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Square Enix’s Batman/Two-Face mashup figure is the insanely wonderful Dark Knight toy we deserve


At last weekend’s Comic-Con International in San Diego, Square Enix unveiled a new assortment of DC Comics Play Arts Kai Variant Batman figures. Called the “Rogue Series,” the new collection of figures mixes Batman with some of his most notorious villains. Square Enix released official images of the first figure from the line, the disturbingly unsettling “Two-Face Batman” figure.

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SDCC: NASA introduces Rocket Raccoon & Groot patch in honor of space exploration


It’s safe to say Rocket Raccoon and Groot have made their way into the mainstream consciousness. Considering their obscure comic book origins and minimal status in comics until the 2014 film, it’s happened pretty quickly. Now, NASA’s getting in on the love.

NASA is honoring the characters’ greatness with a special Rocket Raccoon and Groot-inspired patch, being given to employees who worked on the International Space Stations’ National Laboratory in 2016. Take a look at the patch below:

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Vintage photos become colorful superhero art


You could say that Los Angeles artist Alex Gross has a superpower all his own. He possesses the ability to transform stodgy, old black-and-white photos into colorful pop0culture icons. The likes of the “Star Trek’s” Christopher Pikem DC Comics’ Bizarro and even Flynn from 1982’s “Tron” have all graced Gross’ repurposed photographs.

His love of days gone by inspired him to create the pop-culture masterpieces. “I absolutely love old photos and vintage pictures,” he told Vivianite. “The Victorian Era is the time when I would have liked to live.” An avid collector of “cabinet cards” — a thin paper photograph mounted on a 4.5-inch by 6.5-inch piece of cardboard popular in the 1870s — Gross takes the single-shot portraits and transforms them in to pop culture icons.

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Reporter caught playing ‘Pokemon GO’ at State Department briefing


We’ve all been there: We’re supposed to be paying attention in class or at a meeting, but we can’t resist checking our phone for a text or sports score or, y’know, a pocket monster in the wild. So, we can undoubtedly sympathize with this reporter who was called out — on television — at a U.S. State Department press briefing for playing “Pokémon GO.”

CNN caught the exchange on Thursday, as State Department spokesman John Kirby briefly halted his discussion of efforts to combat ISIS to turn and ask, “You’re playing the Pokémon thing right there, aren’t you?”

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Nintendo debuts delightfully retro teaser for NES Classic


Nintendo transports us back the 1980s with this terrific promo for the recently announced NES Classic Edition — even going so far as to resurrect the slogan “Now you’re playing with power.” You may want to pop your collar to set the mood before you settle in to watch. Feathered hair is optional.

Announced last week, the miniature replica of the Nintendo Entertainment System — it can fit in the palm of your hand — will launch Nov. 11, loaded with 30 NES games, including “Donkey Kong,” “Final Fantasy,” “Pac-Man,” “The Legend of Zelda” and “Super Mario Bros.”

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Men in Pokemon tournament gun plot sentenced to two years

pokemon world championships

Eleven months after their arrest, two Iowa men were sentenced today to two years in prison after pleading guilty to weapons charges in what prosecutors and police characterized as a plot against the 2015 Pokémon World Championships in Boston.

The Boston Globe reports that James Stumbo, 28, pleaded guilty to possession of an AR-15 rifle, while Kevin Norton, 19, pleaded guilty to possession of a shotgun. Both copped to possession of hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The two have already spent 335 days in jail.

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Comics A.M. | How to enjoy Comic-Con without a badge

comic-con logo

Conventions | There’s still plenty to do in San Diego this week, even if you don’t have a Comic-Con badge. A local news station runs down the options, from events that anyone can enjoy with minimal effort to the hard-core nerd stuff. [KPBS]

Political cartoons | The cartoonist Faro, who’s from Nice, pens an anguished explanation of why he will not do cartoon memes about tragedies any more: “At a certain point, one must know when to stop, and I am not convinced that my fellow citizens — yes I am both a press cartoonist and from Nice — have the heart to appreciate these digital or paper mournings one more time. And I am not speaking of those who take a risk in trying to find humor in a similar situation. I have a hard time understanding the practice of producing the official logo of carnage and then seeking to pass it on in posterity while these innocents pass over to the other side.” [The Huffington Post]

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Mark Hamill presented with a custom Joker lightsaber


Mark Hamill is beloved for his role as Luke Skywalker in the “Star Wars” saga, but for a generation of Batman fans he’s also the definitive Joker, having voiced the villain for the past 25 years in animated series and films, and in video games. Over the weekend at “Star Wars” Celebration Europe, those two iconic properties merged in one wonderful custom collectible.

Ken Hampton of Hampton’s Hand-Crafted LED Sabers, whose work we’ve featured before, presented the actor with a mash-up Joker Lightsaber commissioned by his customers for Hamill.  The piece features a purple grip, “Ha Ha Ha” lettered in green on the fore grip, and Joker cards etched onto the “emitter shroud.” And at the press of a button, Hamill can hear his own Joker laugh.

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Fan’s ‘Tron’-inspired lightcycle meets its Kickstarter goal


If you’ve ever dreamt about riding across the neon, grid-like expanse of Steven Lisberger’s 1982 digital “Tron” frontier on one of the series’ iconic lightcycles, you might finally be in luck. After three years of work, the creators of the Cyclotron Bike debuted their campaign on Kickstarter. Now, it’s been funded.

Check out the bike below:

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Even Marty McFly would be jealous of this DeLorean Hot Tub Time Machine


The masterminds behind the “Avengers: Age of Ultron” Iron Man Hulkbuster high chair and Lego Double Decker Couch from “The Lego Movie” have gone “Back to the Future” for their latest amazing creation — a DeLorean hot tub.

“Super-Fan Builds” is a webseries, part of AWE me’s YouTube channel, that brings together Hollywood special effects artists and prop builders to create one-of-a-kind-creations. The latest episode marries two very unlikely components for “Back to the Future” super-fan Brandon: The actual chassis from a DeLorean (complete with functional gull-wing doors) and a hot tub.

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Live-action ‘Futurama’ fan film is terrifyingly accurate


You might not have asked for it, but it’s here — someone has reimagined “Futurama” as a live-action series in the trailer for an upcoming fan film called “Fan-o-rama.”

Check out the trailer, which puts an accurate (albeit, slightly disturbing) spin on Leela, Fry, Bender, and the rest of Planet Express, below:

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SDCC: This life-size LEGO Wonder Woman contains 22,736 bricks


LEGO will join in the celebration of Wonder Woman’s 75th anniversary with the debut of a life-size brick statue of the DC Comics icon this week at Comic-Con International.

Standing a little taller than 6-foot-1, the LEGO creation contains 22,736, and weighs 138 pounds (including the base). The model took 99 hours to design, and another 218 to build. You can watch a time-lapse video of the construction process below.

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Comics A.M. | San Diego police prepare for ‘safe and successful’ Comic-Con

san diego convention center

Conventions | In the wake of mass shootings in San Bernardino, Orlando and Dallas, and the attack last week in Nice, France, one newspaper looks at the security surrounding Comic-Con International, which kicks off Wednesday in San Diego. Although few details are revealed, a San Diego Police Department official says there will be “numerous” uniformed officers on foot, on bike, in patrol cars and in helicopters, as well as a “large” contingent of undercover cops “to make it was a safe and successful event.” The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System got more specific, noting that nearly 200 armed transit officers and TSA-trained K9 units will be deployed along transit route and platforms. [The Press-Enterprise]

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‘Star Wars Battlefront’ teaser trailer takes us back to the Death Star


If the new footage from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” doesn’t have you wistful for the glory days of the Galactic Empire, when entire star systems quaked at rumors of a moon-sized space station, then this “Star Wars Battlefront” teaser trailer certainly will.

Debuting today out of “Star Wars” Celebration Europe in London, it’s offers a taste of what to expect from Electronic Arts’ third digital expansion pack, Death Star.

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Comics A.M. | Sonny Liew wins Singapore Literature Prize


Awards | Sonny Liew’s “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye” is the first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize for English Fiction. Ironically, the awards are supported by Singapore’s National Arts Council, which had originally provided financial support for the book but withdrew it last summer when controversy arose over its contents. “The award is given by the Book Council rather than NAC, so I don’t think it represents change in NAC’s stance towards the book, but it is a real honour winning this prize and gives me more encouragement for future projects,” Liew said. [Malay Mail]

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