham City.

Actors who have also played The Joker

After Hamill took a long break from voicing the Joker in 2004, other performers have stepped up to voice the Clown Prince of Crime. 

Veteran voice actors like John DiMaggio (Batman Under the Red Hood), Jeff Bennent (Batman: The Brave and the Bold) and Kevin Michael Richardson (The Batman) have voiced the Joker in animation.

According to an interview with IGN, Hamill spoke positively of Heath Ledger’s award winning performance of the Joker in The Dark Knight. 

“He was the most joyless Joker,” Hamill said.  “Not a hint of theatricality; he was almost like a heroin addict.  It never would have occurred to me, and that’s why it was so delightful and surprising.”

The Last Hurrah

According to an interview with the Animation World Network, Hamill said that what he liked about voicing the Joker was his villiany and the different kinds of laughter he brought to the character.

“Instead of having it be one continuous laugh, I could use it like a color on the canvas,” Hamill said.  “There could be sinister laughs, there could be joyful, gleeful, maniacal laughs, there could be malevolent and evil laughs.”

“I do have to thank the people at Batman, because this work opened an entire new career for me.”

In the interview with the IGN, Hamill said that this role would be his last as the Joker.

“There’s no question about that,” Hamill said.  “But it’s the last hurrah.”

Friday, October 8, 2010

Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Noons predictions

I usually don't do Strikeforce predictions, but since Kaufman and Coenen, (who I have written about in the past) are fighting on this card, I thought I would give it a shot.  I kept this one basic.

Main Card

Welterweight Championship bout: Nick Diaz (c) vs. United States KJ Noons

Winner: Diaz by decision

Women's Welterweight Championship: Sarah Kaufman (c) vs. Marloes Coenen

Winner: Kaufman by knock out

Lightweight bout: Josh Thomson vs. Gesias Cavalcante

Winner: Thomson by decision

Welterweight bout: Tyron Woodley vs.  André Galvão

Winner: Woodley by submission

Under Card

Welterweight bout: James Terry vs. Bret Bergmark

Winner Bergmark by decision

Middleweight bout: Eric Lawson vs. Ron Keslar

Winner Lawson by decision

Lightweight bout: Jess Bouscal vs. Luis Mendoza

Winner: Mendoza by knock out

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Fantastic Four no more

Marvel’s first family is set change once again

The Fantastic Four, a superhero team in Marvel Comics is set to undergo changes within its title. 

Tom Brevoort, Vice President Executive Editor of Marvel, and writer Jonathon Hickman, who has been on the title since May 2009, has confirmed that in the title’s latest story arc Three, that there will be a death of a major character, possibly one of the four that are on the team.

According to a conference call, Hickman said that the Three story arc and a character death is a midpoint in a large story arc that he has planned for the title.

“It wasn’t a shock value thing we were doing just to make a point,” Hickman said.  “This all works to a purpose.”

Who are the Fantastic Four?
Fantastic Four started in July 1962 by writer and editor Stan Lee, and artist Jack Kirby.  According to various interviews with Lee, the concept came from a response from DC Comic’s Justice League of America. 

The team consists of Reed Richards (Mr.Fantastic), his wife Susan Richards (Invisible Woman), her brother Johnny Storm (Human Torch), and Ben Grimm (The Thing). 

In the title’s first issue, the four hijacked a space ship and rode to space, where they were hit with cosmic radiation that gave them super powers.

Fantastic Four did many things that were different at the time of superhero comics, including having the four main characters have their secret identity’s exposed to the public and being branded traitors to the country.  Lee and Kirby also had the characters interact as a family, which included moments of bickering between the characters

The family atmosphere between the four characters and several of the supporting characters and villains created by Lee and Kirby were not only popular with the fans, but were an influence in the fictional Marvel Universe.

Possibility of who is dying and who will be living

With the story arc of Three, readers will be wondering which of the main characters will be dying in the next few issues of the comic.  In the Fantastic Four’s 583 issues, Reed has been supposedly killed off during the run of writer Walt Simonson (find numbers for this).  He also the smartest man in the Marvel world.

Since Hickman’s first story arc was mainly about Reed, there is a possibility that he may get the axe.

An alternate reality of Susan has also been killed during the run of Mark Millar and Bryan Hitch.  This could be seen as a foreshadow to Susan’s own death, as well as seen as a red herring.

Grimm was actually killed during writer Mark Waid’s run on the title, but the team traveled to heaven to get him back.  The possibility of his death may have least chance because he is also starring in New Avengers, written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Stuart Immomen.

Storm’s death seems the most likely as he has never actually died or come really close to death.  Hickman said that the death and events in Three will have an everlasting impression on various Marvel books, ranging from the Amazing Spiderman to The Avengers. 

Other possible deaths could include Doctor Doom, who is currently suffering from illness, and Franklin and Valeria, Reed and Susan’s children.

Change could be good for the team

The change to the title will most likely be met with criticism by fans and critics.  The deaths of major characters result anywhere between fans voicing their anger on message boards, to readers sending in letters and threats to the writers, to giving up reading the entire brand of comics.

Back in 2006, after Captain America was killed in his book, fans voiced their opinion, with many saying they would never pick up a Marvel comic again.

According to Bevoort, there are fans who love the idea of the book’s current events and love Hickman’s long form story telling.

Although the death of characters may be a bad thing, it can also bring something new to the title.  With the deaths of heroes like Captain America, Superman back in 1992, and most recently Batman, there was new interest to the titles and supporting characters.

In the case of Captain America and Batman, writers were able to place their former sidekicks to take the mantle of their fallen mentor and even keep it when original heroes were brought back.

There is also the common theme in comic books, that no one truly ever dies, with the exception of Uncle Ben.

Gaps and replacements in the team's roster

The death of one of the Fantastic Four’s characters could bring a new face onto the team.  While the characters do have a family nature, there have been numerous super heroes who have joined the Fantastic Four to replace a member or two.  These names have included Luke Cage, leader of the New Avengers and Thunderbolts, Black Panther, his wife Storm, who is also a member of the X-Men, and She Hulk.

During his run, Simonson set up a possible death to the entire team, and brought in Super-man, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and the Hulk to replace them.  Although this move was only temporary, this team of four have been featured in various What If stories, and stories taking place in the alternate universe.

The future of the title

While a death of a major character is promised, it also sounds like the book, or just the name of the title, will be no more following this story arc.

Bervoot said that there will not be a book titled Fantastic Four this time next year.