Luke Cage History: From Hero for Hire to Hollywood
TV, Comic Books
The decades-old dream of Star Wars fans of all ages is about to be realized with the creation of a glowing toy lightsaber that won’t raise welts on your opponent or, y’know, put an eye out.
Calimacil, a Canadian company that produces high-quality foam weapons for live-action role-playing, has developed a “high-tech foam LEDsaber” that produces not only light but also sound. As the video below demonstrates, the foam is “practically indestructible,” but also perfectly safe for when you want to do battle with a Sith Lord, or your neighbor.
Crime | A woman in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, is offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the return of her brother’s collection of 280 vintage comics, including issues of Detective Comics, Batman, The Avengers and Captain America. Gail Munroe believes they were taken last month from her driveway as she was unloading her car; she briefly left the suitcase they were in unattended, but didn’t realize until days later that it was missing. She’s released a full list of the titles. [CBC News]
Conventions | Nick Vivarelli reports in from the Lucca (Italy) Comics and Games Festival, which with 254,000 attendees is the second-largest comic con in the world. [Variety]
Museums | The Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, founded by George Lucas and slated to open in 2018 in Chicago, has acquired the original art from Robert Crumb’s The Book of Genesis. [The Art Paper]
Editorial cartoons | R.C. Harvey writes the definitive piece on the Ted Rall case, rounding up pretty much everything that’s been written in the aftermath of the Los Angeles Times’ decision to cut ties with the cartoonist. In addition to presenting the evidence and all points of view, Harvey sheds a harsh light on the paper’s public statements about Rall and the relationship between the newspaper and the Los Angeles police union. [The Comics Journal]
If those furry little inhabitants of the Forest Moon of Endor could utilize Stormtrooper helmets as drums, it stands to reason we should be able to use them for something slightly more advanced. Like, say, Bluetooth speakers.
AC Worldwide is planning just that, with the launch of a Kickstarter campaign for officially licensed Star Wars wireless speakers shaped like the heads/helmets of C-3PO and a Stormtrooper.
Young Bart Simpsons may have trouble sleeping because he’s a afraid clowns will eat him but comic book writer Christopher Sebela has no such issues, and he’s aiming to not only prove it but go one step further and document his one-month stay in the infamous Clown Motel in Tonopah, Neveda, dubbed the “Scariest Motel in America.”
Sebela began a Kickstarter to help fund the experience, which he planned to document through photos and video and other services but mainly as a published e-book. However, Sebela quickly met the $4,500 goal, leading to some interesting stretch goals — including purchasing a clown suit he will wear in the room and maybe sleep in a few times, writing a short comic book about his stay and being joined by Terry Tyson who will conduct a seance at the motel. He surpassed all those goals already and his final $10,000 stretch goal is a documentary about the motel and Tonopah.
Passings | Jay Scott Pike, well known for his work as a “good girl” artist, died Sept. 13 at age 91. He started out in 1949 at Hillman Comics, and then moved on to Marvel predecessor Atlas, working on action and romance comics, including Jann of the Jungle and Lorna the Jungle Girl. In the 1960s he moved to DC Comics, where he drew mostly romance comics but also created the character Dolphin, who’s resurfaced repeatedly over of the years. Historian Mark Evanier estimates that Pike drew at least 800 comics stories between 1949 and 1973. [News From ME]
Crime | A bronze statue of Dennis the Menace stolen nearly a decade ago from a playground in Monterey, California, was discovered in a scrapyard in Orlando, Florida. Commissioned by cartoonist Hank Ketcham and installed in 1988 at the Dennis the Menace Playground, the life-size statue is valued at between $25,000 and $30,000. The statue was about to be melted with other metal objects last month when the scrapyard owner’s daughter recognized the comic strip character. Monterey officials replaced the statue five months after it disappeared; they’ll move the replacement once the original is returned. [ABC 7 News]
You’ll recall that on June 30 — a date that undoubtedly will be celebrated by future generations as a national holiday — American company MegaBots boldly challenged Japan to a giant-robot battle. Japan’s Suidobashi Heavy Industry accepted, but promptly raised the stakes, demanding full-on hand-to-hand combat. Now MegaBots needs some help to make that happen.
The company, which specializes in creating giant piloted fighting robots, has launched a $500,000 Kickstarter campaign to pay for upgrades to its 12,000-pound, 15-foot MegaBot Mark II. Sure, it can already fire 3-pound paint cannonballs at speeds of 100 miles per hour, but it needs more. This is America, after all!
Comics | Novelist Jonathan Lethem is the guest editor for this year’s Best American Comics collection, the first to come from outside the comics realm. Series editor Bill Kartalopoulos says he was “amazing”: “He clearly knows a lot about comics and cartooning. His novels draw on his lifelong love of comic books, he’s written Omega the Unknown for Marvel, and he’s more than familiar with the historical and contemporary landmarks in comics. But as someone who’s not ‘from’ the comics field he brings an entirely fresh perspective to the material from the past year that we considered for the book. He doesn’t bring any baggage to the table about who ‘should’ be included in this volume based on status or popularity or currency. Comics can be so insular sometimes, so we’re lucky to have this kind of attention from someone like Jonathan.” [Publishers Weekly]
The comics publisher Last Gasp has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of a new edition of the manga Barefoot Gen for distribution to libraries, schools and individual readers.
Barefoot Gen is a partially fictionalized account of creator Keiji Nakazawa’s experiences during the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath. Nakazawa, who was six years old at the time, was walking to school when the bomb was dropped. The woman who was walking with him was killed instantly, and his father, brother and sister died when their burning house collapsed on them — in front of his mother, who managed to escape; she gave birth that day to a baby who died a few days later.
Creators | Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto isn’t getting the break he was looking forward to, although he was finally able to take his honeymoon, more than 10 years after his wedding. At a preview of Boruto: The Naruto Movie, he talked about moving from the hit manga, which ended its 15-year run last fall, to working on the movie: “I had thought that I could finally rest when I finished the manga series, but I couldn’t rest …” His own son is the same age as Boruto, the protagonist of the new movie (and Naruto’s son). And when asked about a sequel, he said, “I can’t. Please let me rest now,” adding that he thought Boruto was “perfect.” The movie will open on Aug. 7 in Japan and Oct. 10 in the United States. [Anime News Network]
In less than two years, starting in September 2013, Matt Bors built up The Nib into one of the best comics sites on the internet, with a stellar roster of creators and a curated selection of short comics that offered profound insights into current issues. This was achieved with a combination of talent and money: Host site Medium paid Bors to edit the site and gave him a budget to pay contributors. This made it a significant player in the field of online and indy comics.
And then it all ended a few weeks ago with a vague post from Bors saying that The Nib would be changing, although it was not clear to what.
Well, now it has become clear: Bors has taken The Nib with him, and his first initiative is a Kickstarter campaign to produce a print volume, Eat More Comics! The Best of The Nib, with a lineup of creators that includes Josh Neufeld, Kate Leth, Sarah Glidden, and Erika Moen. The Kickstarter has a goal of $45,000, which covers not only production costs but also compensating the creators for the republication of their comics. The plan is to have the books out by Small Press Expo in September.
And then? Bors says in his post on Medium that he has reassembled his editorial team and has plans to do more online and print comics in the future.
Graphic novels | The 70th volume of Naruto topped the June BookScan graphic novel charts, followed by Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and the 23rd volume of The Walking Dead. The rise up the chart by Bechdel’s celebrated 2006 memoir can probably be chalked up to its musical adaptation, which opened in January on Broadway and earned five Tony Awards. [ICv2]
Conventions | Lisa Halverstat rounds up some facts about Comic-Con International, including the number of attendees at the first Comic-Con (100), the number of scheduled events (2,040) and the amount of money con-goers are expected to spend in San Diego ($80.4 million, or $619 per person). [Voice of San Diego]
Margaret Atwood wrote some of the best literary works of the modern era, both in terms of feminist novels and essays and in terms of all-around fascinating and engaging tales from multiple genres. So, news of Atwood contributing to an all-female anthology aimed at “geek girls” and consisting of non-fiction tales and comic strips about dating, love and sex comes as a really pleasant exciting surprise. But what’s even more surprising and exciting is the fact that Atwood won’t be contributing a prose piece: she’ll be drawing a comic strip.
Legal | Mohammed Moghini, the attorney for jailed Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani, has been arrested for shaking his client’s hand. (According to this Pakistani source, the official charge is “fornication.”) Held at Rajai Shahr Prison, his bail has been set at about $7,000. This presents a potential problem for Farghadani, who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for drawing a cartoon “insulting” the country’s Parliament and leader, as she has only a limited time to appeal that sentence, and now her attorney is behind bars. [The Daily Cartoonist]