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Posts tagged “Stan Lee

Steve Ditko R.I.P

Artist Steve Ditko, who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange with Stan Lee, has died at age 90.

The New York Police Department confirmed his death to The Hollywood Reporter. No cause of death was announced. Ditko was found dead in his apartment on June 29 and it is believed he died about two days earlier.

From the 1970s on, he rarely spoke on the record, declining almost every interview request. He sat out the publicity booms that accompanied the Spider-Man films and the Doctor Strange movie.

“We didn’t approach him. He is private and has intentionally stayed out of the spotlight like J.D. Salinger,” Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson told THR in 2016. “I hope he goes to see the movie, wherever he is, because I think we paid homage to his work.”

Derrickson, author Neil Gaiman and filmmaker Edgar Wright paid tribute on Twitter upon learning news of Ditko’s death.

Wright tweeted that Ditko was “influential on countless planes of existence” and “his work will never be forgotten.” Gaiman wrote, “I know I’m a different person because he was in the world.”

Rest in peace.


Doctor Strange – Benedict Cumberbatch

Doctor-Strange_Marvel_Benedict-CumberbatchMarvel has finally found its Doctor Strange. It look very likely that Benedict Cumberbatch is the studio’s choice for the superhero flick, and if true it appears to be perfect casting. The news comes after talks with Joaquin Phoenix around the time of Comic-Con went south, and Marvel went back to the drawing board. With names like Jared Leto and Tom Hardy also in the mix, this is obviously a coveted role. Great news for Marvel and fans alike.

Scott Derrickson is directing Doctor Strange and Jon Spaihts is writing the script for the movie (the first draft was penned by Thomas Dean Donnelly and Joshua Oppenheimer). Doctor Strange was hatched by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko during that Marvel Comics heyday of the early 1960’s. He’s a neurosurgeon who becomes Sorcerer Supreme, protecting Earth against magical and mystical threats with powers of sorcery, mysticism, and martial arts. Marvel’s Kevin Feige is producing.


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.


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X-Men: Days of Future Past – Infographic

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Amazing Spider-Man 2: Rise of Electro – By My 8 Year Old Son

The-Amazing-Spiderman-2_Rise-of-ElectroI took my 8 year old son and 2 of his friends to see Spider-Man 2 last weekend… it’s taken a while for his review. I didn’t think any of them enjoyed it that much (I didn’t) but apparently I was wrong…

Spider-Man 2 is just Spider-Man in a different suit from the old movies. This time he’s fighting Electro, Green Goblin and Rhino. It’s like The Amazing Spider-Man movie.

My favorite part was when Spider-Man stooped a criminal at the beginning, he shot webs at both his arms sticking them out wide, then his mouth and then pulled down his pants with a web and then walked away and did a cool pose with his hand in the background when a machine gun fell on the criminals head and knocked him out.

MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT It was a surprise when Gwen Stacy died at the end. I gave it 4 stars.


The Amazing Spider-Man 2 – Lights, Camera, Action

With the emergence of Electro, Spider-Man must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn, returns, Peter Parker comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp. Two new featurettes for The Amazing Spider-Man 2.


The Amazing Spider-Man: New York NYE


Moebius (Jean Henri Gaston Giraud) – R.I.P.

Moebius, the French comic-book artist whose spectacular science fantasy-based work wrought its magic on Hollywood classics such as “Alien” and “Tron”, has died after a long illness. He was 73.

“He died this morning following a long illness,” a friend and colleague told AFP on Saturday.

Such was the appeal of Moebius — or Jean Henri Gaston Giraud — that he won a devoted following as far afield as Japan and the United States, countries working in radically different comic-book traditions.

“The whole profession is in shock, totally devastated, even if we knew that he was seriously ill,” Gilles Ratier, head of France’s Association of Comic-Book Critics, told AFP. Colleagues paid tribute to the artist and writer generally acknowledged as having been one of the most daring and innovative in his field.

Giraud was born in Nogent-sur-Marne east of Paris on May 8, 1938. After art school he began training as an illustrator for advertisers and the fashion industry before turning to comic strips. Giraud, who grew up drawing cowboys and indians, published his first drawings in 1957 and found fame with the western character Lieutenant Blueberry in 1963.

“My ambition was tremendous,” he once told AFP. “I wanted to rock, so everybody in the comic industry would be stunned.”

The lean, mean gunslinger was to become one of the most iconic figures in French comic-book history. He adopted the pseudonym Moebius for his illustrations in science fiction books and magazines. But he also worked under other pseudonyms, including Gir, Giraud and Moeb.

However, as Moebius, he said, he operated on a whole different level. “When I am in the skin of Moebius, I draw in a state of trance, I try to escape from my ‘ego’,” he told AFP in 2010.

In 1975, Moebius was one of the cofounders of “Metal Hurlant” (Heavy Metal), a spectacular blend of visually arresting comic-book art that was heavily inspired by the counter-culture vibe from across the Atlantic.

The magazine’s blend of science fiction, epic fantasy and politically incorrect humour — which featured in a 1981 animated film of the same name — provided the perfect platform for Moebius’ far-out creations.

As his reputation grew, he collaborated with US comic-books legend Stan Lee on an adventure featuring the enigmatic The Silver Surfer character. And in another style entirely, he tackled the story of Icarus with Jiro Taniguchi, a master in the Japanese manga tradition.

His influence also spread into cinema, as he put his visual stamp on the first “Alien” film and the science fiction adventure “Tron”.

In 2010-11 France’s Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art acknowledged his stature, staging a major retrospective of his work.

Tributes were quick to come in as news of his death spread:

Fellow artist Boucq told AFP his friend Moebius had been a “master of realist drawing” with “a real talent for humour, which he was still demonstrating with the nurses when I saw him in his hospital bed a fortnight ago”.

Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, whose bestselling 1995 novel “The Alchemist” was illustrated by Moebius, paid tribute to his collaborator on Twitter. “The great Moebius died today, but the great Moebius is still alive,” he tweeted. “Your body died today, your work is more alive than ever.”

Benoit Mouchart, artistic director at France’s Angouleme International Comics Festival, compared him to artistic giants such as Germany’s Albrecht Durer and France’s Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. “France has lost one of its best known artists in the world,” Mouchart told AFP. “In Japan, Italy, in the United States he is an incredible star who influenced world comics.

“Moebius will remain part of the history of drawing, in the same right as Durer or Ingres,” he added. “He was an incredible producer, he said he wanted to show what eyes do not always see.”

French Culture Minister Frederic Mitterrand said France had lost “two great artists”, referring to Giraud and his alias.

In 2007 one of his drawings sold for 58,242 euros ($76,433) at an auction.


Steve Ditko

Stephen J. “Steve” Ditko (born November 2, 1927) is an American comic book artist and writer best known as the artist co-creator, with Stan Lee, of the Marvel Comics heroes Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. 

Ditko studied under Batman artist Jerry Robinson at the Cartoonist and Illustrators School in New York City. He began his professional career in 1953, working in the  studio of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, beginning as an inker and coming under the influence of artist Mort Meskin. During this time, he then began his long
association with Charlton Comics, where he did work in the genres of science fiction, horror, and mystery. He also co-created the superhero Captain Atom in 1960.

Ditko then drew for Atlas Comics, the 1950s forerunner of Marvel Comics. He went on to contribute much significant work to Marvel, including co-creating Spider-Man, who would become the company’s flagship character. Additionally, he co-created the supernatural hero Doctor Strange and made important contributions to the Hulk and Iron Man. In 1966, after being the exclusive artist on The Amazing Spider-Man and the “Doctor Strange” feature in Strange Tales, Ditko left Marvel for reasons never specified.

Ditko then worked for Charlton and DC Comics, making major contributions, including a revamp of long-running character Blue Beetle, and creating or co-creating the Question, the Creeper, and Hawk and Dove. Ditko also began contributing to small independent publishers, where he created Mr. A, a hero reflecting the influence of Ayn Rand’s Objectivism philosophy. Since the 1960s, Ditko has declined most interviews, stating that it is his work he offers readers, and not his personality.

Ditko was inducted into the comics industry’s Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1990, and into the Will Eisner Award Hall of Fame in 1994.