Over the past decade or so, Superman Lives has achieved almost mythical status, a movie project so delightfully terrible that there’s no way it could possibly be true. Nicolas Cage as the Man of Steel, Chris Rock as Jimmy Olsen, Tim Allen as Brainiac — that’s the stuff of fever dreams.
However, Tim Burton’s nightmarish vision for the Last Son of Krypton almost became a reality, with roles cast, costumes created and Pittsburgh selected to double for Metropolis. And then in 1998, to the relief of many, Warner Bros. pulled the plug. But why, exactly?
Creators | Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi’s turn on in the reality show Bigg Boss seems to have ended badly: Trivedi was tossed off the show, perhaps due to political pressure, and his political commentary did not make the final cut. In true reality-show fashion, he left in a cloud of acrimony, saying that his fellow contestant Salman Khan “overstepped the bounds of decency” with another cast member, Sapna Bhavanani. And apparently the producers did not deliver on their promise to allow him to use the show as a platform for his views: “I and Sapna were constantly talking about corruption and women`s empowerment inside the house, but after coming out, I was zapped to learn that none of those things were telecast. … These guys lied to us. We were told – `you will not have to do any naach gana [melodrama] and you will just have to put forth your views on revolution, society and corruption.` But it was all humbug!” [India TV News]
Publishers, creators, retailers and fans rolled into Chicago this weekend for the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or C2E2. While the convention officially kicked off Friday, the announcements started rolling out Thursday during the Diamond Retailer Summit. After going through Kiel Phegley’s lengthy report on CBR, I’ve pulled out a few tidbits that publishers shared with attending retailers:
• Dynamite Entertainment shared that the first issue of Garth Ennis and Aaron Campbell’s The Shadow, which comes out next week, will likely go to second print. Following their Vampirella and Pantha projects, they also plan to roll out more of the former Harris Publications characters they now own, and they said they plan to work again with Kevin Smith in the future, who they’ve worked with on Bionic Man and Green Hornet.
• Dark Horse Comics announced two Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff miniseries; one featuring Spike and one featuring Willow (Editor Scott Allie spoke more about them with CBR). In addition, legendary artist Russ Heath will draw some pages in an upcoming issue of Buffy. Dark Horse will launch a new Dragon Age series in August, following the online miniseries that’s been running on Dark Horse Digital. They also confirmed that Becky Cloonan will return to Conan after James Harren’s three issues, and they announced Ex Sanguine, a five-issue miniseries by Tim Seeley and Josh Emmons. Finally, The Goon will go monthly with issue #40.
Legal | The attorney for Marc Toberoff, the lawyer representing the Siegel and Shuster families in the bitter battle over the rights to Superman, argued last week before a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that Warner Bros. shouldn’t be granted access to sensitive documents stolen from Toberoff’s office and delivered anonymously to the studio in 2008. A federal magistrate judge ruled in May 2011 that Toberoff waived privilege to the documents when he turned over the files in response to a grand jury subpoena issued in the investigation of the theft. An attached cover letter, dubbed the “Superman-Marc Toberoff Timeline,” was determined in 2009 not to be covered by privilege, and become the basis for the studio’s lawsuit against the attorney, in which it claims he acted improperly to convince the heirs of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster to seek to reclaim the original copyright to the Man of Steel. Warner Bros. also alleges that Toberoff schemed to secure for himself “a majority and controlling financial stake” in the Superman rights. [Courthouse News Service]
Legal | Former Judge Dredd artist Brett Ewins was arraigned Thursday on charges of grievous bodily harm with intent following an incident last month in which he allegedly attacked police officers with a knife when they responded to a public-disturbance call. The 56-year-old Ewins, who reportedly has a history of mental-health issues, was remanded into custody pending a Feb. 17 preliminary hearing. [Ealing Gazette]
Publishing | Jennifer de Guzman announced that, after 10 years, she has left her position as editor-in-chief of SLG Publishing: “My decade SLG was, I suspect, like no other decade anyone has spent working anywhere. I had great co-workers and got to work with fantastic creators, all of whom I will miss very much. (Though because this is comics and a community like no other, we will always stay in contact.)” [Possible Impossibilities]
Retailing | Chris Powell, current general manager and chief relationship officer for Texas-based comic chain Lone Star Comics, has accepted the newly created position of executive director of business development for Diamond Comic Distributors. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund board member will start his new position in March. [ICv2]
Filmmaker Kevin Smith this morning offered a first look at Walt Flanagan’s pencils for the second volume of Batman: The Widening Gyre, trumpeting that the remaining six issues are “half-done.”
The 12-issue miniseries, which debuted in October 2009, reacquaints Bruce Wayne with Silver St. Cloud and introduces Batman to a new partner in his fight against crime in Gotham City. Despite efforts to keep the project on schedule, the first volume met with delays, extending its conclusion to September 2010.
Smith built in a six-month break between volumes — “to insure we don’t run into my usual problems with lateness,” the writer said in 2009 — meaning the second leg of The Widening Gyre should’ve debuted sometime around March.
Now, however, Smith indicates on Twitter that Vol. 2 will arrive in early 2012, when his new AMC reality series Secret Stash is scheduled to debut: “Looking to street when AMC show starts (SMarketing, bitch)!”
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
Let’s give all credit to IDW for their sense of timing. I’m so psyched up in advance of this Saturday’s return of Doctor Who to my television screen that this Wednesday’s release of Doctor Who Annual 2011 (IDW, $7.99) seems like the ideal way to prepare myself. If I had $15, I’d happily spend more than half of it on that particular anthology. The rest would go towards closing out the current incarnation of the DCU, as I’d be grabbing both Action Comics #904 and Batman: Gates of Gotham #5 (Both DC, $2.99).
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.”
Los Angeles-based photographer Allan Amato has a unique project coming out meant to bring new attention to Parkinson’s disease. It’s a traveling gallery show and photo book about individuals with the disease, and he’s enlisted some comic book icons to help out.
Grant Morrison, Neil Gaiman and Kevin Smith are among a host of notable stars that jumped in to help support Amato’s “Illuminate Parkinsons” campaign to shed new light on the condition. Initially inspired by the photographer’s best friend Becky, this unique project will hit the road in the fall with shows in L.A., Edinburgh and Berlin. To help fund this event, they’ve started a Kickstarter campaign.
“I never gave it a thought. I guess common sense would say it was made of orange rock too, but I always thought it was more interesting to think about Reed Richards. As you know, he had the ability to stretch, and sexually, that would seem to be a great asset in many areas.”
I’ve talked before about the oddness of Dynamite’s Green Hornet line, I think; the sheer deluge of books so quickly after launch, and the way it makes little sense to me in any way other than ensuring a lot of bookstore product in time for January’s movie release. But I’ve been reading a lot of the books recently, and now I have to admit: It makes even less sense. Continue Reading »
WWE.com reports that Dynamite Entertainment has enlisted wrestler and Monday Night Raw commentator Jerry “The King” Lawler to provide the cover to an upcoming issue of the Kevin Smith-written Green Hornet comic. Which issue he’d provide the cover for wasn’t specified.
“Not only is The Green Hornet one of the most important characters in American pop culture history… not only is this going to be one of the biggest launched comics of the year,” Lawler told WWE.com, “but I am also going to have cover art featured in an upcoming issue of The Green Hornet!”
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard word of Lawler’s involvement with comics. Back in 2006, we learned he was a huge Superman buff on WWE.com, and in 2007, the site had a brief item on a Superman project that Lawler was going to draw that I don’t think we’ve ever heard about since.
He also provided artwork for a WWE-themed children’s book, Mick Foley’s Christmas Chaos, written by fellow wrestler Mick Foley. You can also see some of his artwork from 1970s Memphis Wrestling programs here.
The first issue of Smith’s Green Hornet comic arrives in shops today.
The most entertaining reading of the weekend wasn’t, surprisingly enough, the continued overblown response to Captain America #602 but rather Kevin Smith’s Twitter crusade against Southwest Airlines after he was removed from a flight for, well, being too fat.
It all started on Saturday after the filmmaker and comics writer, who according to the airline had purchased two seats for a flight from Oakland to Burbank, California, changed his plans, opting for an earlier flight. That meant Smith was flying standby on a plane that, by the time he boarded, had only one seat available.
Shortly thereafter is when the problem, and the subsequent public-relations headache, began. Let’s mark the starting time at 7:52 p.m. Pacific on Saturday, when Smith fired the first volley: “Dear @SouthwestAir – I know I’m fat, but was Captain Leysath really justified in throwing me off a flight for which I was already seated?”
“I flew out in one seat, but right after issuing me a standby ticket, Oakland Southwest attendant Suzanne (wouldn’t give last name) told me Captain Leysath deemed me a ‘safety risk,’” Smith continued. “Again: I’m way fat … But I’m not THERE just yet. But if I am, why wait til my bag is up, and I’m seated WITH ARM RESTS DOWN. In front of a packed plane with a bunch of folks who’d already I.d.ed me as ‘Silent Bob.’ So, @SouthwestAir, go fuck yourself. I broke no regulation, offered no ‘safety risk’ (what, was I gonna roll on a fellow passenger?). I was wrongly ejected from the flight (even Suzanne eventually agreed). And fuck your apologetic $100 voucher, @SouthwestAir. Thank God I don’t embarrass easily (bless you, JERSEY GIRL training). But I don’t sulk off either: so everyday, some new fuck-you Tweets for @SouthwestAir.”
But that, of course, was only the beginning.
They say nice guys finish last, but when event comics will finish is anybody’s guess. The demands of a high-profile series around which entire shared universes revolve can play havoc with scheduling. Naturally, editors and publishers love to maintain the artistic quality and consistency (and sales levels) provided by the big-name writer-artist teams that tend to lend such books a sense of “this is a big deal.” On the other hand, they need to get books out on time so that other series whose storylines depend upon what happens in the event can proceed as planned — and so that they don’t end up alienating retailers and readers. But these same readers and retailers can end up just as irritated if they get the sense that the creators are being rushed, or if fill-in artists aren’t up to snuff. It’s a tough row to hoe.
With his front-row seat for a variety of events this decade, including Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Civil War, and Secret Invasion, Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort knows this better than anyone. So it was with an obvious mix of boldness and trepidation that he made the following prediction on his Twitter account:
It’s height of hubris time: I’m willing to bet that SIEGE will wrap up before BLACKEST NIGHT does.