Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark grossed a record-low $966,952 in ticket sales last week, the first time since performances began in November 2010 that the musical — at $75 million, the most expensive in Broadway history — dipped below $1 million for a standard eight-performance week.
Although The New York Times notes that sales have been softening since last year, a spokesman for the production attributed the drop to “fallout” from the serious injury suffered Aug. 15 by dancer Daniel Curry, whose leg was pinned by an automated trap door during a performance. That night’s show was canceled and Curry was taken to Bellevue Hospital, where he remains.
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals handed Marvel a significant victory this morning, upholding a 2011 ruling that Jack Kirby’s contributions to the publisher in the 1960s were work for hire, and therefore not subject to copyright reclamation by the artist’s heirs.
However, as Tom Spurgeon first reported, the appellate court vacated the New York district judge’s summary ruling against two of Kirby’s children, California residents Lisa and Neal, on jurisdictional grounds; the judgment against Susan and Barbara stands.
Secondarily, the Second Circuit upheld the lower court’s exclusion of expert testimony offered by John Morrow and Mark Evanier on behalf of the Kirby heirs, agreeing that “their reports are by and large undergirded by hearsay statements, made by freelance artists in both formal and informal settings, concerning Marvel’s general practices towards its artists during the relevant time period.”
If you think those tight-fitting Superman and Batman shirts from Under Armour are crying out for accessories, allow us to point you to the sportswear company’s latest additions: UA Highlight football gloves featuring the familiar emblems of Batman, Captain America, Spider-Man and Superman (the latter in multiple flavors).
What are UA Highlight football gloves? Good question. For starters, they’re “Super-High. Ridiculously Sticky.” But wait! There’s more: “They use the same incredible CompFit technology as our game-changing UA Highlight cleats, giving your wrist super-streamlined, locked-in support. That helps with control. It also makes you feel like you can do anything out there. Now, there’re Under Armour Alter Ego ones to make your game just that much more heroic. They turn you into exactly what you want to be, every time you compete.”
So there. And they’re available for $64.99.
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.
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?”
Legal | Kevin Lim and Evaline Danubrata add some context to the story of Singaporean cartoonist Leslie Chew, who was charged Thursday with contempt of court for several cartoons critical of the Singapore courts that appeared on his Facebook page Demon-cratic Singapore. This isn’t the first time Chew has run afoul of authorities; he was charged with sedition earlier this year for alleging official discrimination against the Malay population. Singapore recently enacted a law requiring licenses for news sites that report regularly on the country, a move that critics of the ruling People’s Action Party see as an attempt to silence dissent. [Reuters]
Retailing | Comic-store owners in the Tampa Bay area agree that sales are up, but they differ on the reasons why. [The Tampa Tribune]
With Comic-Con International now just a week away, Todd McFarlane and McFarlane Toys have rolled out a rundown of panels, signings, convention exclusives and giveaways.
McFarlane will appear on July 19 with Stan Lee at the Crazy Cat Collectibles booth to sign the Spider-Man Limited Venom Edition Guitar, featuring the artists cover art from Spider-Man #13, and July 19 and 20 at the Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag Pirate Ship for the free poster giveaway (McFarlane Toys’ Assassin’s Creed action figures will also be on display).
McFarlane Toys’ limited-edition The Walking Dead Comic Governor in Riot Gear action figure will be available at the Skybound booth (#2729), while Toys “R Us and Entertainment Earth (booth #2343) will debut The Walking Dead Comic Penny Blake The Governor’s Zombie Daughter, complete with fish tank and a bucket of body parts.
You can see the full McFarlane Comic-Con schedule below:
“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.
So your favorite artist announces he/she is taking commissions, something done so rarely that you begin getting excited. You’ve a few hundred burning a hole in your pocket, and so you decide to drop him/her a line and bag yourself one. But now you have to decide what to get them to draw. Do you go for an iconic pose of the artist’s signature character, or a more obscure choice from an old personal-favorite comic? That old comic character you think the artist is a perfect choice to draw, but will probably never get the opportunity to? Or go crazy and get them to draw some crazy gag only you and your friends are privy to, some in-joke or fetish or shibboleth that’ll make you smile every time you see it?
Animation designer Andry Rajoelina has created an uplifting, and occasionally funny, series of prints featuring the families of superheroes. That’s “family” as in Superman Family, not as in Jonathan, Martha and Clark Kent. The first set was focused on DC, but he’s now done a second group with Marvel characters.
Some of the characters, but not all, are biologically related, and that’s part of what makes the series so heart-warming. One of the nicest, most reassuring messages of the X-Men was always that people without families could form their own. (I’ve always loved the idea of the X-Men as a family much more than the idea of them as a school.) Rajoelina’s two series highlight that. They focus on adult/child relationships (the Fantastic Four leaves out Johnny Storm and Ben Grimm, for example), but Rajoelina is able to figure out a workaround for Green Lantern, even if it’s a little sad in a humorous way.
Prints of the Justice Families series can be purchased at the Geek Art Store.
Conventions | The New York Post previews what’s now called the Wizard World Comic Con NYC Experience, which kicks off in about three hours at Basketball City (Pier 36) in New York City: “Wizard cons, which are kind of a traveling road show hitting cities across the country, tend to focus more on celebrity appearances and (paid) meet-and-greets than other shows. But they still have plenty of programming that will scratch a given itch. And there will be plenty of comics/memorabilia/ephemera dealers to help empty your wallet. [Parallel Worlds]
Editorial cartoons | The Cartoonists Rights Network International will honor Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan, who has been imprisoned on charges of sedition for the past seven months because of his cartoons critical of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
Creators | Stan Lee, characterized by CNN as “the Godfather of comic book heroes,” is modest about his own achievements in a new interview: “If my publisher hadn’t said ‘let’s do superhero stories’ I’d probably still be doing A Kid Called Outlaw, The Two Gun Kid or Millie the Model or whatever I was doing at the time.” He reflects on the increased female audience for comics and discusses some new projects, including a new superhero, The Annihilator, created specifically for a Chinese audience. [CNN]
Comics| Chris Huntington reflects on the importance of Miles Morales for children of color, like his son: “… To see Spider-Man pulling his mask over a tiny brown chin – to see a boy with short curly hair sticking to the ceiling of his bedroom— well, something happened. Dagim has been Spider-Man for two Halloweens in a row. He takes a bath with his Spider-Man and a toy killer whale. He has Spider-Man toothpaste and a Spider-Man toothbrush. If Spider-Man offered medical coverage, I think he would want that, too. My son somehow understands that there is a Peter Parker Spider-Man, who is vaguely grown-up and my age, and a younger Spider-Man, closer to his age. That’s just how Dagim likes it. He even understands that Peter Parker — like Superman, like Batman – wasn’t raised by his birth parents. The best superheroes were all adopted like him.” [The New York Times]
If you were left confused this week by reports of a brawl breaking out among costumed heroes on Hollywood Boulevard left you confused — two Captain Americas vs. one Spider-Man? — TomoNews US is on hand to sort things out with a typically absurd animated recreation of events.
If the work looks familiar, it’s because these are the folks at Next Media Animation, the Taiwanese studio that previously brought us such gems as explanations of Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man and the insanity of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. This video isn’t nearly as outlandish as those — sorry, no depictions of a Taiwanese wall-crawler strangling a panda — but it does envision what the fight at the Madame Tussauds kiosk might’ve looked like, complete with blood spurting from an unnerving mouth on Spider-Man’s mask.
In retrospect, the Superhuman Registration Act doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all: First there were reports of assault, and theft, by Spider-Man, and then there was that late-night attack by She-Hulk. Now Civil War has broken out among costumed heroes on the streets of Hollywood.
According to CBS Los Angeles, Spider-Man and two Captain Americas (perhaps one was that crazy Cap from the 1950s) came to blows Wednesday afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard, near the Dolby Theatre. The cause? A turf war among superhero impersonators — who, like their Marvel Universe counterparts, operate with little regulation — and accusations of harassing tourists.
When he’s not facing Electro or the Rhino, there are few things your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man enjoys more than playing basketball with a couple of local kids.
Taking a break from filming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in New York City’s Chinatown, star Andrew Garfield headed to a nearby basketball court — in full costume, no less — to take on two pint-sized opponents. And, as the video below shows, they may have gotten the better of him. (As the person who shot the video notes, Garfield’s co-star and girlfriend Emma Stone, aka Gwen Stacy, can also be seen in the video, with the dog.)