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Comics A.M. | Square Enix fires back in manga copyright feud

Hi Score Girl, Vol. 4

Hi Score Girl, Vol. 4

Legal | The Japanese publisher Square Enix has filed a counterclaim against SNK Playmore, asking Osaka District Court to rule that its manga Hi Score Girl doesn’t infringe on copyrights held by the video game company. Earlier this year, SNK brought criminal copyright violation charges against Square Enix after learning Hi Score Girl contains more than 100 unauthorized images of characters from SNK Playmore games. The manga has been put on hold because of the dispute. [Anime News Network]

Conventions | Who’s buying, and how much are they spending, at conventions? Rob Salkowitz mines the numbers from a recent Eventbrite poll of convention-goers to get some answers: Most people spend between $100 and $500 per person; cosplayers actually spend a bit more than average; and women shell out more money at conventions, while men spend more online. [ICv2]

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Become a hops & barley hero with these Justice League-inspired beer labels

justice-league-brewery

If there’s an Earth in the DC Multiverse where the Justice League was a brewery instead of a superhero team, one graphic designer has figured out what those beers would look like.

A few months back, AdWeek posted six beer labels designed by graphic designer Marco Rizzetto that are based on seven members of the premiere superhero team of the DC Universe. The different label designs by “Justice League Brewery” include the Batman-inspired “The Dark Beer” dark ale beer; the Superman-based “Super Strong Beer” strong pale lager; the Wonder Woman-homage “The Wonder Beer” premium american lager and much more. Even the Wonder Twins got a shout out with “Twins Framboise,” a lambic framboise. Unfortunately, there’s no “Captain Cold One.”

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Fan-made ‘Nightwing: The Series’ gets darker with ‘Origins’

nightwing-origin

The second episode of the fan-produced Nightwing: The Series will likely be bit of a crowd-pleaser, as it offers a glimpse of the Dick Grayson/Barbara Gordon relationship, and includes cameos by Jason Todd, Bruce Wayne and … well, you’ll see. However, it also tinkers with the Bat-family timeline, and seems to borrow from a still-controversial story to explain Dick’s change in identity from Robin to Nightwing. So … well, watch for yourself.

Created by Danny Shepherd and Jeremy, the Kickstarter-funded five-episode series premiered last week.

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Supreme Court won’t intervene in Shuster-DC fight over Superman

Action Comics #1The U.S. Supreme Court this morning declined to intervene in the copyright dispute between the Joe Shuster Estate and DC Comics, effectively ending the long, and frequently bitter, battle over who owns Superman.

By denying the estate’s petition, the justices let stand a November 2013 ruling by the Ninth Circuit that Shuster’s nephew is prevented by a 1992 agreement with DC from reclaiming the artist’s stake in the first Superman story under a clause of the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act.

At issue was a now 22-year-old deal in which the Shuster estate relinquished all claims to the property in exchange for “more than $600,000 and other benefits,” which included paying Shuster’s debts following his death earlier that year and providing his sister Jean Peavy and brother Frank Shuster with a $25,000 annual pension. In October 2012, U.S. District Judge Otis D. Wright found that the agreement invalidated a copyright-termination notice filed in 2003 by Shuster’s nephew Mark Peary. Less than three months later, the Ninth Circuit overturned a 2008 decision granting the heirs of Jerry Siegel the writer’s 50-percent share of the copyright to the first Superman story in Action Comics #1.

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Dr. Manhattan charged with trying to steal bicycle

manhattan

He may tired of Earth, these people and being caught in the tangle of their lives, but even Dr. Manhattan can’t resist the siren’s call of Wal-Mart and its low, low prices. Or at least its conveniently placed bicycles.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that a 27-year-old Jacksonville, Florida, man was charged Tuesday with petit theft after he allegedly tried to walk off with a $130 bike from an Orlando-area Wal-Mart.

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Mezco unveils its ‘Dark Knight Returns’ Batman action figure

mezco-dkr4

Mezco has released details and new images for its Dark Knight Returns Batman 1/12th-scale action figure, which is available for preorder beginning today.

Announced over the summer as part of the One:12 Collective line, the figure — based on the landmark 1986 miniseries by Frank Miller, Klaus Janson and Lynn Varley — stands 6.75 inches tall and boasts more than 30 points of articulation. It comes with four pairs of interchangeable hands, an interchangeable boot with holster, pistol, removable utility belt, grappling hook, alternate head, Bat-symbol display base, articulated figure stand and “detachable cape-posing stand accessory.”

The figure, which ships in January, will set you back $65.

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Bill Sienkiewicz ‘fixes’ offensive Superman/Wonder Woman tee

superman-wonder woman-fail

In the aftermath of the controversy about a pair of sexist shirts licensed by DC Comics, celebrated artist Bill Sienkiewicz has created a his own revised design for the “Superman Does It Again” tee.

His version includes a second image, on the back of the shirt, with the Man of Steel’s “Score!” answered with Wonder Woman’s “Fail!!” — and an Amazonian fist to the Kryptonian’s jaw. “Maybe a bit too on the nose,” the New Mutants and Elektra: Assassin artist wrote on his Facebook page, “but there you go …”

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Grumpy Old Fan | Balancing out the New 52, Part 1

Larfleeze, not beloved among the franchisees

Larfleeze, not beloved among the franchisees

Note: This week’s post, and probably next week’s, get pretty number-heavy. Also, this week’s post contains a lot of history and background data. I have tried to make it all entertaining, but consider yourselves warned. Either way, there’s still the Futures Index.

Starting this week, the Batman line gets a makeover. Gotham Academy, from writers Becky Cloonan and Brenden Fletcher and artist Karl Kerschl, is a delightfully spry addition to the Bat-landscape. Amid a franchise dominated (not unreasonably) by stylized, unflinching urban avenging, GA’s unique perspective is both welcome and necessary. Waiting in the wings are new Batgirl and Catwoman creative teams, as well as new titles Arkham Manor and Gotham After Midnight. (The three new books apparently take the places of Batman: The Dark Knight, Batwing and Birds of Prey.)

All look promising, and each offers a new look at a seldom-seen aspect of the Batman mythology. Moreover, it’s vitally important for DC to reach out to a diverse audience, particularly one that may have felt underappreciated over the past few years.

However, all this innovation comes at a time when the in-name-only New 52 has been stuck for a while at around 40-odd series. Only 21 of the original 52 ongoings are still being published, although books like Teen Titans, Suicide Squad and Deathstroke have been relaunched with new volumes. Similarly, we might view Grayson and Justice League United as continuations of Nightwing and the New-52 version of Justice League of America.

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Nightwing goes on hunt for Deathstroke in fan-made web series

nightwing-series

Danny Shepherd and Jeremy Le made a bit of a splash in summer 2012 with the release of their fan film Batman: Nightwing Vs. Red Hood, leading them to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign — they exceeded their $20,000 by nearly $15,000 — to fund a web series focusing on Dick Grayson.

The result surfaced this week with the debut of Nightwing: The Series, which sends Batman’s former sidekick on a search through the streets of Bludhaven for Deathstroke, who murdered a U.S. senators and numerous others. The second of five episodes arrives Oct. 6.

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Arrow fights Arrow in new comic-style promo for TV series

arrow-social

The Twitter account for The CW’s Arrow has released a teaser for the upcoming Season 3 premiere — one that draws serious inspiration from the archer’s DC Comics roots.

The new image features a mock-up of a classic-looking issue of Arrow depicting Stephen Amell’s Oliver Queen socking it to his hooded alter ego. The image nails the tone and aesthetic of ’60s comics, from the vintage trade dress to the dramatic dialogue. It’s even appropriately distressed, making it appear as if Amell somehow appeared in a comic older than himself.

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Comics A.M. | Bestselling ‘One Piece’ spawns a spinoff series

One Piece

One Piece

Manga | Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece, the bestselling manga in Japan, is getting a spinoff: Starting with the January issue, which ships in December, the manga magazine Saikyo Jump will carry a series focusing on Monkey D. Luffy and the Straw Hat Pirates. There doesn’t seem to be any information yet on who the creators will be. [Anime News Network]

Publishing | In a business-oriented interview, Mark Waid talks about the strategy behind his digital comics site Thrillbent, especially its appeal to diverse groups of readers. The key is flexibility, Waid said, in terms of platforms and content. His goal is to make the comics readable on any digital device, which he says is not difficult once the site is set up. In terms of content, he says, “Pay attention to the audience, let them tell you who you’re clearly not serving, and go after them.” [The Wall Street Journal]

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Constantine & Zatanna team up in ‘Justice League Dark’ fan film

justice league dark1

Getting a jump on NBC’s Constantine, Kevin Housand, Charles Winston Propst and One Riot One Ranger Productions have created Justice League Dark, an 11-minute short that sends the DC Comics occult detective and Zatanna on a mission to rescue her father — with a little bit of help.

The fan film also serves as a prologue of sorts, teasing the introduction of at least one other character from DC’s supernatural stable, which would presumably lead to the establishment of Justice League Dark.

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Licensed DC Comics tees draw accusations of sexism

Shirts

Two licensed T-shirts featuring DC Comics’ Trinity have sparked accusations of sexism among online fans.

The first shirt, as reported at DC Women Kicking Ass and spotted by CBR contributor Tamara Brooks this past weekend at Long Beach Comic Con, depicts Superman and Wonder Woman in a passionate embrace with the caption, “Score! Superman Does It Again!” As takedowns of that shirt began to circulate on social media, another one, bearing the phrase “I’m Training to Be Batman’s Wife,” was brought into the discussion.

Both shirts present undeniably sexist messages: The former positions the most prominent female superhero as a prize to be won, stripping away the character’s 75 years of nuance and feminist themes. The latter would be perfectly acceptable if it had only stopped before that final word; the assumption that the goal of any woman’s training would be to become someone’s wife is antiquated at best.

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UFC debuts UFC 181 poster by Howard Porter and Alex Sinclair

dc-ufc-cropped

To help promote its UFC 181 pay-per-view event, the UFC turned to DC Comics for a comic book-style poster, created by Howard Porter and Alex Sinclair.

The result, which showcases the card’s two title fights — Robbie Lawler vs. Johny Hendricks and Anthony Pettis vs. Gilbert Melendez — was unveiled Friday during a press conference.

A lifelong fan of mixed martial arts, the former JLA and Flash artist said he was thrilled when asked by DC to illustrate the poster.

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Limited-edition Batman stamps to debut at New York Comic Con

Batman stamp Bronze AgeWhat do Batman, Janis Joplin and Julia Child have in common? If you guessed “They just got their own stamp,” you’re correct.

As DC Comics continues its celebration of the 75th anniversary of Batman, the iconic hero will again grace postage stamps in a limited-edition set officially unveiled Oct. 9 as the U.S. Postal Service kicks off New York Comic Con with a first-day-of-issue ceremony.

Each sheet of 20 “Forever” stamps — they’re 49 cents each but will remain good even when rates increase — will features designs representing four eras: the Golden Age, the Silver Age, the Bronze Age and the current New 52 era. There’s also a round stamp with the Batman symbol.

Batman is only the latest in a series of DC characters, including The Flash, Wonder Woman, Superman and Aquaman, who have graced U.S. postage stamps recently. And this isn’t actually the first Batman stamp, as Linn’s Stamp News notes: The DC Superheroes set issued in 2006 included two Dark Knight stamps.

Canada Post last year honored Superman’s Toronto roots, and his 75th anniversary, with a series of commemorative stamps.

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