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Marvel and Disney Kingdoms Spark Your Imagination with Figment #1!

This summer, journey into the exciting depths of your own imagination in Figment #1, the new Disney Kingdoms series created by the unique collaboration between Marvel and Walt Disney Imagineering. This five-issue series, created by rising star writer Jim Zub, fan-favorite artist Filipe Andrade and blockbuster cover artist John Tyler Christopher, weaves an all-new steampunk fantasy adventure that reveals the never-before-told origin of the inventor known as Dreamfinder and his trusty dragon companion!

A mainstay of Walt Disney World’s Epcot Theme Park, Figment and the enigmatic inventor Dreamfinder have captivated visitors of Epcot’s Journey Into Imagination attraction for years and Marvel and Disney are proud to bring their exciting story to the masses this June!

In an interview with Marvel.com, writer Jim Zub expanded on the series:

Expanding the story of Figment has been intimidating, but I’m genuinely enjoying it. I want to do right by Disney fans and new readers alike, creating an entertaining story and that comes from working with engaging characters. Digging a bit deeper into Figment and Dreamfinder has been a fun challenge. In so many ways this story really is a ‘Journey Into Imagination’, in both word and deed.

This summer, all it takes is one little spark to let your imagination take flight. Don’t miss the highly anticipated debut of the next title in the Disney Kingdoms family when Figment hits comic shops this June!

FIGMENT #1 (OF 5)
Written by Jim Zub
Penciled by Filipe Andrade
Cover by John Tyler Christopher
Elements based on Figment © Disney
32 PGS./All Ages …$3.99

Figment_1_Cover

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It was new comic day yesterday! What’d everyone get and what got you excited?

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The Mary Sue – Warner Bros. Has Chosen A Director For The LEGO Movie Sequel – Do I get in line already?

The Beat – IDWs Ted Adams Interview Part 2: What’s up for Little Nemo, WinterWorld, Ragnarok and V Wars. – Part 2 of The Beat’s solid interview.

Robot 6 – Stan Lee Media fires back at Disney in fight over Spider-Man – I propose a cage match.

Bleeding Cool – DC Announces Two New Retailer Roadshows For March, One In Orlando, One In Seattle – Good to see.

ICv2 – Comic Retailers Optimistic – Good news.

 

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Comic Vine – All-New X-Factor #4

Comic Vine – Avengers Undercover #1

The Beat – Avengers Undercover #1

Comic Vine – Batman #29

Comic Vine – Captain Marvel #1

Comic Vine – Deadpool #25

Comic Vine – Green Lantern Corps #29

Comic Vine – Invincible #109

Comic Vine – Magnus Robot Fighter #1

Comic Vine – Nightwing #29

CBR – Stray Bullets: Killers #1

Comic Vine – Superior Spider-Man #29

Comic Vine – Superman/Wonder Woman #6

Comic Vine – Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #32

Comic Vine – Unity #5

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The weekend is almost here! Yay! Who plans to see the new 300 this weekend?

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Wizkids – WizKids Games Presents A Closer Look at the New Marvel Dice Masters! – Hmmm.

Kotaku – The villainous Darkseid joins the roster of Injustice: Gods Among Us mobile - Cool.

Kotaku – Disney Lays Off 700 Employees – Booooo!

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Batman/Superman Annual #1

CBR – Magneto #1

Talking Comics – Moon Knight #1

Bleeding Cool – Starlight #1

Comic Vine – Uncanny X-Men #18

Comic Vine – Veil #1

Comic Vine – Velvet #4

The Beat - Marvel’s got backstory in New Batch of #1s (Moon Knight, Magneto, Wolverine & The X-Men)

What Is to Become of Star Wars Comics?

Star_Wars_LogoOn January 3, 2014, Dark Horse rang in the New Year with sad news for Star Wars fans, while Marvel rejoiced. For going on 23 years, Dark Horse has provided comics readers with thousands of new stories, characters, world, vehicles, and ideas that have expanded and enriched the Star Wars Expanded Universe. As of 2015, however, the Star Wars comics-publishing license, which has belonged to Dark Horse since 1991, will be reclaimed by Marvel comics, the original publisher of Star Wars comics since right before Star Wars: A New Hope debuted in May 1977. 

Of course, this is not a huge surprise for anyone who follows Star Wars news closely. In 2012 the Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm and its subsidiaries (in other words, the Star Wars franchise) for nearly 4 billion dollars; three years prior, Disney had purchased Marvel Entertainment and its subsidiaries for roughly the same amount. Disney’s purchase of the Star Wars franchise, coupled with its announcement that, like Paramount’s recent revamp of Star Trek, new Star Wars movies and a television show would be produced, called into question the safety of the Star Wars license at Dark Horse.

It makes little sense, from a marketing standpoint, to continue to allow Disney’s competitors in the comics market to compete against Disney with Disney-licensed products. That is to say, it makes sense for Disney to allow its comics publisher, Marvel, to publish the tie-in comics for a franchise it owns. Already Marvel is published Disney-themed comics, like Disney Kingdoms: Seekers of the Weird, which is meant in part to bolster interest in Walt Disney Land.

Marvel ComicsAdditionally, it makes historical sense for Marvel to publish Star Wars comics, since they published an ongoing series of 107 issues (3 annuals) from 1977 to 1986. Like much of the Expanded Universe (for the uninitiated, I mean the stories set in and about the Star Wars Universe which are not part of the movies or television shows), Star Wars went on hiatus until Dark Horse received the contract to publish Star Wars comics, working ever closely with the Lucasfilm bunch to keep things in relative continuity.

To be sure, I am a devoted Star Wars fan and have often, and quite avidly, expressed my approval of Dark Horse as a comics publisher. At a time when the comics market seems to be repeating the disastrous and tiresome trends of the mid-1990s, Dark Horse stands as a shining example of what a comics publisher should be, how they should do business, and the sort of quality stories that should be populating (and not polluting) the week’s new floppies.

I am, therefore, distressed to see Star Wars depart Dark Horse. The comics, digest, and graphic novels they have produced in the name of the Force have defined my time as a comics enthusiast. In fact, my very first comic was a trade paperback of Star Wars: Crimson Empire, volume one, and it was my love for Star Wars comics that made me decide to write about comics as a critic and a scholar. But, like all good things, as cliche as this is, Dark Horse’s time with Star Wars must come to an end. I should give my thanks to creators like John Jackson Miller, Jeremy Barlow, Tom Veitch, Jan Duursema, John Ostrander, Randy Stradley, and Michael Atiyeh (now I know how important a colorist is thanks to Atiyeh!). For some it was the movies, with crawling script and a John Williams score, but for me it was your well-crafted pages that made me a fan and kept me satiated.

The end, however, is not nigh, just delayed. I mean, with Lucasfilm and Marvel under the money-making corporate reign of the Mouse, it would seem as though Star Wars could go on forever without needing to make a cent for itself. So Star Wars comics aren’t done for, they’re just transitioning. This transition, set to take effect in 2015, naturally begs some questions.

Primary among these, are two interrelated questions: What of the current ongoing series? What of the Star Wars comics publishing schedule?

I ask these questions in tandem because Dark Horse has had phenomenal success as a publisher by sticking to a mini-series publishing platform. This means that, rather than begin a half-dozen ongoing series, Dark Horse plans series in small chunks, usually of three to six issues. Mini-series like Star Wars: Dawn of the Jedi—The Force War, for example, are part of a collection of mini-series with the same subtitle; that is, there are multiple Dawn of the Jedi mini-series, all of which together comprise a vast story. This is the case with the recently concluded eighth volume of the Star Wars: Dark Times mini-series.

This mini-series platform is seen throughout Dark Horse’s output, from Hellboy to Mass Effect to Firefly/Serenity. And it is incredibly successful, primarily because it skirts the major issue faced by the Big Two: high-numbered ongoing series which serve as a bar to new readers. After all, you might feel a little daunted jumping in at Batman #632, if it’s your first time. This is not to suggest that the high-numbered ongoing series are a bad thing. Rather, that utilizing this method alone can be off-putting to new readers. Marvel and DC have, of course, both recognized this, and in part, this is why we’re seeing so many reboots (Marvel NOW and New 52). But, the ongoing series is still Marvel’s primary publishing platform.

The question for Marvel, then, is whether they will continue Dark Horse’s highly effective publishing strategy, thus providing mini-series that can be devoured in bite-sized chunks alongside one or two ongoing series, as Dark Horse is currently doing with Star Wars by Brian Wood and Star Wars: Legacy? This strategy, it should be noted, has the added benefit of allowing the publishing to cycle through multiple mini-series throughout the year, developing multiple facets of the Star Wars universe throughout the year and making sure that at least one Star Wars comic is on the rack each week.

But what of the current ongoing series, Wood’s Star Wars and Star Wars: Legacy? Though mini-series are effective, many comic book readers don’t want to be deprived of all of their high-numbered ongoing series. Granted, neither of these ongoing series will be numbered much higher than the mid-20s when Marvel takes over. I believe it would be a wonderful sign of continuity in the Star Wars universe if Marvel picked up where Dark Horse is forced to leave off. That said, Marvel and Lucasfilm seem determined to rewrite and reestablish the Star Wars canon once and for all, so it’s impossible to predict where Marvel will go.

The final problem about this transition that I wish to pose—though I’m sure more will surface throughout the year—is what will become of past trade paperback collections and future reprints? Typically, when the rights to produce a comic book based on a franchise are sold, the company purchasing the rights is able to reprint issues from before they owned the franchise. Take Star Trek, for example. IDW currently holds the license to produce Star Trek comics, and as such has also published omnibus editions collecting older Star Trek comics, i.e. those published by Malibu and by Marvel. Additionally, Dynamite owns the Red Sonja franchise, and can reprint Marvel’s issues of Red Sonja from the 1970s.

Now, I’m sure that there is some sort of compensation worked out in most cases. After all, it would seem unlikely that Marvel could take over Star Wars in 2015, reprint trades of Dark Horse’s Star Wars output in 2014, and make 100% profit off of them as though they did all the work.

The most likely scenario is that Marvel will not be putting out trade paperback collections of anything written previously for awhile. This assumption makes sense, since Leland Chee (the fellow at Lucasfilm who tracks all Star Wars continuity) has stated that, with the release of the upcoming movies, Star Wars universe continuity will soon be consolidated, so that not everything will be in continuity. This, in a sense, will make certain things obsolete. In addition, Marvel, just as much a stickler for comic-book continuity as any comic reader, will likely not publish vast amounts of trades which are decided to be out of continuity.

What this is likely to create, then, is a surplus of out-of-print trades published by Dark Horse. Critically, Dark Horse’s 30+ omnibus editions, which already have relatively small print runs, will likely jump in price. That is, of course, only if Dark Horse is no longer allowed to print and sell its old trades. It’s unlikely that Marvel would allow Dark Horse to compete against it.

We will likely be seeing something like the Marvel Masterworks or Marvel Essentials, and maybe even the newer Marvel Omnibus format, for the original Marvel Star Wars series (1977-1986). Eventually, once continuity gets established, it’s probably that Marvel will rename older Dark Horse-produced series to conform to Lucasfilm’s newly established canon, and we’ll eventually see trades or other collections as well. The day of the fantastically priced Dark Horse Omnibus is, devastatingly, at an end for Star Wars comics.

It’s impossible to tell what the future of Star Wars comics holds, let alone what the future of the franchise, it’s new films, new television series (Star Wars Rebels), new video games, and new canon will look like. One can hope that Star Wars’ long history at Dark Horse will not be forgotten. The teams that have worked on Star Wars there for over 20 years have produced enormous output, much of which outweighs the largely-terrible Star Wars novels in literary vitality, and which has brought joy to countless Star Wars fans in a way that no other aspects of Lucas’ transmedia empire have accomplished.

We’ve still eleven months to go, though, and Dark Horse has promised much to its fans. Both on the Star Wars front, with two new mini-series beginning shortly, one of which is written by Matt Kindt (Star Wars: Rebel Heist), and in the post-Star Wars era (unfortunately, I can’t reveal the hints we’ve received directly from the publisher, but trust me, Dark Horse will be offering up some amazing distractions that will ease the passing of Star Wars completely into Disney’s hands).

I know that I’ve got my work cut out for me, and I’ve made it my goal to collect and read all 30+ of the Star Wars Omnibus collections, with nearly a third already on my shelves (that’s more than 4,000 pages of Star Wars!). Look forward to more thoughts on Star Wars here in the future, and, as always, have a fantastic year!

Star Wars Returns to Marvel Starting in 2015

Star_Wars_LogoWhen Disney acquired Lucasfilm, it was a question on comic geek’s minds. What would it mean for the Dark Horse‘s Star Wars license? Well, the shoe dropped as today it was announced that Marvel has been granted exclusive rights to create and publish Star Wars comics and graphic novels beginning in 2015. That ends a successful 20 year run and relationship with Dark Horse.

The agreement marks a homecoming for the Star Wars comic books. Marvel Comics published the first Star Wars comic book, Star Wars #1, in March 1977, which went on to sell more than 1 million copies. Marvel Comics published its Star Wars series for nine years. In 1991, Dark Horse Comics took over the license, publishing fan-favorite titles like Dark Empire and Star Wars: Legacy. Last year, Dark Horse released The Star Wars #1, an adaptation of George Lucas’ original rough-draft screenplay for the film, garnering rave reviews and national media attention and ranking among the top-selling Star Wars comics of all time.

From the Disney/Lucasfilm/Marvel side of things, the announcement was positive and rosy.

Carol Roeder, director of Lucasfilm franchise publishing, Disney Publishing Worldwide said in the release:

 

Dark Horse Comics published exceptional Star Wars comics for over 20 years, and we will always be grateful for their enormous contributions to the mythos, and the terrific partnership that we had. In 2015, the cosmic adventures of Luke, Han, Leia and Chewbacca will make the lightspeed jump back to Marvel, to begin a new age of adventures within the Star Wars universe.

New_MVL_URL_LogoMarvel Worldwide Publisher and President, Dan Buckley in the same release:

We here at Marvel could not be more excited to continue the publication of Star Wars comic books and graphic novels. The perennial brand of Star Wars is one of the most iconic in entertainment history and we are honored to have the opportunity to bring our creative talent pool to continue, and expand Star Wars into galaxies far, far away.

Andrew B. Sugerman, executive vice president of Disney Publishing Worldwide concluded in the release:

We’re incredibly excited by this next chapter in the Star Wars saga. Bringing together the iconic Lucasfilm and Marvel brands to tell new stories will allow us to continue to thrill lovers of the original Star Wars comic books and entertain generations to come.

A statement in the form of a press release from Dark Horse proceeded the one by Disney/Lucasfilm/Marvel:

The End of an Era

All things come to pass. So too, do all licensed deals. I am sad to report that Disney, the new owner of Lucasfilm, has notified us here at Dark Horse of their intention to move the Star Wars publishing license to another of their recent acquisitions, Marvel Comics, beginning in 2015. This will end a partnership that has lasted more than two decades.

For those who are new to the industry, Dark Horse revolutionized the treatment of comics based on films. After a history of movie properties being poorly handled with little regard for execution and continuity, Dark Horse took a new approach, carefully choosing licenses and approaching them with excitement and creative energy. Our goal was to create sequels and prequels to the films we loved, paying careful attention to quality and detail, essentially treating those films as though they were our own. Star Wars has been the crown jewel of this approach. We began chasing the title as far back as 1989, and with the launch of Tom Veitch and Cam Kennedy’s Dark Empire, a new era in comics was born. I’m not ashamed to admit that we were Star Wars geeks, and we have been determined to spare neither effort nor expense in the pursuit of excellence.

It is ironic that this announcement comes at a time when Dark Horse is experiencing its most successful year ever. For obvious reasons, we have prepared for this eventuality by finding new and exciting projects to place on our schedule for 2015 and beyond. Will they take the place of Star Wars? That’s a tall order, but we will do our best to make that happen. In the meantime, 2014 may be our last year at the helm of the Star Wars comics franchise, but we plan to make it a memorable one. We know that fans of the franchise will expect no less. The Force is with us still.

Mike Richardson

Soon after Disney’s purchase of Marvel, BOOM! Studios’ license to produce Disney comics ended, with hints Marvel would take up the reigns. So far, only reprints have been done, none to the level of success BOOM! produced.

It’s sad to see the change, as I remember purchasing Dark Horse’s first releases and becoming a die-hard fan for many years. It’s unknown what this all means for Star Wars canon, and if Disney and Marvel will reprint the classic Dark Horse work, or it will all be scrapped and start over as if the last 20 years never happened.

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It’s the first round-up of the new year! Today we’ve got some awesome lined up including our “best of 2013″ list as well as a roundup of the comic fans on Facebook, plus more! So come back often and don’t miss out.

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CBR – Disney’s “Big Hero 6″ Film Adds Chris Williams as Co-Director – Really look forward to this.

Comics or STFU – Self Publish or Perish- a “short” essay. (Or: 4,000 words about boxes and boxes of comic books) – Becky Cloonan’s great advice!

Around the Tubes Reviews

Comic Vine – Batwoman #26

Comic Vine – Clone #13

Comic Vine – Damian: Son of Batman #3

Comic Vine – Dead Boy Detectives #1

Comic Vine – The Flash #26

Comic Vine – The Twilight Zone #1

New Guardians of the Galaxy Image of the Team Released

Disney released a gift to end the year of a new image of the Guardians of the Galaxy team! Director James Gunn Tweeted the below image for all to see.

gotg

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It’s the weekend and we’re supposedly going to get slammed with snow and sleet (DC tends to shut down when that happens). I’ll be spending the weekend reading comics. What will you all be doing?

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Kotaku – Disney Buys Indiana Jones – Now we can have a Star Wars/Indiana Jone/Disney Princess/Marvel cross-over event!

GamePolitics – Humble Bundle Details How Bundle Purchasers Helped Bring Clean Drinking Water to Ethiopia – I really wish there was a comic version of this.

Kotaku – Marvel Puzzle Quest: Dark Reign is now available – Anyone played it?

Sandusky Register – Realtor found comic book when clearing home – That’s cool.

CBC – Nelson Mandela’s activism inspires music, comics, concerts – Countdown until a Bluewater bio book, 3…2…1…

CBR – Drew Goddard Official for “Daredevil” Netflix Series – Interesting.

CBR – TV RATINGS: Tracking “Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD” – An awesome read.

Complex – Your Favorite Superhero Might Be a Conservative (Not That There’s Anything Wrong With That) – Nope, nothing wrong with that at all.

The Mary Sue – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Gets Two More Recurring Characters – This is a good thing.

Mashable – New ‘Terminator’ TV Series Will Intersect With Film Reboot – Could be cool.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

Talking Comics – Action Comics #26

CBR – Avengers Annual #1

CBR – Swamp Thing #26

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload Trailer

It’s the Mighty Marvel team up you demanded — introducing “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload”, an all-new animated shorts series launching exclusively online! Now’s your chance to experience Marvel’s popular Super Heroes including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and Spider-Man who join forces to fight the super villains no single hero can defeat in this original, all-new story bringing you the Marvel Universe like you’ve never seen it before in a LEGO scale! Episodes can be watched exclusively on Disney.com, Marvel.com, Disney and Marvel’s YouTube channels, Disney’s Roku, Xbox connected TV apps and Netflix.

This five episode animation special combines adventure and comedy as the mischievous Loki has challenged the Marvel Super Heroes before, but this time he’s putting the “super” in super-villain by amassing an army to conquer the Earth! “LEGO Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload” assembles Iron Man, Thor, Iron Fist, Captain America, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Falcon, Wolverine and many more Heroes against Venom, Doc Ock, Mandarin, and the Red Skull in this ultimate battle. Experience the greatest assembly of Marvel Super Heroes and super villains ever seen as one of their most epic stories ever comes together brick by brick. And what Marvel feature would be complete without a very special Marvel guest, Stan Lee!

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It’s new comic book day tomorrow! What’s everyone looking forward to?

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ICv2 – Disney Confirms ‘Space Mountain’ GN – Could be interesting.

 

Around the Tubes Reviews

ICv2 – Law of the Desert Born: A Graphic Novel HC

CBR – Velvet #1

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