Business Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Face front, True Believers! There’s now a Marvel credit card


It’s not a Merry Marvel Marching Society membership card, but this new Marvel credit card may be as close as you’re going to get.

Partnering with Synchrony Financial, the company has introduced the Marvel MasterCard, available in five designs: Marvel heroes (the Avengers, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy), Iron Man, Spider-Man, Captain America’s shield, and a more subdued gray version, featuring icons of some of the characters.

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World’s largest LEGO store to open at Shanghai Disney Resort

Artist's rendering of Disneytown

Artist’s rendering of Disneytown

As if the long-planned opening of the 962-acre Shanghai Disney Resort on June 16 isn’t excitement enough, LEGO has announced it will launch the world’s largest LEGO store there, on the same day.

Measuring more than 10,700 square feet, the store will be located in Disneytown, the new shopping, dining and entertainment district just Disneyland. The flagship store will feature indoor and outdoor play areas, as well as large-scale LEGO models, including a replica of the Oriental Pearl Tower.

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With $60.5 million in sales, ‘Attack on Titan’ is its own media empire

attack on titan-anime movie

Surprising virtually no one, Attack on Titan emerged as the top media property this year in Japan, selling about $60.5 million in manga, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, CDs and novels.

Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece, a perennial favorite, followed closely without about $59.6 million.

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‘Star Wars’ toy sales could reach $2 billion in just four months


Star Wars: The Force Awakens looms like the Death Star in toy aisles, where it could generate retail sales of more than $2 billion in the final four months of the year — but at a serious cost to other brands.

The Wall Street Journal reports that, beginning with the big Force Friday rollout on Sept. 4, Star Wars merchandise has dominated shelf space, and store budgets, squeezing out the competition. Peanuts and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are cited among the hardest-hit brands, with the latter — a top seller in 2014 — losing 20 percent of its shelf space this year at Target.

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Everything ISN’T awesome: Europe faces holiday LEGO shortage


In what sounds like the premise for either a heartwarming Christmas tale or a horror movie, LEGO has announced it may not be able to produce enough bricks to meet holiday demand in Europe.

“We will not be able to deliver all of the orders coming from customers in the remainder of the year,” Roar Trangbaek, a spokesman for the Danish toymaker, told Reuters.

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Warner Bros. Dismantles DC Comics/Looney Tunes Mural

The Warner Bros. mural (photo by Jonah Weiland)

The new Warner Bros. mural (photo by Jonah Weiland)

This week, Warner Bros. dismantled a decades old cartoon-themed mural which in recent years served as the public face of the studios’ connection to DC Comics.

Cartoon Brew caught some photos of the removal of stories-high homage to the likes of Superman, Batman, Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo at the Warner Studio lot in Burbank. While the mural once held a “cartoon Mount Rushmore” featuring the likes of Fred Flintstone, since 2009 it has served as the most public expression of the company’s commitment to the DC superhero line.

Of course with a full DC Editorial office now in Burbank, it’s not as though Warners is looking to downplay its ownership of the likes of Batman and Superman any time soon. But with such a long-running cornerstone of the company’s cartoon pride coming down, what could possibly take its place?

As ‘Infinity’ grows, Disney merges video game and toy units

disney finity-star wars

Disney is combining its video game and toy divisions, reflecting the increasing overlap between the two with such projects as Disney Infinity, the less successful Imagicademy and the recently unveiled Playmation.

Announced Monday, the restructuring sees Disney Consumer Products and Disney Interactive merge to form Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media, overseen by the heads of the former units. Although some employees will be shifted into new roles, The New York Times reports there won’t be any layoffs.

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Marvel and Popsicle team for crazy (but tasty) ‘Flavor Force’ campaign


I desperately hope that somewhere in the “All-New, All-Different” Marvel Universe there’s room for Ace Cherry, Popsicle Pete and Mandy Orange, the heroes of Popsicle’s new “Flavor Force” promotional campaign.

Designed by Marvel Custom Solutions, the icy trio will battle its arch-nemesis Lord Weathervane — described by the talking, flying minifridge in the video below as “evil” and “not very nice” — in a series of digital comics set to debut June 21.

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Conan the Barbarian rights change hands again


Cabinet Holdings has acquired Paradox Entertainment Inc., which owns the rights to the Conan the Barbarian, Solomon Kane and the rest of the Robert E. Howard library, as well as role-playing games like Mutant and Mutant Chronicles.

Paradox founder Fredrik Malmberg, who left the company a year ago to focus on film production, is the president and CEO of Cabinet Holdings. He produced 2011’s Conan the Barbarian movie and is overseeing the upcoming Legend of Conan.

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Wizard World launches ComicConBox subscription service

comiconboxWizard World is expanding beyond pop-culture conventions and into subscription box services with ComicConBox.

Like Loot Crate and other similar services, ComicConBox offers subscribers monthly shipments containing toys and collectibles, artwork, games, gadgets and apparel. Plus, this being Wizard World, there are also convention tickets and VIP discounts.

The service is priced at $29.99 a month, with the first box shipping around April 30.

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CTM Media Holdings renamed IDW Media Holdings; Ted Adams named CEO

idw publishingCTM Media Holdings, which owns a majority interest in IDW Publishing, has changed its name to IDW Media Holdings, and placed IDW co-founder and CEO Ted Adams at its helm. The move paves the way for IDW to become listed on a stock exchange.

Telecommunications company IDT Corporation bought a controlling stake in the publisher in 2007, and then two years later created the spinoff CTM Media Holdings to house IDW Publishing, travel-based web portal Ettractions, and brochure and digital advertising distributor CTM Media Group.

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Marvel broadens scope with ‘Age of Ultron’ merchandising

hulk buster

Marvel and Disney hope to reach a broader audience with products tied to Avengers: Age of Ultron, which means more items that appeal to women and fans of individual superheroes.

“For the first film, we primarily focused on the Avengers property and the group shots,” Paul Gitter, Disney Consumer Products’ senior vice president of Marvel licensing, tells Variety. “Now we’re broadening the line and scope to create SKUs that focus on the team and the individuals characters, as well.”

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Would you like syrup on your Avengers-themed waffles?


Not content with its conquest of cinemas and the direct market, Marvel has now turned its attention to home appliances. Small appliances, but still …

Soon, fans will be able to eat waffles emblazoned with Thor’s hammer, Iron Man’s mask, Captain America’s shield and Hulk’s fist, prepared — where else? — in an Avengers-themed waffle maker from Select Brands. The company is also developing Marvel-inspired toasters, single-serve coffeemakers and more.

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Marvel’s Isaac Perlmutter and his wife give $9M for cancer research

Isaac Perlmutter (file photo)

Isaac Perlmutter (file photo)

Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter and his wife Laura have donated $9 million to help fund cancer research at NYU Langone Medical Center and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

According to an announcement made today by the institutions, $3 million will finance six cancer-focused projects conducted by teams led by investigators from NYU Langone and the Technion. The remaining $6 million be used to establish a state-of-the-art research facility on Technion’s Israel campus that will support these and other projects. Its principal focus will be on the emerging field of cancer metabolomics.

The former co-owner of Toy Biz, Isaac Perlmutter and his then business partner Avi Arad took control of Marvel in 1998, led the  company out of bankruptcy and, within a decade, established Marvel Studios as a major player in Hollywood. A self-made billionaire, the publicity-shy Perlmutter made $1.5 billion in cash and stock from the 2009 sale of Marvel, becoming Disney’s second-largest individual shareholder and one of the wealthiest people in the United States.

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Garfield is top cat at renamed Indiana Farmers Coliseum


Although we’ve become accustomed over the past three decades to seeing the Peanuts characters advertising MetLife, I was unaware that Garfield also moonlights as a mascot for an insurance company. Now that gig is leading to a higher profile for the comic-strip cat — atop the former Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum (aka Pepsi Coliseum).

The Indiana State Fair Commission announced today that the newly renovated arena will be named the Indiana Farmers Coliseum through a 10-year, $6 million deal with Indiana Farmers Mutual Insurance Company. A new sign will eventually be added to the top of the building, along with some version of Garfield, who was present today for the press conference.

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