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Fight insomnia, crime in these superhero sleep masks

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There’s nothing worse than coming up after an exhausting day battling the forces of evil only to discover you can’t get to sleep. If counting Pokémon doesn’t do the trick, you may want to try one of these superhero sleep masks.

Sold by Shuba Gift Factory, each of the three masks in the “Heroes Never Sleeps!” series features a cartoonish depiction of a different superhero fighting slumber: Batman (complete with Bat-ears), who uses matchsticks to keep his eyes open; Spider-Man, who draws alert eyes on Post-It notes; and the Incredible Hulk, who resorts to tape.

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DC moves to stop Rihanna from trademarking ‘Robyn’

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DC Comics is attempting to prevent the singer/actress Rihanna from registering a trademark for “Robyn,” arguing that it’s too similar to the name of Batman’s sidekick.

As first reported by Pirated Thoughts and The Outhousers, Rihanna — born Robyn Rihanna Fenty — filed the trademark application in June 2014 as part of a larger effort to build a fashion and cosmetics empire (she also filed an application for her last name). “Robyn” is intended to be used for “providing on-line non-downloadable general feature magazines,” which apparently sent up a red flag for DC’s lawyers.

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Kotobukiya unveils its Black Canary Bishoujo statue

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Following a brief preview last week, Kotobukiya has unveiled Black Canary, the latest in its line of DC Comics Bishoujo statues.

Sculpted by M.I.C. from a design by Shunya Yamashita, the 9.5-inch statue depicts the character in a her classic costume, standing “triumphant on the field of battle, reaching for the stars” (although she looks more like she’s getting ready to yawn).

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Comics A.M. | ‘Charlie Hebdo’ cartoonist Luz resigns

Rénald Luzier

Rénald Luzier

Creators | Saying his job has become “too much to bear,” cartoonist Renald Luzier (Luz) is leaving the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. He said he worked too hard in the aftermath of the January attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in which 12 people, most of them his co-workers, were killed, and he did not give himself time to grieve. “I needed time but I carried on for solidarity and not to let anyone down,” he said. However, the loss is taking its toll: “Each issue is torture because the others are gone.” He had previously announced he would no longer draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, saying it no longer interested him, and he is tired of the media attention. “We are not heroes, we have never been, we never meant to be,” he said. “Everyone evokes the spirit of Charlie for anything and everything now.” [The Independent]

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New Legoland Hotel is every kid’s (and many adults’) dream

LEGOLAND FLORIDA HOTEL OPENS

The Legoland Hotel officially opened Monday at Legoland Florida Resort, promptly ruining most other vacation getaways in the eyes of brick enthusiasts. And their children, of course. Sure.

The second Legoland hotel in the United States (the first opened in 2013 at Legoland California Resort, the 152-room structure introduces new features unique to the 150-acre Winter Haven, Florida, park: LEGO Friends-themed rooms, designed specifically to appeal to girls (that’s in addition to pirate, kingdom, adventure rooms), and a daily Master Model Builder Workshop, which allows guests to build alongside professional model makers.

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These otaku sweatshirts channel Naruto, Totoro and ‘Evangelion’

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Billed as “a line that puts together fashion and cosplay passion,” Sì: Sartoria Creativa draws inspiration from manga and anime for its OTAKool clothes. As the Etsy page suggests, they’re essentially everyday wear for otaku.

While the Totoro hoodie is undoubtedly the crowd-pleaser, there’s something to be said for the understated Naruto Shippuden zip-up sweatshirt, and the four detailed Evangelion pieces.

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Mego World’s Greatest Superheroes vans hit the road again

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Following the announcement last month that it will release a reproduction of the classic Mego Batcave playset, Figures Toy Company has revealed it will roll out the Mobile Bat Lab.

Better still, it’s the first in a series of vehicles that will include the Teen Titans van, the Superman van and the Gotham City Police van, each accompanied by an exclusive 8-inch figure. No word yet whether we should expect the Joker Mobile, too, but here’s hoping …

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Toronto Comic Arts Festival in the rearview mirror

The Travel Memoir panel at TCAF

The Travel Memoir panel at TCAF

Toronto Comic Arts Festival organizer Christopher Butcher opened the 2014 show by announcing the “unspoken theme” of that year’s show was spotlighting work by women creators. “Then,” I noted at the time, “Butcher did something truly amazing: He introduced a panel of three women that was not titled ‘Women in Comics.'” This year’s festival continued that theme, showcasing a diverse group of artists and spreading that diversity across the breadth and depth of the show.

In fact, the first thing I noticed when I looked over the schedule was there was no “Women in Comics” or “LGBTQ Comics” panel. There were a couple of more specialized panels — one on gay comics art in Japan, another on older women and comics — but for the most part, the diversity was just sort of there, no further comment needed. The “Art of the Travelogue” panel moderated by my con roommate Johanna Draper Carlson, for instance, featured four women and two men, and it didn’t seem like a particularly big deal until I started to write this article. This may be a watershed in the history of comics events.

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‘Shaft’ wins story of the year at the Glyph Awards

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The winners of the Glyph Awards, which honor black comics creators and characters, were announced Friday in Philadelphia at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention.

The Story of the Year award went to Shaft, written by David F. Walker and illustrated by Bilquis Evely. In an interview with CBR last year, Walker discussed the comic and how it was strongly influenced by the original novels that the 1970s movie was based on. Keef Cross took the Best Writer Award for Day Black, the story of a vampire who moonlights (literally) as a tattoo artist. And Nelson Blake II won the Best Artist award for his Image Comics series Artifacts.

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Comics A.M. | Kodansha plans ‘Fairy Tail’ ‘Master’s Edition’

Fairy Tail Master's Edition

Fairy Tail Master’s Edition

Manga | Kodansha Comics will publish a “Master’s Edition” of Hiro Mashima’s fantasy-adventure manga Fairy Tail, collecting the first five volumes in a deluxe oversize format, similar to its Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition. Priced at $39.99, the first volume will go on sale in October. [Kodansha Comics]

Political cartoons | Christiane Gruber looks at Muslim cartoonists who are critiquing ISIS: “Over the past year, cartoonists across the Middle East have critiqued ISIS with equal amounts of ferocity and fearlessness. From Jordan to Iran, they frequently lambast ISIS — referring to it through its acronym Daesh, which is related to the pejorative Arabic term meaning ‘to tread under foot’ — as destructive of Islam and the world’s cultural heritage, as the growling lapdog of various superpowers, as the ultimate devil and grim reaper of Iraq and as an Oscar-winning sensation obsessed with bloody forms of self-promotion.” [Newsweek]

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Square Enix takes aim at Batman with Arkham Knight figure

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It’s no Wild West Batman (then again, what is?), but Square Enix’s new Play Arts Kai Arkham Knight action figure is pretty impressive.

Based on the new villain from the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight video game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and Rocksteady Studios, the 11-inch figure is highly detailed, from the “A” chest emblem to the military fatigues to the translucent visor.

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‘Dragon Ball Super’ manga to accompany new TV anime

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When the first new Dragon Ball television anime in 18 years debuts in July, it will be accompanied by a manga adaptation by Dragon Ball Heroes: Victory Mission author Toyotarō.

According to the announcement in Shueisha’s V Jump the Dragon Ball Super manga will launch in the magazine’s super-sized August issue. Dragon Ball creator Akira Toriyama, who’s credited with the “original story and character concepts” for the new anime, is also credited with the manga’s story.

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Photographer and creator Seth Kushner passes away

seth kushnerPhotographer and comics creator Seth Kushner passed away Sunday following a year-long battle with leukemia.

Celebrated for his portraits of actors, musicians and artists, Kushner is widely known for his collaboration with writer Christopher Irving on Graphic NYC, a collection of profiles of comics creators that became the 2012 book Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics.

A comics creator in his own right, Kushner experimented with, and wrote about, photocomics, and collaborated with numerous artists on his semi-autobiographic Schmuck, originally serialized on Trip City, and with George Folz on The Roman Nose. He debuted the anthology Secret Sauce just last month.

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Store Tour | Downtown Comics in St. John’s, Newfoundland

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Welcome to Store Tour, ROBOT 6’s weekly exploration of comics shops, and the people who run them; think of it as the retailer version of Shelf Porn. Each Sunday we feature a different store, and also get to know the person behind the register.

To discover a comic store in your area, visit FindAComicShop.com

This week’s stop has the distinction of being the easternmost comics shop in North America, Downtown Comics, located at 141 Duckworth St. in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. We spoke with owner Jason Conway.

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Shelf Porn | Bring on the robots!

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Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, your weekly trip into one fan’s shelves. Today Joe from Schaumburg, Illinois shows us his collection of robots, from Mobile Suit Gundam to Zoids to good old Robocop, among many others.

If you’d like to share your collection, you can find details on submitting it at the end of this post.

And now here’s Joe …

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