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Comics A.M. | Mimi Pond wins PEN Center USA Literary Award

Over Easy

Over Easy

Awards | Mimi Pond’s Over Easy has been recognized with a PEN Center USA Literary Award for Graphic Novel Outstanding Body of Work. Previous category winners are Gilbert Hernandez, Daniel Clowes, Joe Sacco and Matt Fraction. [PEN Center USA]

Publishing | Dark Horse is planning to beef up its lineup of children’s graphic novels, which already includes such successful titles as Avatar: The Last Airbender, Plants vs. Zombies and Itty Bitty Hellboy. Four new titles are slated for 2015: Rexodus, a story about dinosaurs from outer space, and three older properties, Rod Espinosa’s Courageous Princess, Samuel Teer and Hyeondo Park’s Veda: Assembly Required, and an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The Return of the Gremlins. [Publishers Weekly]

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Talking Comics with Tim | Scheidt & Smiley on ‘Spooky Sleepover’

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To my mind, there can never be enough all-ages comics. By all-ages, I mean comics that resonate and entertain folks of, well, all ages, not just children. So I was intrigued to learn that writer Dave Scheidt and artist Jess Smart Smiley launched a Kickstarter campaign for an all-ages horror/comedy collection of three stories, Spooky Sleepover.

Scheidt and Smiley were more than happy to explain their love of all-ages storytelling.

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Howard the Duck gets POP! vinyl bobblehead

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In the wake of Funko’s adorable “Dancing Groot” POP! vinyl bobblehead toy, inspired by Guardians of the Galaxy, another somewhat obscure Marvel character is about to get a POP! treatment of his own. As revealed this afternoon on Twitter by Marvel’s Ryan Penagos, Howard the Duck will make his POP! vinyl debut later this year. While the release date isn’t available, it’s likely Funko will reveals details later this week, along with more information on Dancing Groot.

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No matter how much you love Batman, this fan has you beat

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It takes real dedication (and quite a few bucks) to assemble an unbroken run of Detective Comics, or to commit the dialogue of all of the Batman films — including the Schumacher ones! — to memory. However, this Batman super-fan in Japan may have you rethinking the depth of your devotion to the Dark Knight.

Yes, he’s in full costume, cruising down the highway in Chiba Prefecture on his own Batcycle. What did you do this weekend?

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‘Manly Men’: I gotta be a macho

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As we get deeper into the new millennium, it becomes more apparent that the traditional concept of manliness is a bit of a joke. Consider, if you please, the mustache: The great status symbol of distinguished manhood can now be found as an adorable print on Band-Aids stocked in the same aisle as the Hello Kittys. Consider, too, that PBS once aired a special that unironically asked, “Are bronies changing the definition of masculinity?” We’ve come to the point where once-popular portrayals of manly men like Paul Bunyan and John Wayne come off as buffoonish and comical.

Manly Men Doing Many Things is fill with many manly things.  There are pecs, chest hairs, bulging biceps, bold jawlines, strong brows, slicked-back hairstyles, six-pack abs, disdaining sneers, bugged-out eyes, and a general air of brute force. There’s plenty of flexing, grunting and lumberjacking, too. Their faces are scarred and severe, as if they were chainsaw sculptures brought to life by black magic (the manliest of magic).  You expect them to be chewing tobacco … or a toothpick, at least.

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Comic Bento: It’s like Loot Crate, but with graphic novels

comic bentoI somehow managed to miss the launch of Comic Bento, a monthly graphic-novel subscription service in the tradition of Loot Crate.

A project of Blind Ferret, Comic Bento picks up where Pullist left off: Each month, a themed selection of graphic novels, from publishers ranging from DC Comics and Marvel to Oni Press and Image Comics, is boxed up (with some other goodies) and shipped to subscribers. For August, the theme is science fiction.

According to the website, it amounts to more than $50 worth of graphic novels for a price as low as $17.95 a month, plus shipping. Of course, the cost depends on which subscription plan you choose. One month is $20 (plus $5 shipping within the United States); a three-month plan works out to $18.34 a month, and so on.

A perusal of Comic Bento’s FAQ also turns up an interesting tidbit: For (truthful) subscribers under the age of 13 will receive boxes of family-friendly comics.

Those interested have 16-plus days to sign up for the September box. You can watch a Comic Bento unboxing video and review below.

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Webcomics, sports and fandom

The Draw Play, by Dave Rappoccio

The Draw Play, by Dave Rappoccio

While sports aren’t foreign to webcomics, they are a rarity. Usually when the subject is raised, it’s as some made-up game invented for absurdity — like, I don’t know, using a frog as a ball or something.

The most successful sports comics, including those depicted in manga and in the webcomic Hoopfighter, tend to ramp up the action to levels that aren’t actually seen in the sport itself. Have you ever wanted to see Shaquille O’Neal knee a dude in a face during a basketball game? Well, it’s possible in comics!

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In ‘Sisters,’ Raina Telgemeier captures small details of family life

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Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters is about a car trip in the same way that her earlier graphic memoir Smile is about having dental work: It forms an organizing principle for a story about changing relationships, a story built up of small incidents that are all linked to this single narrative thread.

That sounds complicated for a book written for 10-year-olds, but Telgemeier makes it look easy. It’s as if she’s swapping stories about her childhood — remember that time we got a snake, and then we lost it? And although she’s writing about growing up in San Francisco in the 1980s and early 1990s, the story has a timeless feel (the only clues to the setting are teenage Raina’s Walkman and the fact that no one has a cell phone).

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Stan Lee takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (well, sort of)

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Even at 91 years old, a spry Stan Lee is willing to accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

During his weekend appearance at Wizard World Comic Con, the legendary creator happily agreed to the challenge from Wizard World CEO John Macaluso, and braced himself for the shock of cold water. However, Macaluso had other plans: He instead drenched a Stan Lee Funko POP! vinyl figure (which, judging from the reaction in the video below, Lee had never seen).

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Comics A.M. | At Dubai con, women artists outnumbered men

A cosplayer at the Middle East Film & Comic Con

A cosplayer at the Middle East Film & Comic Con

Conventions | Vocativ put together an interesting, if somewhat late, video report about the Middle East Film & Comic Con in Dubai, often viewed by Westerners as a conservative Muslim city. Yet the April convention, which drew about 35,000 attendees, featured both women in traditional hijabs and cosplayers in somewhat-revealing costumes. More interesting still, the number of women artists outnumbered the men. The piece also touches upon the reaction to the new Ms. Marvel, a Muslim teenager from New Jersey. [Vocativ]

Creators | “Never having known how to work in this style, suddenly in my 80s, I discover I can”: Jules Feiffer talks about his latest graphic novel, Kill My Mother, a noir-ish tale that is a sharp departure from his earlier work. [Los Angeles Times]

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Pristine copy of ‘Action Comics’ #1 sells for record $3.2 million

action1The finest known copy of Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold late this afternoon on eBay for a record $3.2 million. It’s the first comic to fetch more than $3 million at auction.

The previous record price of $2.16 million was paid in 2011 for a copy of the same comic once owned by actor Nicolas Cage. While both are rated 9.0 by the Certified Guaranty Company, the Cage issue had “cream to off-white pages”; this one is considered to be in pristine condition. They’re the only two copies of Action Comics #1 to receive that high of a rating.

This copy was acquired several years ago in a private sale by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, and stored a temperature-controlled vault. He said the original owner bought the comic  from a newsstand in 1938, and then kept in a cedar box for about four decades until a local dealer in West Virginia purchased it in an estate sale. The issue then passed to a third person, who held onto it for 30 years.

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The triumphant return of Captain Carrot

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and the rest of the team behind the long-awaited Multiversity miniseries deliver some great moments in the first issue, including an homage to the satellite scene in the original Crisis on Infinite Earths #1. That first issue was rich in DC universe history, as Marv Wolfman and George Perez introduced a ragtag group of heroes and villains brought together by the Monitor from various eras and Earths to battle the Anti-Monitor’s universe-destroying forces.

Morrison and Reis do something similar here, as we return to the Monitor’s satellite and are introduced to heroes like the Savage Dragon-esque Dino-Cop and the fanboy Flash analogue Red Racer; witness the return of President Calvin Ellis, the Superman of Earth-23; and are treated to cameos by original Crisis heroes like Lady Quark and Harbinger. But my favorite was seeing the return of Captain Carrot:

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‘Ms. Marvel’ puts Logan to good use

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[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

The conclusion of the two-part Wolverine guest-shot in Ms. Marvel #7 is not just one of the best issues of the series to date, it’s one of the most fun superhero comics I’ve read in a while. Writer G. Willow Wilson, artist Jacob Wyatt and colorist Ian Herring start with a giant sewer alligator, throw in a Family Circus-esque climb, and end with a couple of high-profile cameos ruminating on Kamala Khan’s potential.

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Comics, action figures and more from Sheffield, England

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Happy Saturday and welcome to Shelf Porn, where each week we feature one fan’s collection. Today’s shelves come from Adrian in Sheffield, England, who shows off his collection of comics, action figures and more.

If you’d like to see your collection featured here, you can find instructions at the end of this post.

And now let’s hear from Adrian …

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Quote of the Day | Amy Reeder on Milo Manara, context and ‘personhood’

SPIDERWOMAN001Manara-a3461-ad504“If you want to know my opinion on Milo Manara’s Spider-woman cover, I’m going to have to disappoint you and say I feel super divided on it. I love Milo Manara!! It’s a variant cover…so it’s sort of an erotica variant! Of course, I’d also like to see Katie Cook do her own version…that’d make Marvel’s choice seem a little less like a systemic problem. And yes, it’s all a different story with context, but without context, it is a bit jarring and I don’t negate that because the Internet really changes our experience these days. And the image itself does remind me a lot of images by artists I DON’T respect…I wish it looked more characteristically Manara instead of a Greg Horn illustration (sorry, Greg Horn! (Not that you care!)). Again, all that said, it’s Milo Manara and if anybody should be able to do things how he wants, it should be him.

“That’s not my point. My point is, it’s not an easy thing to evaluate or explain what is okay and what’s not. Some sexy drawings of women I can get behind, some I can’t. Some of that’s context. But a lot of it is what seemed like a weird intuition that I couldn’t really pinpoint, until recently.

“The word that changes everything for me is ‘personhood.’ Does this woman seem like a person? Do they have life breathed into them? A personality? Or are they an object? Do they feel manufactured or repetitive? Would guys who like this appreciate that I am a living, breathing woman? Or would they complain I talk too much?”

Rocket Girl artist Amy Reeder, responding to the controversy around erotic comic artist Milo Manara’s variant cover for Spider-Woman #1. She goes on to give examples of women portrayed with and without “personhood” in a long and thoughtful post. Manara has also responded to the controversy.


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