Welcome back to The Rundown, our daily breakdown on comic news stories we missed from the previous day. Have a link to share? Email our team at email@example.com.
In case you missed it, cartoonist Ian McGinty died last week aged only 38, sparking a major conversation about comics creators being overworked and underpaid.
Larry Lieber in 2012
– Reuters reported that Disney and Marvel dropped their lawsuits against Larry Lieber, 91, and the estates of Don Heck, Gene Colan and Don Rico last week. The lawsuits were filed in September 2021, after Lieber and the aforementioned estates had filed to terminate Marvel’s copyright to various high-profile characters, including Iron Man, whom Lieber and Heck created with Stan Lee (Lieber’s brother) and Jack Kirby. A Disney spokesperson and an attorney for those being sued said they had reached an “amicable resolution.” Marvel did not settle with the estate of Spider-Man and Doctor Strange co-creator Steve Ditko, which is still seeking to reclaim his share of the rights to both heroes; “both sides asked a Manhattan federal court for pretrial wins in that case last month.”
– Via Boing Boing, Top Shelf announced “Mary Tyler MooreHawk,” a postmodern graphic/prose mystery novel by Dave Baker. The book’s title character is “an obscure comic book character who saved the world from a dimension-hopping megalomaniac. Journalist Dave Baker becomes engrossed in the mysteries surrounding the character and her abrupt cancellation after only nine episodes. To his astonishment, he discovers that the reclusive genius behind Mary Tyler MooreHawk shares his name, adding another layer of intrigue to the narrative.” It will be released on February 13, 2024.
– Simon & Schuster will publish “The Racc Pack,” a new children’s series by writer Stephanie Cooke (“Oh My Gods!”) and co-writer/artist Whitney Gardner (“Becoming RBG”). The first volume follows two raccoons and a possum who decide to stage a heist on a “new upscale grocery store that’s throwing away perfectly good food at the end of each day.” To overcome the store’s high-tech security system, “liberating that trash is going to take all the skills the Racc Pack have… and maybe some help from a cat burglar with a mysterious past.” It will be released on January 23, 2024, with a second entry planned for later that year.
– The CW has renewed Superman & Lois for a fourth season, while cancelling Gotham Knights. The first and now only season of the latter, which followed a group of misfits led by Bruce Wayne’s adoptive son Turner Hayes (Oscar Morgan), premiered earlier this year, and is set to conclude on June 27. The decision leaves Superman & Lois as the sole DC TV show on a network that was once dominated by the Arrowverse, before Warner Bros. and Paramount chose to sell most of their ownership of the channel to Nexstar last year. The fourth season will also be the show’s shortest yet, running a mere 10 episodes.
– Spoilers for Transformers: Rise of the Beasts follow, so please skip ahead if you want to avoid them: director Steven Caple Jr. confirmed it was his idea to introduce G.I. Joe at the end of the film, and that is he actively developing a sequel that could take the Autobots, Maximals, and Joes into space. (“I think it’s really cool that there are other planets out there with Transformers. It’s one of the reasons why I introduced the Maximals that way in the beginning of our film,” he says.) He added in another interview to expect his line-up of Joes to consist of lesser known characters than Duke et al. (who would likely still be children if the films continue to be set before the Transformers movie from 2007.) Rise of the Beasts is in theaters now, and has opened worldwide to $171 million, against a $200 million budget.
– Tezuka Productions and Akita Shoten announced a new chapter of Osamu Tezuka’s manga “Black Jack” will be created using an AI, which will be published in Shukan Shonen Champion this fall. The original series, which ran from 1973 to 1983, told the story of a brilliant but unlicensed surgeon, who helps the poor for free. Makoto Tezuka, Osamu’s son, and the other organizers admitted it was an “outrageous” idea, but still said “the emergence of generative AI could reduce the work of human creators this time and present a new way of creating manga content,” something that’ll surely come as a relief to the many Japanese creatives concerned about being plagiarized and losing jobs to greedy publishers.
– Tenoch Huerta denied María Elena Ríos’s allegations of sexual assault, describing her as a vindictive ex-girlfriend. During the weekend, Ríos, a musician, activist, and acid attack survivor, claimed Huerta is a sexual predator, and accused Mexican anti-racist organization Poder Prieto of protecting him; he in turn stated he had “engaged a legal team to commence the appropriate actions to protect [his] reputation.” She subsequently dismissed Huerta’s statement, saying she was too busy pushing legislation against acid attacks in their home country. Huerta, who plays Namor in the MCU, is expected to reprise the role in the next Avengers films, and will also appear in The Chosen One, the Netflix series based on “American Jesus.” Marvel Studios did not respond to a request for comment from Variety.
– Finally, actor Treat Williams died yesterday at Albany Medical Center in New York, following a car accident on Vermont Route 30. He was 71 years old. Williams was best known for starring in the TV series Everwood and Chesapeake Stories, and the films Hair, Prince of the City, 1941, Deep Rising, The Phantom, Mulholland Falls, The Eagle Has Landed, Once Upon a Time in America, and 127 Hours. Further roles included Tales of the Crypt, We Own This City, Blue Bloods, Chicago Fire, White Collar, The Simpsons, The Empire Strikes Back (where he went uncredited as an Echo Base Trooper), and Batman: The Animated Series (in which he voiced Dr. Achilles Milo.) He was also a certified flight instructor, and wrote a children’s book called Air Show! in 2010. He is survived by his wife, Pam Van Sant, and two children, Gille and Ellie.