– Ever since Disney purchased Marvel Comics/Entertainment/Studios for over $4 billion in 2009, and officially owned them in 2010, they have often seemed like a massive, silent partner. Sure, Marvel cartoons air on Disney networks now, and Disney ponied up $114 million to purchase the distribution rights to “IRON MAN 3” from Paramount (and their logo was in the end credits for “THOR” and “CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER”). Marvel has been allowed to publish comics based around franchises officially owned by Disney, such as TRON, PIXAR reprints of BOOM! material, and “CASTLE”. This past week, Disney has finally done something “heavy handed” – virtually the entire marketing department of Marvel Studios has been fired, to presumably be replaced by Disney insiders (http://www.deadline.com/2011/08/disney-fires-marvels-marketing-department/). Only Kevin Feige, the supervisor of Marvel Studios’ marketing department, was spared. The official Disney line is that as they have their own film marketing team, such positions became redundant as now all Marvel Studios films are technically Disney films as well. Supposedly, this came after a meeting held at this marketing department a mere month ago in which it was promised “The Mouse wouldn’t clean house” in so many words. Supposedly, many of the staffers fired were not liked by Feige, and as he’ll continue to be in charge of marketing films such as “THE AVENGERS” next year, the overall results should stay the same. As Mel Brooks quipped in “HISTORY OF THE WORLD PART ONE”, “It’s good to be the king”. At any rate, while Disney continues to show no direct signs of influencing the Marvel Comics line, they are starting to become more heavy handed when it comes to the film department – likely the reason they bought Marvel in the first place. Sales from comic books are chump change compared to grosses from film box office tallies and merchandise deals from such things, after all.
This week, Fan Expo was held in Canada, and out of it came several other announcements from Marvel that effect actual comic books! Those include:
– Writer Fred Van Lente (INCREDIBLE HERCULES, CHAOS WAR, HERC, TASKMASTER, ALPHA FLIGHT) and artist Kyle Hotz (THE HOOD) are launching a five issue mini series in Feb. 2012 called DESTROYERS, which features the team of Beast, Thing, She-Hulk, A-Bomb (Rick Jones) and Karkas (some Deviant monster guy) uniting to…destroy things. It will also feature the original Destroyer, a hero from WWII whose replacements have appeared in THUNDERBOLTS, while the original was mostly ignored until Robert Kirkman and Corey Walker did a DESTROYER series for Marvel MAX a couple years back. Devil Dinosaur will also appear, as shown by the promo art. The team will battle “a mysterious threat”, which knowing Van Lente will likely be monstrous and odd (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/destroyers-fred-van-lente-110828.html). In an interview, Van Lente suggests that editor Bill Rosemann sold him on some elements of this premise. If only Drax The Destroyer could appear, the theme would be complete.
– Marvel will relaunch two more old CROSSGEN properties, the spy series KISS KISS BANG BANG, and the horror series ROUTE 666. CrossGen was bought out by Disney in 2004 and their properties are now licensed to Marvel as of the big purchase from 2010 (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-crossgen-adds-two-titles-110828.html). Marvel have already sold mini series for RUSE, SIGIL, and MYSTIC. While they have not sold too well as monthly comics, they are expected to be sold in trade and perhaps mined for film or TV material. Writer Peter Milligan and artist Roman Rosanas will be the creative team of KISS KISS BANG BANG, while writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Peter Nyguyen will handle ROUTE 666. An interview as well as exclusive art for the new ROUTE 666 can be seen at Newsarama (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/marvel-route-666-crossgen-110829.html).
– With eager Canadian fans as a panel audience, Marvel Comics announced that ALPHA FLIGHT, which started life as an 8 issue mini series (with a .1 prelude issue) written by Fred Van Lente and Greg Pak and drawn by Dale Englesham will become an ongoing series as of a 9th issue. It has been launched in the midst of FEAR ITSELF, and while it’s debut issue sold well enough to land a spot at the end of the Top 20 sales for June, sales for issue two fell drastically in July. Pak and Van Lente note that Wolverine will eventually guest-star in the book and that an international “Commonwealth Of Heroes” will be established, which will include British heroes from the canceled series CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI-13 (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/pak-van-lente-alpha-flight-110828.html). Given how poorly that HERC by these writers is selling, yet it has been solicited for a 10th issue and beyond, it could be considered brash thinking by Marvel to grant ALPHA FLIGHT an ongoing series nod. On the other hand, this could be a sign of Marvel gearing up for 52 new DC comics flooding the shelves – publishing more mini’s as well as perhaps extending more series. Unless sales get steady, this doesn’t meant ALPHA FLIGHT could last beyond a 12th issue – just that it’ll see a second or third arc. Still, this shows the biggest investment in the once stable franchise in about 5-6 years.
– At the FF TEAM SPIRIT panel, cover artist/character designer Marco Djurdjevic announced he had terminated his exclusive contract with Marvel Comics. While the panel was supposed to be about the FF by Jonathon Hickman and it’s creation, Djurdjevic instead made it about criticizing Marvel for hampering his designs with endlessly shifting standards for what they wanted, and making his work more irritating (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=34103). He claims design work for film and video games are more focused, and where he wishes to return – especially since there, he can bill hourly. He also quipped at Hickman for being late to his own panel. This, after the announcement that FF and FANTASTIC FOUR will exist as two comics, much as INCREDIBLE HULK and HULK do.
– Marvel have started to release new teaser images for REGENESIS, their brand for the X-MEN comics line after SCHISM ends and splits the team in two (UNCANNY X-MEN and WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN). The purpose? Showcase some team members who were previously in shadow. So far, Jubilee (now a vampire) and Storm will be in X-MEN by Victor Gischler and artist Will Conrad, while Emma Frost still seems to lead UNCANNY X-MEN, but with Magik and Colossus – who is now the Juggernaut, not to be confused with Cain Marko, who is still also the Juggernaut but now serves “The Serpent” in FEAR ITSELF – alongside her. Kieron Gillen and artist Carlos Pacheco helm that one. X-Man still will headline NEW MUTANTS while Sebastian Shaw will be in GENERATION HOPE, but expect that to change in the next news article. Newsarama will presumably update their article as Marvel reveals more (http://www.newsarama.com/comics/x-men-regenesis-choose-teasers-110830.html).
– Marvel released a promotional image for FEAR ITSELF: THE FEARLESS, a mini series to spin out of the event in October. The first issue spotlights Sin/Red Skull and Valkyrie, and will be written by Matt Fraction, Cullen Bunn and Chris Yost, with art by Mark Bagley and Paul Pelletier (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=34161).
– Marvel released preview artwork for their series of SEASON ONE original graphic novels that feature the founding X-Men, Daredevil, and the Fantastic Four (http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=34154).
This Week’s Sprite Comic is HERE: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v71/TrenchcoatMask/Sprite%20Comics/Julossus.jpg
Last Week’s Marvel Comics News – http://joltleft.com/comic-books-in-new-york/marvel-comics-news-8-23-11-avengers-footage-ghost-rider-2-trailer-thor-dies
This Week’s DC Comics News – http://joltleft.com/comic-books-in-new-york/dc-comics-news-8-30-11-deadman-tv-show-ny-post-covers-batgirl-jsa-returns
This Week’s Indie Comics News – http://joltleft.com/comic-books-in-new-york/indie-comics-news-8-30-11-comixology-3-0-the-damned-tv-sin-city-2