Kiel Phegley, Author at Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

Alex Ross’ ‘Secret Wars’ image digs deep into Marvel’s bench

Secret-Wars

When Marvel’s new Secret Wars series hits next year, one of the biggest secrets may be who exactly is in this comic.

Since the publisher released a high-res version of Alex Ross’ promotional painting for the Jonathan Hickman/Esad Ribic event this morning, fans have been spotting a number of left-field additions to the fray – some which barely qualify as Z-listers.

In addition to modern Marvel mainstays like the new female Thor, Sam Wilson as Captain America and the Ultimate Universe’s Miles Morales, the image also includes a variety of alternate-universe combatants, including:

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SDCC | Highlights of the Sunday programming schedule

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For its final day, Comic-Con International is keeping the focus on the kids. Today, the biggest con on the calendar revealed its Sunday programming slate, and the traditional kids day of the show lived up to its name.

Publishers will roll out their best all-ages offerings in panels like Oni Press’ Monsterpalooza and IDW’s Kids Comics spotlight. But so much of the action of the day centers around the creators who will be appearing on a multitude of kid-centric programming including Raina Telgemeier, Jenni Holm, Kazu Kibuishi, Dave Roman, Sonny Liew and Gene Luen Yang. Even the media portion of the con is getting in on the action with a special presentation on the documentary about San Francisco’s famed Batkid.

On the traditional convention front, fans can pop in for the annual Jack Kirby Tribute panel or check the latest offerings form publishers like Dynamite Entertainment, Image Comics, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment and more

Creator-wise there are spotlights on the likes of Chuck Dixon, Jim Rugg, Jim Lee, Graham Nolan, Marc Guggenheim, Kelley Jones and more.

Check out the comics-related highlights below, and pop over to Comic-Con’s website for the full schedule.

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SDCC | Highlights of the Saturday programming schedule

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Though the show has stretched far beyond the traditional weekend confines, Comic-Con International’s biggest day remains Saturday. And that was proven true today with the release of Saturday programming for the impending pop culture monolith.

The day comes crammed with every conceivable kind of panel. On the traditional comics publishing front, DC and Marvel both continue their weekend rollouts with a Batman: 75th Anniversary assembly, the traditional Cup O’ Joe Q&A and more. Meanwhile, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles get their own anniversary panel to celebrate 30 years while current Turtles publisher IDW keep in step with three panels including a spotlight on Locke & Key creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez. BOOM! Studios, Oni Press and Lion Forge round out the more pop culture oriented indies with their own panels while the alt comics world is well covered with spotlights on Drawn And Quarterly, Fantagraphics and Abrams ComicArts.

On the media side, Marvel Studios captures its traditional Saturday night spot in Hall H (where we’d wager and Avengers reunion is on tap) while earlier in the day, Warner Bros. brings a look at Mad Max, The Hobbit and the latest Wachowskis film (though curiously absent from the official list is any presentation on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). The media offerings also have a particular “Saturday Morning Cartoons” feel with spotlights on kids fare like Phineas & Ferb,Regular Show and Steven Universe.

Creator-wise, there’s a broad selection of comics talents on hand including Don Rosa, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Drew Friedman, Berkeley Breathed, Jim Steranko, Lucy Knisley, Mimi Pond, J. Micahel Straczynski and Saga creators Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.

Check out the comics-related highlights below, and pop over to Comic-Con’s website for the full schedule.

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Five ways to celebrate Bill Finger’s birthday

Bill Finger

Bill Finger

In recent years, it’s become fashionable to refer to Bill Finger as the “secret” co-creator of Batman. And while that’s an attention-grabber for the uninformed, it’s more accurate to say the writer, who died in 1974, is the uncredited, unrecognized and unsung creative force in the creation of DC Comics’ Dark Knight Detective.

Saturday marks the 100th anniversary of Finger’s birth. It’s an occasion many in the comics community have been promoting as an opportunity to correct the record in some small way, such as with biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman’s quest to get a Google Doodle in his honor.

But for the average comic fan, there are also plenty of ways to celebrate the legacy of Bill Finger and his unquestionable contribution to one of comics’ most enduring character. Here is just a handful of suggestions:

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Brad Meltzer remakes history in ‘Detective Comics’ #27

ROBOT 6 EXCLUSIVE: Jim Lee's cover for "Detective Comics" #27

ROBOT 6 EXCLUSIVE: Jim Lee’s cover for “Detective Comics” #27

Over the past few years, Brad Meltzer has become one of the pinch hitters of comics.

Although his day job as a bestselling suspense novelist and TV host of History’s Decoded has kept him from taking on an extended comics project since 2006’s Justice League of America relaunch, Meltzer has stepped in for a number of comics projects over recent years, including an arc on Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 and a recent short in Art Baltazar and Franco’s Aw Yeah Comics.

Next up for the writer is a special contribution to DC Comics’ Detective Comics #27, arriving next week. The spiritual heir to the first appearance of Batman will clock in at more than 100 pages to kick off DC’s 75th anniversary celebration for the Dark Knight, with contributions by Scott Snyder, John Layman, Mike W. Barr and more creators from the character’s past and present. And for his part, Meltzer will team with artist Bryan Hitch to retell “The Case of the Chemical Syndicate,” the Bill Finger/Bob Kane short that began the Batman legend in 1939’s Detective Comics #27.

We spoke with Meltzer about the legacy of the original story and the challenges of bringing it into the modern era – and not for the first time – while DC shared an exclusive first look at Co-Publisher Jim Lee’s variant cover for the issue.

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‘Persepolis’ reportedly removed from Chicago Public Schools [Updated]

Persepolis

Persepolis

Reports began circulating last night that Chicago Public Schools has instituted a ban on Marjane Satrapi’s 2000 graphic novel Persepolis. Copies of the book apparently were taken Wednesday afternoon from Lane Tech College Prep High School, one of the oldest, largest schools in the city, as a preamble to a district-wide ban.

ROBOT 6 reached out to the CPS press office this morning and has been promised a response by the end of the day.

Word spread through a post on the parent/teacher news blog CPS Chatter that included a photo of an e-mail (below) from Lane Tech Principal Christopher Dignam to his staff regarding the move. The only reason given was a directive handed down from a regular Chief of Schools meeting held Monday.

Retired CPS teacher Fred Klonsky had more information on his blog, noting a report from one teacher that “News on social media boards yield that CPS is claiming that there was a set of new books sent to schools and the distributor included copies of this one by mistake. Since CPS hadn’t paid for them, schools were asked to pull the books and send them back. ‘a mix-up.’ The books, in fact, were purchased some years ago by an English teacher when she applied (and received) a grant to pay for them.”

The story of Satrapi’s own experience as a young girl living through Iran’s Islamic Revolution, Persepolis has experienced near-universal acclaim, winning, among other awards, the American Library Association’s Alex Award for adult books that have special appeal to teenage readers.

UPDATE (9:46 a.m.): DNAinfo Chicago reports teachers, parents and students are planning a protest this afternoon in response to the graphic novel’s removal. The website spoke to a representative for Pantheon Books, Satrapi’s North American publisher, who noted that Persepolis has never been banned in the United States.

UPDATE 2 (10:38 a.m.): Mayor Rahm Emanuel has told DNAinfo Chicago he’ll “take a look into” the book’s removal.

UPDATE 3 (12:50 p.m.): Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett has told principals to disregard the previous directive. However, she’s asked that Persepolis not be taught to seventh-graders.

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R.I.P.: Spain Rodriguez (1940 – 2012)

Trashman by Spain Rodriguez From Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter comes the sad news that pioneering alternative comix artist Manuel “Spain” Rodriguez passed away this morning. He was 72 years old.

Born in Buffalo, NY, Rodriguez built his early cartooning chops in and around New York City where in the late ’60s he contributed to nationally known underground newspaper The East Village Other. The artist was known for his muscular, inky style which was born out of artistic influences like the EC Comics of Wally Wood and real life ones like Rodriquez’s years riding with biker gang the Road Vultures.

By 1969, the artist had relocated to San Francisco where he joined with foundational underground comix artists like R. Crumb, publishing stories for a bevy of titles put out by Last Gasp Press including Crumb’s Zap Comix and Skull Comics and later contributing to other acclaimed titles including Rip Off Comix and Harvey Pekar’s American Splendor.

Rodriguez was perhaps best known for Trashman – a meaty satirical anti-hero inspired by leftist political and road warrior narratives. Though in his later years, he produced a wide range of non-fiction works including the autobiographical My True Story and Che: A Graphic Biography about the life of Marxist revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

News of Rodriguez’s death is scarce, apparently circulating via an e-mail to friends and supporters. In honor of his passing, The Comics Journal is representing some classic stories with the artist including a 1998 interview with his sometimes publisher Gary Groth and a profile written in April of this year to celebrate his latest release Crusin With The Hound.


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