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Ron English celebrates the inauguration with ‘Incredible Barack’

Incredible Barack

As an Irishman, I must confess I don’t know much about American politics, and the only U.S. news channel my TV picks up is Fox News — but apparently you’ve just sworn in an Islamist Communist as President for his third term. Congratulations! This has also inspired street-art legend Ron English to release a commemorative limited-edition print called “Incredible Barack.” This isn’t the first time English has invoked Marvel’s Hulk in his work; in fact, it’s something of a recurring theme for the man.

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On Vol. 1 of Marvel THEN!’s Incredible (not Indestructible) Hulk

I used to think Marvel was, consciously or unconsciously, driving its readers to quit serial comics and start reading trades. As evidence, there’s the standard list of complaints: inflated pricing, ads that don’t seem to generate any revenue, trade-ready scripting, variant covers, irregular but accelerated publishing schedules, etc.

The Marvel NOW!  initiative has me starting to rethink that, however. See, I’ve been trade-waiting a lot of the Marvel comics I read, including the Jason Aaron-written Incredible Hulk. The first trade paperback collection of his run, which began in 2011,  was released in late December. I just read it this week. And, of course, Marvel relaunched the Hulk with a new writer, new direction, new title and new numbering with Indestructible Hulk #1.

That’s one of several Marvel NOW! relaunches that happened almost on the heels of the previous relaunches — Wolverine went 17 issues in its new renumbering, the just-relauched Captain America was only on Issue 19, the similarly relaunched Thor on Issue 22 — and it was the first time I can remember reading a new trade that’s contents were made completely obsolete (from a keeping-up-with-the-goings-on-of-a-superhero-universe perspective only, of course)  before it was even published.

I imagine a lot of the new NOW! premises won’t be around more than a year or two — Captain America can’t stay stranded in a different dimension forever, the Fantastic Four have to come back from space eventually, the original X-Men can’t be time-lost indefinitely — so I suppose this sort of thing could be happening on a more frequent basis. So if you trade-wait, maybe you’re waiting too long!

So, what did I wait for?

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Comics A.M. | Burglars make off with $10,000 comics hoard

Crime | The burglars who broke into Flea Market Comics in Mobile, Alabama, left the cash register alone but stole $10,000 worth of comics, according to owner Stephen Barrington. The thieves cut three locks off Barrington’s storage units and replaced them with a combination lock, presumably so they could come back and get more. “It just left me deflated,” he said of the theft. “People would come in just to look at the covers on them because they were such a various period from the ’30s to the present and like I said anything on a display; they took.” [Fox 10 TV]

Passings | Kiichi Toyoda, the first editor-in-chief of the Japanese manga magazine Shonen Sunday, died Jan. 10 at the age of 87. Shonen Sunday is the home of Rumiko Takahashi’s InuYasha and Ranma 1/2 and Mitsuru Adachi’s Cross Game. [Anime News Network]

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Peter David is walking (with help), would appreciate your well wishes

Less than two weeks after suffering a stroke, writer Peter David is able to walk forward and backward, with assistance, at the rehabilitation center in New York Florida.

“He is working on balance and trying to get the right leg to cooperate with what he wants it to do,” his wife Kathleen wrote today. “There was a minor set back with the arm that is being worked on. He does have a better range of motion than he has had since all this started so we are cautiously happy about it but he has a long way to go.”

Kathleen David, who last week asked those interested in helping to cover insurance co-pays to purchase some of Peter’s books from Crazy 8 Press, today said she will add a donate button to his website on Monday, and plans to organize online auctions. She also encouraged fans to send him cards and assorted well wishes:

Peter David
c/o Second Age, Inc.,
P.O. Box 239,
Bayport, NY 11705

On a related note, EW.com has published an essay Peter wrote in early December to mark the 50th anniversary of the Incredible Hulk. In the piece, the writer recounts being offered the reins of the title in 1986, his approach to Bruce Banner and, 12 years later, the circumstances that led to his departure.

“Out of fifty years of his existence, I took up twelve straight years (plus annuals and such) covering the concerns and chaos that the Hulk had to face daily,” he wrote. “If I’d known that I’d be leaving the book the issue afterward, I’d never have killed off Betty (although since then she was brought back to life and is now the red She-Hulk, so that made a lot of difference.) I had up periods and down periods. Times where I had the book fully under control and times where I was roughing it and had no clue what I was doing. In retrospect, if I had to draw one conclusion from my time on the series, it was this: Hunh. Nope. I still got nothin’.”

Miguel Lokia plays a Game of Superheroes

Brazilian artist Miguel Lokia has created a series of Game of Thrones-inspired house banners for several pop-culture characters, including a few superheroes. That’s only one of the House Wayne banners above; continue below to see Houses Banner, Kent, Parker, Rogers, and a non-comics one I threw in just because it made me laugh. There are even more on Lokia’s deviantART page.

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Mike Mitchell re-skins Superman #6 with disturbing results

Illustrator Mike Mitchell, artist of the Tumblr-baiting Just Like Us series, has a new series on the go, re-skinning the classic strongman pose from the cover of Superman #6 with the wardrobe of other pop-culture icons. And the results are, to say the least, a little bit freaky. More below, and the full set so far can be seen here.

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Wish This Was Real | Brian Kesinger’s Steampunk Avengers

There have been other steampunk Avengers, but with the Hulk in suspenders and a bowler? I’d read a comic just about him.

Anyway, Brian Kesinger is awesome and you should check out his blog and DeviantArt page. He also does steampunk other things, like Transformers, G.I. Joe, and Star Wars. But if steampunk’s not your thing, his Hip Hop Boba Fett and Pooh vs. Voldemort are cool, too. I posted bunch of my favorites below.

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Previews: What Looks Good for November

It’s time once again for our monthly trip through Previews looking for cool, new comics — now with 100 percent more JK Parkin! Michael May, Graeme McMillan, Chris Arrant and JK have each picked the five comics they’re most anticipating in order to create a Top 20 (or so; we overlap sometimes) of the best new stuff coming out two months from now.

As usual, please feel free to play along in the comments. Tell us what we missed that you’re looking forward to or – if you’re a comics creator – mention your own stuff.

47 Ronin #1

John Parkin

47 Ronin #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99): Mike Richardson, Dark Horse’s head honcho, teams with Usagi Yojimbo creator Stan Sakai to retell the story of the 47 ronin who avenged their master after he was forced to commit ritual suicide for assaulting a court official. It will be both very cool and a little odd to see Sakai drawing samurai that aren’t anthropomorphic animals and aren’t in black and white (the book’s full color), but I’ve always admired his clean style. As an added bonus, Kazuo Koike of Lone Wolf and Cub fame consulted on the project, so this should be a treat.

Great Pacific #1 (Image Comics, $2.99): Joe Harris and Martin Morazzo have come up with a book that I just love the high concept behind: the heir to one of America’s most successful oil companies moves to the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch and declares it a sovereign country. He then fights giant sea monsters, based on the preview art that’s been released, which is an added bonus.

Marvel NOW!: This might be cheating, but Marvel has 10 new comics debuting in November under the Marvel NOW! banner. Mark Waid on Hulk? John Romita on Captain America? Matt Fraction writing Fantastic Four and FF? Jonathan Hickman on Avengers? Yeah, I’ll just lump all these together and hope no one notices I’m gaming the system here …

Walt Disney’s Donald Duck: A Christmas for Shacktown: Fantagraphics continues its series of high-end collections of the best of Carl Barks’ duck stories, with the Christmas-themed third volume arriving just in time to be stuffed in somebody’s stocking.

Retrovirus (Image Comics, $16.99): Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray’s latest graphic novel, drawn by Norberto Fernandez, is about a research scientist who specializes in viruses heading to Antarctica to examine a perfectly preserved caveman. I’m a fan of Palmiotti and Gray’s work together, from Jonah Hex to The Monolith (which gets the collection treatment in November), and this one sounds like it could be a lot of fun.

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What Are You Reading? with Paul Allor

Happy Labor Day, Americans, and welcome, everybody, to What Are You Reading? Today our special guest is Paul Allor, writer of IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles spinoff, Fugitoid, as well as his own anthology Clockwork.

To see what Paul and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below:

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Food or Comics? | Sage or Saga

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Saga #6

Chris Arrant 

If I had $15, I’d first double-down on creator-owned comics with Butcher Baker, Righteous Maker #8 (Image, $2.99) and Saga #6 (Image, $2.99). I’m glad to see Joe Casey and Mike Huddleston back on Butcher Baker after a hiatus in which I feared it was no more, and I’ve just pulled out #1-7 to get me back up to speed. I’m thinking that taking hallucinogenics would make me enjoy this comic more. On the other side, Saga #6 is flat-out amazing in the most conventional way (despite the unconventional setting). Aliens, ghosts and babies, and yet Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples bring it all together. At this point I’ve shifted into the The Walking Dead mode of reading – no point in reading about what’s ahead, as I’ll just buy it blindly on the great comics they’ve done so far. After that creator-owned two-fer, I’d give Marvel the rest of my money with Uncanny X-Force #29 (Marvel, $3.99) and Avengers vs. X-Men #10 (Marvel, $3.99). I think Marvel’s finally found a suitable replacement for Jerome Opena in artist Julian Totino Tedesco, and I hope he’s locked in to finish out this arc. And speaking of Rick Remender’s work, I spent about 15 minutes conversing the other day about how and why he should’ve been enlisted into Marvel’s Architects and worked into Avengers Vs. X-Men. While the group-written approach takes some getting used to, I’d love to see Remender do an issue of this. In Avengers Vs. X-Men #10 (Marvel, $3.99) however, we see Ed Brubaker taking the lead and showing the Phoenix Force Five venturing into K’un L’un for what seems like the Empire Strikes Back moment of the series.

If I had $30, I’d turn back in all my $15 purchases except Saga #6 and spend the recouped $25-plus dollars and get Hulk: Season One HC (Marvel, $24.99). I’ve never been the biggest Hulk fan, but seeing the previews of Tom Fowler’s art on this has won me over. Fowler, like the above mentioned Tedesco, is one of Marvel’s hidden gems and this might be the launching pad for him to (finally) get some recognition. And for me to get some good comics. Fowler SMASH!

If I could splurge, I’d do the boring choice and simply use it to buy all the single issues mentioned in the $15 section and be able to also afford Hulk: Season One HC. Easy, breezy, beautiful, comics boy.

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SDCC ’12 | A roundup of news and announcements from Thursday

Sandman

Thursday may have started a bit slow in the news department, but it sure ended with a huge bang. Here’s a roundup of announcements that hit today from Comic-Con International in San Diego:

• Neil Gaiman announced via video that he will write a new Sandman miniseries that will detail what happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in The Sandman #1. J.H. Williams III will provide the art. “It was a story that we discussed telling for Sandman‘s 20th anniversary,” Gaiman said, “but the time got away from us. And now, with Sandman‘s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told.” The series will be published by Vertigo sometime next year.

• Mark Waid, Shane Davis and Max Brooks will team to create Shadow Walk, a graphic novel coming out next year from Legendary Comics.

• Legendary will also publish the Majestic Files by J. Michael Straczynski, which will feature art by Geoff Shaw and Matt Banning.

• Terry Moore will write a Strangers in Paradise prose novel to coincide with the comic’s 20th anniversary next year. He also plans to do an all-ages comic after Rachel Rising finishes in 30-40 issues.

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What Are You Reading? with D.J. Kirkbride and Adam Knave

Saga #4

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are D.J. Kirkbride and Adam Knave, writers of Amelia Cole and the Unknown World, which was released last week by Monkeybrain Comics.

To see what Adam, D.J. and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Animator David Stodolny pits the Hulk against the final square

When he’s not making movies like How to Train Your Dragon and Puss in Boots, DreamWorks animator David Stodolny works on shorter pieces for his own pleasure. And ours. Following a “Harrey Podder” parody he did last year, Stodolny has released the first in a series called “Everyday Hulk” that are “a bunch of little short parody jokes” starring Bruce Banner’s alter-ego. The first one focuses squarely on potty humor.

Check out the first one below.

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What Are You Reading? with Ivan Anaya

Crimson

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week our special guest is artist Ivan Anaya, one of the winners of the winner of the Skullkickers Tavern Tales Contest. He’ll join the other winner, writer Aubrey Sitterson, on a story for Skullkickers #18.

To see what Ivan and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Assemble your own papercraft Avengers

Most papercraft dolls, as cool as they are, are stumpy little blocky deals, but My Paper Heroes has an Avengers set that smashes the old look. The link will lead you to downloadable PDFs with everything you need, including a variant hairstyle for Black Widow’s Iron Man 2 look, a helmet for Captain America and more. Unlike Widow’s feelings about giant, flying leviathans, I can totally see how that’s a party.

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