Malaysia’s Home Ministry has banned the release of Ultraman the Ultra Power, claiming the comic book contains elements detrimental to public order.
While it’s unclear what specific content in the Maylay edition alarmed the ministry, The Malay Mail reports the decision has been met with widespread mockery online. One government official even questioned the move, with Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeting, “What is wrong with UItraman?”
Eric Stephenson means well. As publisher of Image Comics, and even before he held that position, he’s often called out for change in the comics industry. I love these calls to action, even if they’re not always graceful; change usually isn’t. Most of us agree that changing the comics industry for the better is in everyone’s best interest, but how to change it and how we define better is when things get messy. I’m usually in agreement with what Stephenson is saying, but his speech last week at the ComicsPRO annual meeting was jumbled and tripped over itself when it came to licensed comics.
Stephenson got hung up on a significant sector of comics publishing, and I think it muddied his larger message. In his speech, as I’m sure you’ve seen re-quoted multiple times by now, he claimed that licensed comics like IDW’s Transformers and GI Joe, and Dark Horse’s Star Wars “will never be the real thing.” In the lead-up, he also explained there are “only two kinds of comics that matter: good comics and bad comics.” Now, he never outright said licensed comics are in the “bad” category, but some certainly viewed that as the implication.
His argument is that comics should rely on original ideas to produce original content, a point he underscored by pointing to the perennial bestseller The Walking Dead and the fast-growing Saga, both coincidentally published by Image. I agree original comics are where the magic can happen, and where the creators can most benefit. But that doesn’t mean everything else is by default a waste of time.
How do trolls find true love? How do you a draw a sexy female dwarf with a beard? Those are the kinds of questions artist and long-time fantasy fan Milos Slavkovic has found himself wondering over the past few months. Those idle thoughts have turned into plans for a full-blown graphic novel, and he’s reaching out from his Serbian home for help making it true.
Slavkovic has turned to Kickstarter to raise $10,000 to fund the publication of Enchanted Explorer, a graphic novel taking a sexy look at dating in a fantasy world. The cartoonist says Enchanted Explorer is “by no means an adult comic book,” but rather a satire of the fantasy genre and dating in general.
In a world where computers are taking over every facet of their lives, there’s only one hope to save them all: video game heroes.
That’s the gist of the upcoming graphic novel Overrun. Created by Forty-Five writer Andi Ewington along with Matt Woodley and artist Paul Green, Overrun mixes the action and world-within-a-world ideas of The Matrix with the tone and humor of Wreck-It Ralph — with a dose of inside-tech humor of the original Tron. Case in point: Detectives Norton and McAfee. And it doesn’t stop there. Here’s the official blurb:
Considering that Marvel’s Original Sin begins with the discovery on the moon of the Watcher’s body, minus his eyes, it’s perhaps unsurprising the publisher opted for a somewhat ghoulish way to promote the upcoming event series in comic stores: Marvel-branded bouncy balls that resemble Uatu’s missing eyeballs.
And given that writer Jason Aaron teased last month, “Whoever holds one of the eyes is able to explode a bomb full of secrets and unleash all the various secrets of the Marvel Universe into the wild through that eye,” it seems only fitting that Marvel Senior Vice President Tom Brevoort, keeper of many of those secrets, has been spotted with one of the missing organs. There’s no telling what may come of this …
The eight-issue Original Sin debuts in May.
Following news that it had acquired the North American rights to Naoki Urasawa’s Master Keaton, Viz Media announced a handful of other releases for the fall and winter, including Yūsei Matsui’s supernatural action/comedy Assassination Classroom and the print edition of Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama’s newest work.
Debuting in July 2012, Assassination Classroom centers on a class of misfits who try to kill their new teacher, an alien octopus with bizarre powers who destroyed most of the moon and is threatening to do the same to Earth within a year — unless his students can destroy him first. The series will be available bimonthly in print and digitally from Viz beginning in December.
Previously serialized digitally by Viz, Toriyama’s quirky comedy Jaco the Galactic Patrolman follows a retired scientist who lives alone on a desert island, where he researches time travel. However, that quiet life is interrupted when galactic patrolman Jaco crash-lands on the island and decides to move in. Featuring new, bonus content for Dragon Ball Z, the print edition debuts in January.
Those two manga are joined by One Piece Box Set 2 (November), which includes Vols. 24-46, the third and fourth story arcs of the “Skypiea” and “Water 7″ arcs, as well as the “Strong World” minicomic, and Naoki Serizawa’s Resident Evil, a five-volume prequel to the video game Resident Evil 6 (November).
By now we’ve all seen, or at least heard about, the Twitter-rocking star-studded selfie orchestrated by Ellen DeGeneres during Sunday’s 86th Academy Awards ceremony. Snapped by Bradley Cooper (who actually owns the rights to the image), the photo was retweeted a 3.2 million times, shattering the previous record of more than 778,000 set in November 2012 with the election-night post from President Obama.
While the not entirely spontaneous stunt certainly paid off for ABC and Samsung, which was reportedly promised airtime for the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone as part of its $20 million sponsorship and ad buy, they weren’t the only ones to get promotional mileage out of the photo.
After suffering a broken nose, Miami Heat forward LeBron James returned to the court last week sporting a black protective mask some compared to those worn by Batman and Bane. However, it was hot and uncomfortable, leaving him in search for alternatives.
“I’ve been talking to Marvel Comics for the last couple of days, and DC Comics, to try to come up with one of the greatest masks of all time,” James told The Associated Press. “So we’ll see what happens.”
But on Friday, the NBA asked that he not wear the black mask — hey, even teammate Dwyane Wade conceded “it looks weird” — so James instead debuted a clear one in Saturday’s game against the Orlando Magic. Greg Land had other ideas, however, designing a star-spangled option that Marvel tweeted on Tuesday was “in honor of last night’s super heroics” (James scored 61 points against the Charlotte Bobcats as the heat won 124-107).
As Bleacher Report notes, “Land’s design pretty much sums up how James is playing lately.”
An unfired bullet discovered last year in the Clinton Township, Michigan, building that once housed Comics World will be tested to see whether it’s connected to the 1990 murder of co-owner Barbara George.
Her husband Michael George was twice tried and twice convicted — first in 2008 and then in 2011 — in the fatal shooting, which prosecutors claim he staged to look like a robbery so he could collect money from an insurance policy and a shared estate, and start over with another woman. George, now 53, is serving life in prison without parole.
According to the Detroit Free Press, the bullet was found in February 2013 by an employee of the company that manages a building while he was cleaning the backroom where Barbara George was shot nearly 23 years earlier. It was turned over to township police, leading defense attorney Joseph Kosmala to file a motion in January for the bullet to be tested for ballistics, fingerprints and DNA (there was a filing delay because of a miscommunication between Kosmala and Michael George’s appellate attorney). Macomb County Circuit Judge Mary Chrzanowski granted that motion last week.
Conventions | The Salt Lake Comic Con spinoff event FanXperience is shaping up for its April 17 debut with the addition of KidCon, a pavilion dedicated to younger attendees. “We don’t want the impression that we have KidCon there for everything else to become less kid-friendly,” says co-founder Dan Farr. “Although I would imagine 99 percent of the people that are coming are going to take their kids throughout the whole hall, it’s just to have an area where they can go and spend a little more time with their kids.” The inaugural Salt Lake Comic Con in September drew an estimated 80,000 attendees; organizers anticipate as many as 100,000 for FanX, which will have almost double the floor space. [Deseret News]
Legal | The judge was a no-show for what was supposed to be the announcement of the verdict in the trial of Algerian cartoonist Djamel Ghanem, who stands accused of “insulting the president of the republic” in a cartoon that was, bizarrely, never published. Ghanem’s lawyer says the verdict has been postponed; the cartoonist faces up to 18 months in prison and a fine of 30,000 dinars ($380 U.S>) if found guilty. [Global Post]
Viz Media, which has already released Naoki Urasawa’s Monster, 20th Century Boys and Pluto is North America, is adding another work to the list: the post-Cold War thriller Master Keaton.
Produced with Hokusei Katsushika and Urasawa’s frequent collaborator Takashi Nagasaki, the detective drama centers on Taichi Hiraga-Keaton, an archeology professor and former member of the British Special Air Service whose skills serve him well as a rather unorthodox insurance investigator for Lloyd’s of London.
Master Keaton was originally serialized from 1988 to 1994 in Big Comic Original magazine, and inspired a 39-episode anime.
The 12-volume manga will debut in December as part of the Viz’s deluxe Signature imprint, with each $19.99 book featuring 18 pages of full-color art. Read the full announcement below.
Established in 2004 by the Herb Block Foundation, the award is design “to encourage editorial cartooning as an essential tool for preserving the rights of the American people through freedom of speech and the right of expression.” Block, aka Herblock, was a three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist.
“Winning the Herblock is one of the finest moments in a political cartoonist’s life,” Sorensen, who was a 2012 finalist, told The Washington Post. “Being the first woman to win the prize makes it an extra-special thrill. I’m so grateful that this generous award exists for our profession.”
As the newspaper notes, Sorensen is also the third consecutive alt-cartoonist to win the Herblock Prize, following Matt Bors and Dan Perkins (aka Tom Tomorrow). The award comes with a tax-free $15,000 cash prize and a sterling silver Tiffany trophy.
“Jen Sorensen’s strong portfolio addresses issues that were important to Herblock, such as gun control, racism, income inequality, healthcare, and sexism,” the judges stated. “Her style allows her to incorporate information which backs up the arguments she presents. Her art is engaging and her humor is sharp and on target.”
You can see a few of Sorensen’s winning cartoons below.
I had taken a break from comics during the whole “Death of Superman”/”Reign of the Supermen” era, yet I’m a little excited by this mysterious cover unveiled today by Sean Murphy (The Wake, Punk Rock Jesus). Even those readers who weren’t around for the early-’90s storyline will undoubtedly recognize the Man of Steel/John Henry Irons/Steel, the Man of Tomorrow/Cyborg Superman, the Last Son of Krypton/Eradicator and the Metropolis Kid/Superboy, who arrived in Metropolis claiming to be Superman.
Murphy says he doesn’t know what the cover is for, but it’s a pretty safe bet that it’s part of DC Comics’ “Superman: Doomed” crossover, depicting the first major conflict in the New 52 between the Man of Steel and Doomsday, who was responsible for “The Death of Superman” 22 years ago.
Update: As a helpful commenter below points out, PreviewsWorld states Murphy’s cover is the 75th anniversary variant for Superman Unchained #6, due out on March 19.
This is particularly timely, considering today’s television casting news: Project: Rooftop showcases Perry Maple’s whimsical redesign of Batman and his allies and enemies, from Robin to Scarecrow to Two-Face.
“The aim for this redesign was to create a colorful, simple, and playful reimagining of the Gotham city universe,” the artist explains on his deviantART page. I think he achieved that goal, too, particularly with Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, who look as if they stepped out of a fairy tale. However, I also really like is older take on Selina Kyle in a decidedly different style.
Check out close-ups of some of Maple’s redesigns below, and visit his deviantART page for more.
Titan Comics has released a trailer for Scarlett Couture, the upcoming espionage-adventure series from illustrator Des Taylor about an heiress turned super-spy.
The title character is a billionaire fashion heiress who as a teenager is kidnapped and held for ransom, only to be rescued by Lt. Spencer Kelly, who trains her in hand-to-hand combat and intelligence to ensure she’s never in that position again. When she learns her mother was once a spy for the CIA, Scarlett uses her mother’s fashion empire as a cover for her own quest to bring the world’s greatest criminals to justice.
You can see more of Taylor’s work on his blog. Scarlett Couture #1 goes on sale Oct. 15.