Robot 6

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

Legal | Neil Gaiman addresses some of the news coverage of his continuing legal dispute with Todd McFarlane, which was punctuated this week by an evidentiary hearing regarding the characters Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany: “There are some knock-offs of the characters I’ve co-created that Todd published and made toys of over the years, and I felt they were derivative of the characters I’d created (or in one case, one actually was the same character I’d created). Todd didn’t want to pay anything at all on them so he (not me/my lawyers) took it back before the judge. Nobody ‘stole characters’ and there’s no argument over ‘ownership of characters’ going on. We’re now waiting for a ruling on if those characters are (in my opinion) derivative or (Todd’s opinion) not of the characters I co-created and have an established copyright interests in. It’s not an ‘epic battle.’ The epic battle was fought and won in 2002.” Gaiman and McFarlane have until July 25 to submit additional arguments. [Neil Gaiman’s Journal]



Legal | Simon Jones has commentary on the defeat this week of a controversial bill in the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly to tighten regulations on the sexual depictions of minors in manga, anime and video games: “This is a social battle waged in legislature, and the ultimate goal is to once again push adult content back into the darkest recesses of society, by getting people accustomed to the idea of granting rights to fictional characters, and eroding the rights of real people to have free and unpleasant speech.  In the logic of the censors, this would have been an intermediary step to a complete porn ban; if we can convince the people that non-obscene manga can harm children, why not say the same for adults?” [Icarus Publishing]

Digital comics | Graeme McMillan talks to ComiXology CEO David Steinberger about his company, the newly announced BOOM! Studios comics app, pricing, and retailer reactions to digital distribution. [Techland]



Digital comics | After a week of owning an Apple iPad, Chris Sims declares, “It is basically the perfect way to read comics.” [Comics Alliance]

Publishing | Dark Horse has stealthily launched a company blog. It doesn’t appear to have an RSS feed yet, though. [Dark Horse]

Conventions | Donna Rolando previews the New Jersey Comic Expo, which is expected to draw “certainly over 1,000″ people on Saturday to the Riverdale Armory in Riverdale, New Jersey. Comic guests include Denny O’Neil, Irwin Hasen, Joe Staton, Bob Wiacek and Jim Salicrup. []

Events | Ellen Spitaleri reports on “Hometown Superhero,” an exhibit of the comic art collection of Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson at the JC Lillie Performing Arts Center in Milwaukie, Oregon. [Clackamas Review]

Unknown Soldier #22

Unknown Soldier #22

Creators | Writer Joshua Dysart discusses his recently canceled Vertigo series Unknown Soldier: “… I still think that we’re going to see a complete ending. It’s not the ending I would of ultimately liked to have done, but back in December I literally had a dream that we were canceled. And it wasn’t a prophetic dream because our numbers were bad it was just kind of my unconscious waking me up, literally. I called my editor and decided, before we ever got the cancellation notice, that we would start working on the ending. And so we devised a way to begin planting these elements that would allow us to wrap up if we had to in a quick manner, but still give us open enough spaces that we could put other stories in there.” [The Unseen Eye]

G-Man, Vol. 1

G-Man, Vol. 1

Creators | Snow Wildsmith interviews cartoonists Ben Towle and Chris Giarrusso. [Good Comics for Kids]

Creators | Johanna Draper Carlson chats with cartoonist Sarah Becan about her Xeric Grant-winning minicomic The Complete Ouija Interviews. [Comics Worth Reading]

Creators | Tom Mason checks in with the creators of Malibu’s Ultraverse. [Comix 411]

Graphic novels | Eva Volin leads a roundtable discussion of Foiled, by Jane Yolen and Mike Cavallaro. [Good Comics for Kids]



I know this will seem petty, but you are publishing a somewhat professional web site, in constructions that sound like would’ve, should’ve, might’ve, it is not of, but have that is the verb being used. Not should of, should have. Not would of, would have. Not could of, would have.

This level of basic illiteracy is annoying. This is a great site, and I hate to see bad grammar be perpetuated by its lack of interest in using it properly.

Thanks for your concern, Hector. However, I presume you’re alluding to a quote, which I can’t really alter to suit grammatical desires.

How can manga featuring kiddie porn be defensible? I know there’s plenty of people at this website that are all for it, but sick crap is sick crap. No two ways about it.

You absolutely CAN alter a quote to feature correct grammar, you simply substitute the correct verbiage and place it in brackets to indicate paraphrasing. For example, “It’s not the ending I would of ultimately liked to have done” becomes “It’s not the ending I [would’ve] ultimately liked to have done.”

Matt Halteman

June 17, 2010 at 8:40 am

Hector, Kevin is correct. The improper grammar is indeed showcased in the quote from Joshua Dysart, not in the writing of the article itself. It would, of course, be improper of Kevin or anyone else at CBR to alter a quote to correct any grammatical errors contained therein.

In future, it might behoove you to read more carefully before berating an extremely professional site for perceived errors. There are other sites that perpetuate such regrettable behavior, but this is not one of them.

Mike, I see it differently though. It’s more of a case of preventing inane concepts like ‘fictional characters having basic human (!) rights’ from becoming reality, and it just so happens that the battlefield it had to be fought in first would be in porn manga.

Personally, it’s not the type of thing (loli hentai manga) I would like to be defended at this point. But think of the possibilities swirling around in the minds of the people who made those laws right now. The complete ban of anything deemed offensive. It starts in Japan, but other countries will follow suit for sure. Once someone who draws a picture of a woman being raped will be made to look like he actually raped someone in the eyes of the law, what will happen to the medium of art, of which comic books are definitely a part of? Blackest Night had tons of murders in the course of the event. Will those get banned too, someday? Would a painting of Cain slaying Abel be cited for attempted murder?

That’s how I look at it (it may be a misguided way of thinking, feel free to correct me), and though the scenarios sound funny right now, when they’re arbitrarily cracking down on the right to express yourselves (even if its in loli manga, but that’s another issue altogether) for the sake of cleanliness, it just gives me chills.

Matt Halteman

June 17, 2010 at 8:45 am

Aaron, I do agree that what you are proposing can be done, but it really shouldn’t be done unless unavoidable for some reason. Altering quotes, even with the proper notation, is a slippery slope and can lead to anything from hurt feelings to legal consequences.

I’m just writing as another reader, but I think Hector makes a good point.

Nice to see some follow-up on the Ultraverse – I really enjoyed a good deal of their titles… right up ’til Marvel started screwing around with it. I’m surprised they haven’t had the Ultraverse characters popping out of The Fault, debased as throw-away Cthuluoid bad-guys…

Ooops. Gonna wish I hadn’t written that. Guess the return of (gag) Necromantra is only a couple of issues of The Thanos Imperative down the line…

(Disclaimer: I also enjoy Marvels’ current cosmic titles a whole bunch! Mantra (Lukasz) for Guardans Of The Galaxy!)

I also think Hector Lugo & Aaron Poehler are right in this case.

I’ll quote from the Associated Press Stylebook, the go-to source for journalistic writing, on quotations:

“Never alter a quotation even to correct minor grammatical errors or word usage.”

As Matt noted above, altering quotes can lead to a lot of unintended — and easily avoidable — consequences. So we’re not going to do it here on our “somewhat professional” website.

Also, I think that’s our new tagline.

“Robot 6: A somewhat professional web site.”


Unknown Soldier canceled?!? Damn.

So grammar-wise, what we’re concluding is that if (A) this was a phone/in-person interview, we should be mad at Unseen Eye’s transcriber, and if (B) this was an email interview, Joshua Dysart is probably embarrassed that his typo is being perpetuated. I’m also firmly in the Hector-and-Aaron camp here…I’ve done dozens of these promo-type interviews, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked to tighten things like that up and “make sure I don’t sound stupid.”

Hrm…that comment sounds a little harsh, so I should probably point out I don’t really care that you guys didn’t fix the typo, just pointing out that I personally would have.

Back more on topic, I find the logic behind this new round of the Gaiman/McFarlane battle really hard to wrap my head around. McFarlane created Spawn, Gaiman came up with a slight variation on Spawn (Medieval Spawn) and claims ownership, McFarlane came up with a different slight variation on Spawn (Dark Ages Spawn) and Gaiman claims ownership of that, too? How is it that Gaiman riffing on Todd’s character = something new, but Todd riffing on his own character = stealing Gaiman’s idea? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

Ok, but regardless of what YOU do. PROFESSIONAL journalists don’t alter quotes. I can’t believe we’re still arguing this.

Onn the subject of censoring, I’m sorry, I personally find loli hentai reprehensible, but to then go and make people accountable for what they write or draw as if the fictional characters were real is patently absurd. You may not agree with the content, you may hate that they get to draw the content, but to approach it in THIS PARTICULAR manner is wrong. It will lead to nothing but baseless litigation down the line. Remember, some people find eating meat offensive, some people find saying ‘Jesus Christ’ as an exclamation offensive. Some people actually find mohawk haircuts offensive. imagine if people had complete power to dictate what was offensive in media…

–> Mike

>How can manga featuring kiddie porn be defensible? I know there’s plenty of people at this website that are all for it, but sick crap is sick crap. No two ways about it.

This is exactly the kind of misunderstanding of the Tokyo Bill to which I alluded. The bill sought to limit the display and sale of non-obscene, non-sexual manga *as if they were obscene.*

Even in the “puritanical” US when similar legislation were passed in a few states, all were knocked down by higher courts.

Ok, but regardless of what YOU do. PROFESSIONAL journalists don’t alter quotes. I can’t believe we’re still arguing this.

Maybe it’s still being argued because PROFESSIONAL journalists argue it all the time. Two-time Pulitzer winner Gene Weingarten is in favor of judicious altering, for example.

That being said, Robot 6 has its policy, and as long as they’re consistent, you’ll hear no complaints from me. But it’s not as cut and dried as you’ve made it out to be (especially in Q&As).

And for the record, I’m in favor of leaving quotes alone.

Regarding the grammar question: isn’t this just a matter of using ‘sic’ to indicate an error in quotes?

Regarding the defeated bill: glad to see it defeated. Any form of censorship that seeks to deprive artists of their freedom is evil and must be fought. No one who enjoys art in any form can compromise with censorship in any form; you can’t just say, oh it’s alright if it just wants to protect children! When you start believing that, you’ll start believing anything these well-intentioned puritans want you to believe.

If this was an oral interview, then “would of” and “would’ve” sound exactly the same and the transcriber simply spelled it wrong and should properly be chastised. If it was a written response, then it would be correct to leave it as is, as the responsibility is on the part of the interviewee.

Everybody fixes oral quotes. Otherwise they’d all be filled with “uhs”, “ums” and “you knows” or “nomI’msyn?”

Chad: I agree with every word in that first link. Thanks for digging it up!

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