Kevin Melrose, Author at Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

‘Spawn’ fan film may make you forget that other Spawn movie

spawn-fan-film

Todd McFarlane has long talked about “complete reboot” of the 1997 film Spawn, envisioning a low-budget supernatural thriller that has more in common with The Conjuring than with current superhero blockbusters. For inspiration, he may need look no further that director Michael Paris’ fan short Spawn: The Recall.

The bulk of the nearly eight-minute film was shot in a day and two nights in a supermarket after business hours, using a limited cast and crew (post-production took two years, with the visual effects rendered on a single computer).

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Terry Gilliam explains the Church of Batman the Redeemer

batman-the-redeemer

Sometime in the near future — although, alas, not the one depicted in DC Comics’ Futures End — people will worship at the altar of the Dark Knight. At least that we’re told by Terry Gilliam’s new film The Zero Theorem, in which we glimpse an enormous ad that declares “The Church of Batman the Redeemer Needs YOU.”

With its U.S. release today in select theaters and on VOD, the director has of course been making the press rounds, discussing a cinematic world overtaken by technology, and precisely why people would follow the Caped Crusader.

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Petition calls for life-size statue of Wolverine in Edmonton

death of wolverineOnline petitions are typically met with an eye roll, but it’s difficult not to like this one: Two residents of Edmonton, Alberta, want the city to erect a life-size statue in honor of one of the provinces native sons … James “Logan” Howlett. Yes, Wolverine.

“Not many popular or exciting fictional characters are born Canadian, but superhero and adventurer Wolverine isn’t just Canadian, he’s an Albertan too,” Jesse Seitz writes on Change.org. “I think it would make a lot of people really proud to live in Edmonton and raise morale to erect a life size statue of this character in City Hall, or even perhaps Churchill Square or the Alberta Legislature Grounds.”

His friend Christopher Olivier adds, “Wolverine has been a staple of Marvel Comics for the last 40 years, the X-Men film franchise for 15 and is now considered as popular as The Avengers and Spider-Man. We believe a statue of the X-Man will only draw more people to the city if not just to see it and would make fans of the character beam with pride.”

If Metropolis, Illinois, can have a 15-foot-tall statue of Superman, then why shouldn’t Edmonton have (a decidedly shorter) one of Wolverine? And what better way to memorialize the character’s impending death?

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Long Beach Comic Con announces Dwayne McDuffie Award

Dwayne McDuffie

Dwayne McDuffie

Long Beach Comic Con organizers have announced the Dwayne McDuffie Award, named in honor of the influential comics and animation writer who passed away in 2011. Details will be revealed Sept. 27 at the convention.

“Dwayne’s influence on comics is incredible, and we look forward to helping preserve his legacy through this award,” convention co-founder Martha Donato said in a statement.

Donato will be joined for the official announcement by fellow co-founder Phil Lawrence, and Neo Edmund, Joan Hilty, Joseph Illidge, Heidi MacDonald, Glen Murakami, Eugene Son, William J. Watkins, Len Wein, Charlotte Fullerton McDuffie and Matt Wayne.

Co-founder of the pioneering Milestone Media, McDuffie’s comics work ranged from Marvel’s Damage Control and Fantastic Four to Milestone’s Static and Icon to DC’s Justice League of America and Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight.

His animation credits include Static Shock, Justice League, Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, All-Star Superman and Justice League: Doom.

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There’s a new world record for largest gathering of Batmen

Photo courtesy of Nexen

Photo courtesy of Nexen

While the rest of us were busy Thursday with humdrum activities like work, classes and household chores, 542 employees of Nexen Energy were being awesome by gathering outside the company’s Calgary headquarters to set a Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Batman.

The previous record was a paltry 250. It marks the second time Nexen employees have set a world record: In 2011, 437 of them came together to establish the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Superman.

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DC favorites make headlines in ‘Saturday Evening Post’ tributes

saturday-evening-zatanna-cr

Artist Juan Carlos Ruiz Burgos recently added the above Zatanna illustration to his deviantART gallery, drawing our attention to his occasional series of frankly amazing tributes to the classic Saturday Evening Post covers using DC Comics characters.

In addition to Zatanna, surrounded on stage by white rabbits, there’s a heartwarming depiction of Clark Kent casually reading The Daily Planet as a little boy gapes in awe at Action Comics #1, The Joker and Harley Quinn on the run like Bonnie and Clyde, Wonder Woman listening thoughtfully to a little girl, and an autumnal Poison Ivy piece that’s probably not safe for work.

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Tempers flare at school board meeting in fight about ‘Persepolis’

persepolisA school board meeting in Murphy, Oregon, turned heated Tuesday when a board member went head to head with parents about Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir Persepolis.

According to the Medford Mail Tribune, the parents object to the availability of the graphic novel in the Three Rivers School District’s high school libraries. Some contend teenagers shouldn’t have access to the book without parental approval.

Depicting Satrapi’s experience as a child and young adult in Iran during the Islamic revolution, Persepolis has received almost universal acclaim. The 2007 animated adaptation directed by Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud was nominated for an Academy Award. The graphic novel was at the center of a controversy in March 2013, when Chicago Public Schools ordered its removal, sparking protests from parents, teachers and student. That order was quickly rescinded, but CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett asked that Persepolis no longer be taught to seventh-graders, as it may not be appropriate for that age group.

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Warner Bros. could slash as many as 1,000 jobs

The Warner Bros. mural (photo by Jonah Weiland)

The Warner Bros. mural (photo by Jonah Weiland)

Warner Bros. Entertainment could eliminate as many as 1,000 jobs — more than 10 percent of its worldwide workforce — as part of studio-wide cutbacks confirmed earlier this month, Variety reports. However, the studio insists that although the cuts will be “substantial,” it hasn’t settled on the exact number of layoffs.

“The plans are still in process,” Dee Dee Myers, Warner Bros.’ new executive vice president of corporate communications, told TheWrap. “We’re reducing costs and it will result in reduced overhead, but the plans are not done.”

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‘Dredd: The Musical’ makes a rousing case for ‘Dredd’ sequel

dredd-urban

Despite the continued optimism of star Karl Urban, a sequel to the 2012 film Dredd would seem like a longshot. Still, in the past couple of years plenty of fans have been a case for a return to Mega-City One, box-office receipts be damned.

However, none of those arguments has been as convincing — or as moving — as “Dredd: The Musical,” the latest video from Legolambs. With its refrain of “It’s time to make Dredd II,” the rousing anthem is performed by Urban and Sylvester Stallone (or close enough), who belt out lyrics like, “We’re well behind the schedule, we should be on Part 3. There are follow-ups for Iron Man and Thor, so why not me?”

If this doesn’t win over studio executives, then nothing will.

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Jewish activists threaten boycott of London stores selling ‘Hipster Hitler’

hipster hitlerA group of Jewish activists is threatening to boycott and protest outside stores in the London borough of Camden that sell Hipster Hitler, a collection of the webcomic that satirizes hipster culture and the Third Reich.

If that doesn’t work, the Hampstead & Highgate Express reports, members of London Stands With Israel plan to buy and shred all copies of the comic, which some say is “sick” and “anti-Semitic.” They’re specifically targeting Mega City Comics, a Jewish-owned store in Camden Town.

Created in 2010 by James Carr and Archana Kumar, the webcomic stars an Adolf Hitler who wears trendy glasses, skinny jeans, thrift-store sweaters and shirts bearing slogans like “Eastside Westside Genocide,” “I (Heart) Juice” and “Death Camp For Cutie.”  It also features characters like Broseph Stalin, a sendup of the Soviet leader. Hipster Hitler quickly drew attention on Reddit, inspiring an Internet meme, T-shirts and homemade Halloween costumes.

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These custom ‘Batman v Superman’ figures set a high bar

figure-wonder woman1

Director Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will arrive in March 2016, and with it an avalanche of merchandise, from lunchboxes and clothing to backpacks and, of course, action figures. However, FigureRealm user STjuggernaut is already making life difficult for official licensees with his impressive custom creations.

Using bits and pieces from other characters — a She-Hulk head here, an Indiana Jones whip there — he’s crafted 4-inch scale figures of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck as Batman (with and without his cowl). The join the Superman, Jor-El and Kryptonian villains he assembled based on Man of Steel.

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ComiXology unleashes second wave of DRM-free publishers

comixology-new-logo-thumbLess than two months after launching its DRM-free backup program, digital comics platform comiXology has announced a second wave of 14 more participating publishers.

Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Zenescope Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent and Top Shelf Productions are now joined in the program by IDW Publishing, Valiant Entertainment, Oni Press, Fantagraphics Books, Aspen Comics, Action Lab Entertainment, Th3rd World Studios, A Wave Blue World, Blind Ferret Entertainment, Caliber Comics, Creative Impulse Entertainment, Devil’s Due Entertainment, GT Labs Comics and Kingstone Media.

Digital rights management (DRM) allows comics to be read only with proprietary software. DRM-free comics are simply files — usually PDF or CBZ  — that can be accessed using different readers. They don’t come with any bells or whistles, such as comiXology’s Guided View.

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Marvel to be honored by Los Angeles LGBT Center

marvel superheroes

Marvel will be presented with a Vanguard Award at the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s 45th-anniversary gala on Nov. 8. Activists George and Brad Takei and Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky will also be honored.

“Marvel Entertainment, through its award-winning portrayals of LGBT characters and storylines that parallel the struggle to end discrimination against our community, has helped brighten the lives of LGBT kids — and adults alike — around the world,” Los Angeles LGBT Center CEO Lorri L. Jean said in s statement.

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Roz Chast’s graphic memoir nominated for National Book Award

chast-cant we talkRoz Chast’s memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? has been nominated for the 2014 National Book Award for Nonfiction, marking the first time a graphic novel has made the longlist in one of the adult categories. The five finalists will be announced Oct. 15.

In 2006, Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese became the first graphic novel nominated for a National Book Award when it was recognized in the Young People’s Literature division. His Boxers & Saints was shortlisted last year in the same category.

The first memoir from the longtime New Yorker cartoonist, the bestselling Can’t we Talk About Something More Pleasant? centers on Chast’s efforts to care for her aging parents in their final years.

Also the author of Theories of Everything: Selected, Collected, and Health-Inspected Cartoons of Roz Chast, 1978-2006, Chast illustrated Steve Martin’s bestselling children’s book The Alphabet from A to Y, with Bonus Letter, Z.

The National Book Award’s fiction nominees will be revealed Thursday. Winners in all categories will be announced Nov. 19.

Alison Bechdel wins prestigious MacArthur ‘genius grant’

bechdel

Acclaimed cartoonist Alison Bechdel is among 21 people named the 2014 fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The prestigious award, commonly referred to as the “genius grant,” comes with a $625,000 cash prize distributed quarterly over five years, with no strings attached.

“When I got the call from the MacArthur Foundation, I thought I was going to faint,” Bechdel, creator of the graphic memoirs Are You My Mother? and Fun Home, says in the video below. “It was crazy. It was like someone had actually almost hit me. It was this physical blow. I feel like I’ve been in a state of shock. I think getting this kind of recognition from the MacArthur Foundation, I can feel it already changing my life. I’m having to adjust to the fact that this has happened, therefore, I must be doing something worthwhile. And to have that kind of confidence put into my work is a huge gift, and I’m going to work very, very hard to live up to those expectations.”

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