What began Saturday night in Boca Raton, Florida, as a seemingly harmless photo shoot for an upcoming comics convention, quickly turned into a tense confrontation with police.
According to Boca Raton Police Chief Dan Alexander, concerned residents approached two officers to report they saw four or five people donning body armor and taking guns from the trunk of a car. The cops immediately rushed to the top floor of a nearby parking garage, where they found five men in “military-style outfits” brandishing firearms; one had two samurai swords strapped to his back. You can see some of their weapons and gear, including a Deadpool mask, in the photos above.
Tony Stark has hit many lows over his lifetime — alcoholism, Civil War, Secret Invasion … Iron Man 2 — but who could’ve guessed he’d resort to a poorly dressed life of crime?
The Orlando Sentinel reports a man wearing an Iron Man mask and tan jumpsuit ran into a Wells Fargo Bank in Flagler County on Thursday afternoon, waved a gun and demanded money. None of the 10 people in the bank at the time was injured, but the man got away with an undisclosed amount of money.
Indeed, while death rays may have been the preferred weapon of Golden Age supervillains and B-movie mad scientists, their real-world application is dubious in best. However, that apparently didn’t stop 49-year-old Glendon Scott Crawford of Galway, New York, and 54-year-old Eric J. Feight of Hudson, New York, from trying.
The two appeared Wednesday in federal court in Albany, New York, charged with conspiracy to provide support to terrorists with the weapon. According to The Associated Press, federal prosecutors allege that Crawford, an industrial mechanic for General Electric in Schenectady, approached Jewish groups last year searching for funding and people who could help him with technology that could secretly deliver damaging, and possibly lethal, doses of radiation to Muslims and other targets he considered enemies of Israel. The indictment states that he traveled to North Carolina to solicit more money from “a ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan,” who contacted the FBI.
If you were left confused this week by reports of a brawl breaking out among costumed heroes on Hollywood Boulevard left you confused — two Captain Americas vs. one Spider-Man? — TomoNews US is on hand to sort things out with a typically absurd animated recreation of events.
If the work looks familiar, it’s because these are the folks at Next Media Animation, the Taiwanese studio that previously brought us such gems as explanations of Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man and the insanity of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. This video isn’t nearly as outlandish as those — sorry, no depictions of a Taiwanese wall-crawler strangling a panda — but it does envision what the fight at the Madame Tussauds kiosk might’ve looked like, complete with blood spurting from an unnerving mouth on Spider-Man’s mask.
In retrospect, the Superhuman Registration Act doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all: First there were reports of assault, and theft, by Spider-Man, and then there was that late-night attack by She-Hulk. Now Civil War has broken out among costumed heroes on the streets of Hollywood.
According to CBS Los Angeles, Spider-Man and two Captain Americas (perhaps one was that crazy Cap from the 1950s) came to blows Wednesday afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard, near the Dolby Theatre. The cause? A turf war among superhero impersonators — who, like their Marvel Universe counterparts, operate with little regulation — and accusations of harassing tourists.
Conventions | Comic-Con International in San Diego is about six weeks away, so it’s time for Tom Spurgeon to post his massive list of tips for those planning to attend: “It helps to remember that the hassle of going to Comic-Con is mostly an accident of our recent cultural history — All those spectacle movies! All those fantasy franchise books! Marvel’s post-bankruptcy comeback! All those graphic novels! The toy explosion! The rise of manga and anime! — rather than something the convention itself enjoys or endorses or requires or was ever shooting for. I honestly don’t have any more fun going now than I did in ’96 or ’01, back when it was so much easier to attend the con that the worst-case scenario was registering on-site and staying in a $65 hotel ten blocks away. It wasn’t that long ago! But I also can’t stress this enough. I still have fun.” [The Comics Reporter]
Conventions | Stan Lee has canceled his appearance at Denver Comic Con, held May 31-June 2, citing a conflict with filming for a cameo in a Marvel movie. William Shatner has stepped in to take his place. Nonetheless, a reporter snagged a pre-convention interview with Lee, in which he talks about what makes a convention great and how comics help kids learn to read, and counters a common criticism: “Some people will say, ‘Why read a comic book? It stifles the imagination. If you read a novel you imagine what people are like. If you read a comic, it’s showing you.’ The only answer I can give is, ‘You can read a Shakespeare play, but does that mean you wouldn’t want to see it on the stage?’” [The Denver Post]
Charities | Matthew Price rounds up efforts by the comics community to help those in Oklahoma devastated by the tornadoes. [NewsOK.com]
Less than a year after a masked gunman killed 12 people and wounded 58 others at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, the management of a Missouri theater paid an actor — or, rather, actors — dressed in tactical gear and carrying fake guns to walk into the multiplex last weekend to promote the opening of Iron Man 3. Needless to say, it wasn’t well-received by everyone, including the police.
Columbia, Missouri’s ABC 17 News reports Jefferson City police responded to a series of 911 calls from moviegoers stating “that a man dressed in all black and body armor and a rifle was walking into Capital 8 Theaters.” However, instead of confronting the active shooter that they expected, Capt. Doug Shoemaker said police arrived to find a publicity stunt orchestrated by the theater.
“Everything was in place, it’s the opening night of a superhero movie, it’s somebody walking in all-dark clothes, everything pointed to bad things about to happen,” he told the news station. “There’s really no good that can come of this.”
Paraphrasing Lucy van Pelt, a California judge on Wednesday sentenced the original voice of Charlie Brown to a year in jail for threatening his ex-girlfriend and stalking her plastic surgeon, and then released to a residential drug-treatment facility.
Handing down an additional five-year probation and an order to pay $15,000 in restitution, Superior Court Judge Dwayne Moring cautioned former actor Peter Robbins, “If I can borrow a line from Peanuts, sir, I’m going to grant [you] probation. If you adhere to those terms, you won’t go to prison. So, don’t be a blockhead.”
If anyone happens to have the number for S.H.I.E.L.D., please pass it along to police in York, England. They need help tracking down, well … the She-Hulk.
The York Press reports a green woman with dyed-red hair is wanted in connection with an attack on a 17-year-old girl outside a McDonald’s in the early hours of April 26. “This appears to have been a wholly unprovoked assault,” a police officer tells the newspaper. “Thankfully the injuries were not too severe. However, the outcome could have been far more serious.”
Three men who concocted a Ponzi scheme while in prison are heading back behind bars for bilking investors out of $3.6 million in a fraudulent business that dealt with comic book and film rights.
CBS Chicago reports 62-year-old Daniel Parrilli, 48-year-old John Lauer and 57-year-old Christopher Anderson were sentenced last week in federal court after pleading guilty to the fraud charges brought against them in 2010. Anderson, the lead defendant, is set to serve 95 months in prison; Parrilli was sentenced to 70 months, while Lauer received a 31-month term.
According to Patch.com, upon on their release from a minimum-security prison in Oxford, Wisconsin, Andersen and Parrilli opened Sundown Entertainment, a business that purported to buy and sell film and comic book rights. Together, they raised more than $7 million from about 150 investors. Lauer later entered the picture to offer false assurances to victims, some of whom prosecutors say “depleted their 401K funds or their college savings, or took out loans against their homes in order to invest with the defendants.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Ed Kohler said that while some comics and movies were actually produced, the con men weren’t able to repay the outlandishly high returns promised to investors — as much as 150 percent within days, in some instances — and the scheme began to collapse.
Parilli, who begins serving his sentence Aug. 1, was ordered to pay more than $3.6 million in restitution, while Lauer must pay $457,367 and surrender June 12. Anderson, who’s already serving his sentence, must pay $3.7 million.
Marvel’s Superior Spider-Man marketing plans have gone too far.
First there was the confrontation in Times Square between the wall-crawler and a woman who wouldn’t hand over a couple of bucks for a photo, and now he stands accused of stealing $6,000 in Hollywood. Sure, that’s a little outside of his usual stomping grounds, but times are tough.
NBC New York reports that Hollywood police are on the lookout for a ol’ web-head after he allegedly stole a paper bag filled with $6,000 in cash and credit card information from a Starlines Tour Bus who was leaving the company’s Hollywood Boulevard headquarters on Friday. Since then, police have been rounding up Spider-Man impersonators who were seen in the area of TLC Chinese Theatre (formerly Grauman’s) at the time of the crime.
Legal | Singapore cartoonist Leslie Chew was arrested last week on charges of sedition, held over the weekend, and released on S$10,000 bail. His cellphone and computer were also confiscated. The charges stem from two cartoons on Chew’s Demon-cratic Singapore Facebook page. [Yahoo! News Singapore]
Crowdfunding | Chris Sims tells the truly bizarre tale of a crowdfunding scam: Someone copied Ken Lowery and Robert Wilson IV’s Kickstarter campaign for Like a Virus, including the video, and made it into an IndieGoGo campaign, presumably planning to pocket the money and run. [Comics Alliance]
Legal | Egyptian artist Magdy el Shafee, creator of the graphic novel Metro, was arrested by security forces in Cairo and is being held in Tora Prison. The arrests weren’t directly related to his graphic novel, which was banned by the regime of Hosni Mubarak; el Shafee went to Abdel Moneim Riyad Square to try to stop a showdown between protesters and the Muslim Brotherhood, and ended up being arrested in a sweep that rounded up 38 people. [Words Without Borders]
Legal | The local paper profiles Susan Alston, who has been active in the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund since the 1990s and even ran it for a while from the garage of her Northampton, Massachusetts, home. [Masslive.com]
Peter Robbins, the original voice of Charlie Brown, could face up to three years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to threatening and stalking his ex-girlfriend as well as the plastic surgeon who gave her the breast enhancement he paid for. (Obligatory “Good grief!” goes here.)
The 56-year-old Robbins was arrested in January on an outstanding warrant while returning to California from Mexico, and arraigned on four felony counts of making a threat to cause bodily harm or great bodily injury and one count of stalking. According to City News Service (via The Associated Press), prosecutors say Robbins called his former girlfriend a dozen times a day and threatened to kill her and her son if she didn’t return his car and dog. He allegedly also threatened her plastic surgeon, demanding a refund for the breast enhancement.