Current Transmissions

Rock out to Juanjo Guarnido’s ‘Freak of the Week’ music video

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I can think of no better way to cap off the week than with the new music video for Swedish rock band Freak Kitchen’s “Freak of the Week,” directed by none other than Juanjo Guarnido, acclaimed illustrator of Blacksad.

A former Disney animator whose credits include Tarzan and The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Guarnido funded the project with a $140,000 Kickstarter campaign. As you can see below, the video features beautiful traditionally animated segments (hand-drawn by Guarnido, who’s also credited as art director, supervising animator and a producer).

Cartoon Brew has more, including details about the upcoming companion art book Freaky Project.

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Marvel teams with ESPN for LeBron James tribute

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Marvel has reteamed with corporate sibling ESPN to commemorate LeBron James’ return to Cleveland with a special cover for ESPN The Magazine.

The illustration by Miguel Sepulveda, depicting James soaring above the city, is a sequel to the magazine’s 2010 homage to “Spider-Man No More!” that marked his departure for the Miami Heat.

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Sam Costello on the rebirth of his horror site Split Lip

Sam Costello at Boston Comic Con 1

Halloween seems like a particularly appropriate day to write about Sam Costello’s Split Lip, not only because the webcomics he writes are horror works of the most uncanny sort, but also because the website itself has just risen from the dead.

Costello decided to shut down Split Lip two and a half years ago, citing financial and creative reasons. He wrote about the grim financial picture even before that, but he’s always been one to not only talk about his mistakes but also learn from them. When I ran into him in August at Boston Comic Con, he told me he was relaunching the site and had reprinted the graphic novels as well with a new approach. The relaunch happened this week, just in time for Halloween, and I took the opportunity to ask him what happened during his hiatus — and what has changed since 2012.

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‘Black Cherry Bombshells’ creators regain rights, launch site

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In a perfectly timed revival, the webcomic Black Cherry Bombshells is back from the grave.

The horror strip, about violent girl gangs fighting to survive in a future where every man has been mutated into a flesh-eating zombie, was originally serialized from 2008 to 2010 by Zuda Comics. After DC Comics shuttered the imprint, Black Cherry Bombshells remained available through comiXology.

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Andy Diggle’s Dredd/Superman crossover needs to happen

dredd-whos nextJudge Dredd has crossed paths with Batman, Predator, the Xenomorph, Lobo and even Mars Attacks!, yet somehow Mega-City One’s finest has never run into the Man of Steel. But while Andy Diggle admits he doesn’t envision that changing anytime soon, the writer has an idea that may have fans pining for the heyday of the intercompany crossover.

“An object falls from space and crashes towards Mega-City One. The anti-missile lasers can’t seem to vaporize the thing, and it hits the ground and demolishes a fortunately uninhabited area of ground,” Diggle tells CBR News in an interview about the release of Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Incubus and Other Stories. “Turn the page. Cue close-up of tech Judges in radiation gear looking down into this crater. Superman is lying at the bottom of it. He’s basically been blasted into a parallel dimension by a device created by Lex Luthor, which has partly depowered Superman.

“He’s not as super as he used to be, partly also because of all the pollution in the atmosphere of Dredd’s world. It’s called the death belt, this layer of pollution and junk thrown up in the upper atmosphere by nuclear war. It cuts out the sun’s rays, which depower Superman a bit. Dredd is not going to like having an illegal alien running around in his city. Superman is not going to be very keen on this fascist version of justice. It’s no longer truth, justice and the American way, because it’s no longer America: It’s Mega-City One, creep!”

And that’s only the beginning, he assures. Although he has the story plotted out, it seems unlikely DC Comics will be in crossover mode in the near future. But if that changes? Diggle would “absolutely” be up for it.

(Commissioned Dredd art by Kevin Levell)

Tour Francesco Francavilla’s 31 Days of FFFear

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Throughout October on his Tumblr, Francesco Francavilla has taken folks on a one-a-day horror film art tour, christened FFFear. What’s so great about Francavilla’s romp through the horror genre is one day he could pay tribute to a 1931 classic, while the next he he tackles a movie from the ’80s.

Even better, rather than just sharing one photo of the art each day, he shows glimpses of the work in progress, and specifies the medium he used (typically for FFFear he opts for ink/inkwash on 9-inch by 12-inch Bristol board). It’s impossible to select the best of the 31 (I bet he may have saved the best for last; we’ll see). But still, here are some of my favorites.

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Halloween reading: Emily Carroll’s ‘When the Darkness Presses’

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Emily Carroll, who chilled us with such haunting webcomics as “His Face All Red,” “Margot’s Room,” “Out of Skin” and “The Hole the Fox Did Make,” is back with some Halloween thrills with “When the Darkness Presses.” She explains it as a comic “about being haunted,” so we’ll just leave it at that.

Carroll, who earlier this year won both the Cartoonist Studio Prize and a Doug Wright Award, has released the first print collection of her work, Through the Woods. It’s highly recommended.

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Ultron ruins your childhood in HISHE ‘Avengers’ trailer parody

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If James Spader’s unsettling recitation of “I’ve Got No Strings” in the Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser left you reexamining your feelings about Disney’s Pinocchio, you’re definitely not alone.

However, the homicidal robot’s path of destruction doesn’t stop there: In the new animated parody from How It Should Have Ended, Ultron proceeds to stomp out any warm memories you may have of Cinderella, Aladdin, The Lion King and even Frozen. Clearly, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are powerless in the face of this threat.

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From Black Widow to Joker, the most-Googled costumes by state

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If this map of “the most trending” Halloween costumes is any indication, Marvel Studios may want to give a little more thought to Black Widow’s place in its cinematic universe.

Produced by the website SumoCoupon using an analysis of Google search volumes, the map indicates which costume was the most-Goggled in each state. Comic-book heroes and villains were well-represented, topping the list in 14 states. Black Widow claimed the throne in four of those — Texas, Missouri, North Carolina and Wisconsin — while perennial favorites like Batman and Catwoman nabbed three and two, respectively.

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Comics A.M. | Wally Wood estate sues Tatjana Wood over art

Wally Wood self-portrait

Wally Wood self-portrait

Legal | The Wally Wood estate has sued Tatjana Wood, ex-wife of the late cartoonist, claiming she’s in possession of 150 to 200 pages of his art erroneously sent to her address in 2005 by Marvel. The couple were married in 1950 but divorced in the 1960s; Tatjana later worked extensively as a colorist for DC Comics. Wally committed suicide in 1981, leaving “all bank accounts, whether savings, checking, Certificates of Deposit, or otherwise” to Tatjana, and everything else to his estate, supervised by John H. Robinson. [The Comics Reporter]

Creators | “I’m an acquired taste,” says Howard Chaykin, who was speaking to the press in advance of this weekend’s Vegas Valley Comic Book Festival. He talks about working for small publishers, his unhappiness with the licensed Star Wars comics he did for Marvel, and the current trend of movies based on comics: “It’s really just a matter of the guys who beat us up in high school finally figuring out a way to make money off our asses.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal]

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Grumpy Old Fan | The constant campaign, revisited

Trust me, this was a huge deal at the time

Trust me, this was a huge deal at the time

Several years ago, in a post for the old Great Curve blog that’s surely lost to history, I called DC Comics’ steady stream of crossovers the “constant campaign.” Just as winning candidates must shift from electoral strategies to actual governing, so I argued that DC had to stop churning and changing and settle into telling stories. These days DC isn’t so much into line-wide crossovers — not like 2004-09, when Identity Crisis led into Infinite Crisis and from there to Final Crisis — but it has a similar lack of focus.

* * *

Although the New 52 makeover is only a little more than three years old, it’s gone through quite a bit of change. Many series, and many creative teams, have come and gone. The original 52-series lineup boasted a number of distinctive, idiosyncratic writer/penciler combinations. Now, however, with this week’s final issue of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang’s (and friends’) Wonder Woman, only Justice League, Batman and Batman & Robin have kept the same writer since the relaunch. Moreover, only the two Bat-books have kept the same writer and penciler.

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Stan Lee Media can’t assert Spider-Man ownership in Disney suit

Stan Lee Media

Stan Lee Media

Still reeling from its loss Wednesday in the Ninth Circuit, Stan Lee Media today suffered another defeat in Pennsylvania, where a federal judge ruled the failed dot-com can’t insert itself into Disney’s dispute with a theater company by asserting ownership of Spider-Man.

As you may recall, Disney in September 2013 sued Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based American Music Theatre, claiming its musical revue Broadway: Now and Forever used unlicensed elements Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King. However, as Disney’s attorneys later noted, that “simple case” was “transmogrified” when the theater announced it had retroactively licensed Spider-Man … from Stan Lee Media.

That conveniently opened the door for the company to sue Disney, seeking a jury trial regarding ownership of Spider-Man, an issue Stan Lee Media argued had never been directly addressed by any court. It was certainly a creative maneuver using one of the few potential paths left to pursue its fight with Marvel and Disney (a clearly annoyed judge had warned in September 2013 that any attempt to amend its previous lawsuit against the House of Mouse would be “futile”).

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Humble horror bundle boasts ‘Afterlife With Archie,’ ‘Buffy,’ more

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If you’re looking for some Halloween reading, there’s still time to snag the Humble Horror Book Bundle, whose mix of prose and comic-book scares includes Afterlife With Archie, the Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Locke & Key. However, that’s only for starters.

Humble Bundle allows customers to purchase DRM-free downloads for as little as a penny, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity (in this case the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund).

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Creative process: ‘Wander: Olive Hopkins and the Ninth Kingdom’ #4

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One of the Monkeybrain Comics titles debuting this week on comiXology is the fourth issue of Wander: Olive Hopkins and the Ninth Kingdom, a series by Kevin Church and Grace Allison about an NYU student who goes on a bender only to awaken the next day in a fantasy realm. To mark the release of the new issue, Allison provided ROBOT 6 with a glimpse into the creative process.

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You too can have a Stan Lee cameo

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What do you get for the man — literally, the Man — who’s cornered the market on the superhero-movie cameo? Why, his own Stan Lee cameo. Get it?

Lisa Qui was commissioned to handcraft a cameo jewel of Stan Lee as a gift for the legendary creator — he wore it, as you can see in the photo below — and now you too can own one, from Geek Cameos Etc. It can be ordered in six colors, as a brooch, lapel pin, necklace or hair pin, for $15.

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