Hot Summer LinkBlogging

Marvel’s movie head Kevin Feige, President of Marvel Studios, gets a puff-piece profile in the NY Times that bills him as a real fan. I wasn’t familiar with his name, previously, but given his responsibility for a great slate of entertaining films, I’d say he’s doing a good job. Feige is praised for keeping properties true to their comic roots while not overwhelming the mainstream audience. From the article:

Though Warner Brothers and its DC Comics unit have strained to turn their lesser-known superheroes like Green Lantern into film stars, Mr. Feige has been on a tear. His two Iron Man movies sold over $1.2 billion in tickets worldwide; a third arrives in 2013. Thor, the potentially ridiculous tale of a pseudoviking with a magic hammer who can travel by rainbow, took in $445 million since opening in May. And over the weekend Captain America: The First Avenger sold a stout $65.8 million in tickets; a sequel is already in the works.

Did we know they were already planning Captain America 2? I should be sure to see the first one, then.

Over the weekend came news that Fantagraphics would be publishing the EC Comics Library beginning summer 2012. The new twist is that, instead of reprinting runs of issues or titles, they will be rearranging the material by artist. That’s the reason most of today’s readers are interested, anyway. The first two books will be suspense stories by Wally Wood and war stories by Harvey Kurtzman. Tom Spurgeon has a great piece on the significance of these works and some additional details of the reprint project.

My most thought-provoking read of the day was Warren Ellis on comic pitch competitions, especially when people don’t know they’re competing on a particular title. As he says:

I’m hearing a lot lately about writers being put into foot races on gigs. And not only do they not know who else is running for the job — but many of them seem not to be told they’re in a foot race at all. Writers who assumed they were writing the gig are being told that they never had the gig at all, that other writers have been run parallel to them. Even though they were put through multiple drafts. They didn’t know they were in competition.

When I was studying project management, one very smart piece of advice I read was to avoid the “bring me a rock” game. There’s a long piece there that explains it, but basically, it’s what happens when your bosses know what answer they want you to give, but they won’t tell you what it is, they just tell you you’re wrong, try again. In the worst case, they don’t know what they want, they just know you’re not giving it to them. Hearing about DC’s current management makes me wonder if they’re operating under similar rules. Are they hoping that they’re recognize a good idea when they see it, or are they just going to pick the person who guesses closest to what they already think they want? Either way, it’s a mess.

2 Responses to “Hot Summer LinkBlogging”

  1. William George Says:

    And for some reason geeks keep lining up to be used as toilet paper by them.

  2. Grant Says:

    I saw Captain America twice this weekend. Haven’t done that since Watchmen. Before that, well, probably not since Superman 1&2.

    Wikipedia describes the Cap movie as the fifth installment of the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”. I found that description apt and kind of interesting and a testament to how brilliantly the marketing on this whole series of films leading to Avengers has been handled. Each film is a commercial for the next film.

    It doesn’t matter all that much in the long run if “Incredible Hulk” makes as much as Iron Man or if Avengers makes as much as Captain America. Because after Avengers is released, everyone is going to want to revisit all of those films on dvd (and they will probably be packaged as the “Marvel Universe” or “Avengers Initiative” collection)countless times simply because the films are connected by a 2 minute post credits scene.

    When the first Iron Man came out, how many people waited after the credits? Not very many. But with each film it was a little more. When I went to see Cap this weekend, roughly 90 percent of the audience stayed. Both showings. Now obviously they weren’t all die hard comic fans. But there they are, staying till the credits roll by for a minute long trailer for a film that isn’t coming out for another year.

    So bravo to Mr. Feige for turning general audiences into Marvel Zombies, waiting for the credits to end so they can get a glimpse of 1 minute worth of continuity. No matter how you slice it, that is freaking genius.

    I loved the movie. It had a great sense of comic book fun and nostalgia that I hadn’t felt since the first couple Superman films. I thought Xmen:First Class was going to be the one to beat, the “critical darling” of the summer. I thought Chris Evans would be horribly miscast. I wasn’t thrilled with Joe Johnston as director. I was wrong on all counts.

    DC might spend more money on their properties and they’re probably the more technically superior, but Marvel seems to have the edge when it comes to the bigger picture. Because in the end, Marvel has created a “universe” of interconnected characters that gets bigger with each film. That is historic.

    And DC? Well, they’re making films of Batman and Superman. Again.




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