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Comics A.M. | Kirby/Marvel copyright fight continues, John D’Agostino dies

Jack Kirby

Legal | New York federal judge Colleen McMahon made several decisions last week in the case of Jack Kirby’s heirs attempting to terminate Marvel’s copyright of his works. The judge agreed with Marvel that it would be premature to make an accounting of how much money is at stake, but rejected a bid by Marvel to throw out the Kirby estate’s main counterclaim. She also ruled that the Kirby estate’s attempt to reclaim original art is barred by the statute of limitations, counterclaims of breach-of-contract and violation of the Lanham Act were tossed, and Disney will be part of the case, even though Marvel said it shouldn’t be.

“In sum, the judge has narrowed the case to its most crucial issue. Both sides disagree about Kirby’s working environment in the 1950s and 1960s when he, along with Stan Lee, conceived many of Marvel’s most popular characters. The judge will soon be tasked with looking at Kirby’s work history and some of the loose contracts and oral agreements that guided his efforts in those years,” wrote Eriq Gardner. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Creators | Artist, letterer and colorist John D’Agostino died Nov. 29. D’Agostino started his career as a colorist for Timely Comics and was head of their coloring department for several years. He also worked for Archie Comics, Charlton Comics and Marvel Comics, and lettered the first few issues of Amazing Spider-Man in the 1960s. Tom Spurgeon offers an obituary. [Mark Evanier]

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What Are You Reading?

Saturn Apartments

Welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately. Our special guest today is Faith Erin Hicks, creator of the graphic novels Zombies Calling, The War at Ellsmere and the upcoming Friends with Boys. She also drew the recent First Second release Brain Camp and has a comic strip in her local weekly newspaper The Coast called The Adventures of Superhero Girl.

To see what Faith and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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The Fifth Color | Forward into the Past: Marvel Solicitations for February 2011

Deadpool Team-Up #884

February!  Love is in the air!  Presidents are in the air!  The holiday season is done with, and we can all look forward to a bright new year.

Or not, as Marvel is bringing you this future month (and I do quote from THUNDERSTRIKE #4 (of 5)‘s solicit)  “scenes of excessive action and angst in the mighty Marvel manner”.  Angst!  Not just fear, anxiety or strife, but angst in the mighty MARVEL manner!  That’s right, other guys!  You don’t do trauma like we do trauma!

Really, it looks like February is just going to be promoted as a downer with a lot of terrible things happening to good people and then Captain America takes on some pigeons.  But it can’t all be doom and gloom, can it?  Can there be a prevailing mood for books during certain seasons?  Does the House of Ideas have a post-holiday melancholy?  And if so, what’s Deadpool doing in the bathtub?  Please, join us as we click for more information below and look at Marvel’s menu for February 2011.

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Quote of the day | Thor: The Mighty Avenger and the Thunder God glut

“About cancellation of Thor: The Mighty Avenger: Want to see a big part of the problem? Just look at next week’s schedule…TMA out same week as Astonishing Thor #1 and Thunderstrike #1. Add to ongoing Thor, Thor: For Asgard, Thor: First Thunder, Ultimate Thor, recent Loki, Sif, Warriors Four and Warriors Three minis/one-shots. Count in Avengers, Avengers Prime, New UltimatesMighty Avenger was clearly the best of the bunch, but how was it meant to stand out amongst the glut?”

retailer Tom Adams of Brooklyn’s Bergen Street Comics, with one possible explanation for the cancellation of Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee’s much-lauded, low-selling Thor: The Mighty Avenger, starring the much-published, soon-to-be-a-movie-star Asgardian Avenger. He forgot Marvel Adventures Super Heroes, Chaos War, Chaos War: Thor, Thor: Wolves at the Gate, Thor: Heaven and Earth, and Hulk.

Quote of the day | Joe Quesada, on the end of Thor: The Mighty Avenger

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #4

“Sorry about the TMA cancellation, folks. For the record, I don’t make those decisions. That said, it’s a great [comic] and may be back again someday.”

Joe Quesada, editor-in-chief and chief creative officer of Marvel,
on the cancellation of the critically acclaimed, yet low-selling, Thor: The Mighty Avenger

Thor: The Mighty Avenger to end in January

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #8

As eagle-eyed readers already may have realized by its absence from Marvel’s February solicitations, the publisher has canceled Thor: The Mighty Avenger with January’s Issue 8. A Marvel spokesman confirmed the cancellation, saying it will be “a satisfying end for fans.”

Created by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee, the critically acclaimed all-ages series was announced during April’s Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo as a timeless, accessible take on the classic character. The comic began with Thor’s reappearance on Earth after a thousand-year absence, enabling the creators to chronicle the thunder god’s first meetings with friends and foes ranging from Jane Foster and Captain Britain to Hank Pym and Mr. Hyde.

The first two issues were released in July, selling about 20,000 and 14,000 copies, respectively — certainly not great numbers, but not out of step with other all-ages titles at either Marvel or DC Comics. Unfortunately, sales continued to slip even as the publisher expanded its Thor books in the lead-up to the Kenneth Branaugh-directed movie, which opens in May 2011. By October’s Issue 5, Thor: The Mighty Avenger had dipped below 10,000 copies.

Issue 6, which features Fin Fang Foom, is set for release next week.

What Are You Reading?

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #1

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately.

Today’s guest is Zom from the Mindless Ones blog. To see what Zom and the rest of the Robot 6 team have been reading, click below.

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What Are You Reading?

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #4

Thor: The Mighty Avenger #4

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we give a great big hug to all the comics, graphic novels and what have you we’ve been reading lately.

Our special guest this week is Ben Morse, assistant editor of and one of the several contributors to the Cool Kids Table blog. He’s also written a few stories for Marvel as well.

To see what Ben and the Robot 6 crew have been reading recently, hit the link …

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Preview: Thor, the Mighty Avenger #5

Marvel sent over a preview of Thor: The Mighty Avenger #5, which arrives in shops this October. The book features the son of Odin taking on Namor, the Sub-Mariner, and is written by Roger Langridge with art by Chris Samnee. You’ll find more info on the book and the rest of the preview after the jump.

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What Are You Reading?

X'ed Out

X'ed Out

As the final days of summer start to waste away and you’re looking for something to enjoy before hitting the books for school, there’s no better place to find some good stuff to read than right here in our weekly What Are You Reading? column.This week our guest is journalist/blogger Heidi MacDonald, of The Beat and Publishers Weekly fame.

To see what Heidi and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Captain Britain, Warrior’s Three guest star in Thor, The Mighty Avenger #4


Marvel has provided a preview of Thor, The Mighty Avenger #4 by Roger Langridge and Chris Samnee … which gives me an excuse to link to Tim’s recent interview with Samnee. The issue features Thor and the Warrior’s Three meeting up with Captain Britain in the traditional way that heroes usually meet in comics (i.e. Fight!)

You can check out the preview and info on the book after the jump …

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Talking Comics with Tim: Chris Samnee

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 3

Thor: The Mighty Avenger 3

This Wednesday will see the release of the third issue of writer Roger Langridge and artist Chris Samnee‘s Thor: The Mighty Avenger. Anyone reading our weekly What Are You Reading column knows how much I’ve praised the first two issues. Samnee and I spoke briefly at this past June’s HeroesCon and from there an email interview came together. In addition to Thor, we discuss some of Samnee’s past work as well as his upcoming collaboration with writer Jim McCann on I Am An Avenger 1. Earlier today, CBR posted a five-page preview to Thor: The Mighty Avenger 3.

O’Shea: What’s the most enjoyable aspect of working from a Roger Langridge script?

Samnee: Roger’s scripts are really funny – I laugh out loud when I read them! I love the humor as well as his ability to tell quiet, emotional moments. Since Roger’s also an artist, he’s really good with pacing and page turns as well. And the scripts have a very silver-age feel, which is right up my alley.

O’Shea: I keep re-reading Thor: The Mighty Avenger 1 trying to figure out what my favorite scene was–and I can ‘t decide if it’s when we first see the Rainbow Bridge on page 2; or the first scene where Thor smiles. Was the smiling Thor a character suggestion from Langridge or was that your idea?

Samnee: The smile was in the script. Roger made clear right from the outline for the book that this Thor smiles and enjoys himself. For me, that was one of the most enjoyable aspects of the book, as an artist and a reader of comics. I’ve worked on a lot of heavy books – it’s a nice change of pace to be on something a bit lighter, a comic where the characters are having fun.

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A bear hug? I say thee nay! Well, okay …

Art from the cover of "Thor: The Mighty Avenger" #4, by Chris Samnee

Art from the cover of "Thor: The Mighty Avenger" #4, by Chris Samnee

I honestly didn’t think it was possible for me to be any more excited about Thor: The Mighty Avenger, the all-ages series announced by Marvel at C2E2.

I like Norse mythology and, at least in theory, Marvel’s version of the god of thunder, so it has that much going for it from the get-go. Add to that the creative team of Roger Langridge (Fred the Clown, The Muppet Show) and Chris Samnee (The Mighty, Siege: Embedded), and the artist’s outstanding character designs —  the clincher is a reference to Namor’s “old pair of ladies panties” — and I’m verging on giddy.

But today Editor Nathan Cosby pushes me over the edge by unveiling Samnee’s line art for the cover Issue 4, which depicts a slightly embarrassed Thor gripped in a bear hug by Volstagg. It’s cute on an Asgardian scale.

Thor: The Mighty Avenger debuts in July.

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