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SDCC ’13 | Warner Bros. hosts free, family-friendly Lawn Con

lawn con-teen titans go

Comic-Con International is spilling out of the San Diego Convention Center as Warner Bros. Entertainment takes over Bayfront Park for Lawn Con, a free pop-culture event for big and little kids alike.

Open to the public Thursday through Sunday, Lawn Con features lives DJs, a picnic area, and characters and replicas from Warner Bros. Animation, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Warner Bros. Pictures: enormous blow-ups of the Teen Titans Go! crew, ranging in height from 17 to 30 feet; a life-size LEGO model of Bag End from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, complete with Gandalf, Bilbo and others; life-size LEGO models of Batman, Robin and The Joker; and a replica of Scooby-Doo and the gang’s Mystery Machine.

Bayfront Park is located between the San Diego Convention Center and the Hilton San Diego Bayfront hotel.

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SDCC ’13 | Check out the ‘Batman’ TV show Comic-Con backpack

batman-tv-cci

If Warner Bros.’ oversized totes are the must-have accessory of Comic-Con International, then the must-have of the must-haves is undoubtedly the classic Batman television series design, which makes its debut on the DC Comics website. It appears alongside the one promoting the upcoming DC Universe Original Animated Movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, but really, Batman is the draw.

Warner Bros., which last year finally settled rights issues with 20th Century Fox regarding the 1966-68 television series, in March launched a Batman merchandising line that includes action figures, Barbie dolls, costumes for adults, and wall calendars. At the same time, DC Comics announced its digital-first Batman ’66 series by Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case.

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SDCC ’13 | This year’s Warner Bros. swag bags have capes

cci-bags

Warner Bros.’ oversized totes, considered the must-have accessory for Comic-Con International, are returning to San Diego — and they’re wearing capes. This year’s version is a backpack, rather than a traditional bag, so the capes make sense, at least visually. Don’t worry, though, they’re detachable, and can be worn separately.

More than 130,000 backpacks will be given for free to attendees throughout the convention, promoting Warner Bros. television series Arrow, Teen Titans Go! (complete with Beware the Batman cape), The Big Bang Theory, The Following, Revolution, Supernatural and The Vampire Diaries, the classic Batman TV series, the DC Universe Original Animated Movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and the forthcoming films Godzilla, The LEGO Movie and 300: Rise of an Empire.

Each backpack features the official Comic-Con 2013 design on one side, and the Warner Bros. property on the other. Unfortunately, art wasn’t released for all of the backpack designs, but you can get a pretty good taste below.

Comic-Con International kicks off Wednesday with Preview Night.

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SDCC ’13 | Batman and Superman cover ‘TV Guide’ special edition

tv-guide-superman-batman

Warner Bros. Television and TV Guide have teamed for the fourth consecutive year to produce a Comic-Con International special edition of the magazine, this time with a set of four flip covers that include Andy Kubert’s renditions of Superman and Batman.

The 88-page issue, which also boasts covers featuring The CW series Arrow, The Vampire Diaries and its new spinoff The Originals, and Supernatural, includes an overview of the 75-year history of the Man of Steel, an exclusive Arrow comic from DC Comics and the show’s executive producer Marc Guggenheim, a sneak peek at the DC Universe Original Animated Movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, and a look at Warner Bros. Animation series MAD, The Looney Tunes Show, Teen Titans Go! and Beware the Batman.

The special edition, which goes on sale July 17, will be available for free during Comic-Con at the Warner Bros. booth (#4545). You can see all of the covers below.

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Ohio drivers can get their Superman plates starting in October

superman-ohioBeginning in early October, Ohio drivers finally will be able to display Superman license plates on their cars.

It certainly hasn’t been easy. The campaign for the specialty plate commemorating the creation of the Man of Steel in 1932 by Cleveland teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster was launched in 2011 by the Siegel & Shuster Society, but ran into a couple of snags: first, objections by DC Comics and Warner Bros. to the proposed slogan “Birthplace of Superman” — he was born on Krypton, they insist — and then, more formidably, the twists and turns of the legislative process.

After a bill for the Superman plates failed to pass on its own, State Rep. Bill Patmon in April inserted the legislation into the state budget, which the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports passed last week.

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Comics A.M. | Jeff Robinov to exit Warner Bros. amid shakeup

Jeff Robinov

Jeff Robinov

Business | Following weeks (if not months) of rumblings, Warner Bros. has made it official: Jeff Robinov, the Warner Bros. Pictures Group president who oversaw the 2009 restructuring of DC Comics into DC Entertainment, will leave the studio following a reorganization that establishes a new leadership team: Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and distribution, Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production, and Toby Emmerich, president and chief operating officer of New Line Cinema. It doesn’t appear as if Robinov will be replaced. DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, who initially reported Robinov, presumably will answer directly to Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara; following a shakeup last month in the television and home entertainment division, Nelson reported to both Robinov and Tsujihara. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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‘Man of Steel’ and Superman’s new heroic motivation

ManofSteel-COSTNER

Jonathan Kent with little Clark Kent

So have you heard there’s a new Superman movie out? It’s mostly playing in small art-house theaters with a minimal marketing budget, so you might’ve totally missed it. You should check it out.

If you haven’t seen it, fair warning: Here there be spoilers.

This isn’t a review because, honestly, you’ve probably already made up your mind. However, it is a look at how the changes to the Superman mythos made in Man of Steel have altered the origin, and indeed the character, intrinsically.

A lot of these observations were inspired by a podcast discussion of the movie at Part-Time Fanboy, in which host Kristian Horn caught on to something that hadn’t really stood out to me on my first viewing (the episode was recorded earlier in the week and should be available today). Since the recording, I’ve been thinking about what he said, and the more I think about it, the more I see how it seriously alters Clark Kent, and may in fact be the root of my problems with the Man of Steel.

Most people just looking for an exciting movie or a badass Superman enjoyed Man of Steel, and there is plenty to like: There’s some excellent design, particularly of Krypton, the bar has been raised on super-person battles, and most of the acting is fine to actually quite good; Kevin Costner’s delivery of the line “You are my son,” despite being over-used in trailers, choked me up.

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Real-world costs of ‘Man of Steel’ battle (and other Super-tidbits)

MAN OF STEEL

Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel has grossed $141.3 million domestically since its June 14 premiere, breaking the record for a June opening on its way to a $214.6 million worldwide box office. That’s not bad for four days’ work. Of course, the franchise reboot had an estimated $225 million production budget, plus another $150 million for marketing and distribution, so Zack Snyder & Co. still have a way to go.

Clearly the film has legs, which means plenty of more Superman stories online and in print. Here are just a handful of them (warning: potential spoilers!):

BuzzFeed turned to Watson Technical Consulting to calculate the real-life toll Man of Steel’s sprawling battle between Superman and General Zod would take on Metropolis — or, in this case, New York City — both in terms of money and human life. The disaster experts paint a grim picture in the days following the fight: 129,000 known dead, more than 250,000 missing (most of whom would’ve also died) and nearly 1 million injured. The strictly physical damage is pegged at $700 million, compared to 9/11′s $55 billion (with a further economic impact of $123 billion). The overall damage would be about $2 trillion.

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Quote of the Day | ‘Dude, I didn’t even get a free ticket’

Birthright

“Dude, I didn’t even get a free ticket. Are you kidding me? It’s DC. Even Marvel invites me to the movies.”

Superman: Birthright writer Mark Waid, answering the question, “Did you get a ‘based on work by’ credit in [Man of Steel] due to Birthright?” In the conversation that follows, he adds, “They’re not legally obligated to. Why would they? When they did before, that was Paul. Paul’s gone,” with “Paul” being Paul Levitz, former President and Publisher at DC Comics. Update: It’s worth noting here (as Waid points out in our comments section below) that Waid was asked the question and answered it directly, versus complaining about it. As he said in a follow-up tweet: “I’m not complaining about the situation. I could be mad about the policy change, but why? That won’t mend it.”

I didn’t stay for the credits after the movie ended when I saw it earlier this week, so I didn’t see who did and didn’t get credited. But it’s a shame that this policy changed when Levitz left, for many reasons. Blogger Andrew Wheeler makes a good argument for why crediting and compensating creators for their contributions makes good business sense: “I know the moral argument is pointless and the legal one is dead, but I feel there’s a clear financial argument. Incentivising the best writers to give good ideas to companies that trade entirely on ideas seems sane to me.”

‘Man of Steel’ broke Mark Waid’s heart (and other Super-tidbits)

ew-superman coverWith director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel opening today nationwide (many theaters had screenings as early as 12:01 a.m.), it’s impossible to swing a dead Kent without hitting a dozen Superman-related items online or in print. Although most of them are directly related to the Warner Bros. franchise reboot, there are plenty with clear comic-book ties. Here are just a handful of them:

• Superman gets the cover of this week’s Entertainment Weekly, on which Neal Adams and Murphy Anderson’s rendition of the Last Son of Krypton (from December 1972′s Action Comics #419) is given prominence over the movie and TV versions — possibly because Man of Steel star Henry Cavill was featured in April, but hey, we’ll take it. But poor, poor Brandon Routh …

• Mark Waid, whose 2003-2004 miniseries Superman: Birthright (with Leinil Francis Yu) influenced Man of Steel, saw the movie last night and tweeted, “That thunder you heard at around 9:15 EST was the sound of my heart breaking in two.” He followed that with a review on his Thrillbent website that he prefaced with, “It’s a good science-fiction movie, but it’s very cold. It’s not a very satisfying super-hero movie. That said, if your favorite part of SUPERMAN: THE MOVIE was Superman standing in the Fortress while Jor-El lectured him, you’re gonna love MAN OF STEEL.”

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Dan DiDio and Jim Lee talk Superman at 75, ‘Man of Steel’

lee-didio-superman

As part of the big push for the opening of Man of Steel, and the 75th anniversary of Superman, DC Comics Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee appeared this morning on Bloomberg Television to discuss the evolution of the character, the new series Superman Unchained, digital comics, and what trickle-down effect the film might have on the company’s comics.

Lee on Superman Unchained: ““I was working with Scott Snyder and we said if we could only tell one Superman story, this is what we would tell. If you only have one shot you want to do all the classic element of superman. We have lots in there. We have Lois. We have Lex Luther doing diabolical things. There is a new villain named Rathe. I think we can reveal that now. That is an exclusive. Scott will hate me for that [Laugher]. We are adding things to his mythology and that’s how you keep him fresh and relevant.”

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‘This case is by no means over,’ vows lawyer in Superman battle

From Action Comics #1

From Action Comics #1

Despite a series of seemingly definitive decisions in DC Comics’ favor, the nearly decade-long legal fight over the rights to Superman continues, with the estate of co-creator Joe Shuster asking an appeals court just three weeks ago to overturn a ruling barring the family from reclaiming the artist’s stake in the Man of Steel. At the center of the battle is tenacious and controversial attorney Marc Toberoff, the longtime nemesis of Warner Bros. who represents the heirs of Shuster and his collaborator Jerry Siegel.

He’s the subject of a lengthy feature in the latest issue of Bloomberg Businessweek, in which he pledges he’ll take the Superman dispute to the Supreme Court, if necessary. “This case is by no means over,” he tells the magazine. “My clients and I are prepared to go the distance.” It’s an interesting article that’s part history lesson and part personality profile, with several tidbits (of varying importance) that I can’t recall seeing previously:

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Comics A.M. | For Superman’s 75th, a look back at rights battle

Action Comics #1

Action Comics #1

Comics | To mark the 75th anniversary of Superman, and the premiere this week of Warner Bros.’ Man of Steel, Edward Helmore of The Telegraph recounts the long and bitter legal feud between DC Comics and the families of creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster over the rights to to the multibillion-dollar property, a battle from which the publisher has seemingly emerged victorious. [The Telegraph]

Comics | The New York Post’s Reed Tucker has some ideas on how to “fix” comics, starting with cutting the cover price to increase sales. [Parallel Worlds]

Comics | With an exhibit of original art from Charles Schulz’s Peanuts opening in a local gallery last week, a local comic convention in the works, and a thriving comics retail scene all year round, South Florida could just be the next comics hotspot. [WLRN]

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Bill Nye, Kevin Smith and others tackle how Superman shaves

bill-nye

Whether he’s explaining buoyancy or warning of the consequences of evolution denial, there are few things as wonderful and as educational as Bill Nye delivering some scientific knowledge. And so it was a stroke of brilliance that the folks and Gillette recruited the Science Guy for their HowDoesHeShave promotional campaign for director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.

As you can likely deduce from the name, the razor brand tackles the question that’s nagged Superman fans and scholars for decades: No, not how he and Lois Lane could have sex — rather, how does the Last Son of Krypton shave? For the campaign, it’s also posed to Kevin Smith, The Big Bang Theory actress (and neuroscientist) Mayim Bialik and MythBusters hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, but I like Nye’s “grinding theory” (much better than Smith’s half-baked “Kryptonian rocket that brought Superman to Earth theory”).

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Amazon and Warner Bros. go into fan-fiction business

kindle worlds

A week that began with Yahoo’s $1.1 billion deal for Tumblr got even stranger this morning with Amazon Publishing’s announcement of Kindle Worlds, billed as the first commercial publishing platform for fan fiction. In short, fanfic writers can now earn royalties for certain corporate-sanctioned stories.

For the launch, Amazon Publishing has secured licenses from Alloy Entertainment, the book-packaging division of Warner Bros. Television, for Cecily von Ziegesar’s Gossip Girl, Sara Shepard’s Pretty Little Liars and L.J. Smith’s The Vampire Diaries — all bestselling young-adult series that have spawned hit television shows. More licenses are expected to be announced soon.

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