Welcome to Best of 7, our new weekly wrap-up post here at Robot 6. Each Sunday we’ll talk about, as it says above, “The best in comics from the last seven days” — which could be anything from an exciting piece of news to a cool publisher’s announcement to an awesome comic that came out on Wednesday.
So without further ado, let’s get to it …
ComiXology has branched out into yet another arena with the launch of eBay Digital Comics, which is pretty much what it sounds like: a dedicated digital-comics marketplace for users of the auction and shopping website. It’s now in limited beta test in the United States.
TechCrunch reports that while eBay previously permitted merchants to offer some digital items, with this expansion the website is actually involved in curating and selling content.
The new storefront essentially serves as a display window — for now, at least — allowing eBay users to browse the collection by character. Once a title is selected, buyers are taken to its page on comiXology, where they have to have an account to actually make a purchase. The FAQ at eBay Digital Comics indicates that, “We are working to provide you with the ability to purchase digital comics on eBay with your eBay account.”
OK, so that $200,000 street-legal Batmobile replica is a little bit out of your price range. It’s understandable: After all, the economy is soft and crime-fighting doesn’t pay as much as it used to. Then maybe you’d have been better suited for a “one-of-a-kind” Batman Tumbler Golf Cart.
Alas, someone just snapped it up for a Buy It Now price of $17,500, ending the eBay auction a few days early. Sure, it isn’t Warner Bros.-approved, and it doesn’t have a blinking Batphone, it does look like an adorably squat version of the vehicle from the Christopher Nolan movies. Plus, hey, four cupholders!
The other former superheroes at Gotham Acres Retirement Community will definitely be jealous when they see the Can’t-Drive-After-Dark Knight cruising around in this baby.
An eBay auction has launched to benefit writer Steve Niles, whose Austin home flooded last week following heavy rains in Central Texas. He, his wife, musician Monica Richards, and their pets are now staying in a friend’s guesthouse.
Organized by writer Matt Miner, the auction is expected to arrive in two, and possibly three, waves, beginning with such items as 30 Days of Night original art by Ben Templesmith, original painted pages from Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who — Assimilation by J.K. Woodward, a Black Widow illustration by Phil Noto, comic-book script reviews by Scott Snyder and Ron Marz, and signed comics by the likes of Chris Burnham, James Tynion IV, Jamie S. Rich, Greg Pak and J.M DeMatteis. Visit the auction page for the full listing.
“I’ll keep doing auctions as long as comics pros want to send me stuff,” Miner said. Professionals wishing to contribute items for the auction should contact Miner.
Given that Wednesday is the series finale of Futurama — at least until it’s resurrected again — it seems only appropriate that we showcase this eBay auction of a piece of original art by Bill Morrison, signed by him, series creator Matt Groening, Producer Lee Supercinski, Executive Producer David X. Cohen and the entire cast.
Anyone who attended the Futurama panel last month at Comic-Con International, where Groening used the piece to “cheat” in his draw-off against animation director Edmund Fong. (You can see the video below.)
The current bid for the drawing, which measures 48 inches by 36 inches, is $1,125. All proceeds from the auction will benefit TLC (Tiny Loving Canines), a nonprofit small-dog breed rescue in Simi Valley, California. The auction ends Sept. 8.
If you read about, or saw, with envy Community creator Dan Harmon’s triumphant return to Comic-Con International wearing a custom-made, if somewhat haphazardly constructed, Iron Man costume, now’s your chance to make it your own. OK, maybe you don’t envy it; maybe you’re just a die-hard fan of Harmon or the NBC comedy. Whatever the case, the suit is being auctioned on eBay.
It’s legitimate, as the seller appears to be Rob Schrab, Harmon’s longtime writing partner and creator of Scud: The Disposable Assassin, and the Community creator announced the auction himself on his website. If you still somehow question the costume’s authenticity, the top of the chest plate is signed by Harmon and — better still! — it “Smells like Dan!” What more proof could you ask for?
Even as The Walking Dead #104 arrived in stores Wednesday, a mint copy of the first issue of the acclaimed horror series sold for $10,000 on eBay.
Characterized by the seller as “the holy grail of comic books,” the slabbed copy is graded 9.9 out of 10 by the Certified Guarantee Company, “the highest grade of this book in an extremely low print run.”
While many would argue whether the October 2003 first issue of The Walking Dead trumps, say, Action Comics #1 or Detective Comics #27 as “the holy grail of comic books,” it did have a pretty low print run: Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson revealed this year at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo that initial orders for the comic by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore “totaled a mere 7,300 copies.”
“The Walking Dead came in dead last out of the half dozen new titles we launched that month,” he told the crowd at the Diamond Retailers Summit. It was beaten by Cursed #1, Battle of the Planets: Manga #1, Sword of Dracula #1, Something Wicked #1, and Realm of the Claw #1. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I was actually working at Image back then and aside from the Dracula book and the Battle of the Planets book, I don’t even the vaguest recollection of what those other books were about. And I don’t say that because they were necessarily bad, but because they’re not around anymore.”
Hey, you remember how last week the American Family Association, via its OneMillionMoms.com website, called for a boycott of Toys ‘R’ Us because the chain had the temerity to display, in full public view, a comic that it was offering for sale? The comic in question, of course, was Life With Archie #16, whose cover bears an image of two men getting married, which could cause all sorts of discomfort for people who might be forced to explain to their children that sometimes two men love one another, just like mommy and daddy.
Amid the announcements of sellouts and second of third printings for the New 52, Heidi MacDonald catches an email from DC Comics notifying retailers of a printing error on some copies of Green Lantern #1. That noise you just heard was the sound of speculators making a frantic dash to their local comics store.
The flaw in question is a little green teardrop above Sinestro’s ear (you can see it in the image on the right). DC asks retailers to report the flawed copies to Diamond Comic Distributors by Monday. Replacement copies will arrive on Oct. 12, the same day as Green Lantern #2.
Naturally, a flawed copy has already made its way onto eBay, where the starting bid is $9.99. However, what DC labels “a printing error,” the seller characterizes as a sly maneuver by the publisher: “I’VE PLACED THE TEARDROP MISPRINT COVER IN ONE PHOTO AND REGULAR COVER ON THE OTHER PHOTO. ITS REALLY OBVIOUS. I’LL LET YOU BE THE JUDGE, CALL IT WHATEVER YOU LIKE. I think it was intentional especially with a launch of this magnitude.”
What DC would get out of it, I don’t know. But far be it for me to question a shrewd owner of an “unread, NM, dripping wet off the presses” copy of the “Teardrop Misprint Variant.”
The good folks at Portland’s Periscope Studios are holding a fundraiser for Sparkplug publisher Dylan Williams, who is dealing with a serious illness. Several of the artists who work out of Periscope, including Jonathan Case (who painted the showdown between Thor and Galactus you see above), Steve Lieber and Colleen Coover, have contributed artwork to an auction to benefit Williams.
You can find all the available pieces on Periscope’s eBay page.
Tonner Doll Company, the folks behind the DC Stars collection, has officially announced its 2011 Comic-Con International exclusive: a kind-of-cool — if you’re into high-priced collectible dolls, that is — kind-of-creepy limited-edition Dark Phoenix doll. How limited? Very, according to the manufacturer; just 150 pieces have been made.
That means, of course, that Dark Phoenix will be very expensive. Although Tonner’s press release doesn’t list a price — file under “If you have to ask, you probably can’t afford it” — eBay already has the doll pegged at anywhere from $254.95 to (gulp) $349.99.
But, hey, isn’t she worth it? Just read this description: “In keeping with the fine detail and quality of Tonner’s other product lines, Dark Phoenix will boast hand-painted facial details, including mesmerizing mirrored eyes and fine quality variegated, rooted saran hair. She features a recently enhanced 16″ high-quality vinyl and hard plastic body with 13-points-of-articulation for dynamic poses. Dark Phoenix’s meticulously crafted costume consists of a searing red bodysuit with metallic ‘Phoenix’ emblem and attached gloves, thigh-high faux leather boots, and matching gold sash with a ‘Phoenix’ charm. A display stand is also included.”
I would’ve gone with “haunting, soulless eyes” rather than “mesmerizing mirrored eyes,” but I’m not really the target audience for this thing, “searing red bodysuit” or no. Tonner will be at Booth #4149 in the San Diego Convention Center, so start saving those pennies.
Publishing | On the heels of Monday’s direct-market overview for March, ICv2 has released its sales estimates for the month, placing the top-selling FF #1 at 114,472 copies — more than 37,500 ahead of the No. 2 title, Green Lantern #64. The retail news and analysis site notes that the relaunched FF #1, aided by variant covers, joins the Human Torch-killing Fantastic Four #587 as the only titles to sell more than 100,000 copies in the past six months.
While 11 of the Top 25 comics saw sales increases, if only slight, the graphic novel category looked decidedly more grim, with just the third volume of The Unwritten and Batman and Robin: Batman Reborn breaking the 4,000-copy mark. [ICv2.com]
Crime | Los Angeles police have recovered a copy of Action Comics #1 stolen from the home of actor Nicolas Cage in 2000. The 1938 comic, worth as much as $1.5 million, was discovered last month by an unidentified man who claims to have bought the contents of an abandoned San Fernando Valley storage locker. It’s now in an LAPD evidence safe while the department’s art details detectives try to track down the thieves, but Cage says he can’t wait to get the comic back. “It is divine providence that the comic was found and I am hopeful that the heirloom will be returned to my family,” he said in a statement. [Ventura County Star, Los Angeles Times]
Publishing | Eiichiro Oda’s blockbuster pirate manga One Piece has sold 32.34 million copies in 2010, more than double what it sold the previous year. According to Japanese market survey company Oricon Communications, the series’ five newest volumes have sold a combined 12.5 million copies. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | Comico co-founder Gerry Giovinco weighs in on an eBay listing that includes original artwork apparently left in the stewardship of his former partners Dennis and Phil LaSorda when the company went bankrupt in 1990: “It always was Comico policy to return all art to the creators. If there is art that was not returned, we are in total agreement that it should be returned to the rightful owners of the work. If you are a creator that believes your work could be among this lot, we would suggest you fight to get it back.” [CO2 Comics Blog]
Legal | New York federal judge Colleen McMahon made several decisions last week in the case of Jack Kirby’s heirs attempting to terminate Marvel’s copyright of his works. The judge agreed with Marvel that it would be premature to make an accounting of how much money is at stake, but rejected a bid by Marvel to throw out the Kirby estate’s main counterclaim. She also ruled that the Kirby estate’s attempt to reclaim original art is barred by the statute of limitations, counterclaims of breach-of-contract and violation of the Lanham Act were tossed, and Disney will be part of the case, even though Marvel said it shouldn’t be.
“In sum, the judge has narrowed the case to its most crucial issue. Both sides disagree about Kirby’s working environment in the 1950s and 1960s when he, along with Stan Lee, conceived many of Marvel’s most popular characters. The judge will soon be tasked with looking at Kirby’s work history and some of the loose contracts and oral agreements that guided his efforts in those years,” wrote Eriq Gardner. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Creators | Artist, letterer and colorist John D’Agostino died Nov. 29. D’Agostino started his career as a colorist for Timely Comics and was head of their coloring department for several years. He also worked for Archie Comics, Charlton Comics and Marvel Comics, and lettered the first few issues of Amazing Spider-Man in the 1960s. Tom Spurgeon offers an obituary. [Mark Evanier]
Legal | The U.S. Supreme Court appeared divided Tuesday during oral arguments on a California law that would forbid the sale or rental of violent video games to minors. Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Sonia Sotomayor raised free-speech objections to the statute, with Ginsberg asking: “If you are supposing a category of violent materials dangerous to children, then how do you cut it off at video games? What about films? What about comic books?” Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justices Stephen G. Breyer and Samuel A. Alito Jr. indicated their belief that the state can restrict the access of minor to video games, while Justices Anthony M. Kennedy and Elena Kagan probed the issues without showing their cards. It will probably be several months before the court hands down a decision. [Los Angeles Times, PC World]
Crime | A man charged with orchestrating the July theft of the expensive comics collection of an elderly Rochester, N.Y., man who was beaten and later died has been arrested by FBI agents for allegedly selling hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stolen merchandise on eBay. [The Daily News]
Crime | Police in Stamford, Conn., charged Spider-Man and Captain America with assault and Poison Ivy with breach of peace following a weekend brawl in a parking garage. [The Associated Press]