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Sean Murphy tackles creator’s rights for conventions

Illustrators Christian Dibari, bottom left, and Sean Murphy above left, at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in 2013.  Photo by Tim Greenway.

Illustrators Christian Dibari, bottom left, and Sean Murphy above left, at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in 2013. Photo by Tim Greenway.

Speaking up is a hard thing to do for many creators, because as freelancers they often work at the whim of others. But Sean Murphy has made a name for himself beyond his actual work as an outspoken member of the artist community. Recently, he took to his deviantART page to pull back the curtain on an overlooked aspect of a creator’s life — one rife with doubts and unfulfilled promises, but with the occasional bright spot: conventions.

“While many of my pro friends are eternally grateful for their careers and for these generous invites, some of the shows are taking advantage of creators — ALL levels of creators — and not following through with what’s promised,” Murphy wrote. “Believe me, I love traveling and I want to visit all my readers in every country I can, but there’s nothing worse than getting to the ‘convention reserved’ hotel room and finding out you wasted your money staying in some foreign ghetto.”

While Murphy might now be in the upper echelon of creators vied for by conventions and stores, the New England artist has been attending cons for more than a decade.

Murphy is doing more than just complaining, however; he’s offering a solution — what he calls a list of “Creator’s Rights” pertaining to conventions.

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Danish officials foil man’s bid to change name to Superhero

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Danish officials have dashed the hopes of a Copenhagen toy store owner who wanted to call himself Superhero. However, like a true superhero, he isn’t giving up without a fight.

BBC News reports that 26-year-old Benjamin Preisler Herbst hoped to tack “Superhero” onto the beginning of his name, as so much of his life revolves around comic book characters. But after a four-month review, authorities rejected his request, writing, “The word superhero is a term for a fictional/non-existent figure. We don’t believe that Superhero lives up to the criteria for being approved as a boy’s name.”

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Tony Moore’s daily sketches are pretty amazing

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Tony Moore is among the most versatile artists in comics, and after returning recently from a sabbatical he’s producing some excellent chipboard sketches that showcase his range.

Posted on his blog (and available for sale as original art!), these headshot sketches shine a spotlight on the nuance of Moore’s abilities. He seems able to find richness in characters ranging from Batman to Beetlejuice to Tina Belcher in these pieces.

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Justin Greenwood on ‘The Bunker’s’ Joe Infurnari

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We frequently relish the opportunity to recommend creators or projects that readers might not otherwise consider. But in an effort to mix things up, it never hurts to solicit opinions from the creators themselves. This week, Justin Greenwood, artist of The Fuse and Stumptown, takes a moment to discuss Joe Infurnari‘s work on the sci-fi mystery series The Bunker.

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Kotobukiya unveils ‘Li’l Gotham’ mini figures

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Collectible toy company Kotobukiya has revealed a new set of DC Comics mini figures based on Li’l Gotham by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs.

Measuring less than 2 inches tall, the figures — Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Catwoman, The Joker, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy — come in randomly selected two-packs and in six colors. No price is given, but they’ll be available in June.

Nguyen’s designs for a pint-sized Gotham City are proving to be popular in the collectibles market: Last year DC Collectibles unveiled a line of Lil’l Gotham action figures.

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‘Attack on Titan’ Real Escape Game gets a trailer, New York date

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Although SCRAP Entertainment has yet to announce details for the New York City edition of the Attack on Titan Real Escape stadium game, the trailer for “Escape From the Walled City” now provides a date: Saturday, April 11. However, no location is listed.

That information arrives even as tickets sell out for Sunday’s 2:30 p.m. game at AT&T Park in San Francisco. That’s 3,000 players for that one run-through; tickets are still available for the 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. games, and for the Los Angeles stop on March 21.

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Mr. Incredible convicted in Hollywood Boulevard attack on Batgirl

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Mr. Incredible is headed into anger-management classes.

You may recall that, in October, a camera captured video of a brawl on Hollywood Boulevard between Batgirl and Mr. Incredible that drew in Chewbacca, Waldo, Freddy Krueger in a cracked-mirror version of Disney Infinity. Mr. Incredible was shown fighting with Batgirl and slamming her to the ground.

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Comics A.M. | Police raid office of Malaysian cartoonist Zunar

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Zunar

Legal | Kuala Lumpur police raided the office of the Malaysian cartoonist Zunar and seized 149 copies of his books Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar and Pirates of the Carry BN. They were looking for the cartoonist himself, but he was in the United Kingdom, speaking at Oxford and Cambridge universities and giving a talk in London titled “To Fight Through Cartoons.” In a press release, Zunar said the raid occurred under the Printing Presses Act, Sedition Act and Penal Code, and that he would be called to the police station on his return to the country; he was arrested under that act in 2010. He also tweeted, “If the cartoons are defamatory, those who feel aggrieved should file a civil suit. No problem. I oppose the use of criminal laws like the Sedition Act” [The Malaysian Insider]

Political cartoons | Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Zineb El-Rhazoui, on a fundraising tour in Canada, said the terrorists who attacked the magazine’s offices and killed 12 people were the ones who made a mockery of religion, not the cartoonists who drew caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. “This is the most ugly caricature, that this is the most ugly picture of their religion,” she said. “It is not the pictures made by Charlie Hebdo.” [CTV News]

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Nothing says ‘meditative’ like a Zen Judge Dredd statue

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Although I have my doubts as to the calming, meditative qualities of a character whose signature line is “Hulk SMASH,” I’m not immune to the appeal of these 3D-printed Buddha sculptures of an assortment of pop-culture characters, from the Star Wars cast to Batman to Judge Dredd to Groot (with Rocket Raccoon, naturally).

The statues, which come in three sizes — 2 inches, 4 inches and 6 inches — range in price from $7.99 to $27.99. You can see some of the pieces below, and the full selection on Chris Milnes’ Etsy page.

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Suspect in plane bomb hoaxes used webcomic for Twitter handle

Zortic last panel

Being a webcomics creator has its challenges, but here’s one you don’t see too often: finding out the title of your long-running strip is being used by someone who tweeting bomb threats to airlines. That’s the surreal situation Mark Mekkes found himself in on Saturday.

Mekkes is the creator of the long-running Zortic, which he describes as “a weekly science fiction, comedy adventure comic with a lot of parody and popular references.” The comic has been running for 14 years, but on Saturday, Mekkes noticed a spike in traffic and social media mentions. He didn’t think too much of it until he got a phone call from his brother-in-law, who had seen “Zortic” mentioned on the national news. The reason: Somebody using the Twitter handle “King Zortic” had tweeted bomb threats to Delta and Southwest airlines, resulting in two planes being escorted by fighter jets to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and then scoured by bomb squads. The threats were ultimately determined to be a hoax.

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Celebrate Chris Evans-Chris Pratt Super Bowl bet with charity tee

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The good-natured Super Bowl rivalry between Captain America star Chris Evans and Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt has moved beyond a charity bet to inspire a charity T-shirt.

As CBR noted last week, Boston native Evans and Seattle resident Pratt dug in for their own Civil War:  If New England wins Super Bowl XLIX, Pratt will don a Patriots jersey and make an appearance at Christopher’s Haven in Boston, which provides a home away from home for young cancer patients and their families while they undergo cancer treatments at nearby hospitals. but if the Seahawks win, Evans will dress as Captain America and visit Seattle Children’s Hospital while carrying a 12th Man flag.

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In ‘Avengers 2: Step Up,’ reluctant heroes were born to dance

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In an alternate, sunnier reality, the sequel to Marvel’s Avengers wouldn’t be about Tony Stark unintentionally unleashing a homicidal robot bent on eradicating humanity. Instead, it would center on one flexible man with a plan: to forge a group of heroes with broken dreams into … Earth’s Mightiest Dance Team.

Hey, it could work, as PistolShrimps demonstrates in the parody video Avengers 2: Step Up, which has a little fun with footage from the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

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Robot Reviews | ‘March,’ Book Two

march_book_two_72dpi_lgThe second volume of Rep. John Lewis’ autobiographical trilogy March is darker than the first one, both literally — artist Nate Powell fills many panels with almost unbroken blackness, as he depicts smoke, night and noxious fumes — and figuratively, as it shows human cruelty at its worst. Even in its lighter moments, Book Two shows the flaws as well as the triumphs of the Civil Rights movement. As this era recedes from living memory to history books, it’s in danger of dwindling to a series of inspirational images and iconic figures. Book Two of March is a bracing antidote to that.

March‘s first volume focused on Lewis’ youth and his involvement with the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins of 1959-1960, his first experience with nonviolent social action. In Nashville, the protestors were mostly students, their leaders were mostly religious, and they took the principle of nonviolence seriously. The refusal to answer violence with violence, whether verbal or physical, was integral to their actions. While there are violent moments in Book One, the story doesn’t dwell on them.

In Book Two, on the other hand, Lewis jumps right in with an attempted murder: The manager of a diner not only refuses to serve Lewis and a colleague, he sends his staff away, turns off the lights, turns on a fumigator spraying insecticide gas, and locks the door. The opposition has moved from harassment to deadly force, and while Lewis was rescued by firefighters (who must have been called by someone), it’s clear from the start that the stakes have been raised.

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Excelsior? Stan Lee thinks the world will probably blow itself up

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With collaborators like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Stan Lee dreamed up futuristic technology and alien civilizations, but he still marvels at the advancements he witnesses in our world.

I always knew new inventions and new things would come along,” he tells music producer Steve Aoki the latest edition of Wired’s “Neon Future Sessions.’ “I didn’t think it would happen so fast. I didn’t think in my lifetime we’d have things like navigators in automobiles, that we’d have smartphones that can talk to you, but, boy, science is moving so fast. They’re actually managing to keep up with me.”

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‘Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service’ gets omnibus treatment

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Dark Horse is expanding its omnibus line with oversized new collections of The Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service.

Created by Eiji Ōtsuka and Housui Yamazaki, the frequently gory horror manga centers on five young graduates of a Buddhist college, each with a special skill — dowsing, embalming, channeling an alien intelligence, etc. — who form a company devoted to delivering the dead to where they need to go to move on to their next reincarnations. It’s not pleasant or easy work, and it doesn’t always pay, but it beats a 9-to-5 job.

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