“Hasbro and IDW Creating All-Female Transformers Team”

“Fresh off confirming plans for a shared Transformers universe, Hasbro has now revealed that it is working with IDW Publishing to craft an all-female Transformers team.

The news broke via USA Today that the team will consist of six new female Autobots who join to form new “Combiner” character, Victorion. Expect the group to appear first in comics with July’s Transformers: Combiner Hunters miniseries, with Hasbro debuting a toy line sometime later this year…”


“Furious 7 and diversity: Why Hollywood needs to catch up with reality”

“Vin Diesel still recalls the bad old days of street-race apartheid. In 2001, his breakthrough movie, The Fast and the Furious, powered into multiplexes featuring separate but equal factions of outlaw hot-rodders from across the racial divide—glowering Latino gearheads, African-American wheelmen with cornrowed hair, a pack of Asian “tuners” known as the Little Saigon crew—all competing for drag-strip primacy in late-night L.A.

“There were cliques not totally unlike The Warriors or other gang movies,” says Diesel. “It was segregated in its own way while still trying to incorporate a multicultural theme.”

But over the franchise’s transformation into one of the highest-grossing series of all time, boundary lines of turf and skin color have become increasingly blurred. By the fourth installment, 2009’s Fast & Furious, members of those factions had banded together to form a United Nations-like “family” of scofflaw speed demons, including an ass-kicking Latina (Michelle Rodriguez), a Korean-American cool guy (Sung Kang), a golden-boy cop-turned-criminal (Paul Walker), and Diesel’s own ethnically ambiguous, chrome-domed dragster Dom Toretto.

At last, here was a cast that reflected the reality of our country’s racial makeup: 37 percent of Americans now identify as nonwhite, and the U.S. Census Bureau projects a “majority-minority” population in 2043. The importance of the Furiousmovies’ multiethnic ethos is not lost on Diesel, who is gearing up for Furious 7, in theaters April 3.

“It doesn’t matter what nationality you are.  As a member of the audience, you realize you can be a member of that ‘family,’” he says. “That’s the beautiful thing about how the franchise has evolved…”


“Grandmaster Flash Close To The Edge In Baz Luhrmann’s ‘The Get Down’”

“Hip-hop icon Grandmaster Flash is set as an associate producer and adviser on The Get Down, Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming Netflix series about the 1970 NYC music scene and the birth of rap.

“I can’t tell you just how much joy and great spirit we are getting from working with some of the founding fathers of the form,” Luhrmann said in a statement. “Not only in music, dance and graffiti but the culture of the time in general. The whole team is absolutely thrilled to have Grandmaster Flash on board…”


“Meet the Class: Who Are Fox’s ‘New Mutants’?”

“News that Josh Boone will develop New Mutants for Fox will likely raise some questions from comic book fans and non-comic readers alike. From the former, how will this connect with the previously-announced X-Force movie, as — in comic book lore — the New Mutants became X-Force? From the latter, a more basic question: who are the New Mutants anyway?

The answer to that last question comes in two forms. The real-world answer is that New Mutants was Marvel’s first attempt to expand its successful X-Men franchise beyond the main comic book series; written by then-X-Men author Chris Claremont with art by Bob McLeod and, later, Bill Sienkiewicz, the 1983 series revived the original concept behind the X-Men by giving Professor Xavier a new class of super-powered students to teach.

Unlike the original X-Men, however, New Mutants went far beyond mostly-privileged white Americans for its lineup. Indeed, of its original roster, only one of the New Mutants conformed to what was still the superhero norm; alongside Sam Guthrie (Cannonball), there was the native American Danielle Moonstar (Mirage), Xia’n Coy Manh (Karma) from Vietnam, Roberto da Costa (Sunspot) from Brazil and Rahne Sinclair (Wolfsbane), a werewolf from Scotland.

The international nature of the team continued when Amara Aquilla (Magma), who’d been raised in a secret society based on ancient Rome, and Illyana Rasputin (Magik), the little sister of the X-Men’s Colossus, became the first new recruits to the team within two years of the series’ launch…”


“Return of Tamashi Hamada Almost Confirmed as ‘Big Hero 7’ Attempts to Surpass $651 Million Worldwide Box Office and Video Sales Haul of ‘Big Hero 6’”

“Stan Lee was recently quoted in an interview that Marvel will have its hands full for the rest of the year until next year or several years thereafter since it has a lot of film projects in its burgeoning plate.

According to Lee, after “Ant-Man,” Marvel will start working on the movies on “Doctor Strange,” “The Black Panther,” “The Inhumans,” and then come back for “Guardians of the Galaxy 2,” “Big Hero 7,” “Avengers 3,” and “Captain America 3.”

This means that Marvel will be working on “Big Hero 7” after four movies since “Ant-Man” is pretty much in the can.

Disney is developing a reputation for reviving obscure titles from the Marvel titles and turning it into blockbuster movies. “Big Hero 6” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” are clear examples of Disney’s master craft. “Big Hero 6” raked in $56.2 million in the tills while “Guardians of the Galaxy” made a worldwide box office haul of $219.3 million when the two movies were shown last year…”


“Pixar And Disney Animation Are Working Really Hard To Be Diverse”

“For some time, Disney animation has come under fire as being the complete opposite of diverse with their animated characters. While films like Pocahontas andThe Princess And The Frog have helped add some much needed weight on the other side of the scales, the canon of Disney characters have been, for the most part, white protagonists. Among those critics is none other than John Lasseter, famed animation director and chief creative officer of the Disney/Pixar family, and he’s vowed that now more than ever the company is working to become more diverse in creating characters.

Variety saw Lasseter speak at a press conference during the Cannes Film Festival recently as he promoted Pixar’s latest film, Inside Out. In the midst of that conference, the attention of the room was turned towards the issue of diversity in Disney/Pixar’s films. Specifically, a reporter had asked Lasseter if a black character would ever be the center of their own Pixar film. It was then that the Toy Storydirector issued a very simple directive of the creative direction the company was aiming its collective talents towards. More specifically, he said,

“It’s very important to us … to have female and ethnic characters. It’s grown in importance over time. As you’ll see in future films, we’re really paying attention to that.”

Set to open out of competition next Monday, Inside Out is a very good example of the diversity that John Lasseter is talking about, as it focuses on the mind and emotions of a young girl and her tough time with moving to a new area. Not content to use Pixar’s newest would be blockbuster as the best example of overturning business as usual, Lasseter also mentioned the upcoming film Moana – the first Polynesian princess story to be told by Disney – as an example of the exciting new material that the studio is looking to branch out with…”


“Shanghai Comic Convention: China is the new frontier for con organizers”

“Forty-five years after Comic-Con International launched as a little gathering in San Diego, later exploding into a pop-culture juggernaut spawning dozens of similar events around the United States, the phenomenon is going global. And free-spending fans like Yang are making China the newest frontier.

This month, two of the largest American organizers of comic conventions, El Segundo-based Wizard World and Connecticut-based ReedPop, launched comic conventions in China.

Hollywood films like “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and “The Amazing Spider-Man 2″ have done gangbuster business at the mainland box office and coincided with China’s rise to the second-largest movie market after the U.S. With genre TV shows like “Gotham” and “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” also finding strong Chinese viewership through online streaming video sites, convention organizers sense a lucrative market just waiting to be tapped.

“I think the latest count is there are 217 cities in China with over a million people,” said Adam Roseman, chief executive of FansTang, a marketing company that specializes in connecting Western celebrities to Chinese fans and that is partnering with Wizard World to produce a comics event in Guangzhou at the end of May. “Our plan is to do two to three events in 2016, and maybe even squeeze another one in this year, at the end of 2015…”