Faced with the growing backlash over its decision to hire sci-fi author and vocal gay-rights opponent Orson Scott Card to contribute to its new Adventures of Superman anthology, DC Comics has issued a response that may do little to satisfy critics.
In a statement released to The Advocate and Fox News Radio, the publisher said, “As content creators we steadfastly support freedom of expression, however the personal views of individuals associated with DC Comics are just that — personal views — and not those of the company itself.”
Best known for his award-winning 1985 novel Ender’s Game, Card has become notorious for his writings over the past decade on homosexuality and his outspoken opposition to marriage equality. A board member of the National Organization for Marriage, a group dedicated to the opposition of same-sex marriage, Card in 2008 endorsed the overthrow of the government following rulings by “dictator-judges” upholding that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.
PBS, which just last month broadcast the superhero-themed episode of Pioneers of Television, in April will turn its attention to the history of DC Comics’ Amazing Amazon with the premiere of Wonder Women! The Untold Story of American Superheroines.
Airing as part of the Independent Lens series, the Kickstarter-funded 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.
“I loved the idea of looking at something as populist as comics to reveal our cultural obsessions, and in particular, how women’s roles have changed over time,” Guevara-Flanagan says in a statement. “The narratives of our most iconic superheroes, told and re-told over decades, boldly outline our shifting values. For some it’s Lara Croft, for others it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but we all need those iconic heroes that tell us we have the power to slay our dragons and don’t have to wait around to be rescued.”
Wonder Women! premieres on Independent Lens April 15 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on PBS (check local listings).
Just days after announcing its latest digital-first anthology Adventures of Superman, DC Comics faces a growing wave of criticism for hiring Ender’s Game author, and vocal gay-rights opponent, Orson Scott Card to write the first chapter.
An online petition calling on the publisher to drop the “virulently anti-gay writer” has already drawn more than 4,800 signers. And while comic book fans and petitions seem to go hand in hand — it was just last month Marvel was being called upon to cancel Avengers Arena – this effort is being spearheaded by All Out, an initiative of the Purpose Foundation advocating for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. The drive has already attracted the attention of mainstream media outlets like The Guardian and The Huffington Post.
I’m not sure what I enjoy most about DustFilms Originals’ shot-for-shot recreation of the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, the musical score created by voices — BRAAAAAAM! — the exaggerated eyebrows on the Chris Pine/James Kirk analog, or the choice of a hair salon as a stand-in for the bridge of the Enterprise (with trademark J.J. Abrams lens flares, no less). Too many choices! You can watch the recreation, and a side-by-side comparison with the original, below.
If some of the players, or the approach, look familiar, it’s because the same folks were behind the homemade Man of Steel trailer that made the rounds in December. This one’s better, though.
“Comics can do a lot to be more accessible. A whole lot of that is — well, there’s this sort of weird arc over the last 20 years of thinking that these things would never be collected, and that we were writing exclusively for 36-year-old men who read comics every week. At this point, I think the price point is at such a place and the content is at such a place that we can’t afford to do that anymore. I think Issue 788 of whatever book wouldn’t be a problem at all if Issue No. 788 was written in a way that was satisfying to new and old readers alike. I think it’s really difficult to do, but I think it’s possible. I think we as an industry fell into this pattern of not caring about new readers anymore. There’s a way that you can do it that isn’t the clumsy, awkward way that it used to be done where characters refer to themselves in the third person, thinking back on who they are and how they came to be. You don’t have to write every comic as if it’s the first comic someone’s ever read, but you do have to write as though you would like new people to read your comic — which is kind of what Hawkeye is all about. How clean can I make this? How much like The Rockford Files can you go? It’s not a show like Lost where you have to see it every week, or a show like The Wire where you really have to watch and pay attention closely every week. Rockford had a setup, then a riff, and that is very much how superhero comics are nowadays. So there’s no reason that we should be exclusionary. People love it. I mean, Avengers is the third biggest movie of all time. It hits a cultural sweet spot. It’s just that comics need to get better at not being so … comic-y.”
For all of the ridicule Christian Bale received for his 2008 tirade on the set of Terminator Salvation, it turns out the Oscar winner is a kindhearted guy, visiting with victims of the shooting at The Dark Knight Rises screening in Aurora, Colorado, and flying the family of a 4-year-old cancer patient to have lunch with him at Disneyland. And now the actor has put a smile on the face of an 8-year-old Batman fan who’s battling leukemia.
Ever since Rick Champagne was a kid playing with his toy replica of the Batmobile, he’s wanted to own the iconic car from the 1960s Batman television series. On Saturday, that dream at last became a reality.
The Arizona businessman, and lifelong Batman fan, shelled out $4.62 million for the customized 1955 Lincoln Futura, the second-highest amount ever paid for a vehicle at the famed Barrett-Jackson collector car auctions (a 1966 Cobra Super Snake owned by auto designer and racing driver Carroll Shelby sold for a record $5.5 million in 2007).
“I’m going to keep it at home,” Champagne told SPEED TV. “Maybe take it out for a Sunday drive.” Asked whether he’d store the Batmobile in his garage, he said he’ll probably put it in his living room.
Readers will get their first taste of the much-anticipated new Superman series by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee in DC Comics’ gold-edition offering for Free Comic Book Day.
The special issue also will reprint the first part of “Last Son,” the 2006-2008 Action Comics story arc by Geoff Johns, Superman: The Movie director Richard Donner, and Adam Kubert, described as “a great jumping-on point for fans who can’t wait to see Warner Bros. Pictures’ Man of Steel major motion picture.” The story may seem like an odd choice, given that the issue is more than six years old and was released before DC’s linewide relaunch, but it does reintroduce General Zod, the primary antagonist of Man of Steel, even if that continuity no longer exists.
The preview of the Snyder/Lee series, on the other hand, makes perfect sense, as its launch is timed to coincide with the June 14 opening of Warner Bros.’ franchise reboot. While DC has kept details of the new comic close to its vest — has Man of Steel even been confirmed as the title? — Snyder provided ROBOT 6 with a tease early this month.
“We’re going to be introducing a new villain, and we’re going to be trying to do the biggest and most epic Superman story we can!” he said. “So you’ll see the supporting cast — you’ll see Lana, and Lois, and Lex, and Jimmy and Perry. The story itself is really going to put Superman against a threat that will kind of shake him to his core psychologically and emotionally. We’re really really proud of it, and Jim is doing incredible work on it. So we can’t wait for you guys to see it!”
Free Comic Book Day 2013 is May 4.
We’ve all marveled at the photos submitted to “Shelf Porn,” the regular feature on ROBOT 6 showcasing frequently envy-inducing collections of comic books and related memorabilia that as often as not spill off of shelves and walls to consume entire rooms. Well, now meet 37-year-old Karen Bell of Ayrshire, Scotland, whose lifelong love of the Smurfs has led her to spend £20,000 (nearly $32,000) on Peyo’s little blue creatures.
“It amazes me that I’ve spent around £20,000 on the collection,” she tells the Daily Mail, “but to be honest, with the amount I have, I’m surprised it’s not more.”
The collection, which began at age 6 with a single toy, has grown to 4,482 items, including 930 two-inch PVC figures (she buys duplicates from other countries because of the differences in packaging), 70 buildings and playsets, 145 books, comics, videos and DVDs, 130 badges, and 50 bath and beauty products. It takes up an entire room in her house, and her husband has drawn the room there. Well, mostly.
Stan Lee has created a video message for a Taft, California, teenager who was given the nickname “Bulletproof Spider-Man” after being shot a week ago at school.
Sixteen-year-old Spider-Man fan Bowe Cleveland suffered injuries to his chest and abdomen Jan. 10 after police say he was shot by classmate Bryan Oliver in an incident at Taft High School. According to The Bakersfield Californian, Oliver admitted to targeting Cleveland and another student because, he said, they had bullied him. Cleveland was slowly being awakened from a medically induced coma early this week, even as students returned to Taft High School, some wearing Spider-Man T-shirts or red and blue to show their support for the teen.
Demon Knights artist Bernard Chang is so excited about the release of Issue 16 on Wednesday that he’s going to give away all 20 pages of original art to fans who buy the DC Comics series.
Breaking down the process this morning on Twitter, Chang explained his plan: He wants readers to buy six copies of Demon Knights #16, keeping one for themselves and the rest to their friends who aren’t following the series (or ask your retailer to distribute them in pull boxes). But first, take one photo of yourself holding all six copies (like so) and another with a close-up of the receipt and the name of the store. Then tweet or email those photos to Chang, who will call the store to verify the purchase.
The first 20 people to do so will receive a page of original art signed by Chang. Those six comics will run you in the neighborhood of $18 (not accounting for sales tax or discounts); a page of original art by Bernard Chang sells for anywhere from $45 to $175, so you’ll be coming out well ahead of the game. The giveaway begins Wednesday at 9 a.m. PT.
Writer Jesse Young, whom we showcased a few months ago for his superhero baseball short “Sunday at the Park,” is back with an adorable Spider-Man fan comic he created with artist George Kambadais, colorist Paulina Ganucheau and letterer Thomas Mauer. Called “Surprise, Surprise,” the six-page short follows Peter Parker has plans to spend his birthday with Mary Jane are derailed first by his archenemies and then by some other familiar faces.
While it’s not uncommon to see fans organize in an attempt to save a low-selling comic, it’s rare to see them actually seek a title’s demise. However, that’s the goal of a petition at Change.org, which calls for the cancellation of Avengers Arena, the new Marvel series whose kill-or-be-killed competition premise has invited comparisons to Battle Royale and The Hunger Games.
What’s more, the petitioners ask Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso to “retcon the deaths” that have occurred so far in the comic — there are three to date — which is referred to on the website as a “travesty against fans.” As of this morning, just 61 people had signed on.
Avengers Arena, which launched in December as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative, finds 16 young heroes transported to Arcade’s Murderworld, where they’re forced to fight each other in a series of death matches. “[T]he story is about choices,” writer Dennis Hopeless told Comic Book Resources this week. “These young people have to make some very difficult choices that will affect the course of the rest of their lives — What would you do to protect yourself or your friends? What are you willing to sacrifice? Who are you willing to leave behind? What can you live with? They’re in no way ready to make these decisions, but they have to. To me, that’s what makes a teenage superhero death match relatable. Life is about choices and being young is about making choices you don’t fully understand. Take all the fantasy elements away and Murderworld starts to sound a lot like high school.”
However, the petition’s creator clearly doesn’t view the series as an exploration of deeper themes, but rather as a cold grab for sales.
Although I had seen the X-Men on an episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, my real introduction to Marvel’s mutant heroes was with 1983′s The Uncanny X-Men #173, purchased for me by my mother while I was home sick with one childhood illness or another. That issue also introduced Storm’s ’80s-punk look, meaning that, until I discovered a direct-market store and a back-issue bin a couple of years later, the only Ororo Munroe I knew had a mohawk and studded collar. (As an aside, Paul Smith’s rendition of Rogue, with her skunk stripe, led me to think for the longest time that she was middle-aged rather than a teenager.)
To this day, that version of Storm remains my favorite. It apparently also holds a special place in the heart of Sam Humphries, writer of Sacrifice, Ultimate Comics: The Ultimates and Uncanny X-Force, has launched F Yeah Mohawk Storm, a blog devoted to “comics, covers, fan art, cosplay, and fashion celebrating Mohawk Storm.”
You have to wonder what took so long for this to happen …
Little did Sarah Carter know when she began referring to her modding-junkie boyfriend Eddie Zarick as “Tony Stark” after he created an arc reactor replica that she was laying the groundwork for her marriage proposal.
When it came time to pop the question, Zarick simply — “simply”! — redesigned the arc reactor heart to present Carter with her engagement ring. “I made it smaller, and more detailed. I laser cut and cnc routed all of the parts and slowly starting building the basic shell,” he explained on his blog. “My idea was to use two servos controlled by and arduino. At first I was not sure how to light it up, but I had some of AdaFruit’s RGB LED Strip laying around from a pinball project. So I cut off enough to go around the reactor and used the arduino to control that as well! Also added a couple of bright white LEDs to hit the ring once it comes out.”
To Wired he added: “I took her out to the beach one night in the back if my Jeep and told her I had a early Christmas gift for her, I gave her the box, and inside was the reactor. It was at night so it really shined bright and she was amazed. But once I pushed the button and the light show happened and the ring came out, she was speechless and crying.”
Check out video of the arc reactor in action below.