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Comics A.M. | College graphic novel challenges on the rise says CBLDF

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Fun Home

Censorship | During a panel at Comic-Con International, members of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund criticized a student’s attempt to have four graphic novels banned from her college campus. Crafton Hills College student Tara Shultz and her father, Craig Shultz, have called for Fun Home, Persepolis, the first volume of Y: The Last Man, and the second volume of The Sandman, all of which were included in a course on the graphic novel as literature, to be removed not only from the course but also from the college bookstore. The school has refused. CBLDF director Charles Brownstein noted that this is part of a troubling new trend: Graphic novel challenges at the college level. The CBLDF has been involved in 18 college cases so far this year, up from 10 in all of 2014. [Redlands Daily Facts]

Creators | “Opus’s [voice] came screaming back at me — true— when I faced those four empty panels that I hadn’t done since 1989,” cartoonist Berkeley Breathed told Michael Cavna, explaining why he is returning to his comic strip Bloom County after a lengthy absence. He also discusses the possibility of self-publishing rather than going with a newspaper syndicate: “Dead-tree media requires constancy and deadlines and guarantees. This flattens the joy. It also presents a huge income. It’s an interesting trade-off, isn’t it?” [Comic Riffs]

Commentary | David Brothers critiques Marvel’s plans to publish hip-hop themed variant covers, given that none of the newly announced creators for Marvel titles are black. [i am davidbrothers dotcom]

Creators | Kate Beaton talks about her family, webcomics, princesses, and her pony character’s guest appearance on Adventure Time. [Time]

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It’s Hulk vs. Hulkbuster in LEGO’s Comic-Con sculpture

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LEGO always makes an impression at Comic-Con International with its enormous brick sculptures created by Master Builders. For this year’s display, the toymaker is calling in the heavy hitters — namely, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor.

MTV News has the first look at the sculptures, which recreate that memorable moment from Avengers: Age of Ultron when the battling Hulk and Iron Man punch each other, creating a sonic boom.

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Ain’t no thing like this Rocket Raccoon backpack, except this

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Whether you’re off to save the galaxy or simply heading to class (or, y’know, a convention), this Rocket Raccoon Backpack Buddy seems like the appropriate — and appropriately adorable — accessory.

Sold exclusively by ThinkGeek, the officially licensed backpack features plush head, arms, feet and tail, and a zipped compartment that measures 9.75 inches by 8 inches. Although it’s not intended to hold electronics, the website notes the backpack can fit an iPad2.

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Unable find his daughter a Ms. Marvel costume, this dad made one

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When his comics-loving daughter was invited to a superhero-themed birthday party, one geek dad set out to buy the 6-year-old a Ms. Marvel costume, only to be disappointed when he couldn’t find one. None of the alternatives — Spider-Girl, Captain America, pink Spider-Girl — would do, so he broke out the sewing machine and made a Kamala Khan outfit himself. The result, as you can see, is just about perfect.

In an open letter to Marvel, Captain Milkshake lists all of the materials and their prices (the dress was marked down, so all told the project cost about $49), but also makes an appeal for more girl-inclusive merchandise.

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‘The Marvel Experience’ tour abruptly canceled

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The Marvel Experience, the $30 million high-tech traveling theme park, has abruptly come to the end of the road.

The Associated Press reports the “hyper-reality” show announced Sunday that Philadelphia, intended as the kickoff of its summer tour, will be its only stop. Planned multi-day runs in New York, Chicago and St. Louis have been canceled, but no reason has been given. Refunds will be available.

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This stunning Hulkbuster may have all those other figures beat

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Due to its big-screen debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron, there have been a lot of collectibles based on Iron Man’s Hulkbuster armor — a lot. However, few are quite as cool-looking as this Re:Edit Hulkbuster figure from Japanese collectible company Sentinel International.

Like the Marvel Select figure, this one eschews the Age of Ultron design, and instead draws inspiration from the comic books. But while Diamond Toys stayed true to the armor’s roots, Sentinel gives the suit a bit of a makeover, adding plenty of LED lights, and what looks to be exhaust pipes (rocket launchers? I don’t know). As a bonus, the head opens to reveal Iron Man inside (alas, not a full, second figure.)

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Kotobukiya debuts its ARTFX+ Magneto statue

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Kotobukiya marches ahead with its line of ARTFX+ statues inspired by the X-Men of Marvel Now!, with Magneto soon poised to take his place alongside the previously revealed Cyclops and Emma Frost.

Standing nearly 8 inches tall, the 1/10th-scale Master of Magnetism is based on a design by artist Adi Granov. Kotobukiya again promises the rest of the Uncanny X-Men team are “coming soon.”

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Check out Marvel’s adorable, SDCC exclusive enamel pin set

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When it comes to comic convention exclusives, people talk about a lot of things: rarity, price, availability, etc. Now that Marvel has announced the first in their line of exclusive products available only at Comic-Con International in San Diego, they’ve added a whole new factor to the discussion: adorability.

As revealed over on MTV, Marvel is bringing a set of 28 enamel pins based on Skottie Young’s series of baby variant covers with them when they arrive at the massive show. You’re gonna have to figure out a battle plan in order to collect the entire set, though, as they’re divvied up between 4-packs, blind box 2-packs and more.

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Stan Lee hospitalized, but out in time for ‘Ant-Man’ premiere

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Stan Lee was reportedly rushed to the hospital Sunday, but that certainly didn’t stop the 92-year-old from appearing last night at the Hollywood premiere of Ant-Man.

According to TMZ, Lee called 911 Sunday morning, complaining that he didn’t feel well, and was taken from his Hollywood Hills home to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. A representative for Lee wouldn’t confirm the report, but pointed EW.com to the comics legend’s attendance at the movie premiere.

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Funko unveils first ‘Batman v Superman’ toys

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Funko may have saved the best for last, concluding 10 waves of Comic-Con International exclusives with the debut of the first toys tied to next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

They’re a Pop! Heroes two-pack, featuring bobblehead figures of the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel (the former with a Batarang, the latter in flight). Funko isn’t offering a preorder option this year, so collectors will have to wait in line at the convention, and hope supplies hold out.

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The Fifth Color | Peter Parker, the eternal child

tom holland-spider-manCongratulations, everyone! It’s a boy! Like, an actual boy: The newest actor to step into Peter Parker’s shoes is 19-year-old Tom Holland, the youngest Spider-Man yet (when cast at least, as he’ll probably be 20 or so by the time he shows up on screen).

The news has been met at my store with mixed “mehs.” Some are disappointed because Miles Morales won’t be appearing in his place, others are worried that we might have to sit through yet another origin story. Some are just put off by how young Holland looks. While there’s nothing fans can do to change the minds of studio executives, there’s still a chance that we might not have to watch Peter be bitten by a spider for any longer than an opening-credit sequence. It’s the teen years we’re really focusing on, and it can be such a sticking point with the discerning fan.

Why does Peter Parker always have to be a kid?

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This Venom action figure is a symbiote we can all live with

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While not as radical of a departure as the recently revealed Batman and Catwoman action figures, this Variant Play Arts Kai Venom from Square Enix is sure to have its fans. Maybe even because, like the other Marvel releases, it’s not all that different from the character we know — just different enough.

The fourth figure in the Marvel Variant line, following Iron Man, Spider-Man and Thor, Venom features his signature t00-long tongue and unnerving grin — courtesy of interchangeable heads —  but his traditionally black-and-white body here is armored and highlighted by purple. However, neither of those changes appears to affect his shapeshifting abilities, as the figure also comes with interchangeable hands, two of which possess oozing tendrils.

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Hot Toys calls down the thunder with ‘Age of Ultron’ Thor figure

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Although most Marvel fans are looking ahead to Ant-Man, Captain America: Civil War and Doctor Strange, Hot Toys isn’t finished with Avengers: Age of Ultron just yet. This morning the high-end collectibles company unveiled its new 1/6th-scale Thor figure, based on the likeness of actor Chris Hemsworth in the blockbuster sequel.

Standing about 32 centimeters tall, the action figure boasts 30 points of articulation, a new head sculpt (which, judging from early reaction on Facebook, isn’t exactly a crowd-pleaser), four pairs of interchangeable palms, an LED light-up Mjolnir and a metal Mjolnir with lightning effect accessory, and a display stand.

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Hot Toys debuts its ‘Ant-Man’ Artist Mix figures

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Following a couple of waves of Avengers: Age of Ultron stylized figures, Hot Toys has revealed the next release in its Artist Mix line: Marvel’s Ant-Man.

Designed once again by Touma, this series of 13-centimeter-tall bobbleheads features Ant-Man and the villainous Yellowjacket. The Deluxe Set will include a special third figure, Ant-Man (Black Out Version).

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Comics A.M. | Spider-Man toy inventor disappointed by ruling

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Legal | Inventor Stephen Kimble, who was dealt a final loss Monday by the Supreme Court in his years-long fight with Marvel over royalties for a Spider-Man toy, is of course disappointed by the 6-3 decision. However, he seems hopeful that there might be a legislative solution to the outdated patent law. “We can take this opinion, go to the legislators … and say, ‘Look, the court is saying that if this needs to be changed, you’re the guys to change it,’” he said. “And there is a huge body of evidence out there that this needs to be changed.” [Tucson Sentinel]

Manga | Kathryn Hemmann looks at the ways publishers courted female readers in the early days of manga, and how their strategies led to permanent changes in the comics landscape. [Contemporary Japanese Literature]

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