DC Entertainment Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
Since stepping down in 2009 from his longtime position as president and publisher of DC Comics, Paul Levitz has focused much of his attention on teaching and writing, with projects like World’s Finest and Taschen’s expansive 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking.
Currently he’s putting the finishing touches on a book about his friend Will Eisner titled Will Eisner: The Dreamer and the Dream, while teaching college courses. In addition, he recently joined BOOM! Studios’ board of directors.
For a man who made his name writing adventures of the future in Legion of Super-Heroes, you had to know Levitz had plans for his own future, right? I caught up with Levitz earlier this year, at a particularly busy time, to learn more about his activities since leaving DC’s executive suite. We spoke before the BOOM! announcement was made, but we had more than enough to talk about in our interview.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment this morning launched the PC open beta for Infinite Crisis, the free-to-play multiplayer online battle arena game from Turbine. It’s been in closed beta for the past 10 months.
To coincide with the launch, Warner Bros. has released a new trailer titled “What Do You Fight For?,” which you can watch below.
DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Consumer Products have reteamed with General Mills to include four collectible editions of Justice League in specially marked boxes of Big G cereals, sold in grocery stores nationwide. A fifth issue is available in select boxes of Cheerios available exclusively at Target.
The companies first partnered for the initiative in late 2011, shortly after the publisher relaunched its superhero line with the New 52. For that cereal promotion, 12 million comics were printed. Once again, the stories begin in print and continue online at BigCerealHeroes.com, where you can get a sampling of the titles.
The big news from DC Collectibles ahead of this weekend’s Toy Fair 2014 is, of course, the new collector’s line of 6-inch action figures based on Bruce Timm’s designs from Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, debuting in November. There are also figures from the direct-to-video animated films Son of Batman and Infinite Crisis, and Superman, Wonder Woman and Zatanna statues, among others.
However, for my money, it’s tough to beat the announcement of a line of action figures based on Li’l Gotham, the digital-first series by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, beginning with Batman, Robin, The Joker and Harley Quinn. Nguyen has posted his designs for the figures, which are just as adorable as you’d expect.
Time Inc. confirmed this morning that long-expected layoffs, which widespread reports place at as high as 500 employees, will begin immediately as parent company Time Warner prepares to spin off its low-performing publishing division. Time Inc., which publishes more than 20 magazines, employees about 7,800 people worldwide.
DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Entertainment, won’t be affected by either the layoffs or the spinoff.
The New York Post contends the newly acquired American Express Publishing (Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure, Departures), with about 400 employees, is expected to be hit hard by the cuts; its Executive Travel magazine could be shuttered immediately.
Italian artist Denis Medri has made a name for himself on the comics Internet for his various series of themed superhero portraits, from 1950s Rockabilly Batman to steampunk Spider-Man. As it turns out, this fanart attracted the attention of DC Entertainment.
Although Medri said the company balked at making an official comic based on his art, saying it would “create confusion,” an editor asked him to submit sample pages for the then-forthcoming Batman ’66 digital-first series. Medri did a number of samples specifically for the project, but never heard back. Undeterred, Medri has posted these samples online:
Fulfilling one of Al Plastino’s final wishes, DC Entertainment announced it has acquired his original art for the 1964 story “Superman’s Mission For President Kennedy” for donation to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston.
A prolific Golden Age artist who passed away Nov. 25 at age 91, Plastino was surprised to discover at New York Comic Con a month earlier that the pages hadn’t been given five decades earlier to the library, as he’d been led to believe, but were instead set to be sold at auction on the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. The seller had purchased the pages in 1993 at a Sotheby’s auction for $5,000.
Plastino, who spent the last weeks of his life campaigning for the return of the artwork — Heritage Auctions put the sale on hold until questions about ownership could be resolved — drew the story in 1963 for DC Comics to promote Kennedy’s physical fitness program. The issue was intended to go on sale in late November but was quickly pulled following the assassination, and other material substituted. President Lyndon Johnson’s staff later asked DC to publish the original, which was edited to add a commemorate page showing Superman saluting a ghostly image of Kennedy.
In a joint statement, Plastino’s wife Annmarie and children MaryAnn, Fred, Janice and Arlene said: “We are extremely grateful to DC Entertainment for ensuring that the original art Al Plastino created for ‘Superman’s Mission for President Kennedy’ will be preserved as part of his artistic legacy and as a tribute to President Kennedy. This art was always very, very special to Al and our whole family and it would have meant a great deal to Al to know that DC Entertainment stepped in to make this possible.”
For this year’s Christmas card, DC Entertainment turned to Eisner Award-winning artist Dave Johnson for a holiday-themed illustration of the man of the year, the Man of Steel (after all, this is the 75th anniversary of Superman’s debut).
Johnson, who frequently draws more angular faces, here opts for a softer approach, delivering a more youthful Kal-El. However, the highlight has to be the enormous snowflake composed of the logos of Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman.
MAD joins in the end-of-the-year insanity next week as only the venerable humor magazine can, with its rundown of the “20 Dumbest People, Events and Things of 2013.” It’s a list that includes the best and brightest — or is that worst and dimmest? — from the worlds of politics, sports and entertainment, from President Obama and the U.S. Congress to Miley Cyrus and Paula Deen.
Coming in at No. 6, as MAD has reveals exclusively to ROBOT 6, is Manti Te’o's dead ‘girlfriend.” As you may recall, the former Notre Dame linebacker rose to prominence not because of his Heisman Trophy candidacy but for the revelation that his girlfriend, who had battled leukemia only to die after a car crash, never existed. It turns out she was the creation of one of Te’o's acquaintances, who admitted to orchestrating the hoax.
“It’s unclear if Te’o was in on the scam,” the magazine writes, “or just a gullible romantic who got got catfished — but either way, the whole thing is hard to swallow.”
The full list can be found in MAD #525, which goes on sale Dec. 18.
Graphic novels | Five volumes of The Walking Dead made the November BookScan list of the Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores. As ICv2 points out, the fact that the first volume is still charting (at No. 13) bodes well for the series, as it means new readers are continuing to come in. The latest volume of Naruto took the No. 2 slot, and there were nine volumes of manga overall, including three volumes of Attack on Titan and the newest volume of Yotsuba&! There were five DC Comic titles on the list, as well as the latest volume of Dark Horse’s Avatar: The Last Airbender. Completely missing from the Top 20? Anything from Marvel. [ICv2]
Publishing | After three years at DC Entertainment, John Rood will step down on Jan. 1 as executive vice president of sales, marketing and business development. The position is being eliminated, with marketing and publicity to fall under the auspices of Amit Desai, senior vice president of franchise management. Sales, custom publishing and business development will again be overseen by Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee. [The Beat]
Gift Guides | Here’s a spin on the traditional gift guide: Ten things not to buy a comics fan. [Crave Online]
Time Warner filed documents last week to spin off Time Inc. — the media giant’s worst-performing division — into what Bloomberg calls “the world’s largest publicly traded magazine company.” The move, as ICv2.com notes, would effectively rid Time Warner of all of its remaining print assets except for DC Comics, which remains part of the Warner Bros. Entertainment subsidiary.
Time Inc., whose sales have fallen in five of the past seven years, publishes more than 20 magazines, including its namesake Time, Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, Sports Illustrated and People. It added Food & Wine, Travel & Leisure and Departures in September when it acquired American Express Co.’s publishing unit.
Talk of the spinoff, planned for sometime in 2014, began in March after a failed attempt to forge a new venture with Ladies’ Home Journal publisher Meredith Corporation. “A complete spinoff of Time Inc. provides strategic clarity for Time Warner Inc.,” Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said at the time, “enabling us to focus entirely on our television networks and film and TV production businesses, and improves our growth profile.”
“It is important, but it’s not the driving factor. The driving factor for me is having DC as one company together ourselves. Our ability to work more collaboratively with the whole studio is certainly a benefit. I believe everyone in DC will feel more a part of Warner Bros in the best ways. But it isn’t about more of our people talking to the film and TV people.
This is not the corporatization of DC. It isn’t about folding DC into Warner Bros. We’re going to help DC feel like more of an important priority in Warner Bros.”
– DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, addressing whether film, television and video-game adaptations are the primary reason for the recently announced move of DC’s publishing operations from New York City to Burbank, California. Since August 2011, the company’s film and television, digital, administrative and consumer-products operations have been housed on the second floor — 35,000 square feet of space — of The Pointe, a new 14-story office tower less than a mile from Warner Bros. Studios.
DC Entertainment announced today that it’s making nearly 100 graphic novels and collected editions, ranging from perennial bestsellers like Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns to New 52 releases like Aquaman and Dial H, available for download from comiXology and Google Play.
Although the offerings are heavy on Batman and Superman, readers can also find such Vertigo titles as American Vampire, The Sandman, Punk Rock Jesus and The Unwritten, and recent DC Universe collections of Wonder Woman, Animal Man, The Flash and Catwoman. You can see the complete list below.
“This expanded distribution furthers DC Entertainment’s goal to offer our readers convenience and choice,” DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee said in a statement. “ComiXology is a clear leader in delivering digital comics, while Google is one of the biggest mobile content brands in the world. We’re very excited to bring bestselling DC Comics and Vertigo graphic novels to their customers.”
While many of his colleagues are busy this weekend at New York Comic Con, Geoff Johns will be in East Lansing, Michigan, serving as grand marshal of Michigan State University’s Homecoming.
In honor of Johns, chief creative officer of DC Entertainment and a 1995 graduate of MSU’s College of Communication Arts and Sciences, this year’s Homecoming theme is “Creating Spartan Super Heroes.” That spills over into a limited-edition guide/comic book that includes such heroes as Sparty (the school’s mascot), who has “the ability to uncover the extraordinary in everyone,” Cognos, a former candle maker who possesses telepathy and superhuman intellect, and the Muse, a former art teacher who carries a “mirrored shield that provides inspiration to solve challenging problems.”
The week of festivities kicked off Monday with hay rides and a flag find, but it looks like the grand marshal’s role begins Wednesday with “An Evening With Geoff Johns,” a $25-per-person presentation, Q&A and autograph-signing sponsored by the MSU Alumni Association and the College of Arts and Letters. He’ll follow that on Thursday with a free “Media Sandbox Event and Storytelling Class with Geoff Johns” for students, staff and alumni of the College of Communication Arts and Sciences.
Publishing | This may seem a little inside-baseball, but it’s actually pretty significant: Dark Horse will switch from Diamond Book Distributors to Random House for book-market distribution, effective June 1, 2014. The publisher is sticking with Diamond for comics, but a lot of its line has appeal outside the direct market — the Avatar graphic novels, the Zelda guide — and Dark Horse wants to expand its presence in bookstores. This also makes for an interesting consolidation of manga distribution, as Random House also distributes Kodansha Comics (with which it has a strong business relationship) and Vertical books. [ICv2]
Comics | Superheroes may rule on television and in film, but comics continue to be a niche medium. The Associated Press reporter Melissa Rayworth talks to a comic-shop owner whose customers skulk in on the down low, an opera singer whose friends are surprised she reads comics, and Comics Alliance writer Chris Sims, who does a good job of putting things in perspective. [ABC]