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Indie comics news: BOOM! Studios' deal, "Sherwood Texas", "He-Man" and "Shi"

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BOOM! Studios gets first crack at Cartoon Network licenses!

As much as creator owned series are the lifeblood of "third party" publishers, licensed material which is more well known is often how many publishers can balance out their budgets and better aid independent creators. To this end, while BOOM! Studios has been known for many original series (including publishing new creations by Mark Waid and Stan Lee Media), they also were once known for Disney licensed comics as well as other titles. Having lost those Disney licenses not long after the company's purchase of Marvel Comics, BOOM! moved onto another course of kid-friendly comics - Cartoon Network.

Already publishing licensed comics for "Adventure Time" and "Regular Show", the publisher has inked an exclusive deal with the TV network which gives the publisher the "first option" to produce comics based on original animated programs aired on the network. The first of this will be a comic based on Rebecca Sugar's "Steve Universe", which debuts in August. These licensed comics are not produced flippantly; their "Adventure Time" comic won an Eisner award last year, and the Roger Langridge run of "The Muppet Show" became a cult hit that Marvel Comics ultimately reprinted due to sheer demand.

Mattel wins over comic writer in "He-Man" ownership case!

By the power of litigation, Mattel has the power! At least, that is how it appears in a copyright case the toy company filed against longtime writer Donald Glut over the rights to "He-Man".

As his own official website attests, Donald F. Glut has been a longtime presence in pop fiction and film since 1966. Directing over forty amateur films, he has gone on to write for both novels, TV, film, and comic books. He wrote the official novelization to "Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back" as well as for numerous 1980's TV shows such as "Transformers", "Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends", "Challenge of the Gobots", "Duck Tales" and "G.I. Joe". He's also had runs on comic books such as "Captain America", "Tarzan", "Thor", "Kull the Destroyer", as well as having created "The Occult Files of Dr. Spektor". Among his projects in 1980 were four "mini-comics" included with "Masters of the Universe" action figures which, Glut insisted, entitled him to copyright ownership of the franchise.

Mattel brought Glut to court and have successfully argued - as all major corporations do in cases such as this - that Glut's work was on a "for hire" basis and thus he owns nothing. In addition, the judge cited Glut for waiting so long to file any sort of copyright claim for work done almost 35 years ago. This comes as Sony has been working for nearly two years to produce a "He-Man" film; the first the franchise has seen since 1987. The character has been published in comic book form by several companies, and is now appearing in DC Comics.

"12 Gauge Comics" debuts "Sherwood Texas" on Free Comic Book Day!

As has been for years, the first Saturday in May has been designated as "Free Comic Book Day", when publishers big and small release free comics for retailers to distribute to fans new and old. One of the most notable of these is the offering by "12 Gauge Comics", called "Sherwood Texas". Written by Shane Berryhill and Daniel Hillyard, it sees the cast of the legend of Robin Hood re-imagined in the real life "ghost town" of Sherwood, Texas (which was founded in 1886, was mostly absorbed by Mertzon in 1939, and is home to about 73 people, according to Wikipedia).

As the solicitation states, "combining he biker gang epic with Spaghetti Western sensibilities, SHERWOOD, TX retells the legend of Robin Hood as a modern day, noir-action opus. Hood is joined on his quest by Padre Elvin Tuck, Will Scarlet, and Little John, as they take on the crooked Sheriff of Nottingham, TX and his partners in crime, The Nobles biker gang and their leader John Prince". The freebie will also feature a "Boondocks Saints" co-feature written by the film franchise's creator/director Troy Duffy. Combing 15th century English folklore with America's own myths (19th century cowboys and the "bikers" of the modern era) is a clever idea, and one worth checking out. This is a "silver" book, so smaller shops will have to order it in advance if it isn't a larger one (such as Brooklyn's own "Galaxy Comics" chain).

Billy Tucci's "Shi" turns 20!

Ready to feel old? One of the premiere ladies of the "bad girls" craze, Billy Tucci's "Shi" is celebrating her 20th anniversary with another staple of 1990's comics - a new variant cover.

Technically debuting in "Razor Annual #1" in 1993, the sword carrying heroine headlined her own book in "Shi: Way of the Warrior #1" in 1994. Tucci will debut two new covers at this weekend's London Super Comic Con; there will only be 25 copies of each that will be signed by Tucci himself. According to the creator, this is the first "convention exclusive" variant cover he's produced since '94 as well.

The daughter of a Japanese warrior and a Catholic missionary, Ana Ishikawa vowed revenge on the Yakuza after the mafia murdered her father. Training for years to become an assassin/vigilante with white make-up as a disguise, her quest for revenge often conflicted with her Christian upbringing. Between 1994 and 2008, "Shi" appeared in hundreds of not only her own comics, but crossovers/team-ups with characters such as fellow "bad girls" Lady Death and Vampirella to more mainstream figures like Daredevil and Wolverine. Her comics have been translated into four languages and sold at least 3-4 million copies since her debut.

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