INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
Peugeot pays tribute to a Hanna-Barbera classic with a fantastic TV commercial for its 208 hatchback that brings the animated Wacky Races to life.
In case you weren’t around in the late 1960s for its initial airing, or haven’t caught reruns on Boomerang, Wacky Races featured 11 cars going up against each other in road rallies across North America to win the title of World’s Wackiest Racer — at any cost. This being the ’60s, these weren’t just any cars, or any drivers, but rather an assortment of bizarre, usually dirty-dealing, characters that included the villainous Dick Dasterdly, with his snickering dog-henchman (hench-dog?) Muttley, the cavemen Slag brothers, the Gruesome Twosome with their stylized hearse, the Southern belle Penelope Pitstop, and the pint-sized gangsters the Ant Hill Mob.
All of them can be seen in the TV spot below, which was directed by Antoine Bardou-Jacquet for Young & Rubicam Brasil.
Conventions | Organizers of the growing Asbury Park Comicon have announced that, after three years, they’re relocating the New Jersey convention to the Meadowlands Exhibition Center in Secaucus and renaming it East Coast Comicon. Founders Cliff Galbraith and Robert Bruce say the nearly 40-mile move was triggered by a sharp increase in rates at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park, but the hotel’s manager thinks it’s because the venue couldn’t accommodate the dates requested by organizers. The inaugural East Coast Comicon will be held April 11-12, 2015. [Asbury Park Press]
Passings | Amadee Wohlschlaeger, who drew the comic strip Weatherbird for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 70 years, has died at age 102. Weatherbird, which debuted in 1901, is the oldest continuously published comic in the United States, and Wohlschlaeger (who went by just his first name) is one of just four cartoonists to draw it. He was named one of the top 10 sports cartoonists in the country, and his drawing of Stan Musial inspired the statue at Busch Stadium. [KSDK]
Nickelodeon for the first time will hold an open call for original animated projects next month at Comic-Con International.
“Performance art, costumes, story boards, video, a sketch on a napkin — we’ll look at it all,” Russell Hicks, Nickelodeon’s president for content development and production, told The New York Times. “We’re not looking for these shorts in and of themselves to become shows. That’s too much pressure. What we’re looking for is raw talent.”
More than a year ago, James Harvey took Ryan Humphrey’s idea of a Simpsons/Akira mashup and ran with it, launching an ambitious jam project in which artists — 768 in all — would recreate every page from Katsuhiro Otomo’s pioneering cyberpunk epic using characters from Matt Groening’s beloved animated series. That’s the story of Batkira, a sprawling, loving tribute to both creators that received its own gallery show last month at Floating World Comics in Portland, Oregon.
It’s been a long time coming, but Eric Powell has offered an update on the Kickstarter-funded story reel for a CG-animated adaptation of The Goon, teasing, “we continue to inch closer to our final goal of Franky, via Paul Giamatti, screaming ‘KNIFE TO THE EYE!’ in theaters world wide!”
“I have seen about 90% of the story reel footage, and I’m super proud of the efforts of everyone involved,” he wrote Wednesday on the Kickstarter page. “Everyone remains just as passionate as ever to get this film completed, and it shows in every frame of the story reel. We still have hurtles [sic] to cross, but armed with this story reel and your overwhelming support, we remain confident we will find the right home for this film.”
There’s probably no other superhero more closely associated with New York City than Spider-Man, who was born and raised in Forest Hills, attended college in Greenwich Village, and swings from skyscraper to skyscraper across Midtown.
But in the latest installment of Podtoons, from Left Handed Radio and Above Average, a distracted wall-crawler gets a taste of suburban life when he rescues a woman from Green Goblin and returns her to her New Jersey home. Her spacious three-bedroom New Jersey home … with an office … and in-ground pool.
Publishing | In the wake of the ban in Saudi Arabia of the animated adaptation of The 99 comic, creator Naif Al-Mutawa writes about what he had to go through in the first place to get approval in that country for the Islamic superheroes (one of the steps was the sale of Cracked magazine at a loss so his company would be sharia-compliant to the satisfaction of an Islamic bank). He looks at what led to the fatwa, and concludes by seeking one of his own, posing questions for the clerics who issued the decree. [The National]
Publishing | As part of its five-year anniversary celebration, Multiversity Comics surveys such industry figures as Eric Stephenson, Rachel Deering, Tom Spurgeon and Gina Gagliano about the biggest changes that have taken place during that time, and where comics are headed. [Multiversity Comics]
KaBOOM! will publish a comic based on Cartoon Network’s hit animated series Uncle Grandpa as part of BOOM! Studios’ first-look deal with the cable channel.
Created by Pete Browngardt, Uncle Grandpa is a surreal adventure comedy the centers on everyone’s magical uncle and grandfather, who travels the world in his mystical RV, helping children with their problems. Did we mention he’s accompanied by a talking fanny pack, an anthropomorphic dinosaur, a photo cutout of a tiger and a talking slice of pizza? Well, he is.
The National Cartoonists Society has announced the divisional nominees for the 68th annual Reuben Awards. They join the finalists for the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year Award — Wiley Miller (Non Sequitur), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange) and Mark Tatulli (Heart of the City, Lio) — revealed in late February.
The winners will be announced May 24 at the annual NCS Reuben Awards dinner in San Diego.
The government of Saudi Arabia has banned the animated adaptation of the comic The 99, saying its representations of Allah’s names and attributes cannot be tolerated.
Based on Islamic concepts but intended by creator Naif Al-Mutawa to promote universal values, the comic features 99 ordinary teenagers and adults from across the globe who become imbued with magical powers. The title and premise refers to the 99 names and attributes of Allah.
According to Dubai’s Gulf News, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta issued its decision in response to a complaint about the series’ broadcast on the Saudi-owned television channel MBC3.
The agreement kicks off in August with Steven Universe, based on the new animated comedy by Rebecca Sugar (Adventure Time) about a boy named Steven and a team of magical Guardians of the Universe. BOOM! teased the comic in October, ahead of the show’s November premiere, with a sneak peek in the Adventure Time 2013 Spoooktacular.
BOOM! began its partnership in February 2012 with the debut, under the KaBOOM! imprint, of Adventure Time, which has transformed into a hit franchise with spinoff limited series and original graphic novels.
“Our partners at Cartoon Network have a stellar lineup of new shows that we are looking forward to publish as equally stellar all-ages comics, following the tremendous success of Adventure Time and Regular Show,” BOOM! Studios CEO Ross Richie said in a statement. “Steven Universe has that same edginess that will resonate with readers — and that’s just the beginning.”
According to US Today, Ice Cream Kitty gains its powers when it eats ice cream mixed with mutagen, and it “turns into the Turtle’s secret weapon.”
Eastman’s appearance on the show is just one way the TMNT’s 30th anniversary is being celebrated. A March 14 episode reunites the voice cast from the original cartoon — Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, Barry Gordon and Rob Paulsen. Meanwhile, an anniversary special being released by IDW will reunite Eastman with Turtles co-creator Peter Laird, who worked together on the cover. The Turtles will also be featured this year in Comic-Con International’s souvenir book, which spotlights various comics and pop culture anniversaries.
A year after the murder of Army Sgt. Kimberly Walker, her family has resolved their dispute with a Cincinnati cemetery about the SpongeBob SquarePants monuments commissioned to mark the grave site.
Their disagreement drew national attention last fall after the family was told the two 6-foot-tall, 7,000-pound statues — one for Kimberly Walker and the other for her living twin sister Kara — didn’t meet the standards of the historic Spring Grove Cemetery and had to be removed. That’s despite the Walker family receiving design approval from a cemetery employee for the $26,000 monuments, which were created with the permission of Nickelodeon. The cemetery insisted the staff member simply made a mistake, and offered alternative proposals.
The big news from DC Collectibles ahead of this weekend’s Toy Fair 2014 is, of course, the new collector’s line of 6-inch action figures based on Bruce Timm’s designs from Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, debuting in November. There are also figures from the direct-to-video animated films Son of Batman and Infinite Crisis, and Superman, Wonder Woman and Zatanna statues, among others.
However, for my money, it’s tough to beat the announcement of a line of action figures based on Li’l Gotham, the digital-first series by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, beginning with Batman, Robin, The Joker and Harley Quinn. Nguyen has posted his designs for the figures, which are just as adorable as you’d expect.
Publishing | DreamWorks Animation’s announcement on Monday that it is launching its own book-publishing unit doesn’t mean the end of the road for its comics licensees, at least not yet: ICv2 talked to representatives from IDW Publishing, which publishes the Rocky & Bullwinkle comics, and Ape Entertainment, which has had a number of DreamWorks licenses, and both say that this won’t affect their comics. [ICv2]
Auctions | A collection of comics that included the first issues of The Amazing Spider-Man and the British satirical comic Viz, as well as long runs of several Marvel series, brought in almost £25,000 (about $41,300 U.S.) at an auction in Newcastle, England. The majority of the comics were from a single collector whose wife decided to put them up for sale after he died. For those who are curious about the details, Duncan Leatherdale of The Northern Echo liveblogged the auction. [BBC News]