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Thread: Comics, Graphic Novels, Manga and other things that won't get you laid

  1. #111
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Spider-Man Creator Sues, Wins Lawsuit Against Marvel

    CBSNews.com

    Superhero Creator Fights Back
    Feb. 2, 2005


    When Stan Lee, the creator of some of our most lovable Superheroes, decided to sue Marvel Comics, the company for which he had worked for all his adult life, it made news.

    Lee is one of Americaís legendary comic book geniuses. He created Spider-Man, X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Incredible Hulk. And his company, Marvel, had reaped astronomical profits from movies based on Leeís characters.

    But when Correspondent Bob Simon first interviewed Lee more than two years ago, the comic book legend felt he was being cheated by the company. He was about to sue, and he was angry, even though he tried hard to hide it.

    "When I wrote these stories, I wrote them as a write-for-hire, so I donít own the characters," says Lee.

    Did that put him in a state of rage? "No, I'm just interested in what Iím doing at the moment, and I donít dwell on it. I try not to," he says.

    "Do you feel that you're being screwed," asks Simon.

    "I don't want to say that," Lee replied. "After all, I'm still a part of the company. I love the people. I love the company. And, as I say, I try not to think of it."

    When Lee created Spider-Man for Marvel Comics more than 40 years ago, he could not have imagined the bonanza it would yield. Each of the two Spider-Man movies has brought in about $800 million in worldwide ticket sales.

    Once, before the age of computers, Spider-Man was just a simple pencil drawing, a cartoon figure that changed comic books forever. Leeís creation was not a ďSupermanĒ from another planet, but a real, earth-bound person, a human being with super powers.

    How was Spider-Man born? "I've told this story so often, and it may even be true. But I was watching a fly crawling on a wall," recalls Lee. "And I was looking for a new superhero. And I figure, ĎWow, wouldnít it be cool if a guy could crawl on a wall?'"

    Did he realize at the time that this was a totally new thing? "Not at all. I was just trying to make up some new characters so that I would keep my job, keep eating and paying the rent," says Lee. "And I hoped the books would sell. We didnít think we were doing anything revolutionary."

    But Spider-Man was revolutionary. Lee had broken the mold, and he had created something unheard of, an action hero with psychological problems, a slightly neurotic and fragile superhero.

    "He can be shot, he can be gassed, he can be hit very hard and knocked down," says Lee. "Heís stronger than the average person, but heís incredibly vulnerable."

    And Spider-Manís alter ego, Peter Parker, was just a dorky teenager: bullied by boys, rejected by girls, and indifferent about his superpowers. Yet, he struck a nerve.

    "As a matter of fact, my publisher hated it and didnít want me to publish it when I told him about it. He didnít like the idea of it being called Spider-Man," says Lee. "He said, ĎStan, people hate spiders. You canít give a book that name.í When I told him I wanted him to be a teenager, he said, Ďbut teenagers can only be sidekicks.í Then when I said, ĎI want him to have a lot of problems.í He said, ĎDonít you know what a hero is?í"

    Today, Lee is a kind of hero. Heís regarded as the comic book industryís grand old man.

    On the first visit, he invited 60 Minutes to accompany him to a comic book store in Los Angeles to survey his work ó almost the entire Stan Lee collection. Lee is the man responsible for bringing a modern sensibility to the superhero.

    "I like to think that what we do is realistic fantasy. We have to suspend disbelief in the sense that our character is gonna have some super power, is super strong, can crawl on walls, can fly in the air, whatever that is," says Lee. "But in order not to make it just a fairy tale, you have to believe in the person. And you have to believe that such a person might exist."

    Are comic books the hottest things in Hollywood?

    "I think so. I mean, itís very simple. They make money. Thatís what makes them hot," says Avi Arad, Marvel's chief creative officer. He's the man in charge of converting the comic books into movies.

    Arad produced "X-Men," "The Incredible Hulk," and "Daredevil." And he hopes to produce sequels upon sequels of (pardon the pun) Spider-Man spin-offs. Simon spoke with him two years ago.

    At the time, how much did Arad think his films were going to be worth? "Well, if you look at the studio that looks at revenues, ticket sales, DVD, disc movies, theyíre all in the hundreds of millions of dollars," he said.

    "So if each movie is in the hundreds of millions, you right now are looking at more than a billion, right," asked Simon.

    "Yeah, a billion dollars is not, it wouldn't be unusual," said Arad.

    There was so much money made from the movies, but not a penny of it was going to Lee, the man who invented the characters.

    Was Lee getting a fair deal? "Sure. Stan created great characters, and obviously, ask him," says Arad. "I think heís getting a fair shake."

    But obviously, Stan didnít think so. Because a month after he met with 60 Minutes in 2002, he sued Marvel.

    And when 60 Minutes Wednesday caught up with Lee recently in Los Angeles, he spoke for the first time about how he really felt.

    "It was very emotional. I guess what happened was I was really hurt," says Lee. "We had always had this great relationship, the company and me. I felt I was a part of it. My contract called for me getting a certain share of the profits - movies, television, licensing and so forth."

    "I think when the contract was written, nobody may have expected that those movies would be so successful. And when they were, I naturally felt, 'Oh boy, this is great!' And then when I found out that nobody seemed to want to live up to that clause in the contract," says Lee.

    "Don't forget, I've written about superheroes all my life. And they're the good guys. And they always do the right things. And I always thought our company is the good company, and we always did the right thing, and we always tried to treat the artists, and the writers, and the editors well. And suddenly, I felt I wasn't being treated well, and it really hurt."

    A federal judge agreed, and awarded Lee 10 percent of the profits Marvel has made on the "Spider-Man" movies, as well as the other movies based on Leeís superheroes. If the ruling holds up, Lee could soon be pocketing tens of millions of Marvelís dollars.

    "Don't forget. There's still things to be ironed out," says Lee. "The judge left some things in abeyance."

    "You could come into tens of millions," says Simon.

    "Wow. That would be nice," says Lee.

    What's he going to do with it?

    "Honestly, I haven't even thought of it. I mean, I'm happy the way I'm living now," says Lee. "I've never been fabulously wealthy. I said I have no idea what I would do. It will be a whole new experience for me."

    Meanwhile, Lee has been doing OK financially, even without a share from the movies. And Marvel told 60 Minutes Wednesday this week that it's provided Lee with arguably the most generous employment contract of any comic book creator -- including a million-dollar salary.

    "That is after me having worked there for 60 years. That is after me having really built the company, being the editor, the art director, the publisher," says Lee. "I was even the president for a while. Being the guy who gave the company its look, its feel, its everything Ö its name."

    "I don't like it to sound the way it sounds," adds Lee. "But I only say that because it's not just that somebody is tossing me an amount of money. And you know, boy, I'm lucky. I think I'm lucky, but I think I've earned it."

    Lee is anxious to put the lawsuit behind him. At 82, heís got all the money heíll ever need, especially if the courtís ruling is upheld.

    "I'm not sure what I have won," says Lee. "And the winning is very nebulous because Marvel says they'll appeal."

    "You've won the first round, and even if it goes 15 rounds, whether it's a knockout or not, you've won," says Simon. "And you've established that you were right and Marvel was wrong."

    "Well that part feels good, I must admit," says Lee. "Yeah. Vindication. Just like every superhero should have a bit of vindication."
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  2. #112
    Picture Perfect SnowflakeGirl's Avatar
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    Thanks for posting that, Phat! I say, good for Stan Lee, the guy's a legend and his name is synonymous with Spidey. It's really more about the principle of the matter than the money.

    ETA:
    Quote Originally Posted by nausicaa
    My friend recently converted me to the Danger Girl comics. I can now say with all sincerity that I've developed a appreciation for big-bosomed, ass-kicking women. Plus, Johnny Barracuda is awesome, and the artwork rocks.

    (Geez. I swear I'm turning into more of a geek with each passing day. )
    GASP! She said the "G" word in the comics thread!!! *bespectacled, pasty bodies scramble at the sound, like cockroaches fleeing a room where the light has just been switched on*

    All kidding aside, Danger Girl is great. I love J. Scott Campbell's character design.
    Last edited by SnowflakeGirl; 02-03-2005 at 07:52 PM.
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  3. #113
    Fashionista Sandinista Chorita KaBoom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnowflakeGirl
    Also, have any of you Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman fans read the infamous Miracle Man? I spent two whole days talking to my brother about this series over Christmas break.
    I loved Miracleman (Marvelman in the U.K. where I started reading it, I think in Warrior magazine) and it was one of the titles that lead me into serious collecting. As for the legal issues around MM, at the time of publishing "creator rights" was such a buzz word, only this case shows where that can get you when things aren't crystal clear. There are so many people with so many claims (aside from the writers and publishers, Alan Davis also has claims to the rights of his artwork) to this that I doubt that it will ever get sorted out. Which is truely sad, I'd love to see the story finished properly.
    there is no energy shortage, there is a shortage of imagination

  4. #114
    FORT Fanatic misscrispy's Avatar
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    It's so weird that I stumbled across this thread tonight...I just read through all of the posts and want to thank all of you for the great ideas.

    I've just been given some money to buy some books for my high school students, and, having finished 100 Demons by Lynda Barry, am considering buying a few graphic novels in addition to the normal fare. There are some great ideas on this thread, without being an overwhelming mess that I've found on graphic novel fan sites.

    Anyone else read 100 Demons? Some of the stories just broke my heart; the one about the dogs could have been written by me and my experience with my dog!

  5. #115
    Fashionista Sandinista Chorita KaBoom's Avatar
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    I thought that I'd list some of the titles that I've enjoyed and recommend:

    Miracleman: Taking a very flatly written, simplistic UK superhero from the 50's and 60's (It was actually the same character as Captain Marvel/Shazam, but for the UK market) and rip apart everything that he thought he was. Throw in secret government agencies, virtual reality, mind control, alien technology and marriage trouble and you have a very densely layered story. Package it in some great artwork and it will get you hooked.

    Nexus - from Steve Rude and Mike Baron - It's a space opera/superhero comic, set in the future. The main character is Horatio Hellpop, who was given nearly infinite power by an insane alien (the Merk) for the purpose of tracking down mass murderers and executing them (by mass murderers, I mean primarily people on a Hitler or Stalin-like level). He calls himself Nexus. Hellpop has no choice but to hunt them down as he is haunted in his dreams by the atrocities. Along the way, as he continues to execute criminals, people around the galaxy start seeing him as a messiah figure and the slaves and oppressed people freed by his executions begin to follow him back to his homeworld, where they establish a growing colony for refugees. As an artist myself, I'm particularly enthralled by Rude's artwork.

    Den - Richard Corben's classic otherworld Barbarian series. While the stories were somewhat flat, the rich artwork (well before computer modeled comics) can suck you into the land of Mu. There are also several other Corben titles that take place in the same universe.

    The Invisibles - Grant Morrison's British based intrigue, magic, and espionage. Brazilian shaman and glamorous transvestite Lord Fanny fill the gay quotient. The story goes, in the small native Brazilian tribe Fanny came from their most powerful magical shaman were female. Before birth Fanny was determined to take the roll of the next shaman upon entering adulthood. But when Fanny was born as a man it messed up the plans. His parents, determined to see their child be the next shaman, raised him as a girl. They were able to trick the gods into believing he was a she, so Fanny received "her" magic powers.

    Tales of the Closet - by Ivan Velez - This is the story of 8 gay high school kids facing the crisis of coming out in a homophobic society and how it affects them.

    Maze Agency - Written by Mike Barr and illustrated by Adam Hughes, Rick Maygar, Joe Staton, Greg Shoemaker and many more - The New York-based Maze Agency is owned and operated by JENNIFER MAYS, ex-CIA operative and former poor little rich girl. Young, drop-dead gorgeous, cooly professional and extremely efficient, she often finds her boyfriend/lover, GABRIEL WEBB, tangled up in her cases. Gabe's a true-crime writer, a sloppy, impulsive goodhearted Joe who can't believe a girl like Jen will even give him the time of day, never mind love him. It's a moonlighting like detective comic, but it's fun, and won both Eisner and Harvey awards.

    Concrete - Paul Chadwick - Concrete once was a man, but an unfortunate turn of events has turned him into a walking rock. It relates to aliens and things. It's available in trade, and is a total worthy story.

    Magnus Robot Fighter 4000AD - Russ Manning - set in the year 4000 A.D., "Magnus" was one of the few science fiction based comics success stories of the '60s. For the time, it was fairly well written with complex characters and incredible artwork. It was essentially an allegory against man's reliance on technology. I have an incredible but not complete collection of these comics in mint to near-mint condition that I recently found out that my mother had saved for me, I consider them my retirement fund. Darkhorse offers a 3 issue Hardcover collection of them. There was also a 90's continuation from Valiant, that was also pretty good.

    The Watchmen - Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons - It's a classic, in trade paperback or single issues, it's a must have for any serious collector.

    Camelot 3000 - Mike Barr and Brian Bolland - In the year 3000 (which looks remarkably like the year 1987), Earth is under siege by malevolent aliens, and young Brit Tom discovers the buried tomb of King Arthur, the promised savior of all the world. Arthur -- yes, the genuine, Pendragon-y article -- is awakened and vows to help humanity in taking out the accursed plague of bug-eyed monsters. Though whether his medieval brain can grasp the concept of where these invaders come from is doubtful.

    On top of those you can add ALL your standard X- titles (collected since the Cockrum era), assorted Legion of Superheros (apparently really popular with us gay guys, again from the Cockrum/Grell era), Green Lantern and Green Arrow (silver age Neale Adams era through the Mike Grell Longbow sagas), assorted DC - Jack Kirby's "New Gods" era titles.

    I love so many anime (Cowboy Bebop, Full Metal Alchemist, Gasaraki, Last Exile, and my current favorite Ghost in the Shell - Stand Alone Complex) but haven't actually gotten into too much manga (Mirage of Blaze). I have off and on been obsessed with european comics though (Ranxerox, Axel Pressbutton, 2000AD and Judge Dredd). I guess I've rambled on enough.
    Last edited by Chorita KaBoom; 02-21-2005 at 01:06 AM.
    there is no energy shortage, there is a shortage of imagination

  6. #116
    Picture Perfect SnowflakeGirl's Avatar
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    MissCrispy, what grade exactly are you teaching? I'll need to keep that in mind, as a lot of the graphic novels and comics I read are quite dark and definitely not for young readers. Let me mull over what would be age-appropriate reading for your kids.

    A couple for you to consider in the meantime:
    1) The Pulitzer Prize winning Maus, a fable of the Holocaust and survival:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/AS...016930-8559829
    2) Persepolis an autobio of a young girl during the Islamic Revolution:
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...=UTF8&v=glance

    Chorita Kaboom, I just read your list and I you! You've listed a number of my alltime favorites, and anything you've mentioned that I haven't read, I will definitely keep in mind for future reading, as I'm willing to put total trust your taste. And I would love to chat about The Invisibles with you sometime, I adore that series, it is just so mind-blowingly complex--speaking of which, my own mind is blown, I need to get to sleep! Good night all!
    Sending good vibes and warm fuzzies your way..., SnowflakeGirl
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  7. #117
    Come Along, Pond phat32's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by misscrispy
    I've just been given some money to buy some books for my high school students, and, having finished 100 Demons by Lynda Barry, am considering buying a few graphic novels in addition to the normal fare. There are some great ideas on this thread, without being an overwhelming mess that I've found on graphic novel fan sites.
    Snowflakegirl's knowledge of the genre is second-too-none, but allow me to make a few (very) subjective recommendations.

    I have to warn you that all four make for challenging reading, and depending on the age group of your students, perhaps more mature than what they should encounter.

    The Tale of One Bad Rat by Bryan Talbot

    This is Talbot's excellent survival story of an English runaway and her battle with her memories of the sexual abuse she suffered.

    American Splendor: Our Cancer Year by Joyce Brabner and Harvey Pekar

    The title may seem familiar to you because of the 2003 film, American Splendor. Pekar's graphic novel series, an honest look into his personal life, was the basis for the film of the same name. Ten years later, Our Cancer Year remains one of the most unforgettable graphic novels I've ever read. The cover itself is heart-wrenching.

    Batman: Arkham Asylum by Grant Morrison and Dave McKean


    If you've ever wondered what would happen if the lunatics ever took over the asylum, Arkham Asylum is the hellish, nightmarish answer. When Batman's most depraved nemeses take control of the madhouse where they're incarcerated, they demand one thing: Batman...for fun and games, of course. This is not your father's Batman; there are no Bam! Biff! Pow! action sequences here. It's more of an illustrated travelogue into hell itself, a Dante-esque, Freudian nightmare.

    Bonus: You get to introduce your students to such concepts as "Freudian" and "Jungian." Hawt!

    Maus by Art Spiegelman

    I second Snowflakegirl's recommendation.

    And now, Graphic Novels I Almost Recommended (but Didn't):

    Palomar: Love & Rockets by Gilbert Hernandez

    The collection of Gilbert Hernandez's stories about a Central American town called Palomar. Many of these stories are like a hammer blow to the heart. I can't fully recommend it as I haven't finished it yet.

    Death: The High Cost of Living by Neil Gaiman


    A good but otherwise phoned-in effort by Gaiman, a favorite author of many of the people who post here. For the record, I liked his graphic novel Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes and his novel American Gods considerably better.


    I hope our recommendations helped. All of mine can be found on Amazon.com, by the way. If you do introduce your students to graphic novel storytelling, I'd love to hear what they thought.

    Quote Originally Posted by Chorita Kaboom
    I thought that I'd list some of the titles that I've enjoyed and recommend: (snip)
    Good list, CK. You've listed some of my favorites, especially Concrete.

    If you like those, give Grendel: War Child and the first Sin City a try, if you haven't already.

    My current favorite is Planetary--absolutely mind-blowing and indescribable.
    Last edited by phat32; 03-04-2005 at 12:43 AM.
    "...Every life is a pile of good things and bad things. The good things donít always soften the bad things, but...the bad things donít always spoil the good things." - The Doctor

  8. #118
    Fashionista Sandinista Chorita KaBoom's Avatar
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    I had remembered Grendel after I wrote out that list. Another excellent recommendation.
    there is no energy shortage, there is a shortage of imagination

  9. #119
    Picture Perfect SnowflakeGirl's Avatar
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    Good lord, when did they make that Sin City adaptation with Clive Owen and Jessica Alba? (Although I'm intrigued that it's directed by Frank Miller & Robert Rodriguez...might it actually be good?)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0401792/

    And James Cameron is working on a big-screen version of another one of my favorite manga/anime series Battle Angel Alita?!!
    http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/ency...me.php?id=4598

    Oh God, Hollywood, please don't screw these up.
    Sending good vibes and warm fuzzies your way..., SnowflakeGirl
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  10. #120
    RESIDENT JEDI MASTER Stargazer's Avatar
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    Just finished the graphic novel "Sins Past" and "Sins Remembered:Sarah's Story" up through Part III. Very fascinating and sexy story.

    God, why did I peek back into the comic world? I'd managed to break free for several years. Now my local comic store will have me panting at the door as each new issue shows up. It's like crack cocaine, I swear.
    "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter."- Yoda

    "I'll just see where Providence takes me and try to look like I got there confidently." - Craig Ferguson

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