Tagged: Silver Surfer

Ed Catto interviews Mike Allred: iCreator Part 2


It’s still astounding to me how an art form like comics can, on the one hand, celebrate the creative contributions of individuals while, on the other hand, leave behind a tragic history and rotten track record for its treatment of these creators. The debates on this topic continue to rage on. Recently the appropriate level of recognition for a particular creator, who has long since shuffled offstage, dominated the online comic conversation.

As part of an ongoing series exploring today’s creators’ reactions to their comic creations’ successful crossovers into other media, I caught up with Mike Allred, who along with Chris Roberson co-created Vertigo’s iZombie. It’s a hit series on the CW network and has been renewed for a second season. Fans of Allred have always been delighted with his rich body of work: his brilliantly independent Madman, his innovative, genre-busting X-Statix, and more recently, his quirky FF series and Batman 66 covers. In this interview, I explore his involvement in and thoughts on the popular iZombie series.

izombie-titles-127041Ed Catto: Comics has a sad history of many creators not fully sharing in the economic success of their literary creations. Fans know the tragic stories of Siegel and Shuster, Gerry Conway has discussed issues concerning creator credits of certain DC characters, and Wally Wood’s contributions to the Daredevil character and mythology have been debated. Given today’s realities, do you think current creators are better prepared to protect their own rights, or is it still the same old story?

Mike Allred: Everyone always tries to make the best deal for their own interests. On all sides. It will always be that way. But it’s up to the individual to protect themselves. Despite all the history to learn from, there will always be bad deals. I was lucky with my first major success being something I completely created and own myself.

I couldn’t get a gig with the “big two” starting out, so I was content to create my own worlds. That brought me opportunities and the freedom to choose where, when, and how I play in the wonderful world of comic books. I’m as big a fan as anyone, so I get a big kick out of playing with established company-owned characters, but I do so with eyes wide open knowing that I’ll have to fight for ownership of anything original I bring to the table. I balance that with my own creations. It’s always been clear to me what is mine and what rights I have to my sole creations. Collaborations get a bit more complicated and every contract has its own challenges.

I’m keenly aware of the shoulders I’m standing on and how I’ve benefited. Thankfully, so far, I have very little to complain about personally.

izombie-11-panel-page-17EC: Back when you were developing iZombie and the look of the comic series, what were you trying to create and what were some of the challenges you found working on a zombie/horror story?

MA: Chris Roberson and I were wanting to do something different, something askew. We were eager to do contemporary takes on classic monsters. Priority one for me was to make an attractive, appealing lead character who also happened to be a zombie.

EC: Were you pleased with how the comic series turned out? And what would you have done differently if you could go back and do it over again?

MA: I’m extremely proud of it. There were two paths. One was sticking with the “brain of the day” template and have each new brain become a new storyline, and the other was going epic and blowing out our world, which obviously is the path we took. There was a part of me that kinda wished we’d stuck with the more intimate stories involving the people whose brains were eaten, but since the TV show picked up that baton I’m completely satisfied on every level.

I-ZombieEC: How did you find out that your iZombie concept was going to be a TV series? How long did it take to reach network television and can you tell us some of your reactions and thoughts along the way?

MA: I’m pretty sure Shelly Bond at Vertigo told me first. She was very much a collaborator in every way on the series. It simply wouldn’t exist without her. Geoff Johns gave me a call too around the same time. He had all the details. It all happened very quickly.

Initially I was a bit perturbed with the changes. Most especially Gwen’s name change to Liv. But I’m a big boy and know that there is no such thing as a completely faithful adaptation of any entity from one medium to another. My immediate concern was that it was good and something I’d be proud to have my name on. Once I saw that Rose McIver was hired as our zombie girl and how the production bent over backwards to make her look how I designed her, my fears started dropping away. When I saw the completed pilot it felt exactly like falling in love. And now I’m thrilled with virtually every creative choice that has been made. Rob and Diane and are the best. All the writers are killin’ it in the best way. Every cast member is the coolest. And Rose is a dynamo rocking a showcase of personality quirks. I feel crazy lucky. This could have gone bad in so many ways and it’s done the exact opposite.

5816aEC: The opening credits of iZombie showcase your artwork. Can you tell us a little about how that came to be and the process behind it?

MA: Rob and Diane thought it’d be cool and wrote it up. I’ve always loved the animated opening titles to the 60’s Batman TV show, so I jumped in with both feet. I drew all the images that they asked for and more, wanting to make sure they had more than needed. I even drew the spiral by putting a piece of paper on a turntable and moving my brush from the center out. Laura (Allred, Mike’s wife and an award-winning colorist) then colored all the illustrations and various layers separately which were then edited to the theme song and… Ta-Dah!

EC: What’s your involvement in the TV series now? What’s your reaction to what they’ve done and what they’re doing?

MA: At this point I’m simply sitting back and enjoying the show for the most part. I’ve never been busier so it’d be difficult to increase my involvement, but I have a nice rapport with everyone and may throw in more if we score a third season.

dead_girlEC: Are you pleased the show has been renewed for a second season?

MA: Over the moon!

It’s not lost on me how difficult it is to get anything at all produced. My Madman property has been optioned and in various degrees of production since 1995.

So, we leapt the first major hurdle of getting it produced, then on the air, then well received. Lots of great stuff doesn’t find an audience, let alone get a second season. We’re very, very happy.

EC: On Free Comic Book Day, the fans at one of the stores I stopped by started raving about your work on Silver Surfer. The fans collectively said they enjoy the new character you and Dan Slott created, Dawn Greenwood. But is there a different thought process that now goes into creating a character for a company?

Silver+surfer+and+dawn+greenwoodMA: There is and there isn’t. I know going in that Dan and I will always have bragging rights on what we’ve created to support a legendary Marvel character. Here it is largely about compensation. I go in knowing that I’ll have little to say in what happens with my creations after I walk away. So it’s important for me to feel creatively satisfied, which I am. I hold no illusions that I’ll be self-publishing a Dawn Greenwood mini-series. It is what it is. I get a sweet paycheck and get to play on this big wonderful stage I’ve loved my whole life. If I want to work on purely creator-owned material I can do that too whenever I want. It’s how I started out, so I’m completely aware of all the circumstances.

EC: What’s coming up next for you, Mike?

MA: I’m having a total blast working with Dan on Silver Surfer, so I’m gonna ride that wave all the way to shore. I’m always planning and working on the next Madman special, where I do my most personal work, as Frank Einstein is pretty much me. And I’ve co-created an all-new Vertigo series, which will be announced at the San Diego Comic-Con.

EC: Last one: Who would win in a fight: iZombie or X-Statix’s Dead Girl?

MA: They would never fight. They’d have a nice lunch and then go to the movies.


Marc Alan Fishman: R.I.P. Collect-ability

Marc Alan Fishman: R.I.P. Collect-ability

Fishman ArtA fine friend of mine – a comic shop retailer, convention promoter, and all around great geek – tasked me with a topic for the week: the death of collect-ability. As a collector himself, my friend postulated that “[It seems like] Marvel Comics no longer has any ongoing series, and everything they create now is a limited series.” Interesting thought, no?

For those paying close attention to the racks these days (which I admit I’ve not… but more on that later), they’d note that within the big two, no issue is numbered over the forties. Between Marvel NOW and the New 52, the industry has taken a shine to newness as the gimmick du jour. Gone are the long-running series that toppled in the hundreds before they were relaunched into new volumes. Serious collectors would amass each issue into their glorious bags and boards, stacks, and boxes.

Devotees of the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Action Comics, or Detective Comics would “ride the run” as it were. Through the high times and low, the collector made a simple statement: I want all of this. When the volume ended, a new line in the Overstreet is made and thus, said geek has the ability to opt out and move on. It might also be appropriate to hypothesize that when a volume ended, it did so not at the height of its quality or popularity. As my buddy Triple H might say? It’s always about what’s best for business.

Let us dive into that then, shall we? As a retailer, a #1 is a boon for business. It’s the universal jumping on point for a reader. Sales charts proclaimed that the New 52 was an initial success. As were several gimmicks revolving around funny numbers. Marvel NOW got into the same tactics, albeit under slower pretenses. At the end of the day though, all the ongoing series now sit in their infancy, and it is perhaps leading to an antsy fan base changing titles the way they surf the Internet. Keep producing #1s and you spark the base for a quick jolt of sales each time. The same way TV launches their seasons of new shows. The same way movie studio reboot and relaunch franchises when they want guaranteed money.

I personally am not getting any book with Wolverine in it. I freely admit though that when I see a new Wolverine #1 with a new team I stop and think “maybe I should get in on that kooky Logan business…” Hell, whilst driving home from the New York Comic Con, my Unshaven cohort declared that Matt Fraction was going to write a new Silver Surfer series. Given that I loved the new Defenders mini he did (which I bought, oddly enough, because it was a #1 and I was low on books to buy that week it debuted…), there I sat, hands on the wheel thinking that it’d be worth a try. By the way, I hate the Silver Surfer. He defeated Kyle Rayner in Marvel Vs. DC in the 90’s and I’ve never forgiven him. Yet, the allure of a #1 and a creative team I like is enough to sway my snarky heart. Scary, no?

My unnamed pal noted his sadness that his newer customers would “never get to experience of watching a series / character / creative team grow”, and those words ring true. Ron Marz’s run on Green Lantern anchored my teen years. By watching Rayner grow from a newbie ring-slinger to the true torchbearer of the corps, I built a life-long love of the character. Do I feel the same way about any character I’ve read in the last several years? Hardly.

I love the Superior Spider-Man right now, but I know that love is entirely fleeting. Much as I’d hoped Dick Grayson would hold the cape and cowl of his mentor for more than a hot minute, I knew that the industry I wallow in is one of transitory entertainment. Nothing lasts longer than the sales figures allow them to. When Walt Disney’s petulant corpse and the unseen Brothers Warner loom in the darkness with gluttonous desire, the idea that a paltry four dollar rag be given years to find a voice and mature is as impossible as a mouse actually piloting a steamboat. It’s a small world after all, and it doesn’t run on dreams and candy. It runs on movie and merchandise revenue. Comics these days serve their purpose more for maintaining rights, and collecting otaku for monetary tribute. The business model for doing that simply doesn’t take into account anything more than a bottom line in the black.

One thing I’d be remiss to mention here is how my very own studio has thought of production. Our Samurnauts concept was built to be presented as a maxi-series of mini-series… if that makes any sense. Knowing our audience as we did when we started, it was hard to not want to make everything last only long enough to make it into a trade. Then slap a new #1 on the next mini, and make everyone start back at the beginning. Simply put? When I walk past an indie table, and see a series past even four issues? I’m already walking past for fear of the costly barrier to entry. While the series itself may be absolutely amazing, as a fan, I freely admit that I’m always less likely to buy-in when I know there’s a backload of material to catch up on. Comics aren’t seasons of shows on Hulu or Netflix; they’re commitments of dollars, and as such I’ve ended up becoming a slave to newness.

I open the argument to you, the people of the court. Are Marvel and DC doing you wrong by continued experimentation, relaunching, and ADHD production? Or do you like the idea that you’re never too far away from a jumping on point? Do you find the pulp of today to be too transitive, or do you like to consume your sequential fiction one micro-series at a time?

SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell



Comic Art, Trash or Treasure?

You sure wouldn’t know that the world is in an economic crisis by looking at the prices that have been paid recently for original art. Both Christie’s and Sotheby’s auction houses, who’s  recent auctions collectively tallied $266,591,000, established record sale prices for pieces of art including the most expensive work ever sold at auction, Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ which garnered a whopping $120 million!

Fans of comic art began to scream themselves when Roy Lichtenstein’s painting, ‘Sleeping Girl,’ sold for $45 million, a record price for any of his works. Lichtenstein is often criticized by comic art enthusiasts for not having credited the long list of comic artists whose work he used as subject matter for his paintings. Comparisons of ‘Sleeping Girl’  and the Tony Abruzzo panel which it is derived from, as well as dozens of other comparisons,  can be seen here. David Barsalou deconstructs Lichtenstein with a vengeance and it is well worth following his crusade on the internet and in his facebook group.

The good news is that, though comic art has been generally viewed by the fine art community as “low brow” and is still not in a position to command the kind of money that Munch or Lichtenstein’s pieces do, original comic art is beginning to command some very respectable prices. It has long been known that there is value in collecting comic books. The highest price paid so far for Action Comics #1 being $2.16 million. The same comic book is estimated to be currently worth about $4.3 million.

Original comic art, on the other hand, is now gaining in value as well. The most expensive piece of comic art ever sold is reportedly a full page panel by Frank Miller and Klaus Janson from ‘The Dark Knight Returns.’ The piece sold to an anonymous collector for $448,125 as part of Heritage Auctions’  Vintage Comics and Comic Art Auction in 2011.

In the past week Heritage auctioned two more significant pieces that collected big bucks. Contradicting the earlier report Heritage claims that a Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott original from Fantastic Four #55 featuring a half page splash of the Silver Surfer and signed by scripter Stan Lee achieved the highest price paid for a page of panel art selling for $155,350, roughly one third the value of the Batman piece.

Another work of original comic art that proved its muster was the first ever drawing of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird that fetched $71,700.

Forbes recently ran an article on their site that lists good reasons for investing in comic art  but neglects the obvious: Supply and Demand.

Though it may seem that there are tons of original comic art proliferating in the market, and there are, how many show significant images of major characters drawn by masters of the industry or are pages from historic works? Not as many as you might think and now that a lot of art is created digitally, the chances of hard copy future original art surfacing for sale are dwindling.

The idea that there are over seventy years worth of original art numbering in the millions of pages trafficking around the collectors market is false. Most comic art that was created prior to the mid sixties was simply destroyed by the publishers, considered by them as nothing more than waste once the printable films were made.

Flo Steinberg, secretary at Marvel during the early years of the ‘House of Ideas,’ was quoted in David Anthony Kraft’s COMICS INTERVIEW #17 saying, “We used to throw it out …when the pile got too full…it was like ‘old wood’ to us.” Likewise, there are stories of Neal Adams dashing across the office at DC to rescue original art that was about to be destroyed in a paper slicer! Any art that survived that slaughter was generally given away as gifts or just managed to filter its way out of the office as random souvenirs. The scary part is that most of the artists just accepted this practice as the norm!

By the late sixties when fandom started to prove that there was a secondary market for the art through the establishment of comic conventions and comic shops, artists began to demand that their art be returned. This was a tricky process since several people generally worked on any given issue. The art would be split up among the writer, penciler, inker, and even the letterer. Colorists usually would get back the color guides that they made for the color separator.  Because of this practice entire issues are nearly impossible to acquire.

By the 1980′s the independent movement gave creators many more rights and more creators were responsible for their work in its entirety but still, usually, would sell off pages at conventions, one at a time,  to support themselves economically.

Today more and more comics are being created digitally and hard copy originals don’t even exist. The work and creative talent  that goes into creating a comics page is once again being trivialized as an unfortunate part of the process. Instead of ‘old wood’ it is now just a collection of magnetic data hogging up a hard drive, facing obsolescence with the next wave of new technology.

The printed version may remain as the only collectable hard copy of future comic works and even that is challenged by digital delivery of comics. The art of making comics is finally being recognized as something of value yet its new found respect is threatened with its own potentionally temporary creative process.

Criticize Lichtenstein as much as you’d like, but his copy of a single panel, swiped from a forgotten romance comic, will exist for a long, long time and will only become more valuable while the original line drawing it was lifted from has probably been trashed for fifty years. How can we come expect the art world, or anybody,  to respect comics as more than source material for pop art parodies when we continue to allow the originals it to be disposable.

Is comic art trash or treasure? As comic artists, we need to decide for ourselves.

Celebrating Thirty Years of Comics History!

Gerry Giovinco

Iron Man 3 Releases First Formal Picture

Marvel Studios sent out a formal press release today announcing the commencement of production on Iron Man 3, despite filming actually beginning May 23, 2012 at EUE/Screen Gems Studios in North Carolina. The film, written by Shane Black and Drew Pearce appears to have been heavily influenced by Warren Ellis Extremis storyline which ran in the Iron Man comic beginning in 2005. Elements of the story were also used in the Iron Man: Armored Adventures episode “Extremis”.

The release did say, “The production schedule will also include locations in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina, Miami, Florida and China.

“Based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series, first published in 1963, Iron Man 3 returns Robert Downey Jr. (Iron Man, Marvel’s The Avengers) as the iconic Super Hero character Tony Stark/Iron Man along with Gwyneth Paltrow (Iron Man, Iron Man 2) as Pepper Potts, Don Cheadle (Iron Man 2) as James “Rhodey” Rhodes and Jon Favreau (Iron Man, Iron Man 2) as Happy Hogan. Set for release in the U.S. on May 3, 2013, Marvel’s Iron Man 3 marks the second feature to be fully owned, marketed and distributed by Disney, which acquired Marvel in 2009.”

The press release did not mention the following cast members although they had been previously confirmed in other reports: Ben Kingsley as The Mandarin, Guy Pearce as Aldrich Killian, creator of The Extremis Virus, Andy Lau as “an old friend of Tony’s from China, Rebecca Hall as Dr. Maya Hansen, Ashley Hamilton as Jack Taggert, and James Badge Dale as Eric Savin /Iron Patriot. The latter, an armored figure worn by Norman Osborn in the Civil War comics saga, was a surprise addition.

At present neither Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) or Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) have been confirmed for the film, although one or both are expected considering SHIELD has been the glue to hold the Marvel Movie Universe together.

“Iron Man 3 continues the epic, big-screen adventures of the world’s favorite billionaire inventor/Super Hero, Tony Stark aka Iron Man.  Marvel Studios’ President Kevin Feige is producing the film.  Executive producers on the project include Jon Favreau, Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Stan Lee, Charles Newirth, Victoria Alonso, Stephen Broussard and Dan Mintz.

“The creative production team on the film includes two-time Oscar®-winning director of photography John Toll, ASC (Braveheart, Legends of the Fall), production designer Bill Brzeski (The Hangover, Due Date), editors Jeffrey Ford, A.C.E. (Marvel’s The Avengers, Captain America: The First Avenger) and Peter S. Elliot (Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer), and costume designer Louise Frogley (Quantum of Solace, Contagion).

“Marvel Studios most recently produced the critically acclaimed Marvel’s The Avengers, which set the all-time, domestic 3-day weekend box office record at $207.4 million. The film, which is currently in release, continues to shatter box office records and is The Walt Disney Studios’ highest-grossing global and domestic release of all time and marks the studios’ fifth film to gross more than $1 billion worldwide.

“In the summer of 2011, Marvel successfully launched two new franchises with Thor, starring Chris Hemsworth, and Captain America: The First Avenger, starring Chris Evans. Both films opened #1 at the box office and have grossed over $800 million worldwide combined. In 2010 Iron Man 2, starring Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Scarlett Johansson and Mickey Rourke, took the #1 spot in its first weekend with a domestic box office gross of $128.1 million.

“In the summer of 2008, Marvel produced the summer blockbuster movies Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Iron Man, in which Robert Downey Jr. originally dons the Super Hero’s powerful armor and stars alongside co-stars Terrence Howard, Jeff Bridges and Gwyneth Paltrow, was released May 2, 2008, and was an immediate box office success.  Garnering the number one position for two weeks in a row, the film brought in over $100 million in its opening weekend.  On June 13, 2008, Marvel released The Incredible Hulk, marking its second number one opener of that summer.”

MIKE GOLD: Marvel Comics – Anybody Remember These Guys?

Fickle little bastards that we are, most of the hubbub around the American comics world has been revolving around DC’s New 52. Is it any good? Are any any good? Which ones really suck? Which title has the most breasts? It’s all great publicity in the short term; nobody’s talking about Marvel Comics.

Marvel movies are another matter. But, this week, that would be a digression, even though the first Avengers trailer was just released.

The House of Ideas (anybody remember that catch phrase?) is in the middle of two Big Events – three, if you count whatever the hell is going on with the X-Men titles. They seem to be going through their own new 52. Or perhaps new 104. There’s so many of these books I couldn’t read them all even if I were Pietro Maximov. So, this week, the X-titles are a digression.

I’ll admit I started off liking both the Fear Itself and Spider-Island Big Events. Neither were spectacular, awesome, incredible, nor uncanny, but both were good solid superhero dramas in the Marvel motif. Not everything has to be better than ever and “good solid” is just fine most of the time. I’d say I recall saying that about the second Hulk and second Iron Man movies but I’d be indulging in digression.

But after the passing of a couple months both became a burden. No, I haven’t been reading all of the tie-ins and mini-series and such – Marvel’s been great about maintaining the sidebar nature of these subordinate series. But the cumulative nature of both Events happening simultaneously has worn me down. I’m having a hard time giving a damn, and these books have been sinking down in my reading pile buried under the weight of comics that show more spontaneity and innovation. Few are published by DC or Marvel these days.

Here’s the rub. I still proudly think of myself as a fanboy. I also proudly think of myself as a pain in the ass, but that’s still another digression. Two of my favorite characters are and damn-near have always been Doctor Strange and the Sub-Mariner. I’ve liked the Red She-Hulk stories I’ve read. Now all three of them will be in the new, new Defenders, along with that one-man Greek chorus, the Silver Surfer.

It appears that the new, new Defenders will be an outgrowth from Fear Itself; writer Matt Fraction is a major force behind both. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s a new event all onto itself. Damn, would that suck. Anyway, I’m reluctant to abandon all this current Marvel Event stuff because these specific characters continue to warm the cockles of my fanboy heart.

What to do, what to do?

I think I’ll read Dick Tracy.

THURSDAY: Dennis O’Neil

Marvel Wins Summary Judgments In Jack Kirby Estate Rights Lawsuits

Marvel Wins Summary Judgments In Jack Kirby Estate Rights Lawsuits

Photo of Jack Kirby at the San Diego Comic Con...

Jack Kirby. Image via Wikipedia

Deadline reports that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York has delivered a summary judgment for Disney/Marvel and other studios Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures against the Jack Kirby Estate in the matter of notice of copyright termination.

The estate of Jack Kirby, co-creator of Captain America, Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, Silver Surfer and Thor, sent notices terminating copyright to publishers Marvel and Disney, as well as film studios that have made movies and TV shows based on characters he created or co-created, including Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures.

The federal judge not only granted the studios’ motions for summary judgment but also denied the Kirby cross-motion for summary judgment.

The Kirby estate is represented by Marc Toberoff, who is also currently representing the Jerry Siegel estate against DC Comics in the copyright termination case regarding Superman and Smallville.

More information as we get it.

Anthony LaPaglia Shows us his Villainous Side in ‘All-Star Superman’

Anthony LaPaglia Shows us his Villainous Side in ‘All-Star Superman’

Award-winning actor Anthony LaPaglia returns to his villainous roots as the voice of Lex Luthor in All-Star Superman, the highly anticipated 10th entry in the ongoing series of DC Universe Animated Original Movies coming February 22, 2011 from Warner Premiere, DC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and Warner Home Video.

LaPaglia is known far and wide for his lead role on the CBS drama Without A Trace, but his fame goes well beyond those 160 episodes over seven seasons on the primetime series. LaPaglia’s career highlights include an Emmy Award as Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his role as Simon on Frasier, a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series/Drama for Without a Trace, and the 1998 Tony Award for Best Actor (Play) for the revival of Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge. He has also been honored with two AFI Awards as Best Lead Actor in the films Balibo (2009) and Lantana (2001).

LaPaglia takes the villainous lead in an All-Star Superman cast that includes James Denton (Desperate Housewives) as Superman, Christina Hendricks (Mad Men) as Lois Lane, seven-time Emmy® Award winner Ed Asner (Up) as Perry White, Golden Globe® winner Frances Conroy (Six Feet Under) as Ma Kent, Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) as Jimmy Olsen and Linda Cardellini (ER) as Nasty. 

In All-Star Superman, the Man of Steel rescues an ill-fated mission to the Sun (sabotaged by Lex Luthor) and, in the process, is oversaturated by radiation – which accelerates his cell degeneration. Sensing even he will be unable to cheat death, Superman ventures into new realms – finally revealing his secret to Lois, confronting Lex Luthor’s perspective of humanity, and attempting to ensure Earth’s safety before his own impending end with one final, selfless act.


Marvel Boosts Disney TV Ratings To All Time High

Marvel Boosts Disney TV Ratings To All Time High

Here’s yet more tangible proof that the Disney/Marvel merger was a good thing from a money-making POV: with help from various Marvel properties such as The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, Fantastic Four, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Silver Surfer, Spider-ManX-Men, and X-Men Evolution, 2010 became Disney XD’s most watched year ever (including as Toon Disney) in Total Day and Primetime with Total Viewers and kid demos.

In Total Day the network hit all time highs with Total Viewers (270,000) and K6-11 (107,000) and Boys 6-11 (69,000), the latter two demos up +14% and +17% respectively.

In Primetime Disney XD set records in Total Viewers (325,000) and among K6-11 (136,000) and Boys 6-11 (89,000), the latter two demos up by +21% and +24%, as well as with Tweens 9-14 (105,000) and Boys 9-14 (71,000), increasing by +28% and +29% respectively.

These were exactly the demographics that Disney was purported to be targeting, and it looks like they got them. In addition, of course, Disney saves lots of money by not paying outside licenses.

2010 was also the Disney Channel’s most-watched year in its history in Total
Day (6a-6a) with Total Viewers (1.72 million) and K6-11 (623,000) and
Tweens 9-14 (533,000).  Disney Channel was also the top TV network in
2010 in Total Day with Tweens 9-14.  In primetime for 2010, the network
was tops with K6-11 (1.06 million) and Tweens 9-14 (878,000).

Makes you wonder what will ever happen with DC and Cartoon Network, doesn’t it?

First Look: ‘Thor’

First Look: ‘Thor’

As promised, Paramount Pictures released more images from Thor, opening May 6, 2011. Director Kenneth Branagh has clearly cleaned up Jack Kirby’s vision of Asgard, making things nice and shiny.

In case you missed it, here’s a rundown of the cast for the film which recently completed principal photography. The screenplay is written by Ashley Miller (Fringe) and Don Payne (The Simpsons). Miller has since gone on to write X-Men: First Class for 20th Century-Fox while Payne previously wrote My Super Ex-Girlfriend and was one of the writers on Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.

Dr. Donald Blake/Thor is portrayed by Chris Hemsworth (Star Trek) with Natalie Portman as Dr. Jane Foster (promoted from her original nurse role). Anthony Hopkins is the one-eyed Odin, Rene Russo as Frigga, his wife; and Tom Hiddleston (Wallander) as the sibling Loki. Portraying the delightful Warriors Three are Ray Stevenson (The Book of Eli) as Volstagg, Tadanobu Asano (Snow Prince) as Hogun the Grim, and Joshua Dallas (Doctor Who) as Fandral the Dashing. Sorry, Balder the Brave apparently didn’t make it into the movie — maybe next time.

Rounding out the cast will be Jaimie Alexander as Thor’s Norse love interest Sif, Idris Elba as Heimdall, and Kat Dennings as a new character, Darcy. Clark Gregg continues his tour through the Marvel Movie Universe, reprising his SHIELD Agent Phil Coulson role.

According to a release from Marvel Studios, “At the center of the story is The Mighty Thor, a powerful but arrogant
warrior whose reckless actions reignite an ancient war. Thor is cast
down to Earth and forced to live among humans as punishment. Once here,
Thor learns what it takes to be a true hero when the most dangerous
villain of his world sends the darkest forces of Asgard to invade Earth.”


Comicmix Six: Lovelorn Losers and Loners

Comicmix Six: Lovelorn Losers and Loners

Valentine’s Day can be a lovely little holiday, can’t it? You and your sweetie exchange little trinkets of love… romantic candle lit dinners… kanoodling on the futon while you watch DVR’ed episodes of Doctor Who… you know, all that gushy stuff. But we know for some out there, the day is just another in a long line of ‘Hallmark Holidays’ meant to sap money out of fools in love. And if you don’t have a Valentine (your Mother only counts if you’re still in grade school…) well, Comicmix wants you to know you’re not alone. Here’s a few folks who think “One is the lonliest”, but deal with it anyways:

1.Ultimate Hulk – The Grey/Green (depends on the “Season” we suppose) Goliath may have have the hots for Betty… But then he started eating people, which assume was a big turn off for her. And sure, he may have a rockin’ set of abs, and can tear a tank up like tissue paper… But he’s also got serious anger management issues. He also once scaled a building yelling for Freddie Prince Jr.’s head on a platter, whilst naked. Not what we’d call a Don Juan in the least.*

2. Booster Gold – We know what you’re thinking… Cool futuristic suit. Flight. A shiny gold flying iPad 4.0 for a best friend… What’s there not to like? He’s got to be batting off the ladies with a bat! But, sadly, the DCU’s newest ‘Time Master’ is also it’s newest loner. Having to help defend the DCU’s time stream can really put a damper on a dude’s love life. And when he’s not getting pants by the Joker on a recursive loop, Booster’s biggest mission seems to be finding new ways to piss off Rip Hunter, not pitching woo to Fire.

3. Smeágol / Gollum – Middle Earth has it’s fair share of uggos, crazies, and weird dudes… But no one takes the “loner” monicker to new depths like this former Stoor-Hobbit. And hey, we admit that we sometimes have an odd ‘fondness’ for an inanimate object (we’re looking at you, fantastic replica Alan Scott Power Battery with replica ring…), but Gollum takes it to a whole new creepy level. Sorry buddy, when you’d rather leap into an active volcano to be with your ‘Valentine’ than try a round of Speed Dating at the Prancing Pony… you’re taking the term ‘dedicated bachelor’ to a new low.