When PR goes bad: Tim Marchman vs DC on Before Watchmen

Here in the world of what is laughably called “pop culture journalism” we’re all used to a certain breathless acceptance in talent interviews. Staying competitive means getting exclusives and getting exclusives means playing ball. Tough questions are rarely asked, and confrontation is the greatest sin of all.

So when you read Watching Watchmen: A Classic Comic’s Classless Return at the Daily Beast, you have to either wince or gasp as things spin out of control.

Harbinger #2 Preview

Enough Marvel news for today. Valiant has slipped us a 5-page preview for the second issue of their surprisingly dark teen psychic book, Harbinger. Looks like the alternate cover gives us a peek at the new Harbinger uniform. Regarding the first page (and the extent to which this is a really dark take on the original) — the young lady is our hero’s early childhood crush and he sort of… gave her an attitude adjustment.

SDCC 12: Massive carnivals taking over everything around SD Convention Center

Holy crap, the Con offsites are getting more and more elaborate and entrancing! From a few brave souls setting up a statue or two in the sandy lot next to the Gaslamp Hilton 7 years ago to this year’s explosion of theme parks and exhibits, even without a con badge you’ll have a lot to see and do. The Wb, NBC and Yahoo are all planning major set-ups. Other offsites: at least five art exhibits, the Cryptozoic pop-up store, and many other things we’ve forgotten.

Here’s what’s going on:

The Stroke of Genius in the Marvel Now Plan — Never-ending Relaunch

Those guys at Marvel are crafty. They’ve been scheming their way out of bad trends for years now. First it was showing you could successfully raise prices on your bestselling titles (though the gleam may be coming off that one). Then when things started tanking hard, they manufactured AVX and structured it in such a way that it guaranteed huge numbers and hype. Credit where credit is due, AVX _has_ taken off since then, but Marvel’s structure built in a failsafe for it. And now, their latest construction: The Neverending Relaunch.

Creators rights activists take note: The Great Thanos War is brewing

Marvel is going all cosmic in the movie world, and Thanos, a character created by Jim Starlin, is at the heart of it.

The evidence is unavoidable. First it was the Thanos cameo at the end of the Avengers—supposedly thrown in because director Joss Whedon was a fan of the character and a cosmic storyline is integral to keeping him on board for Avengers 2.

Move over Batman and Walking Dead: Lego Ninjago #4 gets 425,000 first printing

Okay, granted it’s kind of a smallish book not a comics periodical…but at 64 pages and $6.99, the latest issue of LEGO® NINJAGO isn’t really a full-on trade paperback either. Thus its announced 425,000 copy first printing does put it in kind of a “tween” land as far as sales figures go. And yes it is a licensed product. but anyway you slice it 425K is a LOT of copies—and as the attached pr mentions, it’s only up from 200K printings on earlier issues. Because, well, you know, kids love comics…and Legos.

SDCC 12: Marvel secret 'Item 47' short film to screen at end of SDCC scavenger hunt

While EW is rolling out Marvel comics secrets, it’s also revealing the true multimedia triumph of Marvel these days: the way that studio head Kevin Feige and crew have truly been able to replicate the continuity obsession of the comics into a major motion picture environment. And now they’re using short films as a kind of “Marvel Showcase” for the movies.