EXCL. PREVIEW: Brother Eye Sees All in Jurgens & Chang's "Batman Beyond" #3
Creators | Political cartoonist Ted Rall talks to the local news about his firing by the Los Angeles Times, which concluded a post he wrote in May for its OpinionLA blog about being stopped by police in 2001 for jaywalking contained “inconsistencies.” Rall, who worked for the Times on a freelance basis, insists the audiotape of the incident provided to the newspaper by the Los Angeles Police Department doesn’t contradict his statements about being treated rudely and handcuffed. “I would do it all over the same way today,” Rall told CBS Los Angeles. “I’m disgusted that the Times took the LAPD’s word, based on nothing.” [CBS Los Angeles]
Manga | Kentaro Miura’s action-fantasy manga Berserk has 35 million copies in print — 27 million in Japan, and 8 million overseas — Hakusensha’s Young Animal magazine announced today. Miura returned to the series this week after a 10-month hiatus. The manga, which centers on a pair of mercenaries in a medieval Europe-inspired fantasy world, debuted in 1989; 37 volumes have been released to date. Dark Horse holds the license to Berserk in North America. [Anime News Network]
Crime | Russell Brandom and Colin Lecher describe a fascinating case in which comics figured in two types of crimes, money laundering and theft of evidence. Along the way, they explain the importance of grading, how slabbing works, and why it’s pointless to steal a really valuable comic that’s already known to collectors. [The Verge]
A thief walked out of JC’s Comics ‘N’ More in Toledo, Ohio, with $1,400 worth of comics concealed in his pants, but he seems to had a change of heart– after video of the act was shared on a local newscast, the comics were mysteriously returned
Store owner James Collins said the seven missing comics were Marvel’s Civil War comics with variant covers, valued at between $70 an $250 apiece. Collins first noticed the missing comics last Wednesday, and when he viewed the security camera footage, he saw a man, accompanied by a woman, enter the store, stuff the comics into his pants, and walk out without paying. Collins was tending to other business at the time and didn’t see them enter or leave the store.
The Connecticut State Police are investigating a seventh-grader who allegedly created a Death Note-inspired booklet containing the names of classmates. The student won’t be permitted to return to Griswold Middle School for the remainder of the year, which ends Friday.
In an email sent Tuesday to parents, Griswold Public Schools Superintendent Paul K. Smith said that although students had been aware of the booklet’s existence, it wasn’t brought to the attention of the administration until Monday. The police were called immediately.
If we’ve learned anything from comic books and their adaptations, it’s that superheroes seldom choose their own aliases. More often than not, they’re dreaming up by enterprising reporters or gruff, cigar-chomping editors. Such is the case with South London’s new masked crimefighter, dubbed the “Bromley Batman” last week by a local newspaper.
It’s “God awful,” he told the Evening Standard, which gave him the name in the first place. Conceding he’d never thought about adopting an alias, he said, “As a young boy I always enjoyed The Shadow, so if any name then that one kind of makes some sense.”
Crime | A rare copy of 1939’s Superman #3 was stolen from Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton, Alberta, sometime in the past week. The comic was displayed high on a wall, and when owner Jay Bardyla went to show it to a customer on Wednesday, it was missing. This issue would be worth $30,000 if it were in mint condition, but Happy Harbor’s copy had tears and other defects and was priced at $2,000. Bardyla and his staff are keeping an eye on comics sites and other comic shops to see if it turns up. “To my knowledge there’s not another copy of Superman #3 kicking around Edmonton so if it shows up at another shop, pawn shop or a flea market … hopefully if they see it they’ll let us know,” he said. [Global News]
South London has its own masked vigilante, dubbed by local media as the “Bromley Batman.”
The Evening Standard reports the suburban Dark Knight, clad in “combat trousers and a muscle top,” made his presence known late Monday in Bromley, where he rescued a city worker from an apparent gang of knife-wielding “foul-mouthed thugs” who demanded his phone and wallet.
Retailing | Sales of both comics and graphic novels were strong during the 2014 holiday season and have continued to grow since then, according to the 13 retailers (nine direct market shops and four bookstores that carry graphic novels) surveyed by Publishers Weekly. The answers seem to reflect some trends that have been ongoing for a while: Image Comics solidifying its place as the No. 3 (and in one case, No. 2) comics publisher, the increasing popularity of graphic novels and an influx of new readers, many of them young and female. [Publishers Weekly]
Retailing | Brooklyn Comics & More Inc., the owner of two now-closed stores in New York City, has filed for bankruptcy. The corporation opened Brooklyn Comics & More in 2010 and Manhattan Comics & More in 2011; both closed in 2013. The company’s debts include $71,799.93 owed to Diamond Comic Distributors. [ICv2]
It seemed like a good idea at the time. When 40-year-old Star Wars fan George Cross bought a Stormtrooper costume, he thought it would be fun to show it off around the neighborhood in Lynn, Massachusetts, and surprise students at an elementary school. What could possibly go wrong?
Cross quickly found out.
The list of crimes involving people in Spider-Man masks is long and legendary, encompassing acts ranging from street brawls to convenience-store robberies. Let’s chalk it up to the widespread availability of Spider-Man costumes — he is, after all, one of the most popular and recognizable characters on the planet — and not a sign of a deeper sociological problem. Or, heaven forbid, damning evidence that J. Jonah Jameson has been right all along.
The latest entry on that web-covered tally comes from Powhatan, Virginia, where a man in a Spider-Man mask and his two bandana-wearing amazing friends — let’s call them Iceman and Firestar — ransacked a firearms dealer early Monday, making off with 30 guns.
Creators | The Southern Poverty Law Center, which compiles an annual list of hate groups operating in the United States, said it will add artist Bosch Fawstin to its 2016 report. He drew the winning entry in the Prophet Muhammad contest in Garland, Texas, where two gunmen were killed Sunday in a foiled attack. The American Freedom Defense Initiative, which sponsored the competition, is already included on the list. Heidi Beirich of the SPLC described Fawstin’s work as “virulently ugly” and “hate views.” The artist, who was raised as a Muslim but is now an outspoken critic of Islam, responded, “So they want to put a cartoonist on there who doesn’t act out violently? Go for it.” Fawstin, creator of the “anti-jihad superhero” Pigman, also vowed to continue his work despite fears for his safety: “I understand the threat, but I’m not going to be cowed by it. I still intend to go up there and I still intend to speak out.” [Reuters]
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the foiled attack Sunday on a Prophet Muhammad cartoon exhibit and competition in Garland, Texas, but local investigators are leaning toward a different conclusion.
“Two soldiers … of the caliphate attacked an exhibit in Garland in American Texas, and this exhibit was holding a contest for drawings offensive to the Prophet Muhammad,” an ISIS-controlled Syrian radio station announced Monday, according to The Washington Post. The statement also threatened “worse and more bitter” attacks but offered no indication of any actual connection between the two gunmen and ISIS.
Crime | A comic-shop robbery went awry when the suspect set down her weapon — a hammer — so she could pick up a comic. A woman walked into Conspiracy Comics in Burlington, Ontario, around 8 p.m. Friday and purchased a comic. When the clerk opened the cash register, the customer allegedly pulled out a hammer and said “Empty the till.” When she set down the hammer to pick up the comic, however, another employee grabbed it, gave her the change, and told her to get out. Police checked the hammer for fingerprints and arrested Mary Margaret Ross on charges of robbery. “It was something that was unexpected and shocking,” said store clerk Anton Litvanyi, who wasn’t in the store at the time of the robbery. “At the same time, it is something that is comical … It’s not something that any retailer expects, but especially in a comics store.” [Hamilton Spectator]
Legal | A 48-year-old man has been charged in the theft of the extensive comics collection of artist Jim Wheelock last month from a storage facility in Brattleboro, Vermont. William Brown pleaded not guilty Tuesday to 17 counts of burglary, petit larceny and unlawful mischief after he was allegedly recorded on security camera breaking into numerous units. Brown said he sold all of the items, and none of Wheelock’s comics has turned up in searches of the suspect’s home and car. [Brattleboro Reformer]
Retailing | Comics retailers surveyed by ICv2 were more optimistic than ever before, thanks to strong sales and excitement around upcoming titles in the superhero, creator-owned, and kids/teens sectors; the analysis also includes charts of the top-selling properties during the fall and holiday season of last year. [ICv2]
Police in Guelph, Ontario, probably didn’t mean to sound alarming when they reported they’d confiscated “Wolverine’s hand” during a drug bust. However, the hirsute mutant can regenerate, and these are (alleged) meth dealers we’re talking about, so what are expected to think?