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Stan Lee, Michael Uslan team for online course on superheroes

EdX Smithsonian Institution

Stan Lee will join Batman producer Michael Uslan for a free online course that explores the history of comic books and superheroes.

Offered by edX and the Smithsonian Institution, “The Rise of Superheroes and Their Impact On Pop Culture” examines the factors that led to the Golden Age of comics, the ebb and flow of the genre, the scares of the 1950s, the acceptance of comic books as an artform, and the current popularity of superheroes in television, film and video games.

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‘The Spirit’ celebrates 75 years with new hardcover collection

TheSpiritBanner

In celebration of “The Spirit’s” 75th anniversary, DC Entertainment will release a new hardcover collection of Will Eisner’s renowned creation.

“The Spirit” has passed through the hands of several legendary writers, including Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and Jeph Loeb. DC announced the book at the DC Entertainment Retailer Roadshow.

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Superheroes reimagined with realistic body types

bulimia-power girl

Fans and critics have long discussed and debated the unrealistic bodies of comic book superheroes, from gravity-defying breasts and tiny waists to bulging biceps and washboard abs. However, now Bulimia.com has done what it refers to as “reverse Photoshopping of comic covers,” and given the superheroes bodies that reflect average American body types.

“Today, 33.7% of men and 36.5% of women in the U.S. are considered obese, and more than two-thirds are overweight,” explains the website, a resource for people with eating disorders. “Weight gain has put millions of people at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and other preventable conditions.Meanwhile, comic books depict vastly different figures: men with massive biceps and shoulders and women with toned abs and tiny waists.”

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IDW’s Chris Ryall commissions custom ‘Rom’ hardcover set

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No, it’s not a dream. That’s actually set of four hardcover volumes of Marvel’s Rom: Spaceknight. Unfortunately, however, your chances of getting one remain slim.

Despite a cult following, it’s been nearly 30 years since any Rom: Spaceknight has been published. The issue comes down to licensing, and Marvel’s agreement with Parker Brothers (now a Hasbro subsidiary) expired 1986. Certain elements created for the toy-inspired comic, originated by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema, remain with Marvel, but the name and signature armor are off-limits — to both new work and reprints.

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Experience Hellboy’s Right Hand of Doom with limited edition beer

right hand of doom

Dark Horse Comics is celebrating Hellboy’s 21st birthday with a beer — specifically, the Right Hand of Doom Red Ale, a limited edition release from Oregon-based Rogue Ales.

Though available nationally at Rogue.com, the Right Hand of Doom debuts in Portland at the Things From Another World Comics store, where Hellboy creator Mike Mignola will be signing books alongside Matt Kindt (Mind MGMT), Eric Powell (The Goon) and Brian Wood (Rebels) on Friday, Feb. 20.

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Is an ‘Invader Zim’ comic coming from Oni Press?

doom is coming

To quote Zim, “Prepare your bladder for imminent release!” Or perhaps GIR’s “Doom Song” is more appropriate here.

Whichever the case, Oni Press released the above teaser image on Twitter and Tumblr, as a sure sign the publisher will announce a comic book revival of Invader Zim, the critically acclaimed animated series by Jhonen Vasquez. (If the phrase “DOOM IS COMING” isn’t clear enough indication, Vasquez retweeted and reblogged the image.)

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Retrofit Comics extends early bird sale

Retrofit 2015Retrofit Comics is extending its early bird sale, allowing readers to subscribe to a full year of their comics for just $65, shipping included.

That includes original single-issue comics by Kate Leth, Olivier Schrauwen and Matt Madden, as well as some up-and-coming creators you probably haven’t heard of … yet. But wait! There’s more! They also throw in a free digital version of each comic (in PDF format) and two free gifts and you can have one of their 2014 comics sent to a friend! If that’s all too much, there’s also a digital-only option for $35.

Retrofit, which publishes single-issue alt-comics, was launched in 2011 by creator Box Brown with initial funding from a Kickstarter campaign. The idea is to allow creators to publish single-issue comics, which Brown sees as an important part of the creative process:

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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.

Plan for Superman statue finally takes flight in Cleveland

A fiberglass prototype of the planned Superman statue

A fiberglass prototype of the planned Superman statue

Long recognized as the birthplace of Superman, Cleveland may at long last get a statue commemorating the creation of the Man of Steel.

According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, plans are under way to erect a 12-foot burnished-steel statue of Superman near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, about five miles from the house where teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster dreamed up the superhero in the early 1930s.

Sculpted by David Deming, who’s been working on the project for nearly seven years, Superman will be mounted atop a 30- to 35-foot pedestal, with smaller, life-size statues of Siegel, Shuster and Lois Lane model Joanne Siegel looking up at him.

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McFarlane reveals abandoned Spawn/Batman crossover plans

spawn-batman

Todd McFarlane has unveiled a glimpse of a planned Spawn/Batman crossover that never saw the light of day. In what the Image Comics co-founder characterizes as “a bit of fate,” the project was to have been drawn by current Batman artist, and longtime McFarlane collaborator, Greg Capullo.

“Years ago there was a deal for DC Comics and myself to do a cool Batman/Spawn cross-over book (for those not hip to comic lingo, that’s a book in which both characters are in the same issue),” McFarlane writes in a Facebook post accompanying the long-lost cover. “I [was] to have written and inked it, while a talented penciller, Greg Capullo, was going to draw it. For a variety of reasons (mostly on my shoulders) the book never got off the ground, but a few pages and promo pieces were done for it. Below is one such piece drawn by Greg and inked by myself.”

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DC Comics charts ‘Superman’s first new power in decades’

super flare

Ahead of the debut of the Man of Steel’s new power and costume in Wednesday’s Superman #38, DC Comics has released a graphic charting the history of his abilities, from super-speed to flight to, now, super flare.

The conclusion of the “Men of Tomorrow” storyline by Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson, the new issue apparently climaxes with the unleashing of what the writer calls “the most destructive power Superman has.”

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Anti-Islam bus ads defaced with images of Ms. Marvel

Via Street Cred - Advertising For the People

Via Street Cred – Advertising For the People

Controversial ads on the sides of San Francisco buses that equate Islam with Nazism have been defaced with images of Marvel’s Kamala Khan, accompanied by slogans like “Stamp Out Racism.”

According to SFGate, these banners — only the latest purchased by blogger Pamela Geller’s American Freedom Defense Initiative — went up on buses on Jan. 9, and feature an image of Adolf Hitler and Palestinian Muslim leader Haj Amin al-Husseini, who opposed Zionism. With the headline, “Islamic Jew-Hatred: It’s In The Quran,” the ads encouraged an end to aid to all Islamic countries.

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DC solicits ‘Legends of the Dark Knight: Norm Breyfogle’

batman465Amid efforts by relatives and colleagues to raise money for veteran Batman artist Norm Breyfogle‘s medical care, DC Comics appears to have rushed solicitation of Legends of the Dark Knight: Norm Breyfogle, Vol. 1.

The 54-year-old artist was hospitalized in mid-December following a stroke that paralyzed his left side, including his drawing hand. Breyfogle has no health insurance, and his savings was eaten away by the hospital stay, leading his brother and sister-in-law to launch an online fundraising campaign to help pay for months of care and physical therapy.

To date, the effort has generated nearly $86,000 of its $200,000 goal.

Related: On Norm Breyfogle: What Would Batman Do?

DC Comics had no comment about the collection or its timing, but the blog Collected Editions notes it hadn’t part of the publisher’s 2015 releases.

No details are known beyond the Amazon listing, which specifies a 520-page hardcover, set for release on July 7 for $34.35.

A fixture of DC from 1987 to 1995, collaborating with writer Alan Grant on Detective Comics, Batman and Shadow of the Bat. The folks at Collected Editions speculate what storylines might be included in the hardcover.

Impressive video timeline documents ‘every X-Man ever’

every-xman

Much like DC Comics’ Legion of Super-Heroes, Marvel’s X-Men can seem a bit impenetrable. Readers have to contend not only with the team’s nearly 52-year history — minus that five-year period when no new stories were published — but also multiple titles, alternate universes and recons. Y’know, the usual stuff.

Luckily, IGN has produced “Every X-Man Ever,” a nearly 11-and-a-half-minute video infographic that is billed as “detailing everyone who ever joined Professor Xavier’s team of X-Men.” Naturally, that’s your cue to interject with, “But they forgot …”

If you prefer a text version, IGN has that too.

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Marvel isn’t looking to ‘align continuity’ between comics and film

Avengers and X-Men-AXIS7

Avengers and X-Men: AXIS #7

Grumblings that Marvel alters its comics to more closely resemble their on-screen depictions date back to at least 2001, when Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely put the X-Men in leather.

With the founding of Marvel Studios and the rise of the tightly knit Marvel Cinematic Universe, however, there are increasing complaints about continuity changes perceived to be in service to corporate synergy, most recently in the parentage of Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch.

But in a wide-ranging interview with ICv2.com, Marvel Publisher Dan Buckley dismisses any assertion there’s a conscious effort to align continuity — “I think people like to jump to conclusions” — while acknowledging that of course the films are going to have some influence on creators.

“We all remember picking up our X-Men books in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” he said. “The Professor would go in to put Cerebro on and he’d wear a helmet in a room, and whatever room that was and whatever it looked like was up to the artist du jour. But that room now, after the X-Men movie when he rolled into that big open area with the metallic globe that he is sitting inside of with the ramp, and then he puts the helmet on, you go into a Marvel comic now and that’s what that room looks like. The movie defined the mass market perception of what Cerebro looks like. The comics guys are looking at it and thinking, ‘That’s pretty cool, I think I’ll do that!’ So, to say that one medium does not influence the other a great deal would be lying.

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