Bizarro Archives - Robot 6 @ Comic Book Resources
Legal | As the dust begins to settle on the ruling last month by a federal judge that Arthur Conan Doyle’s first 50 Sherlock Holmes stories have lapsed into the public domain in the United States, out march the analyses pointing out the buts. Chief among them, of course, is the possibility of appeal by the Conan Doyle estate, which contends the characters were effectively incomplete until the author’s final story was published in the United States (the 10 stories published after Jan. 1, 1923, remain under copyright in this country until 2022).
However, Publishers Weekly notes that because U.S. District Judge Ruben Castillo didn’t rule directly on that “novel” argument, the estate may be satisfied with the ambiguity of the decision, given that uncertain creators still may seek to license the characters to steer clear of any trouble. Estate lawyer Benjamin Allison also insists that the Sherlock Holmes trademarks remain unaffected, an assertion that puzzles author and scholar Leslie Klinger, who brought the lawsuit. “There is a very good reason why the Estate did not assert trademark protection: The Estate does not own any trademarks,” he told PW. “They have applied for them, and there will be substantial opposition.” There’s more at NPR, The Independent and The Atlantic. [Publishers Weekly]
If you’ve been keeping up with the events in the DC Universe, then you know things are looking particularly grim for the good guys.
At the conclusion of “Trinity War,” the Justice Leagues faced an invasion from the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 — “The birthplace of all evil,” as one character called it — evil counterparts of the Justice League. In the first issue of Forever Evil, these villains claimed to have killed all of the Justice Leaguers, they freed all the supervillains from all the super-prisons and organized them into an army called The Secret Society, they did some awful things to Nightwing and then even moved the moon to permanently block out the sun.
To mark the occasion of evil temporarily winning (again), DC declared September Villains Month, and is interrupting the ongoing adventures of its heroes with special “.1″ issues starring various villains. Each of these was to bear a fancy plastic 3D cover that jacked the price up a buck and ultimately created shortages, an artificial collectors/speculators market and irritated a whole bunch of retailers, many of whom were already pretty irritated by having to figure out how to order something like, say, Justice League #23.3: Dial E, which fused one of the publisher’s best selling comics with one of its worst.
We — and by that I mean you and I, for the course of this post — aren’t going to concern ourselves with that aspect of the books, however. Instead, let’s look under those covers, whether they’re the fancy plastic 3D ones or the regular, cheaper “standard edition” ones and concern ourselves with the quality of the comics concealed behind the covers.
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.
The one-panel cartoon, titled “Divine Intervention,” depicts a trio of angels confronting God with a list of how his behavior affects others, ending with, “… and then there was the weekend bender when you reached rock bottom and created man.” It’s not the stuff of such anodyne comics-page mainstays as Family Circus or Garfield, but it hardly seems offensive.
Yet the editor of the Paris, Tennessee, Post-Intelligencer donned sackcloth and ashes in reaction to a phone call from a displeased reader. “We won’t repeat its irreverent humor, accusing God is sinning — let’s just say we were horrified that we didn’t pay attention to it in advance, when we should have refused to publish it,” states the editor’s note in Wednesday’s paper. “We apologize to all our readers offended by this particular comic strip. And we’ll try to do a better job of ensuring it doesn’t happen again.”
Brazilian pop artist (and firm Robot 6 favorite) Butcher Billy recently told me he was working on a project that would appeal as much to readers of Time as to the readers of this blog. I believed him, and waited eagerly to see what he was going to come up with. He was right, and he’s excelled himself. He’s just posted The Legion of Real Life Supervillains at Behance, a gallery of images recasting some of humanity’s very worst as four-color miscreants.
In Billy’s own words:
“If back in the day comics and movies were pretty naive and faced only as pure escapism, today’s fiction has to evoke reality to create something truly meaningful… and frightening. This series is an experiment where a dictator, a psycho, a murderer (sometimes they are the whole package) or even a suspicious figure from real life is mashed with a comics bad guy - strangely related some way or the other with his counterpart. The depressing thing? Realising that if the comic book supervillains were actually the ones threatening real life, the world wouldn’t be such a bad place.”
This series raises all sorts of questions and invites all sorts of controversies. Some examples below, and be aware that Billy’s Legion of Doom includes a couple of choices whose presence in such nefarious ranks you may well disagree with. I might distrust Facebook’s ubiquity, but Mark Zuckerberg isn’t exactly a genocidal tyrant (yet).
Last year Robb Pratt posted a stellar “Fleischer Brothers meets Mike Kunkel” Superman cartoon that he made in his spare time, featuring the Man of Steel, Lois Lane and a giant robot. Pratt is back with a new cartoon, this time pitting Superman against Bizarro in the aptly titled “Bizarro Classic.” Check it out below, and keep watching after the credits to see how he made the film (and how they did the voice for Bizarro … very cool).
Have you heard? Some maniacal super villain has kidnapped the Justice League and turned them into… tater tots? Don’t worry, super friends, it’s all part of a unique promotion DC is doing with the fast food chain Sonic Drive-In.
Available “for a limited time only” with purchase of one of Sonic’s Wacky Pack Kids’ Meals, these “Super Tots” come in 10 varieties: Superman, Clark Kent, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, Flash, Hawkgirl, Aquaman, Supergirl, Bizarro, and Plastic Man. Batman and Green Lantern are conspicuously absent, but I’d chalk that up to the adult world of licensing agreements and what not given their recent movies.
This isn’t the first time comic heroes have shown up in fast food kids meals, but it’s arguably one of the most deliciously cute ones in recent memory. Check out all the little guys after the jump, courtesy of Sonic.
The first thing I did when I got to C2E2 was head to Artist Alley to see who was there. It’s always fascinating to see big-name talent rubbing shoulders with creators who haven’t been discovered yet. Here’s a quick look at some of the tables that caught my eye today.
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Done in 2007, this piece started with an idea of Bizarro’s take on the Joker Trophy Wall piece by Brian Bolland. In his blog post, Nowlan said it took several passes before he got it how he wanted it… and as you can see from this sketch on the right, it’s looking good!
Swing over to Nowlan’s blog to get a look at a few process sketches and the final result!
Sony Online has been slowly but surely rolling out artwork and screenshots of the various characters you’ll be able to interact with in their upcoming DC Universe Online game for Playstation 3 and the PC. After the jump, check out a few more shots of Bizarro, who, incidentally, was one of the villains I remember fighting against in the demo I played in San Diego back in 2008.
Dan Piraro, creator of the comic strip Bizarro, talks about the strip that ran this past Sunday — “Ex Men” — and how he regrets the strip about men estranged from their families ran on Father’s Day.
“So I’d like to apologize to any estranged fathers out there who found this cartoon to be painful,” he wrote on his blog. “I got divorced in the mid-nineties when my daughters were 9 and 14, so I know it can be tough. On the bright side, it probably isn’t a tough as being a huge, blue furry guy with a face like a baboon’s ass. So count your blessings.”