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Comics A.M. | In San Diego, ‘comics had a great convention’

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Image Comics content manager David Brothers explains why this year’s Comic-Con International was a great convention, pointing out that there’s a lot more to the event than movies and television, and there’s a lot more to comics than the Big Two: “Marvel and DC are comics, just like the other publishers, and they make some great ones when they let the creators do their own thing. But at this point? You can’t treat them like the entirety of the comics industry, or even two companies that can dictate the future of comics. They run the movies, and that’s cool, but running comics? It’s just not true any more. Image in particular outsells Marvel in the book market as far as trade paperbacks go, and that holds true in the comics market lately, too. That’s no coincidence. People enjoy Marvel and DC, but they want more than Marvel and DC.” [io9.com]

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Bob Kane’s own copies of early Batman comics are for sale

detective27-kaneFans with a little extra cash in their pockets — OK, a lot of cash — have a chance to acquire pieces of Dark Knight history, as ComicConnect and Metropolis Collectibles are auctioning Batman co-creator Bob Kane’s own file copies of the character’s earliest appearances.

Those searching for pristine editions of Detective Comics #27 or Batman #1 will have to look elsewhere. These are copies of Detective Comics #27-45 and Batman #1-3 that were bound by DC Comics for editorial reference — as you can see, there’s a row of holes down the left — and later given to Kane. Still, the colors remain vibrant.

“Treasures like this only surface once in a blue moon,” ComicConnect/Metropolis Collectibles CEO Stephen Fishler said in a statement. “I was lucky enough to know Bob Kane. He told me, along with others, that he was just 17 when he sold the Batman character to an unwitting DC. Once the franchise took off, he leveraged that to renegotiate his contract with DC, and the file copies were part of the deal.”

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Inside DC Comics’ 1990 redesign of Robin

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With the 25th anniversary of 1989′s Batman, there’s been a resurgence of interest in the Tim Burton movie. As part of that, James at 1989Batman.com has pulled together some excellent threads examining DC Comics’ 1990 redesign of Robin, a project undertaken at the behest of filmmakers.

Out went the elfish garb of the original as DC searched for something more modern — befitting the time, and also primed to be translated into a future Batman film. To accomplish that task, DC turned to several of its top artists at the time, including Neal Adams, Norm Breyfogle, Stephen De Stefano, George Perez and Jim Aparo. DC didn’t tell the artists what it was for; simply, they were asked to redesign the Boy Wonder.

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SDCC | The ‘Gotham’ zip line photo we’ve been waiting for

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Widely circulated photos have shown San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Todd Gloria riding the 200-foot zip line set up at Comic-Con International to promote Fox’s Gotham, but it’s The Hollywood Reporter’s Philiana Ng who delivers the winning image: a Batgirl cosplayer striking a pose as she glides across the Gotham City skyline.

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SDCC | DC and Image hold hefty digital sales

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Like comiXology and Marvel Unlimited, DC Entertainment and Image Comics are celebrating Comic-Con International with sales on select digital titles.

Through Tuesday, DC is marking the 75th anniversary of the Dark Knight by offering digital downloads of a whopping 750 Batman comics for 99 cents each. These aren’t typical dollar-bin titles, however; they include The Dark Knight Returns, The Long Halloween, No Man’s Land, Year One, Hush, The Court of the Owls and All Star Batman & Robbin the Boy Wonder. If you’re wanting to go way back, there are comics dating back to 1938, with Batman’s debut in Detective Comics #27.

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SDCC, Day 1 | ComiXology, ‘Rage of Ultron’ lead Thursday’s news

avengers-rage of ultronThe biggest comics news Thursday out of Comic-Con International was undoubtedly that, after years of debate, comiXology has introduced DRM-free backups of titles purchased from its storefront, with Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, Top Shelf Productions and Zenescope Entertainment signing on to the program.

An email went out last night notifying customers that books they’ve purchased can be downloaded and stored as PDF or CBZ files, and pointing them to an FAQ on the subject.

“This has been an oft-requested feature,” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said during the company’s Comic-Con panel. “It’s a real backup file — it’s a fairly plain PDF or CBZ. They are high resolution, not a lot of bells and whistles, and my feeling is that people will continue to use the cloud-based reader to do their reading.”

The other big announcement was that Marvel will publish Avengers: Age of Ultron, an in-continuity graphic novel by the Uncanny X-Force team of Rick Remender, Jerome Opeña and Dean White scheduled to arrive in April 2015, ahead of the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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Grumpy Old Fan | ‘Robin Rises’ but ‘Zero’ soars

My hero

My hero

Wednesday was Batman Day, the official date for celebrating the character’s 75th anniversary. It’s fine to have a Batman Day, I guess — I’ve been getting emails from online bookstores saying “Celebrate Batman Day with our sales!” so it’s coming across in practice like President’s Day — but Batman is so ubiquitous in pop culture that you might as well have a McDonald’s Day or a Coca-Cola Day. (In a perfect world there would be a Rockford Files Day.)

Anyway, appropriately enough, each of the two regular Bat-books DC published this week looked at one end of Batman’s timeline. Batman Vol. 2 #33 wrapped up “Zero Year,” the latest (and perhaps the most epic) version of the character’s origins; and Batman and Robin Vol. 2 #33 presented “Robin Rises, Part One,” the latest chapter in Damian Wayne’s posthumous saga. While the former ended impressively, the latter is off to a slow start.

* * *

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SDCC | Gary Frank draws James Gordon for ‘Gotham’ teaser

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Fox appears to be bringing even more comic-book flair to its heavily promoted Gotham with a series of Who’s Who in the DC Universe-style character images. IGN has debuted the first, featuring Det. James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) as drawn by Gary Frank, known for his work on Action Comics, the “Curse of Shazam” story in Justice League, and the upcoming Batman Earth One.

Warner Bros. Television promises more images will be revealed in the lead-up to the Sept. 22 premiere of Gotham on Fox.

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Red Hood joins ‘Batman: Arkham Knight’ as GameStop exclusive

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After a little social-media teasing, GameStop has announced the Red Hood Story Pack DLC will be available exclusively to customers who preorder Batman: Arkham Knight from the retailer.

Developed by Rocksteady for Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment and DC Entertainment, Batman: Arkham Knight is billed as the explosive finale to the hit action-adventure video game series that launched in 2009 with Batman: Arkham Asylum. (For a complete rundown, read CBR’s coverage of the closed-door demo at E3 2014.)

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Quote of the Day | ‘We identified this need’

gotham academy1“Certainly when you relaunch a whole universe, something like the New 52, you’re gonna essentially create a bible that kind of guides and dictates the evolution and growth of the universe. We’re in year three of that, and certainly every story that’s created is done through the collaboration of an editor with the writer and the artist and the rest of the creative team. So I certainly think  Mark Doyle coming on and becoming the Batman Group editor was a big part of that. I think it’s also a recognition that our audience has evolved and we wanna make sure that we tell the stories that the audiences are craving. So we identified this need. We’re coming out with these different kinds of storylines, and, frankly, it’s exciting because we have a lot of Batman books, and I think it’s a disservice to the fans and to the character to have everything feel of the same tonality. I’m a big fan of Becky Cloonan, so I’m really looking forward to her work on Gotham Academy. I think it’s healthy for the business, and it’s an exciting time to be a Batman fan.”

– DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee, talking with Entertainment Weekly about the decision to take “the Batman world” in a different direction with the newly announced Arkham Manor and Gotham Academy. (He also mentions Batgirl among the developments he’s looking forward to in the back half of Batman’s 75th anniversary celebration.)

SDCC | LEGO debuts classic TV Batmobile, Batman of Zur-En-Arrh

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For Batman Day, and the start of Comic-Con International, LEGO has unleashed a one-two punch on fans of the Dark Knight: the LEGO Super Heroes: DC Comics San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile and the giveaway Batman of Zur-En-Arrh minifig.

Priced at $39.99, the Batman Classic TV Series Batmobile comes with the 1960s-style Caped Crusader minifigs. While that set will be readily available this week at the LEGO booth (#2829), convention attendees will have to rely on some luck to get their hands on Batman of Zur-En-Arrh.

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SDCC | Jim Lee to give away 50 sketches

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DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee has been known to hold scavenger hunts at Comic-Con International and C2E2, dropping visual clues on Twitter to direct his fans to hidden character sketches. For this Comic-Con, however, he’ll celebrate his fast-approaching 50th birthday (it’s on Aug. 11) by giving away 50 previously drawn sketches at his spotlight panel on Sunday.

“I can do a sketch, it’s like a very complicated signature — so I think the quickest sketch I can do is like a minute and a half,” Lee tells DC All Access. “So I’d have to do it, literally, in two days.”

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SDCC | LEGO wheels out Batman Tumbler

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Mere days before Comic-Con International, LEGO has finally revealed what many collectors long suspected would make its debut in San Diego: the Ultimate Collector Series Batman Tumbler.

Measuring 15 inches by 9 inches, the vehicle comes with Batman and Joker minifigs, which The Brothers Brick notes marks the first LEGO appearance of Heath Ledger’s version of the character from The Dark Knight. There’s also a nameplate and an accessible cockpit.

Composed of 1,869 pieces, the Ultimate Collector Series LEGO Batman Tumbler 76023 will be available in September for $199.

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SDCC | Mondo debuts ‘Batman: The Animated Series’ album sleeves

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There have been a ton of Batman-related products and announcements in the wind-up to Comic-Con International — you’d think it was his 75th anniversary or something — but few are as cool as this one: Collectible art boutique Mondo is releasing Batman: The Animated Series 7-inch vinyl records featuring Danny Elfman’s theme, with sleeve art by five different artists. Side A is the main title and end credits, and Side B is the end credits, with alternate beginning and alternate ending.

Check out the sleeves below. The records will be available during Comic-Con beginning Wednesday, Preview Night, at the Mondo booth (#835).

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Warner Bros. debuts ‘Teen Titans Go!’ oversized Comic-Con Bag [Updated]

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The massive Comic-Con International bags are back, and Warner Bros. has provided Robot 6 with an exclusive first look at the Teen Titans Go! bag fans can get at this year’s show in San Diego. The bag features Robin, Starfire, Beast Boy, Cyborg and Raven in their chibi-style animated incarnations.

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