In case you thought it was only comics that unnecessarily sexed up female characters, fear not: It happens in all media — and the newest guilty party is Disney.
On Saturday, the studio inducted Merida of the Pixar film Brave as the 11th Disney Princess. More accurately, it inducted some alternate-reality Merida who’s thinner, wears her dress off her shoulder and exposes more cleavage. A redesign of the character appeared on the corporation’s website in advance of the induction at Disney World, and faster than you can say “Wonder Woman’s pants,” someone launched a Change.org petition, which is now approaching 200,000 signatures. Disney removed the images of the redesigned Merida, not that it matters; the Internet never forgets.
I’m being somewhat flip about this but the whole thing is kind of amazing. I loved Brave, and thought it was the animated-princess story that was so overdue. It was so refreshing to watch an animated movie that stepped away from cliches to give us a female lead who isn’t pining after a man, can skillfully defend herself, and looks and acts reasonably like a girl approximately her age. And it not once felt like an agenda movie. Really, it’s pretty stupid that these kinds of characteristics feel like such a breath of fresh air.
Business | Marvel parent Disney is expected to begin layoffs in the coming weeks as part of a planned reorganization that follows a company-wide review of operations. The film studio is believed to undergo the deepest cuts, specifically in marketing, home entertainment and production.
The news arrives a little more than five months after Disney announced its $4.05 billion purchase of Lucasfilm; earlier this week, word spread the media giant has closed LucasArts, the video-game subsidiary of Lucasfilm, and axed 150 employees. According to Variety, Disney executives told each division to ensure “that staff levels are in line with the company’s needs in a changing marketplace, particularly in divisions affected by shifts in new media and technologies.” The film division will bear the brunt of the layoffs in large part because of Disney’s increasing reliance on Pixar (purchased in 2006 for $7.4 billion), Marvel (purchased in 2009 for $4 billion) and, soon, Lucasfilm. [Variety]
Business | Marvel parent The Walt Disney Co., which just purchased Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, reportedly has begun an internal cost-cutting review that could include layoffs in its studio and other divisions. The cutbacks are believed to focus on jobs that are no longer needed because of technological advancements and redundancies created by the acquisition of Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012. Disney has made a series of staff cutbacks over the past couple of years, beginning in January 2011 with 200 jobs in its interactive division; Marvel trimmed about a dozen positions in October 2011. [Yahoo! Finance]
Publishing | Robert Stanley Martin takes a new look at Jim Shooter’s tenure as editor-in-chief of Marvel. [The Hooded Utilitarian]
For process junkies, animated film studios seem to be great sources of instruction about good storytelling, in comics or any medium. Last spring, Ben Caldwell shared some lessons he learned from DreamWorks. This time, former Pixar story artist Emma Coats is offering 22 guidelines she picked up from her senior colleagues at the studio:
#1: You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.
#2: You gotta keep in mind what’s interesting to you as an audience, not what’s fun to do as a writer. They can be v. different.
#3: Trying for theme is important, but you won’t see what the story is actually about til you’re at the end of it. Now rewrite.
#4: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
#5: Simplify. Focus. Combine characters. Hop over detours. You’ll feel like you’re losing valuable stuff but it sets you free.
You can read the rest on Coats’ blog.
(via Kelly Sue DeConnick)
Day two of D23 kicked off early for us, as the big movie presentation kicked off at 10:30 a.m. and we knew there would be a line. We just didn’t realize how long of a line …
Awards | Denver Post editorial cartoonist Mike Keefe has won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for editorial cartooning “for his widely ranging cartoons that employ a loose, expressive style to send strong, witty messages.” Keefe, who joined the Post in 1975, had previously served in the Marines and taught math in college. “I am gobsmacked,” the 64-year-old cartoonist says. “In recent years, the Pulitzer has gone to much younger folks who are newer in the business. I’ve always done pretty classical editorial cartooning. I thought my day had passed.” Comic Riffs has Keefe’s award-winning portfolio. [Denver Post]
Publishing | On the heels of successive announcements that Marvel will publish comics based on Disney’s Pixar and Muppets properties, licenses previously held by BOOM! Studios, comes word that BOOM! has stopped soliciting Classic Disney series like Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. However, Diamond’s Previews catalog for July contains listings for the publisher’s titles based on such Disney Afternoon properties as Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers, Darkwing Duck and DuckTales. [ICv2.com]
Publishing | In a wide-ranging interview with retail news and analysis site ICv2, Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson discusses the state of the market, the potential impact of Borders’ bankruptcy, digital comics, the decline in manga sales, the success of Troublemaker and more. Of particular note is Richardson’s confirmation that Apple’s stricter enforcement of a prohibition on in-app purchases outside the iTunes store was behind the delay of the planned January launch of Dark Horse’s digital comics program. He also says that Frank Miller is working on the third issue of his 300 prequel Xerxes, which is expected to be “roughly six issues, but he hasn’t exactly decided yet.” [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson provides an overview of recent changes to BOOM! Studios’ kids’ line, from the loss of the Pixar licenses to a new imprint name — changed from BOOM! Kids to kaboom! — to the announcement this week of a Peanuts original graphic novel. “BOOM Kids! was designed to publish children’s comics — kaboom! is designed to be a true all-ages imprint, and for that reason Peanuts is the perfect launch title, the sort of material that adults and kids read alike,” CEO Ross Ritchie said. “Roger Langridge’s Snarked! is along these lines, as is Space Warped and Word Girl. I put the Word Girl announcement on my wall on Facebook and immediately there were a zillion adults commenting, ‘My child loves this show but I’m buying this comic book for myself!’ The title mix will be broader for kaboom! than it was for BOOM Kids!” [Publishers Weekly]
The more I think about the news that BOOM! Studios has lost the Pixar license, the more it depresses me. It’s not that I don’t think that Marvel is capable of producing good Pixar comics – they’ve done some great all-ages work recently, with Thor: The Mighty Avenger, Paul Tobin’s Spider-Man and Super-Heroes titles and the Oz books – but more that… it seems unfair that BOOM! lost the license, if that makes sense. Continue Reading »
Retailing | The picture keeps looking worse for Borders Group: Even as news surfaced Wednesday that Diamond Book Distributors has stopped shipping to the troubled retail chain a report circulated that Borders will close its LaVergne, Tenn., distribution center in mid-July, resulting in the elimination of 310 jobs. That follows more than 200 layoffs made at the center since 2009. [WKRN.com, via GalleyCat]
Publishing | The remaining licensed Muppets and Pixar titles from BOOM! Studios have been listed as “canceled by Previews.” In response to inquiries, the publisher pointed to the teaser for “BOOM! Kids 2.0,” the relaunch of its kids imprint announced in September. Rumors that BOOM! had lost the Muppets/Pixar licenses began swirling in late November, following Roger Langridge’s announcement that he would no longer be drawing The Muppet Show. The publisher’s relaunched kids line will include such Disney licenses as Darkwing Duck, and reprints of Mickey Mouse, Uncle Scrooge and Walt Disney’s Comics and Stories. [Comics Worth Reading]
Welcome to this week’s edition of What Are You Reading?, and a big thanks to Chris Mautner for helping out last week.
Our special guest this week is Larry Young, AiT/Planet Lar publisher and one of the editors behind the Kickstart Comics. To see what Larry and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, make with the click below …
BOOM! Studios has sent out a straight-to-the-point graphic exclaiming a new day for the California-based comic publisher’s kids imprint. It looks like the publisher’s BOOM Kids! imprint will be turning over a new leaf in 2011.
Originally announced in 2007 at Comic-Con International, BOOM Kids! didn’t hit shelves until 2009 but did so with a bang with a stellar line-up of comics based on various Disney/Pixar properties including The Incredibles, The Muppet Show, Darkwing Duck and Mickey Mouse & Friends. Combining reprintings of foreign-produced comics and out-of-print classics with new works, BOOM Kids! made a real mark.
There’s no word on the exact shape of BOOM Kids! 2011 plans are, but one could easily picture an expansion of its Disney/Pixar line-up and perhaps some new original projects.
Pixar story artist Josh Cooley likely has his hands plenty full at his day job, but fortunately for us he’s paying tribute to the non-animated, R-rated movies he loves by making Golden Book-style children’s picturebook-style images out of them. He’ll be collecting them in a Golden Book of his own in time for the San Diego Comic-Con. Until then, you can check out his inappropriately adorable take on The Godfather, Leon, The Graduate, The Terminator, The Silence of the Lambs and more in this Kotaku gallery — but I’d also recommend simply scrolling through Cooley’s blog, where you’ll also find sexy pin-ups, inappropriate antics involving He-Man and Falcor from The Neverending Story, and lots more.
(via Rob Humanick)
BOOM! Studios’ November solicitations came out today and feature the launch of several new ongoing series in their BOOM! Kids line.
In addition to the previously reported The Muppet Show ongoing launching, BOOM! will also publish ongoing series for Cars, Wall-E and Toy Story, all of which start with a “zero” issue in November.
Alan J. Porter will continue to work on the Cars property, and he’ll also write Toy Story. They’ll feature art by Albert Carreres and Brett Schoonover, respectively. Wall-E, meanwhile, will be written by J. Torres with art by Morgan Luthi.
Check out some unfinal covers after the jump …
BOOM! Studios has several SDCC exclusives this year, including hardcover collections of their recent Incredibles, Muppet Show, Cars and Farscape limited series. They’ll also have a preview book of their upcoming Kill Audio comic by Claudio Sanchez. And signing at their booth during the con will be Sanchez, Mark Waid, Muppet Show writer/artist Roger Langridge, Farscape creator Rockne S. O’Bannon, Eureka’s Andrew Cosby and Ed Quinn and many more.
Check out their full schedule after the jump.
Disney will host a convention of sorts in Anaheim this September called the D23 Expo– a “four-day event that brings the entire world of Disney under one roof,” according to a press release. That “entire world” will include BOOM! Studios, publishers of The Incredibles, The Muppet Show and several other licensed Disney/Pixar titles.
Per BOOM!’s Chip Mosher, the comics publisher will be on hand with “a line of show exclusives” they’ll be revealing in the near future.
D23 is the name of Disney’s fan community, which gives Disney fans access to the company through a website, a quarterly magazine and the D23 Expo. The event will also include previews of several upcoming Disney films, such as The Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel, Disney’s A Christmas Carol, Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, TRON, Toy Story 3, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. They also promise previews of ABC’s fall season, an exhibition of props from past Disney movies and the chance to meet stars from the Disney Channel.
So maybe you’ll have the chance to meet Mark Waid and Hannah Montana all in the same weekend. Stranger things have happened.