Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
No, it’s not a dream. That’s actually set of four hardcover volumes of Marvel’s Rom: Spaceknight. Unfortunately, however, your chances of getting one remain slim.
Despite a cult following, it’s been nearly 30 years since any Rom: Spaceknight has been published. The issue comes down to licensing, and Marvel’s agreement with Parker Brothers (now a Hasbro subsidiary) expired 1986. Certain elements created for the toy-inspired comic, originated by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema, remain with Marvel, but the name and signature armor are off-limits — to both new work and reprints.
Although Marvel’s ROM: Spaceknight comic, created by Bill Mantlo and artist Sal Buscema, had a long and well-remembered run, the same can’t be said of the Parker Bros. toy on which it was based. A commercial failure, Time predicted the cheaply made figure would “end up among the dust balls under the playroom sofa.”
So who would’ve thought that Hasbro would commemorate the 35th anniversary of the toy’s release with a Mighty Muggs collectible version of ROM: The Space Knight? MTV has the first look at the 5.5-inch figure, which will debut for $22.99 at Comic-Con International. A limited number will be available later through Hasbro’s website.
Hasbro has confirmed that the Marvel Spider-Man Legends Infinite 6-inch Agent Venom action figure announced last year at Comic-Con International will be available this fall, but it’s exclusive to Walgreens.
Although details are slim, the toymaker states that the figure will be available for preorder next month at Comic-Con; more information (presumably including price, and how and where you’ll actually get the figure) will be available at the Hasbro booth.
Comic-Con International will be held July 24-27 in San Diego.
Ever want to get your hands on the Infinity Gauntlet? If you’re headed to Comic-Con International in San Diego, Hasbro has you covered. USA Today debuted the first look at the company’s Comic-Con exclusive, which includes a four-figure pack of 3 3/4-inch figures — Nebula, Starfox, Mistress Death and Thanos with mini Infinity Gauntlet — packaged with a foam version of the iconic Marvel artifact.
Amazon Publishing has expanded its Kindle Worlds platform to include G.I. Joe and Valiant Entertainment’s Quantum and Woody and Eternal Warrior, opening the door for writers to publish stories based on those properties in the next few months.
Other new additions include Warner Bros. television series Veronica Mars and Ravenswood (a spinoff of Pretty Little Liars), Marcus Sakey’s Abnorm Chronicles novels and Theresa Ragan’s Lizzy Gardner Files books.
“Since 1964, G.I. Joe has inspired the imagination of multiple generations by providing a backdrop of excitement and adventure,” Hasbro’s Michael Kelly said in a statement. “Whether exploring the secrets of the mummy’s tomb, or defending freedom from the evil plots of Cobra, G.I. Joe has been there. It is with equal excitement that Hasbro now enters a new segment of the business by embracing the concept of open-source storytelling, and officially unlocking the world of G.I. Joe to our fans through Amazon’s Kindle Worlds.”
To show off their line of Marvel figures at the San Diego Comic Con this year, Hasbro went all out and create a huge “fight scene” diorama featuring Marvel characters of all shapes and sizes — including a few custom figures built specifically for the display. Justin Aclin, who does PR for Hasbro as his day job (by night — or, actually, by morning commute — he writes Star Wars and SHOOT First comics for Dark Horse), gave me a tour of the booth and told me that it took them five hours to put the display together.
Check out some shots of it, along with some of their other action figures, below.
And just like clockwork, Comic-Con International organizers have rolled out the programming schedule for Friday, July 19.
On its second day, the San Diego convention kicks into high gear, with publishing panels from Dark Horse (including one dedicated to Joss Whedon’s titles, and another to Star Wars), DC Comics, IDW (including the Hasbro licenses), Marvel (including the perennial “Cup O’ Joe”), Oni Press, Titan Comics and UDON, retrospectives devoted to ElfQuest, Walt Kelly, Aspen and Strangers in Paradise, and tributes to the late Carmine Infantino and Kim Thompson.
Oh, and don’t forget the Eisner Awards ceremony, which caps off the day.
Check out some of the comics-related highlights below, and visit the Comic-Con website for the full schedule:
The only thing better than one Deadpool is six Deadpools, right? (Hey, I could be a Marvel editor!) And the only thing better than six Deadpools? Tacos. This summer attendees at Comic-Con International in San Diego will have the chance to buy the Deadpool Corps. wrapped in a taco-truck package at the Hasbro booth.
Marvel.com reports that the 3.75-inch Marvel Universe figures of Deadpool, Lady Deadpool and Champion of the Universe Deadpool will come with figurines of Kidpool, Dogpool and Squirrelpool, packaged in individual “taco shells” and stuffed inside a taco truck. After the con, a limited number will be available for sale at the online Hasbro toy shop.
Check out the packaging below.
It’s somehow appropriate, given the news earlier this week that Hasbro is expanding its My Little Pony brand with Equestria Girls, that ICv2 should draw attention to the 2013 Brony Herd Census, which is exactly what it sounds like: a tally of how many male devotees there are of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
So, just how many bronies are there in the United States? As many as 12.4 million, if we go by this survey. Or, in the words of the website, “Thus, we can state with a 95% confidence that between 4.0% and 6.8% of the internet-using US population strongly identify as bronies, or approximately 7 to 12.4 million people.”
If you can’t quite fathom the renewed popularity of Hasbro’s 30-year-old My Little Pony franchise — in animation, comics and merchandising — and the accompanying “bronies” phenomenon, you may not be ready for what comes next.
According to The New York Times, the toymaker is extending its brand with Equestria Girls, which recasts the characters from the animated My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic as human teenagers. It will launch with My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, a full-length animated movie premiering in June at the Los Angeles Film Festival before being released in 200 theaters nationwide. Naturally, a DVD will follow.
If it seems like only last week that we were looking back on Marvel’s 1980s sci-fi series ROM: Spaceknight, that’s because we were. Spurred by Hasbro’s new trademark filing for ROM, we summed up the inauspicious history of the Parker Brothers action figure, and the more successful — and more fondly remembered — comic book it spawned.
But no sooner had we left Galador and the Dire Wraiths behind than Comic Book Resources debuted art from Marvel’s Age of Ultron #2, by Brian Michael Bendis and Bryan Hitch. And right there on the massive two-page cork board, squeeze between photos of Doctor Strange and Wiccan, is none other than ROM, greatest of the Spaceknights!
Are the two things related? It’s certainly possible — after all, Marvel and Hasbro have had a long (and presumably profitable) relationship that continues to this day with Avengers and Superhero Squad action figures, giant plastic Hulk hands and the like. So who better than the House of Ideas to help revive that plastic relic of 1970s toy chests? However, it’s unlikely Marvel would plunk another company’s character into a major story event, particularly after it’s had to untangle its own creations from licensed properties over the decades (ROM, Micronauts, Godzilla, et al). It seems more probable that Bendis and Hitch are having a little fun, dropping a figure from Marvel’s past among some of its more prominent players. Still, though, an Easter egg like that is usually tucked away along the edges of a panel or a page, not smack-dab in the middle …
For years comic-book and toy fans have been clamoring for the resurrection of ROM: The Space Knight, cyborg enemy of the Dire Wraiths, star of his own Marvel series, and poor-selling action figure. Now it appears his return may be imminent.
Toy Ark catches that Hasbro has filed to trademark ROM for “toy action figures and toy robots convertible into other visual toy forms,” signaling the manufacturer’s plans to rescue the clunky, and noisy, silver doll from late-1970s obscurity.
Released in the United States in 1979 by Parker Brothers (now a Hasbro subsidiary) amid a wave of science fiction popularity that followed the success of Star Wars, ROM was a commercial failure, fulfilling Time magazine’s prediction that the cheaply made figure would “end up among the dust balls under the playroom sofa.”
“Rom is a spaceman doll whose computer memory gives it a disappointingly narrow range of behavior,” the magazine wrote. “It breathes heavily (one of its better effects), buzzes, twitters and flashes its lighted eyes, and sounds ominous gongs, one for good and two for evil. The trouble with this Parker Bros. homunculus is that it looks as if it should be able to use its arms and legs like a true robot, and it can’t.”
Marvel on Monday urged the Second Circuit to deny Gary Friedrich’s attempt to revive his copyright claims to Ghost Rider, reiterating that the writer no only signed away his rights to the character three decades earlier but waited too long to file his lawsuit.
Friedrich sued Marvel, Columbia Pictures and Hasbro, among others, shortly after the 2007 release of the first Ghost Rider movie, insisting he had regained the copyright to the fiery Spirit of Vengeance some six years earlier. He argued he created Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider in 1968 and later agreed to publish the character through Magazine Management, which eventually became Marvel Entertainment. Under the agreement, the publisher held the copyright to the character’s origin story in 1972′s Marvel Spotlight #5, and to subsequent Ghost Rider works. However, Friedrich alleged the company never registered the work with the U.S. Copyright Office, permitting the rights to revert to him in 2001.
In December 2011, a federal judge rejected Friedrich’s lawsuit, finding the writer gave up ownership to the property when he endorsed checks that contained language relinquishing rights to Marvel’s predecessors. The judge said Friedrich signed over all claims to the character in 1971 and again in 1978 in exchange for the possibility of more freelance work for the publisher. (Two months later, Marvel agreed to abandon its 2010 countersuit accusing Friedrich of trademark infringement if the writer would pay $17,000 in damages and stop selling unauthorized Ghost Rider merchandise.)
The writer appealed in July, arguing the court erred in ruling that the language on the back of Marvel paychecks in the early 1970s and in the 1978 contract were sufficient to constitute transfer of copyright. However, his attorney also reasserts the claim that the agreement was entered into under duress, with Friedrich told “if I wanted to continue to work for Marvel that I would have to sign it.”
From the annals of “Oh, What Might’ve Been” comes this doozy, courtesy of Brian Michael Bendis: art from Phil Jimenez ‘s pitch for a Justice League/Transformers crossover that, for some reason, never came about.
“Oh, what an epic that would have been,” Jimenez wrote last night on Twitter, saying to one follower, “You missed out on Wonder Woman’s invisible jet becoming a very cool Transformer.” You can get a peek of that in the image above, along with an enormous Bat-former and, perhaps best of all, Optimus Prime as a Green Lantern. (He added this morning, “Giving credit where credit is due: the idea for Optimus Prime as a GL was none other than [IDW Publishing Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall’s].”
Jimenez also dusted off another piece of art featuring Prime wielding his power ring and Megatron clutching Superman’s tattered cape, which you can see below. Hopefully the artist will offer more details about the pitch, and why it never went anywhere.
Building on the licensing agreement they already have with The Tranformers and G.I. Joe, it’s no surprise to learn that IDW Publishing will publish comics based on Hasbro’s My Little Pony toy line.
“My Little Pony is a highly successful brand and we’re incredibly excited to have the opportunity to extend the franchise through this collaboration with Hasbro,” IDW CEO and Publisher Ted Adams said in a press release. “We look forward to providing new stories for the fans and launching their favorite ponies into comic book form.”
“A MASSIVE kudos to Katie, as she suggested me for the art chores on the book,” Price said on his DeviantArt page. “We have great goodies planned, and for both of us this is a labor of love, as we are both Bronies
The series starts in November and will “stay true to its moral foundation, while providing themes and subject matter that older audiences can also appreciate,” according to the release. The series will feature covers by Jill Thompson, Stephanie Buscema and more.