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

Posts tagged “DC Comics

Bernie Wrightson R.I.P

It was just over a month ago that Liz Wrightson announced that her husband, legendary artist Bernie Wrightson was retiring. Liz confirmed on Sunday that after a long battle with cancer, Bernie has passed away. Here is the full transcript from Liz. My condolences to the Wrightson family, Rest in Peace Bernie.

A Message from Liz Wrightson.

After a long battle with brain cancer, legendary artist Bernie Wrightson has passed away.

Bernie “Berni” Wrightson (born October 27, 1948, Baltimore, Maryland, USA) was an American artist known for his horror illustrations and comic books. He received training in art from reading comics, particularly those of EC, as well as through a correspondence course from the Famous Artists School. In 1966, Wrightson began working for The Baltimore Sun newspaper as an illustrator. The following year, after meeting artist Frank Frazetta at a comic-book convention in New York City, he was inspired to produce his own stories. In 1968, he showed copies of his sequential art to DC Comics editor Dick Giordano and was given a freelance assignment. Wrightson began spelling his name “Berni” in his professional work to distinguish himself from an Olympic diver named Bernie Wrightson, but later restored the final E to his name.

His first professional comic work appeared in House of Mystery #179 in 1968. He continued to work on a variety of mystery and anthology titles for both DC and its principal rival, Marvel Comics. In 1971, with writer Len Wein, Wrightson co-created the muck creature Swamp Thing for DC. He also co-created Destiny, later to become famous in the work of Neil Gaiman. By 1974 he had left DC to work at Warren Publishing who were publishing black-and-white horror-comics magazines. There he produced a series of original work as well as adaptations of stories by H. P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allan Poe. In 1975, Wrightson joined with fellow artists Jeff Jones, Michael Kaluta, and Barry Windsor-Smith to form “The Studio,” a shared loft in Manhattan where the group would pursue creative products outside the constraints of comic book commercialism. Though he continued to produce sequential art, Wrightson at this time began producing artwork for numerous posters, prints, calendars, and coloring books.

Wrightson spent seven years drawing approximately 50 detailed pen-and-ink illustrations to accompany an edition of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, which the artist considers among his most personal work. Wrightson drew the poster for the Stephen King-penned horror film Creepshow, as well as illustrating the comic book adaptation of the film. This led to several other collaborations with King, including illustrations for the novella “Cycle of the Werewolf,” the restored edition of King’s apocalyptic horror epic, “The Stand,” and art for the hardcover editions of “From a Buick 8” and “Dark Tower V.” Wrightson has contributed album covers for a number of bands, including Meat Loaf. The “Captain Sternn” segment of the animated film Heavy Metal is based on the character created by Wrightson for his award-winning short comic series of the same name.

Characters he worked on included Spiderman, Batman and The Punisher, and he provided painted covers for the DC comics Nevermore and Toe Tags, among many others. Recent works include Frankenstein Alive Alive, Dead She Said , the Ghoul and Doc Macabre (IDW Publishing) all co-created with esteemed horror author Steve Niles, and several print/poster/sketchbooks series produced by Nakatomi.

As a conceptual artist, Bernie worked on many movies, particularly in the horror genre: well-known films include Ghostbusters, The Faculty, Galaxy Quest, Spiderman, and George Romero’s Land of the Dead, and Frank Darabont’s Stephen King film The Mist.

Bernie lived in Austin, Texas with his wife Liz and two corgis – Mortimer and Maximillian. In addition to his wife, he is survived by two sons, John and Jeffrey, one stepson, Thomas Adamson, and countless friends and fans. A celebration of his life is planned for later this year.


iZombie – Trailer

Check out the first trailer for the Vertigo comic adaptation iZombie. Starring Rose McIver (Power Rangers, Once Upon a Time, Masters of Sex) as Liv, a zombie working at a morgue who can take the memories of any dead person after she eats their brain…


Batman – Francesco Francavilla

Jock-Francavilla-Black-MirrorBatman_Vampires_Red-Rain_Francavilla


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.


Image

75 Years of Batman – Laurie Greasley Print

batman-75-years-laurie-greasley-medium-size


Batman: Arkham Knight

My son has all 3 current games in the ‘Arkham’ series and now can’t wait for the 4th installment… it looks as awesomely violent as ever.


Batman 75

75yearsofbatmanWarner Bros. Entertainment and DC Entertainment have announced their plans for Batman’s 75th anniversary as well as the commemorative logo, which you can view above. Check out the press release below!

To mark the milestone 75th anniversary of DC Comics’ Batman, Warner Bros. Entertainment and DC Entertainment have revealed plans for a year-long celebration befitting the world’s most popular Super Hero. Highlights of the anniversary program, which starts today, include a new commemorative 75th anniversary Batman logo and an exclusive “Cape/Cowl/Create” art exhibit, featuring 20 contemporary artists’ interpretation of The Dark Knight’s iconic cowl headpiece and cape from the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight videogame. There will also be 75th anniversary-related activities across all of Warner Bros. Entertainment throughout the year.

First appearing in the comic book Detective Comics #27, which hit newsstands on March 30, 1939, featuring artwork by Bob Kane and a script by Bill Finger, Batman emerged from the shadows to become the world’s most popular Super Hero and dominate all media. In feature films, TV shows, radio, video games, publishing and merchandise, this most human of Super Heroes has battled some of fiction’s greatest villains using his intellect, cunning and an arsenal of gadgets to further his quest for justice.

“Batman is an incredibly important property with multi-generational appeal across all of the Studio’s businesses, and we’re proud to celebrate this milestone anniversary,” said Kevin Tsujihara, Chief Executive Officer, Warner Bros. Entertainment. “From billion-dollar blockbuster films to TV, home entertainment, video games and consumer products, The Dark Knight continues to resonate with audiences worldwide and rightfully deserves his place as a global pop culture icon for the ages.”

Batman is the single most successful Super Hero film franchise in history and there have been more theatrical movies released based on Batman than any other comic book character. In video games, the Batman Arkham franchise is also the most successful Super Hero game concept ever. Batman consistently breaks records in every incarnation of his character and remains the gold standard by which all other comic book sales are measured.

“Batman is one of the greatest characters ever created, in comics or elsewhere, and even after 75 years he continues to wildly fascinate fans. He is an integral part of pop culture and has successfully captured the imagination of the entire world,” said Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment and President & Chief Content Officer, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment. “The origin of Batman, Bruce Wayne and the famous citizens of Gotham are legendary and likely a story you know inside out, even if you’ve never picked up a comic book in your life, and that speaks volumes to the character’s immense popularity and the constructs of the original mythology.”

The first published adventure of The Bat-Man (as he was then known) was in the May 1939 issue of Detective Comics #27, conceived of and drawn by a 22-year-old Kane with his frequent collaborator, Bill Finger, scripting the story. The character was so successful, that one year later the first comic book devoted exclusively to the Caped Crusader’s adventures, Batman #1, hit newsstands. In that issue, Batman battled The Joker and Catwoman for the first time.

Now, DC Entertainment and the Studio’s various divisions, including Pictures, Television, Animation, Interactive Entertainment, Home Entertainment and Consumer Products, will mark this extraordinary 75th anniversary with a range of highly anticipated events and products.

The new commemorative logo, also released today across social media and websites, takes its cue from the famed Bat symbol, and features block-style lettering of “75 Years.” The mark will be rolled out on Batman-related promotions, products and initiatives.

Key activities planned for the Batman 75th anniversary celebration include:

DC Entertainment – DC Entertainment has an action-packed year filled with new Batman titles, commemorative issues and variant covers, including the recently released special edition of Detective Comics #27 commemorating Batman’s first appearance in the book in 1939, the new weekly series Batman Eternal launching April 9, and upcoming exclusive Batman variant covers planned for San Diego Comic-Con International in July.

Batman Day – DC Entertainment is also partnering with thousands of comic retailers, book stores and libraries for “Batman Day” on Wednesday, July 23. Each location will host a Batman 75th anniversary celebration and offer fans a free, special edition Batman comic.

Interactive Entertainment – Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment has invited celebrated fashion designer Asher Levine to create a cape and cowl based on the Batsuit of the recently announced Batman: Arkham Knight videogame developed by Rocksteady Studios. Favorite contemporary artists will have the opportunity to use the replicas as a blank canvas to produce their own, original interpretations of Batman’s iconic attire for an all new “Cape/Cowl/Create” art exhibit that will be showcased at San Diego Comic-Con International in July.

Home Entertainment – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will bring fans an array of new Batman titles throughout the year, including the highly anticipated release of the Batman ’66 TV series for the first time ever. Other new releases include animated films Son of Batman (May 6) and Assault on Arkham (summer 2014). Additionally, a 25th Anniversary Edition of Tim Burton’s Batman feature film will be released in the fall.

Animation – Warner Bros. Animation has created two all-new Batman animated shorts set for debut in April, with fan-favorite producers Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series) and Darwyn Cooke (Batman Beyond) each presenting a unique and familiar take on the Batman animated universe. In addition, Timm will participate in a Batman 75th all-star panel at WonderCon in Anaheim on Saturday, April 19, which will also feature an exclusive premiere of Cooke’s animated short based upon Batman Beyond.

Television – Warner Bros. Television is in production on the pilot episode of the highly anticipated Gotham, a new one-hour drama for FOX which explores the origin stories of eventual police commissioner James Gordon and the villains that made Gotham City famous. In Gotham, Detective Gordon (Ben McKenzie – Southland) will encounter a familiar cast of characters – including a young Bruce Wayne – as he fights to keep the city safe. Executive producer Bruce Heller (The Mentalist, Rome) wrote the pilot, which is being directed by executive producer Danny Cannon (CSI series, Nikita).

Pictures – As Batman’s 75th anniversary is celebrated in 2014, Warner Bros. Pictures will begin production of Zack Snyder’s untitled Superman/Batman film starring Henry Cavill, who reprises his role as Superman/Clark Kent, and Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne. The film, slated for release summer 2016, will bring the two most iconic Super Heroes of all time together for the first time on the big screen.

Consumer Products – Warner Bros. Consumer Products has partnered with an array of licensees to celebrate Batman’s 75th Anniversary through special edition and limited-release products. From the classic 1960’s TV series to modern day comics, Batman’s presence will be larger than ever in celebration of his legacy through everything from toys to t-shirts.

DCComics.com – For the latest information and exclusive content celebrating Batman’s 75th anniversary, visit Batman75 HERE. The dedicated section on DC Comics’ website launched yesterday with the Batman 75 Sweepstakes which offers one lucky fan a one-of-a-kind prize package.