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‘Star Wars’ Underoos are back, this time for adult Earthlings

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Expanding on its line of Underoos for adults, Hot Topic is now offering a retro-style Star Wars series featuring Luke Skywalker, Boba Fett and Darth Vader designs for men, and Princess Leia, C-3PO and R2-D2 for women.

They’re definite throwbacks to the originals, although the Boba Fett design is significantly improved (even if the new Princess Leia set may not be quite as stylish as the old one).

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Superheroes meet Nashville stars in Brad Paisley’s ‘Crushin’ It’

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It’s not only Hollywood that wants in on the superhero action — Nashville is cutting off its own little slice.

This week country music singer Brad Paisley debuted the animated video for “Crushin’ It,” which transforms some of Nashville’s biggest stars into the “Agents of Crush.” It’s a mishmash of superhero universes, with Paisley as the Iron Man parody Steel Moonshiner, Keith Urban as Captain Australia, Kenny Chesney as Agua Man, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw as the Timcredibles, Carrie Underwood as Carrie Underwoman, Little Big Town as the Guardians of the Grand Ole Opry, and so on.

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Chinese art teacher builds his own 11-foot Hulkbuster

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Tony Stark, meet your newest — and possibly fiercest — rival: 26-year-old Xing Yile, a middle-school art teacher from China’s Henan province.

After seeing a trailer for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, Xing and some friends decided to recreate Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor. According to Business Insider, they worked for two months in an underground parking garage in Zhengzhou, assembling the 11-foot-tall replica out of more than 100 fiberglass-reinforced plastic components.

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Watch ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’s’ Dual Play Combat in action

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In a new behind-the-scenes video from Rocksteady Studios, developers offer a look at one of the most anticipated new features of Batman: Arkham Knight: Dual Play Combat.

As Batman, players an team up with the likes of Robin, Nightwing or Catwoman, and then switch characters during combat, with the game’s artificial intelligence taking over as the Dark Knight. In this gameplay video, Batman partners with Nightwing to clear out a warehouse filled with Penguin’s thugs.

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Comics A.M. | Comic aims to get toy guns off the streets

Brink City Special Edition: Kids Lives Matter

Brink City Special Edition: Kids Lives Matter

Comics | More than 3,000 copies of the comic book Brink City Special Edition: Kids Lives Matter will be distributed to children in Cleveland to promote gun safety and encourage toy gun buy-back programs. Just last November, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was shot and killed in Cleveland by a police officer who mistook his airsoft pistol for a real one. Funded by private foundations, the comic was produced by the Rid-All Green Partnership. [Fox 8]

Passings | Mennonite cartoonist Joel Kauffmann, creator of the religious-humor strip Pontius’ Puddle, died last week at age 64. The son of a Mennonite pastor, Kauffmann grew up on a farm in Hopedale, Illinois, and started drawing early: “He was always drawing wherever he was, including the many hours he spent in church,” said his sister, Mary Kauffmann-Kanel. Pontius’ Puddle ran for over 30 years in over 200 publications; Kauffmann also wrote the screenplay for the movie The Radicals, which told the story of two early leaders of the Anabaptist movement, and he was producing content for the Museum of the Bible project funded by Hobby Lobby president Steve Green. [Mennonite World Review]

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Hot Toys’ ‘Age of Ultron’ Vision figure was created to be perfect

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Hot Toys has at last debuted the Avenger: Age of Ultron collectible figure so many have been waiting for: The Vision.

Teased last month, the 1/6th-scale “movie accurate” figure features 30 points of articulation, a newly developed head sculpt with detailed texture and Mind Stone, a tailored costume and cape, four pairs of interchangeable hands, a display stand and — spoiler alert? — Thor’s hammer.

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Sideshow’s introduces its ‘Superman: Red Son’ statue, comrades

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Sideshow Collectibles returns to the alternative reality of the 2003 miniseries by Mark Millar, Dave Johnson and Kilian Plunkett with its new Superman: Red Son statue.

The first in a new collection of “Premium Format” (that is, “non-articulated”) figures based on the Elseworlds comic, the red- and gray- clad Man of Steel stands 25 inches tall atop the symbol of the Soviet Union. Wonder Woman and Batman figures will follow.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Derivatives leave creators in the cold

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Orphan blue

Gerry Conway has written more comics than I care to count, including career-defining runs on The Amazing Spider-Man and Justice League of America. During his tenure at DC Comics in the 1970s and ‘80s, he co-created Firestorm, Steel the Indestructible Man, Vixen and Vibe (among many others). He wrote the first relaunch of New Gods and helped craft the Robin-to-Nightwing transition. Recently, he’s been calling attention to the use of “derivative” comics characters in other media — for example, the Flash TV show’s Caitlin Snow, who shares a name, a scientific background, and a Firestorm connection with the most recent version of Killer Frost’s alter ego.

DC responded to Conway’s concerns with assurances of fair compensation, but the matter also goes to the heart of the publisher’s shared universe.

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Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pine assemble for gender-swapped ‘Avengers’

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Much has been written and said about the dearth of female characters in superhero films, but I’m not sure anyone has addressed the issue quite like Agnes, an 18-year-old blogger from Hungary: She created a series of incredible portraits gender-swapping the cinematic Avengers.

For her alternate movie universe, Agnes recasts Captain America as Amber Heard, Iron Man as Kate Beckinsale, Bruce Banner as Mila Kunis, Thor as Jennifer Lawrence, Hawkeye as Shailene Woodley and Loki as Kristen Stewart.

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Is GM’s Camaro Krypton a ‘Batman v Superman’ special edition?

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General Motors has filed two trademark applications that have car-industry websites speculating the company may be rolling out an automotive tie-in to the upcoming Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

GM Authority was the first to pick up on filings by the Detroit giant for “Krypton” and “Camaro Krypton,” for “motor and land vehicles.” While that blog and others note that krypton is the name of a chemical element, the capitalized version is more widely associated with the home planet of Superman.

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What’s the plural of Vertigo? ‘Injection,’ ‘Mythic’ & ‘Strange Sports Stories’

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I’ve heard it said more times than I can count, “Image is the new Vertigo.”

In 1993, when DC Comics founded Vertigo around a handful of more adult-oriented titles, mostly featuring faded properties reimagined by British creators as horror, sci-fi and fantasy comics, the imprint was one the relatively few games in town for high-production-value genre comics for adults

That same year Image celebrated its first birthday, and although it was a sales juggernaut, the publisher was at that point little more than a vanity press for a handful of creators doing pastiches of their favorite DC and Marvel superheroes.

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China’s 20-foot Iron Panda puts the Hulkbuster to shame

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Forget the Hulkbuster, forget Iron Legion, forget Iron Man Mark-whatever. Nothing Tony Stark has squirreled away in his arsenal can compare to China’s Iron Panda.

Created by Beijing artist Bi Heng, the statue of a battle suit-wearing giant panda stands some 20 feet tall and 23 feet wide, dwarfing even the Incredible Hulk, who’d probably be too busy smiling at it to care. Showcased last year at a mall in Hong Kong, Iron Panda is now apparently on display in Shenyang, China.

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Comics A.M. | ReedPOP expands to Austria with Vienna Comic Con

Vienna Comic Con

Vienna Comic Con

Conventions | Convention producer ReedPOP will add Vienna Comic Con in Austria to a growing roster of shows that already includes the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, New York Comic Con, Emerald City Comicon, PAX, OZ Comic Con, Shanghai Comic Con, Star Wars Celebration and Comic Con Paris. It’s scheduled for Nov. 21-22 at Messe Wien in Vienna. ”We aim to make Vienna Comic Con the leading pop culture event in Central Europe,” Barbara Leithner of Reed Exhibitions said in a statement. “Fans at Vienna Comic Con will experience unique programs and events, and meet pop culture creatives from all over the world.” [press release]

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‘LEGO Jurassic World’ scores release date and new trailer

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With the release of a new trailer this morning, WB Games announced that LEGO Jurassic World will launch June 12 in North America — the same day the film arrives in theaters.

Developed by TT Games, LEGO Jurassic World will allow players to relive all four Universal Pictures films, as even play as LEGO dinosaurs. Available now for preorder, the game will be released for Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Wii U, Nintendo 3DS and Windows.

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DC Collectibles reveals second wave of ‘Arkham Knight’ figures

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DC Collectibles has debuted its second wave of action figures based on the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight video game.

Revealed by MTV News, the figures of Catwoman, Commissioner Gordon, Nightwing and Robin stand between 6.5 inches and 6.75 inches tall, and feature somewhere around 20 points of articulation, as well as character-specific accessories and (in most cases) interchangeable hands. They join Wave 1’s Batman, Scarecrow, Harley Quinn, Arkham Knight and the Gamestop-exclusive Red Hood, released in April.

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