- The Washington Times - Monday, June 26, 2006

Any desperate cable surfers catch the 30-minute “Comic Books on Film Special” last night on Starz?

As part of a marketing promotion tied to the “Superman Returns” movie, the channel offered a 24-hour marathon of comic book films such as “Sin City,” (very cool) “Steel,” (ouch for the Shaq man) and “Nick Fury: Agent of Shield” (starring David Hasselhoff, double ouch) and occasionally wedged in a program that used Hollywood Reporter experts to cover the emergence of the sequential art film adaptation.

Segments devoted to the “X-Men,” “Spider-Man,” “Batman,” “Superman,” the female superhero and often misunderstood “Graphic Novel” gave a superficial look at the trend and, even loaded with canned interviews of the stars of the movies, delivered less substance than I could find with a misspelled Google search.

Especially confusing was the piece on the female superhero that gave the average viewer the impression that films such as “Aeon Flux,” “Alien” and “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider” were all derived from comic books.

Each property may have been eventually featured in comic books but “Aeon” was a cartoon, “Alien” was based on a true story about unstoppable extraterrestrials (really, it was) and Lara Croft was part of a video game.

Further bumbling was the “Graphic Novel” segment that mixed real graphic novels such as History of Violence and Road to Perdition with multi-part, comic book series that were eventually compiled into trade paperbacks such as V for Vendetta, Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City. Although I admit the reporter did perform quite the smooth back pedal to explain the publishing structure of Sin City.

Note to Starz big wigs: next time leave the comic book history lesson to the guys who actually care about how their characters get turned into film icons. Check the Web, or the local comic book store. There are plenty of experts out there.

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