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Comic-Con Kicks Off

Comic-Con kicks off today in San Diego. It’s kind of a big deal. We’ll have full coverage tomorrow, but until then here’s a New York Times article by Gregory Schmidt about how toymakers including Mattel and Hasbro are using the convention as a launching pad for new and limited-edition toys.

The big news from yesterday was Disney signing a deal with the National Hockey League for co-branded Phineas and Ferb merchandise for the 2011-12 season. We and others have talked about how Disney is actively using Phineas and Ferb to make inroads into the boys 6-11 market. We’ve also talked about how sports labor issues in the NFL (though that seems on its way to a resolution) and NBA might affect licensed product sales, but we haven’t talked about how it could affect deals and dealmaking. If there’s no NBA season next year, which seems like a real possibility, the value of Disney’s deal with the NHL would increase—perhaps not dramatically, but increased nonetheless. Sports-hungry eyeballs have to go somewhere when football isn’t on.

Warner Bros. announced that it has teamed with Lego to create Lego DC Universe Super Heroes. Lego has access to the entire library of DC Comics characters (including Batman, Robin, Catwoman, The Joker, The Riddler, and more) and stories. And not to step on our Comic-Con coverage, but 3,000 exclusive Batman and Green Lantern minifigures will be distributed to kick off a five-month promotion for the launch.

Finally, big news from WME Licensing, where The Little Prince has been sold as an animated series with 54 half-hour episodes in more than 72 countries, with a motion picture now in development. Licensing for the classic storytime book and the animation series is now underway, and interested parties should contact Rob Stone, president of WME Licensing, at rstone@wmeentertainment.com.

—Bryan Joiner

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