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SDCC, Day 3 | The Force is with Marvel

star warsAlthough Saturday at Comic-Con International was dominated by movies and television — led by Warner Bros. Pictures, Marvel Studios and Legendary Pictures — there was still room for plenty of comics news. First and foremost, the announcement of Marvel’s Star Wars plans.

That line, telling canonical stories set between the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, launches in January with Star Wars, by Jason Aaron and John Cassaday, followed in February by Star Wars: Darth Vader, by Kieron Gillen and Salvador Larroca with covers by Adi Granov, and in March by the miniseries Star Wars: Princess Leia, by Mark Waid and Terry Dodson.

“What’s great about this time period is that all the characters are kind of on the table,” Aaron told CBR News. “Of course this is still early on and these people have pretty much just met each and just come together. So they’re still finding their place within this group and sort of figuring out their relationships with each other. Then there’s the fact that when you look at the gap between Episode IV and Episode V there’s some pretty major beats that happen off screen. So this gives up the opportunity to grab those beats and lay them down as part of the same canon as the movies.”

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SDCC ’13 | A roundup of pre-convention news

robotech-voltronPreview Night doesn’t begin for another 11 hours, but judging from the flurry of announcements, Comic-Con International has been well under way since, oh, about Monday. So, if it feels like you’re already falling behind, that’s because you probably are.

To help you catch up, we’ve rounded up early news from DC Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Madefire and Marvel, along with a few other convention-related items.

• Dynamite Entertainment came out of the gate running this week with news that Steve Niles and Dennis Calero will reboot Army of Darkness, James Robinson will launch his crime romance Grand Passion, the Legends of Red Sonja miniseries will team Gail Simone with an all-female creative team that includes Marjorie M. Liu, Nancy A. Collins, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mercedes Lackey, Nicola Scott and Devin Grayson, Peter Milligan will debut his sci-fi action series Terminal Hero, Duane Swiercyznski will expand the publisher’s crime line with Ex-Con, Howard Chaykin will return to The Shadow with the miniseries Midnight in Moscow, NBC’s Heroes will get a “fifth season” in a series written by Cullen Bunn, the acquisition of the Robotech license spawns a Robotech/Voltron crossover, and The Heart of the Beast, the graphic novel by Dean Motter, Judith Dupré and Sean Phillips, will receive a 20th-anniversary prestige-format edition.

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American anime pioneer Carl Macek passes away



Writer and producer Carl Macek, best known for his work on the popular 1985 syndicated anime series Robotech, died April 17 of a heart attack, former business partner Jerry Beck reports. Macek was 58.

A somewhat controversial figure among anime devotees, Macek served as producer and story editor for Harmony Gold USA on Robotech, a sprawling space opera that was actually a redubbed and edited adaptation of three different mecha anime series: Macross, Southern Cross and Mospeada. Although Macek would later be criticized for that approach to Robotech, the series was an undeniable hit that’s regarded as key to anime making inroads in North America.

The TV anime spawned a feature film (which also used repurposed footage), novelizations, toys, games and comic books — the latter perhaps most notably from Comico.

With art historian Jerry Beck, Macek in 1988 co-founded Streamline Pictures, the distribution company that imported and dubbed such anime as My Neighbor Totoro, Akira and Fist of the Northstar. He also partnered with animator John Kricfalusi on Spumco Inc., and helped to sell Ren & Stimpy to Nickelodeon.

“Carl had his critics,” Beck wrote. “But one thing is certain: the popularity of anime in the North America would not be where it is today without Macek’s groundbreaking work on Robotech and his efforts on behalf of Streamline Pictures.”

Tom Spurgeon, Rob Bricken and Anime News Network also have obituaries.

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