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Indie comics news: "Ninja Turtles", Caliber Comics and the Anime Collectionary

More Turtles by the Bay.
More Turtles by the Bay.
i09

I09's first report of the Michael Bay produced "Ninja Turtles"!

At "CinemaCon 2014", Paramount revealed footage for this year's "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" film which is produced by Michael Bay. Aside for the logo, no pictures or actual video of this footage have emerged. However, Meredith Woerner from i09 has issued a full report, and it reveals quite a few spoilers about the film, and seems to confirm the cynicism of many fans.

The Turtles themselves are a combination of live actors and CGI motion captured animation, which was best used to bring many of the creatures (notable Gollum) from "Lord of the Rings" to life. According to i09, the Turtles are "absolutely giant" as well as have green baby-like faces which are "very jarring". In addition, the trailer seems to reveal that their origin has been drastically altered. It seems the Turtles themselves were accidentally created by the father of reporter April O'Neil (played by Megan Fox) and the Shredder himself (played by William Fichtner). Involving the Shredder in the direct creation of the Turtles was something the 1987 cartoon introduced into the canon which this film is, at best, paying homage too.

On a more positive note, i09 had positive things to say about Fichtner's tease as the Shredder himself, specifically his mask (which "looks GREAT"). The film will also involve the military, which Michael Bay productions seem to always worship. It hits theaters August 8th, precisely one week after Marvel Studios' "Guardians of the Galaxy". The last film this franchise saw was the CGI animated "TMNT" in 2007, which earned over $95.6 million worldwide from a budget of $34 million, and was distributed by Warner Brothers. It will be the first "Ninja Turtles" film produced since co-creator Peter Laird sold his rights to it to Viacom in 2009, the franchise's 25th anniversary year. Although Viacom has since produced a popular animated cartoon for Nick, this film is no doubt the cornerstone of their purchase, and the reaction to it may be more fascinating than the film itself.

Caliber Comics returns!

From the late 1980's throughout the 90's, many comic book publishers "independent" of Marvel or DC Comics emerged onto a scene which wasn't yet ruled by one distributor and one set "direct market". Some of these companies thrived and endured, and some didn't survive. Leaning towards the latter was Caliber Comics, founded by Gary Reed and running from 1989-2001. At the time, the company offered creators ownership and a majority share of any sales royalties rather than a set page rate for their work. Famous creators such as Mike Allred, Brian M. Bendis ("Jinx", "Fire") and Guy Davis had work published by Caliber. The company's best known series - Reed's own "Deadworld" and James O'Barr's "The Crow" - would later go on to be published by other companies.

Since 2001, Reed would go on to continue on "Deadworld" with other publishers (currently IDW) and founded "Transfuzion", a small publishing company six years ago as an in-house publisher for his own material. Unfortunately, many "Transfuzion" books struggled to meet the minimum sales requirement to be distributed by Diamond. Now, Reed has announced his plans to bring Caliber Comics back permanently. While he doesn't reveal any new projects, and confirms that "Deadworld" will remain with IDW, he sees the new Caliber as a publisher which will publish both creator owned comic books and regular prose novels. Reed plans to fully embrace internet opportunities such as Kickstarter and digital comics to reach new audiences, with the same creator-owned royalty model as before.

The Anime Collectionary offers one-stop shopping for anime/manga fans!

Fans of Japanese manga and animated adaptations of it ("anime") and independent comics often go hand in hand, with many fans of comics being fans of them from both America and Japan. The influence of both eastern and western comics have been intertwined since the beginning, when manga creator Osamu Tezuka was "inspired" by the works of Walt Disney to create "Astro Boy" among others. To this day, some of the best selling comics worldwide continue to be the latest volumes of hit manga such as "One Piece" or "Naruto".

To this end, the Anime Collectionary is working to build "best place to go on the internet to find and buy items for avid collectors". This includes a growing database of anime DVD's, toys, and models which searches their availability on the internet (i.e. ebay) and offers a reference guide for fans. It is very much a work in progress, but it is very ambitious and is off to a great start.