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A look at the cosplayers of London Super Comic Convention

Mary Turner of Getty Images and Carl Court of Agence France Presse captured some terrific images of cosplayers at London Super Comic Convention, which drew thousands of fans Saturday and Sunday to the Excel Centre. My favorite may be the troupe of dancing Predators, above, but there are plenty of other good ones below, from Iron Man posing with a pint-sized Captain America to Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy cosplayers Kia Sunda and Maria Grozova making sure their costumes and makeup are just right.

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Oni Press targets bad behavior with convention penalty cards

PenaltyCards-cropped

With convention season getting into full swing — major events Emerald City Comic Con, WonderCon Anaheim and C2E2 arrive in rapid succession over the coming weeks — Oni Press has stepped up to provide what no con-goer will want to be without: convention penalty cards!

“Comic conventions should be bastions of unfettered fun, enthusiasm, and safety,” explains a post on the Oni Tumblr, but lately it seems like nary a con can go by without some complaint of uncouth or downright inappropriate behavior on the part of some attendees. While these cards are by no means a solution to a systemic problem, we hope they might prove useful should one find themselves in the damnable position of encountering said behavior.”

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Comics A.M. | DC, Marvel shut out of February bookstore chart

The Walking Dead, Vol. 19

The Walking Dead, Vol. 19

Graphic novels | Marvel and DC Comics may dominate the direct market but the bookstore channel is another story: As ICv2 points out, neither publisher landed a title on Nielsen BookScan’s list of the 20 top-selling graphic novels in February. Instead, here’s what it looked like: six volumes of The Walking Dead, six volumes of Attack on Titan, two volumes of Saga, and single volumes of some well-established titles Locke & Key, Bleach, Naruto, Adventure Time and Avatar: The Last Airbender, and the adaptation of the novel Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. That makes Image Comics the winner of the month, followed by Kodansha Comics, and the list is heavy on books with tween and teen appeal. [ICv2]

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Comic-Con badges go on sale Saturday

comic-con

The general public finally gets its shot at badges for Comic-Con International on Saturday morning.

Organizers have announced open online registration will begin shortly after 9 a.m. PT; the EPIC Registration landing page will open two hours earlier to allow hopefuls to enter their personal registration code and authorize their device to enter the waiting room. (The personal registration code and a link to the landing page will be sent by email to those with Member IDs at least 24 hours before badges go on sale.)

Confused by mention of the “personal registration code”? It’s been implemented to prevent ineligible members from entering the EPIC Registration waiting room and further bog down the process. Details can be found here.

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Rethinking covers: the variants and the gimmicks

Wonder Woman #31 variant cover by Mike Allred

Wonder Woman #31 variant cover by Mike Allred

Remember when comic books had only one cover each, and they didn’t glow in the dark or feature moving images? When the cover was just a good-looking illustration that made you curious about the story inside? And it was by the artist who actually drew that story?

Yeah, me neither.

Like it or not, we live in the age of specialized covers, whether in the form of variants or, for lack of a better (and less-derisive) term, gimmicks. I’ve mostly made peace with that, but the near-simultaneous announcements of Valiant bringing back chromium covers and DC doing a second round of lenticular covers recently stirred it all up again.

I know I’m being kind of silly about it. I mean, who cares? If people want them, they should have them. Obviously they help to increase sales, otherwise publishers wouldn’t go through the trouble. But is there more to it?

The thing is that variant covers have never been more prevalent. People used to make fun of publishers like Avatar Press, which would flood each release with boatloads of different covers for the same story. It turns out the company was ahead of its time. That’s not always a good thing, of course. Variant covers can cause confusion with new or more casual readers who may not remember the issue number they last bought but can recall what was on the cover.

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In this Toronto comic store, even the coffee cups wear masks

silver snail-drink sleeves

Toronto’s Silver Snail is celebrating its partnership with The Black Canary Espresso Bar (located inside the comic store) by giving away limited-edition “cup masks” to the first 200 people who stop by today for a comic book and coffee.

As you can see from the photo above, the cup sleeves feature close-ups of such characters as Wolverine, Captain America, Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man. And they’re not all Marvel characters, either: You can get a look at Catwoman and Harley Quinn below.

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March brings more MODOK than the law allows

MODOK_yourMarch2014!_CON_2

March brings not only strong winds and NCAA brackets, but also March MODOK Madness, the annual celebration of all things MODOK.

For the past several years, the March MODOK Madness blog has celebrated the big-headed villain by enlisting various artists to draw his MODOK-ness in all his glory. Marc has hardly started and already they have three posts up, including a frozen MODOK (why isn’t MODOK on an ice cream bar?), a team-up with Dr. Doofenshmirtz and Mark Monlux’s awesome Easter MODOK (seen below).

Be sure to check in with them all month for more MODOK artwork.

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Comics A.M. | Pioneering comics journalist Bhob Stewart dies

Bhob Stewart

Bhob Stewart

Passings | Comics journalist and commentator Bhob Stewart died Monday at the age of 76. Stewart kicked off his career in 1953, at the age of 16, by publishing an EC fanzine; the following year, as Carol Tilley documented in a recent talk, he sent a copy to anti-comics crusader Fredric Wertham, along with some tart commentary. Stewart went on to become an influential voice in the conversation about comics; he wrote several books, taught classes at the School for Visual Arts, and curated the first exhibit of comics art in a major American museum. Heidi MacDonald credits him with inventing both Wacky Packages and the term “underground comics.” [The Beat]

Editorial cartoons | German cartoonist Burkhard Mohr has apologized for a cartoon depicting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with a hooked nose, an image that critics said was reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. The cartoon appeared in the early editions of the Munich newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, but Zuckerberg’s face was replaced by an empty hole in later editions. “I’m very sorry about this misunderstanding and any readers’ feelings I may have hurt,” Mohr said. “Anti-Semitism and racism are ideologies that are totally alien to me” [ABC News]

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Dark Knight returns in animated Batman vs. Terminator fan short

batman-v-terminator

Batman has taken on Predator and, with assistance from Superman, both Aliens and Predator. Yet somehow he’s never faced the Terminator — until now, that is.

In this tense short conceived by Tony Guerrero and animated by Mitchell Hammond, we’re reintroduced to Bruce Wayne, 30 years after Skynet’s nuclear blasts, as he tries to make his way across the wasteland of the United States “to join forces with the man determined to neutralize the electronic menace — John Conner.”

Batman Vs. The Terminator feels very much like The Dark Knight Returns meets Akira meets Heavy Metal. And at a little less than five minutes long, it’s far too short.

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Comic-Con International opens ‘Early Bird Hotel Sale’

comic-con

Comic-Con International has kicked off its “Early Bird Hotel Sale,” offering a limited number of rooms in Mission Valley and the airport area at special rates before general housing opens.

Beyond the geographic restrictions — no downtown rooms are included in the sale — there are some other notable conditions, including full, non-refundable “prepayment” at the time of the book. Nearly all of the hotels also require a minimum three- or four-night minimum stay. The early-bird rates expire on April 8, after which reservations are non-transferable.

Attendees staying Mission Valley and the airport area would need to take a 15- to 20-minute shuttle or cab ride to and from the San Diego Convention Center. Twenty-four-hour shuttle service to Comic-Con begins at 7 a.m. Thursday, July 24 and continues through 7 p.m. Sunday, July 27.

Disney & Marvel assemble Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon

avengers half marathon-logo

Fresh from Sunday’s Disney Princess event, runDisney has announced the inaugural Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend. It marks the first such collaboration since Disney acquired Marvel in 2009.

Planned for Nov. 14-16 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, the event includes a kids race, a 5K and half marathon — it’s a new 13.1-mile route through the theme park –  a pre-race pasta party featuring the Marvel characters and a merchandise expo. Registration opens March 25.

“RunDisney races are a natural fit because our comic book Super Heroes embody many of the same brand attributes as runDisney, such as heroism and intensity with a heavy dose of fun,” Dan Buckley, Marvel’s president of TV, publishing and brand management, said in a statement. “This race weekend will have a very distinct atmosphere that will appeal to comic book fans and runDisney fans.”

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Meet the next Avengers franchise: the fan-made Avengers UK

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Marvel’s Avengers have grown from a single team to a full-blown franchise, with early spinoffs like West Coast Avengers giving way to the current crop, which sports modifiers like “New,” “Mighty,” “Young,” “A.I.” and even “World.” But some U.K. fans felt at least one version of the Avengers was missing … so they made their own.

Avengers UK is a “‘just for fun non-profit’ fan-based fiction,” where a group of Marvel’s British-based heroes unite to fight evil. According to writer/artist Darren Wilson, in Avengers UK you can “see spectacular battles, amazing abilities and standards of queuing up in a way that only residents of the U.K. can truly achieve (except maybe not the last one)!”

As seen above, the primary Avengers UK team is Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom, Dark Angel and Motormouth, although the comic has teased other members — both memorable and arcane in Marvel and Marvel UK continuity.

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Cemetery reinstalls SpongeBob gravestones

The SpongeBob monuments, in their original form

The SpongeBob monuments, in their original form

A year after the murder of Army Sgt. Kimberly Walker, her family has resolved their dispute with a Cincinnati cemetery about the SpongeBob SquarePants monuments commissioned to mark the grave site.

Their disagreement drew national attention last fall after the family was told the two 6-foot-tall, 7,000-pound statues — one for Kimberly Walker and the other for her living twin sister Kara — didn’t meet the standards of the historic Spring Grove Cemetery and had to be removed. That’s despite the Walker family receiving design approval from a cemetery employee for the $26,000 monuments, which were created with the permission of Nickelodeon. The cemetery insisted the staff member simply made a mistake, and offered alternative proposals.

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Man proposes with epic cosplay movie mash-up

proposal-cap

We’ve showcased plenty of creative marriage proposals and ceremonies, with all of the trappings, from the “battle wedding” and slasher-comic engagement photos to the Scott Pilgrim-themed proposal scavenger hunt and the Bat-themed wedding. However, this one may take the cake (so to speak): When Victor Delgado wanted to ask his girlfriend to marry him, he turned to some friends — more than 50 of them, in fact — for help. A lot of help.

It took months of shooting and weeks of editing, not to mention assistance from the likes of the Costumers Guild of Hawaii, the Pacific Outpost 501st, Ghostbusters:Hawaii Division and the League of Shadows Hawaii, but the epic mash-up of sci-fi and action movies produced by Oahu-based JHM Productions was undoubtedly worth it. If, y’know, Delgado’s girlfriend said “yes.”

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Wolverine Cat & Cyclops Cat are the cutest there is at what they do

wolverine-cat

If you’ve long wondered what Wolverine and Cyclops might be like as cats, welcome to the Internet: Filmmaker Kaipo Jones has created a pair of videos in which he envisions s cat first with indestructible adamantium claws and then with optic blasts. The world — not to mention the house — will never be the same again.

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