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Wrestling with real-life drama in ‘Headlocked’

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Mickey Rourke’s turn in the celebrated 2008 drama The Wrestler showed just how real the “fake” world of professional wrestling can be, but there’s more than one story to be told.

Michael Kingston’s indie series Headlocked takes up that challenge, as it documents the struggles of young wrestling fan Mike Hartman as he attempts to break into the industry. Beneath the masks, costumes and colorful tights are men and women with real lives and real problems — something Hartman sees for himself when he’s taken under the wing of an aging wrestler named Mr. Destruction, who’s looking for a comeback.

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How to tell if that ‘Action Comics’ #1 you found is just a reprint

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It’s easy to imagine that news of Action Comics #1 selling for $3.2 million sent some people scurrying to the attic or basement for a copy they swore they saw somewhere, only for them to return empty-handed. However, a few may have unearthed what they thought was the Holy Grail of comics, only to later learn it was fool’s gold: a dreaded reprint.

The scenario has apparently occurs often enough to lead Heritage Auctions to produce a video explaining to (undoubtedly heartbroken) collectors how they can tell the difference between the genuine first edition and DC Comics’ 1974 Famous First Edition oversize reprint.

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On the heels of Sailor Moon’s return comes ‘Crystal Cadets’

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The upstart comics publisher Lion Forge has launched launched a new entry in the classic magical girl genre with its new series Crystal Cadets.

Created by writer Anne Toole and artist Katie O’Neill, Crystal Cadets follows a middle-school student named Zoe who’s gifted a magical crystal that gives her powers and membership in an elite but discreet sisterhood called (of course) the Crystal Cadets. Featuring members pulled from across the globe, this multicultural story shows these girls of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds learning and mastering special abilities in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their world.

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Comics and food meet in Marvel’s new video series

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Marvel is bringing readers to “the crossroads of food and comics” with “3 Course Comics,” a new video series in which C.B. Cebulski cooks up appropriately themed dishes for some of the publisher’s creators and editors. It’s part cooking show, part talk show.

Cebulski, Marvel’s vice president of international brand development, kicks off the series (and the meal) with a Japanese variation of Aunt May’s patented wheat cakes for a “Spider-Verse” conversation with The Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and editors Nick Lowe and Sana Amanat. “Web of Fate Pasta” is promised for the second course/episode.

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Read the first 100 pages of ‘The New York Four’ for free

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To mark the release this week of the mammoth Dark Horse omnibus edition of The New York Four, creators Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly are offering a free PDF download of the first 100 pages.

Announced in June, the 296-page trade paperback collects The New York Four, the 2008 DC Comics/Minx graphic novel about four young women who move to New York City to attend New York University, and its 2010 sequel miniseries The New York Five.

Dark Horse will also collect the 12-issue Demo and its six-issue sequel, by Wood and Becky Cloonan, for release in April.

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IDW Publishing to bring Thrillbent comics to print

empireIDW Publishing will release print collections of titles from Thrillbent, the digital comics site founded by Mark Waid and John Rogers, beginning in the spring with Empire Volume Two and Insufferable. Under the partnership, IDW will also publish a new edition of the sold-out Empire Volume One.

Founded in 2012, Thrillbent is “an experiment in new-media publishing” whose lineup also includes The House in the Wall, Moth City, Everstar and Valentine.

The sequel to the series created in 2000 by Waid and Barry Kitson, Empire Volume Two continues the saga of Golgoth, the evil armored despot who defeated all of Earth’s heroes and conquered the planet. Insufferable, which Waid created with Peter Krause, explores what happens when a hero’s sidekick grows up and goes to war against his mentor, and what it would take to bring them back together for one final adventure.

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DC chronicles history of Batsuit with ’75 Years, 75 Batmen’ video

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DC All Access continues the celebration of the Dark Knight’s anniversary with “75 Years, 75 Batmen,” a visual journey through history, featuring art by everyone from Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff to Jim Aparo and Greg Capullo.

And while some of those panels underscore just how weird Batman comics were  during the 1950s, I’m not sure that decade as anything on the ’90s. Those costumes!

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Andy Diggle’s Dredd/Superman crossover needs to happen

dredd-whos nextJudge Dredd has crossed paths with Batman, Predator, the Xenomorph, Lobo and even Mars Attacks!, yet somehow Mega-City One’s finest has never run into the Man of Steel. But while Andy Diggle admits he doesn’t envision that changing anytime soon, the writer has an idea that may have fans pining for the heyday of the intercompany crossover.

“An object falls from space and crashes towards Mega-City One. The anti-missile lasers can’t seem to vaporize the thing, and it hits the ground and demolishes a fortunately uninhabited area of ground,” Diggle tells CBR News in an interview about the release of Predator vs. Judge Dredd vs. Aliens: Incubus and Other Stories. “Turn the page. Cue close-up of tech Judges in radiation gear looking down into this crater. Superman is lying at the bottom of it. He’s basically been blasted into a parallel dimension by a device created by Lex Luthor, which has partly depowered Superman.

“He’s not as super as he used to be, partly also because of all the pollution in the atmosphere of Dredd’s world. It’s called the death belt, this layer of pollution and junk thrown up in the upper atmosphere by nuclear war. It cuts out the sun’s rays, which depower Superman a bit. Dredd is not going to like having an illegal alien running around in his city. Superman is not going to be very keen on this fascist version of justice. It’s no longer truth, justice and the American way, because it’s no longer America: It’s Mega-City One, creep!”

And that’s only the beginning, he assures. Although he has the story plotted out, it seems unlikely DC Comics will be in crossover mode in the near future. But if that changes? Diggle would “absolutely” be up for it.

(Commissioned Dredd art by Kevin Levell)

IRS tries to auction lotto winner’s comics, walks away empty-handed

Sage's collection featured a lot of '80s and '90s comics, including "The New Mutants" #98

Sage’s collection featured a lot of ’80s and ’90s comics, including “The New Mutants” #98

After Robert Sage won a $13 million jackpot in the Florida lottery in 2001, he said he planned to build a two-story house with a tennis court and enough room to store his 300 superhero statues and 14,000 comic books. But on Tuesday, he found himself in a Jacksonville hotel, looking for bidders to buy his now 24,000-comic collection and settle his $123,432.06 tax debt.

He didn’t find any.

Oh, the IRS auction attracted collectors, The Florida Times-Union reports, but none thought the 22 bins of comics were worth anywhere close to the $200,000 Sage said two independent appraisers found they were worth.

“It looks like they have a lot of ’80s and ’90s,” one collector told the newspaper, noting newer comics don’t hold much value. And as their storage in bins may indicate, Sage was more of a reader than a collector, so the books aren’t in pristine condition. (You can see photos of part of the collection at the link.)

In the end, the 22 bins generated just $5,100 in bids, which were rejected by Sage. The IRS closed the auction and will now search for another way to collect the debt.

Sage, who didn’t pay his income taxes for two years, agreed in 2001 to receive $345,000 annually after taxes for 30 years rather than take a $7 million lump-sum payment. He told the Times-Union he used the money as collateral, and now doesn’t get as much money as he used to.

Read the $3.2 million copy of ‘Action Comics’ #1 online

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Even if you didn’t make it to New York Comic Con, you can still view the pristine copy of Action Comics #1 that fetched a record $3.2 million at auction — every single page of it.

Certified Guaranty Company, which graded the copy 9.0, has a digital version of the entire issue, which contained not only the landmark 13-page story by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster that introduced Superman, but also 10 other tales. The debuts of Zatara and Tex Thompson have been overshadowed by the Man of Steel, and the rest of the contents — “Chuck Dawson,” “Sticky-Mitt Stimpson,” etc. — are now little more than footnotes, but they’re still of historical interest.

Also, if you want a general idea of what a 76-year-old comic worth $3.2 million actually looks like … let’s face it, this is probably your only chance. The viewer on the CGC website is actually pretty decent, too, allowing you to zoom in to read the text and study the art.

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Magnetic Press to release ‘Poet’ from Blink-182’s Tom DeLonge

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Magnetic Press has announced Poet, a three-issue miniseries created by Blink-182 and Angels & Airwaves frontman Tom DeLonge.

Written by DeLonge and Ben Kull (Mission Hill, The Oblongs) and illustrated by Djet Stéphane, the sci-fi fantasy adventure debuts in the spring, serving as a prequel to the animated short Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker, which will receive wide release Dec. 9 alongside the new Angels & Airwaves album The Dream Walker. A full-length feature is also being developed.

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French comic about time travel, true love eyes U.S. audience

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What if you went your entire life went without meeting your true love, and you only found it due to a time-travel accident? And what if your job was to eliminate these kinds of accidents? Would you fix the timestream or fix yourself up with your true love?

That’s the story of The Infinite Loop by Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier, which debuts next month in France — but the creators are already looking toward an American release. The duo was at New York Comic Con earlier this month to drum up interest in the six-issue series from English-language publishers.

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Marvel introduces hearing-impaired hero Sapheara

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Remember Blue Ear, the costumed character created in 2012 by Marvel to convince then 4-year-old Anthony Smith that superheroes do wear hearing aids? Well, now meet Sapheara, a pint-sized superheroine with cochlear implants.

She teams with Iron Man and Blue Ear in Sound Effects, a new comic by Marvel Custom Solutions and the Children’s Hearing Institute of New York that addresses cochlear implants, bullying, hearing-loss awareness and hearing-loss prevention. It will be distributed later this month to about 150,000 students in grades 3 through 7 in the New York City area.

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Marvel to release ‘Big Thunder Mountain Railroad’ Disney comic

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Marvel will launch a five-part miniseries next spring based on the Disney Parks roller coaster Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Teased Saturday with posters at the Disneyland and a Magic Kingdom attractions before an official announcement, the comic is the third series in the Disney Kingdoms line, following Seekers of the Weird and Figment.

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‘Can you really argue that Batman is good for Gotham?’

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John Green is the author of such bestselling young-adult novels as Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, a prolific vlogger and, it turns out, a vocal opponent of the Dark Knight.

In a recent video, titled simply “I Kind of Hate Batman,” Green makes it clear this isn’t simply a preference for, oh, say Spider-Man. No, he has serious issues with the very essence of the Caped Crusader.

“Batman is just a rich guy with an affinity for bats who’s playing out his insane fantasy of single-handedly ridding Gotham of crime,” he says. “How is that heroic? […] Can you really argue that Batman is good for Gotham? I mean, in the Batman universe, crime is caused by 1.) evil people who just want to see the world burn, and 2.) stupid people who follow the evil but charismatic cat-persons/Joker/Penguin — God, the villains in Batman are terrible!”

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