Business | Depending upon which source you believe, Walt Disney Studios Chairman Dick Cook either resigned, or was fired, from the company Friday afternoon after 38 years. Whichever is the case, the news took most everyone by surprise. No successor has been named.
Cook’s departure comes nearly three weeks after Disney announced its planned $4-billion purchase of Marvel Entertainment. The Wall Street Journal reports that “people close to Disney” claim Cook had complained Disney Studios wouldn’t have control of Marvel Studios under the terms of the deal — something Cook, through a spokeswoman, denies.
Others note a growing rift between Cook and Disney CEO Robert Iger, who in May publicly criticized the performance of the company’s film division.
Cook began his Disney career in 1970 as a ride operator at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, working his way through the company until 2002, when he was named chairman of Walt Disney Studios. [Los Angeles Times, Deadline Hollywood]
Legal | In its coverage of the efforts by heirs of Jack Kirby to reclaim copyrights to some Marvel characters, The New York Times’ DealBook blog notes: “Even before the Kirby family sent its notices, Disney was facing criticism from some Wall Street analysts who expressed concern that Marvel’s complex web of copyright agreements might prevent Disney from capitalizing on some Marvel assets.” [DealBook]
Legal | Google and its settlement partners — the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers — are rushing to modify the terms of an agreement to resolve a 2005 lawsuit accusing the Internet giant of infringing on copyrights by digitizing out-of-print books without permission. On Friday, the Justice Department filed documents urging a federal court not to approve the settlement without modifications that addressed legal concerns raised by numerous critics, including DC Comics and Microsoft. [The New York Times]
Retailing | Deb Aoki talks to Meltdown Comics owner Gaston Dominguez-Letelier about the challenges he faces selling manga in the direct market: “That time (when we order any and all manga) has passed for us. We are left with 2,000 over-stocked books and we learned a lesson. We’ve since curbed our appetite for taking risks on unproven titles and are just stocking the greatest hits now. Nowadays for us, it’s all about getting books that appeal to the more sophisticated readers out there and figuring out how best to cater to them.” [About.com]
Retailing | Brothers Jason and Nathan Hurley have opened Hurley’s Heroes in Joplin, Missouri. [The Joplin Globe]
Conventions | Judy Harrison and Kyle Kernan file reports on Saturday’s BangPop convention in Bangor, Maine, which drew more than 300 people to the Bangor Convention Center. [Bangor Daily News, The Maine Campus]
Blogosphere | Tom Spurgeon marks the fifth anniversary of The Comics Reporter with an interesting look at how the comics landscape has changed since 2004. [The Comics Reporter]
Creators | Marc-Oliver Frisch remembers Steve Gerber on what would have been the writer’s 62nd birthday. [Comiks Debris]
Creators | The Surrogates creators Robert Venditti and Brett Weldele give separate interviews about their Top Shelf Productions comic series, whose move adaptation debuts on Friday. [The Sunday Paper, Great Falls Tribune]
Creators | Writer Vito Delsante talks about FCHS, his collaboration with artist Rachel Freire that he describes as “Love and Rockets meets American Pie.” [CosmicBookNews]
Weirdness | I’ll get this out of the way upfront: This link isn’t safe for work, or for several other locations. That said, I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve seen Peter Parker/Spider-Man used to explain fellatio techniques. I could be wrong, though. [The Daily Loaf]