Current Transmissions

Celebrate Doomsgiving with ‘Calamity’ Jon Morris

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With Thanksgiving this week, it was sheer coincidence that I ran across Doomsgiving, a Tumblr hashtag used by Washington-based cartoonist and writer “Calamity” Jon Morris to celebrate his affinity for the Doom Patrol.

Morris, who also posted Doomsgiving pieces last year (in addition to being involved in a variety of unique side projects well worth checking out), has penned The League of Regrettable Heroes: Half-Baked Heroes from Comic Book History, set for release in June 2015). There are plenty more of his illustrations to enjoy on his Tumblr and on Behance.

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Superman action figure soars to edge of space, returns to Earth

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There’s something wonderfully and refreshingly uplifting about this video, which chronicles DesignSpark‘s mission for Mattel Toys Italy to launch a Superman action figure to an altitude of 29,000 meters — “to the edge of space” — and bring it parachuting back to Earth. It’s pretty amazing.

DesignSpark has provided more details at Instructables, including downloadable instructions so you can send your own action figure into the atmosphere.

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Spanish soccer team abandons new bat logo after DC challenge

batman-valencia

A Spanish soccer club has decided not to use an updated version of its traditional bat emblem, avoiding a possible legal fight with DC Comics.

News surfaced last week that the publisher had opposedd the trademark registration by La Liga club Valencia C.F., insisting the new variation of the team’s bat crest too closely resembles the familiar Batman emblem.

But now, The Guardian reports, Valencia says it no longer plans to use the new design after DC “presented its opposition to the request.” The club emphasized “there does not exist a lawsuit by DC Comics.”

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Comics A.M. | Greenberg plans ‘sort-of’ sequel to ‘Early Earth’

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth

The Encyclopedia of Early Earth

Creators | Isabel Greenberg has announced she’s working on a “sort-of” sequel to The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, her British Comic Award-winning debut graphic novel. She also posted her new comic Dreadful Wind and Rain, which is being published as a limited edition by Gosh! Comics, and will be included in her follow-up to Early Earth. [Isabel Greenberg, via Digital Spy]

Manga | Yen Press associate editor and letterer Abigail Blackman talks about her job: “I see that the editor has a twofold obligation – to the original creator and to the reader. I think everyone in the process has to be most careful of not imposing his or her own sensibilities onto the material. I and Yen feel very strongly about preserving the meaning and intent of the original and making sure it translates clearly to the reader. It’s so easy for a rewriter to get carried away with his or her own voice, or for a letterer to get too cutesy with the fonts and placing emphasis.” [Organization Anti-Social Geniuses]

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Talking Comics with Tim | Curt Pires on ‘POP’

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POP, writer Curt Pires‘ collaboration with artist Jason Copland and colorist Pete Toms, wraps up this week with the release of Issue 4 from Dark Horse. One thing I consistently enjoy about Pires’ storytelling is how it works on two levels: You have a plot replete with action that always keeps the reader engaged, along with with a layer of subtext that invites deeper consideration.

In an interview with ROBOT 6, Pires allowed me to poke around both layers. Suicidal ideation, drug use and poetic terrorism are just a few of the concepts considered in POP, and in this interview.

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Anti-Hitler strip from wartime ‘Beano’ goes up for auction

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An original 1943 comic strip from The Beano making fun of Adolf Hitler will go up for auction later this month after being rescued from a dumpster in the 1960s.

The Daily Express reports that the strip was created by cartoonist Dudley Watkins for The Beano #219 as part of a propaganda campaign to raise British spirits during World War II.

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Holy Toledo! Batman and Riddler come to blows in hockey game

Toledo's Jeff Lerg strikes a Bat-pose (via the Walleye Facebook page)

Toledo’s Jeff Lerg strikes a Bat-pose (via the Walleye Facebook page)

In somehow-fitting turn of events, Batman and The Riddler dropped the gloves in a hockey game Saturday night celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Caped Crusader.

As we reported last month, East Coast Hockey League teams the Toledo Walleye and the Evansville (Indiana) IceMen donned Batman and Riddler jerseys, respectively, for a “Heroes Night” celebration. Afterward the jerseys were to be auctioned off afterward, with proceeds going to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, March of Dimes and the Walleye Wishing Well.

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Korra strikes back against Nickelodeon slimers in parody video

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The fan-favorite animated series The Legend of Korra hasn’t had it easy, surviving a disastrous Season 3 rollout only to be bumped from Nickelodeon’s television schedule to finish out its four-season run online (although it now appears to be returning to TV). But in this new video from Gritty Reboots, which gave us the trailer for Calvin and Hobbes: The Movie, Korra strikes back against Nick executives, which here take the form of slime benders.

The location and stunts are terrific, and the special effects pretty decent, but I can’t help but think the parody could’ve been taken a lot further. Watch the the video and behind-the-scenes feature below.

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Hugo Pratt watercolor fetches record price for Corto Maltese art

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A watercolor of Corto Maltese by his creator Hugo Pratt sold at auction Saturday in Paris for $485,500, more than twice the original estimate. According to Agence France-Presse, that’s the highest price ever paid for a piece of Corto Maltese art.

Created for a 1979 French edition of Corto Maltese in Africa (“Corto Maltese – Les Ethiopiques”), the piece was among 400 lots of comic art sold by French auction house Artcurial. An original Tintin strip from The Castafiore Emerald signed by Herge fetched the the top price, about $503,000.

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New book celebrates 30 years of Voltron

Voltron 30th anniversary coverJust as Voltron was assembled from other robots, the original Voltron television series was put together from several different Japanese anime — and it benefited in part from a happy accident.

Debuting in September 1984, the hugely popular cartoon was developed by World Events Productions, a small television production company based in St. Louis, Missouri. Several WEP executives had gone to a licensing convention and saw three Japanese shows they thought would do well in the United States. They requested the master tapes of all three, but Toei Company sent the wrong tapes for one of them, interpreting the request for the “one with the lion” as Beast King GoLion, although the WEP team had actually meant a different show. Ted Koplar, president and CEO of WEP, liked what he saw, recalling, “There was a human side that grabbed me.” Indeed, it became the most popular Voltron cartoon, Lion Force Voltron.

Last month, Viz Media released Voltron: From Days of Long Ago, a 30th anniversary commemorative book that includes a behind-the-scenes history of the show, photos of the many Voltron toys, and a guidebook to the characters and storylines. I spoke with Traci Todd, senior editor for children’s publishing at Viz and a huge Voltron fan herself, and Beth Kawasaki, senior editorial director, about went into the making of the book.

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Jeff Smith, Tom Spurgeon team for Cartoon Crossroads Columbus

cxc logoBone cartoonist Jeff Smith and comics journalist Tom Spurgeon are the driving force behind Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, an annual four-day comics festival set to debut in fall 2016 in Columbus, Ohio.

That will be preceded next year by a two-day CXC Launch Event held Oct. 2, 2015, at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum and Oct. 3 at the Columbus Cultural Arts Center (the second day is characterized as a comics expo with up to 35 exhibitors).

Smith, who lives in Columbus, will serve as the festival’s president and artistic director. Spurgeon, editor of The Comics Reporter, will be festival director; he plans to relocate to Columbus early next year.

“We’re extremely excited to try and bring a first-class comics festival to Columbus, Ohio,” Smith said in a statement. “I’ve attended and enjoyed so many great shows over the years, and hope that CXC can take its place alongside them.”

Smith and Spurgeon are joined on the CXC executive committee by Lucy Caswell, founder of the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and Vijaya Iyer, president and co-publisher of Cartoon Books. More details are promised in early 2015.

Comics A.M. | Indianapolis Star pulls cartoon after backlash

The original version of Gary Varvel's cartoon

The original version of Gary Varvel’s cartoon

Editorial cartoons | The Indianapolis Star first altered a cartoon by Gary Varvel and then removed it from its website after receiving an outpouring of protests from readers. The cartoon, a reaction to President Obama’s executive actions delaying deportations, showed a white family sitting around a Thanksgiving table, looking in horror as brown-skinned people, presumably immigrants, climbed in the window. The caption was “Thanks to the president’s immigration order, we’ll be having extra guests this Thanksgiving.” “Gary did not intend to be racially insensitive in his attempt to express his strong views about President Barack Obama’s decision to temporarily prevent the deportation of millions of immigrants living and working illegally in the United States,” Executive Editor Jeff Taylor said in a post explaining the removal of the cartoon. “But we erred in publishing it.” Tom Spurgeon offers some commentary. [Indianapolis Star]

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Kind words for a quiet contributor

Copyediting marks[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.]

Copyediting is a strange profession: If you do your job well, no one will know you did it at all. It’s when you don’t—or, more likely, when the copyeditor is eliminated—that people notice. I was reading a comic from a major publisher just the other day and encountered a glaring typo that popped me right out of the story.

As a former copyeditor myself, I was touched by Calista Brill’s post at the First Second blog about their copyeditor, Manuela Kruger, who passed away recently.

Despite never having had a conversation with her, I felt like Manuela and I were friends, communicating across the written page. Manuela would return her copyedited printouts of our books to us with a cover letter sharing her thoughts—always perceptive, and sometimes very funny—about the book she had just marked up. The notes and asides she added to her copyediting corrections often made me laugh—made me feel like I had a friend reading along with me.

There are a lot of people whose work goes into making a graphic novel see the light of day, and a lot of them are pretty invisible to the reader and even to the person who wrote or illustrated the book in the first place. But their contributions are invaluable, and it’s a very sad day when you lose one of them.

Oeming and Soma hunt monsters in ‘Sinergy’

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As origins go, Jess’ latent seer powers to see demons being triggered by losing her virginity is one of the more unforgettable opens to a first issue I have read in quiet a while. That’s exactly how co-creator/co-writer/artist Michael Avon Oeming and co-creator/co-writer/colorist Taki Soma cut to the heart of their new Image Comics/Shadowline series, Sinergy.

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A visit to Bob Montana’s hometown

Bob Montana book[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.]

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I went to Meredith, New Hampshire, for a quiet weekend Away From It All. I had never heard of Meredith before, but my last-minute search on Expedia turned up a little inn there that had a reasonable price and good ratings, so off we went.

I wasn’t really expecting to have any comics experiences there, other than reading the stack I brought with me, but comics just seem to follow me around. We spent a pleasant hour in a bookstore in the center of town, and as we headed for the cash register, I noticed a biography of Bob Montana, the original artist for Archie. I grabbed it and added it to the stack, and the cashier said to me, “Did you know he lived here?” I didn’t, but it turns out that he not only lived in Meredith for most of his adult life, he owned an art gallery that was just steps away from the bookstore (although according to the minutes of this January meeting of the Meredith Planning Board, it may not be there for much longer—a developer is planning to tear it down and replace it with a new structure).

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