Current Transmissions

The kids are on the case in ‘The Case of the Simple Soul’

PrintBad Machinery is an all-ages webcomic about a group of British schoolchildren who solve mysteries and generally act like normal kids.

When I say that, I mean it as the highest compliment. Too many children’s books, both graphic novels and prose, exist in some sort of never-never land where all families are happy and all the children are well-behaved, except for one or two who are explicitly evil. The kids in Bad Machinery aren’t like that. They don’t do anything truly horrific, but they do disobey their parents, talk in slang, and best of all, poke their noses where they really shouldn’t. Each story arc is a supernatural mystery of some sort, and the supernatural creatures are real, but usually pretty benign in the end.

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Amazing Spider-Fan shows us his Shelf Porn

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Happy holidays and welcome to Shelf Porn, your weekly look at one fan’s collection. Today we show off the web-tangled shelves of Alex in the Philippines, a huge fan of your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.

If you’d like to see your collection here, you can find instructions on how to submit it at the end of this post.

And now let’s swing into things with Alex …

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The Fifth Color | Don’t say anything you can’t take back

Avengers-and-X-Men-AXIS-9-Renaud-Looper-Variant When I was younger, I used to read dozens of Star Trek novels. I would check them out of the library, find them at rummage sales, scour bookstore, all to gather more tales of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Each novel could flesh out the lives of the crew and detail their adventures in ways no television show or film ever could. Want the Next Generation crew to meet the original cast in their prime? It could be done! Want to travel to the end of time and space with the Q Continuum? Or the shape-shifting Constable Odo to become a gigantic monster and battle an even larger creature in the middle of Deep Space Nine? Anything was possible in those novels, except change.

Every novel had to put the crew back into their places by the final chapter. The television shows were still airing in the ’90s, so while those novels could go anywhere and do anything, nothing could really change beyond what we saw on TV each week. Commander Riker couldn’t lose a leg in the novels if Jonathan Frakes wasn’t going to be using a prosthetic on the show. Major Kira couldn’t quit her job in one book if Nana Visitor wasn’t leaving Deep Space Nine. While the novelized adventures had all this freedom, they still couldn’t shake the status quo.

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Life-size Rocket Raccoon statue is only for ‘Guardians’ die-hards

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We’ve seen plenty of Rocket Raccoon merchandise released this year in conjunction with Guardians of the Galaxy, but none compares to this — either in size or price: It’s the life-size Rocket statue from Section 9 Entertainment and Muckle Mannequins.

Stand 78 inches tall — that’s six and a half feet, with pedestal — the collectible is of course highly detailed, and features one of his custom-made weapons from the Marvel blockbuster. Considering its size, you might think the biggest issue with buying this statue would be where to put it, but you’d be wrong.

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These swanky DC pens are pricey, and exactly what you want

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Italian company Montegrappa has been manufacturing luxury writing instruments for more than a century, which presumably has merely been build-up to this point: the release of the DC Comics Heroes & Villains series of pens.

Inspired by the success of its Batman collection, this set boasts Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Catwoman, The Joker, The Riddler, The Penguin and, of course, the Dark Knight, offered as fountain, rollerball and ballpoint pens.

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Kamala Khan and her creators named among ‘kick-ass Muslims’

Kamala Khan

Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson and editor Sana Amanat are in impressive company on BuzzFeed list of “21 Kick-Ass Muslims Who Changed the Narrative in 2014, which includes a Nobel laureate, a religious scholar and an Olympic athlete.

Written by Ahmed Ali Akbar, the rundown singles out not only the duo behind the creation of teenager Kamala Khan, the Pakistani American superhero, but also the character herself.

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Cartoon elicits protests, boycott attempt

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It’s not unusual for an editorial cartoon to trigger a reaction from its subject, but Chris Britt’s cartoon above has unleashed not only a vehement response from local police organizations but also an apparent attempt to get local businesses to stop advertising in the paper.

The Bucks County (Pennsylvania) Courier Times published the nationally syndicated cartoon on Dec. 7, leading to a vehement letter to the editor from John McNesby, head of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police, that called it “disrespectful and highly offensive,” demanded an apology, and concluded:

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Hot Toys touts Hulkbuster figure with life-size statue

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If Hot Toys’ Little Groot wasn’t quite to your liking, perhaps we can interest you in the company’s line Avengers: Age of Ultron collectible figures, officially unveiled at Toy Soul 2014 in Hong Kong. The centerpiece is undoubtedly the 1/6th-scale Hulkbuster armor, promoted with a massive life-size — nearly 10-feet-tall! — version on the exhibit floor.

In addition, Hot Toys also revealed the Thanos figure from Guardians of the Galaxy. The Age of Ultron line also includes Iron Man Mark XLIII, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow. See some of the images below, and even more on the Hot Toys Facebook page.

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Ring in the holidays with festive comics-themed ‘ugly’ sweaters

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Your holiday sweater collection doesn’t have to be scary anymore; you can improve it with comic book-inspired designs. Once upon a time, the thought of attending an ugly-sweater themed holiday party was unappealing: The sweaters used to be legitimately hideous and tacky, with flocked teddy bears, noisy bells and glittery snow, and they were itchy and hot. Those garments of yore could be fun to wear, but I never liked scouring thrift stores and forking over cash for them.

That’s all changed, because the idea of the ugly holiday sweater has evolved. The designs are no longer what I’d call ugly, and they’re more likely to be printed on comfortable sweatshirts instead of stuffy sweaters. You can find several prints inspired by pop culture franchises and even comic books.

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Comics A.M. | Creator loses original art, more in car break-in

Josh C. Lyman

Josh C. Lyman

Crime | Artist Josh C. Lyman reports that thieves broke into his car sometime on Monday or Tuesday and stole about 40 pieces of original art (some of it commissioned), 1,200 prints, plus convention setup materials, art supplies and clothes. “I’m more devastated in the fact my originals are all gone … some of my better non-commissioned work of the last 3 years … along with all of my tools I have earned and acquired during the aforementioned periods. Tshirts and the like I can slowly replace … but it’s the matter of having all this potential art for shows gone; along with all the posters I had left,” he writes. Lyman contacted police and has notified local comic shops to keep an eye out for the missing work, and he has posted images of the stolen art. [Facebook, via Bleeding Cool]

Censorship | Rachael Jolley takes a long and wide view of the pressures that political cartoonists are subject to, looking at several recent attempts to suppress editorial cartoonists as well as the history of tensions between creators of political cartoons and those they portray; the article also includes comments from Neil Gaiman on the topic of censorship. [The New Statesman]

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Stephen Colbert says farewell, with Captain America’s shield in hand

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Although it’s the all-star sing-a-long from last night’s final episode of The Colbert Report that’s getting the attention this morning — it involved everyone from Henry Kissinger and Cyndi Lauper to Big Bird and Joe Quesada — it’s what came afterward that holds a special place in our hearts.

Having killed his old nemesis Grimmy the Grim Reaper, Stephen Colbert discovers he’s now immortal (cue Highlander effects), a condition he finds “kinda lonely, a little snacky.” Directionless, he takes to the rooftop, shouting “What do I do know?” while holding two prized possessions that didn’t get put in his yard sale: a Sting sword from The Lord of the Rings, and Captain America’s shield.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Stick a fork in DC’s March solicitations

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A punch so hard it knocks the green off

A while back I wrote that DC Comics could stand to cancel some books, but this isn’t exactly what I had in mind. DC’s March solicitations are among the most significant of the New 52. The August 2011 solicits, which were the last of their particular era, were relatively routine; back then, every superhero title was either being canceled or relaunched. By contrast, March 2015 looks like the start of another line-wide makeover. It will see the end of several series, including some charter members of the New 52.

The solicits actually extend to the week of April 1, which will feature a slew of annuals, the final issues of the three weekly series, and Convergence #0. (All that will cost you $54.89 retail.) With Convergence then taking over April and May, readers will have to wait until June’s solicits (coming in February, of course) for the first full picture of the New However-Many. Although the nature of Convergence still suggests that some old, familiar elements will be reintroduced into the New 52 — because why say “every story matters” if you’re not going to use at least some of them going forward? — these solicits are arguably the strongest indication to date that the New 52 isn’t going away.

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Dexter faces Batman in the fan film you probably didn’t expect

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We come to expect some inter-franchise face-offs in fan films, whether it’s Batman vs. the Terminator or Batman vs. Wolverine. However, it’s unlikely anyone saw this coming: Dexter Morgan vs. the Dark Knight.

Directed by Mike Donis, “Batman vs. Dexter: Crossing Over” brings the vigilante serial killer to Gotham City to abduct Oswald Cobblepot in an effort to draw out the Caped Crusader, simply to find out whether he actually exists. It’s a solid enough premise that actually comes off pretty well, despite, as Topless Robot notes, the decidedly low production values (Batman’s costume is particularly rough, and we’re left to wonder why one of The Penguin’s henchmen is wearing a Court of Owls mask).

The roughly seven-minute short is labeled “Episode 1″ and ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, which certainly suggests we’ll be seeing more of “Crossing Over.”

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Edumacate us: How ‘The Simpsons’ changed the language

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To celebrate the 25th anniversary of The Simpsons — the first episode aired on Dec. 17, 1989 — Oxford Dictionaries turned to author and English professor Michael Adams to examine how Homer & Co. have changed the language, probably more than most of us realized.

After touching upon the contributions like craptacular and embiggening, Adams zeroes in on those ” two small but powerful words, words that aptly capture what it’s meant to be human during the Simpsons decades.” He means, of course, d’oh and meh.

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Judges announced for 2015 Eisner Awards

eisnerawards_logoComic-Con International has announced the judging panel for the 2015 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards.

The six-person committee will meet in early April in San Diego to select the nominees to be placed on the Eisner ballot, which will then be voted on by comics industry professionals. The judges are:

  • Carr D’Angelo, founding owner of Earth-2 Comics in Sherman Oaks and Northridge, California, and vice president of the direct-market trade organization ComicsPRO
  • Richard Graham, media librarian and associate professor at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and managing editor of the academic e-journal SANE (Sequential Art Narratives in Education)
  • Sean Howe, author of the Eisner-winning Marvel Comics: The Untold Story
  • Susan Kirtley, associate professor of English and director of rhetoric and composition at Portland (Oregon) State University, where she’s developing a comics studies program
  • Ron McFee, a 35-year volunteer for Comic-Con International and a longtime member of the Convention Committee
  • Maggie Thompson, longtime co-editor of Comics Buyer’s Guide

Guidelines for submitting materials will be released in early January; deadline for entries is March 17. The winners will be announced July 10 during an awards ceremony held in conjunction with Comic-Con International in San Diego.


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