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Winners announced for 10th annual Joe Shuster Awards

rat queens1The winners of the 10th annual Joe Shuster Awards were announced Saturday in Toronto. Named in honor of Toronto-born artist Joe Shuster, co-creator Superman, the awards recognize the best of the Canadian comics world.

In addition to the traditional awards, this year’s event included the introduction of the T.M. Maple Award, which honors “someone (living or deceased) selected from the Canadian comics community for achievements made outside of the creative and retail categories who have had a positive impact on the community.” The first recipients were the late Jim Burke, aka T.M. Maple, who wrote more than 3,000 letters to comic book letter columns between 1977 and 1994, and the late Debra Jane Shelly, longtime volunteer at Toronto conventions and comics events.

The winners are listed in bold below. The Beat has photos and audio from the ceremony, held at Back Space Toronto.

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Moebius and more populate this week’s Shelf Porn

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Happy Saturday and welcome to Shelf Porn, where each week we feature one fan’s collection. Today’s shelves come from Austin Tinius, comics creator and publisher at Bogus Publishing.

If you’d like to see your collection right here on Robot 6, you can find complete details at the end of this post.

And now let’s hear from Austin …

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Grumpy Old Fan | DC’s December: happy golden days of yore

...'Miss Gordon' if you're nasty

‘Miss Gordon’ if you’re nasty

There’s a lot to like in DC Comics’ December solicitations, most of it due to the return of some old friends and the uber-nostalgic glimpses at a traditional status quo. It’s not like the New 52’s changes are being rolled back — I have no illusions about that, and I’m not sure how it would work if it did happen — but DC is always best served when it can channel the familiar aspects of its past in vibrant new forms.

THERE YOU GO AGAIN

I am starting to think Secret Six is the comic Gail Simone was born to write, even more so than Birds of Prey. There’s always been a dark undercurrent running through her DC work, from BOP to Batgirl to The Movement, but only with the Sixers could she really cut loose. Indeed, as much as I enjoyed Scandal, Bane, Deadshot and the rest, I’m eager to see what she can do with six cryptically united strangers, most of whom will probably be new to us.

Those who believe the traditional, pre-New 52 DC Universe is still out there, somewhere in the Multiverse, can reasonably hang their collective hat on the return of the Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis Blue Beetle and Booster Gold in Justice League 3000 #12. I’d go even further, and say this version of Beetle and Booster probably follows directly from the two “Super Buddies” arcs that Giffen, DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire produced in the mid-2000s. The second one, I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League, ended rather pointedly with Beetle and Max Lord sharing a happy moment. That, of course, stood in stark contrast to the Countdown to Infinite Crisis special, in which Max shot Beetle in the head, and then (a few months later) successfully dared Wonder Woman to execute him. Therefore, the Beetle and Booster of JL3K hail from an Earth where things turned out quite differently — but ironically, they’ve been awakened in a dystopian future where the Justice Leaguers are darkly twisted versions of their old selves. Not that Giffen and DeMatteis can’t find some comedy there, but I’m having trouble summoning up a bwah-hah-hah.

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New service Comic Cartel thinks outside (and about) the box

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Mail-order comics services have been around for decades, but with the Internet they’ve grown by leaps and bounds. Still, when you put together the words “online” and “comics,” many people naturally think digital, but a new online mail-order business is putting print — and comics as a physical product — squarely into the limelight.

Launched earlier this summer, Comic Cartel has the standard offerings of other online mail-order services, with the ability to shop for individual issues and graphic novels, as well to create subscriptions. But what sets Comics Cartel apart is its attention to detail when it comes to comics as a physical object — one worthy of high care and exceptional packaging.

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A Batfan shows off his collection in this week’s Shelf Porn

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Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly trip into the home of one fan. Today’s collection comes from Batfan and father Andrew Seymour, who shares his comics, statues and more.

If you’d like to see your collection featured right here on Robot 6, you can find submission details at the end of this post.

And now here is Andrew …

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Grumpy Old Fan | Selling Complicated Boy and Look-It-Up Lass

Try to work in these guys, too

Try to work in these guys, too

It won’t be long before the Legion of Super-Heroes reappears in the New 52. This week’s two-page editorial spread (written by editor Brian Cunningham) teases next month’s “The Infinitus Saga,” a Justice League United arc pitting the newest batch of Leaguers against the future’s greatest super-team.

Providentially, rumors have begun circulating about the Legion’s possible jump to the big screen, as Warner Bros.’ answer to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Among the reactions to these rumors were Eric Diaz’s suggestions (at Nerdist) and The Beat’s conclusion that “I never got the Legion [but] this could be a charming and exciting film.”

To be sure, it’s way too early to evaluate the merits of a Legion film. Heck, there may not even be a Legion movie, if Batman v Superman underperforms. However, two things jump out at me from this coverage: First, the blockbuster Guardians has opened the door for adapting all sorts of superhero obscurities. Second, any adaptation must deal with — and most likely overcome — the Legion’s history (and history of reboots).

With regard to the latter, The Beat calls the feature “classic DC — a continuity-heavy series that has a smallish but rabid following, and a huge cast of characters who are sometimes oddballs”; and Nerdist notes that “DC has struggled to keep the book relevant” for most of the past 30 years.

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It’s official: Bob Bretall has world’s largest comics collection

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More than a year after the British media decreed Bob Bretall owns the world’s largest comic book collection, it’s now official: With 94,268 unique comics amassed over four decades — and still growing! — the 52-year-old Mission Viejo, California, man now holds the Guinness World Records.

Bretall’s treasure trove weighs an estimated 16,800 pounds, or the equivalent of 118 grown men. Y’know, if you were curious.

He began collecting at 8 years old with 1970’s Amazing Spider-Man #88, and never stopped. Bretall adds more than 140 each month, revealing on his Facebook page that since the official count on May 1, the tally has grown by at least 1,000.

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A big dose of Shelf Porn from the Big Easy

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Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly look at one fan’s collection. Today’s collection comes from down south, as Scotty in New Orleans shows off his artwork, comics and much more.

If you’d like to see your collection featured here on ROBOT 6, you can find instructions on how to do so at the end of this post.

And now here’s Scotty …

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Grumpy Old Fan | Combinations of creators and characters

Ask your grandparents about letter-writing

Ask your grandparents about letter-writing

Note: Due to my travel schedule, the Futures Index is taking a break this week. There will be a double dose next week to get us back on track.

Something I didn’t mention in last week’s post about The Multiversity #1 is the persistent notion that corporate-controlled characters have, for lack of a better phrase, “lives of their own.” In other words, we know how Superman, et al., are “supposed” to act, based on common, recurring elements, which are ostensibly independent of any particular creative team. Because The Multiversity offers a prime opportunity to play around with those elements and the expectations they engender, this week I wanted to go a little more in that direction.

* * *

We begin with Batman, and specifically a scene from the now-classic Batman: The Brave and the Bold cartoon. “Legends of the Dark Mite,” written by Bat-guru Paul Dini, features a brief-but-incisive dig not just at fans, but at the corporate culture which has nurtured the Caped Crusader over these past 75 years. See, Bat-Mite wants to see his hero fight a supervillain, but Batman just wants the little guy to vamoose, and suggests the imp summon Calendar Man. Yadda yadda yadda, Calendar King has killer Easter Bunnies.

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Comics fan claims $140,000 collection missing after ex moves out

xmen1Many of us have experienced a bad breakup, marked by accusations and recriminations, followed by the discovery of a missing book or DVD. But for many comics fans, this is a nightmare scenario.

According to the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, a man called police to report his $140,000 comic-book collection was stolen from his apartment Thursday after he split with his girlfriend.

He apparently was told to leave the apartment while she moved out, and when he returned there was some kind of physical altercation with her family — the specifics of which weren’t revealed. Afterward, he discovered his box of comics, including X-Men #1, was gone.

That, of course, raises a few questions: Was that 1963’s The X-Men #1, or 1991’s X-Men #1 (I’m guessing the former)? Was it a long box, which holds about 250 to 300 comics, or something larger? What other presumably Silver Age or even Golden Age comics were among that little treasure trove? And why, for the love of Galactus, would you leave something so valuable in your apartment while your ex, or your ex’s family, moves out items in the aftermath of a clearly unpleasant breakup?

Police haven’t charged any suspects.

Comics A.M. | Comic-Con doesn’t rule out staying in San Diego

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Although the planned $500 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center is, by all appearances, dead, Comic-Con International isn’t ready to say what it will do when its contract expires in 2016. “With regard to the convention center expansion, I can say that any decision to remain in San Diego has always been dependent upon a number of factors, and no one issue could really trump the others,” says David Glanzer, Comic-Con’s director of marketing and public relations. He notes that organizers previously worked with the city, convention center and hotels to expand programming venues, and they continue to discuss such issues as “space, hotel rates and other logistical factors that need to be addressed if we are to remain in San Diego.”

The proposed expansion would have added 740,000 square feet of exhibit space, a five-acre rooftop park, a waterfront promenade with retail shops and restaurants, and a second, 500-room tower to the adjacent Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. However, a California appeals court ruled Aug. 1 that a planned hotel tax intended to pay for the bulk of the costs was unconstitutional, as it was never put to a citywide vote. Anaheim and Los Angeles attempted to woo Comic-Con away from San Diego in 2010. [ICv2.com]

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Grumpy Old Fan | ‘The Multiversity’: Adventures on Earth-You

Wabbit season

Wabbit season

Let’s get this out of the way: The first issue of The Multiversity is one of the craziest main-line superhero comics I’ve read in a long time. It’s self-referential. It attempts to engage the reader directly. It leaps around various parallel worlds in great flurries of color, off-kilter captions, and shouty dialogue. It’s apparently also a pretty-direct sequel to Final Crisis, writer Grant Morrison’s 2008-09 big-event miniseries, which — not that it matters much — took place under a different set of cosmological rules.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the interaction between those rules and the need to reference a potentially “invalid” story. Some readers may be frustrated (not unreasonably) by such interactions, and so far The Multiversity isn’t making things easier.

Again, though, consistency across continuity reboots is beside the point. Indeed, with a giant one-eyed bat-thing intoning “WE WANT 2 MAKE YU LIKE US,” consistency itself appears to be one of The Multiversity’s main villains. Change the emphasis slightly and the plot becomes more insidious. “We want to make you like us” — i.e., happy to exist in a state of “anti-death,” an everlasting “moment of ruin.” The imagery isn’t very subtle, and commentators have already compared the Gentry’s members to DC and other big comics publishers. For that matter, Morrison and artist Cameron Stewart made the globular, monocular corporate mascot Mickey Eye the symbol for all that was wrong in the superhero world of Seaguy.  (Coincidentally, that hero also had a funny-animal sidekick.)

My review could end up being in the form of a cop-out, but saying that readers get out of Multiversity what they put into it might actually be the point of the series. As a superhero comic, The Multiversity #1 is perfectly decent. Penciler Ivan Reis, inker Joe Prado, colorist Nei Ruffino and letterer Todd Klein present it in an attractive package. (The fact that Reis is the current Justice League penciler probably has its own metatextual significance, given the subject matter.) However, just as the Multiverse is a framework for various parallel realities, so The Multiversity #1 provides a framework for engaging with those realities — and that’s a little harder to quantify.

SPOILERS FOLLOW, assuming plot still matters for this sort of thing.

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Pristine copy of ‘Action Comics’ #1 sells for record $3.2 million

action1The finest known copy of Action Comics #1, featuring the first appearance of Superman, sold late this afternoon on eBay for a record $3.2 million. It’s the first comic to fetch more than $3 million at auction.

The previous record price of $2.16 million was paid in 2011 for a copy of the same comic once owned by actor Nicolas Cage. While both are rated 9.0 by the Certified Guaranty Company, the Cage issue had “cream to off-white pages”; this one is considered to be in pristine condition. They’re the only two copies of Action Comics #1 to receive that high of a rating.

This copy was acquired several years ago in a private sale by Darren Adams of Pristine Comics in Federal Way, Washington, and stored a temperature-controlled vault. He said the original owner bought the comic  from a newsstand in 1938, and then kept in a cedar box for about four decades until a local dealer in West Virginia purchased it in an estate sale. The issue then passed to a third person, who held onto it for 30 years.

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Comics, action figures and more from Sheffield, England

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Happy Saturday and welcome to Shelf Porn, where each week we feature one fan’s collection. Today’s shelves come from Adrian in Sheffield, England, who shows off his collection of comics, action figures and more.

If you’d like to see your collection featured here, you can find instructions at the end of this post.

And now let’s hear from Adrian …

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Comics A.M. | Chinese cartoonist fears returning home

A cartoon by Biantai Lajiao

A cartoon by Biantai Lajiao

Political cartoons | “I think it might be pretty risky to go back home,” says Chinese cartoonist Wang Liming, who’s on Japan in a business trip and is thinking about staying there. “If I go back, they might use my cartoons as an excuse to detain me.” Liming, whose pen name is Biantai Lajiao (Perverted Chili Pepper), was arrested and briefly detained in 2013 on charges of “rumor-mongering,” stemming from a post on the microblog site Weibo. This time, an anonymous commenter on a state-owned discussion board called Liming a “traitor” because of a cartoon he posted online that showed mainland Chinese being sent to Hong Kong to oppose the Occupy Central pro-democracy campaign and demonstrate how to kowtow to the government. “That post is written like something out of the Cultural Revolution,” Liming said, calling it a “smear campaign.” He has 500,000 followers on Weibo and another 340,000 on Sina Weibo, and he says he is losing income because his accounts have been shut down. [Radio Free Asia]

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