content by

Reneysh Vittal

India’s Love Affair with Archie Comics

It was recently announced that there would be a Bollywood-style live-action adaption of Archie comics produced in India. The freckled redhead and his friends Betty, Veronica, Jughead and the gang will be reimagined as Indian teenagers.

Initially, this announcement may seem like a natural progression for the Archie brand thanks in part to the overwhelming success of Riverdale both here in the U.S. and internationally. But that show alone isn’t solely responsible for Archie’s popularity in Indian, nor is it a recent phenomenon. The fact that this is the first American comic book to receive a big screen adaptation for South Asian audiences makes perfect sense: for as long as I can remember, Archie comics have always been part of Indian culture.

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Moral Quandaries and Baby Unicorns: Revisiting the Dungeons & Dragons Animated Series

Fantasy used to be just for nerds and gamers. Dragons, sorcery, quests: all that belonged in dark, poorly lit basements, around a plastic table where you and your friends-by-proxy donned personas, rolled dice, and pretended. That’s hardly the case anymore. If you’re not up to date on the latest goings on of Westeros or Westworld, or familiar with the adventures that took place in Mordor and Hogwarts, then why even bother? And it (arguably) doesn’t matter that you didn’t read the source material.

Perhaps we have 80s cartoons to thank for this mainstreaming of fantasy, at least in part. Escapism came in many forms back then, from shape-shifting robots to holographic pop singers and a never-ending supply of anthropomorphic animals. For the nerds (myself included) who didn’t feel enough connection to the formulaic good guy/bad guy shoot-ups of G.I. Joe and company, they had their needs catered to in a variety of shows set around magic and fantasy lore.

[“Hey, look–a Dungeons & Dragons ride!!!”]

The Flight of Dragons: Revisiting a Forgotten Gem of ’80s Fantasy

A band of mismatched do-gooders. An Odyssean-level quest to save the day. Body switching. Inter-dimensional travel. An ultimate showdown of good versus evil. And of course, dragons. Lots of them. More than Daenerys could ever handle. Ummm…why isn’t this a live action movie yet?

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The Flight Of Dragons is a 1982 direct-to-video (that’s VHS, kids) animated film by Rankin/Bass, the duo that brought us The Hobbit and The Last Unicorn, amongst other classics. These gentlemen deserve ALL the lifetime achievement awards. The film is based on both the 1979 novel of the same name by Peter Dickinson and the 1976 novel The Dragon and the George. It was also a staple of my childhood, played on repeat till that poor tape wore out, along with the other aforementioned movies from the same studio.

[Dragons, wizards, a quest, and James Earl Jones.]

Where Are The New Cult Musicals?

I love musicals! There, I said it! Well, wrote it. OK, if you knew me, this is hardly a shocking revelation. Perhaps more controversial (at least amongst theatre purists) is my love for movie musicals. I enjoy them. I’m glad they exist. They are important. And fortunately it seems like I’ll have plenty to choose from in the next few years.

Every so often, I scour the internet looking for news, posts, and threads about upcoming Tinseltown adaptations of stage shows, whether confirmed, in production or just rumored. From what I’ve discovered there’s a healthy list of options coming soon to a movie theatre near you.

Some I’m quite excited for, like The Drowsy Chaperone (starring Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman) and In The Heights (penned by Hamilton’s Lin Manuel Miranda). Some I’m wary of, like rumored film versions of Cats, Miss Saigon, and Wicked. I just feel they work better as live performances. And there are those that I’ll believe when I see. Like the supposed Spielberg directed remake of West Side Story (why?) and the long delayed Streisand remake of Gypsy (why not?).

All are fine. All are welcome. I just wish all weren’t so safe.

[Let’s make movie musicals weird again…]

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