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Officially licensed ‘Dancing Groot’ bobblehead on the way

Bvq4F6fIAAAVFK2As evidenced by the past few weeks on social media, a good chunk of the $430.7 million worth of people who have seen Guardians of the Galaxy thus far were absolutely captivated by the image of a potted baby Groot dancing to “I Want You Back” by the Jackson 5. It was inevitable that official merchandise would soon arrive based on this adorable phenomenon — and now it has.

Ryan Penagos, Marvel’s executive editorial director of digital media, announced Friday via his Twitter account that Funko will release a “Dancing Groot” vinyl bobblehead — he called it the “first” official Dancing Groot toy, implying more may (likely) be on the way — as part of the company’s popular POP! line. This one may not be able to emulate all of Groot’s sweet moves, but it’ll have head-bobbing covered.

Further details — like when these actually will be available — haven’t yet been released, but Funko said to expect an announcement early next week, and that the Dancing Groots will be available in retail stores, not as an online exclusive. The POP! toys — which have encompassed a wide range of licenses from Marvel, DC Comics, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Big Bang Theory and more — are prevalent at both mass-market retailers and feature stores, so it may soon be difficult to escape Dancing Groots.

The Dancing Groot sequence has proven so popular online that Marvel beat pirates to the punch and released the clip on YouTube — where it’s gotten nearly 900,000 views as of press time.

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The Fifth Color | ‘New Avengers’ finally gets to fireworks factory

New Avengers vol. 3 #6

cool guys don’t look at explosions

Jonathan Hickman writes a dense story. I’d almost consider him the anti-Bendis in the matter/anti-matter chamber that is the Avengers. While Brian Michael Bendis focused on the small story (sometimes a bit myopically), Hickman branches out into the vast unknowns of space and reality, and presents stories in a massive scope and scale. He has complex, overarching plots that have enormous charts to keep track of timelines and major events. He creates mythologies for his own subcultures for readers to delve into. The threats his Avengers face are beyond the realms of mortal ken, which sometimes means beyond the reader’s ken as well.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that the Avengers are facing down greater problems and dangers than, say, ninjas or hoodlums. If you’re going to be the premier superhero team, you have to be challenged by something no one hero could face on her own. Giving the Avengers  grand designs makes them seem more important and, therefore, more heroic when they succeed. On the other hand, sometimes a larger scope can be too large to grasp, and when the reader loses the personal interest of the story, it can be a chore to slog through. I’d be lying if it didn’t seem like homework sometimes to figure out Hickman’s builder/mapmakers/Ivory Kings/Black Priests cosmology, and that my eyes didn’t glaze over during some issues as I waited for the heroes to do something spectacular.

Well, the wait is over! The last three issues of New Avengers have gotten us back into the game with a huge reveal, some personal triumphs and tragedies, and I feel more invested in this Incursion story than ever before. What’s been going on? And why did it take so long to get to the fireworks factory? Read on!

WARNING: Spoilers (obviously) for the New Avengers #21-23.

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Quote of the Day | ‘It was like trying to stop a force of nature’

Frank Miller at Comic-Con International (photo by Caitlin Holland for CBR)

Frank Miller at Comic-Con International (photo by Caitlin Holland for CBR)

“It was like trying to stop a force of nature. He was a sponge. The last time he came, he’d gotten a six-page assignment, and I went over what he’d done wrong, how he could make it better. He said, ‘You’re saying I have to draw it over again.’ I said, ‘Well, yeah.’ He said, ‘OK, but the problem is, I turned it in, and they accepted it.’ I said, ‘In that case, don’t draw it over again; I think you just started your career.’”

Neal Adams, discussing a young Frank Miller, who repeatedly stopped by his New York City studio for critiques. It’s from Sean Howe’s Wired profile of Miller, probably the best of a handful published ahead of the premiere of Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

It’s certainly the most unflinching, touching upon the effect of 9/11 on the artist and his work — “I think many people didn’t get over it, that it will continue to affect their lives forever,” Lynn Varley, his longtime colorist and former wife, says. “And I think Frank is one of those people.” — the failure of The Spirit, the response to Holy Terror, the disappearance of All Star Batman & Robin, his tirade against the Occupy movement, and speculation about his health.

Is ‘Kill la Kill’ a warning about wearable tech? PBS Idea Channel investigates

kill-la-kill

Although I’ve never watched Kill la Kill, I’ve certainly heard about the popular anime series set in a dystopian school where students don sentient Goku Uniforms that give them superhuman abilities. But now, after watching fast-talking PBS Idea Channel host Mike Rugnetta wade into the anime while wrestling with its fascist themes and possibles warnings about wearable technology, I kind of want to seek it out. (And not for the fan service, I swear.)

This is probably a good place to note that UDON Entertainment announced last month at Comic-Con International that it will publish the Kill la Kill manga next year.

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How your favorite Marvel heroes measure up, in one handy chart

marvel heroes heigh-cropped

Often the infographics peddled by companies to websites aren’t that interesting or well-done, but I’ll have to hand it to HalloweenCostumes.com and, more so, artist Kate Willaert: While opinions may vary on how interesting the Marvel Heroes Height Comparison Chart is, the art is certainly nice — and it’s sprinkled with a little humor.

They’re pretty savvy, too, as they not only include the Guardians of the Galaxy, but also Howard the Duck and Ant-Man. So now, the next time you’re involved in a bar wager that rests on who’s taller, Captain America or Hawkeye, you’ll have a quick-and-easy answer.

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‘Camp Weedonwantcha’ and the horrors of summer camp

Screen Shot 2014-08-19 at 6.52.31 PM

Veteran animator Katie Rice walked away the winner of last year’s Strip Search online reality show. Her reward: a plum spot on the front page of the highly trafficked Penny Arcade site.

It’s a curious fit, as Penny Arcade is known for video games: It has a popular gaming comic, a highly attended gaming expo and a charity that gifts video games to kids in hospitals. Camp Weedonwantcha, on the other hand, is about summer camp. Can there be a bigger contrast?

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Marvel honors 3-year-old Jacoby Latta, ‘a fallen Avenger’

uncanny-avengers-jacoby2-cr

Marvel will pay tribute next week to Jacoby Latta, a 3-year-old who died May 31 after being struck by a falling tree limb during a church picnic at Community Park in Irmo, South Carolina.

Known for his infectious smile, Jacoby loved superheroes, particularly Captain America. “He would pretend to be Captain America, he would wear Captain America outfits, everything was Captain America,” his sister Jasmine told WTLX.

So Jacoby’s father Stuart Latta reached out to church member Sanford Greene, a professor at Benedict College who also happens to be the artist of Marvel’s Uncanny Avengers, in hope of making his son’s dream of being a superhero come true. He in turn contacted Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso.

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‘MAD’ takes aim at police militarization with Rockwell homage

mad-rockwell2-cropped

MAD may be well past its 1960s heyday, but every once in a while the magazine shows that it’s still capable of surprising us with political satire and social commentary.

The most recent reminder is MAD‘s timely take of Norman Rockwell’s famous 1958 painting “The Runaway,” which memorably depicts a kindly state trooper talking to a little boy at a diner counter. In the magazine’s update, influenced by events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the subsequent debate about the militarization of local police forces, the officer isn’t the reassuring presence he might have once been.

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Comics A.M. | Chinese cartoonist fears returning home

A cartoon by Biantai Lajiao

A cartoon by Biantai Lajiao

Political cartoons | “I think it might be pretty risky to go back home,” says Chinese cartoonist Wang Liming, who’s on Japan in a business trip and is thinking about staying there. “If I go back, they might use my cartoons as an excuse to detain me.” Liming, whose pen name is Biantai Lajiao (Perverted Chili Pepper), was arrested and briefly detained in 2013 on charges of “rumor-mongering,” stemming from a post on the microblog site Weibo. This time, an anonymous commenter on a state-owned discussion board called Liming a “traitor” because of a cartoon he posted online that showed mainland Chinese being sent to Hong Kong to oppose the Occupy Central pro-democracy campaign and demonstrate how to kowtow to the government. “That post is written like something out of the Cultural Revolution,” Liming said, calling it a “smear campaign.” He has 500,000 followers on Weibo and another 340,000 on Sina Weibo, and he says he is losing income because his accounts have been shut down. [Radio Free Asia]

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Grumpy Old Fan | Autumn means changes for DC in November

The falling leaves drift by the window/The autumn leaves of red and gold

The falling leaves drift by the window/The autumn leaves of red and gold

Following DC Comics’ solicitations over the past few months has been fairly intriguing. The company’s West Coast move in early 2015 looms over all its actions, and makes it hard to gauge whether a new series or new creative team is a long-term commitment or a brief burst of experimentation. Moreover, that makes it tempting to say that anything you don’t like — or, for that matter, anything you do like — might be gone by April.

Oh, well. A little paranoia can’t hurt, but we’re not here to talk about that. Open a window to the November solicits and read along!

NEW FOLKS

November brings new creative teams for Wonder Woman (the Finches and Richard Friend), Superman/Wonder Woman (Peter Tomasi and Doug Mahnke) and Supergirl (Mike Johnson, Kate Perkins and Emanuela Lupacchino). I’m still in wait-and-see mode on the Finches. However, after several years of reading Tomasi and Mahnke’s work, I feel like I know what’s coming from them. S/WW should look great, as Mahnke is no stranger to either Superman or Wonder Woman, having drawn JLA and various issues of the New 52 Justice League. I suppose I’m cautiously optimistic about Tomasi, because this is the sort of book that plays to his strengths. He’s good at reconciling and unifying different perspectives on characters, and that’s pretty much what S/WW has always had to overcome. Ironically, it’ll probably be less of a concern in the absence of Azzarello and Chiang, but I suspect Tomasi will keep those elements around.

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Mike Norton introduces the adorable Pugs of Justice

mike-norton-aqua-cropped

Battlepug creator Mike Norton knows his dogs — pugs in particular. And with credits that include Trinity, Green Arrow/Black Canary and Young Justice, he clearly knows a thing about DC Comics superheroes, too. Combine the two, and the result is downright adorable.

Look no further than his website, where the Revival artist has debuted a trio of prints, colored by David Baron, that he’ll have for sale at his September convention appearances: “Fastest Pug Alive,” “King of the Sea” and “The Leash of Truth.”

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Adventure awaits in ‘Latchkey Kingdom’

16b578303U6qoWebcomic creator Nick Daniel established the sprawling world of Lagend in 70 Seas. The fantasy world was a mishmash of European, Middle Eastern and Asian influences and populated by furry characters that were closer to the Sonic the Hedgehog end of the spectrum: big eyes, cartoony features, and fur with the consistency of unwashed carpet. They were also quite active, zipping across the page with a spirit of bravado and derring-do.

70 Seas ended in August 2013, but Daniel returns to Lagend with a new webcomic, Latchkey Kingdom. While that world was never meant to be taken all that seriously, Latchkey Kingdom ramps up the goofiness to the next level. It should become pretty obvious with its initial story arc, “Jinx.” That title, by the way, rhymes with a famous pop-culture icon. Want to take a guess? I’ll give you one paragraph.

The main character of Latchkey Kingdom is a resourceful adventurer named Willa Dragonfly. We see her wandering dark dungeon corridors in search of treasure. Her costume is quite notable, as she’s dressed in a familiar green jerkin with a shield adorned with the symbol of a bisected triangle. (Have you caught on to the reference yet?) We watch her as she’s annoyed by a glowing being who chirps “Listen!” all the time, and she does a dramatic pose when acquiring new stuff, while a dialogue box hovers nearby. (Still guessing?) And if that’s not enough of a tip-off, there’s the familiar retro logo of Latchkey Kingdom itself, which looks like it belongs on a shiny gold box.

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MondoCon lineup includes ‘Future Shock!’ world premiere

Alex Ross' "The Iron Giant" Mondo print

Alex Ross’ “The Iron Giant” Mondo print

Mondo has announced the complete lineup for the inaugural MondoCon, the Sept. 20-21 event in Austin, Texas, celebrating film, music, art and toys. And it turns out the participation of artists Geof Darrow, Francesco Francavilla, Jock, Mike Mignola and Bernie Wrightson is only the tip of the comics presence.

There’s the world premiere of Future Shock! The Story of 2000AD, a documentary celebrating 35 years of the influential comics anthology (watch the trailer below); a “Designing Movies” panel, with Darrow, Jock, Mignola, Wrightson and others discussing their film work; and “Geof Darrow’s Shaolin Cowboy,” which includes a presentation of eight minutes of never-before-seen animation from an uproduced adaptation of his comic.

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Trial set for December in death of elderly comic collector

Rico J. Vendetti

Rico J. Vendetti

A Rochester, New York, businessman will stand trial for murder in December in the 2010 death of an elderly comic book collector.

According to the Batavia, New York, Daily News, the trial of Rico J. Vendetti is scheduled for Dec. 5 in U.S. District Court in Buffalo. Dates still haven’t been set for his four co-defendants.

Vendetti is accused of hiring seven people to steal the valuable comics collection of 77-year-old Homer Marciniak of Medina, New York. According to police and prosecutors, when Marciniak awoke during the July 5, 2010, burglary, he was beaten and knocked to the floor. They burglars fled with the comics, safes, cash, coins and guns.

Although Marciniak suffered only cuts and bruises from the attack, and was able to give a statement to police, he died hours later from a heart attack.

Vendetti, who owned a collectibles store, was arrested along with seven others within a few months. The U.S. Attorney stepped in to file murder charges against Vendetti and four of his co-defendants, arguing that the burglary led to Marciniak’s death.

He’s also accused of racketeering and witness tampering.

‘Prometheus: Fire and Stone’ trailer teases Dark Horse crossover

prometheus

Dark Horse has debuted the trailer for Prometheus: Fire and Stone, the first chapter in a crossover that spans Fox’s Aliens, Predator and Alien Vs. Predator franchises.

It’s only fitting the event starts with a tie-in to filmmaker Ridley Scott’s 2012 Alien prequel. In the four-issue Prometheus, written by Paul Tobin and illustrated by Juan Ferreyra, a new team of explorers is sent to LV-223 “to uncover the dark mystery that holds not only the fate of the original mission, but possibly their own damnation.”

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