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SDCC ’13 | Check out the ‘Batman’ TV show Comic-Con backpack

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If Warner Bros.’ oversized totes are the must-have accessory of Comic-Con International, then the must-have of the must-haves is undoubtedly the classic Batman television series design, which makes its debut on the DC Comics website. It appears alongside the one promoting the upcoming DC Universe Original Animated Movie Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox, but really, Batman is the draw.

Warner Bros., which last year finally settled rights issues with 20th Century Fox regarding the 1966-68 television series, in March launched a Batman merchandising line that includes action figures, Barbie dolls, costumes for adults, and wall calendars. At the same time, DC Comics announced its digital-first Batman ’66 series by Jeff Parker and Jonathan Case.

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Bizarro (Not-Bizarro!) saves the day in adorable DC Nation short

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In case you missed the animated short when it aired last month as part of Cartoon Network’s DC Nation programming block, DC Comics has now made the adorable “Tales of Metropolis” available online.

It’s just a little more than a minute long, so I don’t want to spoil it, but the short centers on a downright-endearing Bizarro, whose attempts to pass as a mild-mannered reporter (Not-Bizarro!) are foiled first by a tenacious Lois Lane and then by an alien invader. As with so many of the DC Nation shorts, the characterizations just about perfect (even the three-second cameo by gullible/clueless Jimmy Olsen).

Watch the full short below.

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Marvel and ‘Star Wars’ help Disney to tighten grip on licensing

disney-star wars-marvel

As Licensing Expo 2013 gets under way today in Las Vegas, Variety reports that with first Marvel and now Lucasfilm beneath its umbrella, Disney is poised to expand its domination of the entertainment licensing market. Last year, the media conglomerate generated $39.4 billion in retail licensing, and claimed a staggering 80 percent market share.

Once again the world’s largest licensor, Disney now boasts six of the Top 10 franchises, according to the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association: Disney Princess (No. 1), Star Wars (No. 2), Winnie the Pooh (No. 3), Cars (No. 4), Mickey & Friends (No. 6) and Toy Story (No. 8). Disney Fairies comes in at No. 11, trailed at No. 16 by Spider-Man.

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‘Opportunity has knocked twice’ with Venture Bros. Shirt Club

venturebros-shirtclubThe long-awaited new season of Adult Swim’s The Venture Bros. debuts June 2, and along with it comes the second-ever Venture Bros. Shirt Club.

For one week after each episode airs, you can purchase a shirt based on that week’s story for $20, designed by Doc Hammer and/or Jackson Publick. Or, if you already know you want them all, you can subscribe and get all nine T-shirts (the season will run eight episodes, but the hour-long premiere gets two shirts) plus a bonus shirt for $165, saving yourself a little scratch in the process.

“You know the score. Opportunity has knocked twice,” Publick said on his blog. “You snooze, you lose. Venture fans, this is your proudest moment! You know that Official Venture T-shirts are as rare and beautiful as albinos, and ones created by the actual Venture brothers are even more rare, and like five times more beautiful … What are you going to do? Answer: SHIRT CLUB!”

You can check out the bonus shirt here, along with details on how the club works. If you decide to subscribe, make sure you do it before June 8.

National Cartoonist Society announces Reuben, divisional awards

buildingstories Baby Blues creator Rick Kirkman and Pickles creator Brian Crane shared the Reuben Award this year, which honors the outstanding cartoonist of the year. According to the Daily Cartoonist’s Alan Gardner, this is only the second time in the award’s history that two cartoonists have shared the award, the previous time being in 1968.

The National Cartoonist Society presented the Reuben and its divisional awards in Pittsburgh, Penn. last night. Other winners included Rich Webber, director of the Aardman segments that appear on Cartoon Network’s DC Nation, as well as Joann Sfar for the animated The Rabbi’s Cat, Chris Ware for Building Stories, Bernie Wrightson for Frankenstein Alive, Alive!, and Vince Dorse for the Untold Tales of Bigfoot webcomic.

The complete list of winners can be found below.

THE REUBEN AWARD for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year:

Rick Kirkman and Brian Crane

TELEVISION ANIMATION

Rich Webber, Director, Aardman Animation Studios, DC Nation

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New ‘Axe Cop’ trailer delivers words to live by

axe-cop-trailer

As part of its upfront presentations Monday in New York City, Fox screened a new trailer for Axe Cop, an adaptation of the hit webcomic by brothers Malachai Nicolle and Ethan Nicolle premiering July 27 as part of the network’s new late-night animated programming block.

If you’ve read the source material, or watched any of the previous teasers, you pretty much know what you’re in for with Axe Cop, although this trailer features Parks and Recreation‘s Nick Offerman offering some wisdom for the ages: “I want you to listen very carefully: There is something even better than friends — killing the guy who killed your friends.”

Part of Animation Domination High-Def, Axe Cop also features the voice talents of Megan Mullally, Patton Oswalt, Ken Marino and Peter Serafinowicz. ADHD premieres Saturday, July 27 at 11 p.m. ET/PT.

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Judge tells former Charlie Brown actor ‘don’t be a blockhead’

peter robbins

Paraphrasing Lucy van Pelt, a California judge on Wednesday sentenced the original voice of Charlie Brown to a year in jail for threatening his ex-girlfriend and stalking her plastic surgeon, and then released to a residential drug-treatment facility.

Handing down an additional five-year probation and an order to pay $15,000 in restitution, Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring cautioned former actor Peter Robbins, “If I can borrow a line from Peanuts, sir, I’m going to grant [you] probation. If you adhere to those terms, you won’t go to prison. So, don’t be a blockhead.”

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Cartoonists gang up on illegal guns

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Cartoonist Ruben Bolling, creator of Tom the Dancing Bug, rounded up 23 cartoonists to contribute their work to an animated ad for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a coalition of mayors, led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, that is advocating for “common-sense measures that will close deadly gaps in our gun laws.”

The Mayors Against Illegal Guns ads eschew detailed discussion of the issues in favor of a simple images of people making an emotional appeal. This particular ad follows that format with cartoon characters, some familiar (the teenagers from Zits, the Family Circus family, Jason and his dad from FoxTrot), some more generic.

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Original voice of Charlie Brown pleads guilty to threats, stalking

peter robbins

Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown, could face up to three years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to threatening and stalking his ex-girlfriend as well as the plastic surgeon who gave her the breast enhancement he paid for. (Obligatory “Good grief!” goes here.)

The 56-year-old Robbins was arrested in January on an outstanding warrant while returning to California from Mexico, and arraigned on four felony counts of making a threat to cause bodily harm or great bodily injury and one count of stalking. According to City News Service (via The Associated Press), prosecutors say Robbins called his former girlfriend a dozen times a day and threatened to kill her and her son if she didn’t return his car and dog. He allegedly also threatened her plastic surgeon, demanding a refund for the breast enhancement.

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Viz Media announces ‘Ben 10 Omniverse’ graphic novels

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Viz Media has been busy snapping up licenses for its VizKids imprint, and now has announced a new one: a series of Ben 10 Omniverse graphic novels that will tie in with the Cartoon Network show.

Ben 10 Omniverse is the fourth iteration of the Ben 10 cartoon created by four comics writers (Joe Casey, Joe Kelly, Duncan Rouleau and Steven T. Seagle), beginning as the story of 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, who changes into different types of aliens with the help of a device called the Omnnitrix. In Ben 10 Omniverse, Ben is now 15 and has a new Omnitrix that transforms him into different creatures. His Grandpa Max pairs him up with a rookie plumber named Rook (who’s “highly skilled with his Proto-Tool, but lacks any field experience,” according to the press release) to explore an alien city and stay one step ahead of the bad guys who are in hot pursuit. If this is making you feel a little lost, here’s some good news: Cartoon Network is having a “Ben 10 Bootcamp” this weekend, with 17 hours of Ben 10 programming so everyone can catch up.

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‘The Powerpuff Girls’ are back — at IDW Publishing

IDW_Cartoon_Net_2It sounds like some interesting announcements were made at the ComicsPRO meeting over the weekend in Atlanta, and one that is already hitting the streets is that IDW Publishing will release an entire line of comics based on Cartoon Network properties.

“Many of these Cartoon Network shows have only grown in popularity since they originally aired,” Chris Ryall, IDW’s chief creative officer and editor-in-chief, said in the press release, “and we’re excited to be able to offer new iterations of the characters in comic-book form alongside both our planned reprint material and also some new animated ventures Cartoon Network has planned, too. There’s a wealth of fun properties to play with here, and we’ve already got some unique things in mind for them.”

The starting lineup will include The Powerpuff Girls, Ben 10, Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Johnny Bravo and Generator Rex. Many, if not all, have been made into comics before: DC released 70 issues of its Powerpuff Girls comic and 34 issues of Dexter’s Laboratory, in addition to a Cartoon Network Action Pack anthology, which featured many of the network’s other characters (like DC Entertainment, Cartoon Network is a subsidiary of Time Warner), and Del Rey published a Ben 10 graphic novel that was written by Peter David and illustrated by Dan Hipp. So there is an interesting back catalog to draw on in addition to new material.

An IDW spokesperson told ICv2 that the first release in the new line will be a Powerpuff Girls comic this fall.

Exclusive: STAPLE! announces lineup for March 2-3 expo

Organizers of STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo have provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at the details for their ninth annual event, held March 2-3 at the Marchesa Hall & Theater in Austin, Texas. Billed as the premier indie-comics convention in the Southwest, STAPLE! showcases a range of performers, exhibitors and artists, with an emphasis this year on independent table-top gaming, web TV, animation and pop-culture podcasting.

The announced panelists are: comics creators James O’Barr, Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson; veteran game designers Jason Morningstar, Jeff Dee and Marc Majcher; web TV icons Danni Danger, Sara Reihani and Jessica Mills; animators Dax Norman, Kyle Sullivan, Bill Byrne and Mongrel Studio Productions; and podcasters Geek Bombast, Chris Cox, Martin Thomas, The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen and The Random Access Web TV Podcast. See the panelist biographies below. A full list of exhibitors can be found on the STAPLE! website.

The event, and its official “Live Art Show” after-party, also will feature performances by the macabre musical troupe After Midnight, nerdcore hip-hop artist Bad Barry, DJ LD and chiptune artist Run/DMG.

Two-day passes can be purchased for $15 from the Marchesa Hall & Theater website, or at the door.

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McBess unleashes the music in animated TV spot for Deezer


Matthieu Bessudo, the French artist commonly known as McBess, is becoming very popular indeed with the advertising industry. Known in the comics world primarily for the work he’s produced for the boutique U.K, publisher NoBrow, his background is both in animation and music, playing guitar in various bands, making him the perfect man for this great ad for the streaming music service Deezer.

The 32-second short features a host of trademark McBess tattooed rock ‘n’ rollers who refuse to allow music to be contained like a genie in the bottle, letting it spill out in a series of bravura flowing animated musical set pieces, then ending with the motto “nothing will stop the music.” McBess’sstyle has previously graced ads for the Nissan Qashqui SUV and this memorably filthy and effective one for the charity Good Books.

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Good grief! Original voice of Charlie Brown jailed on threat charges

Former actor Peter Robbins, best known as the original voice of Charlie Brown, was set to be arraigned today in San Diego on charges that he threatened a police officer, a doctor and two others with death.  “AAUGGGHH!!” indeed.

U-T San Diego reports the 56-year-old Oceanside, California, resident was arrested Sunday night returning from Mexico after border security discovered he had an outstanding warrant in San Diego County. He was booked early Monday and held on $550,000 bail until his arraignment today on four felony counts of making a threat to cause bodily harm or great bodily injury and one count of stalking.

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Chernin Group partners with Liquid Comics on Graphic India

Ramayan 3392AD

CA Media, the Asian investment arm of The Chernin Group, has acquired what it’s calling “a large minority stake” in Graphic India, a new subsidiary of Liquid Comics.

Launched in 2011 by Sharad Devarajan, Gotham Chopra and Suresh Seetharaman, Graphic India is a comic book and animation company focused on creating mythological and superhero characters and stories for the Indian youth market, published across mobile and online platforms. The Chernin Group was founded in 2009 by former television and film executive Peter Chernin, who was previously president and CEO of News Corp. The investment makes CA Media and Liquid joint owners, with the latter contributing its catalog of comics.

Graphic India, which partnered with Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment to create the superhero Chakra–The Invincible, plans to release new digital content centered on properties previously published by Liquid Comics. They include: Devi, developed by filmmaker Shekhar Kapur; The Sadhu, created by Gotham Chopra; and Ramayan 3392AD, developed by Deepak Chopra and Shekhar Kapur.

“India is home to some of the most creative minds in the world, and we believe that the next Batman, Harry Potter, Pokemon or The Avengers, can come from this country,” Devarajan said in a statement. “At Graphic India, we intend to find, nurture and promote a new generation of creators to transform the world with their stories. The team at The Chernin Group and CA Media bring an unparalleled level of experience in entertainment and we could not imagine a better partner to work with to launch this mission.”


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