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Comics A.M. | Appeals court hears Marvel copyright dispute

Disney & Marvel

Disney & Marvel

Legal | Disney on Tuesday asked a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss a two-year-old lawsuit by Stan Lee Media claiming the copyright to such Marvel superheroes as Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men. A lawyer for Stan Lee Media, which no longer connected to its namesake, argued a federal judge in Colorado erred last year in dismissing the 2012 complaint, but Disney countered that the copyright claims have been addressed time and again by the courts. “This is their seventh bite of a rotten apple,” Disney attorney Jim Quinn said after the hearing. The three-judge panel hasn’t issued its decision. [The Associated Press]

Manga | The finale of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, which will run in an upcoming issue of Shonen Jump (both the Japanese and the North American editions), will be two chapters long, with the second appearing in full color, the manga magazine announced. Naruto was at one time the bestselling graphic novel in the United States and is still one of the top selling manga in the country. [Anime News Network]

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‘The Marvel Experience’ tour reveals character lineup

marvel experience-characters

All 13 characters have been revealed for The Marvel Experience interactive tour, and at least a couple may surprise you.

As depicted in the above image, debuted by Yahoo, the usual suspects — Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk — will be joined by Wolverine, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, The Vision, She-Hulk, Iron Fist and Black Panther.

“This is the only place you’ll see them together, and we’re proud of that,” Rick Licht, CEO of tour producer Hero Ventures, is quoted as saying. That’s in part because the film rights to Wolverine and Spider-Man are held by Fox and Sony, respectively.

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Doctor Strange and Dormammu materialize in Mondo prints

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Could the timing be anything other than magical? Following word that Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is in talks to play Marvel’s Doctor Strange, Mondo is offering prints from the We Buy Your Kids gallery exhibit that include two downright psychedelic renditions of the Sorcerer Supreme and his classic foe Dormammu.

The two takes on the Stan Lee/Steve Ditko creations look as if they should be rendered on black velvet, which may not be such a bad idea. Each18-inch by 24-inch print is $40, with Dormammu limited to 110 copies and Strange to 125. Keep the Eye of Agamotto trained on the Mondo Twitter feed, where they on-sale time will be announced sometime today.

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Tremble in the presence of 3A Toys’ Doctor Doom figure

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It’s been a while since we’ve seen anything about the Doctor Doom figure from Ashley Wood’s 3A Toys, but judging from this post on the company’s production blog, that’s about to change very soon.

While we wait, however, the company provides a look at all colorways for the 1/6th-scale figure: Classic Edition, Ghost Edition and Stealth Edition. 3A’s Iron Man figures are kind of pricy, and I’m guessing these will be in the same range. Still, they’re pretty amazing-looking.

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Sideshow Collectibles adds premium art prints

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Sideshow Collectibles, best known for its premium figures, has expanded into limited-edition art prints featuring Marvel and DC Comics properties, and its own Court of the Dead.

Its Premium Art Print line debuts with Gotham Sirens: Poison Ivy by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau, Spider-Woman by Scott Forbes, and Kier: Call of the Forsaken Valkyrie by David Palumbo, with upcoming work promised from the likes of Ariel Olivetti, Kris Anka and Fabian Schlaga.

Priced at $79.99, each 18-inch by 24-inch print is hand-numbered, and includes a penciled artist signature and embossed seal of authenticity.

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The Fifth Color | A new age for Ultron

age of ultron posterWe’ve all seen the teaser trailer for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, right? If you haven’t, then please check it out below, and enjoy the sweet, sinister sounds of James Spader (that man could give the evilest recitation of the phone book in history). To be perfectly honest, though, considering how well the first movie did, Robert Downey Jr. could have come out against a black screen and say “Hey everyone! We’re doing a new movie!” and I would have already been in line to see Avengers 2: More Avengering.

But no! Marvel is determined to further expand its cinematic universe by reaching into its history to introduce an amazing villain in the evil robot Ultron. Putting his name front is a bit risky considering the name doesn’t ring a lot of bells for the average moviegoer, but then again, neither did Iron Man once upon a time. Besides, Age of Ultron is such a killer title. The idea of an “Age” of anything makes the danger seem long-term, and Ultron is an amazingly villainous name, with a really scary face to go with it. The idea of an evil robot isn’t lost on the general public, and when you tell them he’s like Skynet with daddy issues, the concept is pretty clear.

Mind you, I wouldn’t blame you if that’s not the first thing you think of when you hear “Age of Ultron.” Some comics might even groan.

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Quote of the Day | ‘The shackles are off. Go.’

beetle-booster“There’s a loosening up, and this is kind of current, at both companies in terms of what each company considers a comic, which is a ridiculous thing to say, because a comic is basically what sells. That’s a good comic. Dick Giordano hated, hated, hated Lobo — hated the character, hated the book — hated him. But he understood that Lobo was a popular character, not his cup of tea, so he wasn’t constantly after me to change and conform to his way.

That was, for a while, the way comics were being run. If the editor didn’t like the direction a book was going, it didn’t matter how well it sold — they’d get in there and start pinching and tweaking and fucking it up. But lately — and I know this for a fact, I’ve talked to people who actually make these decisions — it’s loosening up. It’s really loosening up. They’re actually saying, ‘You know what? You’re always saying, “If I was left alone, I would do this and this and this. I’d make this book popular.” Fine. The shackles are off. Go.’

I love that. I absolutely love that. I think if you’re willing to go after it, I think comics are loosening up a little bit; the way they approach the market, the kind of stories they’re doing, the kind of characters they’re willing to put in their books. This is just, I’d say, within the last year that I’m feeling this. A couple of years before that — as soon as last year — they were pretty horrible.”

Justice League 3000 writer Keith Giffen, identifying a relatively recent loosening of the creative reins by DC Comics, and by Marvel

Turning viewers into readers

DC-readingIn case you haven’t noticed, people like watching television shows and movies based on comic books.

This fall has been particularly exceptional television adaptations: The Walking Dead season premiere pulled in more than 17 million viewers, while more than 8 million watched the first episode Gotham, making it Fox’s best fall drama debut in 14 years. More than 6 million raced to see The Flash pilot, giving The CW its highest ratings ever. About 5 million are regularly tuning in for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and nearly 3 million for the third season of Arrow.

It’s not limited to live-action series, either: 2 million people watch Teen Titans Go!, and more than 1 million tune in to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon.

On the big screen, all four feature films starring Marvel characters — X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — each grossed more than $700 million each worldwide. So far, comic book movies have generated more than $3.8 billion dollars this year. While it’s unknown how many of those dollars are from repeat viewings, that’s still a lot of people.

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Stan Lee isn’t as wealthy as some may think, but he’s doing fine

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When word surfaced Tuesday that Stan Lee has put his Hollywood Hills West home on the market for $3.75 million, some commenters began to speculate about the legendary writer’s finances. Of course, they’re not the first.

Asked earlier this year by Playboy whether he at least received “a Tony Star-like helicopter” from Disney’s $4 billion purchase of Marvel, the 91-year-old creator was quick to point out that he’s not as wealthy as some may think.

“My daughter was looking at the internet the other day and read that Stan Lee has an estimated $250 million,” Lee said. “I mean, that’s ridiculous! I don’t have $200 million. I don’t have $150 million. I don’t have $100 million or anywhere near that.”

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Comics A.M. | Turkish cartoonist faces prison for caricature

Legal

Legal

Legal | Former Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint against cartoonist Musa Kart over a cartoon caricaturing Erdoğan’s attempts to cover up a graft investigation. The prosecutor initially decided that there were no grounds for legal action, but Erdoğan took his case to the Bakırköy 14th High Criminal Court, which ruled that the cartoon exceeded the bounds of normal criticism and allowed the indictment to proceed. Kart could face nearly 10 years in prison if convicted and given the maximum sentence.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have dropped charges against all 209 of the people suspected in participating in the actual corruption Erdoğan is accused of covering up; those charges would have included “the transfer of lands with a value of billions of dollars at very low prices, the seizure of mines from businessmen by force, tender-rigging, illegally giving state tenders worth billions of dollars to businessmen, changing the status of protected areas through bribery, opening these [areas] for construction and making large profits off of them.” [Today's Zaman]

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Marvel introduces hearing-impaired hero Sapheara

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Remember Blue Ear, the costumed character created in 2012 by Marvel to convince then 4-year-old Anthony Smith that superheroes do wear hearing aids? Well, now meet Sapheara, a pint-sized superheroine with cochlear implants.

She teams with Iron Man and Blue Ear in Sound Effects, a new comic by Marvel Custom Solutions and the Children’s Hearing Institute of New York that addresses cochlear implants, bullying, hearing-loss awareness and hearing-loss prevention. It will be distributed later this month to about 150,000 students in grades 3 through 7 in the New York City area.

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Stan Lee’s home could be yours for a cool $3.75 million

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Here’s the ultimate find for the truly devoted Marvel collector: Stan Lee’s house.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the legendary comics creator has listed his walled and gated home in Hollywood Hills West for $3.75 million.

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Six artists explain how they stage a fight sequence

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Anyone with even a passing interest in comics art and storytelling should set aside some time to read this A.V. Club discussion with three Marvel art teams — Tradd Moore and Val Staples, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire, and Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson — about their approach to staging specific action scenes in their respective books All-New Ghost Rider, Moon Knight and Secret Avengers.

“I used a lot of panels here of varied sizes because I feel it gives the scene an undulating flow,” Moore explains of an All-New Ghost Rider page. “I do that a lot with fight scenes. Speed up, slow down, rise, fall. It’s kind of mesmerizing to me. To make a comparison to metal: The small panels are like a frantic blast beat, while the bigger, clearer panels are like a heavy breakdown or head-banging riff. I imagine viewers’ eyes speeding up and slowing down, widening and narrowing, as they scan across the page. I think it’s the kind of page that warrants multiple, extended views.”

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Marvel to release ‘Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’ Disney comic

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Marvel will launch a five-part miniseries next spring based on the Disney Parks roller coaster Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Teased Saturday with posters at the Disneyland and a Magic Kingdom attractions before an official announcement, the comic is the third series in the Disney Kingdoms line, following Seekers of the Weird and Figment.

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Comics A.M. | Is NYCC really bigger than San Diego?

New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con

Conventions | Following reports that New York Comic Con attracted 155,000 attendees this year, surpassing Comic-Con International’s 133,000, Kerry Dixon scrutinizes producer ReedPOP’s counting system and finds it leaves “a lot of room for guesswork and error in attendance size”: “So did New York Comic Con beat out San Diego to take over the title of the largest pop culture and comics convention this side of the globe? Well, not really.” [Unofficial SDCC Blog]

Publishing | Filip Sablik, BOOM! Studios’ president of publishing and marketing, talks about the company’s new offering: a $20 bundle of 50 kids’ comics that can be handed out to trick-or-treaters. The selection includes Adventure Time, Peanuts, Garfield and other comics from the kaBOOM! line. [Comicosity]

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