Edinburgh Film Festival Goes (sort of) Comics Crazy in June

Modesty Blaise 1966 Film Poster

In June, POW!!! Live Action Comic Strip Adaptations: The First Generation will offer 2016 Edinburgh Film Festival-goers the chance to explore the cinematic roots of the current tidal wave of superhero blockbusters such as Batman versus Superman and The Avengers: Civil War, taking an international retrospective journey through cult genre in dynamic style, to explore in full the colourful evolution of the live-action comic strip adaptation in cinema.

The retrospective explores the best of the genre from explosive martial arts to chic 1960s espionage via funky blaxploitation and far-out science fiction. 

Titles will include Jean Jaques Vierne’s TinTin and the Mystery of the Golden Fleece (France/Belgium 1961), Joseph Losey’s Modesty Blaise (UK 1966 – a film that’s a campy take on the much better comics), Leslie H. Martinson’s Batman: The Movie (USA 1966), Mario Bava’s Danger: Diabolik (Italy 1968), Roger Vadim’s Barbarella (France/Italy 1968, the source graphic novel recently re-released by Humanoids), Junya Sato’s Golgo 13 (Japan 1973), Kenji Misumi’s Lone Wolf and Cub: Sword of Vengeance (Japan 1972), Corrado Farina’s Baba Yaga (Italy/France 1973), Arthur Marks’ Friday Foster (USA 1975) and Robert Altman’s Popeye (USA 1980 – you can still visit the set in Malta, by the way).

The screenings will be supplemented by Origin Story, an event tracing the birth of the live action comic strip adaptation in cinema from the 1960s back to the silent era and detailing the earliest attempts to translate the frames on the page into frames on the big screen.

Senior Programmer Niall Fulton commented: “With superhero cinema dominating the international box office, the time is right for EIFF to take an affectionate look back at the weird, wild, and wonderful world of the big screen comic strip adaptation. It’s a unique and exciting opportunity to see a selection of rare, iconic cult classics the way they should be seen, and provides a highly entertaining insight into the provenance of this current global phenomenon.”

• Edinburgh International Film Festival, 15-26 June 2016 Web: www.edfilmfest.org.uk

With thanks to Jeremy Briggs for the spot

The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Explorer (previously known as Star Trek Magazine) and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of "Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies" for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.

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