Kiel Phegley, Author at Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Marvel and WeLoveFine.com team for series of modern comic book cover shirts

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At this point, nearly every comic fan owns at least one piece of clothing featuring the work of legendary artists like Jack Kirby or José Luis García-López. But finding apparel that matches the aesthetic of modern comics has been harder to come by.

This week, Marvel and short-run t-shirt site WeLoveFine.com took a step towards rectifying that by starting off a new weekly series of shirts based on modern Marvel cover art. Each Wednesday (natch), the site will post a new series of cover print shirts for purchase at $15 each. The current crop includes Andre Aruajo’s cover to Spidey #5, David Lopez’s Ms. Marvel #6 and a bevy of others.

Check them out on the WeLoveFine.com shop while they last.

It’s Mech Vs. Tech as Optimus Prime takes Iron Man to ‘Super Power Beat Down’

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While Japan once cornered the pop culture market on massive robotic fights, Western action franchises have staked a claim to the title in recent years – and the biggest names in American mech have inspired the latest installment of “Super Power Beat Down.”

The web series created by animation studio Bat in the Sun is back with their version of Optimus Prime Vs. Tony Stark. It may never be enough to curb the endless “Who would win?” debates in comic shops across the country, but at the very least the video delivers some massive explosions. Check it out after the jump.

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Greg Capullo meets Bruce Timm in amazing gallery of New 52/Animated Series mash-ups

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Last week, fans said goodbye (for now) to Batman artist Greg Capullo who after completing nearly 50-issues of the Dark Knight’s flagship series walked away as a key part of the most productive, longest-running DC Comics’ New 52 creative team.

But one internet artist in particular gave Capullo a particularly animated goodbye over the past several weeks. As part of his Instagram feed, illustrator Rick Celis created an homage to each of Capullo’s 47 Batman covers in the style of Bruce Timm and company’s classic Batman: The Animated Series cartoon.

The mash-up not only revisited the designs and illustrations of Scott Snyder’s partner in crime. It also reveled in an insane level of detail to connect the New 52 and animated takes on Batman’s world. From Mark Hamill’s Joker putting on the freaky “Death of the Family” skin mask to the jawline of Timm’s Commissioner Gordon showing up for the “Superheavy” era to an all-star animated Justice League, Celis nailed the little details of the entire project. Check out the artist’s full gallery of cover homages after the jump.

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CNN commentator compares Donald Trump to an X-Men villain, makes some good points

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Whether you love or loathe Donald J. Trump, there’s no denying that there are plenty of Americans out there these days comparing him to supervillains.

But tonight on CNN’s ongoing coverage of the latest round of presidential primaries, commentator Van Jones took the practice to a new nerdy level by linking the Republican frontrunner/real estate magnate/“short-fingered vulgarian” to X-Men villain Sebastian Shaw.

But before Trump’s supporters show up in the comments to call the comparison unfair, know that Jones’ take played into one of Trump’s perceived strengths as a candidate.

“The harder you hit [Shaw], the stronger he gets,” Jones told a panel led by Anderson Cooper. “We’re gonna see how many bullets [Trump] can eat.”

Check out the video clip below via the Twitter page of Washington D.C. shop Fantom Comics as well as Jones’ own social media nerd flag waving.

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This aluminum recreation of the 1966 Batmobile is literally brilliant

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Countless comic fans have headed out to the various auto shows across America over the decades to see the Batmobile in person. But this weekend, fans in Detroit can get a look at the iconic roadster as it’s never been rendered before: in full aluminum.

Facebook user Hot Rod Valdez headed out to the first day of the Motor City’s Autorama show and snapped pictures of a custommade tribute to designer George Barris’ legendary car created for the 1966 Adam West Batman TV series.

No more info on the brilliant creation is publically available at present, but Detroit area fans can check out Autorama (which has a history of Batmobile appreciation), and everyone else can peek a few pics after the jump.

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R.I.P.: Art comics publisher Alvin Buenaventura

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Word circulated this morning via Tom Spurgeon of the sudden passing of acclaimed art comics publisher Alvin Buenaventura. Over the course of the new Millennium, the comics published by his Buenaventura Press and Pigeon Press labels left an indelible mark on the comics art form.

Just last week, Buenaventura was recalling his earliest connection to the comics industry – his time as a teenage Daniel Clowes fan chatting up the artist at San Diego Comic-Con in the late ’90s. From those humble beginnings, Buenaventura Press grew in the mid-2000s to be one of the most forward-thinking comics publishers of the decade with memorable titles like Johnny Ryan’s Comic Book Holocaust and Vanessa Davis’ Spaniel Rage.

But the Press’ best known contribution to the form will likely be the two volumes of Sammy Harkham’s Kramers Ergot anthology it shepherded into being. 2008’s Kramers 7 (pictured above) was literally a massive undertaking with a 16″ by 21″ page size that mimicked the newspaper comics of the early 20th century. The contributor list to the issue included the likes of Clowes, Matt Groening, Seth, Gabrielle Bell and Jaime Hernandez, and Buenaventura’s personal supervision of its overseas printing helped make the book a legitimate cultural event.

Due to a legal and financial emergency, Buenaventura Press was forced to close in 2010, but its publisher continued on undeterred by founding Pigeon Press. In that iteration, Buenaventura continued to publish new works by the likes of Charles Burns, Simon Hanselmann and others while also contribution comics sections to The Believer. The publisher had plans to release Nick Maandag’s The Oaf later this year.

Our thoughts go out to Buenaventura’s family, friends and collaborators. See a brief selection of online tributes below.

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Watch every ‘Star Wars’ character from Darth Vader to Bea Arthur sing ‘Stayin’ Alive’

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As Jimmy Fallon pointed out this week on The Tonight Show, it doesn’t seem like the Star Wars phenomenon is going to be dying out any time soon. So to celebrate the franchise’s enduring appeal, the producers of the late night comedy show cut together a dialogue-driven recreation of the Bee Gees immortal disco hit “Stayin’ Alive.”

Featuring clips from every major film in Star Wars universe up to but not including The Force Awakens and a few other odd spots (like the reviled Christmas Special), the video ropes in moaning Darth Vader, whining Anakin Skywalker, smooth Han Solo and a number of other faces from a galaxy far, far away. Check it out after the jump.

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Relive the adorable horror of every ‘Jurassic Park’ in this massive LEGO diorama

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LEGO fans are known for building things that can barely fit in a basement rumpus room, but two European fans of Universal’s Jurassic Park franchise have now used the opportunity provided by official sets based on the Stephen Spielberg-created universe to create a massive homage to the most spine-tingling moments of all four films.

Pals Paul Trach and Markus Aspacher (who hail from Germany and Austria respectively) build up a lengthy diorama celebrating everything from the original Jurassic Park on through to this year’s hit Jurassic World for the Bricking Bavaria Munich convention where they took home the award for Best in Show.

Each friend built two sections of the piece individually and then combined them together for the final product. Check out their individual efforts after the jump or on their Flickr pages.
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Phony Craigslist comic book sale turns into $50,000 armed robbery

Photo Credit: The Morning Call's Chris Knight

Photo Credit: The Morning Call’s Chris Knight

Catfishing is only a part of the dangers that await people on Craigslist.

That’s only part of the lesson of a horrifying and amazing story from Lower Macungie, PA that’s circulating in the local media. Allentown’s The Morning Call has a story up on a comic book sale set up via the ubiquitous personal ads site that turned out to be armed robbery ruse.

After contacting someone claiming to have a massive private comics collection for sale, 51-year-old former shop owner Gene Bartholomew and a friend showed up at a wealthy-looking yet for sale house with $50,000 in cash on Thursday. When Bartholomew found three armed men instead of long boxes in the backyard, he tossed the cash over a fence and charged the robbers head on.

The paper recounts the harrowing event in detail, noting that while Bartholomew lost his money, he was able to subdue one 22-year-old suspect who is now in police custody. The other two men made off with the cash. See a report on the robbery from local station WFMZ below the jump.

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‘Key & Peele’ star’s surprising comic book connection is a familial one

KeyR6These days, it’s not uncommon for a celebrity on the PR circuit to drop some hidden comic book connection — usually a piece of childhood fandom meant to earn fanboy cred — but Key & Peele star Keagan Michael Key recently announced a different kind of connection: a familial one.

Appearing on the podcast You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes, the comedian, whose award-winning Comedy Central show just ended its run, revealed that he shares a father with the late legendary comic writer Dwayne McDuffie. Though Key has spoken often in interviews about his family background, it appears the Detroit native has just recently learned about his connection to the Static Shock co-creator, who died in 2011.

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Watch Aquaman Host The World’s Worst Kids Show In Lost Classic

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Back in the era when some of Cartoon Network’s biggest hits included Space Ghost: Coast To Coast and Harvey Birdman: Attorney At Law, even Aquaman found a second job. In 2001, DC’s King of the Seas hosted a tongue-in-cheek kids show called The Aquaman & Friends Action Hour which wasn’t exactly for kids. But until the advent of YouTube, the series never aired in America.

We stumbled upon the first two episodes alongside a few commercial bumpers starring the Super Friends cast online, and the results are an hilariously awkward trip down memory lane. Produced by Atlanta’s Wild Hare Studios (an independent contractor for Cartoon Network that also worked on series like The Brak Show and Aqua Teen Hunger Force), the clips initially appeared on the CartoonNetworkLa.com website that reached audiences in Latin America. Sharp-eared fans may recognize original Super Friends Aquaman actor Norman Alden reprising his role (some commenters have credited it to later Aquaman voice over star William Callaway, though it sure sounds like Alden to us). Check out the videos after the jump.

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Hear Jack Kirby and Stan Lee reminisce, clash 28 years ago today

LeeToday marks the 98th anniversary of the birth of Jack Kirby, King of Comics. And all corners of the comics internet are celebrating the contributions of the most legendary artist in the history of the medium (see CBR’s gathering of 98 mind-blowing Kirby images or Comics Should Be Good’s artist tribute for starters).

But the birth of Kirby also marks another strange anniversary for comics historians as 28 years ago today, the artist and his longtime Marve collaborator Stan Lee had one of their very few public arguments about what went in to the creation of the Marvel Universe.

In 1987, Kirby celebrated his 70th birthday with an interview on “Earthwatch” — a cultural program on New York City public radio station WBAI. During the broadcast, hosts Robert Knight, Warren Reece and Max Schmid asked Kirby about a range of fan topics from the origins of the Red Skull and the Cosmic Cube to comics perceived readership in the Golden Age and beyond. But the journalists pulled a somewhat stunning “Gotcha” move on their guest by asking him about the legend of the Marvel Bullpen before inviting Lee on as a caller.

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‘Black Lightning’ creator Tony Isabella & DC Comics reconcile

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In an era where the creator’s rights conversation is as loud as its ever been in comics, this week saw some surprising news quietly slip out onto the web: Black Lightning creator Tony Isabella and DC Comics have taken the first steps towards reconciling a very contentious relationship.

The writer has long contended he’s the sole creator of DC’s first black superhero to star in a solo series as the character wasn’t introduced under a work-for-hire agreement but rather a partnership between he and DC. It was only after Isabella sought to buy out the publisher’s interest in the character following the cancellation of that first series in 1978 that he says DC declared artist Trevor Von Eeden as Black Lightning’s co-creator.

While Isabella did some later work with the publisher — most notably the first nine issues of a 13-issue Black Lightning revival in 1995 — he’s spent the majority of the past two decades being very vocal about his discontent with the publisher and their treatment of him. Most recently, the writer spoke out against DC’s choice to revive and redesign the hero as part of the New 52 initiative.

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The Force is adorable in new ‘Star Wars’ Little Golden Books

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A long time ago, in a publishing universe far, far away, Little Golden Books were practically the only game in licensed children’s publishing. And since the small square volumes with their ubiquitous gold foil spines most frequently teamed with the Walt Disney company over its many years, it’s no surprise that the latest Little Golden offering comes from the House of Mouse’s most recent acquisition.

EW has the word that the now Random House imprint will soon publish six Little Golden Books based on the films of George Lucas’ Star Wars saga. The adaptations will arrive in stores on July 28 with a special boxed set of all six following on September 1.

“The Star Wars franchise has woven itself into the hearts and minds of generations of fans, many of whom read Little Golden Books as children,” Disney Publishing Worldwide SVP Jeanne Mosure told the magazine. “We’re very excited to be incorporating Little Golden Books into our overarching strategy so parents can now introduce their own children to the wonders of the galaxy through this classic format.”

No creators are named for the books, but traditionally Disney’s Little Golden Books are created in house by animation staffers. Whoever will be adapting the Star Wars films, it’ll be interesting to see how they make events like Anakin’s murder of the padawan younglings or the slicing of Luke’s hand work for a pre-K audience. Check out covers for all six books after the jump.

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Warner Bros. Dismantles DC Comics/Looney Tunes Mural

The Warner Bros. mural (photo by Jonah Weiland)

The new Warner Bros. mural (photo by Jonah Weiland)

This week, Warner Bros. dismantled a decades old cartoon-themed mural which in recent years served as the public face of the studios’ connection to DC Comics.

Cartoon Brew caught some photos of the removal of stories-high homage to the likes of Superman, Batman, Bugs Bunny and Scooby-Doo at the Warner Studio lot in Burbank. While the mural once held a “cartoon Mount Rushmore” featuring the likes of Fred Flintstone, since 2009 it has served as the most public expression of the company’s commitment to the DC superhero line.

Of course with a full DC Editorial office now in Burbank, it’s not as though Warners is looking to downplay its ownership of the likes of Batman and Superman any time soon. But with such a long-running cornerstone of the company’s cartoon pride coming down, what could possibly take its place?


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