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26 June 2011

Marvel Entertainment, Comic and Superhero Movie News, by Greg Tingle - 26th June 2011


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Captain America

Superheroes Leap Up And Down At Box Office...

The superheroes have been doing through heaven and hell lately at the box office. It's not a very smooth or consistent run, and the numbers give mixed messages. Hollywood's crimefighters and caped crusaders have tripped up more often than they would have liked to and have pretty average box-office grosses. The numbers look impressive in some fashion but they hide a growing dissatisfaction among moviegoers, who may be losing interest in what once was a can't-miss genre. One of the first omens came with "Thor," starring Chris Hemsworth as the hammer-heaving Norse god. Despite a decent opening weekend gross of $65 million, the film suffered from negative reviews and is now at $176 million. That sounds big enough until you compare it to the $318 million of "Iron Man," which belongs to the same Marvel comics story line; "Iron Man 2" ended with a split-second "Thor" teaser. Then came "X-Men: First Class." Whether because it lacked Aussie legend Hugh Jackman (he has a cameo) or because its story line felt overly familiar, it opened with $55 million, one of the lowest in the franchise's history. And despite excellent reviews, it had the lowest attendance of any "X-Men" film, according to Box Office Mojo, which did not release specific figures. The latest pretty average superhero effort is "Green Lantern," starring Ryan Reynolds, which opened to not so good reviews (26% positive at Rotten Tomatoes) and a disappointing $53.2 million. That's worse than the new "X-Men" and even worse than "Ghost Rider." Next front and centre are "Captain America: The First Avenger," about a Nazi-conquering supersolider, and "Cowboys & Aliens. Can the superheroes save the world or themselves, or will the public have to try to save them? Fan's the globe over are hoping that Captain America doesn't disappoint, but are remaining pretty optimistic. We're missing the original Iron-Man... how about you?

Spider-Man Gets Killed; Franchise History?...

Bono's Broadway slip up of sorts has killed Spider-Man... sort of. What's your take on that Dr. Octopus? Marvel Comics—with a little help from the Green Goblin—announced it was squashing Spidey dead and it did. The character has apparently been killed off. Joining a long list of superheroes such as Captain America and Superman who've been killed dead, only to rise again, Marvel offered the Peter Parker of The Ultimate Spider-Man, a sort of alternative universe version of the wisecracking webcrawler in the series' 160th issue. The character's demise even brought tears to the eyes of writer Brian Michael Bendis, who wrote the fatal tale. So Spidey's dead. But not gone or forgotten or even going away, really. So get back in line for Turn Out the Dark, seek out spoilers for the Andrew Garfield reboot or hit up a comic book store for what Marvel promises will be "the start of one of the most ambitious stories you've ever read in comics." Spider-Man lives. And possibly loves. Go Spidey!

Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark...

SPIDER-MAN, TURN OFF THE DARK follows the story of teenager Peter Parker, whose unremarkable life is turned upside-down when he's bitten by a genetically altered spider and wakes up the next morning clinging to his bedroom ceiling. This bullied science-geek suddenly endowed with incredible powers soon learns, however, that with great power comes great responsibility as villains put both his physical strength and strength of character to the test. SPIDER-MAN aims to thrill audiences through a unique entertainment experience in ways never-before-dreamed-possible in live theater. Though the reviews have been somewhat less than favorable for the $65 million giant, sales have been strong and the production opened on June 14th, 2011. For more information on Spider-Man visit

Marvel Announces Creator Lineup - 24th June 2011

Many top writers and creators will be joining Marvel Comics at New York Comic Con (NYCC) as the renowned comic books and media entertainment company reveals preliminary plans for the 2011 edition of the annual pop culture extravaganza which will take place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City, October 13 - 16, 2011. Marvel will not only have a 3000 square foot booth on the show floor where attendees will have an opportunity to mingle with creators and staff, but the company will also be conducting numerous high profile panels throughout the weekend which will feature their top talent. Joe Quesada, Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, and Axel Alonso, Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief, will be Guests of Honor at the show and will be joined by many other notable Marvel creators including Guests of Honor Jason Aaron, Matt Fraction, Kieron Gillen, and Stuart Immonen.

“The enthusiastic participation of premiere companies like Marvel is critical to our success,” notes Lance Fensterman, Group Vice President for ReedPOP and Show Manager for NYCC. “We are always eager to host Marvel at New York Comic Con and to provide their talent with a range of opportunity. Our show not only brings thousands of fans together with their favorite writers, artists and creators but we are a preeminent venue for launching and displaying new content and product. Marvel’s participation is a huge validation of our efforts and we are grateful to them for their energy and commitment. We look forward to making the 2011 edition of New York Comic Con one of the best ever!”

JASON AARON: Jason Aaron is an Eisner and Harvey Award nominated comic book writer whose work includes the critically acclaimed crime series Scalped for Vertigo and stints on Black Panther, Ghost Rider and Wolverine: Weapon X for Marvel. Current and upcoming projects include Wolverine, Astonishing Spider-Man & Wolverine, PunisherMAX , X-Men Schism and Wolverine & the X-Men, all for Marvel. He was born in Alabama but currently resides in Kansas City.

AXEL ALONSO: A 17-year comics industry veteran, Axel Alonso got his start at DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint, where he edited such seminal series such as Preacher, Hellblazer and 100 Bullets, before leaping to Marvel Comics in 2001. Since that time, he has overseen many of the publisher’s biggest franchises – including Spider-Man, Hulk and the X-Men – and edited some of its most talked-about series – including Truth, Rawhide Kid and X-Statix. In 2011 Axel was promoted to Editor In Chief, a tenure during which he has overseen major events such as the Death of Ultimate Spider-Man and the chart-topping Fear Itself. Besides comics, Alonso’s passions include basketball, hip-hop, 8-year-old shooting guard Tito “Mr. T” Alonso, Asian food and preparing for the inevitable Zombie Apocalypse.

MATT FRACTION: Matt Fraction is an Eisner Award-winning American comic book writer known for his work on The Invincible Iron Man, Thor, The Immortal Iron Fist and Uncanny X-Men for Marvel Comics, Casanova for Icon Comics. This summer he masterminds Marvel’s mega-event Fear Itself alongside Stuart Immonen. He’s written the graphic novels Last of the Independents and The Five Fists of Science, and comics like 30 Days of Night: Bloodsucker Tales and The Order. He’s recently contributed to the storylines and dialogue of both the Iron Man 2 and Thor video games for Sega, and was a consultant on the Iron Man 2 film. He lives in Portland Oregon with his wife, the writer Kelly Sue Deconnick, and his two children, two dogs, two cats, and frog. There were two frogs but they died.

KIERON GILLEN: Kieron Gillen is a foul writing worm who crawls inside artists' ears and makes them do his bidding. Products of this evil symbiosis include Journey Into Mystery and the award-winning Phonogram. This fall Kieron will be launching Uncanny X-Men #1 with Carlos Pacheco & Greg Land. There is no known cure.

STUART IMMONEN: Since his self-published debut in 1988, Stuart Immonen has worked for almost every publisher in the comics industry from Archie to Rip Off Press, with notable tenures at DC, where he wrote and drew Adventures of Superman; Gorilla, where he co-created Shockrockets with writer Kurt Busiek; and Marvel, where he pencilled Ultimate Spider-Man, Nextwave and New Avengers, and most recently the event title Fear Itself. Stuart is known for employing diverse drawing styles as seen in his sketchbook series Centifolia published by AdHouse Books, and in his work with writer Kathryn Immonen, including Boom! Studios' Never as Bad as You Think and Moving Pictures, published by Top Shelf. He lives in Toronto.

JOE QUESADA: Joe Quesada wears many creative hats, as both an acclaimed writer-artist and the Chief Creative Officer of Marvel Entertainment, the world’s largest and most dynamic comics publisher. In this role, Joe is steward of such legendary characters as Spider-Man, X-Men, Iron Man, Captain America, and the Fantastic Four. His tenure as Editor-in-Chief recently drew to a close after 10 successful years – the longest term since Stan Lee himself. Under Quesada’s guidance, Marvel underwent a creative boom and became home to the comic industry’s greatest talents, which continues to hold true today. He brings this same vision to his role in the whole of Marvel Entertainment across the worlds of publishing, film, and television.

Customers interested in signing up for New York Comic Con should contact Larry Settembrini at Tickets for NYCC are now on sale via the website Limited 4-Day tickets are available. For further information about all ReedPOP shows and activity, please visit Lance Fensterman’s blog, Convention organizers note that many more guests will be announced over the next few weeks and months and fans should keep their eyes on NYCC’s website and blog for additional comics, entertainment and anime announcements.


ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions which is exclusively devoted to organizing events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium brands in the pop culture arena. ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans. The ReedPOP portfolio includes: New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) East & West, Star Wars Celebration V, New York Anime Festival (NYAF), and UFC Fan Expo. The staff at ReedPOP is a fan based group of professionals producing shows for other fans, thus making them uniquely qualified to service those with whom they share a common passion. ReedPOP is focused on bringing its expertise and knowledge to world communities in North America, South America, Asia and Europe.

Marvel announces adaptions of John Carter novels...

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — John Carter — Edgar Rice Burroughs' other famous pulp creation — is having his stories told anew thanks to an agreement between Marvel Entertainment and the author's estate that will return the Earth-born adventurer's Martian adventures to comic books.

Marvel said Tuesday that it will do new graphic novel adaptations of Burroughs' Martian series, starting with "John Carter, Warlord of Mars," as a five-issue mini-series in September.

Burroughs is best known for his creation of Tarzan.

The first mini-series will be written by Roger Langridge and drawn by Filipe Andrade.
"We are looking forward to introducing this original interplanetary adventurer to a new generation of fans and await the first issue with great anticipation," said James Sullos, President of Edgar Rice Burroughs Inc.

Marvel called the adaptations a new way of experiencing the tales Burroughs wrote that were dubbed the "Barsoom" series. There are 10 novels in the series, with the 11th a collection of two separate stories.

The novels are set on Mars and include Princess Dejah Thoris, a four-armed warrior Thark named Tars Tarkas and plenty of fighting.

Marvel published a John Carter series in the late 1970s that lasted 28 issues. The character has also been the subject of other series from different publishers, too, including a four-issue mini-series that featured Tarzan from Dark Horse Comics; a newspaper comic strip in 1941-1942; and a series by Dynamite Entertainment called "Warlord of Mars."

"Edgar Rice Burroughs created one of the great action heroes in John Carter and we're excited to bring his novels to comics for a new generation," said Axel Alonso, Marvel's editor-in-chief. "Roger and Filipe are going to blow everyone away with their take on the John Carter novels, keeping fans new and old on the edge of their seats."

Smith & Tinker launches Marvel Kapow! app for iPhone...

Smith & Tinker and Marvel Entertainment have released their first major game on the iPhone today. The game, Marvel Kapow!, is Marvel’s first broadly targeted casual game for comics fans on the Apple mobile platform.

The game is a big part of the strategy for Smith & Tinker, an innovative game company founded by gaming pioneer Jordan Weisman. If it takes off, then the two companies could see a bright future in branded content on mobile platforms.

The title is designed for touchscreen action, giving you super hero powers on your phone. The company began working on the Marvel-branded games last fall, after a few changes in strategy.

The versions of the game range from a free version to a $1.99 standard definition game and a $3.99 high-definition game. In the title, players can slash with Wolverine’s claws, rebound blasts with Captain America’s shield, capture bad guys with Spider-Man’s web and smite foes with Thor’s hammer. The game has 23 classic play levels, three boss levels, an arcade mode, Game Center leaderboard integration, and free content updates.

“With the explosive growth of touch-based smart devices now being adopted by men, women and even trickling down to kids, we’re presented with an unprecedented opportunity to bring our games to a very wide audience on a mobile platform”, said Joe Lawandus, chief executive of Smith & Tinker.

The deal could help turn things around for Smith & Tinker. In 2009, the company launched Nanovor, a fighting game for boys that could be played both online and on a $50 toy sold at retail. But the game didn’t sell that well, despite heavy TV advertising, and Smith & Tinker had to pivot to a new strategy. It laid off a bunch of employees and shifted to online-only games.

The company was able to do that because it raised $29 million in venture capital and because its founders — Lawandus and Weisman — are heavyweights in the game and entertainment industries. Weisman founded entertainment companies 42 Entertainment, Virtual World Entertainment, FASA, and WizKids; Lawandus is a former Disney executive. (Marvel is now owned by Disney).

Thor And X-Men First Class Tipped To Hammer Home Results...

Thor and X-Men: First Class got great reviews and we're awesome, and Captain America: The First Avenger seems set to hit the spot to, but big questions remain about Green Lantern, and the vibe is not particularly good. Green Lantern with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively is getting very reviews. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes has a 23% approval among movie critics, according to the 153 reviews counters. But 72% of the 62,000 plus user reviewers say that they "liked it" with it just premiering in the U.S theaters Friday after a midnight release on late Thursday/early Friday. indicates are pretty negative on the flick. One reviewer called the movie "inert, artificial and dead on arrival."

During the midnight release on Thursday, the film drew $3.35 million 0 the same region that alike movies that were recently released did; X-Men: First Class brought in $3.37 million on June 2nd, and Thor did $3.25 million on May 5th. X-Men: First Class and Thor both had a budget significantly less than Green Lantern; the former had a budget of $160 million while Thor had exactly half the budget of Green Lantern — $150 million. While the flick will likely end up eventually surpassing its budget, the fact the other comic book movies had much less budget isn’t a great result.

Ultimately, X-Men: First Class raked in $55.1 million in its opening weekend while Thor did $65.7 million. With this being the third comic book-based movie released in a month-and-a-half and mixed reviews, will Green Lantern under perform this weekend, or will the hardcore - fanboy type audience that has been largely ripping on it, check it out at the cinema?

Our top picks: Thor, and Captain America: The First Avenger looks like a safe bet.

Be it movies, comics or games, we think that Marvel Entertainment leads the pack, followed by DC Comics, with Dark Horse Comics getting a third, based on the positive news leaks and insider tip offs we've been getting.

As Marvel living legend Stan Lee would say, Excelsior!

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