SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Fans of Hawkeye by Matt Fraction, David Aja & Co. at long last can get that figure they’ve been longing for: Pizza Dog. OK, sure, Hawkguy’s included, but … Pizza Dog!
Apparently, this Marvel Select Avenging Hawkeye figuring has been cropping up in Disney Stores, but now it’s available for order online from the Marvel Shop. Fully poseable, the 7-inch figure features “his classic black costume,” a bow, six arrows, a gun, interchangeable left hand, and two interchangeable heads (one with sunglasses, the other with a bandaged nose, of course).
Comics are art, and sometimes art is comics. The print collective Secret Panel, which ROBOT 6 wrote about last fall, has released two new limited-edition prints by Becky Cloonan and Matt Taylor focusing on Sex Criminals, the acclaimed Image Comics series by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (now being developed for television).
This is the fourth release for Secret Panel since its launch in October, following prints based on Nameless, Hotline Miami and Revival. Here are Taylor and Cloonan’s prints, the latter of which isn’t exactly safe for work:
Writer Matt Fraction is no stranger to mixing a little bit of social activism into his comics work. But this weekend, the Hawkeye and Sex Criminals scribe is drawing attention to a charity not because of art he made but because of art he detests: Fifty Shades of Grey.
The international best-selling romance novel and its just opened film adaptation could charitably be described as having a complicated relationship with sexual violence. Or as Fraction put it on his blog, “So there’s a movie out this weekend based on books that romanticize, fetishize, glamorize and normalize abusive relationships…And while sex is great and finding someone into all the stuff you’re into is great, sex is not consent to violence, a relationship is not permission to abuse, and there are thousands of women and children who have to deal with that fundamental and erroneous misconstruing of truth and wild misinterpretation of love every day.”
In response to the fact that the film’s earning millions made him feel “a little sick to think about,” Fraction is planning on matching donations to the Futures Without Violence charity generated by the sale of Hawkeye merchandise on WeLoveFine.com between now and Monday. The proceeds of past t-shirt and messenger bag sales exceeded $2,000 for the charity that works to end violence against women. But if you didn’t get a chance to buy a “Hawkguy” product then (or are just grossed out by the Fifty Shades phenomenon), now is your chance to make your contribution count for double.
Conventions | At a press conference Thursday to kick off FanXperience, the Salt Lake Comic Con spinoff event, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker declared Jan. 29, 2015, as “Salt Lake Comic Con’s Day of Heroes.” Organizers, who have capped ticket sales for the second annual event at 70,000, say they expect a sellout. The Deseret News also looks at the origins of Salt Lake Comic Con in a profile of founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg, who were introduced to comic conventions not as fans but as entrepreneurs. FanX continues through Sunday. [KSL.com]
Festivals | Reporter Alex Turnbull files a video report from the Angoulême International Comics Festival that includes segments on the tributes to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, the Belgian cartoonist Hermann, and a 24-hour comics challenge. [France 24]
Hawkeye merch has been available at the WeLoveFine online store for quite some time — but did you know proceeds were going to an anti-violence charity? Kelly Sue DeConnick announced via Twitter that the Hawkeye-themed merch had raised $2,068.39, which has been donated to Futures Without Violence, which seeks to end violence against women and children worldwide.
Museums | The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., has added comics to its permanent collection for the first time. Abigail and William Gerdts donated 176 comics, including Zap Comix and Arcade: The Comics Revue. Judith Brodie, curator of modern prints and drawings, cited the influence of comics on artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein: “They were all drawing their inspiration from cartoons and comic books. It seems totally logical that we’d want a representation of those.” [The Washington Post]
Passings | Greek cartoonist Ilias Skoulas died passed away Thursday at age 87. Skoulas began his career as an editorial cartoonist at the age of 32, and his work was published in numerous Greek newspapers and magazines, as well as 13 books. [Greek Reporter]
Brian Michael Bendis shared some terrific photos from a weekend get-together at the Portland, Oregon, home of Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick, where such artists as Matt Wagner, Skottie Young, Tony Moore and Matthew Clarke drew on the hallway wall. DeConnick provides a link to the “completely interactive” wallpaper, whose pattern features frames of different sizes and styles — ideal for one-of-a-kind sketches.
Check out a couple of the images below, and more on Bendis’ blog.
Hawkeye #19 featured the Marvel hero during his period of hearing loss, which writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja used as an opportunity to tell a story through American Sign Language. The issue’s title page included the dedication “For Leah,” and as it turns out, “Leah” is 17-year-old Utah resident Leah Coleman, KSL.com reports.
Her mother Rachel Coleman worked with Fraction on the issue. The two met through a concert held by Rachel Coleman’s Signing Time television series in 2012, when Fraction related how much he loved ASL due to its visual nature. He later contacted her for assistance in bringing ASL to Hawkeye #19.
“The new design is entitled ‘H Signs,’ and it is inspired by the plot of the latest issue of Fraction and David Aja’s critically acclaimed Hawkeye series,” wrote WeLoveFine’s Nicole Campos. “Each shirt is $25. In keeping with the sign language theme of the issue, Matt will be donating his curation commission for this particular style to the Signing Time Foundation, a charity whose efforts are dedicated toward making sign language fun and accessible to deaf children around the world.”
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
I think by now we can all agree that diversity in comics is a great thing. Not only does it welcome in people who might feel ostracized by convention and provide a positive reflection of themselves in the pages of a comic, but it teaches readers and challenges us to go beyond comfort zones and understand the world around us.
Legal | Attorney Tom Goldstein, co-founder of the respected SCOTUSblog, has joined with Marc Toberoff to represent the heirs of Jack Kirby in their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of the Second Circuit’s affirmation that the artist’s contributions to Marvel between 1958 and 1963 were work for hire and therefore not subject to copyright termination. In a response filed this week to Marvel’s brief urging the high court to decline review, Goldstein and Toberoff again challenge the Second Circuit’s “instance and expense” test and its definition of “employer,” and argue, “Many of our most celebrated literary and musical works were created before 1978 and signed away to publishers in un-remunerative transactions. Termination rights were ‘needed because of the unequal bargaining position of authors.’ It would be hard to find a better example of this than the prolific Jack Kirby, who worked in his basement with no contract, no financial security and no employment benefits, but without whom Marvel might not even be in business today.” [Hollyqood, Esq.]
Retailing | Memo to politicians: You don’t win friends and influence people by taking up five spots in a comic store’s parking lot with your campaign bus on a Wednesday — especially when it’s Batman Day. [The Clarion-Ledger]
The biggest comics news Thursday out of Comic-Con International was undoubtedly that, after years of debate, comiXology has introduced DRM-free backups of titles purchased from its storefront, with Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, Top Shelf Productions and Zenescope Entertainment signing on to the program.
An email went out last night notifying customers that books they’ve purchased can be downloaded and stored as PDF or CBZ files, and pointing them to an FAQ on the subject.
“This has been an oft-requested feature,” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said during the company’s Comic-Con panel. “It’s a real backup file — it’s a fairly plain PDF or CBZ. They are high resolution, not a lot of bells and whistles, and my feeling is that people will continue to use the cloud-based reader to do their reading.”
The other big announcement was that Marvel will publish Avengers: Age of Ultron, an in-continuity graphic novel by the Uncanny X-Force team of Rick Remender, Jerome Opeña and Dean White scheduled to arrive in April 2015, ahead of the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Saturday, aka Day 2, of HeroesCon was much busier for creators, so I didn’t always get the opportunity to chat with them that I did on the first day of the Charlotte, North Carolina, convention. In those instances, in place of project updates I provide links to the creators and/or their related works.
Pop culture | Eighty years ago today, Donald Duck was introduced as a supporting character in the animated short “The Wise Little Hen,” part of Walt Disney Productions’ Silly Symphonies series. His comic strip debut came a few months later, in an adaptation of the short by Ted Osborne and Al Taliaferro that ran in Sunday newspapers between Sept. 16 and Dec. 16. To mark the milestone, the National Turk publishes “a love letter to the duck,” while The Telegraph offers 10 surprising facts about the character. [National Turk, The Telegraph]
Political cartoons | The South African cartoonist Zapiro, himself no stranger to controversy, said the Eyewitness News cartoon depicting the South African legislature and the people who voted for them as clowns (and calling the voters “poephols,” or idiots) was a mistake. “I think the EWN cartoonists made a big error in the way they depicted the voters, what they called them and the shadow in the bottom corner, which could be misconstrued as meaning black voters,” he said. “They should have – and the editors of EWN should have – picked it up. But, they have apologised and anything that goes beyond that now is just bandwagoning by politicians.” Meanwhile, a fake Zapiro cartoon made the rounds on social media over the weekend. It’s based on a real 2002 cartoon that showed doctors finding the brain of then-president George W. Bush while giving him a colonoscopy; the fake cartoon substitutes South African President Jacob Zuma, who went into the hospital over the weekend. [Times Live]
Manga | The 13th volume of Hajime Isayama’s hit dystopian fantasy Attack on Titan sold 1.4 million copies in Japan during its first week of release: 1.13 million copies of the regular edition, and 270,000 of a special edition that includes the original video animation. Kodansha ordered a 2.75 million-copy initial print run, a record not only for the series but for the publisher as well. The 66th volume of One Piece holds the record in Japan for highest sales in the first week with nearly 2.3 million copies. [Crunchyroll]
Publishing | Darren Davis of Bluewater Productions, talks about the evolution of his company and the origin story of its Female Force bio-comics line: “[W]e saw a comic book done of Barack Obama and John McCain during the 2008 elections, and my partner joked and said, ‘Why don’t we do Hillary?’ And I thought, oh my God, that’s a brilliant idea.So I thought, let’s do this, but let’s do it differently. Let’s not do it like everyone else, with a boring biography. We did it with a female empowerment angle. We released Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin at the same time, and whether you like Sarah Palin or hate Hillary Clinton, you have to respect both of them for where they came from and who they are.” [The Beaverton Leader]