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Grumpy Old Fan | DC hopes you’ll heart Harley in February

Convergence

Convergence

In April, DC Comics released solicitations for its July titles alongside an extra batch of advance listings for the September Futures End-related one-shots. This week, in a move that’s perhaps unintentionally similar, the publisher’s February solicits arrive amid advance info about the spring’s Convergence tie-ins.

The scheduling gap isn’t quite as great — only a couple of months here, as opposed to five months last time — and I can understand why DC would want to avoid a lot of negative fan speculation about Convergence. Still, it steals some thunder from the current batch of solicitations, which try to compensate with a raft of Harley Quinn variant covers (including, strangely enough, one for Harley Quinn itself). In addition to her own series and Suicide Squad, Harl also gets a Valentine’s Day Special, another hardcover collection, a statue, an action figure, and a guest-shot in Deathstroke. At this rate I’m expecting her to be Wonder Woman’s new Amazon queen.
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Check out Geof Darrow’s take on the world of ‘Korra’

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I somehow missed that Geof Darrow, the Eisner-winning artist of Hard Boiled and Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot and creator of Shaolin Cowboy, has drawn a poster based on the fan-favorite Nickelodeon series The Legend of Korra.

Inspired by “Book 4: Balance,” the limited-edition (signed and numbered) print is colored by fellow Eisner winner Dave Stewart, and available from the Nickelodeon store for $64.99.

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Thought Bubble: A social media overview

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In case you weren’t able to make this year’s Thought Bubble: The Leeds Comic Art Festival, ROBOT 6 has rounded up snippets of the overall experience through social media. The festival, now in its eighth year, was held Nov. 9-16, ending with a two-day convention on Nov. 15-16. Beyond the final two-day event, Thought Bubble offered more than 80 comics-related opportunities — some in cooperation with the 28th Leeds International Film Festival.

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DC argues Spanish soccer club logo is too much like Batman’s

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DC Comics is reportedly challenging the new logo of a Spanish soccer team, insisting it too closely resembles the familiar Batman emblem.

According to Eurosport, La Liga club Valencia C.F. sought to register a trademark for a variation of its crest, leading the publisher to file a complaint with the European Union’s Office for the Harmonization of the Internal Market.

As the website notes, the bat has been used in Spanish heraldry since the 13th century, and is part of the coat of arms of Valencia and other cities in eastern Spain. Valencia C.F. has used bats in its club logo since 1919, two decades before the debut of the Dark Knight in Detective Comics #27.

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Artists reimagine Batman, with some sci-fi and fantasy flair

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Virtually everyone, fan and creator alike, has his or her own of what Batman acts and looks like. To that end, the Facebook art group Brainstorm asked its members to redesign the Dark Knight — just one in a series of challenges — to stunning results.

The Brainstorm Facebook page has been rampant with designs, some keeping the superhero elements while others delve into fantasy and sci-fi. The entries come from artists of all skill levels and from around the world.

Here are six pieces, out of the hundreds submitted, that stood out. Head to Brainstorm’s Facebook page to see even more.

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James Gunn reveals ‘Guardians’ secret ‘Awesome Mix Vol. Zero’

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The name of the soundtrack for the Guardians of the Galaxy, Awesome Mix Volume 1, suggests that at some point we could see a second volume. However, before Volume 1 sold more than 500,000 copies, there was actually a “Volume Zero” — or at least a playlist put together by director James Gunn and production sound mixer Simon Hayes and used between takes on the set of the Marvel blockbuster.

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Branding shmanding, ‘Teen Titans: Earth One’ is pretty good

TEEN TITANS EARTH ONEThe cover of Teen Titans: Earth One Volume One, as it’s referred to on its title page, bears the all-caps blurb, “THE NEXT CHAPTER IN THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLING EARTH ONE SERIES.”

What exactly is “the Earth One series”? I’m a little confused. So too is its publisher.

The line of original graphic novels launched in 2010 with J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis’ Superman: Earth One. The premise seemed to be the reintroduction of the character in a modern setting for a new audience. (Not unlike Marvel’s millennial Ultimate imprint then, but in a more bookstore/library-friendly format.)

That was followed with a sequel and Batman: Earth One, by Geoff Johns and Gary Frank. Now the Teen Titans get a turn with this book by Jeff Lemire, Terry and Rachel Dodson and Cam Smith. Despite the blurb, the graphic novels aren’t connected in any way other than design, format and, perhaps, intended audience.

The “Earth One” designation remains particularly perplexing, given the baggage the phrase is freighted with, its ever-changing meaning and the fact that these books are presumably targeted at readers who don’t know or care about the oft-rebooted DC Multiverse’s various parallel-Earth settings.
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Derf Backderf celebrates 11 years well spent

Backderf at the Angouleme International Comics Festival last January

Backderf at the Angouleme International Comics Festival in January

Derf Backderf, author of My Friend Dahmer, has a poignant post on his blog marking the 11th anniversary of the end of his cancer treatment:

On that grey day in November when I walked out of the Radiology Department in the basement of University Hospitals for the final time, I was exhausted, sporting several ghastly scars and missing a few chunks of my body, battered and roasted to a crisp, but happy. I’d made it.

Cancer messes with your head. I always thought I’d live to a ripe old age like my grandfather, who lived to 105 (his brother lived to 108!), but my body started to fall apart at age 35  like a Chevy Vega. On that November 18th, I was determined to make the most out of whatever time I had left.

And he did; in the past 11 years he has completed three graphic novels, including the award-winning My Friend Dahmer, published five minicomics, two webcomics and numerous other works, traveled to France and Belgium, won multiple comics awards, and, on a personal note, watched his children grow up and his parents grow old.

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How ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ should have ended

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After tarnishing our memories Disney classics with their sendup of the Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, the folks at How It Should Have Ended have turned to Guardians of the Galaxy, offering some alternative takes that probably would’ve complicated Marvel’s plans for a 2017 sequel.

In the process, however, the video also addresses the blockbuster’s burning question: What’s with Thanos and that chair? As a bonus, there’s also a war of words between Baby Groot and Batman that goes … well, pretty much as you’d expect.

The treatment even gets a thumbs up from Guardians director James Gunn, who writes, “I love these. Having a How It Should Have Ended is better than winning an Oscar.”

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Comics A.M. | Jillian Tamaki wins Governor General’s Award

This One Summer

This One Summer

Awards | Jillian Tamaki has won the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Prize for children’s literature illustration for her work on This One Summer, a graphic novel collaboration with cousin Mariko Tamaki (who was nominated in the text category). Their first book, 2008’s Skim, was previously nominated in the text division, further demonstrating a separation of illustration and story that Jillian Tamaki finds “strange.” ““I think we are both creators of the book,” she tells the Edmonton Journal. “You can’t read a comic without either component, it won’t make sense. It’s something I will always be addressing when talking about the award. But I am completely flattered by the honor and will be sharing the prize with my cousin.” [Edmonton Journal, via The Comics Reporter]

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Albert Monteys’ ‘Universe!’ debuts on Panel Syndicate

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Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s Panel Syndicate imprint has announced its second “pay what you’d like” digital series:  Universe! by Spanish cartoonist Albert Monteys.

Monteys is the former director for and contributor to the satirical magazine El Jueves, from which he resigned this summer after the owners refused to use a cover featuring the King of Spain.

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Re-live ’80s ‘Secret Wars’ action figure nostalgia with Gentle Giant’s throwback toys

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It seems like nostalgia has become a big part of collectibles lately — there are plenty of toys that are faithful recreations of playthings from the ’70s and ’80s on the market, and some demand a pretty high premium. It looks as though Marvel and Gentle Giant are jumping on that bandwagon full-bore with oversized recreations of Mattel’s Secret Wars figures from the 1980s about to hit the market in 2015 — but it’s going to set you back a few bucks.

Marvel.com has posted details about Gentle Giant’s recreation of the Mattel toy line. Set at a price point of $90, the 12″ figures were recreated through digital scans of the originals, “roto injection molded and made of durable plastics” for a fully-articulated figure, which comes with a Secret Wars-inspired backer card with original photos and artwork.

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In ‘LEGO Batman vs Superman,’ the Bat-gloves come off

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Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice won’t arrive in theaters for another 16 months, but BrickNerd Studios has already envisioned the tense standoff between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel.

In “LEGO Batman vs Superman,” the stop-motion animated short by Tommy Williamson, the Caped Crusader may not be sure why he opposes the Last Son of Krypton, but that doesn’t stop him from breaking out his entire arsenal. Well, almost his entire arsenal. In restrospect, Bruce probably wishes he’d brought the Batmobile into play.

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Creative process: Jack Katz pencils from ‘The First Kingdom’

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This week marks the release of the final collected volume of Jack Katz‘s  an epic series initially published in the 1970s and ’80s. Titan Comics began reissuing Katz’s magnum opus, which clocks in at an impressive 768 pages, in 2013. Each remastered volume was produced utilizing cleaned and restored art taken from high-resolution scans of Katz’s original art pages, as well as being completely relettered. Titan also provided background information on the history of Katz’s story, as well as extra material, such as character sketches as well as original drawings.

To mark the release, Titan Comics shared with ROBOT 6 some of the extras included in the final volume.

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Penguin is the city’s future in Jock’s new ‘Gotham’ promo art

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Wytches artist Jock, who earlier created scene-transition illustrations for a Gotham TV spot, returns to the city’s gritty streets for an ad spotlighting the Fox drama’s breakout character: Oswald Cobblepot, as played by Robin Lord Taylor.

“Gotham needs me,” states The Penguin, the master manipulator. “I am its future.”

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