Kiel Phegley, Author at Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources

‘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?

Chris Pratt Makes ‘Jurassic World’ Fumetti With His LEGOs

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Most attempts by Hollywood types to make tie-in comics for their big screen successes are usually somewhere between forgettable and unfinished. So it’s probably a good thing that actor Chris Pratt hasn’t promised to pen a Starlord mini series for Marvel.

But via his Instagram feed, the current geek culture it boy has carried his charming promotional persona into the next best thing: a fumetti-like series of adventures starring his own LEGO minifig. While on the Jurassic World international press tour, Pratt has been letting his dinosaur rustling hero run wild at the Eiffel Tower, Buckingham Palace, the Happo-en garden in Japan and more. Check out a run of his adventures after the jump.

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SDCC: Alex Ross paints Seth Meyers ‘The Awesomes’ … for some reason

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Seth Meyers’ comic cred is pretty well established at this point. Aside from hosting comic writers Brian Michael Bendis and Matt Fraction on his NBC Late Night show, having a Kevin Maguire-drawn Twitter icon and having written his own Spider-Man one-shot, the comedian is the head writer and star of Hulu’s animated superhero parody The Awesomes.

And now, that series has enlisted painter Alex Ross to create one of his photorealistic works imagining the show’s voice cast as live action versions of their cartoon counterparts — including the likes of Rashida Jones, Taran Killam and Bobby Lee. But what exactly the art is being used for is a mystery.

Awesomes and Late Night writer Mike Shoemaker shared the painting via his Twitter page where he wrote: “The great Alex Ross painted the movie poster for the live-action #TheAwesomes movie. #tweetFromAnAlternateUniverse” That last bit sticks a fork in the extremely unlikely idea that this is a stealth live action announcement, but whether the image is meant to announce more episodes, a publishing tie in or something else remains to be seen. See the full image after the jump.

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Count the kills in this ‘Murderers of Marvel’ infographic

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While the Avengers are doing everything they can to save people on screen, comic readers know that superheroes have gotten their hands bloody more than a few times. But for everyone with a strong opinion on killing in comics, now you have some official numbers to back up your argument in the form of a handy “Murderers of Marvel” infographic from the UK’s Morph Suits.

The makers of licensed Marvel body suits and other cosplay aides put together a rundown of who has killed whom in the Marvel Universe, ranking the guilty from merely Dangerous to straight up Lethal. While you may quibble over some of their picks (Captain America is listed as killing Harry Truman, but at the time Truman was a zombie, so it’s debatable), the whole exercise is worth a gander. Check it out below.

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Own A piece of punk cartooning history with William Stout’s ‘Rock N Roll High School’ poster art

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Though his initial days as an illustrator of sci-fi and counter culture comic books and strips were mostly behind him as the 1980s approached, William Stout continued to leave a mark on American cartooning via his many movie posters. Proliferating during the heyday of VHS, the artist’s work on features like Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards and Monty Python’s Life of Brian are burned into the brains of a generation of junk culture aficionados.

Now fans of Stout or the first big wave of American punk rock can own an iconic piece of his art in the form of the original illustration for the 1979 cult classic Rock N Roll High School. Produced by Roger Corman, the teenage send-up gave the Ramones some of their widest exposure ever and launched a best-selling soundtrack album.

Heritage Auctions has the poster art live on eBay through this weekend. With a starting bid of $2,400, it’s likely that the winner will have to pay out more than the Ramones ever made off the door at CBGB’s. But it might be worth it if you care about history.

Batman & Robin wrap up Joker in “Yarnimation” stop motion short

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The explosion of online crafting empowered by sites like Etsy has led to a lot of superhero-themed art projects over the years, but YouTube user Louie’s Loops has taken the practice to a whole new level.

Already a repository for videos and patterns showing how to create mini crocheted characters from pop culture like the Flash, Iron Man and Link from The Legend of Zelda, the channel just launched a series of “Yarnimation” stop motion shorts featuring Batman, Robin and the Joker.

Check out the fan film and a video on the Joker’s creation after the jump.

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Marvel inker Norman Lee goes missing in Cayman Islands

Gary Higgins/The Patriot Ledger

Gary Higgins/The Patriot Ledger

Frequent Marvel Comics inker, artist Norman Lee has gone missing while on vacation in the Cayman Islands.

Boston-area ABC affiliate WCVB filed a report this afternoon about the status of Lee, a resident of nearby town Weymouth. Apparently, Lee and his wife set out on a snorkeling trip this morning from the Reef Resort East End, but about 250 yards from shore the pair became separated. Lee’s wife returned to land and filed a report late this morning. As yet, rescue workers have found no sign of the artist.

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Dark Horse shifts three creator-owned series to digital-to-print model

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Though they’re remaining committed to a recent wave of new creator-owned books, Dark Horse has shifted its sales strategy for a trio of lower performing series.

The publisher announced this week that The Ghost Fleet from Donny Cates and Daniel Warren Johnson, Resurrectionists by Fred Van Lente and Maurizio Rosenzweig and Sundowners by Tim Seeley and Jim Terry would all shift their monthly comic output to digital first series. Plans for print graphic novels collecting the continued stories remain in place for the fall.

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Stan Lee sketches Spider-Man for young autistic fan

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Drawing may never have been Stan Lee’s forte, but when called upon for a good cause, even Stan The Man can put pencil to paper.

That’s the focus of a rather heartwarming story that ran in The New York Times this weekend focusing on 8-year-old autistic Harlem resident Jamel Hunter. The youngest of five children to a mother who herself has physical disabilities, Hunter was the subject of a profile in the paper late last year when he received a Spider-Man themed birthday party. The story caught the notice of retired jazz musician Corky Hale — who just happens to be the neighbor of the 92-year-old Marvel Comics legend. Hale enlisted Lee to draw a sketch of Spidey declaring “Hi Jamel!” and sent it to the boy via Times reporter Michael Wilson.

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Comic-Con International encourages fans to #BeTheCheerio during maddening online registration

comic-con-signAs promised, the online floodgates opened this morning to get tickets to Comic-Con International in San Diego. And while the past several years have often seen anger-inducing hoops to winning a chance at attending America’s biggest pop culture event pop up, the show seems to be locked in to a workable — if still flooded — system for its 2015 outing.

With the show’s Open Online Registration window being the chief way to gain access to Comic-Con one day at a time, hopeful attendees are refreshing browser windows loaded to the EPIC Registration page and checking both the SDCC Twitter account and the #SDCCOOR hashtag.

But amidst the typical outcry over frustrating load times and missed opportunities, many have also picked up the banner of the positive accentuating hashtag #BeTheCheerio. Seemingly originating from SDCC blogger An Englishman In San Diego, the phrase is meant to keep hopeful attendees’ eyes focused on the prize. As you wait to see if you made it in, check out some of our favorite Twitter responses to this year’s madness below the jump.

[Update: As we note below, the show sold out of badges in one hour, besting the previous year’s record by nearly 30 minutes.]

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Behold every “Cobraaaa!” ever in this ‘G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero’ variant

JoeSmallWe’re no strangers to covers with a lot of characters around here, and the comic with the claim to fame as the most packed cover ever is 2008’s G.I. Joe: America’s Elite #25 by Chris Lie.

Now as with all things in the Larry Hama-led franchise, Cobra is giving the Joes a run for their money in a new variant cover by Adam Riches. To celebrate G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #212 (a turning point issue in Hama’s resurrected title promising “The Death of Snake-Eyes”), IDW and Florida retailer Emerald City Comics tapped the frequent Joe toy artist to draft a Cobra-heavy companion piece to the original cover showcasing every snake that ever fought for the ruthless terrorist organization determined to rule the world.

From Cobra Commander and Destro to the more obscure likes of Headman and Crystal Ball, they’re all there and available for order from Emerald City’s web store. But are there more Cobras than the 236 Joes on the original cover? Compare the pair after the jump.

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‘Ant-Man’ LEGO set is most appropriately sized toy ever

lego-antman-2This weekend’s New York Toy Fair has become a breeding ground not just for superhero toys but realms within realms of niche toys. And when it comes to specific toy sets, none inspires more fervor than LEGOs.

Super Hero Hype shared a first look at the initial LEGO playset for Marvel Studios’ incoming Ant-Man film. The “Ant-Man Final Battle” set includes figures for Paul Rudd’s title hero, the mysterious Yellow Jacket and a Hank Pym figure for every little kid who wants to fantasy play as Michael Douglas in wise mentor mode. The set also includes a ridable ant, “giant” screws and obstacles for the miniaturized hero and a new “super jumper” feature on Ant-Man that will soon become a regular feature in LEGO’s heroic lines.

While these toys aren’t exactly ant-sized, they’re close enough that both the real insects and the figures will inspire the same cries when parents step on them without shoes on. Check out the full set below the jump.

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Matt Fraction starts ‘Fifty Shades of Futures Without Violence’ campaign

winking-kateWriter Matt Fraction is no stranger to mixing a little bit of social activism into his comics work. But this weekend, the Hawkeye and Sex Criminals scribe is drawing attention to a charity not because of art he made but because of art he detests: Fifty Shades of Grey.

The international best-selling romance novel and its just opened film adaptation could charitably be described as having a complicated relationship with sexual violence. Or as Fraction put it on his blog, “So there’s a movie out this weekend based on books that romanticize, fetishize, glamorize and normalize abusive relationships…And while sex is great and finding someone into all the stuff you’re into is great, sex is not consent to violence, a relationship is not permission to abuse, and there are thousands of women and children who have to deal with that fundamental and erroneous misconstruing of truth and wild misinterpretation of love every day.”

In response to the fact that the film’s earning millions made him feel “a little sick to think about,” Fraction is planning on matching donations to the Futures Without Violence charity generated by the sale of Hawkeye merchandise on WeLoveFine.com between now and Monday. The proceeds of past t-shirt and messenger bag sales exceeded $2,000 for the charity that works to end violence against women. But if you didn’t get a chance to buy a “Hawkguy” product then (or are just grossed out by the Fifty Shades phenomenon), now is your chance to make your contribution count for double.


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