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Comics A.M. | The mystique of the Marvel writers’ retreat

Marvel

Marvel

Publishing | Alex Abad-Santos examines how Marvel has created a mystique around its writers’ retreats, using the necessary secrecy to transform the planning meetings “into something fans are genuinely interested in.” The piece goes beyond that, however, touching upon recent accusations of sexism, and the inclusion of newly Marvel-exclusive writer G. Willow Wilson in this month’s retreat. [Vox]

Comics | Matt Cavna interviews Matt Bors, editor of The Nib, the comics section of the website The Medium, which has become the go-to site for journalism and commentary in comics form. [Comic Riffs]

Best of the year | The Publishers Weekly critics vote for the best graphic novels of the year; Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer tops the list, and there are plenty of interesting suggestions as books that got even one or two votes are included. [Publishers Weekly]

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With tattoos of 203 ‘Simpsons’ characters, man aims for record

simpsons-tattoos-cropped

A 52-year-old prison guard from Australia is counting on the 203 Simpsons characters tattooed on his back to earn him a place in Guinness World Records.

According to the Daily Mail, Michael Baxter has spent 130 hours and more than $9,900 in the past years to have Springfield’s residents, and even some of its landmarks, inked on his body. There’s the power plant on his right shoulder, Moe’s Tavern on his left, and anchorman Kent Brockman venturing south of his waistband.

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Lobo goes fraggin’ ballistic in bloody fan trailer

lobo-fan-film

It wasn’t all that long ago that a Lobo movie seemed like a very real possibility, with Dwayne Johnson and director Brad Peyton poised to bring the Main Man to the big screen before Wonder Woman, The Flash and any number of better-known DC Comics characters got their shot. Alas, the adaptation “went away,” with Johnson moving on to a long list of other projects, including the now officially announced Shazam!

Still, fans of the intergalactic bounty hunter can still hold out hope for that Lobo feature. However, until it’s resurrected (again), they’ll have to make do with this gory fan trailer from Jesse V. Johnson that delivers enough quips and over-the-top violence for a full-length film.

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The Akira Project returns to Neo-Tokyo with VFX video

neo-tokyo

You’ll likely recall the Akira Project, the crowd-funded fan trailer for a live-action adaptation of Katsuhiro Otomo’s pioneering manga and anime that sticks close to the source material (as opposed to whatever Hollywood’s been toiling away at for the past decade or so). It’s an impressive effort.

Now the minds behind that project have released a visual-effects video showing just how they recreated Neo-Tokyo, Kaneda’s iconic bike and some of those memorable scenes.

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Stephen Colbert analyzes new ‘Star Wars’ lightsaber

colbert-lightsaber

The Colbert Report host and all-around expert on Star Wars Stephen Colbert returned to his popular Comedy Central show after a week away, and there was one pressing piece of news he made sure to touch upon: the debut of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. But not just any aspect of the teaser.

“Check out this awesome lightsaber! It’s a lightsaber with too many lightsabers on it,” Colbert said during his show’s opening segment. “It’s a menage-a-sabre. Sadly, there are some stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herders out there who aren’t thrilled with the new Jedi weapon. They say if these things are supposed to protect your hand like sword hilts, it wouldn’t work, because the first time you crossed lightsabers, and it slid down to the bottom of the blade, your opponent would cut through the little side-sabers and cut off your hand.”

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Fan writes his own amazing obituary, reveals he’s Spider-Man

Aaron and Nora Purmort, with friend

Aaron and Nora Purmort, with friend

By all indications, Aaron Purmort was the kind of person most of us wish we knew. Warm and funny, he somehow kept his sense of humor, even while waging a losing battle against cancer. And in the end, it was the Minneapolis art director and comic book fan who got the last laugh.

Before his passing on Thursday, the 35-year-old Purmort sat down with his wife Nora, who chronicled their life and struggles online, to write his obituary, in which he attributes his death to “complications from a radioactive spider bite that led to years of crime-fighting and a years long battle with a nefarious criminal named Cancer.”

“Civilians will recognize him best as Spider-Man,” the obituary states, “and thank him for his many years of service protecting our city.”

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Kids react to ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ trailer (and to comics)

kids-react-ultron

By now you’re likely familiar with the “Kids React” series, in which children and teens respond — not always favorably — to seeing a movie trailer for the first time. This week’s episode, featuring Avengers: Age of Ultron, doesn’t disappoint, as the reactions rang from excitement to disinterest to, in at least one case, outright dislike.

However, the most interesting part may be the the question portion, in which some of the participants acknowledge they’re aware the Avengers originated in comics books … something they don’t read. One kid even admits he’s been to a comic store, but only for toys.

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Even a low-budget remake of ‘Age of Ultron’ trailer is awesome

age-of-ultron-sweded

Watching the gleefully low-budget, shot-for-shot remake of the trailer for Avengers: Age of Ultron, it occurred to me that many of us would probably line up to watch this movie, as long as there was the promise of an after-credits scene.

OK, maybe not, but this sweded take on the teaser is every bit as entertaining as you would expect, with cardboard buildings (and doors and Hulkbuster armor), terrible wigs, crepe-paper speed effects, and what I’m pretty sure is processed cheese sauce doubling as molten iron.

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Amazing Spider-Dad has birthday surprise for son with cancer

spider-man-jayden

Mike Wilson wanted to do something special to celebrate the fifth birthday of his son Jayden, who was diagnosed in September 2013 with a grade 4 brain stem tumor and given about a year to live.

Drawing inspiration from Jayden’s favorite superhero — “His bedroom is covered in Spider-Man pictures,” his dad tells The Independent — Mike had a costume custom-made so he could deliver a birthday surprise.

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Are you Stan Lee’s biggest fan? You could win a chance to meet him

stan-lee-fans

Despite insisting he doesn’t like when people tell him they’re his “biggest fan,” Stan Lee is now searching for just that: his biggest fan. Does he contradict himself? Hey, Stan Lee is larger than life, he contains multitudes.

The 91-year-old creator has partnered with LiveJournal (yes, LiveJournal) to not only launch a blog but also to discover his most devoted follower. “Maybe you have read all my comics, maybe you have collected all of the Stan Lee figurines, or maybe you even have my signature tattooed on your body,” Lee writes. “Whatever it may be, I want to hear it.”

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Nathan Edmondson whips up first pages of a Black Widow movie

black widow

Some of the excitement about seeing Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Doctor Strange among Marvel Studios’ Phase 3 plans was tempered in some circles by disappointment over the absence of a Black Widow solo film. That feeling was given voice in a #BlackWidowMovie Twitter campaign, which received support from Nathan Edmondson, writer of Marvel’s Black Widow comic.

However, Edmondson didn’t stop at a mere retweet; instead, he “whipped this up”: the first six pages of a hypothetical Black Widow screenplay. It’s a sequence that’s sure to please fans of the Marvel super-spy (and, judging from Twitter reaction, already has).

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Joker and Harley Quinn tie the knot in costume-filled fan wedding

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Last year we showcased photos from a Batgirl- and Nightwing-themed wedding, so it’s only fair for us to give a couple of Gotham City rogues equal time.

“So I married Joker on Saturday,” user MCAddict writes on imgur, where she shares photos of herself (with a classic Batman logo tattoo) dressed as Harley Quinn and the groom decked out in purple and green. The wedding party was a mix of the expected (Catwoman, The Riddler, Poison Ivy and Bane) and the slightly puzzling (Wolverine, Wonder Woman and Mario).

More surprising still: Batman officiated the ceremony. Check out some of the photos below, and even more at imgur.

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Think San Diego gets crowded? Look what happened at Lucca

Photos by Sal Abbinanti

Photos by Sal Abbinanti

Even as we try to figure out just how many people attended New York Comic Con and whether that number is really more than Comic-Con International’s 130,000, more than 400,000 people descended on Lucca, Italy, over the weekend for Lucca Comics & Games.

Paid attendance to the annual comic book and gaming convention was 240,000, but local reports indicate an additional 200,000 people flocked to the Tuscan city. As you can see from the photos provided to ROBOT 6 by art dealer Sal Abbinanti, the streets were jam-packed with people – so packed, that the city of 87,000 closed the gates. Some attendees even climbed the city walls.

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All the single Logans: Wolverine breaks out Beyonce’s moves

wolverine-beyonce

Wolverine is the best at what he does, and what he does — as you can see from the video below — is dance flawlessly to “Single Ladies.”

Sure, Beyonce did it in heels, but has she ever busted out that moves while flashing adamantium claws and chomping a cigar on the sidewalk … on Halloween? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

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From Black Widow to Joker, the most-Googled costumes by state

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If this map of “the most trending” Halloween costumes is any indication, Marvel Studios may want to give a little more thought to Black Widow’s place in its cinematic universe.

Produced by the website SumoCoupon using an analysis of Google search volumes, the map indicates which costume was the most-Goggled in each state. Comic-book heroes and villains were well-represented, topping the list in 14 states. Black Widow claimed the throne in four of those — Texas, Missouri, North Carolina and Wisconsin — while perennial favorites like Batman and Catwoman nabbed three and two, respectively.

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