Soule Finds a Weakness in the Afterlife, Discusses Surprise "Inhuman" Return
A Rochester, New York, businessman will stand trial for murder in December in the 2010 death of an elderly comic book collector.
According to the Batavia, New York, Daily News, the trial of Rico J. Vendetti is scheduled for Dec. 5 in U.S. District Court in Buffalo. Dates still haven’t been set for his four co-defendants.
Vendetti is accused of hiring seven people to steal the valuable comics collection of 77-year-old Homer Marciniak of Medina, New York. According to police and prosecutors, when Marciniak awoke during the July 5, 2010, burglary, he was beaten and knocked to the floor. They burglars fled with the comics, safes, cash, coins and guns.
Although Marciniak suffered only cuts and bruises from the attack, and was able to give a statement to police, he died hours later from a heart attack.
Vendetti, who owned a collectibles store, was arrested along with seven others within a few months. The U.S. Attorney stepped in to file murder charges against Vendetti and four of his co-defendants, arguing that the burglary led to Marciniak’s death.
He’s also accused of racketeering and witness tampering.
In 2011, we reported on an epic act of vandalism: A graffiti artist in Sofia, Bulgaria, transformed a monument dedicated to the the Soviet Union’s 1944 “liberation” of the country into a superhero tableau. The eclectic group includes Superman, Captain America, the Joker and Ronald McDonald, who I guess is kind of a superhero if you’re hungry.
This week, the Russian government gave us an excuse to revisit the story by complaining to the Bulgarian government that it wasn’t trying hard enough to stop repeated vandalism of the statue and bring the culprits to justice.
Ed Kramer’s social-media activity didn’t violate the terms of his plead agreement, meaning he isn’t headed back to jail just yet. However, Gwinnett County (Georgia) District Attorney Danny Porter indicated it’s only a matter of time before the DragonCon co-founder makes a misstep.
“He’s very adept at the Internet … and he’s going to test us at every opportunity,” Porter told Atlanta’s WSB-AM last week. “So it’s still my belief that before this is all over, he’s going to violate his probation and I’m going to have him in prison.”
The D.A. began an investigation last month into Kramer’s online activity after reports circulated that his Twitter account was being followed by a 14-year-old girl and his Google+ page showed a connection to the then-14-year-old boy he was found with in a Connecticut hotel room in 2011.
Crime | Kazutoshi Iwama, the 50-year-old man accused of shoplifting a Tetsujin-28 go figure worth more than $2,400 from a Mandarake store in Tokyo, has turned himself in to police. The theft became a matter of high public interest when Mandarake posted a security-camera photo of the man, with his face pixelated, and threatened to show his face if he didn’t return the figure by Aug. 12. The stunt attracted scores of journalists to the store, but Iwama reportedly told police he wasn’t aware of the threat until after he sold the figure to a secondhand store … for about $623. [Anime News Network, The Japan Times]
Publishing | Alex Segura, senior vice president of publicity and marketing for Archie Comics and editor of the newly renamed Dark Circle superhero line, talks about where the comics are coming from, what to expect — and his new dual role at Archie: “Usually, I’m the PR guy collecting the information from editorial and deciding how to announce it. Now, I was the editor getting the details together for the PR guy to announce and basically having conversations with myself. I’m exaggerating slightly.” [13th Dimension]
Crime | The comics community of Kirkcaldy, Scotland, just north of Edinburgh, has rallied around a local comics shop after thieves broke in two weeks ago and stole cash, a computer, a two-and-a-half-foot-tall Darth Vader figure and a copy of New Mutants #98 (the first appearance of Deadpool), with a total value of more than £500 (about $835 U.S.). It could have been worse: The thieves left some comics boxed up, ready to go, but apparently they were interrupted. But you won’t believe what happened next: Kingdom Comics owner Andrew Magee says customers donated their own comics and DVDs to help rebuild his stock, and a number of local artists have donated art to be auctioned off to help the store. [The Courier]
Creators | Bryan Lee O’Malley discusses his new graphic novel Seconds, and how it reflects where he is in his life. [BoingBoing]
In response to a series of attacks in San Diego’s North Park neighborhood, a group of masked men has taken to the streets on weekends in an attempt to make the area safe.
However, NBC 7 San Diego reports the members of the Xtreme Justice League — among them, Midnight Highwayman, Vigilante Spider, Spartan and Freedom Fighter — aren’t out to fight the criminals. Instead, they hope to identify and report crime, and distract wrong-doers with their costumes.
Legal | Japanese publisher Square Enix is voluntarily recalling all volumes Hi Score Girl and has suspended its digital distribution and sales following allegations the manga contains more than 100 unauthorized uses of characters owned by the game company SNK Playmore. However, the series will still continue to run in the monthly Big Gangan magazine, and a Square Enix spokesperson said the publisher isn’t admitting to the allegations. The publisher sent mixed signals on whether the anime adaptation in development will continue as planned. The manga also contains characters from games produced by CAPCOM, Sega and Bandai Namco, all of whom confirmed to IT Media that they had granted permission. [Anime News Network]
Jon Stewart kicked off last night’s episode of The Daily Show with coverage the weekend scuffle in Times Square between New York City police and a man dressed as Ultimate Spider-Man. Hey, if the New York Post can put the story on the front page, The Daily Show can lead with it.
The webslinger, one of numerous costumed characters (several of whom are dress as Spider-Man), was reportedly confronted by an officer after he demanded at least $5 from a family for posing for a photo. Police say when the wall-crawler cursed at the officer and told him to mind his own business — and when the cop moved in to arrest him, things got heated.
With a front page that rivals anything J. Jonah Jameson has published, the New York Post trumpeted the news Sunday that Spider-Man struck a police officer in the face during an altercation in Times Square. Or, if you prefer “Times Square rampage.”
Interestingly, after countless crimes (allegedly, in some cases) committed in the past couple of years by guys dressed as the Peter Parker-variety Spider-Man — groping a woman, punching a tourist, robbing convenience stores, fighting two Captains America, etc. — this may be the first that involves someone dressed as Miles Morales/Ultimate Spider-Man.
Perhaps more interesting — and certainly more amusing — is that the New York Police Department referred the suspect, 25-year-old Junior Bishop of Brooklyn, as “Spider-Man” throughout its press release. Also: The incident was caught on video, which you can watch below. (Note: It contains profanity.)
Legal | A South Korea court has ruled an exhibition devoted to One Piece can be held as planned after it was abruptly canceled earlier this month following allegations that Eiichiro Oda’s popular pirate manga contains images that resemble the Rising Sun flag, considered a symbol of Japanese imperialism in South Korea. The company staging the One Piece show, which includes life-sized statues, rare figures and Oda’s sketches, asked the court to step in after the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul pulled the plug on the event just days before its scheduled July 12 opening. The court found that One Piece can’t be considered to “[hail] Japanese imperialism” simply because it depicts a flag reminiscent of the Rising Sun; and even if those images are of the Rising Sun flag, it’s mainly shown in a negative light. [The Asahi Shimbun]
Publishing | Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater responds to Singapore’s ban of the third volume of Life With Archie, which features the wedding of Kevin Keller and Clay Walker: “Riverdale will always be about acceptance, equality and safety. I’m sad readers in Singapore will miss out on the chance to read such a pivotal moment in comics.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
Business | Devin Leonard looks at the possible effects of a Fox/Time-Warner merger on superhero movies; Time-Warner owns DC Entertainment, and Fox has the movie rights to some Marvel characters. The New York Times offers a broader overview. [Business Week]
No sooner had one Times Square Spider-Man been acquitted of attempted assault (but convicted of harassment) than another was accused of groping a woman, leading to calls for regulation of the area’s costumed characters.
“In the last 10 days alone, we’ve seen two Statues of Liberty arrested, a Spider-Man convicted of harassing a tourist, and now a third character arrested for groping a woman in Times Square,” Tim Tompkins, president of the Times Square Alliance, said in a statement obtained by CBS New York. “The situation is out of control and a licensing and regulatory scheme must be put in place.”
Superman may be more powerful than a locomotive, and be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he can’t get away with driving on England’s M42 motorway without insurance.
On Saturday, officers with the Central Motorway Policing Group pulled over a red car with a fluttering red cape where its rear glass should’ve been. Stranger still (perhaps?) was that the car’s occupants were dressed in identical red-and-blue costumes with the iconic “S” emblem emblazoned on their chests.
Spider-Man was acquitted Wednesday on charges of attempted assault in a February 2013 scuffle with a mother who refused to pay him for posing with her children in New York City’s Times Square. Instead, the New York Post reports the judge found the wall-crawler guilty of the lesser charge of harassment.
Echoing J. Jonah Jameson, Assistant District Attorney Andrew Stengel argued that Spider-Man (aka Philip Williams) is a menace to tourists. “Spider -Man’s motto is, ’With great power, comes great responsibility,’” he said. “The defendant is more supervillain than superhero, spinning a web.”
Although Stengel lobbied for Williams to be sentenced to 15 days in jail, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Anthony Ferrara opted for time served, but advised the defendant to watch himself.
Crime | A successful weekend at Denver Comic Con turned sour for Zac and Mindy Conley, the owners of The Hall of Justice art gallery, after a thief stole a cash box containing their proceeds from the show, about $1,000, and some special orders for Mindy Conley’s artwork, which would have earned the couple another $1,500. The Conleys say they were planning to use the money for rent for their home and studio and the payment for their booth at next year’s Denver Comic Con. “We’ve been fighting to turn this place into some really cool. And every month we’re wondering if we’re going to survive,” Zac said. However, friends are rallying around: Illustrator Drew Litton, who will be showing his work at the gallery next month, will donate a portion of the proceeds to the Conleys, and gifts are also coming in through their Facebook page. [The Denver Post]