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17 July 2011

Marvel Entertainment; Marvel Comics News Update, by Greg Tingle - 17th July 2011

Marvel Entertainment; Marvel Comics News Update, by Greg Tingle - 17th July 2011


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Hulk Rounds Off Marvel Teaser Week...

Marvel Comics has released the last teaser for its post-Fear Itself project.

The image shows a silhouette that appears to be the Hulk.

The figure contains words including "gamma", "breaker", "calculating", "loner" and "conspiracy".

Previous teasers have included Iron Fist, Red She Hulk, Dr Strange and the Silver Surfer, who all seem to feature as a part of the mysterious group 'The Mighty' which is due to appear in Fear Itself.

All teasers have been accompanied by the words "It's either in you or it's not". No further information has been released about the project beyond the release date of December 2011.

Fans on the Comic Book Resources forums have picked out letters highlighting in distinguishing colors in the teasers to spell out the messages, "Everyone you love dies", "Shut the engines down", "The universe will break" and "Fight to save everything".

Marvel will reveal details of the project at its Fear Itself panel on Sunday, July 24 at San Diego Comic-Con.

Thousands Line Up for 'Avengers' Casting Call...

CLEVELAND — One of Hollywood's biggest films, "The Avengers," is coming to town.

Now, thousands of locals are lining up for a taste of stardom.

"I want to be a part of this movie," said Cincinnati resident, Dhin Soriano. "It's one of the biggest movies coming out next year."

Based on the popular comic book series, The Avengers, will start filming in Cleveland in August.

"I knew the crowd was going to be kind of big, so I made sure I got him up kind of early," said Daryl Burge, of Garfield.

Burge and his cousin, James, were of two of more than 3,000 people who attended Friday's casting call for the Marvel Studio flick.

About 2,000 extras are needed to work alongside stars like Robert Downey Jr., Samuel L. Jackson and Scarlett Johansson.

The movie has generated buzz across the country, attracting many people who hope to be a part of their favorite childhood past time.

"Marvel Comics. Oh, I still got some from the 60's," said Columbus resident, Carolyn Parkman.

Parkman traveled to Cleveland the day before to beat the crowd.

"I've got my magazines, but I love my comics," she said. "I can stand here. That's all I'm thinking about is the fact that this is the chance of a lifetime."

The movie will have another casting call from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, at the Holiday Inn, 6001 Rockside Road, Independence, Ohio.

Extras casting directors say if you do plan to apply, come dressed in business attire. Also, be sure to bring an umbrella, pen, food, water and entertainment. You may have to wait in line for hours. Only those who have flexible schedules should apply.

San Diego Comic-Con 2011: Gentle Giant's Deadpool Squirrell...

Marvel and Gentle Giant have teamed up to deliver a special Comic-Con 2011 Squirrelpool exclusive!

Part of the fun of going to awesome events like San Diego Comic-Con is picking up really cool, extremely limited swag. So, Squirrelpool, anyone?

We're pleased to announce, as one of the first items available through our partnership with the mighty statue makers at Gentle Giant (, that fans attending Comic-Con from July 20-24 will have the abillity to purchase a rare Squirrelpool statue. As seen on the Deadpool cover variant to 2010's THOR #607 by Mico Suayan, the tiny terror means business!

If you're going to SDCC, head over to the Gentle Giant booth, #3513, but be quick about it! The Squirrelpool statue is limited to only 500 pieces and at only $30, it'll be gone before you can say "acorn tacos."

For continuing coverage of Comic-Con International 2011 including our live video stream, plus news, liveblogs, photos, videos and more, keep checking the

San Diego 2011 hub page at ( and follow along on the Marvel Events App ( & (

What will be the highest-grossing comic book adaptation of 2011?; Box Office Mojo Poll

39.2% Captain America: The First Avenger
18.3% X-Men: First Class
18.1% Green Lantern
13.2% Thor
10.7% Cowboys & Aliens
0.5% Priest

1,832 users polled. (This poll is now closed.)

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)

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
The Dark Knight Rises Warner Bros 7/20/12
Iron Man 3 Buena Vista 5/3/13
Thor 2 Buena Vista 7/26/13

Evans Says Captain America's 'Avengers' Storyline Is 'Multifaceted'

Yet more movie excitement with the the impending release of "Captain America: The First Avenger,". And, how about next year's highly anticipated, superhero-filled "The Avengers."

Chris Evans aka "Captain America" was interviewed by our friends at MTV. Learn about his thoughts on working with fan-favorite "Avengers" director Joss Whedon...

"He's unbelievable," Evans said. "He's so clever. He lives in the world of comic books, so he has in his head an amazing story already mapped out."

"When it comes to directing actors and understanding dialogue, he's an incredibly talented writer. If something isn't working for you as an actor within the words, he can walk away for 10 minutes and come back with seven options that are all fantastic and clever and witty and it's got a pace and a banter," he explained. "He's a great guy to be quarterbacking this thing."

With regard to Captain America's storyline in "The Avengers," the details of which Evans couldn't fully elaborate on but are briefly teased at the conclusion of "Captain America," he said his character is basically a fish out of water trying to understand the modern world around him.

"It's really multifaceted. The guy has to accept the fact that everyone he knew and loved is gone," Evans said of his character's new arc. "Not only is he alone, [but] the world has changed so much, and I think a big part of what makes Cap Cap was his connection to the way things used to be, this kind of pro-American morality and good-ol'-boy sense of life and the way of doing things," he added. "In the modern era, there's a bit of a disconnect. There's not as much human interaction. I think there's more cynicism than there was back then, so it's him trying to come to terms with the way things are."

Captain America: The First Avenger; Could Be The Best And Highest Grossing Comic Movie This Year...

The next big Marvel flick on the back of this year’s critically acclaimed X-Men: First Class, and the more divisive, mighty Thor.

Captain America: The First Avenger pretty much rocks. The Captain was the first Marvel pinup boy to progress from the comic book page to the projector back in 1944.

Starring Chris Evans as the Captain – and with an impressive support cast including Hugo Weaving and Tommy Lee Jones – Marvel films have usually attracted top actors and talent in the business.

Let's have a look at a few Marvel flicks from over the years, to determine if their oldest hero will be profitable, and critically well-received nearly 70 years after its birth.

The Captain’s silver screen début way back then – when Marvel was called Timely Comics – wasn’t followed up with another motion picture from the same house until 1986, some 42 years later. Are'nt you glad that finally decided to start pumping them out.

That film was Howard the Duck, credibly cited in the worst film of all time lists with actors receiving Raspberry awards for their performances. Howard – produced by George Lucas – was a box office flop, barely breaking even and putting off the film arm of Marvel having another crack for three years. Then they teamed up with Dolph Lundgren and did The Punisher - fortunately the quality generally improved as the years moved forward.

Marvel went through quite a rough patch in the 1980s: an area of film that seemed tailor made for their intellectual property. CGI effects, bigger budgets, but the films were still not being very warmly embraced by casual movie fans, hardcores or critics.

The trend for Marvel films – give or take – continued into the 1990s when comic adaptations’ performances generally were not great. Batman and Robin and Steel limped didn't do the genre many favours either.

Blade got a mixed response for Marvel. High performing, taking $131m; near four times its budget, and critically sound, the film spawned the investigation into an X-Men movie franchise and the Spiderman series.

X-Men – already a successful franchise in its own right with computer games, figurines, solid backstory, animations and art – followed up where Blade left off and set the bar higher.

Costing $75 million to attract highly credible stars, solid staple actors, and some young talent – Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Bruce Davison, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park Tyler Mane – the film was a decent-sized investment at best, and a gamble at worst. It movied forward to snatch a $300m return.

X-Men to date has spawned around $1.6bn and, although a mixed critical reception is synonymous with the franchise, that figure was enhanced with the latest X-Men: First Class, which has been a big box office win.

The Spiderman series has been a real win for Marvel and their respective teams. The fourth in the series is due next year and given the last – 2007′s Spiderman 3 – took almost a billion dollars to cap a highly profitable franchise to date.

Marvel is on the rise, their stock is attractive and it’s sweet timing for Captain America. The UK – mostly unaware of this hero compared to other Marvel winners – has an appetite for Marvel icons on the big screen along with the rest of the world. If these enjoy success in line with Blade, X-Men and Wolverine, the firm will continue to power ahead, unless there's a torpedo on the horizen that Marvel or the industry doesn't know about.

Films in the Marvel series have been all the rage in regions such as America, Europe, the far east and Australia. Marvel flicks at the movies continue to be excelsior!

Comic-Con 2011 Preview...

(CBS) Comic-Con starts next week in San Diego, Calif., on Thursday, July 21, and runs through the weekend (and there's a "Preview Night," Wednesday, July 20).

The event is a big deal (to paraphrase Vice President Joe Biden) and now draws more than 100,000 people a year. Here's a sampling of what you can expect.

Pictures: Comic-Con 2010

For a complete list of the events, go to

Wednesday, July 20

Special Sneak Peek Pilot Screenings - 6:00-9:00 p.m. - The night before Comic-Con kicks off, Warner Bros. and Comic-Con screen pilot episodes of upcoming TV series. This year's offerings are "Alcatraz," "The Secret Circle," "Person of Interest" and "Supernatural: The Anime Series."

Thursday, July 21

Planet of the Apes in Comics Present and Past - 10:00-11:00 a.m. - With the new movie, "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" coming, this is a perfect time to see what's going on with "Planet of the Apes" comics editor Ian Brill and writer Daryl Gregory. Hobbit Talk - 10:00-11:00 a.m. - This isn't an official Peter Jackson event but is an influential fan site and there's bound to be lots of good inside information on the upcoming "Hobbit" films.

Burn Notice: The Fall of Sam Axe - 10:00-11:00 a.m. - "Burn Notice" and Bruce Campbell fans rejoice! Now you can see what happened to Same Axe (Campbell) before he joined Fiona and Michael Weston on the USA series. This made-for-TV movie debuts on DVD at Comic-Con.

Comic-Con How-To: Creating a Character-Driven Story with Maxwell Alexander Drake - 10:00-11:00 a.m. - This is just what it says it is: A how-to on creating great characters and stories.

Kinect "Star Wars" Panel - 10:00-11:00 a.m. - Jorg Neumann of Kinect Publishing and Craig Derrick of LucasArts discuss the upcoming Kinect "Star Wars" game with USA Today's Mike Snider.

Comic-Con Film School 101: Preproduction and Screenwriting - 10:00-11:00 a.m. This is the first day of a four-day class on how to make low-budget movies using desktop postproduction software and available video technology.

Spotlight on Joyce Brabner - 10:30-11:30 a.m. - Brabner will talk about her current projects and the work of her lates husband, Harvey Pekar.

X-Play Live - 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - A live panel with G4's Blair Herter, Adam Sessler, Morgan Webb, Kristin Adams, hosts of the long-running X-Play.

Covert Affairs - 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Piper Perabo from USA's "Covert Affairs" will take part in a panel discussion with her co-stars Christopher Gorham, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Kari Matchett, Anne Dudek, Peter Gallagher and executive producers Chris Ord, Doug Liman, Matt Corman, and Dave Bartis. Moderated of Oded Fehr.

The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 - 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Sneak peak! And a filmmaker and cast Q&A!

Focus on Rick Baker - 12:15-1:00 p.m. - The Oscar-winning make-up effects artist will talk about his career, emphasizing his work on the "Men in Black" series.

Stan Lee, Yoshiki, and Todd McFarlane - 1:00-2:00 p.m. - Comic creator and legend Stan Lee and Todd McFarlane sit on a panel with Yoshiki to talk about "Blood Red Dragon." Writer Jon Goff joins them.

"Game of Thrones" Panel and Q&A session - 3:00-4:00 p.m. - Members of the HBO series cast join the panel discussion, including Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage. Moderated by "A Song of Fire and Ice" creator George R. R. Martin.

Robert Rodriguez's Quick Draw Productions - 4:45-5:45 p.m. - Filmmaker Rodriguez will present Quick Draw's latest. He'll also have exclusive footage of latest project.

Beavis & Butthead - 5:00-6:00 p.m. - Mike Judge, creator of "Beavis & Butthead," talks about the duo's return to MTV. He'll show footage from the upcoming series.

Showtime - 5:30-7:30 p.m. - The premium cable station will have a host of stars and creative people from its shows "Dexter," (including an appearance by star Michael C. Hall), "Shameless" stars William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum and more.

Entertainment Weekly: The Visionaries: A discussion with Jon Favreau and Guillermo del Toro on the Future of Pop Culture - 6:00-7:00 p.m. - Entertainment Weekly moderates a conversation with director Jon Favreau (his "Cowboys & Aliens" comes out July 29) and Guillermo del Toro, who co-wrote the upcoming "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark" remake.

Writing Movies for Fun and Profit - 7:00-8:00 p.m. - Thomas Lennon and Robert Ben Garant, stars of "The State," "Reno 911!" and writers of the "Night at the Museum" films, talk about how to write movies that will make billions at the box office.

Friday, July 22

Conversations with Sid and Marty Krofft: A Look at the Past, Present and Future - 10:00-11:00 a.m. - Sid and Marty Krofft talk about their creations H.R. Pufnstuf and Sigmund and the Sea Monsters.

Comic-Con Film School 102: Production - 10:00-11:00 a.m. - This is Day two of the four-day course on making movies on super low budgets.

Panelists include Valerie Perez, Vera Vanguard, Edward G. Negron, Sean Rourke and Jack Conway.

Epix Pictures: The Captains - 10:15-11:15 a.m. - Kevin Smith moderates a panel with William Shatner and Avery Brooks, captains of "Star Trek." Shatner has produced and directed a documentary about all the actors who have played "Star Trek" captains. This should be amazing.

Page One - 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - This panel, about the first page of a comic, is moderated by Douglas Wolk and features Carla Speed McNeil, Jen Van Meter and Greg Rucka.

AMC's "The Walking Dead" - 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m. - Stars and creators of the AMC show talk about the first season of the series and what's in store for season two. Panelists include creator Frank Darabont, executive producer Gale Ann Hurd and stars Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Wayne Callies and Laurie Holden.

Publishing Queer: Producing LGBT Comics and Graphic Novels - 1:00-2:00 p.m. - Moderator Justin Hall leads a panel featuring Bob Schreck, Brian Andersen, Charles "Zan" Christensen Jacquelene Cohen and Shannon O'Leary in which they discuss the challenges and rewards of publicizing and marketing LGBT-themed comics.

Adult Swim: Childrens Hospital - 1:30-2:30 p.m. - Check out a never-before-screened episode of "Childrens Hospital." Rob Corddry, Jon Stern, Malin Akerman, Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes, Rob Huebel and Megan Mullally sit in on a panel to talk about the show.

DreamWorks: Fright Night - 2:45-3:45 p.m. - Actors Colin Farrell, Anton Yelchin, Christopher Mintz-Plasse), Imogen Poots, Dave Franco, director Craig Gillespie and screenwriter Marti Noxon talk about their remake of the 1980s horror film.

"True Blood" Panel and Q&A session - 5:30-6:30 p.m. - Series regulars Sam Trammell, Rutina Wesley, Ryan Kwanten and more sit on a panel to talk about the HBO series.

Magic: The Gathering Panel - 5:30-6:30 p.m. - Yep. The panel is moderated be head designer Mark Rosewater and includes director of R&D Aaron Forsythe, senior creative Magic art director Matt Cavotta and brand manager Mark Purvis.

Dungeons & Dragons: How to Be a Dungeon Master: The Art of the DM - 6:30-7:30 p.m. - You can learn to be a Dungeon Master! Attend this panel and you'll be on your way.

World Premiere: Batman: Year One - 8:00-10:00 - This is the world premiere of "Batman: Year One" followed by a panel with voice actors Bryan Cranston, Eliza Dushku, Ben McKenzie, Katee Sackhoff and executive producer Bruce Timm, directors Lauren Montgomery, Sam Liu and dialogue director Andrea Romano. Moderated by Gary Miereanu.

Saturday, July 23

Activision - 10:00-11:30 a.m. - Comics legend Stan Lee talks about upcoming Activision Marvel games "X-Men Destiny" and "Spider-Man: Edge of Time." Editorial director of Ryan Penagos moderates. The panel includes Peter David, TQ Jefferson, Dee Brown and Jullian Spillane.

"Chuck" Screening and Q&A - 10:00-10:45 a.m. - Consider this a farewell panel as co-creator Chris Fedak and cast members Zachary Levi, Yvonne Strahovski, Joshua Gomez, Ryan McPartlin, Mark Christopher Lawrence, Vik Sahay, Scott Krinsky, Sarah Lancaster and Adam Baldwin have a Q&A with fans.

An Early Evening with Kevin Smith - 5:45-7:30 p.m. - Kevin Smith takes the stage for what has become an annual Q&A. Hear the creator of "Clerks," "Mallrats" and many other cool things talk and talk and talk.

The Art of the Hollywood Movie Poster - 7:30-8:30 p.m. - Leslie Combemale moderates a panel that includes artists who have worked on posters you've grown up looking at and admiring. The artists are Andrea Alvin ("Batman Returns"), Matthew Peak "Nightmare on Elm Street"), James Goodridge ("Harry Potter"), Steve Chorney ("Who Framed Roger Rabbit?") and Lawrence Noble ("The Empire Strikes Back" 10th Anniversary).

MythBusters - 7:45-8:45 p.m. - Like "Mythbusters" needs an introduction. The gang's all here!

HBO's "True Blood" Presents the Comic-Con International Masquerade - 8:30-11:30 p.m.

FX Pilot Sneak Peek Screening - 9:30-10:30 p.m. - FX hasn't released the details - meaning which pilot - but the network has some great shows on its roster. Probably worth taking a peak.

Sunday, July 24

"Glee" - 10:00-11:00 a.m. - Creator and executive producer of "Glee," Ryan Murphy, creator/executive producer Brad Falchuk and stars of the show give the audience a peek at "Glee The 3D Concert Movie." There's also a Q&A session.

Comic-Con Film School 104: Post Production and Distribution - 10:00-11:00 a.m. - The final day of the four-day filmmaking course tells you how to get your movie seen by lots of eyeballs (or at least more than yours and your friends and family).

Watchmen: 25 Years Later - 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. - Artist Dave Gibbons, editor Len Wein and colorist John Higgins talk about the "Watchmen" legacy. Moderated by Douglas Wolk.

One-on-One with Castle Star Nathan Fillion - 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. - The "Firefly" star, Nathan Fillion, and the cast of "Castle" talk about the crime series in a panel discussion.

BBC America's "Doctor Who" - 12:30-1:30 p.m. - Stars Karen Gillan and Matt Smith, with the help of producers and writers, make their first appearance at Comic-Con for a Q&A and panel. You'll get to see new footage before the show comes back to BBC America later this summer.

Sons of Anarchy - 3:30-4:00 p.m.

Buffy the Musical - 4:00-5:00 p.m. - The weekend closes with a screening of the "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" musical episode, "Once More with Feeling."

'Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty' Game Hits the iPhone and iPad...

Following in the footsteps of Thor: Son of Asgard, Marvel Entertainment has released a new iOS videogame tie-in for Captain America: The First Avenger. Arriving on the iPhone/iPad in the form of one convenient app this week, Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty puts players in control of Cap in a $4.99 platformer filled with 24 levels of running, leaping, punching and shield-slinging. Check out video and images of the title in action after the jump.

Just as Son of Asgard tapped comic book talent for its story and cutscenes, Sentinel of Liberty features a story by Christos Gage with art by Ron Lim and Christopher Sotomayor.

From the official iTunes listing:
Sentinel of Liberty features stunning HD graphics optimized for Retina Displays! Play as the Super Soldier Captain America in this epic action game. As WW2 rages, Red Skull is leading HYDRA as they build super weapons that will turn the tide of the war. To make matters worse, Falsworth, Dum Dum Dugan and Bucky have been captured. Go behind enemy lines to rescue them and put an end to the sinister plot. Use your unbreakable shield to battle, block, and maneuver your way on what seems like a suicide mission.

Kevin Sutherland speaks about the Stan Lee Excelsior Award...

The noted comic artist (Beano and Dr Who Adventures amongst other titles, and gifted Falsetto Socks Company creator) Kev Sutherland was the keynote speaker at the Stan Lee Excelsior Awards. This is what he had to say:

‘I was honoured and delighted to be part of the Stan Lee Excelsior Awards in Sheffield yesterday.

Organised by Paul Register, the Learning Resource Centre Manager (that’s Librarian in old money) at Ecclesfield School, this splendid award involved a number of local schools (10 I believe, Paul will correct me), whose pupils were given the opportunity to read, review and vote on a shortlist of 8 graphic novels and their votes would find a winner. A few hundred pupils, drawn from each of the participating schools, were in attendance at the presentation.

I did my small Comic Art Masterclass keynote speech, which kept them entertained for half an hour, then we had a presentation from the most marvellous special guest – Theodore “Ted” Adams from the Stan Lee Foundation, who had come all the way over from the States just to be here and give Stan’s seal of approval to the event. We watched some highly entertaining video by and about Stan, and the whole hall posed for a video clip of us shouting “Excelsior” which should wind up on Stan’s website.
Then the awards were presented. In 3rd place was the manga version of Twilight, in 2nd place was Bryan Talbot’s Grandville Mon Amour – Bryan was there to accept the award – and the winner, quitenoverwhelmingly if the students’ applause was anything to go by, was Black Butler by Yana Toboso.

Bryan and Ben Heggarty, author of shortlisted title Mezolith, signed books, the guys from Sheffield Space Centre sold books, the whole event was filmed and should end up online, and I did drawings and signed comics for kids.

This was an absolutely excellent event, reaching precisely the sort of audience that I always wanted my Comic Festival events to reach. The school hall was full of kids who now read comics, some of whom did before but all of whom will do now.

Thanks Paul & congratulations.’

We have permission to print this straight from the website (in case you were wondering), which is here. Kev is an excellent visitor to have in your schools, as he will give comic masterclasses and enthuse your students, turning them on to the joy of graphic novels. (Credit: Heart Of The School)

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!"

‘Captain America’ star Chris Evans: It’s not about the flag, it’s about the hero - Los Angeles Times...

Square-jawed superhero Steve Rogers lays strangely immobile in the bowels of an enormous “suborbital bomber” — a contraption that looks like Howard Hughes’ legendary Spruce Goose if it were pimped out for Darth Vader. His eyes closed, the hero might be lost in deep contemplation or possibly praying for help to foil an evil plot, in this case the impending launch of a missile targeted at a major American city.

But from a certain vantage point, his face pressed against the glass encasing the weapon, it sure looks as though Captain America’s snoozing. Even if Chris Evans, who plays the weakling soldier wannabe turned strapping superhero in the new film “Captain America: The First Avenger,” were catching a few winks, it would be tough to blame him. The actor, 30, had to bulk up at the gym to better embody Rogers, who becomes a hulking good guy determined to fight for classic American ideals.

Specifically, Rogers is tasked with thwarting the nefarious designs of the villainous Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) in the World War II-era comic book adaptation, which opens in theaters July 22. In addition to the physical demands of the role, though, Evans has had to spend time wrestling with Rogers’ inner demons.

“He’s given this amazing blessing, all of the ability that he has always wanted,” said Evans on the sidelines of a frigid soundstage at Pinewood Studios outside of London late last year. “That can easily corrupt. If you give anyone this power, it is easy to become a bully and let human emotion take over.”

That notion — essentially that with great power comes great responsibility — is, of course, central to the ethos of more than one star character from the Marvel Comics universe, so it’s perhaps not surprising to find that same message at the core of “Captain America.”

What is perhaps more notable is the movie’s retro-futuristic aesthetic, which production designer Rick Heinrichs said is unique in its representation of slick and oversized World War II-era cars, tanks and aircraft; the sets and props combine elegant prewar industrial styles with the organic plantlike visions of the 20th century Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, who is famous for Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia.

“We’re not doing a historic war movie but a stylized and exaggerated war movie,” Heinrichs said. “It is the future as seen from the past.”

The approach extends too to Rogers’ costume — which includes a distressed leather coat that he wears over his familiar red, white and blue garb. Speaking with Hero Complex months later, director Joe Johnston (“The Rocketeer”) said he used “Raiders of the Lost Ark” as a template for developing the story.

“This is futurism in the 1940s; if you went to 1942 and thought of what the future would be, that’s what the approach was,” Johnston said. “The villain has a much more futuristic style and his science and his apparatus — he has a whole design motif that is beyond 1942 but it’s what you might have perceived as futuristic from a 1942 vantage point.”

Of course, setting “Captain America” in the storied past helps avoid some of the more charged political questions that accompany releasing a patriotically themed production around the world at a time when the U.S. is perceived in certain places as somewhat less than heroic.

Marvel is not blind to the potentially alienating title and is planning to open the film simply as “The First Avenger” in South Korea, Russia and Ukraine, where the comic book is not already well known, according to the film’s producer and Marvel Studios’ president Kevin Feige.

But he and Evans, who will reprise his role in next year’s “The Avengers,” point out that the movie highlights the universal elements that have made Steve Rogers an enduring presence in the seven decades since his debut.

“Right now in America how we handle ourselves in political and global issues is up for questioning,” Evans said. “I still think Captain America is timeless. He might wear the red, white and blue, but I don’t think this is all about America. It is what America stands for. It could be called ‘Captain Good.’” (Credit: Los Angeles Times)

Spider-Man To Save Chicago Comics From Doom In Upcoming Issue...

Chicago comic readers looking for a little local edge in the Amazing Spider-Man series should love what’s coming up in the next issue. Hallowed comic book supplier Chicago Comics will be featured on the front cover of about 500 copies of the limited edition of Issue 666.

This is the first time that Marvel Comics has offered the option of personalization to comic book retailers, and Eric Kirsammer, owner of Chicago Comics, wanted to take advantage of the opportunity, in the hopes that the issue will become collectible and the store can become a part of comic history.

The comic, to be released on July 27, will showcase Spider-Man on a mission to save comic book stores across the country, in a small show of appreciation for these institutions helping him become so famous over the years. Fans who might not be prepared for the meta-ness of the event and the collision of reality and fiction into one mind-bending experience should probably stay away and prevent their delicate world-views from being shattered. Further info be releases via the store’s blog

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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