Have You Seen The Avengers Yet?

AvengersThe Avengers movie is out and has something for everyone in the mix.  Whether you’ve been a longtime fan of Marvel comics, or are just starting out, this movie is a must-see. Although, I have to say, if you haven’t seen any of the prequels yet, you may have some catching up to do.

The Avengers originally started out as Iron Man, Thor, Wasp, Ant-Man, and the Hulk. One by one all of the superheroes joined forces to fight Loki. After the Avengers fought off Loki, the heroes chose to continue to fight crime side by side. Wasp was the one who came up with the name “Avengers”. Eventually the Avengers added Captain America to the mix, after finding him trapped in ice and reviving him.

The Avengers of the recently released movie include Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, and Captain America, with the addition of Black Widow and Hawkeye. Some of the individual Avengers have their own movies that have come out over the years. Catching up on these prequels will enlighten your understanding of the new Avengers movie.

What’s great about the new Avengers movie is that, not only does it appeal to men and boys, but it appeals to women as well. Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed Buffy the Vampire Slayer, also wrote and directed The Avengers, giving it enough blood and guts for the men and enough powerful women, plot, and heart for the ladies.

Comic book characters and superheroes in particular, like those from Marvel, have a long history with the toy industry. Kids love getting action figures, clothes and other merchandise associated with their favorite superheroes. Our sister company, All Aboard Toys, has an excellent selection of Iron Man toys to feed your kids’ Avengers addiction.

Mr. President… Super-Hero?

I don’t know about you, but I spent most of yesterday glued to CNN, taking in Obamarama. (Oh… is that… not the official name for it? It seems like it ought to be.) Anyway, this phenomenon of Obama’s pop-culture popularity is something to behold, regardless of what you think of the man’s politics.

And so today I thought I’d point you at a great article about super-heroes who’ve ascended to the presidency.

Though he’s already met the Savage Dragon and Spider-Man, and will be playing a role in both Youngblood and Marvel’s Thunderbolts series, Obama is no superhero president.

While he may joke about being rocketed to earth from Krypton as a child, comic book readers know that there have been times when real super-heroes have been inaugurated as President. Often times these stories are used as springboards to explore larger topics, but more often than not, are funhouse mirrors on our own world.

It’s a must-read for any comics fan, not to mention that I’d had no idea that Obama had already been inserted into several comics, already. Fun!

Thomas goes to Fisher-Price

the story about Fisher-Price entering into a global agreement with HIT Entertainment:

Under the terms of the agreement, Fisher-Price, a division of the world’s leading toy company, Mattel, Inc., will be bringing together some of Thomas & Friends’ core category rights and will begin using its world-wide distribution capability to enhance and grow the long term business for this iconic brand. The first line of products will be available in 2010 and will expand as existing licensees’ rights expire across key toy categories.

[...]

Jeff Dunn, CEO, HIT Entertainment, commented: “Aligning one of the world’s most successful and preeminent pre-school brands with the world’s largest toy company is both an exciting event and a natural evolution for HIT Entertainment. We are immensely proud of Thomas & Friends, a brand which continues healthy growth around the world and is today in 185 territories and in 45 languages around the world. We look forward to working closely with Fisher-Price in taking Thomas & Friends to the next level as we begin preparations for Thomas’ 65th Anniversary celebrations in 2010.”

In related news: How is it possible that Thomas has been around for nearly 65 years?? Time flies when you’re a talking train, apparently.

Bratz continuing through 2009

The big news last month was everywhere: A California judge passed an injunction against MGA Entertainment, prohibiting them from making or selling Bratz items by mid-February of this year. Mattel (owner of the Barbie line) had brought suit against MGA for copyright infringement four years ago, and this had been the long-awaited outcome.

But no sooner had the dust settled than another decision was passed down, last week. Now the AP is reporting that the judge in this case has granted MGA another ten months to comply:

The judge who barred MGA Entertainment Inc. from selling or making its popular Bratz dolls agreed Tuesday to extend a deadline he set for the company to take the products off store shelves.

MGA, which was initially told to stop selling Bratz by Feb. 11, had argued in court that retailers would not order the toys unless the court could guarantee they would remain in stores through most of 2009. U.S. District Judge Stephen Larson obliged, and allowed MGA to file a motion for a later deadline by next week.

“Given the clear importance of the Bratz line to MGA’s financial health, it’s not a big leap to see that (the February deadline) would have significant economic impact on the viability of MGA,” Larson said.

I’m… confused. MGA was found guilty of copyright infringement. Mattel was awarded $100 million in damages, and an injunction was passed. But now MGA is being given extra time because the order as originally given would impact them financially?

There’s a lesson here, I’m sure of it. But I have no idea what it is.

More Iron Man, and Avengers, too

early buzz about Iron Man was right on, and the movie was a box office hit. So it’s only natural that Marvel would plan to ride the tide and make a sequel, right?

But how much of the movie’s success was script, production, etc., and how much as of it was their leading man?

Turns out, Marvel’s willing to bank on Robert Downey Jr.; they’ve just inked a deal with him that cements his role as Iron man for not just one but two more movies, as well as another role:

In addition to starring in “Iron Man 2,” Downey has agreed to return as billionaire Tony Stark and his crime-fighting alter ego in “The Avengers” and a third “Iron Man” installment, guaranteeing the thesp a superhero-sized payday and his own ongoing franchise as part of a four-picture deal with the comicbook company.

Jon Favreau, who is set to helm the second “Iron Man” pic, will also exec produce “The Avengers,” which is skedded for release on July 15, 2011. Pic will unite the Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk characters.

Oh, man. Do you suppose they’ll manage to keep The Avengers rated PG? I sure hope so. I think the kids would enjoy that. And I’ve heard enough about what a horrible mother I am about not letting them see Iron Man.

(Of course, I just realized that in 2011 I’ll have a kid who’s actually old enough for a PG-13 movie. Wow. Between that and what Downey Jr.’s speculated to earn over this 4-picture deal with Marvel, I may need to go lie down.)