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There’s more to this Silver Surfer tribute than meets the eye

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As difficult as it may be to believe, this tribute to Ron Lim’s cover for Silver Surfer #20 isn’t an illustration. It’s a photograph of a model wearing body paint, applied by makeup artist Cris Alex and shot using strong light to make it appear flat. It’s only upon closer inspection, when you can make out details like eyelashes, whiskers and nails that it becomes clear the Herald of Galactus is an actual person.

Alex, who’s resume includes movies, television shows and music videos, also provides behind-the-scenes photos, where the shadows and contours are apparent, and the glaring model is a little alarming.

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Kyle Baker’s forgotten Marvel comic strips lampoon the X-Men

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Years before his breakthrough works such as Why I Hate Saturn, Kyle Baker was an intern at Marvel. And although he was admittedly a poor fit for superhero comics, his editors saw something in the artist and gave him an outlet in It’s Genetic, a series of one-panel comics for the company’s promotional magazine Marvel Age.

Although Baker would go on to do different things, these early illustrations demonstrate how Baker — to say nothing of Marvel — wasn’t afraid to poke fun at one of the company’s biggest properties. Take this for instance:

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Spider-Man struggles with life in Cairo in amazing photo series

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With a metro population of 20 million, Cairo suffers from all the traffic, pollution and noise problems you’d expect from the wold’s 10th-largest urban area. Even lifelong residents can find daily life in the city’s crowded streets to be a struggle. But how would a superhero fare in Egypt’s capital?

That’s what 20-year-old Hossam Atef set out to discover in a series of photographs depicting Spider-Man — actually, 21-year-old chef Atef Saad — as he experiences a normal day in Cairo, running to catch an overcrowded bus, finding a place to sit on the Metro and driving a tuk-tuk, among other activities.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ gets Honest Trailers treatment

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Although the narrator concedes, “We’re really reaching here, this was a fun movie,” Screen Junkies still finds a lot to lampoon in the “Honest Trailer” for Guardians of the Galaxy, much of it centering on the relative obscurity of the characters — and their similarities to other Marvel heroes.

However, there’s still plenty of room to take jabs at plot holes, the “space mumbo-jumbo” and the allegiances of the various multicolored aliens. “But if you get confused,” the narrator offers, “just remember, the hero is still the white guy.” It also serves as a pretty funny tribute to “the swagger” of Marvel Studios as it “trolls the world with balls-out middle fingers to the audience they know they have in the palm of their hands.”

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The Avengers (and friends) bring glad tidings for Christmas

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Even if you’re not big on Christmas carols, you’ll likely find something to enjoy in this new video from James Covenant, who edits together movie clips to make the heroes and villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe sing “Joy to the World,” “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” and, in Groot solo number, “Jingle Bells.”

Covenant is also the mastermind behind last year’s “Let It Snow!” video featuring Jean-Luc Picard.

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See how that amazing Groot swing was built

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Thanks to Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn, last month we saw an amazing one-of-a-kind Groot swing set, constructed for Super-Fan Builds. And now we can check out how the crew at the Hollywood prop company Tim Baker Creations built the piece as a surprise for father-and-son Guardians super-fans Michael and Patrick Coleman. Note that Groot’s hand even has LED lights to replicate the firefly effect from the Marvel film.

“It’s too cool, ” Patrick said. “I can’t even talk about it.”

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The Fifth Color | Adapting Angela’s mythology

angelaasgardsassassin_boxI don’t think I’ve ever said “Oh, boy, a retcon!” with any sort of enthusiasm, especially if adds something new to a well-established and well-loved story.

Fleshing out information between panels or taking a short story and adapting it for a modern audience is one thing; for instance, the first volume of Ultimate Spider-Man remains true to the 1962 origin even while expanding on it in a contemporary way. I’m talking about the addition of a new character who was also there at some momentous time, or a “dark secret” a character has been keeping for years and we only now learn it affected everything we’ve been reading.

I think those kinds of retcons are used mostly to make a current storyline or character more important by connecting them to the things we already know and love. It’s even worse when they don’t stick around and are quickly forgotten under a new creative team. I’m still a little sore at Ed Brubaker for X-Men: Deadly Genesis (for reasons that would take up the rest of this column), and I’m not all that thrilled to see Angela take her place as Thor’s sister.

Angela is an Image Comics character: From her design to her origins, she looks and feels as if she’s from a different place and time. The signature ever-waving ribbon around her body and that big miniskirt/belt appear out of place in Marvel’s more modern costuming styles. Instead of placing her within the context of Asgard, vague elements of her backstory have been stapled into the World Tree as a mysterious Tenth Kingdom called “Heaven,” although there’s no word on if it’s connected to the Celestial “Heaven” or if this is a separate chapter of Asgardian mythology. If it’s taking the Christian concept of Heaven and angels and adding it into Thor’s mythology, it seems almost disrespectful to the source material … but well within the bounds of actual living mythology.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ gets remixed by Eclectic Method

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DJ and video artist Eclectic Method, who last year took on The Avengers, has now turned his attention to Guardians of the Galaxy, delivering a remix the should please fans of Rocket Raccoon, Groot and, of course, Redbone, whose “Come and Get Your Love” gets a contemporary makeover.

And, yes, “I am Groot” and “a bunch of a-holes” are sampled liberally.

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Ron Wimberly pitches his vision of Blade and Cloak & Dagger

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Marvel regained its mojo in the late 1990s when it handed some of its second-tier characters to creators to reimagine as part of the Marvel Knights imprint. And now, one of comics’ hottest up-and-coming artists is pitching his revamp of two of the publisher’s cult-favorite properties not to Marvel, but directly to the fans.

First mentioned during an Inkstuds interview, Ron Wimberly has posted two sets of illustrations showcasing his re-envisioning of Blade and Cloak & Dagger. The Prince of Cats creator said the Cloak & Dagger work initially started as “playing with type,” but he says he does have story ideas to back up the artwork.

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O Grootmas tee, such pleasure do you bring me

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Few things say Christmas like an extraterrestrial plant monster (Flora colossus) decorated with lights, and few things are as cute as this “Oh Grootmas Tree” design from Woot! and fishbiscuit5 featuring Dancing Baby Groot from Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

On sale for the next 16 hours or so, or while supplies last, the design is available as a T-shirt (up to men’s 3XL) or tote for just $12 — with free shipping. So it might be a good idea for that Guardians fan on your shopping list. Besides, who doesn’t like Baby Groot?

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Photo of the Day | Chihuahuas cosplay as Groot and Rocket

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As the former owner of a Chihuahua with an extensive wardrobe — stop looking at me like that; they get cold! — I’m more than a little envious of the Guardians of the Galaxy fan who had not only the skill but the gumption to create these tiny dog-sized Groot and Rocket Raccoon outfits.

They’re even endorsed by director James Gunn, who posted the photos on Facebook: “This photo just may be the peak of my existence.”

Comics A.M. | Retailer Brian Jacoby passes away

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Passings | Brian Jacoby, owner of the Tallahassee, Florida, comic shop Secret Headquarters and a well-known presence on Twitter and comics discussion boards, died suddenly on Thanksgiving. The news was first released in a tweet from the store. His memorial service will be held Tuesday. [ICv2]

Editorial cartoons | Bob Staake’s New Yorker cover showing a broken Gateway Arch in St. Louis, a commentary on the events in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, received a lot of attention just before Thanksgiving — and even more when it got around that syndicated cartoonist R.J. Matson had drawn a similar cartoon in August. Matson brushes that aside, however, pointing out that editorial cartoonists often come up with similar visuals: “Finding a good joke is like solving a puzzle and very often there is one very best solution to the puzzle. Any cartoonist worth his salt would kick himself or herself for not finding that solution.” And when five cartoonists do it on the same day, he said, “we call it a Yahtzee.” [The Washington Post]

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Cyber Monday deals: From digital titles to comic tees

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via Dark Horse

For comics fans, Black Friday was only the warm-up, as a number of companies are also holding sales today for Cyber Monday. From graphic novels and digital comics to art books and superhero-themed apparel, there’s likely something to be found for the fan in your life (even if that means picking up a little something for yourself).

Most of the deals end at midnight tonight, so don’t procrastinate. And if you’re aware of a a Cyber Monday sale we missed, let us know in the comments.

Marvel has undertaken its own roundup, highlighting deals from its partners. In addition, this week a subscription to Marvel Unlimited is just 75 cents for the first month for new or former subscribers (it’s usually $9.99).

You have until 11:59 p.m. PT to take advantage of Image Comics’ big Cyber Monday sale: 50 percent off all digital titles on the publisher’s online storefront.

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Glow-in-the-dark SHIELD shirts reveal hidden Hydra agents

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Anyone who’s seen Captain America: The Winter Soldier or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. knows that in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Hydra has secretly operated within the espionage and law-enforcement agency for decades, plotting global conquest. Now it’s time for the organization to come out of the shadows … with shirts that give new meaning to the term “sleeper agent.”

Think Geek reveals true allegiances with this glow-in-the-dark T-shirt and tank top that boast the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo when the lights are on, and the Hydra emblem when they go off. I imagine The Winter Soldier would’ve gone differently had these been standard issue at the Triskelion,

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Kids react to ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ trailer (and to comics)

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By now you’re likely familiar with the “Kids React” series, in which children and teens respond — not always favorably — to seeing a movie trailer for the first time. This week’s episode, featuring Avengers: Age of Ultron, doesn’t disappoint, as the reactions rang from excitement to disinterest to, in at least one case, outright dislike.

However, the most interesting part may be the the question portion, in which some of the participants acknowledge they’re aware the Avengers originated in comics books … something they don’t read. One kid even admits he’s been to a comic store, but only for toys.

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