Future of storytelling for comics announced at Stan Lee Super Con in Jeddah

Special Future of storytelling for comics announced at Stan Lee Super Con in Jeddah
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The cars from Reactor 2042, which is like Fast and the Furious meets Tron as defined by the writer and artist Mike Bundlie.
Special Future of storytelling for comics announced at Stan Lee Super Con in Jeddah
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Reactor 2042 is like Fast and the Furious meets Tron as defined by the writer and artist Mike Bundlie.
Special Future of storytelling for comics announced at Stan Lee Super Con in Jeddah
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GenZeroes cover showing a glimpse into the fantastic universe.
Special Future of storytelling for comics announced at Stan Lee Super Con in Jeddah
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Artwork in American Carnage by Clive Standen, Pencils by Alex Konat. Ink by Joseph Weems. Color by Rex Lokus.
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Updated 23 June 2022

Future of storytelling for comics announced at Stan Lee Super Con in Jeddah

Future of storytelling for comics announced at Stan Lee Super Con in Jeddah
  • Creators behind ‘Reactor 2042,’ ‘American Carnage’ and ‘GenZeroes’ take center stage
  • Fans in Saudi Arabia are just as ‘crazy and wonderful’ as in other parts of the world, creative team say

JEDDAH: Three comics that will shape storytelling for the form were announced at the Stan Lee Super Con in Jeddah. 

Arab News spoke with the brilliant minds behind these comics — Mike Bundlie, Clive Standen and Aleks Paunovic, who respectively worked on “Reactor 2042,” “American Carnage” and “GenZeroes.”

The team decided that they wanted to announce the release of the comics in Jeddah as fans marked Stan Lee’s 100th birthday at the Super Con. 

“Given that Stan and his projects were so intrinsic to movies, it seemed only natural to do it at the Stan Lee Super Con,” said Mike Bundlie, co-founder of Super Con and the creator of “Reactor 2042.”

Bundlie said that announcing the news at a forum that is relatively quieter than the Comic Cons in the US also made sense to them. “The Jeddah fans were so happy and eager, the response was just unbelievable. The Saudi fans are not as jaded, too, because there is not so much hitting them as in the San Diego Comic Con.”

He described the Super Con as a place where people discover new things. To elevate the stage for the Saudi convention it was necessary to let the world discover projects with international scopes through Saudi Arabia, he said. “The way to do this is to have the Stan Lee Super Con be a platform where big news happens.”

Each project announced is created with the intention of making it into a TV show or a movie. 

Standen, who starred in the hit series “Vikings” as the axe-wielding Rollo and the lead actor in the TV series “Taken,” came up with the graphic novel “American Carnage.” He explained how his fascination with the American West culture of cowboys and Indians sparked the idea to flip the history of America.

Set four years in the future, the plot is located in a world where a nuclear war has been waged on America and the US has lost. Mexico, Cuba and Columbia form a coalition and attack the South to reclaim the land of Mexico. “What has happened to America in the plot makes the Chernobyl incident look like a science experiment,” he said. 

Standen said: “For me, it’s all about originality, I really feel like I have come up with an original thing. I mean nothing is really original these days, you take the best bits from things, but I did get really bored of doing the same old same thing and even if it is good, it’s a copy. What I am really looking forward to is someone going, I have never seen anything like this before.”

The other two comics announced alongside “American Carnage” have a preexisting fan base as they are an extension of two NFT Games and support those storylines. 

NFT in gaming allows the gamers to use non-fungible tokens to own certain parts of the video games. It also allows people to play games as an investment.

“Reactor 2042” is the exciting first comic series based on the sold-out hit NFT 2022 release “Reactor Motors,” with the artwork and storyline developed by Bundlie and released by Abstract Comics.

Bundlie describes the plot as “‘Fast and Furious’ meets ‘Tron’.” The story follows a young geologist who discovers crystals that react with metal and energize it. “So instead of just racing, now you have real emotions behind it and now the world will belong to characters that you care about.”

“GenZeroes” is set 200 years in the future when the world is attacked by aliens who come to rob the earth of its resources. Humanity is divided into 10 factions and players can choose which one they want to join. 

According to Paunovic, the team involved in the creation of the NFT space is passionate about giving back to their community. “It is not just images, it is utilities, it is a story, it is characters, and falling in love with the characters.”

Paunovic, an actor and producer, is known for his roles in series such as Marvel’s “Hawkeye,” “Van Helsing,” and “Snow Piercer.” 

“NFT space is so artistically driven, it is something that is next-level from anything I have experienced so far,” Paunovic told Arab News.

The creators and team of “GenZeroes” hold regular podcasts to see what the fans need, and work to incorporate that into the storyline. 

With an existing passionate fanbase, developing the storylines can be quite a challenge for the creators. However, that was not the case for Bundlie and Paunovic.

Bundlie said: “The audience is very critical of every part of it, and I love that because it pushes us on every aspect to do the best possible. The way we see it is that their pushing of it is not to put down the property, it is them wanting to keep it going.”

The three comics will propel storytelling forward toward the future of comic writing.

Bundlie said: “When these comics were announced Stan Lee would have been 100 years old, and these three comics represent the future of where the comics are going; it is no longer just making comics and then maybe it will become bigger.”

The Stan Lee Super Con showed that fans in Saudi Arabia are just as “crazy and wonderful” as in other parts of the world. In addition to that they are also polite, passionate and loving, Bundlie said. The creative team are ready to carry the love they received in Jeddah to other places of the world, he said. 


Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America

Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America
Updated 01 July 2022

Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America

Turkey blocks access to Deutsche Welle and Voice of America
  • An Ankara court ruled to restrict access to their websites late Thursday
  • Deutsche Welle said it did not comply with the licensing requirement because it “would have allowed the Turkish government to censor editorial content”

ISTANBUL: Turkey’s media watchdog has banned access to the Turkish services of US public service broadcaster Voice of America and German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, prompting complaints of censorship.
The Supreme Board of Radio and Television enforced a February warning to the two companies which air Turkish-language television content online to apply for a broadcast license or be blocked. An Ankara court ruled to restrict access to their websites late Thursday.
Neither website was available in Turkey on Friday. Deutsche Welle is German taxpayer-funded and Voice of America is funded by the US government through the US Agency for Global Media.
In a statement, Deutsche Welle said it did not comply with the licensing requirement because it “would have allowed the Turkish government to censor editorial content.”
Director general Peter Limbourg said this was explained in detail to the Turkish radio and TV board, abbreviated as RTUK.
“For example, media licensed in Turkey are required to delete online content that RTUK interprets as inappropriate. This is simply unacceptable for an independent broadcaster. DW will take legal action against the blocking that has now taken place,” Limbourg said.
The German government said it took note of the reports “with regret.”
“Our concern about the state of freedom of opinion and the press in Turkey continues,” government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit said, adding that Germany is in a “regular, critical exchange” with Turkey on the issue.
Asked whether the German government can intervene in this case, Hebestreit noted that Deutsche Welle has said it plans to take legal action “and we have to wait for that.”
RTUK dismissed any criticism in a statement on its website Friday, saying that “no one needs to have uncertainties on the freedom of expression or press, worry unnecessarily or incriminate our Supreme Board that is doing its duties based on legal grounds.”
The RTUK statement added that had the media organizations “acted in line with regulations,” there wouldn’t have been access bans. It also promised to request from the court that the restrictions be revoked if the websites launch companies in Turkey and get licensed.
But Ilhan Tasci, a RTUK member from Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party, said he opposed the move to block the two foreign broadcasters. “Here is press freedom and advanced democracy,” he tweeted sarcastically.
The RTUK board is dominated by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ruling party and its nationalist allies, and regularly fines critical broadcasters.
Thursday’s move is based on an August 2019 regulation that says the RTUK would give 72-hour advance notice to unlicensed online media regarding when they had to apply and pay three months of licensing fees. Failure to do so could result in legal action against a media organization’s executives and access restrictions.
In February, RTUK said it identified three websites without broadcast licenses, which also included the Turkish services of Euronews. But Euronews said it argued that it did not broadcast live in Turkish or air visual bulletins and was therefore exempt from the licensing requirements.
The Journalists’ Union of Turkey called the decision censorship. “Give up on trying to ban everything you don’t like, this society wants freedom,” it tweeted.
Voice of America noted in February that while licensing for TV and radio broadcasts is a norm because broadcast airwaves are finite resources, the Internet does not have limited bandwidth. “The only possible purpose of a licensing requirement for Internet distribution is enabling censorship,” VOA said in a statement then.
State Department spokesman Ned Price tweeted when the licensing regulation emerged in February that the US was concerned with RTUK’s “decision to expand government control over free press outlets.”
In response, Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic noted that the US required Turkey’s state English-language broadcaster, TRT World, to register as a foreign agent under a law intended for lobbyists and public relations firms working for foreign governments. TRT said it was newsgathering and reporting like any other international media but had to register as a foreign agent in 2020.
“TRT abides by relevant regulations for its activities in the US Is that censorship? We expect the same from @VoATurkish and others,” Bilgic tweeted.
Turkey was rated “Not Free” for 2021 on the Freedom of the Net index by Freedom House. Hundreds of thousands of domains and web addresses have been blocked.
Reporters Without Borders ranked Turkey at 149 out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index, saying “all possible means are used to undermine critics,” including stripping journalists of press cards, online censorship, lawsuits and arrests.


Amazon to allow Prime users to unsubscribe in two clicks after EU complaints

Amazon to allow Prime users to unsubscribe in two clicks after EU complaints
Updated 01 July 2022

Amazon to allow Prime users to unsubscribe in two clicks after EU complaints

Amazon to allow Prime users to unsubscribe in two clicks after EU complaints

BRUSSELS: US online retail giant Amazon has made it easier for users to cancel their subscriptions to its fast shipping club Prime with just two clicks, following complaints from consumer groups, the European Commission said on Friday.
European Consumer Organization (BEUC), the Norwegian Consumer Council and the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue took their grievances to the EU executive in April last year.
They said users had to go through numerous hurdles such as complicated navigation menus, skewed wording and confusing choices, to unsubscribe from Amazon Prime.
The company will now allow users to unsubscribe from Amazon Prime with two clicks via a prominent and clear ‘cancel button’, the Commission said.
The changes will apply to all EU websites and for desktop devices, mobiles and tablets with immediate effect.
“Consumers must be able to exercise their rights without any pressure from platforms. One thing is clear: manipulative design or ‘dark patterns’ must be banned,” Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders said in a statement.


Media watchdog sounds alarm over Burkina journalist

Media watchdog sounds alarm over Burkina journalist
Updated 01 July 2022

Media watchdog sounds alarm over Burkina journalist

Media watchdog sounds alarm over Burkina journalist
  • Media watchdog calls on authorities in Burkina Faso to act after one of the country’s most prominent journalists received death threats
  • Thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced in the past seven years

OUAGADOUGOU: The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on authorities in Burkina Faso to act after one of the country’s most prominent journalists received death threats.
Ahmed Newton Barry, a former TV president and ex-editor of L’Evenement newspaper who now works as a current affairs commentator, was targeted in an audio clip circulating among WhatsApp groups, the watchdog said late Thursday.
The speaker in the clip identifies Barry by name, describes him as a “terrorist” and says a hundred people would assault his home.
“We are going to set fire to it and then destroy everything and collect the rubble that is piled up and leave the ground vacant,” the clip says, according to the CPJ.
Barry told the CPJ the threat may be related to comments he made on a TV program in which he described the Malian government as working with Russian mercenaries.
Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator in Johannesburg, urged the authorities to carry out a thorough investigation and ensure Barry’s safety.
“The security of journalists in Burkina Faso is tenuous enough without their having to worry about a mob being provoked to attack their homes,” she said.
Local press associations have also condemned the threats and urged the country’s junta-dominated authorities to investigate.
One of the world’s poorest countries, Burkina Faso is in the grip of a nearly seven-year-old crisis sparked by jihadist raiders crossing from neighboring Mali.
Thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced.


Serie A reaches TV rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media

Serie A reaches TV rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media
Updated 01 July 2022

Serie A reaches TV rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media

Serie A reaches TV rights deal with Abu Dhabi Media
  • For the next three seasons, Abu Dhabi Media, an Emirati public body, has been awarded the rights for a minimum total amount of $79 million
  • In the absence of a satisfactory offer in its call for tenders last year, the Italian League had developed its own Youtube channel in Arabic

ROME: Serie A on Thursday accepted the offer of TV platform Abu Dhabi Media to broadcast the Italian league in the Middle East and North Africa after more than a year without a broadcaster in this region.
For the next three seasons, Abu Dhabi Media, an Emirati public body, has been awarded the rights for a minimum total amount of $79 million, the Italian League announced.
To this guaranteed minimum income may be added any additional revenue linked to the number of subscribers that Italian football will generate on the platform, a spokesperson for Serie A told AFP.
In the absence of a satisfactory offer in its call for tenders last year, the Italian League had developed its own Youtube channel in Arabic to offer matches free of charge.


Twitter launches branded likes in Saudi Arabia

Twitter launches branded likes in Saudi Arabia
Updated 30 June 2022

Twitter launches branded likes in Saudi Arabia

Twitter launches branded likes in Saudi Arabia
  • Custom animation encourages users to like, unlike and relike a tweet

DUBAI: Twitter is rolling out its new “branded likes” feature across the US, Britain, Japan and Saudi Arabia.

Branded likes are essentially custom animations for the like button on a tweet that brands can pay for.

 

 

The feature is available as an add-on to Twitter’s Timeline Takeover offering, which ensures a brand’s ad is the first ad to appear when someone opens Twitter for the first time on a given day.

Advertisers can select a hashtag — and up to 10 translations of that hashtag. Twitter then works with its creative partner Bare Tree Media for the US, Britain and Saudi Arabia to create custom artwork for the campaign.

When a user taps the like button on any tweet containing the pre-selected hashtag, the custom branded like animation will appear.

Branded likes have been in testing for nearly two years with testers including brands such as Disney, Paramount Pictures, Tesco, NASA and the NBA.

 

 

 

https://twitter.com/disneyplus/status/1289092933598081025?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw 

 

Disney+ was the first brand to pay for the feature as part of the beta test, reported AdAge. The streaming platform used it to promote the premiere of “Black Is King,” Beyoncé’s highly anticipated visual album inspired by “The Lion King.”

The tweet has over 113,000 likes and more than 10,000 retweets. 

 

 

During testing, branded likes generated a positive impact when paired with the Timeline Takeover feature, resulting in a 277 percent lift in recall, and 202 percent lift in purchase and consideration intent.

Branded likes are well received by consumers too, with two-thirds of people finding them “appealing,” according to Twitter Insiders research.

It is unclear at this time when the branded likes feature will launch in other countries.