The Amazing Spider-Man

Recently some official stills from the forthcoming Spider-Man movie, “The Amazing Spiderman” were released. The Film hits the big screens next summer and stars Andrew Garfield  as the friendly neighbourhood superhero as well as his alter-ego Peter Parker who took over the role from Tobey Maguire. The film also stars rising star Emma Stone, who plays Gwen Stacey, Parker’s high school classmate and his love interest.

Gwen’s father, is NYPD police officer Captain Stacey, and is played by Denis Leary, whose character strongly approves of his daughter’s relationship with Parker, and is also a big fan of Spider-Man and approves of his vigilante behaviour, often defending him to his friends and colleague.

Chris Zylka plays the role of Eugene ‘Flash’ Thompson, a high school football player and classmate of Parker who bullies him mercilessly, and The film also stars Rhys Ifans as Dr Curt Connors, who transforms into super villain The Lizard after ingesting a serum containing reptile DNA.

The film, will focus on Peter developing his spider abilities in high school, also stars Martin Sheen as Ben Parker, Peter’s uncle, and Sally Field as his Aunt May.

Happy Birthday Stan Lee

The American comic book writer editor, actor, producer, publisher, television personality, and Founder of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee was born on this day 28th December in 1922 in New York City. As a child Lee was influenced by books and movies, particularly those with Errol Flynn playing heroic roles.

He was A voracious reader who enjoyed writing as a teen, during his youth he worked such part-time jobs as writing obituaries for a news service and press releases for the National Tuberculosis Center; delivering sandwiches for the Jack May pharmacy to offices in Rockefeller Center; working as an office boy for a trouser manufacturer; ushering at the Rivoli Theater on Broadway; and selling subscriptions to the New York Herald Tribune newspaper. He graduated high school early, at age 16½ in 1939, and joined the WPA Federal Theatre Project.

With the help of his uncle, Robbie Solomon, Lee became an assistant at the new Timely Comics division of pulp magazine and comic-book publisher Martin Goodman’s company. Timely, by the 1960s, would evolve into Marvel Comics. Lee, whose cousin Jean was Goodman’s wife, was formally hired by Timely editor Joe Simon.

Marshaling his childhood ambition to be a writer, young Stanley Lieber made his comic-book debut with the text filler “Captain America Foils the Traitor’s Revenge” in Captain America Comics #3 (May 1941), using the pseudonym “Stan Lee”, which years later he would adopt as his legal name. Lee later explained in his autobiography and numerous other sources that he had intended to save his given name for more literary work. This initial story also introduced Captain America’s trademark ricocheting shield-toss, which immediately became one of the character’s signatures.

He graduated from writing filler to actual comics with a backup feature, “‘Headline’ Hunter, Foreign Correspondent”, two issues later. Lee’s first superhero co-creation was the Destroyer, in Mystic Comics #6 (Aug 1941). Other characters he created during this period fans and historians call the Golden Age of comics include Jack Frost, debuting in USA Comics #1 (Aug. 1941), and Father Time, debuting in Captain America Comics #6 (Aug. 1941).

When Simon and his creative partner Jack Kirby left late in 1941, following a dispute with Goodman, the 30-year-old publisher installed Lee, just under 19 years old, as interim editor. The youngster showed a knack for the business that led him to remain as the comic-book division’s editor-in-chief, as well as art director for much of that time, until 1972, when he would succeed Goodman as publisher.

In the mid-1950s, by which time the company was now generally known as Atlas Comics, Lee wrote stories in a variety of genres including romance, Westerns, humor, science fiction, medieval adventure, horror and suspense. By the end of the decade, Lee had become dissatisfied with his career and considered quitting the field.

In the late 1950s, DC Comics editor Julius Schwartz revived the superhero archetype and experienced a significant success with its updated version of the Flash, and later with super-team the Justice League of America. In response, publisher Martin Goodman assigned Lee to create a new superhero team. Lee’s wife urged him to experiment with stories he preferred, since he was planning on changing careers and had nothing to lose.   Lee acted on that advice, giving his superheroes a flawed humanity, a change from the ideal archetypes that were typically written for preteens. Before this, most superheroes were idealistically perfect people with no serious, lasting problems. Lee introduced complex, naturalistic characters who could have bad tempers, melancholy fits, vanity; they bickered amongst themselves, worried about paying their bills and impressing girlfriends, got bored or even were sometimes physically ill.

He collaborated with several artists, most notably Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, and co-created Spider-Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, and many other fictional characters, introducing complex, naturalistic characters and a thoroughly shared universe into superhero comic books.

The first superhero group Lee and artist Jack Kirby created was the Fantastic Four. The team’s immediate popularity led Lee and Marvel’s illustrators to produce a cavalcade of new titles. With Kirby primarily, Lee created the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor and the X-Men; with Bill Everett, Daredevil; and with Steve Ditko, Doctor Strange and Marvel’s most successful character, Spider-Man, all of whom lived in a thoroughly shared universe

Stan Lee’s Marvel revolution extended beyond the characters and storylines to the way in which comic books engaged the readership and built a sense of community between fans and creators. Lee introduced the practice of including a credit panel on the splash page of each story, naming not just the writer and penciller but also the inker and letterer. Regular news about Marvel staff members and upcoming storylines was presented on the Bullpen Bulletins page, which (like the letter columns that appeared in each title) was written in a friendly, chatty style.

Throughout the 1960s, Lee scripted, art-directed, and edited most of Marvel’s series, moderated the letters pages, wrote a monthly column called “Stan’s Soapbox,” and wrote endless promotional copy, often signing off with his trademark phrase “Excelsior!” Lee also supported using comic books to provide some measure of social commentary about the real world, often dealing with racism and bigotry. “Stan’s Soapbox”, besides promoting an upcoming comic book project, also addressed issues of discrimination, intolerance, or prejudice.

In later years, Lee became a figurehead and public face for Marvel Comics. He made appearances at comic book conventions around America, lecturing at colleges and participating in panel discussions, . He has also been an executive producer for, and has made cameo appearances in Marvel film adaptations and other movies.

In the 2000s, Lee did his first work for DC Comics, launching the Just Imagine… series, in which Lee reimagined the DC superheroes Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and the Flash.

In 2006, Marvel commemorated Lee’s 65 years with the company by publishing a series of one-shot comics starring Lee himself meeting and interacting with many of his co-creations, including Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, the Thing, Silver Surfer and Doctor Doom. These comics also featured short pieces by such comics creators as Joss Whedon and Fred Hembeck, as well as reprints of classic Lee-written adventures. In 2008, Lee wrote humorous captions for the political fumetti book Stan Lee Presents Election Daze: What Are They Really Saying?.Lee and Hiroyuki Takei were collaborating on the manga Karakuridôji Ultimo, from parent company Shueisha.

In 2009, he and the Japanese company Bones produced its first manga feature, Heroman, serialized in Square Enix’s Monthly Shōnen Gangan; the feature was adapted to anime in April 2010.

In 2010 The Stan Lee Foundation was founded which focussed on literacy, education and the arts. Its stated goals include supporting programs and ideas that improve access to literacy resources, as well as promoting diversity, national literacy, culture and the arts, andIn August 2011, Lee announced his support for the Eagle Initiative, a program to find new talent in the comic book field.

Stan Lee’s favorite authors include Stephen King, H. G. Wells, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, and Harlan Ellison. He is also a fan of the films of Bruce Lee and was inducted into the comic book industry’s Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1995.


Twenty films everyone should see

In order to understand the history of cinema, a list of 20 classic films has recently been drawn up, listing the films which every child should watch, and with it being the Christmas Holiday, Everyone is off School and most of these films are being (or have been) shown on Television. First up are Ten classic movies which Primary School Children should see.

  • The Red Balloon (1956) A dialogue-free short film about a boy and his balloon, directed by Alfred Lamorisse, which won a best screenplay Oscar.
  • Duck Soup (1933) Marx Brothers comedy starring Groucho Marx as incompetent president Rufus T Firefly
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939) Fantasy masterpiece starring Judy Garland which takes viewers on a magical journey into the land of Oz.
  • Oliver Twist (1948) David Lean’s adaptation of this Dickens novel following the fortunes of a young orphan boy.
  • The Lavender Hill Mob (1951) A mild-mannered bank clerk turns to crime in this comedy from Ealing Studios.
  • The Kid (1921) Silent film written, directed and starred in by movie legend Charlie Chaplin, which tells the tale of a abandoned child.
  • Miracle on 34th Street (1947) Christmas classic watched and re-watched by millions every year about a department store Santa Claus.
  • Singin’ In The Rain (1952) One of the most well-known musicals in movie history starring Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds.
  • The Thief of Bagdad (1940) Arabian Nights adventure from Alexander Korda
  • La Belle et La Bête (1946) French fairytale from director Jean Cocteau re-telling the Beauty and the Beast story.

Next up are Ten Classic Movies which Secondary School Pupils should see (I left scool a long time ago and I would enjoy seeing any of these twenty movies, I think they would entertain people of any age)

  • North by Northwest (1959) Alfred Hitchcock’s story of mistaken identity starring Cary Grant
  • A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Story of an RAF pilot who tried to cheat death, from Powell and Pressburger
  • Metropolis (1927) Often described as one of the most influential films ever made, this 1927 sci-fi German film was ahead of its time
  • It’s A Wonderful Life (1946) Frank Capra’s Christmas feel-good film
  • The Great Escape (1963) Classic World War Two drama, starring Steve McQueen, based on the true story of the prisoners of war at Stalag Luft III.
  • Twelve Angry Men (1957) A dissenting juror in a murder trial attempts to sway the minds of his fellow jurors.
  • The Night of the Hunter (1955) Black and white thriller directed by Charles Laughton and starring Robert Mitchum.
  • Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949) Another Ealing Comedy where Alec Guinness plays eight characters.
  • Seven Samurai (1954) Japanese epic from Akira Kurosawa which was given the Hollywood revamp as The Magnificent Seven
  • The Ladykillers (1955) A criminal gang is outwitted by a little old lady in this Ealing Comedy