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“Star Wars” Mount Rushmore of snow built for Sapporo Snow Festival

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South Dakota may have Mount Rushmore, but now Sapporo, Japan has Mount Darth Vader. A 50-foot tall Star Wars snow sculpture was created in the city’s Odori Park to celebrate the 66th annual Sapporo Snow Festival.

The massive structure features Vader, a trio of Storm Troopers,  TIE Fighters, and the ominous Death Star. According to a Google-translated story from Yahoo! Japan, the sculpture is approximately 50 feet high, 74 feet wide, and 65 feet deep. and took 2,000 people to complete. According to the festival’s website, “Snow Star Wars” was approved by Lucasfilm, making it the first snow sculpture to be formally endorsed by George Lucas’ production company. Check out pictures above and below, via CinemaCafe.

The Sapporo Snow Festival runs through Feb. 11 and attracts nearly 2 million people to the city.

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Hot Toys debuts ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ Artist Mix figures

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When Hot Toys teased Sunday that its Artist Mix Collection would be revealed “very soon,” it meant very soon — as in this morning.

The high-end collectibles company kicked off its new product line with the debut of Avengers: Age of Ultron figures by Japanese toy designer Touma.

The first series features Iron Man Mark XLIII, Captain America, Hulkbuster, Ultron Prime and two versions of Ultron Sentry. According to Hot Toys, each Artist Mix bobble-head figure stands about 14 centimeters (about 5.5 inches) tall, except for the Hulkbuster, which towers at 20 centimeters (about 7.9 inches). A deluxe set will also be released featuring the Hulkbuster and Iron Man Mark XLIII.

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Man 3D prints functional Iron Man Hulkbuster armor, is generally awesome

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On his personal YouTube channel, James Bruton has begun a Hulk-sized undertaking. Well, a Hulkbuster-sized undertaking, at any rate — he’s 23 videos into a 3D printing project to build his own WiFi enabled Hulkbuster Iron Man armor.

And that’s not all — Bruton’s armor is fully functional, as can be seen in a handful of the later installments when he tries it on for size. Jury’s still out on whether or not it could handle the Hulk himself, though; I suppose we’ll have to wait and see in his last video!

You can check out his first video below and the rest on his YouTube channel. Also check out his website, where he shows off many of his other products — which include an R2D2, an Alien xenomorph suit and a life-sized Iron Man MKVI costume armor, among others.

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Nothing says ‘meditative’ like a Zen Judge Dredd statue

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Although I have my doubts as to the calming, meditative qualities of a character whose signature line is “Hulk SMASH,” I’m not immune to the appeal of these 3D-printed Buddha sculptures of an assortment of pop-culture characters, from the Star Wars cast to Batman to Judge Dredd to Groot (with Rocket Raccoon, naturally).

The statues, which come in three sizes — 2 inches, 4 inches and 6 inches — range in price from $7.99 to $27.99. You can see some of the pieces below, and the full selection on Chris Milnes’ Etsy page.

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Spider-Man, Iron Man named Mardi Gras parade grand marshals

Courtesy of Marvel Character Appearance Program

Courtesy of Marvel Character Appearance Program

Tony Stark and Peter Parker are heading to Mardi Gras.

The Krewe of Caesar, Jefferson Parish, Louisiana’s largest Carnival organization, has named Iron Man and Spider-Man as the grand marshals of its 36th annual parade. “Spider-Man and Iron Man are true American heroes and someone we all look up to with utmost respect for their service to our country,” Krewe of Caesar’s Captain Robert Carnesi said in a statement to WWL-TV.

Their involvement comes courtesy of the Marvel Characters Appearance Program, which, as the name suggests, arranges for the company’s superheroes to show up for mall events, trade shows, festivals, awareness programs and the like.

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Here’s the epic DC vs. Marvel movie we’ve been waiting for

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Considering that DC/Marvel crossovers appear to be a thing of the past even in comic books, it seems unlikely we’ll see Thor face Superman on the big screen in our lifetimes. Undeterred by any corporate differences, a certain Alex Luthor (no relation, presumably) has assembled an epic trailer that gives us a taste of what such a live-action crossover might look like. And it’s pretty glorious.

Using footage from sources ranging from The Avengers and Iron Man to The Flash and the rejected Wonder Woman pilot — you’ll even see Injustice: Gods Among Us — Luthor crafts a teaser that pits Batman against Iron Man, Hawkeye against Green Arrow, Black Widow against Black Canary, Loki against The Joker … the list goes on.

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Tony Starch is ‘Iron Can’ in laundry-filled parody

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Anders Wotzke, who in 2012 introduced the Batman parody “The Batfan,” now takes aim at Iron Man in a pun-filled sendup called, yes, “Iron Can.”

Created with Michael Nixon, the video features Tony Starch, the billionaire philanthropist — and can of fabric softener — who reveals he’s Iron Can, thereby attracting the attention of Fabrice Crimp, “leader of a cult of creased cottons who believes that since the world isn’t flat, nothing should be.”

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Iron Man becomes a ‘diabetes hero’ in ‘Early Warnings’

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Iron Man is one busy superhero. After teaming last month with pint-sized heroes Blue Ear and Sapheara to educate about hearing loss and cochlear implants, the Armored Avenger is now turning his attention to childhood diabetes.

Siemens Healthcare and Marvel Custom Solutions have partnered for Iron Man: Early Warnings, an eight-page comic in which Daisy and her elementary-school classmates visit Stark Industries, where Tony Stark unveils the prototype for his newest invention: the Heath-Y-Meter, a device that glows brightest when the wearer’s body is at its healthiest.

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Photographs transport superheroes back to 16th century

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French photographer Sacha Goldberger, who previously made a splash with images of his 91-year-old grandmother as a superhero, exhibited his latest series “Super Flemish” over the weekend at the Grand Palais in Paris. As you might have guessed from the title and the above photo, the project features superheroes (and villains), Star Wars characters and other pop-culture figures — as if they were posing for Flemish paintings.

But these are indeed photographs, requiring models, costumers, hair and makeup artists and the like. And, as you can see from the gallery on Goldberger’s website, he even recruited his grandmother again. See more images, and photos from the exhibition, on Goldberger’s Facebook page.

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Dad helps infant son ‘feel brave’ with ‘Baby Iron Man’ costume

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Little Collier has been hospitalized since his premature birth in July, but for Halloween his father Eric Hart wanted to give their family a sense of normalcy and his son something “that would help him feel brave.” So, with the approval of the nurses, the professional prop maker modified a costume pattern he found online and transformed Collier into “Baby Iron Man,” if only for a minute.

“I came up with Iron Man because he’s been hooked up to all those machines and wires,” Hart tells Today.com, “and that’s similar to what Iron Man went through.”

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There are now wearable Marvel sleeping bags

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Many comics fans undoubtedly have fond memories of their superhero-themed sleeping bags emblazoned with images of Spider-Man, Batman and the Incredible Hulk. But now those seem so … 20th century. In the 21st century, we wear our superhero-themed sleeping bags.

Selk’bag, which produces “human-shaped sleeping bags,” has released a Marvel line of products that allows customers to suit up (and warm up!) as Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk. They even come with detachable booties.

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They may not be Earth’s mightiest heroes, but they’re the cutest

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Illustrator Rocky Davies, who previously took us back to the ’80s with supervillain album covers, now delivers an overdose of cuteness with his “Kid Hero” series, depicting pint-sized versions of Iron Man, Captain America, Wolverine, Leonardo (of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fame) and more.

I know I should probably question teeny Tony Stark’s Van Dyke, but I’m too busy smiling about li’l Nick Fury chomping on a peppermint stick.

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‘The Marvel Experience’ tour reveals character lineup

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All 13 characters have been revealed for The Marvel Experience interactive tour, and at least a couple may surprise you.

As depicted in the above image, debuted by Yahoo, the usual suspects — Spider-Man, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and the Incredible Hulk — will be joined by Wolverine, Black Widow, Nick Fury, Maria Hill, The Vision, She-Hulk, Iron Fist and Black Panther.

“This is the only place you’ll see them together, and we’re proud of that,” Rick Licht, CEO of tour producer Hero Ventures, is quoted as saying. That’s in part because the film rights to Wolverine and Spider-Man are held by Fox and Sony, respectively.

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Marvel introduces hearing-impaired hero Sapheara

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Remember Blue Ear, the costumed character created in 2012 by Marvel to convince then 4-year-old Anthony Smith that superheroes do wear hearing aids? Well, now meet Sapheara, a pint-sized superheroine with cochlear implants.

She teams with Iron Man and Blue Ear in Sound Effects, a new comic by Marvel Custom Solutions and the Children’s Hearing Institute of New York that addresses cochlear implants, bullying, hearing-loss awareness and hearing-loss prevention. It will be distributed later this month to about 150,000 students in grades 3 through 7 in the New York City area.

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Working Iron Man gauntlet fires actual missiles

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Like Tony Stark himself, Patrick Priebe likes to update his Iron Man armor. Last year the custom-props builder wowed us with a functioning gauntlet that fires lasers powerful enough to burn objects and pop balloons, but now he’s taken things to the next level, or perhaps one or two after that.

Forget all of that kiddie stuff, the Mark II (sure, let’s call it that) fires an honest-to-goodness missile. None of that Nerf nonsense, either; there’s smoke and an explosion! You can check it out in the video below.

Bad news for tech-heads, but good news for emergency rooms: Priebe isn’t releasing any plans for tutorials.

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