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Comics A.M. | $15,000 comic goes missing; donations for Bill Mantlo

Amazing Fantasy #15

Crime | A man in Lincoln, Nebraska, told police that a copy of Amazing Fantasy #15, valued at $15,000, disappeared from his home sometime between Oct. 27 and Monday morning. The 1962 issue was kept with other comics, but the man claims several people had been in and out of his home since he last saw it. A near-mint copy of the comic, which features the first appearance of Spider-Man, sold at auction in March for $1.1 million. [Lincoln Journal Star]

Creators | Writer Greg Pak has set up a page to take donations for former comics writer Bill Mantlo, whose tragic situation was detailed in an article last week. “Bill Mantlo has had a huge influence on me as a writer and reader,” Pak said. “His Micronauts stories blew my mind as a kid and his Incredible Hulk run laid the groundwork for the themes I explored my five-and-a-half year run with the character.” Money donated through the site goes directly to Mike Mantlo, Bill’s brother, for Bill’s ongoing care. [Greg Pak]

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A Month of Wednesdays: Any Empire, Big Questions and every graphic novel I read in August

Any Empire (Top Shelf) Nate Powell’s follow-up to 2008’s well-received Swallow Me Whole is similar in tone and subject matter. The former is a palpable sadness borne of masterfully communicated verisimilitude is the former, and the latter is  troubled lives of young people.

The effects of various forms of militarism on young boys, and the lives that can result, accounts for much of Powell’s focus, as two of the three principal characters grew up with real soldiers in their families, and the boys devote much of their imaginative lives to war fantasies inspired by G.I. Joe comics and toys and Hollywood movies like Platoon.

A third character, a young girl, is similarly affected by her fantasy life, although she plays at girl detective thanks to Nancy Drew novels, rather than dealing with the anxieties the boys suffer trying to live up to their society’s narrow notion of manliness.

All three share a school and exposure to a weird neighborhood mystery—turtles are being found badly wounded, their shells smashed intentionally—but they drift into radically different directions as they reach adulthood and, eventually, they reunite.

It’s pretty heartbreaking stuff, but it’s never hard to read, as Powell infuses the narrative with occasionally quite startling fantasy sequences that seem to ebb and flow from the lives of the characters; initially these sequences seem summoned by them in order to deal with boredom or escape stressful situations, but  later they seemingly have a life of their own, coming unbidden.

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SDCC Wishlist | Top Shelf has new Powell, Gentlemen and kung fu

Top Shelf will debut three new books at the San Diego Comic-Con later this month, including the new Nate Powell book, new League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Infinite Kung Fu. In addition, James Kochalka will at their booth with his entire family signing a special family portrait print, and Craig Thompson will sign the new hardcover and softcover editions of Blankets.

Check out the debuts below.

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. 3 Century #2

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (Vol III): Century #2 – 1969
by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is back! Our merry metafictional marauders continue their bestselling adventures through the 20th century! In this volume, the League must battle dark cultists amid the sit-ins, sitars, and psychedelics of 1960s swinging London.

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What Are You Reading?

Any Empire

Welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is Robert Stanley Martin.

Robert writes for his blog Pol Culture, and is a contributing writer to The Hooded Utilitarian. He is a past contributor to The Comics Journal, and his essays on R. Crumb’s The Book of Genesis Illustrated and Eddie Campbell’s Alec: The Years Have Pants are featured in the soon-to-be-released The Comics Journal #301.

To see what Robert and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click on through …

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