“Though Marvel has commented, the internet has decided it will not be satisfied until it sees the longform birth certificate.”
– Men of War writer Ivan Brandon, responding to online reaction to statements made by Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley and CCO Joe Quesada concerning the Gary Friedrich case and the sale of sketches at conventions
Saturday at the New York Comic Con brought news for the Avengers, Superman, Legendary Comics and … Disney’s Prep & Landing? Here’s a round-up of announcements from the show today.
• With a big, blockbuster Avengers movie scheduled for next May, Marvel announced a new ongoing series, Avengers Assemble, by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley. The book will launch next March and will feature most of the Avengers featured in the movie — Iron Man, Captain America, Black Widow, Hawkeye and the Hulk. The first arc will feature the villainous group the Zodiac.
• Marvel also announced that writer Rick Remender and artist Gabriel Hardman will take over Secret Avengers with issue #21.1, adding new members and pitting them against a new Masters of Evil.
• At the Cup O’ Joe panel today, Marvel also announced a Disney/Marvel crossover — Prep & Landing: Mansion: Impossible. It features the elves from the Disney television special who prepare homes for the arrival of Santa Claus every Christmas eve — only this time they’re trying to break into Avengers Mansion to get it ready for Santa. Written by director Kevin Deters and drawn by story artist Joe Mateo, the story will run in the back of the Marvel Adventures books as well as Avengers #19 in November.
An ominous-looking postcard from Marvel arrived today at the Comic Book Resources offices teasing “It’s coming.” What It might be is anyone’s guess, but the note on the back from Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso promises we’ll find out more Oct. 15 at the “Cup O’ Joe” panel at New York Comic-Con.
Comic Book Resources will, of course, be covering the entire four-day convention, which kicks off Oct. 13 at the Jacob Javits Center. Marvel also encourages those who can’t attend to catch the announcement live at 5 p.m. ET Oct. 15 at Marvel.com/itscoming. “Because trust me,” Alonso writes, “you won’t want to miss this.”
Legal | Prosecutors in Macomb County, Michigan, rested their case Friday in the second trial of Michael George, a former retailer and convention organizer accused of the 1990 murder of his first wife Barbara in the back room of their Clinton Township comic store. The judge this morning will hear a defense motion for a directed verdict, seeking dismissal due to lack of evidence, before testimony resumes.
George, now 51, was arrested in August 2007, after a detective reopened the cold case, and convicted seven months later of first-degree murder and insurance fraud, among other counts, and sentenced to life in prison. However, the judge later set aside the verdict, citing prosecutorial misconduct — George’s mug shot was shown to the jury — and the release of new evidence that could lead the jury to believe another person was responsible for the murder. His retrial began Sept. 14, and should conclude this week. Prosecutors contend that George staged the killing to look like a robbery so he could collect money from an insurance policy and a shared estate, and start over with another woman. George insists he was asleep at the time of the shooting, and that his wife was the victim of a robbery gone wrong. [Daily Tribune]
Publishing | Chip Mosher, marketing and sales director for BOOM! Studios, left the publisher on Friday after four years. Marketing coordinator Emily McGuiness will take over his duties. [BOOM! Studios]
Atomic Comics, the nationally known Arizona retail chain, abruptly closed all four locations on Sunday, shocking staff, customers and industry figures alike. Although the closing of the stores in Mesa, Phoenix, Chandler and Paradise Valley was initially announced last night by multiple employees and creators, owner Michael Malve confirmed the news this morning in an installment of his weekly newsletter titled “My Final Report.”
“As some of you may have already heard, after 25 years of running a successful business, sadly and much to my dismay, I have shut the doors of Atomic Comics,” Malve wrote. “The villain in this tragedy is the economy. I had hoped to be the superhero and triumph over the recession, but sadly the economic downturn of the past 5 years has proven to be unsustainable.”
In the newsletter, which can be read below, Malve revealed he’s filed for bankruptcy, and that he and his family are losing their home, ” as we had secured it against our leases which we obviously have to break.”
“I know there are many people out there facing very similar situations in these difficult times and now I can definitely empathize with them,” he continued. “I have always been and will forever be an extremely optimistic person and will look at this situation as an adventure. I have very high hopes for the next chapter of my life.”
I won’t have as much to say about the last day of D23 as I did about Friday or Saturday. We were late getting started Sunday morning, which meant I was late to the big Cup ‘o Joe presentation, Marvels’ first foray into the D23 world (except for the five minutes or so they had at the end of the movie presentation on Saturday, of course). We went to the arena when we arrived and headed for the cheap seats; during Saturday’s big movie bonanza, the place was packed to the rafters, but there were only a few people up on level three when we arrived. The sections beneath us seemed to be pretty full, though. Marvel Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada was wrapping up his presentation and getting ready to take questions as we sat down.
Creators | Robert Crumb has decided not to attend Graphic 2011, an arts festival scheduled for Aug. 20-21 at the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Crumb told The Australian he withdrew from his headline appearance because of an article in the Australian newspaper The Telegraph that called him “a self-confessed sex pervert.”
“It’s a very, very disappointing situation,” Graphic co-curator Jordan Verzar wrote on the show’s Facebook page. “There were a legion of people eagerly anticipating his visit and the Graphic team and Sydney Opera House had been working for months to pull together the shows he was involved with and to supply an enjoyable first visit to Australia for him. I sincerely doubt that he will ever make it to Australia now. It’s a very sad day, but I’m still excited and looking forward to the rest of the great shows happening at Graphic next weekend.” [The Australian]
Retailers | Birmingham, England comics shop Nostalgia and Comics was damaged during the riots of the past few days; no one was injured, but the windows were broken. [The Forbidden Planet blog]
Although a lot of folks are focused on Comic-Con International and the roll out of the panel schedule this week, Disney’s D23 Expo announced their “arena schedule” for their next event, scheduled for Aug. 19-21 in Anaheim.
I attended the first D23 event two years ago, and the arena presentation were by far the highlight of the weekend. They were announcement-filled, star-studded affairs with all sorts of Disney flair. For instance, the presentation by Walt Disney Studios included appearances by John Travolta, Nicholas Cage, Robert Zemeckis, Tim Burton, the Muppets and Johnny Depp dressed as Jack Sparrow, as they announced the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie. And during the Disney Parks presentation, Darth Vader and a load of stormtroopers came out to announce the Star Tours upgrade.
The first D23 Expo was held right after Disney had announced they were buying Marvel, so the House of Ideas didn’t have a presence. But what a difference two years makes, as Marvel CCO Joe Quesada will host a session on Marvel on Sunday, and Kevin Feige, president of production for Marvel Studios, will join the movie presentation on Saturday. Does that mean we’ll get to see all the Avengers come out on stage in their costumes? One can only hope.
You can find the complete arena schedule after the jump.
A ruling by a federal magistrate judge could open the door for Warner Bros. to gain access to confidential documents the studio insists support its claims against the attorney representing the heirs of creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in their fight for the rights to Superman.
Variety reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Ralph Zarefsky ruled Wednesday that the documents, stolen from the office of attorney Marc Toberoff and delivered anonymously to Warner Bros. in December 2008, were not protected by attorney-client privilege. However, he postponed a final ruling until Toberoff and his attorneys can seek a decision from U.S. District Judge Judge Otis Wright.
At the time of the theft, a judge ruled that the documents were privileged, and ordered the studio to turn them over to a court officer within 24 hours. However, an attached seven-page cover letter called the “Superman-Marc Toberoff Timeline” was not privileged, and became the basis for Warner Bros.’ 2010 lawsuit against the attorney. The complaint alleges that Toberoff “orchestrated a web of collusive agreements” with the Siegel and Shuster heirs, leading them to reject “mutually beneficial” longtime deals with DC Comics and seek to recapture the Superman copyright. In addition, the studio claims Toberoff schemed to secure for himself “a majority and controlling financial stake” in the Superman rights.
Just last month Zarefsky rejected the studio’s argument that the documents, which purportedly contain a formula for how the two estates and Toberoff would divide the Superman assets, violate the U.S. Copyright Act and, therefore, cannot be isolated from discovery. But this week he determined that Toberoff actually waived privilege when he turned over the documents last year in response to a grand jury subpoena issued after Toberoff met with the U.S. Attorney’s office to discuss an investigation of the theft.
The decision is only the latest twist in Warner Bros.’ increasingly bitter legal battle to hold onto Superman following a 2008 ruling that Siegel’s widow Joanne Siegel and daughter Laura Siegel Larson had successfully recaptured half of the original copyright to the Man of Steel under the provisions of the 1976 Copyright Act. The window will open in 2013 for Shuster’s estate to do the same.
It’s been awhile, but did the hair rise up on the back of your neck as of late? Did a cold wind blow through you? Even before I caught the news of the major editorial change at ol’ Marvel HQ, something didn’t feel …right.
And it’s not Axel Alonso. I’m actually stupendously happy that we have such an awesome new EIC; not only do a bunch of cool writers constantly refer to him as the man who got them their first writing gig at the House of Ideas, but the way he balances this new talent with the old brings out the best stories in each of them. He’s a really great editor and, with his name in the indicia, you know you’re going to get a quality story.
Not to mention he has been just about the only Marvel envoy at the West Coast WonderCon for the past few years and is fervent in his desire to keep the X-Men in San Fransisco, so he’s got this California girl’s support.
No, it was something else about the announcement that got me a little spooked. That “Chief Creative Officer” part. The fact that Joe Quesada isn’t so much stepping down from his position as stepping up. Chief Creative Officer makes me think of rank. I mean, a Chief Petty Officer is one thing, a but a Chief Creative Officer? From the same guy who got ‘creative’ with Spider-Man’s marriage?
Oh yeah, there’s that chill. Yikes.
Hey, it wouldn’t be a Robot 6 post without a “let’s you and him fight” angle. But now that that’s out of my system, there’s a lot one could say, pro and con, about Axel Alonso’s promotion to editor-in-chief of Marvel. Actually, the level of surprise with which the news was greeted says something all by itself. True, he’s never been the public figure that his predecessor Joe Quesada and colleague Tom Brevoort (who, again, has long said he didn’t want the EIC job) have been, so in that regard he’s an unknown quantity to readers and fans. To creators and editors, however, everything I’ve heard indicates that his reputation is sterling, dating back to his involvement in Vertigo — he’s well-liked personally and well-respected professionally (unless you’re Darwyn Cooke).
Marvel.com: What is your proudest achievement as far as what Marvel has accomplished under your reign?
Joe Quesada: I’ll give you the long answer to your short question. When I was reintroduced to reading comics around 25-26, I remember the first comics I read were [The Dark Knight Returns] and Watchmen. I’m a big believer in role modeling, setting goals for yourself and shooting for those goals, shooting for the moon. So when I broke into comics, the goal became not only did I want to be a writer, not only did I want to be an artist, but someday I wanted to do something as great as Dark Knight or Watchmen—that was the goal. I think a lot of creators have that when they start; they find that one book and say, “someday I want to create something that’s just like that.” That’s the path I tried to follow.
Now nobody, myself included, has ever really had that kind of story that has redefined the genre like those two books. But when I look back at my 10 years at Marvel and everything we’ve accomplished, from Chapter 11 [bankruptcy] to now where we’re part of the Disney family; now that we’re a movie studio, a television studio, and animation studio; we’ve got all these things going on—when I look back on that, I look back on that as my Watchmen. That’s what I hope I’ve left behind as a good thing. It wasn’t a book, but it was certainly a period of time for me that I will remember very, very fondly.
–Outgoing Marvel Editor-in-Chief and reigning Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada gives Marvel.com’s Ryan “Agent M” Penagos what strikes me as an extremely revealing answer to the question of his legacy. Everything I’ve ever heard from Marvel creators and employees led me to conclude long ago that Quesada’s great strength as EIC (and a few of his weaknesses as well) stemmed from the fact that he is an artist first and foremost; seems like he still thought in those terms even when far from the drawing table.
Not to be outdone by his former fellow Senior VP – Executive Editor and (Cup o’ Joe: Marvel T&A partner) Axel Alonso, outspoken editor Tom Brevoort has been named Senior Vice President of Publishing by Marvel. Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada broke the news via Twitter while also congratulating Alonso for his ascension to the Editor-in-Chief position held by Quesada until today. Marvel tells CBR that further details about both promotions are forthcoming.
With his (imho) admirably candid Internet presence across a variety of platforms, Brevoort has emerged as Marvel editorial’s de facto voice, often to the tune of reader controversy. This has always struck me as a reversal from the “Nu-Marvel” days of the early 2000s, prior to Brevoort’s involvement in the publisher’s new Avengers and event-driven era, when the editor was viewed by many fans as a traditionalist counterpoint to/bulwark against Quesada, Alonso and then-President Bill Jemas.
Marvel promotes Axel Alonso to Editor-in-Chief; Joe Quesada to focus on Chief Creative Officer duties
Huge news from the House of Ideas: Axel Alonso has been promoted to Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Entertainment. Previously serving as Senior VP – Executive Editor alongside Tom Brevoort and overseeing the X-Men and MAX lines among other projects, Alonso will now oversee all of Marvel Publishing’s day-to-day aspects and report to Publisher and President Dan Buckley. Alonso replaces Joe Quesada, who shifts to full-time focus on Marvel’s multimedia initiatives in publishing, digital, film and television alike within his existing role as Chief Creative Officer.
This marks the end of Quesada’s transformative ten-year tenure as Editor-in-Chief, the longest such reign of anyone in the company’s history save Stan Lee and one that saw the publisher emerge from the shadow of bankruptcy to once again become the dominant player in the North American direct market for comics. Alonso played an integral role in the Quesada regime since 2000, with his experience at Vertigo coming into play as Marvel took major creative and personnel risks during what was known as the “Nu-Marvel” era. Marvel’s press release on the matter touts such controversial projects as X-Statix and The Rawhide Kid as major credits from Alonso’s resume right alongside runs editing Amazing Spider-Man and X-Men, so it seems that Marvel higher-ups value Alonso’s frequently unconventional approach to superheroics.
“Sorry about the TMA cancellation, folks. For the record, I don’t make those decisions. That said, it’s a great [comic] and may be back again someday.”
– Joe Quesada, editor-in-chief and chief creative officer of Marvel,
on the cancellation of the critically acclaimed, yet low-selling, Thor: The Mighty Avenger