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Silent on ‘Superman,’ Card responds to ‘Ender’s Game’ protest

Orson Scott CardAlthough Orson Scott Card was silent amid the backlash that followed the announcement he would write a Superman story for DC Comics, the celebrated author has responded to a planned boycott of the film adaptation of Ender’s Game over his statements about homosexuality and his opposition to same-sex marriage.

Ender’s Game is set more than a century in the future and has nothing to do with political issues that did not exist when the book was written in 1984,” Card wrote in a statement to EW.com. “With the recent Supreme Court ruling, the gay marriage issue becomes moot. The Full Faith and Credit clause of the Constitution will, sooner or later, give legal force in every state to any marriage contract recognized by any other state. Now it will be interesting to see whether the victorious proponents of gay marriage will show tolerance toward those who disagreed with them when the issue was still in dispute.”

A board member of the National Organization for Marriage, a group dedicated to the opposition of same-sex marriage, the author has tried to link homosexuality to childhood molestation, and advocated home-schooling to ensure children “are not propagandized with the ‘normality’ of ‘gay marriage.’” Following rulings by “dictator-judges” in 2008 that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry, Card infamously endorsed a government overthrow.

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SDCC ’13 | Marvel announces Comic-Con-exclusive merchandise

avengers poster-skottie young

Marvel has announced a line-up of merchandise for Comic-Con International that includes a Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. T-shirt, a Rocket Raccoon mug and, perhaps most adorably of all, Skottie Young’s Avengers movie poster (part of the Phase 1 Marvel Cinematic Universe Blu-Ray Collector’s Set) and glass tumbler.

The limited-edition pieces will be available at the Marvel booth (#2329) at the San Diego Convention Center. See the list, with images, below:

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‘Mass Murderer of Steel’: Kyle Baker’s brutal (if fun) film critique

mass-murderer-of-steel

Countless words have already been written about the carnage and wanton destruction depicted in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steelthe big Metropolis battle would’ve left an estimated 129,000 dead and another 250,000 missing — and many more will likely be devoted to the subject. But leave it veteran cartoonist Kyle Baker to come up with an imaginative and (dare I say it) fun critique of the blockbuster that’s more devastating than any long-winded review or essay.

Mass Murderer of Steel is a browser game that allows players to try their hand at recreating the citywide brawl between Superman and General Zod. With the click of a mouse, you can send the two Kryptonians hurling into a building, raining down bricks onto the streets of Metropolis and death onto its screaming citizens. Not even the city’s sole tree is safe …

‘Man of Steel’ and Superman’s new heroic motivation

ManofSteel-COSTNER

Jonathan Kent with little Clark Kent

So have you heard there’s a new Superman movie out? It’s mostly playing in small art-house theaters with a minimal marketing budget, so you might’ve totally missed it. You should check it out.

If you haven’t seen it, fair warning: Here there be spoilers.

This isn’t a review because, honestly, you’ve probably already made up your mind. However, it is a look at how the changes to the Superman mythos made in Man of Steel have altered the origin, and indeed the character, intrinsically.

A lot of these observations were inspired by a podcast discussion of the movie at Part-Time Fanboy, in which host Kristian Horn caught on to something that hadn’t really stood out to me on my first viewing (the episode was recorded earlier in the week and should be available today). Since the recording, I’ve been thinking about what he said, and the more I think about it, the more I see how it seriously alters Clark Kent, and may in fact be the root of my problems with the Man of Steel.

Most people just looking for an exciting movie or a badass Superman enjoyed Man of Steel, and there is plenty to like: There’s some excellent design, particularly of Krypton, the bar has been raised on super-person battles, and most of the acting is fine to actually quite good; Kevin Costner’s delivery of the line “You are my son,” despite being over-used in trailers, choked me up.

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Marvel and ‘Star Wars’ help Disney to tighten grip on licensing

disney-star wars-marvel

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.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Digital is the newsstand of yesteryear’

Titan Comics digital

Titan Comics digital

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]

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From Dick Giordano to ‘New Teen Titans’: Six questions with Gabriel Hardman

robotroulette

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Joining us today is Gabriel Hardman, who is co-writing and drawing Star Wars: Legacy and co-writing Planet of the Apes: Cataclysm. He’s also the creator of Kinski, a new digital miniseries from Monkeybrain available now through Comixology.

Now let’s get to it …

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BOOM! Studios takes aim at ’2 Guns’ sequel

3 gunsTimed to coincide with the August premiere of Universal Pictures’ 2 Guns, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg, BOOM! Studios has announced a sequel to the 2007 crime comic by Steven Grant and Mataes Santolouco.

Grant and cover artist Rafael Albuquerque will return for the new six-issue miniseries, appropriately titled 3 Guns, joined by Hack/Slash artist Emilio Laiso.

The original comic followed a DEA agent and an undercover Naval Intelligence officer who, after unwittingly investigating each other, team up to seal money from the mob — only to learn to late that the $50 million actually belongs to the CIA. This time they’re brokering weapons deals from opposite sides, but little do they know there’s a third gun in the mix.

“The guys haven’t seen each other and are on the outs with their agencies,” Grant tells The Hollywood Reporter. “They both independently end up on opposite sides of a deal going down with Russian weapons manufacturers and anti-government revolutionaries.”

Directed by Batlasar Kormakur, Universal’s 2 Guns opens Aug. 2.

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‘The most important thing is the long, involved soap operas’

morrison-darkseid

“They’re missing the full spectrum of these character’s emotional lives. The most important thing is the long, involved soap operas. It’s a type of narrative that you don’t get anywhere else except on very long-running soap operas, where characters can go into depth. 20 pages every month going into these characters lives over decades give you a lot more insight and a lot more involvement than say a two hour movie, even with Robert Downey Jr.”

Grant Morrison, explaining what fans of superhero movies are missing if they don’t read the comic books

‘I wore those furry underwear with pride’: Six questions with Dennis Hopeless

robotroulette

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Joining us today is Dennis Hopeless, writer of Avengers Arena, Cable & X-Force, Lovestruck, Gearhead and more.

Now let’s get to it …

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Hugh Jackman sinks his claws into Free Comic Book Day

jackman-free-comic-book-day

Following in the footsteps of Punisher star Thomas Jane, The Wolverine‘s Hugh Jackman has released a video in support of Free Comic Book Day, which will be held Saturday at comic stores across North America and around the globe.

“Let’s face it, as we all know, all the best movies end up being made from comic books, like The Wolverine,” the actor says.

More than 4.6 million comic books are expected to be given away Saturday. Find a participating store near you with FindAComicShop.com.

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Quote of the Day | Marvel Studios in the age of the Internet

A photo leaked this week of Anthony Mackie as the Falcon on the set of "Captain America: The Winter Soldier"

A photo leaked this week of Anthony Mackie as the Falcon on the set of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

“… Since X-Men 1, frankly, where a photo was stolen off a wardrobe thing and it was the very first look of Hugh Jackman in costume as him under fluorescents … it looked awful. It was just like, ‘Oh, this is the world we are living in. This is the reality.’ So we’ve always just accepted it. Spy pictures will leak and we used to try to run ahead and put out a cool picture first and now if we have a cool picture we will put it out, but if we don’t, that’s OK. Misinformation … You know, it gets a little annoying when somebody is like, ‘This is what’s happening! This is what Kevin Feige is doing!’ It’s annoying when they are right and it’s equally annoying when they are wrong, because everybody passes it. ‘Planet Hulk is the next thing’ and everybody talks about it and you’re just like “OK, but you’ll be disappointed if you’re expecting it.’”

– Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, discussing how the company deals with leaks and rumors

Three sentenced in $3.6 million comics & film rights scheme

Crime

Crime

Three men who concocted a Ponzi scheme while in prison are heading back behind bars for bilking investors out of $3.6 million in a fraudulent business that dealt with comic book and film rights.

CBS Chicago reports 62-year-old Daniel Parrilli, 48-year-old John Lauer and 57-year-old Christopher Anderson were sentenced last week in federal court after pleading guilty to the fraud charges brought against them in 2010. Anderson, the lead defendant, is set to serve 95 months in prison; Parrilli was sentenced to 70 months, while Lauer received a 31-month term.

According to Patch.com, upon on their release from a minimum-security prison in Oxford, Wisconsin, Andersen and Parrilli opened Sundown Entertainment, a business that purported to buy and sell film and comic book rights. Together, they raised more than $7 million from about 150 investors. Lauer later entered the picture to offer false assurances to victims, some of whom prosecutors say “depleted their 401K funds or their college savings, or took out loans against their homes in order to invest with the defendants.”

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Kohler said that while some comics and movies were actually produced, the con men weren’t able to repay the outlandishly high returns promised to investors — as much as 150 percent within days, in some instances — and the scheme began to collapse.

Parilli, who begins serving his sentence Aug. 1, was ordered to pay more than $3.6 million in restitution, while Lauer must pay $457,367 and surrender June 12. Anderson, who’s already serving his sentence, must pay $3.7 million.

Quote of the Day | Greg Rucka on a PG-13 ‘Man of Steel’

man of steel-cavill

“Words like ‘realism’ and ‘dark’ and ‘gritty’ get bandied about Hollywood as if the only merit a story can have is in its verisimilitude, but that’s a lie. Emotional honesty transcends reality; it’s what allows disbelief to be suspended, and yet what makes a story stay true. When Superman: The Movie was released, Richard Donner promised us we’d believe a man could fly. We did, but it wasn’t the wire-work alone.”

– comics writer and novelist Greg Rucka, voicing his misgivings about the PG-13 rating for director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel

200,000 more passionate customers or 20 million casual ones?

guardians of the galaxy1

March’s best-selling comic book

Is the goal for comics to become a mainstream form of entertainment an unattainable goal? That seemed to be the angle Tom Spurgeon took on Monday’s Deconstructing Comics podcast and in his additional commentary at The Comics Reporter. He feels the industry is better served by regaining a few hundred thousand more devoted readers to restore unit sales to mid-six-figure levels. While comics have shown there is longevity in niche markets, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of also attaining a larger readership.

With March’s estimated direct market sales figures showing yet another double-digit month of growth, manga publishers giving anecdotal reports of the manga market stabilizing, and something of a convention boom going on, there’s no better time than now to re-examine how comics can secure a healthy and vibrant future. Taking advantage of this growth is tricky because, as Spurgeon mentions, no one is exactly sure why the turnaround happened. Although people complain about DC Comics’ New 52 being a mess and Marvel crossovers not having the punch of the Civil War days, overall sales are rebounding. Was it digital comics? Was it the mainstream press for the New 52 or Marvel NOW, or some other stunt? Is it the Hollywood movies?

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