Posts tagged #marvel comics

Marvel Cinematic Universe Guidebook in Stores Today, Citizen Jane in Theaters Friday!

2017 is shaping out to be pretty darn hectic. I'll attempt to do my best at keeping shameless self-promotion to a tolerable minimum. But this week's a big one.

The first collected volume of the Marvel Cinematic Universe Guidebook is out today. Additionally, a feature film I co-produced called Citizen Jane: Battle for the City hits theaters and on-demand this Friday. Talk about two different projects releasing in the same week... but hold onto that thought, we'll come back to that. They might be more connected than you think.

Let's start with the Marvel Cinematic Universe Guidebook. My part in the book was small, but I was honored to be a contributor to the original monthly releases and can't wait to have this 192-page collection sitting on the shelf. The first hardcover volume collects the encyclopedic entries for the original Iron Man film through Thor: The Dark World. The famed OHOTMU (Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe) team was incredibly gracious and kind to let this newbie tag along, and I learned so much working with them. I can't recommend this book enough to both die-hard and casual fans alike. It'll be available starting today in local brick and mortar stores, Barnes and Noble (and on Nook!), and of course via Amazon (and on Kindle!). Volume 2 won't be far behind, with a December 2017 release date and pre-orders already available.

Next up, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City. About two years ago, I jumped onto good friend Corey Reeser's staff at Altimeter Films to help he and Matt Tyrnauer wrap up several projects. The first feature film release of those projects is Citizen Jane. This is a documentary that focuses on urban planning and a question of how a city should grow and function. It explores that question through the two very different viewpoints of Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses. It's a fascinating subject and the film gives a great primer to the uninitiated (like me). I've been proud to be a part of the post-production process. It was incredibly challenging to see the film through finishing, mix and delivery, and I've also been part of the social media team. A theatrical run starts April 21st, and the film is also available via on-demand through IFC Films. For more information, check out the Altimeter Films website here.

You might be thinking, "Troy, that's very cool but why are you lumping these two things into one post?" The answer could be chalked up to sheer laziness. Or the fact I'm on a deadline and pressed for spare time. But check this out - - I'm about to blow your mind. Granted, I've since learned that I'm not the only one who has noticed this connection. But just the same, I'll explore it. Ready?

I bet I can connect our documentary film about Jane Jacobs and Robert Moses' battle over city planning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the first season of the Netflix Daredevil series, Wilson Fisk (played by Vincent D'Onofrio) looks to rebuild the neighborhood he loves in the image of his choosing. Hell's Kitchen, where he grew up, has been overtaken by crime, slums, and affordable housing. Which makes it a desirable locale for two lawyers on their own who do a lot of work pro-bono for those in need like Matt Murdock and Foggy Nelson. But Fisk would love for the grime to be torn down and replaced by shiny and more modern, high-income yielding property. Fisk believes what he's doing to be just, even though his methods and underground connections are highly questionable.

In one of the most terrifying moments of the first season, Fisk breaks into the home of reporter Ben Urich. He attempts to explain himself to Urich, pleading that he's not the bad guy. He just wants what's best for the city that he loves. As he sits ominously in the darkness, the production has very explicitly chosen to highlight a crucial part of set decoration over his shoulder: the seminal biography on Robert Moses, The Power Broker. The speech he gives to Urich could be right out of Moses' own testimonial found within the pages of the biography.

Sure enough, if you watch our documentary Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, Robert Moses believes what he's doing to be right. That there's a cancer in his city. He wants to tear it out so that the city can heal. And, one would imagine, to prosper financially. Though the comparison stops about there, there is one further piece to the connection here:

In Citizen Jane: Battle for the City - Robert Moses is voiced by none other than the great Vincent D'Onofrio himself.

For a much more thorough examination, the New Republic wrote a great article at the time of the production that I've since discovered. The author also goes so far as to compare Jane Jacobs to Daredevil. I won't cover that ground, as it might retread on my prior examination that Jane Jacobs is a bit like RoboCop. The New Republic article is a fascinating read that I highly recommend, especially after you view the new documentary as a primer.

So there you have it. Two seemingly unrelated thoughts melded into one. What's next to shamelessly plug? In September, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fans will be able to get their hands on the fourth installment of the Declassified series. October is going to see the release of a fun book that I can't quite talk about yet (but is up for pre-order for those with fine-tuned investigative skills). And December, as mentioned will be the second hardcover collection of the GMCU!

And in 2018, I'll attempt to hibernate to recover.

Get Declassified Once Again with Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Three Declassified!

Now available at online booksellers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, local comic shops, or wherever fine publications are sold - Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Season Three Declassified by Troy Benjamin! This 248 page hardcover continues the tradition of providing an excellent resource to fans of the series and the Marvel Cinematic Universe by giving you a full and detailed episode guide along with analysis from the writers, producers, and cast of the show, as well as looks behind the scenes on the stunts, visual effects, costumes, props, even the sounds required on a weekly basis for ABC's hit series!

Among the features of this season's book:

- A foreword penned by Daisy Johnson herself, Chloe Bennet talking about her experiences on the show.

- "The Sound of S.H.I.E.L.D." a top to bottom look behind how sound factors into each and every episode of the series, from what is recorded during production (and what is not) to what is added later in post-production. What does Daisy's "Quake" ability sound like? Do they smash a lot of car windows to get that sound? Find out in the book!

- A changed Director Coulson, Clark Gregg on love found and love lost - and what the tragedy he experiences in Season Three does to forever change his character.

- A look back on the evolution of Grant Ward into Hive, including conceptual artwork and commentary from the show runners and Brett Dalton himself!

- L.O.V.E. on S.H.I.E.L.D. - just why are relationships so difficult in the modern spy workplace? And how and why was this the right time for two "cursed" lovers to come together in the series? Elizabeth Henstridge and Iain De Caestecker give you their thoughts in this year's book!

As always, these behind the scenes tomes are such a joy to write - hopefully you'll enjoy reading this season's book as much as I enjoyed writing it!

"This Week on Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Podcast

Gushing About The Guardians

Amy Pond, you've changed! And it makes us all feel kinda funny... (Courtesy Marvel)

From the moment Peter (aka "Star-Lord") Quill breaks the cliche careful Indiana Jones approach to collect an artifact within an ancient temple, kicking on his Sony Walkman and sauntering and dancing in time to Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love", I knew I was hooked.

Guardians has been crushing it at the box-office this weekend, and rightly so... the film is infused with a lot of fun, a lot of nostalgia and reverence for the films that it have inspired it, and all-in-all is an incredibly fulfilling experience.

After several promising trailers, my anticipation (and my expectations) of Marvel's latest Guardians of the Galaxy were higher that normal for blockbuster films. I've adopted a new policy as of late with films that I'm eagerly anticipating that I'll watch the proper release trailers and then nothing else in order to keep as much surprise as possible to the experience of seeing the film. Especially in this spoiler-frenzy based internet world, it's pretty difficult. I'd often have to quickly close web browser pages or excuse myself from conversations in order to avoid any details. In fact, just before heading to the theater on Sunday, I was in conversation with the webmaster of and she almost divulged a surprise literally an hour or two before viewing. But sticking my head in the sand and knowing very little about a film has worked out pretty well with movies like Snowpiercer, The Winter Soldier and others and actually heightened the experience.

Truth be told, if I were still an eight-year old kid, I'd be going bonkers right now for Guardians. Wanting every toy, wanting to be Star-Lord on the playground during recess, it's that type of film that I can only hope the younger set will latch onto the way that I think I would have. I plan on seeing the film on the big screen (and suggest that you do the same) at least once or twice more - there's so many things in the background of The Collector's vault like Dark Elves, and artifacts and others that I couldn't take in completely in one viewing. So caught up in the fun and excitement of the main story, my eyes didn't wander much around the frame to glimpse any of the amazing detail that was put into the film.

And so shocked at who appears in the tag at the end of the credits was I, that I didn't get to enjoy the whole moment because I was too busy exclaiming out loud, "What!? WHAT??!" I won't spoil this moment here in hopes that the experience for those of you who haven't seen it won't be ruined for you either - we can discuss in the comments section for those that wish to remain spoiler-free - but it was another one of those moments where you have to admire Marvel for giving their audience the benefit of the doubt. I'm sure other executives would have taken that moment and said, "You know, I don't think a lot of people are going to understand this. Can't we do something with more mass appeal?" But Marvel sticks to its guns and delivers once again.

Thanks Guardians of the Galaxy for reminding me how much damn fun summer movies can be again. Eight-year old me and thirty-something year old me are both incredibly appreciative.

Posted on August 4, 2014 and filed under Movies.