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Comics A.M. | Superheroine debuts at Puerto Rican Day parade

La Borinqueña

La Borinqueña

Characters | Puerto Rican superhero La Borinqueña will make her debut in her own comic this fall, but she made an advance appearance on a float at the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York last weekend. Creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez wanted to create a heroine who embodied both a classic superhero look and Puerto Rican iconography. And she will have dark skin: “It’s a 2016 approach to creating an image. Meaning that, as a Latino creating an image that represents Latinos, she’s not going to be whitewashed, like a telenovela actress. She’s not going to be the trigueña that’s going to be the nanny, or the maid, in the background. She’s going to be in the forefront. There’s room for all of us, but there’s a necessity to represent all of us as well.” The comic will debut at the Café con Comics event in New York later this year. Miranda-Rodriguez and Run-DMC member Darryl McDaniels are co-founders of Darryl Makes Comics!, but they have not decided whether La Borinqueña will be published by them or another publisher. Either way, a cut of the sales will go to the National Puerto Rican Day Parade organization’s scholarship program. [New York Daily News]

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Comics A.M. | Accused Salt Lake Comic Con impostor gets new lawyer

The crowd at Salt Lake Comic Con 2015

The crowd at Salt Lake Comic Con 2015

Legal | Jonathon M. Wall, who pleaded guilty April 5 to a charge of impersonating a federal agent last fall in an attempt to get into the VIP room at Salt Lake Comic Con, has a new defense team — after the judge in the case threw out his plea and offered to help him find new counsel. U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish vacated Wall’s plea, saying she was concerned Wall didn’t understand the full implications of having a federal felony on his record. Wall had told her he was pleading guilty because prosecutors offered him a “slap on the wrist” if he did so. An employee at Hill Air Force Base, Wall showed his work ID convention security but claimed to be a federal agent who needed access to the VIP area because he was pursuing a fugitive. In addition to helping Wall find a new lawyer, Parrish recommended he be transferred to a newly established diversion program. [Standard Examiner]

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Comics A.M. | Rare original ‘Tintin’ art goes up for auction

tintin-social

Auctions | Hold on to your wallet, there’s another comics auction in the offing. This one, at the French auction house Artcurial, will feature a number of pieces by Tintin creator Hergé, including the final spread from King Ottokar’s Sceptre, a sketch for The Castafiore Emerald, and a full page from Quick et Flupke, one of his less famous comics. [Business Insider]

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Comics A.M. | Al Jaffee sets new Guinness World Record

jaffee-guinness

Creators | Legendary MAD Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee now holds the Guinness World Record for the longest career of a comics artist, at more than 73 years. Jaffee was presented with the certificate, and a proclamation from the New York City Mayor’s Office declaring March 30 as “Al Jaffee Day” in a gathering on Wednesday to celebrate his 95th birthday. [DC Entertainment]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Batman vs. Superman’ tops March bookstore sales

batman vs superman2

Graphic novels | With audiences flocking to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s little surprise that the bestselling graphic novel in bookstores in March was Batman vs. Superman: The Greatest Battles, a compilation of previously published stories about the pair’s earlier tiffs. Also not surprising: All five volumes of Tokyo Ghoul are on the chart. That manga series seems to be the new Attack on Titan, with more readers coming in every month. The rest of the chart is a very mixed bag, with two Deadpool titles, a new Plants vs. Zombies graphic novel, and Daniel Clowes’ Patience among the month’s big sellers. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Salt Lake Comic Con to take FanX events to Asia

Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience 2014

Salt Lake Comic Con FanXperience 2014

Conventions | The producers of Salt Lake Comic Con are expanding westward, and taking their FanXperience spinoff event to Asia. Organizers have announced a partnership with Pop Life Entertainment, the parent company of Funko, to hold FanX events this year in the Philippines (June 10-12), China (Sept. 14-17) and Thailand (Dec. 11). Salt Lake co-founder Bryan Brandenburg said Pop Life has an agreement with a Hollywood talent agency to bring “A level” guests to the Asian shows as well as to Salt Lake Comic Con. [The Salt Lake Tribune]

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Comics A.M. | Irving Fine, founder of Siegel and Shuster Society, dies

Jerry Siegel's childhood home (courtesy of the Siegel and Shuster Society)

Jerry Siegel’s childhood home (courtesy of the Siegel and Shuster Society)

Passings | Irving Fine, cousin of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel and founder of the Siegel and Shuster Society, passed away March 11 at his home in suburban Cleveland. He was 87. Fine, whose late brother introduced Siegel to Joe Shuster in the 1930s, made preserving and promoting Superman’s ties to Cleveland a priority: During his tenure as co-chairman of the Siegel and Shuster Society, Ohio introduced a Superman-themed license plate, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport installed a Superman Welcome Center, and Siegel’s childhood home was restored. Michael Sangiacomo notes that Fine also played a key role in the plans for a monument to Superman and his creators, set to be unveiled in 2018 near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. [Cleveland Plain Dealer]

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Comics A.M. | Manga sales gain momentum in 2015

tokyo ghoul-v1

Manga | ICv2 wraps up a week of intensive manga coverage with a look at the overall market, and it’s looking pretty good: Manga sales were up 13 percent in the first eight months of 2015, and they have been increasing for three years straight. What’s more, it’s a broad-based increase, with healthy sales in all channels — comic shops, bookstores, the mass market (i.e. Walmart) and libraries. ICv2’s Milton Griepp attributes the growth to several factors, including the popularity of streaming anime (which gives related manga properties a strong boost), the emergence of several blockbuster properties (Attack on Titan, One-Punch Man and Tokyo Ghoul), and increasing acceptance of geek culture in general, and anime/manga fandom in particular. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | What sets ‘Fairy Tail’ apart from other shonen manga?

Fairy Tail

Fairy Tail

Creators | Fairy Tail creator Hiro Mashima explains what sets his series apart from other shonen manga: “It actually goes back to the series I worked on before, Rave Master. In one episode, there was a scene where a group of guys are hanging out at a bar. That was fun to draw. So I wanted to draw a manga with the feel of guys hanging out at a bar. I thought it’d be interesting to enter a world where characters have established relationships, like friendship. Usually a shonen manga starts with just a main character, who then slowly accumulates his or her allies as the story progresses. But in the world of Fairy Tail, everybody pretty much knows each other at the beginning. [Kodansha Comics]

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Comics A.M. | Ta-Nehisi Coates among Book Critics award finalists

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Awards | Adding to a list of recent honors that includes a National Book Award and a MacArthur “genius grant,” author and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates has been nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism for his acclaimed memoir Between the World and Me. Coates is collaborating with artist Brian Stelfreeze on Marvel’s new Black Panther series, which debuts in April. [The New York Times]

Creators | Comics-industry pundit Rob Salkowitz looks at the resurgence of interest in Jack Kirby, who has posthumously received credit (and pay) for the work he created over the years for Marvel Comics: “For decades, the story of how everyone made a fortune off the work of this visionary creator except for Kirby himself – who until his final days toiled to eke out financial security for his family – stood as one of the most egregious injustices in an industry distinguished by its ill-treatment of creative talent. Now, as we approach his centenary in 2017, the man that Stan Lee nicknamed ‘King of the Comics’ is finally starting to get his due in the wider world of art, culture and commerce.” [Forbes]

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Comics A.M. | 78-year-old collector has ‘rescued’ 75,000 comics

brown collection

Collecting | For the better part of three decades, 78-year-old Ray Brown has been “rescuing” comic books and giving them a good home — namely, his. The South Dakota man estimates his collection includes some 75,000 comics, the bulk of which he purchased from five Rapid City-area stores that went out of business. “They take up a lot of room,” he says. “They don’t eat anything, though.” Brown doesn’t read them, however; instead he simply takes pleasure in saving them from the trash bin. He does sell a few on the Internet from time to time, but he’s in no hurry to get rid them. [Black Hills Fox]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Asterix’ still reigns supreme in France

Asterix and the Missing Scroll

Asterix and the Missing Scroll

Comics | Wim Lockefeer translates and digests the annual report of the ACBD, the French association of comics journalists, which reveals that Asterix continues to rule the roost: The latest album had a print run of 2.25 million, dwarfing the next largest, Titeuf, with 550,000. Overall, sales are up 3.5 percent, but some of the old standards — like Asterix — are down from their historical peaks. Oh, and relevant to the recent debate involving Angouleme: The report lists about 1,400 active comics creators in France and French-speaking Switzerland and Belgium, of whom only 173 are women. [Forbidden Planet]

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Comics A.M. | The state of the newspaper comics page

Evil Inc.

Evil Inc.

Comic strips | The end of Edge City has generated a conversation about newspaper comics in general. As co-creator Ray LaBan says, creating a comic strip was his childhood fantasy, and he got to do it, “But I got to do it when everybody stopped paying attention.” This article takes a broad view, looking at the fact that newspapers’ budgets for comics, like everything else, are shrinking, online portals are providing alternatives, and readers’ strong preferences for legacy strips like Beetle Bailey and Blondie, as well as safe topics, are limiting the opportunities for new strips. Universal UClick launches one new strip a year, according to president John Glynn. On the other hand, creator Brad Guigar is taking his comic Evil Inc. out of the Inquirer because he can do better with a more mature version, published online and supported through Patreon. With interviews with the syndicates, a newspaper features editor, and creators, this piece is a well rounded look at the current state of syndicated comics. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

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Comics A.M. | New Kickstarter study reveals failure rates

Kickstarter

Kickstarter

Crowdfunding | A new report released by Kickstarter shows that about 9 percent of the projects on the crowdfunding platform failed to deliver the promised rewards. While that is fairly consistent across all categories, comics do appear to do a bit better than most. Another interesting tidbit: Projects that raise less than $1,000 are the most likely to fail. [Kickstarter]

Creators | Writer Kyle Higgins talks about his new Power Rangers comic, Green Ranger: Year One, which focuses on the Ranger who was originally a villain before reforming and joining the team: “Basically, in going the modernization route I decided that I didn’t really want to jump in and tell new origins of the Power Rangers or anything like that. So looking at the introduction of the Green Ranger to the team, of him joining the team, was the window that I took for the story in order to get us into the world.” [Hero Complex]

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Comics A.M. | BOOM! Studios explains production cutbacks

Filip Sablik

Filip Sablik

Publishing | Filip Sablik, BOOM! Studios’ president of publishing and marketing, describes the company’s announced cutback in the number of titles as a contrarian move: “All of the major mainstream comic publishers are pushing out more titles. Since February’s ComicsPro meeting, it’s something we’ve consistently heard from the front lines of the industry. So we decided to swim upstream a bit by trimming back our line and really focus, doubling down on our marketing and our positioning for each title, believing that a sniper-like approach would yield better profitability.” [ICv2]

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