Category Archives: Spotlight

Kevin Tsujihara Out as Warner Bros. CEO after Sex Scandal

Kevin Tsujihara

Kevin Tsujihara has resigned as the chairman-CEO of Warner Bros. An investigation had been launched into his relationship with actress Charlotte Kirk and allegations he used his position to help her find work at the studio. The investigation is still continuing.

Tsujihara was the head of the studio since 2013. He has been with the company since 1994.

Below is the statement from Tsujihara and WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey.

Dear Colleagues,

Over the past week and a half, I have been reflecting on how the attention on my past actions might impact the company’s future. After lengthy introspection, and discussions with John Stankey over the past week, we have decided that it is in Warner Bros.’ best interest that I step down as Chairman and CEO.

I love this company and the people that make it so great. I’ve been honored to head this organization and work alongside all of its talented employees over the past 25 years. Together we’ve built this studio into an unequivocal leader in the industry.

However, it has become clear that my continued leadership could be a distraction and an obstacle to the company’s continued success. The hard work of everyone within our organization is truly admirable, and I won’t let media attention on my past detract from all the great work the team is doing.

I am overwhelmed and grateful for the outpouring of support I have received from colleagues and industry partners during this difficult time.

Again, I am so proud of the great work that you do every day to make Warner Bros. the gold standard in our industry. It has been a pleasure to work alongside each and every one of you, and I wish you all the absolute best.

Sincerely,

Kevin

To: WarnerMedia colleagues

From: John Stankey

I want to let you know that following discussions over the past week, Kevin Tsujihara will step down from his role as Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. It was a decision made with the best, long-term interests of the Company, our employees and our partners in mind.

Kevin has acknowledged that his mistakes are inconsistent with the Company’s leadership expectations and could impact the Company’s ability to execute going forward. During his 25 year tenure, Kevin contributed greatly to the growth and success of the studio, and for that we thank him. I would like to personally thank him for the support he provided me following the close of our merger.

You have my commitment to work diligently and quickly to minimize any disruption in the day-to-day operations of the studio as a result of this leadership transition. I will share an interim leadership structure with all of you tomorrow.

I also want to thank all of our employees, particularly the teams at Warner Bros., for your patience and honesty, and we will continue to lean on your collective resiliency, dedication and professionalism as we chart a new path for our company together.

Captain Marvel Movie: Skrulls are People Too. Listen to the Podcast on Demand.

Captain Marvel merits a conversation that can celebrate it’s feminism and anti-Imperialist themes while criticizing its Air Force propaganda packaging. Queer subtext? 90s throwbacks? We’ve got you covered:

  • Chelsea Manning is Captain Marvel!
  • How we’re shapeshifters (Elana’s essay about feeling like a Skrull for Wired.com )
  • Monica is the hero
  • “Top Gun is why I almost enlisted, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is why I didn’t”
  • The meaning of Nick Fury’s Eye
  • Carol and Maria holding the “gayz”

FeliciaPerez is the Innovation Director at the Center for Story-based Strategy. She previously worked at the United Workers Congress, ACLU of Southern California & was a high school social studies for twelve years in the Los Angeles Unified School District where she was also an active union leader and chapter chair for United Teachers of Los Angeles.

Tea Fougner is the Editorial Director for Comics at King Features Syndicate. When she’s not reading comics for work, she’s reading comics for fun, drawing comics, dressing up as comic book characters, or watching comic adaptations on television. Tea is at @TeaberryBlue on everything.

All You Need to Know About Captain Marvel (And Some Stuff You Don’t) Before Her Movie

Captain Marvel

There’s a movie coming out in March 2019 that you may have heard about. Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson as the titular superhero, is an origin story for the character prior to her appearance in the next Avengers movie. As the second high profile female led solo superhero movie of the modern era, this is a film that has a lot of potential to bring in those previously unfamiliar with the character and the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself (more on this later). The first question to answer is a simple one…

Who is Captain Marvel?

That’s an interesting question, with no real easy answer. There have been numerous characters using that name over the past seventy years, one of whom was created by Fawcett Comics as a Superman analogue which is now owned by DC. You may have seen a trailer for Shazam starring Zachary Levi, the current name the character has taken to avoid a lawsuit with Marvel Comics who got the copyright for the term in the 1960s despite the character predating Marvel’s first Captain Marvel.

That’s right. Marvel’s first Captain Marvel.

You see the character appearing in the movie isn’t the first, or second, person to wear the mantle. She’s the seventh. Yup. Carol Danvers has a lot more history than you would expect, but before we get to her, let’s take a look at the other six Captain Marvels from Marvel Comics (there is a very good chance that some of these will be included in the movie, even if just a wink and a nod).

Captain Marvel: Mar-Vell

First appearing in the 1960’s, Captain Marvel was created by, who else, Stan Lee and designed Gene Colan, taking advantage of the lapsed “Captain Marvel” trademark from the Fawcett/DC character. This Captain Marvel was from a fiction alien race called the Kree,  whose real name was Mar-Vell. The character became a member of the superhero teams the Defenders and the Avengers, before eventually succumbing to cancer in the 1980’s. Significantly, this is a death that has never been permanently undone (a rare occurrence in comics), though his ghost has made a few appearances. Mar-Vell briefly returned to life twice in the 2010’s sacrificing himself to save lives both times. Mar-Vell makes a surprise appearance in the Captain Marvel film.

Captain Marvel: Monica Rambeau

Debuting in 1982, Monica Rambeau is a former New Orleans police officer who, upon developing super powers in an accident, used the moniker to fight crime until ceding the name to her successor and took on the name Photon. As of this writing, she is still alive and goes by the name Spectrum.

In the film Captain Marvel, Monica Rambeau is played by Akira Akbar.

Captain Marvel: Genis-Vell

Originally appearing in 1996 as Legacy, Genis-Vell is the son of the original Captain Marvel conceived through genetic engineering with DNA samples of Mar-Vell and his lover and artificially aged to maturity. Look, it’s comics. Not everything makes sense, but the Powers That Be probably wanted a biological link to the original character. Genis-Vell eventually turns insane and threatens to destroy the universe. He is currently dead, having been killed in 2006.

Captain Marvel: Phyla-Vell

Genis-Vell’s younger sister was created in 2004 in a very convoluted and confusing way (because it’s comics). She fights with her brother during his period of insanity, restoring his mind in the process. At some point she adopts the name Martyr and joins the Guardians of the Galaxy before sacrificing herself for them in 2010.

Captain Marvel: Khn’nr

A sleeper agent of an alien race, the Skrulls, who are the enemies of the Kree. He was brainwashed into believing he was Mar-Vell and subsequently dies shortly after he is introduced in in 2007. Not really worth including here.

Captain Marvel: Noh-Varr

First appearing in Marvel Boy #1 in 2000, we have Noh-Varr, another Kree soldier and crew member of the space craft The Marvel which is shot down and brought to Earth with only one survivor. Noh-Varr eventually joins a (secretly) evil team of Avengers where he takes on the Captain Marvel mantle in 2009. Upon discovering the true nature of the team he leaves and becomes The Protector.

Captain Marvel: Carol Danvers

Finally. Carol Danvers. The current Captain Marvel took up the mantle in 2012, but first appeared as a colleague of Mar-Vell in Marvel Super-Heroes #13, published in 1968. After her DNA was fused with Mar-Vell’s in an explosion, she became the first Ms. Marvel in 1977 after she developed superhuman strength, flight, stamina, durability and endurance. Carol Danvers has had a long history, often intertwined with the Avengers, the X-Men and sometimes Spider-Man. But it hasn’t been without its controversies; in an issue of Avengers dated 1980, she was kidnapped, brainwashed and married off to a villain, subsequently giving birth to his child. It was, and remains, a gross abuse of the character. In 1981, Chris Claremont took aim at those who allowed this to happen during Avengers Annual #10, and in a scathing sequence had Ms. Marvel rage at both her teammates and also the Marvel editorial that allowed the story to happen. And then he turned Carol Danvers into one of Marvel’s most powerful and interesting characters by telling some fantastic stories, taking the character to incredible heights. He also took her to some pretty devastating lows, such as when the X-Man Rogue stole her powers and memories (the memories were later restored by Professor X).

Carol Danvers became Binary in the early 80’s, when she was able to draw on the power of a cosmic phenomenon called a white hole (a reverse of a black hole) which in addition her Ms. Marvel power basically turned her into a godlike being (she was able to manipulate and absorb various types of energy and travel beyond light speed). Although it never happened, had she gone toe to toe with Superman at this time, I’d have put money on Carol Danvers. Her tenure as Binary lasted for around a decade, when the source of her powers was cut off, severely limiting her Binary abilities. With her cosmic powers gone, Danvers took up the name Warbird when her life would once again take a darker tale as she found solace in alcohol as the loss of her powers and memories caught up to her.

The early 2000’s saw an increased use of Carol Danvers as she featured prominently in several high profile crossover stories, leading the comic book commentary magazine Wizard to label her “[Marvel’s] premier heroine”. Which bring us to 2012, the year that Carol Danvers accepts the Captain Marvel name. In the past six years Captain Marvel has spent time grounded in New York City, has had adventures in space alone and as a member of the Guardians of the Galaxy, and currently serves as the commander of Alpha Flight, the team that protects Earth from all the nasties in space.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)

Oh boy. Where to start? There have been a lot of movies released under the Marvel Cinematic Universe brand (a complete and continuously updated list can be found here), and doubtless you have heard about one or two of them. But do you need to see any of them prior to seeing Captain Marvel? Well technically yes if you’re looking at things chronologically: Captain America: The First Avenger. But that’s honestly it if you want to know what happened before the movie and while not necessary, it does provide a bit more information about certain plot points in the film.

However, Captain Marvel does have a character that longtime viewers of the MCU will be familiar with; Samuel L Jackson’s Nick Fury, the future Director of the global peacekeeping entity SH.I.E.L.D., who has been involved in numerous movies thus far in the franchise. None of that is relevant for Captain Marvel as Fury is still a young agent when he meets Carol Danvers, so while some will find it interesting to see where Fury began, where he ends won’t be a major plot point. That’s not to say the writers won’t throw in a wink to Fury’s future, however.


Comic Book Recommendations

I lied earlier. I have only one recommendation for you if you want to read some Captain Marvel: The Life Of Captain MarvelThe book is a retelling of her origin, and by all accounts is remarkably good.

Doom Patrol Episodes 1 & 2: To Doom Patrol or Not to Doom Patrol?

DC‘s new high concept streaming TV series is based on the cult classic comics. The show is exclusively available on DC’s streaming platform DC Universe. Is the show good? Is it worth subscribing to the platform? We discuss the service and the show’s first two episodes in depth (first part is spoiler-free). We also geek out on the brilliant comics that inspired it all and when or how to read them.

  • Mental illness and unrully bodies
  • Doom Patrol: X-Men or Fantastic Four?
  • Negative Man is Green Lantern as horror
  • Worthy usage of a David Bowie song
  • “Dad feels are the new romance”
  • Is Doom Patrol capable of handing it’s queer characters? 
  • Reading the comics while watching the show?

My guests are:

Comic’s retailer and pop culture critic John Arminio@QuasarSniffer on Twitter.

Mark Argent: Resident Doom Patrol-ologist. Who back in High School served as the Virgil to my Dante in the hell of comics fandom. Perhaps this show is their fault. But @mark_argent can’t take it back now. 

DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer Accused of Taking Picture of a 7-year old

DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer is in trouble again with the law and is accused of taking a picture of a 7-year-old in a doctor’s office.

Kramer is a convicted child molester and in the past was sentenced to five years of house arrests on three counts of child molestation. He was released in December. Due to his conviction and his being a sex offender, the photos are illegal.

Authorities are attempting to revoke his probation and he could be resentenced on his original conviction. He faces up to 55 years in prison.

Police found computers and storage devices in Kramer’s home and are going through them.

Kramer heads to court Thursday.

Georgia Bureau of Investigation Sex Offender registry.

10 Reasons to read (or re-read) The Iliad

The Iliad

More than three thousand years ago, two armies faced each other in an epic battle that rewrote history and came to be known as the Trojan War. The Iliad, Homer’s legendary account of this nine-year ordeal, is considered the greatest war story of all time and one of the most important works of Western literature. In this stunning graphic novel adaptation — a thoroughly researched and artfully rendered masterwork — renowned illustrator Gareth Hinds captures all the grim glory of Homer’s epic.

In the lead up to the March 12, 2019 release of Hinds’ take on the classic tale, Candlewick Books has provided us 10 reasons you should read (or re-read) The Iliad.


The Iliad page 2

1. It’s a stirring tale of action, drama, romance, and tragedy.

2. It’s our best window into life in Bronze Age Greece, three thousand years ago. Ancient Greece is extremely important because the Greeks developed many of the core pillars of western civilization, including democracy, philosophy, mathematics, phonetic writing, and more! Their civilization is within and around us every day.

3. It’s one of the best early sources of Greek mythology, and it contains a lot of great mythological stories we don’t find in other places. For instance, in The Iliad we learn that Hephaestus made humanoid robots to help him out in his workshop!

The Iliad page 2

4. It gets better each time you read it. (At least that’s my experience, and everyone I’ve talked to who has read it multiple times has told me the same thing.)

5.  It gives us insight into universal human truths. Achilles and Agamemnon may seem like sulky babies, but within their cultural context they have compelling reasons for their actions — and I think it’s enlightening to examine those reasons and try to see not only why they might act that way, but why they feel they have no other choice. That’s significant because it’s the kind of problem we still see in politics and group dynamics in modern society, when people feel trapped in a situation and they escalate conflicts, “dig in”, “double down”… and if we want to move away from war and toward peace, we have to look at why we sometimes behave that way.

6. It looks unflinchingly at life, death, and mortality.

7. The Iliad is the archetypal war story, and at the same time it is an anti-war story. It shows us the heroism and also the tragedy and senselessness of war. It is the prototype of all wars and all war stories. It puts human faces to the struggle and the suffering.

The Iliad page 6

8. It inspired The Aeneid, which is another amazing piece of literature, and which tells us how Rome came to be founded. Which is important because the Romans spread their civilization all over the Western world, and in so doing they handed down to us some of the best parts of Greek civilization plus their own important ideas about philosophy, science, politics, strategy, money, etc.

9. …or as William Faulkner said, “The past is not dead, it’s not even past.”  Understanding The Iliad is a key component of understanding our past, and our present.

10. The Iliad shows us “heroes” in many different molds, with their strengths and their flaws. It invites us to consider whether we want our standard of heroism to be that of Hector, Achilles, Odysseus, Patroclus, etc. It poses the question of what it actually means to be a hero, what is worth dying for, and how to reconcile with someone we see as an enemy.


THE ILIAD. Copyright © 2019 Gareth Hinds. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

ComicsPro 2019: DC is Expanding their 100-Page Walmart Line Into Comic Shops (Update)

DC Logo

This year’s ComicsPro seems to have been filled with positive news and not the doom and gloom as expected. Yesterday, we brought you the news of the non-story over DC cutting their line of comics by 10-15%. It’s a non-story since it already happened and nobody really noticed anything strange. Buried in that though was some of the shifts that DC is focusing on, like their YA lines, and expansion of what’s working.

In talking to comic shop owners, DC’s Dan DiDio explained their 100-page comic program at Walmart, which mixed new and old material for $5, is a success. DC is looking to have the comics available to the direct market later this year after they add more material to the titles.

As DiDio said, these comics are standalone stories which are entry points into the DC Comics line, something everyone has been asking for.

One complaint from comic fans is that not every area has Walmarts forcing fans to pay higher prices from scalpers. This will resolve that by making them available to comic shops and thus their customers.

DC has already expanded the concept into Target with their DC Primal one-shot which was at a higher price point and all original stories.

Update: Dan DiDio is slamming the hyperbolic misinformation (again).

Successful and continuing. For those fans of the DC Giants at Walmart, have to clear up some misinformation making the rounds. Just want to let you know these books are doing well, so well that we are looking to expand the number of original pages in each book and include distribution to the direct market. Look for these and new titles later this year. The promise is to keep it one of the best values and reading experiences in the market. Best, DD

ComicsPro 2019: DC’s Demise is Greatly Exaggerated and Just Wrong

If you read some blog reports coming out of ComicsPro, DC Comics is slashing their line with one clickbait site claiming “RIP DC” and another falsely claiming DC would cut their line to just 20 titles! We’re not linking to them because we don’t support clickbait. Instead of spin and lies, we talked to individuals at ComicsPro about what was said to bring the straight honest truth.

In his presentation for DC, Dan DiDio addressed the rumors that they’d be cutting their line. Multiple attendees felt DiDio did so to address the ridiculous rumor their line would be cut to 22 titles. Instead he estimated it’d be about 10-15% of the line. With between 50-60 comics released a month and 30-50 graphic novels, that comes out to 5-9 fewer comics a month and 3 and 8 fewer graphic novels. So maybe 20 fewer graphic novel and comics total, not 20 comics totally published. As usual, comic rumors have turned into a horrible game of telephone so sites can claim first!

The titles being cut? The lower selling comics. They’ll be replaced with new titles which will hopefully sell more. In other words, business as usual. In the end, DC will be producing around the same amount of product they usually do.

From those we talked to, it was also emphasized this cut wasn’t presented as due to struggling or necessary but instead as a way to shift talent and resources to growing categories, something retailers have asked for. An example would be DC’s upcoming young readers lines DC Ink and DC Zoom. Young readers continue to be an explosive category which has seen increased sales. It also helps build the next generation of readers and fans. It’s a move that’s well received by our sources.

There’s hundreds of comics released every week and impossible for retailers to support them all from every company. The goal it seems isn’t fewer comics but to focus on quality and talent and not spread resources too thin.

In fact, DC said they’d be attempting to expand their successful program with Walmart providing the same material to the direct market once more original material was included. Again, an expansion of what’s working.

But, what was interesting and the biggest concern was the break in trust at ComicsPro. An article, with false exaggerated claims, was posted by a clickbait site while DiDio was still talking. As said by multiple attendees ComicsPro is closed so that publishers and retailers can be honest and exchange ideas and concerns. The article was posted without “context” and before DiDio was done talking, angering retailers in the room towards those that broke the trust of the event. As emphasized to me, the ComicsPro meeting is “extremely important for the health of the industry” and the spin and outright incorrect information erodes that trust.

Yes, cuts to the line were mentioned by DC in their presentation but other publishers mentioned the same thing without the hyperbolic coverage (if coverage at all). As an example, BOOM! Studios in their presentation said they’d continue to cut their line, exactly as they did the year before. 15% to be exact. But, where’s the stories about the sky falling for them? They don’t exist because it doesn’t get clicks.

The story coming out of ComicsPro isn’t that the industry is crumbling. The tone, especially after Diamond’s report of explosive gains in January, is rather positive. Instead, the story seems to be that we should expect not just better comics but better and more responsible reporting as well.

Update: It’s such non-news the cut already happened and no one really noticed beyond every month comics are cancelled.

G.I. Joe Laces Up with ASICS for GEL-LYTE III Shoes Plus More from New Era and Hex

Hasbro has announced a collaboration with footwear brand ASICS to create all-new colorways inspired by two fan-favorite G.I. Joe characters: Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes. The special edition GEL-LYTE III shoes and coordinating apparel and accessories from New Era and Hex will be available exclusively at Foot Locker stores worldwide February 22, 2019.

The line is inspired by an epic chapter in the G.I. Joe lore: the rivalry between Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes.  Once brothers in arms as part of the Arashikage Clan, they find themselves on opposing sides of the struggle between G.I. Joe and Cobra. Now Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes each adorn their own GEL-LYTE III shoe designed by world renowned pop artist Anderson Bluu. Uncompromising on style and comfort, the GEL-LYTE III boasts iconic and innovative design that wouldn’t be complete without the split tongue and ASICS’ famous GEL technology cushioning; a silicone-like material that effectively absorbs shock and protects the feet from high-impact strikes. 

The black Snake Eyes model features a crystal rubber outsole with a discovery element, premium emblem and reflective detailing with black leather; the model is elevated and modernized with custom art on the insert. The white Storm Shadow model features a crystal rubber outsole which masks the character beneath while the premium emblem detailing grounds the model in the story. Through the intertwining of story and design aesthetic the model is elevated and modernized with custom art on the insert. On the bottom of both shoe models is an iced outsole revealing Zartan – a shadowy figure who plays a key part in the Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow story. 

The ASICS x G.I. JOE shoes will be sold exclusively at FootLocker.com and select POP by Foot Locker doors because Knowing is Half the Battle.

Panels To Chords Ninety – Nine Righteous Men

Ben and Madi are back for a all-new episode of Panels To Chords! This time, they’re talking about K.M. Claude’s Ninety-Nine Righteous Men, the cult hit webcomic about two priests with a shameful history between them that must join forces to vanquish a demonic being of lust possessing a helpless choir boy. It’s sexy, blasphemous and darker than your morning coffee. Just what the doctor ordered!

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