Newsy bits and notes: video games are art, etc.

§ The big news: The Supreme Court ruled that the state cannot ban the sale of violent video games to minors. In the majority opinion, which alluded to the thought crimes of Wertham, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote:

“California has singled out the purveyors of video games for disfavored treatment — at least when compared to booksellers, cartoonists and movie producers — and has given no persuasive reason why.”


But he also wrote:

In contrast to hard-core pornography, Scalia said, there is no “long-standing tradition in this country of specially restricting children’s access to depictions of violence.”


Yes, that is true. So, so true.

While the majority agreed that video games shouldn’t be singled out, four justices had other objections, so video games may not be out of the legal woods yet.

201106280341 Newsy bits and notes: video games are art, etc.

§ An amazing interview with Jim Woodring at TCJ, conducted by Nicole Rudick:

RUDICK: I’m curious about the frog you saw during an art history class in junior college. You experienced visions during childhood, but this one has stayed in your work, and the way you describe it makes it seem like a more profound vision.

WOODRING: It was and it has stayed with me. It’s a presence I still feel. There was a time before I saw it when I could have almost anticipated that it was coming, because I felt that I had this sort of—this sounds silly to say—a guardian presence or a spirit animal or something in attendance. And when I actually saw the thing, I thought, That’s it, that’s my companion or my benefactor or whatever it is. I don’t even know how to describe what it is, because I don’t actually feel that it helps me or interacts in my life in any way. But it’s got some relationship to me, and the expression on its face is meaningful to me in a way that I cannot put into words. I’ve drawn that thing hundreds and hundreds of times, and in fact, even as we speak, I’m looking at a model of it sitting on my mantle.

§ TIm O’Neil chats with Charles Soule writer of 27, which contains some puzzles for the faithful:

So, the puzzle in 27. Hidden across all four issues are a series of guitar chord symbols – twenty-seven in all, as you might expect. They’re stashed in the gutters of particular pages numerically related to one of the themes of the book. When you take all of the chord symbols and put them in a row, they make a sort of code. That code, when deciphered, makes a set of instructions. My original plan was to buy a plane ticket to a con for the first person who deciphered the code, to support an obviously loyal fan, but so far, despite a lot of people working on it, no one’s cracked it yet. Because of that, and because I really do want to buy that plane ticket, I’ve changed the rules slightly. I put the solution to the puzzle into the trade, which hits stores on June 29. Anyone who picks up the trade and follows the instructions within the first week after the book is out will be entered into a drawing for the prize. I’ll pick a name out of a hat, and that’ll be that! I hope lots of people enter – it’s fun, easy, and you’ll get a pretty cool book out of it, even if you don’t win the flight.


§ In Egypt, religious conservatives have been offended by the image of Mickey Mouse with a beard which they felt mocked a particularly ultraconservative branch of Islam. Minnie Mouse was also portrayed in a veil in a cartoon by a telecom magnate:

Sawiris, who is also a politician, promotes a secular Egypt. He owns media companies and after Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 11, he launched a political party that calls for separation of state and religion. After the cartoon posted a few days ago stirred complaints on Twitter, Sawiris tweeted an apology on Friday and claimed he was joking. “I apologize for those who don’t take this as a joke; I just thought it was a funny picture; no disrespect meant. I am sorry,” he tweeted.

Paul Conrad Chain Reaction Newsy bits and notes: video games are art, etc.

§ “Chain Reaction” an iconic statue by late cartoonist Paul Conrad, has been fenced off after authorities found it was getting wobbly. The statue, located in front of the Santa Monica Cvic Center, was erected in 1991, and was frequently climbed on and touched by kids. However,

Takiguchi found that “many of the fasteners which attach the copper tubing chain to the fiberglass core are missing or not fully imbedded, and some exhibit severe corrosion,” the statement said.


§ Back in Gotham, producers of the Spider-Man musical are cautiously optimistic about not losing millions of dollars as box office has been positive:

“Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” took in $1.7 million for the week ending Sunday, a little below its $1.9 million potential but well above the $1.2 million the producers have indicated they need to reach to stay viable. “So far, so good,” said Michael Cohl, who, together with Jeremiah J. Harris, is the lead producer of the $75 million musical that was retooled in April after a fitful launch in November.


You can say THAT again.

§ Here is a phrase we never thought we would right: GREEN LANTERN is this year’s SCOTT PILGRIM, a film that has prompted soul-searching, hand-wringing, and dirty looks at the comics medium. Kim Masters delivers yet another post-mortem, this one offering some good insider dope; for instance the news that a sequel was go is not exactly true: It has not been decided yet.

The situation illuminates a dilemma facing Hollywood studios so intent on launching lucrative franchises that generate multiple revenue streams, including from sources other than box office, that they might find it difficult to accept the cold reality of disappointing ticket sales. And the issue arises at a delicate time for Warners. Its new studio head Jeff Robinov is basking in the glow of The Hangover Part II ($527 million worldwide and counting) but is hungry to launch a new franchise based on its DC Comics properties to replace the Harry Potter cash cow ending this summer.


Meanwhile, Mark Millar who showed a strong pitching arm while lobbing rotten tomatoes at the film earlier — deeming it the “worst superhero movie ever” in one tweet — has now come back to defend the superhero genre itself

I’ve seen a few articles about this in the past seven days, lots of commentators wondering if this financial and critical disappointment marks the beginning of the end for the superhero movie. As someone with an obvious interest in these things, it’s something I’ve given a lot of thought. I’ve been very lucky with my first two movies, the combined theatrical grosses totalling almost $450 million and this has paved the way for five new movies I’m working on at the moment. I’ve watched mainstream adaptations help the book sales on pals’ work too – from Frank’s Sin City and 300 to Mike’s Hellboy and Robert’s Walking Dead. Done properly, it’s the greatest gift creator-owned books can get because a 100 million dollar ad from Hollywood means your little book can compete with the Big Two. Eg, Kick-Ass outsold any other graphic novel in America last year at $25 a book. Kick-Ass 2 has gone through four printings of each issue, both issues now having sold over 100K at a time when even Marvel and DC’s biggest characters can’t crack that. Walking Dead’s 14 volumes just OWN the top 50 trade list and have done for several years now. A buzz on the books has helped us, but the likes of Del Toro and Vaughn and Darabont and others have ensured that our reputations have been ENHANCED by adaptation, not detracted as was so often the case in the past.


Translation: the world is still safe for Nemesis, Superior and Chosen movies.

§ Finally, as we wind down to the final Harry Potter movie, Hero Complex takes a look at Matthew Lewis, who plays Nevlle Longbottom. Just as he grew from nebbish to hero in the books, Lewis turned out to be a big hunk of a guy, who looks back on 10 years of making the movies:

NC: I understand that you were a big fan of the books long before you were cast in the movies.

ML: I read all the books, and I said to my mom, when I was about 10 years old, I said, “If they make a film, will you take me to go see it?” But little did I know that I’d be in it. It’s pretty strange. I hope they enjoy it. I hope we got it right. The pressure’s on. We’ll see. … This film has just been so crucial for me, Neville being so integral in the story, and I just hope that everyone enjoys it. We’ve all been building up to this moment for 10 years, and being a fan of the books myself, I know I’m a part of that “everyone.”

Comments

  1. I have no idea how the financials work on a Broadway show, but if S-M:TotD needs $1.2 million to be “viable” but took in $1.7 million, does that mean it notches the difference ($0.5 million) off of its $75 million price tag, and needs to maintain that pace for 150 weeks (or nearly 3 years) before it starts turning an actual profit? If so, wow.

  2. It should be noted that Scalia’s opinion in the video games case does include comic books in its history of the attempts to censor violent material for minors, does cite the CBLDF’s Amicus Curiae materials, and includes a footnote on Wertham and the 1950s efforts.

    Scalia is not high on the list of jurists I tend to agree with, but he and the others who signed on to this got this one right.

  3. Re: “Translation: the world is still safe for Nemesis, Superior and Chosen movies.”

    Alternate translation: Hi, I’m Mark Millar, the world’s most annoying self-promoter DB who will turn ANY story into a story about ME! I’m important.

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