Monday, August 31, 2009

Make Mine Mouse? *UPDATED*

Um... wow:

Disney Acquires Marvel For $4 Billion

RYAN NAKASHIMA | 08/31/09 10:22 AM | AP

LOS ANGELES — The Walt Disney Co. said Monday it is buying Marvel Entertainment Inc. for $4 billion in cash and stock, bringing such characters as Iron Man and Spider-Man into the family of Mickey Mouse and WALL-E.

Under the deal, Disney will acquire ownership of 5,000 Marvel characters. Many of them, including the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, were co-created by the comic book legend Stan Lee.

Analyst David Joyce of Miller Tabak & Co. said the acquisition will help Disney appeal to young men who have flocked to theaters to see Marvel's superhero fare in recent years. That contrasts with Disney's recent successes among young women with such fare as "Hannah Montana" and the Jonas Brothers.

"It helps Disney add exposure to a young male demographic it had sort of lost some balance with," Joyce said, noting the $4 billion offer was at "full price."

Disney said Marvel shareholders will receive $30 per share in cash, plus 0.745 Disney shares for every Marvel share they own. That values each Marvel share at $50 based on Friday's closing stock prices.

Marvel shares jumped $10.17, or 26 percent, to $48.82 shortly after the market opened. Disney shares fell 47 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $26.37.

Disney said the boards of both companies have approved the transaction, but it will require an antitrust review and the approval of Marvel shareholders.

Disney last made a big purchase in 2006 when it acquired Pixar Animation Studios Inc., the creator of the "Toy Story" franchise, for $7.4 billion in stock.

Disney CEO Robert Iger said the latest acquisition combines Marvel's "strong global brand and world-renowned library of characters" with Disney's "unparalleled global portfolio of entertainment properties" and ability to maximize value across multiple platforms and territories.

Marvel earned a net profit of $206 million last fiscal year, up 47 percent from a year earlier, on revenue of $676 million, as it took movie production in house instead of just cutting licensing deals.


Some questions answered over at CBR:

UPDATE 8:30 AM PDT - There have been a number of developments since the initial press release about Disney’s acquisition of Marvel went out. Disney held a conference call with investors that just finished to discuss the deal and while much of it was focused on the financial aspect of the deal – with regards to both current and future opportunities – there were a number of comments concerning publishing and Marvel’s film slate that are of interest. The bullet points are:
  • Existing licensing and distribution deals should remain where they are.
  • Disney believes there’s real opportunity with the Marvel catalog of characters and will work on where those opportunities are greatest and how best to leverage them across the existing Marvel and Disney infrastructure.
  • Disney executives went to great lengths during the call to make the point that they don’t pretend to be more expert than Marvel is in handling their characters, citing the hands-off relationship Disney has had with Pixar since the acquisition of that studio. Disney said Marvel manages the properties from a business perspective very intelligently and trusts them to make the right decisions for these products for a long time to come.
  • Disney said the deal was attractive not just because they’re buying great characters, stories and brand, but about working with people who know these characters best and how best to work with them in other media.
  • Again, referencing the Pixar deal, Disney finds working as one company with Marvel removes friction and creates value that’s very compelling. Licensing offers very attractive opportunities, but nothing is better than being one. International expansion of Marvel properties through Disney was cited as a potential growth area.
  • Cable channel Disney XD is currently running about 20 hours a week of Marvel content and Disney has been looking to license more Marvel content and this deal gives them that opportunity as well as the opportunity to expose these characters internationally.<.li>
  • With regards to video game publishing, Disney praised Marvel’s licensing agreements with some of the best video game producers and publishers in the business and said moving forward they will consider what’s best for each individual property as each licensing deal comes up for renewal and that there would likely be a blend of licensed and self-produced/self-distributed titles.
  • With respect to Paramount’s distribution deal with Marvel and the Iron Man franchise, Disney has every intention to respect the deal that’s in place, but noted that it’s in their best interest, overtime, to become the sole distributor of Marvel films.
  • Will Disney3D be used for Marvel movies? That will be determined by those who are in charge of producing Marvel’s theatrical films.
  • When asked if there was potential for cross-polination between Marvel and Pixar, Disney said that Pixar’s John Lasseter has met with key Marvel creative executives recently and the group got “pretty excited, very fast.” Disney will look at all opportunities and thinks there are some exciting product that could come from this sort of partnership.
  • Disney said this deal is expected to benefit Marvel’s retail efforts, being able to leverage Disney’s shelf space and relationships with major chains and distributors.
  • The deal began when Disney Chief Executive Bob Iger reached out to Marvel Chief Executive Ike Perlmutter earlier this year. Again, Disney noted that they believe in the creative team at Marvel and see no reason to upset that applecart.
  • Disney has not made any real estate decisions and sees no reason to move Marvel Studios from their headquarters in Manhattan Beach, California. No mention of Marvel Publishing’s offices in New York City was made.

In addition, Marvel Editor-In-Chief twittering this morning and has made some comments on the deal:

“G' morning, Marvel U! Welcome to this moment in history. Everyone relax, this is incredible news and all is well in the Marvel U.”

“Everybody take a deep breath, all your favorite comics remain unchanged and Tom Brevoort remains grouchy.”

“If you're familiar with the Disney/Pixar relationship, then you'll understand why this is a new dawn for Marvel and the comics industry.”


Sunday, August 30, 2009


I don't want to make a habit of responding to months-old message board threads, but I happened across this recently over on CBR, and the thread is closed to responses. It was one of those stupid threads where someone who doesn't like how a particular comics creator or editor handles things complains about them having a job. In this case the thread drifted into how a book gets cancelled. My friend Kurt Busiek weighed in with:

...Canceling a book is a financial decision. It gets made by the financial side of the company, not the creative side. An editor can't decide, "I don't like this book, so I'll cut off all the profit my company is making from it" any more than he can decide, "I like this proposal, so I'm going to put a new book on the schedule."

A poster replied:

See, this is not how I understood it from reading an interview of Cully Hamner about Mosaic's cancellation, in which he claimed the book was actually selling pretty well but was cancelled because DC Editorial didn't understand it, I wrongly assumed Mike Carlin was the big wig at DC Editorial at that time. I guess he was mistaken.

And Kurt responded thusly:

All due respect to Cully, but I doubt anyone called him up and said, "We're canceling this because we don't understand it." He's offering an interpretation -- and a guess -- based on whatever information he had. But it's not eyewitness testimony -- Cully lives a long way from the office, and wouldn't have been at the meetings.

True enough, Kurt. But the only problem with this is that it wasn't my interpretation, and it isn't what I said. What I did say was this:

...As I was told at the time, it didn’t fit with DC editorial vision (whatever that means). Sales didn’t matter, fan support didn’t matter; the first issue sold about 210,000 copies and my last issue sold about 70,000, so there was plenty of support for the book. It was marked for cancellation when issue #5 came out, and they allowed Gerry Jones a year to wrap it up, but there was no doubt that it was being canceled because somebody upstairs just didn’t care for it.

All due respect to Kurt (who is one of the most reasonable men of all time), the fact is that I was told this same thing by three different people at DC, including the EIC at the time, Dick Giordano, that it "didn't fit with DC's editorial vision." I was told that DC had plans to take Green Lantern in a drastically different direction and that Mosaic didn't fit the plan. This is not my interpretation of what I was told-- it's what I was told. And it came to pass within a year of the final issue of Mosaic that Hal Jordan became Parralax and Kyle Rayner became Green Lantern, so I tend to believe what I was told-- no interpretation required.

Now, if it had been canceled purely due to low sales, I see no reason why I wouldn't simply have been told that. In fact, it's the simplest answer to digest for a freelancer in most similar situations. Thing is, I was privy to the sales figures via my royalty statements, and word of the cancellation came down a year before the end of the series, while sales were still good. So, I took them at their word that Mosaic didn't fit with their plans to reinvigorate the core Green Lantern book. I was also told more than once that the title wasn't well-liked up at DC, and I do understand that this is subjective on the part of the teller, but it is what I was told. Again, not my interpretation, and not a "guess."

Maybe the difference is subtle, but I just hate being misunderstood. So, now and for all time: I didn't say that DC canceled it because they didn't understand it, but rather that it didn't fit with their larger plan for reinvigorating Green Lantern as a whole. Financial decision? Sure, they all are to varying degrees, but in this case it was indirect. Mosaic wasn't canceled due to its own sales, but the core title's. The decision to revamp Green Lantern was surely a financial one, but the cancellation of Mosaic was at least in part an editorial call to help facilitate the revamp. Again, I was told this in no uncertain terms.

So, make of it all what you will. But you know what? How cool is it that a book I did seventeen years ago is still being talked about? :)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009


Just a gentle reminder: We-- and by "we," I mean Cully (DETECTIVE COMICS) Hamner, Brian (WEDNESDAY COMICS) Stelfreeze, Laura (THE ROCKETEER) Martin, Karl (TOM STRONG) Story, and Doug (HAMMER SOUND) Wagner-- will all be at Dragon*Con 2009, Labor Day weekend (September 4 - September 7, 2009) in Atlanta. Come gawk at us!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

An UNusual Suspect...!

Holy shit. From AICN:

Can the WOLVERINE sequel possibly make up for the turd that came out this summer? McQuarrie gives us hope...

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. One of the strangest, but best pieces of news to hit this week is that Fox has hired Christopher McQuarrie to pen the next WOLVERINE film, which follows the Frank Miller mini-series following Logan in Japan.

Bet last month you wouldn't have believed you'd be anticipating the next Wolverine flick, right? McQuarrie gives me hope. If you're not familiar with the name shame on you, but it's never too late to learn. McQuarrie wrote THE USUAL SUSPECTS, did some uncredited work on Singer's first X-MEN film (he told me once in an interview for his awesome directorial debut WAY OF THE GUN that the only bit of his that remained in X-MEN was the introduction of young Magneto in the concentration camp, one of my favorite parts of the movie) and more recently he wrote VALKYRIE.

McQuarrie can balance character and action, which by itself would make a WOLVERINE sequel tower above the original film, which was just a jumbled mess of multiple characters and random action.

McQuarrie onboard doesn't mean Fox will take the surely well-executed and thought out script and use it well, but it's a step in the right direction. If he could shake loose the execs I'd love to see McQuarrie himself take the reins and direct the flick.

Click here to read Borys Kit's break over at Hollywood Reporter!

What do you folks think?


Wow, this just took a step up in my eyes. It's almost like Fox is apologizing for the steaming pile they just released. McQuarrie is incredibly solid, and the fact that it's going to be based on the first Wolverine mini is interesting. Of course, this could still suck-- in fact it probably will, given Fox's history. But if the stars align, and it gets a worthy director, and Fox and Jackman adopt a more subordinate stance and let people who know the material advise... you never know.


We'll see. If nothing else, maybe Wolverine will finally stop his blubbering.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Didn't want to let the day pass without remembering my friend-- everyone's friend-- Mike Wieringo.

Mikey passed away two years ago today. This business is surely much poorer without his talent adorning it, and while the lives of his friends and family have since scabbed over and marched on... I think I can safely say we all still keenly feel the loss. I still think of him often, and I know others do.

Here's to you, Mike.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Just got my copy of PARKER: THE HUNTER, by the ever-amazing Darwyn Cooke, and what a gorgeous book...! Haven't read it yet, but I will this week. Anybody else read it?


Monday, August 10, 2009


You know, 99% of the people I meet at conventions are at least well-mannered and courteous, and a whole lot of them are just out-and-out great people. And then there's this guy:

Ryan Coons

Read his blog post, and you'll understand why.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

'TEC #855 Question Art Now Available

My art rep, the redoubtable Randy Martin of Mighty Nib Original Comic Art, has posted all of my Question pages from Detective Comics #855. They're for sale right here, along with a number of pages from #854, as well:

Detective Comics #854, P. 1

Detective Comics #854, P. 2

Detective Comics #854, P. 3

Detective Comics #854, P. 4

Detective Comics #854, P. 5

Detective Comics #854, P. 6

Detective Comics #854, P. 7

Detective Comics #854, P. 8

Detective Comics #855, P. 1

Detective Comics #855, P. 2

Detective Comics #855, P. 3

Detective Comics #855, P. 4

Detective Comics #855, P. 5

Detective Comics #855, P. 6

Detective Comics #855, P. 7

Detective Comics #855, P. 8

Director Talks RED...

From MTV:

EXCLUSIVE: Robert Schwentke's 'Red' Adaptation To Be A 'Funny' Take On Warren Ellis' Story

by Brian Warmoth

Negotiations between Robert Schwentke and Summit Entertainment must have gone well, because the "Time Traveler's Wife" director has confirmed his status onboard their film adaptation of Warren Ellis and Cully Hamner's WildStorm miniseries "Red." And by his own admission, the project will be a much lighter vision of the source material.

In fact, the new movie starring Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis could turn out to be more of a comedy than Ellis originally envisioned.

"I love the script," Schwentke said told MTV News. "It's very funny, which the comic book isn't."

Humor might not be the only difference between the comic and movie if the script Schwentke saw makes it into production.

"It's not as violent as the comic book," the director explained. However, he was quick to add that the espionage elements of the revised tale first attracted him to the property.

"I like switching gears and this is a movie that allows me to do something lighthearted in tone and is also an action movie," he said.

The director called the alterations necessary, at least in part, due to the length of the three-issue miniseries about an ex-CIA agent being chased by a high-tech assassin.

"The script that I've read is obviously different from the comic, because i don't think the comic gives you enough for a two-hour movie," he said.

Both lead actors in "Red" have had experience straddling genres between comedy and action, though, so Schwentke should have able talent to work with.

"Morgan Freeman and Bruce Willis are definitely signed on for it," he clarified. "Morgan plays Joe, and Bruce Willis is the main character, Frank."