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The 6 best things from Emerald City Comicon

Emerald City ComiconEmerald City Comicon may not come with the metric ton of announcements that Comic-Con International does, but in a way it’s all the better for it. Comics still feel as if they’re front and center just where I like them, and the announcements have more charm because they aren’t screaming to be heard over the din of film and television rollouts.

One year, I’ll get up to Seattle to experience the event firsthand, but in the meantime, I get to absorb all the news and photos like everyone else, as they’re posted online. ECCC even streamed all of its panels on flipon.tv. Anything that happened in Room 301 is free for anyone to watch. Everything else can be purchased with a full archive pass for $14.95. Or if, you don’t want to sit through hours of panel footage, there’s CBR’s coverage or, heck, try Google or something.

A number of announcements jumped out as particularly noteworthy, so let’s run through The 6 Best Things from ECCC. And from my count, Dark Horse won Emerald City. Your miles may vary though, so post your favorites in the comments.

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Comics A.M. | Police search for man who robbed store employee

Police sketch of the robbery suspect

Police sketch of the robbery suspect

Crime | Police in St. Charles, Missouri, are looking for a man who accosted an employee of the Fantasy Shop outside the comic store Monday morning and demanded she hand over a bank bag. The suspect, who indicated he had a gun, then fled with an undisclosed amount of money, leading to five local schools being put on lockdown for about 90 minutes. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

Creators | Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato discuss taking over as the creative team of Detective Comics with Issue 30. “We just want to carve out a small space in the Bat-world and craft stories that resonate with the legions of fans out there,” Buccalleto says. “It’s a tremendous honor to be a part of this legacy.” [USA Today]

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BaneCat is going to have to kill you now

banecat

It’s been nearly two years since the release of The Dark Knight Rises, and we’re no closer to figuring out the reason for Tom Hardy’s bizarre and grating Bane voice (the actor has said it was based on bare-knuckle boxing champ Bartley Gorman, but that doesn’t explain why). Still, it gave Bane the most recognizable voice of any Batman villain since Burgess Meredith’s Penguin, and paved the way for … BaneCat.

Somehow, that voice is less annoying when it comes from a plump, plotting feline wearing a respirator mask and fleece-trimmed coat — one who’s apparently getting his own series.

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ECCC | Flash mob

flash mob-cropped

Comic Book Resources contributor George Tramountanas tapped into the Speed Force this weekend to capture an unexpected gathering of Flashes at Emerald City Comicon.

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Lemire reveals name, powers of Justice League’s Cree heroine

equinox2CBC News has debuted new details about the young Cree superheroine to be introduced next month in DC Comics’ Justice League United #0, by Jeff Lemire and Mike McKone.

Code-named Equinox, Miiyahbin is a 16-year-old from Moose Factory, Ontario, whose power comes from the Earth and changes with the seasons. As revealed in October, the character is inspired in part by Shannen Koostachin, a teenage activist who lobbied the federal government for a new school in Attawapiskat First Nation, on the James Bay Coast. Koostachin died in a car accident in 2010 at the age of 15.

Lemire Leads “Justice League United” to the Great White North

“Creating a teenage female superhero was interesting to me because, generally, most superheroes are white males,” Lemire told CBC News. “We need diversity and we need different personalities. You need very distinct voices for personalities on the team or else you just start writing the same character in a different costume.”

To conduct research for Equinox, the Toronto-based creator of the Essex County trilogy traveled north to Moosonee and Moose Factory on James Bay, where he received feedback from local residents.

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Grumpy Old Fan | Pandora, Despero, and being ‘Forever’ 2002

Forever Red Rover

Everyone has Serious Eyes except HawkmaAAAA LOOK AWAY LOOK AWAY

The final issue of Forever Evil was originally scheduled to come out this week, but now seems to have been delayed until May 21.  That’s too bad, at least for those of us who’ve been following the thing since September (because those delays evaporate in collections). However, it gives me some time to digest what’s been presented so far. It also offers a chance to look back at a 2002 graphic novel that features a couple of the same peripheral elements.

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Conversing on Comics with Paul Levitz

HEADER-TEMPLATE-Conversing-On-Comics

Since stepping down in 2009 from his longtime position as president and publisher of DC Comics, Paul Levitz has focused much of his attention on teaching and writing, with projects like World’s Finest and Taschen’s expansive 75 Years of DC Comics: The Art of Modern Mythmaking.

Currently he’s putting the finishing touches on a book about his friend Will Eisner titled Will Eisner: The Dreamer and the Dream, while teaching college courses. In addition, he recently joined BOOM! Studios’ board of directors.

For a man who made his name writing adventures of the future in Legion of Super-Heroes, you had to know Levitz had plans for his own future, right? I caught up with Levitz earlier this year, at a particularly busy time, to learn more about his activities since leaving DC’s executive suite. We spoke before the BOOM! announcement was made, but we had more than enough to talk about in our interview.

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Al Plastino’s Superman artwork on display at Kennedy library

plastino-supermans missionAl Plastino’s original artwork for the 1964 story “Superman’s Mission For President Kennedy” is at last on display at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, where the late artist thought it had been for the past five decades.

“We are just thrilled that these came home to where they belong,” his daughter MaryAnn Plastino Charles, who traveled from Alabama to Boston to see the art, told The Associated Press. “This has been a long time coming. My father thought for so many years that it was here.”

A prolific Golden Age artist who passed away Nov. 25 at age 91, Plastino was surprised to discover at New York Comic Con a month earlier that the pages hadn’t been given five decades earlier to the library, as he’d been led to believe, but were instead set to be sold at auction by a private owner on the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Plastino spent the last weeks of his life campaigning for the return of the artwork, leading Heritage Auctions to put the sale on hold until questions about ownership could be resolved; in December, DC Comics purchased the art for donation to the library.

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Comics A.M. | Author, ‘Vermillion’ writer Lucius Shepard dies

Lucius Shepard

Lucius Shepard

Passings | Award-winning science fiction and fantasy author Lucius Shepard, whose work included Life During Wartime and The Jaguar Hunter, passed away March 18. He was 66. Shepard ventured into comics writing on a few occasions, with the series Vermillion, part of DC Comics’ short-lived Helix imprint, and with contributions to Vertigo anthologies Gangland and Flinch. [Tor.com, BoingBoing]

Creators | American Vampire artist Rafael Albuquerque talks about the upcoming “Second Cycle” of the Vertigo series, which returns after a hiatus of more than a year. [Hero Complex]

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Grumpy Old Fan | ‘People’ get ready for DC in June

"Dad, can we get this now?"

“Dad, can we get this now? … How about now?”

Aw yeah! In my household, the best news from DC’s June solicitations is the six-issue Tiny Titans: Return to the Treehouse miniseries. I showed the cover to my 5-year-old and she was crestfallen to learn it didn’t come out for another three months. At least she can fill the time reading the other paperbacks (and Superman Family Adventures) and watching Frozen on an endless loop.

I may also have to get the Li’l Gotham figures, although at $13 a pop they are pretty pricey. Perhaps just Batman and Robin.

Oh, there’s more? What could it be …?

LET’S GO PLACES

The solicitation for Futures End #6 — advertising Ray Palmer, Frankenstein and Amethyst’s trip into the Phantom Zone — makes me irrationally optimistic about the series generally. I think the New 52 needs this series (or something like it) to present a coherent shared universe, because for the past two and a half years it’s been a clash of disparate styles and an array of changes without much to pull it all together. If Futures End can manage a good-sized, eclectic cast, and convince readers they’re all able to function in the same basic environment, that’ll go a long way towards giving the superhero books common ground.

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Whither Pandora? (Other than in ‘Trinity of Sin: Pandora’)

first appearance

In summer 2011, the Geoff Johns/Andy Kubert event series Flashpoint was reaching its climax, and the fifth issue was devoted to The Flash trying to unscramble the mixed-up, dystopian timeline in a typically Flash way — by running around really fast.

Near the end, there was a strange, two-page spread of an interlude that seemed almost grafted on: The Flash catches a glimpse of a mysterious, hooded woman with glowing eyes and lines all over her face, who says portentously, “Because the history of heroes was shattered into three long ago. Splintered to weaken your world for their impending arrival. You must all stand together. The timelines must become one again.”

The timelines were those of the DC Universe, the WildStorm Universe and a handful of DCU characters who had mainly been appearing in books published by DC’s Vertigo imprint. The result? The New 52, the biggest and most dramatic reboot the oft-rebooted, retconned and otherwise tinkered-with DC Universe had ever experienced in the history of forever; they even relaunched Action Comics and Detective Comics!

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Comics A.M. | MegaCon expected to attract 70,000 this weekend

MegaCon

MegaCon

Conventions | Organizers anticipate as many as 70,000 people will attend MegaCon, held Friday through Sunday at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, up from about 60,000 last year; that could translate to $23 million impact on the local economy, according to the Orlando Business Journal. Guests include Amanda Conner, Darwyn Cooke, Chuck Dixon, Adam Kubert, Greg Land, Stan Lee, Jimmy Palmiotti, George Perez, Herb Trimpe, Mark Waid and Skottie Young. However, the names drawing the most attention may be The Walking Dead stars David Morrissey, Danai Gurira and Steve Yeun. “We are the first convention in the U.S. to have both David Morrissey and Danai Gurira at the same time,” Jason Smith, MegaCon’s director of operations, told Florida Today. “The show is definitely a fan favorite of our attendees.” [MegaCon]

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Francis Manapul dives into his cover process for ‘Detective’ #32

detective32b-cropped

On his blog, Francis Manapul pulls back the curtain on his process for the cover of Detective Comics #32, from initial concept sketches to finished piece.

“I had a lot of fun coloring this piece, specially since I got to play around with the logo,” he wrote. “Its placement was integral to the composition and selling the idea of Batman getting pulled under water.”

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‘Absolute Batman Incorporated’ to feature new Chris Burnham art

batman incorporated13Chris Burnham confirms he has redrawn the fill-in pages from the end of his run on Batman Incorporated for DC Comics’ upcoming Absolute edition of the Grant Morrison series.

“They’re all done, too!” he emphasized this morning on Twitter. “So I’m not redrawing them, I have redrawn them!”

Batman fan site Gotham Spoilers, which posed the question to Burnham, notes the fill-in art was “unfortunate, because this was one of those stories, that you really just couldn’t slap any artist on, as is the case with most Morrison penned stories.”

Burnham mentioned the undertaking in July, following the conclusion of Batman Incorporated, telling Batman-News, “I’m gonna redraw all of the fill-in pages for the last five issues! You know how the little fill-in pages kinda snuck in? So I’m pretty sure I”m gonna redraw those pages for the big deluxe hardcover.”

That deluxe hardcover, which clocks in at 608 pages, collects Batman Incorporated Vol. 1 #1-8, Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes, Batman  Incorporated Vol. 2 #1-13 and Batman Incorporated Special #1. It arrives Dec. 2.

From Morbius to Mordo: Why does ‘mor’ sound so sinister?

morbius

What is it about the syllable “mor” that denotes villainy?

After all, at Marvel there’s Baron Mordo, the longtime enemy of Doctor Strange; Morg, the remorselss herald of Galactus; and Morbius, who lately is more misunderstood than evil. And DC Comics boasts Mordru the Merciless, the, well, merciless Lord of Chaos; Morgaine le Fey, the diabolical sorceress; Mordecai Smyt and Morax, archfiend and fiend of Hell, respectively. Oh! Plus, Morgan Edge. And those are only a handful of notables from comic books.

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