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Batman and Spider-Man team up for Times Square brawl

batman-spidermanWhen fans lobby for the return of the intercompany crossover, this probably isn’t what they have in mind.

CBS New York reports that Batman and Spider-Man were arrested Saturday night in Times Square after they allegedly teamed up to do battle with a shared nemesis: a heckler.

Police say the fight began at 44th Street and Broadway when 23-year-old Thomas Rorke of Breezy Point taunted the dynamic duo, who responded not with batarangs and spider-webbing but with fists. Rorke was reportedly struck numerous times, suffering injuries to his face. The costumed heroes claim they were hit as well.

In the end, NYPD arrested Rorke as well as Batman (aka 41-year-old Jose Martinez) and Spider-Man (aka 35-year-old Abdel Elkahezai). They were charged with misdemeanor assault and spent the night in jail.

Times Square has witnessed its share of costumed crime, mostly recently in late July, when a man dressed as Miles Morales was arrested in a scuffle with police. It’s become such a problem that the Times Square Alliance has called for regulation of the costumed characters, and New York City Council is considering a bill that would require licenses and background checks.

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MondoCon reveals exclusive prints by Mignola, O’Malley & more

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Sometime today, as is its habit, Mondo will announce the online pre-sale of four limited-edition posters, available exclusively to attendees of the inaugural MondoCon held this weekend in Austin.

The posters, featuring the art of Mike Mignola, Bryan Lee O’Malley, Daniel Danger and Rob Jones/Ken Taylor, will be screen-printed live at the convention by Industry Print Shop. That’s two on Saturday (Mignola and Jones/Taylor) and two on Sunday (O’Malley and Danger); only those with the corresponding MondoCon wristband will be permitted to pick up the posters for the day. There will be no refunds or cancellations, and no shipping from the show.

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Jeffrey Baldwin statue, with Superman emblem, is nearly finished

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The memorial statue of 5-year-old Jeffrey Baldwin wearing a Superman costume is nearly complete, and should be ready for a planned Oct. 18 unveiling, Heat Vision reports.

The story of the Toronto boy, who died in 2002 of starvation and septic shock after years of abuse by his grandparent guardians, received renewed attention in Canada last fall with a coroner’s inquest, during which Jeffrey’s father testified to his love of Superman. “He wanted to fly,” Richard Baldwin recalled. “He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up [as Superman] for Halloween one year. He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel.”

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Comics A.M. | Longtime retailer Steve Koch passes away

Steve Koch

Steve Koch

Passings | Customers and family mourn the passing of Steve Koch, longtime owner of Comic Headquarters in St. Louis, who died Aug. 31 of a suspected heart attack. He was 55. “He knew the true value of a comic book was in the story and the art, not as it being a collectible,” said his wife Carla, whom he introduced to comics with a copy of X-Men #1. Koch’s customers praised him for running a store that was welcoming to everyone, no matter what their tastes; some have been shopping there since they were children. [Riverfront Times]

Crime | Police in Lexington, Kentucky, believe the man who robbed a local comics and hobby shop D20 Hobbies late last month is also behind three other robberies. In all cases, the robber wore a clown mask and indicated he had a weapon but didn’t show one. D20 owner James Risner was puzzled at first as to why anyone would rob a comic shop, but he speculates the thief didn’t realize his business had taken over from the previous tenant of the site, a Quick Cash store. “I guess he figured we had a lot of money,” Risner said. “Thankfully we didn’t have that much.” [Lex18.com]

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Photo of the Day | It’s the Groot pumpkin …

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A certified pop-culture phenomenon, Groot is seemingly everywhere these days: on the big and small screens, on toy shelves and on T-shirts and backpacks. And now he’s carved onto a pumpkin — one of what will undoubtedly be many by the time Halloween rolls around — at Disneyland’s Big Thunder Ranch, no less.

The photo comes courtesy of Disney news site Stitch Kingdom, which also has shots of pumpkins featuring Han Solo in carbonite, Scar from The Lion King, the caterpillar from Alice in Wonderland and more. Check them out on Instagram.

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Normalcy among the surrealism in ‘Opplopolis’

bcoversd_1(This post contains spoilers for Opplopolis Proceed at your own caution.)

This week, Kit Roebuck’s Opplopolis starts Issue 14 as the entire saga slowly but surely approaching its planned conclusion with Issue 20. It’s been a strange journey thus far, full of odd little left turns. There’s a moment, for example, that seems to be a visual homage to The Shining. Agnes, an artist, is invited to a high-class celebrity party where she’s already a bit out of place; she even needs her clothes ripped to shreds just so she can fit in. Thinking it a public service to the fashion-impaired, manufactured pop celebrity Vesper takes a pair of scissors to the artist’s dowdy outfit to create a new dress that shows a bit more skin.

Agnes decides to cut loose a little on the dance floor, but her way to the bathroom she encounters a slightly disturbing sight: When she peeks in an open door, she sees two men wearing animal masks while playing a card game. Eventually, a third person wearing an upside-down cat mask shuts the door in Agnes’ face (revealing a word that forms the comic’s central mystery).

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The Four is with ‘Sesame Street’s’ new ‘Star Wars’ parody

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During its first-ever appearance at Comic-Con International, Sesame Workshop teased a Star Wars send-up — one in a long, fantastic series of parodies that’s included Sons of Anarchy, Homeland, True Blood and Boardwalk Empire — and now that it’s here, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Called “Star S’Mores,” the short sends Luke Piewalker — complete with pitch-perfect whine — Flan Solo and Chewie the Cookie on a mission to rescue Princess Parfaita, but only after they find a way to stop Flan Solo (played by Cookie Monster) from eating his co-pilot. The solution, Only One Cannoli suggests, is to use the Four. However, their other mentors have strategies of their own.

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In ‘Widdershins,’ bustin’ makes you feel good

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The female heroes of Kate Ashwin’s Widdershins share a lot of personality traits. Harriet “Harry” Barber, for example, is a cool, collected bounty hunter of the pre-Victorian era who’s often shown pondering a mystery while puffing smoke from her pipe. She’s also a bit of a loner; her face is frequently twisted in a tired scowl, and there’s a slight bags under her eyes. There’s a little bit of Rorschach in her, too, as interesting clues are greeted with a “hrm.” She’s definitely the smartest person in the room, but she’s also proud. Her reluctance to accept any help is driven, partially, by her need to prove that she and she alone solved the case.

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Get some great ‘Guardians’-themed art and help Bill Mantlo

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Ahead of the release of Guardians of the Galaxy, Multiversity Comics brought together Rocket Raccoon- and Groot-themed art from an assortment of creators, with selected pieces to be auctioned to benefit writer Bill Mantlo, who suffered irreversible brain damage in 1992 after being struck by a car. Now that auction has gone live on eBay.

There are more than 30 pieces up for bid from such creators as Rafael Albuquerque, J. Bone, Jenny Frison, Sina Grace, Rebekah Isaacs, Tradd Moore, Declan Shalvey, Greg Smallwood and C.P. Wilson III.

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‘Gotham Academy’ gets its own ‘almost official’ blog

gotham academy-teaser

DC Comics’ Batgirl, with its new costume, new direction and new creative team, has its own “(un)official blog,” and now so too does Gotham Academy. Launched over the weekend, Inside Gotham Academy — “the almost official blog” for the upcoming series — so far features promotional pieces, some covers and fan work, but it’s also teased that the series creators (Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl and Romain Gaschet) may post there.

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‘Walking Dead’s’ Norman Reedus to publish Daryl Dixon fan art book

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AMC’s hit adaptation of The Walking Dead differs in numerous ways from the source material, but perhaps most significantly in introduction of Daryl Dixon, the fan-favorite character played by Norman Reedus. “Fan-favorite” is a term frequently overused, but here it’s entirely appropriate, as Daryl devotees are legion, dedicated and, it turns out, fairly artistic.

And now Reedus is collecting more than 100 pieces of that fan work — drawings, sketches, tattoos, mosaics, etc. — in a book titled Thanks For All the Niceness, to be published Oct. 31 by his imprint Big Bald Book. A “significant portion” of the proceeds will be donated to The Bachmann Strauss Dystonia and Parkinson Foundation.

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Steve Rude documentary arrives Oct. 7 on DVD and VOD

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Rude Dude, Ian Fischer‘s documentary about Nexus co-creator Steve Rude, will at long last be available Oct. 7 on VOD and DVD.

For the film, which has been screened at conventions nationwide, Fischer followed the veteran artist for more than three years, examining his three-decade career, and documents decision to move into fine art. The documentary also explores the impact his “battles with mental illness” have had on “his family, his colleagues in the comic book world, and his ever-dwindling set of friends.”

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Comics A.M. | Pulitzer-winning cartoonist Tony Auth passes away

Tony Auth

Tony Auth

Passings | Tony Auth, editorial cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer from 1971 to 2012, died Sunday at age 72. Auth, who won both the Pulitzer and Herblock prizes during his lengthy career with the newspaper, began drawing as a child, when a lengthy illness confined him to bed for a year and a half. He graduated from UCLA in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree in biological illustration, and worked as a medical illustrator for a time. He began his cartooning career doing a weekly cartoon for a local alternative newspaper and then started drawing a thrice-weekly cartoon for the UCLA Daily Bruin. He left the Inquirer in 2012 to pursue digital cartooning and became the Digital Artist in Residence for WHYY’s News Works. In addition to his cartooning work, he illustrated 11 children’s books. His editorial cartoons have been collected into two books, and Temple University has begun fund-raising for an archive of his work. Michael Cavna has a roundup of tributes from Auth’s colleagues at Comic Riffs. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

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Return of ‘Stumptown’ makes me miss James Garner a little less

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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 manner in which a comic series resonates with me often lacks sense. In the case of the launch of Greg Rucka and Matthew Southworth’s Stumptown, I distinctly remember  a mid-2007 CBR article where Rucka described it as “my love letter to ‘The Rockford Files.’” From that moment on, I have been a huge fan of Stumptown.

Portland private investigator Dex Parios is not a perfect character; investigations rarely go smoothly for her. But she always succeeds on some level. Her family is important to her, more exactly her special needs brother Ansel Parios means the world to her. For me, the value of family is another homage to the James Garner 1970s series.

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Shiga, Alden, Tamakis win Ignatz Awards

Ignatz Awards presenters James Sturm and Sasha Steinberg

Ignatz Awards presenters James Sturm and Sasha Steinberg

The Ignatz Awards were handed out Saturday night at Small Press Expo in a ceremony that culminated with a mock wedding in which Simon Hanselmann married Comics (represented by a stack of graphic novels and real-life creator Michael DeForge).

Named in honor of the brick-wielding mouse in George Herriman’s Krazy Kat strip, the festival prize recognizes achievement in comics and cartooning. Nominees are selected by a panel of five cartoonists, and then voted on by SPX attendees.

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