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The 10 coolest vehicles from comic book movies

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Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance” roars into theaters this weekend, leaving a trail of fire and burnt rubber in its wake.

Sporting a new set of directors and a reinvented take on the motorcycle-riding anti-hero, “Spirit of Vengeance” also features a new look at the way Ghost Rider interacts with his fire-spitting ride and anything else he gets behind the wheel of. Whether it’s on two wheels or a set of treads, every vehicle becomes an instrument of fiery retribution for Johnny Blaze’s demonic alter ego.

Still, Ghost Rider isn’t the first comic book character to bring a memorable ride along when making the jump from page to screen. In no particular order, here are our 10 favorite vehicles from the modern era of comic book movies.


The Owl Ship (“Watchmen“)

No matter what you think of Zack Snyder’s live-action adaptation of Watchmen, it’s difficult not to be impressed by the film’s version of the Owlship, Nite Owl’s high-tech flying headquarters. Not only is it intimidating, but it gets bonus points for staying true to the comic and actually looking like an owl’s head. Sadly, it loses some of those bonus points for playing host to one of the worst sex scenes ever filmed, but I digress…


The Blackbird (“X-Men” 1-3, “X-Men: First Class“)

While there’s nothing too fancy about the sleek jet used by the X-Men to get around the world, there’s something to be said for the fact that almost everyone associates the silhouette of the Blackbird with Marvel’s mutants even though it was based on a real-world plane developed way back in 1964. Heck, there are more than a few people who might not believe you when you tell them the SR-71 Blackbird was a real plane — it’s become associated with the X-Men that closely.


The Batmobile (“Batman” & “Batman Returns“)

Fans of Christopher Nolan’s big-screen Bat-verse might scoff at the choice of this version of the Batmobile (from Tim Burton’s “Batman” and “Batman Returns”) as my favorite of the bunch, but in my mind, this version of Batman’s ride offered the best balance of form and function for The Dark Knight. Designed by Anton Furst, who won an Oscar for conceiving of both the Batmobile and the noir-influenced take on Gotham City seen in the film, this Batmobile exists equidistant from Nolan’s military-style “Tumbler” and the glowing, missile-like Batmobile from Joel Schumacher’s “Batman & Robin.”


Ghost Rider’s motorcycle (“Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance“)

I mentioned this one earlier, but once you see “Spirit of Vengeance” you’ll understand why it’s on the list. The bike Johnny Blaze rides is already pretty sweet in its normal form (read: not engulfed in flames), but once he becomes Ghost Rider things move to a whole new level of bad-assery. Like a good horse, Ghost Rider’s bike comes when he calls it, and always makes a great first (and second, and third) impression with flames that seem to pour from every crevice and a roar that sounds more bestial than mechanical. It’s truly a ride fit for a demon.


A Horse with Gatling Guns (“Jonah Hex“)

One of the funniest images from 2010’s live-action “Jonah Hex” movie wasn’t intended to be humorous — but it quickly became a popular symbol of everything that was wrong with the studio’s attempt to bring DC’s famous bounty hunter to the big screen. While the memorable image of Jon Hex unveiling his completely implausible combination of horse and heavy weaponry is burned into fans’ brains, it’s worth noting that the original version was even more ridiculous. According to “Jonah Hex” star Josh Brolin, an early design for the horse-mounted gun had the barrel placed underneath the horse’s belly on a rotating mount — which seems fine until you consider what would happen when the barrel swings from side and shoots off the horse’s legs. Owch.

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Thank Azaria

Best. Characters. Ever.

Our favorite Hank Azaria characters.

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GIFs via Giphy

Hank Azaria may well be the most prolific voice and character actor of our time. The work he’s done for The Simpsons alone has earned him a permanent place in the pop culture zeitgeist. And now he’s bringing another character to the mainstream: a washed-up sports announcer named Jim Brockmire, in the aptly titled new series Brockmire.

We’re looking forward to it. So much so that we want to look backward, too, with a short-but-sweet retrospective of some of Azaria’s important characters. Shall we begin?

Half The Recurring Simpsons Characters

He’s Comic Book Guy. He’s Chief Wiggum. He’s Apu. He’s Cletus. He’s Snake. He’s Superintendent Chalmers. He’s the Sea Captain. He’s Kurt “Can I Borrow A Feeling” Van Houten. He’s Professor Frink. He’s Carl. And he’s many more. But most importantly he’s Moe Szyslak, the staple character Azaria has voiced since his very first audition for The Simpsons.

Oh, and He’s Frank Grimes

For all the regular Simpsons characters Azaria has played over the years, his most brilliant performance may have been a one-off: Frank Grimes, the scrappy bootstrapper who worked tirelessly all his life for honest, incremental, and easily-undermined success. Azaria’s portrayal of this character was nuanced, emotional, and simply magical.

Patches O’Houlihan

Dodgeball is a “sport of violence, exclusion and degradation.” as Hank Azaria generously points out in his brief but crucial cameo in Dodgeball. That’s sage wisdom. Try applying his “five D’s” to your life on and off the court and enjoy the results.

Harold Zoid

Of Futurama fame. The crazy uncle of Dr. Zoidberg, Harold Zoid was once a lion (or lobster) of the silver screen until Smell-o-vision forced him into retirement.

Agador

The Birdcage was significant for many reasons, and the comic genius of Hank Azaria’s character “Agador” sits somewhere towards the top of that list. If you haven’t seen this movie, shame on you.

Gargamel

Nobody else could make a live-action Gargamel possible.

Ed Cochran

From Ray Donovan. Great character, great last name [editorial note: the author of this article may be bias].

Kahmunra, The Thinker, Abe Lincoln

All in the Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian, a file that let Azaria flex his voice acting and live-action muscles in one fell swoop.

The Blue Raja

Mystery Men has everything, including a fatal case of Smash Mouth. Azaria’s iconic superhero makes the shortlist of redeemable qualities, though.

Dr. Huff

Huff put Azaria in a leading role, and it was good. So good that there is no good gif of it. Internet? More like Inter-not.

Learn more about Hank Azaria’s newest claim to fame right here, and don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Flame Out

Brockmire and Other Public Implosions

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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There’s less than a month until the Brockmire premiere, and to say we’re excited would be an insulting understatement. It’s not just that it stars Hank Azaria, who can do no wrong (and yes, that’s including Mystery Men, which is only cringeworthy because of Smash Mouth). It’s that the whole backstory of the titular character, Jim Brockmire, is the stuff of legends. A one-time iconic sportscaster who won the hearts of fans and players alike, he fell from grace after an unfortunate personal event triggered a seriously public meltdown. See for yourself in the NSFW Funny or Die digital short that spawned the IFC series:

See? NSFW and spectacularly catastrophic in a way that could almost be real. Which got us thinking: What are some real-life sports fails that have nothing to do with botched athletics and everything to do with going tragically off script? The internet is a dark and dirty place, friends, but these three examples are pretty special and mostly safe for work…

Disgruntled Sports Reporter

His co-anchor went offsides and he called it like he saw it.

Jim Rome vs Jim “Not Chris” Everett

You just don’t heckle a professional athlete when you’re within striking distance. Common sense.

Carl Lewis’s National Anthem

He killed it! As in murdered. It’s dead.

To see more moments just like these, we recommend spending a day in your pajamas combing through the muckiness of the internet. But to see something that’s Brockmire-level funny without having to clear your browser history, check out the sneak peeks and extras here.

Don’t miss the premiere of Brockmire April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Mirror, Mirror

Portlandia Season 7 In Hindsight

Portlandia Season 7 Now Available Online and on the IFC App.

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Another season of Portlandia is behind us, and oh what a season it was. We laughed. We cried. And we chuckled uncomfortably while glancing nervously around the room. Like every season before it, the latest Portlandia has held a mirror up to ridiculousness of modern American life, but more than ever that same mirror has reflected our social reality in ways that are at once hysterical and sneakily thought-provoking. Here are just a few of the issues they tackled:

Nationalism

So long, America, Portland is out! And yes, the idea of Portland seceding is still less ludicrous than building a wall.

Men’s Rights

We all saw this coming. Exit gracefully, dudes.

Protests

Whatever you stand for, stand for it together. Or with at least one other person.

Free Love

No matter who we are or how we love, deep down we all have the ability to get stalky.

Social Status

Modern self-esteem basically hinges on likes, so this isn’t really a stretch at all.

These moments are just the tip of the iceberg, and much more can be found in the full seventh season of #Portlandia, available right now #online and on the #IFC app.

via GIPHY

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