"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Legendary comics writer Stan Lee, The Simpsons creator Matt Groening and Batman star Adam West are among the fifth wave of action figures in NECA’s limited-edition Simpsons collection celebrating “25 of the Greatest Guest Stars.”
They appear alongside musicians Lenny Kravitz and Tom Petty, joining a lineup that includes the likes of Stephen King, Leonard Nimoy, R.E.M., Mark Hamill, Lucy Lawless and Tom Hanks. Launched in 2014, the boutique collection releases a new wave every two to three months, available at select retailers.
Censorship | Police confiscated 200 copies of Malaysian cartoonist Zunar’s latest book, which lampoons the prime minister’s wife, as they were being transported to a book launch party on Saturday. Zunar, who was charged last week with sedition and held for three days because of a comment he made on Twitter, said every time he’s arrested, police raid his printer. Nonetheless, he encouraged the attendees at the launch party to order his books online, and said that ultimately, attempts to suppress him will backfire on the Malaysian government. [The Malaysian Insider]
Over the past 25 years, Matt Groening has allowed a lot of bootleg Simpsons merchandise to slide by, but in tonight’s episode of Portlandia, he finally draws the line … at “Bart Ska-mpson” T-shirts.
The Portland, Oregon, native, who hasn’t appeared in an on-camera role since The Tracey Ullman Show in 1988, takes Spyke (Fred Armisen) to court over the knockoffs, because of the lousy pun and the horribly off-model Bart. “As the creator of The Simpsons, this makes my eyes hurt,” Groening tells the judge in the clip, below.
Graphic novels | Although BookScan’s September list of the bestselling graphic novels in bookstores is populated largely by old stalwarts — The Walking Dead, Attack on Titan, Saga, Watchmen — Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 1, the only Marvel title on the chart, clung to the Top 20 in its second month of release (although it slipped from No. 4. to No. 20). Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Seconds, meanwhile, climbed in its third month to No. 6. One new manga debuted at No. 12: Noragami, about a homeless god who does odd jobs as he tries to build up his reputation; the anime is already out, which probably gave it a boost. [ICv2]
Publishing | A television reporter pays a visit to the Last Gasp offices to talk about the Kickstarter recently launched by the longtime publisher of underground comics (and other quirky books). It’s worth a look just to see the owner’s amazing collection of oddities. [NBC Bay Area]
Conventions | The Phoenix Convention Center was evacuated Thursday, the first day of Phoenix Comicon, after a fire alarm was triggered by a damaged heat sensor (something similar occurred during last year’s event). Attendees were allowed back in to the venue after about 30 minutes. The convention, which in 2013 drew a record 55,000 people (leading organizers to cap attendance), continues through Sunday. [The Arizona Republic]
Retailing | Kirby Tardy, owner of Collectors Comics in Grand Rapids, Michigan, looks back at 35 years in the business. The store opened downtown in 1979 as Opalia’s Amorphium, and started out carrying a wide range of merchandise; since then it has gone in the opposite direction from many comics shops and focuses mainly on comics themselves, not peripheral items like figures or games. At one time there were several branch locations, and Tardy and his wife Debbie spent a lot of time going to comics conventions in the 1990s. The couple is planning to retire next year, but hopes the business will continue with new owners. [MLive.com]
Springfield, Oregon, will honor its connection to The Simpsons in September with an officially sanctioned mural depicting Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.
Announced Friday, the mural will be painted on the west side of the Emerald Arts Center by a local artist or organization, using as a basis original artwork provided by 20th Century Fox. The Simpsons creator Matt Groening will have final approval.
By now we’ve all seen, or at least heard about, the Twitter-rocking star-studded selfie orchestrated by Ellen DeGeneres during Sunday’s 86th Academy Awards ceremony. Snapped by Bradley Cooper (who actually owns the rights to the image), the photo was retweeted a 3.2 million times, shattering the previous record of more than 778,000 set in November 2012 with the election-night post from President Obama.
While the not entirely spontaneous stunt certainly paid off for ABC and Samsung, which was reportedly promised airtime for the Galaxy Note 3 smartphone as part of its $20 million sponsorship and ad buy, they weren’t the only ones to get promotional mileage out of the photo.
Although the tribute didn’t go exactly as planned, The Simpsons last night bid a touchingly appropriate farewell to actress Marcia Wallace, and her character Edna Krabappel, with a somber chalkboard gag in which a sad-eyed Bart writes “We’ll really miss you Mrs. K.”
Fox originally announced it would send off Wallace, who passed away Oct. 25 at age 70, with a 7:30 showing of “Bart the Lover,” the 1992 episode for which the actress received an Emmy Award. However, “technical issues” led to its last-minute replacement by “The Ned-Liest Catch,” the Season 22 finale in which Edna begins dating Ned Flanders.
The chalkboard bit was added to the opening of the new episode that followed, “4 Regrettings and a Funeral. Showrunner Al Jean announced the day after Wallace’s death that The Simpsons will “retire” Edna Krabappel.
The Simpsons will pay tribute Sunday to Marcia Wallace, who for the past 23 years was the voice of Bart’s teacher Edna Krabappel. The actress passed away Oct. 25 at age 70.
According to Entertainment Weekly, Fox will first replace a repeat of American Dad at 7:30 p.m. ET/PT with the 1992 Simpsons episode “Bart the Lover,” for which Wallace received an Emmy Award.
The producers of The Simpsons plan to “retire” Bart’s jaded yet hopelessly romantic teacher Edna Krabappel following the death on Friday of voice actor Marcia Wallace.
“I was tremendously saddened to learn this morning of the passing of the brilliant and gracious Marcia Wallace,” showrunner Al Jean said in a statement issued Saturday. “She was beloved by all at The Simpsons and we intend to retire her irreplaceable character.”
Given that Wednesday is the series finale of Futurama — at least until it’s resurrected again — it seems only appropriate that we showcase this eBay auction of a piece of original art by Bill Morrison, signed by him, series creator Matt Groening, Producer Lee Supercinski, Executive Producer David X. Cohen and the entire cast.
Anyone who attended the Futurama panel last month at Comic-Con International, where Groening used the piece to “cheat” in his draw-off against animation director Edmund Fong. (You can see the video below.)
The current bid for the drawing, which measures 48 inches by 36 inches, is $1,125. All proceeds from the auction will benefit TLC (Tiny Loving Canines), a nonprofit small-dog breed rescue in Simi Valley, California. The auction ends Sept. 8.
It’s difficult to write about The Simpsons and fashion without belting out the words to “See My Vest,” but I’ll give it a try: Paying tribute to the long-running animate series — heck, the longest-running scripted primetime show on American television — Converse has released a line of screen-printed Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers featuring Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie (and, in the background of one of the designs, much of the population of Springfield).
The Simpsons Chuck Taylor All Star collection, which range in price from $37 to $60 for children and adults, is available now on the Converse website and at Journeys.
Comics sales | Is Mark Millar on to something after all? The first issue of Jupiter’s Legacy sold more than 105,000 copies to direct market stores in April; the only other Image comic to reach those numbers in recent years is The Walking Dead. ICv2 runs the numbers and also posts the Top 300 comics and graphic novels for April. [ICv2]
Passings | Matt Groening’s mother has died at the age of 94. Although she always went by Margaret, Groening borrowed her name for Marge Simpson in his animated series The Simpsons. [Comic Riffs]
Retailing | Amanda Emmert has resigned after nine years as executive director of ComicsPRO, the direct-market trade organization. [ComicsPRO]
Publishing | Dark Horse editor Scott Allie explains the publisher’s plan to start numbering B.P.R.D. sequentially, starting with #100, rather than as “an ongoing series of miniseries”: “The reason to make the change was in part how many times [San Francisco retailer and industry pundit] Brian Hibbs told me, ‘Well, really B.P.R.D. is an ongoing…’ And he’s right. Another part of the reason is that as we’ve moved into doing more short stories — two- or three-issue stories — we get those new issue #1’s too often. You do new #1’s to give readers jumping on points, but when they’re coming so quickly it becomes more confusing than anything else. Depending on how retailers rack, you could have two or three B.P.R.D. #1’s on the shelf at a time, and it’s hard for readers or retailer to know what to read next. So while I know it will cause a little confusion to suddenly have #100 out there, a few months down the road it’ll make everything simpler.” [Comics Alliance]
TVLine has the first look at the Comic-Con International exclusive that everyone will be wearing … or stepping over on the convention floor: Fox’s Bart Simpson crowns. They’re made of heavy paper, like something you might snag at Burger King, but considering their limited-edition nature, they’ll probably end up becoming considerably more valuable.
The crowns will be available at the Fox Fanfare booth (#4313) on a first come, first serve basis. There’s also a Simpsons panel scheduled for 12:45 p.m. Saturday, with executive producer Al Jean, supervising producer Mike Anderson and voice actor Yeardley Smith in attendance.