Contest: Write your own Jack Kirby pitch

Dave Itzkoff at the NY Times uncovers the story of  a vault of 600 pages of unpublished Jack Kirby concept art.  After leaving DC in the ’70s, the King went on to work in animation for Ruby-Spears through the ’80s, designing such things as Thundarr the Barbabian, among others. But so prolific was Kirby’s imagination that he just kept churning out concepts and new characters, whether anyone wanted them or not. The art for these unseen projects sat in some boxes at the Ruby Spears vaults…until now.

Now, a partnership between that studio’s founders, Joe Ruby and Ken
Spears, and Sid and Marty Krofft, the longtime children’s entertainment producers (“H. R. Pufnstuf,” “Land of the Lost”), is planning to revive these unseen Kirby characters in as many forms as possible. It’s a proposition that faces challenges as the studios scour the landscape for the next comic book or cartoon character they can transform into a franchise, but also one that has piqued the interest of some powerful Hollywood players.

While the ideas may be ones that no one has ever heard of, there’s got to be gold in them thar hills somewhere. For instance…


A female Indiana Jones accompanied by a midget magician on a unicycle and a cowboy with giant hands? It writes itself!

“Roxie! Look out! My unicycle has become stuck in this molten alloy and I can’t move!”

“Don’t worry, L’il Mojo, Big Hand Luke will fan out the fires with his massive mitts!”

Or…

This one should be rennamed…”The Turban Squad!” But our favorite…


“Nekrona, hurry!  You’ve got to contain that floating skull before it grabs the last Jelly Filled Munchkin!”

“I’m trying, Dr. Zadge! But its chattering teeth are disrupting my spell!”

…etc., etc., etc.

It’s infectious. Truly, The King looms overs us all; we’re blanching midgets in the light of his titanic imagination.

KICK-ASS gn hits 100,000 copies

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Publishers who think of comic book movies as multi-million dollar ads for the trade aren’t that far off, as Marvel has announced that the KICK-ASS graphic novel by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. has sold over 100,000 copies, including nearly 40 percent to the direct sales market.

“My first inclination is to try to be clever and say that I have 100,000 relatives to thank…. but I won’t,” said Kick-Ass artist and co-creator John Romita Jr. “I’m extremely proud of this all, and very excited about working on the next two chapters!”
 
Mark Millar, co-creator and writer of Kick-Ass added, “The idea that a twenty-five dollar book has hit 100,000 sales in a little over a month is just insane. Especially when this doesn’t count all the international orders or the trade paperback we have coming up. That’s roughly ten times what Johnny and I were expecting and we would like to thank the comic-book retailers in America for their support of this book. This was not cheap and they took a gamble on us and I promise that Johnny will buy each and every one of them a drink at every convention he ever hits from now on.”


Since it was an ICON book, with a creator-owned structure, this is a nice payday for Millar and Romita. It’s also, and we mean this in the least snarky way possible, probably a better graphic novel tie-in success than Marvel has had with any of its movies, where there are dozens of books to choose from.

KICK-ASS opens this Friday.

Kibbles 'n' Bits — 4/13/10

As usual, too many links, not enough time.

§ The Library of American Comics has launched a website that will fill one with longings for comics strips of the past.

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§ If this Comic Book Cartography blog hasn’t changed your life yet, just give it time.

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§ The winners of the Afrodisiac Art Contest have been announced.

§ How to spend $300 in an hour at MoCCA

§ Gastronome CB Cebulski has launched a food blog, EATAKU, following a recent appearance on The Food Network.

§ Perhaps Kurt Busiek will launch his own food blog, after a Beat post led him on a long distance sandwich quest.:

§ The Coming of Kodansha has kinda been more a quiet little mouse than Godzilla, reports Matt Blind.

§ Chris Butcher’s monthly Liveblogging The Previews provides as succinct a status report on the industry as you can get these days:

Meanwhile, IDW starts their move off with… a licensed book based on a movie. Not personally thrilling, but the writer is Bob Schreck in his first post-DC outing, and it comes with a variant cover by Frank Miller? That’s kind of a big deal. The interior art shown on the page honestly doesn’t thrill me, but with Jurassic Park being one of the best-selling books and movies of all time, and this being a direct sequel to the first film, Jurassic Park: Redemption #1 (it’s official title) will definitely have its fans. Page 140, $3.99.

§ What about that iPad, eh? Gettin’ a lot hotter lately!

Reed acquires Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention

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Reed Exhibitions, owner of this week’s C2E2 show and the New York Comic-Con, has just announced its first foreign partnership: the Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention to be held December 10-12. It’s quite an interesting move in many ways; Reed already runs business-to-business trade shows around the world, so the infrastructure is already there for international expansion. The move also underscores the size of the comics audience in territories that aren’t necessarily known for their native comics culture, but have huge, youthful urban populations that love the pop culture aspect of the comic-con experience.

You can read the PR below, but one big question remains: Who is flying The Beat out to cover the show?

Reed Exhibitions, the world’s leading organizer of trade and consumer events, has today announced that it has acquired the Singapore Toy, Games & Comic Convention (STGCC).  Launched in 2008 and owned and operated by local event planner PI Events, STGCC is a strategic fit for Reed Exhibitions, which has an existing office in Singapore, and which has consolidated a team of professionals in its North American office to work exclusively on pop culture events.  The new pop culture team will work closely with the Reed Exhibitions Singapore staff as well as maintain a strategic partnership with PI Events to stage a preeminent event in the Asian market which fits with other events in the Reed pop culture portfolio, including New York Comic Con (NYCC) and the soon to be launched Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2).  The last STGCC took place in August, 2009.  The next STGCC will take place from December 10-12, 2010 at the Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre (www.suntecsingapore.com). 

“This acquisition is the first step in our far reaching commitment to service pop culture fans all over the world by building quality events which bring enormous attention to the pop culture community, and open new markets for our exhibitors” notes Lance Fensterman, Group Vice President for the Reed Pop Culture Group.  “We want to spread the currency of cool to regions all over the planet.  We have a team in place that is wholly devoted to pop culture and which shares in the passion of the community, and we have the support of a company that is not only committed to the growth of our business, but which has offices, staff and resources around the world.  We are eager to work with our colleagues in Singapore to make the next Singapore Toys, Games & Comic Convention a massive success and a dominant show in Southeast Asia for years to come.”   

Underscoring the significance of this development for the pop culture community, Kuo-Yu Liang, Vice President of Sales & Marketing for Diamond Book Distributors, the world’s biggest distributor of English-language comics and pop culture products, states: “Singapore is one of our biggest export territories and it is also the gateway into the fast growing Southeast Asia and UAE markets, home to hundreds of millions of young fans who love pop culture.  The fact that Reed is making this market more accessible is fantastic.  It significantly enhances our opportunity to know our customers and to grow our business in this important part of the world.”        

STGCC doubled in size at its second showing in 2009 and went from a 2 day event to a 3 day event, including a full day of conference sessions.  “While it’s early to announce details of our plans for 2010 our intention is to build on what has already been successful at STGCC, while bringing in some new ideas that have worked for us on some of our other shows,” Fensterman continues.  “Notably, we want to take advantage of the unique location of Singapore, being at the crossroads of Asia, and build a show with broad appeal and which combines the best of the East and the West.”   

Michelle Lim, Managing Director Reed Exhibitions Singapore, says: “We are thrilled to be staging a Con in Singapore and we look forward to welcoming customers from the US.  We are confident that Asian fans will be attending STGCC to discover new pop culture brands and content.  With the emergence of a strong network of budget airlines in Asia providing affordable travel for over 500 million people in a four-hour radius from Singapore; the staging of the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore in August 2010; and the opening of two integrated resorts – Marina Bay Sands and Resort World tying up with Universal Studios this year, we expect Singapore to be a destination of choice and a top draw for many Asian markets.  STGCC will certainly provide fertile ground for US companies wanting to raise their profile and brand awareness among the fans in Asia.” 

Reed’s pop culture business has grown rapidly since New York Comic Con was launched in 2006.  NYCC itself has grown to become the second largest pop culture event in the world, and other major shows are being launched or have been added to the Reed pop culture portfolio through partnerships.  The pop portfolio now includes: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2), PAX East & West, Star Wars Celebration V, New York Anime Festival, and UFC Fan Expo.  “We are building our presence domestically as well as internationally and the number of shows we have added to our portfolio certainly speaks to this rapid growth,” Fensterman concludes.  “We will be making more announcements in the near future.” 

 

You know you want it: SDCC exclusive Claire Bobble Head

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Toy shelf space is at a premium these days, but we have to admit, this Claire Littleton Bobble Head from Bif Bang Pow!, complete with gun and a substitute baby made from animal parts, has that certain je ne sais quoi. (The hair is a little too neat, though.) It’s available as an exclusive for this year’s San Diego but you can also order in advance.