– Coming this May, Disney/Pixar and Marvel are joining forces to launch a magazine called DISNEY PIXAR PRESENTS which will offer comic book stories based on Disney & Pixar’s best known characters – the cast of “CARS” are due up. Naturally, this means that Boom! Studios license to handle comics for Pixar characters at least is over. Such as move was seen as inevitable, as it makes little sense for Disney to own Marvel yet have a third party publisher sell comics based on their properties forever. The magazines will initially sell reprinted or unsold material from the BOOM! comics (http://www.newsarama.com/film/marvel-disney-pixar-magazine-110216.html). Boom!’s MUPPETS comics were already canceled and one would expect their other Disney licenses to not be renewed.
– Last year, Marvel’s “number two” Tom Brevoort told internet fans that Alpha Flight would not be published in the near future – five days before Marvel announced a CHAOS WAR: ALPHA FLIGHT one shot. Now, IGN has announced that the series will return to publication this summer – yet Marvel brass are puzzled at why none of their statements are ever taken at face value. At any rate, IGN reveals that the writing team behind INCREDIBLE HERCULES, Greg Pak and Fred Van Lente, will join former CAPTAIN AMERICA and FANTASTIC FOUR artist Dale Eaglesham will unite to sell ALPHA FLIGHT as an 8 issue mini series starting in June, but will have a #.1 issue sold in May to lead up to it (http://comics.ign.com/articles/115/1150123p1.html). The events stem out of CHAOS WAR, in which the founding members of the team who had been kills years earlier in NEW AVENGERS are now resurrected – except for Puck, who is busy in Hell in WOLVERINE right now (literally). Eaglesham, a Canadian himself, was proud to work on Marvel’s team for the land up north. The series is starting from scratch and seems to be mostly ignoring some of the (dodgy) material from recent years.
– Marvel has announced their BIG SHOTS initiative for the summer of 2011 that will see the relaunches of MOON KNIGHT, THE PUNISHER, and DAREDEVIL to new ongoing titles (http://marvel.com/news/story/15230/marvel_unveils_big_shots). The creative team for the first, Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev, have been announced, and their debut will be in May. THE PUNISHER will kick off in June with DAREDEVIL in July. Creative teams for both are unknown. Marvel has kept Punisher in print under their MAX line for years, but it is a modest seller and they often launch a secondary title that takes place firmly in the Marvel universe. Daredevil’s ongoing title has been taken over by BLACK PANTHER, similar to how Hercules took over INCREDIBLE HULK and Daken took over WOLVERINE (which resulted in a great run and a sales disaster, respectively). Matt Murdock himself is in a DAREDEVIL REBORN mini series, completing his rehabilitation from being possessed by a demon, going mad and then being killed (the usual). Daredevil’s single story premise for the past 25 years has been “his life is destroyed and he must rebuild from scratch”, so expect DAREDEVIL to be the tail end of that. To be fair, the basic premise of “lawyer in Hell’s Kitchen by day and vigilante by night” has been mostly scrapped for the past 3-4 years, so there is something to returning to it and making it seem fresh. It will be curious how Marvel decides to focus on Punisher, given that Marvel Studios has regained the film rights for him from LION’S GATE – although to be honest, he has had almost more under performing films released than Chris Kattan.
– Marvel has released more teasers for their upcoming comics. There is another “WHO ARE THE WORTHY?” image that seems to be part of a set that shows various Marvel heroes, and villains, fighting over fallen Norse hammers (two of which seem belong to Thor and Beta Ray Bill). The Thunderstrike, the mace owned by Eric Masterson (and claimed by his son Kevin in an excellent mini series shipping lately) is not part of this hot potato match (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30912). Marvel also released a teaser for AMAZING SPIDER-MAN’s arc in April, that is called “Infested” and will feature guest artists and lead to something called “Spider Island” (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=30920). The body positions of that image are amusing if looked at in depth.
– There are some new tidbits from Sony’s “AMAZING SPIDER-MAN” filming. Iffan Khan, who has been cast in the film as Nels Van Adder, speaks to NDTV and states that he plays a “pivotal” role in the film as a villain (http://movies.ndtv.com/movie_story.aspx?section=Movies&Id=ENTEN20110169425&keyword=bollywood&subcatg=MOVIESINDIA&nid=85398). In the comics, Van Adder became the Proto-Goblin, inserted as a test subject for Norman Osborn and Mendel Stromm’s Goblin formula via retroactive continuity in the past. It is unknown if Khan would undergo a similar transformation in this film, as he expressed a lack of a desire to play a “masked villain” or “another creature” in prior interviews (http://www.indianexpress.com/news/global-desi/746706/0). Central Casting is looking for more extras, including “romantic teen couples” and a “science teacher” as they film in L.A. (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/126459-new-spider-man-extras-casting), although the film’s secret title is “Fiona’s Tale” (perhaps selected by someone who liked “SHREK” too much). Producer Avi Arad has complicated matters by stating in ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY that this film is “not a comeback” and seems to profess that the film somehow takes place in between the continuity of the Sam Raimi trilogy (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/126829-the-amazing-spider-man-not-exactly-a-reboot). This seems to be a bizarre statement given what is known about the casting that doesn’t quite fit with the Raimi trilogy – specifically, the casting of Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) as the lead when Peter, in the Raimi films, doesn’t meet her until he is already in college and been Spider-Man for years. Martin Sheen has been cast as Ben Parker, and Sally Field is a younger May Parker than Rosemary Harris ever was. The initial inkling is that Sony doesn’t want to announce this is a reboot either for fear of audience backlash (the “INCREDIBLE HULK” and “SUPERMAN RETURNS” reboots under performed) or because, much as Fox does with their X-MEN films, new movies are extra excuses to sell another box set collection. The irony is such needless complications are attempts to out-wit the audience, which is more of a danger to a film’s success than a reboot. “BATMAN BEGINS” was a reboot (albeit after eight years), and that performed very well. It also flies in the face of Sony’s desire to separate things from the Sam Raimi films after being spooked by the mixed reviews “SPIDER-MAN 3” got. The director, Marc Webb, also seemed to confirm it was a reboot as well; perhaps Arad should return to playing with his Toy Biz action figures (he was Marvel’s toy man before becoming a film producer, which perhaps says a lot about how films are seen in Hollywood). Big Fan Boy hears a rumor about a climatic fight sequence in the script that involves SWAT team members being turned into “lizard men”, which at least implies the poorly kept secret that Rhys Ifans’ Dr. Curt Conners becomes the Lizard (http://bigfanboy.com/wp/?p=6423). Honestly, why is Sony keeping that a secret? Audiences have been asking for Lizard since “SPIDER-MAN 2” ended (over six years ago). Buzz is GOOD when it is POSITIVE; but film studios are so used to bad buzz, because of inferior products, that they are often stuck in damage control mode at all times.
– The new official trailer for “THOR”, which debuts on May 6th, has hit the internet and offers more thunder-striking, hammer throwing goodness (http://www.superherohype.com/news/articles/126683-the-new-thor-trailer-arrives).
– Writer/Director Shane Black, the man behind “LETHAL WEAPON” and “THE MONSTER SQUAD”, is in “final negotiations” to direct “IRON MAN 3” for Marvel Studios in 2013 (http://www.deadline.com/2011/02/shane-black-to-direct-marvels-iron-man-3/). It is unknown if he would also write the screen play, but it seems to be a missed opportunity if he doesn’t. He directed Robert Downey Jr. in “KISS KISS BANG BANG”, the 2005 film that helped revive his career before the success of “IRON MAN” three years later. This is at least a confirmation that last week’s rumor was close to true.
– Director Darren Aronofsky gives more details of “THE WOLVERINE” for Pop Corn Biz (http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/blogs/popcornbiz/Darren-Aronofsky-Theres-Something-to-Be-Done-in-Wolverines-World-That-Hasnt-Been-Before-115783699.html), in which he states that his film, which will reprise Hugh Jackman as Wolverine for the fourth time, “is not a sequel” to the X-Men films, although he does imply that it takes place “in that world” and does what hasn’t been done yet. As in, a good Wolverine film? Plot details are scarce, but it takes place in Japan and will likely feature Mariko Yoshida and Silver Samurai. At any rate, here is the nitty gritty. Fox has to produce an X-Men film every few years in order to maintain their license of the property from Marvel. Otherwise, it would be lost or they would have to renegotiate it; since Disney owns Marvel, Fox knows that is a struggle they would not win. This is why every X-Men film, even one with Wolverine in the title and about his origin, HAS to feature as many X-Men characters in the title and have “X-MEN” in the title itself. The film that Fox is releasing that fits this criteria is “X-MEN: FIRST CLASS”, which hits theaters this June. That kicks the can for “make an X-film for the license deadline” for a few years, so “THE WOLVERINE” could only feature Wolverine and Fox does not have to fret about their overall X-License; in fact, they may need to have Wolverine in a film to keep the license for him as well. Many fans feel that Fox deserves to lose the license and the X-Men films, at best, need a major reboot, but so long as Fox sees it as viable, they will not let go. They capitalized on Marvel’s bankruptcy in the late 90’s to attain the license and they’re not about to relinquish it now that Marvel is worth over $4 billion to Disney. At the very least, Fox is willing to take on some fans head on – they are announcing a promotion to “X-MEN: FIRST CLASS” in which Facebook fans can pose questions to the cast and crew of the film via the social network (http://www.facebook.com/xmenmovies?v=app_147204825340005).
– Total Film has an interview with Chris Evans, star of “CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER” about the role (http://www.totalfilm.com/news/chris-evans-talks-to-total-film-about-taking-on-captain-america). He states the pressure of living up to the iconic character while also not being lost to it, as well as the demands of a six picture commitment – “I could be doing this until I am 40” he notes at one point. At the very least, he comes off as more humble about it than Ryan Reynolds is about playing “GREEN LANTERN”.
Last Week’s Marvel News – http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-for-2-14-11-spidey-joins-the-4-gets-a-movie-title-more
This Week’s DC Comics News – http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-for-2-21-11-tv-s-next-wonder-woman-found-cgi-kilowog-revealed
This Week’s Indie Comics News – http://glowbass.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-news-for-2-21-11-st-marks-comics-fire-forbidden-planet-moves-more