Monday, 12 January 2015

Ext. New York City - Superhero City

One of the reasons I have been not as frequent in my blog posts this year is that I have started work on a new writing project called "Ext. New York City - Discover The Reel New York City On Location".
In 2009 I visited New York for the first time and fell in love with the city and have visited it every year since. However I think I had fallen in love with the Big Apple even before I had ever walked along the streets of Manhattan thanks to the movies.
As a huge fan of the movies and of the city, I am currently writing a travel guide that will cater and appeal to film fans looking to visit and discover more about the locations made famous in the movies.
I am under no illusions here and fully expect to self publish the book on a digital format but who knows, there might just be a publisher out there for this type of book.
In the meantime I will work away with an aim of completing it this year... perhaps making one more trip back to the Big Apple to get a few more pictures before then.
However I wanted to post a little preview of what I'm doing and so therefore here is a little taste of what is to come in the form of a sample chapter looking at the Superhero genre in NYC.
Hope you like it.

As witnessed in the chapter on apocalyptic New York, the Big Apple can often find itself under threat and holding out for a hero.

Thankfully in the realm of comic books and their big screen adaptations, there are many superheroes that call New York City home and will fight to defend it including your friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man and Brooklyn's very own Steve Rogers aka Captain America.

The headquarters of Marvel Comics has always been based in NYC and many of their characters also live within the five boroughs.

Part of the comics and characters enduring appeal was that even though these characters were mutants or beings with fantastical powers, they were grounded in a reality that was familiar to the readers and seeing them interact with real-life places and situations helped to increase their relatability and popularity.

You have Peter Parker residing in Queens, Daredevil patrolling the streets of Hell's Kitchen and the Fantastic Four live and work in the fictional Baxter Buiilding that appears in the Manhattan skyline.

So when it comes to adapting these stories to the big screen, the producers are lucky in that a large proportion of the location scouting, production design and even storyboarding has already been provided for them by the comic book artists. Although these are not always set in stone as the key word is adaptations, with the makers of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 sadly not opting to recreate the infamous cover of issue 122 come the finale.

Even DC Comics, who created fictional cities for thier most famous heroes Batman and Superman, have used the backlot that is New York City when it came to bringing Metroplois to life in Richard Donner's Superman and elements of Gotham in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight Trilogy.

The current boom in comic book movies really took off with the success of Spider-Man in May 2002, becoming the first film to take over $100 million at the US box office on its opening weekend.

Part of this may be down to the fact that following the events of 9/11, America and New York in particular was in desperate need of a hero and they found one in the form of a costumed superhero from their very own backyard.

For the last twelve years Earth's mightiest heroes have defended its greatest city before coming full circle and culminating in the Battle Of New York in The Avengers, which became the first film to take over $200 million in its first weekend.

It is fair to say that the city and its inhabitants are characters in their own right which adds to the stakes of the adventures e.g. the New Yorkers on the bridge in Spider-Man who defiantly shout to the Green Goblin that "you mess with one of us, you mess with all of us" or the NYPD who move people to safety in The Avengers at the behest of the embodiment of the American Dream Captain America during their battle with the Chitauri.

Although in the comics and movies, superheroes have not always gained the approval of the authorities or certain editors of The Daily Bugle, they have been welcomed with open arms by the people of New York and the same goes for comic book fans with lots for them to do in the Big Apple.

Every October, the city plays host to the New York Comic Con (, held at the Javits Convention Center. It welcomes 120,000 visitors every year over a four day period making it the largest event of its type outside of San Diego.

Recommended comic book stores include the original Midtown Comics near Times Square (200 W 40th St & 7th Avenue) and St. Marks Comics (11 St Marks Place between 2nd & 3rd Avenue).

For those looking to walk in the footsteps of their favourite superheroes, then Celebrity Planet's Superhero Walking Tour is highly recommended. Running every Fri/Sat/Sun at 2.00, it lasts 90 minutes and will take you on fun, fact-filled guide through some of Midtown's iconic locations. ( Cost - $35.

Superman (1978)

The Daily Planet - New York Daily News Building, 220 East 42nd Street between 2nd & 3rd Avenue)

The interior lobby and exterior of the building would play the part of the offices of The Daily Planet newspaper where Superman would work undercover as Clark Kent and first meet Lois Lane.

Spider-Man (2002)

The Daily Bugle - Flatiron Building (175 5th Avenue)

In Sam Raimi's trilogy of Spider-Man films, the famous Flatiron building is the home of The Daily Bugle where Peter Parker sells his candid photos of Spidey to his most vocal naysayer, editor J. Jonah Jameson.

The Avengers (2012)

The Battle For New York - Grand Central Station/Pershing Square/Park Avenue

When Loki opens a portal above Stark Tower (digitally replacing the Metlife building above Grand Central Station) and unleashes the Chitauri army upon Manhattan, the Avengers predominantly battle them in the area surrounding the station which includes Pershing Square and Park Avenue.

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