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Saturday, October 11, 2014

Settling With Jack Kirby's Family Won't Mean Much for Disney Plus, Marvel Unveils "Secret Wars" Plans at New York Comic-Con

By +Tim Beyers

As I write this, +New York Comic Con is underway at the Javits Center in Manhattan. More on that in a bit. First, I want to focus on Disney’s settlement of its legal differences with the family of the late, great Jack Kirby.

+Heidi MacDonald of the The Beat has an expansive commentary on the settlement itself, which you can find in the Scoop.it feed to the right. I won’t duplicate her work. Rather, I want to comment on the financial impact to Disney. I’m expecting it to be zero.

Or at best, a rounding error.

Fans won’t like reading that any more than I like writing it. But if we’re going to be honest about this business -- and we should be -- then it’s important to remember that Disney paid $4 billion for Marvel with the intent of leveraging an untapped (and unencumbered!) portfolio of intellectual property.

Had there been a reasonable risk of losing rights to the Kirby family, or being dealt a serious financial blow, Disney would have been forced to disclose it in SEC filings. I’ve yet to see anything like that. Instead, the House of Mouse makes generic reference to ongoing litigation in its communications with investors. Here’s the latest statement, which you can find on page 19 on the latest 10-Q quarterly report:
“The Company, together with, in some instances, certain of its directors and officers, is a defendant or co-defendant in various other legal actions involving copyright, breach of contract and various other claims incident to the conduct of its businesses. Management does not believe that the Company has incurred a probable, material loss by reason of any of the above actions.”
Any “material” payouts to the Kirbys will be noted in Disney’s upcoming in the upcoming 10-K annual report, which should be available just before Thanksgiving. In the meantime, if you’re the curious type who likes reading legal briefs, Justia has a link to the last major decision in Marvel Characters vs. Kirby.

New York Comic-Con news highlights
Now, let’s dig into some of the more interesting headlines from NYCC:
  • +Marvel Entertainment announced plans for an animated Guardians of the Galaxy series to air on Disney XD beginning in 2015. Source: Marvel
  • +DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. are fast-tracking a LEGO Batman movie, with Will Arnett once again voicing the Dark Knight. Source: Geek Legacy
  • Valiant unveiled an animated trailer for The Valiant, a December limited series from writers Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt and artist Paolo Rivera. Source: Valiant Entertainment.
  • Dark Horse had a rush of announcements, though none so intriguing as Archie Meets Predator. The crossover builds on the success of Afterlife With Archie and is due in spring 2015 from writer Alex de Campi and artist Fernando Ruiz. Special thanks to +Aub Driver for sending the press materials. 
  • Finally, and in what may be the biggest news of the show, Marvel has commissioned writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Esad Ribic to develop a new version of Secret Wars, the most successful crossover comic book event in the company’s history. Source: Marvel

Concept art for the new Secret Wars crossover event. Credit: Marvel Entertainment.

+Tony Tellado is on the ground at NYCC, covering news from the floor and red carpet events for Gotham and The Walking Dead, among other shows.

Picks of the week 
Other things you should be reading and listening to:

Paying the bills
Publishers like it when you read and comment on my work. Here are two of my most recent:

My favorite TV show of the new Fall season is ... 
The Flash. And by the numbers, I’m not alone. Nielsen says that 4.79 million viewers tuned in for Tuesday’s series premiere, which notched an impressive 1.9 rating in the key 18-49 demographic. 

And that's +The Full Bleed for this week. Have a comment or a story idea? Leave it below or find me on Twitter and Facebook. (Full disclosure: I own shares of both Disney and Time Warner.)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Grant Gustin, Norman Reedus interviews at SDCC
Plus, the Future of "Agents of SHIELD"

By +Tim Beyers

Welcome to my first double-sized issue.

San Diego Comic-Con interviews!

Let's begin by turning back the clock to July and the press roundtable for The Flash. Tony Tellado of Sci-Fi Talk has the choice snippets in the newest episode of his Time Capsule podcast. Take a listen now, and make sure you stick around to the end for a teaser of his interviews with the cast of The Walking Dead, including a sit-down with Norman Reedus and Greg Nicotero.

Here's a sampling of what you'll hear:
Can you tell us where Daryl is at going into season five?

Norman Reedus: Some one just asked me that recently. How is Daryl? How is his head space different in [season] five? Well, it’s a combination of mid-four going into five. You don’t go into a season and say I’m going to do this this season, or I’m going to change. It’s a gradual change. There’s been so much gradual change from Daryl since season one to now. He’s so different. So that same trajectory, he’s on right now. One thing about this show: They go ‘here here, this would be delicious.’ Then ... oops! Psyche! You know what I mean.

Greg Nicotero: We do that?

Norman Reedus: Oh My God. There’s so much of that. All of those characters get harder as it goes along. More hardened as it goes along. They have more experience with loss and grief. They’re fighting even harder. Everyone is sort of in fifth gear right now.

How would you say he’s affected by what happened to Beth?

Norman Reedus: Well, Beth was kind of like in a long dark tunnel. She was kind of this little flame at the end of it. He got closer and closer to that flame. Maybe he could see something. Maybe it would be light and it’s getting warmer and warmer. And then someone blew it out.

Greg Nicotero: That’s a good example.

Norman Reedus: The whole thing ... if Daryl has a thing for Beth or whatever. I always saw that as that, if he did, he didn’t understand those feelings. He might have felt them. But it wasn’t a thing yet. He was sort of uncomfortable with those feelings, but there may be hope somewhere down the line. And then it was taken from me, again. He was reunited with his brother, taken. Found his family in that prison, taken. Almost got Sofia, taken. Over and over and over again. That happens to all of us.

What is it like as an actor to get into that ?

Norman Reedus: It’s weird. People say what’s it like? ... I’ve become so close to Daryl. I’m Daryl. I’m not playing Daryl so much anymore. I do things differently than Daryl, and say things differently that Daryl and I think a little differently than Daryl, but I’m so living that character that I really care about these people. Not just the cast. Everybody there is like family. I’d do anything to keep them safe. I’d take a bullet for almost all of us (slight laugh). I’m feeling it as I’m doing it.  I’m learning and growing as a man. My feelings are becoming more heavy. The responsibility is more heavy. Like this show, they all kill us off at some point ... my own mortality. I’m living it. It’s definitely close to me.
Click below to listen to the rest of the episode, and be sure to visit Sci-Fi Talk often for new interviews. Special thanks to Warner Bros. and AMC Networks for giving me, Tony, and our partners at Geek Legacy seats at these roundtables.

NOTE: If there's enough demand for it, I'll post the entire interview with Gustin in an upcoming issue. Leave a comment below or tweet to me @thefullbleed if that's of interest to you.



Gotham starts strong, Agents of SHIELD sags -- but does it matter?

[WARNING! Mild spoilers below.]

Gotham puled in just over 8 million viewers and a healthy 3.2 ratings share in the key 18-49 demo  for its Sept. 22 series premiere. The next night, Agents of SHIELD drew 5.98 million viewers and a 2.1 rating in the key demo, well below last year's series premiere. How bad are those numbers for Disney and the producers of Agents of SHIELD? Not very, it turns out.

Networks are pricing newer ad buys on the C7 standard, which takes a dimmer view of live ratings while placing more emphasis on DVR and on-demand viewings that occur days later. AoS has always benefited from this particular type of demographic.

My guess is we'll see upside if producers Maurissa Tancharoen and Jed Whedon use season 2 to introduce us to more of the super-powered inhabitants of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Brian Patrick Wade's performance as Absorbing Man is a good start since he's well-known among comics fans for clashing with Thor. A tie-in to Avengers: Age of Ultron or even a third Thor movie could be interesting.

Picks of the week
Other things you should be reading and listening to:

Paying the bills
Publishers like it when you read and comment on my work. Here are two of my most recent:

My favorite kid-friendly comic book right now is ...
Lumberjanes from BOOM Studios and writers Grace Ellis and Noelle Stevenson and artist Brooke Allen. I've been pulling this series for my 11-year-old daughter, who likes the action. As BOOM puts it in the marketing pitch: "It’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Gravity Falls." Sold.

And that's +The Full Bleed for this week. Have a comment or a story idea? Leave it below or find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Crowdfunding Your Comic Book Project: Here's What Works
Plus, New Episode of the Everything Geek podcast!

By +Tim Beyers

One of my editors recently assigned me to take a look at some of this year's top crowdfunding campaigns. The story was an eye-opener for me.

All told, the 14 crowdfunding pitches I studied raised over $52 million for creative entrepreneurs. Rooster Teeth's Lazer Team movie made the list, as did Wil Wheaton's Indiegogo campaign for season 3 of TableTop.

Why should you care? Because I run across a lot of would-be comics creators who believe that Kickstarter and Indiegogo are legitimate alternatives to self-publishing or submitting to the slush piles at the big publishers.

If you're in that group, good luck. Here are the four things I learned from studying winning crowdfunding campaigns:

1. The biggest winners start on Kickstarter. All seven of the most-funded campaigns originated on Kickstarter, while the top earner on that platform took in six times as much as the top earner on Indiegogo.

2. They also leverage a known brand. Wheaton headlined the TableTop campaign. Had he not, I suspect the results wouldn't have been as impressive.

3. Some deliver an "a-ha!" moment. It's a basic rule of storytelling, right? Build to a big reveal to keep your audience (or, in this case, your would-be backers) engaged with the narrative.

4. Others tap into a cause. Projects with societal import or uncommon emotional resonance can have an easier road to funding.

A quick review of still-open comic book projects that are seeing some success shows that these principles are as true in comics as they are in other areas. For example:
  • Exiles from Christianne Benedict and Rachel K. Zall is a collection of transgender-themed comics stories that hopes to educate as well as entertain. They've raised $1,189 of their $1,700 target as I write this.

Picks of the week
Other things you should be reading and listening to:
You can also find new stories at my Scoop.it feed, "The Business of Comics."

Paying the bills
Publishers like it when you read and comment on my work. Here's a couple of my most recent:

My most surprising genre entertainment find is ...
Green Lantern: The Animated Series. I tuned in after hearing Jason Spisak (the voice of Razer) on a recent episode of The Nerdist Comics Panel and I've been loving it. Lots of emotional resonance and well-developed characters. If only the live-action movie had been as good.

And that's +The Full Bleed for this week. Have a comment or a story idea? Leave it below or find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

At the Cinema, A Deadly Serious Problem For DC Comics
Plus, SDCC Interviews With Lincoln and Riggs of "The Walking Dead"

By +Tim Beyers

So if the rumor mill is to be believed, Warner Bros. wants DC movies to stay serious. Bad idea. Really bad idea.

Forget for a moment that this is the company that brought us Bat-Mite and Ambush Bug. Forget, too, that Warner has hired Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson to play a key role in the Shazam movie, based on a character whose secret identity is that of a teen boy. Or that some of the best properties based on DC characters have a lightness to them, even when they're handling dark subjects, as the writers of Arrow do here:



In "going dark," DC would be fighting to change audience perceptions that don't need changing. Comedy doesn't detract from character in colorful action films. If anything, the occasional quip or tease can make a dramatic scene even more so, as Richard Donner shows us in 1978's Superman.
 
Of course there's a chance that DC isn't "going dark" at all, and that, as Forbes' Mark Hughes argues, Warner merely wants is to develop a more serious tone that's distinct from Marvel Studios fare. Maybe, but a legitimate worry remains.

Marvel Studios didn't change its brand when it started making movies. Rather, it took some of the action-packed silliness that exists in its comics and adapted it for the screen. DC has done the same with its TV shows and animated fare. Here's another favorite, this time courtesy of Justice League Unlimited:



For those wondering, the scene is cut from "Patriot Act," an episode that deals with unchecked superhero power, and how far a government might go to remedy the imbalance. You'd have a difficult time picking a more serious topic. And yet, as the scene shows, Green Arrow and Speedy have a complicated history. Humor brings that out without corrupting the action.

Losing this dynamic in live action DC films -- "going dark," as it were -- would violate the brand promise established elsewhere, and could unfairly (and unnecessarily!) keep a lid on their potential.

Picks of the week
Other things you should be reading:
You can also find new stories at my Scoop.it feed, "The Business of Comics."

Paying the bills
Publishers like it when you read and comment on my work. Here's a couple of my most recent:
The best comic I'm reading right now is ...
Thief of Thieves. Andy Diggle is a terrific writer handling a complex character in the master thief Redmond. Add in equal doses of action and dysfunction and you've a delicious, heart-pumping elixir. Pick up a copy at your local comics shop.

And that's +The Full Bleed for this week. Have a comment or a story idea? Leave it below or find me on Twitter and Facebook.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Between the Panels on the Business of Comics and Pop Culture
Plus, Why The CW Believes in "Arrow"

By +Tim Beyers

Hi, and welcome to The Full Bleed! This is where you'll find me when I'm not writing about innovation and pop culture for major outlets such as The Motley Fool and DailyFinance. (Please visit those sites often -- I promise you'll learn how to do more with your money!)

Why have a blog covering the business when I'm already writing about comics and pop culture elsewhere? Simple. There are times when I want to offer more than an analyst's perspective. Sometimes, I just want to be a fan. The Full Bleed lets me do that.

Here, I'll be going between the panels to offer insights on news and rumors about TV shows, films, and most of all, comics. (I've been reading and collecting comics since the late '70s.)

There's also a need. Too many pro journalists are botching pop culture stories by leaning on worn cultural stereotypes that have long since been debunked by data. Where are the fans covering the business of comics and pop culture? Here, for starters. But I'm also not the only one. At the end you'll find links to friends whose commentary I think is worth your time.

Click the video for more regarding what you can expect at The Full Bleed, including a surprising tidbit relating to two of genre television's most popular properties:



Interesting, right? The search I'm referring to in the video is for raw terms. Google doesn't have enough data to score volume for Constantine and Gotham. Here's what the data looks like if you're only interested in news and social posts relating to the DC and Marvel shows for which Google does have data:


For more news, reviews, and coverage of the business comics and pop culture, please visit my content partners at Sci-Fi Talk and Geek Legacy. Each month, Tony Tellado, Justin Cavender, and I team up in a podcast called Everything Geek that you'll want to tune into.

My other favorites include Heidi MacDonald and her team at The Beat, Rob Salkowitz's columns at ICv2, John Siuntres' Word Balloon podcast, The Nerdist Comics Panel podcast, the Comic Corner podcast, and The Flash Podcast. I hope you enjoy them all, and that you'll come back and check out what I'm doing here at +The Full Bleed. I promise, most of my posts won't be this long.

Questions? Comments? Leave them in the space below, and thanks again for being here!