Say what you like, but it’s a pretty crazy week where the news of Spider-Man 3 premiering (admittedly, in Tokyo, but still) is nothing compared with the initial news and then confirmation of Spider-Man: The Musical:
The Spider-Man musical will mark the first time a Marvel character has been the subject of a show on Broadway. In addition to co-producing the show, Hello Entertainment is arranging all financing for the project.
“Marvel continues to look to every entertainment medium to support the enduring popularity of our Super Heroes, and we are thrilled with the talent on board. The all star creative team — led by Julie Taymor, Bono and The Edge — is second to none and we are certain this project will delight fans of Spider-Man and new audiences alike,” said David Maisel, Chairman, Marvel Studios, whose previous Broadway credits include spearheading the 1999 Tony Award-winning Best Musical Fosse.
It may be the first time that a Marvel character has been the subject of a Broadway show, but not the first time a superhero has hit the lights of Broadway…
Mind you, if you were Marvel, you’d want to show off that Julie Taymor and U2 thought you were cool, as well. Otherwise, your biggest news story of the week would be that you suck at trademark and copyright law:
So – Marvel’s coming out with a new Champions series in July, written by Matt Fraction, with art by Barry Kitson, right?
As Heroic Publishing President Dennis Mallonee has been quietly pointing out, Marvel doesn’t own the trademark to a comic book that can be called “Champions.” Heroic Publishing, Inc. in fact, does… Are the solutions for Marvel? Sure – but the majority of them revolve around changing the name of their July-lunching series, according to legal experts contacted by Newsarama. As Heroic is looking to continue using the name, licensing is probably out of the picture, as that would put two books on the shelves with the same name. Though, all of this is not to say that Marvel can’t use the name “Champions” for the team – both Marvel and DC have a “Captain Marvel” after all. But to get around that, anything from DC that features the character has the name “Shazam” on the cover, as DC does not hold the trademark for “Captain Marvel,” but it does for “Shazam.”
To dodge the bullet, the book’s title would have to change to something that’s not Champions, such as Avengers: Initiative: That California Team of Heroes or something that rolls off the tongue better.
Marvel declined to comment on this story.
Possibly because any comment would include the words “Oh, shit.” Words that could also be used to describe this press release they put out on Thursday:
Marvel is proud to announce that IRON MAN #16 has sold out at Diamond, marking the second consecutive sellout for the bold new direction of the titular hero—now he’s the director of S.H.I.E.L.D.! Under the pen of Daniel and Charlie Knauf along with phenomenal pencils of Roberto De La Torre—not to mention stunning covers by Adi Granov—it’s no surprise that Iron Man is the talk of the town.
What may be a surprise is that Adi Granov isn’t the cover artist for #16; that’d be Gerald Parel. But it’s obviously very hard for anyone at Marvel to know who’s working on their own books; they’re too busy checking up on whether they can legally publish certain titles anymore…
(For those looking for more Spider-Man 3 news, to get way back to that subject, producer Grant Curtis spoke about the movie on Friday.)
DC, meanwhile, bravely moves into 2005 with its promotional campaign for new weekly book Countdown, running the first two issues for free on MySpace and launching their own DC Nation MySpace page. Dan Didio stopped in to talk to Matt Brady on the mothership about Countdown before disappearing to brush up on his chat-up lines for underage emo girls wanting to show their cleavage on camera:
This week is a kickoff week in a lot of ways for the DCU… This is due largely to the fact that we have World War III coming together, and closing those final doors to One Year Later in enough of a satisfying manner for the fans who were left wondering about the changes. Now, as we move into the new stories, most of the previous questions have been answered. We’ve also got the Nightwing Annual coming out which wraps up another big part of the One Year Later storyline, so it’s a lot of big stuff coming down this week, and things are only going to keep getting bigger as we roll towards the end of 52, we’ve got Amazons Attack starting, and then, into Countdown.
He then added “LOL u r so HAWT,” much to the embarrassment of all involved.
(What was so special about this week for DC’s books? Troy Brownfield laid it all out for you, just one of the public services that the Best Shots team offered this week when it came to DC continuity – They also gave you background you may need for Countdown throughout the week, as well. Also, Shane Davis talked about his work on the equally-”important” Justice League of America #8 and the drawbacks of such a high-profile gig: “Of course I was not able to draw Batman in a tutu, but I was pretty much free to do my thing.”)
What else happened this week…? Well, the Eisner Award nominees were announced, Zenescope issued a press release that I really, really wanted to see some kind of follow-up on (I mean, come on: “Due to undisclosed legal reasons” is the kind of thing that you can’t just drop in a press release and not make people curious about…), another webformat for print comic archive launched, and a Valiant fan wants to read a comic so badly he makes the comic happen himself:
Gould had read about the cancelled Secret Weapons comic years ago on a page at ValiantComics.com that listed a bunch of books that were solicited but never released. The book would stay in Gould’s mind for many years when he finally came across the inked pages on EBay, finding them for as little as ten dollars a page. Gould would bring together eighteen of twenty-one pages and started to realize that he could actually put together an unpublished Valiant story. Continuing with EBay and the Valiant Comics message boards, Gould would purchase or trade for the entire colored Secret Weapons #22 story, along with the original script. All but two colored pages would be found and Gould, determined to have a full colored story, contacted colorist Mike McGuire who was also originally colored the story. McGuire agreed to color the two remaining pages and Gould, after failing to connect with the book’s original writer Dan Jolley, would write three pages of dialogue missing from the actual script. After six months, Gould found he had his comic book.
Now, that’s either dedication or insanity… Newsarama being Newsarama, there were also a number of interviews throughout the week. Abby Denson talked Tough Love, only for posters to complain about her artwork, Riccardo Burchielli expounded upon his DMZ artwork, Paul Jenkins discussed Sidekick, his creator-owned superhero semi-parody book, and Jason Rodriguez talked about Blog@ favorite Postcards, the upcoming anthology that he’s putting together:
I took my girlfriend (now my fiancée) to the Hershey Spa for her birthday. The place is weird. It’s this lavish hotel in the middle of a touristy town built on chocolate. Busy highway running through it and a worn down amusement park is the city’s main attraction. I’m sitting at a bar drinking chocolate martinis while my girl is getting wrapped up in chocolate and baked in an oven. Last thing on my mind is comics. She drags me to some antique shop – I hated antique shops at the time. In an attempt to get me off of her back she directs me to a shoebox filled with used postcards. I pull one out; it has a 50-cent price tag on it, and I give it a read.
It’s from an army Private named Earl to his mom. 1942. He’s saying his brother, Lehr, just shipped out and he should be going soon, as well. I thought to myself, “Damn, this guy probably never came back. This could be the last thing he ever wrote.” Coupled with the fact that I could buy it from a dusty shoebox for 50-cents, the idea for this anthology and my passion for postcard collecting hit me instantly.
I spent an hour digging through shoeboxes, purchased about ten cards. Ironically, Robin was hurrying me up – she wanted to go to dinner and all I wanted to do was search through more postcards. We got back to the hotel and I’m on the laptop instantly. I write five close friends and say, “This is it, this is what I’m doing.”
Maybe the most interesting news of the week actually came from last week. Retailers from all across the country converged on Las Vegas April 12 – 13, you see; not for the sex or the sin, or even to find out if Greg Rucka had really killed Joe Quesada and if that meant that the Joe Q who does Joe Fridays every week was a zombie or a new model LMD, but for the first meeting of ComicsPro. In addition to the official press release about the event, Friday also saw Brian Hibbs writing about the meeting:
Both solidarity and humility were well on display from every attendee. We didn’t always agree on every topic, no far from it, but the dissenters on whatever topic made their views known, and then moved on to the next topic. There were no prima donna reactions, there were no “yes but my individual or regional concern trumps that” moments, there wasn’t any of the gamesmanship or unhealthy competition that you can sometimes see when retailers get together. None of that.
And that was extremely heartening to me. It makes me think that if we achieve the membership goals we discussed, can make the first steps towards getting an Executive Director (so that getting work done isn’t dependent upon dipping into members “free time” — that is, when we’re not otherwise occupied by running our stores), can grow both the breadth and the width of our membership, that we’re really going to be able to make a big difference in Direct Market retailer’s businesses… All in all, probably the most productive Industry “thing” I’ve ever attended in 18 years of owning my own store.
There’s something very exciting about this meeting, and what ComicsPro could mean to the industry as a whole – Yes, it’s always good news when books sell out, but it’s the retailers who are the ones who make that happen. They’re the ones who take the hit when books are late or are underprinted or whatever, and with the exception of Marvel-suin’ Hibbs, they’re all too often left defenseless against publishers playing stupid tricks as well as ranting readers. The idea that they could find strength through solidarity makes me a happy little fanboy, and isn’t that what comics is all about?