October 21st, 2009

RatReading

Toitles!

Every once in a while, someone gets lucky.  The establishment seeks to treat them as disposable, giving some sort of deal that, had they known what would happen next, they never would have done.  New Line didn't sign Jim Carrey to a second film while shooting The Mask because they knew for sure that Ace Ventura -- Pet Detective would bomb.  It didn't, and Carrey went from about $750K for The Mask to $7 mil for Dumb And Dumber.  Fox agreed to fund Star Wars as a tax write-off, and look what happened.

Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird were a couple of buddies making black and white comics like Fugitoid.  They would draw their comics sitting in the living room, drawing on TV trays (which I do, but not to try being Just Like Them) and passing the pages back and forth.  One day, while mulling over Frank Miller, the duo concocted a parody that was played pretty straight.  The Hand became The Foot, for example.  They pitched their parody, starring a quartet of anthro turtles led by an anthro rat, as a parody and printed up a couple of thousand copies.  They knew they were onto Something Big when, at a comic show, dealers were buying the issues from their table.  They marked up the issues to hilarious amounts, and they were still selling.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had arrived.

I have a near complete run of the original Mirage line.  TMNT was one of my favorite series.  Eastman and Laird let other people play in their sandbox with near free reign.  Michael Zulli came up with a nightmare of mysticism.  Hedden and McWeeney went for laughs.  Matt Wagner did a dream sequence. You never knew what you would get, but it would be something you hadn't seen before.  This liberty with the source material continued with the original animated series, which further pushed Turtlemania and thanks to its quirky humor, was a riot.  Then it died out.  4Kids, the folks that brought Pokemon to the US, picked up the license, and revived it again.  Eastman and Laird are rich beyond their wildest dreams (Laird loves to give back -- he started the Xeric Foundation, which gives a tax free $5,000 grant to self-publishers).

Today, they just got richer.

Nickelodeon, part of MTV, just bought the license to TMNT.  It wasn't up for renewal, they paid 4Kids $10 mil to give up the license, then another $50 mil to Mirage and 4Kids.  Paramount has another TMNT movie coming up in 2012, and a CGI animated series to go with it.

Good going, Eastman and Laird.  I'm insanely jealous, but still happy for them.  From two guys barely covering the cost of printing (there is NO WAY they'd ever be able to launch the series in the current comic book world environment) and drawing on TV trays to laughing all the way to the bank.

Hello, MTV?  Interested in a series about a little girl who is friends with a mermaid?  Think of all the song crosspromotion you can do with them....

Hey, I may rip on MTV, but better them than the Hannah Montana factory!
PalinWhut

Do As I Say, Not As I Do

Wizard World is pissed off.

Yes, again.

This same Wizard that tried to bury Heroes Con, prompting an industry boycott and seriously misjudged their appeal vs. San Deigo, is mad that Reed, the folk who run the Big Apple Con.  Wizard has scheduled their convention for the same weekend as the Big Apple Con (yes, going toe-to-toe with another convention granddaddy.  Don't they EVER learn?).  Reed folks were handing out fliers for their own convention at Wizard shows.  Wizard wanted them to knock it off, and are upset people are painting them as the bad guy.

You know, the comic industry (and Wizard itself) is hurting big time.  This is not the time to be getting into a pissing match.  Wizard is trying desperately to hold on to an audience that has grown up and fallen away (saying people should buy certain comics because, "BOOBS!" [yes, that really was the reason they listed to buy four different comics], doesn't exactly bring in the old crowd).  The ChicagoCon alone showed that Wizard will get no sympathy from the industry, so if they know what's good for them, they'll move the date and try to coexist instead of convincing everyone they are on the same level as Reed or San Deigo.  No one's drinking the Kool-Aid, as we software folks say.
Moe Cowbell

Band Hero Set List Revealed

Don't get me wrong, I got nothing but love for the folks at Neversoft.  But the fact is, when they took over Guitar Hero after Harmonix got snapped up by MTV, they took the franchise in the more hardcore direction.  Activision apparently is looking to split the audience, as they have announce Band Hero, supposedly more casual friendly (they need to shore things up.  After the initial bragging, Beatles Rock Band appears to be trouncing Guitar Hero 5, and GH5 is underperforming anyway).  Band Hero comes out November 3, and here's what you're looking at:

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TL;DR.  Kylie Minogue!  I'm totally buying this!  (mornblade probably guessed that already.)  Although, she should have top billing over Robbie Williams.  There's quite a bit of overlap with the LEGO Rock Band version, with David Bowie's "Let's Dance", Carl Douglas' "Kung Fu Fighting", Katrina And The Waves' "Walking On Sunshine" (Christ, I want to throw up.  Between that and YMCA, I think I know two tracks I'll never play), and The Kooks' "Naive".  Looks like I might actually get to hear what Taylor Swift sounds like.  Songs I looking forward to mashing the skins with include Big Country's "In The Big Country", Cheap Trick's "I Want You To Want Me", Devo's "Whip It," Duran Duran's "Rio", Evanessence's "Bring Me Back To Life", The Go-Go's "Our Lips Are Sealed", Joan Jett's "Bad Reputation" (AWESOME!), Mighty Might Bosstones' "The Impression That I Get" (a classic by them, and I get to jam with a ska-core band.  I'm going to be really happy), and Pat Benetar's "Love Is A Battlefield".