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Breyfogle ‘Batman Beyond’ original cover up for bid to benefit artist

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To raise money to help in the recovery of Norm Breyfogle, who suffered a stroke last month, writer Adam Beechen is auctioning a piece of original cover art for Batman Beyond, signed by the veteran illustrator. Beechen and Breyfogle worked together on the digital-first DC Comics series.

The cover, featuring Batman and the Metal Men, was used for digital chapters 24-26 and printed in the 2014 collection “Batgirl Begins.” Beechen purchased the piece from Breyfogle.

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Marge and Bill Woggon named to Eisner Hall of Fame

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The Eisner Awards judges have selected Little Lulu creator Marjorie “Marge” Henderson Buell and Katy Keene creator Bill Woggon for automatic induction into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame.

Marge debuted the single-panel Little Lulu in 1935 in The Saturday Evening Post. She continued to write and draw the antics of the mischievous little girl until 1947, by which time Lulu was the story of a syndicated strip, comic books and animated shorts. Although Marge stopped drawing the comic, the retained creative control, finally selling Little Lulu to Western Publishing upon her retirement in 1971. She passed away in 1993 at age 88.

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Crunchyroll launches Originals line with ‘HYPERSONIC music club’

Page One - TeaseCrunchyroll, which rose to prominence as a streaming anime site and added digital manga last year, is launching a new line of original webcomics called Crunchyroll Originals, which will feature Japanese creators. The debut comic will be HYPERSONIC music club, a collaboration between writer Patrick Macias and artist Hiroyuki Takahashi. Here’s the pitch:

In the world of tomorrow… when technology has reached it limits… a group of young cyborgs must battle the extra-dimensional monster girls for final control of the enigmatic force known only as…The Mystery Frequency!

The free comic will be updated with two pages a month. There’s an interview with Takahashi at the Crunchyroll, and we asked Macias to talk a bit more about this comic and the Crunchyroll Originals line.

Robot 6: Will all the Crunchyroll Originals comics be collaborations between a Japanese and a non-Japanese creator, or is yours unique?

Patrick Macias: Right now, we have several projects in active development. Some of them are collaborations between Japan and U.S. staff, and others are coming purely from Japanese creators. The main thing is that we’re open to pretty much anything right now, including other formats besides webcomics, as long as it is a project that seems interesting and has creative potential.

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‘Kaijumax’ #1 gets kawaii with Bryan Lee O’Malley variant cover

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Oni Press has revealed Bryan Lee O’Malley’s variant cover for the first issue of Kaijumax, the comic by Zander Cannon (Heck) about an island prison for giant monsters.

The acclaimed creator of Scott Pilgrim and Seconds, O’Malley draws some of the island’s inmates in a chibi form so adorable you wished the comic had its own line of collectible plush toys. In front is protagonist Electrogor, whose only desire is to escape and return to his hungry and frightened children. On his right is Hellmoth, the tattooed nod to Mothman, who’s sure to be a favorite.

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Funko reveals its ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ collectibles

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On the heels of a leak that some speculate could be a savage spoiler for Marvel’s Avengers sequel, Funko has officially released its lineup of merchandise for Age of Ultron that features just about all of the central characters … except Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch.

The new Pop Vinyl! figures includes Ultron, The Vision and Hawkeye, plus new versions of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Hulk, while the Mystery Minis boast new fewer than four variations of Iron Man, in addition to Black Widow, Nick Fury, The Vision, et al. But, yeah, no Quicksilver or Scarlet Witch.

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Comics A.M. | French teen arrested for posting ‘Charlie Hebdo’ parody

From the apparent cartoon in question

From the apparent cartoon in question

Legal | A 16-year-old in Nantes, France, was arrested last week for posting a cartoon on Facebook that mocks the Charlie Hebdo killings; the charge is “advocating terrorism.” The cartoon shows someone holding a copy of Charlie Hebdo and being struck by bullets. Electronic Intifada posts what is most likely the offending cartoon (it had been shared widely on social media), a takeoff on one of the more notorious Charlie Hebdo covers, accompanied by the text, “Charlie Hebdo is shit. It doesn’t stop bullets.” The original cover featured a cartoon of an Egyptian protestor holding the Koran, with text that read, “The Quran is shit, it doesn’t stop bullets.” [France 3]

Publishing | Sales were down in 2014 for Diamond Book Distributors, even though the industry overall had an up year. The reason: DBD lost a key client, Dark Horse, to Random House. Nonetheless, Vice President Kuo-Yu Liang sees good things in store for 2015, including strong sales of indie graphic novels, expanding international sales, and the much-anticipated March: Book Two, which was released this week. [Publishers Weekly]

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That NSFW Spider-Man sculpture has a new home

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The sculpture of an overly friendly neighborhood Spider-Man removed last summer from a South Korean shopping center following complaints about his unmistakable spider-boner has found a happy home: on the side of a hospital.

Because, really, where else would you erect a sculpture of an upside-down Peter Parker dangling his amazing friend for the world to see?

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Grumpy Old Fan | No foolin’, DC starts ‘Converging’ in April

HAPPY NOW?!?

HAPPY NOW?!?

In our current age of instant accessibility to an unimaginable library of entertainment, it’s difficult to imagine the hold that broadcast television once had on the culture. In the 1970s, people stayed home on Saturday nights to watch the CBS comedy lineup of Mary Tyler Moore, Bob Newhart, and Carol Burnett. On Tuesdays, ABC had Happy Days and Laverne & Shirley. Of course, NBC owned Thursday nights for decades, from The Cosby Show, Cheers and L.A. Law in the ‘80s to Seinfeld, Mad About You, Friends, ER and The Office in the ‘90s and ‘00s.

Now imagine that NBC — which has since conceded Thursday to ABC’s now-dominant block of “Shondaland” dramas — will be replacing two months’ worth of regular Thursday programming with new episodes of the shows that typified “Must See TV.” Would you want to check in on Sam Malone, George Costanza, Ross & Rachel, or the doctors of Chicago General after all this time? Maybe, maybe not.

Well, for good or ill, that’s the bet DC Comics is making with the comics marketplace in April and May, by bringing back characters (and versions of characters) that haven’t been seen in anywhere from three to 30 years. Will readers want to check in with those characters, even if they’re the only DC game in town? Maybe, maybe not. It depends, I suspect, on some unquantifiable combination of character, creative team, and reader attachment to either or both. At long last, the first batch of Convergence solicitations is here, and today we’ll run through them.
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Quote of the Day | ‘Everyone knows diversity is good’

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“People clamor for Black Panther or Luke Cage, and the incredible response when the Static show was announced — that wasn’t just black fans going ‘yay, about time.’ That was fans going, ‘yay, about time.’ Everyone knows diversity is good. We want black superheroes, we want female superheroes, we want Latino superheroes. That makes things better. And they don’t have to be sidekicks or buddies, they can be rock stars themselves.”

Reginald Hudlin, in an interview with Comic Book Resources, discussing the Static Shock live-action digital series, and the desire for diversity in superhero-comics adaptations

DC Collectibles reveals Wonder Woman statue by Robert Valley

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You may recall those stylish DC Nation animated shorts by Robert Valley featuring a sunglasses-wearing Wonder Woman who cruises around in a classic Dodge Charger, fights a rollerskating Giganta and rescues a clueless Steve Trevor. If you don’t, you should watch them immediately (below), because they’re terrific — but also because DC Collectibles has unveiled a Wonder Woman statue based on Valley’s design.

Details are scant, but we know that it arrives this fall as part of the Wonder Woman: The Art of War line … and it’s pretty great-looking.

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Peek inside Cloonan & Belanger’s ‘Southern Cross’

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Although Southern Cross, the sci-fi horror series from Becky Cloonan, Andy Belanger and Lee Loughridge, doesn’t debut from Image Comics until March, its production blog has already proved itself a must-read. Or a must-view, in any case.

The series follows Alex Braith as she boards the oil tanker Southern Cross en route to Saturn’s moon Titan to collect her sister’s remains, retrace her steps and uncover answers about her death.

On the blog, the creators have posted everything from character designs to logo treatments for the comic’s galactic oil company to — best of all for anyone who ever spent hours poring over schematics of Titans Tower or the U.S.S. Enterprise — a top-down blueprint of the Southern Cross itself.

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Inkwashed idiosyncratic superheroics in ‘Infinite Wonders’

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The best superheroes aren’t those who are slick and perfectly formed. They’re the ones with some humanity and nuance. And the digital series Infinite Wonders delivers that in style, story and substance, particularly with the inkwash artwork of Nick Cagnetti.

Infinite Wonders, written by Tristen Bagnall, follows a young man name Nolan Brooks who sets out to become, in his words, a “superguy” after being bombarded by something called Infinite Energy. There are no gauntlets here, but this hero — dubbed Infinite — faces some real-world problems as he enters this new line of work. It’s a story about a person’s first day on the job, when the job happens to be that of superhero.

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‘Attack on Titan’ attraction opens at Universal Studios Japan

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Although “Attack on Titan The Real” doesn’t officially open until Friday, Universal Studios Japan offered a special preview today of the attraction based on the blockbuster manga and anime.

The video below, from the Mainichi Shinbun newspaper’s MaiDiGi TV, captures the scale of the attraction’s centerpiece, the life-size — well, “life-size” — statue of the 49-foot Eren Titan fighting the 46-foot female Titan. You can also see another, more ground-level statue, that encourages visitors to pose for photos as they’re about to be devoured by the Smiling Titan from Hajime Isayama’s post-apocalyptic fantasy.

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On Norm Breyfogle: What would Batman do?

retun of scarfaceSpring 1992’s Batman #475 may not be all that important in the Dark Knight’s history, but it was a pretty pivotal issue in my own history with comics. It wasn’t just the first time I bought a Batman comic — beginning a growing interest in superhero comics that has yet to subside — but it was also the first time I encountered the work of artist Norm Breyfogle.

It was his incredible artwork that convinced me to purchase that issue over all of the other Batman comics on the stands and in the beat-up boxes of my local comic shop, and that fueled my many return visits, to buy new Breyfogle-drawn Batman comics as they arrived and dig out the dozens of earlier ones from the back-issue bins.

At the time, comics cost just $1 — a quarter of what the average issue costs today — but I was 14 years old, so my only income came from allowance, birthday and Christmas gifts, and what my grandfather paid me to mow his lawn. Comics were to me then, as they are now, a luxury purchase of sorts, something one spent one’s extra money on. As adults, that means they’re what we buy after we’ve paid the rent and utilities, bought groceries and filled up the gas tank.

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Original ‘Tintin’ cover could fetch as much as $2.9 million

tintin-shooting star-colorHergé’s original cover art for the 1942 Tintin book The Shooting Star is expected to sell for as much as $2.9 million when it goes up for auction at the Brussels Antiques and Fine Arts Fair, which kicks off Saturday in Belgium.

It’s a hefty sum that could rival the record price paid in May for an original double-page spread created by the Belgian artist for the inside covers of Tintin books published between 1937 and 1958. Another drawing of Tintin, created by Hergé in 1939 for the cover of the weekly magazine Le Petit Vingtième, sold last month for $670,000.

Agence France-Presse notes that the Shooting Star cover was one of just five that remains in the hands of private collectors. Most of  Hergé’s work is held by Moulinsart (aka the Hergé Foundation), the Brussels-based organization establshed in 1987 by the cartoonist’s widow Fanny Rodwell. The foundation oversees the Hergé estate as well as the Hergé Museum outside Brussels.

The 10th volume of The Adventures of Tintin, The Shooting Star follows Tintin, his faithful dog Snowy and his friend Captain Haddock as they take part in a scientific expedition to the Arctic Ocean to find a meteorite before it’s uncovered by a rival team.

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