Tagged: Avengers

ROBERT GREENBERGER: Super-Heroes D2DVD to your home!

ROBERT GREENBERGER: Super-Heroes D2DVD to your home!

We’ve spent the last few weeks looking at how Hollywood operates, optioning properties, including comic books, which they think might work as a movie or television series. With the success of 300, we also paused to examine how full the calendar was getting the next few years and wondered if a glut was coming.

If that’s the case, what alternatives might there be?

Television remains skittish with comic book properties despite the runaway success of Heroes. Beyond Smallville, there are no comics-related shows on prime time and none likely to be added to the 2007-08 schedule (to be announced in May). Cable, with dozens and dozens of channels, has one: Painkiller Jane on Sci-Fi.

Animated fare, either for Saturday mornings or weekday afternoons, has turned away from comic books for source material, preferring anime imports or original productions. The last handful of attempts have not been resounding successes such as the WB’s Legion of Super-Heroes.

But there are new signs of life in the still growing Direct to DVD market, a.k.a. D2DVD. Here, producers go for the familiar as they crank out sequel after sequel on shoestring budgets and churn them out like so much shovelware, clogging the shelves at mass merchandisers from Sam’s Club to Best Buy. In 2006, D2DVD releases generated $1.3 billion in revenue, and that’s expected to grow 5% to 7% this year, according to Variety.

This is fertile ground for all the comic book publishers but so far only the majors are exploiting it to the fullest.

The earliest releases were not from DC, but from Warner animation, starting with Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. The story worked and the look matched that of the successful Bruce Timm/Paul Dini animated series and played better than expected so got upgraded to feature film release. Unfortunately, the subsequent efforts: Batman & Mr. Freeze: Sub-Zero, Batman vs. Dracula and Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman fared less well both creatively and financially.

The nadir may have been hit last year when they rushed out the ill-conceived Superman: Brainiac Attacks which resembled neither the animated continuity nor the Superman Returns feature film. Both were played off on the Cartoon Network.

Fortunately, it came and went with little fanfare and was totally eclipsed last summer when DC announced they were finally working as full partners with Warner animation in creating animated adaptations of classic DC stories from the company’s rich and deep library.

The first four announced releases, for those who missed the news, are:


Noted UK actor Gareth Hunt dies

Noted UK actor Gareth Hunt dies

Gareth Hunt died of pancreatic cancer on Tuesday at the age of 65.

His résumé reads like a Who’s Who of British television: he starred in The New Avengers as Mike Gambit, played Frederick Norton in Upstairs, Downstairs, and played Arak in Jon Pertwee’s final Doctor Who saga, "Planet of the Spiders". He also played the romantic lead in a long-running series of Nescafé coffee commercials.

Hunt also was known for his work on stage on both sides of the Atlantic, appearing in such productions as Twelfth Night, West Side Story, Julius Caesar, Anthony and Cleopatra, Deathtrap, and Guys and Dolls.

The Onion on Captain America’s death

Captain America, the comic book character created during World War II as a patriotic opponent of the Nazis, was killed by sniper bullets in a recent comic. What do you think?
Monica Chan,
Systems Analyst

"But who will avenge him? If only there were a group of ‘avengers,’ if you will, organized for that purpose."

(Copyright 2007 The Onion)

Keep your eye on the body

Keep your eye on the body

I got a note from a long time comic book reader on Wednesday. He was incensed that Marvel disgraced themselves by killing Captain America. Worse, they did it sneakily, without telling the retailers this was the issue so it sold out to the fan boys before the general public could see the bloody body for themselves.

Marvel certainly got a nice boost from the coast-to-coast coverage Captain America’s death received.

But, is Captain America – Steve Rogers – really dead?

It used to be that a death to a major character was a major event. Writers would find themselves running out of interesting stories to tell with a character and decided to shake up the title character’s life by killing off a familiar face. Spider-Man writer Gerry Conway has always said that’s why Gwen Stacy had to go.

That happened time and again, at both DC and Marvel and it made the fans uneasy, since you never knew what would happen next. That certainly helped sell comics for a while. Then, killing the title character seemed the next logical step. Jim Shooter and Jim Starlin helped pioneer that with the Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel and then there was the phone in stunt that saw Jason Todd, the second Robin bite the big one.


Unscrewed! auctions to benefit exploited creators

Unscrewed! auctions to benefit exploited creators

Unscrewed!, the organization created by comics creators, fans, and retailers to combat illegal and unethical practices by a would-be publisher, today announced a benefit auction to provide relief to the artists and writers exploited by that company. Since its inception in January, Unscrewed! has grown quickly, amassing support from top name talents in the comic book industry, as well as many who are just begining their careers. Full reports of all Unscrewed! activities can be found at the website: www.unscrewedcomic.com


Kirk discloses more Agents of Atlas

Kirk discloses more Agents of Atlas

Leonard Kirk writes, "Jeff Parker had already let it slip that the Agents of Atlas will be making an appearance in a future issue of the all ages title, Marvel Adventures: The Avengers! Well, for those of you impatient fanboys (and girls) who just can’t wait for anything related to ATLAS," Leonard posts a few select panels on his blog to whet fans’ appetite.  Lovely stuff as always from one of our favorite transplanted Canucks!

NYCC – Much Marvel madness

NYCC – Much Marvel madness

During the New York Comic Con’s "Cup o’ Joe" panel Saturday, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada dropped some exciting new announcements concerning a few projects in Marvel’s coming year.

First off, the award-winning team of Brian Michael Bendis and Alex Maleev will be taking the creative helm for Marvel’s Halo, based on the critically acclaimed video game franchise. The book is expected out this summer.

 New Avengers/Transformers was nnounced for this summer. The book will be a joint effort by Marvel and IDW Publishing. Taking the helm for the "widescreen" book is Stuart Moore & Tyler Kirkman.

Orson Scott Card will be penning the "Ender’s Game" story-appearing in the Red Prophet hardcover ONLY!

Finally, Arthur Suydam (Marvel Zombies cover artist), and Marko Djurdjevic (gaming artist) were announced as Marvel exclusives, and will be attached to a number of books including Marvel Zombies vs. Army of Darkness and Daredevil  starting this Spring.

Glyph Awards nominees announced

Rich Watson has announced the nominees in the second annual Glyph Comic Awards, honoring the best in black comics and creators.  The awards ceremony will be held at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC) on May 18-19 at Temple University’s Anderson Hall in Philadelphia.  Besides Rich, the other judges will be Johanna Draper Carlson, Pam Noles, Calvin Reid and Hannibal Tabu.

There is one fan-based award for favorite black comic in a poll to be posted at the ECBACC website for the month of March.  Fans can write in their choice or select from the following nominees:

Black Panther: The Bride, Reginald Hudlin, Scot Eaton & Klaus Janson

Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre, Will Pfeifer & Cliff Chiang

Firestorm #28-32, Stuart Moore, Jamal Igle & Keith Champagne

New Avengers #22, Brian Michael Bendis & Leinil Francis Yu

Storm, Eric Jerome Dickey, David Yardin & Lan Medina and Jay Leisten & Sean Parsons