Current Transmissions

The trials and tribulations of pole dancing

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For me, the exotic-dancing connotations of pole dancing was a surprise to me when I first heard about it (which was some time in college, I think). “You mean, they’re spinning around something on stage that looks like a fire pole? That’s the show? That’s why people go to those seedy bars? Why is that considered erotic?”

I mean, I get the theory: Athletic women in skimpy outfits bending and stretching are probably quite alluring to watch. But more titillating than, say, just a straight-up burlesque routine? Or belly-dancing, where fantastically sculpted abs aren’t obscured by the harsh vertical element of a metal pole? I wasn’t seeing it.

That is until I read Leen Isabel’s webcomic Pole Dancing Adventures. That’s when it clicked: The reason pole dancing is so popular in gentlemen’s establishments is the amazing feats of derring-do.

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‘Just Another Sheep’ takes a sci-fi-fueled roadtrip through 1967

just another sheep2

Described as a “sci-fi road trip set during the Summer of Love,” Just Another Sheep follows a timid teen on a quest in the tumultuous 1960s — or, rather, an alternate version of the decade — to discover the origin of his ability to make others experience anything his body has felt before, from pleasure to pain to intoxication.

Writer Mat Heagerty funded production of the first three issues largely by himself, but with money getting a little tight, he has turned to Kickstarter for help with the final two. He’s seeking $5,000, which seems like a pretty reasonable goal.

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Webcomics are for the children

Camp WheedonwantchaThe comic strip/webcomic documentary Stripped opens with an idyllic scene straight out of the Hallmark Channel. A little girl runs into the kitchen and sits on her father’s lap; he opens a newspaper, and together, they flip to the Sunday funnies, a well-remembered moment of childhood made possible by the magic of comic strips. It’s a scene that rings true, because many viewers have had similar experiences. Maybe you weren’t sitting on your father’s lap; maybe you just ripped through the paper, trying to separate the cartoons from the classifieds. Anything to get at those comic strips.

It’s a scene that may accidentally have put a chink into the “webcomics are the future of the newspaper comic strip” argument.

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‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ mobile game swings in with launch trailer

asm2-game

Marvel and Paris-based mobile game developer Gameloft have released the launch trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a tie-in to the Sony Pictures movie sequel that pits the wall-crawler against villains ranging from Electro and the Green Goblin to Kraven and Venom.

Available now on iOS and Google Play, the action-adventure follows Spider-Man as he swings through Manhattan in an effort to save New York City from the chaos of a costumed crime wave.

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Check out covers, slipcase art for ‘Hip Hop Family Tree’ box set

hip hop6Fantagraphics has unveiled the Hip Hop Family Tree Vols. 1-2: 1975-1983 Box Set, complete with two new covers by creator Ed Piskor (one side of the slipcase pays homage to EC Comics, the other to 1960s DC).

And if that weren’t enough, it comes with the exclusive bonus Hip Hop Family Tree #300 “Milestone, Variant, Limited, Ashcan Edition!” In the words of the publisher, “Foil-stamped cover! Rob Liefeld! It’s the ’90s-est.”

On sale in November for $59.99, the box set collects the first two volumes of Piskor’s bestselling chronicle of the history of hip hop, originally serialized on BoingBoing.

The first 112-page volume covers 1975 to 1981, with appearances from the likes of Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Kurtis Blow, Russell Simmons, Debbie Harry and Keith Haring. The second volume moves on to ’82-’83, with Run-DMC, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, the Beastie Boys and more.

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Comics A.M. | Australian expo draws criticism for pulling comic

Jesus Reloadeth'd

Jesus Reloadeth’d

Conventions | The organizers of the Supanova pop culture festival in Melbourne, Australia, triggered a social-media firestorm after removing a comic by artist Scarlette Baccini from her table because of explicit sexual content. The festival has a strict ban on pornography, and other adult material must be kept sealed and away from children. One of the organizers stopped by Baccini’s table, flipped through her Jesus Reloadeth’d, and saw a drawing of two men having sex, so he removed the comic. Baccini posted about the incident on Facebook, triggering accusations of homophobia against the event organizers. However, they responded that the issue was the explicitness of the image, not that it depicted two men. [SameSame]

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DC’s Awesome Con shoots for new cosplay world record

Awesome Con illustration by Sam Bosma for The Washington Post's Express

Awesome Con illustration by Sam Bosma for The Washington Post’s Express

Organizers of Washington, D.C.’s Awesome Con hope they can pack the National Mall today with enough costumed heroes (and villains) to set a new world record for the largest gathering of people dressed as comic book characters.

The current record, as certified by Guinness World Records, was set in April 2011 at the opening ceremony of International Animation CCJOY LAND in China. The magical number? 1,530 people. “I know we can break that record and mark Washington, D.C., as the capital city of cosplay,” Ben Penrod, co-founder of Awesome Con, said in a statement.

In an effort to do just that, Awesome Con and the Museum of Science Fiction sent out the call for cosplayers to gather at noon at the U.S. Capitol Reflecting Pool, where the Guinness adjudicator will undertake the official count.

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Grumpy Old Fan | ‘Grayson,’ Robin and fates worse than death

Through the years

Through the years

This has turned out to be an eventful week for fans of the first Robin (and of the role in general), thanks to a Robin Rises one-shot, leading into the unveiling of … well, whoever’s going to wear the red vest for the foreseeable future, and Dick Grayson’s latest relaunch, a July-debuting ongoing series called simply Grayson, wherein the former Boy Wonder will start a new life as a super-spy.

With each of ‘em about three months away, obviously I’m not equipped to pass judgment on the merits of either. However, I can tell you what I think about Dick and Robin, how those impressions affect my snap judgments, and why you should — and shouldn’t — listen to someone like me.

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Image unveils Silvestri & McFarlane’s ‘Manifest Destiny’ variant

manifest-destiny-cropped

Three weeks after Marc Silvestri and Todd McFarlane pulled back the curtain on their collaboration process for a Skybound cover, Image Comics has unveiled the final product: a variant for Manifest Destiny #7. It’s colored by series colorist Owen Gieni.

The issue kicks off a new arc in the series by Chris Dingess and Matthew Roberts, which tells the hidden story of the Lewis & Clark expedition (one filled with monsters).

Manifest Destiny #7, which arrives June 11, can be ordered now with Diamond Code APR140575; the Silvestri/McFarlane variant is MAR148175.

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Buccellato and Tuazon bring ‘Foster’ to OSSM Comics

foster1Foster, the supernatural thriller created by The Flash and Detective Comics co-writer Brian Buccellato, will be released for the first time in its entirety in July by publishing startup OSSM Comics.

Written by Buccellato and illustrated by Noel Tuazon (Tumor), the series debuted in February 2012 from Dog Year Entertainment. However, just five of the planned six issues were released.

Set in a world where technology is stuck in the analog 1970s, Foster centers on a haunted war veteran who becomes the guardian of a 6-year-old boy wanted by a shadowy race of supernatural creatures.

Foster is such a personal story for me,” Buccellato said in a statement. “As a father of a teenage boy, I wanted to write about fatherhood and specifically the male need to protect your child from the physical dangers of the world. Foster’s trying to forget the Vietnam War at the bottom of a bottle when he encounters a boy who changes his life. Suddenly he has to navigate a world where technology is stuck in the analog ’70s and supernatural creatures and twisted scientists lurk around every corner. Noel Tuazon really captured the gritty, urban horror at the heart of this story.”

Foster will be available for $12.99 beginning July 2.

Bad girls, good comic: Katie Skelly’s ‘Operation Margarine’

AD.OPERATIONMARGARINE.cvrfile_Layout 1Katie Skelly‘s previous comic book Nurse Nurse was a science fiction epic, set in the far-flung future, involving space travel and space pirates, and featuring some kicky fashions. It earned and deserved its comparisons to Barbarella, even if what the two shared was more a spirit and tone than anything else.

Her latest book, Operation Margarine, is also something of a genre work, although the genre is quite literally a more down-to-earth one. Something between a cautionary, youth-gone-wild flick and an exploitative biker picture, it suggests the sort of movies that Roger Corman used to produce for the drive-in, that Mystery Science Theater 3000 would mock and that Quentin Tarantino might enthusiastically praise and make some allusion to in one of his own films.

But, like Nurse Nurse, it’s all unmistakably Katie Skelly. The characters are quiet, mysterious and only barely sketched out symbol-people. The events flow like dominoes, with no grand plan or theme or message apparent. The thrills are visceral, surface thrills, the action and actions all communicated in a straightforward manner that gives every panel an equal amount of import.

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Houston bar aims for different crowd with comics, video games

neils bahr1

With a name that gives a nod to a 19th-century physicist and a sign that features an olive within an atom, it’s a safe bet that Houston’s new Neil’s Bahr isn’t your run-of-the-mill drinking establishment.

Instead, Eater reports, it’s a bar where patrons can browse the comic book library, read sci-fi novels in the comfy lounge or play Super Nintendo and vintage arcade games.

“I’ve always wanted a geeky bar where people can watch The Simpsons or Star Wars on TV, a very hole-in-the-wall place,” owner Neil Fernandez told the website. He also has Industry Night Tuesday, which caters to bar and restaurant employees, and soon plans to launch trivia and cabaret/karaoke nights. Fernandez is even considering going “full-blown nerd” with Magic: The Gathering.

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New manga introduces Japanese kids to the Avengers

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Despite a 50-year history, a record-breaking movie and several video games and animated television series, there apparently still are some in Japan who don’t know who the Avengers are. A little surprising, maybe, but that’s what Earth’s Mightiest Heroes discover when they travel to that country in the latest issue of CoroCoro Comic.

Kotaku spotlights the 12-page story from Shogakukan’s monthly manga magazine for elementary school-age boys, which finds Captain America, Iron Man, the Incredible Hulk, Thor, Spider-Man and the Wasp facing several obstacles on unfamiliar shores: Thor can’t get his armor and hammer through customs, the Hulk can’t stomach Japanese food and, worse still, no one is familiar with them.

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Bechdel & Co. are bringing ‘Fun Home’ musical to South Carolina

Fun Home Public Theater/Newman Theater

In the wake of the uproar in South Carolina over her graphic memoir Fun Home, cartoonist Alison Bechdel has joined with the producers and cast of the musical adaptation to bring the acclaimed off-Broadway show to the College of Charleston.

The Post and Courier reports tickets went on sale Tuesday for two concert-version performances to be held April 21 at Memminger Auditorium; about 750 were sold within the first 24 hours. The show, which premiered in September, was announced this week as finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ Vol. 13 sells 1.4M copies in first week

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13

Manga | The 13th volume of Hajime Isayama’s hit dystopian fantasy Attack on Titan sold 1.4 million copies in Japan during its first week of release: 1.13 million copies of the regular edition, and 270,000 of a special edition that includes the original video animation. Kodansha ordered a 2.75 million-copy initial print run, a record not only for the series but for the publisher as well. The 66th volume of One Piece holds the record in Japan for highest sales in the first week with nearly 2.3 million copies. [Crunchyroll]

Publishing | Darren Davis of Bluewater Productions, talks about the evolution of his company and the origin story of its Female Force bio-comics line: “[W]e saw a comic book done of Barack Obama and John McCain during the 2008 elections, and my partner joked and said, ‘Why don’t we do Hillary?’ And I thought, oh my God, that’s a brilliant idea.So I thought, let’s do this, but let’s do it differently. Let’s not do it like everyone else, with a boring biography. We did it with a female empowerment angle. We released Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin at the same time, and whether you like Sarah Palin or hate Hillary Clinton, you have to respect both of them for where they came from and who they are.” [The Beaverton Leader]

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