Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Legal | Game company SNK Playmore has dropped its charges against manga publisher Square Enix and will allow the manga Hi Score Girl to use its characters without penalty. Last year, SNK filed a criminal complaint against Square Enix, charging that the manga, a comedy about gamers, included more than 100 instances of unauthorized use of SNK Playmore’s characters. As a result, serialization of the manga was suspended while police pursued charges against 16 of the people involved in its publication. Today, Square Enix announced that the two companies have reached an agreement: SNK Playmore has dropped its claim, and the two companies will work together with regard to sharing their characters. [Anime News Network]
Sure, he’s the King of the Seven Seas, a founding member of the Justice League and, if all goes as planned, the star of his own 2018 movie. However, for the second time in three years, Aquaman is also the “Most Toxic Superhero.”
That’s according to Intel Security, which today released its third annual list of online superhero searches that are most likely to lead you to bad links, viruses, malware and websites containing malicious software used to steal passwords and personal information. The information is compiled using McAfee Site Advisor, which rates sites by risk level.
Last week we were teased with a fun fan-made trailer for Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange, and now we treated to a wonderfully imaginative credits sequence that employs animated comic book art.
The song is “The W.A.N.D.” by The Flaming Lips, which seems strangely appropriates — “We’re the enforcers, the sorcerer’s orphans, and we know why we fight” — even if it’s highly unlikely to show up on the movie soundtrack.
If fans are incredibly lucky, they’ll be treated to the briefest of teasers for Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in August at the D23 Expo — perhaps a flickering logo with a voiceover by Benedict Cumberbatch. Until then, they can whet their appetites with this fun fan-made trailer, which not only references Stephen Strange’s origin, but also gives us a bearded Sorcerer Supreme.
Produced by David Johns, the teaser features both Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton (it was produced before news of Chiwetel Ejiofor’s casting as Baron Mordo), and a plinky rendition of “People Are Strange” that made me smile.
Getting a head start on Marvel Studios’ 2016 movie plans, Hasbro has unveiled a Comic-Con International exclusive that’s certain to be a must-have for collectors.
Courtesy of USA Today arrives the first look at Marvel Legends Doctor Strange collector’s edition, presented in a package designed to look like the fabled Book of Vishanti. Inside you’ll find 6-inch-scale action figures of the Sorcerer Supreme in his astral form, Brother Voodoo, Magik, the Asgardian goddess Hela and the dreaded Dormammu.
By and large, people outside Japan can’t fully understand how big Mobile Suit Gundam is. In some ways, it’s a cultural equivalent to American superheroes — and now one artist has melded the two.
Aburaya Tonbi created renditions of Marvel’s Avengers (including Spider-Man) in the style of Mobile Suit Gundam, albeit in a chibi style. Robot versions of Avengers have been made before — even ones loosely inspired by Gundam — but Campbell’s renditions hit at authenticity, while also being cute.
(Time once again for ROBOT 6 contributors Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman to email each other about the year in DC and Marvel superhero comics. This year’s exchange took place between DEc. 26 and Dec. 30. And be sure to check out Part 1 of the conversation.)
Tom Bondurant: One of the more pleasant surprises this year was the extent to which the Big Two started going after a different audience. New books like Ms. Marvel and Gotham Academy, and makeovers for Batgirl and Catwoman, have found success with distinctive, unconventional approaches. How long can they keep this up? Will digital distribution help these books, if it’s not doing so already? Are the Big Two really committed to branching out?
Carla Hoffman: Branching out is such a double-edged sword. It sounds weird to say that, because diversity is so championed online, but when a book can alienate old readers, you really have to draw in a lot of new readers to make up for it. Believe it or not, there were some who complained that Kamala Khan took the Ms. Marvel name rather than getting her own moniker. The good news is that Ms. Marvel is such a quality book and so important to the next generation of comic readers, not to mention Marvel Comics itself, I couldn’t care less if a (pardon my use) grumpy old fan can’t change with the times. Marvel published about 40 new titles this year — everything from Deadly Hands of Kung-Fu to Rocket Raccoon. Not all of the titles stuck (R.I.P. She-Hulk, try again later), but that’s still a lot of new stuff to try that isn’t just another variation of a Wolverine comic.
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Could the timing be anything other than magical? Following word that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is in talks to play Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Mondo is offering prints from the We Buy Your Kids gallery exhibit that include two downright psychedelic renditions of the Sorcerer Supreme and his classic foe Dormammu.
The two takes on the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko creations look as if they should be rendered on black velvet, which may not be such a bad idea. Each18-inch by 24-inch print is $40, with Dormammu limited to 110 copies and Strange to 125. Keep the Eye of Agamotto trained on the Mondo Twitter feed, where they on-sale time will be announced sometime today.
In a move that we can only presume is tied to Marvel’s upcoming television and movie plans, the publisher has announced the addition of some of its Season One graphic novels to the Marvel Unlimited digital library — specifically, Ant-Man, Daredevil and Doctor Strange.
Launching in 2012 with Fantastic Four: Season One, the line features current creators retelling, and expanding, the origins stories of some of Marvel’s most popular characters. Neither Fantastic Four nor Season One titles devoted to the X-Men, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Iron Man, the Hulk and Thor are mentioned in the announcement.
The past few weeks have given us drips and drabs of drama regarding two movies on Marvel’s amazing slate of cinematic wonders: Ant-Man lost long-attached director Edgar Wright and hunted down a new one (successfully, I might add; Peyton Reed’s indie-comedy cred is solid with Mr. Show and Upright Citizens Brigade, plus Down With Love is a personal favorite), and Doctor Strange now has Scott Derrickson directing and a slew of casting rumors. It’s made my Twitter feed abuzz with opinions and fancasts and denouncements of studio interference in the creative efforts of the auteur. It seems everyone wants to talk about the next Marvel breakthrough hit.
But not the comics. God forbid we ever talk about the comics. Ant-Man and Doctor Strange are absent from the shelves, outside of cameos in Original Sin, a canceled gig on the FF for Scott Lang and … well, something odd going on with Doctor Strange in New Avengers. As I scroll through Tumblr and Twitter demands about how Doctor Strange and Ant-Man should be presented, no one seems all that keen on picking up a comic with either character in a starring role. When contradicting someone’s fancast, I offered my own choice for Doctor Strange as a Ming Doyle sketch, and was told that “drawings are not good actors.” Oh, man, I hope they were joking …
We’re living in an age where increasing aspects of our comics heritage is being protected, with all manner of work coming back into print in fittingly deluxe packages. However, we can all think of great comics that will probably never be reprinted, for various obscure reasons. For example, all manner of great work published by Marvel and DC in the 1970s and ’80s will never see the light of day again due to lapsed licensing deals. Other titles, other creators, simply fall from fashion, to await rediscovery by another generation. Others still end up in complicated rights battles and litigation.
One field of comics-related work that seems to be just lost to the unrelenting march of time and progress is that of the pre-Internet fanzine. Many significant figures in comics history contributed text and art to this near-dead medium, and it’s hard to see any organization having the will to invest in researching, reprinting or digitizing this lost legacy.
Colin Smith is a blogger and the author of Sequart’s “Shameless? The Superhero Comics of Mark Millar,” and as a critic has written about comics for some of the United Kingdom’s top magazines. He has a secondary blog where he has been recently sharing some great art from old U.K. fanzines and convention booklets.
By the Hoary Hosts of Hoggoth! Doctor Strange is joining Marvel Pinball!
Zen Studios announced Saturday at New York Comic Con that the Master of the Mystic Arts will join the arcade pinball video-game lineup in December, pitting Strange (and his allies Clea and Wong) against his greatest enemies: “Strange’s rival sorcerer Baron Mordo has called upon the demonic forces of the Dread Dormammu and the Fear Lord, Nightmare, all part of his plot to assume the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme for himself.”
Get out your scissors and tape, because you’re about to have some fun with a Doctor Strange board game — straight from 1982.
On his blog Sanctum Sanctorum Comix, Doctor Strange fan Peter C. Knight (aka Ptor) has uncovered an official Doctor Strange paper-craft board game from 31 years ago called Doctor Strange’s Haunted Pathways: The Game of Mystic Mindrot. Published inside Marvel’s humor magazine Crazy, this forgotten oddity was created by writer Steve Skeates and artist Steve Mellor, and took the Sorcerer Supreme — and you, the player — down a strange path of MAD-style antics, psych-ward jokes and drug humor. Take this introduction, for instance:
Do you have an uncontrollable urge for power? Would you like to transform all your enemies into toads, have the prettiest, most popular girl in your whole school fall madly in love with you, strike your parents mute whenever they start to bawl you out and tell you to clean up your room? Well then, we’ve got the game for you!
To win the game, you must use various sets of random cards to go down the path of the game to the final panel — a la Monopoly — but in this case, called “Total Enlightenment.” If you lose you become a resident of a psych ward.
You can see some of the pages below. Visit Sanctum Sanctorum Comix to print all the pieces and play.
If DC Comics can do 3D covers for Villains Month and Marvel can release Deadpool variants, it seems like they could make room on their publishing slates for, oh, I don’t know, a series that depicts some of their most recognizable characters on classic album covers.
That request isn’t as random as it seems (well, maybe it is), as artist Robert Jiménez painted Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Catwoman, Doctor Strange and Lobo on LP sleeves for an art show, and they’re pretty amazing. Unfortunately, he’s already sold the originals, but he hopes to create more soon.
Check out some of the pieces below, and the rest on Jiménez’s website.
These last few days, the good burghers of the Essential Sequential agency have been posting sketch after sketch by Italy’s Matteo Scalera to their Instagram account. Scalera might not be the biggest name in their stable of artists (which includes Dave Johnson, Andrew Robinson and Dan Panosian), but he’s producing stylish work, redolent of another couple of Essential Sequential artists, Eric Canete and Sean Gordon Murphy. I’d throw Declan Shalvey and Robbi Rodriguez in as another couple of touchstones, too. A little further digging reveals Scalera’s blog and his DeviantArt page are the places to find better-quality, less ruthlessly cropped, versions of these illustrations. His DeviantArt account reveals him to be an absolute sketch machine — he’s numbering them, and has reached 533.