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Because readers have undoubtedly been counting down the days on their calendars, it’s probably unnecessary to say what today is — but we’ll do so anyway: It’s Sept. 25, National Comic Book Day!
No, not Free Comic Book Day; that’s in May. National Comic Book Day, the unofficial holiday whose origins are as mysterious as its observers are scarce. As we noted last year, no one takes credit for its founding — heck, no one seems to know when it began — it receives little to no industry support, and there are no traditions tied to it (however, you can always try asking your local retailer for a free comic).
Writer and producer Denise Dorman, wife of artist Dave Dorman, kicked off far-ranging discussion with her recent post about the shifting convention scene, and how it’s affected their income — specifically, her view that cosplayers have become to the “new focus” of the events, to the detriment of creators, publishers and vendors.
It’s certainly true that comics conventions have become more popular and more numerous than ever, and with their success comes an evolving experience both for attendees and exhibitors. However, Dorman’s essay is front-loaded with a lot of perplexed annoyance at kids today and their cosplaying, Instagram and selfies.
Unfortunately, much of the discussion that’s followed so far has focused on defending cosplayers. That was my initial response too — after all, I’ve seen some people wearing elaborate and imaginative costumes walking on the floor with their overflowing bag of comics, or their original art delicately being transported somewhere safe. Plenty of cosplayers love comics, and if they stop at a booth, you can bet people around them are checking out both them and the table they’re perusing. I’ve seen it happen so often at Comic-Con International.
The legendary co-creator of such superheroes as Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men, Stan Lee has attracted countless fans over the course of a seven-decade career. While he clearly treasures all of them, he asks for one thing from them: a little accuracy.
“I kinda don’t like it when people come over to me and say, ‘I’m your biggest fan,'” he says in the new installment of “Stan’s Rants.” “But I think, how do they know they’re my biggest fan? Have they checked all my other fans? I might have a bigger fan somewhere. And are they referring to the fact that they’re my most enthusiastic fan, or perhaps in height? They’re my tallest fan?
There are a lot of products offered on Etsy that likely would be frowned upon by most film studios, television networks and publishers — posters, jewelry, clothing, toys, etc., featuring properties protected by trademark and copyright. However, there’s something wonderfully charming about Handmade Stuffs‘ off-brand plushes based on well-known fictional characters.
Sure, the stuffed creations are plenty cute in and of themselves, but the imaginative (and hopefully non-infringing!) names are what really sell them. Take, for instance, “Cuddly Plush Alien Tree” (“This adorable botanical extraterrestrial is ready to guard the galaxy with you!”), or the sold-out “Cuddly Plush Furious Director” (“He may only have one eye, but he’ll always be on the lookout for bad guys!”)
The winners of the 10th annual Joe Shuster Awards were announced Saturday in Toronto. Named in honor of Toronto-born artist Joe Shuster, co-creator Superman, the awards recognize the best of the Canadian comics world.
In addition to the traditional awards, this year’s event included the introduction of the T.M. Maple Award, which honors “someone (living or deceased) selected from the Canadian comics community for achievements made outside of the creative and retail categories who have had a positive impact on the community.” The first recipients were the late Jim Burke, aka T.M. Maple, who wrote more than 3,000 letters to comic book letter columns between 1977 and 1994, and the late Debra Jane Shelly, longtime volunteer at Toronto conventions and comics events.
The winners are listed in bold below. The Beat has photos and audio from the ceremony, held at Back Space Toronto.
A burgeoning campaign to honor Wolverine with a life-size statue in Edmonton, Alberta, has received the endorsement of at least one city official.
“The first reaction is, this is kind of funny,” City Councillor Andrew Knack, who says he’s a fan of the Marvel character, told CTV News. “But then you realize they’re taking this very seriously. I think it’s a great idea, assuming we go about it the right approach, can’t be taxpayer dollars to fund a statue of Wolverine.”
Edmonton residents Jesse Seitz and Christopher Olivier launched the petition last week on Change.org, lobbying Mayor Don Iveson to pay tribute to one of Alberta’s native sons with a statue in City Hall, Churchill Square or the grounds of the Legislative Assembly. Although the character was long ago established as a Canadian, the Origin miniseries pinpointed his birthplace as Alberta.
Todd McFarlane has long talked about “complete reboot” of the 1997 film Spawn, envisioning a low-budget supernatural thriller that has more in common with The Conjuring than with current superhero blockbusters. For inspiration, he may need look no further that director Michael Paris’ fan short Spawn: The Recall.
The bulk of the nearly eight-minute film was shot in a day and two nights in a supermarket after business hours, using a limited cast and crew (post-production took two years, with the visual effects rendered on a single computer).
Online petitions are typically met with an eye roll, but it’s difficult not to like this one: Two residents of Edmonton, Alberta, want the city to erect a life-size statue in honor of one of the provinces native sons … James “Logan” Howlett. Yes, Wolverine.
“Not many popular or exciting fictional characters are born Canadian, but superhero and adventurer Wolverine isn’t just Canadian, he’s an Albertan too,” Jesse Seitz writes on Change.org. “I think it would make a lot of people really proud to live in Edmonton and raise morale to erect a life size statue of this character in City Hall, or even perhaps Churchill Square or the Alberta Legislature Grounds.”
His friend Christopher Olivier adds, “Wolverine has been a staple of Marvel Comics for the last 40 years, the X-Men film franchise for 15 and is now considered as popular as The Avengers and Spider-Man. We believe a statue of the X-Man will only draw more people to the city if not just to see it and would make fans of the character beam with pride.”
If Metropolis, Illinois, can have a 15-foot-tall statue of Superman, then why shouldn’t Edmonton have (a decidedly shorter) one of Wolverine? And what better way to memorialize the character’s impending death?
While the rest of us were busy Thursday with humdrum activities like work, classes and household chores, 542 employees of Nexen Energy were being awesome by gathering outside the company’s Calgary headquarters to set a Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Batman.
The previous record was a paltry 250. It marks the second time Nexen employees have set a world record: In 2011, 437 of them came together to establish the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Superman.
Despite the continued optimism of star Karl Urban, a sequel to the 2012 film Dredd would seem like a longshot. Still, in the past couple of years plenty of fans have been a case for a return to Mega-City One, box-office receipts be damned.
However, none of those arguments has been as convincing — or as moving — as “Dredd: The Musical,” the latest video from Legolambs. With its refrain of “It’s time to make Dredd II,” the rousing anthem is performed by Urban and Sylvester Stallone (or close enough), who belt out lyrics like, “We’re well behind the schedule, we should be on Part 3. There are follow-ups for Iron Man and Thor, so why not me?”
If this doesn’t win over studio executives, then nothing will.
Here’s a terrific follow-up of sorts to the heartwarming story of Rayden Kahae, the 3-year-old boy who received a prosthetic “Iron Man” hand thanks to 3D-printing technology and the efforts of e-NABLE: There’s also a Wolverine hand — with claws, naturally.
The organization describes itself as “a network of passionate volunteers using 3D printing to give the world a ‘Helping Hand,'” and one of those is Aaron Brown, who wanted to build a hand to take to a local children’s hospital and to the MakerFaire in Grand Rapids, Michigan. As he wanted to use bright colors, and the University of Michigan’s mascot is the Wolverine, there was only one imaginable option for the comics fan.
More than a year after the British media decreed Bob Bretall owns the world’s largest comic book collection, it’s now official: With 94,268 unique comics amassed over four decades — and still growing! — the 52-year-old Mission Viejo, California, man now holds the Guinness World Records.
Bretall’s treasure trove weighs an estimated 16,800 pounds, or the equivalent of 118 grown men. Y’know, if you were curious.
He began collecting at 8 years old with 1970’s Amazing Spider-Man #88, and never stopped. Bretall adds more than 140 each month, revealing on his Facebook page that since the official count on May 1, the tally has grown by at least 1,000.
Just as the Dark Knight has a special relationship with Commissioner Gordon, his Japanese counterpart now has an arrangement with police in Chiba Prefecture.
Passing on a story from Yahoo! Japan News, Rocket News24 reports that Chibatman, who rose to international fame in recent weeks for cruising around in costume on a custom-made Chibatpod, was summoned to the police station where, even in his secret identity, he was instantly recognized by the receptionist.
Comics | Almost half the attendees at this year’s Comic-Con International in San Diego were women, writes Yael Kohen in an article about the growing importance of women to the comics industry. He cites statistics showing that young women are the fastest-growing segment of the comics audience, talks to Image Comics President Eric Stephenson and a woman who works in a comic shop, and mentions the enduring popularity of manga and Marvel’s recent introduction of more interesting female characters. With all that material to work with, it’s too bad he started with a lead right out of the 1950s, something about a fashion show at Comic-Con, as if that’s what all those women were there for. [BloombergBusinessweek]
Creators | Writer Jen Van Meter discusses her newest project, Valiant’s first female-led series, The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage. [Hero Complex]
Although the Batman of Japan’s Chiba Prefecture — or, as he prefers, “Chibatman” — drew international attention just last week, it turns out he’s been riding around east of Tokyo on his custom Batpod since 2011.
Reuters and BBC News caught up to the 41-year-old man, a welder by day whose identity remains secret. However, unlike the Dark Knight who patrols the streets of Gotham, Chibatman doesn’t strike fear into the hearts of evildoers. Instead, his mission is to bring smiles to those who see him.