Earlier today Hachette Book Group announced via press release that effective September 1, 2010, it will be handling distribution of Marvel graphic novels which is currently handled through Diamond Book Distributors. Although Marvel has since announced that it intends to [i]extend[/i] the current agreement with sister company Diamond Comics Distributor to continue handling the distribution of Marvel’s more traditional comics form, it does tend to strike a familiar chord such as when parent company Disney handed off its license for comics starring traditional Disney characters in the United States to BOOM! Studios, formerly handled by Diamond sibling Gemstone Publishing.
As part of his Disney Store president Jim Fielding’s pre-Marvel acquisition promise, DisneyStore.com has once again expanded its offerings beyond that of traditional Disney-themed offerings.
Following an introduction of merchandise inspired by TRON and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, DisneyStore.com has now introduced the Marvel Shop, with dozens of items featuring iconic Marvel favorities such as Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and more.
Continuing our coverage on what we considered to be the first Marvel-related public move Disney made since it acquired the comics powerhouse, we were pleased to learn that Buena Vista Home Entertainment has finally launched the official site for the DVD edition of the Iron Man animated series produced back in the mid-90s.
Although the animated series has been released on DVD in Europe, this is the first time the series has made its way to the home video market in North America. It will become available to own on May 4, but has been available for pre-order on Amazon.com for some time now.
Just how serious is Disney/Marvel about producing an Ant-Man movie? Few in the world are likely to be more interested than the children of comics author Jack Kirby who have named Ant-Man along with Spider-Man, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, Thor, Nick Fury a seemingly endless list of comics titles and specific issues in a lawsuit claiming they are the rightful (co-)owners of these creations.
Filed on March 9 in the US District Court in the Central District of California, the complaint filed by Lisa, Barbara, Neal and Susan Kirby as well as the estate of Kirby’s wife, Rosalind, rebquests a trial by jury, seeking unspecified damages against previous and current earnings on these properties of which Disney/Marvel has current control.
Making a very persuasive argument, particularly if it’s all true, the complaint inks a portrait in which a financially strapped Marvel purchased the comics from freelancer Jack Kirby ad hoc — sans contracts and that Kirby created everything on his own time in his own place of residence with his own tools so that he was at no time able to be considered ‘work for hire’ as Disney/Marvel has contended.
The Disney domain elves were hard at work yesterday, registering every possible combination involving the words ‘the movie.’ Many appear to be titles that Disney will distribute for DreamWorks, but others are literally screaming out future (or current) Disney projects.
Alphabetically speaking, ANT-MAN-THEMOVIE.COM comes first. Immediately rumored to have been the first Pixar project since the acquisition, Stan Lee mentioned last month on his twitter that Marvel was moving forward with the project which had been in the works for some time.
Also it appears Tow Mater is having some thoughts about exploring the final frontier. Lunar Mater (LUNARMATER.COM), Moon Mater (MOONMATER.COM) and Right Stuff Mater (RIGHTSTUFFMATER.COM) have all been registered. We also have Mater PI (MATERPI.COM) and Investigator Mater (INVESTIGATORMATER.COM) so it appears some new Cars Toons may be on the way.
In some of the biggest toy news this year, Basic Fun is breathing new life into the original Koosh and, for the first time ever, has united the iconic toy with some of your favorite Disney, Pixar, Muppets and Marvel Super Hero Squad friends.
As a Toy Story 3 licensee, Basic Fun is expanding its already established Games on the Go key chain editions of popular board games with a whole suite of new Toy Story 3 key chains and portable games including some new games inspired by the film. Games like Buzz Buzz are even electronic, allowing you to test your (or your surgeon’s) dexterity.
Barely a week after the Disney-Marvel acquisition was made final, we announced that it appeared the first public Disney-Marvel action might have been to release the Iron Man animated series on DVD, something that previously had only been done in some parts of Europe.
Today we have confirmation via Amazon.com that the entire series will be released on a 3-disc set on May 4 and is now available for pre-order.
According to reports, Marvel filed an action in Manhattan court today to petition a judge to invalidate claims by the family of Spidey’s co-creator, Jack Kirby. Kirby’s family sent out several dozen notices last year to several companies including Marvel, claiming that they are entitled ownership to Kirby’s creations under copyright law. In addition to Spidey, other hot properties such as the Fantastic Four and the X-Men are in play.
Marvel claims that the characters were created under ‘work-for-hire’ and have complete ownership to the properties.
SAVE THE DATE: Walt Disney Studios has announced that Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is slated to be released on May 20, 2011.
The May 20th slot was previously dominated by Marvel Entertainment’s Thor from Paramount Pictures which was moved ahead in anticipation of reported problems with Sony’s production of Spider-Man 4 (coincidentally, another Marvel property).
One thing is for certain: Disney and Marvel will be seeing a very profitable summer 2011.
Disney has made its first move since it acquired Marvel Entertainment this past year and it could prove to be a promising one for the company. But before we fly to conclusions, sorry, legions of Ant-Man fans, it’s not about him. Not yet.
In stark contrast to bringing to life some of the lesser characters, Disney’s first Marvel gesture relies on an established character who will literally be box office gold (and red) for Paramount when it releases Marvel’s Iron Man 2 this summer.