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SDCC | If you plan to line up early for Comic-Con, read this

Camp Twilight in 2009

Camp Twilight in 2009

It’s been about five years since Comic-Con International attendees and organizers were caught off-guard by “Camp Twilight,” the tent-and-sleeping-bag city that began taking root outside the San Diego Convention Center days before the Hall H presentation. Although the final installment of the Summit Entertainment franchise was released in 2012, there’s always a possibility that another film or television series will foster such devotion (for instance, Ian McKellen paid a visit in 2012 to people who camped out overnight for the Hobbit panel).

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Falcon-Jet scene in ‘Captain America’ #22 sparks calls for Remender’s firing

cap22aA social-media firestorm that erupted late last week urging Marvel to fire Captain America writer Rick Remender fizzled out by Sunday as the Twitter hashtag was hijacked and a Tumblr post explaining that the Falcon didn’t have drunken sex with a 14-year-old gained traction.

The controversy began shortly after the release on Wednesday of Captain America #22, which depicts Sam Wilson waking in bed next to Jet Zola (aka Jet Black), the daughter of Arnim Zola, after the two shared a little too much wine. Although Jet appears to be a prepubescent child when introduced in the first issue of Remender’s run, time passes rapidly in Dimension Z, where we’re told Steve Rogers spent at least 12 years. A rough estimation that Jet would now be in her early 20s is confirmed by a reference to her 23rd birthday during a brief flashback in the issue in question.

Perhaps some readers didn’t fully understand the timeline, or they confused Jet with her significantly young brother Ian (in fairness they did look a lot alike), and skipped over — or, in some cases, disregarded — the mention of the 23rd birthday. Whatever the case, some concluded from the three-page scene that Sam Wilson committed statutory rape.

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SDCC | Hall map and exhibitor lists released

sdcc-map

In case today’s date isn’t indication enough that Comic-Con International is rapidly drawing closer — it’s July 1 already! — here’s an unmistakable sign: Organizers have released this year’s exhibit hall map and exhibitor list.

The exhibition floor map can be viewed as an Issuu document or PDF, while the exhibitor, artists alley, small press and fan tables lists can be found on the convention website.

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Glitches, ticket sellouts frustrate New York Comic Con hopefuls [Updated]

New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con

In a scene reminiscent of the annual rush for Comic-Con International badges, the New York Comic Con ticket website crashed Thursday as hopefuls jostled for passes to the Oct. 9-12 show.

A perusal of the event’s Twitter feed provides a catalog of some of the problems as organizers offered advice to frustrated ticket buyers — “If you’re in the queue, do not hit refresh” — before announcing sellouts of four-day and three-day passes, and tickets for Saturday and Kids Day. As of this morning, tickets remain available for Thursday, Friday and Sunday.

The Insightful Panda offers a play-by-play of what it contends “went wrong” with the process, highlighting a mix of technical difficulties and apparent miscommunication. The blog also notes that three-day passes have already made their way onto StubHub, where they’re listed at 400 percent of their original price.

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The completist age is over

I'll take one of everything

I’ll take one of everything

Is there just too much to ever buy and read?

I remember when the CBR forums were young and spry in the late ’90s and early 2000s: People would share which comics the plan to pick up every month or every week, and a good number would have massive lists. Today, I see what people post in their replies to the solicitations, and most are more selective. It’s obviously a very narrow sampling, but I can’t help feel that it reflects a general shift in comics culture.

When I first got into comics, part of what fascinated me was the unknown history told in back issues I didn’t have yet, and I became obsessed with hunting them down. In those days, maybe 25 to 30 years ago, comic shops were on the rise and most stores had a healthy selection of back issues because that was really the only way to read those stories. As such, they tended to be pricy, but it didn’t matter when you could spend nearly your entire allowance on comics alone.

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‘Worrying about the life and death of superheroes is pretty meaningless’

wolverine-death

“I think worrying about the life and death of superheroes is pretty meaningless. The search for ‘importance’ by the superhero comic audience is a problem, a disease. The only thing that’s important is story. If it’s a good story, it’s important and meaningful. Saying ‘I’ll bet he’ll be back within a week’ is to proudly affirm that you know Kermit is just a puppet.”

Wolverine writer Paul Cornell, addressing a Comic Book Resources reader’s question about the often-temporary nature of superhero deaths

HeroesCon releases harassment policy

heroes con-harassment

Just days before HeroesCon kicks off in Charlotte, North Carolina, organizers have released a code of conduct addressing harassment and cautioning exhibitors about images and materials that exceed the event’s PG-13 standards.

Signed by founder Shelton Drum, the policy extends beyond the exhibition floor to after-hours events at host hotels, and spells out that, “HeroesCon is dedicated to providing a fun, safe and harassment-free convention experience for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, age or religion.”

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Heroes keep an eye on Toronto from neighborhood watch signs

lamb4Toronto residents may have noticed a host of classic heroes, from Wonder Woman to Astro Boy to the Fantastic Four, are now protecting the city’s streets. At least that’s what many of the neighborhood watch signs insist.

According to CBC News, an artist calling himself Andrew Lamb has “hacked” as many as 70 of the signs, pasting over the familiar houses-with-eyeballs icons with the even more familiar figures from comic books, television and movies (Mr. Rogers, Cliff Huxtable and Dale Cooper, among them).

“I walked by and thought those signs would be much better with a superhero up there,” he told CBC News. “The first one was a splash page — a common thing in comic books, a bunch of superheros popping out at you. Then came Batman and Robin, RoboCop, Beverly Hills Cop, and then it snowballed.”

Lamb acknowledges his project is “technically illegal” — he’s received just two vandalism complaints — but he doesn’t believe it’s “ethically or morally wrong.”

You can see more photos of his handiwork below, and on Lamb’s Instagram account.

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The Mountain of ‘Game of Thrones’ Hulks out for kid’s birthday

got-hulk

As fans of Game of Thrones can attest, Icelandic actor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson is an imposing figure. Standing at 6 feet 9 niches tall, the professional basketball player turned strongman competitor turned actor made his debut two weeks ago on the hit HBO series as the fearsome Gregor Clegane, aka the Mountain. And with Sunday’s episode, his impact was truly felt (by some more than others).

But Björnsson has a softer side, one the people of Westeros will never see: For a 3-year-old’s birthday party, he fulfilled the child’s wish to meet his favorite Marvel superhero by having himself airbrushed to look the Incredible Hulk.

Unfortunately, as you can see in the video below, the sight of a real-life Green Goliath was a little too much for the birthday boy …

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Golden Age comics collection fetches $1.5 million at auction

flash comics1A Golden Age comics collection that included a pristine copy of 1940′s Flash Comics #1 sold this week in an online auction for a combined $1.5 million, The Associated Press reports, exceeding early expectations.

Kentucky insurance executive John C. Wise put up for sale about 175 comic books, including the first issues of  Action Comics, All Star Comics, Marvel Comics, Archie Comics and Wonder Woman, as well as Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman.

The CGC-graded 9.2 copy of Flash Comics #1, featuring the debuts of Jay Garrick, Hawkman and Johnny Thunder, fetched the top price with a winning bid of $182,000. Online auction house ComicConnect.com described it as “the second-best copy known to exist.”

It was followed Tuesday by a CGC-graded 7.0 copy of Action Comics #1 and an 8.0 copy of Detective Comics #27, which fetched $172,000 and $137,000, respectively. A near-mint copy of Marvel Comics #1, which introduced the Sub-Mariner and the Human Torch, sold for $95,000, while the first appearance of Captain Marvel in Whiz Comics #2 went for $86,000.

Although most of the landmark comics have already sold, bidding remains open on hundreds of issues (some of which push into the Silver Age).

Wise, 63, plans to use the proceeds from the auction to buy a new home in San Diego and to pay the college tuitions of his seven grandchildren.

Epic ‘Bartkira’ project is offering a limited-run exhibition book

bartkira3-cropped

More than a year ago, James Harvey took Ryan Humphrey’s idea of a Simpsons/Akira mashup and ran with it, launching an ambitious jam project in which artists — 768 in all — would recreate every page from Katsuhiro Otomo’s pioneering cyberpunk epic using characters from Matt Groening’s beloved animated series. That’s the story of Batkira, a sprawling, loving tribute to both creators that received its own gallery show last month at Floating World Comics in Portland, Oregon.

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Comics A.M. | Ontario family selling 25,000 comics for charity

The Incredible Hulk #271

The Incredible Hulk #271

Comics | The Lussier family of Barrhaven, Ontario, will be offering more than 25,000 comics for sale June 7 in their garage to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. The Lussiers not only collect comics, they use them as part of their homeschooling curriculum, and when a comics shop in New Hampshire closed last year, they bought 20,000 comics from the owner; they also buy comics online. “We use comic books to really teach kids about life, and about finances and about debt,” said father Rob Lussier. Their collection includes The Incredible Hulk #271, which has appreciated quite a bit in value because it contains the first an early appearance by Rocket Raccoon, who’s featured in Marvel’s upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy movie. Still, 12-year-old Alexandre is philosophical: “If the movie is good, [the value] will go up, but if it’s really bad, it might just plummet.” [Metro]

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Golden Age comics collection expected to fetch $1 million

flash comics1The Golden Age comics collection of a Kentucky insurance executive is expected to bring more than $1 million in an online auction that ends Tuesday.

Among the about 175 comics being sold by John C. Wise through ComicConnect are Action Comics #1, All Star Comics #1, Detective Comics #27, Marvel Comics #1, Archie Comics #1 and Wonder Woman #1. However, the jewel of the collection may be a pristine copy of 1940′s Flash Comics #1, featuring the first appearances of Jay Garrick, Hawkman and Johnny Thunder.

“This copy is in incredible high-grade condition and is the second-best copy known to exist,” ComicConnect co-owner Vincent Zurzolo told The Associated Press. The current bid for the CGC-graded 9.2 copy of Flash Comics #1 is $91,000; the 7.0 copy of Action Comics #1 is at $75,000.

The record price paid at auction for a comic book is held by a near-mint copy of Action Comics #1, which fetched $2.16 million in 2011.

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Preschooler declares at graduation he wants to be Batman

batman-preschool

Forget doctor, police officer or firefighter. Five-year-old Jathan Muhar has much higher aspirations for when he grows up, announcing at his preschool graduation — presumably somewhere in Gotham City — “I want to be Batman.” To much applause, naturally. Check out the video below.

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Don’t fear the silly

This is completely serious

This is completely serious

The ill-considered comments made last week by screenwriter David S. Goyer highlighted an embarrassment for an intrinsic part of older superhero characters and comic books in general: A lot of them are just downright “goofy.” However, there’s nothing wrong with that.

Goyer’s go-to ridicule of the silliness of Martian Manhunter’s name, concept and origin nicely encapsulated a school of thought that’s been running throughout comics for a long time. It most strongly peaked when all the wrong people misinterpreted the success of Watchmen and Batman: The Dark Knight Returns as due to an over-serious, grim-and-gritty take on superheroes that focused on distorted realism.

“What if superheroes really existed in our world?” is such a tired premise at this point, but it has proliferated to such a degree since the 1980s that it keeps getting recycled every year or so by someone, whether with an established property or new creation. I admit that, back in the day, I got caught up in that swirl of faux-maturity too. Comic books were still struggling to find respect and appreciation in broader pop culture, and this seemed like the easiest way to prove they could have artistic merit. If it wasn’t completely serious, it somehow wasn’t good.

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