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Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon assembles medals

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RunDisney has unveiled what will undoubtedly become hot-ticket items on eBay a little more than three months from now: the finisher medals for the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend

Planned for Nov. 14-16 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, the event features kids races, a 5K, a half marathon, a pre-race pasta party featuring the Marvel characters and a merchandise expo. It’s the first such collaboration since Disney acquired Marvel in 2009.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Annie’ writer Jay Maeder passes away

Jay Maeder

Jay Maeder

Passings | Jay Maeder, who was the last writer for the comic strip Annie (formerly Little Orphan Annie), passed away Tuesday at age 67. A former New York Daily News columnist and editor who authored Dick Tracy: The Official Biography and contributed to The Encyclopedia of American Comics, Maeder worked on Annie, together with artist Andrew Pepoy, from 2000 its cancellation 2010. He created Amelia Santiago, a pilot and CIA agent, and once said of the strip, “I tell people it’s Indiana Jones with chicks.” [The New York Times]

Manga | Deb Aoki rounds up the manga news from Comic-Con International, including UDON’s license of Kill la Kill and Drawn and Quarterly’s plans to publish Shigeru Mizuki’s biography of Hitler. [Publishers Weekly]

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Alarmed train passengers alert police to ‘armed’ Deadpool

deadpool-sydney

Deadpool has gotten away with fighting and dancing his way through Comic-Con International and even thrusting his pelvis into strangers on the street, but when he boarded the morning train in Sydney, Australia, loaded for bear, he may have been courting trouble.

The Herald Sun reports police stormed a peak-hour train Friday morning after receiving reports from alarmed passengers of a man dressed in a red-and-black costume armed with handguns, grenades and samurai swords. What they found was Reuben Rose, dressed as Deadpool and carrying fake weapons as part of Superhero Week, a campaign to raise money for the children’s hospice Bear Cottage.

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Comics A.M. | SCOTUSblog co-founder joins Kirby heirs’ appeal

Jack Kirby

Jack Kirby

Legal | Attorney Tom Goldstein, co-founder of the respected SCOTUSblog, has joined with Marc Toberoff to represent the heirs of Jack Kirby in their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of the Second Circuit’s affirmation that the artist’s contributions to Marvel between 1958 and 1963 were work for hire and therefore not subject to copyright termination. In a response filed this week to Marvel’s brief urging the high court to decline review, Goldstein and Toberoff again challenge the Second Circuit’s “instance and expense” test and its definition of “employer,” and argue, “Many of our most celebrated literary and musical works were created before 1978 and signed away to publishers in un-remunerative transactions. Termination rights were ‘needed because of the unequal bargaining position of authors.’ It would be hard to find a better example of this than the prolific Jack Kirby, who worked in his basement with no contract, no financial security and no employment benefits, but without whom Marvel might not even be in business today.” [Hollyqood, Esq.]

Retailing | Memo to politicians: You don’t win friends and influence people by taking up five spots in a comic store’s parking lot with your campaign bus on a Wednesday — especially when it’s Batman Day. [The Clarion-Ledger]

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Read Chad Sell’s touching comic tribute to ‘The Authority’ #8

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In the wake of Comic-Con International, The A.V. Club launched a week-long celebration of comics — called, appropriately enough, Comics Week — that’s included a discussion about diversity by Janelle Asselin, Karl Bollers and G. Willow Wilson, an interview with Becky Cloonan, a spotlight on the comics-inspired song “Alley Oop,” and a comics tribute by Ryan Brown (God Hate Astronauts) to his influences.

However, as much as I’ve liked all of the pieces, my favorite so far is easily cartoonist Chad Sell‘s touching ode to Warren Ellis and Bryan Hitch’s The Authority #8, and how the depiction of Apollo and Midnighter’s relationship affected him as both a closeted teen and as a budding artist.

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Looking back at Comic-Con International, by the numbers

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With Comic-Con International 2014 a few day behind us, everyone has a chance to unpack, rest up and get ready for the next big convention (New York Comic Con is Oct. 9-12, by the way). But before we’re completely finished with San Diego, let’s take a look at some interesting numbers from the big event:

Comic-Con International is by far the largest event on the San Diego Convention Center’s 2014 calendar, with its 130,000 attendees, in the words of The New York Times, “far outstripping the combined total of its next four largest conventions, expected to be about 62,500 people.” According to a convention center report (PDF), this year’s installment was estimated to have a $177.8 million economic impact.

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Comics A.M. | Japan launches anti-piracy initiative

Luffy of "One Piece"

Luffy of “One Piece”

Piracy | The Japanese government is joining with 15 anime production companies and manga publishers to launch a major initiative that will target foreign pirate sites. The push will start Aug. 1 and will have two components: The government will send takedown requests to 580 pirate sites and also launch a website that directs people to legitimate sources of online manga. The Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency estimates that Chinese pirate sites cost the industry 560 billion yen (about $5.5 million) last year. [Crunchyroll]

Comics | Lidia Jean Kott talks with writer Jason Aaron about his female Thor and pays a visit to Fantom Comics in Washington, D.C., where a quarter of the customers are women and the bestselling title is Saga (the bestselling superhero comic is Ms. Marvel). [NPR]

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SDCC | The ‘Gotham’ zip line photo we’ve been waiting for

batgirl zip

Widely circulated photos have shown San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council President Todd Gloria riding the 200-foot zip line set up at Comic-Con International to promote Fox’s Gotham, but it’s The Hollywood Reporter’s Philiana Ng who delivers the winning image: a Batgirl cosplayer striking a pose as she glides across the Gotham City skyline.

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Quote of the Day | Wil Wheaton defines ‘geek’

wil wheaton“I use ‘nerd’ and ‘geek’ interchangeably — I don’t make a distinction. I’ve said that being a nerd is not about what you love, it’s about the way that you love it. So you can be a nerd for football, and obsessively follow stats and player trades and figure out things that give you an advantage in, like, sports betting and things like that. Or, you can love Battlestar Galactica and try to work out all of the complex mythologies and get into things like blueprints of the ships. And then you can love things like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Winter Soldier, and love that so much that you end up going to a comic book shop and then reading all the way back through ten or twenty years of Captain America comics. Someone who I would describe as a ‘geek’ or ‘nerd’ is a person who loves something to its greatest extent, and then looks for other people who love it the same way, so they can celebrate loving it together.”

– actor/blogger/writer Wil Wheaton, defining for GQ a word we’ll see and hear bandied about a lot — a lot — during Comic-Con International

Comics A.M. | South Korea court rules ‘One Piece’ show can go on

From "One Piece"

From “One Piece”

Legal | A South Korea court has ruled an exhibition devoted to One Piece can be held as planned after it was abruptly canceled earlier this month following allegations that Eiichiro Oda’s popular pirate manga contains images that resemble the Rising Sun flag, considered a symbol of Japanese imperialism in South Korea. The company staging the One Piece show, which includes life-sized statues, rare figures and Oda’s sketches, asked the court to step in after the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul pulled the plug on the event just days before its scheduled July 12 opening. The court found that One Piece can’t be considered to “[hail] Japanese imperialism” simply because it depicts a flag reminiscent of the Rising Sun; and even if those images are of the Rising Sun flag, it’s mainly shown in a negative light. [The Asahi Shimbun]

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After #FireRickRemender, can we have a real conversation?

Falcon and Jet Black, later in the controversial scene

Falcon and Jet Black, later in the controversial scene

Superhero comics deal in extremes: Characters overreact, the world is in constant jeopardy, and the solution almost always involves physical combat. So maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised when the #FireRickRemender fiasco erupted. There was no conversation. Instead, people hurled accusations and argued over whether a writer should keep his job, while others mocked the whole thing. The rest of us silently watched from the sidelines, and that was pretty much it: That was how comics professionals, fans and industry observers handled a three-page scene from Captain America #22.

I guess I should be happy that people are so passionate about these stories and the creators behind them. If we were all so blasé and detached, sales would probably not just be flat so far this year, they’d be in the gutters. Yet I can’t help but feel disappointed, because I know we can do better than this.

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Amid wave of Batgirl fan art, Cameron Stewart adds his own

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In the six days since DC Comics announced the new Batgirl creative team of Cameron Stewart, Brenden Fletcher and Babs Tarr, Tumblr has been inundated with fan art inspired by the new costume (designed by Stewart and Tarr) — so much so that Batgirl of Burnside, “an (un)official blog for the DC Comics series,” has been launched, serving as a clearinghouse of sorts.

Stewart, who runs the blog, admitted there’s so much art that he’s having trouble keeping up with it. Asked how he felt about the response to the design, he wrote, “I am overwhelmed and ecstatic and grateful and vindicated. I couldn’t be happier with the tidal wave of support and sincere joy that’s come our way, the (literally) hundreds of pieces of fan art that are being breathlessly drawn faster than I can look at them, the cosplayers already choosing fabrics and causing yellow Dr Martens boots to sell out online. The huge response is a clear sign that despite our detractors we’ve really tapped into something that was waiting to explode.”

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‘Futurama’ returns, briefly, in fan’s beautiful 3D-animated scene

futurama-3d

It’s hard to believe it’s been nearly a year since Futurama ended (again), but if the series still holds a Bender-shaped place in your heart, you’ll likely appreciate this: Alexey Zakharov has created a gorgeous 3D-animated “test shot” of the Planet Express ship soaring over New New York  (note the hologram ad for Mom’s Old-Fashioned Robot Oil).

On Behance, Zakharov also shows off some equally beautiful illustrations of the cityscape and ship (if you squint, you can even see a tiny Leela in one).

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True Believers Comic Awards announce 2014 winners

true believers logoHawkeye and its writer Matt Fraction and Saga and its artist Fiona Staples led the inaugural True Believers Comic Awards, winning in a combined 10 categories. Hawkeye colorist Matt Hollingsworth also won in his division.

Presented Saturday in conjunction with London Film and Comic Con, the True Believers Comic Awards are a successor to the long-running Eagle Awards. Established by Eagle co-founder Mike Conroy and his daughter Cassandra, the awards were selected through online nominations and voting.

IDW Publishing was voted Best Publisher, while Gail Simone was named to the Roll of Honor. Comic Book Resources was selected as Favorite Comics-Related Website. The full list of winners can be found below in bold.

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SDCC | Highlights of the Sunday programming schedule

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For its final day, Comic-Con International is keeping the focus on the kids. Today, the biggest con on the calendar revealed its Sunday programming slate, and the traditional kids day of the show lived up to its name.

Publishers will roll out their best all-ages offerings in panels like Oni Press’ Monsterpalooza and IDW’s Kids Comics spotlight. But so much of the action of the day centers around the creators who will be appearing on a multitude of kid-centric programming including Raina Telgemeier, Jenni Holm, Kazu Kibuishi, Dave Roman, Sonny Liew and Gene Luen Yang. Even the media portion of the con is getting in on the action with a special presentation on the documentary about San Francisco’s famed Batkid.

On the traditional convention front, fans can pop in for the annual Jack Kirby Tribute panel or check the latest offerings form publishers like Dynamite Entertainment, Image Comics, Robert Kirkman’s Skybound Entertainment and more

Creator-wise there are spotlights on the likes of Chuck Dixon, Jim Rugg, Jim Lee, Graham Nolan, Marc Guggenheim, Kelley Jones and more.

Check out the comics-related highlights below, and pop over to Comic-Con’s website for the full schedule.

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