There you go, Astro Boy

This weekend in Japan, the Yakult Swallows baseball team wore throwback jerseys in their series against the Tokyo Giants. Back then, the Swallows were called the Yakult Atoms and had an Astro Boy logo on their jerseys.

Check it out here

jersey patch

Wizard moving office?

This property listing would seem to indicate so.

Owner would prefer to deliver building vacant but would be agreeable to a lease back 60-100% of office/warehous space.

Developing, as they say.

Marvel News: IRON MAN 2 and stock up

Marvel held an earnings call this morning, and the big, no-brainer news was IRON MAN 2 in 2010. Also on the slate: THOR in 2010, followed by CAPTIAN AMERICA: FIRST AVENGER and THE AVENGERS in 2011. 2009 will be a bare cupboard year for Marvel, because of the writers strike, but IRON MAN’s smashing debut should keep their name in lights until then.

The company said its improved forecast did not include upside from the box office success of “Iron Man,” only its better-than-expected first-quarter performance.

Marvel shares jumped $2.34, or 7.7 percent, to $32.59 in morning trading.

The rise in stock prices is a first for Marvel — traditionally, after a big movie opening the stock price goes down a bit. It wasn’t all golden news, though: publishing was down 4% for the quarter and 14% year to year. Marvel hopes SECRET INVASION will pick up the slack and leave this year up over last, however.

Free Comic Book Day 2008 round-up

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[Cartoon Via American Elf.]
Retailers around the world report that Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day was a big success. Lots of kids came in, happy to be getting their free comics, potential new customers came out in large numbers, and it was a big event in and of itself. In Dearborn, MI, the Mayor even made a proclamation. All of the Image founders (including Whilce Portacio!) signed at Atomic Comics in Phoenix, AZ, an event recounted in pictures by Andy Khouri. Matt Brady went to Heroes Aren’t Hard To Find in NC. Lots of people went all over the place!

Scanning FCBD blogs entries, the majority pretty happy and upbeat. Scanning them , many are from people who dressed up as superheroes to partake in the promotions. Tim O’Shea rounds up more quotes and reports. Eric Trautmann co-owner of Olympic Cards & Comics in Lacey, WAwrites at Whitechapel:

Our big winners were OWLY, which a whole bunch of kids instantly fell in love with; oddly, the GYRO GEARLOOSE Disney issue did well for us, as well. The grownups gravitated toward Dan Dare, Hellboy, and All Star Superman, so that was nice. Good books all. Other retailers’ mileage may vary, but FCBD is always a shot in the arm for us, and a great form of community outreach, if properly marketed. If I had one gripe, it was the very short-sighted move by Marvel, not having a standalone IRON MAN for FCBD, because a rather large number of people came in looking for Iron Man. The trio issue of Iron Man, Spider Man and Hulk was okay, but most of the younger crowd were really in the throes of Tony Love after the movie–just didn’t WANT Spidey or Hulk getting in the way. Sigh.

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LA Mood Comics, in London, ON, does what we’ve thought some smart comics shop should do someday and puts the Simpsons in the window.

Despite the rain, what a great day it turned out to be! Thank you Great and Loyal Customers for making Free Comic Book Day a huge success! I know we had way more people through the door than ever before! We gave out FCBD bags to each person who came in and went through 500 of them by 1:30! whew!


Here’s a picture from later in the day from the same blog:

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Not everyone was COMPLETELY happy, of course. Matt at Alert Nerd writes:

Call me the Grinch What Stole FCBD, but I think a limit on the number of comics you can get sorta defeats the purpose of Free Comic Book Day. As it’s evolved, FCBD has basically come to serve two audiences: Diehard comics readers who want to get free stuff and maybe check out material they might not otherwise see, and non-readers of varying descriptions who turn up because they heard about the free stuff. Neither of these audiences is served by a limit, because no one gets to really TRY anything they don’t already WANT. Like most fans, I went into FCBD with a small list of titles I knew I wanted to check out, and it was way longer than three. So it’s possible I would have just gotten material I already was reading, like DC Universe Zero, which this store had for free (admittedly, a nice move) but which isn’t really gonna convince me to try any additional DC books, since I’m already gonna get most of them anyway.


Where there will always be questions and cavils, it sounds like comic books are now child-safe, well-liked and socially acceptable. So maybe a comic book is as good as an ice cream cone.

PLUS: Critical round-ups of this year’s offerings:

Douglas Wolk at Salon (you must watch a short film to read.)


Occasional Superheroine

Johanna part 1.

IRON MAN debut spectacular

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It is official: Iron Man is a monster hit, taking in over $200 mil worldwide in its first weekend.

Pictures and Marvel Studios’ Iron Man exceeded all expectations, earning a massive $100.75 million during its opening weekend domestically from 4,105 theaters and $104.2 million since debuting Thursday night, averaging $24,543 per site. Internationally, the film has also earned an incredible $96.7 million in 57 countries since it began opening Wednesday, putting its worldwide total at $201 million after just five days!


As predicted, it’s the 10th biggest opening ever, the 4th biggest opening for a superhero movie, and the second biggest non-sequel movie opening, after Spider-Man.

The news is great for Marvel, of course, although traditionally their stock dips after each and every blockbuster as profit-takers sell off. Stock was up slightly on Friday behind very heavy volume. We’ll update it when the market opens. They’re holding their Q1 earnings call this morning, and that should be a lot of fun to listen to.

On the larger front. this will do nothing to crimp Hollywood’s love affair with the comics…well, hell, we write this every time a comic-book-movie does well, but the fact is that CBM’s do very well at the box office. Now, the movies that do well are always based on source material of some vision and/or passion — from Spider-Man to 300 to Ghost World. It remains to be seen of the stampede of “made to be optioned” comics to the option block will result in any actual films, let alone good films. Even something like 30 DAYS OF NIGHT, which opened at #1 but was generally undistinguished yet profitable, was based on a graphic novel which had flair and originality. But there will have to be many, many, MANY clinkers to end this love affair.

But there is always a naysayer, as Popular Mechanics points out that comic book movies, are driving out real SF films:

Despite the rise of the so-called graphic novel over the past few decades—self-contained, morally complex comic series like Alan Moore’s Watchmen and Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns—comic books are still widely regarded as kiddie stuff. And when X-Men and Spider-Man recently proved that film adaptations of popular comics were a relatively untapped box-office goldmine, they did so without substantially updating the science behind the superheroes.


We’ll throw in our own little naysay here: while IRON MAN’s critical response is the best ever for a superhero movie, it is not, in our opinion, the best ever superhero movie, let alone best ever comic book movie. It is very very good, but the plot is too formulaic for that. We’d pick SPIDER-MAN 2 as the best superhero movie — just our opinion, mind — followed closely by BATMAN & ROBIN. Wink wink! But you know, almost every time a good superhero movie opens everyone thinks it’s the best ever for a while.

Linkages

§ Joe Quesada in the Washington Post, with interesting choices for his favorite Marvel movies.

Are you excited about the two major summer movies Marvel has coming out?

I’m absolutely thrilled. To me, this is the natural progression that Marvel as a company should be taking. For many years, when I wasn’t even working here, I often wondered why Marvel wasn’t their own movie studio. And now here we are. We’re going to be producing our own stuff and it’s going to be as close to the source material as possible. It’s going to be absolutely fantastic.

What’s your favorite Marvel movie so far?

It’s one of two. It’s either “Spider-Man 2″ and . . . I think the first “Blade” movie was dynamite.

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§ We, too, had forgotten that Todd Klein designed most of the early Fantagraphics logos, including the iconic Lock & Rockets. [Link via Flog.}

§ Stan Sakai goes to Auschwitz.

§ Brad Bird explains productvity:

In my experience, the thing that has the most significant impact on a movie’s budget—but never shows up in a budget—is morale. [what’s true for a movie is true for a startup!] If you have low morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about 25 cents of value. If you have high morale, for every $1 you spend, you get about $3 of value. Companies should pay much more attention to morale.


via Kottke

§ Paul Gravett talks about English college level comics classes and interviews Dan Berry , lecturer on North Wales School of Art & Design’s three-year graphic novel degree.

How has the process of academic accreditation been? Has it been a challenge to get comics accepted and validated as something deserving of study?

The Illustration for Graphic Novels degree falls as a pathway under our BA (Hons) Design degree, and shares a great deal of overlap with our Illustration, Illustration for Children’s publishing and Graphic Design Courses, and it has been a relatively straightforward process to add it as a pathway through our Design degree. That isn’t to say it hasn’t been a great deal of work, but all staff are all pulling in the same direction, and we have received an incredible amount of support from everyone we have approached and spoken to, yourself included. I’m sure that the idea of a ‘comics degree’ will be criticised at some point, but we received the same kind of criticism when we started the one of first Animation Degrees back in the late 1990s, which has since gone from strength to strength.

§ WHICH comics pro did Lea Hernandez photograph peeing next to a kid reading a comic book? You must click the link to find out!

§ Is it possible to think that Dave Sim is not the lowest, subhuman form of life in our society and still think he is a misogynist?

Rome, GA humor

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Even the Rome News – Tribune cartoonist is getting in on the act of making sport of DA Leigh Patterson, who prosecuted the Gordon Lee case and apparently has a reputation for doggedly pursuing shaky “quality of life” cases like this.

RIP Danton Burroughs

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Mark Evanier reports the death of Danton Burroughs, longtime caretaker of Edgar Rice Burrough’s estate:

Danton Burroughs — the grandson of Edgar Rice Burroughs and a major force in keeping that man’s work alive — left us Wednesday evening at the age of 64. He had been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease for some time and died at his home in Tarzana, a suburb named for his grandfather’s legendary creation. He was the son of John Coleman Burroughs, who was himself distinguished in the arts as a photographer and illustrator.


I didn’t know Burroughs, but once, while following up yet another rumor on the John Carter of Mars front, I decided to just call the office number on the ERB website, and ended up speaking to him a bit. Even in a brief conversation, it was quite evident he was much the character, but for me it was a thrill to talk to ERB’s grandson and hear him talk about the Tarzan musical and so on. John Carter is now landed at Pixar, so let’s hope all of Danton’s hard work and dedication pays off some day.