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Comics A.M. | ‘The 99′ creator questions reports of Saudi ban

The 99

The 99

Legal | The creator of the Islamic superhero comic The 99 says he hasn’t been officially notified of a reported ban of the animated adaptation of his comic in Saudi Arabia. “Nobody ever contacted me, nobody ever asked me any questions,” Naif Al Mutawa says. There have been numerous Twitter campaigns against me for a while now and so for me it’s not new. Maybe it is true this time, but I find it very difficult to believe that a group as influential and high profile as them [Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta] wouldn’t recognize the good that The 99 has done for Muslims around the world.” He adds that the comic has been available in Saudi Arabia for seven years, while the cartoon has been airing for two and a half years, making the timing of a ban “a bit weird.” [Gulf Business]

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Silvestri and McFarlane offer peek at cover process

silvestri-mcfarlane-cover

On his Facebook page, Marc Silvestri pulls back the curtain on his collaboration with Todd McFarlane on a cover for an unidentified Robert Kirkman comic. It’s a work in progress, with McFarlane inking over Silvestri’s loose pencils — and providing a bit of commentary about the role of the inker and how this collaboration came about.

“Robert was able to convince Marc Silvestri to pencil the cover and since I happen to be on the phone with him when he mentioned he was doing this cover, I offered to ink it for him,” McFarlane explains. “I also told Marc to ‘loosen up on your pencils, I’ll do some of the artistic lifting on the page.’ So, what you have is a female character riding a giant insect creature as they battle in the sky.”

There’s more at the link.

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Erratic driving, meth prove to be this Superman’s Kryptonite

superman-reevesHe may have thought he could leap tall buildings in a single bound, but it was driving that spelled doomsday for Utah’s Man of Steel. Well, that and a stash of meth “about the size of a baseball.”

The Davis Clipper reports a Davis County deputy stopped 33-year-old Christopher Reeves around 3 a.m. Tuesday after he was spotted weaving in and out of traffic in his Chevrolet HHR at speeds exceeding 80 miles per hour. That’s Reeves pictured at right, wearing the Superman T-shirt.

Yes, both the sheriff’s office and local media gleefully recognize the similarities between the suspect’s name and that of the late Superman actor Christopher Reeve. The Clipper used a “faster than a speeding bullet” reference, while Fox 13 went with, “He won’t be kneeling before Zod, but he will have to stand before a judge” (I’m pretty sure Fox 13 wins). Davis County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Sgt. Susan Poulsen acknowledged the T-shirt might not have been “a wise fashion choice” — but as we’re about to learn, wise choices may not be part of Reeves’ repertoire.

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Kanigher, Mantlo and Mendelsohn to receive Bill Finger Award

finger-recipients

Robert Kanigher, Bill Mantlo and Jack Mendelsohn have been named the recipients of the 2014 Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Writing, named in honor of the uncredited co-creator of Batman.

Although the committee typically selects one posthumous and one living honoree, this year it voted to recognize two living creators, Mantlo and Mendelsohn.

“This year, the judges couldn’t decide between two living recipients so one said, ‘Why don’t we just give it to both of them?’ And we decided to give it to both of them,” committee chair Mark Evanier explained in a statement. “They’re two men who deserve the honor and we figured, why make one of them wait until next year, especially in light of the fact that Bill Finger would have turned 100 this year? And as for our posthumous recipient, Robert Kanigher, that one’s long overdue.”

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Yen Press becomes digital distributor for Square Enix manga

Square Enix banner

Yen Press unveiled its digital distribution plans for Square Enix manga on Monday — and while the implementation is news, the basic concept isn’t; Yen announced at New York Comic Con 2012 that it would be the exclusive worldwide digital distributor for Square Enix. The digital manga model has shifted quite a bit since then, though, and what was announced yesterday was a bit different from what one would have expected a year and a half ago.

Here’s how it will work: Full volumes will be sold as e-books through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google and Kobo, while individual chapters (some being published simultaneously with their release in Japan) will be available through those platforms and via the Yen Press iOS app, which is limited to North America, according to Kurt Hassler, Yen Press’ vice president and publishing director. “The Yen Plus magazine, our previous ‘streaming’ service, was closed following the December issue of the magazine to pave the way for individual chapter availability by virtue of these various platforms,” he said in an email to ROBOT 6.

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Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon filling up quickly [Updated]

avengers half-marathon

Registration opened this morning for runDisney’s inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend, and it’s nearly sold out already. You’d almost think this was Comic-Con International.

Announced last month, the Nov. 14-16 event brings runners to Disneyland in Anaheim, California, for kids races, a 5K, a half marathon, a pre-race pasta party featuring the Marvel characters and a merchandise expo. It marks the first such collaboration since Disney acquired Marvel in 2009.

At the time of this post, the kids races and Avengers 5K were sold out, with the Avengers Half Marathon at 98 percent; there’s still a little room at the pasta party, however.

Update (11:25 a.m.): And just like that, the Avengers Half Marathon is sold out.

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Brian Michael Bendis promotes Free Comic Book Day

fcbd-bendis

Brian Michael Bendis adds his voice to the chorus with a promotional video for Free Comic Book Day that emphasizes supporting local retailers. Stan Lee’s video made the rounds last week.

Set for Saturday, May 3, Free Comic Book Day 2014 boasts 60 titles, ranging from the Bongo Free-For-All and The Smurfs to Guardians of the Galaxy and the 2000AD Special.

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‘Walking Dead’ tribute beer is made with (gulp) actual brains

dock street brewing coConsidering we established long ago that Soylent Green is — spoilers! — people, it should come as no real surprise that a new Walking Dead tribute beer contains brains, right? Goat brains, to specific.

All right, maybe it’s a little surprising.

On Sunday, Dock Street Brewing Co. in Philadelphia will debut Dock Street Walker, an American Pale Stout brewed with wheat, oats, flaked barley, organic cranberry and — wait for it, wait for it — smoked goat brains.

“In true walker fashion, don’t be surprised if its head doesn’t hang around forever,” the microbrewery jokes.

“Gourmet mushrooms and potentially hallucinogenic herbs are one thing, but smoked brains … really?” the Dock Street website reads. “Believe it or not, much of the world considers brain to be a true delicacy. Think Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but not ridiculous. Many also believe that using every part of the animal not only increases and encourages sustainability, but also honors the animal’s life and death.”

The beer’s unveiling on Sunday coincides with the season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

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Disney demands an end to Stan Lee Media ‘frolic’

disney-marvel-logoFrustrated by what it calls Stan Lee Media Inc.’s “vexatious litigation,” Disney asked a federal judge on Friday to “end this SLMI-financed frolic and detour once and for all.”

Filed in federal court in Philadelphia, and first reported by Deadline, Disney’s reply is the latest volley in what began last summer as a relatively straightforward lawsuit against the Lancaster, Pennsylvania-based American Music Theatre, which was accused of using unlicensed elements from Spider-Man, Mary Poppins and The Lion King.

However, as the media giant’s attorneys later noted, that “simple case” was “transmogrified” with the surprising assertion that the theater had licensed Spider-Man … from Stan Lee Media, which was named in a third-party counterclaim (it should be noted the license was obtained after Disney filed suit).

The failed dot-com, which hasn’t been connected to its co-founder and namesake in more than a decade, in turn sued Disney on Feb. 7, seeking a jury trial regarding ownership of Spider-Man, and, presumably, other characters co-created by Stan Lee. Disney responded with a motion to dismiss, which was of course opposed by SLMI; the company maintains none of the previous court cases has directly addressed ownership of the characters.

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Comics A.M. | Emerald City, and the future of ‘geek culture’

Emerald City Comicon

Emerald City Comicon

Conventions | Rob Salkowitz, who wrote a book about Comic-Con International, looks forward to this weekend’s sold-out Emerald City Comicon, and explains why it represents the convention of the future: “One reason ECCC is such an ideal place to talk about the future of comics is because the show itself looks like the future of comics–at least the one that I call ‘The Expanding Multiverse.’ Supportive of creators and celebrities alike, embracing the broadest conception of styles and subjects from indie work to mainstream superheroes, self-consciously diverse and inclusive in its conception of fandom, ECCC and shows like it represent a sustainable path forward for geek culture in an age of super-saturation and sensory overload.” Salkowitz will be a participant, not just a fan: He has developed a programming track on comics and digital culture that will feature a number of people (IDW’s Ted Adams, Monkeybrain’s Alison Baker) giving short presentations, similar to the format and spirit of TED Talks. [ICv2]

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Talking Comics with Tim | Garry Brown on ‘Iron Patriot’

Iron-Patriot-1crop

If you’re not already aware of Garry Brown‘s art from Brian Wood’s The Massive, you’ll be introduced to his distinctively eye-catching work on Wednesday with the release of Marvel’s Iron Patriot #1 .

The five-issue miniseries finds Brown teaming with writer Ales Kot to craft the new adventures of former Secret Avenger Jim Rhodes (while it is currently a miniseries, as noted in this late January tweet by Kot: ” … there is room for more if the series does well. We might just extend if so”). Given that Brown is a 2010 graduate of The Kubert School, I took the opportunity in this brief interview to also discuss that experience and its impact on him.

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Garfield gets his own fashion line, likely still hates Mondays

garfield1

Jim Davis’ lasagna-loving, Monday-hating feline will be moving in different circles next month with the arrival of Lazy Loaf + Garfield, the summer collection from the London label known for its bold prints and recent Looney Tunes line.

“For the collection, I wanted to introduce a nostalgic fashion silhouette that referenced some of the things I would have worn when I first discovered Garfield,” Lazy Oaf founder Gemma Shiel tells Cool Hunting. “Like, I would have loved to have worn the Garfield bodysuit with green spandex stirrup leggings for dance class when I was a child.”

The collection includes the Cats Can Swim Swimming Costume (above), Cat Nip Crop Top, Cool Cat Slob T-shirts and the unisex Sweaty Garfield Sweatshirt. Launching April 24, the line will be available on the Lazy Oaf website, at its flagship store and at select outlets.

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Honda unveils anime-inspired, Batman-esque new bike

vultus5

It’s not exactly Kaneda’s iconic ride, but Honda has drawn upon the likes of Akira for its new bike, the NM4 Vultus. The company acknowledges as much in its press release, describing the motorcycle as “a ground-breaking machine inspired by futuristic machines seen in the anime and manga television and film styles, known collectively as ‘Japanimation.'”

Let’s just ignore that “manga television” bit and marvel at not only the design — at least two websites make Batman references — but the wording of the press release, which uses phrases like “future-shock style,” “stealth bomber silhouette” and “brooding menace.” However, the word motorcycle never appears …

While the Vultus may indeed be mistaken for the Dark Knight’s new wheels (particularly if the rider is wearing this Bat-eared helmet), don’t think it’s a concept bike; Honda promises it’ll actually be in showrooms.

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Forget Romulan ale, there’s now official Klingon beer

klingon-beer-cropped

In a move that will undoubtedly lead to many head-splitting verses Klingon drinking songs at Star Trek conventions around the globe, CBS Consumer Products and the Federation of Beer have announced Klingon Warnog branded beer.

It’s the second official Star Trek beer, but the first to arrive in the United States; Vulcan Ale debuted last year, but it’s still only available in Canada.

Brewed by Tin Man Brewing Company in Evansville, Indiana, Klingon Warnog is a handcrafted Roggen Dunkel, “a bold beer suited for the harsh Klingon lifestyle.”

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Marvel and Wizard World debut ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ #1 variant

asm1-wizard-world-cropped

Marvel and Wizard World have debuted John Tyler Christopher‘s exclusive variant cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #1, available for free to VIP attendees of the May 30-June Wizard World Atlanta.

Limited to 3,000 copies, the color version will be provided free at registration to those with VIP packages. As at previous shows, the black-and-white sketch variant will presumably be available for purchase at the Wizard World Store on the exhibition floor.

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