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MARV WOLFMAN WANTS A CUT OF MARVEL’S ‘BLADE’

Although it’s the
first of their movie adaptations to make it to the silver screen without a hitch,
not to mention riding considerable good word-of-mouth, “Blade” is causing Marvel
Comics headaches of an entirely different sort.

Veteran comic
book writer Marv Wolfman, who created the half-vampire hero along with artist
Gene Colan back in the “Tomb of Dracula” comic in the early 1970s, is suing
the comic company for $35 million, saying he never gave permission for the movie
to be made.

Marvel, and other
comic book companies, traditionally owns the exclusive rights to characters
under a “work for hire” contract, but Wolfman asserted, in a suit filed in Los
Angeles on Thursday, that he was a freelancer when the character was created,
and that Marvel never filed a copyright on the character and that there was
no contract, written or oral, giving Marvel the rights to Blade or the film’s
villain, Deacon Frost.

Wolfman’s and
Colan’s names were added to the opening credits of “Blade” shortly before it
was released. Marvel had been the subject of intense criticism after it was
revealed it initially planned not to mention Wolfman and Colan.

The Comic Wire
could not reach Wolfman for comment by press time and Marvel Comics declines
to comment on the litigation at this time.


JEFF SMITH TO DIRECT ‘BONE’ FOR NICKELODEON

Jeff Smith
has come full-circle. Before he created the Eisner award-winning independent
comic “Bone,” he was a cartoon animator, a background that clearly influences
his comic book work. Now his light-hearted fantasy kingdom will be coming to
the big screen, as an animated movie.

Nickelodeon Movies, which is also producing the upcoming “Rugrats” movie, announced
the deal last week.

“Nickelodeon is a place where traditional entertainment values are given a
fresh, edgy feel,” said Smith in a Nickelodeon press release. “I’m extremely
pleased with this announcement. Nickelodeon Movies is exactly where Bone needs
to be.”

The first collection of Bone issues has sold over 90,000 English-language
copies.

No release date for the feature has been announced.


SHAKE-UPS AT DC AND MARVEL:
‘IMPULSE’ GETS NEW TEAM,
‘ALPHA FLIGHT,’ ‘HEROES FOR HIRE’
REPORTEDLY CANCELED

Once upon
a time, working with one of the Big Two comic book companies was the recipe
for financial and career stability. But as the comic market continues to contract,
even that is no longer a sure thing.

That was brought home late last week, when a DC Comics marketing representative
confirmed that “Impulse,” starring one of the company’s most popular new characters
of the past decade will be getting a new creative team: writer Todd DeZago and
artist Ethan Van Sciver.

The move, which has long been rumored on various Internet fan sites, has no
official start date, although current “Impulse” artist Craig Rousseau told the
Comic Wire “to the best of my knowledge, [William Messner-Loebs] is staying
with the book, although I am leaving the title as of issue 50 (or thereabouts)
to try my hand at something other than a hyperactive speedster.”

Comic Wire was unable to reach Messner-Loebs at press time.

DeZago has already had a go-round with the teen speedster character, having
written “World Without Grownups,” which introduced the Young Justice team Impulse
is a member of, along with Robin and Superboy, and the “Young Justice” special
“The Secret.” Vac Sciver previously did the art on “Impulse” #41.

And Newsarama (available at http://www.mania.com/newsarama) is quoting Marvel
Comics assistant editor as saying that “Alpha Flight” and “Heroes for Hire”
have both had their respective plugs pulled, having fallen below a newly instituted
minimum sales figure of 35,000 copies (for comparison’s sake, DC Comics has
been pulling the plug on series that sell less than approximately 18,000 copies
per issue).

Close to the kill level but not dead yet, according to writer Joe Kelly and
editor Paul Tutrone, is “Deadpool,” which Newsarama points out is due for a
big push from Marvel in October. The “Deadpool Month” promotion will include
a new paperback collection of back issues and several specials. http://fly.to/superboy.


ANIMATED BATGIRL, SUPERGIRL TO MEET IN ALL-GIRL EPISODE

The first
animated cartoon meeting of Superman and Batman has just made it to video, and
fans are already eagerly awaiting the next go-round for the World’s Finest heroes.
But fans of their female colleagues will be getting to see them in action together
next season as well.

Detroit News Comic Continuum (http://detnews.com/comicbooks/) is reporting
Hilary Bader, who wrote three Batman episodes of “The Batman/Superman Adventures”
last season has written “Girls Night Out,” which will unite Batgirl and Supergirl
for the first time.

“It’s all girls,” Bader told the Continuum. “Girl villains. Girl heroes. Nothing
but girls. The boys are out of town, and the girls take over.”

That means Supergirl, Batgirl, Livewire, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Bader’s
no stranger to writing strong female characters: She also writes for “Xena:
Warrior Princess.”