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Monday, January 9, 2006

MARVEL TERMINATES TOY BIZ, TO TEAM WITH HASBRO

Marvel Entertainment announced on Monday that it has terminated its licensing agreement with Toy Biz Worldwide, effective as of December 31, 2005, one year earlier than the license's scheduled termination date.

As a result of the termination, in 2006 Marvel-branded action figures and other toys formerly produced by Toy Biz Worldwide will be produced by Marvel. With full control over Marvel-branded toys produced for sale in 2006, Marvel will be in a better position to effect a smooth transition to Hasbro in areas such as toy development, manufacturing, shipping and retail space.

Through the agreement, Hasbro has obtained the rights to develop products based on Marvel's universe of more than 5,000 characters in a wide range of toy and game categories -- including action figures, role play and preschool toys, board games and puzzles. The agreement covers both the classic comic book look of the characters as well as product lines inspired by Marvel-themed movies.

The five-year license gives Hasbro the rights to bring Marvel Entertainment-based toy products to retail beginning January 1, 2007.

Hasbro's first full line of products based on Marvel properties is expected to center on Ghost Rider and Spider-Man 3, scheduled for release on May 4, 2007. Marvel has also agreed to provide services to Hasbro in connection with the licensed toys.

The license guarantees Marvel $205 million in royalty and service fee payments, of which $70 million would be payable on the theatrical release of Spider-Man 3 and $35 million upon the theatrical release of Spider-Man 4. In addition, the license can be extended past the five-year term, dependent on the number of other entertainment properties released during that timeframe.

Marvel's Chairman, Morton Handel, said, "While Marvel will own any inventory produced for 2006, our policy of predominantly manufacturing to order should help mitigate our inventory risk. Commencing in 2007, a wide range of toy and game categories - including action figures, role play and preschool toys, board games and puzzles - will be produced by our new licensee, Hasbro. We are very excited by the business prospects we see in teaming with an industry leader."

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AQUAMAN CAST FOR TV PILOT

Executive producer Al Gough has confirmed for The Continuum that William Toale has been cast in the lead role for the Aquaman pilot movie for The WB.

Toale, a 28-year-old native of Florida, performed in a New York production of A Streetcar Named Desire." His credits include Uptown Girls, Tempting Adam and the soap opera A Guiding Light.

Gough told The Continuum that the search for actor include the United States, Australia and Canada. More than 400 actors were looked at.

Aquaman is targeted to begin filming in March, possibly in Miami.

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JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED UPDATE

Googy Gress is providing the voice of Bouncing Boy in "Far From Home," an upcoming episode of Cartoon Network's Justice League Unlimited that will feature Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes.

Bouncing Boy will have one of the larger roles among the 20 or so Legion members featured in the episode, which was written by Paul Dini.

Gress is currently appearing in Rumor Has It with a small role as "Burly Man." His film credits also include Stuck on You, Me, Myself and Irene, Armageddon, Kingpin and Wayne's World 2.

TV credits include Cold Case, Charmed and Star Trek: Voyager.

His animation credits include Freakzoid! and The Zeta Project.

Look for more on Justice League Unlimited this week here in The Continuum.

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SLG TOYS

SLG Publishing announced its toy program for the first half of 2006 for its division Monkey Fun Toys. Products range from vinyl and plastic toys, plush toys and limited edition statues, most based SLG Publishing titles and characters.

Following is a rundown:

* March will see the release of Mummy, a vinyl and plastic toy based on the Mummy character from the SLG comic book The Super Scary Monster Show featuring Little Gloomy. The Mummy comes complete with bass guitar, spooky bass amp and his own faux-stone platform. Designed by Little Gloomy artist Eric Jones and sculpted by Mitch Martinez, the Mummy is the perfect accompaniment to the Carl Cthulhu figure. Packaged in a four color window box. Suggested retail price will be $29.95.

* April brings Voodoo Valerie, a sassy plush voodoo doll. Taken from the pages of the series Outlook: Grim, Voodoo Valerie is designed by creator Black Olive and sports bobbed hair, a mini-skirt with a skull belt buckle, and striped stockings. SRP will be $19.95.

* June brings a vinyl toy set of two of SLG Publishing's most beloved characters, Milk and Cheese. The toy set is designed by creator Evan Dorkin and sculpted by Mitch Martinez. Milk and Cheese will measure about eight inches in height and will come weapons, including a plank of wood with a nail in it, a broken bottle and the Hammer Time sledgehammer. Packaged in a four-color window box, SRP is to be announced.

* In July, from Rex Libris by James Turner, comes a six-and-a-half-inch Rex Libris statue featuring the librarian stomping on the severed hand of a demon who had one too many overdue books. The poly-resin statue will be limited to 750 units with an SRP of $25.

* The second item in July, from the creator of Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, is a tea mug straight from Hell. Sculpted by Thomas Kuntz based on a design by Jhonen Vasquez, the tea mug features the Z? logo as seen throughout the Johnny the Homicidal Manaic series and has highly detailed poly-resin exterior and a food-safe plastic interior. Packaged in a four-color, windowless box. SRP to be announced.

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FIRST LOOKS

For covers and five- to 10-page previews of upcoming titles, CLICK HERE.

Titles include Small Gods #12 from Image Comics and Koni Waves #1 from Arcana Studio.

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BRIEFLY

* The Sin City movie will debut on Starz on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 9 p.m. Other air dates include Sunday, Feb. 12 at 2:30 a.m.; Tuesday, Feb. 14 at 9 p.m.; Friday, Feb. 17 at 10:40 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 18 at 4:25 a.m.; Wednesday, Feb. 22 at 9 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 26 at 9 p.m.; and Monday, Feb. 27 at 3:40 a.m.

* The Ultimate Avengers animated movie has been rated PG-13.

* Coming Tuesday: DC news -- and much more!!!

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COMICS CONTINUUM BACK ISSUES

In case you missed The Continuum's recent coverage, here are some links. Click on the date to get the day's full report.

* Wednesday, Jan. 4: Teen Titans, Sam Kieth exclusive to DC, First Looks and Red Sonja/Claw the Unconquered.

* Tuesday, Jan. 3: Wolverine: Origins, Justice League Unlimited, X-Factor, Pars Unknown and Dead Me Tell No Tales.

* Monday, Jan. 2: Justice League Unlimited, Iron Man animation, Jonah Hex, First Looks and Heroic Publishing for April.

* Sunday, Jan. 1: The Batman DVD, Heroic Publishing for April and Dark Horse First Looks.

* Friday, Dec. 30: X3, Teen Titans and Dark Horse First Looks.

* Thursday, Dec. 29: Marvel and DC First Looks and Smallville.

* Wednesday, Dec. 28: IDW Publishing for April, Narwain's Hollywood Noir, Kurt Busiek exclusive to DC and First Looks.

* Tuesday, Dec. 27: X3, Family Guy and Transformers: Best Wars. Save up to 75% off your new comics!

* Monday, Dec. 26: Smallville, The Batman, Victoria's Secret Service and First Looks.

* Saturday, Dec. 24: X3's Halle Berry, Smallville's Erica Durance, DC First Looks and Family Guy.

* Friday, Dec. 23: Ultimate Avengers, Smallville's Cyborg, Marvel and Image First Looks and Narwain's Neptune.

* Thursday, Dec. 22: The Batman, Marvel First Looks, Image Comics roundup and Painkiller Jane ratings.

* Wednesday, Dec. 21: Devil's Due and Apsen Comics for March, Marvel First Looks and Smallville.

* Tuesday, Dec. 20: Justice, Ghost Rider movie, DC Comics First Looks and Alias Comics for March.

* Monday, Dec. 19: Ultraviolet, Marvel Comics First Looks, Devil's Due trade paperbacks and Archie Comics for March.

* Saturday, Dec. 17: Street Fighter, X3 and First Looks.

* Friday, Dec. 16: Image Comics for March, Avatar Press for March, Image Comics First Looks, November sales and UDON's Raw Editions.

* Thursday, Dec. 15: X3, Marvel First Looks, DC First Looks and Ghost Rider movie.

* Wednesday, Dec. 14: Marvel solicitations for March, Wolverine and the X-Men animated series and Teen Titans and Krypto schedules for January.

* Tuesday, Dec. 13: Witchblade movies, Marvel's Annihilation, Teen Titans, The Batman, Alias' Twin Blades, Marvel First Looks and Oni Press for March.

* Monday, Dec. 12: DC Comics for March, Blade TV, Cyborg on Smallville, Neal Adams covers Green Lantern and Dave Sim on Gun Fu.




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