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28 June 2011

Marvel Entertainment, DC Comics; Warner Bros, Marvel Comics Etc United In Spirit By Death Of Gene Colan; Friendly Rivalry Continues, by Greg Tingle

Marvel Entertainment, DC Comics; Warner Bros, Marvel Comics Etc United In Spirit By Death Of Gene Colan; Friendly Rivalry Continues, by Greg Tingle - 28th June 2011


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Rest In Peace, Gene Colan: Stan Lee And Dozens Memorializing Legendary Artist...

Late last week the comic book industry mourned the legendary Gene Colan, who passed away Thursday at age 84. Colan’s was inducted into the Will Eisner comics hall in 2005...dated from the World War II era to as recently as 2009. Late Sunday, fellow legend Stan Lee, a friend and associate of Colan for much of the past 70 years, shared some of his thoughts:

"That Gene was a great talent is beyond dispute" "But he was also one of the nicest, kindest, most conscientious, hard-working people I’ve known." "Gene had a great love for movies, and that feeling was apparent in the way he laid out his strips — as though each panel were a scene in a movie, each effortlessly flowing into the next, just as such scenes might do on the big screen. "He was truly an artist in the best sense of the word and I join his countless legion of fans in declaring he will be greatly missed."

On Saturday, Bleeding Cool reported that Clifford Meth has set up the Gene Colan Scholarship at the Joe Kubert School.

“Gene Colan was like no other artist of his generation. His ability to create dramatic, multi-valued tonal illustrations using straight India ink and board was unparalleled. The comics industry has lost one of its true visionaries today.” — Jim Lee, DC Comics

“He knew who he was — how valuable his contributions to the world of comic art have been — how prized it remains by so many. Yet he never felt less than grateful to anyone who’d even read a single panel that he’d drawn. ... And he was never satisfied with his artwork but always eager to learn a little more, do a little better, try something new. At 84.” — Clifford Meth

“The one time he drew a script of mine was one of those moments when I would have paid the company for the honor. I received Xeroxes of his pencilled pages — so much more wonderful, of course, than the printed product — and I just grinned for days…because I’d just written a comic drawn by Gene Colan. He always made everything look so damned good.” — Mark Evanier

“Gene is one of those rare breed of comic book artists that invent their own idiom. Colan’s work never looked like anybody else’s — he was a true originator, a one-of-a-kind visionary.” — Tom Brevoort, Marvel Comics

"Gene Colan is a one-of-a-kind artist whose style is as synonymous with my early comics-reading experience as that of Jack Kirby, Neal Adams or John Buscema.” — Axel Alonso, Marvel Comics

Gene Colan was one of the great draftsmen in the industry and his work is a fond part of some of my best comic book memories.” — Dan DiDio, DC Comics

"Gene Colan was one of my favorite artists in my early teen years, when I was first discovering comics. ... Gene Colan’s work was unique, personal, and always a joy to look at. May he rest in peace." - Scott McCloud

Marvel Superheroes and the Fathers of Invention (The New York Times) - 25th June 2011...

The comic book industry began life in the early 20th century as the province of con men who stripped artists of their creations, then moved on to the next mark. The artists who were paid virtually nothing for work on characters that are now worth billions at the movies are nearly all dead. But their heirs are beginning to speak for them through a federal copyright law that practically invites descendants to sue for ownership interests in characters whose current value could never have been imagined at the moment of creation.

Courts have already granted a share of the copyright for Superman to the heirs of a co-creator, and sided with Captain America’s creator in another copyright fight. These cases are small fry compared with the battle now being waged between Marvel and the heirs of the legendary comic artist Jack Kirby, who breathed life into such pop culture icons as the X-Men, the Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Thor and the Silver Surfer.

Of course these court battles are about money. They also force the modern entertainment industry to reckon with the often amoral practices of the old comics workshops. And they raise deeper questions about how to credit creative works produced at a time when even the most talented artists were treated as serfs.

Marvel pioneered a new method of comic book production. It broke with the industry’s tradition of requiring artists to draw almost by rote from a pre-existing script. Instead, it gave its best creative minds wide artistic latitude.

The Marvel editor Stan Lee sometimes offered general ideas for characters, allowing the artists to run with them. Mr. Kirby plotted stories, fleshing out characters that he had dreamed up or that he had fashioned from Mr. Lee’s sometimes vague enunciations. Mr. Lee shaped the stories and supplied his wisecrack-laden dialogue. And in the end, both men could honestly think of themselves as “creators.”

But Mr. Kirby, who was known as the King of Comics, was the defining talent and the driving force at the Marvel shop. Mr. Lee’s biographers have noted that the company’s most important creations started out in Mr. Kirby’s hands before being passed on to others, who were then expected to emulate his artistic style.

Mr. Kirby’s life experiences informed the look and feel of the genre. The cinematic movement in his narratives came out of his experience as an animator. The crowded fight scenes in comics like the Fantastic Four and the X-Men are reminiscent of his boyhood days as a street fighter on the Lower East Side during the Depression.

In 2009, shortly after Disney agreed to buy Marvel for $4 billion, the Kirby heirs filed notices of copyright termination. They argue that most of Marvel’s film earnings involve Mr. Kirby’s creations — and that therefore they have a right to a share of the copyrights.

Marvel counters that Mr. Kirby’s work falls under the rubric of “work for hire” — meaning it was done under the direction, supervision and control of the company — which, if true, would invalidate the family’s claim. But that could be difficult to demonstrate at trial, given the poor record-keeping of the era and what is known about how Mr. Kirby worked.

According to court documents, Marvel’s predecessor company fired nearly all of the art staff in 1957 to save money, making Mr. Kirby an independent operator who sold his work to the publisher. If this case comes to trial, Marvel’s star witness would likely be Mr. Lee, former chairman of Marvel Comics. In his 2010 deposition, Mr. Lee seemed to suggest that Mr. Kirby was little more than a talented foot soldier who followed the whims of his boss.

Mr. Lee sang a different tune during the Marvel glory years of the 1960s, when he sometimes described Mr. Kirby as an equal in the creative process. In a 1968 interview later quoted in The Comics Journal, Mr. Lee talked about brainstorming with Mr. Kirby, who, he noted, needed “no plot at all” to produce stories: “He just about makes up the plots for these stories. All I do is a little editing. ... He’s so good at plots, I’m sure he’s a thousand times better than I.” Analyzing published articles from that period, the writer Earl Wells, in his famous 1995 essay “Once and for All, Who Was the Author of Marvel?,” said the record “yields as much evidence that Kirby was the author as it does that Lee was — much of it in Lee’s own words!”

In the years since Mr. Kirby’s death in 1994, the once lawless comics business has been transformed into an industry where creators are more fairly paid, credit is clearly apportioned and rights are meticulously spelled out in contracts. The kinds of legal confusions that have recently flared up in the comic book realm are unlikely to ever be seen, say, in the burgeoning world of online games, where corporate authorship is firmly locked down.

It is up to the courts to decide the legal questions at the heart of the Kirby copyright case. There is no doubt that the King of Comics contributed far more to Marvel — and pop culture — than he has received credit for. (Credit: The New York Times)

Iron Man And Wolverine Anime Series Coming To G4...

While summer TV is often regulated to reruns and reality TV shows, G4 is about to make things more interesting. G4 is teaming up with Marvel to launch both a Iron Man anime series and a Wolverine anime series. The two original Marvel anime series will premiere via U.S television on Friday, July 29 at 11 PM ET. The series will consist of twelve half-hour weekly episodes with interconnecting storylines. There will also be cameo appearances by several popular Marvel characters. Heroes Stars Adrian Pasdar and Milo Ventimiglia will both have voice roles in the new anime series. Adrian Pasdar will be the voice of Tony Stark in Iron Man, and Milo Ventimiglia will be the voice of Wolverine. Description: "In an effort to make amends for his past in weapons manufacturing, Tony Stark has dedicated himself to building the world up rather than tearing it down. Traveling to Japan to build a new arc reactor that will deliver unlimited free energy to the Japanese people, Stark is challenged by the Japanese government and the media when he attempts to import the necessary nuclear priming device. When the nuclear reactor is repeatedly attacked by the mysterious Zodiac consortium, Stark must gather his allies to take on Zodiac and its mastermind."

Description for the Wolverine anime series: "Based on the popular graphic novel by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, the series begins when Mariko, the love of Logan’s life, is forced back to Japan by her crime-lord father, Shingen. Logan vows to get her back at any cost. He is plunged into a chaotic world of corruption and violence, forcing him to team up with young assassin, Yukio, to battle their way through the Japanese criminal underworld."

The new anime series will be guided by New York Times best-selling author Warren Ellis and produced by Madhouse for Marvel Entertainment and Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan. Iron Man premieres via US television on Friday July 29th at 11 PM ET/PT followed by Wolverine at 11:30 PM ET/PT. The two series will air weekly Fridays from 11:00-Midnight ET/PT. Also, one more thing, G4 isn’t stopping with just Iron Man and Wolverine. X-Men and Blade anime series will premier later this year on G4.

Peter Parker is no more in 'Ultimate Spider-Man' - 21st June 2011...

PHILADELPHIA – The lights are going out for Peter Parker, the high school student bitten by a radioactive spider whose wall-crawling and web-slinging antics have made him a touchstone of Marvel Comics' universe of heroes and villains.

The publisher said Tuesday that Parker's alter ego, Spider-Man, will finally succumb to one of his most pernicious foes in the final issue of "Ultimate Comics Spider-Man" due out Wednesday.

Fans of Spider-Man need not worry much, though, because the Ultimates imprint is separate from Marvel's bigger universe. Whatever fate may befall Ultimate Spider-Man won't count in the pages of the other series, including Amazing Spider-Man.

The death, while dramatic, is not entirely unexpected. In November, Marvel said that the Ultimate Spider-Man was going to face an uncertain fate in the latest storyline by writer Brian Michael Bendis fittingly titled "The Death of Spider-Man," an eight-issue arc that saw the return of original series artist Mark Bagley. Bendis and Bagley had worked together on the series for 111 issues.

Bendis told The Associated Press that in issue No. 160 Parker fights valiantly but will pass on, heroically, in a pitched fight. To whom? (SPOILER BELOW)

"He will pass heroically, but he will die at the hands of the Green Goblin," Bendis said, recalling his nearly 11 years writing the title, which debuted in October 2000.
The death is real and in Marvel's Ultimate Comics imprint, death is not something taken lightly. Characters in that universe are dead and gone, never to return. The roll of the deceased already includes Magneto, Wasp and Wolverine, among others.

"Ten years ago, Brian Bendis and Mark Millar changed the way people saw super heroes with the birth of the Ultimate Universe. With `Death of Spider-Man' the two have done it again, creating a story just as big, and something that would really resonate with fans," said Mark Paniccia, Marvel senior editor. "But Peter's death doesn't signal the end of their larger plan — it's the start of one of the most ambitious stories you've ever read in comics."

Bendis said that Parker's death won't be in vain and hinted that the Ultimate Spider-Man may not be gone forever. But what exactly is to come, that's something he's not willing to share, at least not yet.

He likened the death to that of Parker's Uncle Ben, whose demise catapulted Peter into being a superhero and crime fighter, and called it an emotionally ripping decision to end Parker's life.

"I won't lie to you, it's embarrassing to say this out loud . tears were rolling down my face, I was very emotional in writing it," Bendis told AP. "This is a character that I have stayed with the entire time, that I have been almost solely responsible for. It represents such a great deal of my life."

Axel Alonso, Marvel's editor-in-chief, said there's never been a Marvel Universe without a Spider-Man, so killing the character is a big step.

"We've never seen a world without Spider-Man, a world without Peter Parker, so his death is a significant event for the Ultimate Comics universe and we're going to see how quickly it changes everything," he said, adding that the fallout from Parker's death will play out in the upcoming "Ultimate Comics Fallout" as the company retools its Ultimate universe. (Credit: Associated Press)

'Avengers' stuntman 'almost beheaded' during filming - 28th June 2011

A stuntman working on The Avengers has claimed that he narrowly avoided being decapitated in an on-set accident. Jeremy Fitzgerald lost part of his scalp while shooting the comic book team-up on Friday after a controlled fall resulted in him hitting his head against a brick floor. Fitzgerald was filming a sequence that involved him getting 'struck' by an arrow and safely plummeting 30-feet to the ground below, but was put off course after catching his foot on the way down. Despite his significant injury, Fitzgerald told TMZ that he was grateful to walk away from the incident intact after barely avoiding a head-on collision with a razor sharp rain gutter. Fitzgerald declined to be hospitalised after the fall and returned to work shortly after. Production of The Avengers was recently jeopardised after Samuel L Jackson's script was stolen and leaked online. The Avengers, which stars Robert Downey Jr as Iron Man, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Chris Evans as Captain America, arrives in theatres on May 4, 2012.

Marvel Studios Casting WPAFB Airmen For 'Avengers' Movie...

FAIRBORN, Ohio - Marvel Studios is looking for 50 airmen from Wright-Patterson Air Force Base to act in the new "The Avengers" movie being filmed in Ohio. The airmen will portray a deck crew on an aircraft carrier. The scene will be shot Aug. 1-4 in Wilmington. The film stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson. It opens in 2012. Just watch you're head!

No Avengers Panel at Comic-Con - 22nd June 2011

Did you year...the Avengers won't be back on stage together at Comic-Con this year, nor does it sound like any footage will debut either. LA Times' Hero Complex is confirming that Marvel Studios is passing on having a panel for the highly anticipated film at Comic-Con and won't have any presence in the huge Hall H, where the biggest panels are held. Marvel stresses they aren't skipping the convention in its entirety and no doubt they'll still have their large booth promoting both their comic books and flicks, where it's very possible that some Avengers content (perhaps prop displays and/or poster giveaways) will be present. In addition, Marvel will of course also have many comic book-specific panels. Hero Complex says that there is "talk of a promotional event beyond the walls of the San Diego Convention Center" for Marvel's Captain America: The First Avenger at Comic-Con, which opens the same weekend as the convention. They speculate that could involve some sort of special premiere or screening event. So why no Avengers panel? Hero Complex points out that Disney is throwing their second Disney-specific D23 convention in August, and it's possible Avengers will be part of that – John Carter, also skipping a Comic-Con panel, is expected to have a heavy presence at D23. Warner Bros. is also not having any film panels at San Diego Comic-Con, including for The Dark Knight Rises, meaning that arguably the two biggest comic books movies ever aren't going to be doing the usual push at Comic-Con. Of course some would say neither of these films need to build buzz like other films do, but it is a bit funny that while people complain about a lot of non-genre TV shows and films coming to Comic-Con, these two projects – so suited for Comic-Con – will have a diminished presence. Hero Complex notes that there will be a panel for The Amazing Spider-Man – which comes from Sony, not Marvel Studios – in Hall H at Comic-Con.

Marvel announces adaptions of John Carter novels - 7th June 2011

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." (Credit: Associated Press)

Marvel Movies Upcoming...

Movie Studio Date

Captain America: The First Avenger Paramount Pictures 7/22/11
Ghost Rider 2 (3D) Sony 2/17/12
The Avengers (2012) Buena Vista 5/4/12
The Amazing Spider-Man Sony 7/3/12
Iron Man 3 Buena Vista 5/3/13

A Green Lantern Sequel?!...

Warner Bros. is apparently planning a sequel to Green Lantern despite that film's box-office and critical underperformance. The Hollywood Reporter has the word from the studio, noting that that it "won't walk away from the superhero franchise, despite the film's soft box office performance. ... Sources say Warners still believes in the franchise, even if the studio is 'somewhat disappointed' with Green Lantern's result." The film dropped some 66% domestically in its second weekend, meaning it's only made about $89.3 million as of last night. That's not a lot considering the reported costs of the picture ($300 million at least including marketing), and internationally it is not performing either. So why announce a sequel now? As THR notes, with Harry Potter coming to an end, the studio needs big franchises big time. And there's always the chance that Lantern will make a ton of money on DVD and Blu-ray and digital download. Plus, God only knows how the balance sheet looks for these things in terms of toys and all the other merchandising. Movies are also made for games these days, so don't you forget that. Of course, maybe Warner Bros. is just saying there's going to be a Green Lantern sequel since it wasn't very good. Maybe Warner Bros thinks their green monster will create more green cash, and they would know that answer better than most. As they say at Media Man and Marvel Entertainment, "Don't just read the comics and watch the movies, Play the games!"

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. Comic Book 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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