One of the longtime laments of many fans is that DC Entertainment and Marvel don’t better utilize popular animated series like Young Justice or the late Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to promote their comic books. Well, that’s about to change.
When Disney XD’s Ultimate Spider-Man returns Jan. 21 for a second season, it will be accompanied by a new series of interstitials designed to encourage kids to read. Hosted by Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada and Dylan Riley Snyder (“Kickin’ It”), “Marvel Comics Close-Up” will give viewers an inside look at 10 comics, including Ultimate Spider-Man #7, Invincible Iron Man #7, Hulk #3, Thor #364 and Marvel Adventures Spider-Man #16. In addition, free Marvel digital comics will be offered on the Disney XD website.
Ultimate Spider-Man returns Monday, Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. ET/PT with a one-hour premiere that introduces Electro and the Lizard. New episodes follow in the show’s regular time slot, Sundays at 11 a.m. ET/PT.
If you’re a comics fan who came of age in the ’90s watching the terribly animated X-Men cartoon as part of the Fox Kids Saturday morning lineup, you’ll likely appreciate this video, which recreates the show’s opening using action figures and stop-motion animation. According to Kyle Roberts’ YouTube page, he used more than 4,000 pictures, and “spent two months rotoscoping and animating all of the special effects.” Add to that the work done by Nathan Poppe on the doodle-style background, and the theme song recreated by Colin Nance and Zach Zellar.
And on top of all of that, there’s a mildly amusing framing sequence. Still, though, the stop-motion credits sequence is the star of the show.
Although he’s still reeling by the defeat of Mitt Romney — hey, he didn’t heed valuable advice — C. Montgomery Burns pulls himself together to deliver a helpful explanation of the “fiscal cliff” from within the ominous-looking headquarters of the Springfield Republican Party.
“Think of the economy as a car and the rich man as the driver,” he offers in a new Simpsons promo. “If you don’t give the driver all the money, he’ll drive you over the cliff. It’s just common sense.”
Watch the video below. New episodes of The Simpsons air Sundays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
SuperF*ckers made its animated debut today on the Cartoon Hangover site. Based on the comics by James Kochalka published several years ago by Top Shelf, it features, as Kevin noted earlier this week, “teen superheroes doing, and saying, bad and occasionally disgusting things.” And some very funny things.
A censored version of the first episode can be found below, and you can watch the uncensored version on YouTube. Neither one of them are really safe for work, though, so put your headphones on before watching.
In addition, once you’ve enjoyed the cartoon, you can buy the merch … WeLoveFine has a whole Cartoon Hangover section on their site now, featuring the SuperF*cker characters, and to celebrate the show’s premiere, the above shirt featuring Ultra Richard is their deal of the day. They’ve also got one featuring Jack Krak that’s tied to the first episode. You can find images of some of them below.
Top Shelf points out that Cartoon Hangover has been adorably counting down to the Friday debut of SuperF*ckers, the online animated series based on the comics by James Kochalka. If you’ve read the series, which the publisher describes as “obscenely funny,” or even just read about it, you have a pretty good idea what to expect from the cartoon: teen superheroes doing, and saying, bad and occasionally disgusting things. If that’s not enough to sell you on the animated SuperF*ckers, it’s produced by Frederator Studios, the folks behind Adventure Time and Bravest Warriors.
Like many of us, 13-year-old Nick Mastrangelo is a fan of Daryl Dixon, the crossbow-shooting, motorcycle-riding loner from AMC’s The Walking Dead. But while the rest of us are content to watch Merle’s younger brother kill walkers, and the occasional owl and possum, once a week, aspiring animator Nick created his own Daryl Dixon adventure. The result is bloody, manic and undeniably awesome (Robert Kirkman calls it “the coolest thing I’ve seen all day”). If The Walking Dead can spin off a weekly talk show, then I see no reason why it can’t spawn a series of animated shorts (by Nick Mastrangelo, naturally). Get on it, AMC.
The Kickstarter campaign to fund a feature-length story reel for the stalled CGI-animated adaptation of The Goon ended successfully Sunday, exceeding its $400,000 goal by $41,900.
“Frankly, we don’t have the words to describe our APPRECIATION, Goon Fans,” the message on the Kickstarter page states. “We NEVER could have imagined how much SUPPORT we’d receive from this fan community. It’s truly been OVERWHELMING. Through your time, energy, dedication, and donations, you’ve given us an AMAZING opportunity to help keep The Goon Movie dream alive.”
That dream dates back to at least 2008, when it was announced that producer David Fincher and Blur Studio would adapt the acclaimed comic by Eric Powell. Progress soon stalled, however, as financing proved difficult. Test footage, featuring the voices of Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti, was at last revealed last year, giving fans hope the project might eventually see the light of day. With few additional signs of movement, Powell gave in to pressure and revealed at Comic-Con International he would turn to Kickstarter.
The result of the campaign won’t be the actual film; that budget is pegged at somewhere around $45 million. Instead the $441,900 will be used to finance a story reel to shop to studios.
Sure, President Obama has received high praise from New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and, just today, the endorsement of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but Mitt Romney has now secured the invaluable assistance of the Springfield Republican Party.
In a video message from C. Montgomery Burns, the nuclear power tycoon and kingmaker offers the candidate a way to overcome “the one thing that might deny us the presidency that is the God-given property of the Republican Party.” It’s not the 47-percent video, the overseas bank accounts or even, as Mr. Smithers says, “the tax returns that even Wesley Snipes would call suspicious.” No, no, no … it’s the harrowing tale of Seamus the dog.
The Simpsons returns Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
Three months after teasing he would give in to pressure and use Kickstarter to help fund the stalled CG-animated adaptation of his comic, The Goon creator Eric Powell launched the campaign this morning. Although the film’s budget has been pegged at $45 million, the drive’s goal is $400,000 to pay for a feature-length story reel to shop around to studios.
Billed as an effort by Powell, producer David Fincher, Blur Studio and Dark Horse Entertainment, the campaign asks fans to “Help us make a NEW KIND of animated film … one that’s LOUD, VIOLENT and OFFENSIVE TO YOUR GRANDMA.”
Announced in 2008, the animated movie has been slow moving as the producers searched for financial backers. “The Goon is in the exact same position it’s been in for the past couple of years,” Powell said in January. “Prepping the design and script while searching for funding.” About a year ago, the cartoonist shared well-received test footage that featured the voice talents of Clancy Brown and Paul Giamatti, who are set to return for the story reel and the eventual feature.
This weekend, fans of Masters of the Universe, She-Ra: Princess of Power and ThunderCats will descend on Torrance, California, for the second annual Power-Con/ThunderCon, an event devoted to the 1980s media franchises.
While much of the programming is dedicated to the toy and animation aspects of the pop-culture mainstays, there are panels devoted to the He-Man and She-Ra minicomics (they came with the original action figures) and the ThunderCats comics, “the Art of Eternia,” MVCreations (which created He-Man comics from 2002 to 2004), and the rarely seen He-Man newspaper comic strips.
Comics guests include Blond, Shannon Eric Denton, Leanne Hannah, Larry Houston, Josh Howard, Pepe Moreno, Tone Rodriguez, Nei Ruffino, Mark Dos Santos, Tim Seeley, Felipe Smith, Matt Tyree, Anthony Washington and Dave Wilkins.
Power-Con/ThunderCon kicks off Saturday morning at the Torrance Marriott South Bay and continues through Sunday.
While comics fans may miss seeing new work from Joshua Middleton on comics shelves (the covers to Sword & Sorcery and Before Watchmen were nice!), there’s some consolation in knowing that although the artist isn’t actively illustrating comics he is keeping within the superhero landscape. Middleton recently posted some landscape designs he created for Warner Bros. Animation’s Green Lantern: The Animated Series, which he worked on for some time. What he’s revealed so far is his renditions of Oa, interplanetary headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps. In his brief post, Middleton explains some of the obstacles from an art direction standpoint to the Green Lantern concept and how he overcame them for his work on the series.
“One major problem from an art direction perspective, with Green Lantern: The Animated Series and anything Green Lantern in general, is the overabundance of green,” Middleton writes. “It can be difficult to come up with nice color palettes when everybody and everything in the scene is glowing green. Matters were not made better with the introduction of Red Lanterns, as we now had the world’s weirdest Christmas to deal with.”
Tobey Maguire’s Material Pictures is teaming with Fox Animation and Wedgeworks to adapt Doug TenNapel’s latest project Cardboard (I reviewed the graphic novel last month). TenNapel himself will executive produce alongside Material Pictures, with Fox Animation Chris Wedge also producing. Wedge directed the first Ice Age, and has been the voice of Scrat the squirrel throughout the hit series. He also executive produced Ice Age: The Meltdown.
According to Variety, Wedge may also direct the film, and if the project moves forward there’s a possibility that Maguire will voice one of the main characters (most likely Mike, the out-of-work dad who buys his son some magic cardboard for his birthday).
Comics and cartoons have been inexorably linked since their foundations in the early 1900s, and we’ve seen everyone from Winsor McCay to Charles Schulz to Judd Winick jump back and forth between animation and comic books. And now one die-hard fan of the legendary cartoon series Looney Tunes is dusting off the under-appreciated history of Bugs Bunny and pals in comics form for a new blog called Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies Comics.
“Ever since the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes [animated]series began in 1930, the characters have had a side career in comics, both newspaper strips and comic books,” writes Matthew Hunter. Looney Tunes first hit comics in 1941 under the auspices of Western Publishing’s Dell Comics, and for more than 40 years published a variety of titles featuring the stars of the brand. After that company shuttered in the ’80s, DC Comics — its parent company Warner Bros. owns the properties — took over and continues to publish them to this day.
Since Hunter launched his blog in May, he’s posted a number of great (and not-so-great examples) of Looney Tunes in print, with everything from 1940s Dell strips all the way to present-day DC work. Definitely great for some Saturday afternoon reading — or ready any time, for that matter.
Although it’s often been said that the Man of Steel, with his god-like powers, can be difficult to relate to, many a dog owner have found themselves in the same place as the Last Son of Krypton in Superman’s Best Friend, the beautiful and mesmerizing animated short film by Brent Underhill. The premise is simple: Superman arrives at the Fortress of Solitude to discover Krypto waiting, in dire need of a walk. The execution, however, is hilarious, if perhaps a bit not safe for work for those squeamish about the detailed depiction of a (super-) dog answering the call of nature.
The inarguable success of Marvel Studios has Hollywood’s attention. In an industry forever nervous about new ideas, the strategy impulsively becomes how to duplicate it.
DreamWorks Animation’s $155 million purchase of Classic Media was inspired, at least in part, by the record-shattering performance of Marvel’s The Avengers, DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told Reuters. And similar to Marvel’s pre-Iron Man days, Katzenberg sees this as a strong opportunity to farm out the newly acquired characters to other studios for adaptation. Aside from its Mr. Peabody & Sherman 3D movie already in the works, DreamWorks has no plans to create new live-action features based on the Classic Media characters. But the small screen may be another matter: The studio is setting up its own television or Internet channel, but whether this is to re-run classic episodes, like Cartoon Network does with Boomerang, or for new series is still unknown.
“A channel is one of the many opportunities we see for combining the DreamWorks brand with this extraordinary library of characters,” Katzenberg said. “It could be a domestic cable channel, international, even an Internet channel.”
But more immediately, the purchase provides DreamWorks additional leverage as it negotiates to renew its distribution deal with Paramount Pictures.
All of this studio-driven activity around comic book properties sounds great, but where does that leave the comics themselves? Will DreamWorks open a comics publishing company? Will Doctor Solar be reunited with the recently revived Valiant Universe? Will The Lone Ranger vanish from Dynamite Entertainment’s line-up? What about Ape Entertainment’s Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich relaunches? Will the world finally get a new Fat Albert comic?