Current Transmissions

SDCC | Surveying the calm before the storm

maze runner comicAlthough Preview Night is still hours away, there’s still plenty of Comic-Con International news and miscellaneous tidbits, ranging from early announcements and last-minute preparations to convention exclusives and recommendations. We’ve rounded up just some of them here.

Fox has partnered with BOOM! Studios to produce a convention-exclusive Maze Runner comic. Written by the film’s director and screenwriter, Wes Ball and T.S. Nowlin, and illustrated by Marcus To, the one-shot will be given to attendees of the studio’s Hall H presentation on Friday.

• Dark Horse rounds up its pre-convention announcements of 12 new creator-owned comics, including Hellboy and the B.P.R.D., by Mike Mignola, John Arcudi and Alex Maleev, EI8HT, by Rafael Albuquerque and Mike Johnson, The Black Hammer, by Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston, and Fight Club 2, by Chuck Palahniuk and Cameron Stewart.

• The online comics education resource Comics Experience has partnered with IDW Publishing to release creator-owned titles by new talent, beginning in January with five miniseries: Drones by Chris Lewis and Bruno Oliveira; Creature Cops: Special Varmint Unit by Rob Anderson and Fernando Melek; Gutter Magic by Rich Douek and Brett Barkley; and Tet by Paul Allor and Paul Tucker.

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Bill Watterson’s ‘Pearls’ strips to hit SDCC before they’re sold

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The three original comic strips from Bill Watterson’s surprise guest stint last month on Pearls Before Swine will be displayed this week at Comic-Con International before they’re sold at auction Aug. 8, with proceeds benefiting The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.

The collaboration, which came at the suggestion of the Calvin and Hobbes creator, marked Watterson’s return to the comics page after a 19-year absence. Pastis teased readers that the week’s storyline would “contain a mind-blowing surprise,” but didn’t reveal what it was. Nevertheless, some fans quickly uncovered clues that some of the strips were ghost-drawn by Watterson.

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SDCC | Check out Marvel’s limited-edition ‘Guardians’ mini-poster

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Comic-Con International attendees who are lucky — or devoted — enough to make it into Hall H on Saturday for the Marvel Studios presentation will walk out with a limited-edition Guardians of the Galaxy mini-poster created by Matt Needle of Poster Posse fame. (The British graphic designer also produced two nice-looking prints for Poster Posse’s 75th-anniversary tribute to Batman.)

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Quote of the Day | Wil Wheaton defines ‘geek’

wil wheaton“I use ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ interchangeably — I don’t make a distinction. I’ve said that being a nerd is not about what you love, it’s about the way that you love it. So you can be a nerd for football, and obsessively follow stats and player trades and figure out things that give you an advantage in, like, sports betting and things like that. Or, you can love Battlestar Galactica and try to work out all of the complex mythologies and get into things like blueprints of the ships. And then you can love things like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Winter Soldier, and love that so much that you end up going to a comic book shop and then reading all the way back through ten or twenty years of Captain America comics. Someone who I would describe as a ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ is a person who loves something to its greatest extent, and then looks for other people who love it the same way, so they can celebrate loving it together.”

– actor/blogger/writer Wil Wheaton, defining for GQ a word we’ll see and hear bandied about a lot — a lot — during Comic-Con International

SDCC | PETA and Bluewater target SeaWorld with airport ad

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Thousands of people flying this week to Comic-Con International will be greeted at San Diego International Airport by a large ad targeting SeaWorld.

The $24,000 display, produced by PETA and comics publisher Bluewater Productions, features a cartoon of an orca with the marine parks’ CEO gripped between its teeth, accompanied by the text, “He Will Let You Go If You Let Him Go.” It was installed today in Terminal 2.

“With 130,000 people coming into San Diego for Comic-Con, we couldn’t miss this opportunity to bring this image to people,” PETA Senior Vice President Dan Mathews told San Diego’s ABC 10 News.

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‘Failing Sky’: the infinite canvas, the maze in your mind

Screen Shot 2014-07-19 at 4.43.28 PM

I’ve a confession to make: I have no idea what’s going on in Dax Tran-Caffee’s Eisner-nominated webcomic, Failing Sky. Now, I admit =this could all be my problem; the webcomic, after all, has its fans. The “About” page, for example, has positive notices from two comic legends, Scott McCloud and Neil Gaiman. Maybe this is a Ulysses situation — you know, in the sense that literary critics find it to be the greatest book in the world, but I can’t force myself through the first 50 pages. The mysterious wandering Jackie character just may be the webcomics version of Leopold Bloom.

But then again, maybe my brain just can’t wrap around the avant garde techniques used in the comic. For example, take a look at the “Chapters” page. Failing Sky is intentionally created out of chronological order. While most of Vol. 1 (out of four) has been published, the rest of the volumes only contain two chapters at most out of several. Most are marked “(not yet funded — ETA unknown),” which I assume means the chapters won’t be written until enough money comes through Patreon.

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Dauterman reveals Thor and Thor Odinson character models

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A week after Marvel announced a woman will take up the mantle of Thor after the current hero is deemed unworthy to wield Mjolnir, artist Russell Dauterman has posted his character models for both versions of the god of thunder.

“Did these as I was starting work on the book,” the incoming Thor artist wrote on his blog. “The costumes were designed before I came on board (by the great Esad Ribic, I believe), but here’s my take on them.”

As writer Jason Aaron told Comic Book Resources last week, the former Thor — Thor Odinson, prince of Asgard — will “still have a role to play” in the new series, which debuts in October.

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Watch 5-year-old Marvel trivia expert defeat ‘Guardians’ stars

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The Guardians of the Galaxy may be able to stand toe to toe with Ronan the Accuser, Nebula and Korath, but they were easily vanquished by 5-year-old Mia Grace Montross. The pint-sized Marvel expert, who made her Jimmy Kimmel Live! debut in December, returned to the show last night to face off against the stars of Guardians of the Galaxy in a trivia challenge. The result was … well, about what you might expect.

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SDCC | Jim Lee to give away 50 sketches

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DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee has been known to hold scavenger hunts at Comic-Con International and C2E2, dropping visual clues on Twitter to direct his fans to hidden character sketches. For this Comic-Con, however, he’ll celebrate his fast-approaching 50th birthday (it’s on Aug. 11) by giving away 50 previously drawn sketches at his spotlight panel on Sunday.

“I can do a sketch, it’s like a very complicated signature — so I think the quickest sketch I can do is like a minute and a half,” Lee tells DC All Access. “So I’d have to do it, literally, in two days.”

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Comics A.M. | South Korea court rules ‘One Piece’ show can go on

From "One Piece"

From “One Piece”

Legal | A South Korea court has ruled an exhibition devoted to One Piece can be held as planned after it was abruptly canceled earlier this month following allegations that Eiichiro Oda’s popular pirate manga contains images that resemble the Rising Sun flag, considered a symbol of Japanese imperialism in South Korea. The company staging the One Piece show, which includes life-sized statues, rare figures and Oda’s sketches, asked the court to step in after the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul pulled the plug on the event just days before its scheduled July 12 opening. The court found that One Piece can’t be considered to “[hail] Japanese imperialism” simply because it depicts a flag reminiscent of the Rising Sun; and even if those images are of the Rising Sun flag, it’s mainly shown in a negative light. [The Asahi Shimbun]

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Hot Toys’ Rocket and Groot set is really cool, really expensive

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Start saving your money now, collectors. Hot Toys has unveiled its Rocket Raccoon and Groot action-figure set for Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s undeniably awesome (and I say that as someone who hasn’t collected action figures since childhood), but it’s also $360. I should point out, however, that you can set up a payment plan, which seems absolutely crazy for a toy, but what do I know.

The “movie-accurate” figures come with a weapon (for Rocket), an interchangeable angry expression face (for Groot) and interchangeable hands (for both). See more details and photos on the Sideshow Collectibles website. You can preorder now for shipping in March. Did I mention it’s $360?

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SDCC | BOOM! and WeLoveFine launch deal with ‘Lumberjanes’ apparel

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BOOM! Studios has signed a first-look licensing deal with online apparel retailer WeLoveFine that will kick off this week at Comic-Con International with a line of T-shirts based on Lumberjanes and a limited-edition tee inspired by The Woods.

A selection of designs, including the convention-exclusive Lumberjanes “Holy Kitten” tee and the Lumberjanes Group Shot messenger bag, will be available during Comic-Con at the BOOM! booth (#2229) and at the WeLoveFine booth (#1235). They’ll also be available beginning July 24 on the WeLoveFine website; the “Holy Kitten” convention exclusive can be purchased online for a limited time.

Check out the designs below. Comic-Con begins Wednesday with Preview Night.

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Watch the killer trailer for Larime Taylor’s ‘A Voice in the Dark’

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We’ve written before about Larime Taylor, creator of A Voice in the Dark, a Top Cow series, set at the perfectly named Slaughter University. The comic is infused with satire and black humor, so it’s no surprise some of that sensibility seeped into the trailer for the first trade paperback.

Narrated by Jon Bailey, doing his best Don LaFontaine, the trailer acknowledges Taylor’s disability — he was born with arthrogryposis, and draws using his mouth — and provides a solid overview of the book’s premise before going in for the kill (so to speak): “… featuring such pop-culture commercial kryptonite like a female protagonist, realistically drawn women, persons of color and a focus on character and dialogue over meaningless action and gratuitous sex. … Come on, this book would sell a lot more copies if it had more explosions and boobs.”

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SDCC | Mike Mignola’s poster for ‘Toy Story That Time Forgot’

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TVLine has unveiled Mike Mignola’s poster for the ABC holiday special Toy Story That Time Forgot, which will given away Thursday to attendees of the presentation at Comic-Con International.

Set after the events of Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story 3, the animated special sends the gang into uncharted territory during a post-Christmas play date as the coolest set of action figures ever turns out to be dangerously delusional.

The Comic-Con panel will be at 11:15 a.m. Thursday in Room 6A. Afterward a special autograph session will be held at the ABC booth.

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SDCC | Mondo to preview ‘Iron Giant,’ Ninja Turtles toys

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The folks at Mondo, the art boutique renowned for its limited-edition screen-printed movie posters, has been branching out, with VHS reissues, apparel, vinyl soundtracks and even a convention. However, they’re not stopping there: They’re moving into collectible toys, beginning with figures for The Iron Giant, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Alfred Hitchcock, which will be previewed this week at Comic-Con International.

“I am so pumped to announce toys!” Mondo CEO Justin Ishmael said in a statement. “We’ve been working on this in secrecy for a year and now it’s time to let you guys know about it. We’ll be focusing on existing properties that we love as well as working with artists to bring their own creations to life. This is a new area for us, but I resist the term ‘expansion’ since the goal for Mondo has always been to be a place where artists and designers can work to have their visions realized, whether that’s through posters, gallery shows, vinyl, apparel or now toys.”

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