Comics Lowdown | Marvel creators suit, CEO’s legal wrangles

Catching up with the Marvel court case, plus the latest on Ike Perlmutter, Scott Adams and Ben Garrison.

Cover of Marvel-Verse Black Widow, showing the title character wielding a glowing sword.

Marvel: In case you haven’t had time to digest the news that Marvel has sued several creators who had taken legal action to get the rights to their characters back, here’s the scoop from The Hollywood Reporter. If you have access, the New York Times talks to the lawyers on both sides.

Meanwhile, Marvel chairman Ike Perlmutter has had a busy week. On Monday, the Military Times reports, the House Oversight Committee stated that Perlmutter and two others had “violated the law and sought to exert improper influence over government officials to further their own personal interests.” At the time, the three were “unofficial advisors” to Trump on Veterans Administration Affairs. Things went better for Perlmutter on Tuesday, when he succeeded in fending off a lawsuit by a neighbor, with whom he had quarreled over tennis courts, and who subsequently accused him of sending poison-pen letters to their neighbors and 1,000 prison inmates. If you like true-crime stories where all the crimes are petty misdemeanors, get comfy and settle in with THR’s coverage, which has plenty of links to the various tentacles of this story.

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Comics Lowdown | Supply chain issues cause delays for DC Comics

Plus: Free Comic Book Day woes for New York library, Marvel’s vaccination comic, Osamu Tezuka and more.

Newsarama has reported that several titles from DC scheduled to come out over the next few months have been delayed due to supply chain issues.

“DC faces an unprecedented strain on the global supply chain, affecting all of us in the comic industry and beyond,” DC Marketing Manager Albert Ching said in a statement to retailers. “Up to this point, we’ve been able to keep delays and shortages to a minimum, but with recent notifications about COVID-related port closures, international and domestic freight delays, workforce shortages, and a severely allocated paper supply, we are unable to continue to manage this situation without disruption.”

Some Batman Day comics, DC has said, will be allocated to retailers as well due to these same issues, but

Supply chain issues have been in the news recently as manufacturers face raw materials shortages, transportation delays, higher energy costs and of course COVID-related issues. They are expected to continue into next year and will likely be exasperated with the upcoming holiday season.

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Tom and Carla lock down 2020

Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman review the year that was for Marvel and DC, while looking toward the future for both companies.

From 2009 to 2015, Tom Bondurant and Carla Hoffman collaborated on year-in-review posts centered around DC and Marvel. Circumstances kept them apart for a while; but it turns out that being stuck in your house for months on end can also help you reconnect. Therefore, Smash Pages proudly presents the return of an annual tradition, as Tom & Carla lock down 2020!

[This conversation has been edited from an extended Slack chat that occurred in December.]


Carla: Okay, so main topics for the year I see right up front are production (company decisions, strategies, etc), story (what’s actually happening in the comics) and media (TV and movie stuff).

Anything else this doesn’t cover? What’s the most important of these do you think?

Tom: I would say the production side of things – shutting down Diamond for six weeks, plus all the DC layoffs and cancellations, and DC changing distributors twice (or at least 1 1/2 times). Didn’t Marvel have some cancellations as well? Feels like Marvel had a low-key year event-wise, although it went from Empyre to X Of Swords to King In Black.

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Looking Back | COVID and Comics

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a bumpy year for the comics industry.

Today we kick off a series that looks back at the biggest news trends of 2020, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacted the world of comics. Watch for more posts all this week.

COVID-19 was already on the radar when I attended C2E2 on the last weekend of February 2020, but it was still just a vague shadow in the distance. There were only a handful of cases in the U.S., but we knew more were coming. Some folks Tweeted that they wouldn’t be hugging or even shaking hands, but most people went ahead anyway, happy to see old friends after a long winter apart. The folks at McCormick Place put in extra hand sanitizer stations. And since China was already coming out the other side of their epidemic, I spoke to a couple of publishers about how the brief shutdown over there had affected their schedules. Like many of the 95,000 attendees, I roomed with friends I hadn’t seen in months, had lunch and dinner with more friends, attended panels in rooms that held 200 or more, and walked around the crowded convention floor.

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