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Men in Pokemon tournament gun plot sentenced to two years

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Eleven months after their arrest, two Iowa men were sentenced today to two years in prison after pleading guilty to weapons charges in what prosecutors and police characterized as a plot against the 2015 Pokémon World Championships in Boston.

The Boston Globe reports that James Stumbo, 28, pleaded guilty to possession of an AR-15 rifle, while Kevin Norton, 19, pleaded guilty to possession of a shotgun. Both copped to possession of hundreds of rounds of ammunition. The two have already spent 335 days in jail.

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Comics A.M. | 17,000-item Superman collection donated for Cleveland exhibit

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Comics | “Dick Tracy” writer Mike Curtis has donated his 17,000-piece collection of Superman memorabilia to the Cleveland Public Library, which will establish a permanent exhibit dedicated to the Man of Steel. Some of Curtis’ items date back to as early as 1939. The library is applying for grants to preserve and restore the collectibles, and hopes to have some of them on display by November. The Man of Steel was of course created by Cleveland by high school friends Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. [The Columbus Dispatch]

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Comics A.M. | Unpublished Joe Kubert cover sells at auction

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Auctions | Joe Kubert’s original cover art for “Battle Classics” #3, signed by the artist, sold for $8,360 at auction earlier this month at Philip Weiss Auctions in Lynbrook, New York. The series was canceled after the first issue, so the cover was never published; it came directly from the artist’s estate. A second Kubert original, the cover for “Mystery in Space” #111, went for $6,038. [Artfix Daily]

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Comics A.M. | Free WiFi comes to San Diego for Comic-Con

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Conventions | Cox Communications and Comic-Con International will provide free WiFi to the entire downtown area of San Diego from July 8 to July 24, a period that encompasses the 2016 MLB All-Star Game as well as Comic-Con International. However, the WiFi will only be available outside the convention center during Comic-Con. Cox will install 100 hotspots around town, and for the period of Comic-Con will make them available for free to all users. After July 24, the hotspots will be available to Cox customers, and non-subscribers will be allowed one free hour per month. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

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Comics A.M. | Attorney takes a close look at Artists Alley

Photo by Seth Polansky

Photo by Seth Polansky

Legal | An attorney who specializes in intellectual property takes a walk through an Artists Alley — and he doesn’t like what he sees: “Without exaggeration or hyperbole, 70-80% of the vendors and artists were selling infringing intellectual property (‘IP’).” He proceeds to list in detail not only the offenses but the misconceptions used to defend them. [Seth Polansky’s Blog]

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Comics A.M. | World’s (physically) longest comic debuts

Comics | The world’s longest comic—in terms of linear feet, not number of pages—was unveiled last week in Lyon, France, just ahead of that city’s comics festival. The comic, a time-travel story that depicts life in Lyon and Barcelona through the ages was drawn by the French artist Jibé in a normal format, then blown up and assembled panel by panel in a tunnel. The finished work is 1,625 meters long, beating the current record of 1,200 held by an American effort. [Forbidden Planet]

Legal | The prosecution says it will reduce the charges against Jonathon M. Wall, who allegedly posed as a federal agent to get into a VIP room at Salt Lake Comic Con, from a felony to a misdemeanor. Wall, who works at Hill Air Force Base, showed his ID card and said he was an Air Force special agent in pursuit of a fugitive. A retired police officer who was working as a security guard nearby got suspicious and called the real Air Force special agents. Wall pleaded guilty in April to a felony charge of impersonating a federal officer but the judge in the case rejected his plea, saying she was concerned he did not understand the consequences of having a federal felony on his record. [Deseret News]

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Comics A.M. | Stu Levy on Tokyopop’s return to print

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Publishing | As Tokyopop returns to the graphic novel market, CEO Stu Levy talks about what he learned when the company stopped doing print in 2011, what happened with Tokyopop Germany, and how he sees the market now. Tokyopop is relaunching in print with three manga based on Disney properties, which Levy compares to the Korean tacos popularized by the food truck Kogi in Los Angeles: “To me that’s the epitome of fusion food done right, and I think what we’re doing with Disney manga is along those lines. It’s Japanese manga artists interpreting Disney characters and stories in a way that makes it uniquely manga, but it also retains the essence of Disney and the beloved characters that are a worldwide brand for a reason.” [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Graphic novelist charged in torture killing of girlfriend

Blake Leibel (via KTLA TV)

Blake Leibel (via KTLA TV)

Crime | Screenwriter and graphic novelist Blake Leibel has been arrested on charges of torturing and murdering his girlfriend Iana Kasian, who recently gave birth to their child. Leibel, the 35-year-old son of a wealthy Toronto family, is the co-creator of the graphic novel Syndrome, published in 2010 by Archaia, which he described at the time as “a lengthy graphic novel that grappled with the questions surrounding what provokes a person to commit evil acts.” The press was quick to pick up on several aspects of the murder that mirrored the graphic novel: among them, that he allegedly drained Kasian’s blood, as a character does to several victims in Syndrome. Leibel has pleaded not guilty to the charges. [The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Momma’ creator Mell Lazarus passes away

Mell Lazarus, left, with Matt Groening in February at the Reuben Awards (courtesy the National Cartoonists Society)

Mell Lazarus, left, with Matt Groening in February at the Reuben Awards (courtesy the National Cartoonists Society)

Passings | Mell Lazarus, creator of the comic strip Momma, died Tuesday at age 89. Lazarus grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and started his career as a professional cartoonist while still in his teens. He worked for Li’l Abner creator Al Capp and also for Toby Press, which was managed by Capp’s brother, and he later turned his experiences in book publishing into a novel, The Boss Is Crazy, Too. He launched Miss Peach in 1957, and it ran till 2002; he started Momma in 1970 and it is still running, although with different creators. At Comic Riffs, Michael Cavna rounds up tributes from Lazarus’s colleagues in the biz and notes that he was an early supporter of creators’ rights. [News From ME]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Hi Score Girl’ to return following copyright dispute

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Manga | Rensuke Oshikiri’s romantic comedy manga Hi Score Girl will resume serialization in Square Enix’s Monthly Big Gangan magazine, after a lengthy hiatus due to copyright issues. The manga was suspended in 2014 after the game company SNK Playmore filed a criminal complaint against Square Enix, claiming the manga used characters from SNK’s games without permission. Copyright violations are taken seriously in Japan: Police raided Square Enix’s offices, and the publisher not only stopped selling the series but issued a recall. Although Square Enix filed a counterclaim, Tokyo police initiated charges against 16 people, including Oshikiri and Square Enix staffers. The parties agreed on a settlement in August 2015. In addition to resuming serialization of the series, Square Enix will publish the sixth volume and new editions of the first five. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M.| Emerald City Comicon sued for not paying volunteers

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Legal | A former Emerald City Comicon volunteer has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing convention organizers of using volunteers as unpaid employees in 2014 and 2015. While it’s true that the volunteers signed on willingly — in fact, it’s rather competitive — the lawsuit argues they do work that’s essential to the convention and therefore ECCC is violating state labor laws by not paying them. “In Washington, the base is that if you are an employer, you have to pay the minimum wage,” says Hardeep Singh Rekhi, the plaintiff’s attorney. “We don’t believe that someone should be able to profit off unpaid labor, even if it’s something people love to do.” The plaintiffs estimate that there are 250 people in the affected class, i.e., people who performed the functions of employees but were not paid. Had ECCC been a nonprofit, it might have been exempt, but it was not. This year, the convention was run by ReedPOP, which did pay the staff. [Seattlish]

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Comics A.M. | Brothers charged in theft of grandparents’ comic collection

Via WEAR TV

Via WEAR TV

Crime | Two brothers in Florida have been arrested in the theft of about $30,000 worth of comic books from their grandparents. Nicholas and Robert Mason of Milton, Florida, were charged Thursday with grand theft and 16 counts of dealing in stolen property after police say they sold the comics in repeated trips to local shops, telling retailers the collection had been left to them by their late grandparents, who owned a comic store themselves. However, only part of that was true: Their grandparents did own a comic store, but they’re very much alive, and have been banking on the collection for their retirement. [WEAR TV]

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Comics A.M. | Wait, comics depicting crime are illegal in Canada?

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Legal | Crime comics, including most superhero titles, are illegal in Canada, thanks to a seldom-enforced 1940s-era law that’s still on the books. The law, which was enacted during one of the early waves of anti-comics hysteria, bans the publishing, sale or possession with intent to sell of any comic that depicts a crime. Elton Hobson tells the whole tale, which starts with a murder and ends with a shrug from a retailer who’s confident she won’t be clapped in irons for selling Spider-Man comics. [Global News]

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Comics A.M. | Mom fights to sell ‘Supermanny’ comic to benefit son

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Legal | An Illinois mother says a trademark dispute is hampering her attempt to raise money for her 3-year-old son with cerebral palsy. Holly Bueno says while sitting in the hospital with her son Manny, she began writing a book called The Adventures of Supermanny. “My driving force was I wanted to give myself a voice and my son a voice, and I want there to be a story out there where the main character is in a wheelchair, there aren’t too many of those,” she says. Bueno had hoped to sell the book to raise money for a wheelchair ramp, but when she filed a trademark application last year for “Supermanny,” she drew the attention of DC Comics, which said it was too close to Superman. (U.S. Patent & Trademark Office filings show Bueno abandoned the mark in February.) Regardless of what happens with the trademark issue, there is also another fund-raiser for Manny — a superhero-themed 5k race. [ABC7 Chicago]

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Comics A.M. | Woman charged in theft of Terry Brooks’ vintage comics

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Legal | Terry Brooks, author of the Shannara fantasy novels, has been revealed as the owner of a valuable comics collection stolen between 2010 and 2012. The vintage comics, valued at between $100,000 and $500,000, were in the possession of the Sterling, Illinois, law firm Miller & Lancaster, where Brooks was an attorney before becoming a full-time author. Trisha J. Clemens, a former employee of the firm, has been charged with theft in the case. She also faces an earlier charge of theft of between $100,000 and $500,000 from the law firm. One of her bond conditions is that she can neither possess nor sell comics. A preliminary hearing has been set for May 2. [SaukValley.com]

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