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by shathley Q

13 Jun 2012

There’s jazz coming in from who-knows-where as I finally put Rob’s Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture down. It floods in by the windows, it fills the room. These really are the best of times.

I’ve had to sherpa my own way through Rob’s book, and I don’t mind saying that it was no hardship, and that I enjoyed every minute of it. If anything, Rob has found a unique voice among business writers. He writes passionately not about the lurking enormity of search as Ken Auletta did in Googled nor does he write about the human revolution of connecting via the internet, as David Kirkpatrick did in The Facebook Effect. Instead, what Rob finds is a deep honestness in the very things were thought of as throwaway culture. Comics, Rob reminds us all, is the very foundry of not only popculture, but of twenty-first century business.

by shathley Q

11 May 2012

Some of the obvious difficulty is for Gen-X comics fans is coming to terms with the not only the sense of self-exclusion (Gen-Xers saw firsthand comics’ move from newsstands and notionally still being a mass medium, to the ethereal boutique culture of comicbook stores), but also the sense of postmodern reinterpretation of beloved icons.

Tim Burton’s Batman coming on the heels of Frank Miller’s Batman (which graced the pages of The Dark Knight Returns) was separated in time by Mike Barr’s Batman (the Batman of Year Two and Full Circle and the like) and Jim Starlin’s Batman which saw the murder of Robin in A Death in the Family. These very powerful, very different visions of the Batman served only to emphasize one idea—that the Batman himself was malleable and benefited from the artistic visions of various writers, as much as from the diverse visualizations of artists.

John Byrne’s reboot of Superman would only serve to underline this point. Following on from the Crisis on Infinite Earths megaevent of 1985, Superman offered a more coherent Superman than the various Batman depictions, but nevertheless offered Superman scarcely recognizable in comparison with the Superman that culminated in the Alan Moore story, Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?. Between 1986 and 2000 Gen-X and fans of other generations saw Superman grow his hair, unmask to Lois Lane and eventually marry her (deleting the Lois-Clark-Superman love triangle), we saw Superman kill (just preceding the events of Exile in Space), we saw Superman die (the suspiciously usefully titled, Death of Superman), and we saw Superman’s archnemesis Lex Luthor elected to the White House (President Lex), and eventually push Superman from the pages of Action (in Paul Cornell’s “The Black Ring” of 2010).

by Ian Chant

31 Aug 2009

What does Disney’s acquisition of Marvel Comics mean for the storied superhero publishing house?

Something, certainly, but it’s hard to say what at this point. The fanboy screeds showing up this morning warning of a world in which Donald Duck battles evil alongside Captain America are ill considered and baseless, as fanboy screeds of course tend to be. The people who run Disney aren’t stupid, and there’s no reason to think they’ll muck around with something that’s been working as well as Marvel has over the last few years as fat checks have continued to roll in courtesy of blockbuster movies.

And since Marvels deals for those movies—like Spider-Man, which will stay at Sony, and Iron Man, which Paramount holds onto for the foreseeable future—remain intact, essentially putting Disney in business with it’s own competitors for the coming years, it’s a fair bet that Disney is in this deal for the long haul. And for anyone worried about their favorite spandex clad titans being Disney-fied by the merger, that’s a good sign that Disney understands what it’s bought and isn’t eager to jump in ad start gumming up the works.

And as for the argument that Marvel will ‘pull a Vertigo’ and start publishing edgy, grown up books that can garner critical acclaim without raking in huge sales figures… we’ll see. Marvel has always been pretty much a superhero imprint, and even it’s more adult themed lines—like Marvel Knights and MAX—have been home to what amounts to superhero books that amp up the blood and swearing.

The only real surprise here - that Marvel, a company that seemed to many to be on it’s way to becoming a media giant in it’s own right, would let itself be bought out. Also kind of surprising? The price of the acquisition. Considering that the acquisition apparently gives Disney the licensing rights for properties like Spiderman and Wolverine, $4 billion seems like kind of a low price tag. The House of Mouse will make $4 billion back in a couple of years from paper plates and birthday party hats alone, so why did Marvel, which seemed like it was a company with nowhere to go but up, sell itself so seemingly short?

//Mixed media

NYFF 2017: 'Mudbound'

// Notes from the Road

"Dee Rees’ churning and melodramatic epic follows two families in 1940s Mississippi, one black and one white, and the wars they fight abroad and at home.

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