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Brands Taking A Deep Dive Into NFT Market

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief As many have predicted, the licensing industry and in particular companies involved with collectibles like comics and trading cards, have dived headfirst into the world of Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs. Some of the examples include DC Comics, Dark Horse Comics, Funko, and the collectible giant Topps Company, which has been into NFTs for close to a year now. Among them, Funko has likely taken the biggest step yet, as the company announced on April Fool’s Day that it has acquired a majority ownership stake in TokenWave, LLC, the developer of TokenHead, a leading mobile app and website for showcasing and tracking Non-Fungible Token (NFT) holdings. TokenHead is available on iOS and Android, and currently displays over 10 million NFTs and has more than… . . . read more

Marvel, DC Initiate Seismic Shift in Comics Distribution

By Gary Symons Editor in Chief Marvel Comics has followed the lead of DC Comics, ending its exclusive arrangement with Diamond Comic Distributors, and signing a global agreement with publishing giant Penguin Random House (PRH) to be its new Direct Market distributor. Direct Market sales are those that involve distribution to independent comic book shops, which until recently received almost 100 per cent of their product from Diamond, which held a virtual monopoly on the industry. Both Marvel and DC are giants in the licensing industry, and while the comics industry itself is not that large in terms of revenue, the films, TV shows, and other licensed content or products are a major part of the licensing sector globally. As well, comic book customers play a major role in determining… . . . read more

Aardman Secures Two Licensing Deals for Robin Robin

The animation studio Aardman, which got its start with the celebrated Wallace and Gromit series, has secured two new licensing deals for its new animated musical special Robin Robin. Aardman this week announced it has reached an agreement with Macmillan Children’s Books for publishing and Aurora World for plush. Robin Robin is a 30-minute festive holiday special, created by directors Dan Ojari and Mikey Please. Robin Robin is the endearing story of a robin who is adopted by a family of burglar mice when her egg fortuitously rolls into a rubbish dump. As she grows up her differences become more apparent. She sets off on the heist to end all heists to prove to her family that she can be a really good mouse, but ends up discovering who she really is…. . . . read more

Random House Signs LEGO Book Deal

Random House has signed a deal that will see a major expansion of book titles being published and distributed globally for toy giant LEGO. Under the agreement, Random House Children’s Books will partner with AMEET Publishing, LEGO Publishing’s worldwide strategic partner, to expand the LEGO Books business, said Chris Angelilli, VP & Editor-in-Chief of Licensed Publishing, Random House Books for Young Readers. The first titles will release in Fall 2021, notably marking the first-ever publication of LEGO Books titles from Random House Children’s Books. “It’s no secret that Random House Children’s Books has admired the LEGO Group and all of its products, franchises, and films for decades,” said Angelilli. “We are absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to partner with AMEET in building a strong and dynamic LEGO Books publishing program.”… . . . read more

Massive Campaign Marks Wonder Woman 80th Anniversary

Following hard on the release of Wonder Woman 1984, DC and Warner Bros. are launching a sprawling, global campaign to celebrate 80 years of the Wonder Woman character, which is arguably more popular today than ever. The global anniversary party will launch under the ‘Believe In Wonder’ slogan, and will include worldwide events such as fan favorite digital content, new publishing releases over a variety of genres and platforms, new fashion collaborations with award winning designers, live physical exhibits, and online or in-person experiences inspired by the iconic super hero. It all started on International Women’s Day (March 8) as DC UNIVERSE INFINITE unlocked exclusive and free access to the first ever comic book headlined by the Amazonian warrior princess, and launched a Twitter campaign under the hashtags #BelieveinWonder and #WonderWoman80…. . . . read more

VIZ Media Hires Former Netflix Licensing Chief Laurie Takaragawa

VIZ Media announced it’s made a major addition to its licensing team, hiring Laura Takaragawa, the Head of Consumer Licensing at Netflix, as its new VP of Consumer Products Licensing & Promotions. Viz says the newly created position will allow for the integration of all of VIZ Media’s licensed merchandise, collaborations, interactive and digital games, LBE, and promotions across all its licensed properties worldwide. Takaragawa will be responsible for all licensing and consumer product activities and, alongside senior leadership, will shape the company’s long-term growth plan, further developing its consumer products brand portfolio and expanding the company’s retail profile. “The new role will help us in driving continued growth across our licensing and consumer product business and will provide opportunities to further deepen our relationships with consumers and our partners alike,” said Brad Woods,… . . . read more

Google Gives Ground in War Over Who Pays For News

By Gary Symons TLL Editor in Chief US tech giant Google has announced a new policy to pay for some licensed news content in the UK, after coming under intense fire in Europe and Australia for allegedly profiting from news content without compensating the news organizations that produce that content. Google is now faced with new legislation that could force it to pay massive sums to news organizations, in return for posting their content as search results. While the outcome is uncertain, Google and fellow tech giants like Facebook are fighting hard to prevent governments from forcing them to pay for the news content they are serving up through their respective platforms. In doing so, it appears Google is now giving up some ground, and trying to work with news… . . . read more

French Comic Asterix Licensed for TV, Film, Video Games

The iconic and internationally popular French/Belgian comic book Asterix is seeing a resurgence in popularity which is likely to grow, as the brand launches new licensing deals and a live action film. Asterix launched as a French and Belgian French comic book in 1959, depicting the adventures of the Gauls in their resistance to the Romans in the era of Julius Caesar. Featuring Asterix and his oversized friend Obelix, the two face off against the mighty Roman Empire with the help of a potion that temporarily gives them super human strength. The comedic graphic novels have maintained strong sales ever since, but brand owner Éditions Albert Rene says the characters have become even more popular in 2020 and heading into 2021. The graphic novel The Chieftain’s Daughter sold more than… . . . read more

Marvel Launches Year Long Product Campaign for 2021

The wildly successful Disney superhero franchise Marvel is giving its fans plenty of reasons to celebrate the New Year, announcing a full year of new Marvel Studios inspired product reveals spanning toys, games, books, apparel, home décor and more. Mirroring Marvel Studios’ upcoming Disney+ series rollouts, Marvel Must Haves will serve as the preeminent source on for product reveals supporting each new series, beginning with Marvel Studios’ WandaVision, premiering on Jan. 15. The news comes shortly after Disney announced a huge slate of new films and television programming this year, beginning with the new series WandaVision on Disney+ that is seen as the beginning of an all new story arc for the Marvel universe. “Fans tuning into Disney+ this year will experience Marvel like never before with six exhilarating series,… . . . read more

Z2 Retells Legend of Elvis in Comic Book Form

Z2 Comics has acquired a license to the story of rock’n’roll icon Elvis Presley, and will release the singer’s biography in the form of a graphic novel. The graphic novel will be released in partnership with Authentic Brands Group, owner of the Elvis Presley Estate. Elvis: The Graphic Novel was written by Chris Miskiewicz, who wrote a similar piece on the Grateful Dead for Z2, and will feature art by Michael Shelfer. “Legends have to start somewhere,” the story points out, and the graphic novel takes reader through “The King’s” humble beginnings as a young artist, his struggle to find his own unique voice, and his triumphant arrival on the world stage as the first global rock star. The graphic novel is available now at