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After Robert Sage won a $13 million jackpot in the Florida lottery in 2001, he said he planned to build a two-story house with a tennis court and enough room to store his 300 superhero statues and 14,000 comic books. But on Tuesday, he found himself in a Jacksonville hotel, looking for bidders to buy his now 24,000-comic collection and settle his $123,432.06 tax debt.
He didn’t find any.
Oh, the IRS auction attracted collectors, The Florida Times-Union reports, but none thought the 22 bins of comics were worth anywhere close to the $200,000 Sage said two independent appraisers found they were worth.
“It looks like they have a lot of ’80s and ’90s,” one collector told the newspaper, noting newer comics don’t hold much value. And as their storage in bins may indicate, Sage was more of a reader than a collector, so the books aren’t in pristine condition. (You can see photos of part of the collection at the link.)
In the end, the 22 bins generated just $5,100 in bids, which were rejected by Sage. The IRS closed the auction and will now search for another way to collect the debt.
Sage, who didn’t pay his income taxes for two years, agreed in 2001 to receive $345,000 annually after taxes for 30 years rather than take a $7 million lump-sum payment. He told the Times-Union he used the money as collateral, and now doesn’t get as much money as he used to.
With its glacial pacing, signature earnestness and freakishly out-of-scale wildlife, Mark Trail is a fairly easy target for mockery, but the 68-year-old comic strip does have its fans.
Cartoonist James Allen, who worked as Jack Elrod’s assistant for nearly a decade, thought he had a pretty good idea of what those fans wanted: the occasional window into Mark’s family life (with a giant dog or goldfish, perhaps?). So after he taking over the daily strip in April, he set the khaki-clad adventurer on a course to spend a little time with long-neglected wife Cherry and son Rusty. Boy, was that so not what fans wanted.
After receiving several letters from “annoyed” readers, the Sun Journal of Lewiston, Maine, contacted Allen, who explained:
Awards | Alexis Deacon has won the 2014 Observer/Cape/Comica graphic short story prize for “The River,” “a luscious, tangled, whispering kind of story” that earned him £1,000 (about $1,611 U.S.). The runners-up were Fionnuala Doran’s “Countess Markievicz” and Beth Dawson’s “After Life.” The short-story competition has been held annually since 2007 by London’s Comica Festival, publisher Jonathan Cape and The Observer newspaper. [The Observer]
Publishing | Mark Peters spotlights Archie Comics’ recent transformation from staid to startling, with titles like Afterlife With Archie and the new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. [Salon]
If you’re a comics fan who happens to be in the Philadelphia area on Saturday, you’ll not want to miss the third annual Locust Moon Comics Festival.
Held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the The Rotunda in West Philadelphia (4014 Walnut St.), the event features an impressive guest list that includes Bill Sienkiewicz, Paul Pope, Denis Kitchen, J.G. Jones, Farel Dalrymple, Dave Bullock, Box Brown, Nathan Fox, Dean Haspiel, Rebecca Mock, Dave Bullock, Tom Scioli, José Villarrubia, Benjamin Marra and Ronald Wimberly.
If you watch DC Entertainment’s promotional web series DC All Access, you’ve likely thought either “Wow, I’d love to get that kind of access” or “I can do better than that.” Whichever the case, you may now get your shot.
DC has announced a social media-driven contest to find a new co-host to join Tiffany Smith on the year-old show, beginning in 2015. (Farewell, Blair Herter?) Here’s what you have to do:
Legal | Former Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has filed a criminal complaint against cartoonist Musa Kart over a cartoon caricaturing Erdoğan’s attempts to cover up a graft investigation. The prosecutor initially decided that there were no grounds for legal action, but Erdoğan took his case to the Bakırköy 14th High Criminal Court, which ruled that the cartoon exceeded the bounds of normal criticism and allowed the indictment to proceed. Kart could face nearly 10 years in prison if convicted and given the maximum sentence.
Meanwhile, prosecutors have dropped charges against all 209 of the people suspected in participating in the actual corruption Erdoğan is accused of covering up; those charges would have included “the transfer of lands with a value of billions of dollars at very low prices, the seizure of mines from businessmen by force, tender-rigging, illegally giving state tenders worth billions of dollars to businessmen, changing the status of protected areas through bribery, opening these [areas] for construction and making large profits off of them.” [Today’s Zaman]
Manga lovers planning a trip to Tokyo may soon be able to stay at lodgings designed specifically for them.
According to Nikkei, the Tokyo company Slow Curve plans to buy leases for condominiums and apartments in the city’s Akihabara, Ikebukuro and Nakano neighborhoods, and stock them with as many as 2,000 manga.
A bronze statue honoring 5-year-old abuse victim Jeffrey Baldwin, depicted in his Superman costume, was unveiled Saturday at Greenwood Park in Toronto.
The story of the Toronto boy, who died in 2002 of starvation and septic shock after years of abuse by his grandparent guardians, received renewed attention in Canada last fall with a coroner’s inquest, during which Jeffrey’s father testified to his love of Superman. “He wanted to fly,” Richard Baldwin recalled. “He tried jumping off the chair. We had to make him stop. He dressed up [as Superman] for Halloween one year. He was so excited. I have that picture at home hanging on my wall. He was our little man of steel.”
Cosplay | Visiting New York Comic Con, Andrea Romano takes a look at the world of cosplay, the issue of sexual harassment — one person notes it’s certainly not exclusive to cosplay, observing, “There’s harassment when a woman is just wearing a crop top on the street” — and efforts being made to stop it. Convention organizers placed their new anti-harassment policy front and center this year, and it seems to have helped: There were just eight reported incidents of sexual harassment during the four-day event. [Mashable]
Conventions | Fensterman talks at greater length about NYCC’s anti-harassment measures in this article, which contrasts the comics scene with what’s going on in the gaming world. [Time]
New York Comic Con is now the largest pop-culture convention in North America, with producer ReedPOP reporting it sold tickets for this weekend’s event to 151,000 unique individuals.
Comic-Con International has been forced to cap attendance at about 130,000 due to the capacity San Diego Convention Center, leading organizers to turn to nearby hotels and Petco Park for additional space. New York Comic Con last year strained the limits of the Javitz Center with 133,000 attendees. However, ReedPOP Global Senior Vice President Lance Fensterman told ICv2.com that by expanding Thursday to a full day this year, organizers were able to sell another day’s worth of tickets.
This year’s figure doesn’t include the inaugural New York Super Week, the weeklong series of 110 events held at 25 venues across New York City, Fensterman said.
Like most pop-culture conventions, New York Comic Con has a fairly extensive weapons policy — one that prohibits the obvious, like functional firearms (yes, BB and air soft guns are included) and, perhaps, the not so obvious.
Under the heading of “obvious” also falls firecrackers and fireworks, chemical weapons, any kind realistic firearm that could be mistaken for a real one, sharpened metal-bladed weapons, brass knuckles and the like. Less obvious, and sure to complicate more than a few cosplay plans, are functional longbows and crossbows, clubs, water guns, nunchaku, whips, and “hard prop weapons” made of metal, fiberglass and glass.
The second episode of the fan-produced Nightwing: The Series will likely be bit of a crowd-pleaser, as it offers a glimpse of the Dick Grayson/Barbara Gordon relationship, and includes cameos by Jason Todd, Bruce Wayne and … well, you’ll see. However, it also tinkers with the Bat-family timeline, and seems to borrow from a still-controversial story to explain Dick’s change in identity from Robin to Nightwing. So … well, watch for yourself.
Created by Danny Shepherd and Jeremy, the Kickstarter-funded five-episode series premiered last week.
A London costume costume brought together 398 college students Thursday to set a new Guinness World Record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Spider-Man.
Escapade, which last year set the record for the Largest Gathering of People Dressed as Superman, partnered with manufacturer Rubies UK to provide participants with free licensed Marvel costumes. The event, which included aerial performances and a competition, also served as a fundraiser for the British military charity Help For Heroes.
Conventions | Ahead of New York Comic Con, George Gene Gustines shares producer Michael Uslan’s program from a 1964 comics gathering in New York City; it actually was released after the show, and includes some thoughts on how things could be improved, mainly by shifting the focus from buying and selling comics to bringing in creators so the fans could meet them personally. Nonetheless, Steve Ditko was there, and the list of registered participants included George R.R. Martin. [The New York Times]
Creators | Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa talks about taking Sabrina the Teenage Witch to the dark side in her new series, a Riverdale horror story in the same vein as Afterlife With Archie. In this case, rather than zombies, Aguirre-Sacasa is drawing inspiration from the 1960s film Rosemary’s Baby. [Hero Complex]
Danny Shepherd and Jeremy Le made a bit of a splash in summer 2012 with the release of their fan film Batman: Nightwing Vs. Red Hood, leading them to launch a successful Kickstarter campaign — they exceeded their $20,000 by nearly $15,000 — to fund a web series focusing on Dick Grayson.
The result surfaced this week with the debut of Nightwing: The Series, which sends Batman’s former sidekick on a search through the streets of Bludhaven for Deathstroke, who murdered a U.S. senators and numerous others. The second of five episodes arrives Oct. 6.