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Ronald Wimberly details ‘Lighten Up’ request in comic strip

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This week, The Nib published a comic strip by artist Ronald Wimberly, whose work includes Prince of Cats and Sentences: The Life of M.F. Grimm, titled “Lighten Up.” In it, Wimberly details his experience of being asked by a Marvel editor to lighten the skin tone of supporting character Melita Garner in a recent issue of Wolverine and the X-Men.

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Comics fans and pros share #MyFirstComic

On Wednesday afternoon, CBR asked its Twitter followers a simple question — what was your first comic book?

The hashtag #MyFirstComic — which has been used in the past by comics artist Mike Norton, among others — quickly gained traction, trending nationwide, with many comic book pros and fans joining in. Here are some highlights from among comics creators and industry professionals, and peruse #MyFirstComic on Twitter for much more.

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Bernie Wrightson’s wife shares update on his health post-surgery

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Legendary comic book artist Bernie Wrightson has had a difficult road in the past year, with a hospitalization last July following a series of small strokes. Wrightson since recovered and returned to the convention circuit, but recently underwent brain surgery. His wife, Liz, provided an update on his condition on Facebook, and while the news post-surgery is not what they were hoping for, with biopsy results indicating cancer, she says they are optimistic — his “prognosis is excellent,” and no cancellations of appearances are expected despite radiation and chemotherapy.

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DC Comics to release free, eight-page original stories in May

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After more than three years as the New 52 brand, DC Comics is retiring the branding and undergoing a status quo shakeup following the events of “Convergence.” The new initiative will not have a unifying name and will be comprised of 25 continuing series and 24 all-new ones, some featuring creators and concepts that are completely new to the publisher.

To get as many people as possible excited about these new offerings, DC Comics co-publisher Dan DiDio revealed during a discussion with members of the press that the company plans on releasing a number of original eight-page stories highlighting these fresh starts for free via the DC website, comiXology and other platforms.

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Dark Horse unveils ECCC variants for ‘Past Aways,’ ‘Lady Killer,’ ‘Prometheus’

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Dark Horse has provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at three limited-edition variant covers produced for the upcoming Emerald City Comicon: Lady Killer #1 by Joëlle Jones, Past Aways #1 by Scott Kolins, and Fire and Stone: Prometheus—Omega #1 by Patric Reynolds.

Limited to just 500 copies, each variant will available for $5 throughout the show, while supplies last, at the Dark Horse booth (#802). There will also be an ECCC variant for Frankenstein Underground, the new miniseries by Mike Mignola, Ben Stenbeck and Dave Stewart.

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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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