In covering the San Diego ComicCon, Geoff Boucher's Los Angeles Times blog notes that writer-director John August will not be in attendance, since he's toiling away on New Line's film adaptation of Shazam!, the Captain Marvel movie. As has been reported, Jake Gyllenhaal and The Rock are two possible candidates to play the superhero, possibly in the before and after transformation. The Captain is a crippled newsboy named Billy Batson who is endowed by a Dumbledorish wizard to transform himself into a mighty scarlet-clad superhero. Captain Marvel has been on screen since the Republic serial of 1941 when Tom Tyler played him, even though Captain Marvel looks awfully like Fred MacMurray in C. C. Beck's classic comic books. In August's own blog, the perennial collaborator with Tim Burton (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Big Fish, et al) tried to describe his own geek-free vision of what's going on. He includes a cheat sheet to describe some of the better moments in print with the Big Red Cheese...none of the comic book pics include Frank Miller's DK 2, where Miller proposed an interesting theory: That Captain Marvel's alter-ego Billy Batson could die of old age, leaving him trapped in that big torso and doorman's costume.

Boucher talks about August's provocative remarks, but here's the entire quote from August's blog (words that will really make the old-time fans of Captain Marvel wish they had a large Styrofoam boulder to throw at him): "Every time I read one of these [comic books]," says August, "I'm struck with the same realization I encounter trying to watch The Honeymoonersor a black-and-white movie. Wow. Old thing suck." He goes on to add: "... Old-time comic books were awkwardly written, crudely drawn, and bewilderingly inconsistent with their rules. They were making up the art form as they went along, and today's comic books are better for the accumulated wisdom." The breezy inconsistency between an art form sucking and yet having accumulated wisdom bypasses August. One had to be grateful for the correspondent who wrote into August saying "Pretty harsh words from the guy who wrote the film version of Charlie's Angels" ... even if he did put a smiley emoticon next to it. Check out the LA Times story for more on the movie, including when it's set, what Captain Marvel will look like and who might play villain.

Edited to correct quote.