The comics scene descended on the Los Angeles Zoo & Botanical Gardens June 1-2 for the annual Comic Jungle event. Zoo animals received super-powered descriptors, while visitors mingled with comic artists, retailers, art societies and costumed heroes.
All attendees received a free copy of the Bug’s Life book Flik the Inventor as they were led through an array of newly labeled zoo residents. Some animals were described as having superpowers, such as flight, night vision and super-strength: Elephants were designated as super-hearers, while seals had the power to breathe underwater. Aquaman would be so proud!
Free events were plentiful, including a live art demo by artist David Colman at the Giraffe Enclosure, and visitors could pose for photos with Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, Cobra Commander and the 501st Legion Star Wars fan organization.
However, there were also plenty of guests in costume, including an excellent Incredibles family, and a wee Captain America sporting a cape (see photos of both, below).
With the popularity of Hawkeye –both the Clint Barton version, starring in his own stellar comic and various Avengers titles, and the Kate Bishop version, currently appearing in that same stellar comic and the snappy Young Avengers — it’s not surprising that Hawkeye cosplayers are taking aim at conventions around the world.
If you’re wanting to sport the gear of the younger, female Hawkeye, but aren’t sure where to get started, here’s a Tumblr by a devoted Kate Bishop cosplayer that should tell you everything you need to know. It’s appropriately titled “Gosh I Love Arrows,” and I think she goes above and beyond in the creation of a set of trick arrows based on David Aja’s illustrations from issue #3.
Conventions | Motor City Comic Con founder Michael Goldman has apologized to fans for the long lines they had to endure to get into the event on Saturday, writing in a message on Facebook, “We never expected 18,000+ people to attend that day, which was the same amount of people we had over the entire three days last year. We were literally hit with a ‘Humanity Bomb’ and were not prepared for the sheer number of people attending, even with a large increase in our staff.” More than 30,000 people attended over the course of three days, with attendees reportedly waiting for up to two hours on Saturday just to get into the parking lot, and then another one to four hours to get in the doors. Golden said he is already working on avoiding the same problem next year. [Facebook]
Retailing | Brian Berlin of New World Comics in Oklahoma City is offering free comics and appearances by costumed characters for children left hospitalized or homeless by the tornadoes that struck Oklahoma this week. [Nerdage]
It’s been, oh, about six months since the last “fake geek girls” flare-up, but no matter when the next argument erupts, WeLoveFine.com has you covered.
Showcased in the T-shirt collection curated by writer Kelly Sue DeConnick are two designs made especially for (in her words) “Male-Type-Guy-Dudes.”
“Look. Here’s the deal: you’re not fooling anyone. We know you’re not Geek Girls. (Your unsightly stubble and Adam’s apples give you away.),” DeConnick writes. “It’s okay. We understand. Being a Geek Girl is a pretty fabulous thing. We get it and love you for your aspiration. But the thing is, you’re not a Geek Girl … because you’re a guy. So quit pretending and learn to love yourself for who you are.”
According to the Asbury Park Press, Brick and Britta Wenzel of Lavallette didn’t have flood insurance for their seven properties — among them, a restaurant, gift store and ice cream parlor — which received $850,000 worth of damage in the October storm. In its aftermath, they rented an unfurnished apartment, applied for a disaster loan, and then began taking inventory of their belongings.
That’s when Brick remembered the nearly two-dozen boxes of old comic books left by his father, who passed away in 2005. Named for Brick Bradford, star of the classic sci-fi comic strip, Brick Wenzel began researching the 1,200-comic collection, which he discovered is worth nearly $1 million.
So the Wenzels turned to ComicConnect.com, which is auctioning more than 400 of the comics through May 16. Among the highlights are Young Allies #1-2, All-Star Comics #18, Mystery in Space #1, Donald Duck Four Color #9 and Action Comics #34.
You won’t find any Brick Bradford comics, however; the Wenzels are keeping those.
After a period of screenings at festivals and conventions, the Judge Dredd fan film Judge Minty has finally been released in full online. Packed with Easter eggs for long-term 2000AD fans, it proves that these days it would be entirely feasible to produce an authentic and faithful version of the futuristic lawman on a small-screen budget. As much as I enjoyed last year’s Dredd 3D, it’s hard not to watch this short and list the things that this production did better. For starters, this budget effort manages to properly get the Lawmaster bike, a street judge’s preferred form of transport, something the Stallone and Urban films got wrong in their different ways.
Retailing | The direct market is looking good, with first-quarter sales up 29 percent over last year, according to figures released at the Diamond Retailer Summit. Heidi MacDonald reports, “There was no single element which seemed to be behind to surge, although sales of The Walking Dead comics and graphic novels were frequently mentioned. The general interest in “nerd culture” seems to be driving much of the merchandise and publishing growth, with more offerings in the housewares category a standout: Diamond is now offering their own line of such things as bottle openers and ice cube trays, such as a Walking Dead themed ice cube tray in the shape of body parts.” [Publishers Weekly]
Conventions | CBR and Robot 6 are covering C2E2 in depth, but for a quick overview, check out Christopher Borrelli’s recap and photo gallery. [Chicago Tribune]
If you’ve watched any of the footage from the memorial service for those who died last week in the fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas, you might have noticed a familiar shade of blue amid the sea of people in attendance — Superman blue. Many of the mourners wore Superman shirts to honor volunteer firefighter and Superman fan Kevin William Sanders, one of the first responders on the scene.
Much like Wayne Manor, the real selling point of Chris Weir’s home in Middletown, Delaware, is what lies underground.
When the lifelong Batman fan and his wife bought their suburban home in 2006, it was largely because it had enough basement space for Weir to construct his dream: his own Batcave.
Two and a half years and $150,000 later, the father of two had constructed his own subterranean lair, accessed through a hidden door in a bookcase that’s opened using a switch on a bust of William Shakespeare, just like on the 1960s Batman television series. Inside, as you can see in the video below, is a home theater made to look like a cave (naturally); it also houses what Weir describes as his “most prized possession”: a Batsuit featured in The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises.
Although Weir’s wife claims to be fine with her husband’s expensive fixation — “I’m proud of what he’s done,” she says, “I think it’s really, really cool” — his oldest son looks as if he’s had about enough of Dad’s Batman nonsense.
Frustrated by the glacial pace of a bill to create a Superman license plate, an Ohio representative pinned the legislation to the state budget, which passed the House on Thursday — coincidentally, the 75th anniversary of the Man of Steel.
“This is an important moment for Ohioans,” State Rep. Bill Patmon, who represents Cleveland, told The Plain Dealer. “This license plate is all about recognizing the American dream and the heroes that make it possible.”
The legislation now moves to the Senate, and then on to Gov. John Kasich for final approval. If all goes as planned, the plates will be available for purchase by Ohioans next summer.
Celebrating the creation of Man of Steel in 1932 by Cleveland teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the plates originally were intended to bear the phrase, “Birthplace of Superman,” but Warner Bros. and DC Comics objected to the slogan, insisting the superhero was born on Krypton. So instead they’ll now say “Truth, Justice & the American Way,” and sport the iconic “S” emblem.
The Siegel and Shuster Society began the push for the plate in 2011. A portion of the proceeds from sales of the specialty plates will go to the group to fund Superman projects.
As we noted in February, PBS will air Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines tonight as part of its Independent Lens series.
Funded through Kickstarter, the documentary by director Kristy Guevara-Flanagan traces the evolution and legacy of Wonder Woman, from her introduction in 1941 to her role as a feminist icon in the 1970s to her depictions today, and examines how “popular representations of powerful women often reflect society’s anxieties about women’s liberation.” Among those interviewed for the film are Gloria Steinem, Lynda Carter, Lindsay Wagner, Trina Robbins, George Perez, Gail Simone, Danny Fingeroth and Andy Mangels. An interview with Kristy Guevara-Flanagan about “Wonder Women” can be found on CBR.
Wonder Women! premieres tonight at 10 ET/PT on PBS (check your local listings).
When you think of America’s nerdiest cities — OK, if you think about them — your mind likely gravitates toward San Diego, the summer destination of tens and thousands of people each July for Comic-Con International, or San Jose, known as the “Capital of Silicon Valley,” or Seattle, home to Amazon, Emerald City Comicon and Penny Arcade Expo (and neighbor of Microsoft).
But when the real-estate website Movoto.com compiled its own list of the 10 nerdiest cities in the United States, none of those locations came out on top. Heck, San Diego didn’t make the cut at all.
Is the goal for comics to become a mainstream form of entertainment an unattainable goal? That seemed to be the angle Tom Spurgeon took on Monday’s Deconstructing Comics podcast and in his additional commentary at The Comics Reporter. He feels the industry is better served by regaining a few hundred thousand more devoted readers to restore unit sales to mid-six-figure levels. While comics have shown there is longevity in niche markets, that doesn’t eliminate the possibility of also attaining a larger readership.
With March’s estimated direct market sales figures showing yet another double-digit month of growth, manga publishers giving anecdotal reports of the manga market stabilizing, and something of a convention boom going on, there’s no better time than now to re-examine how comics can secure a healthy and vibrant future. Taking advantage of this growth is tricky because, as Spurgeon mentions, no one is exactly sure why the turnaround happened. Although people complain about DC Comics’ New 52 being a mess and Marvel crossovers not having the punch of the Civil War days, overall sales are rebounding. Was it digital comics? Was it the mainstream press for the New 52 or Marvel NOW, or some other stunt? Is it the Hollywood movies?
Here we go again. A major news outlet has enthusiastically run the exclusive story that a major comic book character dies in a comic released today. Superhero deaths and their inevitable resurrections have been a staple of comics for decades thanks to the sales bump they tend to get from press coverage. But the giddy acceptance of superhero deaths is starting to crack.
Since the heady days of “The Death of Superman,” mainstream news has loved a dying superhero icon. In 1992, Superman’s death was such a big deal, newspapers were writing hand-wringing editorials about what it could mean for the state of America. Right from the start, DC Comics only guaranteed he would be dead until March 1993, but somehow that got lost in the din of cultural symbolism and frenzied collectability. People really thought he was dead, even if they sensed it was financially the stupidest thing DC could do. Needless to say, Superman came back. And ever since, it seems Marvel and DC have been chasing that same media buzz by (temporarily) killing off their marquee characters, whether it be Batman, Captain America, Spider-Man or even the Human Torch. But with each passing media blitz, an interesting thing is happening: Mainstream outlets are beginning to become just as jaded about superhero deaths as we longtime readers are.