The GeeksverseNEWS Round-up | Week of May 10, 2013

NEWS Round-up | Week of May 10, 2013
Published on Friday, May 10, 2013 by
[UPDATED] We say goodbye to super-prolific comics artist Dan Adkins, share some early Big Hero 6 footage, and more on this week’s News Round-up!

R.I.P. Dan Adkins

Dan Adkins self-portrait, circa 1982.

Dan Adkins self-portrait, circa 1982.

It is with a heavy heart that we report that Dan Adkins, artist on such books as Marvel’s Dr. Strange, Tales to Astonish, Strange Tales, Tower Comics’ T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents, and Warren Publishing’s Eerie and Creepy, passed away last week. He was 76 years old.

Adkins’ first published comics work was penciling the Wally Wood-penned story “Sneak Attack!” in Gold Key’s Total War #2 (cover-dated October 1965). His second comics illustration job would be with Tower Comics’ T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents #2 (cover-dated January 1966) and he would pencil 10 issues of the superhero series all together, even penning the story and dialogue for issue #7. Adkins had credits as a cover or an interior penciler and/or inker on an astounding 816 comics for a variety of publishers (he illustrated 132 covers for Marvel Comics alone) in a career that spanned five decades.

Below is a small sample gallery of his myriad works:

The Comixverse sends its sincerest condolences to Adkins’ family, friends, and his many, many fans.

Dylan Meconis joins PvP Online in time for the webcomic’s 15th anniversary

Dylan Meconis, writer and artist of the graphic novels Bite Me! and Family Man and the Eisner-nominated digital comic Outfoxed, has recently joined the PvP Online writers room in time for the popular and long-running webcomic’s 15th anniversary. From the press release:

“The last fifteen years has been an amazing ride and I’m not interested in stopping anytime soon,” commented series creator Scott Kurtz. “We’ve always tried to stay ahead of the game, remain fluid and never be afraid to experiment. That’s why the creation of the PvP Writers’ Room and bringing in Dylan is the first step of the next decade of PvP.”

“In early January of 2013, as we were in pre-production for our 2nd webcomic Table Titans (TableTitans.com) Scott injured his back. Being laid up and unable to draw for eight hours a day, we reached out for help,” said PvP Director of Business Development and Brand Management Cory Casoni. “I’d met Dylan on several occasions and knew of her love for PvP, so we asked if she’d be willing to fill in for a week. The scripts she delivered were dynamite and one week turned into almost three. That’s when Scott started talking about adding her to the team.”

New writer Dylan Meconis added, “I’m really excited to be working with Scott on PvP. I’ve been an avid reader for years, but when Cory and Scott invited me to fill in, I was surprised by how natural it felt to step into the world of the strip. Being asked to continue as a regular contributor is a delight, not least of all because I might get to talk Scott into drawing things I’ve always wanted to see, like Brent riding a llama. Writing for a beloved daily strip like PvP is a big departure from my previous projects. I’m used to toiling over long stories without the benefit of a collaborator, much less one with the talent and experience of a Scott Kurtz. I can’t wait to see the results.”

One of the very first webcomics to find a popular following on the Internet, PvP was launched on May 4, 1998 by Scott Kurtz and to date has won both an Eisner Award (the 2006 Eisner for Best Digital Comic) and a Harvey Award (the 2010 Harvey for Best Online Comic Work). Various web-based and original PvP strips have also been collected in three trade paperback collections and an animated series based on the webcomic was released on DVD in 2007.

Final open beta for Marvel Heroes starts today, May 10

The final open beta for Gazillion Entertainment’s free-to-play MMO Marvel Heroes begins today, May 10. Go here to sign up.

Here are the minimum system requirements to be able to run the beta on your PC:

  • CPU: 2.1 GHz Core 2 Duo or better
  • CPU Speed: 2.1 GHz
  • RAM: 2 GB
  • OS: Windows XP
  • Video Card: GeForce 8800 GTS with 320 MB VRAM or better
  • Sound Card: Yes
  • Free Disk Space: 10 GB

It’s got us wondering, though. Many game developers and game publishers have found a way to monetize free-to-play style games using a combination of a microtransaction supported economy, in-game advertising, and other direct and indirect methods of revenue generation. Every week it seems, we read about how a formerly subscription-based MMO has increased its revenue by switching to a free-to-play, microtransaction-based model. Here’s the thing: One would think that video game development and MMO support and maintenance costs more in terms of resources than comics production. So how come we can have a free-to-play Marvel and DC MMOs but we have yet to see publishers attempt a free-to-read microtransaction/advertising-supported online comics service?

Vaughan and Martin’s The Private Eye #2 is out

Speaking of new models of comics revenue generation and distribution, issue #2 of Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s future-noir comic The Private Eye is out now. Check out the cover and unlettered interior page previews below:

The comic and the previous issue are available for the very reasonable price of “pay-what-you-want” at PanelSyndicate.com in English, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese and in three file formats (PDF, CBR, CBZ) with absolutely no DRM or encryption.

Greenwald on TV superheroes

Grantland’s Andy Greenwald has some interesting thoughts on CW’s Arrow and why contemporary live-action superhero TV shows can’t seem to replicate the success of their big-screen brethren. An excerpt:

When superheroes suddenly became big business, television continued to play catch-up, breathlessly pursuing hopeless projects like Aquaman and a reboot of The Incredible Hulk like Thanos in search of the Infinity Gems. I say hopeless for two reasons: one, because the CGI spectacle of tentpole movies just isn’t possible within TV’s cheap wigwam, and two, because once again programmers were mistaking the sizzle of heat vision for the steak. The reason Marvel’s shared movie universe made waves was the visual impact of seeing its iconic characters brought to life, sure. But the reason it continues to make money — truly insane, Tony Stark/Warren Worthington amounts of money — is due precisely to the sort of sprawling serialization usually found on TV. TV can’t beat movies by fighting over the unwanted crumbs of empire, the dwindling reserves of crime-fighting C-listers. (Matter-Eater Lad: The Series, coming soon to Hulu Minus!) TV can’t beat movies because, in this instance, movies already won by being TV.

A sneak-peek at Angela’s Marvel Comics look

If you missed the announcement several weeks back, Angela, the angelic bounty hunter that debuted in the pages of Image Comics’ Spawn way back in 1993 whose ownership was the subject of a long legal battle between co-creators Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman is set to appear in Marvel’s Age of Ultron event as well as guest star in Guardians of the Galaxy #5. Entertainment Weekly has a sneak peek at her design (which isn’t really all that far removed from her original look, it has that She-Ra-meets-Red Sonja vibe) in a piece drawn by Marvel’s Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada:

angela_quesada_ewClick here to read the full EW article, which includes details from an e-mail exchange with Neil Gaiman and some juicy tidbits about Marvel’s potential plans for Marvelman (a.k.a. Miracleman)—another property that spent years in intellectual property limbo because of a protracted legal battle between Gaiman and McFarlane over ownership—whose publishing rights Marvel acquired in 2009.

Big Hero 6 animated feature film footage turns up on YouTube

A brief clip from the Big Hero 6 animated feature film currently in development by Disney Animation Studios surfaced on YouTube recently:

Doesn’t really give us much to go on, does it? A press release sent to major entertainment news outlets describes the film as

… an action comedy adventure about brilliant robotics prodigy Hiro Hamada, who finds himself in the grips of a criminal plot that threatens to destroy the fast-paced, high-tech city of San Fransokyo. With the help of his closest companion—a robot named Baymax—Hiro joins forces with a reluctant team of first-time crime fighters on a mission to save their city. Inspired by the Marvel comics of the same name, and featuring comic-book style action and all the heart and humor audiences expect from Walt Disney Animation Studios, the CG-animated Big Hero 6 hits US theaters in 3D on November 7, 2014.

Big Hero 6 is a Japan-based superhero team featured in Marvel Comics, created in 1998 by writer Steven T. Seagle and artist Duncan Rouleau.

You can’t make this shit up…

A Missouri movie theater manager apparently thought that getting people dressed in tactical gear and armed with fake assault rifles to storm a screening of Iron Man 3 was a good idea for a publicity and marketing stunt. Local police responded to several 911 calls from moviegoers fearing a repeat of last year’s tragic Aurora shootings at a screening of The Dark Knight Rises only to find out that it was a staged event spearheaded by local Capital 8 Theaters manager Bob Wilkins. The armed intruders turned out to be hired actors dressed up as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents. Asked if he had any regrets over the incident, Wilkins said “No, my job is to entertain people.”

In case you missed them… 

We reviewed our favorites from last week’s Free Comic Book Day celebration:

  • FCBD 2013 top picks!

We also have quite the number of trade paperback and hardcover previews:

And don’t forget to check out our little feature on Mark Millar and Frank Quitely’s Jupiter’s Legacy.

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