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Shia LaBeouf’s website ‘about’ page was also copied

From Shia LaBeouf's Campaign Book website

From Shia LaBeouf’s Campaign Book website

If the past few days of Shia LaBeouf-related news weren’t puzzling enough, here’s more: Following the revelation that his short film HowardCantour.com was nearly wholly lifted without credit or permission from Daniel Clowes’ comic Justin M. Damiano, the subsequent discovery that his multiple apologies were copied from sources ranging from Yahoo! Answers to Kanye West, it appears the text of the “About” page of LaBeouf’s Campaign Book website was directly ripped from the description of Dan Nadel’s soon-to-close PictureBox — something noted by Nadel himself on The Comics Journal.

The Campaign Book:

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‘Harley Quinn’ #1: Introducing DC’s answer to Deadpool?

harley quinn #1 coverIt’s been about 10 years since the first ongoing series of popular Batman: The Animated Series export Harley Quinn published its 38th and final issue, so she was due — if not overdue — for another shot, particularly given that DC Comics’ current strategy means publishing a certain number of books each month, and the market seems to be rejecting a lot of those. Looked at in that light, then, this week’s Harley Quinn #1 was something of an inevitability.

The character certainly hasn’t been idle all that time, of course: She was a frequent presence in the Bat-books, shared the 2009-2011 Gotham City Sirens with Catwoman and Poison Ivy, briefly joined the Gail Siomone-written Secret Six and, with the New 52 reboot, she received a new origin story and costume in the pages of Suicide Squad. And, of course, she appeared at least briefly in various Batman cartoons during that time, as well as in the extremely popular Batman: Arkham video games and the more recent Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Certainly the character is popular, and while different fans probably like her for different reasons, the important factors seem to be that 1.) she’s a lady, 2.) she’s a sexy lady, and 3.) she offers the same sense of anarchy and dark humor as her sometimes-boyfriend The Joker, but without the depravity. More often than not — particularly in the comics and cartoons — she’s as much antihero as villain, a safer alternative to The Joker, whose evil serial killer portrayal is no so deeply embedded into the character that it can be difficult for creators to walk him back toward any more lighthearted portrayals.

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Fraction, Zdarsky get meta with ‘Sex Criminals’ #1 fourth printing

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Normally, photo covers are pretty boring and easy to pass by, but Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Olan Mills-style portrait for the fourth printing Sex Criminals #1  is … well, indescribably awesome. Unveiled this morning by Image Comics, the cover features Fraction with his hands on Zdarsky’s shoulders while the latter cradles first-printing copy of Sex Criminals #1. The entire image is delightfully awkward, with both gazing vacantly into the distance.

And then there’s the timely blurb at the top, which references Fraction’s recent amicable departure from Marvel’s upcoming series Inhuman.

While I won’t go so far to say it’s the first time creators’ photos have been used for cover, it’s certainly a rare occurrence, and undoubtedly one of the most creative uses of a multiple-printing variant. Also, it should absolutely become tradition that any fourth printing of a comic breaks the fourth wall.

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Columbia University library acquires Kitchen Sink Press archives

kitchen sink press archivesColumbia University Libraries’  Rare Book & Manuscript Library has acquired the archives of Kitchen Sink Press, comprised of more than 50,000 letters, plus 30 years’ worth of draft artwork and published and unpublished story ideas.

Operating from 1969 to 1999, Kitchen Sink Press published the work of cartoonists ranging from Al Capp and Will Eisner to Trina Robbins and Art Spiegelman. According to the library, publisher Denis Kitchen meticulously date-stamped virtually every letter he received, kept the envelope and even attached a copy of his own response.

“Apparently I am a natural-born archivist,” Kitchen said in a statement. “I will miss the rows of file cabinets full of handwritten letters, illustrated letters, and even letters that came out of devices called typewriters, all created before the digital age made traditional correspondence all but obsolete, but I hope they provide scholars with insights into the development of underground comix and the work of the multiple generations of creators I had the distinct pleasure of working with.”

The Rare Book & Manuscript Library, under the stewardship of Robin Green, earlier this year acquired the archives of Al Jaffee and ElfQuest creators Wendy and Richard Pini.

Comics A.M. | Comiket stretching limits of Tokyo Big Sight

Comiket 85 catalog

Comiket 85 catalog

Conventions | This Japan Times article about Comiket provides a fascinating look behind the scenes of the dojinshi (self-published manga) fair, which each August and December new draws between 560,000 to 590,000 visitors to Tokyo Big Sight. However, even that massive convention center is becoming too small for the event; of the 51,000 booth applications for August’s Comiket 84, only 35,000 were granted because of space limitations. Incredibly, the organizing Comic Market Committee has just eight full-time employees (but more than 3,000 volunteers). [The Japan Times]

Creators | MariNaomi discusses her experience of being sexually harassed by another creator while participating in a panel at a comics convention. That’s right, she was sexually harassed onstage. [xojane]

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‘Screw’ magazine founder Al Goldstein passes away

Illustration by Danny Hellman

Illustration by Danny Hellman

Legendary pornographer Al Goldstein, whose Screw magazine published the work of cartoonists ranging from Wally Wood and Robert Crumb to Art Spiegelman and Peter Bagge, passed away this morning in Brooklyn at age 77. Premature reports of his death had circulated earlier in the week.

His attorney Charles C. DeStefano told The New York Times the cause of death is believed to be renal failure.

Considered a pioneer in his industry — Screw debuted in 1968, six years before Larry Flynt’s better-known Hustler — the colorful, controversial agitator who was arrested 21 times on charges of indecency and described by New York magazine as “among the earliest of the First Amendment porno-warriors.”

Goldstein’s Screw folded in 2003 after 1,800 issues because, he said, “the Internet will give you all the porn you want” (the magazine was later relaunched by former employees).

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MarvelKids, Hello Kitty app violate children’s privacy law, group claims

marvelkidsAn online-privacy advocacy group has asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate MarvelKids.com and the Hello Kitty Carnival mobile app, which it insists fail to protect children’s personal information as required by federal law.

In twin complaints filed Wednesday, the Center for Digital Democracy claims neither Marvel nor Sanrio Digital “provides adequate notice or obtains verifiable parental consent prior to collecting, using, or disclosing personal information about its child users,” as mandated by the 14-year-old Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. The complaints are the first to be filed since the FTC implemented stricter rules in July.

Launched in January 2008, MarvelKids is a hub “designed to entertain and educate children” using the company’s kid-friendly comics, animated series and games. Visitors can watch episodes and clips from shows like Ultimate Spider-Man and Wolverine and the X-Men, read issues of titles like Marvel Adventures Spider-Man and assorted Power Pack team-ups, and play upward of 20 online games.

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Trying to be optimistic about a Sandman movie, but honestly …

Sandman1I have a confession to make: I had a complete geek tantrum over the news that Joseph Gordon-Levitt is finalizing a deal to produce, and possibly star in and direct, a feature adaptation of Neil Gaiman and company’s The Sandman. I actually blurted out, “Who asked for this?!” Quite loudly. In a well-populated room.

I’m not proud; I should be above such pettiness. In fact, I should be thrilled because we all know what this means: DC Comics’ recently remastered collections of The Sandman are going to get a nice sales boost from the movie promotion (see Watchmen, 300, Scott Pilgrim, Hellboy, et al).

That’s nothing but good news for the creators, retailers and DC. It’s also good news for a new generation of readers that will likely be introduced to the landmark Vertigo series. More people being exposed to such an excellent example of comics is great, and when it comes down to it, I just want comics to succeed. So my feelings should be put aside, and I should be trumpet the adaptation as good news. But …

I don’t wanna. I really don’t wanna.

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USA Today’s best graphic novels and collections of 2013

black beetle-v1USA Today’s writers-about-comics Brian Truitt, David Colton and John Geddes list the best graphic novels and collections of the year:

David Colton
Before Watchmen, by various (DC Comics)
Comics About Cartoonists, edited by Craig Yoe (IDW Publishing)
The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme, by Joe Sacco (W.W. Norton)
John Byrne’s Fantastic Four Artist’s Edition (IDW Publishing)
S.H.I.E.L.D. by Steranko: The Complete Collection (Marvel)

John Geddes
Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second Books)
The Black Beetle, Vol. 1: No Way Out, by Francesco Francavilla (Dark Horse)
Journey, by Aaron Becker (Candlewick Press)
Saga, Vol. 2, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
The Thrilling Adventure Hour, by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker (Archaia)

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David Lopez explores Christmas in Spain in annual comic series

lopez comic

Every year, incoming Captain Marvel artist David Lopez takes time out of his schedule to create a comic for the holidays. You won’t see these at Marvel or DC, but only on his website. This year’s installment, the 18th, is a four-page black-and-white comic that again stars Lopez’s own character Espiral, whom he created in the late 1990s. Take a read, but make sure to read Lopez’s introduction if you’re not acquainted with Spanish culture.

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A different kind of comic from Sweden’s PEOW! Studio

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There’s more than one kind of comic, and there’s more than one way to print it. And three Swedish artists have partnered as PEOW! Studio to publish their work, and that of others, using a Risograph. Launched in 2012, PEOW! Studio is a small press publisher, print shop and artist collective in Stockholm, releasing the works of founding artists Patrick Crotty, Elliot Alfredius and Olle Forsslöf, as well as that of others, through anthologies, art books, zines and prints. To date, its most popular release has been Jane Mai‘s Pond Smelt, a 32-page comic inspired by a popular social video game.

“Pond Smelt is based a bit on this video game called Animal Crossing, but it’s mostly about being an outsider and not fitting in, also friendship and love and stuff,” Forsslöf tells ROBOT 6. “It sounds a bit gloomy but it’s actually really cute and funny and if you’ve seen Jane Mai’s other stuff you know what to expect from it.”

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Travel Foreman reveals art from rejected ‘Doom Patrol’ pitch

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Travel Foreman posted these pieces to his blog overnight, explaining that he and Jeff Lemire were agitating for a Doom Patrol reboot around the time the artist left DC Comics’ Animal Man. He fleshes out the proposal’s premise, which was a ground-up reimagining of the concept, owing little to previous iterations of the characters.

“I’ve expressed my interest in doing the book to DC several times,” Foreman writes, noting that 2013 is the team’s 50th anniversary, “but it doesn’t seem to be something that’s ever going to happen.”

He offers a bit of detail about the pitch on his blog — there’s a catastrophe on a space station, with the lone “survivor” a Rover that developed into a sentient robot — and indicates he plans to develop the idea into his own Doom Patrol “simulacrum.”

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Denys Cowan’s original art lost during shipping

denys cowanTwenty-seven pieces of original art by Denys Cowan were lost in shipment earlier this month to “Milestones: African Americans in Comics Pop Culture & Beyond,” an exhibit at the Geppi Entertainment Museum in Baltimore.

Milestone co-founder Michael Davis, curator of the show, writes that when they handed off the box for delivery by UPS, it contained 28 pieces of art; when it arrived in Baltimore, it contained just one.

“Included were irreplaceable work from original Milestone concept drawings to Batman #400 pages other works from both before and after those career highlights,” Davis explains.  Now they’re gone, he writes, “Perhaps, forever.”

“The art was either stolen or ‘fell out,'” he concludes. “I’m sure it was stolen, someone opened the box, opened the plastic took the art except for one, resealed the box, badly and sent it along it’s merry way. I can’t say that for a fact because I was not there when it went missing. I also can’t say for fact slavery is bad as I’ve never been a slave but I’m pretty sure it is.”

The “Milestones” exhibit continues through April.

Comic store offers reward for return of stolen Flintstones car

flintstones mobile

Dave Downey in the Flintmobile

Sacramento retailer Dave Downey is offering a reward for the return of the latest addition to his store, World’s Best Comics and Toysa replica of the Flintstones’ car.

He tells Fox 40 the Flintmobile — a gift from a customer, who made it for a water parade — had been on display outside his Watt Avenue shop for just two weeks before it went missing over the weekend. Stealing the vehicle wouldn’t have been an easy task, either: It’s actually a 200-pound wooden raft with two metal 55-gallon drums instead of wheels; it’s meant to float, not roll.

“The perpetrators did not just get in and pedal away,” Downey says. “It is pretty terrible. How can you steal a Flintstones car?”

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Will plagiarism affect Shia LaBeouf’s planned BOOM! project? [Updated]

labeouf-campaign bookThe connection between actor Shia LaBeouf and the comics world predates Monday’s revelation that he appropriated — without credit, permission or the legal rights to do so — much of Daniel Clowes’ Justin M. Damiano for his short film HowardCantour.com. In 2012, he self-published a few comic books, which received mostly perplexed reviews.

It also appears that, at least at one point, LaBeouf planned to bring a release from his Campaign Book imprint to BOOM! Studios.

On Dec. 4, 2012, LaBeouf announced on his @thecampaignbook Twitter account that a book titled Hotah had picked up a “publishing partner,” BOOM! Studios. Accompanying the tweet was a piece of art (above) with the BOOM! Town logo — it’s the imprint that released Shannon Wheeler’s Eisner-winning collection I Thought You Would Be Funnier — with a version of the same image, logo intact, used as LaBeouf’s Twitter background.

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