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‘Storms of Carnage’ fan film unleashes the Black Panther

storms of carnage

While we’ve certainly seen a number of fan films featuring Superman, Judd Dredd and the Bat-family (the Dark Knight, Batgirl, Nightwing, the Gotham villains, etc.), I think this is the first one I’ve seen starring Black Panther.

The brainchild of D.A. Jackson, who wrote, directed and starred, Storms of Carnage: The Black Panther Unleashed is an extremely violent — as “Storms of Carnage” may suggest — “real-world” take on the Marvel character that’s part political/crime thriller, part no-holds-barred martial-arts film. (Seriously, the last half isn’t safe for work, or possibly for the squeamish.)

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This fan-made Dancing Baby Groot is all you want, all you need

baby-groot

Disney Consumer Products struck deals with more than 50 companies for Guardians of the Galaxy merchandise, ensuring store shelves are stocked with everything from a Big Blastin’ Rocket Raccoon Figure to the LEGO Milano Spaceship Rescue Building Set to the Rocket Raccoon Suit-Up Backpack.

But somehow, nobody thought to license — spoiler alert? — a dancing Baby Groot.

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Comics A.M. | Disney layoffs hit DisneyToon Studios

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Planes: Fire & Rescue

Business | Marvel parent company Disney has reportedly laid off as many as 17 of the 60 full-time employees at DisneyToon Studio, the Glendale, California-based division that produces animated direct-to-video sequels and prequels, such as The Lion King 1 1/2 and Mulan II, the Disney Fairies releases and the occasional feature film, most recently Planes: Fire & Rescue. While Disney has been cutting positions throughout the company for the past few years — dating back to 2011 with the elimination of 200 jobs in its interactive division and about a dozen at Marvel — Variety chalks up these layoffs to the declining home-video market. [Variety, Deadline]

Passings | Dan Lynch, former editorial cartoonist for the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, died Sunday at age 67. Lynch also worked for the Kansas City Times, and his cartoons were syndicated nationally and appeared in Time and Newsweek. However, his career was cut short by a debilitating stroke in 2001. “Dan had (what I thought was) a fabulous drawing style,” said Julie Inskeep, publisher and president of The Journal Gazette. “And, in the 20-plus years he worked at the JG, he provided a vast array of cartoon topics – always welcome, though not always in agreement with our editorial board. But he got people to think and react in his special and powerful way.” [Fort Wayne Journal Gazette]

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Trapped in a world he never made …

Howard-the-Duck-tease

[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

For whatever reason, Marvel is bringing the original Howard the Duck comics back into print. These are pretty great comics on their own, from creator/writer Steve Gerber and artists like Val Mayerik, Frank Brunner and Gene Colan. However, this is a Best of 7 because Howard the Duck itself facilitates all sorts of discussions. We can talk about creators’ rights via Gerber’s disputes with Marvel, and we can go from there to the extent to which a unique voice can (or should) be replicated by successors. (Personally, I thought the 2007 Ty Templeton/Juan Bobillo miniseries was pretty fun.) On a more superficial level, there’s the publisher’s biggest filmed fiasco.

Still, it does come down to the comics. In an era when the Big Two were expanding their scopes and testing their limits, Howard the Duck was one of the biggest experiments of the mid-1970s, and one that paid off in such entertaining fashion. Anything that brings it back into the spotlight is fine by me.

The Fifth Color | ‘Thanos: The Infinity Revelation’s’ cosmic insights

thanosIR_coverDecompression in storytelling sucks. I’m not saying that it can’t be done right and really enhance a plot — the first few issues of the original Ultimate Spider-Man prove that point quite well. I’m just saying that, for the most part, it wastes our time.

As much as I respect Jonathan Hickman, I have to admit his Avengers arcs are running really long in the tooth and are densely packed with so much information and so little resolution that I feel as if I’m being strung along. It took this week’s issue of New Avengers to get me reinvested in the grand arc, and the story had to get all WorldstarHipHop to shake things up. As a reader, you can feel when things slow down, and the less you want to go back and reread to remind you of content that should have been addressed issues ago. It can start to cause regret, resentment against the book itself (why am I still reading this?) and a weird sort of Stockholm syndrome where you don’t like a particular series but you keep buying it because, man, the payoff better be good.

On the other hand, comics that “compress,” or at least move along at a faster clip, leave little time for regret. It’s not even that shorter stories can’t be as complicated as longer ones; the story simply leaves it up to the reader to unpack the plot and characters long after the story ends. And hey, even if it’s bad, at least it didn’t waste your time? There’s a certain amount of assumed intelligence when a comic moves at a good clip and packs in as much detail as it can to give you the biggest bang for the number of pages, and, in the Thanos:The Infinity Revelation, Jim Starlin wants you to be super-smart.

Does the original graphic novel live up to the very well-deserved Starlin hype? More importantly, is it worth the $25 price tag for such a thin little hardcover? Read on!

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Man sentenced for insider trading in Disney-Marvel deal

disney-marvel-logoA San Francisco man was sentenced Thursday to three months in federal prison and ordered to pay $122,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to using insider information to make big bucks in Disney’s purchase of Marvel.

Law360 reports that in 2009, Toby G. Scammell was told by his girlfriend, a Disney extern working on the Marvel acquisition, that the entertainment giant was planning to buy a company “people would recognize right away.” Using her work schedule and their vacation plans, he was able to deduce when the deal would likely close, and learned from his then-employer — a consulting firm that had been contracted by Disney on occasion — that the company was interested in Marvel.

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This Groot costume will make you rethink your Halloween plans

groot3-cropped

With a nearly $127 million domestic box-office haul, an inescapable marketing campaign, countless merchandising tie-ins and a soundtrack debuting at No. 3 on the Billboard charts, it’s safe to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy is worming its way into our pop-culture consciousness. And come Halloween, the streets and malls will be crawling with little trick-or-treaters dressed as Rocket Raccoon, and every grown-up party will feature at least two Draxes, a Star-Lord and a Gamora.

But few of them will be able to hold a candle to this Groot costume created by Calen Hoffman. The photos show the work in progress, which will likely clue in cosplayers as to how he produced the almost movie-ready ensemble.  The last time I sculpted anything was in 11th grade art class, so I’m happy to just sit back and marvel at the finished product.

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Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon assembles medals

avengers-half-marathon-crop

RunDisney has unveiled what will undoubtedly become hot-ticket items on eBay a little more than three months from now: the finisher medals for the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend

Planned for Nov. 14-16 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, the event features kids races, a 5K, a half marathon, a pre-race pasta party featuring the Marvel characters and a merchandise expo. It’s the first such collaboration since Disney acquired Marvel in 2009.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Hi Score Girl’ recalled amid copyright allegations

Hi Score Girl, Vol. 4

Hi Score Girl, Vol. 4

Legal | Japanese publisher Square Enix is voluntarily recalling all volumes Hi Score Girl and has suspended its digital distribution and sales following allegations the manga contains more than 100 unauthorized uses of characters owned by the game company SNK Playmore. However, the series will still continue to run in the monthly Big Gangan magazine, and a Square Enix spokesperson said the publisher isn’t admitting to the allegations. The publisher sent mixed signals on whether the anime adaptation in development will continue as planned. The manga also contains characters from games produced by CAPCOM, Sega and Bandai Namco, all of whom confirmed to IT Media that they had granted permission. [Anime News Network]

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‘Big Hero 6′s’ Baymax and Hiro are heading to Disney parks

big hero 6

Disney has announced it will bring Big Hero 6‘s Baymax and Hiro Hamada to Disneyland and Walt Disney World this fall to greet fans as part of a promotional push for the animated film.

Although Captain America, Thor and Iron Man have previously appeared at Disneyland, this will be the first time Marvel characters have greeted visitors at Disney World.

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Artist captures Winter Soldier in stained glass

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When Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting revived Bucky Barnes as the Winter Soldier, the character once best described as a plot device was elevated to a fan-favorite superhero — and a movie headliner. And now, he’s been immortalized in stained glass.

Based on an illustration by Axeeeee, this stained glass piece by Etsy artist RavingsAside uses authentic Murano glass for the snow-like background, German antique red glass for the Soviet star, and silverfoil glass the cybernetic arm. The artist has posted pictures of the piece during production on Tumblr to showcase how it was done. Here’s a look at the finished piece:

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Disney teases expanded ‘Star Wars’ presence at theme parks

star wars-disney

Surprising no one, CEO Bob Iger revealed Tuesday that Disney has plans for “a far greater Star Wars presence” at its theme parks.

According to Entertainment Weekly, he promised that the sci-fi franchise would become one of Disney’s answer to Universal Studios’ Harry Potter attractions. Details are expected sometime next year.

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Comics A.M. | Ex-intern hits Marvel with class-action wage suit

Marvel

Marvel

Legal | A former Marvel intern has filed a class-action lawsuit against the company, alleging he was incorrectly classified and unfairly denied “minimum wages.” Kenneth Jackson of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, claims he’s owed back pay for the work he performed for Marvel from August 2008 to December 2008, and seeks to include in his motion “all similarly situated persons who are presently or formerly employed by Marvel Entertainment, LLC.” [TheWrap]

Passings | Pran Sharma, the creator of the Indian comics character Chacha Chaudhary, died late Tuesday of complications from cancer. He was 75. The first comic featuring Chacha, “a wise old man who solves problems with his sharp intellect,” was published in 1971, and the character went on to star in his own comics and animated series. Sharma also created the teenage character Billoo. “If I could put a smile on the face of the poor, I would consider my life successful,” he once said. [The Wall Street Journal]

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How ‘The Winter Soldier’ should’ve ended (just add Hulk)

hishe-winter-soldier

The folks at How It Should Have Ended have turned their attention to Marvel’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier, pointing out a couple of plot holes — or at least plot oversights — while delivering its good-natured tweaks. Y’know, their usual shtick. So if you haven’t seen the film, you may want to avoid the video.

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Comics A.M. | Viz Media executives talk state of manga market

Viz Media

Viz Media

Publishing | Leyla Aker, Viz Media’s vice present of publishing, and Kevin Hamric, its director of publishing sales and marketing, discuss the state of the manga market and how the company’s books are selling through the print and digital channels (including comiXology, where Viz just signed on last month). One interesting tidbit: Viz products are carried by 64 percent of Diamond Comic Distributors’ accounts (i.e., comic shops). “Some of the store owners just don’t understand manga yet,” Hamric said. “They’re like librarians were years ago. They’re afraid of it, but if it’s children’s and Pokemon, or has a tie-in, especially to anime or television, then they’re not afraid to take it.” [ICv2]

Publishing | Tom Spurgeon talks to Drawn and Quarterly’s Tracy Hurren about the company’s new website, which launched this week, as well as life in the D+Q offices. [The Comics Reporter]

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