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SDCC ’13 | T-minus one day until Comic-Con

"Wonder Woman: Earth One" art by Yanick Paquette

“Wonder Woman: Earth One” art by Yanick Paquette

With all of the hustle and bustle and early announcements, it may be a little difficult to believe, but Preview Night is still a day away, and Comic-Con International doesn’t officially begin until Thursday. By that time, we should be fully exhausted.

But before we experience information overload, let’s take a look at  some of the pre-convention information trickling in, ranging from trolley schedules to etiquette and survival guides to where to live it up while in San Diego:

Entertainment Weekly highlights ‘five comics to watch” during Comic-Con: Marvel’s Inhuman and “Inhumanity,” Grant Morrison and Yanick Paquette’s Wonder Woman: Earth One, DC’s “Villains Month,” the 10th anniversary of The Walking Dead, and Jeff Lemire’s Trillium.

• The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System has increased trolley service on the Green Line, which provides direct transportation to the stations in front of the San Diego Convention Center. Service also will be expanded throughout Comic-Con; see a complete rundown on the MTS website.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Witch Hunts’ wins Bram Stoker Award

Witch Hunts

Witch Hunts

Awards | Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written by Rocky Wood and Lisa Morton and illustrated by Greg Chapman, won the Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in a graphic novel, presented over the weekend by the Horror Writers Association. Winners with a comic-book connection in other categories include Caitlin R. Kiernan (novel, The Drowning Girl), Jonathan Maberry (young-adult novel, Flesh & Bone), and Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard (screenplay, The Cabin in the Woods). [Horror Writers Association]

Graphic novels | Heidi MacDonald looks at Dark Horse’s plans to expand its Originals line of creator-owned graphic novels this year; upcoming releases include print editions of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover’s Bandette and Cameron Stewart’s Sin Titulo, as well as a new graphic novel, Bad Houses, by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil. [Publishers Weekly]

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Cosplay is not consent — but a signed release is

PillowCosplay is a relatively new phenomenon in the United States, and it raises a whole raft of issues about boundaries, privacy and proper behavior. Someone else can write a book about that; what I found interesting about the recent cosplay pillow controversy was the set of assumptions underlying it. While this touches on the law, I should say up front that I am not a lawyer and what follows is commentary, not legal advice.

Here’s what happened: At last weekend’s AnimeNEXT, a cosplay photographer was selling pillows with photographs of cosplayers that he had taken. One of the cosplayers, Marie Grey, gave her version of events on her blog, complete with a photo of the pillow.

On Saturday evening, I received a tweet from my friend Carrie with a photo of me in my Dark Phoenix cosplay emblazoned on a pillow. She asked me if I was okay with it. Obviously… I was not. Upon getting my response, she spoke with the vendor (Eric [Pearce] of Imagesolutions), who claimed I had signed an agreement stating he could sell my image whichever way he pleased without asking.

Grey  posed for Pearce and had indeed signed a release, but she believed the document allowed her photo to be used for promotional purposes only. Pearce provided The Outhousers with a photo release he claimed all cosplayers signed, and it is considerably broader than that:

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Kids, adults gather at Los Angeles Zoo for Comic Jungle

bettywhiteThe comics scene descended on the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens June 1-2 for the annual Comic Jungle event. Zoo animals received super-powered descriptors, while visitors mingled with comic artists, retailers, art societies and costumed heroes.

All attendees received a free copy of the Bug’s Life book Flik the Inventor as they were led through an array of newly labeled zoo residents. Some animals were described as having superpowers, such as flight, night vision and super-strength: Elephants were designated as super-hearers, while seals had the power to breathe underwater. Aquaman would be so proud!

Free events were plentiful, including a live art demo by artist David Colman at the Giraffe Enclosure, and visitors could pose for photos with Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Cobra Commander and the 501st Legion Star Wars fan organization.

However, there were also plenty of guests in costume, including an excellent Incredibles family, and a wee Captain America sporting a cape (see photos of both, below).

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All Hawkeye cosplayers need a set of these in their quiver

trick-arrows

With the popularity of Hawkeye –both the Clint Barton version, starring in his own stellar comic and various Avengers titles, and the Kate Bishop version, currently appearing in that same stellar comic and the snappy Young Avengers — it’s not surprising that Hawkeye cosplayers are taking aim at conventions around the world.

If you’re wanting to sport the gear of the younger, female Hawkeye, but aren’t sure where to get started, here’s a Tumblr by a devoted Kate Bishop cosplayer that should tell you everything you need to know. It’s appropriately titled “Gosh I Love Arrows,” and I think she goes above and beyond in the creation of a set of trick arrows based on David Aja’s illustrations from issue #3.

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This Judge Death cosplay is absolutely terrifying

judge_death_2_by_warrior1944

I saw this, via the Twitter feed of PJ Holden, and shivered. There’s lots of people cosplaying as Judge Dredd these days — in both flavors, comic and movie — but I’ve never before seen anyone make an attempt at his most iconic enemy, Judge Death.

Well, that’s changed, as DeviantArt member “warrior1944” (presumably called Peter Olsson in real life, but it’s hard to tell from his site) has done a helluva job of capturing the essence of Brian Bolland’s design. Of course, we should all be at least a little bit worried that someone could be so inspired by one of the most chilling mass-murderers in comics, but that’s really between this kid and his psychiatrist.

Updated: 2000AD have been in touch to point out that these costumes are being sold without approval or license. While they’ve no issue with cosplayers dressing up as 2000AD characters, infringing on their copyright with the commercial sale of costumes is another matter altogether. The Rebellion folks are known for their close relationship with the official licensee on these matters, Planet Replicas. Presumably, all parties are taking action on this right now.

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From McFarlane to ‘Weird Al’: Six questions with Ryan Stegman

robotroulette

Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.

Our special guest today is Ryan Stegman, artist of Superior Spider-Man, Scarlet Spider, Fantastic Four, She-Hulks and more.

Now let’s get to it …

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Cosplayer-on-creator violence at London Super Con

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The London Super Con happened over the weekend, complete with a sizable roll call of legends attending (including Neal Adams, George Perez, Bill Sienkiewicz and Brian Bolland). These days, it wouldn’t be a U.K. comic convention without a fresh batch of photographs turning up in the Twitter stream of 2000AD super-fan John Burdis and friends dragged up as  Mega City One judges, administering some on-the-spot justice to his fellow convention goers. This time, there were some familiar faces to be spotted amongst his willing victims: There are literally hundreds of shots like these on Burdis’s Facebook gallery. Also seen at Facebook: a very jolly-looking Batman sharing a joke with Judge Court.

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Entrance exam to the geek clubhouse

I hope that little girl cited her costume's first appearance before this picture was taken

Early last week an otherwise-respected comic book artist took to Facebook to rant about the perceived insult of women attending comic book conventions dressed as comic book characters. Others have since soundly disassembled whatever point he was trying to make, so I wasn’t sure if much value could come from one more person on the Internet condemning the tirade for being ill-conceived, juvenile and sexist. But then I just did, so there you have it.

That aside, this is hardly the first time there’s been an inordinate amount of hand-wringing over whether certain people are enough of a geek or nerd or fan or whatever to qualify for … I have no idea what — some mythical geek clubhouse, I guess. If it’s your job to be a comics encyclopedia, I suppose there’s some basis for this. But most of the time, it’s just teeth-gnashing over fans not being “fan enough.” The people fretting about it are apparently disturbed that someone is falsely enjoying, or not enjoying enough, what they enjoy. Honestly, I don’t understand it. Is it that these people are embarrassed to like what they like, and they think they’re being mocked for liking something silly? Whatever the reason, it no doubt says more about them than the person who may or may not like or know about something with enough fervor.

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This War Machine costume is the best cosplay you’re likely to see

Even if you’re not into cosplay, you have to admire the time and skill that went into creating this War Machine suit, which comes complete with opening and closing helmet, motorized weaponry and a glowing arc reactor. If you’re curious how the costume was made, Stefano Chiechi walks through the process on his YouTube page.

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Comics A.M. | Feldstein, Kurtzman estate seek to reclaim EC rights

The Haunt of Fear #8

Legal | EC Comics writer and editor Al Feldstein and the estate of Mad editor and artist Harvey Kurtzman have taken steps to reclaim the copyright to their early work under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976 (the same provision invoked by the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster). Feldstein has already reached an agreement with the William M. Gaines Agency, which holds the rights to Tales from the Crypt and other classic EC comics of the 1950s; the deal will bring him a small amount of money and the freedom to use the art any way he wants in his autobiography. Kurtzman’s people are in the early stages of negotiations with Warner Bros./DC Comics, which holds the rights to Mad magazine. [The Comics Journal]

Graphic novels | BookScan’s Top 20 graphic novels list for October makes for strange bedfellows, with The Walking Dead Compendium Two at No. 1, Chris Ware’s Building Stories at No. 2, and the third volume of Gene Yang’s Avatar: The Last Airbender at No. 3. It’s an interestingly mixed list, with the usual sprinkling of manga (Sailor Moon, Naruto, Bleach), a volume of Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine compilations, and four more volumes of The Walking Dead. And bringing up the rear, at #20, the perennial Watchmen. [ICv2]

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Lichtenstein: best comics-related Halloween costume ever

Disney story artist Clio Chiang isn’t the only talented member of her family. Her sister Connie is a makeup artist, so she and a friend dressed up for Halloween this year as a Lichtenstein painting. However you feel about couples’ costumes, this one gets points for originality and execution.  Continue Reading »

Cosplayers go crazy with liquid latex Venom costume


If you thought Comic-Con International was the be-all, end-all showcase for the best in cosplay then you’re missing out. Costume designer and photographer Adam Jay has stepped it up a notch, creating a liquid-latex rendition of erstwhile Spider-Man villain Venom with the help of model Freddie Nova.

Eddie Brock she’s not: Nova really gives the Venom costume a new life in her looks and her performance — really living up to the animalistic nature of the symbiote. As it turns out, Nova has done a number of superhero cosplays, as showcased in her Facebook gallery.

Check out more photos below, and visit Jay’s website to see the full photo set.

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Cosplay and cocktails on comics-themed booze cruise

For Comic-Con International attendees looking to start the festivities a few days early, a California company is sponsoring a comics-themed booze cruise called, fittingly enough, Comicruise Booze Cruise. It’s all there on the label.

Okay, so the 19th-century steamboat departs from Long Beach, about 90 miles from San Diego, and it’s the Saturday before the convention, but you probably weren’t going to work that week anyway.

The floating party features music by DJ Esco, who we’re told “will be PLOWING! and BAMMING! the BEST tunes all night long” — I have no idea what that means — dance performances, and costume contests. So four hours of cosplay and cocktails. There may or may not be “a team of acrobatic Mark Twain impersonators” (which you don’t see nearly enough of at comic conventions).

Tickets are available for $45 in advance (or $26 through Groupon).

Comics A.M. | Judge refuses to suppress evidence in Justiniano case

Josue Rivera (aka Justiniano)

Legal | Don MacPherson, who covers the courts for his daily newspaper, updates the case of Josue Rivera, aka comic artist Justiniano, who pleaded not guilty in May 2011 to charges of possessing more than 100 photographs and videos containing child pornography. Rivera was arrested in Connecticut following a July 2010 incident in which police say he mistakenly gave a funeral home director a thumb drive containing 33 files classified as child pornography instead of the one containing photos of a deceased relative. Police later seized Rivera’s computer and found 153 files of suspected child pornography. A judge has denied a motion to suppress the thumb drive, which Rivera’s attorney had argued was obtained by police through an illegal, warrantless search. However, the judge ruled the search valid, as the material on the drive was brought to the attention of the police by a third party, the funeral home. MacPherson’s summary of court documents provides more details on the case. [Eye on Comics]

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