We’re counting down the months, and get excited for each new tidbit. Disney today posted a new teaser for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens on Instagram.
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Ript Apparel has three new designs today. The Triple Knight, The Fresh Prince of Belle Rev, and Dwarf Planet from ScottNeilsonConcepts, tweedler92, and mdmShirts will be for sale on August 16, 2015 only!
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When Disney acquired the rights to Star Wars, fans knew that there was change underway for the related comics. As been previously published by Dark Horse, there was going to be change underway as Disney associated Marvel picked up the rights to the sci-fi space opera franchise. While some change was to be expected, the degree of change maybe was not. First of all, it was declared that all new Star Wars content from that point forward would become canon, something which fans had always been cautious about under Lucas as a kind of shell game with his different classifications of Star Wars continuity. It was bittersweet as some beloved Expanded Universe content was lost, but at least fans knew that they could fully invest in what was to come. There would be no more Ewoks movie or Droids cartoons to confuse what belonged in the continuity and what not. While this was an interesting enough change in itself, the next interesting change was the focus. While there was to be a main series featuring the regular heroes, other characters were also getting their own spin-off series, though the choices might have seemed strange. Darth Vader, Princess Leia and then Lando, one of whom was the villain, and the other two, who while liked, were often not the most liked.
While the idea of a Lando miniseries might have seemed weird at first, the impression lasted only into the first pages of the new series. It was an unconventional choice, but it worked, and for the reasons that good stories often work, as stories need either strong characters or a strong concept, but work best with both, and the series proved that it could handle both. The plot was simple enough, Lando was owing the wrong people a favor and the payoff meant simply to steal a ship from a shipyard. The problem which was unknown beforehand was that the ship was the Emperor’s personal and that the thievery would set off immediate repercussions. This issue deals with those repercussions, as it plays out mostly as a space chase sequence reminiscent almost of the pursuit off of Hoth in Empire Strikes Back.
Once again this series proves to have a winning formula. The medium of comics is perhaps not the best suited for the grand scale of Star Wars, but this compensates well for it. The space chase sequence is well executed despite the two dimensional nature of the medium, but it is made up for with a neat twist and excellent artwork. On the whole this series is an unexpected success, with moments in the first two issues that surprise and keep the reader guessing where it is going. The Marvel Star Wars team finds itself another hero in Lando, and proves that there are still lots of good stories to be told in a galaxy far far away.
Story: Charles Soule Art: Alex Maleev
Story: 8.8 Art: 8.8 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy
To be Disneyfied is often treated as an insult. It is a term used to denote taking something serious and making it into something whimsical and lighthearted. While the term is common in popular culture as a slang insult, it should also be noted that Disney is not necessarily stuck in the 1930s and 1950s. It remains a company that appears somewhat wholesome, but it is also a company that still manages to come up with new ideas all the time, and an appreciation of how far the company has come can be seen in a series like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Whereas at one time the only female role for a Disney character was as princess in distress, the modern company at least seems interested in fitting in with the changes underway in popular culture. Thus while series protagonist Abigail Bullion fits a broad definition of princess (the daughter of an industrialist), her actions do not.
Thus far in this series she has been identified as an intrepid explorer, horse stuntswoman and even train robber, and this is very much of a departure from the regular in terms of how Disney has historically handled its heroines. With the threat posed by the Big Thunder Mountain Mine, both in physical terms and economic ones, the character has been forced into situations which are not similar for Disney characters, especially its princesses. In this final issue as Abbey and Chandler are led back into town by Willikers, they learn of the impending cave-in of the mine, and rush off to help.
What follows is not as much out of the box as might have been hinted at earlier in this series. The ending is fulfilling but also perhaps too wholesome. While there were some signs that things would be really different here, it ended up close enough to the Disney script to be recognizable to what has come before. It still represents a step forward for the company, just not as big a step as it might have accomplished, turning Abbey into something a bit more than what she ended up. The finale was still fun and worthwhile, but ended up lacking that little bit extra to make it special, a good ending to a series which could have been great.
Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Tigh Walker and Guillermo Mogorron
Story: 8.4 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.4 Recommendation: Read
It’s been tough to be a Pixar fan the past few years, what with the total artistic flop of Monsters University as well as superior competition in the realm of animated film, like Frozen. That’s precisely why a downright incredible film like Inside Out is exciting for the film industry and especially exciting for fans of the once does-no-wrong animation studio. This wildly creative, emotionally-resonate and hilarious movie about what happens in our minds is not just better than the past few years’ worth of Pixar movies, it’s by far one of the studio’s best efforts.
The movie does good right from the start, with its protagonist Riley, an easy-to-like 11-year old girl who loves her family, her friends, and hockey. It’s great to have an unconventional sports-loving little girl star a movie that doesn’t simply pander to that audience. Riley isn’t a fantasy and not even exactly a role-model, but a real, honest-to-goodness person who doesn’t always make the right decision. The movie does play it safe with racial representation, unlike Dreamwork’s Home this year, but the background characters are suitably diverse for what that’s worth.
If you’re not yet privy, Inside Out’s premise focuses on the interworking of Riley’s mind, personified as five colorful characters named Joy, Sadness, Anger, Disgust and Fear, along with some others along the way. Most of the movie is spent in her mind, leaving the bulk of the charm to the all-star cast of Amy Poehler, Phyllis Smith, Lewis Black, Mindy Kaling and Jon Hader. The casting is perfect, each actor representing their respective emotion to a tee and pulling off endearing, hilarious performances.
The movie focuses on Joy and Sadness to deliver a theme about those two emotions in particular. Literally, Inside Out is about Riley’s family moving to another town during a pivotal moment of her life; the last bits of pre-pubescent childhood. Thematically, Inside Out is a surprisingly poignant, warm and complex affirmation of the relationship between joy and sadness along with all the rest of the emotions, as well as a coming-of-age story.
Perhaps the most impressive quality of Inside Out is its total and utter lack of missed potential. This fun look at the mind feels complete and massively inventive, throwing in lots of actual psychological jargon without being stuffy or confusing. From the part of the brain that produces dreams seen here as a movie studio producing short skits, to the sprawling rows of shelves containing orbs shown for long-term memory, Inside Out never ceases to be clever. It’s the kind of movie that had me constantly worrying it would misstep and half-ass an idea, but it never did. It just kept delighting and surprising.
As a work of film craft, Inside Out is magnificent. For the most part it’s standard Pixar, with a huge variety of color and the silkiest, most expressive and detailed CG animation possible for its time. At one point in the movie it takes things further, however, with experimentation in its animated style that makes it look unlike anything typically seen on the big screen. The plot calls for this shift in style in the exact same way as other animated movies, but the results are hard to argue with. Inside Out is also easily Pixar’s most cartoony movie yet, with energetic slapstick that often feels like Looney Toons.
Inside Out is a classic work of art that does more than it has to for the simple sake of being good. Pete Docter and the rest of the crew didn’t just check boxes to get an Oscar and butts in seats and toys on shelves (although they’ll be sure to get all of those too); they put their minds together and created something truly special.
Check out Matt’s online portfolio here
The expansion of Disney and Marvel into the fictionalization of Disney theme park rides might seem like a strange undertaking, but it has worked effectively in this series. It tells the story of Abigail Bullion and her sometimes corrupt, sometimes naive father, who also happens to be the owner of the Big Thunder Mountain gold mine. As Abigail is introduced to this world she learns of the adventure associated with it, but also of the injustices which seem to take place there. The workers are mistreated and the mountain itself seems ready to make a stand of its own.
In the previous issue Abigail became a full-fledged train robber as she understood just how bad it was for the workers in the town. The stolen gold was going towards the provision of goods that were otherwise unobtainable, and she realized that her father was misguided at best in his endeavor. This issue follows directly on those developments, but goes about it in a less engaging way, as the various character and plot elements seem to diverge as Abigail is involved in another train heist, and as her associates go about their own pursuits. Equally her father is ready to open the mine again, despite his hesitation to do so, which allows him to be framed less as the villain and more as an unsuspecting dupe.
Thus far this has been one of the most entertaining titles to come out of Marvel in a long while despite being off almost everyone’s radar. As it stands though this penultimate issue misfires almost as much as it succeeds, with a clunkier story telling than the previous issues. Small details like Abbey, who otherwise just arrived to this world, becoming a master markswoman capable of shooting the hats off of people riding on top of trains seem silly in comparison to the rest of the story. The fun ride thus far will mean that this is a must read for those that have bothered to expand their reading list a bit beyond the ordinary, but with this mediocre issue it seems like the finale will determine the overall quality of this series.
Story: Dennis Hopeless Art: Tigh Walker and Guillermo Mogorron
Story: 7.8 Art: 7.8 Overall: 7.8 Recommendation: Read
This September, journey back into the exciting depths of your own imagination with Figment 2 #1 – the follow-up to the smash-hit, sold-out Disney Kingdoms series! Continuing the unique collaboration between Marvel and Walt Disney Imagineering, the Disney Kingdoms line of comics brings you new adventures inspired by the beloved lands, attractions, characters and worlds of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts! Critically acclaimed writer Jim Zub returns alongside artist Ramon Bachs for the next chapter in the life of the enigmatic inventor Dreamfinder and the legendary Figment!
Now in the present day, Figment and Dreamfinder must brave the modern world as new and unexpected adventures lie before them. Gone for over 100 years, our imaginative duo have become the stuff of legends. But with their greatest challenge still before them, will their legacy ultimately be their undoing?
FIGMENT 2 #1 (OF 5)
Written by Jim Zub
Penciled by Ramon Bachs
Cover by John Tyler Christopher
Action Figure Variant by John Tyler Christopher
Elements based on Figment © Disney
Funko has announced their first batch of San Diego Comic-Con exclusives!
Their goal was to cover as many beloved licenses and characters as possible to remind every Comic-Con attendee why they fell in love with these stories in the first place.
In an effort to provide more of their products to Con-goers, they are NOT offering a pre-buy option this year.
Without further ado, here is the first installment of Funko’s San Diego Comic-Con exclusives list!
Pop! Animation: Futurama – Gold Bender
Pop! Disney/Pixar: Inside Out – Sparkle Hair Sadness
Pop! Television: Doctor Who – Twelfth Doctor (Spacesuit)
Pop! Rides: X-Force Deadpool’s Chimichanga Truck
Hikari: Star Wars – Infrared Boba Fett
Vinyl Idolz: Ghostbusters – Slimed Dr. Peter Venkman
Dorbz XL: Batman – 6″ Batman
Yesterday, Disney announced their next toy breakthrough, Playmation, tech infused toys and playsets that’ll feature themes of Marvel characters, Disney characters, Frozen, Star Wars, and more.
The “next step in play” seems like something we’ve seen before, playsets, and other items, infused with tech, that also allows active play. That part isn’t new, it can be traced back to the home laser tag games, and absolutely earlier. The exact details of what this all means hasn’t quite been revealed, but it looks interesting, and potentially it should be fun.
What really stood out to me wasn’t the announcement itself, but the stock photos that were released by Disney’s partner in this Hasbro. The photos featured three children playing with the Avengers set release which is first up. What’s new is that one of the three children was a girl. In fact, 5 of the 9 photos that were part of Hasbro’s press release feature the young girl. And look, there’s also a Black Widow figure coming out too!
Is this Disney, and Hasbro, finally admitting that girls also like toys based on super heroes?
Disney, Marvel, and Hasbro have all come under fire for acting as if women aren’t interested in toys based on super heroes. Black Widow was absent from the Avengers: Age of Ultron toys, with her motorcycle scene set replacing her with Captain America, though she has been including in other sets including the Marvel Legends line of toys and Marvel Infinite series of toys. There’s also been outrage over a lack of some clothing options for women as well, and the absence of Black Widow on much of the boys clothes as well.
It’s possible this may be the strange continuation of featuring girls and female characters in sets not based on movies, or, this may be Disney and Hasbro acknowledging that girls due enjoy toys based on super heroes. It’s not just boys who act out being Iron Man, Spider-Man, and more, girls due it too, and those toys make it easier for them to do so.
You can see the photos below.
Disney Consumer Products has introduced the world to Playmation – the next step in the evolution of play, where digital gets physical and imagination becomes real. The groundbreaking system of toys and wearables uses smart technology to inspire kids to run around and use their imaginations, as they become the hero or heroine of stories from across The Walt Disney Company.
Dreamed up by a team of technologists, Imagineers and storytellers from across The Walt Disney Company, Playmation is the culmination of extensive research into the world of play. In the release Disney cited a report that parents want their kids to be active and have nostalgia for the way they used to play. Add that on top that while children like being active, they also want toys infused with technology.
Playmation also marks a new chapter in Disney Consumer Products’ long-term partnership with Hasbro. DCP and Hasbro collaborated on physical product design and manufacturing of Playmation. Hasbro’s record of innovation and consumer insights make them the perfect partner to ensure that Playmation is a truly ground-breaking play experience.
Playmation Marvel’s Avengers is the first in a series of systems in development around Walt Disney Company franchises, and will hit shelves this October. At launch, the Playmation Marvel’s Avengers Starter Pack will include five connected toys: one piece of Avenger Gear (Repulsor), two Power Activators and two Smart Figures – a Super Hero (Captain America) and a Super Villain (Iron Skull). Getting started is easy, strap the high-tech Repulsor Gear onto your arm (it fits adults, too!) and listen closely to JARVIS as he takes you through the tutorial on how to control your new Gear, inspired by Iron Man technology. Other Playmation Marvel’s Avengers connected toys that work with the Starter Pack will also be available separately for purchase at launch, with more on the way.
Also available at launch, is the AvengersNet app where you can register your Avenger Gear to see progress, explore additional locations and characters, and get access to new missions. New recruits to the Avengers can fight Marvel Super Villains including Ultron, Iron Skull, Loki, or join fellow Avengers Super Heroes like Black Widow, Falcon and more as they battle to save the Earth by running, jumping, ducking and dodging – whatever each challenge requires.
Playmation Marvel’s Avengers uses familiar technologies including smart toys, wearables, wireless technology, motion sensors and more, but applies them in ways that are completely new to create an experience that’s never been possible before. The Repulsor Gear connects with the Power Activators and Smart Figures to take you on a variety of adventures through locations around the Marvel Universe, from the Avengers Lab in New York to the jungles of Wakanda. Playmation is purposely not tethered to an Internet connection so players can run around and explore each adventure from anywhere they want – a bedroom, living room or yard. With multiplayer modes, recruits can sync their Avenger Gear to tackle missions and combat arenas together, or face off in competitive play.
The Playmation Marvel’s Avengers Starter Pack will have a suggested retail price of $119.99 and will launch in October 2015 in the United States and Canada at mass and specialty retailers, select Disney Store locations and DisneyStore.com, and will be available for pre-order starting July 7.
Star Wars and Disney Frozen systems are currently in development for 2016 and 2017, respectively. Each will use a range of technologies to create a system based on the different ways that kids play and experience their favorite stories and characters from that franchise.