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‘Attack on Titan’ cover unveiled for ‘Brutus’ magazine

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Hajime Isayama’s cover has been revealed for the 790th issue of Brutus, the Japanese pop-culture magazine that will include a crossover comic in which Marvel’s Avengers fight Attack on Titan‘s 46-foot-tall Female Titan on the streets of New York City.

Alas, Isayayma’s cover illustration doesn’t depict that showdown, but rather the cast of his hit manga Attack on Titan reimagined as school children, hanging out in Tokyo’s Ueno Park as danger looms in the distance.

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Pentagon would like its own S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarriers

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The S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier may not be as futuristic as it once seemed.

DARPA, the U.S. Department of Defense’s advanced research agency, is soliciting ideas to transform planes into “aircraft carriers in the sky” that could transport, launch and retrieve unmanned drones. Clearly the Pentagon is thinking small before moving on to the flying fortresses of Marvel comics and films.

The idea here is to overcome the drones’ shortcomings in “speed, range and endurance” by modifying existing large manned aircraft to serve as transport planes to haul them into action.

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Comics A.M. | Three of Zunar’s assistants arrested

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Legal | Three assistants of the Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar were arrested last week for selling his books. They were set up near the Putrajaya courthouse, where opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is on trial for sodomy, a charge Ibrahim claims is politically motivated. In a press release, Zunar said the three assistants were “investigated under The Sedition Act, Penal Code and Printing and Press Act” and released on bail. It has only been a month since a Malaysian appeals court overturned a government ban on two of Zunar’s books. [Cartoonists Rights Network International]

Creators | Garry Trudeau discusses his portrayals of different presidents, and politics in general, in Doonesbury and Alpha House. [The New York Times]

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Comics and food meet in Marvel’s new video series

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Marvel is bringing readers to “the crossroads of food and comics” with “3 Course Comics,” a new video series in which C.B. Cebulski cooks up appropriately themed dishes for some of the publisher’s creators and editors. It’s part cooking show, part talk show.

Cebulski, Marvel’s vice president of international brand development, kicks off the series (and the meal) with a Japanese variation of Aunt May’s patented wheat cakes for a “Spider-Verse” conversation with The Amazing Spider-Man writer Dan Slott and editors Nick Lowe and Sana Amanat. “Web of Fate Pasta” is promised for the second course/episode.

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The Fifth Color | Can you read too many comics?

Axis-Launch-PartyI’ve been wanting to talk about the Avengers/X-Men crossover Axis for awhile now. It has a great hook, as the morality of heroes and villains has turned on an “axis”, and are now flipped for certain characters. Rick Remender has that old-school bombast to his writing that makes this kind of outrageous concept possible; it’s so far outside the idea of “realistic” storytelling that it becomes more believable. If you’re going to have a Nazi steal a telepath’s brain to create the ultimate evil across the globe, why not go all the way and explore some character traits? It’s fun, and I can’t wait to see how it resolves.

In fact, my only real problem with the event involves what else is going on around it. It has some major continuity issues outside its little bubble that make it difficult for voracious Marvel readers like myself to place it in context with the rest of the series. I know Superior Iron Man is directly related to Axis, but will All-New Captain America be as well? I’m not really sure introducing the world to an angry, possibly morally flipped Falcon as the new Cap is a great idea. Hopefully, his solo book will remain unfazed by this big problem occurring to his left.

It’s easy to compartmentalize with team books and solo books, but what if you’re Storm? In Axis, she’s been morally compromised and is standing next to one of the X-Men’s greatest enemies (read Avengers & X-Men: Axis #4 to find out who), but in X-Men, she’s possibly dead, and in her own title, she’s still alive and mourning the loss of Wolverine. Doctor Doom, a big player in Axis, is possibly morally flipped, but he just announced plans to take over the multiverse in Fantastic Four and possibly has already done so in New Avengers. I could even be wrong about his current whereabouts and motives, because keeping track of all this is starting to get complicated!

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Nathan Edmondson whips up first pages of a Black Widow movie

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Some of the excitement about seeing Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Doctor Strange among Marvel Studios’ Phase 3 plans was tempered in some circles by disappointment over the absence of a Black Widow solo film. That feeling was given voice in a #BlackWidowMovie Twitter campaign, which received support from Nathan Edmondson, writer of Marvel’s Black Widow comic.

However, Edmondson didn’t stop at a mere retweet; instead, he “whipped this up”: the first six pages of a hypothetical Black Widow screenplay. It’s a sequence that’s sure to please fans of the Marvel super-spy (and, judging from Twitter reaction, already has).

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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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Marvel teams with ESPN for LeBron James tribute

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Marvel has reteamed with corporate sibling ESPN to commemorate LeBron James’ return to Cleveland with a special cover for ESPN The Magazine.

The illustration by Miguel Sepulveda, depicting James soaring above the city, is a sequel to the magazine’s 2010 homage to “Spider-Man No More!” that marked his departure for the Miami Heat.

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Ultron ruins your childhood in HISHE ‘Avengers’ trailer parody

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If James Spader’s unsettling recitation of “I’ve Got No Strings” in the Avengers: Age of Ultron teaser left you reexamining your feelings about Disney’s Pinocchio, you’re definitely not alone.

However, the homicidal robot’s path of destruction doesn’t stop there: In the new animated parody from How It Should Have Ended, Ultron proceeds to stomp out any warm memories you may have of Cinderella, Aladdin, The Lion King and even Frozen. Clearly, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are powerless in the face of this threat.

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Does size matter?: ‘Moon Knight’ Vol. 1

moon knightMarvel recently released Moon Knight Vol.1: From The Dead, collecting the first six issues of writer Warren Ellis and artist Declan Shalvey’s run on their newly launched Moon Knight ongoing series. As it turns out, it also collects the entirety of Ellis and Shalvey’s run on their newly launched Moon Knight ongoing series, as the pair left the book after those six issues.

Under most circumstances, creators departing almost as soon as they started would be a pretty clear sign that something was wrong behind the scenes, and would, in general, be regarded as a very bad thing. And Ellis and Shalvey leaving the book so soon is a bad thing, if only because they did such terrific work on it.

As odd as it may seem, they’re not leaving any story business unfinished, and the trade reads complete as is — there’s no cliffhanger at the end, no dangling plotlines, no characters in the lurch. That’s because Ellis didn’t write the book as if it were an open-ended, superhero serial narrative, but approached each of those six issues as a done-in-one, complete story. In all honesty, Ellis and Shalvey could have quit after three issues, or two or one, and Moon Knight would still read as a complete narrative with a beginning, middle and end.

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‘Age of Ultron’ trailer gets a Pee-wee Herman voiceover

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Appearing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Paul Reubens not only confirmed a new Pee-wee Herman movie, he stepped into character to provide a new voice track for Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer — providing the Marvel sequel with a little extra … gravitas.

If the Blu-ray release doesn’t include an option that allows viewers to choose between James Spader and Reubens as the voice of Ultron, then somebody at the studio as asleep at the wheel.

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Marvel titles now include Jack Kirby creator credit

kirby-marvelEagle-eyed readers may have noticed a new entry to the credits pages of several Marvel comics released this week: a line acknowledging the contribution of Jack Kirby.

All-New X-Men #33, Fantastic Four #12, Inhuman #7 and Wolverine and the X-Men #11 include the phrase “Created By Stan Lee and Jack Kirby,” while Death of Wolverine: Deadpool & Captain America #1 states, “Captain America Created By Joe Simon and Jack Kirby.” The credits pages can be found below.

Added with no fanfare, the credits follow a settlement agreement announced last month, ending the five-year-old fight between Marvel and Kirby’s children over the copyrights to 45 characters created or co-created by their father — among them, the Avengers, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four.

Neither side has commented publicly on their agreement beyond the joint statement, issued even as the U.S. Supreme Court was expected to decide whether it would consider an appeal by the Kirby heirs: “Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history.”

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Too many superhero movies?

black-panther-concept-8a438It was exciting Tuesday when Marvel Studios unveiled its Phase Three plans, with nine feature films, including Black Panther, starring Chadwick Boseman, and Captain Marvel, featuring the Carol Danvers version. However, amid the enthusiasm, there was some hand-wringing.

Are we about to be oversaturated with superheroes? Is the movie-going public going to get sick of capes and tights? Are superhero movies a fad that will go the way of the Western?

Between Marvel, Warner Bros., Fox and Sony, there are more than 30 superhero movies planned between next year and 2020. An average of five movies a year will be released, peaking in 2016 and 2016, with eight films each. No doubt more announcements will follow as we make our way through the decade.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed. Immediately after Tuesday’s press event, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was asked if he was concerned about the increasing number of superhero films. He pointed out that it’s “a challenge we’ve faced for many, many years.”

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Marvel marks National Cat Day with kitty covers

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In many households, every day is National Cat Day (the furry fellas insist on it), but Oct. 29 is when it’s officially observed across the country, with a special emphasis on pet adoption. Taking the occasion “VERY seriously,” Marvel is celebrating by posting a selection of Jenny Parks‘ delightful animal variant covers featuring Thor, Spider-Man, Iron Man and Wolverine.

But wait! There’s still more comics-related kitty cuteness: The Dodo profiles a dozen cats who make their homes in comic books stores, including the appropriately named Fat Cat Comics in Johnson City, New York. There are even some cat-themed reading recommendations. (Seriously, go read it; it’s my favorite thing today.)

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Ninth Circuit delivers another blow to Stan Lee Media

stan leeEven as Disney and Stan Lee Media argue their case in one appeals court, another has dealt a setback to the failed dot-com’s feud with its co-founder and namesake.

According to Courthouse News Service, a panel for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today that a California federal judge made the right decision in 2012 when he dismissed a shareholder lawsuit against Stan Lee seeking millions in profits and ownership of his Marvel co-creations.

Stan Lee Media has long insisted that between August 1998, when Marvel terminated Lee’s $1 million-a-year lifetime contract, and November 1998, when he entered into a new agreement with the House of Ideas, the legendary creator signed over his likeness and the rights to all of the characters he co-created — Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men, among them — to Stan Lee Entertainment, which later merged with Stan Lee Media. That company in turned filed for bankruptcy in February 2001; it emerged from protection in November 2006, and within months, the first of numerous lawsuits (against Marvel, Lee, Disney and others) was filed.

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