Tube Surfing: Marvel, Disney, Stan Lee and possible iTablet launch

• Marvel Entertainment stockholders approved the company’s merger with Disney at a special meeting held last Thursday (31st December). Under the agreement, valued at an estimated $4.3 billion, Marvel becomes a wholly-owned subsidiary of Disney. Whether this will ultimately have any impact on Panini’s license to publish Marvel material in the UK, given that Disney’s preferred European publishing partner would seem to be Egmont, remains unknown at this time.

• As well as acquiring Marvel, media site Cynopsis reports that Disney has developed its existing relationship with Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment (Purveyors of Wonder) by taking a 10% equity stake in POW! for $2.5 million. Disney entered into a first look deal with POW! in 2007, and under the new deal includes enhanced rights to the creative output of POW! and certain exclusive consulting services.

• Is Apple’s long-rumours iTablet about to be announced? The Financial Times reported that the company has booked the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco on 26th January to make a special announcement to the media and is widely expected to unveil a tablet-style touch screen computer that presents videos, magazines and newspapers with a iPhone-like interface. The New York Times published some detailed titbits about the device just before Christmas, reporting that Apple supremo Steve Jobs is apparently very happy with the device – which may launch as iSlate.

Apparently, if you have an iPhone, you’re carrying around a mini version of an early Apple tablet. Expect the first iTablets/iSlates to be shipped in March, according to this rumour round up.

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The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.



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2 replies

  1. Interesting news about the iTablet / iSlate. It’d be a step in the right direction for onscreen comics (rather than titchy one-panel-at-a-time iPhones) but the one thing that’s essential for their success is to improve technology so that staring at a screen to read a graphic novel for an hour or two doesn’t cause eye damage.

  2. I totally agree, Lew – screen resolution is the major issue here.

    I suspect the business model for the iSlate will be strong on selling magazine and comics subscriptions and it wouldn’t surprize me if a company like Marvel, which has really ramped up its digital offerings in the past two years, wasn’t on board from the get go with IDW and Dark Horse quick to follow if not also ready for it.

    As for other ereaders, I posted a story about a rather fine looking prototype from Finnish company Bonnier over on my Mobile Comics blog this morning, a print publisher that’s been around for a good number of years but seen the way things are going. The interface is really simple judging from the released video.

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