Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6’s guide to the week ahead. Below you’ll find a roundup for Marvel’s announcements from South by Southwest, our contributors’ picks of the comics of the week, and the top events to watch for in the next seven days.
Legal | A federal judge on Friday denied DC Comics’ bid for sanctions against the attorney for the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, finding that Marc Toberoff made “no deliberate attempt to mislead” during the discovery process and, perhaps more importantly, did not interfere with the publisher’s rights to the Man of Steel when he allegedly inserted himself into settlement talks in 2001. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Legal | Stan Lee will be deposed this week by lawyers representing Stan Lee Media in its multi-billion-dollar lawsuit against Disney involving the rights to the characters the legendary writer co-created for Marvel. Stan Lee Media, which no longer has ties to its namesake, claims Disney as infringed on the copyrights Iron Man, the Avengers, X-Men and other heroes since 2009, when it purchased Marvel. The long, tortured dispute dates back to a sequence of events that occurred between August 1998, when Marvel used its bankruptcy proceedings to terminate Lee’s lifetime contract, and November 1998, when Lee entered into a new agreement with the House of Ideas and signed over his likeness, and any claims to the characters. Stan Lee Media has long claimed that on Oct. 15, 1998, Lee transferred to that company the rights to his creations and his likeness. SLM asserts in the latest lawsuit that neither Marvel nor Disney, which bought the comic company in 2009, has ever registered Lee’s November 1998 agreement with the U.S. Copyright Office. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Earlier today Marvel announced at their South by Southwest panel that they would offer more than 700 first issues for free via their comiXology-powered apps on various mobile devices and via their web store. It’s a limited time offer, as the free comics popped up on the comiXology app shortly after the panel ended with plans to only be available through 11 p.m. Eastern on Tuesday, March 12.
In related news, earlier today the comiXology servers crashed. In between messages about the closing party they’re hosting at SXSW, comiXology has taken to Twitter to keep people aware that they’re working on the issue and, it appears, try to lighten the mood somewhat:
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at all the comics and other stuff we’ve been reading lately. Our special guests today are Brendan Tobin and Pedro Delgado, who run the March MODOK Madness site. And with this being March, the madness is in full swing, so head over there to check out a lot of fun art featuring everyone’s favorite big-headed villain.
To see what Brendan, Pedro and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, where fans share their collections with us. Today’s shelves come from Tom, who shows us his home office and his action figures, trades, toys and more.
To find out how to submit your own collection, click here.
And now let’s hear from Tom …
Comics shops are like any other retail establishments, I guess, in that there are good ones and bad ones. The difference between comics shops and coffee shops, though, is that people seldom accuse coffee shops of being unwelcoming to women. The food may be bad, but everyone’s money is the same color to them.
Comics shops, on the other hand, have developed a reputation for being uncomfortable places for anyone who isn’t a straight white male. I used to live down the street from a place like that, and I quit shopping there because of it—but that was in 1986.
That’s why I have mixed feelings about the Tumblr Safe Spaces for Comics Fans. On the one hand, I think it’s great to have a place for people to recommend (or warn against) particular shops. On the other hand, just by its very existence, it perpetuates the notion of comics shops as unfriendly to women, gay people, and people of color, and I’m not so sure that stereotype is true any more. Are there bad stores? Yes there are, but if you look at the blog, most of the comments are positive, with people giving shout-outs to local comics shops that treat them well. I think—I want to think—that this reflects reality. I want to think that the default is a friendly comics shop with good customer service for all its customers, and that places like this are the exception. The problem is that the bad places are more visible—that photo in the link has been reTweeted and reblogged all over the place—while the good places get taken for granted. So I guess in the end I am glad that the Safe Spaces Tumblr exists, if only as a place to recognize the retailers who get it right.
Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.
Our special guest today is Ryan Stegman, artist of Superior Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider, Fantastic Four, She-Hulks and more.
Now let’s get to it …
It’s been almost two years since Avengers 12.1, an issue where Tony Stark warned that Ultron comes back smarter each time he’s reborn. Well, Hank Pym’s robotic “son” is back again, and apparently smart enough to take over New York City and transform it into a dystopian dictatorship. The first issue arrived on Wednesday, written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Bryan Hitch, Paul Neary and Paul Mounts, the same creative team who created that 12.1 issue — and the same writer who teased it in an issue of Avengers back in 2010.
So was it worth the wait? Here are a few opinions from the web who thought so or thought no, as the case may be:
In “By the Numbers,” ROBOT 6 takes a look back at the events of the past five days … in numbers. Our starting point this week is Wednesday’s announcement that retailers ordered a record-breaking number of comics for Free Comic Book Day, an international event that will draw millions of customers into specialty shops on May 4.
However, there was another figure that’s almost as impressive: the print run for the latest volume of the hit manga One Piece.
FF artist Michael Allred and colorist Laura Allred returned this morning from a trip to Arizona to find their home near Eugene, Oregon, burglarized.
“Just home from Arizona to met by cops,” Michael Allred wrote this afternoon on Twitter. “Our house has been broken into. Trashed. Computers gone. Monitors. And won’t know what else […] Appreciate all concerned. Teary eyes held high. Only tweeted this cuz won’t have access to emails for a while. Yay 21st Century!”
“Good will & happy thoughts are all we need,” he continued. “Main concern is getting next issues of FF in on time. Good timing with @Joe_Quinones guesting. It’s just stuff, right?”
The Allreds’ lakeside home was featured in 2007 as part of Comic Book Resources’ “Studio Tours” series.
Marvel’s turning over a new leaf, so to speak, as it enters the Marvel NOW! era. But in that amid the flurry of new titles, new line-ups and new creators, we’re finding some notable absences — notable to us at least. While some missed heroes like Luke Cage, Iron Fist and Mockingbird have popped up in cameos here and there, there are still a significant number of popular players waiting to be brought onto the field. In this installment of “Six by 6,” we suss out six such characters and zero in on their last whereabouts, and where some of them might show up next.
Comics are more than just drawing pretty pictures and great muscled physiques. They’re about telling a story, through sequences of images but also through the image itself. And British artist Rian Hughes has spent years figuring out how to tell a story, in sequential art as well as in standalone images, package designs and even fonts.
After bursting onto the comics scene as an artist in Escape and 2000AD, Hughes expanded his skills to become a designer and illustrator for comics in England, Europe and the United States. He went on to design a number of logos and mastheads for DC Comics, Marvel and Valiant, and his work on Wildcats 3.0 and Invincible Iron Man proved to be high-water marks for comic book covers. Image and Knockabout Books recently began reprinting some of Hughes’ early comics work, and this summer will see the release of an artbook chronicling his portraits taken from London’s underworld burlesque scene.
For this week’s “Conversing on Comics,” I spoke with Hughes about his forthcoming art book and other upcoming projects, and received a look at his past work, including a never-before-seen set of designs he created for Invincible Iron Man.
Robert Kirkman appeared last night on TBS’s Conan to discuss all things Walking Dead, from his wife’s distaste for his zombie franchise to rejected merchandising opportunities — perfume! energy drinks! — to host Conan O’Brien’s nitpicks, including why there are no undead animals.
“The honest answer to that is, The Walking Dead is based on a comic book,” Kirkman replied, “the artist that draws the comic book, Charlie Adlard, loves drawing people, loves drawing zombies, does not enjoy drawing animals so much.”
Watch the clips below.
“… I got back into comics because of stereotypes. I think there was some big controversy in some convention — I wasn’t in the industry because I was off doing other things — about how there were no women in comics, and then I got a call, ‘We need women in comics.’ So if I got back into the industry because I’m a token female, I say great! I’m all in! […] They put me on Green Arrow, and I have to admit, I just didn’t get Green Arrow. I struggled with him. He was a rich playboy in an armored suit who was young. I liked the old Green Arrow, the wise guy who was stealthy and a social crusader — Denny O’Neil’s Green Arrow. This was a different Green Arrow and I didn’t connect with him. Now, doing Katana and Catwoman, I have no idea if there was a meeting where someone said, ‘Let’s give the girl writer the girl books,’ but I instantly related to those characters! It’s fun to write girls.”
– veteran writer and editor Ann Nocenti, discussing her recent return to comics in a fascinating conversation with Louise Simonson at Comic Book Resources that touches up their careers at Marvel, creations like Longshot and Power Pack, attitudes toward female creators in the ’80s, and much more
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly about her early involvement with comiXology Submit, the new digital comics platform for independent creators, Becky Cloonan finally reveals details about her new minicomic Demeter, which she teased in January.
“It’s a short story, about 27 pages,” she tells the website. “I can’t say too much about it without giving away the huge spoiler at the end. It has a little bit to do with the Greek myth of Demeter, the god of the harvest. It follows a fisherman’s wife as she kind of waits for her husband to return from sea. She tends to the crops and the animals. While she’s doing this, things start to bubble to the surface.”
Cloonan’s previous two minicomics, Wolves and The Mire, are now available from comiXology.