Neilalien : A Doctor Strange Fansite : A Comic Book Weblog  

Parents' Empowerment Act must not be allowed to pass [Ninth Art]

Robert Kirkman talks Invincible [Comic Book Resources]

The Real Reason American Comics are Failing: They're not perceived as cool [Otto's Coffee Shop]

Comics: Pricing themselves out of a readership [Otto's Coffee Shop]
Anthology titles again floated as the solution.

Students find graphic novels to be page-turners []
Another one of those articles about how the kids love comics in libraries and newsstands (in other words, in public, outside the direct market), and shoplift them, that makes Neilalien think, Kids these days would still be into comics if they could only find them and afford them (or felt that they were a value for the money).

Defining the Definitive Run [ComiX-Fan Column by Jim Lemoine via everywhere]
Work-for-hire is what you make it.

Losers: the most 'mainstream' comic book out there sells little in the direct market [Popp'd]

Truly grotesque Captain America drawn by Rob Liefeld [Grotesque Anatomy]

Marvel Makes Dave Cockrum an Offer He Can't Refuse [The Comics Journal #260 excerpt]

Neilalien enjoyed this rando rant [Postmodernbarney]
X-Men back in costume, superhero comics doing themselves in, Marvel's overprint policies, Marvel fans not buying trades, vs. Marvel's manga format, The Comics Journal still reeking of snob.

Can't keep Comic Book Galaxy down- it's back!

Congrats to the one-year blogiversary of Attentiondeficitdisorderly Too Flat

Posted 31 May 02004 - Permalink

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The Order gets positive It Came From The Quarter Bin treatment [Newsarama]
'Positive' as in, 'good enough for a quarter', one supposes (and one of the fastest moves to the quarter bin ever?- how long do books usually take to get there? two years seems fast but maybe Neilalien's been looking at older stuff in quarter bins)- but positive nonetheless.

The Metamorpho Theme [MP3] [via Johnny Bacardi]

Posted 28 May 02004 - Permalink

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Reminder: McSweeney's #13, edited by Chris Ware [Bookslut discusses] [Update: The Wall column at Broken Frontier discusses (permalink pending) via Fanboy Rampage]

Related: On 4 June in Brooklyn, there will be a fundraiser, featuring They Might Be Giants and others, for 826NYC, followed by a party unveiling the new Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company. What an awesome name for a tutoring center!

Marvel execs cashed in on Friday [Reuters on Yahoo Finance]
Shares fell 5% as Perlmutter and Arad shoveled over $100 million. Guys, don't you want to wait until the big Spider-Man 2 movie? Guys? Hello? Bueller?
Update: Financial shenanigans [Postmodernbarney]

Marvel, Lions Gate Entertainment team up for straight-to-DVD animated flicks [Newsarama]
Whoops, Neilalien means "made-for-DVD"- it sounds better. Hopefully Dr. Strange won't be going this route at the expense of doing a real movie. Update: Marvel could kill kittens and The Motley Fool would love it.

Marvel launches prose line [Pulse]
Dark Horse launches two prose imprints [Newsarama]
Marvel's is called Marvel Press. One of Dark Horse's is called M Press, and it has a big fat M reminiscent of Marvel's old comics logo. Trademark fight!

Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment and Arturion Entertainment: transaction completed [Business Wire] [via Thought Balloons]

Month-to-month sales at Pulse [Marvel] [DC]
Looks like Marvel's just fading away!

The three necessary elements of comics art: proportion, storytelling and immediacy [Permanent Damage]

X-Treme X-Men #18: A Medical Review [Polite Dissent]
Creators beware: your medical knowledge is being scrutinized!

More attention to the basics needed to attract new readers [Polite Dissent]
Availability, eye-catching covers, tighter stories, lower prices.

Early Marvels, shared-universe superhero comics can be fun, and also somewhat chaotically believable [Flat Earth]

The country's going to shit, but comics aren't [the message of Stuart Moore's last A Thousand Flowers column]

Billie Piper to play new Dr. Who companion [BBC Radio 1] [via Franklin's Findings]
Cute, but no Nicola Bryant. Ah, Peri.

Posted 26 May 02004 - Permalink

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Essential Defenders spotted! [] [spotted by Otto's Coffee Shop] [via Grotesque Anatomy]

The New Age of Morrison [ComiX-Fan] [via LinkMachineGo]

The real problem is this: in spite of all our attempts to insist that one exists, there is actually NO mass market for traditional superhero comic books- why would there be? It's such an esoteric and old-fashioned branch of popular culture and seems to have more in common with collecting stamps or 60s retro kitsch... After all the recent superhero movies and cartoons, at a time when Robin and Beast Boy and Spider-Man have their faces all over buses, comics sales have not improved significantly at all- it's never going to happen unless we change the pricing, the format, the content and many other things about traditional U.S. superhero books... As I say, comics could use some new ideas, new characters and competitive formats but change comes slowly.
The new creators can do whatever they like with the [New X-Men] characters and probably will. That's the nature of the beast. It's a relay race.
[Seaguy] is a daft attempt to say something about current society, the whole 'Big Brother', 'American Idol' culture of schizophrenic fat consumers, where every talentless fool has been conned into thinking he or she can be a pop star because we're all somehow 'equal'. So with Seaguy, everyone thinks they can be a superhero... Seaguy is the story of a wannabe hero in a world where all the old super-battles have been fought and won long ago. The world seems perfect. People are happy. And there's nothing to do but watch TV, go to the store and wander around idyllic New Venice. When Seaguy stumbles upon what looks like an adventure, things start going from bad to worse so it's partly about what happens when you break the rules in a 'perfect' society. It's also a proper 'nautical' comic with Sinbad-style voyages, evil whalers, storms, mysterious islands, drowned cities and sea monsters... [Seaguy is] 'the true antidote to your military-industrial realistic super-heroes!'
The real bummer of course is Flex Mentallo. As every child knows, the unavailability of Flex is a crime almost equal in magnitude to the Jack the Ripper slayings or the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Why aren't there more comics about terrorism? [Ninth Art]
Can fiction capture that zeal? Also an interesting response to the recent Weather Underground story arc in Human Target.

The good and bad of continuity and shared universes [Ninth Art]

Strange Tales #133 and "Love Potion #9" by The Coasters forever linked in man's mind [Johnny Bacardi]
Neilalien loves The Coasters! Smokey Joe's Cafe, That Is Rock & Roll, Zing! Went The Strings Of My Heart, Wrap It Up (that one's from back when they were still The Robins), Down In Mexico, One Kiss Led To Another, The Shadow Knows, Along Came Jones, Poison Ivy, Sweet Georgia Brown, Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown- wow, too many rockin' songs to list.

Posted 24 May 02004 - Permalink

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Cup o' Joe Quesada at WizardWorld East [Newsarama] [Pulse]

September will see the debut of JMS' long-promised Dr. Strange miniseries. Brandon Peterson is strongly rumored to be the artist for the mini. As Quesada explained it, Straczynski had written a screenplay for a Dr. Strange movie years back, and has broken down the screenplay, and adapted it into a "Dr. Strange Year One" style story. "It's a real ground-level take of the character."

Also, Straczynski is exclusive to Marvel for "work for hire." Guess that means he can have creator-owned projects elsewhere like Rising Stars. That sounds like a new kind of deal, no? Neilalien thanks all the readers for the FYI's re: this news (the blog writes itself!), starting with the obviously psychic Thought Balloons.

Posted 23 May 02004 - Permalink

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In Union Square in New York City, there's a newsstand with an actual old-school spinner rack of comics. Outdoors in a high-traffic area. Neilalien has often, and just recently, wondered with the Neilalienistas how this must be one of the few places in Manhattan where you can buy new comics outside of a Direct Market shop. Or at least it used to be. This arrived in the emailbox yesterday:

How weird that just the other day we talked about the newsstand near Union Square that has a comic book rack. And just yesterday I was looking at it. Well, when I walked by there today it was gone. I asked the guy behind the counter what happened to the comic book rack and he said they decided to stop selling them because too many kids were stealing them. Isn't that sad?

There's a spinner rack of touristy postcards there now. Sigh. And how many comics-decline theories and buttons might this story touch? The kids obviously want American superhero comics enough to steal them. Maybe if they were actually still exposed to them, if comics weren't hidden away in the Direct Market? And the stealing: not to excuse the lack of moral fiber, but do high comics prices relative to other entertainments play a role? And what factors make comics so easily abandoned by the newsstand? Candy is probably getting shoplifted there by the ton too, but they don't stop selling candy. Is candy more profitable than comics? Double sigh.

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The trial of Reed Richards and the defense of Galactus in Byrne's Fantastic Four wonderfully utterly destroyed by literature professor who teaches Candide [Howling Curmudgeons]

International Journal of Comic Art proposed as source of in-depth comics analysis [Not The Beastmaster (the writer of the above FF piece)] [index of past issues]

New bill from right-wing types seeks to "empower" parents to fight "a wave of obscenity" and sue anyone disseminating material "harmful to minors" [Newsarama]
Yikes! The implications for comic books are clear and grim.

High praise for the wonderful Smax [Pipeline]

Roy Lichtenstein's use of comic work discussed [Mark Evanier: first post, P.S., response] [Lichtenstein Project (saving link for later; temporarily unavailable due to high traffic)] [via above Pipeline]

A retailer looks at variants [Newsarama]

El Cazador on hiatus, probably done [Newsarama]
This was expected given Crossgen's recent troubles. Neilalien enjoyed this pirate yarn.

Big Ex Machina press push [Comic Book Resources Part 1, Part 2, Part 3]

Posted 21 May 02004 - Permalink

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IDT Entertainment adds big Manga Entertainment to its growing media portfolio, which already includes Stan "the godfather of American comics" Lee's POW! Entertainment and Archie [New York Post via Thought Balloons]
This link also contains a second item about weblogs becoming big business.

How to go to a convention and break into the comic book business, if you are so insanely inclined [Permanent Damage (reprint of still-valid five-year-old text)]

New online journal of "Interdisciplinary Comics Studies" debuts, supported by the University of Florida [ImageText] [announced in December] [via Egon]
Compromised Divisions: Thresholds in Comic Books and Video Games [ImageText]

Comics from the 01890's [Simplicissimus] [via Egon]
This is a Dublog link if Neilalien ever saw one. Why do good blogs have to die?

Online retailer takes on Barnes & Noble's exclusive collected edition of Ultimate Spider-Man [Newsarama]

The Tokyopop TV ad [Newsarama (Quicktime)]

In search of well-named comic shops [Gutterninja]

Proposed name for the current era of comics: The Silicon Age [Polite Dissent]
Watch out for those double meanings!

Proposed feature list of 'middle-ground' comic book magazine [Postmodernbarney]

Posted 19 May 02004 - Permalink

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Strange Tales #115 not up to medical-fact snuff [Polite Dissent]
X-rays of Doc's hands wouldn't have shown his nerve damage.

Brian Hibbs re: why general comics advertising won't work; "variant covers are a horrible idea in virtually all circumstances" [Tilting At Windmills]
Most advertising is based on brand (this beer or car vs. that), stuff like "Got Milk?" costs money for little benefit, comics look static and solitary on TV.

Stan Lee, Avi Arad and Brian Michael Bendis will do a June signing at L.A. Barnes and Noble [Newsarama]

American Flagg! collection to include a new story [Newsarama]

Woman At Farscape Convention Now Has Dangerously Inflated Self-Image [The Onion]

Follow-up: What's New, KHAAAN?
Long live the internet.

Posted 15 May 02004 - Permalink

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Ditko-drawn tale "The Unicorn" with people turning into centaurs from Scary Tales #11 is posted online [] [Centaurs In Comics] [via Flat Earth]

The Journal of MODOK Studies back in print! #4 out by summer's end [TCJ Message Board]

Posted 14 May 02004 - Permalink

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The latest lamenting re: the lack of middle ground between Wizard and The Comics Journal magazines [Gutterninja]
Many folks, including Neilalien, have been lamenting this for a long time. Where's the intelligence without the attitude? As the comics-magazine meme has played out in the past, a centrist publication is something everyone says they want, but nobody buys enough to keep alive. As with many things in this increasingly-polarized world, there just isn't going to be as much movement/energy/good stuff in the center for those who aim higher than the T&A lowest-common-denominator, but who don't connect with the arthouse, the fringe, the angry, the arrogant. Plus comicdom seems too in love with its own two-camp factionalized state to cultivate the garden between. The comics blogosphere thus is probably your best bet for the most diverse and centrist discussions- and the lack of those reasoned discussions elsewhere like in comics magazines has probably contributed to the comics blogs' emergence and growth. FYI, Steven Grant just recently recommended Comics Interpreter for exactly this lament.

Update: ADD (in Gutterninja's comments) and ADDTF hold out certain hope that a Journalista-helmed blogosphere-colored Comics Journal will offer us this 'middle-ground' 'mainstream-involved' comics magazine for which we yearn, "a magazine of criticism that's smart without being snobby and well-read without being elitist". Wow, which Journalista weblog did they read? Please pardon this website's Humbug! But we shall see.

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Epilogue: Proposed action plan for Micah Wright [Are You Hep To The Jive?] [via Jim Treacher]

Posted 13 May 02004 - Permalink

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Stan Lee rises from dot-com rubble [USA Today] [via Thought Balloons]

Even Neilalien is curious which DC heroes will be pushing up daisies in Identity Crisis [Newsarama]
Curious in an ex-Marvel-Zombie, schadenfreude kind of way, anyway. ;) Eh, just a gimmick to sell books. According to the early betting, it looks like important-to-JLA unimportant-to-AOL/Time-Warner's-cashflow Martian Manhunter has a date with a lit match.

Merely the latest wave of media professionals, elites, editors, etc. to bemoan information overload, bad signal-to-noise ratios, etc.- i.e., bemoan their loss of gatekeeping powers [Stuart Moore: indy books have no quality control! how can a book possibly break out nowadays?]
Heidi MacDonald quoted at Comic Treadmill: all those dopey blogs! [excellent response by Johnny Bacardi: who apppointed her for pedestal duty above us rank amateurs who dare express opinions in public?]
Update: Heidi clarifies; reduces number of dopey comic blogs from "a lot of them" to "some of them"; affirms as much freedom of speech/expression/pimping as possible for our struggling artform [found by Grotesque Anatomy] [nod to Larry Young comment on Thought Balloons]
Yay! Flowers and cookies for all. Except if you think a blog makes anyone Edward R. Murrow. Then no flowers or cookies for you, you naive piece of shit.

Posted 12 May 02004 - Permalink

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The Master! Anthony Ainley, who made a great Master, has reportedly died [BBC Dr. Who News via Triptych Cryptic]

Modern folks just can't relate or aspire to boring perfect Superman [ via Newsarama]

Are variant covers back? [ICv2]
Retailer: Variant covers aren't as much a problem as low quality, oversaturation, late books, nothing for kids, etc. [ICv2]

Retailer: Wake up to advertising for comics, publishers! [ICv2]
Millions see the movies, 100k buy the comics.

Funny: "Will Go Up" written on price sticker for X-Man #18 [Progressive Ruin]
It's a sure thing investment.

Neat essay on the word 'middlebrow' and how it relates to comics [Forager]
Aim higher but shun elitism.

Planet of the Capes reads the way our 'good superhero comics' must read to non-fans [perceptive Pop Culture Gadabout review]
There's a lot of meta going on in PotC [Pipeline]

A peek inside John Romita Jr.'s Gray Area [Newsarama]

My Little Ponies: The Justice League [via Ringwood, Gutters]

Posted 11 May 02004 - Permalink

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Preview of this week's She-Hulk #3 [PopCultureShock; Neilalien's cued it up to Doctor Strange's appearance on page 3] [via the She-Hulk Message Board]
Also: Reviews of She-Hulk #2.

Posted 10 May 02004 - Permalink

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The Superhero Breakdown [Howling Curmudgeons via Ringwood]
Individual heroism, costumes (uniforms), secret identites (id/ego), super powers (all heroes like James Bond and Zorro can do amazing stuff) are each and all analyzed and defended in this text.

"If you are a person who has bought Micah Wright books from the Isotope and if for any reason you feel you were sold these books under false pretenses, you can bring those comics back to the Isotope and trade them in." [The Pimp]

Internet used to discover who Umar is [Comic Treadmill]
This item reminds Neilalien to give The Book of Names a little attention someday.

Grant Morrison "to fight back against the trendy and unconvincing 'bad-ass' cynicism of current comics, most of which are produced by the most un-'bad-ass' men you can possibly imagine" [Newsarama interview]

Posted 9 May 02004 - Permalink

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Neilalien agrees: Invincible is the best superhero book out there right now [Mellowheart Warmhugs]

Posted 7 May 02004 - Permalink

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IDT Entertainment acquires minority equity interest in Stan Lee's POW! Entertainment [Newsarama]
"Evil doers beware, here comes the next generation of superheroes." "Stan Lee is the inventor of the modern comic superhero."

Marvel movie report with Avi Arad has Dr. Strange as a sketchy possibility for 02007 [ICv2]
Punisher's take got reduced by a glut of revenge movies in April, but Arad spins it into the profit-positive via int'l ticket sales and DVD.

Bendis talks Ultimate Carnage- mentions Dr. Strange coming up [Pulse]

Ditko creation The Question will be a part of Cartoon Network's Justice League Unlimited [Comics Continuum]
Bruce Timm:

"When we recorded the episode with him, we got Jeffrey Combs, from the Re-Animator movies, to play The Question," Timm said. "And he's so creepy. He's like the creepiest hero character we've ever had in any of the shows. We were all totally jazzed when we recorded that show. He was awesome."

Spider-Man 2 logos going on baseball bases [Newsarama] [ loves it (they've been loving Marvel stock for years)]
Update: Deal scuttled! [Newsarama]
Baseball fan backlash. They're as resistant to change as comic fans.

The International Comic Arts Association, a progressive, non-profit trade organization to serve the comic book industry, officially launched [Newsarama] [ICv2] [Previous Pimp: #1, #2]
You just can't make this stuff up: from the ICv2 piece:

While all the announced initiatives are laudable, the problem for an organization such as ICAA is gaining critical mass through the support of a number of publishers, distributors, retailers and fans. Membership in the ICAA is open to all of these groups, which brings up a structural problem- the interests of manufacturers, retailers, distributors and fans do not always coincide on every issue.
But before that structural issue needs to be addressed, the ICAA has to gain a foothold in the industry, which could turn out to be a mighty task. It's unlikely that the notoriously independent pop culture retailers will immediately throng to join.
As for the publishers, there already is a comic book industry trade organization for publishers, the CMAA (Comic Magazine Association of America) and it appears to be the very model of a dysfunctional, quarrel-ridden and impotent trade organization. The CMAA's problems demonstrate the need for a real comic book trade organization that could promote the industry, but they also demonstrate how difficult a task building such an organization can be. Perhaps Mr. Enervold has the ability to herd cats- we certainly hope so.

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Micah Wright's lying don't bother the comic pundits none [Permanent Damage, with many seconds: Ringwood Ragefuck, Monitor Duty, Mah Two Cents, Popp'd, etc.]
Now, Neilalien's not exactly having a cow about it either. In the grand scheme of things, an asteroid hasn't hit the Earth. Few know who Wright is; his blunders and hustles and psychoses are of little consequence. Some of his critics got shouted down, a book gets pulped, Kurt Vonnegut got swindled. Don't let it affect your health. Neilalien agrees that the revelation about Wright's Ranger claims doesn't discredit a good comic book he wrote or an anti-war political position. Wright's the cute Stan-Lee-esque pathological comics-biz resume-fluffer self-promoter of our generation? Who knows?- this could sink him, this could end up being the best thing to ever happen to Wright or his career. This website's hardly the voice of moral or political outrage and judgment. And the pundits linked above aren't getting "called out" here. In fact, nowadays it's becoming almost refreshing to see people not get offended over every little thing. But... Neilalien does find the apathy in this case quite a bit disappointing, and too far in the other direction too. Not that 200 posts on 200 comics weblogs saying, "I denounce thus!" is required. But you don't see many angry message board posts getting dittoed around like the P.D. column. Just can't help but think that this kind of apathy towards lies and the truth at 'smaller' levels has contributed to the bigger postmodern fucked-up world so many perceive. Permanent Damage can't get worked up because we have life-and-death Dubya lies and bigger fish to fry- but we have those big fish partly because we've been throwing little lying guppies like Micah Wright back into the river for too long. Oh well, guess Neilalien's moral sense and upsetness level is aiming for that middle area between 'End of the world' and 'Who cares because "Nobody died because of Micah Wright's fabrication"' (with that much if-no-death-then-no-anger "perspective", "Ragefuck" must be a misnomer! ;) ). All lies may not be equal in the scope of the effects, but they are all tentacles on that same postmodern spinfomercial anti-truth beast, and they all each deserve a little outrage.

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More from the Permanent Damage column: this time good stuff about Mark Alessi's ego being a problem for Crossgen, at least if not combined with good books:

Marvel Comics under Stan Lee, which was the highly successful epitome of egoism as marketing concept... It worked for Stan, because it was new, it was different, it was perfect for a time when the country was coming out of the grimness of the '30s and '40s and the cultural blandness of the '50s (at least as far as corporatized culture went). Stan brought to comics such a massive dose of good-humored narcissism that, particularly compared to the religiously staid anonymity of voice in DC Comics of the time, it was infectous. But if that were all Stan brought, Marvel wouldn't be here today... If the comics published during Stan's reign weren't any good, Marvel wouldn't be here today. Stan talked a good game, but he had the cards to back it up.

Posted 6 May 02004 - Permalink

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JMS speaks: "The first scripts are in on both the new project, and for the Doc Strange miniseries, and artists have been selected, but it's up to Marvel to release that info." [Newsarama]
His Dream Police project has been moved from Top Cow to (probably) the Icon imprint. (Now Neilalien's got Cheap Trick in his head.) Mucho thanks to Heaping Plateful for the assist on this link.

Posted 5 May 02004 - Permalink

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Neilalien thought today's New York Daily News sports page was interesting...

Posted 4 May 02004 - Permalink

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Marvel Releases Q1 02004 Numbers [Newsarama] [Update: ICv2]
Net sales increase fueled by toys (doubled) and publishing; licensing flat at $50 million; but a new higher tax rate takes a big bite out of the profit. The stock ended the day up over 6%. Looks good. As you know, Neilalien cares most about how the publishing arm is doing (the better it does, the better the chance for Doctor Strange books (ah, the enjoyment of a non-first-tier character)):

Marvel Publishing, Net Sales Numbers, for previous Q1's (ending 31 March)
01999 Q1: $10.40 million [source]
02000 Q1: $9.94 million [source]
02001 Q1: $10.21 million [source]
02002 Q1: $14.55 million [source]
02003 Q1: $15.2 million [source]
02004 Q1: $19.6 million [source]

Also: Dr. Strange listed under "Marvel Character Entertainment Projects in Development For 02006 & Beyond" [PR at Marvel]
Still with Dimension. Status just says "Contract".

Posted 4 May 02004 - Permalink

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Creator Micah Wright's career-advancing critic-silencing Army Ranger service is a big fat lie [Newsarama] [Comic Book Resources] [Pulse]

However, none of them have, to my knowledge, invented a military history as a justification to their right to present certain views and ideas, as well as a hook to get the press and public interested in their work. And then continued to propogate it at every opportunity, defend it.

Marvel Comics folding Free Comic Book Day into its literacy action; snag more kiddies [Newsarama]

Getting to know Invincible artist Ryan Ottley [Newsarama]

DVD boxes don't say, "Not all movies are about people falling in love with Meg Ryan..." the way they say "comics aren't just about spandex" [Gutterninja] [via Grotesque Anatomy]

"We're making a film based on a much loved graphic novel. I think to use the term 'comic book' really under values the source material!" [Christian Bale quoted at Film Rotation on Batman Begins]

Posted 3 May 02004 - Permalink

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