Marvel raises 2Q guidance on strong sales of Hulk-licensed products; shares up over 10% yesterday [Dow Jones Business News on Yahoo Finance] [Newsarama]
And a cash balance of $144 million at June 30, up from about $85 million at March 31!? Where the hell did all that money come from? That's almost all of Marvel's debt right there.
A very relevant item to the above news is a post from Unqualified Offerings on Marvel licensing from a couple days ago that must have slipped through the fingers of Neilalien's Hulk Hands.
Recent CBLDF action in South Carolina and Arkansas [Pulse]
Rick Veitch takes on some Fantagraphics' cushy self-reporting [TCJ Message Boards via Attentiondeficitdisorderly who has more]
If you'd like to get Punished, you can still apply by mail [St. Petersburg Times via Monitor Duty]
The Ellisverse and its influence [Four Color Hell]
Over the past few weeks I've been working my way through Warren Ellis' holy trinity of post-modern superheroes set in the Wildstorm Universe: Stormwatch, The Authority and Planetary. Tremendously influential (The Ultimates and New X-Men owe their very existence to these titles), these three titles set the tone for the past six years or so of superhero comics. No captions or thought balloons. Extreme violence. Politically-charged storylines. Superheroes with somewhat flexible moral codes. A distinct lack of spandex. Prodigious use of the word "bastard". We have Ellis to thank for all of it.
Transformers live-action movie news from producer Tom DeSanto [Sci Fi Wire; learned of the news via Four Color Hell but their link to the Ain't It Cool News version isn't working]
Using the original 1980s lineup. Oh yeah! Can we get Frank Welker, referred to in Hollywood as a "voice god", to do Megatron's fantastic voice again? Let's start a petition.
Posted 30 July 02003 - Permalink
More interesting weigh-ins on the recent news, DC's offensive on the New Marvel, taking Morrison and Rucka away with exclusive contracts, Jemas' weak hand against the Hollywood element [Franklin's Findings] [Attentiondeficitdisorderly]
Retailer Matt Hawes writes Perlmutter, talks with Jemas [Comicon Message Board via Franklin's Findings]
Hawes must be the retailer Gutters mentioned.
Can/Will the Direct Market start stocking manga in time? [Journalista]
Marv Wolfman is right: the customer is always right. It's not that the current consumer of comic books, his/her market served, is "fatally wrong" or "stupid". It's probably that all those potential millions of consumers of comic books who are uninterested in what the current twisted mono-market is offering are quite correct to be avoiding it like the plague. If they know about it at all.
Posted 29 July 02003 - Permalink
Juicy Gutters this week: Big changes ahead for Marvel? [Comic Book Resources]
Morrison and Quesada have a fight. Jemas vs. Perlmutter and Arad. Straczynski staying with Marvel (and Dr. Strange, Neilalien hopes..?). And more more more!
Why is Gary Groth braying about the death of criticism, when according to last month's Understanding Reviewers Part 2 on Pulse, it sounds like a lot of reviewers and critics seem to be struggling really hard with their negative sentiments?
Posted 28 July 02003 - Permalink
Hero vs. Superhero [Austin Chronicle; mentioned in passing on TCJ's Message Board]
Warning! Fanboy riot and ranty first draft ahead:
This column laments that the heroes of our culture's entertainment have evolved- to use superhero role-playing-game lingo- from 10-point-normal and 50-point-skilled humans into 250-point unbeatable uber-humans- which thus (a) demoralizes us in our impotence, devalues our everyday experiences into humdrumitude and alters our expectations into unrealism, and (b) makes for less compelling heroes. That kids are learning the wrong things about heroism, and are more disinclined to it, because of the superheroics they now watch, the fantasy, the unflawed characters, the unbeatable unhuman abilities. Has Wolverine replaced Gandhi and if yes how horrible is it.
The response to (a) seems to be: Well, that may be true for the psychotics and depressives who can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Granted we've heard these critiques of our culture before and they're totally valid, e.g. the emphasis on winning, the constant obsessive fantastical love songs by rock and pop idols skewing the high-schooler's anticipations, etc. But are normal people really walking around unfulfilled and passive because they can't be like Xena? Are people really bemoaning, "Spidey wins all the time- why can't I?" No. Chances are the children, and the adults, are just watching the movies and enjoying the KA-BOOM. The columnist muses that our soldiers in Iraq are demoralized because we haven't won there yet and superheroes have unrealistically taught them that we must win every time- as if there are any cultures and soldiers out there who don't want to win a war when they're in one. Neilalien rather thought Spider-Man was teaching the world's superpower that with great power comes great responsibility. Comic books and cartoons and such do teach kids right from wrong and teach a heroic example within a fantasy metaphor. They make heroism easier for kids to find, not harder. C'mon. This is just more of the same idiotic snob thesis that anyone who actually enjoys superhero entertainment must be so detached from reality, so living in an arrested-adolescent power fantasy world, that they must be literally walking around sad that they are not a superhero themselves. Sheesh.
And is (b) really true? Nah. More snob bias. How compelling a hero is depends on the hero's story and his/her actions. There's nothing inherently better about stories that have regular joes as the heroes instead of superhumans. Granted, it may be easier to relate more to a realistically-written story of Erin Brockovich fighting pollution in a small town more than to Luke Skywalker fighting the Death Star. But the heroic story elements are essentially the same; the fascists get fought, impossible odds are overcome. Possibility, fallibility, character flaws, chance of defeat, uncertain unclear victories, self-sacrifice, courage and true grit, etc. are the hallmarks of all good stories and inspiring heroes whether it's a 10-point accountant or a 50-point gunslinger/private detective, or a 250-point sorcerer supreme.
Most ordinary people (us 10-pointers) can't be Chandler's Marlowe any more or less than they could be Buffy, if you really think about it. Are people walking around seeing more life-possibilites because they could possibly be a determined drunk in a dangerous foreign land like Bogart in Casablanca? No. And on the other coin, The Thing's been lonely, a lot of people can relate to being uncomfortable about one's own body, his victories are uncertain (that darn Dr. Doom keeps escaping and coming back, and he's so good to his own Latverians), and he faces larger threats according to the FF's power level such that there's a need for courage and a chance of defeat. It's all in how the superhero's (and the hero's) written. The main way unbeatable fictional heroes are demoralizing in the real world is that they're boring entertainment.
The columnist defines the more attractive heroic action as the one within the possible, the achievable realm of human capability. Actions are not heroic, the intents of actions are- that's how failed actions can still be heroic. A laser-blast from one's eyeballs may be less interesting to you than shooting a gun- fine- but the act is not inherently any more or less heroic. What makes an action more heroic, and attractively so, is the amount of courage and self-sacrifice that goes into doing it. And heroes, superheroes, and everyday people can all have that intention, and everyday people can relate to that intention wherever they see it.
Our movie (super)heroes are up in the 400 points now basically because of CGI technology allowing more special effects, modern audiences being bored with mere 250-point KA-BOOMS, and our concept of what metahuman is really has changed and jumped ahead over the years with speculation and reality re: genetic engineering, space travel, etc. There have always been heroes in movies of both the mundane and the super, unflawed, unbeatable variety like James Bond. You really thought Marlowe wasn't going to solve the case when you bought your ticket, eh? Our postmodern, relativistic, individualistic culture seems to be less inclined to heroism and self-sacrifice for firm principles of right and wrong, but Neilalien thought the party line was not that superheroes were promoting that state, but rather they were simplistically unrealistically portraying the opposite. Nothing has changed, the message to our youth hasn't changed and Matrix metastunts are not a sinister force. Surely a long time ago, an old crotchety lady once wrote that the hero in Mr. Smith Goes To Washington was better at preparing our children for real life than Zorro. And this column has proven that nothing's changed there either.
Posted 28 July 02003 - Permalink
Alan David Doane on DC's latest killer moves with exclusive deals and going after Marvel's talent pool- Morrison, Rucka, Loeb, Sale- with hints of future big news (Bendis?) [The Daily Weblog]
Some good 02003 Blogathon comics-related output from CBLDF's Dave Hill [Dave Does The Blog via Pulse]
The Ethics of Buying Marvel Books [Leibman Theory]
Our responsibility lies in buying what we like.
Getting Cynical About the Cynics [Leibman Theory]
Speculating on the boredom of comics activists between the industry's peaks and valleys.
Now Pop Culture Gadabout essentially has two reviews of Fantastic Four #500 up, while Neilalien as yet has none [Standard Edition, Director's Cut Edition]
Oh well. Time's been tight lately. Neilalien doesn't do many reviews- he's understandably not on this hot list of comics blogosphere reviewers- and when he does do reviews it's usually just a mini-rant about Doc's characterization. But maybe he's taking the "don't be just another review site" a little too far when he's not even reviewing Doc appearances anymore. Perhaps it's time to talk about the actual comics again, get away from the meta business stuff (reading Brian Hibbs' Tilting At Windmills proving once again there ain't nothing new in that realm anyhoo). Although that is what interests him for purposes of this weblog.
Warren Ellis on Star Trek [Die Puny Humans]
It's old news that all the Star Trek fans turn up to a new Star Trek film on the first weekend. And yet STAR TREK: NEMESIS was possibly the least successful Trek film ever. There's a simple reason for that. The fanbase is dying of old age, and new devotees are not being created because the last two Trek TV shows have been so bad. VOYAGER was a pompous, gutless horror, and ENTERPRISE just shuffles plots and character templates from all the other shows, desperate not to offend anyone, desperate to not break ground or seem too clever. It's turned inward. A franchise can't survive forever on playing to the comfort zone of the hardcore fans. If Star Trek is going to survive as a 21st Century concern, it needs to reinvent the future, jettison all the old-favourite cover-versions, and accept that if the fanbase sat through the episode where Spock's brain is stolen and the doctor has to move him around with an old Atari controller, then they're not going to go away until they die. Don't play to them. Give the rest of us a reason to be interested.
It also appears that Ellis has discovered WAP and tagtag.com, so Neilalien has blown the dust off his own tagtag.com site, accessible from mobile devices at http://tagtag.com/neilalien. It had been over two years since he last updated it! Yikes, Neilalien is a damned old weblogger. He stopped promoting it a while ago, but it still gets a couple random hits a day somehow. But heck, if Ellis wants to take credit today for kickstarting a web of WAP content, all the power to him- Neilalien is content to just feel years ahead of the curve, as usual. ;) Anyway, the site boasts a neat image of Doc, lists Doctor Strange's upcoming and recent appearances, and has a very short directory of comic book shops in NYC- very useful if you're walking around the city lost and desiring a comic book with Doc in it! ;)
Posted 27 July 02003 - Permalink
Andy Kubert talks 1602 [Newsarama]
The first graphic novel was Red Tide/Chandler by Steranko [Pulse]
Political Fundraiser Sank Stan Lee Media [ICv2]
Summary of the LA Times story blogged here a couple days ago.
Reliving Comics' Days of Infamy [Wired News]
Coloring the Comic Books [Wired News]
The above two Wired links via LinkMachineGo
Posted 24 July 02003 - Permalink
Preview pages of 1602 with Dr. Strange and Clea [Pulse]
Gaiman talks 1602 at San Diego [Newsarama]
Doc absent in this report on the J. Michael Straczynski panel [Pulse]
Posted 22 July 02003 - Permalink
Awesome preview sketch of 1602's Dr. Strange by Andy Kubert [Newsarama]
October is "Dr. Strange Not In The Present Day" Month [October Marvel releases at Comics Continuum]
1602, and going back in time in Thor: Vikings. Given that most months are "No Dr. Strange At All" Months, Neilalien will take it.
This San Diego Marvel report at Comic Book Resources says "JMS had a second panel later in the day where he spoke about many projects", but Neilalien can't find any Dr. Strange items in Comic-Con news yet.
Stan Lee developing Hef's Superbunnies Charlie's-Angels-like cartoon [Pulse]
Stan's getting blue in his old age, ain't he?
Sounds like Stan Lee held court at San Diego's Comics To Film panel [Pulse]
PR spam leads Neilalien to the official web site for Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book
Huge treatment of Spider-Man 2's Doctor Octopus at San Diego with preview images [Comics Continuum]
The comic genius who made superheroes human [standard Stan Lee fluff profile at BBC News via LinkMachineGo]
Another round of "pamphlets" v. graphic novels [TCJ Message Board] [Attentiondeficitdisorderly] [Johnny Bacardi Show] [Pop Culture Gadabout]
The Super Queers [on AlterNet, from the San Francisco Bay Guardian; via In Sequence]
She-Hulk: We like her when she's angry [GameGal.com via In Sequence]
Mickey Mouse Trying to Commit Suicide [via Dublog]
Investing in collectible comic books gets serious [AP at Newsday.com via WFC News]
World Famous Comics News has a listing today: Money, Politics and the Undoing of Stan Lee Media - Los Angeles Times. Neilalien would love to read this. Too bad the LA Times' website requires that you register for spam to do so.
Update: Viva la resistance!
Money, Politics and the Undoing of Stan Lee Media [LATimes.com; use: laexaminer/laexaminer]
Countdown To Wednesday debuted at San Diego [ICv2]
Review of Bob Kane's grave:
the most insane epitaph ever [via Mark Evanier]
Posted 20 July 02003 - Permalink
Huge Gutters this week: comics file-sharing; inkers losing an income source; that "Ditko Raven cover" thing all cleared up [Comic Book Resources]
Looking At June's Numbers [Newsarama]
Brian Hibbs responds to Nick Barrucci [Newsarama]
Proposing a fund to grow more and better comic shops.
Big talents in minicomics [St. Louis Post-Dispatch via xBlog]
Sketchbook love [Bloggity Blog-Blog-Blog]
Posted 14 July 02003 - Permalink
When Strippers Attack [Mark Evanier]
I know Stan pretty well, I think. The idea that he would go to a strip joint in Florida and get a lap dance strikes me as more incredible than anything he ever put in a comic book. Besides, what man ever really listens to an attractive woman while she's taking off her clothes?
Fantomas, The Elegant Menace [Barbelith Underground re: New X-Men's Fantomex and the Mexican comic book Fantomas (character originally from France)]
If you understand what the f!%# the Marvel Knights imprint is or ever was, you're smarter than Neilalien [Pulse posts Quesada's clear-up of the recent rumor explosion]
Are indie books discussed less due to infrequent publication, occasionally spotty distribution, dark personal buttons pushed, fear of looking dumb? [Big Sunny D]
Gail Simone's got Dave Cockrum's back; one Marvel brush-aside of "Felicia" [All The Rage]
Comics Community Comes to Fantagraphics' Rescue [TCJ excerpt]
Posted 13 July 02003 - Permalink
Fantastic Four #500 still eludes Neilalien's scanners. Sold out at two NYC comic book shops!? Damn you Marvel and your no-overprint collectible-creating anti-reader ass.
Stan Lee Signs Joint Venture With DIC; Will Star In First Cartoon Series [ICv2]
Recap of recent Stan Lee news [The Beat at Pulse]
Stan Lee equals Walt Disney and Jim Henson in name-branding.
Marvel Knights: Alive or dead? [at Comic Book Resources]
A Bill Of Goods; Or "Why The Death Of Criticism Couldn't Have Come At A Worse Time" By Gary Groth [essay excerpt at The Comics Journal]
The current crappy art of Queen & Country really killed that title for Neilalien.
LXG might just be good for Marvel no matter which way it goes? Either the studios see a string of successful action movies based on comic books continuing, or if it bombs, which seems likely, Avi Arad can go to those studios and say, "See, you need a Marvel property." If LXG really has any effect on Marvel's ability to do business either way.
Marvel Comics Movie Showdown [Box Office Mojo]
The Hulk's starting to sputter short of it's budget, but the international take should save it. Daredevil at $177 million- wow!
(The preceding was brought to you as a public service and equal-time response to any certain tiresome daily self-links to doomsday theories.)
Comic books are very addictive. They're like superheroine.
Posted 11 July 02003 - Permalink
The cabal is emailing like crazy: Go see Doctor Strange in Fantastic Four #500! Haven't gotten to the shop yet this week, dammit.
Another press hit for Thor: Vikings- and Doc's guest-starring role [Newsarama; spotted by Attentiondeficitdisorderly]
Michael Chabon Presents The Amazing Adventures of the Escapist at Dark Horse [Newsarama]
El Cazador looking better and better [Newsarama]
Historically accurate with no supernatural elements, too. Neat.
Uh oh, someone's gone and called something with a superhero in it "excellence", "height of the medium" or "good" again [Journalista]
Just as there are fanboy riots, there are snob-boy riots.
Posted 10 July 02003 - Permalink
Ex-Stripper Claims She Is True Creator Of Stripperella [South Florida's nbc6.net via Newsarama]
Stan what you have you gone and taken credit for now?!
Deodato Signs 3 Year Exclusive With Marvel [Newsarama]
But still no Witches book.
Posted 9 July 02003 - Permalink
The mysterious Felicia offers a Marvel Comics Doomsday Theory we can really fear [Lying In The Gutters on CBR]
Gutters also reports that an upcoming Ditko cover for Ariel Press' Raven 3, which Neilalien had not heard about!, was a gag, an imitation.
Paul O'Brien takes on the new orthodoxy of closed arcs good, ongoing stories bad [Ninth Art]
Girl finds two-inch penis on Incredible Hulk doll [Ananova via WFC News]
Professor aims to teach science through comic books [AP story on Philly Burbs via WFC News]
Preview of Ultimate Honky #1 [Pulse]
Yup, Neilalien's still laughing about that Silver Surfer movie proposal of Stan's.
Comic Book Galaxy has some Bendis/Oeming Ebay auctions up to raise some cash [Alan David Doane]
Posted 7 July 02003 - Permalink
The Worst Superhero Costumes of All Time [Retrocrush]
Required Reading: This week's Breakdowns
Excerpt from Stan Lee and the Rise and Fall of the American Comic Book [Comics Journal via Journalista]
It's Sweet-Daddy Wisdom, leader of New York's Black Mafia. He aims a hand gun at the Surfer. He commands the Surfer to land gently and get off the board. He says that everyone's been trying to get a line on him. And now he belongs to Sweet-Daddy Wisdom. Ol' Sweet-Daddy's gone and caught himself the world's choice prize. He's captured the ultimate honky.
Graphic Content: The Tragi-Comics Story of Fantagraphics [Village Voice via Pop Culture Gadabout]
Conventional Wisdom: Pac-A-Wac-A-Wowie [Ninth Art]
People who dress up at conventions are just people having a good time? Gasp! But then who will that leave for you to judge as lower than you on the geek hierarchy?
The Formerly Known As The Justice League miniseries started off great this week! Neilalien is thinking that the last ongoing DC Universe title he ever picked up, and one of the only ones ever, probably was Giffen and DeMatteis' Justice League. Now this is some good 80's nostalgia.
Posted 5 July 02003 - Permalink
A guy who's about to realize his life's dream and open up a comic book shop reads the rants and gloom at ICv2 and nervously asks, "Hey, you guys are just blowing off steam, right?" [ICv2]
Right? Hello? Bueller?
Epic creator ownership? 'Twas a mirage [Pulse]
Massive NYC thievery of Cartoon Network Teen Titans posters [NYPost.com; Ebay auction with pic]
Franklin's Findings is all over the The Corporate Shuffle
Posted 3 July 02003 - Permalink
Ditko Looked Up has updated, with a status of the Mysterious Traveler project and audio of the Art of Steve Ditko panel at last year's San Diego Comic Con
Marvel puts in a bid to buy Artisan Studios [Newsarama]
Wha? And Marvel would have to go into further debt to buy it, and then it also takes on Artisan's $85 million debt. Yikes. Getting cocky, boys. Maybe let's get that debt down first with a couple more movie deals/hits under the belt.
Steven Grant's voice of reason [Permanent Damage]
Better comics, better superheroes, less self-indulgent art comics, no more cowardly parodies, and something new and risky from creators.
Posted 2 July 02003 - Permalink
Doctor Strange is the court physician in 1602, Neil Gaiman's Elizabethan Marvel Universe [Newsarama] [ICv2]
Hmm, will Neilalien have to stick with convention and Y10K compliance and write this title as 01602 for the next year? Update: Decision: Will be writing it as "1602"- more like a title than a year.
One of the covers of Comic Book Marketplace #105 will be Dr. Strange [86th Floor Comics Advance Orderform for June 02003]
Neilalien's searching for a better source/link or an image. Email if you got it. The issue's slated for an August 02003 release.
Face It, Tiger- Everybody Wants To Be A Cat [Ninth Art]
Comics need more creators who want to be musicians, and fewer who want to be rock stars. Includes notable quote:
Indeed, if all the people who have ever sent Marvel a pitch for DR STRANGE had actually read DR STRANGE, the book would probably still be in print.
Dr. Strange to perform at Farina, IL July 4th celebration, 6 pm sharp [LeaderUnion.com (Vandalia, IL Leader Union)]
One of Neilalien's buddies (the man has a Song Blog- check that shit out!) suggests this link: hilarious Frank Cho Super Friends/Space Ghost Monkey Fight Club art [Ebay; larger image]
Marvel files another suit against Sony [Newsarama] [ICv2]
Marvel is claiming that Sony's hoarding Spidey and that means less license money.
Scott McCloud moves ahead with micropayments on online comics [Newsarama]
25 cents gets you The Right Number.
MoCCA 02003: Muttering At The Drawing Table [Ninth Art]
No, the title of this piece doesn't refer directly to Mike Mignola. :)
New Line to snag some superhero movie mojo: Shazam, Iron Man [Pulse]
Green with wonder: How will it [Marvel superhero movie madness] end? [Lileks via Four Color Hell]
With Paste Pot Pete in a megaplex near you in 02007.
Marvel comics were the best, because the heroes were neurotic wrecks. DC had squarejaw apple-pie heroes like that insufferable Superman, and every other issue was some stupid "What if?" premise... No, Marvel heroes were real. They had to sew their own costumes. They couldn't get dates. They were just like us, except for the costume-sewing part. (And the superpowers.) They were funny, tragic and thrilling, and they behaved like real people.
Amen. (Warning: This great Marvel praise quote is kind of taken out of context, since it's supposed to play into the column's premise that realism kills comic book superhero stories.)
Posted 1 July 02003 - Permalink
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