Current Transmissions

Download a collection of Jason Latour’s life drawings for free

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At this stage of his career, Jason Latour is respected equally for his writing (12 Gauge’s Loose Ends; Marvel’s Wolverine and the X-Men and the upcoming Spider-Gwen) and his art (too many to list, but most recently and notably his collaboration with Jason Aaron on Image’s Southern Bastards).

And on Thursday my fellow Southerner revealed a healthy dose of our region’s patented hospitality by offering fans a free download of Erase (Erase), his 42-page collection of life drawings and studies from 2006 to 2011.

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Wacom announces digital comics anthology

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Wacom, whose tablets and digital pens are essential tools for countless artists, has revealed plans for its first digital comics anthology.

Announced by Caleb Goellner, who recently joined the company from ComicsAlliance, the project is built around the rather fitting theme of “pressure/sensitivity,” with creator-owned stories by Meredith Gran, Ming Doyle, Giannis Milonogiannis and another artist to be announced. Ulises Farinas illustrated the cover.

The 32-page comic will be available for free online in January, with an eventual limited-edition print version teased.

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Halloween ComicFest to haunt comic shops this weekend

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On Saturday, comic shops across North America and around the world will celebrate Halloween ComicFest, which has taken on the dimensions of a second Free Comic Book Day. This is a relatively new event — the first was held in 2012 — but according to the HCF website, more than 1,400 stores participated last year, attracting 100,000 customers. The event is run by a group of retailers, publishers and suppliers, with Diamond Comic Distributors handling publicity and a lot of the logistics.

This year’s comics lindup includes 12 full-size comics and seven minicomics, although all retailers may not offer all titles. It looks like most of the comics are repackaged first issues of series that have been around for a little while, like Afterlife With Archie, Rachel Rising and Scooby-Doo Team-Up — all fitting choices for Halloween reading. Zenoscope offers a reprint of its first Halloween Special, and Avatar Press has the first issue of Max Brooks’ Extinction Parade.

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Comics A.M. | Roz Chast wins Kirkus Prize for nonfiction

Roz Chast

Roz Chast

Awards | The winners of the first Kirkus Prize were announced last night, and Roz Chast took top honors in the nonfiction category for her graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Chast is also a finalist for the National Book Award, marking the first time a graphic novel has been nominated in one of the adult categories. [The Washington Post]

Legal | A Turkish court acquitted cartoonist Musa Kart on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, stemming from a cartoon Kart drew last year portraying the then-prime minister as complicit in covering up government corruption. “Yes, I drew it [the cartoon] but I did not mean to insult,” Kart said. “I just wanted to show the facts. Indeed, I think that we are inside a cartoon right now. Because I am in the suspect’s seat while charges were dropped against all the suspects [involved in two major graft scandals]. I need to say that this is funny.” If convicted, Kart could have faced nearly a decade in prison. [Today's Zaman]

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Grumpy Old Fan | New year, old habits from DC in January

Rowsdower!

Rowsdower!

Although the first issues of Who’s Who and Crisis \on Infinite Earths got a headstart in the closing months of 1984, January 1985 kicked off DC Comics’ 50th anniversary in earnest. No doubt real life — i.e., the DC offices’ upcoming westward move — is preventing the publisher from starting the 80th anniversary celebrations this January, and the solicitations certainly don’t have much in the way of commemoration.

(To be sure, the month’s variant-cover scheme involves the 75th anniversary of The Flash, which Robot 6 contributor J. Caleb Mozzocco has already covered extensively on his own blog.)

Therefore, while the real fireworks will probably have to wait another couple of months, the January solicitation tease the return of Robin, changes in the Super-status quo, and other various and sundry plot churning.

LOOKING AHEAD

One thing that jumps out at me from these solicits has to do with numbering. Now, we all love numbering — big versus small, gimmicks versus straightforward integer progression — but the January books are soliciting the 38th issues of the remaining original New 52 titles. That puts the 50th issues of those series on track for January 2016; or, more likely, February 2016, if next September is another “take a break for a set of specials” month. If I were DC and wanted to relaunch my various titles, and I were a year away from a set of 50th issues, I’d probably wait a year.

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HISHE targets ‘Man of Steel,’ ‘Winter Soldier,’ more in bonus video

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The folks at How It Should Have Ended produce a lot of videos suggesting “fixes” for blockbusters ranging from Iron Man 3 to Frozen to Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But all of the scenes don’t necessarily make it into the final product, which brings us to this newly released “Bonus Bundle.”

“Often we write too many sketches when creating a HISHE and some scenes get left out,” they explain. “Sometimes they are cut because it didn’t fit the flow of the main video. Sometimes they are cut because they aren’t finished in time. Well rather than let them collect dust we bundled them all together in one collection so you can see those extra scenes that might have been.”

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Before there was ‘Riverdale,’ there was this ‘gritty’ Archie parody

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The announcement today that Greg Berlanti is developing a drama for Fox called Riverdale, is certainly big news, if not entirely unexpected, given some of Archie Comics’ recent ambitions. Written by Chief Creative Officer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the series promises both the wholesome Riverdale readers have come to expect over the past seven decades and the “surrealistic twists of small-town life plus the darkness and weirdness bubbling beneath.”

But before this Riverdale, there was another that featured just that: Longtime readers may recall the 2011 parody trailer of the same name that perfectly lampooned both Archie Comics and the tropes of teen melodramas.

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DC heroes juice up with French drink brand

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French manufacturer Orangina Schweppes has partnered with DC Entertainment to produce special cans for its Oasis fruit-drink brand featuring some of the publisher’s most iconic superheroes.

According to The Ephemerist, the promotion is tied to the 75th anniversary of Batman, here portrayed by Mangue Debol. He’s joined by Ramon Tafraise as The Flash, Fambougeoise as Wonder Woman and  Orange Presslé as Superman. It’s worth noting that all four heroes seem to be wearing a variation of their New 52 costumes, which don’t often appear in licensing efforts.

You can see closeups at Geek Art.

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Magnetic Press to release ‘Poet’ from Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge

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Magnetic Press has announced Poet, a three-issue miniseries created by Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves frontman Tom DeLonge.

Written by DeLonge and Ben Kull (Mission Hill, The Oblongs) and illustrated by Djet Stéphane, the sci-fi fantasy adventure debuts in the spring, serving as a prequel to the animated short Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, which will receive wide release Dec. 9 alongside the new Angels & Airwaves album The Dream Walker. A full-length feature is also being developed.

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Balloonless | Tim Hanley’s ‘Wonder Woman Unbound’

cover of wwuThere’s a lot more than gender differentiating Wonder Woman from her fellow first generation superheroes that have, against all odds, survived to the modern day. More so than even Superman and Batman, the only other heroes whose comics have been in continuous publication since their creation, Wonder Woman is a character with sharp, often difficult to reconcile (or even wrestle with) contradictions built into her.

Foremost among those contradictions is the fact that, as Tim Hanley alludes to in the subtitle of  Wonder Woman Unbound: The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine, the character is universally known, to the point that she’s practically omnipresent in pop culture, but that knowledge tends to be pretty shallow.

That is, everyone knows Wonder Woman, but relatively few know much of anything about her. Her name and costume, her bullet-blocking bracelets and magic lasso, maybe her invisible jet, but that’s about it, really. Curious indeed.

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Mondo’s Lil Mikey TMNT figure is adorable, ready for preorder

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Mondo is now accepting preorders for its first entry into collectible toys: Lil Mikey, a 9-inch vinyl figure based on Mike Mitchell‘s adorable illustration of Michelangelo of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame.

Mitchell, a Mondo regular who’s been featured several times on ROBOT 6, drew Lil Mikey as part of his “Just Like Us” series, which features round-headed, child-like versions of characters ranging from The Punisher and Kraven to Ron Swanson and Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski.

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Stan Lee isn’t selling his home, ‘just a hunk of property’

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At the risk of ROBOT 6 turning into Excelsior! Home Journal, there is another followup to the Stan Lee real-estate story: It turns out that $3.75 million listing in the Hollywood Hills isn’t for the creator’s home, but instead for another lot he owns. In fact, there’s no longer even a house on it.

“I’m not selling my house. It’s just a piece of property we own,” Lee tells Los Angeles Magazine. “We tore it down, we were gonna rebuild and we decided to sell it instead, so it’s just a hunk of property that’s for sale.”

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Comics A.M. | Thrillbent launches new iPad app

Thrillbent

Thrillbent

Digital comics | The digital comics publisher Thrillbent has launched its own iPad app, which allows users to read Thrillbent comics and also load in their own comics in PDF, CBR and CBZ formats via Dropbox. [iTunes]

Publishing | Diamond Comic Distributors is dropping the price of its monthly Previews catalog from $4.50 to $3.99 with the January issue (in stores Dec. 24). That, as the company notes, is “the average price of a standard monthly comic book.” [PreviewsWorld]

Publishing | Dark Horse plans to publish the historical graphic novel Nanjing: The Burning City, by Ethan Young (Tails). [The Beat]

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Turning viewers into readers

DC-readingIn case you haven’t noticed, people like watching television shows and movies based on comic books.

This fall has been particularly exceptional television adaptations: The Walking Dead season premiere pulled in more than 17 million viewers, while more than 8 million watched the first episode Gotham, making it Fox’s best fall drama debut in 14 years. More than 6 million raced to see The Flash pilot, giving The CW its highest ratings ever. About 5 million are regularly tuning in for Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and nearly 3 million for the third season of Arrow.

It’s not limited to live-action series, either: 2 million people watch Teen Titans Go!, and more than 1 million tune in to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Nickelodeon.

On the big screen, all four feature films starring Marvel characters — X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — each grossed more than $700 million each worldwide. So far, comic book movies have generated more than $3.8 billion dollars this year. While it’s unknown how many of those dollars are from repeat viewings, that’s still a lot of people.

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More than 300 line up for Jordan X ‘Slam Dunk’ Collection

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The photo above isn’t from a comic convention or even a new Apple release, but rather the debut over the weekend in Japan of the Jordan X Slam Dunk Collection. More than 300 people reportedly lined up to get their hands on the collaboration between Nike and manga artist Takehiko Inoue.

The collection includes the limited-edition Air Jordan VI ($250), Jordan Super.Fly 3 ($185), two T-shirts and a hat, all featuring Inoue’s artwork and other nods to the bestselling basketball manga (for instance, protagonist Hanamichi Sakuragi’s school and jersey number).

Jordan X Slam Dunk launches everywhere else in the world on Nov. 1.

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