As we’re on an unintentional licensing and merchandising spree, it seems only fitting to cap off the day with perhaps one of the stranger, but certainly most delicious, tie-ins: Red Robin’s Wolverine-themed hamburgers.
Not that Red Robin, although that would be wonderfully bizarre. No, this is the Colorado-based restaurant chain whose name is usually followed by “Yummmmm!“ (seriously, you can’t think “Red Robin” without hearing that in your head). The company has partnered with 20th Century Fox’s The Wolverine to create two gourmet burgers inspired by the film.
As Licensing Expo 2013 gets under way today in Las Vegas, Variety reports that with first Marvel and now Lucasfilm beneath its umbrella, Disney is poised to expand its domination of the entertainment licensing market. Last year, the media conglomerate generated $39.4 billion in retail licensing, and claimed a staggering 80 percent market share.
Once again the world’s largest licensor, Disney now boasts six of the Top 10 franchises, according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association: Disney Princess (No. 1), Star Wars (No. 2), Winnie the Pooh (No. 3), Cars (No. 4), Mickey & Friends (No. 6) and Toy Story (No. 8). Disney Fairies comes in at No. 11, trailed at No. 16 by Spider-Man.
As Marvel Studios builds toward its Phase Three plans, which we already know include a Doctor Strange movie, we can expect the comics division to launch numerous projects starring the often neglected, and frequently mistreated, Master of the Mystic Arts. When it comes time for editors to recruit writers for one of those — say, a miniseries or original graphic novel — they may want to give novelist Irvine Welsh a call.
In a new interview with our sibling blog Spinoff Online, the acclaimed author of Trainspotting and Filth discusses comic books at length, and reveals that if he were given the chance to tackle a DC Comics or Marvel hero, he would “would do a Grant Morrison and deconstruct the character.” And who would he like that character to be?
Digital comics | Despite all the talk about digital comics lately, Paul Delos Santos finds plenty of ink-on-paper comics, as well as creators and fans, at last weekend’s Amazing Las Vegas Comic-Con. “Digital is the newsstand of yesteryear for people that are new to comics that are discovering that way,” said Ralph Mathieu, owner of Las Vegas’ Alternate Reality Comics. “Then (they are) going to comic stores and getting the physical format.” [Las Vegas Sun]
Superheroes | Looking at the lineup of Marvel and DC Comics adaptations, Frank Hagler argues, “It is far past time for Hollywood to release a comic book movie based on a minority comic book hero where the characters race is central to the theme of the story.” [PolicyMic]
This morning I woke up to the Tumblr rumblings that Journey into Mystery would no longer be with us. Sure, it was absent from Marvel’s September solicitations, but I could kind of lie to myself and think maybe the book would skip a month, or maybe the publisher just forgot. I can lie to myself with the best of them! But sales haven’t been kind, and writer Kathryn Immonen left us a very gracious note that August’s Journey into Mystery #655 will be the final issue.
And I cannot take this lying down.
Creators | Stan Lee, characterized by CNN as “the Godfather of comic book heroes,” is modest about his own achievements in a new interview: “If my publisher hadn’t said ‘let’s do superhero stories’ I’d probably still be doing A Kid Called Outlaw, The Two Gun Kid or Millie the Model or whatever I was doing at the time.” He reflects on the increased female audience for comics and discusses some new projects, including a new superhero, The Annihilator, created specifically for a Chinese audience. [CNN]
Comics| Chris Huntington reflects on the importance of Miles Morales for children of color, like his son: “… To see Spider-Man pulling his mask over a tiny brown chin – to see a boy with short curly hair sticking to the ceiling of his bedroom— well, something happened. Dagim has been Spider-Man for two Halloweens in a row. He takes a bath with his Spider-Man and a toy killer whale. He has Spider-Man toothpaste and a Spider-Man toothbrush. If Spider-Man offered medical coverage, I think he would want that, too. My son somehow understands that there is a Peter Parker Spider-Man, who is vaguely grown-up and my age, and a younger Spider-Man, closer to his age. That’s just how Dagim likes it. He even understands that Peter Parker — like Superman, like Batman – wasn’t raised by his birth parents. The best superheroes were all adopted like him.” [The New York Times]
Legal | The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar has appealed a court decision upholding his 2010 arrest and detention, claiming police acted in bad faith when they arrested him under the Sedition Act because of his book Cartoon-O-Phobia, which had not yet been released at the time of his arrest. No charges were ever filed, as the police could not identify any actual seditious content in the books. A court ruled in July 2012 that Zunar’s arrest was lawful but ordered the police to return the books they had confiscated and pay him damages. An appellate court will hear the case next week. [The Comics Reporter]
Publishing | Heidi MacDonald takes a look at Marvel’s new graphic novel line, which will launch in October with Warren Ellis and Mike McKone’s Avengers: Endless Wartime. [Publishers Weekly]
While I’m not a big fan of the ubiquitous Wolverine, I am a follower of Jock, whose artwork on titles ranging from Hellblazer and The Losers to Green Arrow: Year One and Detective Comics has brought me great joy over the years (even when the story disappointed; I’m looking at you, Faker). So when it was announced last week that Jock will be tackling Marvel’s Savage Wolverine as artist and writer beginning in September, I knew immediately that I would be ignoring my reservations about the character and buying the three-issue arc.
As if my appetite needed further whetting, this afternoon Jock revealed on Instagram what I think is the first look at his story — in the form of a page layout. Now I really, really hope that when Marvel collects the arc, which apparently finds Logan in the far-flung future, the publisher includes the artist’s roughs as bonus material.
“We conclude that the contract language is ambiguous and that genuine disputes of material fact, as to the parties’ intent and other issues, preclude thee granting of judgment as a matter of law.”
– from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals order vacating a 2011 ruling that writer Gary Friedrich had handed over the rights to Ghost Rider to Marvel in the 1970s, and remanding the case to trial. It represents a rare, if possibly only temporary, victory for creators (or their heirs) in a legal battle to reclaim the copyright to a comic-book property. It also thrusts into the spotlight the oft-discussed standard contacts of the era, which frequently involved relinquishing copyright simply by endorsing checks.
If you think Marvel and DC can’t get along, artist Darren Rawlings of Thinkmore Studios and The Silver Six has something to say about that in his “Little Friends” series. Each image features characters from both companies coming together, like Black Cat and Catwoman chasing a ball of yarn, Sandman and Clayface building a castle together or, as seen above, Green Lantern and Quasar engaging in a friendly competition.
This morning, Marvel held a press call to confirm that this week’s promotion of a new team only referred to as “Mighty” would in fact be a new Mighty Avengers title, set to debut in September. Now, you’d think a new team of heroes that includes both She-Hulk (Jen Walters flavor) and Adam the Blue Marvel (lost hero of color) is and tied to Jonathan Hickman’s turn at bat in the latest event series Infinity would be pretty cool. Hickman has assembled Avengers these days for big, mind-bending reasons. These are characters who don’t get enough screen time (if any) and might not get the chance at their own solo title, so why not enjoy this young new team for a chance to see more heroes?
Shouldn’t we be grateful? Don’t we need another Avengers team? How’s that hole-in-your head collection coming?
Inspired by Brett White’s recent Comic Book resources column, Evan Shaner gathered together old sketches of his favorite X-Men, “yearbook-style,” which in turn inspired some other artists to draw their own top picks — as if ripped from the pages of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters/Jean Grey School for Higher Learning annual: Uncanny X-Force‘s Kris Anka, Thugg, Russel Dauterman, George Kambadais and, to bring everything full circle, Brett White.
You can see Shaner and Kambadais’ contributions in full below, with the others at their respective links.
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.
Retailing | Naruto topped the May BookScan chart of graphic novels sold in bookstores, followed by two volumes of The Walking Dead, the latest volume of Sailor Moon, and Yen Press’ latest Twilight adaptation New Moon. Just three volumes total of The Walking Dead made the Top 20 (down from eight last month), and as usual, DC and Marvel got clobbered: DC had three titles on the list (two volumes of Court of Owls and Watchmen) while Marvel had one (Hawkeye), and none was above No. 15. Or to put it another way: Vol. 14 of Dance in the Vampire Bund, a high-numbered volume in a fairly niche manga series, placed higher than every Big Two book on BookScan last month. [ICv2]
Creators | With the second issue of their digital-only comic The Private Eye recently released, writer Brian K. Vaughan and artist Marcos Martin talk about their story, why they decided to do it digitally, and what the response has been so far. [The Verge]
A library in suburban Chicago fell well short of its $30,000 fundraising goal to purchase graphic novels, a comics-creating station and a 9-foot-tall statue of the Incredible Hulk, but thanks to the generosity of a California businessman, it’s still getting a life-sized Green Goliath to call its own.
The trustees of the Northlake Public Library launched an Indiegogo campaign on April 26 in hopes of expanding its collection of about 2,300 graphic novels and manga, adding computer software and hardware, and buying a Hulk statue that might help attract visitors. “This larger-than-life literary character will become a giant green beacon of light to highlight our graphic novel collection, our creation station … not to mention the library’s sense of humor and whimsy,” the campaign description reads. “The project will show off the fun side of the library and get the community talking. The HULK will force patrons to look at the library in a whole new way.”
But with mere days to go, the Indiegogo drive has raised just $3,710; the statue alone costs in the neighborhood of $8,000.