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Go, Stan, GO!

…and thanks to reader David Busby for inspiring that headline.

How long will he be all smiles?
After last week's little revelation that Marvel Chairman Emeritus Stan Lee was considering legal action against the company that he had only spent his entire life building, he went ahead and filed suit.

According to an article in Variety, Lee claims that Marvel Entertainment has embarked on a "…shameful scheme" to deprive him of his profits. Along those lines, the suit demands ten million dollars, and we can assume that's back pay for Spider-Man and X-Men. (Remember that this all hinges upon a deal Stan signed in 1998.) Unclear from the article is how the suit covers future movie and television licensing deals.

Stan picked a good time to pick his fight with Marvel, as they've got another legal headache on the horizon: a superior court overturned a ruling against Joe Simon's claim to ownership on Captain America, allowing the Golden Aged writer/artist to pursue the matter further. If you want the real reason Captain America has not yet become an Artisan film, look no further than this.

Whether or not you think Stan has been treated fairly by Marvel (certainly better than people like Jack Kirby were), this still makes a gripping case.

New Man @ Marvel

After Bill Rosemann decided to go freelance, Marvel needed a new Man. Sure, they kept Bill for a few weeks longer than he intended to be (amicably, though, amicably) while they looked. And at last the estimable Mr. Rosemann is free to move to Florida.

His replacement? Mike Doran, co-founder of Newsarama, a site that admittedly covers the industry much better than us. They've bounced around over the years, and are currently an offshoot of Kevin Smith's site, Movie Poop Shoot. We should assume Doran has left Newsarama, and look forward to his work as the new Man@Marvel, or as the official title has it, marketing communications manager.

Welcome, Mike. Be kind to us.

oh, yes, they will be mine.
Not Just Toys…But Kisses From Heaven…

Okay. I'm still really embittered by the cancellation of the Watchmen action figures from DC Direct. But that just goes to prove that you should never cross a guy who worships a second-century snake puppet.

DC Direct may have just completely made it up to us, this week announcing figures from Mark Waid and Alex Ross' classic Kingdom Come, to be released in the third quarter of 2003 (after the above business news, it's hard to shake the corporate talk).

To the best of my knowledge, neither Waid nor Ross have a beef, justified or not, against the powers that be at DC, so this WILL HAPPEN. (oh it must it must it must)

DC Kills Two Teen Titles - But They're Like Hydras…

Last Sunday DC held a retailers' conference in Los Angeles and announced their 2003 line-up. Among some surprises was the confirmation of the impending end of Young Justice and the no surprise at all Titans. But out of the ashes…

After a Young Justice/Titans crossover mini-series, we'll see the rebirth of the Teen Titans and The Outsiders. Reviving the teen title makes sense, as a new Teen Titans animated series is in the offing. (Notice how this week John Stewart returns to continuity as a Green Lantern, wearing a suspiciously animated uniform.) But The Outsiders?

What will make both these books must buys is who DC has got working on them.

In an attempt to write more books than Stan Lee in his heyday, Geoff Johns will take on Teen Titans, teaming with newly exclusive to DC Mike McKone, who has been doing great work on Exiles. And McKone's partner on Exiles, Judd Winick, will be writing the revival of The Outsiders.

The line-up for the latter team has not been fully revealed, but at this point we do know that Nightwing will lead Batman's former team. Once again, Dick Grayson can't help but follow in his father's footsteps.

And it's suddenly two books we weren't buying that will become two more we have to buy. Doggone it! Too… much… quality…

Seeing Me Do Cartwheels Isn't Pretty…

Also announced at the retailers' conference, a new Authority series (though we'll see how well editorial lets it run) and completion of Planetary. Surely those fall under the DC Phantasms category; they may still be the product of wishful thinking for 2003. But one project that seems just right is, at last, a Plastic Man graphic novel, done by a creator perfect for the job: Kyle Baker. The only thing that could make it better would be perhaps if Ty Templeton threw in a few jokes.


Return of a Man Called Dumbledore

With Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets opening this week, rumors abound as to who will assume the role of Hogwarts' headmaster when Alfonso Cuaron begins shooting the third film, …and the Prisoner of Azkaban in March.

Christopher Lee has angrily denounced reports that he has been approached. And with all due respect to Lee's immense talent, it is hard to imagine him capturing the gentleness that Richard Harris brought to the role. Chalk that rumor up to him just being the hottest octogenarian actor in Hollywood. (Let's start a new rumor: he's been cast to play Bruce Wayne in Batman Beyond. Fly, my gossip monkeys, FLY!)

One actor has come out and admitted that he was approached, but in typical fashion has buried it in wit. Sir Ian McKellen reported on his website that their had been a request from Warner Brothers to "…filch Gandalf." However, this offer came before Harris passed away a few weeks ago.

Before you decide that the studio was behaving tastelessly on the heels of Harris' illness, remember that the actor had publicly balked at being in an annually filmed franchise, and only his grandchildren's wheedling kept him at it. If there's one thing Warner Brothers is really good at, it's hedging its bets.

Of course, the real question now is… is the offer to McKellen still good?

Jinx! You Owe Me a Coke.

For the first time in the history of the 007 franchise, a character will get a spin-off movie, which MGM hopes to build into a separate film series. The lucky character? Halle Berry's new Bond girl, Jinx.

Described as a female version of Bond, Jinx sure makes for a better-looking updating of 007 than Vin Diesel. If MGM successfully launches Jinx into her own series, this would mean a very crucial two franchises for the struggling studio, as The Crocodile Hunter didn't seem to take off like they'd hoped. But more on that later…

I think that I speak
for film fans
everywhere when I say, "oh, grow up."
Is Anybody Else Just Disturbed By This?

Italy has selected Roberto Benigni's adaptation of Pinocchio as its entry for the Academy Awards' Best Foreign Film consideration. The live-action adaptation, starring the 47-year-old Benigni as the adorable wooden puppet who wanted to be a real boy, opens stateside in a dubbed version in December. This led one over-excitable Italian film executive to hope that the English cut would then qualify for Best Picture.

If you've seen the trailer, you know that just might be an uphill battle. Granted, Pinocchio and Benigni are national treasures, but not in this nation. Yes, he got Best Actor a couple of years ago, but since then most of the Academy has tried to pretend that they weren't the ones who voted for him. Like both Titanic and that weird kid in high school that was annoying but could be amusing, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Wait a minute…I was that weird kid…


The Clone Wars Have Begun…To Generate A Spin-off…

Harry Knowles has scooped everyone on this, and though neither LucasFilm nor Cartoon Network have confirmed it, it carries the whiff of a good idea. (Considering our track record on rumors, that's enough to kill its credibility right there.)

Anyway, Harry reports that the two camps are in discussions to produce a Clone Wars cartoon series to fill in the gaps between episodes 2 and 3. Read the actual piece here, and remember that thought you must take it with a grain of salt, we're betting that he's right and that grain is just loaded with midichlorians.

Hart To Hart, Cheek To Cheek

ABC announced that they've signed Alan Cumming to star as one Mr. Nash in Mr. And Mr. Nash, a detective series about a crime-solving gay couple whose day job is interior design. Steve Martin will executive produce through his company in conjunction with Carsey-Werner-Mandelbach.

"I am proud to be a part of Mr. And Mr. Nash, especially the part where it's a big hit," Martin said.

No word on when the pilot will make it onto the schedule, but I had to run this because I have a sweet picture of Cumming as Nightcrawler with nowhere else to run it. Enjoy.

Meanwhile, Back At The Hall of Justice

Warner Brothers has announced that they will be releasing the Superfriends on DVD and VHS on April 22nd, 2003. Other than that blanket statement, no details have been released. But just because I'm in that sort of mood, I'm hoping they include the episode with Plastic Man.

Derek McCaw

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