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World Art Drop Day creates a global hunt for original art

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Have you ever wanted to discover a piece of original art in the wild? Well, now’s your chance. Today is World Art Drop Day, an initiative begun by Missile Mouse creator Jake Parker that encourages all artists — whether it’s professional or amateur — to drop a piece of art wherever they find themselves and provide clues on social media to help people find it. The inspiration came from Parker’s own art drop, in which he left sketches around the United States for enterprising fans to discover.

Among the many artists participating are Mouse Guard creator David Petersen, Ben Caldwell (who most recently drew the Gen-13 backup story in Supergirl #33) and Who is Jake Ellis? artist Tonci Zonjic. Many more are participating across the globe. Clues and posts about the initiative can currently be found using the hashtag #artdropday.

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Stan Goldberg ‘had a joy for comics and cartooning that was infectious’

archie-goldbergAs Comic Book Resources reported Monday, longtime Marvel colorist and Archie Comics artist Stan Goldberg passed away Sunday at age 82 following a recent stroke. The obituary recounts much of his lengthy and prolific career — it spanned six decades, from the Golden Age of comics to the birth of the Marvel Age to the wedding of Archie Andrews — so we won’t recount the details here.

Instead, we’ve rounded up statements about Goldberg, his impact and his influence, from Marvel, Archie Comics, the National Cartoonists Society and more:

“No less than Stan Lee, Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko, Stan Goldberg was one of the pioneers of the Marvel Age of Comics. As Marvel’s one-man coloring department, it was Stan G who determined that Iron Man would be red and gold, that the Thing would be orange, and that Spider-Man would be red and blue-black. He was also a talented cartoonist specializing in teen humor strips such as Millie the Model and Kathy the Teen-Age Tornado, which led him to become one of the mainstays of the Archie Comics line for decades. Stan was a gregarious and upbeat individual who was always a pleasure to work with.”

Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s executive editor and senior vice president of publishing, in a statement to ROBOT 6

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Japan’s ‘Chibatman’ revealed, but not unmasked

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Although the Batman of Japan’s Chiba Prefecture — or, as he prefers, “Chibatman” — drew international attention just last week, it turns out he’s been riding around east of Tokyo on his custom Batpod since 2011.

Reuters and BBC News caught up to the 41-year-old man, a welder by day whose identity remains secret. However, unlike the Dark Knight who patrols the streets of Gotham, Chibatman doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of evildoers. Instead, his mission is to bring smiles to those who see him.

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Stan Lee promotes importance of library cards for ALA campaign

stan lee-library cardLibrary Card Sign-up Month kicked off Monday, with Stan Lee serving as its honorary chair.

An annual campaign of the American Library Association, it’s intended to remind parents, educators and children that a library card is an important tool to academic success. Lee’s image appears in print and online in public service announcements containing the quote, “The smartest card in my wallet? It’s a library card.”

“When you have a library card it’s like having a key to all the information in the world,” the 91-year-old creator says in a video (below). “When you have a library card, you can read anything about anything, and I have found that whatever you read, it doesn’t matter, it increases your fund of knowledge. So a library card is the ‘Open Sesame’ to all the knowledge in the world.”

In the video, Lee recalls as a child being a frequent visitor to public libraries first in Manhattan and then in the Bronx because he couldn’t afford to buy all the books he wanted to read. “Without libraries, I just wouldn’t have read as much as I did, so it would’ve been a great loss, to me,” he says.

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

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Retailing | Books-A-Million had a good second quarter, and CEO Terry Finley gives at least part of the credit to graphic novels: “We also saw strong growth in the graphic novel category, with continued success with titles related to AMC’s The Walking Dead series and a renewed interest in several manga series [that] drove sales increases.” And to boost that, the retail chain, which operates more than 250 stores nationwide, is planning Marvel promotions throughout September. [ICv2]

Conventions | Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Dan Farr is trying to measure how much money attendees are spending. In terms of hotel beds, at least, the convention seems to be dwarfed by trade shows, but with people coming to Salt Lake City from 48 states for the recent spinoff event FanXperience, that may be changing. Still, even in San Diego, attendees spend only about $600 per person; if Salt Lake attendees are similarly thrifty, the convention may not be a significant player in the Salt Lake City convention scene. [The Salt Lake Tribune]

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‘I don’t measure peoples’ lives. I save them.’

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Note: This post contains spoilers for Avengers #34.

The last couple weeks have been, to put it mildly, kind of crappy. Not just on a macro level — and there’s certainly been enough on the macro level to designate the last two weeks as crappy, as you can see on this handy chart courtesy of the excellent The System webcomic. But also on a personal level. Ferguson. My cat dying. Robin Williams. Ebola. Crap at work. Ugh.

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Pires reaches the final leg of his music trilogy

Pop-banner[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

It’s intriguing to see writer Curt Pires reach the third leg of his music trilogy, Pop (the first two legs were LP and Theremin). When I interviewed Pires about LP nearly two years ago, it was a project he self-published. So I was immensely pleased to see that the recognition of Pires’ talent had grown since that first leg to the point Dark Horse is publishing this new four-issue limited series.

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Little moments add up in Lucy Knisley’s ‘An Age of License’

An Age of License[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

It took me a while to figure out why I liked Lucy Knisley’s An Age of License so much better than her last book, Relish, but eventually it came to me: Relish is a memoir, An Age of License is a diary comic.

Knisley was in her mid- to late 20s when she made Relish, and that is a bit young to be doing a memoir, even one that focuses on childhood. There’s a certain fullness of perspective that comes with time and distance, and while Relish was technically a very accomplished book, it felt a bit thin.

An Age of License, on the other hand, has an immediacy to it that makes it much more compelling. It’s more diary than memoir, a travelogue comic about Knisley’s trip through Europe in 2011, when she was a guest at the Raptus Comic Fest in Norway. Her plan is to travel alone, but not entirely: A few weeks before she leaves, she meets a handsome Swedish guy, Henrik, and they hit it off. So she plans to head off to Stockholm after the comics fest, spend some time with Henrik, and then push on to Berlin and visit friends and family in France.

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Alonso apologizes for mixed messages of Manara’s Spider-Woman cover

spider-woman-manara[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

I was pleased to see Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso acknowledge concerns over the variant cover by Milo Manara for Spider-Woman #1, and even go so far as to explicitly apologize for the mixed message the cover caused.

“We always listen to fans’ concerns so we can do better by them,” Alonso stated to CBR for Friday’s installment of the weekly Axel-in-Charge interview column. “We want everyone — the widest breadth of fans — to feel welcome to read Spider-Woman. We apologize — I apologize — for the mixed messaging that this variant caused.”

He went on to note that it is not the official cover for the series, and is equally not as representative of the title as a pet variant by Skottie Young might be. That’s a fair point. However, I would argue that there is a difference between a Milo Manara variant and any other random variant. That cover exists within the context of the title character of the comic and the historical depiction of women in comics, if not media in general, juxtaposed with a cartoonist known for erotica being commissioned to provide material for a comic with a T+ rating (13 and above).

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Donald Glover (sort of) gets his Spider-Man wish

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Nothing can bring quite as big a smile to my face as reading the words “Donald Glover to play Spider-Man.” Sure, sure, it’s voice work for a cartoon. However, the unlikelihood of this announcement struck me with the same amusement and bonhomie as hearing that, say, Community was going to be renewed for a sixth season.

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Raise your glass to fallen Shelf Porn from Napa, California

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Happy Saturday and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly look at one fan’s collection. Today’s Shelf Porn only has one picture to go with it, but there’s a timely and compelling story behind it that any fan with a collection they fear could someday be ruined by Mother Nature will appreciate.

If you’d like to see your collection featured here on ROBOT 6, you can find instructions on how to do so at the end of this post.

And now let’s hear from C.T. from Napa, California …

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Amy Reeder redesigns ‘Brooklyn Defender’ beer for New York Comic-Con

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Brooklyn Brewery is once again teaming up with the New York Comic-Con to create a beer for New York Super Week, the week leading up to the convention. And as they have in years past, they’ve recruited a comic artist to redesign the beer’s label and the hero featured on it.

Amy Reeder of Rocket Girl and Madame Xanadu fame said being asked to put her personal stamp on the brew “was such a cool opportunity,” she wrote on her blog. “I went for a homegrown vigilante vibe and I made sure to make her easy to cosplay.”

Tony Millionaire and Cliff Chiang have previously designed the Brooklyn Defender.

Like the label, the recipe for the special edition beer changes each year. This year, it’s a red IPA. “We incorporated some German red malts that give the beer the slightest edge of roast and a suggestion of caramel, and the explosive Mosaic hop steps out front with the aromatics,” brewmaster Garrett Oliver told the New York Daily News.

The brewery will host a release party Sept. 10 for the beer, which will then be available in various area bars Oct. 3-12. New York Comic-Con runs Oct. 9-12.

Check out Reeder’s designs and a video featuring Reeder and Oliver below.

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Texas pastor wants vampire books removed from local library

Vampire Knight 1A Texas minister wants the local public library to remove all books from its young-adult section that deal with supernatural romance, a genre that includes the Vampire Knight manga as well as the Twilight and House of Night novels.

According to the Dayton News, Phillip Missick, pastor of All Saints Tabernacle in Cleveland, Texas, addressed the city council during the public comment period of its Aug. 12 meeting. He also submitted a petition, signed by a number of local ministers, that he had circulated at the Cleveland Ministerial Alliance. He requested that the “occultic and demonic room be shut down, and these books be purged from the shelves, and that public funds would no longer be used to purchase such material, or at least require parents to check them out for their children.” However, at least two of the ministers who signed the petition have since backed off from it.

Missick was apparently referring to the Teen Room of the Austin Memorial Library, which, he states, contains 75 books about the occult, as well as “a demonic stuffed doll and a witch’s hat” (actually Dobby and the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter books). He seems to be particularly concerned with books about vampires, or at least, that’s what local media have picked up on.

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The Fifth Color | ‘Daredevil’ delivers a PSA without the cliches

DD7_coverAs a child of the ’80s, I’m well aware of the PSA comic. There was a lot of media at the time intended to teach kids about the dangers of everything from drugs to molestation to crossing the street. It was difficult to avoid that “very special episode” of your favorite television series, or that equally special Spider-Man comic in which the wall-crawler confronts drug abuse in Canada.

They were often heavy handed, with strong narration reminding you to tell an adult, or scary scenes depicting the the horrible death of a minor or previously unknown character. Pop culture tried to use its powers for good, and often these PSAs were skipped over, at best, or mocked tremendously in our older years.

But then there are those times when a comic can actually teach you something, or provide a little solace in its handling of a tough issue. I’ve talked here about the X-Men comic I received in a burn ward to help kids cope with the trauma, and there’s also a line of called Medikidz to explain other medical issues like cancer, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. These are pretty weighty topics, but a comic can make the information easier to digest. For the “PSA” comic, it seems like the more specific the information given is, the better the story comes out, and the more helpful it can be to a younger reader.

Does the same hold true for older readers? Recently, Daredevil #7, by Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez, dealt with a mature topic that wouldn’t really fly with a younger audience. Did it hit its marks, or was this just another “very special episode” with Matt Murdock? Read on and find out.

WARNING: Spoilers for Daredevil #7, so please do yourself a favor and grab a copy and read along!

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Beware the Gray Ghost in live-action ode to ‘Batman: TAS’

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Fans of Batman: The Animated Series undoubtedly fondly recall the 1992 episode “Beware the Gray Ghost,” which guest-starred Adam West as the voice of Simon Trent, the pulp hero of the black-and-white television series loved by a young Bruce Wayne. You remember: “Those with evil hearts beware, for out of the darkness comes … The Graaaaay Ghost!”

Well, now the Gray Ghost has inspired his own fan short, directed by J.L. Topkis from a script by Matt Landsman, and presented as a stylish episode of an almost-forgotten serial — complete with a nod to Batman’s own origin.

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