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Women of Action | Ame-Comi Girls

Amanda Conner's Wonder Woman

When DC Comics announced it was launching a series based on its popular Ame-Comi line of figures, I don’t think I heard a single person say, “Yes! I was hoping for that!” The Ame-Comi collectibles can be imaginative and attractive (some more than others), but no one was clamoring for a series that sexualized DC’s superheroines even more overtly than they already are. In fact, the most common responses were either head-scratching or eye-rolling, depending on how much the person thought DC has legitimately tried to reach out to female readers lately. But then the creators were announced.

Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray write the series and Amanda Conner drew the first couple of installments, which were serialized digitally first, 10 pages at a time. Putting the creators of the well-regarded Power Girl series on Ame-Comi Girls was a smart move and convinced a lot of readers who otherwise would have dismissed the comic – including me – to give it at least an initial look.

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Willem and Akira Toriyama win top Angoulême honors

Dutch cartoonist Willem was presented with the Grand Prix award over the weekend in France at the 40th annual Angoulême International Comics Festival, honoring his lifetime achievement. In addition, Dragon Ball and Dr. Slump creator Akira Toriyama was awarded a special Grand Prix recognizing his 40-year career.

As the recipient of the Grand Prix, Willem will serve as president of next year’s festival.

The other major prize winners, courtesy of The Comics Reporter, were:

Prix du meilleur album
Quai d’Orsay Volume Two: Chroniques diplomatiques, Christophe Blain and Abel Lanzac (Dargaud)

Prix spécial du jury
Le Nao de Brown, Glyn Dillon (Akileos)

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Comics A.M. | Manga sales slip in Japan for first time since 2009

One Piece, Vol. 67

Manga | The Japanese market research firm Oricon reports sales of manga volumes (tankobon) slipped 1.5 percent last year, to about $2.886 billion, the first decline since the company began reporting the figures in 2009. [Anime News Network]

Graphic novels | The Scottish Archaeological Research Project has put together a rather lively looking graphic novel about the history of Scotland, including such little-known events as the Storegga Tsunami. [BBC News]

Manga | Someone with a sharp eye spotted a manga license that hasn’t been officially announced: Kodansha Comics will publish Sherlock Bones, a series about a crime-solving boy and a talking dog, by Shin Kobayishi (Drops of God, Kindaichi Case Files) and Yuki Sato (Yokai Doctor). [allfiction]

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Rob Davis does Hourly Comic Day

So yesterday was Hourly Comic Day. A few artists attempted the challenge, and their updates showed up regularly in my Twitter feed and Facebook timeline.  Maybe the most interesting and accomplished artist to do one this year is Rob Davis, the editor of the format-busting award-winning anthology Nelson, and a man you can trust to adapt one of the high points of world literature and make a damned good fist of it.  The nature of the Hourly Comic project means you read one of these things not expecting much — it’s always going to be self-reflexive, a strip doomed to be about a day spent drawing a strip — but if anyone can elevate the form, it’ll be Davis.  He’s posting his work throughout the day over at his blog, Dinlos and Skilldos.

More artists’ Hourly Comics are aggregated here. A clearly distressed and in pain Richard Bruton of the FPI blog links to Rob’s and a couple of other UK ones here, bless ‘im.

The Fifth Color | The Super Bowl and ‘fake geeks’

I don’t know much about sports. I’d like to think I’m slightly above a novice; I played sports very poorly in my younger years. As a former cheerperson for my local high school, I could tell you when players were on offense or defense. There are plenty of male sports fans in my life that I keep up on the basics (it’s Super Bowl season!) to be current with their interests. A lot of the basics were learned at my father’s knee because the people you love tend to make you care more about things you never thought you’d care about.

A few years ago, the (then) Anaheim Angels won the 2002 World Series, and my husband was ecstatic. It was like the rush and relief of the box-office success of the Avengers movie, but only for baseball. He has been a fan of the Angels since he was a kid, and had seen them through their highs and a whole lot of lows. Because the team had been a bonding point for him and his dad, they celebrated together by getting the DVD of the World Series to replay over a holiday dinner. I can barely sit through one or two pitches, but these guys pored over the games, the exclusive interviews, the documentaries and alternate camera shots. All it was missing were some deleted scenes and animatics and it could easily be mistaken for my Star Trek Blu-Ray.

On the way home from watching the World Series in hi-def with his dad, my husband lamented he’d soon be seeing a lot of “fair-weather fans,” people in Angels shirts and caps who bought them the moment the team won, then would retire them to the garage as soon as the next season rolled around. For someone who was a big fan of the Angels, it would be frustrating to see people dressed to the nines in their World Series Champs shirts who had no interest in the team unless they gained national notoriety. That lament was short-lived, as we had a friend with a San Francisco Giants devotee in their house, so the sweet taste of victory outweighed any fair-weather fan.

You can probably see where I’m going with this …

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Missouri man sentenced to three years for ‘obscene’ comic

Christjan Bee of Monett, Missouri, has been sentenced to three years in federal prison, followed by five years of supervised release, for possession of obscenity, specifically, comics that depicted children having sexual intercourse with one another and with adults.

The news came in a press release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for Western Missouri, which prosecuted the case. According to the prosecutor, Bee’s wife contacted local police in August 2011 and said she had found what she believed to be child pornography on his computer. The police executed a search warrant and seized Bee’s computer:

During the forensic examination of Bee’s computer, a collection of electronic comics, entitled “incest comics,” were discovered on the computer. These comics contained multiple images of minors engaging in graphic sexual intercourse with adults and other minors. The depictions clearly lack any literary, artistic, political or scientific value.

This case is reminiscent of that of Christopher Handley, who also pleaded guilty to possession of drawn images of minors having sex. This is not child pornography, points out Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, because the images are drawn, not photographic.

Brownstein told Robot 6 today that he believes the Bee case wouldn’t hold up in front of a jury, but his comments on the case were limited because the CBLDF was not actually involved; he first heard about it from news reports that Bee had pleaded guilty and, therefore, waived his right to defend himself. Still, Brownstein said, “Even without knowing all the facts, it is an extremely disturbing case.”

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Shelf-destroying Wolverine: The Adamantium Collection will crush you

Editor Sana Amanat with the "Wolverine: The Adamantium Collection"

In case his appearance in a half-dozen monthly titles and the upcoming films weren’t enough for die-hard fans, there’s always that massive Wolverine: The Adamantium Collection hardcover Marvel announced in December. Just how massive? Feast your eyes on the first images of the book, and pity poor editor Sana Amanat (above).

Weighing in at a whopping 16 pounds, the foot-tall collection is big enough to kill a fully grown man or, when stood open, to serve as shelter for a child. It apparently marks the debut of the “all-new Mighty Marvel Format,” which suggests completists may want to invest now in larger, reinforced shelves. Preferably, adamantium.

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Watch a homemade take on Star Trek Into Darkness trailer (BRAAM!)

Hair stylist to the bridge!

I’m not sure what I enjoy most about DustFilms Originals’ shot-for-shot recreation of the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, the musical score created by voices — BRAAAAAAM! — the exaggerated eyebrows on the Chris Pine/James Kirk analog, or the choice of a hair salon as a stand-in for the bridge of the Enterprise (with trademark J.J. Abrams lens flares, no less). Too many choices! You can watch the recreation, and a side-by-side comparison with the original, below.

If some of the players, or the approach, look familiar, it’s because the same folks were behind the homemade Man of Steel trailer that made the rounds in December. This one’s better, though.

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Check out Paolo Rivera’s cover for The Walking Dead ‘100 Project’

Paolo Rivera has debuted his stunning contribution The Hero Initiative’s latest “100 Project,” in which 100 artists draw their own covers for the milestone 100th issue of The Walking Dead. The covers, by the likes of Charlie Adlard, Kevin Eastman, Dan Brereton, Mark dos Santos and, yes, Robert Kirkman, will be collected in a book (for sale sometime this year), with the originals auctioned off to benefit The Hero Initiative.

In his blog post, Rivera also reveals he’ll be doing his very first work for DC Comics: a variant cover for Action Comics #18.

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Conversing on Comics with Terry Dodson

Terry Dodson has made a name for himself as one of comics’ most impeccable artists, recently coming off a two-year run on Marvel’s Uncanny X-Men and doing a number of high-profile shorter assignments on Avengers, Avenging Spider-Man and Defenders. Unbeknown to most, however, is that Dodson has been producing creator-owned projects on the side, such as Songes (titled Muse in the United States). But in 2013 he’s moving this creator-owned focus front and center.

When we spoke earlier this month, Dodson addressed his decision not to renew his exclusive agreement with Marvel so he could devote more time to his own work, and opened up about Vouve Rouge (“Red Widow”), a rollicking espionage/celebrity story he’s creating with French writer Xavier Dorison, as well as other potential projects down the road.

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The Office’s Dwight Schrute recalls his years at ‘X-Men School’

Over the course of eight-plus seasons of NBC’s The Office, we’re learned a lot about Dwight Schrute: He operates a successful beet farm, and a not-so-successful bed and breakfast, he’s served as a volunteer deputy sheriff, his grandfather may or may not be a Nazi war criminal.

But last night’s episode provided viewers with perhaps the greatest revelation of all: As a child, Dwight spent time at a special school for children hated and feared by humanity for no other reason than … they are mutants!

That chapter from Dwight’s past surfaced as he interviewed candidates for a job at Dunder Mifflin — a pool that included his cousin Mose, his former babysitter/lover, and one of his classmates from “X-Men School.”

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YALSA reveals 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens

The Young Adult Library Association has unveiled the 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens, a list of 55 titles that cover the spectrum from biography and mythology to superheroes and science fiction.

The finalists were selected by a committee from among 98 nominees recommended for readers ages 12 to 18. From those 55 titles, 10 were singled out for exemplifying “the quality and range of graphic novels appropriate for teen audiences.” The are:

  • My Friend Dahmer, by Derf Backderf (Abrams)
  • Trinity: A gRaphic History of the First Atomic Bomb, by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm (Hill and Wang)
  • Annie Sullivand the thr Trials of Helen Keller, Joseph Lambert (Disney Hyperion)
  • Ultimate Comics: Spider-Man, Vol. 1, by Brian Micahel Bendis and Sara Pichelli (marvel)
  • Friends with Boys, Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)
  • A Flight of Angels, by Alisa Kwitney, Rebecca Guay and others (DC Comics/Vertigo)
  • The Silence of Our Friends, by Mark Long, Nate Powell and Others (First Second)
  • Stargazing Dog, by Takashi Murakami (NBM Publishing)
  • Drama, by Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic/GRAPHIX)
  • Daredevil, Vol. 1, by Mark Waid, Paolo Rivera and Marcos Martin (Marvel)

“What do superheroes, serial killers and the stage crew have in common? They all have a place on the 2013 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list,” chair Rachael Myers said in a statement. “There is a graphic novel on this list for every teen reader and we think this is a valuable resource for teens and the librarians who work with them.”

You can see the full list of Great Graphic Novels for Teens on the American Library Association website.

Creator tangles with DC and Marvel over ‘super hero’ trademark

More than three decades after Marvel and DC Comics initially registered their joint trademark for “super hero,” a small-press publisher is disputing their claims to the mark.

In an interview with Crisp Comics, Ray Felix of Cup O’ Java Studio Comix recounts receiving a cease-and-desist letter in September 2010 after he registered a trademark for his comic series A World Without Superheroes. Following more a year and a half of exchanges between Felix and the companies’ attorneys, DC Comics and Marvel Characters Inc. in March 2012 filed a formal opposition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, which decides certain cases involving trademarks.

Their original registration for “super hero” and “super heroes,” which received widespread attention when it was renewed in 2006, covers a range of products, from comic books and playing cards to pencil sharpeners and glue. However, Felix argues DC and Marvel have overstepped the bounds of their trademark.

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Comics A.M. | ComiXology inks Delcourt deal; Detective #27 auction

comiXology

Digital comics | ComiXology, which earlier this week announced the opening of a European branch, has revealed its first big score: a digital-distribution agreement with Delcourt, the top independent publisher in France. And comiXology kicked off the agreement by updating its dedicated Walking Dead app to include a French interface and the French editions of the comic. The company also plans a dedicated Lanfeust of Troy app, and of course it will roll out Delcourt titles on its regular app as well. [ComiXology]

Auctions | A copy of Detective Comics #27, which contains the first appearance of Batman (or, as he was called in 1939, “the Bat-Man”), will go on the auction block later this month. The comic, which is CGC rated 6.5, is expected to fetch $500,000, but there’s no reserve, so this might be an opportunity to pick up a bargain. [Art Daily]

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Grumpy Old Fan | Simon Baz recharges Green Lantern

Green Lantern Simon Baz, by Doug Mahnke and Alex Sinclair

Lately I’ve been pretty complimentary of Geoff Johns and Doug Mahnke’s work on Green Lantern. Honestly, this is something of a shock. It’s not that I don’t like Johns, Mahnke, or GL — far from it — but the book has sneaked up on me, going from a nice habit to a must-read, and the new Lantern has a lot to do with it.

Green Lantern Simon Baz debuted in September’s Issue 0 as an Arab-American caught up in various schemes, who of course demonstrated the ability to overcome great fear. He wears a ring containing messages from the dead-ish Hal Jordan and Sinestro, but he carries a gun in case the ring fails him; the first fellow Lantern he encounters is B’dg, the extraterrestrial squirrel. Simon endures it all with courage and spirit, and in short order he’s kicked GL into another gear.

Simon’s introductory arc concludes this week — sort of, SPOILERS FOLLOW — with Green Lantern Corps Annual #1, the final installment of “Rise of the Third Army.” However, this just paves the way for “Wrath of the First Lantern,” which goes for the next couple of months. After that, April’s Lantern titles may not be part of an overarching story — at least, not one with a “_____ of the [Numbered] _____” title — but these plot threads apparently won’t be resolved before then, either.

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