King Kong is banging on the Spider-Man musical’s door

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Will the saga of Spider-Man The Musical ever end—or at least break even?? A piece on how a proposed King Kong musical is eyeing Spider-Man’s theater reveals some of the numbers behind Spidey’s fabled, tangled past. Lawsuits have been settled and injuries abated—the show even set a record for the biggest one-week take ever on Broadway. The show averages $1.5 million a week in ticket sales—but costs $1 million a week to mount. And given the $75 million the show ran up in its fabled birth pangs, it is still five to seven years from making a profit.

Ouch. But producers remain upbeat:

“I would say I’m much more optimistic now about the future of ticket sales than I was in August and September,” Mr. Cohl said, referring to the traditional period when many Broadway shows experience a box office slump. “I think ‘Spider-Man’ will be on Broadway at the Foxwoods for a good long while.”


The Foxwoods theater, where Spider-Man is staged, is one of the few with the enormous backstage capable of handling a a show like King Kong, thus the possible encroachment.

Nice art: James Jean mural for BLITZ in Hong Kong

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Artist James Jean created a mural for the BLITZ space at Lane Crawford in Hong Kong.

You can see the rest of it in the link and it’s spectacular.

Video streaming by Ustream
Here’s a video of him creating the actual mural last month.

Jean has also launched a line of accessories, called OVM, that includes jewelry, scarves, textiles and more.

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Here’s the scarf you can get us for our birthday.

Hollywood director harbors sexist thoughts; film at 11

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Yesterday there was a new source of gender battle outrage on the internets, as spelled out by The Mary Sue. It seems that director James Gunn, who has made the film Super and is slated to write and direct GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY has a very active website and online presence and nearly two years ago he ran a piece called 50 Superheroes you want to have sex with that included all kinds of jokes about having sex and rape and gays.

The explosion of outrage over this flooded out from Tumblr on Tuesday night and a doubtless terrified Gunn took down the post in question, but the cache lives on. A lot of people wrote smart angry things about it, including Rachel Edidin, and a lot of people are saying that Disney should Do Something and remove him from the directorial chair of GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. In fact, a petition with 4000 signatures already exists.

Which is something I’m not entirely comfortable with, to be honest. (Here’s a similar opinion.) I didn’t like the piece, but it was about what superheroes you’d like to fuck. You know, one of those stupid make believe things that Ask Men runs. Gunn was trying to be a lads mag writer—remember FHM and Maxim?—and it was almost funny in spots but not really. This is not the same as saying it was satire and should be excused on those grounds. I mean what did you expect? “The White Queen is sexy and I would like to gently caress her womanly garden.” I was actually surprised that he knew so much about comics—he might even know who Rocket Raccoon is already. I thought what he wrote could have been so much worse, to be honest. Disney generally keeps the women in its superhero movies fairly competent, so I’m not too alarmed that the movie will be filled with lesbians being raped by men to turn them into sex slaves. But, based on this, I’m not sure GUARDIANS will be all that funny…we don’t need another tepid Fantastic Four movie, that’s for sure

I guess I’m jaded because what Gunn wrote is no worse than what 90% of guys have thought at some point, and probably 90% of the people who have directed superhero movies that we all loved in the past have made similar jokes. I mean, I’m not exactly sure that Sam Raimi wanted to do Kitty Pryde in the butt, but I’m sure somewhere, at some time, he had a picture of the Invisible Woman taped inside his notebook. Maybe even right this very minute.

Which isn’t to say that Gunn doesn’t need to come out and say mea culpa and Gamora is his favorite Guardian and he supports Malala Yousafzai. It’s a good consciousness raising exercise, and a heckuva introduction to his future fan base. I just feel that the outrage energy is better directed at getting more opportunities for women and less at stopping men from having inappropriate sexy thoughts about imaginary women, because that will never, ever stop. Sorry.

Although there is a funny book called Porn for Women full of stuff like this:

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Bookmark: The Business of Cartooning resource page

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After yesterday’s bucket of cold water dumped over our heads by Jim Zub, we were toying with the idea of making a “resource page” with links to facts and figures on the industry but former Flash Gordon artist and current MCAD teacher Jim Keefe has done it for us! Keefe collects various pages and post on contracts, horror stories, rates and other things everyone should know. We recommend that young creators (and maybe some old ones as well) check out all the links.

One of the posts referenced is actually something posted here at the Beat a while ago, called “Keep them in the dark” which was about a flash game developer who explained how to lowball inexperienced creators. Kinda harsh, but it’s also how the world works. We wondered what has happened to the site in question and it’s still up, but untouched for going on two years. However the poster, actually has a lot of nuts and bolts info and figures on making flash games. It’s probably out of date by now but might be worth checking out if that’s your end of the business.

Jackman may also return in X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Snikt, bub—although Hugh Jackman’s popular portrayal of Wolverine made only a (hilarious) cameo in X-MEN FIRST CLASS, he’s in negotiations to appear in the next X-Men films. Jackman, who will appear next summer in THE WOLVERINE, a stand-alone Wolverine outing, was a fixture for X-Men: DOFP director Bryan Singer, so a reunion would be quite natural. As we reported yesterday, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are also joining the cast.

PS: In case you were wondering, Wolverine does it Gangnam Style, like everyone else.
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RIP: Josh Medors

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Following a long battle with a rare form of spinal cancer, artist Josh Medors passed away yesterday, at age 36, capping a pretty bad day for comics. Medors had been sick since 2008 and helped organize the Help for Heroes charity. He is survived by his wife, Charlotte, and his son, Garth.

Medors worked on titles including Frank Frazetta’s Swamp Demon, GI Joe: America’s Elite, 30 Days of Night, and his own Willow Creek. He enjoyed a particularly close collaboration with writer Steve Niles, on many projects.
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Things we liked that aren’t on the internet any more

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The other day we were polishing our buggy whip collection, cleaning the heads on our VCR player, and updating our RSS reader, getting rid of the dead feeds and nuking categories like “Lost blogs” and “Harry Potter.” There were, unsurprisingly, scores and scores of things that have gone away in the 7 or 8 years we’ve had a Google feed, including many that were dear to us. We were especially sad to see that after warning that they didn’t have the budget to keep running, the ASIFA’s Animation Archive did indeed vanish from the internet. There is an archive page up but it’s mostly about screenings. I mean, nowadays we have Tumblr for our image needs, but the ASIFA stuff was very well organized and included lots of original research from their holdings. The internet may be forever for things like photos of you falling out of your bikini top at the company retreat, but for research purposes, it’s ephemeral as all get out.

§ Another thing we noted was, if not gone, at least had stopped coming out with new content, was comiXology’s formerly awesome column lineup. Launched back in the primitive era of 2007 when comiXology was far from the behemoth it is now, the columns rounded up some of the very best writers of the era—Kristy Valenti, Shaenon T. Garrity, Karen Green, Jog, Tucker Stone, Jason Thompson—and gave them a regular, paying platform. We checked with a few of the writers and they all said the columns had simply drifted away, part of a business segment comiXology doesn’t really need any more.

It may sound stupid, but the number of outlets that simply pay smart columnists to write about comics can be counted on two hands—CBR and TCJ. That’s how little money there is in comics punditry. ComiXology’s column archives are still up and hopefully they’ll stay up—there’s some good stuff there.

My Little Pony #1 is #13 at the iBookstore today

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Okay, just in case you needed more proof that my bronies are real, check out MY LITTLE PONY #1’s placement at the iBookstore: #13 in a garden of Shades of Grey and James Patterson.

RIP: Spain Rodriguez

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I am very sad to report that an email has been sent by Ron Turner:

It is with great sadness that I inform you of the passing this morning of Spain Rodriguez. He passed at home with his daughter and wife at his bedside at about 7 this morning. He had been fighting cancer for a long time. He was a wonderful father, husband, and friend. His art challenged, changed and enlightened and entertained us for over five decades. His passing coincided with the penumbra eclipse of the moon, like Spain’s shadow from the outer edge of the art world’s face. Services are pending, please give the family some time.


A pillar of the early underground community, Rodriguez, 72, was a model of the career cartoonist, transgressive and socially aware in his early work; measured and wise in his older work. His most recent book was CRUISIN’ WITH THE HOUND, an autobiographical look back at youthful hijinks which he talked about with the Comics Journal.

“I’m probably more introspective now because I’m an old fella,” he allows. “Nobody knows what’s going on in your head. In a lot of ways that’s what literature and comics are about. The thing about comics is it’s an excellent vehicle to report what’s going on in your head. So that’s what I’m doing.”


Yu can read more about his early days with the ground-breaking alternative paper the East Village Other here. His most famed creation was Trashman, a finger to the eyeball of the establishment; my favorite work was his adaptation of NIGHTMARE ALLEY, a grungy exploration of life among the hobos that showed you don’t have to be Honey Boo Boo.

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Recently, as part of his protest against the WATCHMEN prequels, Tom Spurgeon began writing daily stories about Spain instead of BeWa stories. It was a canny choice because Spain, in his long career, exemplified what seemed like only a dream for so many cartoonists prior to his generation: a long career of strong works accompanied by a measure of critical respect that ebbed and flowed but never died out.

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Real Life My Little Ponies seen racing across Staten Island


Although shot in that innovative 9:16 ratio that everyone is talking about this TRUE LIFE video of a magical white pony and a zebra racing across a dramatic Staten Island landscape cannot help but remind you that friendship is TRULY magic.

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Con Wars brewing in New York and Cincinnati

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With comicons nationwide becoming a key money maker for many entities, it seems that a few con wars may be brewing. We received two separate tips yesterday about potential calendar conflicts for 2013.

First, and probably unintentionally, Mike Carbonaro is bringing back his New York Comic Book Marketplace on April 6th — the same day as the first one of MoCCA Fest. We know of no bad blood between the two entities, so this can probably be filed under a mishap, as MoCCA’s dates haven’t been widely circulated yet. Also Carbo’s shows tend to stick to the Bronze Age—of both comics and nerdlebrities—so a guest/fan conflict isn’t likely.

The same cannot be said in Cincinnati where, we’re told, someone who had a falling out with an established con is planning one for the week before.

The Cincinnati Comic Expo is typical of the current crop of local shows: a steady rise from a one-day show to a 3-day full-service comicon. The locals seem mostly satisfied with it, from what we’ve seen and heard. Next year’s show is scheduled for September 13-15th.

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But not one particular local, who has started a Kickstarter for the similarly named Cincinnati Comic Con, which is planned for the weekend BEFORE the 2013 Cincinnati Comic Expo, September 6-8th.

The new shows bills itself as “The Convention Cincinnati Deserves” and has lined up guests, including Ben Templesmith and Tony Moore. The new show seems to have a more “comic-centric” focus than the Expo.

Now we don’t have a dog in this hunt, but we’re told the new show was organized out of a feud with the older show, and certainly putting your show on a week before another one has to be tagged “a shot across the bows.” So, a little aggression there.

Like we said, we don’t know who zoomed who in this, but it certainly does seem to be a classic Con War. If you know more details, email us.

My Little Pony #1 is here—and here are all the covers, including the ghost variant

If this weren’t such am amazing year for comics, the success of MY LITTLE PONY #1 would be maybe the story of the year: how did a comic book aimed at young girls get pre-orders of over 100,000 copies? Pony madness is such that a second printing, due December 19th has already sold out, and a 3rd printing is ALREADY under way. When all is said and done—and all the variant covers are counted up—MLP #1 will be one of the best selling books of the year.

And we’re told that orders for #2 are also huge.

A kids comic aimed at young girls.

How?

Is it just that everyone wants a pony? Even the mysterious retailer cabal behind the Ghost Variants has gotten in on the action. More ghosts on sale here.

The success of MY LITTLE PONY is a paradigm shift for the direct market that indicates maybe we’ve finally grown up after all.

In that spirit, here’s all the variant covers, from Pinky Pie on.

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ComiCON-versation #13: LBCHC 2013 Wrap-up…

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So after what amounts to close to a year of preparation and work, the 2012 edition of the Long Beach Comic & Horror Con has come and gone. I’ve spent the last two weeks going over my notes, exhibitor notes, and online comments to really get a handle the details. What went well. What didn’t. What can be improved and ideas on how to do it. Let’s explore the three phases of the comicon production and see how it went.

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Phase 1 – Pre-show Load in

For me, my day started at about 4:15 am on Friday November 2nd. I was at the hall and starting to get things done before 5:00 am. Yup. That’s part of the job. I met with my decorator and looked over the floor plan. We discussed any last-minute changes and set the crew to work marking the floor so that booths can be built. We run on a very tight schedule so that we can start loading in exhibitors as early as possible. By 10:00 am the floor was marked and ready for load in to begin.

Come 12:00 pm and we already had a number of the larger exhibitors in and unloading while the rest began to show up to start their load in process. One huge bonus to the Long Beach Convention Center and our hall in particular is the ability to allow exhibitors to drive up onto the show floor with the vehicles. It’s a very rare occurrence at comicons and really helps ease the load in process for them. Keep in mind how heavy comics can be. To unload just yards or even feet from your booth is a value that can’t be measured. It also adds another layer to my job. Traffic cop and parking director. We have one staffer at the gate, Steve Hoveke, getting booth info and directing vehicles my way via radio. I then park them. Did I mention the awesome electric powered mini car I get to use? Life saver as in the past I have walked up to 42 miles in one weekend.

Around 2:00 pm we end the option to drive up onto the show floor as we need to have artist alley set. 184 tables and over 400 chairs is no simple task but by 4:30 pm we were just about ready to allow artist alley exhibitors to come in and set up. We had a large number of artist alley exhibitors take advantage of the Friday load in this year.

Finally, about 7:30 pm it was about time to call it quits. Well, for me. Other staffers such as Martha Donato and Phil Lawrence stuck around a little bit longer.

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Throughout the day on Friday a multitude of little things pop up that need to be addressed. It’s all part of the job. There were certainly less than in years past but enough to keep me very busy. I called it a day around 11:00 pm after having dinner with The Marshall Report team.

Phase 2 – Comicon!

Day one of LBCHC starts early for me, too. I get to the hall by 6:00 am and meet with my decorator to go over all my notes. We take a tour of the show floor and lobby to make sure everything is looking good. After we finish changes, additions, cuts and such that need to be made get done and we prep the show floor for its opening.

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Attendees were able to get checked in and onto the floor in a very quick and orderly fashion. Lines were minimized by utilizing our digital check-in system in conjunction with our ticket company. We opened the floor early to advanced ticket holders giving them a bonus for ordering their tickets in advance. We expect to extend that into 2013 as well.

Once the show floor opens I spend much of the day walking the floor and keeping my eye on things. I try to connect with as many exhibitors and artist alley creators as I can throughout the weekend. It’s virtually impossible for me to get to see everyone with everything I am responsible for. However, Martha and Phil make it a point to walk the entire show floor and say hello to everyone.

I was also keeping an eye on our new talk show The Marshall Report. Host Rick Marshall interviewed many of the shows guests and it is being edited into a web series. The is already up. The crew, Scott Klein and Luis Martinez of the Lights Out Film Group, did a great job and dealt with the production and overcoming the difficulties that arose. But that’s for a different column down the road.

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Around 4:00 pm I realized that the radio had been too quiet for too long. Typically it’s squawking all day long so this eerie sense of panic sets in that the radio might have failed and I may have missed important. I went and swapped the radio, which was fine by the way, and slowly realized that everything was going nice and smoothly. It’s kind of a weird feeling.

Overall, the comicon itself went well on both Saturday and Sunday. We had a few glitches here and there which we’ll address at our post-event meeting so that they can be corrected for 2013.

Phase 3 – Post show Load out

At about 5:00 pm on Sunday afternoon load out began. It took the team about 25 minutes to clear the floor of attendees. People didn’t really want to leave. That’s typically a very good sign about the comicon’s success.

Artist alley was torn down very quickly. We were able to get most exhibitors’ vehicles very close to their booths. The whole process of tear down and load out was completed from the show runner point of view by 7:30 pm. We wrapped up and headed out of the hall by 8:00 pm and to our annual celebratory post show team dinner leaving just the cleaning crew to empty the hall for the next event.

Overall we had a very successful year at Long Beach Comic & Horror Con in 2012. We saw growth in both attendees and exhibitors. We had a number of successful events on Saturday night including our annual Costume Masquerade Ball, Effin’ Funny Fest comedy show, a live art party and more. We’ve got a great set of notes to look at in conjunction with exhibitor and attendee feedback. Armed with that we expect to continue improving the comicon heading into 2013.

I’d like to thank everyone for reading my column. Hopefully you learned something and were entertained a bit in the process. I hope to revisit the column from time to time in the future so it’s not necessarily the end of our ComiCON-versation…

Comments and questions are encouraged either below in the comments section or via twitter.

-scig

@mikescigliano

ComiCON-versation Column Archive

If you are a show runner, and want to discuss the idea of comicon show runners organization as discussed in a previous column, contact me at mscigliano[at]longbeachcomiccon[dot]com

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Brubaker and Phillips’ Fatale is now ongoing

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FATALE, the beautifully drawn and conceived crime comic by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips has been presented as a very well received series of minis up until now, but it seems Brubaker has so many ideas for the main character he’s decided to make it an ongoing. Via PR:

Josephine, heroine of Ed Brubaker’s and Sean Phillips Image Comics series FATALE, has carried the curse for decades — able to enthrall men but chased by an ancient evil, she is seemingly destined to cause the ruination of anyone who loves her. The haunting series was originally planned as a mini-series, but Brubaker and Phillips have found that curse of the femme fatale is inexhaustible. Thanks to strong sales, a wealth of stories yet to be told, and a certain mesmerizing quality, FATALE is now an ongoing series.

“Fatale was originally envisioned as a novel in three parts,” said Brubaker in an interview withComics Alliance, “but I kept having ideas for side-plots and tangents or single issues, and it started to feel more like it was meant to be a more sprawling story. So I just decided to let it go until it’s finished.”

To launch the new format, Brubaker and Phillips are taking readers back in time with four standalone issues of FATALE. Jo may feel alone in her curse, but these stories will let readers in on her past and show that other women have shared her fate.

The first of the FATALE Flashback issues, December’s FATALE #11, will reveal Jo’s early years as a femme fatale. As the story follows her on the run in 1930s California, some of her elusive secrets will come to light.

In January, FATALE #12 will take readers all the way back to Medieval Europe, when a woman possessing the powers of the femme fatale curse faces doom not only from demonic forces but also from the scourge of witch-burnings.

February brings the femme fatale to the Wild West with FATALE #13, when a man — or a woman — could blaze a trail with a loaded pistol and a steady hand.

FATALE #14 in March is a World War II horror adventure, when Jo crosses paths with crazed Nazi cultists behind enemy lines.

Each issue of FATALE contains extra articles and art not collected in the trade paperbacks, including essays by renowned pop culture scholar Jess Nevins (The Encyclopedia of Fantastic Victoriana), whose writing also appeared in Brubaker’s and Phillips’ Criminal.

FATALE, written by Brubaker, drawn by Phillips, and with colors by Dave Stewart, was introduced in January 2012,  the first new series in an iconic year for Image Comics. Its first five issues have been collected into a trade paperback, FATALE: DEATH CHASES ME, which Publishers Weekly called an “addictive page-turner” in a starred review. The French edition of DEATH CHASES ME has just been announced as one of the nominees for the prestigious Angoulême Award, in the Polar (Mystery) category. Its second trade paperback, THE DEVIL’S BUSINESS, is available for pre-order now and will be in stores on December 19.

Preview: Django Unchained, the comic

Quentin Tarantino’s upcoming DJANGO UNCHAINED is already garnering buzz for what is said to be Tarantino’s most amazing screenplay yet—and in his usual discursive fashion there so much story that not all of it could be fit in to a movie of normal length. Enter the DJANGO UNCHAINED comic book, which features the extra bits of the story about slave-turned-bounty hunter Django quest to rescue his wife from a villainous Mississippi plantation owner. The comic includes the backstory of Django.

DC has released a preview of the art by R.M. Guéra. Flashbacks are drawn by Jason Latour.

DJANGO UNCHAINED the movie comes out on Christmas Day. The comic hits stores on 12/19.

Hawkeye #7 has guest artists and benefits Sandy relief

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HAWKEYE #7 sports a stylish cover by David Aja but the insides are by two other stylists—Steve Lieber and Jesse Hamm—in a story that features Clint Barton and his protegé Kate Bishop helping victims of a superstorm on the East Coast. If it sounds familiar, it should be—the issue was put together at a feverish pace after the events of real-life Hurricane Sandy. And as writer Matt Fraction reveals in the video below from MTV Geek, he’ll be donating his royalties from the issue to the American Red Cross. So make sure to buy a bunch of copies.

Aja returns in issue #8.

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