As a young child I was pretty heavy into comic books. But as I entered my preteens, my interest began to wane. It got to the point where I could no longer suspend my disbelief when it came to super powers—but not in the way you might think. For instance, I had no trouble believing that a character could be imbued with super-human strength, I just couldn’t believe that a guy who could toss cars around like beanbags would never so much as pull a muscle. On the list of activities that cause a herniated disc, I’d place stopping a freight train at or near the top, and yet these guys never even get sore the day after? Pff! Plus, how do the super-muscular guys maintain their physiques? Do they work out? How? What kind of caloric intake are we talking, here, for that level of exertion? Once you fall down that rabbit hole, you ain’t climbing out.
Well, a recent pilot order from Disney XD leads me to believe that there are a few like-minded individuals out there. Entitled “Mighty Med,” it’s about two comic-book enthusiasts who discover a secret wing in their local hospital that caters to super heroes. Sounds like something I would’ve loved as a disillusioned youth. Because it goes beyond super strength. You’re telling me a guy who can read minds isn’t going to seek out a psychiatrist at some point to help him cope with what he discovers in the dark nether regions of the human psyche? A girl with heat vision isn’t going to have at least one incident involving an ill-advised set of bangs and some hair spray? Like I said, it’s a deep rabbit hole. Sheryl Levine is casting ailing crime fighters ahead of a February start in Los Angeles.
Speaking of guys with super strength who don’t have to work out, Hercules might be the original (although people in ancient Greece probably didn’t lose any sleep over his lax training regimen, considering who his father was). Given the recent renaissance of sword-and-sandal pics (“Wrath of the Titans” notwithstanding) as well as the enduring popularity of comic book movies, it probably won’t come as a huge surprise that a new Hercules picture is in the works. This one is based on the comic “The Thracian Wars,” which features Herc training the barbarous Thracian army. The good news is that Hercules is to be portrayed by Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, aka The People’s Champ, a guy who most definitely does work out, and a guy who has proven himself a charismatic and entertaining leading man. The … other news is it’s to be directed by Brett Ratner, whom people love to hate, but who has proven himself adept at handling big-budget studio fare. I say the ceiling for this is “Conan the Destroyer,” while the floor is “Red Sonja.” Cathy Sandrich of Mackey/Sandrich is casting. Shooting is schedule to start in late May in New Zealand.