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DC Comics news: "Aquaman" movie in the works and "Gotham by Midnight"

Will Jason Mamoa dye his hair for this part?

Warner Brothers hires two writes to work on "Aquaman" film!

Ever since June, the main rumor is that Jason Mamoa ("Conan the Barbarian", "Game of Thrones") will play Aquaman in a cameo in 2016's "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice". The unofficial Hollywood bible itself, Variety, has been the source of it. While this bit of casting has yet to be officially confirmed by Warner Brothers, some additional news teases that there will be some rumbling under the sea. The Hollywood Reporter notes that two writers - Will Beal ("Gangster Squad") and Kurt Johnstad ("300: Rise of an Empire" - are tasked with working on two separate scripts for a potential "Aquaman" film. DC Entertainment recently announced plans for a slew of untitled films from 2016 until 2020.

It is easy to see that DC Entertainment is committed to promoting Aquaman and elevating him beyond being used as a punchline from "Superfriends" or various "Robot Chicken" specials. Geoff Johns, who is merely the chief creative officer of DC Entertainment (the Joe Quesada of DC Entertainment, if one were to compare positions with Marvel Entertainment), wrote "Aquaman" at the start of the "New 52" for over a year and made it into a critically acclaimed top seller. Animated efforts from "Justice League" in 2001 to the upcoming animated direct-to-video film "Justice League: Throne of Atlantis" (which is an adaptation of a Johns story) have all but bent over backwards to recreate the pop culture image of Aquaman as a stoic underwater warrior. He almost got a spin off series from "Smallville" on "The WB/The CW", and continued to appear as a supporting character on that show for several seasons. Having first appeared in "More Fun Comics #73" in 1941 under the creation of Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris, Aquaman has had a long history within DC Comics, albeit rarely as a major solo star. He's spent most of his comic book history as either the back-up feature of another hero's comic or aligned with the Justice League; sadly, the much maligned "Detroit" era of the League was under Aquaman's leadership.

It is also curious how one doesn't see this sort of corporate push behind the one character who DC Entertainment, were they wise or savvy, would point to and rely upon as the single advantage they have over Marvel Studios. That character would be Wonder Woman, who debuted barely a month after Aquaman did in 1941 but lacks any major bigwigs within DC Comics or Warner Brothers pulling for her the way they do for Batman, Superman, or Aquaman; instead she's being treated as an obligation. "Avengers" director Joss Whedon worked on producing a "Wonder Woman" film from 2005-2007, and cited among the many reasons for abandoning the project was an "overwhelming [...] lack of enthusiasm". The last DC superhero who was given a strong corporate push besides either Batman or Superman in recent history was "Green Lantern" in 2011; by sheer coincidence, another franchise that Geoff Johns made a name with writing for years. Instead, while Gal Gadot has been officially confirmed as playing a cameo role as Wonder Woman in "Batman v. Superman", there isn't one, much less two, screen writers being paid to chomp at the bit for her potential film. While major DC Entertainment and Warner Brothers brass seem to go out of their way to defend and amp up Aquaman in interviews (such as director Zack Synder defending the underwater hero on the radio), even DCE president Diane Nelson says that Wonder Woman, at best, is "tricky".

Casting Momoa as Aquaman is a brilliant move, and the hero has a long history to explore, and has legions of fans. It simply is fascinating to see how a major corporate studio and its' minions can bend over backwards to redeem the public image of a white male hero for the better part of 13 years in nearly every way, while they've been utterly lax with capitalizing on ownership of the most well known heroine in pop culture for that same length of time.

"Gotham by Midnight" the latest Batman comic spin off!

DC Comics are doing a shuffle with Batman's spin off books as summer shifts into fall. "Nightwing" has been replaced by "Grayson" (which debuted in the top 10 in July), "Batgirl" is being drastically retooled and some more spin off series are also being planned, such as "Gotham Academy". Blastr has confirmed with DC Comics that another Batman spin off is due, "Gotham by Midnight". Written by Ray Fawkes ("Constantine", "Batman Eternal") and drawn by Ben Templesmith ("30 Days of Night"), it is a supernatural/horror book which sees a team of detectives in Gotham being referred to cases involving things that go bump in the night; sometimes even by Batman. The cast is led by Jim Corrigan (also known as "the Spectre") alongside "Detective Lisa Drake, forensic investigator Dr. Szandor Tarr and religious consultant Sister Justine". If this sounds like Greg Rucka's "Gotham Central" with a supernatural twist, that's only because it does.

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