Author: Van Jensen

Disney and Pixar Go Boom

Boom! Studios has announced they’ll be publishing comic book adaptations of Pixar cartoon properties, with the first announced being an Incredibles project.

The news comes as an early announcement from Comic-Con International, which is just getting underway. Boom EiC Mark Waid will be writing the Incredibles series, featuring covert art from Darwyn Cooke.

"Today, American comic books are aimed primarily at an older readership. Comics produced for an upcoming generation of readers are scarce – and BOOM! Studios aims to do something about that," said Waid. "There will be comics for kids again!"

To commemorate this historic partnership, BOOM! will be releasing a special preview book featuring sneak previews of upcoming projects using the characters from TOY STORY, FINDING NEMO, and MONSTERS, INC. Featuring commentary by Waid, this preview will give comic fans and interested parents a look at the quality comics BOOM! will be producing for a younger audience by the end of the year.

According to the release, these won’t be straight adaptations, but rather all-new stories set in the world of various Pixar films.

Boom also is going to be doing a Muppets book, Waid told CBR.

It was also announced Wednesday night that Waid will be writing "The Muppet Show." Given the Muppets’ long and varied history in television and film, CBR asked Waid about the particular form this series would take. He was able to reveal that the first thing to appear would be a four-issue miniseries, but future series are "something that’s more in flux." "We’re talking about doing a couple one-shots that could be collected into a trade paperback, we’re talking about doing series that are based on ‘The Muppet Show‘ itself," Waid explained, "and then we’re also talking–with Disney’s heavy encouragement–to do things like Muppet Robin Hood, or the Three Muppeteers or whatever. They’re talking to us about following sort of the paradigm they set up in the movies about classic stories retold with the Muppets."

New Crime Comics from Vertigo

New Crime Comics from Vertigo

There’s a very small note in the New York Times (which has had a veritable shload of comics news lately) about DC imprint Vertigo, which is apparently adding a new imprint, or focus, or something.

Vertigo will be doing some crime comics, though no projects are announced. Earlier this year Vertigo announced a new impetus on graphic novels, so it seems change is very much afoot.

From the brief:

DC Comics has announced that it will start a new thriller imprint next summer. Vertigo Crime, a subimprint of Vertigo Books, will be devoted to mysteries and crime stories.

DC and Vertigo have no news about this. I would guess it’ll come up at the Vertigo panel at SDCC, though:

4:30-5:30: Vertigo: View of the Future
Vertigo is a more than a name. It’s the imprint that delivers smart, provocative and edgy books. Be here to find out what’s in store for your favorite Vertigo titles as well as some major new projects that will be announced here for the first time! Hosted by Senior VP – Executive Editor, Vertigo, Karen Berger, Group Editor Shelly Bond, and Senior Editor Will Dennis, this panel is not to be missed, especially considering the talent in tow: Brian Azzarello (100 BULLETS, JOKER), Mark Buckingham (FABLES), Grant Morrison (SEAGUY), Matt Sturges (HOUSE OF MYSTERY), Matt Wagner (MADAME XANADU), Bill Willingham (FABLES, HOUSE OF MYSTERY), G. Willow Wilson (AIR), Brian Wood (DMZ, NORTHLANDERS), and others!

Bryan Singer Options Unseen Rob Liefeld Project?

We may soon see the first film without feet, as director Bryan Singer is reported to be eyeing an as-yet-unseen graphic novel by Rob Liefeld.

Slash Film has the story.

Bryan Singer is in negotiations to produce Capeshooters, an adaptation of Rob Liefeld’s upcoming graphic novel which tells the story of two slackers who become superhero paparazzi. The duo uncover evidence that a legendary superhero is actually an undercover villain. I’m very excited that movie studios are still trying to find original superhero properties, instead of digging through the bevy of bottom of the barrel established franchise heroes. The bad news is that the screenplay is being written by J.P. Lavin and Chad Damiani, both of which work on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show and American Idol.

Liefeld’s art (from Onslaught Reborn) can be seen at right.

Platinum Buys Wowio

It’s official. Platinum has purchased Wowio. I won’t have a chance to get into details on the numbers yet, but expect something soon.

Under the terms of the Agreement the Company acquired from the Members 100% of the membership interests of WOWIO for a total purchase price of $3,150,000 payable in shares of common stock of the Company.

Over at his blog, D.J. Coffman, creator of Hero by Night and formerly of Platinum Studios, goes through what he says is the new contract for creators from Wowio, the Web comics outlet that is reportedly going to be purchased by Platinum.

Perhaps not surprising after his acrimonious falling out with Platinum over late payments, Coffman takes issue with several aspects of the contract.

"For revenues derived from Ecommerce Option, Publisher shall receive 50% percent of the quarterly gross revenue generated by sales of Ebooks of the Publisher’s Content.
For revenues derived from Sponsorship Option, Publisher shall receive (i) 50 cents ($0.50 USD) per download for eTexts of less than 100 pages; and (ii) One dollar ($1.00 USD) per download for eTexts of 100 pages and above.
All Royalties shall be paid to Publisher on a quarterly basis, within 45 days following the end of each calendar quarter."

* Couple things here… again, the thought of splitting 50/50 profits on an ebook sale with anyone is ridiculous to me. And the part about when you’re SUPPOSED to be paid, turns my stomach a little in the light of the situation I was in with Platinum. I’m guessing everything will go smoothly during the “transition” period when the old Wowio people are still managing things.. but when the keys are handed over to Platinum, I’ve got a BADDDddddddd feeling about people being paid on time. That’s not an assumption, that’s a proven fact, regardless of the articles written about creators owed, printer representives telling me they were owed and COMIC BOOK NEWS sites telling me they were owed money… and the Drunk Duck kids over there, there was a bunch of “mobile wallpaper” people never paid. I have a really good friend who had his wallpapers up through their service before, and when he asked, he was told that “none sold” but he knew better because his own family had boughten them from the site!!!! — Anyways, THAT’S who will be running this shindig now. That’s who owns them. You have been warned.

Big Changes at Image Comics

The summer of change continues for Image Comics. Earlier, Erik Larsen stepped down as publisher, turning the reins over to Eric Stephenson. And now Robert Kirkman has signed on as a partner at the company.

The New York Times has a story on this latest development in today’s Books section.

And this week at Comic-Con International in San Diego, Image Comics will announce that Mr. Kirkman is becoming its newest partner. Under the company’s structure, partners profit mainly from their own work but also have a say in what will be published.

“This is kind of a big deal for me,” Mr. Kirkman, 29, said by phone from his base in Richmond, Ky. “Image Comics as a company was founded by comic book creators for comic book creators.”

This was rumored yesterday in Rich Johnston’s Lying in the Gutters, and Johnston also mentioned other big changes that could be afoot at Image, including offering page rates on certain projects by star creators.

Expect to hear more out of Comic-Con.

Neal Adams and Modern Comics Movies

You know superheroes are dominating Hollywood when the movie trade Variety features an extended ode to Neal Adams.

The piece, which includes some quotes from Adams, stresses his role in bringing about more serious superhero comics, particularly on Batman, and how that has influenced superhero movies.

Major studios have mounted a corporate takeover of Comic-Con as a vehicle to promote movies and TV shows, but comicbook artists still receive rock star treatment at the San Diego event. And among those artists, none cast a larger shadow over the current cinematic renaissance than Neal Adams.

Teaming with writer Denny O’Neil in 1970, Adams transformed Batman from the "Biff! Bam! Pow!" camp associated with the 1960s TV show starring Adam West back into the sleek, brooding Dark Knight depicted onscreen for the past two decades. By doing so, they helped establish the serious-minded template that has informed the best superhero adaptations that followed.

And the best quote from Adams:

As rendered by Adams, Batman again became a night-shrouded creature and less a superhero than a grim vigilante — Sherlock Holmes with Olympic-quality athleticism. "Batman is the grittiest character in all of comics," Adams said. "This is an awfully real concept, so none of this wishy-washy shit would do."

‘Iron Man’ as Reading Instructor?

Slate posted a slideshow/essay this morning about "early reader books," the works aimed at young kids with the idea of encouraging them to start reading (think Dr. Seuss).

That literary tradition has been taken up by adaptations of superhero movies, like Iron Man and Incredible Hulk, the essay notes, before questioning whether such works are good brain food.

There’s no denying that kids, especially little boys, love their superheroes, and the whole point of early readers is to get kids excited about reading. But do you really want the Hulk teaching your kid to read?

To which Hulk responded:


(Oh, c’mon. I had to make that joke.)

Matt Fraction Doubles Up Movie Deals

A big week for writer Matt Fraction, who’s just nabbed a couple deals to see his comics turned into movies.

He’s just inked a deal with producer Rick Alexander (MGM’s Adventures in the Land of Zametherea) and manager-producer Jeff Krelitz to turn two of his co-creations, Casanova and Last of the Independents, into movies. A major A-list actor is already mulling over the lead in Casanova, an adventure-caper about a thief-turned-spy, which Alexander promises will evolve into a "mega-budget, effects-intensive action spectacular." (He says he’s aiming to unleash the "spectacular" during the Fourth of July weekend 2010.) This is merely the first of what the producers hope will be a Bond-type franchise. Casanova "[will] live on but be played by a different actor each time out," says Krelitz, who notes that the duo will hire a scriptwriter only after securing a star and director. As for the swaggering bank-heist thriller Independent? It already has a screenwriter — that’d be newcomer Alex Litvak — so producers are currently shopping for a director with hopes of an early 2009 shoot.

‘Heroes’ Hopes for Rebound Season

‘Heroes’ Hopes for Rebound Season

After a pretty unambiguously down second season, the NBC show Heroes is looking to get the magic back from its debut season that marked it as the network’s most important show.

In an interview with the New York Times, Heroes creator Tim Kring gave some insights into what’s to come, as well as reflecting back on what went wrong last year.

The scale tipped toward disappointment at the start of last season, as Mr. Kring acknowledged in an interview way back in November, just after production was abruptly cut off by the writers’ strike that shut down Hollywood. At that time he cited a list of early missteps, including introducing too many new characters, dabbling too much in romance and depositing one of the fans’ favorite characters, Hiro, in feudal Japan for too long. …

The new volume, which will run in 13 episodes, is called “Villains” and will focus on a single big story line, Mr. Kring said, relying almost totally on its core of main characters, and will return the show to exploring what he called “the primal questions” from Season 1: “Who am I? What is my purpose?”

The third season (volume, whatever) begins on Sept. 22.

Frank Miller Defends ‘Spirit’ Film

If you watched the first full trailer for Frank Miller’s upcoming adaptation of The Spirit, you could be forgiven for thinking it had little more than the title in common with Will Eisner’s comic series.

Miller insists that’s not the case, though, in a story in the New York Times.

“The only ways they resemble each other are the ways that I learned from Will Eisner: the use of black and white, certainly the rapturous approach to women.” Mr. Miller spoke after an editing session in Culver City in June, wearing a straw hat, a gray shirt and a loose black jacket; his voice, faintly adenoidal, stems from a long relationship with Winston Lights.

Where “Sin City” was bleak, “The Spirit” seems playful, quirky. For someone who exalts Ayn Rand and has vigorously defended America’s military response to 9/11, Mr. Miller seems to have tempered his cynical machismo. As for the strip’s most nettlesome character — Ebony White, the black sidekick with the Stepin Fetchit patois— he has been jettisoned.

But, as is always the case, not everyone agrees:

But the current film-comic infatuation isn’t for everyone. “I think they once made a movie out of ‘Ulysses,’ the Joyce novel, and it can’t be done,” said Art Spiegelman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novelist behind “Maus.” “I’m not saying that Eisner is Joyce, but the things that are great” about “The Spirit” “are likely to be lost in translation.”