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No matter how much you love Batman, this fan has you beat

bat-fan-japan

It takes real dedication (and quite a few bucks) to assemble an unbroken run of Detective Comics, or to commit the dialogue of all of the Batman films — including the Schumacher ones! — to memory. However, this Batman super-fan in Japan may have you rethinking the depth of your devotion to the Dark Knight.

Yes, he’s in full costume, cruising down the highway in Chiba Prefecture on his own Batcycle. What did you do this weekend?

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Comics A.M. | At Dubai con, women artists outnumbered men

A cosplayer at the Middle East Film & Comic Con

A cosplayer at the Middle East Film & Comic Con

Conventions | Vocativ put together an interesting, if somewhat late, video report about the Middle East Film & Comic Con in Dubai, often viewed by Westerners as a conservative Muslim city. Yet the April convention, which drew about 35,000 attendees, featured both women in traditional hijabs and cosplayers in somewhat-revealing costumes. More interesting still, the number of women artists outnumbered the men. The piece also touches upon the reaction to the new Ms. Marvel, a Muslim teenager from New Jersey. [Vocativ]

Creators | “Never having known how to work in this style, suddenly in my 80s, I discover I can”: Jules Feiffer talks about his latest graphic novel, Kill My Mother, a noir-ish tale that is a sharp departure from his earlier work. [Los Angeles Times]

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The idiosyncracy and awesomeness of commissioning art

"Sammy Davis Jr." by Dustin Harbin

“Sammy Davis Jr.” by Dustin Harbin

In what other medium can a someone get an original work of art made just for them by a creator whose career they’ve followed? Not movies, television, music or fine art, unless you’re a millionaire. But in comics, many of today’s artists are for hire to fans looking to own a piece of their work — and even commission something especially for them. Comics are crazy that way, but that’s a good thing.

It’s nothing new, of course. The idea itself goes back into the roots of fine art, but with the advent of conventions and now the internet it’s available to virtually everyone — with some creators even reaching out to fans to make it happen.

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‘Storms of Carnage’ fan film unleashes the Black Panther

storms of carnage

While we’ve certainly seen a number of fan films featuring Superman, Judd Dredd and the Bat-family (the Dark Knight, Batgirl, Nightwing, the Gotham villains, etc.), I think this is the first one I’ve seen starring Black Panther.

The brainchild of D.A. Jackson, who wrote, directed and starred, Storms of Carnage: The Black Panther Unleashed is an extremely violent — as “Storms of Carnage” may suggest — “real-world” take on the Marvel character that’s part political/crime thriller, part no-holds-barred martial-arts film. (Seriously, the last half isn’t safe for work, or possibly for the squeamish.)

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Someone recreated ‘The Simpsons’ Springfield with LEGO

simpsons-lego

As excited as many fans were about the release of The Simpsons House LEGO Set, that’s nothing compared to … LEGO Springfield, created by Matt De Lanoy.

“When the small line of LEGO Simpsons was first announced, I just knew I’d end up building the city,” he writes on his Flickr page. “I love building layouts, and with already having built New New York from Futurama, Springfield seemed an obvious choice for my next project. Plus, this time I wouldn’t have to create any custom figures.”

As you can see in De Lanoy’s photos, and in the video below, he includes most of the key landmarks, from Kwik-E-Mart and the Springfield Tire Yard to the First Church of Springfield and the Flanders household (stupid Flanders).

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Watch the dreamlike ‘REAL League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’

loeg2

Like most people, I prefer not to dwell too much on Fox’s League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, the 2003 film adaptation that could only have been assembled through a game of telephone, with each person involved passing along a whispered description of the acclaimed Alan Moore/Kevin O’Neill comic until it finally reached the director.

However, Florian Liedtke appears to have given the movie a good deal of thought, or at least enough to create a video he dubs “The REAL League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.” Produced for a university project, it’s a dreamlike title sequence, using O’Neill’s art. Essentially, it’s a stylish a motion comic, set to “The Other Side” by Woodkid (with some creative, and occasionally inspired, recasting).

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See how that incredible 3D ‘Futurama’ sequence was made

futurama-making-of

If you were as bowled over as I was by Alexey Zakharov’s gorgeous 3D-animated Futurama introduction we spotlighted last month, you’ll be equally impressed by the artist’s new video, which shows how he created the sequence using 3ds Max, Nuke, Photoshop and After Effects.

Particularly fun, as you can see in part in the image above, is how Zakharov combined in image of Futurama’s Mom and a photo of Meryl Streep to create the holographic ad for Mom’s Old-Fashioned Robot Oil. I guess she is the most versatile actress of her generation!

Watch the original sequence, and the making-of video, below.

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Remembering Robin Williams, comic book fan

robin-williams-comics

Reading and watching some of the countless tributes to Robin Williams, who passed away far too soon on Monday, I was reminded that, in addition to being a father, a husband, a comedian, an actor and a philanthropist, he was also a comics fan.

“I used to get excited emails from comics stores all over America when Robin Williams would drop in to buy Transmetropolitan issues,” Warren Ellis recalled Monday on Twitter.

A semi-regular customer at Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles, Williams discussed his love of comics in a video interview we spotlighted in 2010 on ROBOT 6. In the clip, he fondly relates his latest reads: Brian Wood and Riccardo Burchielli’s DMZ, and Taiyō Matsumoto’s Tekkonkinkreet. Watch the brief interview below.

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‘A very nerdy Black Friday': Thousands line up for NYCC tickets

Fans in line for New York Comic Con passes at Midtown Comics Downtown (courtesy of Midtown Comics)

Fans in line for New York Comic Con passes at Midtown Comics Downtown (courtesy of Midtown Comics)

Some fans waited in line for more than 24 hours to buy tickets to New York Comic Con when they went on sale Thursday morning exclusively at Midtown Comics’ Downtown location in New York City. One hopeful described the scene to NY1 as “a very nerdy Black Friday.”

Passes sold out online June 27 in record time, to the frustration of many would-be attendees, but convention producer ReedPOP released a limited number of tickets to select retailers, beginning Thursday with Midtown Comics. About 5,000 were sold at the store, organizers said.

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Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon assembles medals

avengers-half-marathon-crop

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

av-club-sells-cropped

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

comic-con-625x439

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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