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Former investigator indicted in theft of vintage comics

A copy of "All Winners Comics" #1 was among the stolen comics

A copy of “All Winners Comics” #1 was among the stolen comics

A grand jury in Harris County, Texas, has indicted a former investigator for the district attorney’s office accused of stealing thousands of dollars in rare comics.

The Houston Chronicle reports Dustin Deutsch was indicted Tuesday on charges of felony theft by a public servant and tampering with evidence, stemming from an embezzlement case he and his former partner Lonnie Blevins were investigating in 2012 for the district attorney’s office.

Blevins was arrested in January 2013 following an FBI investigation into the theft of rare comics seized from the home and storage units of Anthony Chiofalo, a corporate attorney who embezzled $9.3 million from his employer, and then spent a sizable chunk of the money on high-priced collectibles, including a copy of Detective Comics #27 valued at $900,000.

Blevins pleaded guilty in May to taking more than $5,000 worth of those comics and selling them at a convention in Chicago. He’s awaiting sentencing.

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Uncivilized Press unveils spring lineup

borb_book_cover-01

Uncivilized Press has announced its spring 2015 lineup of graphic novels, and it’s well worth a look. There are just three books: Borb, by Jason Little, whose previous works chronicled the adventures of Bee in Shutterbug Follies and Motel Improvement Service (you can read an excerpt of the latter here); Vincent Stall’s Robot Investigator, a story about a robot wandering through a planet that’s like Earth but with only feral humans; and True Swamp: Book 2, by John Lewis.

Full descriptions and additional covers can be found below.

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Comics A.M. | Books-A-Million sees growth in manga sales

Books-A-Million

Books-A-Million

Retailing | The Books-A-Million retail chain reported significant growth in the last quarter, due in part to strong sales of manga and strategy games. “Sales in the graphic novel category … grew nicely on the strength of a significant resurgence in the interest in several manga series, particularly Attack on Titan,” CEO Terry Finley said in an earnings call. The chain’s sales increased 1.2 percent, and same-store sales were up 1.8 percent last quarter compared to the same quarter last year; by contrast, fiscal year 2013 sales were down by 9.4 percent from the previous year. [ICv2]

Creators | Jeff Lemire talks about his new graphic novel Teen Titans: Earth One, which reflects his love of Marv Wolfman and George Pérez’s The New Teen Titans: “I wanted a fresh and clean take on a teen super-team without having to rely on other heroes or continuity. So I gravitated to these unique teen characters Marv and George had created, and re-envisioned them through my own sensibilities along with artist Terry Dodson, who really helped them come to life.” [The Kindle Post]

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Even a low-budget remake of ‘Age of Ultron’ trailer is awesome

age-of-ultron-sweded

Watching the gleefully low-budget, shot-for-shot remake of the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, it occurred to me that many of us would probably line up to watch this movie, as long as there was the promise of an after-credits scene.

OK, maybe not, but this sweded take on the teaser is every bit as entertaining as you would expect, with cardboard buildings (and doors and Hulkbuster armor), terrible wigs, crepe-paper speed effects, and what I’m pretty sure is processed cheese sauce doubling as molten iron.

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Long Beach Comic Expo offers lifetime passes

Cosplay from Long Beach Comic Expo 2014

Cosplay from Long Beach Comic Expo 2014

For comics fans in Southern California, this Cyber Monday deal may rise above the others.

Long Beach Comic Expo is offering 50 lifetime passes for the annual event for $249.99 each through Dec. 13. After that, you’ll have to shell out $349.99 for one.

Not to be confused with its fall counterpart Long Beach Comic Con, the two-day expo is moving from its traditional late-spring dates to Feb. 28 to March 1 for next year’s sixth-anniversary show.

Held at the Long Beach Convention Center, the event also plans to expand exhibit space and its creator and programming lineups. Announced guests for the 2015 convention include Chris Claremont, Brian Wood and Greg Weisman. The passes can be purchased on the Long Beach Comic Expo website.

Geek OUT’s Flame Con campaign exceeds Kickstarter goal

flame con

With eight days remaining in the Kickstarter campaign, Geeks OUT has surpassed its initial $15,000 goal to help fund Flame Con, “a super-queer comic con” to be held next year in New York City.

“We are over the moon with excitement!” the group said in a statement. ” THANK YOU to all who have helped us take this huge step toward realizing such an ambitious goal.”

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Alex Ross pits Darth Vader against Doctor Doom

alex-ross-vader-doom-croppe

OK, so maybe Batman versus Darth Vader wasn’t exactly a fair fight, but what about Doctor Doom versus the Dark Lord? Alex Ross depicts such a scenario in a painting he created for a friend. Both characters blend magic and technology, and they cut mean figures in their capes and suits of armor. It seems like a pretty good match-up.

By this point, Ross is becoming an old hand at the Sith Lord, having recently provided variant covers for Marvel’s Star Wars #1 and Star Wars: Darth Vader #1.

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Comic-Con volunteer attracts controversy with inflammatory Ferguson tweets

UPDATE 11/25/2014 3:25 PM PT: A Comic-Con International representative has provided CBR News with the following statement:

There is no excuse for offensive or threatening behavior. The fact that it comes from a purported member of our committee is clearly upsetting. Even though we cannot control what an individual says, we can address issues that have a direct effect on our organization or persons affiliated with our organization. We would also like to mention this individual no longer holds a volunteer position with our association. We encourage any individual who feels threatened by these comments or others to seek assistance from law enforcement.


Comic-Con InternationalThe reaction to the announcement Monday night that a grand jury chose decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown sent thousands to social media to voice their feelings on the decision. Within the comics industry, much of the discussion on Twitter has involved a self-identified Comic-Con International volunteer known as “Bill in San diego,” who has posted a series of inflammatory and disturbing tweets.

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It’s Batman vs. Darth Vader in ‘Super Power Beat Down’

batman-v-vader

If as a kid — or, hell, as an adult — you ever dreamed of seeing Batman face Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel, it’s your lucky day. In the 14th episode of its “Super Power Beat Down” series, Machinima pits the Dark Knight against the Dark Lord of the Sith in a mission to rescue Superman from the Death Star.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say we get to hear (but not see) Oracle, and Batman delivers a couple of solid lines, including, “I’ll take my science over your magic any day.” But is Bat-tech enough to overcome the power of the Dark Side?

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Celebrate Doomsgiving with ‘Calamity’ Jon Morris

Doomsgiving1-banner

With Thanksgiving this week, it was sheer coincidence that I ran across Doomsgiving, a Tumblr hashtag used by Washington-based cartoonist and writer “Calamity” Jon Morris to celebrate his affinity for the Doom Patrol.

Morris, who also posted Doomsgiving pieces last year (in addition to being involved in a variety of unique side projects well worth checking out), has penned The League of Regrettable Heroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History, set for release in June 2015). There are plenty more of his illustrations to enjoy on his Tumblr and on Behance.

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Superman action figure soars to edge of space, returns to Earth

superman-space2

There’s something wonderfully and refreshingly uplifting about this video, which chronicles DesignSpark‘s mission for Mattel Toys Italy to launch a Superman action figure to an altitude of 29,000 meters — “to the edge of space” — and bring it parachuting back to Earth. It’s pretty amazing.

DesignSpark has provided more details at Instructables, including downloadable instructions so you can send your own action figure into the atmosphere.

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Spanish soccer team abandons new bat logo after DC challenge

batman-valencia

A Spanish soccer club has decided not to use an updated version of its traditional bat emblem, avoiding a possible legal fight with DC Comics.

News surfaced last week that the publisher had opposedd the trademark registration by La Liga club Valencia C.F., insisting the new variation of the team’s bat crest too closely resembles the familiar Batman emblem.

But now, The Guardian reports, Valencia says it no longer plans to use the new design after DC “presented its opposition to the request.” The club emphasized “there does not exist a lawsuit by DC Comics.”

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Comics A.M. | Greenberg plans ‘sort-of’ sequel to ‘Early Earth’

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth

Creators | Isabel Greenberg has announced she’s working on a “sort-of” sequel to The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, her British Comic Award-winning debut graphic novel. She also posted her new comic Dreadful Wind and Rain, which is being published as a limited edition by Gosh! Comics, and will be included in her follow-up to Early Earth. [Isabel Greenberg, via Digital Spy]

Manga | Yen Press associate editor and letterer Abigail Blackman talks about her job: “I see that the editor has a twofold obligation – to the original creator and to the reader. I think everyone in the process has to be most careful of not imposing his or her own sensibilities onto the material. I and Yen feel very strongly about preserving the meaning and intent of the original and making sure it translates clearly to the reader. It’s so easy for a rewriter to get carried away with his or her own voice, or for a letterer to get too cutesy with the fonts and placing emphasis.” [Organization Anti-Social Geniuses]

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Talking Comics with Tim | Curt Pires on ‘POP’

Pires-banner

POP, writer Curt Pires‘ collaboration with artist Jason Copland and colorist Pete Toms, wraps up this week with the release of Issue 4 from Dark Horse. One thing I consistently enjoy about Pires’ storytelling is how it works on two levels: You have a plot replete with action that always keeps the reader engaged, along with with a layer of subtext that invites deeper consideration.

In an interview with ROBOT 6, Pires allowed me to poke around both layers. Suicidal ideation, drug use and poetic terrorism are just a few of the concepts considered in POP, and in this interview.

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Anti-Hitler strip from wartime ‘Beano’ goes up for auction

beano-hitler

An original 1943 comic strip from The Beano making fun of Adolf Hitler will go up for auction later this month after being rescued from a dumpster in the 1960s.

The Daily Express reports that the strip was created by cartoonist Dudley Watkins for The Beano #219 as part of a propaganda campaign to raise British spirits during World War II.

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