Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s official plot summary is released, His Airness gets a graphic novel biography, another round of DC cancellations, and more in the News Round-Up for the week of February 8.
“Release the Laimbeer!”
Fantagraphics recently announced that they’ll be publishing Wilfred Santiago’s Michael Jordan: Bull on Parade in March of next year (h/t to Rob Mahoney of The Point Forward). The 200-page, full color, hardcover graphic novel will be the penultimate entry in what Santiago intends to be a trilogy of biographical graphic novels—the first entry, the critically-acclaimed 21: The Story of Roberto Clemente released in 2011, examined the life and career of the late Pittsburgh Pirates right fielder and the as-yet untitled third entry will be on the abolitionist John Brown—and as described by the comics creator in an interview with the fine folks at Comics Alliance:
It’s not an academic biography; the goals here are a bit different from other works written about Jordan. But also there is what can be said through the comics medium about a figure like Jordan. Although there were a number of Jordan comic books back in the 1990′s at the height of his popularity, I have the benefit of hindsight which works great when telling a biography. To be labeled the greatest of all time at anything, let alone professional basketball is a big label to carry. How does someone do it? How did he get to be the best at what he did?
The book looks real good judging from the preview images that accompany the Comics Alliance interview, with something of a Kyle Baker look to it. Also, “Release the Laimbeer!” might be the nucleus of a good playground basketball meme. We’re real interested to see how Santiago will tackle the disparity between the meticulously-crafted, Teflon-slick, Nike-endorsed Air Jordan persona and the pathologically-obsessed competitor and bullying locker room presence.
We’ve got one question for Fantagraphics, though: Where’s the graphic novel adaptation of Barkley, Shut Up and Jam: Gaiden? (Which is, we’ll note, the greatest basketball-Final Fantasy-Quad City DJs mash-up of all time.)
Chris Pratt to play Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy
After months of tiresome speculation, we finally have what is supposedly the final word on who will be playing Star-Lord in the big-screen adaptation of Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Deadline is reporting that Parks and Recreation actor Chris Pratt has landed the role that, at various points, was rumored to be going to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Joel Edgerton, Jack Huston, Lee Pace, Jim Sturgess, Zachary Levi, and Eddie Redmayne. Pratt’s most recent film roles include supporting roles in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and the critically-panned ensemble comedy Movie 43. How’s that for range?
Guardians of the Galaxy will be directed by James Gunn (Super, PG Porn, Movie 43) and is slated for an August 1, 2014 release.
Former DA’s investigator caught allegedly selling stolen vintage comics
A former investigator for the Harris County District Attorney’s office in Texas named Lonnie Blevins has been charged with theft after federal agents accused him of stealing and selling vintage comic books worth over a million dollars that were in use as evidence in a fraud investigation.
The comics belonged to Anthony Chiafalo, who is currently on trial for stealing over $9 million from Japanese heavy equipment manufacturer Tadano. Chiafalo allegedly spent part of his ill-gotten gains on vintage comic books and sports memorabilia, and the sequestered comics were being used by the prosecution as evidence of his embezzlement.
Court documents say that Blevins stole the comics from an evidence storage unit for the Chiafalo case, and then sold part of his haul to dealers at a Chicago comics convention for $70,000 and also tried to sell the remainder in San Antonio.
Diamond’s Bill Schanes stepping down
Diamond Comics Distributors Vice-President of Purchasing Bill Schanes is stepping down from his post, although he will be retained by the company in an advisory role for the rest of the year. He will be replaced by Executive Director of Purchasing John Wurzer. From the official press release:
“Deciding to step down was not easy,” said Schanes, “It’s been a wonderful and enjoyable ride! But after twenty-seven challenging and fulfilling years at Diamond, and forty-plus overall years in the comic industry, I’m looking forward to spending more time simply enjoying life.
Schanes co-founded Pacific Comics in 1971 with his brother Steve as a mail-order comics company. In 1981, Pacific began publishing its own line of original comics, most notably Jack Kirby’s Captain Victory and the Galactic Rangers, Mike Grell’s Starslayer, Dave Stevens’ Rocketeer, and Sergio Aragonés’ Groo the Wanderer. After Pacific’s financial collapse in 1984, Bill Schanes joined Steve Geppi at Diamond Comics Distributors where he helped oversee the company’s rise as the dominant direct market comics distributor in North America.
“Caveat emptor” or “Jesus, not this guy again… “
Anybody who’s been following comics-based action figure news the past few years is probably familiar with Geoff Beckett and Shocker Toys. We won’t go over Shocker Toys’ notorious history here—there are only so many hours that we can devote to the News Round-ups—but this 2009 thread over at the Bleeding Cool forums can fill you in on the basics.
Anyway, the summary of events-thus-far is this:
- Beckett, doing business as Shocker Toys, has repeatedly failed to deliver orders for paid product. In late 2012, online retailer Big Bad Toy Store canceled all pre-orders for undelivered Shocker Toys products going all the way back to 2009. (Full disclosure: The Comixverse is sponsored in part by Big Bad Toy Store.)
- Beckett has been less than forthcoming with retailers and licensors for the reasons for those failures to deliver, blaming US Customs agents, Somali pirate raids, and Chinese factory fires on multiple occasions when prompted for the cause whilst providing nary a shred of reliable evidence to back up and confirm these claims.
- Shocker Toys has a history of allegedly not paying their artists.
- Beckett has cultivated a bit of a reputation of resorting to harassment and phony legal threats in some of his dealings with retailers.
Beckett has surfaced again, this time selling what he is calling “Create-Your-Own!” action figures via a GoFundMe crowd-funding campaign for a new company called GBJR Toys. The toys are clearly unpainted versions of the Jack Staff figure (see the comparison picture below) that Shocker Toys failed to deliver as per the terms of their licensing contract with Jack Staff creator Paul Grist. In the latest issue of Mudman, Grist writes that
The latest news is that Geoff is now running a Gofundme campaign for his toy line and is offering blank (unpainted) Jack Staff figures as a ‘Design your own Hero’ option for donations…
… I thought I should now give a word of caution to anyone who might be sending Geoff Beckett, Shocker Toys and/or GBJR Toys any money for toys.
Just to make it clear:
- Beckett, doing business as GBJR Toys, has a GoFundMe campaign where the intent is to produce and sell unpainted Jack Staff action figures he lost the license to years ago for failure to deliver.
- Jack Staff creator Paul Grist isn’t going to get any money from this campaign and does not endorse any of Shocker Toys or GBJR Toys’ commercial endeavors. Despite this, GBJR Toys seems intent on selling toys based on Grist’s creation and using images of the Jack Staff action figure in their promotional material.
- Given Shocker Toys’ prior history of failing to deliver paid/promised product, contributors to the GoFundMe campaign should be appropriately wary. Unlike Kickstarter, the project originator on GoFundMe gets to keep donated funds, regardless of whether or not the product is delivered. So caveat emptor, guys.
To read more about this latest episode of zaniness as well as Grist’s full account of how Beckett lost the Jack Staff license, check out the article from Bleeding Cool or better yet, pick up Mudman #6, out in stores this week from Image Comics.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s official plot summary tells us nothing we didn’t already know
Columbia Pictures officially revealed the plot synopsis for next year’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in a press release sent out Wednesday:
The sequel to last year’s critical and box office hit The Amazing Spider-Man, the film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Shailene Woodley, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti, and Sally Field.
In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), life is busy – between taking out the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the person he loves, Gwen (Emma Stone), high school graduation can’t come quickly enough. Peter hasn’t forgotten about the promise he made to Gwen’s father to protect her by staying away – but that’s a promise he just can’t keep. Things will change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past.
The Paul Giamatti mention in the release confirms last week’s talk of the Sideways actor joining the film’s cast, although there is still no official word if he indeed will play the Rhino as has been rumored.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is set for a May 2, 2014 release.
Adventures of Superman might be just what you’re looking for
IGN has the scoop on Adventures of Superman, a new, weekly, digital-first anthology comic from DC Comics featuring Superman stories unconnected from the current “New 52″ continuity and designs. You read that right, folks. It’s Superman without the goofy blue Tron-suit, instead wearing the classic, goofy red Speedos over the blue longjohns.
A print edition collecting the month’s three stories will be published at the end of each month. The first weekly story, debuting on April 29, will feature Aaron Johnston and science-fiction author Orson Scott Card on writing duties with art by Chris Sprouse and Karl Story. Other creators scheduled to work on future installments of the title include Dan Abnett, Ed Benes, Mitch Breitweiser, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Nathan Edmondson, Joshua Hale Fialkov, Christos Gage, Marc Guggenheim, Justin Jordan, Matt Kindt, J.T. Krul, Max Landis, Andy Lanning, David Lapham, Jeff Lemire, Michael Avon Oeming, Riley Rossmo, Stephen Segovia, Bruce Timm, Marcus To, and Marv Wolfman.
BOOYAKASHA! Activision lands TMNT license
Gamespot‘s Eddie Makuch is reporting that cable TV network Nickelodeon and video game giant Activision have agreed on an international, multiyear deal that will see the latter produce and publish at least three video games based on Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles animated series.
Nickelodeon’s CGI take on Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird’s anthropomorphic reptiles has been well-received by both the younger set and viewers old enough to have seen the original animated series—read our review of last year’s two-part pilot episode here—and sales of licensed merchandise looked good over the previous holiday season, at least anecdotally.
There’s no word yet on what game genre Activision’s TMNT game will fall under, but we’re fairly confident that we’ll see at least one four-player brawler down the line at some point (no Call of Duty-style FPSes, please!).
DC Comics cancels Deathstroke, Fury of the Firestorm, Savage Hawkman, Ravagers, Sword of Sorcery, and Team 7, surprising absolutely no one at this point
DC Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase confirmed in a joint Comic Book Resources interview posted Thursday that Deathstroke, Fury of the Firestorm, Savage Hawkman, Ravagers, Sword of Sorcery, and Team 7 are all set to get the axe, news that doesn’t really surprise anyone at this point, seeing as how not a week passes by now that we don’t hear rumblings or confirmations of DC cancellations tied in with hastily-announced launches, all so the publisher can claim that they can sustain 52 ongoing titles at any given moment. DC’s fixation with the number is approaching numerology-obsessed-batshit-crazy-widowed-aunt levels. Will someone please tell Grant Morrison to stop spiking Dan Didio’s coffee with DMT?
Oh, and in the same interview, the two Bobbies confirmed that Keith Giffen is off the Legion of Super-Heroes, even before his first solicited issue hit the stands. We called it as soon as Giffen was announced as the book’s new illustrator two months ago! (Although these days, predicting a DC creative team member getting taken off a book—in this case, before his work even hits the shelves—is about as prescient as predicting, oh, say, another of pro baseball’s big hitters getting entangled in a steroids investigation—ed.) We couldn’t have foreseen that his replacement is the guy he was supposed to take over from, though (current Legion of Super-Heroes artist Francis Portela). That’s some next-level fake-out, you’re-playing-checkers-but-we’re-playing-chess creative team shuffling right there. Harras and Chase are getting really good at this. Do they give out Eisners for this sort of thing?
Justice League film script “terrible,” says some guy on the Internet
Badass Digest‘s Devin Faraci, citing the ever-popular, multiple unnamed “sources,” writes that the screenplay by Will Beall (Gangster Squad, Castle) for Warner Bros.’ upcoming ensemble superhero film Justice League has been thrown out for being “terrible.” The script—which purportedly has a five-person team of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Green Lantern going up against the villainy of Darkseid—allegedly failed to impress senior studio executives who seem hesitant to commit resources to the production unless the box-office performance of Zack Snyder’s upcoming Man of Steel can provide some reassurance that Justice League can do impressive numbers. (like The Avengers-type of numbers?—ed.)
Justice League is tentatively scheduled for a 2015 release.
In case you missed them: more February hardcover previews
We have two new previews of hardcovers set to go on sale later in the month:
- HelmetGirls: The Art of Camilla d’Errico, Vol. 2 (Dark Horse Books)
- The Hound of the Baskervilles (Dark Horse Books)
Check them out!