A brief summary of the best in indie comics news from February 24th – 26th, 2013!
IDW gains more licenses from Cartoon Network!
As IDW Comics has emerged as one of the most successful “third party” publishers in recent years, it has done so by acquiring many licenses for which to publish comics with. This includes claiming the licenses of “G.I. Joe” and “Transformers” from Devil’s Due as well as other hit franchises such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”, “Voltron”, “Doctor Who”, “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic”, “Ghostbusters”, and “Star Trek”. Cartoon Network (CN), which is essentially owned by Warner Brothers, usually relied on DC Comics to publish any comics based on properties which air on their network (such as “Scooby Doo” comics).
Yesterday, it was announced that CN was forming an alliance with IDW to produce licensed comics based on their “classic hits”. Franchises immediately mentioned were older franchises such as “Powerpuff Girls”, “Johnny Bravo”, “Samurai Jack”, and “Dexter’s Laboratory” as well as newer ones such as “Generator Rex” and perhaps the most popular right now, “Ben 10”. Often times comics such as this are geared towards children and nostalgic adults, which tend to be “loss leaders” for major publishers – comics where a publisher accepts a loss in exchange to try to bring in new and younger readers. However, IDW has lower sales thresholds than DC Comics does, which may be why they leaped upon this opportunity. It will remain to be seen if some of these comics will be as successful at IDW as some other licenses they’ve obtained.
Megan Fox will be April O’Neil in “Ninja Turtles”!
It has been some time since there was an update regarding the next “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” film due out from Paramount and Michael Bay’s production company. The last was the announcement that the film would be titled “Ninja Turtles” and a leaked script which claimed that the iconic Turtles would be aliens and not mutants (among other travesties), which was last year. Production of the film was delayed for various reasons, depending on who one asks; the original film date of October 2012 has come and gone.
Earlier this week, it was revealed via Bay’s Twitter feed and confirmed by Variety that former “Transformers” star Megan Fox had been cast as April O’Neil for the upcoming film. The actress – best known for her looks than performance quality – did have some issues with Michael Bay, as she did not return for his third “Transformers” film after co-starring in his first two. Other actresses in the running included Anna Kendrick, Jane Levy and Elizabeth Olson, but ultimately it seems Bay chose to cast someone familiar. While Jonathan Liebesman will direct the film, Bay is producing it and apparently calling many shots.
April O’Neil naturally has appeared in every media adaptation of the TMNT, and first appeared in the original series’ second issue back in 1984. Her most drastic changes occurred in the first animated series in 1987 when she was changed to a lab assistant (and antique shop owner) with black frizzy hair to a TV reporter with red hair. In the first film circa 1990, Judith Hoag was cast in the role; Paige Turco played the character in the subsequent sequels. In the CGI animated film of 2007, the heroine was voiced by Sarah Michelle Geller. The films tend to stick with the TV reporter element from the original cartoon in keeping with mentions of the antique shop; however, the 2003 animated series from 4Kids Entertainment was closer to the original Mirage Studios comics. In all forms she is the Ninja Turtles’ foremost human friend and ally, hence why she is essential to any feature film. The addition of Fox will jazz the young male demographic, but it will remain to be seen what she adds to the role.
Red 5 teams with ComiXology for first convention exclusive digital comic!
While having certain comic books be “exclusively” sold at a particular comic book convention has been old news, a digital comic exclusive has never occurred before. That has now changed with “Atomic Robo: Along Came a Tyrantula”, which has been produced by Red 5 Comics and ComiXology and offered at the Emerald City Comic Con over this past weekend. Everyone who purchased a ticket for the con would gain an exclusive code to allow them to buy the issue from ComiXology’s digital shop. The digital comic goes on sale to the general public on March 6th. The comic naturally features elements which work with ComiXology’s “guided view”, to allow some images to move like animation. Such things are a sign of the times, although it is always worth note when such a milestone occurs at a third party publisher first.
“Atomic Robo” was created by Brian Clevinger (creator of the hit web comic “8-Bit Theater”) and drawn by Scott Wegener, and debuted as a mini series in 2007. It has since become one of Red 5 Comics’ best known franchises and much like Dark Horse Comics’ “Hellboy”, returns in a series of mini series best packaged for trades – up to seven in total so far.
Read last week’s indie comics news here!