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Marvel Studios' next film -- Iron Man, set for a May 2 release -- has been one of its longest-gestating movies.

At one point over the years Tom Cruise was rumored to be involved, and, at other, Smallville creators Al Gough and Miles Millar developed a script for New Line. It has since become Marvel's first self-produced movie, with Paramount Pictures handling distribution, Jon Favreau directing and Robert Downey Jr. starring.

"These movies have a time and have a place, and nobody knows when they are. It's all about when they come together," said Kevin Feige, Marvel's president of production. "There were a number of scripts that were developed. It was set up other studios in the past, and for whatever reason -- the scripts never quite worked or whoever was running the studio at the time didn't quite see it or didn't quite get it or the right filmmakers weren't popping up or were interested.

"We were very lucky that we, as Marvel, got the rights back. And we sat down and it was a clean slate. We didn't look at or use any of the drafts that had come before. We said, listen, it's us now. We have no excuses. We're going to have to be the ones to answer the tough questions. Let's look back at the comics, let's look at the origin, and how can we bring that to life.

"And when we met with Jon, who had found out about the project and was very interested in it, we found out we were all on the same page and he was bring some great things to it as well."

Feige said that he has been pleased with the level of commitment of the actors for the movie.

"I've been working on these films for almost eight or nine years and to see the enthusiasm people bring to them now," Feige said. "Because they understand it's not just a costume show, it's not just a play time for kids. They understand that these are big movies that people care about."

Feige said star Robert Downey Jr. "literally moved into the production office with us" for two months before production started.

"Just researching the role, researching the character and being a part of the script adjustments we were making," Feige said. "So these people have devoted a good portion of their time to it."

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Archie Comics has announced the return of El Gran Gordo in Sonic X #31-32.

Sonic X #31 wil arrive in stores on March 19. It is written by Tracy Yardley, with art by James Fry and Terry Austin.

Here's how Archie describes the issue:

"Sonic fans and wrestling fans join together for the long awaited Return of El Gran Gordo! El Gran Gordo is the hottest wrestler in the world, and as popular as Sonic! Who is that masked mass of meanness battling his way through the wrestling ring? Can it be? It is! The crazy Dr. Eggman!

"Has Dr. Eggman once again dawned the luchador's mask to become the wrestling sensation know as El Gran Gordo? However, if El Gran Gordo is really Dr. Eggman, how can Dr. Eggman be robbing Station Square at the same time? It's up to Sonic to decipher this doppelganger of a mystery! A mystery so deep, it will take two issues to uncover the truth behind El Gran Gordo."

Sonic X #31 wil arrive in stores on April 23. It is written by Ian Flynn, with art by Yardley and Austin.

Here's how Archie describes the issue:

"As Sonic tries to uncover the mystery of El Gran Gordo, Eggman finds himself an outsider in his own evil Empire. A team-up of unimaginable proportions takes place. El Gran Gordo and El Rapido Azule, the masked wrestling sensation, must band together to save all of Station Square!"

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For previously published solicitations for March, click on the publishers' names below.

* Antarctic Press.

* Ape Entertainment.

* Arcana Studio.

* Archie Comics.

* Aspen Comics.

* Archie Comics.

* Big City Comics.

* BlueWater Productions.

* Bongo Comics.

* Boom! Studios.

* Dark Horse Comics.

* DC Comics.

* Desperado Publishing.

* Devil's Due Publishing.

* Digital Webbing.

* Dynamite Entertainment.

* IDW Publishing .

* Image Comics.

* Markosia Publishing.

* Marvel Comics.

* Moonstone Books.

* Oni Press.

* Red 5 Comics.

* SLG Publishing.

* Top Cow Productions.

* Viper Comics.



* Marvel Comics has released the covers -- with trade dress -- for Uncanny X-Men #494, Thunderbolts #118, Ultimate Human #1 and Moon Knight #14.

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For covers and six-page previews of Marvel Comics titles arriving in stores on Jan. 4, CLICK HERE.


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

* Wednesday, December 26: Dynamite Entertainment for March, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chornicles, DC Comics roundup, Dynamite Entertaiment for March, IDW Publishing First Looks and Dark Horse Comics First Looks.

* Tuesday, December 25: Family Guy, Markosia Publishing for March and First Looks.

* Monday, December 24: Boom! Studios for March, Desperado Pubishing for March, Ape Entertaiment for March and Arcana Studio for March.

* Sunday, December 23: Red 5 Comics for March and Digital Webbing for March.

* Saturday, December 22: The Simpsons, Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Oni Press for March, Aspen Comics for March and First Looks.

* Friday, December 21: Legion of Super Heroes, The Batman, Marvel First Looks and Bongo Comics for March. Stylin Online - T-Shirts

* Thursday, December 20: Hellboy II: The Golden Army, Transformers: Animated, X-Men: Messiah Complex and First Looks.

* Wednesday, December 19: IDW Publishing for March, Avatar Press for March, Image Comics for March and Top Cow Productions for March.

* Tuesday, December 18: Marvel Comics for March and DC Comics roundup.

* Monday, December 17: DC Comics for March, Archie Comics for March and First Looks.

* Sunday, December 16: Chloe Sullivan in the DC Universe, Moonstone Books for April and Dark Horse First Looks.

* Saturday, December 15: First Looks.

* Friday, December 14: Marvel First Looks and Archie First Looks.

* Thursday, December 13: The Dark Knight, Whiteout, DC Comics trade paperbacks for July/August, Oni Press' Jumper Jumpscars and First Looks.

* Wednesday, December 12: Hellboy II: The Golden Army, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, DC Comics trade paperbacks for June/July, The Batman, Knight Rider, Aliens vs. Predator -- Requiem and First Looks.

* Tuesday, December 11: Dark Horse Comics for March, Viper Comics for March, DC Comics roundup, Bluewater expands Ray Harryhausen line, Transfuzion Publishing launches and First Looks.

* Monday, December 10: Whiteout, The Dark Knight, Smallville's Laura Vandervoort, Jughead's new look, Witchblade anime, Roger Stern talks JLA: Classified, I Am Legend's Will Smith, UDON's new Street Fighter titles and First Looks.

* Sunday, December 9: Dark Horse First Looks, Marvel/Del Rey manga and Boomerang episodes in January.

* Saturday, December 8: The Spectacular Spider-Man, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and First Looks.

* Friday, December 7: Marvel First Looks.

* Thursday, December 6: Punisher War Zone, The Batman, First Looks and The Darkness.

* Wednesday, December 5: Wanted on June 27, I Am Legend, Marvel press conference: Dan Slott, Smallville, Swamp Thing, Doctor Who and First Looks.

* Tuesday, December 4: The Spectacular Spider-Man, The Batman, Smallville, 10th Muse optioned, Dabel Brothers roundup and First Look.

* Monday, December 3: Heroes, Hulk, BlueWater Productions for March, Moonstone Books for March, First Looks, Alex Simmons at Archie Comics and Image Comics' Gutwrencher.

* Sunday, December 2: Heroes' Kristen Bell and First Looks.

* Saturday, December 1: Devil's Due Publishing for February, Archie First Looks and Marvel First Looks.

* Friday, November 30: Marvel First Looks, Legion of Super Heroes, Ape Entertainment for February and Fantastic Four animated.

* Thursday, November 29: Dynamite Entertainment for February, The Simpsons, Antarctic Press for February, First Looks, Kids' WB! in December and DC Comics second printings.

* Wednesday, November 28: Marvel press conference: Brian Michael Bendis, Legion of Super Heroes, Smallville, Avatar Press for February, Oni Press for February, Markosia Publishing for February and Marvel First Looks.

* Tuesday, November 27: Justice League: The New Frontier, Blade: The Series DVD, DC Comics roundup, Marvel First Looks, Boom! Studios for February, Aspen Comics for February, Arcana Studio for February and Punisher: War Zone movie.

* Monday, November 26: Marvel First Looks, Hulk, Smallville, DC First Looks, IDW Publishing for February, Desperado Publishing for February and Red 5 Comics for February.

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