Current Transmissions

Amy Reeder creates signs for NYCC’s new anti-harassment policy

amy reeder-harassment poster2

Amy Reeder, who redesigned the Brooklyn Defender beer label for New York Comic Con, has revealed the signage she created to help promote the convention’s new zero-tolerance harassment policy.

“In addition to designing the Brooklyn Defender this year, NYCC asked me to illustrate something they can use for their anti-harassment signs around the convention floor,” Reeder, co-creator of Rocket Girl, writes on her blog. “The smart idea would probably have been to draw one character in my style, for recognition’s sake, but I had this idea in my head and really wanted to try something new. I wanted it to be modular, so they could change it and use bits as they like. And I wanted it to feel inclusive. No one wants to be harassed.”

The two projects meet in the image below, which includes a Brooklyn Defender cameo.

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Chinese newspapers warn against ‘blue fatty’ Doraemon

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In an unexpected turn, the smiling blue robot cat Doraemon has become embroiled in a political controversy in China, where critics charge that the popular anime character is a tool for Japan’s “cultural invasion.”

The New York Times reports the rumpus follows the successful opening in mid-August of the 100 Doraemon Secret Gadgets Expo in Chengdu, which apparently led three major newspapers last week to question the motives of Japan’s Foreign Ministry, and not its cultural or economic branches, in naming the cartoon cat as “anime ambassador.” Doraemon, the argument goes, is merely a Trojan Horse for Japan’s political goals.

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Noelle Stevenson’s ‘Nimona’ comes to an end

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Noelle Stevenson brought her popular fantasy webcomic Nimona to a close today after an acclaimed two-year run.

“Thank you all for coming this far with me!” the cartoonist wrote on her website. “It’s been amazing journey. You’ve all been truly spectacular. I couldn’t have asked for better readers.”

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Comics A.M. | Bestselling ‘One Piece’ spawns a spinoff series

One Piece

One Piece

Manga | Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece, the bestselling manga in Japan, is getting a spinoff: Starting with the January issue, which ships in December, the manga magazine Saikyo Jump will carry a series focusing on Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates. There doesn’t seem to be any information yet on who the creators will be. [Anime News Network]

Publishing | In a business-oriented interview, Mark Waid talks about the strategy behind his digital comics site Thrillbent, especially its appeal to diverse groups of readers. The key is flexibility, Waid said, in terms of platforms and content. His goal is to make the comics readable on any digital device, which he says is not difficult once the site is set up. In terms of content, he says, “Pay attention to the audience, let them tell you who you’re clearly not serving, and go after them.” [The Wall Street Journal]

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‘Walking Dead’ Season 4 gets Bad Lip Reading and a rapping Carl

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Some of the Bad Lip Reading videos can drag on a bit, like one of those Saturday Night Live sketches that never seems to end, but this take on the fourth season of The Walking Dead — Part 1, we’re told — is inspired, not for the Prison fight about apples and dolphins, or Beth’s threat against Anthony the turtle, but for the debut of Carl Grimes, sticky beat-layin’ pop sensation.

Although I’m a little disappointed we weren’t treated to footage of Carl devouring a Sam’s Club-sized can of chocolate pudding, the video for his single “Carl Poppa (La Jiggy Jar Jar Doo)” will likely be in heavy rotation on MTV, or wherever it is music videos are played nowadays.

And if you don’t care for it, that’s likely because, in the immortal misread words of Carl Grimes, “You can NOT handle the flow, son!”

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Talking Comics with Tim | Ted Naifeh on ‘Princess Ugg’

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With the release last week of Princess Ugg #4, writer/artist Ted Naifeh cleared some time in his schedule to discuss the ongoing Oni Press series. After years spent with Courtney Crumrin, the creator moves into new territory by combining barbarian adventure with a princess finishing school to create a social satire/adventure tale.

While I had read the first few issues in preparation for our discussion, I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised to learn Naifeh created the character out of a desire to “play with Frazetta-style barbarian fantasy.” That turns out to be just one aspect of his work I was delighted to learn about, has his candor about the creator/editor dynamics also proved informative.

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‘Blue Milk Special': May the farce be with you

2013-03-11-shadows-500px-wideLong, long ago there was a little movie called Star Wars, and it and its two sequels became the highest-grossing movies of all time. Yet, there was a time the interstellar saga wasn’t quite as mighty a pop culture juggernaut as it is today. Some time between President Reagan’s “Star Wars” SDI initiative and Lucas’ CG retooling of his cinematic babies, Star Wars existed primarily in the books, comics and video games that made up the Expanded Universe. Star Wars was a nerdier pursuit, when the true fans followed the adventures of Mara Jade and Admiral Thrawn.

Since the prequel trilogy, Star Wars has barreled back into the mainstream like a hungry Rancor. Merchandise depicting Darth Vader, Yoda and newcomers named Asajj Ventress and Savage Oppress peek from the shelves of every Toys R Us, Walmart and FYE.

If there’s something Star Wars fans love to do, however, it’s laugh at themselves: For example, Jeffrey Brown has released three books that play around with the idea of Darth Vader as a doting father.  Darths & Droids, meanwhile, has turned screenshots of the Star Wars saga into a long role-playing game.

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Constantine & Zatanna team up in ‘Justice League Dark’ fan film

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Getting a jump on NBC’s Constantine, Kevin Housand, Charles Winston Propst and One Riot One Ranger Productions have created Justice League Dark, an 11-minute short that sends the DC Comics occult detective and Zatanna on a mission to rescue her father — with a little bit of help.

The fan film also serves as a prologue of sorts, teasing the introduction of at least one other character from DC’s supernatural stable, which would presumably lead to the establishment of Justice League Dark.

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Licensed DC Comics tees draw accusations of sexism

Shirts

Two licensed T-shirts featuring DC Comics’ Trinity have sparked accusations of sexism among online fans.

The first shirt, as reported at DC Women Kicking Ass and spotted by CBR contributor Tamara Brooks this past weekend at Long Beach Comic Con, depicts Superman and Wonder Woman in a passionate embrace with the caption, “Score! Superman Does It Again!” As takedowns of that shirt began to circulate on social media, another one, bearing the phrase “I’m Training to Be Batman’s Wife,” was brought into the discussion.

Both shirts present undeniably sexist messages: The former positions the most prominent female superhero as a prize to be won, stripping away the character’s 75 years of nuance and feminist themes. The latter would be perfectly acceptable if it had only stopped before that final word; the assumption that the goal of any woman’s training would be to become someone’s wife is antiquated at best.

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Completed webcomics well worth reading

Rice Boy by Evan Dahm

Rice Boy by Evan Dahm

It seems as if most webcomics are designed to run more or less forever. That’s par for the course with comics in general, really: It’s not like we really expect Action Comics or Garfield to reach a logical terminus any time soon. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any great completed narratives in webcomics, however.

Evan Dahm never left his world of Overside. He’s chronicled its history with Order of Tales, and he’s now continuing the story with Vattu. The latter was recently honored at Small Press Expo with the Ignatz Award for Best Online Comic. The first of the Overside stories may still be the best, though.

Rice Boy, like the follow-up stories, follows the outline of a hero’s journey, with the title characgter called away from his mundane life by a wise man (here named The One Electric) to follow a life of adventure. Rice Boy journeys through various strange lands and meets a colorful cast of characters on his way toward an epic battle.

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Batman gets his own epic burger at McDonald’s Hong Kong

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While many of us were enjoying our pumpkin-spice lattes while watching the stars for signs of the McRib’s return, McDonald’s Hong Kong was busy launching its line of Justice League-themed meals with the Batman Diner Double Beef.

I’m not sure what those two curious-looking sauces are (I’m sure they’re explained in the stylish video below), but a sandwich containing two beef-like patties, egg and cheese can’t be half-bad. Plus, it comes with Squeezy Cheesy Fries, with bacon-flavored bits, and green apple tea (why the fries didn’t get an appropriate Bat-name will remain a mystery). Plus, the box is pretty cool.

Start planning for your Hong Kong trip now, Bat-fans …

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UFC debuts UFC 181 poster by Howard Porter and Alex Sinclair

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To help promote its UFC 181 pay-per-view event, the UFC turned to DC Comics for a comic book-style poster, created by Howard Porter and Alex Sinclair.

The result, which showcases the card’s two title fights — Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks and Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez — was unveiled Friday during a press conference.

A lifelong fan of mixed martial arts, the former JLA and Flash artist said he was thrilled when asked by DC to illustrate the poster.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ blackmailer withdraws appeal

Kuroko's Basketball, Vol. 24

Kuroko’s Basketball, Vol. 24

Legal | Hirofumi Watanabe has withdrawn the appeal of his conviction last month on charges of sending more than 400 threatening letters to venues in Japana connected with the manga Kuroko’s Basketball. The 37-year-old former temporary worker admitted to all charges during his first day in court, but mpoved to have his conviction overturned after he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. Watanabe, who said he doesn’t feel guilty for what he did and won’t apologize, acknowledged that he sent the letters out of jealousy of the success of Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki. [Anime News Network]

Manga | The most promising new market for manga right now? India, where the comics market in general is exploding. Kevin Hamric of Viz Media says manga is already well known there and fans can’t get enough, while Lance Fensterman of ReedPOP, the company behind New York Comic Con, talks about the planned collaboration with Comic Con India. The one obstacle: the same one that afflicted the American manga market, Japanese publishers’ reluctance to license their properties. [The Japan Times]

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Limited-edition Batman stamps to debut at New York Comic Con

Batman stamp Bronze AgeWhat do Batman, Janis Joplin and Julia Child have in common? If you guessed “They just got their own stamp,” you’re correct.

As DC Comics continues its celebration of the 75th anniversary of Batman, the iconic hero will again grace postage stamps in a limited-edition set officially unveiled Oct. 9 as the U.S. Postal Service kicks off New York Comic Con with a first-day-of-issue ceremony.

Each sheet of 20 “Forever” stamps — they’re 49 cents each but will remain good even when rates increase — will features designs representing four eras: the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Bronze Age and the current New 52 era. There’s also a round stamp with the Batman symbol.

Batman is only the latest in a series of DC characters, including The Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman and Aquaman, who have graced U.S. postage stamps recently. And this isn’t actually the first Batman stamp, as Linn’s Stamp News notes: The DC Superheroes set issued in 2006 included two Dark Knight stamps.

Canada Post last year honored Superman’s Toronto roots, and his 75th anniversary, with a series of commemorative stamps.

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Banned Books Week brings out the rebel in all of us

jhill-BBW-2014This year’s pairing of Banned Books Week and comics, with considerable input from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, was pure genius. While it is sponsored by a number of organizations, Banned Books Week is heavily supported by libraries, and librarians have been among the most ardent boosters of graphic novels in the last ten years.

In fact, Banned Books Week is really all about libraries, and to a lesser extent, schools. The days of government censorship in the form of prohibiting publication, import, or sale of a book for offensive content are long gone. Nowadays, “banned books” really refers to books that someone wants to remove from a public library or a school. Often, those attempts are unsuccessful because the library in question has a solid acquisition policy and a process for handling challenges, which is how it should be. Libraries buy books for a reason, and they shouldn’t take them off the shelves without a better reason.

Many public library challenges have a similar narrative: Kid checks a book out of the library, mom finds the book and freaks out, mom goes to the library, or the press, and demands the book and all others like it be removed from circulation. When the proper process is followed, a committee of professionals reviews the book and makes a decision, and you and I seldom hear about it; it’s when someone goes to a public meeting and starts yelling and waving a book that things go haywire. That’s what happened in South Carolina, where the a mother let her daughter check out Alan Moore’s Neonomicon, which the library had correctly shelved as an adult book, then was shocked to discover it had sex in it. In this case, the library review committee recommended that the book remain on the shelves but the library director overruled them.

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