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Marvel Comics news: Rocket Raccoon gets a comic and Sony's Spider-Man strategy

Get ready for your close up, Mr. Raccoon!
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Rocket Raccoon gets ongoing series!

Ever since the start of the 21st century, Marvel Comics have always sought to have some "synergy" between their comic book releases and whatever character was getting a film treatment in any particular year. Whether this meant leather jackets for the X-Men after "X-Men" and "X-Men 2" or extra stories about Dr. Octopus, Sandman or Venom depending on which "Spider-Man" film Sony released that year, Marvel often try to strike when the iron is hot. The fact that A-list writer Brian Bendis was tasked with relaunching "Guardians of the Galaxy" as a comic over a year before it was set to hit film was a sign of that. To this end, this July (a month before his big screen debut), Rocket Raccoon will star in his own ongoing series!

It will be written and drawn by Scottie Young. The artist first gained attention drawing a "New Warriors" mini-series a decade ago but has since gone on to draw Marvel's kid-friendly "Oz" comics as well as a slew of variant covers. He also has written "Magneto: Not a Hero" and "A-Babies vs. X-Babies". The series will see the furry, gun-toting hero take on space adventures solo, and Young's more "cartoony" style seems to fit the character better than many mainstream superhero series. First appearing in "Marvel Preview #7" in 1976, Rocket Raccoon was created by Bill Mantlo and Keith Giffen and hasn't headlined his own series since the debut of a four issue mini in 1985 which was written by Mantlo and drawn by future "Hellboy" creator Mike Mignola. He gained increased popularity when he began appearing in Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's "Annihilation" era space comics in 2007, including the 2008 relaunch of "Guardians of the Galaxy" which this August's film is inspired from. In an era where not even Iron Man or Hulk can properly sell a comic longer than two years before needing a fresh "number one" issue, it will be curious how well (or poorly) this sells.

"Amazing Spider-Man 2" releases motion covers and annual deluge!

As May 2nd approaches, Sony's promotion of Marc Webb's "Amazing Spider-Man 2" has naturally become more intense. To this end emerges a new gimmick: motion posters. These are "moving billboards" which play 15 seconds of footage before becoming a traditional poster. It's DC Comics' latest cover gimmick taken to a larger extreme.

In addition, mega Hollywood website Variety spoke with Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal in regards to speculation that Sony needs to release more "tent pole" franchise films to compete with Warner Brothers, Fox, and Disney. Not only does it confirm that Marc Webb has already been signed to direct "Amazing Spider-Man 3" in June 2016 as well as plans for spin-off films for "Sinister Six" and "Venom", but "that we have 'Spider-Man' movies every year". Naturally this is not only an assurance that Sony will retain their license for the web-head which they negotiated in the late 90's, but to ape the success that Marvel Studios has had releasing a film (or two) every year since 2008. The big questions are: would one film a year stretch Spider-Man too thin? Is his universe dense enough to launch successful spin off films? Batman was able to headline seven films since 1989, and Spider-Man seems set to make it to six since 2002. Will audiences accept this?

Marvel Unlimited offers massive digital comics sale!

Marvel Comics is set to hold an "interactive conference" with websites later this week, but in advance of this, they have announced a massive digital comic sale via their own application, "Marvel Unlimited". Unlike buying Marvel Comics online when they are released, which is done via ComiXology, "Marvel Unlimited" allows access to a database of some 15,000 comics for a monthly fee. These are back issues which date back at least six months and annual access is sold for $69.99 - $99.99 annually. However, for two weeks a monthly "pass" can be had for 99 cents. Now, none of these back issues can be "owned"; fans merely can access the database to read them. For those who merely care about reading comics rather than owning or reselling them to "keep up" and don't mind waiting, this is quite a deal.

Four Netflix TV series set to film in NYC!

Last fall, it was announced that Marvel Entertainment and Netflix have united to produce four 13 episodes series for the on-demand network centered around four "urban" Marvel heroes: "Daredevil" in 2015, followed by "Jessica Jones", "Luke Cage" and "Iron Fist". After each of the four seasons have aired, the characters are set to crossover in a fifth Netflix mini series, "Defenders".

Now, it has been announced that Disney CEO Bob Iger has united with current governor Andrew Cuomo (son of former governor Mario Cuomo) to organize the filming of all of these Netflix series in New York City itself. The entire deal involves some $4 million of exclusive tax breaks and state subsidies (or "incentives") for Disney to cement a deal which will involve sixty episodes being filmed in the city to provide 400 full time jobs. This is good news for those fretting that some suburb in Toronto would once again have to stand in for the mean streets of New York.