Mark Bagley still on Ultimate Spider-Man

Fan-favorite Spider-Man artist Mark Bagley has extended his exclusive contract with Marvel Comics, re-confirming his ties with the company he's called home since the beginning of his comic book career.

"I'm enjoying my working situation more every day I'm with Marvel," said the penciller. "I'm working with a terrific creative team and have wonderful support from both editorial and the big guys upstairs. A commitment from Marvel is a hell of a compliment. I've had an incredibly stable and fulfilling career with Marvel, and I'm as happy with the company now as I've ever been. And I think the contract means they are just as happy with me."

Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley is more than delighted with Bagley's work and his long-time association with the company. "I'm blown away by the length of Mark's tenure on Spidey's books. He's outdistanced both Steve Ditko and John Romita, Sr. in that respect and he's at least equaled them in putting a definitive and unique stamp on the character."

"We know a good thing when we see it, and we want Mark to know we love him and appreciate the incredible time and energy he puts into the Marvel characters," said Joe Quesada, Marvel Editor-in-Chief. "We're proud he got his start right here...he's our Marvel Boy!"

Bagley is well known for having gotten his professional artistic start by winning the famed Marvel Try-Out Contest. From there he distinguished himself on such titles as Amazing Spider-Man, New Warriors, Thunderbolts, The Pulse, and currently is wowing the fannish masses on the immensely popular Ultimate Spider-Man book. He's also been teamed with a bevy of top writers, including Brian Michael Bendis, Kurt Busiek, and Fabian Nicieza.

The artist is quick to recognize the warm and favorable reaction he's gotten from Marvel readers and the creative talent he's worked alongside since the beginning. "I'm pretty proud of my Thunderbolts work. It was gratifying the way the fans embraced the series. I look at my Ultimate Spider-Man work as a blessing. It is so great to work with such a talented bunch of guys, and the fact that fans so enjoy the book is really a tribute to the team."

Bagley's immediate future brings him to the drawing board, producing the kind of pages his fans like best. "I'm trying to make Ultimate Spidey my main focus for the time being. We're doing six fewer issues this year, and I'm really going to try and bring all I can to the book." also has a new Todd McFarlane interview on the future of Spawn, his new series on FOX & his new toys.

The New Batgirl?
No, thats not a typo.

The Caped Crusader will be joined by Batgirl when Season 2 of The Batman begins in the fall. (The first year is still airing on WB Saturdays at 10:30 am/ET, with repeats on Cartoon Network on Saturdays at 8:30 pm/ET beginning April 2.)

As in previous TV and comic-book incarnations, this Dark Knight Damsel is Police Commissioner Gordon's daughter, Barbara. But in a new twist, she's just a teenager who turns to fighting crime with cape and cowl after her father puts the kibosh on her plans to become a police detective.

Batgirl's fighting style will be heavily influenced by her background as an Olympic gymnastics hopeful. "She has this nice, explosive little-kid dynamic," says producer and art director Jeff Matsuda.

At first, Batman doesn't approve of a youngster getting in the middle of Gotham City's depraved underworld. "But he also knows he can't stop her," Matsuda says. "Later on, we'll probably have that moment where he accepts her, but in the beginning, it's more of a stay-out-of-my-way deal."

Matsuda based the Batgirl character's design on the '60s live-action Batman series, especially the striking purple hue made famous by Yvonne Craig. He also cops to being influenced by "the cartoons I grew up on," including Battle of the Planets and Thundercats. Kids' WB! unveiled its 2005-2006 lineup on Wednesday, including the return of The Batman for a second season that will include Batgirl.

The Batman will air this fall on Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. and will also air weekdays at 4:30 p.m.

Here's how the network describes the new season:

"In this captivating second season, The Batman will face a little competition to protect the citizens of Gotham from a teenaged girl -- Batgirl. She has just flown into town to do her part in keeping the streets safe from the most dangerous and occasionally hysterical super villains out there. Is there enough room in Gotham for two Caped Crusaders?"

Marvel Movie Magic
X-men 3 has been confirmed to release on May 26, 2006 & they're looking for extras. Why not be one? And on the Spider-Man front, Thomas Hayden Church will take on the role of Sandman, not Venom as it was previously speculated. Also, here's an important excerpt from the interview in the New York Daily News:

But at 30, Sevigny is mellow about it all. After a decade as the poster child for edgy movies, the party girl from Darien, Conn., has let it be known she wants to go mainstream.

Way mainstream.

"I'd love to be in 'Spider-Man 3!'" Sevigny says. "There's a villain in it who's a blond, buxom girl, and I'm trying to get it!

"That [may] surprise people, since actors are always thought of as their last film or who they were. I think I'll always be drawn to films more difficult to watch, but I don't want to be a snobby cinephile."

Now who does that sound like? The planned release date is May 4, 2007.

Best Buy, Free Movies & Sin City
Starting March 27, electronics chain Best Buy will give out free DVDs promoting April 1 theatrical release Sin City, from Dimension.

Consumers will be able to get the teaser DVDs--which contain a trailer, behind-the-scenes interviews and scenes from the film--with the purchase of any CD, DVD or videogame. Also included are promos for Dimension movies currently on DVD and $50 worth of Best Buy coupons toward purchases of those titles. The giveaway will be featured prominently in the March 27 circular.

The chain first tried this type of theatrical cross-promotion with last March's Hellboy, giving out more than 300,000 teaser DVDs in the few weeks before the movie's premiere. On Sin City, the giveaway window is only a week long, so Best Buy will give out about 150,000 discs this time, according to Rob Cummins, business team leader for movies.

"We identified properties like Hellboy and now Sin City quite a ways out, and our goal is to give our customers something that … will put them in the know amongst their peer group about what's cool and exciting," Cummins said. This sort of theatrical marketing rewards customers for coming into the store regularly and builds loyalty, he added.

There's an upside for the studios involved as well.

"The theatrical division sees it as a grassroots opportunity to promote their movie beyond just what they'll do on TV, and home video sees it as a chance to probably sell some catalog," Cummins said.