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Potted Groot statue is terrifying, decked out for Christmas

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While many of Marvel’s licensing partners have seized upon the inherent cuteness of Guardians of the Galaxy‘s breakout star, Gentle Giant Ltd. has gone in a decidedly different direction with its new Groot statue, which hews closer to the character’s comic-book roots that to his big-screen incarnation.

The result,  Potted Groot, is a bit unsettling, with his sinewy body, elongated arms and almost dragon-like face. However, Gentle Giant knows how to soften those harsh angles: with Christmas regalia!

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Cuteness hits a cosmic scale with Funko’s ‘Guardians’ villains

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If all supervillains were as adorable as the ones in the next wave of Funko’s Marvel Guardians of the Galaxy Pop! Vinyl figures, we wouldn’t mind the mayhem and destruction as much.

Arriving in March, the Bobble-Heads include 3.75-inch  versions of Yondu, Ronan, Nebula and The Collector, plus a 6-inch tall Thanos Super-Sized Pop! Vinyl figure. Because, y’know, he’s the Mad Titan.

They join Funko’s previously announced Guardians figures: Star-Lord, Gamora, Drax, Groot, Rocket Racoon, Dancing Baby Groot and Howard the Duck.

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Santa Doom sees you when you’re sleeping

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It never feels like the holidays without a visit from Santa Doom, the fearsome Monarch of Christmas. Thankfully, Cash Branson was on hand to channel the armor-clad spirit of the season and spread yuletide fear. He even came bearing a Naughty List, which includes Reed Richards, Carol Danvers and Fantastic Four director Josh Trank.

Santa Doom was famously introduced by Scott Lobdell and John Byrne in 1991’s What The-?! #10, in which Santa Claus is seriously injured trying to deliver a present to Doom’s castle, and asks the Latverian dictator to complete his Christmas rounds.

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Here’s the epic DC vs. Marvel movie we’ve been waiting for

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Considering that DC/Marvel crossovers appear to be a thing of the past even in comic books, it seems unlikely we’ll see Thor face Superman on the big screen in our lifetimes. Undeterred by any corporate differences, a certain Alex Luthor (no relation, presumably) has assembled an epic trailer that gives us a taste of what such a live-action crossover might look like. And it’s pretty glorious.

Using footage from sources ranging from The Avengers and Iron Man to The Flash and the rejected Wonder Woman pilot — you’ll even see Injustice: Gods Among Us — Luthor crafts a teaser that pits Batman against Iron Man, Hawkeye against Green Arrow, Black Widow against Black Canary, Loki against The Joker … the list goes on.

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The Fifth Color | Don’t say anything you can’t take back

Avengers-and-X-Men-AXIS-9-Renaud-Looper-Variant When I was younger, I used to read dozens of Star Trek novels. I would check them out of the library, find them at rummage sales, scour bookstore, all to gather more tales of the U.S.S. Enterprise. Each novel could flesh out the lives of the crew and detail their adventures in ways no television show or film ever could. Want the Next Generation crew to meet the original cast in their prime? It could be done! Want to travel to the end of time and space with the Q Continuum? Or the shape-shifting Constable Odo to become a gigantic monster and battle an even larger creature in the middle of Deep Space Nine? Anything was possible in those novels, except change.

Every novel had to put the crew back into their places by the final chapter. The television shows were still airing in the ’90s, so while those novels could go anywhere and do anything, nothing could really change beyond what we saw on TV each week. Commander Riker couldn’t lose a leg in the novels if Jonathan Frakes wasn’t going to be using a prosthetic on the show. Major Kira couldn’t quit her job in one book if Nana Visitor wasn’t leaving Deep Space Nine. While the novelized adventures had all this freedom, they still couldn’t shake the status quo.

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Life-size Rocket Raccoon statue is only for ‘Guardians’ die-hards

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We’ve seen plenty of Rocket Raccoon merchandise released this year in conjunction with Guardians of the Galaxy, but none compares to this — either in size or price: It’s the life-size Rocket statue from Section 9 Entertainment and Muckle Mannequins.

Stand 78 inches tall — that’s six and a half feet, with pedestal — the collectible is of course highly detailed, and features one of his custom-made weapons from the Marvel blockbuster. Considering its size, you might think the biggest issue with buying this statue would be where to put it, but you’d be wrong.

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Kamala Khan and her creators named among ‘kick-ass Muslims’

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Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson and editor Sana Amanat are in impressive company on BuzzFeed list of “21 Kick-Ass Muslims Who Changed the Narrative in 2014, which includes a Nobel laureate, a religious scholar and an Olympic athlete.

Written by Ahmed Ali Akbar, the rundown singles out not only the duo behind the creation of teenager Kamala Khan, the Pakistani American superhero, but also the character herself.

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Hot Toys touts Hulkbuster figure with life-size statue

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If Hot Toys’ Little Groot wasn’t quite to your liking, perhaps we can interest you in the company’s line Avengers: Age of Ultron collectible figures, officially unveiled at Toy Soul 2014 in Hong Kong. The centerpiece is undoubtedly the 1/6th-scale Hulkbuster armor, promoted with a massive life-size — nearly 10-feet-tall! — version on the exhibit floor.

In addition, Hot Toys also revealed the Thanos figure from Guardians of the Galaxy. The Age of Ultron line also includes Iron Man Mark XLIII, Captain America, Thor, Hawkeye and Black Widow. See some of the images below, and even more on the Hot Toys Facebook page.

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Ring in the holidays with festive comics-themed ‘ugly’ sweaters

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Your holiday sweater collection doesn’t have to be scary anymore; you can improve it with comic book-inspired designs. Once upon a time, the thought of attending an ugly-sweater themed holiday party was unappealing: The sweaters used to be legitimately hideous and tacky, with flocked teddy bears, noisy bells and glittery snow, and they were itchy and hot. Those garments of yore could be fun to wear, but I never liked scouring thrift stores and forking over cash for them.

That’s all changed, because the idea of the ugly holiday sweater has evolved. The designs are no longer what I’d call ugly, and they’re more likely to be printed on comfortable sweatshirts instead of stuffy sweaters. You can find several prints inspired by pop culture franchises and even comic books.

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Stephen Colbert says farewell, with Captain America’s shield in hand

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Although it’s the all-star sing-a-long from last night’s final episode of The Colbert Report that’s getting the attention this morning — it involved everyone from Henry Kissinger and Cyndi Lauper to Big Bird and Joe Quesada — it’s what came afterward that holds a special place in our hearts.

Having killed his old nemesis Grimmy the Grim Reaper, Stephen Colbert discovers he’s now immortal (cue Highlander effects), a condition he finds “kinda lonely, a little snacky.” Directionless, he takes to the rooftop, shouting “What do I do know?” while holding two prized possessions that didn’t get put in his yard sale: a Sting sword from The Lord of the Rings, and Captain America’s shield.

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How to make your own Baby Groot out of cardboard

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If you’re one of those who takes a do-it-yourself approach to holiday gifts, this may be for you: a Baby Groot made using a laser printer and materials purchased from a Dollar Store. He has articulated arms, to boot!

I’m not at all crafty — as the lopsided wind chime and shapeless backpack from my shop and home ec. classes will attest — but even I could could make this, with little frustration or injury. I think. Maybe I’ll just buy a Dancing Baby Groot from KIDdesigns, or wait for the movie-accurate figure from Hot Toys … Anyway, watch the step-by-step video below.

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Comics A.M. | The mystique of the Marvel writers’ retreat

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Publishing | Alex Abad-Santos examines how Marvel has created a mystique around its writers’ retreats, using the necessary secrecy to transform the planning meetings “into something fans are genuinely interested in.” The piece goes beyond that, however, touching upon recent accusations of sexism, and the inclusion of newly Marvel-exclusive writer G. Willow Wilson in this month’s retreat. [Vox]

Comics | Matt Cavna interviews Matt Bors, editor of The Nib, the comics section of the website The Medium, which has become the go-to site for journalism and commentary in comics form. [Comic Riffs]

Best of the year | The Publishers Weekly critics vote for the best graphic novels of the year; Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer tops the list, and there are plenty of interesting suggestions as books that got even one or two votes are included. [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | U.K. publisher Great Beast to close

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Publishing | The British independent publisher Great Beast, which has released the work of Dan Berry, Marc Ellerby and Isabel Greenberg, among others, will close on Jan. 7. Founded in 2012 by Ellerby and Adam Cadwell, the publisher was something of a victim of its own success, as Cadwell explains: “As the group got bigger, as the books became more successful and as we widened the range of shops we sold to there became more of a need for the management and promotion to come from one or two people and Marc Ellerby and I (Adam Cadwell) happily took up that role. However, as time went on we found that the time spent working for the benefit of the group was getting in the way of us actually making our own comics, which is why we started the group in the first place… We looked at many ways of monetising the group so we could pay someone to run things whilst still giving the creators the bulk of the profits but we just couldn’t find a fair way to make it work.” [Great Beast Blog]

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Need a gift idea? Marvel Unlimited is offering a deal

marvel unlimited-unwrapIf you’re still searching for a gift for a Marvel fan on your shopping list, you might keep this in mind: The publisher is offering a two-month subscription to its massive digital archive for the price of one.

Through Jan. 4, new and returning subscribers can purchase two months of Marvel Unlimited for $9.99, gaining access to more than 15,000 classic and newer comics, dating from the Golden Age to about six months ago. In October, the publisher added some of its Season One graphic novels to the lineup.

Marvel Unlimited can be accessed on the web and through the Marvel Unlimited app on iPhone, iPad and select Android devices.

For full details, visit the Marvel Unlimited website; to take advantage of the limited offer, use the promo code “Unwrap.”

Watch this interview with Mark Gruenwald from 1988

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The now standard “What’s your next big storyline about?” approach to interviewing wasn’t created by the comics Internet. But before news sites existed, those conversations did take longer to reach the public. This weekend, one arrived after a 26-year delay.

Flying Color Comics retailer and Free Comic Book Day founder Joe Field wrote in with a curious discovery from his archives: a video interview conducted with Marvel writer and executive editor Mark Gruenwald at the 1988 Wonderful World of Comics Convention in Oakland, California, a precursor to today’s WonderCon.

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