• National Free Comic Book Day Hits Comic Book Specialty Shops May 2nd

    BALTIMORE, April 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — On Saturday May 2 nd, over two thousand three hundred comic book shops across North America and around the world will give out over 5.6 million comic books—free of charge—during Free Comic Book Day (FCBD). The annual event is one of the most anticipated comic book celebrations of the year as retailers prepare to welcome new and devout comic book fans into their stores for fun events and free comics.

    “Free Comic Book Day is a perfect occasion for those who are new to comic books or those who have been reading them for years to celebrate comics and discover new ones that debut to the public on the first Saturday in May,” said Free Comic Book Day spokesperson Deborah Moreland.
    The 50 free books available this year are designed to appeal to a broad range of tastes, including super hero stories like Marvel’s All-New, All- Different Avengers, stories featuring classic characters such as The Tick, TMNT, and Spongebob, sci-fi adventures as seen in Doctor Who or comics that are great for readers of all ages with Pokemon, The Simpons, Sonic, and many more.

    “On May 2nd, we encourage fans to use Free Comic Book Day as an opportunity to explore their local comic book shop, seeing all it has to offer,” said Moreland. “Hopefully, they’ll walk away with free comics they can’t wait to read, and then keep coming back to their local shop for more!”
    Along with free comics, many comic book shops will feature events during the day including creator signings, appearances of costumed characters, and great deals on exclusives and sale items.

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  • Is Disney ignoring Marvel’s female fans?

    Neither she nor the film’s other leading woman, Scarlet Witch, are included in the new collections of action figures or vinyl toys. Of Avengers products created by four major toy retailers (Lego, Hasbro, Funko and Diamond Select), four involve Black Widow, while 17 are Iron Man-based.

    A relative lack of female characters in Disney’s official merchandise isn’t new. Despite featuring in Iron Man 2, a Black Widow action figure wasn’t brought out until the release of The Avengers two years later, and then only as part of a pack of 12 action figures. Figurines of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk were all brought out in previous releases.
    A blog, But Not Black Widow, has even appeared online to detail the historic absence of Black Widow in Marvel toys and merchandise.
    Following the release of Guardians of the Galaxy last summer, the character of Gamora was absent enough from the merchandise to the extent that fans took to Twitter to ask “Where’s Gomaora?”:

    Earlier in 2014 Disney started selling Princess Leia dolls after a parent-led campaign kickstarted their production.
    Now an anonymous writer claiming to be a former Marvel employee has written about her experiences within the company, and claims that “Disney bought Marvel and Lucasfilm because they wanted to access the male market.”
    “To achieve this goal, they allocate less to Marvel’s female demo, and even less to a unisex one. They won’t be interested in changing how they work until consumers understand what’s going on.”
    The anonymous writer added that Disney’s “desired demographics” after the Marvel acquisition “had no females in it whatsover”, with the reasoning being that with Frozen and Disney Princess merchandise, the female half of the market was covered by the company.
    Disney is yet to respond to requests for a comment.
    • Marvel and DC’s female superhero films: what’s the score?
    Marvel has done surveys of cinemagoers at films such as Captain America 2 and exit polling reported by Box Office Mojo showed that Guardians of the Galaxy had the highest ever proportion of women in the audience for a Marvel film: 44 per cent.
    Both Marvel and DC Comics have been giving more female characters screen time for future films. DC’s Wonder Woman will be introduced in the forthcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and her standalone film will start filming this autumn.
    Captain Marvel, which focuses on the adventures of Carol Danvers, has just hired two female screenwriters: Nicole Perlman, who co-wrote Guardians of the Galaxy, and Inside Out’s Meg LeFauve.
    • The best films on release in cinemas now

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  • This is the self-driving sci-fi Chevy we’ve all been waiting for

    General Motors and its Chevrolet brand kicked off the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show in style with the introduction of the Chevrolet FNR Concept. According to GM, the FNR is an autonomous electric driving concept that’s meant to give us a glimpse of what mobility will looking like in the future.

    The menacing concept is also part of a celebration to commemorate Chevrolet’s 10-year anniversary in China.

    The 2015 Shanghai Auto Show runs from April 22nd-29th.The Chevrolet FNR Concept was developed in Shanghai by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center.

    The FNR’s designers aimed to create a unique and innovative vehicle for the young consumers of the future.

    Which is why it looks a bit like a cross between a Hot Wheels toy and a prop car from a sci-fi flick.

    Crazy looks aside, the FNR boasts some truly futuristic technology.

    One the FNR’s signature design elements are its dual “dragonfly” swinging doors.

    Inside is an open cabin that can …

    … transform into a lounge style arrangement when the car is in autonomous mode.

    So how does this autonomous mode work? The FNR features a set of roof-mounted sensors that map out the car’s environment.

    The driver can switch between manual and autonomous mode by using a gesture control system.

    Power for the FNR comes from a set of magnetic hubless wheel electric motors.

    Even better, the electric FNR won’t need to be plugged in. That’s because it’s equipped with a wireless auto-charging system.

    To get the FNR going, Chevy has given the concept an iris recognition system.

    Page 2 of 2 – One really cool interior feature is Chevy’s intelligent personal assistance function, which can plan out routes based on the driver’s exact needs.

    And finally, the crystal laser headlights look awesome.

    Here are some of the most beautiful cars you can buy today…

    DON’T MISS: The 10 most beautiful cars money can buy

    See Also:
    How Yanis Varoufakis became the most badass finance minister in the world
    15 surreal pictures of Chinese ‘nail houses’ whose owners refused to cave to developers
    Jon Bon Jovi sold his $37.5 million Manhattan duplex to an Austrian-American financier

    [Read More...]
  • This is the self-driving sci-fi Chevy we’ve all been waiting for

    General Motors and its Chevrolet brand kicked off the 2015 Shanghai Auto Show in style with the introduction of the Chevrolet FNR Concept. According to GM, the FNR is an autonomous electric driving concept that’s meant to give us a glimpse of what mobility will looking like in the future.

    The menacing concept is also part of a celebration to commemorate Chevrolet’s 10-year anniversary in China.

    The 2015 Shanghai Auto Show runs from April 22nd-29th.The Chevrolet FNR Concept was developed in Shanghai by GM’s Pan Asia Technical Automotive Center.

    The FNR’s designers aimed to create a unique and innovative vehicle for the young consumers of the future.

    Which is why it looks a bit like a cross between a Hot Wheels toy and a prop car from a sci-fi flick.

    Crazy looks aside, the FNR boasts some truly futuristic technology.

    One the FNR’s signature design elements are its dual “dragonfly” swinging doors.

    Inside is an open cabin that can …

    … transform into a lounge style arrangement when the car is in autonomous mode.

    So how does this autonomous mode work? The FNR features a set of roof-mounted sensors that map out the car’s environment.

    The driver can switch between manual and autonomous mode by using a gesture control system.

    Power for the FNR comes from a set of magnetic hubless wheel electric motors.

    Even better, the electric FNR won’t need to be plugged in. That’s because it’s equipped with a wireless auto-charging system.

    To get the FNR going, Chevy has given the concept an iris recognition system.

    Page 2 of 2 – One really cool interior feature is Chevy’s intelligent personal assistance function, which can plan out routes based on the driver’s exact needs.

    And finally, the crystal laser headlights look awesome.

    Here are some of the most beautiful cars you can buy today…

    DON’T MISS: The 10 most beautiful cars money can buy

    See Also:
    How Yanis Varoufakis became the most badass finance minister in the world
    15 surreal pictures of Chinese ‘nail houses’ whose owners refused to cave to developers
    Jon Bon Jovi sold his $37.5 million Manhattan duplex to an Austrian-American financier

    [Read More...]
  • DCP, Marvel launch Avengers: Age of Ultron merchandise

    27 mins ago by Patrick Callan

    With Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron set to premiere in North American theaters on May 1, Disney Consumer Products and Marvel have started rolling out a wide-ranging consumer products program at US retailers.
    The collection includes licensed products from Hasbro, Lego, Hot Wheels, Her Universe, Under Armour, Mad Engine, Jay Franko, Funko, Rubie’s Costumes and Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
    Alongside items like play sets, action figures, apparel, disk-launching shields and light-up repulsor FX gloves (pictured), the movie is supported by several Marvel comics and a Disney Publishing Worldwide program featuring story books, junior novels, leveled readers and eBooks.
    Merchandise is now available at national retailers in the US, specialty stores, the Disney Store, Marvel.com and DisneyStore.com, which has also launched an updated personalization shop timed to the film’s theatrical release.
    In addition to their retail partnership, Walmart and Marvel have teamed up to launch a mobile app, Super Heroes Assemble, for iOS and Android devices.
    Marvel’s “Avenger Hero Up” pre-awareness campaign continues until the end of the month. Each week, a new kid-targeted video is being released on MarvelKids.com. Current videos on the site include sneak peeks at Marvel’s Avengers Assemble animated series, LEGO Marvel Super Heroes shorts and behind-the-scenes looks at toys from Hasbro, Hot Wheels, Mad Engine and Funko.

    Tags: Avengers: Age of Ultron, Disney Consumer Products, Marvel

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  • Cinderella – Cinema Listings from Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard

    Ella loses her mother and father, but inherits a vindictive stepmother Lady Tremaine and two brattish stepsisters, Anastasia and Drizella. Treated as a servant by her new family, who cruelly nickname her Cinderella, the plucky heroine catches the eye of dashing Prince Charming, who must pick a bride to ensure the security of the kingdom. So he throws a lavish ball where Ella makes a grand entrance with some magical help from her Fairy Godmother.
    GenreAction, Adaptation, Drama, Family, Family, Fantasy, Romance
    CastDerek Jacobi, Stellan Skarsgard, Richard Madden, Holliday Grainger, Cate Blanchett, Sophie McShera, Lily James, Ben Chaplin, Helena Bonham Carter, Hayley Atwell.
    DirectorKenneth Branagh.
    WriterChris Weitz.
    CountryUS
    Duration113 mins
    Official sitemovies.disney.com/cinderella/
    Release27/03/2015
    Slavishly adapted from Disney’s classic 1950 animated musical, Kenneth Branagh’s live action version of the fairy-tale romance doesn’t skimp on the period detail. Sandy Powell’s luxurious costumes, Dante Ferretti’s opulent set designs and Patrick Doyle’s sweeping orchestral score conjure a magical world of unerring love in which even we gasp at the gargantuan splendour of the grand ball where the prince must choose his wife.
    While this Cinderella unquestionably dazzles the senses, screenwriter Chris Weitz is shackled to fond memories of the hand-drawn film and consequently, he has almost no room for flourishes of originality.
    The plot arc is predetermined, the ugly stepsisters don’t hack off their heels or toes to squeeze into a misplaced glass slipper, and Helena Bonham Carter’s fairy godmother isn’t quite as eccentric as she or we would like as she engineers the film’s best set-piece with a flick of her wand.
    “I don’t go transforming pumpkins for just anyone!” she chirps. No, the special effects wizards do and they accomplish the pivotal sequence with aplomb. Before all of the jiggery-pokery with a pumpkin, four mice and a goose, Ella (Lily James) is consigned to the kitchen by her vindictive stepmother Lady Tremaine (Cate Blanchett) and brattish stepsisters, Anastasia (Holliday Grainger) and Drizella (Sophie McShera).
    Emboldened by the dying words of her mother (Hayley Atwell) – “Have courage and be kind” – Ella tries to rise above the bullying. When the name-calling becomes too frightful, she escapes on horseback and catches the eye of the dashing Prince (Richard Madden), who must pick a bride at the behest of the dying King (Derek Jacobi).
    So the Prince throws a lavish ball where Ella makes her grand entrance then disappears as the clock chimes midnight, leaving behind footwear that would surely pose a health and safety risk in any other film. “Find that girl – the forgetful one who loses her shoes!” decrees the Captain of the royal guard (Nonzo Anosie).
    Cinderella will enchant a generation of girls, who dream of donning the tiara of a Disney princess. James and Madden are an attractive screen pairing, while Blanchett draws inspiration from Joan Crawford to cast a formidable shadow from beneath the brim of her character’s extravagant hats.
    “I do love a happy ending, don’t you?” gushes one of the characters. Branagh’s film certainly does, without a hint of irony. The main feature is preceded by the animated short Frozen Fever, which continues the adventures of sisters Anna (voiced by Kristen Bell) and Elsa (Idina Menzel) as they prepare for a birthday celebration.
    Lovable snowman Olaf (Josh Gad) and hunky Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) also return and the script includes a cute reference to the blockbusting film when ice queen Elsa sneezes and chirrups, “A cold never bothered me anyway!” A generation of men, who take to their beds at the first sniffle, would disagree.

    [Read More...]
  • ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ Donatello Death Update: ‘TMNT’ Writer Teases Alien Resurrection In Free Comic Book Day Issue #45? [SPOILERS]

    “Leonard leads, Raphael is cool but rude and Michaelo is a party dude.” Any 3-year-old worth their shell can tell you that. But who is going to “do machines” now that Donatello is dead. The bo staff wielding, Turtle was beaten to (near) death by Bebop and Rocksteady, in the pages of IDW’s TMNT issue #44. However, there is some speculation that Donnie might somehow survive. Recently, one the TMNT writers teased a possible alien resurrection for Don in the upcoming Free Comic Book Day issue #45.
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    (Photo : James Knight) TMNT Donatello action figure from Playmates Toys

    Recently, TMNT co-writer Tom Waltz (alongside co-creator Kevin Eastman) seemingly killed off Donatello. Waltz later spoke with IGN, where he was asked if Donnie was definitely dead, answering:
    “In a world of mutants, thinking robots, inter-dimensional travel and ninja crime lords, one can never really say anything definitively. I hate spoilers so all I’ll say is this — be sure to read issue #45 and our TMNT Free Comic Book Day issue for the surprising continuation of this story.
    “The only hint I’ll give is there is no earthly way Donnie can survive such a terrible injury. Furthermore… can his family survive such a terrible loss? Keep reading!”
    Key words here are,” NO EARTHLY WAY.” Could we be seeing an alien resurrection in Donnies future,….that is if he has a future.
    Free Comic Book Day is Saturday May 2.
    (Photo : James Knight) TMNT Donatello action figure from Playmates Toys

    [Read More...]
  • Hasbro off to a good start after unexpected first-quarter results

    Revenues for toys in the Boys category grew by 10% to $272.bm, but revenue for the Girls category declined by 16% primarily due to a drop of in demand for Furby, Furreal Friends and Easy Bake products. Pre-school category revenue increased by 22% …

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  • ‘Batman v Superman’ Honest Trailer Skewers DC Comics, Fan Boys (Video)

    Screen Junkies released its first honest teaser for “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” on Monday, complete with a new title that better represents the movie’s promotion.
    The parody, “Batman ft Superman: Rush to the Justice League,” forgoes the voiceover of the original teaser and replaces it with excerpts of nerds debating the upcoming Warner Bros. film based on DC Comics characters.
    “Stop with the brooding. The only one who gets to brood is Batman,” comedian Patton Oswalt can be overheard. You can’t all be brooding!” Another fan invokes the Marvel/DC rivalry when he says, “‘Ant-Man’ looks stupid. There, I said it.”
    Also Read: Zack Snyder Reveals 2 Posters With Batman and Superman Tearing Into One Another (Photos)
    After the lengthy opening camera sweep on the original trailer’s defiled Superman statue, the narrator directs the audience: “Get ready to debate a teaser that will probably generate more drama then the movie itself.”
    The teaser concludes with an impersonated Ben Affleck asking, “Is my Batman voice better than Christian Bale‘s? I mean, it has to be, right?”
    The “Batman v Superman” trailer was slated to premiere in select IMAX theaters Monday, but a pirated copy leaked online last week, prompting director Zack Snyder to release the trailer via Twitter earlier than planned.
    Also Read: ‘Lego Batman,’ ‘Lego Movie’ Sequel Arriving Ahead of Schedule; ‘Ninjago’ Delayed
    Another parody has already been produced, featuring former Batman Adam West and former Superman Christopher Reeve.
    Watch the honest teaser here.
    Read original story ‘Batman v Superman’ Honest Trailer Skewers DC Comics, Fan Boys (Video) At TheWrap

    [Read More...]
  • A Chicago dad introduces his daughter to Star Wars

    This week’s blog post is by WDP co-host Matt Rocco, who lives in the Edgewater Glen neighborhood of Chicago with Professor Foster (his “Brown Mom” wife), and their daughter Viva, with whom the Force is strong.
    This week, a new teaser trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens dropped. Unless you’ve been sleeping inside a Tauntaun for the last couple of years–and thought they smelled bad on the OUTSIDE!–you know that the long-awaited sequel to Return of the Jedi is coming, with all of the living original cast in their withered glory.

    When it dropped, I was on an IM thread with some other geeks and geek dads.

    “I just cried,” I admit.

    “Same here,” Jim says.

    “No spoilers,” Isaiah says, insisting he’s not watching the trailers. (So I told him the movie is about a civil war between the Squid Heads and the Octopus Heads from Mon Calamari. Jared says Han’s new sidekick is “Son of Greedo.”)

    You see, Star Wars isn’t just entertainment for us Gen Xers (or for Gen Y, the Millennials and whatever the new batch of kids is called). It’s the closest thing most of us have to religion … tired, old Jedi religion or not. It is the closest thing to a global and generational Lingua Franca that there might be, and for most Dads I know, bringing their kids to the upcoming sequels will be the highlight of their parenting experience thus far.

    My problem? My daughter will only be 4 when it comes out, and she’s largely a princess-mad girl with a profound aversion to robots.
    I find her lack of faith … disturbing.

    I’m not sure what to do about the age thing. I was only 2 when A New Hope premiered, so I never saw that in the theaters until the ‘90s re-release “ring around the Death Star” version. I saw The Empire Strikes Back twice in the theater when I was 5. Twice because I fell asleep the first time, so I guess I wasn’t quite old enough then. And though I never admitted it, the Dagobah scene in the cave scared the poodoo out of me.
    I’m not sure what the right age will be for Episode VII, but the (cough) prequels were lousy with arms and heads flying everywhere. The original movies weren’t that bad, but I think that Ewok getting blasted in Episode VI would put Viva in a Bacta Tank for a week.

    She’s a delicate girl, and she still thinks guns are “squirters” or “flashlights” and really doesn’t like it when characters “are mean.” She just doesn’t feel the hatred flow through her like most kids.

    Most of my friend’s toddlers, the boys in particular, have already been gently indoctrinated into Star Wars culture. And although they might not have seen the more violent bits yet, they’ve all got a house full of R2-D2 merch.

    Viva found some of my old toys at my parents:

    “Daddy, I found your Greg Skywalker toy at Grandma and Grandpa’s!”

    “Greg Skywalker?”

    “Yes, and his Life Saver.”

    She saw all the Star Wars costumes at Halloween:

    “Daddy, Ethan is dressed as Nakekins Skywalker!”

    “Nakey-kins?”

    “Greg Skywalker’s Dad!”

    And last night, I showed her a Darth Maul figure. (The Target exclusive with the robot legs!):
    “Dark Paul? Why is he red and black? Is he hurt?”

    “No. That’s what color he is. He’s from space.”

    “Like an astronaut.”

    “Kind of. All the Star Wars people fly around on spaceships.”

    “All of them? Even the silly, furry guy?”

    “Yes.”

    “Dark Paul looks like Spider-Man. Is Spider-Man there?”

    “No.”

    “Where is Spider-Man?”

    “I don’t think Spider-Man is friends with them. They live in space.”

    “I think Dark Paul should be friends with Spider-Man.”

    I really want to share Episode VII with Viva. I might have to start her off on Episode VIII (or Rebel One), just as I started off on Episode V long, long ago.

    Even then, my only hope, you might say, is to tell her that Princess Leia is the new Disney Princess – which, technically, she is. I’ll also have to explain to her why Princess Leia is 60 and talks like Harvey Fierstein.

    And finally, here is the opening scroll for Viva’s version of Star Wars (spoiler warning!):

    A long time ago
    in a galaxy far, far, away
    Greg Skywalker and his friends,
    a big silly furry guy
    and some robots
    flew around in spaceships.
    They got scared by Dark PaulWho looks hurt and like Spider-Man
    some of them had Life Savers.
    Greg Skywalker’s dad was Nakekins Skywalker.
    He was nice but turned mean.
    But then he turned nice again.

    Spider-Man was not there …

    If you’ve enjoyed this Parenting Media Association Award Winning blog, subscribe to the WDP podcast (One of Podbean’s 10 most downloaded Parenting Podcasts worldwide and an iTunes staff pick for best Parenting humor) for free on iTunes, or listen at whitedadproblems.com. (Do note that the show has a potty mouth and is definitely for Over 17 Only.)

    Three former college roommates, now hapless Dads on “the wrong side of 35”, investigate the mystery that is fatherhood… without a clue.
    See more of White Dad Problems’s stories here.

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