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Monday, June 18, 2012

4481. Wolverine in bike

Wolverine is a fictional character, a superhero who appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Born as James Howlett and commonly known as Logan, Wolverine is a mutant who possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, three retracting bone claws on each hand and a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound, disease or toxin at an accelerated rate. The healing factor also slows down his aging process, enabling him to live beyond a normal human lifespan. His powerful healing factor enabled the supersoldier program Weapon X to bond the near-indestructible metal alloy adamantium to his skeleton and claws without killing him. He is most often depicted as a member of the X-Men, Alpha Flight, or later the Avengers. The character first appeared in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk #180 (his first full appearance is in issue #181, November 1974) and was created by writer Len Wein and Marvel art director John Romita, Sr., who designed the character, and was first drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe. Wolverine later joined the X-Men's "All New, All Different" roster in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975). X-Men writer Chris Claremont played a significant role in the character's subsequent development, along with artist/writer John Byrne, who insisted on making the character older than the other X-Men. Artist Frank Miller collaborated with Claremont and helped to revise the character with a four-part eponymous limited series from September to December 1982 in which Wolverine's catchphrase, "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn't very nice," debuted. Wolverine was typical of the many tough, anti-authority, antiheroes that emerged in American popular culture after the Vietnam War; his willingness to use deadly force and his brooding nature became standard characteristics for comic book anti-heroes by the end of the 1980s. As a result, the character became the clear favorite for fans of the increasingly popular X-Men franchise. Wolverine has been featured in his own solo comic since 1988 and has been a central character in most X-Men adaptations, including animated television series, video games, and the live-action 20th Century Fox X-Men film series, in which he is portrayed by Hugh Jackman. In May 2008, Wolverine was ranked #1 out of Wizard magazine's Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time and was ranked as the 4th Greatest Comic Book Character by Empire magazine in July 2008. On their list of the 100 Greatest Fictional Characters, Fandomania.com ranked Wolverine at #21. In May 2011, Wolverine was ranked 4th on IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes.

Friday, June 8, 2012

4480. Daffy Duck

Daffy first appeared on April 17, 1937, in Porky's Duck Hunt, directed by Tex Avery and animated by Bob Clampett. The cartoon is a standard hunter/prey pairing for which Leon Schlesinger's studio was famous, but Daffy (barely more than an unnamed bit player in this short) was something new to moviegoers: an assertive, completely unrestrained, combative protagonist. Clampett later recalled: "At that time, audiences weren't accustomed to seeing a cartoon character do these things. And so, when it hit the theaters it was an explosion. People would leave the theaters talking about this daffy duck." This early Daffy is less anthropomorphic and resembles a "normal" duck. In fact, the only aspects of the character that have remained consistent through the years are his voice characterization by Mel Blanc and his black feathers with a white neck ring. Blanc's characterization of Daffy holds the world record for the longest characterization of one animated character by his or her original actor: 52 years. The origin of Daffy's voice is a matter of some debate. One often-repeated "official" story is that it was modeled after producer Schlesinger's tendency to lisp. However, in Mel Blanc's autobiography, That's Not All Folks!, he contradicts that conventional belief, writing, "It seemed to me that such an extended mandible would hinder his speech, particularly on words containing an s sound. Thus 'despicable' became 'desthpicable.'" Daffy's slobbery, exaggerated lisp was developed over time, and it is barely noticeable in the early cartoons. In "Daffy Duck & Egghead", Daffy does not lisp at all except in the separately drawn set-piece of Daffy singing "The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down" in which just a slight lisp can be heard. Daffy has no official middle name, but he has sometimes been given a "joke" middle name specific to the plot of a cartoon. In "The Scarlet Pumpernickel" (1949), he calls himself "Daffy Dumas Duck" as the writer of a swashbuckling script, a nod to Alexandre Dumas. Also, in the Baby Looney Tunes episode "The Tattletale", Granny addresses Daffy as "Daffy Horacio Tiberius Duck". In The Looney Tunes Show (2011), the joke middle names "Armando" and "Sheldon" are used.

4479. Quasimodo

Quasimodo is the main protagonist of Disney's 1996 animated version of the story, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, where he is a very different character than in the novel. He is not one-eyed although a large lump over one eye may hinder his vision. Also, he is not deaf either, he is capable of fluent speech, and longs to live in the world outside the belltower. He has three gargoyle friends named Victor, Hugo, and Laverne. He comes from a family of gypsies, like in the novel, but in a dramatic change, his mother does not abandon him, but she is rather killed by Judge Claude Frollo, who leaves Quasimodo alive in the belltower when the Archdeacon of Notre Dame condemns him for chasing Quasimodo's mother to her death on the steps of Notre Dame, warning of the consequences if he kills the infant under the "eyes of Notre Dame". Quasimodo in this version is kind-hearted, not frightening, and is, at first, loyal to his so-called "master", Frollo, but becomes rebellious after the encouragement from the gargoyles. Soon, he discovers from Esmeralda that the world is not as dark and cruel a place as Frollo makes it out to be. Quasimodo soon realizes that Frollo is evil, and ceases to consider him a fatherly figure, like in the novel. In a corresponding change, when Frollo falls to his doom at the film's climax, Quasimodo does not show any sorrow, having previously almost killed him personally. In a drastically different ending, Quasimodo remains alive at the end of the film, as he falls off of Notre Dame, Phoebus catches him and pulls him to safety. He is finally accepted into society. Quasimodo was voiced by Tom Hulce and animated by James Baxter. He reappears in Disney's sequel film The Hunchback of Notre Dame II (2002) once again as the main protagonist, where he is described as independent and finds a love interest, a circus girl named Madellaine. He also made some occasional appearances on the Disney Channel series, House of Mouse. At one point, Jiminy Cricket, when giving advice to the guests, consoled him by saying that some people find someone special and some people do not, poking fun at the fact that Quasimodo and Esmeralda did not fall in love at the end of the original film. Quasimodo is also a very rare meetable character at Walt Disney World Resort. In the Disney version, Quasimodo displays an immense amount of physical strength (most likely due to twenty years of pulling the ropes on heavy bells at an almost constant rate), being able to easily lift a full grown man with one hand, throw a stone with enough weight to destroy a chariot of metal, and break free of heavy chains with extreme effort. A German musical stage show, "Der Glöckner von Notre Dame" (1999) derived from the Disney movie, restores some of the many of the darker elements of the story lost in the film; Esmeralda dies at the end, Frollo is revealed to have once been a priest in his past (akin to the novel, where he was an archdeacon) and Frollo dies because Quasimodo throws him from the roof, rather than falling by accident. Quasimodo makes his debut appearance in the Kingdom Hearts series in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance in a world based on the movie, called Le Cité des Cloches. He was the first new Disney character confirmed for the game. Tom Hulce will return to reprise his role in the game, despite his retirement on film acting.