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Ahead of D23 Expo kickoff, Saturday tickets sell out

"Big Hero 6" display at D23 Expo (courtesy of ComingSoon)

“Big Hero 6″ display at D23 Expo (courtesy of ComingSoon)

The doors open in just an hour on the D23 Expo, the official Disney fan gathering held through Sunday in Anaheim, California. Tickets for Saturday are sold out.

While much of the event, of course, caters to Disney devotees — theme-park fans, serious collectors and cinephiles alike — we should expect a decent amount of news that reaches beyond the Magic Kingdom. For instance, today there’s a presentation featuring many of the voice actors from Marvel’s animated television series, and a signing with the producer and director of Big Hero 6, Walt Disney Animation’s first adaptation of a Marvel comic. That movie, based on the characters created by Steven T. Seagle and Duncan Rouleau, is getting a promotional push at the event, which features a Big Hero 6 display (above, courtesy of ComingSoon).

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Batman tops YouTube’s list of most popular superheroes

Adam West In 'Batman'

Despite competition from cinematic upstarts like Iron Man, Wolverine and Captain America, Batman reigns as the most popular superhero on YouTube, with more than 3 billion views of a staggering 71,000 hours of video. But the character at No. 2 may surprise fans, and undoubtedly please Marvel Studios. Verily.

That’s according to research released today by the video-sharing website as part of its “Geek Week” celebration. The breakdown is based on keyword searches since 2008 for everything from film trailers to fan originals to video-game play.

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‘This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had money to speak of’

2-guns“I’m doing another one with Boom! right now. I’m probably going to stick with Boom! for the time being. Boom! has been very, very good to me. I’m not going out of my way right now to get a lot of projects off the ground, because then I’d have to do them. But I do have a couple of things that I’ve got going, little things here and there. I kind of like being able to relax. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had money to speak of. So now I can relax a little bit, and I can just work on things that I want to work on. I don’t have to scramble for work.”

– veteran writer Steven Grant, when asked whether the Universal Pictures adaptation of 2 Guns has paved the way for more comics projects.

As The New York Times recently detailed, BOOM! Studios offers a “creator share” model in which Grant received a cut of what the studio paid for the film rights, said to be “just shy of seven figures.”

Identification and ownership: why fans attack change

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Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man

The illusion of change is the usual approach to mainstream superhero comics. It offers the excitement of change without losing the successful elements to actual change. It’s cynical but it’s smart from a corporate standpoint. Every once in a while, however, actual change happens. Or maybe change is just talked about. Some like it, some don’t like it. And then there are the people that really, really don’t like it, and head down to their local torch-and-pitchfork store.

Such is where we find ourselves in the ongoing discussion of The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield’s hypothetical consideration of making Peter Parker bisexual.

But why did Garfield’s idea trigger such heated responses? I’m not talking about the calm “Oh, I don’t know, I’m not crazy about that idea, but rather the aggressive, threatening and hateful reactions that seem to come from a very dark place.

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Stan Lee reacts to the idea of a bisexual Spider-Man

Stan Lee

Stan Lee

Spider-Man co-creator Stan Lee has responded to actor Andrew Garfield’s recent what-if scenario in which Peter Parker could be gay or bisexual, joking, “I figure one sex is enough for anybody.”

Appearing over the weekend at Fandomfest in Louisville, Kentucky, the 90-year-old comics legend appeared caught off-guard by a question from the audience about Garfield’s “request to make Spider-Man bisexual and Mary Jane male.” Lee initially offered a glowing assessment of the actor’s performance in The Amazing Spider-Man, before the question was explained to him.

“He’s becoming bisexual?” Lee exclaimed in disbelief, eliciting roars of laughter from the audience. “Who have you been talking to? Seriously, I don’t know anything about that. And if it’s true, I’m going to make a couple of phone calls. I figure one sex is enough for anybody.”

Garfield, who’s filming The Amazing Spider-Man 2, sparked a good deal of discussion among comics fans when he related a conversation with a producer in which he said, “I was kind of joking, but kind of not joking about MJ. And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality?  It’s hardly even groundbreaking! … So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?”

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Tom Hiddleston acts out ‘Thor 2′ plot — with action figures

hiddleston-thor2

As if his surprise appearance at Marvel Studios’ Hall H presentation on Saturday — dressed as the god of mischief, no less — weren’t enough to forever endear him to fans, actor Tom Hiddleston also gleefully acted out the plot of the upcoming Thor: The Dark World at Comic-Con International using Loki and Thor action figures.

You can watch the video below. But fair warning: There may be spoilers. The new trailer for director Alan Taylor’s Thor: The Dark World debuts Aug. 7.

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SDCC ’13 | Duncan Jones & Glenn Fabry to produce ‘Mute’

Mute header

News flows out of Comic-Con International like an avalanche: Sometimes the interesting announcements gets buried by the more glamorous and higher-profile projects. One story that caught my eye was that filmmaker Duncan Jones and 2000AD/Preacher artist Glenn Fabry will be collaborating on a graphic-novel adaptation of Jones’ unproduced script Mute for Dark Horse.

Mute was originally planned to be Jones’ second film, after the much-praised Moon. Failing to secure funding for the ambitious, Blade Runner-influenced, project meant Jones was forced to move on. His second film instead was Source Code, a rollicking adventure that showed Jones as a capable director of action, after the more sedentary thrills of Moon. He’s now in the pre-production stages of the World of Warcraft movie, the sort of  potential franchise tentpole film that could result in Jones being trusted with a budget large enough to make any feature he wants. Jones debuted a “mood piece” — a teaser trailer — for Warcraft, currently unavailable online (but a few souls in attendance in Hall H have posted their descriptions of it). He’s been talking up turning Mute into a graphic novel since 2011, when he told Gordon and the Whale:

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James Robinson on the ‘LoEG’ movie and TV pilot

league

“Even when I was writing the best version [of the movie] I could with more of the darkness and nuance and the feel of Alan Moore’s comic, I remember saying a summer movie is not — I wanted to write that film because it was an opportunity for me, but this is not the way these characters should be portrayed. The perfect version of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen would have been a British BBC series with great character actors, where it doesn’t rely on them being handsome or a box office draw and special effects, along the lines of Torchwood and Doctor Who. With League, it isn’t so much the epic effects, it’s the characters. The idea that they’ve come around and are trying to do a TV show doesn’t surprise me. I think it’s a smart move. We’ll see how good it is.”

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SDCC ’13 | James O’Barr creates ‘The Crow’ movie teaser poster

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Horror site Shock Till You Drop has revealed the Comic-Con International teaser poster for Relativity Media’s long-brewing reboot of The Crow, illustrated by the comic’s creator James O’Barr.

Although project has had a bumpy road, losing its director, writer and star, it appears back on track with confirmation earlier this month that director F. Javier Gutierrez and actor Luke Evans are locked in, with O’Barr serving as creative consultant.

“It’s one of those books,” the artist tells the website. “The book’s been in print since ’89, so it’s getting close to 30 years. I thought all of my fans will grow old with me and that will be the end of it. But no, it gets passed down generation to generation. It’s still, to this day, fully 60 percent of my core audience is 16-year-old goth girls and I’m like, ‘You weren’t even born when it came out, how do you know about it?’  And they’re boyfriend suggested it to them or their dad introduced it to them. A second generation is affected by it.”

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SDCC ’13 | DC’s ‘Mad Max’ motion comic ties into video game

mad-max1

DC Entertainment will release a motion comic the explores the backstory of the upcoming Mad Max video game from Avalanche Studios and WB Games.

Written by Tom Taylor (Injustice: Gods Among Us, Earth 2) and illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander (Legends of the Dark Knight), the story introduces Max’s trusted mechanic Chumbucket, who plays a central role in the game, which will be released next year in conjunction with director George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road.

“I love the Mad Max movies,” Alexander tells USA Today, adding that the motion comic “was a great bit of nostalgia for me and also an opening to lend my own touches to this iconic character.”

In the game, set in the post-apocalyptic world of the movie series, Max must cross a desert wasteland after his Interceptor his stolen by a gang of marauders.

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How ‘Man of Steel’ should’ve ended (again, with Batman?)

Screen Shot 2013-07-16 at 2.36.51 PM

Like the recently did with Iron Man 3, the folks at How It Should Have Ended turn their attention to another big summer superhero movie — Man of Steel. Just like their alternate ending to IM3, this one ends with an appearance by a certain Caped Crusader … but he isn’t the only guest star this one features.

Check it out below.

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From Bob Dylan to Al Williamson: Six questions with Ron Randall

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 Ron Randall, creator of Trekker and artist on such comics as Warlord, Arak, Son of Thunder, Doom Patrol, Justice League International, and many, many more.

Now let’s get to it …

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Andrew Garfield on Spider-Man: ‘So why can’t he be gay?’

asm-garfield

“I was kind of joking, but kind of not joking about MJ. And I was like, ‘What if MJ is a dude?’ Why can’t we discover that Peter is exploring his sexuality?  It’s hardly even groundbreaking! … So why can’t he be gay? Why can’t he be into boys?”

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 star, and longtime Spider-Man fan, Andrew Garfield, recounting to Entertainment Weekly a conversation he had with producer Matt Tolmach about Mary Jane Watson. (The actor even has a male MJ in mind: Friday Night Lights and Chronicle star Michael B. Jordan.) In the process, Garfield may have just restarted the game of telephone some mainstream-media outlets played in 2011 when Marvel announced that biracial teen Miles Morales would be the new Ultimate Spider-Man.

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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