April has arrived and that means another month of talking about Marvel comic books!
Nah, just kidding. April Fools'.
Regular readers will remember that I devoted the bulk of last month's column to the comic book publisher.
Chris Evans, portraying Captain America, left, and Robert Downey Jr., portraying Tony Stark, are shown in a scene from “Marvel’s The Avengers”.
I think more than a few people would be shocked to see a second consecutive month's column dedicated to just Marvel titles, though "Avengers vs. X-Men" is starting up this month. Marvel's built up quite a bit of buzz with its "AVX" idea, even allegedly rivaling DC's "New 52" and "Justice League" in terms of pre-orders. Hopefully it works out for all involved, from the fans to the comic shops to the publisher itself. Marvel's been on a roll of late with its X-titles, from "Schism" and the new "Wolverine and the X-Men" to other titles like "Uncanny X-Force."
Hopefully they see success with "AVX" in the comics this summer as well as in theaters with "The Avengers."
Disney's "John Carter" seems to have started the summer movie season off on a bad note.
Disney said last month that it expected to close out March with a loss of $200 million on the movie. That puts it in ranks with some of Hollywood's all-time biggest money-losers ever.
The film is based on a series of books written by the late Edgar Rice Burroughs. The first in the series is "A Princess of Mars," which published in 1917. The last, published posthumously in 1964, was "John Carter of Mars."
Throughout the years, the character has appeared many times in short-lived comic strips and comic books, as well as in various Big Little Books of the 1930s and 1940s. The most notable John Carter comic strip to appear in Edgar Rice Burroughs' lifetime was written and illustrated by Burroughs' son John Coleman Burroughs.
The new film was directed by Pixar's Andrew Stanton and focuses on the character's initial storyline from that first "A Princess of Mars" book.
In March, The Associated Press Reported that Disney had brought in about $184 million in ticket sales worldwide with "John Carter." However, ticket sales are split roughly in half with theater owners. The movie's production budget was estimated to be about $250 million with about $100 million more spent on marketing.
What started last year's summer movie season? I believe it was "Thor," which I thoroughly enjoyed. The rest of last summer's superhero flicks had their ups-and-downs after that. Let's hope this coming summer has nowhere to go but up.
The more I see of Andrew Garfield as "The Amazing Spider-Man," the more excited I get. Of course, that film's not out until early July, and before that we get both "The Avengers" and "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," which, while not technically a "comic book movie," I've gushed about here in this column before.
A few lucky film-lovers will get to see "The Avengers" ahead of everyone else, as it was announced recently that the Marvel movie will close the 11th annual Tribeca Film Festival this month. Directed by Joss Whedon, the summer team-up flick is scheduled for release on May 4. Then, of course, on Friday, July 24, comes Christopher Nolan's third Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."
Let's knock on wood and hope there's not a mediocre one among the bunch.
Most everybody knows the names "Superman" and "DC Comics."
Fewer know of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who created the Man of Steel for National Allied Publications back in 1938.
For their work, the pair received a check in the amount of $412 - which included a line item showing that DC paid for full ownership and rights to the character of Superman.
Heck of a deal for DC Comics.
Of course, at the time, who could have foreseen what one little alien from a planet called Krypton would end up spawning?
There have been legal battles throughout the years, and the dispute's not over regarding the creators' rights to the character. However, according to The Associated Press, the check made out to Siegel and Shuster recently went up for auction - fetching $20,500 right off the bat. The check will remain open for bids through April 16, according to Associated Press writer Matt Moore.
Stephen Fishler, CEO of ComicConnect.com and Metropolis Collectibles, said the check is a touchstone for the comic book industry, as it represents the launching of the Golden Age of superheroes.
"It is an important historic document ... related to comic books," he told The AP. "There is a quality to it that talks about the American dream, to create something and be successful. Obviously, in this case, there are two parties, both feeling that they are right."
Siegel and Shuster created Superman together while teenagers in Cleveland, Ohio, in the early 1930s. The character's first appearance was in "Action Comics" No. 1 in April 1938.
The check was saved by a staffer at DC Comics in the 1970s, whose heirs consigned it to ComicConnect, Fishler said, adding that it sat undisturbed in a drawer for 38 years.
Free Comic Book Day is coming up quick, now only a month away.
Free Comic Book Day is an annual promotion held all around the world. On the first Saturday in May each year, retailers give away new, brand-name comics. In Jamestown, at Chautauqua Comics, the event also doubles as a fundraiser for the St. Susan Center.
After last year's event, comic shop owner Al Steffens presented St. Susan Center with a check for $258, all of which was raised through donations at the shop. Steffens and Chautauqua Comics will again be collecting donations this Free Comic Book Day, scheduled for Saturday, May 5, and I believe a donation even earns readers an additional comic book.
Free Comic Book Day began as the brainchild of a California comics store owner, held for the first time in 2002. In its first six years, more than 2,000 locations in more than 30 countries gave away more than 12 million Free Comic Book Day special-edition comic books.
Well, it will be a while before I can blather about AMC's "The Walking Dead" in this space now that the show's second season has finished up. Issue No. 95 of the comic series just arrived in stores. The book finds Rick and the other survivors arriving at a safehaven set up by a group larger than theirs.
For as repetitious as the series can be, writer Robert Kirkman has still kept it a worthwhile read throughout all 95 issues. Currently, this new arc is in its beginning phases and everything's looking up, so it will be interesting to see what befalls the group in the coming issues.
I can't say enough about how strongly season two of the show ended. Or, I guess I could say a whole lot ... I just don't want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn't seen it. Bottom line though, it was enjoyable to see so many elements of the books worked into the last few episodes of the season. The teases of season three only spark more questions, but it looks like the show's advancing to the next location in the book just as they advanced from their first campsite in season one to Hershel's farm.
Sadly, season three won't come for many more months. However, with the way comic book-related entertainment is staggered throughout the summer, fans are just going to have to suck it up and wait out the show's return - substituting in other movies and books for the time being.
More from me in a month's time.
Nerding Out With Nick Dean is a monthly column about comic books, movies and more. It runs the first Sunday of each month. To contact the author, email email@example.com.