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March 21, 2010

Your Current Weekend Comics-Related Major Media Feature News Updates

image* the New York Times digs into the Kirby Family vs. Marvel/Disney legal battle a bit, mostly by focusing on the size and scope and implications of the case, with an undercurrent of personality profile regarding Marc Toberoff. There's a bit of news to scan from it, though, and not just the hunch it shares with most comics folk that the case may turn on how exactly Kirby worked in the early '60s vs. his expectation of how he was working. To rattle them off 1-2-3: 1) Toberoff was surprised by Marvel's counter-suit, expecting a settlement offer, 2) Mark Evanier expects to testify and didn't talk to the Times (he hasn't commented on his site, either), 3) Stan Lee expects the same thing and didn't talk to the Times.

* writers better than I am have recontextualized this piece on Bryan Singer that focuses on his forthcoming X-Men movie work with a lot of background into a piece marking the 10th anniversary of that film. It's a bit scattered, but worth reading if you're into the movie business that has sprung up around comics. I still think Blade gets downplayed a bit -- it wasn't a superhero/superhero movie in the way that X-Men was, but it was a character from an obscure part of Marvel's catalog that was done with serious intent for a grateful audience that allowed it to make a lot of money.

Another thing about the X-Men movie that I think gets over-simplified is to talk about its fans as a monolithic group. By the time the movie rolled around, you had multiple generations and strata of X-Men fans: hardcore, read-it-all-along fans; several cycles of teens that read the comics for a time and then stopped (none of my fraternity brothers -- 1987-1991 -- read comics, but 90 percent knew who Wolverine was) and another series of cycles of teens that watched the cartoon versions and then stopped. Somehow the X-Men had a sizable potential audience without ever breaking out to a mass audience the way it would with the movies -- I think a lot of popular manga functions that way now, and I wouldn't be surprised if 2018's live-action Naruto film surprises the same kind of industry observer. I also think X-Men fans were well-placed. I had an editor write his own positive synopsis to the movie so it would run in the subsequent briefs section instead of the shortened version of my original, negative review, as was customary.

I still don't think that film is very good at all, but I can understand why people enjoyed it, and I still hold that whatever casting director found Hugh Jackman after Dougray Scott bailed should have been given $50 million and had a building on Fox's lot named after them.
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink

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