We’ve got an update on Stan Lee’s health and what it means for his upcoming con appearances, news on Dark Horse’s newest licensed comic, and more trailers than you can shake a stick at. (What does that even mean?!—ed.)
Stan Lee cancels MegaCon appearance but “is fine”
Last week, we reported that Stan Lee had to cancel his scheduled appearance at the Amazing Arizona Comic Convention due to an unspecified illness. On Thursday, the organizers of MegaCon (Orlando, Florida, March 15–17, 2013) announced via their Facebook page that the industry legend will also be skipping the upcoming Florida event, writing that
… Stan Lee has canceled his appearance at MegaCon 2013. We received the call late last night. He is okay, but is taking a small break from doing convention appearances.
The announcement was reiterated and confirmed in a later response to a customer inquiry.
Earlier this week, the lads over at ComicBook.com reached out to Stan Lee’s representatives at Comikaze Expo and they had this to say about the Marvel Comics icon:
Stan is fine. Things come up you know. Anyways the best way to know that Stan is fine is to check his twitter or fb because he personally sends all tweets! : )
Stan Lee will still be attending the Wizard World Convention in Portland, Oregon later this month (February 22–24) but his appearance will be scaled back to a single, all-day event on February 23.
Lara Croft gets on the Dark Horse
Dark Horse Comics announced earlier this week that it will be producing a new licensed comic book based on the Tomb Raider video game franchise. From the press release:
Crystal Dynamics™, a Square Enix® studio, and Dark Horse Comics, today revealed they have partnered to bring the re-imagined Lara Croft back to print in the world of comics. Look for news on the new series following the release of TOMB RAIDER®, the highly anticipated origin story for Lara Croft®, available March 5, 2013, and will chronicle Lara’s journey after her harrowing adventure in the Dragon’s Triangle.
To kick off the partnership, Crystal Dynamics and Dark Horse have teamed up to create “TOMB RAIDER: The Beginning.” This will be the first installment in the new TOMB RAIDER comic book series, and is a prequel to the events in TOMB RAIDER. “TOMB RAIDER: The Beginning,” was written by lead game writer Rhianna Pratchett. Fans can get the first series early when they pre-order TOMB RAIDER at Best Buy.
A 48-page, six-part hardcover omnibus, “TOMB RAIDER: The Beginning” follows the story of how the crew came together for The Endurance’s fateful mission to discover the lost Japanese kingdom of Yamatai. Originally intended to feature as the latest instalment of Dr. James Whitman’s successful archaeology show, Whitman’s World, the show-biz archaeologist gets more than he bargained for when he enlists the help of Captain Conrad Roth. As Roth’s unique and eccentric crew gradually come together and share their stories and secrets, the expedition faces unexpected threats before it’s even begun.
“Lara Croft is an icon across all forms of media, including comic books,” said Karl Stewart, global brand director for TOMB RAIDER and Crystal Dynamics. “The team at Crystal Dynamics has worked closely with Dark Horse on ‘The Beginning’ to bring the relatable, re-imagined Lara Croft back to the comic book world.”
“Whilst penning Lara’s origins story for the game I had lots of ideas about the world she and the other characters inhabited, and the story behind their voyage: as great to be able to flesh out the world of TOMB RAIDER and work with the talented team at Dark Horse to bring Lara Croft back to comics,” said Rhianna Pratchett, lead game writer for TOMB RAIDER.
“The bold new vision of the game demanded we bring an equally fresh approach to the comics,” said Dave Marshall, editor at Dark Horse. “We’re excited for TOMB RAIDER fans to experience a new side of Lara Croft as they accompany her on the earliest parts of her first adventure.”
This isn’t the first time the video game heroine will be featured in comics. The character debuted in comics in a crossover with Top Cow Productions’ Witchblade in 1997. French comics publisher Glénat released Tomb Raider: Dark Aeons in 1999 after acquiring the property’s comics license from the French arm of video game developer Eidos. Top Cow wrangled the exclusive license later that year after a contentious struggle, and produced an on-going Tomb Raider comic book series from 1999 to 2005, as well as a spin-off comic called Tomb Raider: Journeys, that ran from 2001 to 2003. Lara Croft also appeared in various mini-series and crossovers during this time. In 2006, Bandai Entertainment acquired the license to produce reprints of the earlier Top Cow/Image Comics Tomb Raider stories in black & white, tankōbon format.
The upcoming Tomb Raider game by publisher Square Enix and Eidos off-shoot development studio Crystal Dynamics is a “reboot” that seeks to reestablish the faded gaming franchise—once a prominent multimedia juggernaut that spawned two films starring Angelina Jolie, an animated web series, a ton of merchandise, and millions of unrealistic adolescent fantasies of the female form—as a vital and relevant property in the current and coming video gaming console market. Besides changes in interactive storytelling emphasis and fundamental gameplay, Lara Croft’s design has been substantially adjusted to reflect more reasonable physical proportions compared to the original version.
Wonder Woman TV show shelved… again
Amazon, the Smallville-styled Wonder Woman TV series recently pitched to the CW Network has been shelved for now, according to Deadline.com. The report states however, that the CW might produce an “off-cycle pilot” if execs are happy with the final script being written by TV and comics scribe Allan Heinberg.
This marks the second time in three years that a network has balked on picking up the order for a Wonder Woman-based show: plans for a series featuring David E. Kelley’s infamous “reimagining” of the character were dropped by NBC in 2011 after the finished pilot was poorly received by test audiences.
In case you missed them: February trade and hardcover previews
If you haven’t noticed, we recently posted a bongload of previews for books scheduled for release this month. Check them out:
- Rex Mundi Omnibus, Vol. 2 (Dark Horse Books)
- Avatar: The Last Airbender—The Promise, Library Edition (Dark Horse Books)
- Alice in Wonderland (Dark Horse Books)
- Debris (Image Comics)
We are especially excited for the trade paperback collection of Kurtis J. Wiebe and Riley Rossmo’s Debris, a beautifully realized sci-fi/adventure comic mini-series that ended up flying under the radar with all of the high-profile books Image released during its 20th anniversary year.
BBC News on Lee Falk’s The Phantom
The BBC News Magazine recently posted a Picture This segment on the continued popularity of The Phantom, the comic strip featuring the masked crusader and proto-superhero created by Lee Falk (who also created the Mandrake the Magician strip). Go check out the link, as it has Hermes Press founder and publisher Daniel Herman giving his insights into why the character and the strip has remained popular through the decades. Interesting stuff. Also, it gives us an excuse to share the following clip from the “so-bad-it’s-good” film adaptation:
Catherine Zeta-Jones might have been the only cast member whose film career survived unscathed the celluloid catastrophe that was 1996′s The Phantom.
LOL, OMG, WTF, DC? BrB
Buzzfeed has all 52 covers of the comics DC will be releasing in April as part of what the publisher is calling its “WTF-Certified” line-up. Rampant speculation as to what “WTF-Certified” means is going on at a comic book shop and comic book forum near you, but Bleeding Cool‘s Rich Johnston has a succinct explanation (elucidated with the help of Modern Family‘s Phil Dunphy) right here. All will be made clear once you read the linked piece.
Warren Spector out at Disney
Award-winning game designer Warren Spector, who has made no secret about his desire to create a “great” Marvel Comics-based video game might have to place that goal lower on his priority list. Junction Point Studios, the video game development outfit Spector co-founded in 2004 and acquired by the Disney Interactive Studios in 2007, was shuttered earlier in the week allegedly due to, among other things, the poor retail performance and middling critical reception of its latest published project, Epic Mickey 2. A Disney representative confirmed that Spector would not be retained by Disney in any capacity past Junction Point’s closure. As for Spector’s future plans, he wrote in a message posted on Facebook that “[he] honestly [doesn't] know what that will be yet, so don’t ask.”
A lifelong Marvel Comics fan, Spector had previously expressed his excitement over the very real possibility that Junction Point Studios—where he stayed as president and creative director after it was bought by Disney—could end up working on a Marvel Comics game (Disney acquired Marvel Entertainment in 2009).
You want trailers? We’ve got trailers!
Bunch of new comics/superhero-themed media coming out soon and we all know what that means: Trailers!
- Superman Unbound DVD/Blu-Ray trailer | Based on the 2008 storyline by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank. Even in the post-Timmverse era, Warner Bros. Animation does superheroes real well. Release date: Summer 2013.
- Iron Man 3 Super Bowl Ad Teaser | A trailer for a trailer. We’re through the looking glass here, people!
- Injustice: Gods Among Us “story trailer” | A trailer that hints at the reason why DC’s superheroes are beating the crap out of each other in this fighting game developed by the folks behind Mortal Kombat. SPOILER: it’s pretty much Marvel’s Civil War all over again, but, you know, with DC characters wearing “edgy” costumes, with thick seams and leather and shoulderpads and whatnot.
- Spider-Man in LEGO Marvel Super Heroes | Project director Arthur Parsons talks about the issues unique to designing the Spider-Man character in the recently announced game from LEGO and the Warner Bros.-owned TT Games. He also shows Stan Lee some love. Cool guy.
- Nightwing: Prodigal Son fan-film trailer | Pro wrestler Brady Roberts recently posted a teaser trailer on YouTube for a fan film where he plays Nightwing. It looks fairly well-made considering the budgets fan films operate with and we spy Catwoman, Harley Quinn, Alfred, Bane, the Red Hood, and the Joker in the trailer. We’re sort of disappointed that the protagonist is wearing his black-and-red New 52 duds, though. The black/blue Nightwing costume designed by Brian Stelfreeze is a modern classic.
- Karai vs. Leonardo in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles | Kelly Hu will be voicing Karai in this week’s episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (“New Girl in Town”). Is Kelly Hu the first actor/actress to portray comic book villains from three different, extant comic book universes in both live-action and animated film and/or television? The former Ms. Hawaii played Lady Deathstrike in X2: X-Men United and voiced Titania in Spectacular Spider-Man, she currently plays China White on the Arrow TV series as well as doing voice work for Cheshire in Young Justice and Laira Omoto on Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, and now she’s voicing Karai.
- LEGO Batman: The Movie – DC Superheroes Unite trailer | Yes, we know the trailer debuted in October of last year, but we’re posting it here to remind you guys that the feature-length animated film/toy commercial will have its world premiere on February 11 at the Paley Center in New York. Also, that’s one seriously messed up title, only a little bit better than Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters.