We reported earlier this month on a truly weird case unfolding in Japan: Someone is sending threatening letters to venues connected to the manga and anime Kuroko’s Basketball, including convention centers that host doujinshi (fan comic) events, bookstores that sell the manga, and Sophia University, where creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki attended school. Some bookstores have removed the manga, and convenience stores, including 7-Eleven, also pulled Kuroko’s Basketball-themed snacks after receiving letters saying they had been poisoned.
There were two developments in the case last week. The first was that a small amount of nicotine was found in one of the recalled snacks; the package appeared to be “suspiciously” sealed. However, investigators said the amount found was 1/100th of a lethal dose.
The other other was that Tokyo police announced they may have security camera footage of the suspect — and, in fact, they may have questioned him more than a year ago.
In a true-crime story unfolding across Japan, stores are pulling products and venues are canceling events related to the manga and anime Kuroko’s Basketball because of a series of threatening letters targeting locations linked to the manga’s creator, Tadatoshi Fujimaki, the manga, and doujinshi (fan comic) events related to it.
The first threat letters, at least one of which may have contained deadly poison, were sent more than a year ago, but the pace seems to be accelerating: The sender has hinted he or she may commit a crime on Nov. 4, and a new set of letters has emerged claiming the perpetrator is negotiating with the editors of Japanese Shonen Jump, which serializes the manga.
On Monday, the Japanese manga, video and game rental chain Tsutuya confirmed it has removed all copies Kuroko’s Basketball manga and anime. The Yurindo and Reliable bookstore chains are also removing the books. However, a number of bookstores, including Kinokuniya, Sanseido, Junkudo and Miyawaki, say they will continue to carry the manga despite receiving threatening letters demanding its removal.
In addition, the 7-Eleven convenience store chain is removing Kuroko’s Basketball-themed snacks from 1,500 locations after receiving a letter that said, “I left food products laced with poison in 7-Eleven.” The letter included a photograph of the snacks. Another convenience chain has stopped carrying a line of Kuroko’s Basketball tie-ins, including character dolls and plush toys.
Dragon’s Lair Comics & Games in Omaha, Nebraska, was robbed at knife point Monday morning by a man wearing a Darth Vader sweatshirt who demanded not cash, not rare comic books but Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. He made off with a box of the cards worth $150, and nothing else.
Owner Bob Gellner told WOWT News that the suspect asked the store clerk to show him specific cards, and then “he drew a knife, took the cards and ran.”
“I’ve had this business here for 35 years and this is the first time we’ve been robbed,” he continued. “We’ve been burglarized. We called the police and they caught them, but this is the first time we’ve been robbed.”
As of Monday night, no suspect had been found. No one was injured in the robbery, but as you can see in the video below, some the shop’s neighbors are plenty annoyed.
According to the Waterville, Maine, Morning Sentinel, police arrested the Clown Prince of Crime early Sunday morning after he allegedly lost control of his 2002 Buick Regal and drove off the road, striking multiple trees and a rock.
Sixty-four-year-old Dennis Lalime of Pittsfield, Maine, who told police he was returning from a Halloween party, was subsequently charged with operating under the influence. Although the Pittsfield Police Department uncovered The Joker’s true identity, as you can see from his booking photo, the Somerset County Jail permitted him the
indignity dignity of retaining most of his makeup.
Commissioner James Gordon had no comment on the arrest. Repeated calls to Dr. Harleen Frances Quinzel went unanswered.
Costumed superheroes have developed a bit of a bad reputation over the past several months, and not without cause: There was the Spider-Man robbery on Hollywood Boulevard, the She-Hulk assault in York, England, the brawl between Spider-Man and two Captain Americas on Hollywood Boulevard, the Iron Man bank robbery in Florida, and, just this morning, the Spider-Man store robbery in Pittsburgh.
OK, so it’s primarily Spider-Man causing the problems. But can we blame the wall-crawler for the horrible violence plaguing an entire country? Let’s ask Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, whose nation saw 16,000 murders in 2012, and another 3,400 in the first quarter of this year.
In a new interview with the Bolivian newspaper La Opinión, Maduro said there’s a correlation between youth violence and the idolization of superheroes — it contributes to a “factory of anti-values,” apparently — a connection he made while he and his wife were watching Spider-Man 3.
Spider-Man has defeated foes ranging from the Green Goblin and Electro to Venom and the Rhino, but he’s no match for a convenience-store clerk with a Taser.
According to a Pittsburgh police report, a man wearing a Spider-Man costume entered the Atwood Xpress at 1:10 this morning and loudly asked the clerk, “How much money you got?” When the employee realized he was being robbed, he pulled out an “arcing Taser” and attempted to use on the wall-crawler, who then fled down the street quicker than Speed Demon.
Typically when we report about the costumed characters on Hollywood Boulevard or in New York City’s Times Square, it’s because of their alleged misbehavior: assault, theft, all-out civil war. But this time the superheroes are actually, well, the heroes.
Los Angeles’ KABC reports that on Friday, well-known character impersonators Jennifer Wenger and Christopher Dennis (aka Wonder Woman and Superman) were taping a segment for Jimmy Kimmel Live when Wenger was attacked by a cowboy boot-wearing transient who’s apparently infamous for bad behavior.
“She got in my face and she flipped my lip, and then punched me in the face,” Wenger told KABC. And that’s when the Man of Steel stepped in. “I’m then reflecting all of her boot throws,” Dennis explained. “She actually hits Wonder Woman again with a boot. I reflected it and it just kind of ricocheted off my arm and hit her in the face.”
Tony Stark has hit many lows over his lifetime — alcoholism, Civil War, Secret Invasion … Iron Man 2 — but who could’ve guessed he’d resort to a poorly dressed life of crime?
The Orlando Sentinel reports a man wearing an Iron Man mask and tan jumpsuit ran into a Wells Fargo Bank in Flagler County on Thursday afternoon, waved a gun and demanded money. None of the 10 people in the bank at the time was injured, but the man got away with an undisclosed amount of money.
Indeed, while death rays may have been the preferred weapon of Golden Age supervillains and B-movie mad scientists, their real-world application is dubious in best. However, that apparently didn’t stop 49-year-old Glendon Scott Crawford of Galway, New York, and 54-year-old Eric J. Feight of Hudson, New York, from trying.
The two appeared Wednesday in federal court in Albany, New York, charged with conspiracy to provide support to terrorists with the weapon. According to The Associated Press, federal prosecutors allege that Crawford, an industrial mechanic for General Electric in Schenectady, approached Jewish groups last year searching for funding and people who could help him with technology that could secretly deliver damaging, and possibly lethal, doses of radiation to Muslims and other targets he considered enemies of Israel. The indictment states that he traveled to North Carolina to solicit more money from “a ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan,” who contacted the FBI.
Two years after a car drove through a fence surrounding the site of Joe Shuster’s former home in Cleveland, it’s happened again.
The Plain Dealer reports that a 41-year-old Cleveland man has been charged with drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident and driving without a license after he allegedly drove off the street late Wednesday afternoon and plowed through the wooden fence. While a portion of the fence and seven large metal plates reprinting the first Superman story are missing, it’s unknown whether those plates are destroyed or were merely removed until repairs can be made.
If anyone happens to have the number for S.H.I.E.L.D., please pass it along to police in York, England. They need help tracking down, well … the She-Hulk.
The York Press reports a green woman with dyed-red hair is wanted in connection with an attack on a 17-year-old girl outside a McDonald’s in the early hours of April 26. “This appears to have been a wholly unprovoked assault,” a police officer tells the newspaper. “Thankfully the injuries were not too severe. However, the outcome could have been far more serious.”
By most reports, Free Comic Book Day was again a resounding success, enjoyed by tens of thousands of fans the world over (you can see coverage of many events at CBR Live!), but in Portland, Maine, the celebration took a turn for the worse.
According to the Maine Sun Journal, a man dressed as a Ghostbuster and another dressed as a Stormtrooper were assaulted Saturday afternoon outside Coast City Comics in an attack police described as “completely random.”
“There were a bunch of people standing outside trying to drum up business and one guy was dressed as a Stormtrooper,” Bobby Daggett, who was dressed as Green Lantern, told the newspaper. “Out of nowhere this guy tried to put [the guy in the Stormtrooper costume] in a chokehold from behind and then throws him to the ground. He was trying to be intimidating above him and screamed obscenities to everybody.”
Police said they subdued an intoxicated Adam Barnes — all 6 feet 4 inches and 300 pounds of him — with a stun gun and charged the 31-year-old man with two counts of assault, disorderly conducts and five counts of criminal threatening because he threatened the officers on the scene. He was being held at the Cumberland County Jail on $1,500 bail.“I’ve been a cop for 23 years, Portland police Lt. Gary Hutcheson told the newspaper. “I’ve never heard of a Ghostbuster and a Stormtrooper getting assaulted.”
Marvel’s Superior Spider-Man marketing plans have gone too far.
First there was the confrontation in Times Square between the wall-crawler and a woman who wouldn’t hand over a couple of bucks for a photo, and now he stands accused of stealing $6,000 in Hollywood. Sure, that’s a little outside of his usual stomping grounds, but times are tough.
NBC New York reports that Hollywood police are on the lookout for a ol’ web-head after he allegedly stole a paper bag filled with $6,000 in cash and credit card information from a Starlines Tour Bus who was leaving the company’s Hollywood Boulevard headquarters on Friday. Since then, police have been rounding up Spider-Man impersonators who were seen in the area of TLC Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s) at the time of the crime.