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The Fifth Color | Make My Media Marvel

Oh how far our Agent Coulson has come...

Oh how far our Agent Coulson has come …

Confession time: I haven’t seen the Season 2 premiere of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. yet. Don’t get me wrong, I want to, but things have been busy here, and when I do tune in (thanks, Hulu Plus!) I want to give it my full attention. TV has become very serious in recent years, and the best stuff tends to require the viewer to invest some brain power into the shows.

It’s a good thing, but it can get a little exhausting. And if you’re a Marvel fan, there’s a lot to keep track of in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Characters, locations, devices and plotlines might trigger some stored bit of trivia in your brain and lead to a different appreciation for the approach.

Here at The Fifth Color, I try to keep abreast of all the Marvel comics news I can, and it’s requiring me to track more and more movie rumors and casting decisions — which is weird because The Fifth Color began as a way to relate to comics and how we readers view the stories. But comics are becoming more than just you and the pages in your hand; there’s a now a strong media influence on how we see comics. Even something as simple as a mobile game can draw you into a comic shop and change how you see the books on the shelves. No joke, I had a customer show me a comic cover he had unlocked on a Marvel mobile game and ask me if we had that book in stock. He wanted to find out what it was about. That’s good marketing.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ soundtrack gets Mondo vinyl release

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Mondo is going from Gotham City to the far reaches of space with a deluxe vinyl release of the hit movie soundtrack Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Volume 1.

Featuring jacket artwork by Mondo mainstay Tyler Stout, this is the collectible-art boutique’s first screen-printed album packaging. In addition, each record comes with one of nine randomly inserted handbills featuring the film’s characters — from Rocket Raccoon and Groot to Gamora and Star-Lord.

Mondo is now accepting preorders ($50) on its website, but the albums won’t ship until early next year.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Guardians’ clings to September bookstore chart

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1

Graphic novels | Although BookScan’s September list of the bestselling graphic novels in bookstores is populated largely by old stalwarts — The Walking Dead, Attack on Titan, Saga, WatchmenGuardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1, the only Marvel title on the chart, clung to the Top 20 in its second month of release (although it slipped from No. 4. to No. 20). Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds, meanwhile, climbed in its third month to No. 6. One new manga debuted at No. 12: Noragami, about a homeless god who does odd jobs as he tries to build up his reputation; the anime is already out, which probably gave it a boost. [ICv2]

Publishing | A television reporter pays a visit to the Last Gasp offices to talk about the Kickstarter recently launched by the longtime publisher of underground comics (and other quirky books). It’s worth a look just to see the owner’s amazing collection of oddities. [NBC Bay Area]

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Kirby vs. Marvel settlement: The King’s goal fulfilled

FantasticFourNearly one month after what would’ve been Jack Kirby’s 97th birthday, the announcement was made: Concluding a five-year copyright battle, and decades of contention about credit and compensation, Marvel and the Kirby family revealed Friday that they had reached a settlement, just ahead of a conference to decide whether the U.S. Supreme Court would take up the case.

“Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes,” they said in a joint statement, “and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.”

This is, without question, excellent news, and cause for celebration.

As is typical with settlements, the terms of their agreement aren’t made public, and the one-sentence statement gives no indication of how Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history will be honored.

Those close to Kirby’s family have been reserved with details. In some instances, they don’t appear to know any more than we do.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Neil Kleid on ‘Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt’

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One of the most memorable Spider-Man storylines of the 1980s remains J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck’s “Kraven’s Last Hunt,” which featured the ultimate battle between Kraven the Hunter and Spider-Man. Now, nearly three decades later, Marvel has enlisted Neil Kleid to author a prose adaptation, Spider-Man: Kraven’s Last Hunt.

To mark the novel’s release today in comic stores, Kleid talked with me about the nuances of the adaptation. He’ll appear today at 6 p.m. for a book signing at JHU Comic Books in New York City.

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Marvel-Kirby dispute is over, but larger copyright issues remain

jack kirbyLaw.com has an interesting follow-up to the surprise settlement last week in the five-year-old legal battle between Marvel and Jack Kirby’s heirs, noting that the larger copyright issue at its center remain unresolved.

The children of the legendary artist filed 45 copyright-termination notices in September 2009, seeking to reclaim what they saw as their father’s stake in such Marvel characters as the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk. Marvel, joined by its then-new parent company Disney, responded with a lawsuit, setting the dispute down a path that ultimately saw the Second Circuit Court of Appeals affirm Kirby’s contributions to the publisher between 1959 and 1963 were “work for hire,” and therefore not subject to copyright termination.

Under a clause in the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act, which extended the duration of copyright, authors or their heirs can reclaim rights transferred before 1978 after a period of 56 years. However, if a work is determined to be “for hire,” meaning it was created by an employee as part of his employment or specially commissioned as part of a larger work, then the publisher (or movie studio, record label, etc.) owns the copyright, and it is not subject to termination.

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Comics A.M. | Bestselling ‘One Piece’ spawns a spinoff series

One Piece

One Piece

Manga | Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece, the bestselling manga in Japan, is getting a spinoff: Starting with the January issue, which ships in December, the manga magazine Saikyo Jump will carry a series focusing on Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates. There doesn’t seem to be any information yet on who the creators will be. [Anime News Network]

Publishing | In a business-oriented interview, Mark Waid talks about the strategy behind his digital comics site Thrillbent, especially its appeal to diverse groups of readers. The key is flexibility, Waid said, in terms of platforms and content. His goal is to make the comics readable on any digital device, which he says is not difficult once the site is set up. In terms of content, he says, “Pay attention to the audience, let them tell you who you’re clearly not serving, and go after them.” [The Wall Street Journal]

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These Marvel-themed cereals would make mornings easier

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Spider-Man had his own limited-edition cereal in the mid-’90s, complete with marshmallows shaped like the Spider-symbol, Peter Parker’s camera, Hobgoblin’s pumpkin bomb and, strangely, Kingpin. So why shouldn’t some of Marvel’s other popular characters get in on some of that sweet, sweet breakfast action?

Designers Crystal Fontan (aka Bamboota) and Elliott Fernandez seem to have wondered the same thing, as they’ve created (alas) imaginary cereal brands like Bifrosted Loki Charms, Tony’s Iron Bran, Cap’N Ameri-Crunch and, yes, Groot Loops (with limited-edition cocoa marshmallows of Groot and Rocket Raccoon).

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University of Baltimore offering class about Marvel movies

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If your parents ever complained that all of those Spider-Man and X-Men comics would interfere with your school work, show them this: This spring the University of Baltimore will offer a course examining modern culture through the lens of Marvel’s films, television series and comic books.

Thought to be the first class of its kind in the United States, “Media Genres: Media Marvels” will not only explore the intricate plotlines, characters and backstories that form the Marvel Cinematic Universe but also try to understand our fixation with superheroes and fictional global threats. Students will also study Joseph Campbell’s monomyth of the “hero’s journey.”

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Break the fourth wall with Sideshow’s new Deadpool figure

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Although previewed in July at Comic-Con International, Sideshow Collectibles has now officially unveiled the first entry in its Marvel Sixth Scale Collection: Deadpool.

Available for preorder beginning Thursday, the Merc With a Mouth comes equipped with multiple guns, blades, grenades, hands — “jazz hands!” — heads, and speech balloons. Yes, like his comic-book counterpart, this figure breaks the fourth wall.

And if that weren’t enough, the Sideshow Exclusive version includes a flying zombie head. Check out the images below.

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It’s not an off-brand Groot, it’s a ‘Cuddly Plush Alien Tree’

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There are a lot of products offered on Etsy that likely would be frowned upon by most film studios, television networks and publishers — posters, jewelry, clothing, toys, etc., featuring properties protected by trademark and copyright. However, there’s something wonderfully charming about Handmade Stuffs‘ off-brand plushes based on well-known fictional characters.

Sure, the stuffed creations are plenty cute in and of themselves, but the imaginative (and hopefully non-infringing!) names are what really sell them. Take, for instance, “Cuddly Plush Alien Tree” (“This adorable botanical extraterrestrial is ready to guard the galaxy with you!”), or the sold-out “Cuddly Plush Furious Director” (“He may only have one eye, but he’ll always be on the lookout for bad guys!”)

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Edmonton politician endorses life-size Wolverine statue

wolverine-marvelA burgeoning campaign to honor Wolverine with a life-size statue in Edmonton, Alberta, has received the endorsement of at least one city official.

“The first reaction is, this is kind of funny,” City Councillor Andrew Knack, who says he’s a fan of the Marvel character, told CTV News. “But then you realize they’re taking this very seriously. I think it’s a great idea, assuming we go about it the right approach, can’t be taxpayer dollars to fund a statue of Wolverine.”

Edmonton residents Jesse Seitz and Christopher Olivier launched the petition last week on Change.org, lobbying Mayor Don Iveson to pay tribute to one of Alberta’s native sons with a statue in City Hall, Churchill Square or the grounds of the Legislative Assembly. Although the character was long ago established as a Canadian, the Origin miniseries pinpointed his birthplace as Alberta.

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Talking Comics with Tim | Dustin Weaver on ‘Edge of Spider-Verse’ #3

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Anyone who read my Best of 7 piece from Sunday on Edge of Spider-Verse #2 likely got the impression I’m eager to see more about the Spider-folks from other universes. On Wednesday readers will get a chance to read Dustin Weaver‘s Edge of Spider-Verse #3 starring Dr. Aaron Aikman, Spider-Man.

Weaver chatted with me about the one-shot he wrote, drew and colored for Marvel, and afterward we turned to his ongoing webcomics Sagittarius A* and Amnia Cycle.

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‘Fox & Friends’ struggles with Thor’s gender, Wonder Woman’s shorts

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Despite what you might believe, the problem isn’t that female superheroes are oversexualized in comics and on film — no, according to Fox & Friends, it’s they’re not being sexualized enough.

In a particularly odd segment of Sunday’s show that frequently tipped into full-on parody, co-host Clayton Morris began by worrying that test footage from Genndy Tartakovsky’s animated Popeye movie signifies the “wussifying” of the classic character, as he doesn’t sport his iconic pipe and tattoos.

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Terry Gilliam explains the Church of Batman the Redeemer

batman-the-redeemer

Sometime in the near future — although, alas, not the one depicted in DC Comics’ Futures End — people will worship at the altar of the Dark Knight. At least that we’re told by Terry Gilliam’s new film The Zero Theorem, in which we glimpse an enormous ad that declares “The Church of Batman the Redeemer Needs YOU.”

With its U.S. release today in select theaters and on VOD, the director has of course been making the press rounds, discussing a cinematic world overtaken by technology, and precisely why people would follow the Caped Crusader.

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