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Comics A.M. | Ta-Nehisi Coates wins PEN Literary Award

Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Courtesy of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Awards | Ta-Nehisi Coates, the writer of Marvel’s Black Panther, has won a 2016 PEN Literary Award recognizing the art of the essay for his acclaimed memoir Between the World and Me. The author and journalist has already received a National Book Award and a MacArthur “genius grant,” as well as a nomination for the National Book Critics Circle Award for criticism. The PEN award comes with a $10,000 prize. [PEN]

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Comics A.M. | Black Keys’ Daniel Auerbach to create comic soundtrack

"Murder Ballads" art by Paul Reinwand

“Murder Ballads” art by Paul Reinwand

Music | Daniel Auerbach, half of the blues/rock duo The Black Keys, is creating a soundtrack album to go with the new comic book miniseries Murder Ballads, which publisher Z2 Comics describes as a “rock ’n’ roll noir story about the music industry and redemption.” The comic, by Gabe Soria and Paul Reinwand, will debut later this year. [Vulture]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Real Stuff’ writer Dennis Eichhorn passes away

Dennis Eichhorn (photo by  Matt Crowley)

Dennis Eichhorn (photo by Matt Crowley)

Passings | Underground comics writer Dennis Eichhorn passed away on Oct. 8 at age 70. He’s best known for his autobiographical comic series Real Stuff, which often involved tales of alcohol, sex and drugs. Published from 1990 to 1995 by Fantagraphics, the multiple Eisner-nominated Real Stuff was illustrated by the likes of Lynda Barry, Chester Brown, Peter Kuper, Joe Sacco, Roberta Gregory and Ed Brubaker. [The Stranger]

Legal | Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani, already serving a 12-year sentence for a cartoon depicting members of the Iranian parliament with animal heads, and under investigation for shaking hands with her male lawyer, had to endure yet another indignity in August: She was forced to undergo a “forced virginity and pregnancy test” as part of the investigation of the latter charge. “In doing so, the Iranian judicial authorities have truly reached an outrageous low, seeking to exploit the stigma attached to sexual and gender-based violence in order to intimidate, punish or harass her,” said Said Boumedouha of Amnesty International, which is calling for her release. [Amnesty International]

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Comics A.M. | Edinburgh Zoo names Cartoonist in Residence

By Cameron McPhail and the Kartoon Faktory

By Cameron McPhail and the Kartoon Faktory

Creators | The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland has named its first Cartoonist in Residence: Cameron McPhail, who left his job in 2002 as chief executive of wealth management at the Royal Bank of Scotland  to become a full-time cartoonist. He and his colleagues in the Kartoon Faktory collective will produce books about the animals in the zoo and possibly a comic strip as well. [Edinburgh News]

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The latest Humble Bundle is music to our ears

From "The Wicked + The Divine" #4

From “The Wicked + The Divine” #4

The latest Humble Bundle book bundle has been unveiled, and it’s a musical mix of novels and graphic novels that are either by or about musicians.

The Humble Bundle deal lasts for two weeks, and it works like this: For the first tier, you pay what you want — as little as a penny. This gets you seven items, including three graphic novels: The first volume of Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s gods-as-rock-stars series The Wicked + The Divine, the first volume of Rick Spears and Chuck BB’s Black Metal and This Is a Souvenir: Songs of Spearmint & Shirley Lee, an anthology of short stories based on the songs of the British group Spearmint, plus three prose novels (two by Rush drummer Neil Peart) and an audio collection of Pete Seeger’s spoken-word pieces.

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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

speaker1

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

butcher-billy1-cropped

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

andy-grammer2

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

archaia_musical_monsters_of_turkey_hollow_hc

[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

maryjanes

[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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