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Comics A.M. | Jury weighs fate of Michael George

Michael George

Legal | The fate of Michael George was placed in the hands of the jury Thursday after closing arguments in the trial of the former retailer and convention organizer accused of the 1990 murder of his first wife Barbara in their Clinton Township, Michigan, comic store. Although a comic collector places George in the shop around the time of the shooting, George’s mother insists he was asleep on her sofa. The jury deliberated for about two hours Thursday, and is expected to continue this morning. [Detroit Free Press]

Legal | Manga blogger Melinda Beasi contemplates the larger implications of the arrest of Brandon X for bringing manga into Canada that authorities deemed to be child pornography: “What terrifies me about Brandon’s case is that each time we allow our courts or communities (any courts or communities) to criminalize comics (any comics), we are inviting them to criminalize our own.” [CBLDF]

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Comics A.M. | Should feminists give up on superhero comics?

Catwoman #1

Comics | Dismayed by the portrayal of Catwoman in DC Comics’ relaunched series, Alyssa Rosenberg of ThinkProgress asks whether feminists are wasting their time in hoping and lobbying for better portrayals of women in mainstream superhero comics. While she understands the desire to walk away, the decides in the end “it’s worth it to keep nudging”: “… Even if the industry doesn’t change, there should be voices in the background when folks read these books pointing out their problems. The key is getting folks who really just want to see, say, Catwoman bang Batman and nothing else to hear those critiques and to find a way to engage with them constructively, which is really, profoundly difficult. But I’d rather live in a world where people who don’t want to hear the works they like criticized have to work to shut them out, rather than leaving them to relax into the blissful sounds of silence.”

At The Atlantic, Noah Berlatsky points out that not all comics are like Catwoman or Red Hood and the Outlaws, and recommends some alternatives. Meanwhile, Tom Foss jokingly suggests that the “new” Starfire is merely replacing longtime New Teen Titans creeper Terry Long. [ThinkProgress, The Atlantic]

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Alex Ross covers Anthrax (again)

Cover art for Anthrax's "Worship Music," by Alex Ross

Long-running heavy metal band Anthrax has unveiled the cover art for its forthcoming CD Worship Music, featuring an original painting for Alex Ross. It’s the third cover Ross has created for Anthrax, following 2003′s We’ve Come for You All — the band’s previous studio album — and the 2004 live album Music of Mass Destruction.

Worship Music will be released Sept. 13 in the United States by Megaforce Records.

(via Rock Edition)

Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

Alpha Flight

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Michael May

If I had $15, I’d start with Alpha Flight #1 ($3.99). I had mostly positive feelings about the prequel issue with the only negatives being a mixture of “that doesn’t look like Sasquatch” and some anxiety born from being used to disappointment from Alpha Flight books. Neither of which has anything to do with the people creating the next eight issues, so I’m looking forward to this in a way that I haven’t since John Byrne left the book. Next I’d grab Flashpoint: Grodd of War #1 ($2.99), because an all-out Gorilla Grodd comic sounds awesome. And then I’d give Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths #1 ($3.99) a shot to see how well IDW can manage two Godzilla comics at a time. They certainly managed the first one well. Finally, I’d pick up Mickey Mouse #309 ($3.99) because it’s a globe-trotting adventure with a ton of guest-stars, including my favorite: The Phantom Blot.

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Powell, Hester and Ross bring the King of the Monsters back to comics

Godzilla: Monster World #1 cover by Alex Ross

Back in October IDW announced that they’d picked up the license to bring legendary movie star Godzilla back to comics. This week they shared a few more details on the book, including the creative team.

Arriving in March will be Godzilla: Monster World #1, written by Eric Powell and Tracy Marsh, with art by Phil Hester. Both Powell and artist Alex Ross will provide covers (you can find Powell’s gatefold cover after the jump). And I thought this sounded fun: “Plus, retailers will be eligible for their very own cover – featuring Godzilla stomping their comic store.” Monster World will also include appearances by some of Godzilla’s friends, like Mothra and Rodan.

“To be able to launch a Godzilla series that features many fan-favorite Toho monsters never before seen in comics is gratifying enough,” said Chris Ryall, IDW’s chief creative officer, in the press release. “But to do it with the guiding hand and brush of Eric Powell — as perfectly suited a creator as I could’ve hoped to come aboard here – along with Hester, Marsh, and Ross, is about as monstrous a line-up as I could’ve ever hoped for. What’s more, this is just the first series to come in the line. The next one out of the gates features multiple Eisner-nominees and winners handling the creative, so we’re well and truly just getting started here.”

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Take a look at the Avengers Assemble painting by Alex Ross

"Avengers Assemble," by Alex ross

"Avengers Assemble," by Alex ross

Geoff Boucher of the Los Angeles Times has the first look at Avengers Assemble, a painting created by Alex Ross for the Marvel Artworks series. Limited-edition signed prints of the piece, which features a late-’60s Avengers lineup — you’ll note Goliath’s goggles in the background and the Wasp flying in front of Iron Man — will be available on canvas and on paper at Comic-Con International.

Prices haven’t been announced, but the size has: The prints are huge — 45 3/4″ wide by 20″ tall. If you can’t make it to San Diego, the prints will be available later through the Marvel Artworks website.

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

Modesty Blaise

Modesty Blaise

Passings | Writer Peter O’Donnell, creator of the Modesty Blaise comic strip, died May 3 at age 90.  Steve Holland notes that although the prolific novelist suffered from Parkinson’s disease, he “kept in touch with fans and continued to pen introductions for Titan’s Modesty reprints.”

Born in south London on April 11, 1920, O’Donnell wrote such adventure strips as the long-running adaptation of the James Bond novel Dr. No, Garth, and Romeo Brown before being asked in 1962 to create a new character for the Daily Express. He came up with Modesty Blaise, whose catsuit-wearing heroine fought villainy with the help of her right-hand man Willie Garvin. The strip was quickly picked up by the Evening Standard, and ran from May 1963 to July 2002.

O’Donnell also wrote a series of Modesty Blaise novels and, under the pen name of Madeleine Brent, several historical romances. [Bleeding Cool, Guardian, Times Online]

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Are you an Alex Ross fan? Now there’s an app for that

Alex Ross iPhone app

Alex Ross iPhone app

Alex Ross has released a free iPhone app that allows fans to browse the artist’s galleries, view video interviews, receive updates on his personal appearances and more. In short, it’s Ross’ website for iPhone owners on the go.

Straight for the art | R.I.P. Silver Agent, by Alex Ross

Silver Agent #2

Silver Agent #2

Wildstorm’s The Bleed shares Alex Ross’s cover to the upcoming Astro City: Silver Agent #2. The two-issue series will “uncover more of the city’s secrets” as we learn about the Silver Agent’s final battle.

Shogun Warriors returning to comics?

Shogun Warriors

Shogun Warriors

You’ll have to forgive me if my excitement and knowledge on this particular topic is wanting, as I was always more of a Micronauts guy myself … but at the bottom of a very long post on Ain’t It Cool News about a possible Shogun Warriors film is a small tidbit about a new Shogun Warriors comic book.

In regards to the work being done on the film, Harry Knowles says, “Alex Ross has been mentoring on the project and will be doing covers for a new SHOGUN WARRIORS series that Dynamite is involved in.”

Back in the late 1970s, Mattel licensed several giant robots from various Japanese anime shows to create the Shogun Warriors line of toys. From what I remember, they were two-foot-tall plastic robots that threw axes and launched other sorts of projectiles, no doubt an eye hazard for kids everywhere, as well as some smaller versions that were probably choking hazards (how any kid survived the 1970s and early 1980s is beyond me).

Marvel published a Shogun Warriors comic by writer Doug Moench and artist Herb Trimpe, which featured three of the robots. The book was set in the Marvel Universe, as the Fantastic Four and Doctor Demonicus appeared in issues.

Alex Ross donates Catwoman artwork to cat rescue organization

Catwoman by Alex Ross

Catwoman by Alex Ross

Artist Alex Ross donated this incredible piece of Catwoman art to benefit the Saved Whiskers Rescue Organization, Inc., a non-profit cat and kitten rescue organization. You can find more details and place a bid over at the eBay listing; the auction ends this Friday.

SDCC ’09 | Don’t miss limited-edition promo prints for Rough Justice

Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross

Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross

Designer, author and editor Chip Kidd writes that although he doesn’t have any official panels or signings, he will be at Comic-Con — specifically, at the Random House/Del Rey booth at noon on Thursday and Friday, and the Alex Ross Art booth at noon on Saturday.

If you’re lucky, you may snag one of the “extremely limited number” of promotional prints for Rough Justice: The DC Comics Sketches of Alex Ross, edited by Kidd. “Supplies are very limited and once they’re gone, they’re gone,” Kidd cautions.

The 256-page hardcover will be released in March 2010 by Pantheon.

Everyone’s A Critic: A roundup of comic-related reviews and thinkpieces

Earth X

Earth X

• Having offered what may become the definitive critical take on Kingdom Come, Tim O’Neil looks at Alex Ross’ follow-up project, Earth X:

So, if Kingdom Come is about the reassertion of classically Juedo-Christian concepts of morality as filtered through fifty-and-sixty-year-old superhero comics, what’s the take-away for Earth X? Essentially, the story is about what happens when the superheroes begin to realize just how much their lives have been influenced by the interference of amoral space gods – down to the very ideas of morality and ethicality.

• I don’t mean to keep linking to The Hooded Utilitarian, but they have a new contributor, “Kinukitty,” who will be doing a regular column on yaoi and BL-themed manga. She kicks things off with a look at Aya Kanno’s Blank Slate:

The boy on the cover is pretty. So pretty. All the major characters are pretty. Cool, angsty-looking pretty boys with big guns. Did I mention that they’re pretty? They really are. I’m not sure who’s who all the time. I’m not always sure what’s happening. Don’t misunderstand – we’re not talking about confusion that rips space and time. We’re talking about a series of brow-furrowing, minor WTF moments that end with a quiet snort of “Oh, I don’t care anyway.”

• While you’re there I also recommend checking out Tom Crippen’s essay on Rorschach.

• Speaking of manga, David Welsh examines Mari Okazaki’s Suppli at the Comics Reporter. Also at CR, Bart Beaty praises New Wanted by Laurent Cilluffo.

Rob Clough looks at the work of emerging artist Juliacks: “It can be a bit daunting to engage these sorts of comics; they demand that you accept them on their own terms or not at all. They can be difficult to begin and adjust to as a reader. Of course, once a reader has locked into this style, the stories become impossible to put down.”

Talking Comics with Tim: Todd Klein

Klein/Ross' Comic Book Dreams Print

Comic Book Dreams Print

Todd Klein is a letterer with a level of talent, success and acclaim that is only exceeded by his modesty. That’s the perspective I took away from an email interview I recently conducted with him. I’m not even going to bother offering some concise bio blurb on the man–he has such a rich history, it’s just best that you go here to read up on him. On with the fun.

Tim O’Shea: As of 2006, you noted the following metrics: “From beginning freelance work in 1977 through the end of 2006 I’ve lettered over 48,000 pages of comics, as well as over 5,400 covers and designed over 820 logos.” Have you tried to keep track of your pace since 2006?

Todd Klein: In 2007 I added 2013 pages, no covers and 8 logos. In 2008 I added 2102 pages, 12 covers and 10 logos. That kind of information, for those who want it, is available on my website’s Klein Lettering Archives pages.

O’Shea: In the case of long-term collaborators, like Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore, in what ways do they utilize your unique skills to elevate their narrative?

Klein: Kind of a hard question for me, asking them would probably give a more accurate answer. From my end, I can say they know my work well and what I can do, know that I don’t shy away from a challenge, so I think they pretty much trust that I will give them something that works no matter what they ask for.

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