Current Transmissions

DC unveils an interactive version of its Multiverse map

dc multiverse

Although fans were already treated to a new map of the DC Multiverse during Comic-Con International, DC Comics has gone a step further, unveiling an interactive version on its blog.

On the eve of the launch of The Multiversity, the nine-issue miniseries by Grant Morrison, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Chris Prouse, Karl Story, Ben Oliver and Frank Quitely, the information is kind of slim: You can hover your cursor over just three Earths — Earh-0, Earth-8 and Earth-23 — to get details, but DC states, “New Earths are being revealed frequently so visit often.”

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‘Doomed!’ goes behind the scenes of Corman’s ‘Fantastic Four’

doomed

As comics fans continue to grumble about casting and rumored plot details, and predict box-office doom for director Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four, filmmaker Marty Langford takes us back 20 years with a sneak peek at his documentary Doomed! The Untold Story of Roger Corman’s The Fantastic Four.

Even if you haven’t picked up a DVD bootleg at a convention, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the legend of the 1994 film, shot over 28 days for a meager $1 million so producer Bernd Eichinger could retain the film rights to the Marvel Comics property. Featuring low production values and high levels of camp, The Fantastic Four was never released in theaters, and many — including Stan Lee — have long contended it was never intended for distribution. However, Eichinger, Corman and others involved tell a different story.

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At halfway point, bidding for ‘Action Comics’ #1 hits $1.95 million

action1Halfway through the 10-day eBay auction, bidding for the finest known copy of Action Comics #1 has surpassed $1.95 million dollars.

Owned by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, it’s just one of two copies of Superman’s first appearance to receive a 9.0 rating from the Certified Guaranty Company. The other, previously owned by actor Nicolas Cage, sold at auction in 2011 for a record $2.16 million. The difference between the two is that the Cage issue had “cream to off-white pages,” while Adams’ copy is considered to be in pristine condition.

Bidding has slowed considerably as the price inches higher: The comic jumped from a starting price of 99 cents to more than $1.6 million in the auction’s first day. Still, already this morning the price has moved from $1.8 million to a little more than $1.95 million. It appears just nine people have participated in the auction, for a total of 27 bids.

The auction continues through Aug. 24, with a portion of the proceeds going to benefit the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, dedicated to curing spinal cord injury. Adams, who acquired the comic several years ago, is only its fourth owner. He said he recently turned down an offer of $3 million, deciding instead to sell the book on eBay.

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Comics A.M. | Man accused in Tokyo store theft turns himself in

"Tetsujin-28 go" figure

“Tetsujin-28 go” figure

Crime | Kazutoshi Iwama, the 50-year-old man accused of shoplifting a Tetsujin-28 go figure worth more than $2,400 from a Mandarake store in Tokyo, has turned himself in to police. The theft became a matter of high public interest when Mandarake posted a security-camera photo of the man, with his face pixelated, and threatened to show his face if he didn’t return the figure by Aug. 12. The stunt attracted scores of journalists to the store, but Iwama reportedly told police he wasn’t aware of the threat until after he sold the figure to a secondhand store … for about $623. [Anime News Network, The Japan Times]

Publishing | Alex Segura, senior vice president of publicity and marketing for Archie Comics and editor of the newly renamed Dark Circle superhero line, talks about where the comics are coming from, what to expect — and his new dual role at Archie: “Usually, I’m the PR guy collecting the information from editorial and deciding how to announce it. Now, I was the editor getting the details together for the PR guy to announce and basically having conversations with myself. I’m exaggerating slightly.” [13th Dimension]

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Talking Comics with Tim | Jesse Jacobs on ‘Safari Honeymoon’

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It is fair to say a newlywed couple experiences a honeymoon like no other, on myriad life-changing levels, in writer/artist Jesse Jacobs‘ new Koyama Press book Safari Honeymoon — and jungle madness is only the beginning of what transpires. Jacobs’ art belies any description that accurately conveys the complexity and intoxicating absurdity of his work.

In this interview, I gain insight into his creative approach, among other areas of interest.

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‘Thunderpaw’: Always keep moving

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 12.30.24 AM

Thunderpaw: In the Ashes of Fire Mountain is a comic that literally cannot stop moving. Jen, the comic’s creator, has constructed a series of panels made out of looping animated images. The entire comic, in fact, is a study on the various creative ways the often-dismissed animation technique can be used to enhance traditional sequential art.

I mean, just look at all the stuff that Jen throws us in the second page. We begin with the unsettling image of twitchy eyes, with pupils rolling and getting bigger and smaller. Then we have an image of a lightning storm. The sky lights up, and the mountain itself glows then the lightning strikes. Then we get a scene where a flock of birds dive across the sky. Although each image is replayed in a short loop, each panel elicits slightly different reactions: unease, awe, dread.

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Stanford biologist explores science of Captain America, Hulk

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As much as I enjoyed my well-worn copies of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, the often-strained pseudoscientific explanations for superhuman abilities sure could sap the fun of out comics. For instance, the Hulk wasn’t simply (!) a gamma-irradiated man who turned big, green and strong when he got angry — if I remember correctly, his additional mass came from another dimension. In an amusing contrast, the “Powers & Abilities” section of a Handbook entry could go on for paragraphs, even pages, while in Who’s Who in the DC Universe, it might only rate a sentence or two.

Stanford researcher Sebastian Alvarado manages to find a nice middle ground in a pair of videos exploring the science behind Captain America and the Incredible Hulk. There’s no mention of other dimensions or unstable molecules here, but there are some big, and impressive-sounding words — such us epigenetic modification, which Alvarado theorizes might be behind Bruce Banner’s transformations.

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‘Agents of the Realm’: She is the one named Sailor Norah

Screenshot 2014-08-17 19.23.26The Americanization of Japanese properties isn’t a new thing — in fact, it’s a time-honored tradition. Ever since Raymond Burr was inserted into the original Godzilla, there’s a history of cultural sharing on both sides of the Pacific.

Perhaps someone’s mixing the Japanese series Super Sentai to form a popular new show about teenagers with attitude on American shores. Or maybe there’s a North American company somewhere that used the familiar visuals of cyberpunk anime like Ghost in the Shell for its third-person action game. The style and high-octane action of anime and manga are alluring. However, few created in the Western world manage to gain any traction … although that never stops the passionate fans from trying to recapture the magic with their own works.

Mildred Louis’ Agents of the Realm doesn’t, at a glance, look like it was inspired by manga. Her style bears more similarity to the Hernandez brothers than to the dewy-eyed teens who populate most shoujo titles. The characters don’t look like elegant models, but rather like harried, exhausted college students. Also, none seems Caucasian. Our main character, Norah Tanner, is of African heritage, and a role call of the class reveals that most everyone, aside from some vaguely drawn background characters, is non-white. That’s not only a departure for the magical girl subgenre, but for comics in general.

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Dustin Harbin will draw anyone (once) for $50

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If you’re looking for some original art, artist Dustin Harbin has a deal for you: He’ll draw a portrait of any real or fictional person, “as long as they are moderately famous and/or universally recognizable,” for $50.

The catch? He’ll only draw each person once, “so if there’s someone you’re really into, act fast. The only exception to this is if it’s a sufficiently separate instance of that person: i.e young Bill Murray versus older Bill Murray, or Han Solo in his winter gear in Empire Strikes Back, versus his vest-style outfit in Star Wars.”

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Nominees announced for 2014 Ignatz Awards

katherine whaleyThe nominees have been announced for the 2014 Ignatz Awards, which will be presented Sept. 13 during the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland.

Named in honor of the brick-wielding mouse in George Herriman’s Krazy Kat strip, the awards recognize achievement in comics and cartooning. Nominees are selected by a panel of five cartoonists — this year it was Darryl Ayo, Austin English, Melissa Mendes, Thien Pham and Whit Taylor — and then voted on by SPX attendees.

The nominees are:

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Making zucchini bread, the Becky Cloonan way

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In addition to writing the upcoming Gotham Academy and publishing her own books like Demeter and Wolves, Becky Cloonan also makes a killer zucchini bread, according to comic book foodie C.B. Cebulski.

“Usually when I go out with award-winning writer/artist Becky Cloonan, our conversation tends to focus on comics. But when we sat down over oysters and cocktails up at Boston Comic Con this past weekend, she turned to me and asked, ‘Hey, do you like zucchini bread?’, which she followed up by pulling foil-wrapped loaves out of her bag,” Cebulski wrote on his food blog. “Having just moved back to New Hampshire, Becky has a garden that’s giving her a bounty of summer squash she can’t eat all by herself. So she baked up a bunch of bread for her friends at the show.”

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Randall Munroe’s ‘Time’ wins Hugo Award

xkcd

Randall Munroe’s xkcd epic “Time” won the 2014 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story, presented Sunday in London as part of Loncon 3, the 72nd World Science Fiction Convention.

Presented annually since 1955 by the World Science Fiction Society, the Hugo is among science fiction’s most prestigious awards.

Author Cory Doctorow accepted on the award on Munroe’s behalf, and donned a cape and goggles at the cartoonist’s request. According to io9.com, Munroe’s speech indicated he’d asked Doctorow to read it as one word per hour, reflecting the pace of the animated comic, which updated initially ever half-hour and then every hour over the course of 123 days. (The story has its own Wikipedia entry.)

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Comics A.M. | Customers rally around store after burglary

Kingdom Comics

Kingdom Comics

Crime | The comics community of Kirkcaldy, Scotland, just north of Edinburgh, has rallied around a local comics shop after thieves broke in two weeks ago and stole cash, a computer, a two-and-a-half-foot-tall Darth Vader figure and a copy of New Mutants #98 (the first appearance of Deadpool), with a total value of more than £500 (about $835 U.S.). It could have been worse: The thieves left some comics boxed up, ready to go, but apparently they were interrupted. But you won’t believe what happened next: Kingdom Comics owner Andrew Magee says customers donated their own comics and DVDs to help rebuild his stock, and a number of local artists have donated art to be auctioned off to help the store. [The Courier]

Creators | Bryan Lee O’Malley discusses his new graphic novel Seconds, and how it reflects where he is in his life. [BoingBoing]

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For Gail Simone, an ending and (sort of) a beginning

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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.]

Gail Simone brought to a close her tenure as Batgirl writer and helped kick off the digital-first Sensation Comics Featuring Wonder Woman series this week. Both issues were well within her comfort zone, featuring large casts of characters locked in spirited combat a la Wonder Woman #600 and Secret Six #36. Both had callbacks to previous Simone successes, one of which pleased this longtime fan immeasurably. (No spoilers, but let’s just say she’s a Bird of Prey I didn’t think I’d see in the New 52.) Perhaps most importantly, both showed their headliners fully in control of their respective situations. For Batgirl that came at the end of a long, somewhat depressing series of subplots, and in Sensation it was a well-executed rebuttal to anyone who thinks Wonder Woman can’t be as hardcore as her gothic-avenger colleague.

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Cunningham delivers a message of hope after unexpected tragedy

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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 unexpected death of Robin Williams was shocking enough, but the news that it was suicide was a punch to the gut.

For better or for worse (and it can work both ways), we look for redemption in tragedies. As soon as the news got out, people started sharing information about suicide help lines on Twitter and Facebook, and as the week went on, many people used the moment to reflect publicly on their own struggles with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.

In that context, I really appreciated “You Might as Well Live,” the little cartoon Darryl Cunningham posted this week: He depicts a man who realizes, in the split second after jumping off a bridge, that he has made a terrible mistake: “All the actions he had taken in his life were fixable, he realised, except for the action he’d just taken.”

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