Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

More: Jemas discusses Epic [Newsarama]

Paul O'Brien weighs in on Epic [Ninth Art]

Snake Charmer: An interview with Alan Moore, Part One [Ninth Art]

Lots about Alan Moore's fiftieth birthday, retirement, end of ABC line [CBR Gutters]
One of many huge bummers: No Top 10 Season Two.

Umberto Eco's Essay About Comics Criticism [TCJ Message Board]

Cameron Stewart gets some fun tweaking, flak and props for doing the Stripperella cover [Barbelith Underground]

Is there a Marvel John Constantine? [Barbelith Underground]

Posted 31 March 02003 - Permalink

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Treatment of Starlin's Marvel Universe: The End [Pop Culture Gadabout]
Engaging, feels like a rehash of Infinity Gauntlet, "lumpen", "van-door-painting" art- and inappropriate in real wartime?

Doubleday Shuts Down Line of Graphic Novels [Publisher's Weekly] [via Newsarama]
Disappointing. The program hardly had a chance. Sounds like the program's champion left Doubleday. The comics chosen to be published weren't exactly going to reach any kind of sales expectations, either.

Posted 30 March 02003 - Permalink

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This June, Stan Lee joins Humanoids Publishing to write the comic book adaptation of the upcoming TNN animated series based on his idea, Stripperella (with voice by Pamela Anderson) [Newsarama] [Pulse]
Great Newsarama discussion thread with this item. Oh, Stan, no. This looks horrible. But keep on truckin', man. People need to lighten up.

Posted 28 March 02003 - Permalink

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Marvel talks Epic [Newsarama] [Pulse]

Update: Journalista talks Epic, true creator ownership

Five moments in history when comics were cool [Permanent Damage]

Overstreet to start publishing a monthly newsletter with up-to-the-minute pricing information [ via WFC News]
To compete with Wizard for those crazed speculator eyeballs.

Mainstream vs. alternative? [interesting discussion on the TCJ Message Board]

Journalista has some blistering questions for Jemas

Posted 26 March 02003 - Permalink

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Marvel issues its 2002 Annual Report with some more info [ICv2]

Jemas will be talking about the comic industry at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Princeton, NJ Public Library [Princeton Packet via WFC News]

Looking At February's Actual Sales Chart [Newsarama]

Learning To Drive [Ninth Art]
Comics oscillate between Watchmen and Armor Wars, and we're in an Armor Wars (as in 80's toy Transformers, not even Iron Man) phase right now.

Wonder Woman changes her hair, press explodes [Journalista]
Just a simple case of the media searching for any fluff diversion piece in our war-torn week, and DC's story was at the right place at the right time.

Whence Webcartoonist Subcommunity? [Comixpedia via Journalista]

There's a little history about the start of Image in this week's A Thousand Flowers column by Stuart Moore, but the gallery reacts to the inclusion of war/politics stuff [Newsarama]

A rant against creators placing their political views in comics [Comics-N-Such Forum post again via Journalista]

Posted 25 March 02003 - Permalink

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Operation Comix Relief [Milford Daily News via Newsarama]
Shipping out 'diversional activity' to the troops. Gotta love that military-speak.

Posted 24 March 02003 - Permalink

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Some PG-rated Marvel books are raising eyebrows [Pulse]
Marvel's using crappy sexploitation to try to sell crappy comics again. Books with adult content should be rated/labeled correctly. They need to be placed in stores appropriately. We need more comics for children. A heroic icon like Superman shouldn't be shown doing heroin, or doing Lois Lane from behind. And there is absolutely nada for female readers here- "retarded donkey" of an industry, indeed. Who would disagree? It's common sense. We're all rolling our eyes. These books will likely bomb...

But the discussion never seems to stay focused on those points- it always expands and wanders, and that's where Neilalien is lost. Instead of another rant, Neilalien simply invites you to make sure you also read the first post by poster "rtype."

If you've ever wondered why comic books are not adult, nor reflect the mainstream culture, and are no longer a real part of pop culture, and why they're stuck in that very unsuccessful place- look no further than this discussion for one chunk of the mess. Because half of comicdom apparently thinks more gratuitous T&A is the answer. And half of comicdom believes the same comics-are-for-kids mentality that leads to Jesus Castillo arrests and Wal-Mart edits. And the other half of comicdom thinks that comics in total have to be morally better, more artsy, more politically correct and less trashy than the culture and pop culture at large, with a limited looking-down-the-nose conception of what a Marvel superhero comic is, or should be like, or who they are for, or what "adult" is. Show something in a Marvel Comic that appears in any magazine, cop show or PG movie, like gratuitous T&A, and out come the over-reacting grumps, the snobs, the old comics-are-for-kids mentality, the old "fanboy wank material" line, the Kalish quote, etc. etc. etc. Maybe comics are indeed doomed.

Too Far? [current Store Front column (catching up on all the columns at Broken Frontier)]
Retailer Evil Rick Shea, who comments in the discussion of the Pulse item above, laments the T&A of Marvel Comics.

Magic stones and bondage dreams [Manila Times via Fark]
Filipino female superhero Darna is back, bolder and bigger-breasted than ever- and refreshingly, no one's ashamed. Interesting stuff. Went to to see more info on this...

In the first comic book ever licensed by the NBA, the Dallas Mavericks fight the evil Gargamon [Dallas Business Journal; Vancouver Sun via WFC News]
Free copies will be distributed at a basketball game. That's a great new distribution idea... But some would say the heroic content isn't very outside the box or mainstream. Guess the comic should have portrayed the Mavs after a loss, depressed, bored, lonely and making clever observations about the emptiness of modern suburban life.

A salute to Pete Ashton, who's taking a hiatus from BugPowder

Posted 23 March 02003 - Permalink

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Spotted: A new Greg's Preview Dr. Strange Movie Page on Yahoo!

Posted 22 March 02003 - Permalink

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Will we now be getting more accurate sales numbers from Diamond? [Newsarama]

Marvel to convert 3.3 million preferred shares [Reuters via WFC News]

Review of Stan Lee's autobiography Excelsior, and a right-on positive review of Fade From Blue [Breakdowns]

I grew up thinking of Stan Lee as a kind of grandfather who never came to visit, but left all kinds of gifts in the 7-11s and bookstores of my youth.

Also some interesting stuff about graphic novels and bookstores at the end of the column.

Marvellous life and times of a comics genius [Daily Telegraph (Australia)]
Standard Stan Lee fluff piece. He didn't write Captain America that far back though, did he.

The Save Spider-Girl grassroots campaign starts up again

Posted 21 March 02003 - Permalink

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Tiny Doc in Steve Rude's Marvel Universe Classic 60's Characters lithograph Follow-Up #1
Dr. Strange found on that Dynamic Forces Marvel Universe Classic 60's Characters lithograph by Steve Rude! He's on the far left side, way in back, under Bucky's armpit and between Giant-Man's legs (how's that for placement?), in astral form. Neilalien really digs Rude's rainbow-colored astral form (we first saw it in the Spider-Man: Lifeline mini-series).

Follow-Up #2
Here's the best link found re: The Steve Ditko Reader from Pure Imagination Publishing, at Mars Import. Checked it out at the comic shop today. A cursory review: The Ditko history text is nothing new for Ditko fans- but the reprints are a trip, in what looks like clear black-and-white, and they're new to Neilalien. This will definitely get purchased.

Thanks so much to all the Neilalien fans who wrote in with more info!

Follow-Up #3
Aw hell, there's a war going on.

The war shouldn't last long with Optimus Prime fighting on our side. Neilalien's girlfriend says if he ever changes his name to Stephen Strange, it's over. :) (Link via Franklin's Findings.)

FYI: March Madness may mean fewer bloggings here, too.

Posted 20 March 02003 - Permalink

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According to Ditko-L and this one paltry Google search result: "New This Week at Bookery Fantasy", there is a Steve Ditko Reader Vol. 1 TP out today. 160 pages of art from 1955 to 1961. And that's still all Neilalien's got for you as of this writing. Keeping his eyes peeled for it.

The text says Dr. Strange is included in this Dynamic Forces Marvel Universe Classic 60's Characters lithograph by Steve Rude. Can't see him in the tiny image. Neilalien will have to confirm this at the shop too. If Doc's not prominent, no sale!

Another reason why Colletta is not the favored Kirby inker [Mark Evanier]

Disney Comics Return! Steve Geppi interview [FilmForce also via Mark Evanier]
Neilalien's not into Disney, but this interview has some interesting items about the marketplace.

How To Get Diamond Distribution To Distribute Your Comic The Easy Way [Waiting For Tommy]

Posted 19 March 02003 - Permalink

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177A Bleecker Street, NYC: Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum

177 Bleecker Street, NYC. Dr. Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum is listed as 177A Bleecker Street. Guess he had his illusion up today.

Posted 18 March 02003 - Permalink

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Two excellent, damning must-reads:

Cash In The Attic [Paul O'Brien on Ninth Art]
The big publishers mine the dusty back catalogue for revamps and Hollywood as comic books become, at best, small-market idea tests for creators, and at worst, an even more irrelevant part of the process. (Neilalien wouldn't mind seeing a Dr. Strange revamp though.)

Huge interview with former DC editor Joe Illidge in this week's Lying In The Gutters [Comic Book Resources]

Includes lots about the comic book industry. One quote that sums up a lot:

If the best comic will only be seen by one hundred thousand or so people, and the worst movies and television shows are seen by millions, then I'd rather try and tell stories on the larger global platform.

And a Dr. Strange pitch!

That's when the wheels in Shawn's [Martinbrough, artist] and John's [Watkiss, artist] heads starting turning, and two weeks later, Shawn and I came up with an idea called 'The Cure,' which would have put the 'Doctor' back in 'Doctor Strange,' but on a cosmic level, and revealed the existence of the other Sorcerers Supreme.
John read the pitch, and was jazzed enough that it took minimal persuasion to get him to produce artwork for the pitch booklet. I remember when the package came to my job, and I saw the painting and character sketches, and it amped me up. His style really came off as a postmodern Ditko, evoking the old but with new energy, you know?
So after that, we sat down with a Marvel Knights editor, and he told us straight up, that it would take a lot to impress him, and we understood that, and gave it a shot.
After not hearing from him for weeks, which is of course, natural, Shawn sent him an e-mail and left a voice mail message. No response. I left him a voice mail message, as well. No response.
We took it a step further, and left a copy at the Marvel offices for one of his bosses to read.
No response.

Damn you, Marvel Knights Editor!

Creators seen as needing to hawk themselves more than ever [Newsarama]

Mexican comic book depicts reality of migration [ (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) via Newsarama]

Great rant: Previous mess-ups on Authority mean no one cares now [Alan David Doane]

Marvel's Wedding Bell Blues [Pulse Commentary]
Don't forget about Dr. Strange and Clea's problems. Which reminds Neilalien to update that part of his Doc Info Pages.

Posted 17 March 02003 - Permalink

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Cigars, Cigarettes, Comics, Health & Beauty Aids

Fifth Avenue, Brooklyn, NY

Posted 17 March 02003 - Permalink

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Great "lost" pitch: The Defenders: A Proposal by Jim Krueger [X-Fan Forums via Defenders Message Board]

Posted 16 March 02003 - Permalink

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Invincible #1 & #2 sold out [Newsarama]

Today Neilalien went to the comic book shop that displays comics by publisher, rather than all titles alphabetically. Got a chance to see all of the new Image superhero line in one place. These are lush, vibrant, active comics. The line competes for the eye when one browses the shelf. No one's going to argue that more superheroes at $3 a pop will do any industry-saving, but Neilalien liked what he saw from his quick survey.

Invincible is the title of the group that Neilalien's been checking out with a three-issue trial. Glad to hear the book's selling and reviewing well. Love the art on Invincible. Here's a five-page preview of #3. Still kinda waiting for what's being billed as the "much larger story" and the "unique take," but more is promised.

Posted 13 March 02003 - Permalink

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They're still talking about Tom Spurgeon's useless rant against "Team Comics" [TCJ Message Board]

Well, Neilalien thought that the Ellis cult-of-personality part was right. And any prohibition of negative reviews is in the final analysis wrong-headed, although positive reviews are more helpful to people newer to comics. But to shoot down any enthusiasm, activism, publisher or outlet for comics and creators that isn't TCJ-approved is laughable and insulting. "Comics: the medium that hated itself to death." Indeed. It's heartening to see some of their home crowd speaking out (although as it gets further along, you see that TCJ is no less immune to message board ugliness than Pulse). The juiciest gem, however, lives at Jay's Daze:

Tom Spurgeon's little essay on "Team Comics" was of course the usual elitist drivel one can expect from the Journal. The idea that comics should be only made by those deserving of the honor seems kind of ridiculous considering some of the works they champion, shit I wouldn't line my bird cage with. Maybe it's true. The Journal isn't elitist, I'm just stupid, to paraphrase a recent review of the mag.

No, you're not stupid.

Posted 13 March 02003 - Permalink

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Splash Says Sayonara
It had to close: the rare news site that had intelligence yet didn't insult yours with either press-release sponsor-rah-rah or snob tude.

The End #1 is out today
If you enjoy down-home cosmic Marvel Universe fun like Neilalien does, or are a sucker for what Starlin continues to squeeze out of the Warlock/Thanos stone, then you know that already. This issue's just set-up.

Dr. Doom, Magneto Urge Patience in Standoff Between United States, Galactus [All Too Factual]

Joe Casey Interview Part 2 re: X-Men, the internet, some comics industry stuff [Pulse]
And if you'd like to rubberneck, this includes the message board ugliness Ellis wrote about today in Bad Signal.

Posted 12 March 02003 - Permalink

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Give Me Liberty [the history lesson continues at Stuart Moore's A Thousand Flowers column on Newsarama]
Dazzler #1 sold 400,000 copies.

Posted 11 March 02003 - Permalink

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Dr. Strange art by John Watkiss on this week's Gutters!

Agreement with both Tony Isabella, and his CBG editors for cutting politics out of a comic book column [Franklin's Findings]

Praise for Eightball #22, which was great [In Sequence]

According to Archie Comics' press kit, monthly circulation is 850,000 [via Journalista]

Reading Daredevil by the light of the silver screen [current Read Comics in Public]

Posted 10 March 02003 - Permalink

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Return To The Batcave is on CBS tonight! Yay! [Pulse item]
Just kidding.

Update: <shudder> Just watched ten minutes of it. </shudder>

Great new site about comic books [Footnote Comics via Newsarama]

Some sins of the wholesome comic book industry listed [Flat Earth]

Amazing Jack Kirby artwork commissioned for the "Lord of Light" film project and the "Science Fiction Land" theme park 01978-79 [via Journalista via Boing Boing]
As a near-daily reader of Boing Boing, Neilalien is distressed that he missed this link. But now he knows why. It was very close to a link to Reverse Cowgirl, which surely distracted him. Meow.

Bob Gale has signed on to write a Meridian movie.
He once wrote a Dr. Strange movie script for Columbia.

Posted 9 March 02003 - Permalink

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Comics Buyer's Guide cuts political comments out of Tony Isabella's column [Tony's Tips via Alan David Doane]

Jean-Marc Lofficier's Official Site has a page for his Dr. Strange work

Inking Steve Ditko item [P. Craig Russell Forum]

People are saying that with issue #60, Spider-Girl will become Marvel's longest running superheroine title ever [Marvel Universe Message Board with tribute cover scan]

What's Your Superhero Name? []
Put in Neil Alien and got "Doctor Power."

Posted 8 March 02003 - Permalink

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Blogs are talking about comic book movies, musicals and the suspension of disbelief [CalPundit, then Leibman Theory]

(Neilalien had "suspension of belief" up here for a little while. He still hasn't mastered all of your quaint Earth phrases yet.)

Dark Horse is what other comic publishers want to be when they grow up; comics now a legit movie genre; Marvel's stereotypes [Ninth Art]

Roundup of ICv2's retailer comments re: Marvel's new trade terms [Journalista]
Not looking as positive as it's been billed.

Posted 7 March 02003 - Permalink

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Nice overview of Neal Adams' career [Ninth Art]

Isolation, Illusion & Illustration- P. Craig Russell [Newsarama]

Posted 6 March 02003 - Permalink

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On The Marvel Movie Doomsday Theory

The Marvel Movie Doomsday Theory [Journalista]

Late-night quick initial brain dump re: why Neilalien doesn't think this theory holds water:

#1. Not Convinced that Marvel Comics is dangerously dependent on movie money.

Marvel is indeed in a boatload of debt, and the situation is grim. No one's wearing rose-colored glasses.

But it's not a 'Movie Deal Money or Bust' scenario, because Marvel Comics is still a viable business without it. The standard non-movie money is coming in, and in all three business segments: publishing, licensing and toys. Publishing is profitable. There are big-picture problems with the comic book industry right now- but Marvel is still selling x number of books at the necessary y price point. There's the Activision video games and Underoos and all of that. Toy Biz could turn around- some say it already has- it's got Lord of the Rings. Marvel's not in crushing debt because its business sucks wind- it would be generally stable today if not for Perelman and the corporate raiders. The raider debt is really bad, and profits from its three segments may not be large enough to pay off the debt and interest for twenty years- but if there are profits, it will linger. If someone can make a profit publishing Spider-Man comics, someone will- that's not optimism, it's capitalism. If Marvel has to nurse huge debts and shift things around for years, like so many other companies do, that's capitalism! If the debt-weakness tempts Sony or another suitor to buy the whole enchilada, thinking they can do better with the intellectual property, that's capitalism too. It may have to declare bankruptcy again and get the debt reorganized to linger. The movies may flop, and then studios will never want Marvel movie rights ever again. But the comics have a while to go yet. Movie deal money would be an immeasurable help- but while it may be vitally-needed medicine for Marvel the debt-ridden corporate entity, it's gravy for a self-sustaining profitable publishing arm. The Marvel-Comics cake is, well, not healthy, not growing, but stable- at least lingerably profitable- with or without the frosting of movie deal money.

#2. Not Convinced that Marvel Comics is dangerously dependent on a superhero movie glut.

What is a superhero movie? Is James Bond a superhero movie? What's just an action movie? Is it if you know it's from a comic book? If they wear masks and costumes? If there's vigilantism? Strange superhuman powers? A specific villain? If there's a "power fantasy?" Anything that's not arthouse?

A nod to Franklin on this one. Let's look at the list of proposed movies. Neilalien has no idea which direction (that being a show biz term) the creators of these movies will take, but hopefully they are smart enough to achieve a balance of mining Marvel character cachet gold but without a spandexy superhero glut. The following list of movies doesn't have to look any different than any three-year slice of moviedom's action offerings from the past thirty years:

X2 (X-Men Sequel): superhero
Incredible Hulk: Godzilla
The Punisher: Death Wish
Spider-Man 2: superhero (not a safe bet to predict failure here)
Iron Fist: kung fu
Ghost Rider: action, horror
Deathlok: Terminator 2
Elektra: Neilalien proposes an exciting new genre: Jennifer Garner
Daredevil 2: superhero
Dr. Strange: occult mystery if they're smart; doubtful this will be spandex
Namor: underwater action in Atlantis
Fantastic 4: Lost In Space sci-fi family
Silver Surfer: should be science fiction and definitely not superhero, but they'll probably do the lonely Superman on Earth thing
Iron Man: Robotech
Blade III: vampire action
Prime: who?

Adding to "glut":
League of Extra... LXG, Hellboy, Bulletproof Monk: Are any of these going to move moviegoers to think, "Oh, we're so sick of spandex?"

#3. Not Convinced that Marvel Comics is dangerously dependent on a film enterprise that is bound to fail.

It's just that Journalista doesn't like them, and thinks they will fail because it strongly wants them to fail. Was anyone else starting to get the feeling that if Daredevil had made $300 million, Journalista would have adjusted its monocle, pointed skyward and said, "I reiterate my prediction that Daredevil will not make $400 million!" Daredevil is a success.

Granted, the list above might not be awe-inspiring to any but the juiciest Marvel or action fanboy- and it's a pretty big list to cram into the next three years. But Hollywood knows what it's doing. A set of action movies Journalista doesn't like is bound to fail? It's almost bound to succeed.

It's not just about U.S. box office minus the cost to make and promote the film. That's why Daredevil's $100 million so far isn't bad. Each will have international box office takes. And DVD sales. Each movie will have all that product placement stuff, i.e., J. Jonah Jameson drinking a Coke or Spidey swinging past a Pepsi sign. Each will have tons of licensing tie-ins, like drink-cups at McDonald's or Burger King. Each will have an Official Video Game. Each of these movies is going to sell toys, even if they're flops at the box office. Hollywood knows how to squeeze every last cent out of a movie. It's a goldmine. Studios are lining up for the chance to make a movie with a Marvel character.

No one's going to claim that all of these movies will be hits or even good. But these are all kinds of movies. Even if they were just all action movies, the movie market can easily absorb it. People do actually like action movies. This list is with several different big studios, and big studios do what, two action movies a year each? This is their allotment of action movies to greenlight over the next couple years. So a Steven Seagal movie gets bumped.

Not all of the movies on the list have to succeed. Have to assume that the 80-20 Rule applies to Hollywood like it does with everything else: 80% of the loot will come from 20% of that list. The flops will disappear quickly, and the successes will get sequels and franchises. The hits absorb the bombs and keep the entire enterprise profitable. Two or three bombs won't hobble the rest of the Marvel portfolio.

Who understands Hollywood math and motivations anyway? They want to make another Rocky, for chrissake. Martin Scorsese can't get funding for his movies. They tell Stan Lee Spider-Man didn't make a profit.

Why assume failure? You'd think Journalista would rather have a healthy cynicism of the moviegoing public that would assume the success of these films. The Batman movies went a long way before they ran themselves into the ground. Just schedule them for release on holiday weekends, keep the budgets reasonable, keep the scripts together, a couple good CGI effects, get big name stars, hype the shit out of them- and the damn thing will probably run forever. It's that easy. That's Hollywood!

#4. Not Convinced that Marvel's intellectual property is dangerously in hock.

No, this situation is not great. Obviously the ideal would be that Marvel's IP would not be used as collateral for anything, period. But- and Neilalien doesn't fully understand it- it's not in hock to outsiders, so it's not so dangerously in hock. It's in hock to the major Toy Biz shareholder. It's in-house. Might that be better?

Journalista said something that may need correcting:

Here's where it could get grim: in November of 2001, a cashflow crunch forced Marvel to use its intellectual property as collateral to Citibank in order to borrow more money.

ICv2 (May 20, 2001):

It was in this context that Marvel signed a new agreement with Citibank on May 14th providing that no additional money will be lent or letters of credit issued, and that Marvel has to start depositing money in a collateral account and have the whole $17 million in letters of credit (plus the 4.75%! fee) covered by the end of November, 2001. Furthermore, Marvel was required to collateralize the letters of credit with its full intellectual property assets.

The cash flow crunch was in May, not November. And the story didn't end there. By August, before November came around:

ICv2 (August 17, 2001):

In the same release, Marvel announced that it had terminated its revolving credit facility with Citibank. This agreement originally provided for a $40 million line of credit, which was reduced to letters of credit already issued in May (see "Marvel in Cash Flow Pain") as part of a waiver of Marvel's covenants. The $17.5 million in letters of credit that had been issued by Citibank was replaced by letters of credit in an equal amount issued by Tot Funding, owned by Isaac Perlmutter, the largest stockholder in Toy Biz. As part of this transaction, Tot was given the same security interest in Marvel's intellectual property that Citibank had held as security for its financing.

#5. Not Convinced that a Marvel bankruptcy means the end of Marvel Comics and the end of the direct market.

A(nother) Marvel bankruptcy would be a bad thing. Potentially, an industry killer. There's no pie-in-the-sky optimistic viewpoint to take on it- except for maybe the idea that comic shops can then just fill the empty shelves with Eightball and still make it. But ominously asking retailers how many months they can last without Marvel product is gloom-and-doom that skips a couple logical steps of the American corporate marketplace.

As with #1, as long as someone can make a comic book for $1.00 and sell it for $1.01 at sufficient quantities, and right now Marvel can do that, someone will be there to pimp it out, although the logo on the top of the retailer's bill might change (from Marvel's to Sony's?).

ICv2 (June 06, 2001):

When asked about Marvel's financial situation and the problems associated with its troubled Toy Biz division (see "Marvel in Cash Flow Pain"), Jemas noted that Marvel's publishing division was now a moneymaker. In the past even with circulations much bigger than Marvel has today, the publishing operations lost money, but the company's financial troubles had forced him to make the tough decisions and turn Marvel into a lean, mean machine. "No matter what happens to Toy Biz, no matter what potential bankruptcies there could be, the comics division makes money now -- so you go to bankruptcy, there is no economic reason that that would have a negative effect on publishing." He called worrying about Toy Biz dragging Marvel under "a red herring." His point was that in a reorganization, a trustee's responsibility is to conserve assets and generate as much cash as possible to pay creditors. Since publishing is now profitable, it's likely that in such a situation, Marvel would continue to publish even if money-losing divisions of the company were shut down.

And now that the completely frightening scenario has occurred of Neilalien offering up a Jemas palliative quote as the voice of reason, the comic book industry is truly poised for collapse.

#6. Not Convinced Marvel comic books and movies are connected this way.

Granted, it's a pretty straightforward connection between the books and the movies that the Marvel Movie Doomsday Theory is proposing. A disaster on the movie side sinks the whole company, and thus the comics. Widget A could disappear from the marketplace if the company making Widget A goes out of business because it ventured to add Widget B to its line and took a tsunami-type bath on B.

But are A and B really connected this way?

With all of the above, Neilalien's making a case that they're not. As long as Widget A is in demand and profitable, the entire history of corporate America suggests that Widget A will continue to be made available because people will want that profit. Either the original company will linger and survive the Widget B fiasco, creditors don't nuke the one piece of their debtor that's bringing in money, or another company will step in and buy the company and/or the Widget A IP, etc.

The only big possible connection left then that could really hurt Widget A is if Widget B took down the demand for A with it. And we know in comics that's likely not true. Everyone's pretty skeptical of almost any connection/effect between the movies and the books themselves. The movies certainly don't seem to help book sales. The converse is also apparent: Box office bombs don't hurt sales or bottom lines for publishing- comicdom will still buy the comics- so bombs probably don't threaten the direct market in this way, either. They're two different animals that don't mate.

Neilalien's not convinced that comics punditry can suss out all the connections and non-connections in comicdom, or predict the future accurately. One connection and threat from movie bombs that Neilalien will grant is if the Direct Market's evolution into pop-culture toy stores will get them stuck with toys from superhero movie bombs that won't sell. One funky possible meta connection is actually the converse of Journalista's thesis: If Marvel is trying to jump its properties from a "failing" medium to a successful one, then maybe the direct market will be negatively impacted by the success of Marvel movies, via abandonment by Marvel?

Anyway, in summary, while the entire situation is far far from the ideal- there is a pretty good argument that the whole direct market isn't riding a doomed-to-fail glut of repetitive spandex movies straight to hell.

Now, let's hope it's right.

Posted 6 March 02003 - Permalink

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Excellent, slightly distressing column overviewing the catch-22's of the current 'save comics' theory set [Steven Grant's Permanent Damage on CBR]

Powers #30 is supersized! Yay! [Newsarama]

Coverage of Marvel's press conference today, new terms of sale [ICv2] [Newsarama] [CBR] [Pulse]
Retailers have also been weighing in lately at ICv2.

New column at Movie Poop Shoot [Comics 101 via Alan David Doane]

Movie division saves comic company from brink of destruction [Kansas City Star via Newsarama]

Posted 5 March 02003 - Permalink

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Someone on the Steve Ditko List has posted online the Lee/Ditko tale "Goodbye To Linda Brown" from Strange Tales #97 (June 01962), which is "Aunt May and Uncle Ben's first appearance." Go check it out ASAP! [Page 1; Pages 2 & 3; Pages 4 & 5; large images]

The person who draws the most attention to Free Comic Book Day gets $250 [Newsarama]

More Marvel Money Matters [Pulse]
The Mutant X thing is over.

Sounds like Vertigo's slacking in the female department [Sequential Tart]

Posted 4 March 02003 - Permalink

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Looks like several good Q4 numbers, but Marvel still posts a loss as it continues to try to get its financial house in order [Pulse]

Update: Journalista has its analysis up. Spotted: The ICv2 version of the Marvel news lists Dr. Strange as a 2005 movie! [Press Release on Yahoo about Q4 with movie list] Excelsior! Well now, wait and see.

Hey, forgot to blog this: Gene Colan has reported that Essential Tomb of Dracula is still on and coming out this year! [Comics Commentary reminds]

Comics Commentary also has been following the recent sad drama at Future Comics

Adults who enjoy lightweight entertainment aimed at them are actually acting like adults (gasp!) [Paul O'Brien on Ninth Art re: 'superheroes are for kids']

CrossGen's Mark Alessi rants about Marvel [Pulse]

Posted 3 March 02003 - Permalink

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More on head shop crackdown and comics [Journalista] [Splash] [Pop Culture Gadabout]

Marvel changes Terms of Sale [Newsarama]
Sounds like Marvel is giving retailers some more flexibility and timeliness re: how they order comics.

Daisy, 73, is comic book hero [ManchesterOnline]

Toy Biz: Forever poised on the brink of almost being something other than a lead weight to Marvel [ICv2]

Crossgen Launches New Pirate Comic [ICv2] [Newsarama] [Pirate Glossary (01999)] [How To Talk Like A Pirate (02000)] [Int'l Talk Like A Pirate Day was 19 September 02002]
Neilalien was going post something about getting more story genres into comics, but he's just so happy that a beloved old-school blogging meme is finally relevant here.

Fox Announces Elektra Movie; Alias TV Series Renewed [ICv2]
<span class="hide contents from Neilalien's lovely sidekick">More Jennifer Garner? Shiver me timbers! Aye!</span>

Comics, copyright, Creative Commons, fan fiction, online samplers, etc. [Ninth Arrrr-t]

Operative, write more about comics or you'll be keelhauled, me bucko!

Ahoy! Neilalien link sightings
Definitely must check out Fanboy Radio. Neilalien was bummed for a while when he saw RealPlayer was needed for listening live, because that spyware adbot piece of shit ain't gettin' downloaded (he'd sooner walk the plank)- but most of the stuff's up in mp3.

Posted 1 March 02003 - Permalink

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