After submitting an offer last week, DreamWorks Animation announced this morning it has bought Classic Media for $155 million. The purchase brings with it comics, cartoon and television properties as diverse as Casper the Friendly Ghost, Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Lone Ranger, Where’s Waldo?, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and the licensing and production rights to Gold Key characters like Magnus, Robot Fighter, Doctor Solar, and Turok, Son of Stone.
“Classic Media brings a large and diverse collection of characters and branded assets that is extremely complementary to DreamWorks Animation’s franchise business, and we plan to leverage it across our motion picture, television, home entertainment, consumer products, digital, theme park and live entertainment channels,” DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg said in a statement. Founders and co-CEOs Eric Ellenbogen and John Engelman – seasoned executives with over 20 years of industry experience and a proven track record of success in managing high-quality content – have built an amazing team at Classic Media and are a welcome addition to the DreamWorks Animation family.”
Classic Media was founded in 2000 by former Marvel Entertainment CEO Ellenbogen and former Broadway Video executive Engelman, who spent much of the next decade acquiring the entire, or partial, libraries of companies like Rankin/Bass, Filmation, Harvey Comics and Jay Ward Productions, and ancillary rights to Golden Books properties, Tribune Media Services comic strips and World Events Productions cartoons.
Coinciding with the Friday premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, the cable channel The Hub is airing a 10-episode marathon of Batman: The Animated Series, the beloved early-1990s cartoon that’s held up by a generation of fans as the gold standard for animated adaptations of comic books.
To promote the event, The Hub has created a teaser that recreates the trailer for the final installment of director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy using clips from the show and the original voice cast. You can watch it below.
The marathon, dubbed “Batman: The Animated Series Rises” kicks off Friday at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT on The Hub.
Although The Goon creator Eric Powell had previously dismissed the notion of using Kickstarter to fund the stalled CG-animated adaptation of the comic, noting the project’s budget is $45 million, he’s now caved to public pressure.
Taking to Twitter this morning from his booth at Comic-Con International, Powell wrote, “Ok, everybody that’s been yelling at me for us to do a Kickstarter for the Goon film,” and included the above photo of a flier bearing the headline, “Let’s Kickstart This Fuckin’ Film!” and information on how to be notified when the campaign launches.
Produced by Blur Studio and David Fincher from a script by Powell, The Goon film stars Paul Giamatti and Clancy Brown as the voices of the Goon and Franky. Although announced in 2008, the project 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.”
More recently, he explained the delay to Comic Book Resources, saying, “It’s just the combination of finding the right people, the people who understand it and get it and don’t want Goon to have a singing, talking dog and coming up with the right budget. They’re still plugging away, they’re still talking to people — it’s not dead by any means. But it’s just a waiting game, it’s finding the right people.”
However, more than a year ago we got a look at test footage, which you can see below.
• Of course you can’t have Comic-Con without news about Comic-Con itself. CBR’s Kiel Phegley spoke with CCI’s David Glanzer about the show, while Ryan Ingram spoke with Scott Morse about the Tr!ckster satellite event. And it seems like every non-comics media outlet reports on the show in some form or fashion; here’s an article by The Christian Post about religion and the show, for example. And finally, Tuesday brought the tragic news that a con attendee camping out for today’s Twilight panel was killed in front of the convention center after being struck by a car.
• I’m not 100 percent sure if it qualifies as Comic-Con news, but since it was officially announced in the Entertainment Weekly Comic-Con issue, let’s just go with it. Marvel’s big news going into the Con is that they plan to relaunch several titles later this year as part of “Marvel NOW!” Their recently released solicitations reveal they plan to cancel nine titles in October, but of course you can expect many if not all of them to come back in some form or fashion as Marvel NOW! rolls out.
• Mike Mignola and Hellboy return this December in Hellboy in Hell, the first four-issue miniseries in a series of miniseries about the title character’s post-demise adventures.
The must-have accessory for Comic-Con International is back with the announcement that, for the third consecutive year, Warner Bros. will hand out more than 130,000 oversized tote bags to convention attendees. Okay, “oversized” may be a bit of an understatement, as the messenger-style bags are 24 inches and 29 inches — roomy enough to haul swag back to the hotel As room each day — and include a protective pocket to hold any posters.
As usual, the totes are emblazoned with Warner Bros. properties with a Comic-Con presence: This year, it’s Arrow, DC Nation, Man of Steel, Fringe, Pacific Rim, Supernatural, The Vampire Diaries and The Big Bang Theory.
Last year’s bags included a design promoting DC’ Comics’ relaunched Justice League, but this year it’s all about television and film. Alas, it looks like the studio is holding out for the big reveals of the two movies; all of the other bags can be seen below.
Comic-Con kicks off Wednesday with Preview Night.
Retailing | Although the 16th volume of The Walking Dead wasn’t released until June 19, 11 days’ worth of sales was enough to propel the latest collection of the horror series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard to the top of BookScan’s chart of graphic novels sold in bookstores June. Four volumes of the popular series, including the first one, appear in the Top 20. [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Hermes Press, which has been publishing the vintage Buck Rogers collections, has announced a new Buck Rogers project: An original comic series written and drawn by Howard Chaykin, one that Publisher Dan Herman promises will be strongly reminiscent of the original. [ICv2]
Publishing| The animation studio Klasky Csupo, which gave us The Wild Thornberrys and Rugrats, is branching out in a number of different directions, including print and digital comics. Its first comic is Ollie Mongo, which stars a blue zombie skateboarder. [USA Today]
Last year Robb Pratt posted a stellar “Fleischer Brothers meets Mike Kunkel” Superman cartoon that he made in his spare time, featuring the Man of Steel, Lois Lane and a giant robot. Pratt is back with a new cartoon, this time pitting Superman against Bizarro in the aptly titled “Bizarro Classic.” Check it out below, and keep watching after the credits to see how he made the film (and how they did the voice for Bizarro … very cool).
When he’s not making movies like How to Train Your Dragon and Puss in Boots, DreamWorks animator David Stodolny works on shorter pieces for his own pleasure. And ours. Following a “Harrey Podder” parody he did last year, Stodolny has released the first in a series called “Everyday Hulk” that are “a bunch of little short parody jokes” starring Bruce Banner’s alter-ego. The first one focuses squarely on potty humor.
Check out the first one below.
With the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for Sullivan’s Sluggers, by Mark Andrew Smith and James Stokoe, it seems only fitting that ESPN’s Visuals blog should spotlight another baseball-themed comic, Ryan Woodward’s upcoming “animated graphic novel” Bottom of the Ninth.
An animator, storyboard artist and professor whose film credits include The Iron Giant, Where the Wild Things Are and The Avengers, Woodward has crafted the story of Candy Cunningham, the 18-year-old daughter of an aging baseball star who herself boasts phenomenal athletic abilities (as well as a temper). The futuristic tale follows her rise to fame and glory in Tao City as she grapples with identity issues and the true meaning of happiness.
The rather novel blend of comics and animation is planned for release as a series of apps, with a prologue set to debut sometime soon. In the meantime, you can watch the incredibly slick trailer, and check out some of Woodward’s art, below.
Organizations | Tom Spurgeon reports that The Hero Initiative has now received close to $3,000 so far due to campaigns asking those people who watch Marvel’s The Avengers to donate money to the organization. The Jack Kirby Museum, meanwhile, reports it has received $1,300 from Avengers-related giving. [The Comics Reporter, The Kirby Museum]
Conventions | Chris Butcher, co-founder and director of the Toronto Comics Art Festival, reports that about 18,000 people attended this year’s TCAF-related events: “TCAF 2012 was the most ambitious festival yet, and my most ambitious personal undertaking. With more off-site and lead-up events than ever before, more partnerships than in previous years, an additional day of programming, and more than 20 featured guests, I worried in the weeks leading up to the show that perhaps we’d bit off a bit more than we could chew. Luckily through the talent and support of some wonderful folks we had varying levels of success on every front, and as always, lessons were learned and we think 2013 will be even stronger.” [Comics212]
USA Today teases the Sunday premiere of Disney XD’s Marvel Universe animated programming block with a preview of “Master Class,” a series of shorts in which Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada demonstrates how to draw some of the company’s most famous characters. Here, the veteran artist tackles the Incredible Hulk.
Anchored by Ultimate Spider-Man and The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, the Marvel Universe block also features such shorts as the “Fury Files” (dossiers on Marvel heroes), “Animated Realities” (superhero moves demonstrated by stunt and special-effects experts) and “What Would It Take?” (a look at the technology required to replicate heroes’ gadgets and abilities in real life).
Disney XD’s Marvel Universe block premieres Sunday at 11 a.m. ET/PT.
The National Cartoonists Society has announced the nominees for its 2012 NCS Divisional Awards, which will be presented May 26 during the 66th annual NCS Reuben Awards in Las Vegas.
• Ben Bocquelet and Antoine Perez, production design on The Wonderful World of Gumball (Cartoon Network)
• Penn Ward, character design on Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)
• Erik Wiese, production design on The Mighty B (Nickelodeon)
• Mark McCreery, character design: Rango
• Carlos Saldanha, director: Rio
• Jennifer Yuh-Nelson, director: Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom
An animated version of Brian Clevinger and Scott Wegener’s Atomic Robo, subtitled “Last Stop,” went into production some time ago. Now The Fictory, the animation studio that’s been working on it, needs about $12,000 to finish it.
“The Fictory, a small animation studio, is running a Kickstarter to raise funds that would allow them to complete work on a short Atomic Robo animated film,” Wegener told us over email. “No one involved is actually getting anything out of this. This is a total labor of love. But love needs to pay the electricity bill and eat every now and
again. Hence the Kickstarter.”
The project page has a list of all the rewards they’re offering, including DVDs of the project once it is completed, T-shirts, art books and animation cels, among others. Check out the trailer for the project after the jump.
With less than two weeks until the second-season premiere of Young Justice, Little Orbit and Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment have announced a video game based on the Cartoon Network series.
Arriving in early 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Young Justice: Legacy is set between seasons 1 and 2 of the animated series, with an original storyline by show producers Greg Weisman and Brandon Vietti.
Inspired by the DC Comics series of the same name, Young Justice premiered in November 2010, with teen heroes Robin, Aqualad, Kid Flash, Superboy, Miss Martian and Artemis serving as the covert-operations team of the Justice League while also honing their skills under the watchful eyes of their mentors. DC launched a new Young Justice comic series last year based on the cartoon.
Bleeding Cool noticed that just last week the company submitted two versions of a new logo to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The design, which you can see at right, depicts a D flipping back to reveal a C below; one version includes the words “DC Comics” below, the other “DC Entertainment.”
Although the “flipping” aspect of the logo may not be obvious in its static form, it’s likely designed with animation in mind, for inclusion at the beginning of movies, television shows and video games. How that design might translate to comics remains to be seen.
Comic Book Resources has contacted DC for comment but received no response.
The publisher’s current logo debuted in May 2005 as part of an effort to emphasize the DC brand across all media. Designed by Josh Beatman of Brainchild Studios, the “swoosh” replaced the Milton Glaser-created “bullet” the company had used in one form or another since 1977.