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Disney has a lot riding on Disney Infinity, the upcoming video game that will allow players to mix and match characters from different properties — for instance, Captain Jack Sparrow and Mr. Incredible — using collectible figures and a special scanner. The media giant’s fledgling Disney Interactive Studios has reportedly spent more than $100 million on development, even as the division laid off more than 500 employees and suffered $1.41 billion in losses from other ventures.
To free up resources for Disney Infinity, which seems like an all-or-nothing situation, The Wall Street Journal contends Disney also stopped production on an Iron Man video game that was planned to be released this year, and passed on chance to produce Star Wars video games following its $4.05 billion purchase of Lucasfilm.
Parker, the remorseless thief created by Donald E. Westlake under the name Richard Stark, will return to IDW Publishing in December with Darwyn Cooke’s adaptation of Slayground. It will be the fifth Parker story the cartoonist has adapted since 2009’s The Hunter.
Slayground pits the character against crooked cops and sleazy gangsters when a heist goes wrong and Parker is trapped in an amusement park closed for the winter, and caught n a deadly game of cat and mouse.
“A boarded up amusement park was an inspired setting for Parker,” Cooke said in a statement, “and Westlake made the most of it. A great story that I’m enjoying the hell out of adapting.”
His previous Parker adaptations have received numerous Eisner Awards, with Richard Stark’s Parker: The Score winning just last night for best adaptation from another medium.
If Darwyn Cooke’s award-winning IDW graphic novels Parker: The Hunter and Parker: The Outfit have piqued your curiosity about the original series of novels by Donald Westlake (who wrote them under the pseudonym Richard Stark), here’s a chance to check one out—for free.
Just in time for the long weekend, the University of Chicago Press is offering Westlakes’s The Score as a free e-book (it would set you back $14 in print) in a variety of formats: Adobe Digital Editions, Google Books, Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Sony Reader. Since most of these readers can be installed on a PC or Mac as well as an iPad, iPhone, or Android device, this is pretty platform-independent.
If you like what you see, the publisher has 19 more Parker books for you, and they are offering a 30% discount on the e-books. Details are at the first link.
Creators | Artist J.H. Williams III has posted a two-page spread from Promethea #39 under the cryptic title “Something is coming …” Oddsmakers say it’s an Absolute Edition of the well-regarded series by Williams and Alan Moore, published from 1999 to 2005 by America’s Best Comics/Wildstorm. Too much to wish for?
Williams won’t give any more details … yet: “I can’t comment any further at this time. I’ll have something to say about it relatively soon.” [J.H. Williams’ blog]
Comics strips | Cartoonist Mike Peters talks about being sued by the Colombian coffee-producers association over a joke in his Mother Goose & Grimm strip: “… I am totally amazed at this. I’m an editorial cartoonist. I expect bad things from my editorial cartoons, not from my comic strip.” [Comic Riffs]
Legal | Marvel Entertainment has sued MGA Entertainment, claiming the California-based toymaker overstepped the terms of its licensing agreement by producing merchandise based on Spider-Man and Ghost Rider, which were excluded from the agreement. MGA recently lost a legal battle with Mattel over ownership of those ubiquitous Bratz dolls. [Los Angeles Business Journal]
Sales charts | Still reaping the benefits of the buzz from the (judge willing) upcoming movie adaptation, Watchmen jumps 16 spots to No. 29 on USA Today’s list of the Top 150 books. The collection of the 1986 DC Comics miniseries by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons is in its 25th week on the chart.
The 33rd volume of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, meanwhile, leaps 36 places to No. 68 in its second week. [USA Today]
Passings | Scott Timberg of The Los Angeles Times pens a tribute to novelist Donald E. Westlake, who passed away on New Year’s Eve at age 75. Neil Gaiman and Christopher Mills also note Westlake’s passing. Under the pseudonym Richard Stark, Westlake wrote some 20 crime novels about the professional thief Parker.
IDW Publisher and Editor-in-Chief Chris Ryall reveals the cover to Darwyn Cooke’s graphic-novel adaptation of the first Parker book, The Hunter, which is due out in July: “For anyone who hasn’t read any of Westlake’s books, and especially his Parker novels written under the name Richard Stark, hopefully this project coming next summer kickstarts some new interest in his novels.” [The Los Angeles Times]
Webcomics | Lyle Masaki profiles a handful of gay-themed webcomics, and webcomics with gay characters. [AfterElton.com]
Art and design | Comics artist Jock (The Losers, Green Arrow: Year One) has created concept art for the upcoming Judge Dredd movie. [io9.com]