Wonder Woman Speaks, Batman Brawls In Final "Batman V Superman" Trailer
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?
Legal | In their largest raid ever, police departments across Japan arrested 40 people between Feb. 17 and Feb. 19 on suspicion of copyright infringement for illegally sharing anime, manga, music and live-action film and television dramas online. The suspects, all men ranging in age from 21 to 65, are accused of uploading such materials as Detective Conan, XXX Holic, The Wind Rises and the Mobile Suit Gundam UC soundtrack. In Japan, such unauthorized uploads are criminal acts punishable by up to 10 years in jail or fines of about $84,000. [Crunchyroll]
Crime | Artist and collector Jim Wheelock talks about the loss of his comics collection, which was stolen from a storage unit in Brattleboro, Vermont: “I remember where I was and what I was doing when I bought or read many of [the comic books]. Later, when I worked in the financially rickety world of a freelance artist, knowing the books were in Vermont gave me a sense of security, a retirement nest egg. This is what the culprit robbed me of.” Vermont-based cartoonists James Kochalka and Harry Bliss weigh in on what such a loss would mean. Wheelock’s thousands of comics included extensive runs of The Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil and The Fantastic Four, in some cases beginning from the first issues. [Seven Days]
Crime | The Wow Cool Alternative Comics store in Cupertino, California, has been burglarized for the second time in two months, and it looks as if it was the same crew both times. The thieves took cash and pretty much every minicomic and digest in the store, as well as a box of Marvel and DC comics. [Wow Cool Comics]
Political cartoons | Malaysian cartoonist Zunar, who’s facing sedition charges in his home country, has been invited to speak at a United Nations forum next month in Geneva, Switzerland, titled “Defending Artistic Expression — Time for the UN to Act.” “In my speech, I will reaffirm my stand that freedom of expression for artistes including cartoonists is paramount and cannot be compromised,” he said, and he will also criticize the UN’s lack of commitment to the issue, which has “given more power to corrupt regimes and extremist bigots to be more repressive toward artists.” [The Rakyat Post]
Legal | Kuala Lumpur police raided the office of the Malaysian cartoonist Zunar and seized 149 copies of his books Conspiracy to Imprison Anwar and Pirates of the Carry BN. They were looking for the cartoonist himself, but he was in the United Kingdom, speaking at Oxford and Cambridge universities and giving a talk in London titled “To Fight Through Cartoons.” In a press release, Zunar said the raid occurred under the Printing Presses Act, Sedition Act and Penal Code, and that he would be called to the police station on his return to the country; he was arrested under that act in 2010. He also tweeted, “If the cartoons are defamatory, those who feel aggrieved should file a civil suit. No problem. I oppose the use of criminal laws like the Sedition Act” [The Malaysian Insider]
Political cartoons | Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Zineb El-Rhazoui, on a fundraising tour in Canada, said the terrorists who attacked the magazine’s offices and killed 12 people were the ones who made a mockery of religion, not the cartoonists who drew caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad. “This is the most ugly caricature, that this is the most ugly picture of their religion,” she said. “It is not the pictures made by Charlie Hebdo.” [CTV News]