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‘I don’t measure peoples’ lives. I save them.’

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Note: This post contains spoilers for Avengers #34.

The last couple weeks have been, to put it mildly, kind of crappy. Not just on a macro level — and there’s certainly been enough on the macro level to designate the last two weeks as crappy, as you can see on this handy chart courtesy of the excellent The System webcomic. But also on a personal level. Ferguson. My cat dying. Robin Williams. Ebola. Crap at work. Ugh.

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Pires reaches the final leg of his music trilogy

Pop-banner[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

It’s intriguing to see writer Curt Pires reach the third leg of his music trilogy, Pop (the first two legs were LP and Theremin). When I interviewed Pires about LP nearly two years ago, it was a project he self-published. So I was immensely pleased to see that the recognition of Pires’ talent had grown since that first leg to the point Dark Horse is publishing this new four-issue limited series.

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Little moments add up in Lucy Knisley’s ‘An Age of License’

An Age of License

[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

It took me a while to figure out why I liked Lucy Knisley’s An Age of License so much better than her last book, Relish, but eventually it came to me: Relish is a memoir, An Age of License is a diary comic.

Knisley was in her mid- to late 20s when she made Relish, and that is a bit young to be doing a memoir, even one that focuses on childhood. There’s a certain fullness of perspective that comes with time and distance, and while Relish was technically a very accomplished book, it felt a bit thin.

An Age of License, on the other hand, has an immediacy to it that makes it much more compelling. It’s more diary than memoir, a travelogue comic about Knisley’s trip through Europe in 2011, when she was a guest at the Raptus Comic Fest in Norway. Her plan is to travel alone, but not entirely: A few weeks before she leaves, she meets a handsome Swedish guy, Henrik, and they hit it off. So she plans to head off to Stockholm after the comics fest, spend some time with Henrik, and then push on to Berlin and visit friends and family in France.

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Alonso apologizes for mixed messages of Manara’s Spider-Woman cover

spider-woman-manara[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

I was pleased to see Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso acknowledge concerns over the variant cover by Milo Manara for Spider-Woman #1, and even go so far as to explicitly apologize for the mixed message the cover caused.

“We always listen to fans’ concerns so we can do better by them,” Alonso stated to CBR for Friday’s installment of the weekly Axel-in-Charge interview column. “We want everyone — the widest breadth of fans — to feel welcome to read Spider-Woman. We apologize — I apologize — for the mixed messaging that this variant caused.”

He went on to note that it is not the official cover for the series, and is equally not as representative of the title as a pet variant by Skottie Young might be. That’s a fair point. However, I would argue that there is a difference between a Milo Manara variant and any other random variant. That cover exists within the context of the title character of the comic and the historical depiction of women in comics, if not media in general, juxtaposed with a cartoonist known for erotica being commissioned to provide material for a comic with a T+ rating (13 and above).

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Donald Glover (sort of) gets his Spider-Man wish

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Nothing can bring quite as big a smile to my face as reading the words “Donald Glover to play Spider-Man.” Sure, sure, it’s voice work for a cartoon. However, the unlikelihood of this announcement struck me with the same amusement and bonhomie as hearing that, say, Community was going to be renewed for a sixth season.

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Raise your glass to fallen Shelf Porn from Napa, California

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Happy Saturday and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly look at one fan’s collection. Today’s Shelf Porn only has one picture to go with it, but there’s a timely and compelling story behind it that any fan with a collection they fear could someday be ruined by Mother Nature will appreciate.

If you’d like to see your collection featured here on ROBOT 6, you can find instructions on how to do so at the end of this post.

And now let’s hear from C.T. from Napa, California …

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Amy Reeder redesigns ‘Brooklyn Defender’ beer for New York Comic-Con

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Brooklyn Brewery is once again teaming up with the New York Comic-Con to create a beer for New York Super Week, the week leading up to the convention. And as they have in years past, they’ve recruited a comic artist to redesign the beer’s label and the hero featured on it.

Amy Reeder of Rocket Girl and Madame Xanadu fame said being asked to put her personal stamp on the brew “was such a cool opportunity,” she wrote on her blog. “I went for a homegrown vigilante vibe and I made sure to make her easy to cosplay.”

Tony Millionaire and Cliff Chiang have previously designed the Brooklyn Defender.

Like the label, the recipe for the special edition beer changes each year. This year, it’s a red IPA. “We incorporated some German red malts that give the beer the slightest edge of roast and a suggestion of caramel, and the explosive Mosaic hop steps out front with the aromatics,” brewmaster Garrett Oliver told the New York Daily News.

The brewery will host a release party Sept. 10 for the beer, which will then be available in various area bars Oct. 3-12. New York Comic-Con runs Oct. 9-12.

Check out Reeder’s designs and a video featuring Reeder and Oliver below.

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Texas pastor wants vampire books removed from local library

Vampire Knight 1A Texas minister wants the local public library to remove all books from its young-adult section that deal with supernatural romance, a genre that includes the Vampire Knight manga as well as the Twilight and House of Night novels.

According to the Dayton News, Phillip Missick, pastor of All Saints Tabernacle in Cleveland, Texas, addressed the city council during the public comment period of its Aug. 12 meeting. He also submitted a petition, signed by a number of local ministers, that he had circulated at the Cleveland Ministerial Alliance. He requested that the “occultic and demonic room be shut down, and these books be purged from the shelves, and that public funds would no longer be used to purchase such material, or at least require parents to check them out for their children.” However, at least two of the ministers who signed the petition have since backed off from it.

Missick was apparently referring to the Teen Room of the Austin Memorial Library, which, he states, contains 75 books about the occult, as well as “a demonic stuffed doll and a witch’s hat” (actually Dobby and the Sorting Hat from the Harry Potter books). He seems to be particularly concerned with books about vampires, or at least, that’s what local media have picked up on.

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The Fifth Color | ‘Daredevil’ delivers a PSA without the cliches

DD7_coverAs a child of the ’80s, I’m well aware of the PSA comic. There was a lot of media at the time intended to teach kids about the dangers of everything from drugs to molestation to crossing the street. It was difficult to avoid that “very special episode” of your favorite television series, or that equally special Spider-Man comic in which the wall-crawler confronts drug abuse in Canada.

They were often heavy handed, with strong narration reminding you to tell an adult, or scary scenes depicting the the horrible death of a minor or previously unknown character. Pop culture tried to use its powers for good, and often these PSAs were skipped over, at best, or mocked tremendously in our older years.

But then there are those times when a comic can actually teach you something, or provide a little solace in its handling of a tough issue. I’ve talked here about the X-Men comic I received in a burn ward to help kids cope with the trauma, and there’s also a line of called Medikidz to explain other medical issues like cancer, Crohn’s disease and multiple sclerosis. These are pretty weighty topics, but a comic can make the information easier to digest. For the “PSA” comic, it seems like the more specific the information given is, the better the story comes out, and the more helpful it can be to a younger reader.

Does the same hold true for older readers? Recently, Daredevil #7, by Mark Waid and Javier Rodriguez, dealt with a mature topic that wouldn’t really fly with a younger audience. Did it hit its marks, or was this just another “very special episode” with Matt Murdock? Read on and find out.

WARNING: Spoilers for Daredevil #7, so please do yourself a favor and grab a copy and read along!

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Beware the Gray Ghost in live-action ode to ‘Batman: TAS’

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Fans of Batman: The Animated Series undoubtedly fondly recall the 1992 episode “Beware the Gray Ghost,” which guest-starred Adam West as the voice of Simon Trent, the pulp hero of the black-and-white television series loved by a young Bruce Wayne. You remember: “Those with evil hearts beware, for out of the darkness comes … The Graaaaay Ghost!”

Well, now the Gray Ghost has inspired his own fan short, directed by J.L. Topkis from a script by Matt Landsman, and presented as a stylish episode of an almost-forgotten serial — complete with a nod to Batman’s own origin.

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Confused by the upcoming ‘AXIS’ event? Marvel has you covered

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No stranger to teasers, Marvel has posted a neat little video that recounts the story so far in the Marvel Universe that sets the stage for the publisher’s AXIS mega-event. The three-and-a-half-minute clip narrates all the relevant story points from Avengers Vs. X-Men and Rick Remender’s Uncanny Avengers, including the death of Charles Xavier, the establishment of the Avengers/X-Men Unity Squad, and the recent events of the “Avenge the Earth” story arc.

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Quote of the Day | Axel Alonso on Manara ‘Spider-Woman’ variant

spider-woman-manara“We always listen to fans’ concerns so we can do better by them. We want everyone — the widest breadth of fans — to feel welcome to read Spider-Woman. We apologize — I apologize — for the mixed messaging that this variant caused.

And that’s what this cover is. It’s a limited edition variant that is aimed at collectors. While we would not have published this as the main cover to the book, we were comfortable publishing this as a variant that represented one artist’s vision of the character — a world-renowned artist whose oeuvre is well-known to us, and to collectors. It is not the official cover for the issue. It is a collector’s item that is set aside or special ordered by completists — and it doesn’t reflect the sensibility or tone of the series any more than the Skottie Young variant or Rocket and Groot Spider-Woman variants. If you open up the book, you’ll see that this series has everything in common with recent launches we’ve done, like Black Widow and Ms. Marvel and She-Hulk and Captain Marvel. It’s about the adventures of two women that have complete agency over their lives, and that are defined by what they do, not how they look.

We’re far from perfect, but we’re trying. It’s been a priority for me as EIC to make our line and our publishing team more inclusive. We’re at an industry high of around 30 percent female in editorial group, about 20 percent of our line is comics starring women, and our Senior Manager of Talent, Jeanine Schaefer, actively looks to bring more female writers and artists into the fold each month. In fact, very soon we’ll be announcing new series and creators that I’m very excited about.”

– Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, addressing criticism of the Milo Manara variant cover for Spider-Woman #1, in this week’s “Axel-in-Charge” on CBR

‘Hawkeye’ sign-language issue inspired by Utah teen

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Hawkeye #19 featured the Marvel hero during his period of hearing loss, which writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja used as an opportunity to tell a story through American Sign Language. The issue’s title page included the dedication “For Leah,” and as it turns out, “Leah” is 17-year-old Utah resident Leah Coleman, KSL.com reports.

Her mother Rachel Coleman worked with Fraction on the issue. The two met through a concert held by Rachel Coleman’s Signing Time television series in 2012, when Fraction related how much he loved ASL due to its visual nature. He later contacted her for assistance in bringing ASL to Hawkeye #19.

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Comics fan claims $140,000 collection missing after ex moves out

xmen1Many of us have experienced a bad breakup, marked by accusations and recriminations, followed by the discovery of a missing book or DVD. But for many comics fans, this is a nightmare scenario.

According to the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, a man called police to report his $140,000 comic-book collection was stolen from his apartment Thursday after he split with his girlfriend.

He apparently was told to leave the apartment while she moved out, and when he returned there was some kind of physical altercation with her family — the specifics of which weren’t revealed. Afterward, he discovered his box of comics, including X-Men #1, was gone.

That, of course, raises a few questions: Was that 1963′s The X-Men #1, or 1991′s X-Men #1 (I’m guessing the former)? Was it a long box, which holds about 250 to 300 comics, or something larger? What other presumably Silver Age or even Golden Age comics were among that little treasure trove? And why, for the love of Galactus, would you leave something so valuable in your apartment while your ex, or your ex’s family, moves out items in the aftermath of a clearly unpleasant breakup?

Police haven’t charged any suspects.

Canada introduces Superman coins featuring iconic DC covers

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Less than a year after unveiling seven collector coins celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel, this morning at Fan Expo in Toronto the Royal Canadian mint introduced four more, featuring iconic Superman comic book covers.

The superhero’s milestone anniversary and Toronto roots were also celebrated last year with a set of stamps from Canada Posts. Although Superman was created in 1933 by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster when they were teenagers living in Cleveland, Shuster was actually born in Toronto, and lived there until age 9 or 10. He worked as a newspaper boy for the Toronto Daily Star, whose building served as a model for the Daily Planet (originally called the Daily Star).

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