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Friday, 4 May 2007

Wolverine on the BBC

UK digital TV channel CBBC has secured the UK rights to X-Men spin-off animation series Wolverine. First Serve Toonz, a joint venture company between India-based Toonz Animation and First Serve International, has sold the corporation the 26 x 30-minute series.

The show, which is based on the Marvel comic book character, will be broadcast on the BBC children's strand. The project started six months ago and it is in the pre-production stage with 50 artists working on it, according to P. Jaya Kumar, CEO of Toonz Animation India. In an exclusive chat with, Kumar revealed production work is expected to start from next month and around 200 artists will be involved.

Completion deadline is mid 2008.

"The Wolverine scripts were amongst the best we have ever read and the show promises to be a highly involving experience for the audience," commented Head of CBBC co-productions and acquisitions Jesse Cleverly. We're extremely proud to be part of this new animation franchise."

The link with the BBC has delighted Marvel International president Simon Philips. Describing Wolverine as an iconic character with worldwide appeal he describes a network like the BBC as "a natural home" for the mutant superhero.

Hmm, it all rather sounds as though they've replaced Wolverine's admantium claws that can slice a man in two with butter knives to me!

Thursday, 3 May 2007

The Madness of Corporate America

I imagine this doesn't really need publicity here, but right after a revealing longer piece by comics creator Steven Grant which is more about the misery of being a comics creator trying to get a project off the ground, is a non-comics item of utter corporate madness:

Here's a good one: The Recording Industry Association Of America (RIAA) has decided that even if you create your own music you can't play it on your own website without paying them. They talked the US Copyright Office into designating their subsidiary Soundexchange the collector of Internet radio royalty payments for all music played on the Internet, not just music controlled by the RIAA.

Why? Pretty much just so they can enforce their will on Internet radio. What this means is that if you compose your own symphony and want to podcast it, you have to pay Soundexchange the royalties that you owe yourself. Then Soundexchange will pay the royalties back to you, if you pay Soundexchange for the service. If you don't want to join Soundexchange - and if your music doesn't fall under RIAA jurisdiction, why would you? - they don't have any obligation to give you the money you're owed. Because, apparently, nonmembers simply aren't owed any, even though they're required to pay.

It's basically racketeering, and like most such schemes various companies and organizations are now trying to impose on the Internet, I can't wait to see how they plan to enforce it, since the Internet is an international operation and it's only a US government agency that has authorized this thuggish stupidity. Not that it'll stop the RIAA from trying to operate like a pack of mobsters, but it'll be interesting to see what happens when someone decides to take them to court over this.
It's hard to imagine courts will uphold the scheme for long though I expect some judge somewhere will think it's a wonderful idea, so arguing it in court doesn't seem in the RIAA's best interest, but if they back down on any threats of legal action they'll be backing down on all of them. Most likely they'll face any legal challenges with the standard corporate practice of driving up legal costs for the opposition and trying to keep the case from ever coming to trial.
Reading further into this, I'm bemused to discover via BoingBoing that The RIAA is the most hated "company" in America, according to a recent poll on the Consumerist. The RIAA's campaign of suing thousands of American music lovers has been the single biggest PR disaster in recent industrial history -- which is why Engebretsen's employer beat out Halliburton, Blackwater and Wal-Mart for the coveted "Worst Company" slot.

Seems the Performing Rights Society in the UK just isn't trying hard enough. :)

Dan Dare on BBC7

Joe Gordon from Forbidden Planet International has just e-mailed me to point out that BBC7 is running a four part dramatisation of Dan Dare, Pilot of the Future, based on the Voyage to Venus storyline.

It started Tuesday at 6 as part of the 7th Dimension SF lot, then each day after through to Friday, so the first two parts can be heard now on the Listen Again feature, next two tonight and tomorrow evening.


Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Is Matt Groening one of the world's Top 100?

There's still a couple of days left to vote in TIME's Top 100 Poll, an annual feature in the US weekly magazine which selects the world's most influential - note, not necessarily the most popular - people.

Along with the usual suspects in a 204 strong list of politicians, scientists, web gurus and celebrities such as Beyone Knowles, Clint Eastwood, George W. Bush and Gordon Brown are a few names you just might recognise from the worlds of comics and fantasy literature, worth some votes methinks: The Simpsons and Futurama creator Matt Groening definitely gets a big hand from me, but there's also Harry Potter creator J. K. Rowling, Back to the Future actor Michael J. Fox and Sin City creator Frank Miller.

The poll looks like it's going to be a close run finish and you can rate every single one of the 204 nominees (should you choose, and should you actually have heard of some of them!).

Beyond the world of comics I've tipped my hat to Wired editor Chris Anderson, whose 'Long Tail' theory gives even the least known web comic creator hope they might make some money from their creation, some day; and, simply because he's successfully stuck two finger up at George W. Bush and co., Venezuela's president Hugo Chavez. But Nelson Mandela got my highest rating.

Update 21/5/07: In the final results J.K. Rowling came 6th, Matt Groening 22nd, pipping Michael J. Fox (23rd) and Nelson Mandela (24th); Frank Miller came 67th, Hugo Chavez 84th, and Chris Anderson 102nd of 204 nominees.

Let it Rain! The Korean R&B phenom had almost half a million votes, over 100,000 more than runner-up Stephen Colbert. At #16, blogger Perez Hilton did better than his namesake Paris — the socialite finished last with a limp average score of 19, with Kate Moss just one position above her.

And talking of Kate...

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