ScreenCrush’s Comic Strip is a weekly roundup of the hottest superhero movie/TV news items. From Marvel to DC and points in between, if it pertains to costumed comic book heroes, we’re covering it here, bringing you our expert analysis. This week, 'Doctor Strange' and 'Ant-Man' get directors, 'Guardians of the Galaxy' continues its marketing surge, and Channing Tatum promises big things with 'Gambit.'

More Sneak Peeks at 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

With no other superhero movies between now and its August release, 'Guardians of the Galaxy' has officially stepped up its marketing to an absurd level. In addition to the two trailers, we now have these TV spots that aired during the NBA Finals. Hey, that's Ronan the Accuser!

Other new details about the film started to leak out, including a report all about how the Marvel big bad Thanos will appear in the film. Although he's the puppet master behind the entire franchise, he'll only show up on the fringes of the film, mostly to bark orders at Ronan and Nebula as a hologram, and tease his big appearance down the road (in 'Avengers 3'?). The best possible comparison is Emperor Palpatine in 'The Empire Strikes Back,' who showed up just enough to make a lasting impression.

Speaking of plot details, the first unofficial review of the movie arrived online and it's very positive ... and very spoilery. Click THIS LINK at your own risk if you want to know more about 'Guardians of the Galaxy' than you probably care to know two months before release.

Elsewhere, director James Gunn took to his Facebook page to talk about the IMAX 3D cut of the film. He assures everyone that the post-converted 3D won't be a nightmare and teases shifting aspect ratios, which were used to great effect in 'The Dark Knight' and 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.' Here's his full statement:

Just got out of working on the Guardians cut for IMAX 3D and I'm unbelievably excited about it. Guardians of the Galaxy has been planned as a 3D film from its very inception. Yes, if you see the film in 2D, you'll get a full experience. But the 3D experience promises a little something extra. Unlike many directors, I've been actively involved with converting every shot to 3D, making sure it works perfectly for the story and the film, making sure it's spectacular and immersive without being silly, distracting, or overly showy. 3D conversion was once far inferior to shooting in 3D, but over the past couple years new technology has allowed us incredible control over the 3D effects, making it equal to or in some cases greater than shooting in 3D.

As an EXTRA benefit for those who see the film in IMAX 3D, we will be changing aspect ratios throughout the film in a way that makes the experience even fuller and more encompassing. I've personally chosen all the places where the changes occur and, again, I love how it's coming along. The changing aspect ratios in this case are actually a part of the storytelling.

Just wanted to share some of this stuff with you guys since I haven't had a chance to talk about the 3D much. Hope you're all having a great day. Hi!

Finally, Gunn shared some astounding fan-made art on Twitter, including this one:

Matt Ferguson

Channing Tatum Promises Big Things With Gambit

Awhile ago, we confirmed that Channing Tatum was signing on to play the mutant superhero Gambit, and since then, he's been chatting up a storm of hype. He touched upon the project while doing press for his new movie, '22 Jump Street,' but it was MTV who got the most interesting statement:

Creatively, we're starting to chug forward. Obviously there's nothing written. There are only conversations and dreams right now, really. We've talked about it being a standalone, first, and actually trying to change the 'hero, superhero movie.' Because Gambit is not your typical hero. He's a thief. He walks on the gray. I'm hoping we can change it a little bit, and then ultimately feather into the other ones.

We can't help but be a little torn on this. On one level, Tatum is awesome and we'll watch anything he does. On another level, Gambit may be popular, but he's never been a particularly interesting character. However, 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' was a great shot in the arm for the franchise and for the first time in a while, we feel pretty good about any X-related projects on the horizon. Yes, even a Gambit movie.

'Avengers: Age of Ultron' and Marvel Updates

Marvel is currently preoccupied with trying to sell the world on 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' but they're still hard at work on 'Avengers: Age of Ultron.' How far along is this shoot? We'll just let director Joss Whedon fill you in...

Meanwhile, Total Film caught up with Bruce Banner himself, Mark Ruffalo, who talked about returning to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In typical Marvel-actor fashion, he revealed details without, you know, actually saying anything:

[My role's] even bigger than last time, and it's more complex and it has more layers and a bit more arc. I'm really tripping on the technology of this motion-capture stuff… now I just completely embrace it and see it as this other exciting place we can go as performers.

The best news to come out of those bare-bone statements? More Hulk. After stealing the first film right from under the nose of Iron Man, we will never say no to additional Hulk.

Finally, some cool concept art from 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' arrived online, giving us some alternate looks at the cyborg-ized Bucky Barnes and Falcon:

John Nizzi
John Nizzi

Check out the full gallery right over here.

'Doctor Strange' and 'Ant-Man' Find Their Directors

Everyone was once excited to see director Edgar Wright take on the very cool B-lister of a superhero, 'Ant-Man,' but now we're all wondering what Peyton Reed is going to do with the material.

Yep, the director of 'Bring It On,' 'The Break-Up' and the massively underrated 'Down With Love' has been hired to replace Wright after he dropped out over creative differences. On top of that, 'Anchorman' mastermind Adam McKay (who was in the running for the director's seat) will rewrite the screenplay. There's a toxicity surrounding this project now, but the combination of Reed and McKay has us feeling positive. Reed is going to face many naysayers for taking this gig (Wright remains a geek god), but he's an interesting choice and we're excited to see what he brings to the film.

In less controversial news, Marvel found their man for 'Doctor Strange,' and it's none other than 'Sinister' director Scott Derrickson.

With a background in horror cinema, he can bring a dark edge to one of Marvel's weirdest characters. Since he spends most of his adventures fighting monsters with magic and battling the forces of darkness, a horror guy is the best possible choice.

But who will play the Sorcerer Supreme himself? The first rumors suggested that Oscar-winner Jared Leto (shudder) was up for the part, but new buzz has Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy on Marvel's wish list. Despite being wildly different actors with wildly different physical presences, we can actually see both of them doing a great job with the role. Hopefully, the final casting is as promising as these reports.

Superhero Video Games, Toys and Swag

Let's get this section of the Comic Strip started with a bang: some crazy person recreated Pyro's flame-shooters, giving an ordinary schmoe the power of a flame-controlling X-Man:

In slightly safer (albeit more disappointing) news, the highly anticipated Batman: Arkham Knight has been delayed until 2015. That means people hoping to walk in the shoes of The Dark Knight on next-gen video game consoles will have to wait a little longer.

Speaking of Batman, this new life-size bust of the Caped Crusader is the most insanely detailed rendering of the character you will ever put on your shelf. Amazing? Creepy? A little bit of both?

What? Not done with Batman yet? Well, there's this cool 75th anniversary T-shirt ...

DC Comics

And before we get too far away from the world of video games, the first Captain America gameplay footage from the Disney Infinity sequel has shown up online:

Finally, we come to the toys! First up, here's a look at some new 'Guardians of the Galaxy' figures:

Marvel/Hot Toys

Then we have this hyper-detailed Thor, which looks like the closest thing to actually owning Chris Hemsworth:

Marvel/Hot Toys

And finally, here's Jamie Foxx's Electro, just in case you're somebody who actually wants to own that:

Hot Toys

DC Updates: 'Batman v Superman,' 'Constantine' and...Doctor Fate?

This was a pretty quiet week for DC characters, but it wasn't completely dead. The latest report from about the set of 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' has some alleged details on LexCorp, said to be "a smart company with a stylish vibe, a youthful clash of rock and roll, preppy, and nerdy employees." Seems perfect for Jesse Eisenberg, the man who put Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg on the big screen.

And that's all for major 'Batman v Superman' updates, but at least NBC's 'Constantine' is officially on the schedule. Set your DVRs for October 24, people!

Elsewhere, 'Constantine' stars Matt Ryan and Lucy Griffiths chatted about the series with IGN, and most of what they had to say has us feeling pretty good about this adaptation. This quote in particular makes it sound like everyone involved is at least attempting to capture what makes the original 'Hellblazer' comics so great in the first place:

I think as with the source material, there's so much to draw from in terms of the character and the balance of humor and wit and dark and gritty. It's great, because John has this kind of real sarcastic, ironic British wit. It's funny, but at the same time it's serious and dark and gritty. It's got it all, I think.

In addition, possibly even more enticing than these previous details, the latest trailer for 'Constantine' had one particular frame that caught our attention. Can you spot it?

Yup, that does indeed look like the helmet of Doctor Fate, DC Comics' man of the mystic arts. Here's a snapshot in case you missed it:


We don't know about you, but we can't think of a better way to get in the mood for Halloween than spending some time with the greatest comic book mystic ever. Sorry, Doctor Strange. John Constantine wins that showdown.