Reviews, articles, rants & ramblings on the darker side of the media fringe

Posts tagged “Batman

Bernie Wrightson Retires

wrightson_frankenstainI just saw this update from the Bernie Wrightson facebook page and am truly saddened to share the news posted by Bernie’s wife Liz. Bernie is one of my all time favourite artists, I am lucky enough to own 2 signed prints of his, of Frankenstein (pictured above) and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A true gentleman and towering talent of the comic book industry.

Dear Fans and Friends,

I apologize for our silence for the past few months. Last November Bernie began falling again, and having obvious problems with perception. He had to undergo yet another brain surgery to relieve bleeding, and then spend several weeks undergoing in-patient rehabilitation. Unfortunately, it appears that he has lasting damage: he has extremely limited function on his left side, and is unable to walk or reliably use his left hand, among other limitations.

We have had to come to the sad conclusion that he is now effectively retired: he will produce no new art, and he is unable to attend conventions. Should this situation change I will happily announce it here.

He can still sign his name (in fact he was signing Kickstarter prints in the hospital!), and is otherwise pretty healthy and has good cognition. We expect to continue releasing signed prints, and offering occasional pieces of art for sale from the collection that remains. We both thank all of you for your continuing support and good wishes!

All our best,
Liz and Bernie Wrightson  


Batkid Begins – Poster and Trailer

The Make-A-Wish story that took the world by storm and turned San Francisco into Gotham City for a day premieres this month in Park City. Pint-sized Batkid (aka leukemia patient Miles Scott) has even pulled iconic poster artist Drew Struzan out of retirement as the feature documentary Batkid Begins: The Wish Heard Around The World prepares for its world premiere at the Slamdance Film Festival.

The crowdfunded Batkid Begins chronicles how then-5-year-old Scott got to live out his superhero dream on November 15, 2013 with the help of the city, President Obama, and thousands of supporters by playing sidekick to the Caped Crusader in a series of staged missions as onlookers cheered him on. The event culminated with Scott receiving the key to the city from Mayor Ed Lee and sparked media attention and more than 400K tweets in 117 countries, reaching over 1.84 billion social media users.

Struzan’s artwork for film in the 1970s and ’80s is the stuff of movie geek legend, and his breathtaking painted designs for the Star Wars and Indiana Jones films in particular sealed his place in the hearts of generations of fanboys and girls. Despite officially retiring from the poster game in 2008, Struzan is rumored to be coming back for the new Star Wars films. But first he created this original poster for director Dana Nachman’s Batkid Begins, pro-bono… Awesome.

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Batman – Francesco Francavilla

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Birdman Returns – Official Trailer

1992 was the year that Michael Keaton wore the Dark Knight’s mask for a second time in Batman Returns, but coincidentally it was also the year that his on-screen alter ego Riggan Thomson donned the beak for Birdman Returns. In an AwardLine interview, Keaton says that when he discussed the script for Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) with director Alejandro G. Inarritu, “I remember us spending no time about the material being reflective about me personally. We jumped immediately into other discussions. I’m sure at some point we said, we gotta figure this out….We discussed what was happening to artists, to human beings, a person’s ego. This is more about Alejandro than it is about me, Ed Norton or Emma Stone…It’s about the effects on an artist, how they question things. Alejandro was brave with the material; he’s not coy and comes out says why he was struggling.”


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Cat Woman by Craig Drake

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Hero Huggers – Horror Icon Pillow Cases

Hero Huggers are a hand made character pillowcase featuring fun and colourful characters by Renny Roccon. $25 plus p+p, get them HERE

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Kirby and Marvel Settle Out of Court

Just days before the Supreme Court was set to take the matter into conference, Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have settled their long running legal dispute over the comic legend’s rights to the characters he created or co-created. Here’s their joint statement:

“Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.”

Widely viewed as one of the Kings of Comics, Kirby created or co-created some of the biggest names on the page and now on the big screen in the superhero blockbusters that Hollywood has profited from in recent years. However, while his often partner Stan Lee was a Marvel employee, Kirby was a work for hire and had no rights to Captain America, The Fantastic Four, the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, the original X-Men and the plethora of other characters he played a pivotal part in bringing to life. The settlement between Marvel/Disney is confidential, but you don’t have to be a Supreme Court Justice to know that if a deal was reached this late in the process, it must be a healthy one for the Kirby’s – who were holding a lot of the cards for once.

It was a long legal road for them and Marvel to get to today’s deal. After failing repeatedly in lower courts, Lisa Kirby, Neal Kirby, Susan Kirby and Barbara Kirby petitioned the High Court on March 21 for a hearing on the matter. In their petition, the heirs wanted SCOTUS to rule in favor of their assertion that they had the right in 2009 to issue termination notices on 262 works that the comic legend helped create between 1958 and 1963. Those 45 notices went out to Marvel/Disney, Fox, Universal and Paramount Pictures and others who have made films based on the artist’s characters under the provisions of the 1976 Copyright Act. Marvel sued in 2010, after failing to reach an agreement back then with the Kirby family to invalidate the termination notices. Jack Kirby himself passed away in 1994.

Despite initial indifference and then objections from Disney-owned Marvel, SCOTUS agreed to take the case into conference to consider if they would actually hear it. That conference, where the nine Justices would ostensibly be sitting around talking about comic as well as copyright, was scheduled for September 29. The Kirby family and their legal point had a lot of support and not just among the fanboys. SAG, the WGA and the DGA back in June submitted a brief to the High Court in favour of having the Kirbys’ petition granted.

All things considered, and with the billions that Marvel/Disney have made off the films filled with characters Kirby created, this 11th hour deal should come as no great surprise – except for how long it took them. The bottom line and PR risk that the media giant was taking if SCOTUS had agreed to move the family’s petition up to an actual hearing would have sent a shudder through the market and the town. As well, if there had been a hearing and if then the High Court had found for the Kirbys, the results would have thrown Marvel/Disney into turmoil as they would have to negotiate for millions and millions with the family on everything from The Avengers, this summer’s big hit Guardians Of The Galaxy, with the popular Groot character a Kirby creation, and the all the characters in the notices if they wanted to keep the franchises going at Disney and other studios. And there would have been royalties on the already made movies like the 2008 hit Iron Man and 2012’s The Avengers with its billion dollar plus box office, to name a few. As well a wide variety of copyrights across the industry, including those at Warner Bros and DC Comics, would suddenly be in play as the work of writers, composers and others designated under a freelancer or the work for hire status could suddenly gain a piece of what they created in what would now be seen as a much more traditional employee/employer arrangement.