Thursday, 29 September 2011

Preview Post: Blade

On the next episode of 24 Panels Per Second, we kick off the Marvel-ous Halloween series of episodes with the 1998 horror/action romp, Blade!

The character made his first appearance in July of 1973, in the tenth issue of the beloved Marvel comic Tomb of Dracula. He was created by writer Marv Wolfman (with a name like that, how could he not write horror comics?) and artist Gene Colan. While you are probably familiar with Blade's current look, his original look was definitely of its era:

Oh, and by the way, Blade was a completely human character at this point.

After gaining some fame in the 1970s, the character pretty much disappeared until the early 1990s, where he started making various appearances in Marvel's more supernatural comics. Eventually, he gained a regular home in the title Nightstalkers. By this point, his look was much closer to the Blade we have come to know...

Still human at this point, however.

Given the relative obscurity of Blade for most of his history, you wouldn't expect him to have much in the way of appearances in other media. You would be right. In the lead up to the 1998 film though, Marvel decided to feature Blade - and many of the changes being made to the character for the film, such as him being half-vampire - in the beloved 1990s Spider-Man television series. Of course, this is late 1990s Fox Kids, so realistic weapons and violence were a no go. Instead of swords and guns, we were given a Blade with a lightsaber and garlic bombs...

After Blade became a surprise hit in 1998, the film spawned two sequels. Following this, the character and his adventures moved to television when Blade: The Series launched on the Spike TV channel. Playing the titular character this time out was Kirk "Sticky Fingaz" Jones. Below is the Australian trailer for the series:

The series lasted only one season and recieved mixed reaction, so one would assume that the series would have been the final nail in the coffin (rim shot please) for the Blade franchise. One would be wrong! As part of Marvel's deal with the Japanese animation studio Madhouse, an anime of Blade premiered in Japan in 2011, with an American dub of the series to air on the American G4 network late this year/early 2012. Below is the Japanese trailer for the series:

As you can tell, Blade has come a long way from his time as a supporting character in Tomb of Dracula. But join us next episode as we discuss the film that put him in the limelight, Stephen Norrington's Blade!

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Episode 10. THE PHANTOM (1996)

It's the third and final installment in the "Retro Heroes" series, which means Dru and David tackle Big Purple himself, Lee Falk's 1936-debuting (and arguably precedent-setting) superhero The Phantom. We braved the jungles of Bengalla to read some Phantom comics and watch Simon Wincer's wince-inducing 1996 film adaptation.

Comments about the show? What did you think of The Phantom? Let us know! Email, follow us on Twitter @24panels, read our blog at, and "like" us on Facebook. And don't forget to subscribe to the show in iTunes!

Episode breakdown:
0:00 - 5:14: Intro banter (Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man #1; Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark)
5:14 - 5:59: The Phantom trailer
5:59 - 54:30: Main discussion: The Phantom
54:31 - 58:18: Closing remarks

We'll be back in October with the first episode in our "Marvel-ous Halloween" series... it's Blade. Queue it up!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Preview Post: THE PHANTOM

Next week we're going to be all over Simon Wincer's 1996 adaptation of The Phantom, so go ahead and whet your appetite for that film by watching some of the character's illustrious history...

The Phantom (1943 serial): Chapter 1

Here be the first screen incarnation of the ghost who walks... All of the subsequent chapters are on YouTube as well, if you've got several hours to kill!

The Phantom (1961): Unaired TV pilot

The quality of this unaired TV pilot is pretty abominable, but if you can get through it, you'll see some great actors of yesteryear, including Lon Chaney Jr. (The Wolf Man himself) and Paulette Goddard (of Chaplin's Modern Times and The Great Dictator). Stuntman Roger Creed plays The Phantom.

Defenders of the Earth: Opening Theme

In the mid-1980s, a cartoon teamed The Phantom up with Flash Gordon and Mandrake the Magician. I've never seen it, but this theme song is awesome. The run of the series is available on DVD in a single box set, which will run you less than $20 most places.

Phantom 2040: Opening Theme

In the mid-1990s, another animated series (this one set in the future, like Spider-Man Unlimited) featuring the adventures of the 24th incarnation of the Phantom debuted. Despite having a voice cast featuring the likes of Mark Hamill, Margot Kidder, Ron Perlman and Debbie Harry, the show only lasted 35 episodes.

The Phantom (2010): SyFy preview

Shortly after I moved to Montreal I heard rumblings about this movie/miniseries being filmed in my area. I still haven't seen it.

The Phantom (1996): Trailer

OK, it's true: I've never seen The Phantom. But after watching this trailer, boy howdy am I looking forward to it! Maybe it's because purple is my favourite colour, I don't know. What I do know is that I'm going to pretend that Treat Williams is playing Texas governor Rick Perry.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Episode 09. THE ROCKETEER (1991)

You'll believe a man can fly... oh wait...

On this episode, Dru and David's nostalgic trip down retro lane continues with Joe Johnston's THE ROCKETEER, which takes the beautiful visuals and engaging characters of the original comics and incorporates them into an even better, tighter adventure narrative. Dave Stevens' most enduring creation (aside from Betty's gams!) lives on!

Episode breakdown:
0:00 - 7:34: Intro banter/celebrity gossip!
7:35 - 8:32: The Rocketeer trailer
8:33 - 1:09:35: Main discussion: The Rocketeer
1:09:36 - 1:11:21: Closing remarks

Let us know what you think of The Rocketeer! Email us at Follow us on Twitter @24panels. Read our blog at and "like" us on Facebook. And don't forget to subscribe in iTunes!

Make sure to come back soon to hear our next episode, in which we close out our retro heroes retrospective (see what I did there?) with a discussion of The Phantom. Queue it up!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Whet your appetite for The Rocketeer by watching some of these related videos...

Radar Men From The Moon: Trailer

Dave Stevens took inspiration for The Rocketeer from the old Republic serial starring Commando Cody, Sky Marshal of the Universe! Can you see the resemblance?

The Notorious Bettie Page: Trailer

It's no secret that Stevens modelled Cliff's girlfriend Betty (Jenny in the film) on pin-up queen Bettie Page. Check out the trailer for the 2005 Page biopic, directed by Mary Harron.

The Rocketeer: Excitement in the Air

In preparation for the release of The Rocketeer, Disney aired this television special about the making of the film. Check out the entire program on YouTube!

NES Commercial

I gotta tell you, I downloaded a ROM of this game a while ago and could not get past the first level, so none of this gameplay looked familiar to me.


This beautiful Pixar-style animated short was directed by John Banana as a tribute to Dave Stevens' most famous and enduring creation.

The Rocketeer: Trailer

And of course, check out the original trailer for the film itself. Our discussion of The Rocketeer should be up on iTunes by Wednesday morning!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011


As the credits for Mark Steven Johnson's Ghost Rider drew to a close, few were left clamoring for a sequel. Seemingly willed into existence five years later by Nicolas Cage himself, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance blazes into cinemas (see what I did there?) February of 2012. Based on this first trailer, it looks like it could be somewhat more entertaining than its predecessor, though given directors Neveldine/Taylor's track record - credits include Crank, Crank 2, and being fired from Jonah Hex - Spirit of Vengeance doesn't have pedigree on its side. Yet, we know Cage will bring his A-game because that's all he knows how to do, so that'll provide some semblance of fun no matter how you slice it. Also, he pees fire.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Episode 08. DICK TRACY (1990)

Looks like somebody downloaded 24 Panels Per Second onto their watch!

In honour of this year's retro-styled blockbusters X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER, David and Dru go through retro adaptations of years past, starting with Warren Beatty's DICK TRACY [1990].  

Subscribe to the show in iTunes.

Episode breakdown:
0:00 - 2:20: Intro banter
2:21 - 3:16: Dick Tracy trailer
3:17 - 57:08: Main discussion: Dick Tracy
57:09 - 1:00:55: Closing remarks

But wait, there's more!  This week we've recorded a special bonus episode, an occasional segment that we'll call "Between Panels."  In It, David tries to crush Dru's spirit after seeing (and loving) SPIDER-MAN: TURN OFF THE DARK, and then they spitball some ideas about how to get new comics readers on board with DC and Marvel (hint: not by rebooting 52 titles and selling them at $3.99 a pop).  Dru also shares some films of note from Montreal's annual Fantasia International Film Festival.

NOTE: If you haven't listened to the show before, this might not be the place to start.  Try one of the regular episodes, preferably of a film you've seen (i.e. probably not STEEL).

You can get "Between Panels" in the same iTunes feed as the regular episodes!

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See you in a few weeks for our discussion of THE ROCKETEER.  Queue it up!