Pop Culture Roundup Oct. 18, 2007

No kung-fu grip, but he's got a wide stance: It's the Sen. Larry Craig action figure.


The BBC profiles Asterix artist Albert Uderzo.

"Asterix is bearing up well after nearly 50 years, he is still awaited by the readers," he says. "We are getting closer to bringing him back to life in a new album", although he later admits that he's still looking for an idea for the next story.

"That's become a lot more difficult for me now - after 33 albums to find an idea is not that easy. If I don't have any more then I am not just going to do an album just for the money. I will stop."


Mmmmm... Dalek cookies!


Newsarama checks in with legendary comics artist John Romita.

NRAMA: Steve Ditko, of course, created the Spider-Man visual. But you really refined the "licensing" Spider-Man image. When anyone from sneaker companies to Fruit Roll-Ups submits Spider-Man art to Marvel for product, they often get notes back to change it to be in tune with "your" version, especially in the eyes. Do you ever think about the impact of that? Your stamp is in grocery stores and Wal-Marts from Tucson to Tokyo.

JR: Yeah. I devised-partly as art director and partly as a matter of practical concern-a very rigid, but very sensible simplification of the Spider-Man costume. There was an arrangement of the webbing and the way the body was done that would make it simple, and make it transfer to other forms and other media. We really needed it for he syndicated Spider-Man strip that ran in the newspapers. I started that in '77, and the strip ran at usually less than two inches high. Today, I think it's even smaller. One of the things I had to do was make the Spider-Man costume so simple that it could reduce to less than two inches, and still maintain its clarity. That's one of the necessities of a syndicated newspaper strip. But it also made it easier to translate Spider-Man on to other products as well. It was a very concerted effort to get that right.


A "Wolverine" solo film is set for May 2009 release.

"Wolverine" is expected to feature many other mutants -- some new to the film franchise and some from one or more of the three "X-Men" films. Liev Schreiber is reportedly in final talks to take on the role of a younger version of nemesis William Stryker, played by Brian Cox in "X2."


Universal Studios has backed out of a planned Barbarella film by director Robert Rodriquez.

Universal Studios has backed out of backing the movie, whose budget the source pegged at nearly $100 million, because Mr. Rodriguez has insisted on casting his new fiancĂ©, Rose McGowan, in the lead role, famously played by Jane Fonda in the 1968 original directed by Ms. Fonda’s then-husband, Roger Vadim.

The movie depicts a futuristic astronaut who travels the galaxy, seductively conquering everything in her path. More famous names floated for the part included Nicole Kidman, Halle Berry and Jessica Alba.

“It’s sort of embarrassing for everyone involved,” the source said. “No one thinks Rose can carry the movie, but Robert won’t listen.”