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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.
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.”
“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 | 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]
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.
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]
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?
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.
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.
Digital 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.”
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
Whether you think Warner Bros.’ selection of Ben Affleck as Batman is the worst franchise casting since Arnold Schwarzenegger donned blue paint as Mr. Freeze, or if, like Matt Damon, you think all of the grousing is ridiculous, RedBubble.com has a T-shirt for you!
Designed by robinzson, the shirt comes in two designs, both mimicking the logo of the 1960s TV series: “Batman: The Dark Horse RISES!,” with “Affleck” where “Batman” should be, and “Batman: The Dark Horse!,” features the no symbol. They’re $24.54 each.
Badgers, those humble burrowing mammals, are big news right now here in the United Kingdom, where there’s a controversial cull going on in the southwest of England in an attempt to curb bovine tuberculosis in cattle herds. While other areas like Wales and Northern Ireland trial expensive attempts at vaccinating badgers, England is employing teams of marksmen to shoot the cute little buggers. I’m from a rural area where the local economy depends on dairy and beef production, so I know exactly where I stand on this subject. Not wanting to sound too heartless here, but it costs £600 to vaccinate a badger, while a bullet costs a few pence. And I do like a nice rib-eye steak washed down with a glass of milk.
Oddly enough, badgers seem to be having something of a moment in comics and pop culture these days, too: There’s Brock Blueheart in Fables, and Archie LeBrock in Bryan Talbot’s ongoing Grandville series, for starters. Depending on who you ask, the badger in book two of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was either Bill from the (90-plus years old, and still ongoing) newspaper strip Rupert the Bear or Mr. Badger from Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s novel The Wind in the Willows. Grahame’s Mr. Badger is being reimagined in Dave Elliot and Barnaby Bagenda’s “Weirding Willows” in A1 as Victor Stoker. The gossip service Popbitch has its ongoing Baboon vs Badger debate (and recently posed the question to Bryan Talbot, with obvious results).
Happy Saturday and welcome to Shelf Porn, our showcase for fans and their collections. Today’s shelves belong to Chris in Texas, who goes shirtless to show us his love for Batman — as well as his statues, comics and more.
If you’d like to see your collection featured here on Shelf Porn, check out the submission instructions for complete details.
And now here’s Chris …
Warner Bros.’ announcement of a “Batman vs. Superman” sequel to Man of Steel at Comic-Con International triggered a 161 percent surge in digital sales of Batman: The Dark Knight Returns in July, setting a record for a full-priced DC Entertainment digital title, Variety reports.
The publisher previously mentioned “a huge jump in month-over-month [digital] sales” of Frank Miller’s pioneering 1986 work, but didn’t offer more than that. Like most publishers, DC doesn’t reveal actual sales figures for either print or digital.
The influential four-issue miniseries brings an aging Batman out of retirement a decade after the death of Jason Todd to save Gotham from sinking deeper into decay and lawlessness. With the help of a new, female Robin, Carrie Kelly, the Dark Knight ends the threat of the mutant gangs that have overrun the city and confronts two of his greatest enemies. But then he must face his former ally Superman in a battle that only one will survive.
Although Man of Steel director Zack Snyder was quick to caution at Comic-Con that the sequel wouldn’t be an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns, actor Harry Lennix read dialogue from the book — “I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat” — and Miller was reportedly set to meet with the filmmaker.