Yes, the Beat RSS feed has been hacked.

Technicians are on it as we speak.

ROBOT: The Bollywood/Robot Extravaganza that has everyone tweeting!

Dear lord.

So good.


This is what it was like when the internet was cool.

DC moves only part of bigger WB shake-up

As we head into Day 3 of the Bi-Coastal Era of DC Comics, even bigger organizational changes were announced at Warner Bros. Short version: Time Warner head Jeff Bewkes announced that Warner Bros Chairman/CEO Barry Meyer would be staying on for two years (he had been rumored to be retiring before that) but studio head Alan Horn will be moving along in April 2011. Three men will fill a three-headed president role to replace Horn: Jeff Robinov, the movie guy, Bruce Rosenblum, the TV guy, and Kevin Tsujihara the multimedia/home entertainment guy.

Although this all seems far removed from the traditional comics business, it is all tied in, of course. Tsujihara once numbered DC among his responsibilities, and we all know Robinov’s interest in the division, including bringing in Diane Nelson to get DC up to speed. Nikki Finke has a chatty, catty history of the Bewkes/Horn relationship, but puts the comics movie situation in the forefront of why he is leaving:

Horn’s film division also was embarrassed by not nailing down the legal rights to Watchmen adequately. Mogul after mogul in Hollywood couldn’t understand how Warner Bros could even have started filming the graphic novel with 20th Century Fox still laying claim to the pic. And Watchmen looks like it won’t earn out with no domestic legs and no interest overseas. (Snarked one rival studio exec: “Now Alan is going to use Watchmen as justification to ban all R-rated films at Warner Bros.”) Which leads me to Horn’s biggest failure: leaving the most valuable DC Comics characters in movie development limbo for most of his tenure. While Warner Bros was paralyzed by indecision, chaotically starting and stopping work on scripts with DC characters, Marvel was exploiting the hell out of its characters with an ultra-ambitious film development slate. And now Marvel is part of the Disney marketing machine. Of Superman, Wonder Woman, and the Justice League, only Batman has a successful live action ongoing franchise. And Warner Bros is now embroiled in a fight for Superman’s film life with the rightsholders. And who knows how Green Lantern will turn out? But mining a minor DC character like Jonah Hex was last summer’s studio money pit.

At THR Kim Masters and Gregg Kilday also analyze how this went out, but don’t give the comics angle as much play. However, the overall picture emerges of just how important these superhero franchises are to the studio as a whole. The three presidents of WB recall the two editors-in-chief of DC Entertainment, Lee and DiDio, and also that studios love the three men go in, one man comes out scenario of executive development.

And the reality of the coastal split between DC divisions is also beginning to come into focus — see Kevin Melrose‘s excellent write-up for the best summation. While the first reaction was a sigh of relief, the bigger picture is that the forward-looking functions of DC are moving to closer studio control, and the publishing business might be left behind. Writer Tom Mason — himself no stranger to acquisition, as he was an owner of Malibu when it was sold to Marvel in the ’90s–has more:

I think lost in all the discussion and rundown of DC’s recent shift is that the biggest piece of the puzzle has yet to be explained or admitted to. Warner Bros. which folded DC Comics into a new company called DC Entertainment just a year ago, now took DC Comics out of that company and moved DC Entertainment – along with all of the money-making portions of the company – to the West Coast.

DC Comics, the comic book division, is now its own stand-alone entity. An island of old-school publishing left without its support network. This has been hailed as a victory for the comic book people.

It isn’t. It’s a wake up call.

Mason’s piece should be read in full, while we’re waiting for the sure-to-be-filled-with-great-metaphors write-up from Spurge. But one suggestion — that this will eventually lead to WB licensing out comics production of its characters — gets explored.

Meanwhile, what is going on day to day at DC?

Well, don’t expect to hear anything.

Employees going into their HR meetings are being asked to sign NDAs and will not be allowed to talk about their meetings until sometime next month. So lips are zipped. We’d guess this is so that people aren’t unnecessarily influenced by what is happening to their department mates. Or so they don’t blab to blogs. On the other hand, knowing what is happening to your department mates might factor in to your own job situation, so…it all sounds stressful. Very stressful.

In the absence of any actual information — given all of the talk about “things we can’t talk about yet” — are we getting set up for a big Lost-style reveal? Is DC Comics going to set off in a big space ark? Did Diane Nelson travel here from the past? Is Jeff Robinov dreaming the whole thing? Is Jim Lee really a seal?

The rest of the world will find out…some day.

The way forward with webcomics tech


The other day comics/tech guru Scott McCloud posted examples of two webcomics using current navigation techniques to give advanced motion and storytelling effects. One, Turbo Defiant Kimecan (top) uses Flash to allow readers to time the appearance of panels and balloons. Never Mind the Bullets (bottom) uses HTML 5 to gives kind of “motion comics-y” floating animation. As McCloud points out, both are just examples, not role models — Never Mind the Bullets suggested we download IE9, which was an immediate fail. The comments are unkind:

It was an excruciating experience just to reach panel 3.


what we have here is a couple of pretty ordinary comics with Extra Bonus Loading Times

But there is a defender:

I think most people are missing the point: these comics are not the end all, but a great step in evolution towards the future of comics. TDK does some things I’ve never seen done before- like the freeze frame that reveals what’s really on everybody’s mind on the subway- it works brilliantly, and the cell by cell style delivers the moment of comedy perfectly.

McCloud has been pointing to these kinds of formal explorations for a while; neither of the above succeeds as comics or interaction BUT they do present intriguing possibilities. Every technology gets its D.W. Griffith, and it’s just a matter of time before some kid latches onto what’s intuitive and informative about these possibilities.


In the comments, Swiss artist Michael Kühni links to his own experiments with Flash, which are far more successful.

There’s also Boi by Vincent Giard, which uses Flash to convey that hungover feeling–to good effect.

There’s also Dan Goldman’s recently concluded Red Light Properties, another Flash-based story which had several technical upgrades along the way.

Overall, we see an unevenly evolving picture, as individuals mess around and come up with novelty ideas, some charming, some…awkward. The two examples McCloud points to do suggest possibilities however — Never Mind The Bullets, while poorly drawn, suggests the ability to follow stories in a more spatial way (clicking to go into an environment) without going full-on animation.
What do you think? Have you seen any examples of “new tech” comics that are more than experimental?

Sighted: Isaac Perlmutter, sort of

Forbes has published its list of the 400 richest Americans and Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter clocks in at #250 with $1.65 billion, much of it from the $4 billion sale of Marvel to Disney last year.

The piece also contains a real oddity: a photograph of Perlmutter, who is more camera shy than the Loch Ness monster, apparently. The only photo Forbes could find is from a 1985 shoot when he was 42 or so. (He’s now 67 for the math-chellenged.) So this image may be out of date but if you squint a little…

The incredibly cost-conscious takes an active hand in running Marvel, we’re told.

Via Kevin Melrose.

Separated at birth: Blacksad and Gay French CGI cat Orangina commercial



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Also: Why no BLACKSAD movie yet? Alexandre Aja was rumored to be involved.