Why The Russos Are The Best Thing to Happen to the MCU Since Joss Whedon
The folks at Mondo, the art boutique renowned for its limited-edition screen-printed movie posters, has been branching out, with VHS reissues, apparel, vinyl soundtracks and even a convention. However, they’re not stopping there: They’re moving into collectible toys, beginning with figures for The Iron Giant, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Alfred Hitchcock, which will be previewed this week at Comic-Con International.
“I am so pumped to announce toys!” Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael said in a statement. “We’ve been working on this in secrecy for a year and now it’s time to let you guys know about it. We’ll be focusing on existing properties that we love as well as working with artists to bring their own creations to life. This is a new area for us, but I resist the term ‘expansion’ since the goal for Mondo has always been to be a place where artists and designers can work to have their visions realized, whether that’s through posters, gallery shows, vinyl, apparel or now toys.”
In late February, the NBA asked Miami Heat forward LeBron James not to wear the black protective face mask that drew comparisons to Batman and Bane. Now the NFL is making its own move against masks with similar comic-book parallels
NFL Network reports the league will ban non-standard/overbuilt face masks in the 2014 season, saying they aren’t up to safety standards. That means Oakland Raiders defensive end Justin Tuck will have to say farewell to his “Shredder Mask,” which he named because of its similarity to the one worn by the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles villain. So too will Raiders rookie Khalil Mack, who wore a similar design in college.
And no Bane masks, either. According to NFL Network, four players last season wore what will soon be considered illegal face masks.
Comic strips | The art from cartoonist Bill Watterson’s surprise return to the comics page earlier this month for a three-day stint on Pearls Before Swine will be auctioned Aug. 8 on behalf of Team Cul de Sac, the charity founded by Chris Sparks to honor Cul de Sac creator Richard Thompson, who has Parkinson’s disease. The proceeds benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. A painting by Watterson of one of Thompson’s characters sold in 2012 for $13,000 as part of a benefit auction for Team Cul de Sac. [Team Cul de Sac]
Creators | The tech news site Pando has fired cartoonist Ted Rall, just a month after hiring him, along with journalist David Sirota. While Rall wouldn’t comment on the reason for his dismissal, he did say the news came “really truly out of a clear blue sky. I literally never got anything but A++ reviews,” and he added that editor Paul Carr gave him complete editorial freedom. While Valleywag writer Nitasha Tiku speculates that the two had rubbed investors the wrong way, Carr disputes that, as well as other assertions in the article. Nonetheless, both Rall and Sirota confirmed they were let go. [Valleywag]
As the average price of serially published, traditional-format comics has risen sharply over the past few years, I’ve gradually turned into a trade-waiter, my pull list shrinking to such a meager size that many Wednesdays I’ll skip what was once a religiously observed weekly pilgrimage. It’s not worth a trip to the shop for one or two books, after all, so I’ll sometimes wait three weeks or so, allowing for a sizable stack to build up.
This was one such week, and I left the shop with a pretty good haul, about $45 worth of 14 comics, including a mess of DC weeklies, a pair of Marvel comics, a trio of high-quality kids titles, the latest issue of a locally produced horror series, a Batman/Green Hornet crossover and an issue of one of IDW’s many Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comics.
My pull list is now so small and carefully cut that I rarely encounter a book I don’t like any aspect of (generally, when I do buy a comic I have negative feelings about, they’re generated as much by disappointment as anything else). The flip-side is that because I take relatively few chances as a consumer (as opposed to a critic; as a critic, I read pretty much anything with panels on paper that I find in front of me), I’m rarely pleasantly surprised by what I bring home.
This week, I read one comic that was so good that I was genuinely taken aback by its awesomeness; I was surprised and super-excited. I wanted to stand up and shout “Yeah!” but I was in a coffee shop at the time. I wanted to high-five the artist, but he wasn’t within arm’s reach. I wanted to scrap what I was planning to write about in this space today and champion the book instead. I wanted to take the opportunity to say, “Hey everyone! Stop what you’re doing and read this comic right now!”
Comics | The Lussier family of Barrhaven, Ontario, will be offering more than 25,000 comics for sale June 7 in their garage to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. The Lussiers not only collect comics, they use them as part of their homeschooling curriculum, and when a comics shop in New Hampshire closed last year, they bought 20,000 comics from the owner; they also buy comics online. “We use comic books to really teach kids about life, and about finances and about debt,” said father Rob Lussier. Their collection includes The Incredible Hulk #271, which has appreciated quite a bit in value because it contains
the first an early appearance by Rocket Raccoon, who’s featured in Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Still, 12-year-old Alexandre is philosophical: “If the movie is good, [the value] will go up, but if it’s really bad, it might just plummet.” [Metro]
Following largely positive response to his teaser for a darker take on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Benjamin Eck has launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund his short film TMNT: Banished.
In the live-action fan film, Raphael banished by Splinter after his “uncontrollable violence” begins to pose a threat to his family. Accompanied by Casey Jones, he takes refuge in Los Angeles, where “he will quickly discover that he’s not New York City’s only secret hiding on the West Coast.”
When Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles debuted in 1984, I was far too wrapped up in the full-color adventures of The New Teen Titans, Uncanny X-Men and New Mutants to pay much attention to their black-and-white escapades. And when the heroes in a half shell made the leap first to animated television and then to live-action film, I considered my self too old to follow along. And that’s unfortunate, because it means I missed the 1990 appearance by Leonardo, Raphael, Donatello and Michelangelo on The Oprah Winfrey Show, a proposition so ridiculous that it requires video proof to be believed.
Even as Paramount Pictures begins its promotional push for the Michael Bay-produced Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Los Angeles filmmaker Benjamin Eck is offering a glimpse of his own reimagining of the heroes in a half shell in the teaser for TMNT: Banished.
The planned short fan film is considerably darker than what most Turtles devotees might expect, with Raphael banished by Splinter after his “uncontrollable violence” begins to pose a threat to his family. Accompanied by Casey Jones, he takes refuge in Los Angeles, “he will quickly discover that he’s not New York City’s only secret hiding on the West Coast.”
Featuring a foreword by co-creator Peter Laird, the 192-page hardcover is billed as “the complete, never-before-told story of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” from their birth as a black-and-white comic book by Laird and Kevin Eastman to their success as a multimedia franchise that includes animated television series, live-action movies, video games, toys and clothing.
Farago, curator of the Cartoon Art Museum in San Francisco, interviews everyone from Eastman and Laird to puppeteer Brian Henson to Vanilla Ice. The book also feature a range of inserts, including fan club letters, the first press release from Mirage Studios, and reprint of the first TMNT comic.
Priced at $50, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Ultimate Visual History is set for release in June.
According to US Today, Ice Cream Kitty gains its powers when it eats ice cream mixed with mutagen, and it “turns into the Turtle’s secret weapon.”
Eastman’s appearance on the show is just one way the TMNT’s 30th anniversary is being celebrated. A March 14 episode reunites the voice cast from the original cartoon — Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, Barry Gordon and Rob Paulsen. Meanwhile, an anniversary special being released by IDW will reunite Eastman with Turtles co-creator Peter Laird, who worked together on the cover. The Turtles will also be featured this year in Comic-Con International’s souvenir book, which spotlights various comics and pop culture anniversaries.
Creators Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird are marking the 30th anniversary of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in May by collaborating on a cover for IDW Publishing’s special issue. It’s the first time in more than 20 years that the two have worked together on the property that launched a multimedia empire.
“Working on the TMNT comics with the wonderful and amazing IDW team over the last three years reminded me how much I missed and loved the four green guys,” Eastman said in a statement. “Getting to work with my co-creator Peter Laird again is the icing on the cake — and then some! It really took me back 30 years, to the earliest days, with the fondest memories, and why we got into this business in the first place.”
Debuting in 1984 as a black-and-white self-published comic, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles began as a parody of Cerebus, Daredevil, New Mutants and Ronin. However, the property soon spawned animated TV series, movies, video games and endless merchandise. Laird, who in 2008 completed a buyout of Eastman’s interests in TMNT and Mirage Studios that began eight years earlier, struck a deal in 2009 for Viacom to purchase the property for a reported $60 million.
IDW’s 48-page 30th Anniversary Special features new short stories by such creators as Dean Clarrain, Chris Allan, Gary Carlson, Frank Fosco and Jim Lawson.
Events | The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum at Ohio State University steps into the spotlight for the Grand Opening Festival of Cartoon Art, which celebrates the library’s move to a new 30,000-square-foot home on campus. The library’s extensive collection includes more than 300,000 original comic strips, 29,000 comic books, 45,000 books and 2,400 boxes of manuscripts, personal papers and the like. The festival, held today through Sunday, includes such guests as Eddie Campbell, Gilbert Hernandez, Jaime Herandez, Jeff Smith, Paul Pope, Hilary Price, Kazu Kibuishi and Dylan Meconis. [The Associated Press, The Columbus Dispatch, Columbus Alive]
Creators | Art Spiegelman talks about history, Maus, and being the creator of Maus: “I have to keep moving as best I can through the shadow of something that I’m glad I had pass through me.” [Tablet]
Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles products have grossed more than $475 million in retail sales since the latest animated series premiered in September 2013. The announcement, made this week at the Brand Licensing Europe show in London, comes just four years after the cable network’s parent company Viacom bought the property for a reported $60 million.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, about $250 million of those sales come from the United States, with the remainder coming from overseas markets, where the Turtles are just as huge. They’re the top action figures in Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and, yes, the United States (where Nickelodeon says they make up 15 percent of the action-figure market).
“Nothing’s bigger,” Pam Kauffman, the network’s president of consumer products, told the trade paper. “We are beating Iron Man, Batman, WWE.”
Caleb Goellner and Buster Moody, two of the creators behind Task Force Rad Squad, have finished the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan comic they told me about when I interviewed them in May. Moody has posted the entire story on his blog, where you can also download it in PDF or CBZ formats.
The story revolves around the annual Foot Clan barbeque; Shredder hosts all the TMNT villains for some fun and grub, until five uninvited guests show up. If you download the .pdf, if it also includes the same story in black and white, which old-school Turtles fans should appreciate.
A limited edition of the Artist’s Edition: Best of EC Covers Portfolio, two new Locke & Key pewter replicas and a glitter variant for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #9 are among the highlights of IDW Publishing’s exclusive merchandise for Comic-Con International.
All of the convention-exclusive items will be available at the publisher’s booth, along with limited advance copies of the highly anticipated Superman: The Silver Age Newspaper Dailies, Vol. 1, and Berkeleyworks: The Art of Berkeley Breathed: From Bloom County and Beyond.
See the full rundown below: