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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.
Retailing | Fans of the Fall River, Massachusetts, retailer StillPoint Comics, Cards & Games kicked in $5,000 in a GoFundMe campaign to keep the store in business. The shop, which opened in 1997, had to close for 10 days last month after its power was shut off. [The Herald News]
Publishing | Following confirmation last month of a Space Mountain graphic novel series, Heidi MacDonald talks with executives from Disney Publishing Worldwide about the expansion of the new Disney Comics imprint. [Publishers Weekly]
Events | Sean Kleefeld reports on Day 1 of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art in Columbus, Ohio. [Kleefeld on Comics]
Disney Publishing Worldwide has acquired Zodiac, an illustrated novel by Stan Lee, Stuart Moore and Andie Tong.
Based on the Chinese zodiac, the book follows a Chinese-American teenager who’s drawn into a global conspiracy after he and other youth around the world are suddenly bestowed with magical powers.
Lee already has a relationship with Disney, dating back at least to a 2007 first-look deal with the legendary creator’s POW! Entertainment. In 2009, just as Disney completed its purchased of Marvel, the entertainment giant expanded that agreement and acquired a 10 percent equity stake in POW.
Disney Publishing Worldwide this morning launched its free Disney Comics App for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, with more than 50 titles ranging from the classic adventures of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck to newer properties like Cars 2 and Tron: Legacy. Two new comics will be added each week.
Individual stories are 99 cents, with themed bundles available for $3.99 through In-App Purchase. The app debuts in the United States and will be available in more than 80 countries. It will be available in additional markets later this year.
Disney boasts that the app offers “a new, director-style reading experience,” with readers allowed to choose portrait or landscape mode, automatic or manual smart paneling, and double-page spreads. Readers also may preview titles before purchase, share their stories on Facebook and save content for offline reading. There’s also a feature that automatically updates readers when stories relating to their favorite characters become available. Also: sound effects!
“Comics are a tremendous part of our heritage and we see great potential and interest in bringing our extensive catalog of Disney Comics to mobile devices,” Russell Hampton, president of Disney Publishing Worldwide, said in a statement. “We create over 25,000 original comic pages each year and it’s critical that we deliver this content to our readers around the world. We have over 1 billion Disney comic readers today, and our Disney Comics App will further broaden that audience.”
Read the official announcement after the break.
Publishing | Disney Publishing is pushing further into the kids’ periodical market with four new magazines, including two standalone issues tied to Marvel’s upcoming Thor and Captain America: The First Avenger movies. Marvel’s comics division apparently won’t be producing content for the publications. A third magazine, based around Cars 2, will be monthly beginning in the fall, while the fourth, tied to the Disney Channel animated series Phineas and Ferb, will be bimonthly. [Variety, Deadline]
Broadway | On the heels of the recent departure of director Julie Taymor, producers of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark are reportedly in talks to replace choreographer Daniel Ezralow, who designed the $70-million musical’s complex flying sequences. Chase Brock is likely to step in for Ezralow, who was described by a cast member as “a Julie person.” [Bloomberg]