Saturday, July 24, 2010

SDCC: Hasbro Marvel toy panel

I'm way too into Hasbro Marvel toys, with my main gripe being I can't find the ones I want easily at all.

So the best news for me was that re-orders for all of the current series figures.

My favorite lines are the Marvel Universe 3.75" scale figs, the Super Hero Squad, and the too-little-loved-of-late Marvel Legends figures.

2011 Finishing Out:

Super Hero Squad - Helicarrier, quinjet, and S.H.I.E.L.D. car! Battle for Asgard TRU exclusive!

Marvel Universe - there will be a dark purple variant Galactus.

2011 previews:

Big focus on Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America.

New toys based on the upcoming Avengers animated series.

6-inch Iron Man Legends will debut, and be a mix of movie and classic comic book figures.

There will be Captain America toys, which will be fine, if I don't have to buy one with a sculpt of Chris Evans face.

The only Super Hero Squad thing that hit me excited was The Blackbird vehicle.

For Marvel Universe, Olivier Coipel is the packaging artist.

Cyclops! Apocalypse! Spider-Man 2099! Spider Woman! Original Avengers 3-pack (including tiny Ant Man and The Wasp)! Frost Giant and Loki giant pack (the former is _sick_)! Bill Foster and Ragnorok Clone Thor! Sentinel and Wolverine giant pack!

2012 Previews:

2012 will see the return of the Marvel Legends line "in a big way"!

No commitment to the build-a-figure (BAF) plans, which I'm fine with.

There will obviously be products for all three Marvel movies.

And there were some teases for Marvel Universe 3.75" scale vehicles.

SDCC: Marvel Cup o' Joe

Always entertaining, witty, and snarky.

The panel was a bit canniballized by Marvel's own Thor / Kenneth Brannaugh event at the same time.

Panelists included Joe Quesada, Arune Singh, Axel Alanso, Brian Michael Bendis, Matt Fraction, C.B. Cbulski, Jeph Loeb, and Mark Pannicia.

Harkins and Jeff Parker will be taking over Hulk.

Avengers 3 will debut in 2011, with art by Ed McGuiness.

There will be a Tron: Evolution backstory series.

There was a logo teaser due in 2011, that I sadly didn't recognize.

There was a bit about the Disney acquisition of Marvel, how Marvel is given the economy to do what they do well, and some complementary words about Disney / ABC CEO Bob Iger as a leader.  Very positive, encouraging stuff, but I'm biased.

There were a lot of teases to teases for the 4:15 Avengers panel, which I'll be missing, because of our own Disney Epic Mickey panel.

Quesada gave a great summary of the decline of the comics industry in the late 90s, and Marvel's amazingly paced rebuilding of each individual character and book before getting too ambitious with cross-overs. I also like his making sure cross-overs like Civil War contained in the core series, without forcing people to by non-core books.

Fraction is hilarious (in-person or via Twitter), and teased there may be more Iron Fist in his future ("Though to be fair, I have dumb ")

Any Disney characters they wish you could write?

Fraction: Balu the Bear (for his daughter)
Alonso: Goofy (and Deadpool)
Quesada: "A story where Mephisto breaks up Mickey and Minnie; it's called 'One Mouse in Time'."

Friday, July 23, 2010

SDCC: Iron Man anime debut

I was able to attend the SDCC premier of the Iron Man anime series debut, and it was gorgeous, and exceeded my expectations - and I'm a comics and anime fan.

The ongoing series (one of 4) will broadcast on G4 television in 2011, be set in Japan, produced by the inimitable Studio Madhouse, and dialog will be in Japanese with American subtitles.

The 24-minute episode revolves around Tony Stark's humanitarian initiative, his desire to retire iron Man, and his introduction of a new set of armor, and ... other stuff (I hate spoilers). My only wish is that they'd showed opening and ending credits. We anime fans eat that up.

Iron Man is the first series, Wolverine is the second, X-Men the third, and Blade the fourth.

While nothing was said about the timing of the other three series, head of programming John Rieber did say there will be a rolling release of the various series.

They did show world-premier concept images from the Wolverine anime, including Logan, Yuriko, and Omega Red (Jeph: "Doesn't he look bad-ass?").

SCOOP: After the panel, while I was thanking Jeph Loeb for, well, basically being him, he said the four series all occur in one world, and the characters will show up in each others series. Teh shizzle - You read it here first.

And as a meta commentary, observing them the last few days, so many companies could learn so much from Marvel and execs like Loeb:

* How to create new expressions of an IP, authentic to the property, and authentic to the expression itself.

* How to tease and launch a new product - especially at Comic-Con.

* How to run a comic-con media reveal panel - gracefully handle technical challenges in stride, manage questions, and keep things moving.

* How to be confident in your art, and be cool, professional, pleasant, and personable, without revealing things they shouldn't, and without being douchey.

* More, but if I say it I'll look like I'm sucking up to the family, and/or I'll get myself trouble.


Thursday, July 22, 2010

SDCC: Welcome to the Digital Age

Marvel is wicked impressive in it's transmedia penetration (I hate the former new buzzword, so I added the second to make it sound dirty).

Anyway, I didn't want to miss this panel, covering, the "Your Universe" initiative, Motion Comics, and more.

There was a convention preview of a Thor & Loki motion digital comic,which will coincide with the release date of the film, which looks amazing.

Next up was the browser-based Marvel Super Hero Squad game, which I checked out earlier today, and looks really fun for kids. Those Amazing Society developers are talented folks.

Then on to digital comics, which are doing well on Apple platforms, but no info about whether the experience will get any less painful on Netbooks.

There was also an announcement of Ultimate Thor releasing day and date in print and digital form. The announcement fell a little flat with the audience, which is too bad, because it's a pretty big deal, along the lines of Steve Soderberg / Mark Cuban day and date experiments.

During the QA, the panel revealed the more mature Marvel online video game from Gazillion is still under way.

There was an interesting diversion about digital comics creating a "discovery forum" for comics that's lacking since comics have moved away from non-specialty shop newsstands.

SDCC: DC Comics' 75th Anniversary panel

I attended the DC Comics' 75th Anniversary panel, which had amazing, amazing panelists, who got to share fun, unknown anecdotes, and "turning point moments" for the publisher and the industry. (All moderated by Paul Levitz.)

Jerry Robinson has been with DC in one form another for 70 of those 75 years. Stunning. He shared that Citizen Kane had a big creative juices-type influence on the early, intimate staff.

Mr. Robinson talked about the future of the comics from the view of the past, where he recognized foreign cultures more appreciated comic art as fine art, and needed to be preserved, and he started galleries and movements to support that.

Then on to Dennis O'Neill, whose Batman first captured me. Neat nod to Jenette Kahn, and her encouraging the DC staff to own their art form proudly, and to champion it. (He's been doing this 45 years?)

His turning point moment is the long lead recognition of comic hooks becoming mainstream and respectable.

Kahn talked about the growth of pride and craftsmanship in the industry, and Frank Miller, and Ronin.

Then to new co-publisher Jim Lee, and his 1986 excitement with DC books, though he talked in a more meta way about the political creators movement, the maturing of comics.

Lee talked about the upcoming generational shift that will make digital delivery of comics in the future very different from where they are today, and more natural in their consumption.

Dan DiDio (one of the laughy-est human beings I've ever seen) was up next, talking about his ABC days, meeting Kahn, and being more excited about the DC offices than working on things like M.A.S.H.

He talked about the original Crisis story line, and how DC let the tightly spun tale slip a bit, which did not make them as strong in the industry as they could have been if they'd "held the line".

Geoff Johns is the "new guy' from a leadership perspective, and shared his childhood passion about comics.

Johns talked about his time working with Richard Donner, and not able to get even a Green Lantern movie made, and now there are so many quality comic book movies beyond Batman and Superman - including a GL film.

(Sorry for the choppiness, but I'm trying to honor the panelists, and blogging from a phone sucks.)

SDCC: Mondo Marvel

Lot of series reveals:

Holy cow - 4 Captain America books? Mark Waid back on the character with Man Out of Time!

Ultimate Thor!

Ultimate Doom!

Strange Tales Volume 2.

An Iron Man and Thor book, from the "Marvel cosmic team".

New Power Man (new kid as the character; er ...) and Iron Fist.

Rocket Raccoon and Groot, coming out of the Thanos Imperative, and Mike Mignola back to Marvel to do covers!

Wait, the Thanos Imperative has Beta Ray Bill? Time to add that book to my pull.

Q & A:

Brian Michael Bendis says the Sentry will always be dead in his books. Yay.

Bendis says they're going to clean up the "magic issues in the Marvel Universe". Good.

Then he said Killraven is coming into the main Marvel Universe? I can't tell if he's joking.

"With our new Disney ties, and the expansion of Marvel Japan, we may see more work with Japanese creators."

(Can't wait to see the new Marvel anime line, like the Studio Madhouse Iron Man that debuts Friday.)

(They're giving away "pieces of Groot to good questions, with certificates of authenticity. Brilliant.)

Newly minted head of TV Jeff Loeb talked a bit about Marvel live-action. Very non-commital, but with a pledge of quality. Wonder what happened to Moon Knight that was filming in Vancouver in 2007?

Marvel still doesn't have the rights to Rom, but the Space Knights will be making an appearance in future Avengers.

There will be more Beta Ray Bill coming! No deets.

More Marvel horror characters will be making appearances.

Fun stuff, but not as big as 2007's Mondo Marvel.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Going to Comic-Con!

It's been a few years, but I'm back in sunny (ish, cloudy right now) San Diego for the pop-culture mecca that is San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC).

I'm here to work, but I'm also a mega fan of toys, comics, movies, video games, and all things iconic and story-driven.

I have a big ol' shopping list, hopefully some free time, and a rabid desire to see and do lots -- starting in with Preview Night tonight.

Follow me on Twitter. Track me down. Whatever. (Just don't be all stalk-y about it.)