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Comics A.M. | ‘There’s a real feeding-frenzy for graphic novels’

Le Transperceneige

Le Transperceneige

Publishing | Variety speaks with Madrigall President Antoine Gallimard about how the French publishing giant and its holdings (Gallimard, Casterman, Flammarion and Futuropolis, among them) handle the film rights to their many graphic novels, and the popularity of comics as source material: “I think that the French publishing and film industries feed on, complement, and ultimately do help each other. The number of films adapted from books that are produced every year in France is eloquent testimony to this.” Noting that, “In recent years, there’s a real feeding-frenzy for graphic novels, comic books,” Gaillimard says, “Comedy, in all its variants, is the most popular of adapted materials.” [Variety]

Legal | An Algerian judge has made a preliminary recommendation of 18 months’ imprisonment for cartoonist Djamel Ghanem for drawing a cartoon, which was never published, that government officials deemed offensive. In an odd twist, Ghanem was sued by his own newspaper, La Voix de l’Oranie, which tends to favor the current administration, and as a result, he has been blackballed by the Algerian media. The cartoon is critical of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fourth term but doesn’t even depict the president — it shows two people in conversation, comparing the fourth term to baby diapers — Ghanem said the point was that Algerians were treated like children. Pressed by the district attorney to admit the cartoon was insulting to the Bouteflika, Ghanem insisted that wasn’t his intention. [Global Voices Online]

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Quote of the Day | Clancy Brown on comic adaptations

cowboys and aliensCowboys & Aliens was a completely manufactured myth of a comic book. They went in and sold the idea of Cowboys & Aliens based on a one-sheet of what they thought the cover of a comic book might be, then sold it as a movie, then created as a comic book. They backed in to the comic book part of it. The book itself isn’t actually very good. It’s worse than the movie.

I did another one like that — Hellbenders was an idea that J.T. Petty had, and he wrote it as a script. One of the producers got the idea to pitch it around as a comic book. As soon as something is a graphic novel or a comic book or has another life in a another medium, people sit up and take notice and are more willing to write the check.

I don’t know why that is — well, I think it’s obvious why that is: Because the traditional properties like Superman and Batman and the Marvel characters — Spider-Man and so on — they’re all money machines. So, people are trying to create that. [...] Everything is being optioned now to be turned into franchises because of the success of Walking Dead and a few that have made the transition. Mostly, people walk into a room and pitch a movie — and the first question if they don’t say it in the original pitch is, ‘Is this a graphic novel or comic?’ and of course you say, ‘Yes’.”

– actor Clancy Brown, who has a good deal of experience with comic-book adaptations, discussing Cowboys & Aliens Hollywood’s continued attraction to comics

‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ game arrives in March

winter-soldier-game

Marvel and Paris-based mobile game developer Gameloft have announced Captain America: The Winter Soldier — The Official Game, in development for smartphones and tablets.

Inspired by the upcoming Marvel Studios movie adaptation, the game will allow players to assume the role of Captain America as he leads an elite team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents in a fight to stop a sinister global plot. A multiplayer mode offers the ability to join clans and to compete for a higher position in leagues.Gameloft and Marvel previously partnered for the mobile games Spider-Man: Toxic City, Spider-Man: Total Mayhem, Iron Man 2 and Iron Man 3.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier — The Official Game will be released in late March on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch and Android, ahead of the April 4 U.S. premiere of the film. Watch the game teaser trailer below.

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The Fifth Color | A Widow’s worth

captainamerica-winter-soldier-15Captain America 2 posters, everybody!

Yep, this year’s Marvel kickoff film is Captain America: The Winter Soldier, due out April 4 (which is a little weird considering the studio historically releases its films the first week of May, giving Free Comic Book Day a boost), so we’re starting to get that media blitz a-rollin’ with teaser trailers, Super Bowl spots and the like. However, nothing will be seen as consistently or as widespread as the movie posters.

Keep in mind, posters are a little boring these days, especially for action films. There’s a certain color palette used, that gray-blue shine and airbrushed effect that has become shorthand for “cold and hard.” You know, like an action hero. But I digress. The movie posters released for Captain America: The Winter Soldier have the traditional “‘people walking at you from a horizon line,” two different profiles of Cap with headgear on or off, Nick Fury looking like Samuel L. Jackson looking mean and, the one a lot of people are talking about: Black Widow.

There’s just something about Natasha. Everyone has an opinion about Black Widow as a character, about Scarlett Johansson’s body shape and about what the retouching of photos does to our perception of beauty and realistic expectations of women. A single image has caused so much of a stir, I can only imagine what people will do when she actually shows up in the film. Because we can’t talk about Johansson’s performance and Natasha’s place in the storyline, let’s focus on the poster.

WARNING: No spoilers, but if you’re sensitive to body issues, I understand if you’d want to skip this one today. Everyone is beautiful, Photoshopped or not, voluptuous or rail thin! Now let’s go complain about a celebrity.

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‘Attack on Titan’ comes to life in terrifying Subaru TV ad

attack-on-titan-subaru

Hajime Isayama’s dystopian manga Attack on Titan is as unstoppable as its human-eating giants, selling 15.9  million copies last year in Japan alone — it was second only to One Piece — buoyed by the popularity of the television anime. It’s infiltrated the North American book market, too, placing five volumes in the Nielsen BookScan Top 20 for September. The are also Attack on Titan video games and a light novel, not to mention the live-action adaptation in development by director Shinji Higuchi.

If you’re curious how the grotesque Titans will translate to the big screen, Higuchi provides a sneak peek in this incredible TV commercial for the Subaru Forester, which has been has racked up more than 6.5 million views since its debut Friday on YouTube.

One of Japan’s top special effects supervisors, Higuchi is best known for his work on the Gamera trilogy. Attack on Titan is scheduled for release in 2015.

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Stan Lee makes Forbes’ list of most influential celebrities

stan lee2

Forbes has named Stan Lee among its most influential celebrities of 2014, a list led by Steven Spielberg, Oprah Winfrey and George Lucas. The 91-year-old comics legend came in at No. 9 (of just 10), between Bono and Rush Limbaugh.

“Maybe it’s all those cameos in Marvel movies,” the business magazine explains. “Lee doesn’t usually show up on this list but the comic creator is responsible for the characters in some of the biggest movies in recent years.”

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Quote of the Day | Marvel comics, movies and editorial direction

captain america25“I’m just jumping on this one because I find it ludicrous. First of all, that’s what we should be doing. In order to help the print business we need to get as many people as possible excited about the content we’re delivering them, and the less confusing it is for them to engage in our product, the more success we’re going to have. That’s one part. We should be communicating with each other. [...] At the same, we allowed Ed Brubaker to kill Captain America and have another guy run around in that costume for over 18 months to two years when we were making a Captain America movie. We stopped making Thor the comic book for over a year and then we re-launched it with JMS and Oliver Coipel telling his story. Does Marvel give editorial direction on what you can and cannot do with our characters? Yes. We did that before we made movies and before we went to Disney. That’s what the editorial group does here for a living.”

– Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley, responding to the suggestion that companies like his “with a big media operation” are “controlling the print content to a greater degree in order to make it align more successfully with the other media”

Comics A.M. | Rare comic goes on display at Ohio store

Detective Dan: Secret Operative No. 48

Detective Dan: Secret Operative No. 48

Comics | Rupp’s Comics in Fremont, Ohio, will display a rare comic this weekend as part of the store’s 22nd-anniversary celebration: Detective Dan: Secret Operative No. 48, published in 1933, is the first comic book to contain a single original story (as opposed to several strips, or a compilation of reprints from newspapers). The new format was not an immediate success, and the series was canceled after just one issue. [The News-Messenger]

Creators | It’s old but it’s good: The Comics Journal dips into the archives for a 1989 interview with Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | John Porcellino reflects on 25 years of King-Cat Comics. [du9]

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Aw, we missed our shot at a Batman Tumbler Golf Cart

bat-cart

OK, so that $200,000 street-legal Batmobile replica is a little bit out of your price range. It’s understandable: After all, the economy is soft and crime-fighting doesn’t pay as much as it used to. Then maybe you’d have been better suited for a “one-of-a-kind” Batman Tumbler Golf Cart.

Alas, someone just snapped it up for a Buy It Now price of $17,500, ending the eBay auction a few days early. Sure, it isn’t Warner Bros.-approved, and it doesn’t have a blinking Batphone, it does look like an adorably squat version of the vehicle from the Christopher Nolan movies. Plus, hey, four cupholders!

The other former superheroes at Gotham Acres Retirement Community will definitely be jealous when they see the Can’t-Drive-After-Dark Knight cruising around in this baby.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ closes in on ‘One Piece’ in Japan

Attack on Titan, Vol. 10

Attack on Titan, Vol. 10

Manga | While Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has been burning up the bookstore sales charts in the United States, the dystopian manga is also giving the smash-hit One Piece a run for its money in Japan. According to market research firm Oricon, Attack on Titan sold more than 15.9 million copies in the past year, just behind One Piece‘s 18.1 million (Kuroko’s Basketball is a distance third with about 8.8 million). Of course,  Eiichiro Oda insanely popular pirate manga has little to fear: The 72-volume (and counting) series has 300 million copies in print in Japan, and 345 million worldwide. Kodansha’s Attack on Titan, meanwhile, is on its 11th volume. [ICv2]

Auctions | Select titles from Don and Maggie Thompson’s collection of rare comics — among them, The Avengers #1, Journey Into Mystery #83 and The Incredible Hulk #1 — sold at auction last week for a combined $835,384. A 9.6 copy of Tales of Suspense #39 alone fetched $262,900. [Heritage Auctions]

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Blockbuster to close remaining 300 U.S. stores

blockbusterBlockbuster, a video-rental chain that at its peak in 2004 had more than 9,000 stores and as many as 60,000 employees, will close its remaining 300 U.S. locations by the first of the year.

Owner Dish Network, which bought the already-struggling company in a 2011 bankruptcy auction announced this morning it will also end the Blockbuster By Mail service in mid-December and shutter its distribution centers. According to Reuters, 2,800 employees will lose their jobs.

As with the decline of music stores that preceded it, the death of Blockbuster is being attributed to the rise of digital (in particular, Netflix), which curiously enough — and despite fears to the contrary — hasn’t appeared to harm another specialty channel: direct-market comic stores. In fact, all indications appear to point to digital helping print sales. Could it be that comic shops, long the subjects of apocalyptic predictions, end up as the last ones standing?

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‘Addams Family’ animated movie in the works at MGM

addams family1

Charles Addams’ creepy and kooky comic creation the Addams Family is being revived again for the big screen — this time in animated form.

Variety reports that MGM is tying up a deal with media company BermanBraun for the macabre movie, which will be written by Pamela Pettler (Corpse Bride, Monster House). A stop-motion adaptation based on Addams’ original drawings was previously in the works at Illumination Entertainment, with Tim Burton set to co-write and co-produce, but that was revealed in July to be canceled.

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‘Badman vs. Superman’ in hilarious new Pete Holmes video

holmes-batman-v-superman

Pete Holmes is on a superhero streak this week: After giving Logan his walking papers as Professor X in “Ex-Men: Wolverine,” the comedian returns to his periodic College Humor role as a dimwitted, foul-mouthed, Bale-voiced Badman in “Batman vs. Superman.”

This time, he’s approached by the Man of Steel to put their differences aside and work together, a proposition that perplexes the Dark Knight.

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Red Giant to launch true-crime line with ‘Blue Caprice’ adaptation

blue capriceDigital comics company Red Giant Entertainment (Buzzboy, The First Daughter) will launch its true-crime anthology series with a graphic novel based on Blue Caprice, the psychological thriller that depicts the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks from the perspective of the shooters.

Directed by Alex Moors, the independent film stars Isaiah Washington (Grey’s Anatomy), Tequan Richmond (Everybody Hates Chris), Tim Blake Nelson (The Incredible Hulk) and Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy), and is produced by two of Red Giant’s board members. The graphic novel will be penned by the film’s screenwriter R.F.I. Porto and illustrated by “the art team behind Red Giant’s Katrina” (whose names I can’t seem to find anywhere).

The plan, according to Deadline, is for the company to release Blue Caprice as a webcomic “in the next few months” before collecting it for print. It will be the first release in it Public Enemies series, which Red Giant says will explore “the tangled motivations of the killers and the legacy of their violence.”

Characterizing itself as “an innovative intellectual property company,” the Orlando-based Red Giant states that its goal is “to become the largest comic book publisher in the world.”

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Voting opens for fourth annual Shel Dorf Awards

saga12The nominees have been announced for the fourth annual Shel Dorf Awards, named in honor of the late Detroit native and founder of Golden State Comic-Con, which grew into Comic-Con International.

ROBOT 6 is among the nominees for Comic Blogger of the Year. Online voting is now open. The winners will be presented Oct. 25 at Detroit FanFare. The nominees are:

Writer of the Year
• Brian K. Vaughan
• Dan Slott
• Mark Waid
• Robert Kirkman
• Scott Snyder

Penciler of the Year
• David Aja
• Fiona Staples
• Greg Capullo
• Jim Lee
• Ryan Stegman

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