Digital comics | The top-selling digital comic may not be what you think: Rich Johnston reports that Ape Entertainment’s game comic Temple Run is the top paid book app in the iTunes store (it was No. 2 this morning). He also reveals that Ape Entertainment has sold a million copies of its digital Pocket God comic. [Bleeding Cool]
Publishing | Jen Vaughn and friends pay a visit to the offices of MAD magazine. [Flog]
Conventions | Corinna Kirsh files a report, with plenty of pictures, on last weekend’s Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival. [L Magazine]
Conventions | Organizers of Tokyo’s Comic Market (aka Comiket), the world’s largest self-published comic book fair, have received a threat letter, leading them to consider their options for the planned Dec. 29-31 event. The preparations committee said it has been in contact with local police and the Tokyo Big Sight, where the semiannual convention is held. The incident follows a series of threat letters containing powdered and liquid substances sent in the past month to more than 20 locations linked to Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki. About 560,000 attended Comic Market 82 over its three days in August (that’s turnstile attendance, not unique visitors). [Anime News Network]
Creators | Patrick Rosenkranz catches us up on S. Clay Wilson, who suffered a massive brain injury in 2008 (the cause isn’t clear) and is still recovering. “Wilson’s favorite word is still ‘No!’ He used to be a motor mouth but now he’s mostly monosyllabic. After a long life dedicated to being the baddest boy in comix, he’s become a grand old man, but he’s no longer in his right mind. He used to be able to out-talk, out-booze, out-cuss, out-draw, and outrage almost anyone but he doesn’t drink, smoke, snort or draw dirty pictures any more. He doesn’t walk much either and seldom leaves the house, and only in a wheelchair.” [The Comics Journal]
Crime | Police in Jackson, Mississippi, have recovered a comic-book collection valued at $19,000, and arrested two suspects in the burglary. [WJTV]
Legal | Gerry Giovinco questions why Marvel and DC Comics zealously defend their intellectual property rights, going so far as to sue a birthday party company that rented out lookalike costumes, but don’t even touch the many porn parodies of their comics that have sprung up in recent years. [CO2 Comics]
Comics | A Florida mother was upset to discover Chick tracts among her children’s trick-or-treat haul, saying the comics are racist and offensive. It’s the second time in as many weeks that the long-controversial evangelical comics have been publicly called out by a displeased parent. [KTNV]
Josue Rivera, better known to comics fans as the artist Justiano, was sentenced this morning in Connecticut to 10 years in prison for possession of child pornography, suspended after he serves three years. That will be followed by 10 years probation.
The Creeper artist pleaded guilty in July to second-degree possession of child pornography following a 2010 incident in which he mistakenly gave a funeral home director a thumb drive containing 33 files classified by police as child pornography instead of the one containing photos of a deceased relative. Police later seized Rivera’s computer and found additional files of suspected child pornography.
Although the 39-year-old artist claimed at one point he had only been looking at the photos because he was bored, the Connecticut Post reports the files included the head of Rivera’s 10-year-old niece Photoshopped onto the nude body of a girl having oral sex.
When asked this morning by the judge whether he had anything to say, the newspaper reports Rivera responded, “I think I’m good.”
He initially pleaded not guilty to first-degree possession of child pornography, and requested a jury trial. But then in June a judge denied a motion to suppress the thumb drive, which Rivera’s attorney argued was obtained by police through an illegal, warrantless search. 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 director.
As Justiniano, Rivera had penciled such titles as DC Comics’ The Creeper, Day of Vengeance and Countdown to Mystery, as well as Chaos! Comics’ Chastity: Rocked and Evil Ernie: Straight to Hell.
Creators | Former 2000AD artist Brett Ewins has been freed on bail after a judge reduced his charge to assult. Ewins, who has been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was accused of stabbing a police officer in a January altercation that left the 56-year-old artist hospitalized in serious condition. Because Ewins has already served nine months, part of it in a hospital (where he was in a coma), it’s unlikely he’ll have to go back behind bars. [Sex, Drugs, & Comic Books]
Creators | Syrian cartoonist Ali Farzat, who escaped to Kuwait after the Syrian security police beat him and broke his hands, is now living in Egypt and continuing to draw cartoons supporting the Syrian revolution. “Fear has been defeated in Syria when the people marched 19 months ago against tyranny,” he said. “I began to directly draw people in power including Assad and his government officials, to break the barrier of fear, that chronic fear that Syrians suffered from for 50 years.” [Reuters]
Veteran artist Arthur Suydam is seeking help in recovering artwork recently stolen from his New York City studio. Among the pieces are Suydam’s own gouche painting “Alien Genocide” and a “Little Devil” ink drawing by the late Frank Frazetta. Images of both — the latter drawn by Suydam from memory — are shown in this post.
The artist is asking that anyone who might have been approached to buy the stolen works, or know of their whereabouts, to please contact him at email@example.com or (212) 475-4840. Tips will be kept confidential. Suydam’s message mentions a reward, but no additional details are offered.
KSL TV reports the 19-year-old man from Vernal, Utah, was charged Friday with aggravated assault after police say he went after his 20-year-old roommate with a knife and the aforementioned claws — which, luckily for the alleged victim, were likely made from solid machined aluminum and not adamantium.
According to police, the roommate sustained five or six wounds to the head, two to his arm, multiple wounds to his hands and another deep one to the thigh. Although court documents indicate he told officers at the emergency room that he had been in a fight with a group of strangers, he came clean after police found blood at his home.
So what could’ve led to the altercation? A disagreement over the first appearance of Logan’s Patch alias? A dispute over who would win in a fight, Wolverine or Daken? If I had to take a wild guess, it might — might! — have something to do with the roommate dating Huff’s mother, who was also stabbed as she tried to pull her son off the alleged victim. The two men have been “best friends since they were younger,” police say.
Huff was released from the Uintah County Jail after posting $10,000 bail. He’ll appear in court Sept. 10.
A 51-year-old man faces charges after a fight broke out Sunday during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises, sending a panicked audience at a Pittsburgh-area theater fleeing for the exits.
While police were quick to note that the incident wasn’t connected to the Friday shooting in Aurora, Colorado, that left 12 dead and dozens wounded, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports an escalating argument, jittery nerves and a shout of “Gun!” led to the mad scramble for the doors.
According to police, the incident began in the restroom, where a rude child repeatedly knocked on the door of an occupied stall. The child swore at the man, who then confronted the mother, and eventually hit her in the face. That’s when someone shouted “Gun!” and triggered a panic among theater-goers. The unidentified man will be charged with simple assault, disorderly conduct and harassment.
An uncomfortable familiarity hangs over much of The Dark Knight Rises, the final film in the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman trilogy. Some of it comes from the disquiet of watching familiar characters and settings suffer. However, some of it comes from the use of overly familiar movie tropes. For example, one of the early “Batman must come back” scenes feels lifted from a style guide. Another scene, much later, echoes Luke and Han’s join-us-no-join-me exchange just before the Death Star attack. Oh, and William Devane shows up in a very William Devane-esque role.
Accordingly, The Dark Knight Rises is not a perfect movie. It doesn’t have the intricate plotting of its predecessor (2008′s The Dark Knight, like you didn’t know). Any socially conscious message about “the 99% vs. the 1%” is lost in Bane’s repurposed sloganeering and Selina Kyle’s disillusionment. In one spot, the movie seems to skip dusk entirely, going from twilight to pitch-black night in less than eight minutes.* Furthermore, although I hate to disagree with Sean, at times Bane sounds like Darrell Hammond’s Sean Connery (and apparently — beware of spoilers past the link — I am not the only one who thinks so).
Nevertheless, its epic ambitions are mostly realized, and it exists mainly to give its principals (i.e., just about every major character still left from 2005′s Batman Begins) closure. This, I want to emphasize, it does exceptionally well. Four years ago I compared The Dark Knight to David Fincher’s serial-killer meditation Zodiac, but this time I’m going with Doctor Zhivago by way of James Bond. A macro-level exploration of Begins’ “why do we fall?”, it builds to a thrilling, triumphal, bittersweet final shot. I’m looking forward to seeing it again, and eventually to examining the trilogy as a whole.
Josue Rivera, better known to comics fans as the artist Justiano, pleaded guilty Monday to second-degree possession of child pornography, more than two years after a thumb drive containing dozens of images was dropped off at a funeral home by mistake. He could face at least two years in prison.
The news arrives from Eye on Comics, which has been following recent developments in the case. An online search of Connecticut Superior Court records confirms the guilty plea.
Rivera was arrested in May 2011 in Bridgeport, 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.
He initially pleaded not guilty to first-degree possession of child pornography, and requested a jury trial. But then last month a judge denied a motion to suppress the thumb drive, which Rivera’s attorney argued was obtained by police through an illegal, warrantless search. 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 director.
According to Connecticut law, “A person is guilty of possessing child pornography in the second degree when such person knowingly possesses twenty or more but fewer than fifty visual depictions of child pornography.”
As Justiniano, Rivera had penciled such titles as DC Comics’ The Creeper, Day of Vengeance and Countdown to Mystery, as well as Chaos! Comics’ Chastity: Rocked and Evil Ernie: Straight to Hell. His sentencing hearing is scheduled for Oct. 5.
Before a shocked country, let alone investigators, can begin to get a grasp on what led 24-year-old James Holmes to open fire during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises, killing at least 12 and wounding dozens more, at least one newspaper writer is willing to take a wild guess: a comic book. Specifically, Frank Miller’s landmark 1986 miniseries The Dark Knight Returns.
Under the headline, “Was the Batman shooting movie shooting imitated from scene in 1986 comic?,” The Washington Examiner’s Sean Higgins claims the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado, “bears eerie similarities” to the scene in which “a crazed, gun-toting loner walks into a movie theater and begins shooting it up, killing three in the process.”
In an effort to bolster his shaky, if not downright groundless hypothesis, Higgins points out that The Dark Knight Returns served “a key inspiration” for director Christopher Nolan’s big-screen trilogy. (Why stop there, though? Coupled with Miller and David Mazzucchelli’s “Year One,” the miniseries has influenced virtually every depiction of Batman over the past quarter-century.)
Legal | In a motion for summary judgment filed Monday in the long-running legal battle for the rights to Superman, attorneys for Warner Bros. are revisiting their 2009 argument that the estate of Joe Shuster has no grounds to reclaim the artist’s share of the copyright to the Man of Steel. They point to a 1992 agreement in which the estate relinquished all claims in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” which included DC Comics paying Shuster’s remaining debts follow his death earlier that year, and providing his sister Jean Seavy with a $25,000 annual pension. Daniel Best has the documents, while Jeff Trexler provides context, noting that the new filing “filing wasn’t a Perry Mason-esque unveiling of surprising new facts. Rather, it was a routine motion for summary judgment.” A hearing is scheduled for Aug. 20. [20th Century Danny Boy, The Beat]
With Comic-Con International nearly upon us, Stephen Bissette posts a reminder that 27 years after they were stolen from the offices of DC Comics, pieces of original artwork from Saga of the Swamp Thing by he and John Totleben are still missing.
“This is stolen property,” he writes on his blog. “It is not legally for sale, nor legally the property of anyone else to trade, exhibit, or sell. Please contact me if you know anything about where it is or who has it. If you are knowingly selling, buying, or trading this original art, you are engaged in a criminal act involving stolen original art.”
The pieces include the original painting for the cover of Saga of the Swamp Thing #34 (above), the final page of that issue (below), and pinups by Totleben for issues 32 and 33.
“At this point, it would be the property of our children, some of whom are now adults,” Bissette continues. “They know. And we will be reminding the world of this regularly.”
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]
Crime | Michael Lewis, owner of Rocket Comics in Pensacola, Florida, is being held on a $11,000 bond after his store was raided by police for allegedly selling “Spice,” a synthetic form of cannabis. [WEAR ABC]
Publishing | The Economist’s Babbage blog takes a look at R. Stevens’ successful Kickstarter for his webcomic Diesel Sweeties, which raised $60,000, far overshooting his initial goal of $3,000. [The Economist]
Creators | Gary Groth previews his interview with renowned children’s author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, who passed away last week at age 83. The interview, conducted in October, is scheduled to appear in the next issue of The Comics Journal. [TCJ.com]