Graphic Novelties

AUTHOR'S NOTE: This blog has been superseded by my Culture Shock blog.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Face front, true believers! interviews (if you can consider public relations an "interview") Stan Lee about his life, art, and future business ventures: And now with POW! Entertainment, you have 40 original projects that are currently in development?

Stan Lee: Well I haven't counted them but I think that's a good guess. Yeah, we have any number of things that are in some process or some stage of development or production. And this has nothing to do with comics, they're being produced strictly for television and for film?

Stan Lee: That's right. Television, films, DVD's, telephone-mobisodes (mini episodic television for mobile phones). Some of them may end up also being comic books. Very often a movie producer will say, "Can we do a comic book to promote this prospective movie?" or something like that. And certainly there's no reason not to do comics, but basically we're a film and animation company.

Holy copyright!

The Center for the Study of the Public Domain, has produced a comic book to teach people about the ins and outs of copyright law:
The book follows the story of a documentary maker putting together a film about life in New York City. ("Trapped by a STRUGGLE she didn't understand.... By day a FILM MAKER... By night she fought for FAIR USE!") As she's gone around and captured scenes for her film, she's also picked up incidental uses of other people's work - a saxophonist playing a song, a sign in the background with a company logo, public TV screens showing images of Bart Simpson. These scenes are a reality of modern life, yet they're a nightmare for documentary producers. As the comic book notes, one producer was forced to remove footage that featured someone whose mobile phone ringtone happened to be the theme to the movie Rocky because they couldn't afford to pay the song's publisher $10,000 for including it.

The stars must be right!

As if it weren't already a sure thing that I'd shell out money for WizKids' new HorrorClix Collectible Miniatures Game, shipping this summer, now I've learned that Cthulhu will be included in the first set. Ia! Ia! Cthulhu fhtagn!

Of interest to comics and gaming retailers, WizKids is making the first set of all of its new products returnable. Maybe if comics publishers would make the first three or four issues of any new series returnable, shops would have more incentive to promote new series. And publishers would have less incentive to slap a new "No. 1" on every reboot.

Tiny 'toon adventures

WizKids, the maker of HeroClix, is producing ToonClix, a collectible miniatures game aimed at kids ages 6-12 (and geeks in their mid-30s) and featuring miniatures based on both classic Looney Tunes characters and characters from newer Cartoon Network programs.

More Godzilla ... and Godzookie!

Classic Media will release the 1978 Hanna-Barbara Godzilla cartoon series in two DVD volumes on June 6. They will each retail for $12.98. This is the series that teamed Japan's favorite giant monster with a seafaring team of scientists and Godzilla's pesky flying nephew, Godzookie, who at least wasn't quite as annoying as Godzilla's son, Minya.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Marvel in the Middle East

Teshkeel Comics has released the first Arabic version of a Marvel comic in the Middle East, Spectacular Spider-Man:
'We are thrilled at the chance to bring the excitement and universal appeal of Marvels' superheroes to the Middle East. This is our first step in establishing a new direction in children's media that will fill the void and provide quality entertainment for the Arab audience,' says Dr. Al-Mutawa, founder and CEO of Teshkeel Media Group.

Spider-Man was chosen as Teshkeel's first release because of the character's international following based on the success of the comic book series and the Hollywood blockbuster films.

Still to come: Arabic translations of Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, and Ghost Rider.

I can't wait to see how that last one goes over.

That wall-crawling weirdo!

French "Spider-Man" Alain Robert, known for scaling skyscrapers without permission, is at it again, this time climbing a 31-floor office building outside Paris on Wednesday using only his bare hands. It was his last climb before spending a week in prison in Texas, where he pulled the same stunt in November.


USA Today ramps up the hype machine for Superman Returns:
The new film will revisit the origins of the Man of Steel. [Director Bryan] Singer is well aware he's treading on hallowed ground.

"This isn't just any comic book character. Superman is America. He's as iconic as it gets. That's a pretty awesome responsibility."

I thought Captain America was America, but whatever.

Betty loves Spidey

Elizabeth Banks is reprising her role as Betty Brant in Spider-Man 3, and she has a message for director Sam Raimi: "You should maybe write Sam Raimi a letter. I'm very aware of [my character's history]. Make him aware."

Of course, she's speaking of the fact that Betty was Peter Parker's first girlfriend in the comics, but so far Betty and Peter haven't hooked up in the films.

FF to CN in fall

Cartoon Network will air the new Fantastic Four cartoon this fall. The co-production of Marvel Studios and the French animation company Moonscoop (Code Lyoko) is aimed at 6- to 11-year-olds, and 30-year-old fanboys.

I made that last part up.

Twenty-six episodes of the series have been commissioned.

Previewing previews

Comics Continuum has previews of company solicitations in next week's Diamond Previews catalog for comic books allegedly shipping in June. Click here for Marvel and Image previews. Click here for DC Comics previews.

Tokyo pops

Tokyopop has opened an online message board. I doubt it'll provide us with Millarworld-style shenanigans, but give the manga fans a few years.

Just kidding.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Consider the source

I hardly know which speaks better for the V for Vendetta movie, being slammed by the uptight elitists at The New Yorker or being evicerated by the brain-dead Debbie Schlussel at the slimy FrontPage magazine. Interestingly, both reviews are so obsessed with the similarities (real and imagined) between the fascist state portrayed in the movie and the policies of the Bush administration that they ignore the fact that most of the totalitarian imagery in the film has been around for decades. Memo to the neoconservatives: It's not all about you. But if you think it is, you might ask yourself why that is.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Oh, no! They say he's got to go!

Classic Media will release a DVD two-pack on Sept. 5 containing both the American cut and the original 98-minute Japanese version of Godzilla (1954). The set will retail for $21.98. Both films have been remastered in widescreen.


Here's a quick round-up of comics-to-TV-and-film news for today: Night Watch director Timur Bekmambetov talks about adapting Mark Millar's Wanted. The Hellboy sequel has a name, Hellboy 2: The Golden Army, and it may start production later this year. Joss Whedon expects to turn in his first draft of the Wonder Woman movie script this week. The Legion of Superheroes cartoon will debut on the new CW network this fall. Angelina Jolie is being eyed for a lead role in Sin City 2. And Lou Diamond Phillips has joined the cast of The CW's Aquaman pilot.

Superman up, up, and away on DVD

The Digital Bits compiles Warner Bros.'s plans for Superman DVD releases this year:
Finally, the BIG Warner news (or should I say... "super" news?). The studio has officially unveiled its complete Superman DVD release plans for the rest of 2006. In the 2nd Qtr, look for Look Up in the Sky!: The Amazing Story of Superman documentary (street date TBA), along with the newly (and/or recently) announced Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman - Season Three, Adventures of Superman: The Complete Third and Fourth Seasons, The Adventures of Superboy: The Complete First Season, Krypto: The Superdog, Volume One - Cosmic Canine, Superman: Brainiac Attacks (an original animated movie), Justice League of America: Season Two and Superman: The Animated Series - Volume 3, all currently expected for release on 6/20. In the 3rd Qtr, look for Smallville: The Complete Fifth Season (street date TBA). Then in the 4th Qtr, watch for the DVD release of Superman Returns, Superman: The Movie - Special Edition, Superman II: Special Edition, Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut, Superman III: Deluxe Edition, Superman IV: Deluxe Edition, The Superman Collection, The Superman Ultimate Collector's Edition, Supergirl, Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman - Season Four, Adventures of Superman: The Complete Fifth and Sixth Seasons, the Superman Serials (the 1948 and 1950 editions, starring Kirk Alyn), Krypto: The Superdog - Volume Two, Justice League Unlimited: Season One and Justice League of America: Season Three (street date for all is TBA, but likely November). Whew! That's a lot of super for one year.

Hulk smash puny TV set!

TV Shows on DVD reports that season one of the 1970s live-action TV version of The Incredible Hulk may be coming to DVD in July.

Will Disney wise up and try to release a box set of either of the two animated Hulk shows it owns at the same time?

Chef quits "South Park" over Scientology

Isaac Hayes, the voice of Chef on South Park, has quit the Comedy Central animated series, saying show crossed a line with its episode critical of Scientology. Hayes is a Scientologist.
"Religious beliefs are sacred to people, and at all times should be respected and honored," [Hayes] continued. "As a civil rights activist of the past 40 years, I cannot support a show that disrespects those beliefs and practices."

"South Park" co-creator Matt Stone responded sharply in an interview with The Associated Press Monday, saying, "This is 100 percent having to do with his faith of Scientology ... He has no problem -- and he's cashed plenty of checks -- with our show making fun of Christians."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Anarchy in the U.K.

Newsweek reviewer Jeff Giles hated, hated, hated V for Vendetta, especially the film's climax, which reportedly is the part that most differs from the graphic novel.

Trapped in a world he never made

I am now the proud owner of a 1977 vintage Howard the Duck glass, originally released via 7-Eleven.