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Gen Con threatens to relocate if religious freedom bill passes

GenCon

Gen Con, described on its website as “the original, longest-running, best-attended, gaming convention in the world,” has threatened to withdraw from the Indiana Convention Center if Gov. Mike Pence signs the controversial religious freedom bill into law, IndyStar reports.

Gen Con owner and CEO Adrian Swartout feels that the bill, which would allow business owners to refuse services to same-sex couples, would impact both the convention and the state economy and issued an open letter to Pence to express this. “Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years,” she wrote.

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‘Attack on Titan’s’ Colossal Titan comes to life in augmented reality

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We’ve seen statues of the 49-foot Eren Titan and the 46-foot Female Titan at Universal Studios Japan, but it’s unlikely we’ll be treated to a “life-size” Colossal Titan any time soon. After all, at 164 feet, he’s taller than the Statue of Liberty (from torch to base, at least).

However, one “Attack on Titan” fan and augmented-reality hobbyist has given us a pretty good idea of what the Colossal Titan would look like standing, and dancing, near Japan’s Komine Castle. Because who doesn’t love a dancing 164-foot-tall flesh-eating monster?

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Figma’s Iron Man figure puts the gold in Golden Avenger

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Leave it to billionaire playboy Tony Stark to engineer gold Mark XXI armor, and leave it to Max Factory’s Figma line to issue the appropriately titled Iron Man “Midas” variant.

As Toybox helpfully breaks down for us, the 7-inch articulated figure boast wrist-mounted rocket launchers in each gauntlet, FX attachments to make it look as if Iron Man is firing repulsor blasts or flying through the air, and, of course, a stand.

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Empire gets its due in epic ’80s anime-style ‘Star Wars’ fan film

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Just as we spotlight one impressive display of Star Wars fandom, another one surfaces in the form of “Star Wars: TIE Fighter,” a four-year labor of love by animator Paul Johnson.

A two-minute version has floated around for the past couple of years, but now Johnson has released the completed ’80s anime-inspired short film that depicts an epic space battle from the perspective of the Empire.

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The Force is with this spectacular $200,000 ‘Star Wars’ painting

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Devotees making the pilgrimage next month to Anaheim, California, for Star Wars Celebration should make sure to check out one of the most intricate expressions of Star Wars fandom any of us will likely see: “The 20th Century Space Opera,” a 15-foot by 8-foot oil painting by San Francisco artist Robert Xavier Burden.

Employing patterns the artist says combines “French tapestry designs, Moroccan and Persian carpets, Gothic stained glass, and some invented design,” the painting features more than 160 Star Wars action figures, as well as depictions of such George Lucas influences as Joseph Campbell and Flash Gordon.

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Father and son turn car parts into incredible Transformers

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A Chinese farmer and his son have combined ingenuity, car parts and their country’s love for the “Transformers” franchise to create a $160,000-a-year business making robot sculptures.

It took three years for Yu Zhilin, who has a background in fine arts, to build that first replica in his spare time, utilizing a makeshift workshop, scrap metal and images downloaded from the Internet. Since then, however, he and son Lu Yingyun have refined the process, allowing them to create larger statues, apparently at a pretty steady pace.

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Baymax may not be fast, but he makes a decent flight attendant

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Baymax has become almost immediately popular in China, where Disney’s Big Hero 6 has raked in more than $78.6 million since its opening Feb. 28. So perhaps it’s no surprise to see the cuddly healthcare robot pop up here and there, such as in flight-attendant training courses.

Hey, he did say that flying makes him a better care provider. These photos are from the Sichuan Southwest Vocational College of Civil Aviation in Chengdu, which Kotaku notes is no stranger to publicity stunts like this. (What Baymax is doing with the flowers in the restroom is anybody’s guess.)

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Comics A.M. | What does the future hold for conventions?

Emerald City Comicon

Emerald City Comicon

Conventions | Rob Salkowitz, author of Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, gazes into his crystal ball and predicts some new wrinkles to the convention scene this year, including more sophisticated use of technology: “New innovations such as beacons and near-field communications now enable real-time integration between digital content and the event itself in real time. In English, this means attendees can get instant notifications of nearby items that fit their specific interests, which could help navigate confusing and noisy exhibit halls.” And they could be used for real-time gaming as well. [ICv2]

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Pizza Dog gets his own Marvel Select figure (Hawkeye included)

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Fans of Hawkeye by Matt Fraction, David Aja & Co. at long last can get that figure they’ve been longing for: Pizza Dog. OK, sure, Hawkguy’s included, but … Pizza Dog!

Apparently, this Marvel Select Avenging Hawkeye figuring has been cropping up in Disney Stores, but now it’s available for order online from the Marvel Shop. Fully poseable, the 7-inch figure features “his classic black costume,” a bow, six arrows, a gun, interchangeable left hand, and two interchangeable heads (one with sunglasses, the other with a bandaged nose, of course).

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Supergirls steal hearts at White House Science Fair

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At the fifth annual White House Science Fair, a troop of Girl Scouts dressed as Supergirl hoped to save the day with a page-turning robot, NBC News reports.

The 6-year-old girls, who hail from Tulsa, Oklahoma, designed the robot out of LEGO for the purpose of helping the disabled. Donning red capes over their blue Girl Scout uniforms, they stopped by the White House in order show President Barack Obama their work and dazzled him with their know-how. “This is a quote. They said, ‘It’s just a prototype,'” he said.

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First-ever Dr. Seuss museum is being built in his hometown

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Dr. Seuss will soon be celebrated in his hometown with a museum dedicated his work in children’s literature, the first of its kind in the world.

Announced by Springfield Museums, a group of five museums in the Massachusetts city, the $3.5 million Amazing World of Dr. Seuss is set to open in June 2016.

The main exhibit space will be divided into three sections — Mulberry Street, Dr. Seuss’ Neighborhood and Readingville — with classroom space, a reading nook and a display about the making of the Dr. Seuss National memorial Sculpture Garden, which has drawn an estimated 3 million visitors since 2002.

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Anarchists go on a crime spree in ‘The Illegalists’

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The era before World War II was known as the Belle Epoque, the Beautiful Age, in France, but that was for the rich. For the poor and the working class, it was a time of harsh conditions and few opportunities, and numerous anarchist groups sprung up amid the disenfranchised. Among them was the Bonnot Gang, ideological criminals whose anarchist principles led them to go on a crime spree in France in 1911-12, robbing banks and stealing from the rich (they were the first bank robbers ever to use a getaway car). The Illegalists is their story.

Or rather, it will be their story if the graphic novel is completed. Right now, writer Stefan Vogel is running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to finish it. The artist is Attila Futaki, whose credits include the Image Comics series Severed (written by Scott Snyder and Scott Tuft) and the second Percy Jackson graphic novel.

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WonderCon cancels ‘Fan Fic Theatre’ after online complaints

wondercon anaheimWonderCon Anaheim has canceled “Fan Fic Theatre” following backlash on social media from some who thought the panel was intended to ridicule fan fiction.

The planned April 3 presentation was to feature host Chris Gore and other comedians reading “aloud the weirdest and wildest fan fiction found on the Internet,” a description that was met with a barrage of angry tweets and blog posts over the past several days.

“Hey WonderCon, mocking fanfiction isn’t mocking words on a page,” one person tweeted. “It’s mocking the people who wrote it. You know … BULLYING?” Another wrote, “If you wish to have a panel on fanfiction, it should be to celebrate not mock it. Fanfic is a vital part of fan culture.”

However, both WonderCon organizers and Gore stressed that the purpose of “Fan Fic Theatre” was never to mock the authors or their work.

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The Avengers are stuck in second gear in ‘Friends’-style intro

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While the Marvel Cinematic Universe certainly has its comedic elements, Jeremiah Rivera pushes them to the forefront by giving The Avengers a Friends-style introduction, complete with the (at one point) inescapable “I”ll Be There For You.” Unsurprisingly, an alien invasion doesn’t seem so pressing when scored by The Rembrandts.

As fun as the mashup is, however, it feels as if Rivera missed out by not including a scene of the gang enjoying shawarma, even if it’s not in Central Perk.

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Details surface about ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ Harley Quinn DLC

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Even as fans get a lengthy gameplay video, and a new release date, for Batman: Arkham Knight, more details have trickled out about the Harley Quinn DLC pack.

It was announced last summer that players who preordered the highly anticipated game would receive two free story packs, one featuring the Red Hood and the other Harley Quinn. Now, thanks to an update to the Amazon listing, we have an idea of what the Harley pack involves:

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