Saturday, August 25, 2012

Avengers: Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One

Marvel is pulling out all the stops for the video release of the blockbuster film Avengers: Assembled.  In addition to the standard DVD edition, Marvel is releasing special 2-disc and 4-disc Blu-Ray combo packs as well as the 10-disc Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Collection.  While this offering looks at first blush to be a ploy to offload excess Blu-Ray inventory, it really is an incredible package.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One Collection comes packaged in a S.H.I.E.L.D. briefcase with a glowing Tesseract and Blu-Ray editions of The Avengers; Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor, as well as Blu-Ray versions of Iron Man; Iron Man 2 and The Incredible Hulk. Plus, the collection includes a top-secret bonus disc filled with never before seen, classified information. It also features exquisitely detailed art, prop reproductions and artifacts from the motion pictures.

It is expected that the short film Item 47 will be included in this collection, although it's not specified in the description online.  In any case, the substantial price tag seems worthwhile if based only on the movies, the Tesseract, S.H.I.E.L.D. briefcase, and the other extras, so Item 47 would be gravy.  The Avengers: Assembled will be released on September 25th and this collection is widely available through participating online retailers and directly through Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Joe Kubert R.I.P.

Legendary creator Joe Kubert passed away on August 12, 2012 at the age of 85. To call his contribution to comics extraordinary is an understatement. Kubert's impact on the medium can be measured not only in his own work as an artist, writer, and editor but also as a father to his sons Adam and Andy, two of finest and most commercially successful comic books artists in the business, and as a teacher to thousands of students at his Kubert School.

Bill Schelly, author of the Man of Rock: A Biography of Kubert, aptly noted that his career literally spans the history of American comics. He began drawing comics professionally in 1938 at the age of 11 just as Superman made his debut in Action Comics no. 1, and continued to be one of the most influential creators in comics until his death, with a body of work in mainstream and independent comic titles that is loved by fans and critics alike.

Kubert is best known for his definitive runs on DC’s war comics, GI Combat, Our Army at War, Sgt. Rock, Enemy Ace, and the Haunted Tank, as well as superhero titles like Hawkman and his adaptation of the Edgar Rice Burroughs property Tarzan. During the span of his 70+ year career in comics, he worked as an artist, writer, and editor on many of the leading titles for every major publisher in the business.

In 1976, he founded the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art, the first and only accredited school devoted solely to the art of cartoon graphics. The Kubert School has produced many of the most successful comic artists in the business today, including Scott Kolins, Alex Maleev, Tom Mandrake, Rags Morales, John Totelben, Rick Veitch, Thom Zahler, as well as Kubert’s sons Adam and Andy and many others.

Kubert's most recent project was DC's Before Watchmen: Nite Owl alongside his son Andy and his remarkable body of work will be a source of joy and inspiration to generations of fans and creators in the future.

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