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Posts tagged with “Comics”

Because Batman Always Wins

At least this time; unlike sometimes in the comics, he didn’t have to cheat.

(That we know of…)

Three days after Action Comics #1, the first appearance of Superman, sold for a cool $1 million at auction, word comes that Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman, sold for $1,075,500 at auction.

A rare, high-quality copy of Detective Comics #27, which marked the first appearance of Batman in 1939, sold for $1,075,500 on Thursday. Heritage Auctions of Dallas sold the comic book to an unnamed bidder on behalf of an anonymous collector.

Seven bidders from three countries participated in the combination live and online auction, taking about eight minutes to decide on a final price — an “eternity” in auction time, said Heritage Auctions president Greg Rohan.

On Monday, ComicConnect claimed to sell a rare copy of Action Comics #1 to an anonymous collector for $1 million.

Action Comics #1, which debuted in 1938, marked the first appearance of Superman. A lesser-quality copy set the previous comic book record, racking up $317,000 at auction last year.

Vincent Zurzolo, who co-owns ComicConnect.com with founder Stephen Fishler, said while his Superman sale only held the record for three days, he was very happy to see two comic books selling for more than $1 million.

“Records are meant to be broken,” and this week will forever go down in comic book history, he said.

Both Detective Comics #27 and Action Comics #1 were originally published by National Allied Publications, a company that later became Detective Comics and then DC Comics.

Comics from the 30s continue to be a rare commodity which will also sell very well at auction, mostly because of two factors: 1) There are few that survived World War II paper drives which eliminated their numbers, 2) Those few that have survived (rumors are the Action Comic #1 has less than 100 copies left) are in various states, which has made “grading” them very difficult and “Mint” issues even rarer.

Makes you wonder how much a graded copy of Timely’s Marvel Comics #1 from 1939 (First appearance of Ka-Zar, Namor – The Submariner, The Human Torch) would bring in on the auction block.  That one sold at market for a half-million a decade ago.

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The “Mouse” Engulfs the “Spider”

A moment of silence please…

Walt Disney Co said on Monday it plans to buy Marvel Entertainment Inc for $4 billion in a deal that would add characters like Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four to its entertainment empire.

Disney is striking the biggest media deal of the year so far — one that will unite the Incredible Hulk and Mickey Mouse — at a time when the media business is struggling to cope with spending cutbacks by both consumers and advertisers.

Marvel, however, has a stable of wildly popular characters that it has brought to the big screen in home-run films like “Iron Man.” A sequel, “Iron Man 2” is due to hit the theaters next year, while “Thor,” “Spider-Man 4” and the first “Avenger” movie are slated for a 2011 release.

For Disney, movies like those should help address a key area of concern among investors: How it can better reach more young males.

Indeed, Disney has long been a blockbuster brand with girls thanks to characters like “Hannah Montana,” “Cinderella” and “Snow White,” but has struggled to achieve the same kind of success with boys.

To do so, Disney agreed to pay $50 per share in cash and stock for Marvel, a premium of 29 percent to Marvel’s closing stock price of $38.65 on Friday. The deal has been approved by the boards of both companies.

Marvel’s shares shot up to $48.85 in early trade.

On a sheer business decision, this is the smartest thing both companies could do.  Marvel is often still seen as “Just a Comic Book Company” while rival DC Comics is part of the Time Warner empire.  So, looking at it that way, Marvel would have been stupid to turn this deal down.  They get to keep their characters, continue doing what they’re doing, and can consolidate a mess of overlapping entities with the Walt Disney Company.

Marvel over the past three years has evolved into “a comic book company which sells its characters for movie rights,” into “a film company that makes comics” as it has done a spectacular job with not just the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises, but made hits out of ‘lower tier’ characters like Iron Man, The Punisher (at least the one with Thomas Jane), Ghost Rider, and the Hulk films.  Many people may not know this, but “Iron Man” was the first film done by the company’s newest division, Marvel Studios and was a hit beyond all expectations.

With the Marvel acquisition, Disney gains a built-in infrastructure it can now use to cancel and consolidate their still (though barely) operating comic books and adds a stable of characters for movies which have a proven track record of success at the Box Office in demographics they have a hard time with.  Marvel gains a built-in animation studio at their disposal, a well-known movie studio with its own infrastructure, a series of TV channels to use their characters in programs for, and enough synergy to make you hurl.

This deal is as win-win as you’re going to get when it comes to media marriages.

IGN.com, the video game and comics news website, posts part of the press release on the news of the marriage.  Nobody in the corporate structure seems to be unhappy with what’s going on.

Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger explains:

    “This transaction combines Marvel’s strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters including Iron Man, Spider-Man, X-Men, Captain America, Fantastic Four and Thor with Disney’s creative skills, unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties, and a business structure that maximizes the value of creative properties across multiple platforms and territories. Ike Perlmutter and his team have done an impressive job of nurturing these properties and have created significant value. We are pleased to bring this talent and these great assets to Disney.”

Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel, adds:

    “Disney is the perfect home for Marvel’s fantastic library of characters given its proven ability to expand content creation and licensing businesses. This is an unparalleled opportunity for Marvel to build upon its vibrant brand and character properties by accessing Disney’s tremendous global organization and infrastructure around the world.”

Early indications are Disney will allow Marvel Entertainment to maintain its current leadership in both corporate and creative and use them expand Marvel properties across the global Disney empire.

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“That’s His Power?”

Hilarious video of Jimmy Fallon going around the San Diego Comic-Con pitching his idea of “Recharger Man,” the man who recharges things.

My favorite part is DC Comics writer Geoff Johns (Green Lantern, The Flash, Justice Society of America, Blackest Night) going, “This easily goes into my Top 5 Worst Pitches of All-Time.”

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Bonus Cartoon of the Day

Since “FoxTrot” is no longer daily and just for Sundays only, “Pearls Before Swine” has taken its place as my favorite daily comic.


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Marvel Scores a Big Name Actress for “Thor”

After last week’s announcement of Ryan Reynolds for DC’s upcoming “Green Lantern” movie, Marvel Studios answers with the announcement that Natalie Portman will be Jane Foster in “Thor.”

Thor hits the big screen summer 2011.

Queen Padme to be Jane Foster? Such is the case as Marvel Studios announced today that Natalie Portman will star opposite Chris Hemsworth in Kenneth Branagh’s adaptation of Thor. The Academy-award nominated actress will play the nurse, Jane Foster, who becomes Thor’s first love. Filming is set to begin in early 2010 for a May 20, 2011 release. Portman will next be seen in Jim Sheridan’s drama Brothers opposite Jake Gyllenhaal and Tobey Maguire. While she was nominated for a supporting actress for her role in Mike Nichols’ Closer, Portman is best known to sci-fi fans for her role as Queen Padme Amidala in the Star Wars Trilogy.

For those who aren’t comic book geeks, Jane Foster is the love interest of Thor’s human alter-ego, Dr. Donald Blake.

Personally, I think it’s a good pick.  There were rumors Jessica Biel was in the running and would be named for the role instead, but Portman is by far the more superior actress.

As for Kenneth Branagh directing, expect this to be the “Shakespeare-sounding Thor” of days yore.  Lots of “Thee’s,” “Thy’s,” and so on.

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Steve Rogers to Return

Since the #1 Rule of Comics: “Bucky Stays Dead” has been violated for some time [See: Winter Soldier], this isn’t the shock one would believe it would be.  But after killing him by the assassin’s bullet of Sharon Carter, brainwashed by the Red Skull, it looks like Marvel Comics will be bringing the original “Captain America,” Steve Rogers, back from the dead.

They only have a movie to sell after all.

Captain America is making a miraculous recovery.

Two years after Marvel Comics knocked off its famous star-spangled superhero, he’s gonna be back and better than ever.

“The original Captain America is finally coming back,” Marvel Comics editor in chief Joe Quesada told the Daily News. “We’ve been patiently planning for this moment for 21/2 years.”

Captain America will return next month in a five-comic book series, “Captain America Reborn.”

The dramatic return is coming not a moment too soon for fans of the superhero and his alter ego, Steve Rogers.

Marvel writer Ed Brubaker was stunned at the global reaction when Captain America was gunned down on the steps of a courthouse.

“It was crazy,” said Brubaker. “I had shock jocks calling me up at 5:30 in the morning – they got my home number somehow – and they were like, ‘Ed, tell us it’s not true, tell us Captain America is not dead.'”

It’s been 68 years since creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby introduced Rogers – a scrawny kid who is injected with a “Super Soldier” serum to fight the Nazis – to an adoring fan base.

Captain America has appeared in more than 210 million comics in 75 countries since then, and a big-budget movie is scheduled for 2011.

“He’s a pop culture icon,” said Bryan Hitch, artist for “Captain America Reborn.”

“[Captain America] at heart is a bit of an old-fashioned guy – he looks like Brad Pitt, but smells like your granddad.”

Death in comics, of course, is almost never as final as it is in real life.

Marvel’s archrival, DC Comics, killed Superman in 1993, only to bring him back a year later.

There’s still no word about how creators plan to bring Captain America back to life.

One thing’s for sure – it’ll definitely be a hit.

“Consumers are responding to it like crazy,” said Gerry Gladston, co-owner of Midtown Comics in Manhattan. “They don’t feel like it’s a stunt.”

The book is scheduled to ship on July 22; two years before the opening of “The First Avenger: Captain America” hits movie theaters in 2011.

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