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Comics A.M. | Is Tokyopop planning a comeback?

Tokyopop

Tokyopop

Manga | Is former manga powerhouse Tokyopop coming back? Once the largest publisher of manga in North America, the company stopped publishing new manga in 2011, but didn’t go bankrupt and never really went away. Tokyopop is selling many of its “global manga” titles digitally and in print, on demand, and it ‘s planning panels at both Anime Expo in Los Angeles and Comic-Con International in San Diego. On his blog, CEO Stu Levy drops a few hints, saying he’s “rebuilding” Tokyopop. [Tokyopop]

Digital comics | Rob Salkowitz analyzes the latest news from Amazon and comiXology and suggests there’s more to the story than meets the eye. While fans may view the renewal of Marvel’s deal with comiXology as a story about a digital comics service, Salkowitz says it’s really about bringing comics to the mass market through Amazon: “Kindle isn’t Amazon’s platform for reaching comic book readers. It’s Amazon’s platform for reaching all readers. comiXology counts its revenues in millions. Amazon counts its revenues in billions. Moving these titles from a superior specialty app to an inferior mainstream app isn’t a big deal for existing fans but it’s a huge potential expansion of the market.” [ICv2]

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This Iron Man helmet is actually a Bluetooth speaker

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Many comic book and movie collectibles do little more than collect dust on a shelf, but this life-size Iron Man XLIII helmet replica looks good and serves an actual purpose: It’s a wireless Bluetooth speaker.

Available for preorder for $449, it comes equipped with a 15W, 82mm subwoofer and two 3W, 40mm speakers, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, and a 3.5mm jack, in case you just want to plug into your smartphone or MP3 player. It also features light-up eyes.

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Morrissey smash! Post-punk icons reimagined as Marvel heroes

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In a long overdue followup to his 2013 series “Post-Punk/New Wave Super Friends,” Brazilian artist Butcher Billy delivers the fantastic “All-New Superpowered Post-Punk Marvels,” which mashes together some of your favorite Marvel heroes with ’70s and ’80s music icons.

“While people still debate on what really makes a pop culture icon,” Billy explains, “now it’s time for good old Earth 616 to host a gang of All-New, Almighty Post-Punk Heroes we know and love.”

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Producer swipes art, responds with vulgar tweets when called out

mock tweet

Grammy-winning producer Diplo on Wednesday teased the new Jack U collaboration with Missy Elliot with an Instagram video, which should’ve been a harmless bit of self-promotion. Instead, it led to a flurry of mocking and misogynistic tweets aimed at Rebecca Mock and others after the illustrator pointed out the DJ had used one of her GIFs without permission or credit.

Diplo, whom In the Mix once ironically dubbed the “King of Twitter,” added Mock’s credit to the Instagram post, only to trumpet his action with this vulgar exchange:

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Comics A.M. | Veteran ‘Beano’ artist Andy Hutton passes away

The Q-Bikes

The Q-Bikes

Passings | Andy Hutton, who drew the popular strip “The Q-Bikes” (which morphed briefly into “The Q-Karts”) for the British comic The Beano, died last month at age 91. Born in Calcutta, Hutton moved as a teenager to Dundee, Scotland, where he began working for Beano publisher DC Thomson at age 14. He quit that job to train to be a pilot in the Royal Air Force, but poor eyesight kept him grounded much of the time. After World War II, he got an art degree and lived in Canada for a while, working in nuclear reactor construction, before returning in 1950 to Scotland. He was a Beano artist for 25 years, and his work included Red Rory of the Eagles, Jack Flash and The Kangaroo Kid; he also taught art in a local high school. [Down the Tubes]

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James Gunn reveals ‘Guardians’ secret ‘Awesome Mix Vol. Zero’

guardians-movie-soundtrack

The name of the soundtrack for the Guardians of the Galaxy, Awesome Mix Volume 1, suggests that at some point we could see a second volume. However, before Volume 1 sold more than 500,000 copies, there was actually a “Volume Zero” — or at least a playlist put together by director James Gunn and production sound mixer Simon Hayes and used between takes on the set of the Marvel blockbuster.

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Andy Grammer resists Golden Age temptresses in new video

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Musician Andy Grammer turned to the Golden Age  or his latest music video “Honey I’m Good,” an ode to faithfulness in the face of temptation, using panels from old sci-fi and romance comics to illustrate a narrative of a handsome guy turning down the advances of glamorous women (one of them green).

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog, Grammer calls the song “a relationship anthem,” saying, “I’m out on tour all the time, there are a lot of beautiful women on tour, I’m a married man and part of being in a relationship is saying no to really cute girls.” The video ends with a classic romance-comic reunion.

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Henson and Langridge’s ‘Musical Monsters’ are delightful

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[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.]

The Musical Monsters of Turkey Hollow is a charming children’s story with clearly defined heroes and villains, plus music-making Muppet monsters from outer space, all lovingly adapted into comics form by Roger Langridge. It has a classic feel that will please adults but is fresh enough for children to enjoy, and Langridge does a particularly nice job of rendering music into visual form, something that is often a challenge for creators.

The book is adapted from a script that Jim Henson and collaborator Jerry Juhl wrote for a children’s television special, and the story is pretty straightforward. The protagonist, Timmy, lives with his Aunt Clytemnestra, who has an other-worldly feel to her, and his older sister Ann, who is more of a hippie type (the story is set in 1968). Ann and Timmy like to go out to an isolated area of their property to practice playing guitar, but they get chased off by their mean neighbor Mister Sump, who wants the land for himself.

Timmy is out practicing one day when the monsters arrive and accompany him with strange musical sounds of their own. Soon Timmy is friends with the monsters, but you know in a story like this that the bad guy is going to cause trouble, and that’s exactly what happens. Turkey Hollow has more turkeys than people, and suddenly the turkeys are all gone and the monsters are found sleeping in a heap with bones scattered all around. The sheriff reluctantly rounds the monsters up and puts them in jail, but Timmy is pretty sure they are being framed, and he sets off to prove it.

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Married with Sea Monsters brings ‘Face It Tiger’ to life

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[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.]

As Tim mentioned earlier today, the “Spider-Gwen” character that debuted in Edge of Spider-Verse #2 last week has resonated with fans in a way we haven’t seen since … well, since the recent redesign of Batgirl. Writer Jason Latour was sharing fan art of the character on his Tumblr long before she debuted last “Gwensday,” as people really got into Robbi Rodriguez’s design of the alternate universe Spider-Woman.

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Springsteen & Caruso turn ‘Outlaw Pete’ into a children’s book

outlaw peteBruce Springsteen has teamed with cartoonist Frank Caruso to create Outlaw Pete, a children’s book based on the music legend’s 2009 song about a bank-robbing baby who “cut his trail of tears across the countryside.”

The song, which appears on the album Working on a Dream, was inspired by the 1950 children’s book Brave Cowboy Bill, which Springsteen’s mother read to him when he was a child. “Outlaw Pete is essentially the story of a man trying to outlive and outrun his sins,” the singer/songwriter said in a statement.

The idea for adapting the song into a book, using Springsteen’s lyrics, originated with Caruso, who in 2012 helped pay homage to the band Wilco in the Popeye comic strip — part of an unusual crossover that saw lead singer Jeff Tweedy as a potential suitor for Olive Oyl in the animated video for “Dawned on Me.”

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Guardians of the Galaxy dance their way into Walt Disney World

guardians-movie-soundtrack

The Guardians of the Galaxy are on their way to Walt Disney World in Florida, and they’re coming to dance.

According to the Disney Parks blog, a Guardians of the Galaxy Awesome Mix Tape Dance Party is being planned as part of a “Villains Unleashed” event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Aug. 23. Per the post, guests can dance to the film’s best-selling soundtrack — at least until Star-Lord and Gamora show up to retrieve the tape.

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Music, sound and comics

a4171370003_2Soundtracks have become an integral component of movies, television shows and video games. How important is a great soundtrack? There’s a video online that removes John Williams’ from E.T., leaving the triumphant moment at the end feeling lonely and empty. Swells and the rhythm of the full orchestra pull you in emotionally.

Can music be added to a comic? Years ago, that would have been a silly question, conjuring images of opening the book and hearing a tinny tune playing like something out of a greeting card. But now that comics are online, in a digital realm where greater integration between different kinds of media? It not as ridiculous a prospect as it sounds. Besides, it’s already being done.

Music and sounds are more prevalent in Flash-style webomics. Stuart Campbell’s Nawlz uses a futuristic electronic soundtrack to create a palpable sense of unease. It’s almost as if there’s something buzzing at all times to subconsciously frazzle your nerves. As you search the page to figure out what to click on next, you feel on guard. Will this next click bring the music to a halt? Is this comic setting me up to be frightened by a loud noise? It’s weird how much a soundtrack can ratchet up the anxiety. The effect is not unlike watching a horror movie, where more than half of the frights are due to sounds and music.

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Hollywood guilds join push for Supreme Court to hear Kirby case

jack kirbyThree organizations representing Hollywood actors, directors and screenwriters have thrown their weight behind an effort to convince the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal by the heirs of Jack Kirby that could have ramifications far beyond Marvel and the comics industry.

The case, as most readers know by now, involves the copyrights to the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Thor and other characters created or co-created by Kirby during his time at Marvel in the 1960s. The artist’s children filed 45 copyright-termination notices in September 2009, seeking to reclaim what they believe to his stake in the properties under the terms of the U.S. Copyright Act. Marvel responded with a lawsuit, which led to a 2011 ruling that Kirby’s 1960s creations were work for hire and therefore not subject to copyright reclamation. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in August 2013, which brings us to the Kirby family’s petition to the Supreme Court.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Screen Actors Guild-Federation of Television and Radio Artists, the Directors Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America have filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief that insists the Second Circuit’s ruling “jeopardizes the statutory termination rights that many Guild members may possess in works they created.”

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Agent Coulson drops in on KCRW’s ‘Guest DJ Project’

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If you ever wondered how actor Clark Gregg prepared himself for Agent Coulson’s death scene — or, rather, “death” scene — in The Avengers, you only need to listen to KCRW’s “Guest DJ Project.” Hint: It’s music, but any additional information is probably above your clearance level.

For this week’s episode of the Los Angeles radio show, the star of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. compiles a track list that includes Parliament-Funkadelic’s “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker),” Public Enemy’s “Caught, Can We Get a Witness” and Radiohead’s “Go to Sleep.”

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ unseats bestselling ‘One Piece’

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13

Manga | Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan has knocked longtime bestseller One Piece from the top of Japan’s manga charts. Market research firm Oricon reports that Attack on Titan, which has 13 volumes in print, sold 8,342,268 copies in the first half of the year, making it the bestselling series in Japan. One Piece, which has long held that title, sold 4,936,855 copies of 73 volumes, but it did top the charts for single-volume sales, with 2,825,339 copies sold of the latest volume. The numbers cover the period from mid-November to mid-May. [Anime News Network]

Publishing | DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Jim Lee talks about his history with Batman in advance of DC’s 75th-anniversary celebration for the character. [Asbury Park Press]

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