Typically when we report about the costumed characters on Hollywood Boulevard or in New York City’s Times Square, it’s because of their alleged misbehavior: assault, theft, all-out civil war. But this time the superheroes are actually, well, the heroes.
Los Angeles’ KABC reports that on Friday, well-known character impersonators Jennifer Wenger and Christopher Dennis (aka Wonder Woman and Superman) were taping a segment for Jimmy Kimmel Live when Wenger was attacked by a cowboy boot-wearing transient who’s apparently infamous for bad behavior.
“She got in my face and she flipped my lip, and then punched me in the face,” Wenger told KABC. And that’s when the Man of Steel stepped in. “I’m then reflecting all of her boot throws,” Dennis explained. “She actually hits Wonder Woman again with a boot. I reflected it and it just kind of ricocheted off my arm and hit her in the face.”
In a real-life crossover, two men dressed as Batman and Captain America rescued a cat from a house fire in Milton, West Virginia, on Saturday.
Unlike other would-be superheroes like Phoenix Jones, the pair — aka John Buckland and Troy Marcum, respectively — weren’t out on patrol; the trouble came to them. Buckland, a former firefighter who served with the Department of Defense in Iraq, runs a service called Heroes 4 Higher that sends costumed superheroes to parties and other events to “bring an age-appropriate, positive message of inspiration, safety and daring to dream.”
Buckland and Marcum were doing just that at an American Legion post when a fire broke out in a house nearby. Seeing the smoke, they dashed to the house to check whether there was anyone inside. Marcum broke the window, and as the smoke poured out, Buckland said, “I reach down and grab something furry.” That was the cat; the homeowners turned out to be out of town, but their cat was overcome by smoke and had to be resuscitated by Buckland.
Comics | A CGC-certified 9.6 copy of 1963′s The X-Men #1, by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, fetched a private-sale record of $250,000 in a deal brokered by Pedigree Comics. That same comic, said to be one of just two certified near-mint copies in existence, went for a then-record $200,000 in March 2011; a 9.8 copy sold at auction in July 2012 for $492,938. The all-time record remains the $2.6 million paid in a 2011 auction for a near-mint copy of Action Comics #1. [CGC Comics]
Comics | Joe McCulloch puts together a nice guide to the self-published comics of Steve Ditko. [Comics Alliance]
Comics | If you want to read Franco-Belgian comics but don’t know where to start, Jared Gardner has you covered, with a brief introduction and some recommended works that have been translated into English. [Public Books]
If you were left confused this week by reports of a brawl breaking out among costumed heroes on Hollywood Boulevard left you confused — two Captain Americas vs. one Spider-Man? — TomoNews US is on hand to sort things out with a typically absurd animated recreation of events.
If the work looks familiar, it’s because these are the folks at Next Media Animation, the Taiwanese studio that previously brought us such gems as explanations of Miles Morales as the new Spider-Man and the insanity of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. This video isn’t nearly as outlandish as those — sorry, no depictions of a Taiwanese wall-crawler strangling a panda — but it does envision what the fight at the Madame Tussauds kiosk might’ve looked like, complete with blood spurting from an unnerving mouth on Spider-Man’s mask.
In retrospect, the Superhuman Registration Act doesn’t seem like such a bad idea after all: First there were reports of assault, and theft, by Spider-Man, and then there was that late-night attack by She-Hulk. Now Civil War has broken out among costumed heroes on the streets of Hollywood.
According to CBS Los Angeles, Spider-Man and two Captain Americas (perhaps one was that crazy Cap from the 1950s) came to blows Wednesday afternoon on Hollywood Boulevard, near the Dolby Theatre. The cause? A turf war among superhero impersonators — who, like their Marvel Universe counterparts, operate with little regulation — and accusations of harassing tourists.
Publishing | Continuing its domination of the graphic novel sales in bookstores, The Walking Dead laid claim to seven of the Top 10 spots on BookScan’s April chart. The series, by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, took the first four positions. What’s more, 12 of the Top 20 graphic novels were volumes of The Walking Dead. [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson talks to Right Stuf director of marketing and communications Alison Roberts about that company’s announcement earlier this week that it will be publishing the first three volumes Hetalia: Axis Powers as a print-on-demand books. The series was originally licensed by Tokyopop, which is co-branding the books with Right Stuf. [MTV Geek]
If you’re one of those men who just wants to watch the world burn, it’s probably better if you don’t post about it on Facebook.
Maine’s Bangor Daily News reports that 35-year-old Christopher Schwartz, the self-styled Bar Harbor Batman — “A Beacon of light in a bleak and otherwise dismal world” — was arrested Sunday after posting a Joker-esque April Fool’s prank demanding “payment of 1 million Dollars or I will Blow up the Hospital. Once the funds are secured, Private Message me for Further Instruction.”
Although Schwartz reportedly tried to explain to police that the post was a joke, he was taken to Hancock County Jail on a charge of terrorizing, and later released on $1,000 bail. It seems Wayne Manor is located uncomfortably close to Mount Desert Island Hospital, leading the Bar Harbor Police Department to take the post seriously.
Legal | Ryan Matheson, who was stopped at the Canadian border in 2010 and charged with criminal possession of child pornography because of a manga image on his computer (which even the officials who arrested him couldn’t agree was child pornography), talks about his ordeal in a personal statement on the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund site. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund announced Thursday that the Canadian government has dropped all criminal charges against Matheson. [CBLDF]
Comics | Leah Moore sees two things: a huge number of women who like comics, and a comics industry that is in serious trouble, and thinks it’s time to connect the dots and start making comics that appeal to the other 50% of the audience. “Okay, well, let’s say, instead of jumping in and writing comics designed to attract women readers (Minx comics discovered this is harder than it looks), how’s about writing comics which don’t actually put women off? How’s about a bit less objectifying, a bit less sexualisation, a bit less pervy gusset shots and tit windows? Just a bit? Make some of the regular mainstream big name books everyone enjoys reading a bit less eyewatering and weird about women. That would be a great start.” [Warren Ellis]
Retailing | Following a week in which much of the comics coverage was fixated on Action Comics #900 and Superman’s apparent renunciation of his U.S. citizenship, mainstream media outlets are now shifting their four-color focus to the 10th annual Free Comic Book Day, which will be held Saturday at more than 2,000 stores worldwide. You can see a list of notable creator appearances at the FCBD website, but here’s a rundown of some event previews: FCBD press release, Wired’s GeekDad blog, Los Angeles Times’ Hero Complex blog, Phoenix New Times, The Marietta (Ohio) Times, The Coast (Halifax, Nova Scotia), The Daily Athanaeum (West Virginia University) and TribLocal (Evanston, Ill.). [Free Comic Book Day]
Awards | Rich Johnston asks a PRISM executive how DC Comics’ widely reviled miniseries Justice League: The Rise of Arsenal rated the group’s award honoring “the accurate depiction of substance abuse and mental illness.” “Obviously our criteria is a bit different from that of reviewers,” said Larry Deutchman, PRISM’s executive vice president of marketing and industry relations. [Bleeding Cool]
No doubt you’ll remember the various news stories that started popping up over the last year or so about “real life superheroes” — nonfictional, Kick-Ass-esque folks donning costumes to help their communities and fight crime.
Photographer Peter Tangen started a site where he’s shining “some light on this new breed of activism and altruism” with a new website called “The Real Life Super Hero Project” that features videos, feature stories and Alex Ross-inspired portraits of the heroes.
“Now, what began as a gallery exhibit, has come to serve as the launching pad of something far greater—a living, breathing community that inspires people to become the positive forces for change we all can be. To become more active, more involved, more committed, and perhaps, a little super in the process,” the site reads. They also have an active Facebook page, and you can check out a trailer for the site after the jump.
He’s collaborated with top industry writers to lend his highly detailed art to such memorable titles as Mark Millar’s Swamp Thing run, Grant Morrison’s The Filth, Warren Ellis’s Ministry of Space, Joe Casey’s Fantastic Four: First Family, and J. Michael Straczynski’s The Twelve. But has artist Chris Weston’s greatest contribution to the fight for truth and justice just taken place in the real world — where he just may have helped the cops catch a bank robber?
According to a post on his blog, Weston was waiting in line at the bank yesterday and doing what many artists do to kill time under such circumstances — meticulously observing the guy in front of him — when that guy proceeded to approach the teller and forcibly demand cash. Weston writes:
By the time I realised what was happening he’d escaped with the loot. I gave my contact details to the bank and then ran like the wind back to my studio and set about hastlily drawing some pictures of the robber. I’d studied this guy quite intensely and could remember every detail of his likeness and clothes.
Weston then provided the sketches to the local constabulary, who reacted with near-disbelief: Apparently, the man in Weston’s drawings perfectly matched a suspect they’d already picked up.
The sketches remain in the hands of the police, and since the case is pending Weston says he can’t comment further. But he promises to scan and post the crime-busting portraits if and when he’s given permission to do so. In the meantime, read the full story here and congratulate Chris for giving the filth a hand!
(Via Tom Spurgeon)
Publishing | ICv2.com calls the just-announced graphic-novel adaptation of Twilight from Yen Press “the closest thing to printing money that we’ve heard about this year.” That sounds about right. The retailer-oriented website goes on to characterize the move as “the kind of deal that could be a transformational event for Yen,” the three-year-old imprint of Hachette Book Group. Brigid Alverson rounds up some online reaction. [ICv2.com]
Legal | Here’s a little more on DC Comics’ multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Bradenton, Florida, resident John Stacks, who’s accused of selling unauthorized resin kit figurines based on the 1960s Batman TV series. “This was not a profit thing,” Stacks says. “This was a hobby that I enjoy. … It’s not that I’m making a fortune. I’m making nothing. It’s ridiculous.” [Bradenton Herald]
Crime | If you’ve been wondering what became of the young man who, dressed as Superman, got into a highly publicized scuffle with police last week in Times Square, wonder no more: Twenty-three-year-old Bronx resident Maksim Katsnelson has withstood the mockery, and even gained a fan following. Kevin Deutsch gets Our Hero’s backstory. [The Riverdale Press]
Publishing | Sean Kleefeld points out that Marvel stock is at its highest point ever. [Kleefeld on Comics]
It seems the World’s Finest are no match for New York‘s Finest.
Putting the Daily Planet to shame, the New York Post reports in an “exclusive” that New York City police took down Batman and Superman yesterday in Times Square.
Make that Frank Frisoli and Maksim Katsnelson, who were dressed as two-thirds of DC Comics’ Trinity.
It seems Katsnelson (Superman) may have been panhandling. When approached by police, he allegedly hit a female officer in the face. One witness says that it took seven officers to take down the Last Son of Krytpon — er, I mean The Bronx.
The Caped Crusader, Frisoli, was handcuffed and then released because he hadn’t punched an officer in the face, I guess. The Maine resident said the Not-So-Dynamic Duo had dressed up for a laugh.
Unfortunately, they didn’t have the required license to perform in costume in public. Wait, a license? Has the Superhuman Registration Act finally spilled over from the Marvel Universe?
Damn you, Tony Stark! Damn you!
The recession can be blamed for any number of things, ranging from home foreclosures to layoffs to business closings. Now add to that list the rise of real-life superheroes.
CNN reports that the dismal economic environment is leading more people to don masks in an effort to help their communities and fight crime.
Ben Goldman of Superheroes Anonymous estimates there are somewhere between 250 and 300 real-life superheroes worldwide, up from around 200 just last summer.
“A lot of them have gone through a sort of existential crisis and have had to discover who they are,” Goldman tells CNN.
But Stan Lee, for one, sees the increase in real-life superheroes as a positive sign.
“I think it’s a good thing that people are eager enough to want to help their community,” he says. “They think to do it is to emulate the superheroes. Now if they had said they had super powers [that would be another thing].”
But now the black-clad protector of the Queen City may pray for the day when those were his biggest concerns.
It seems the rise of real-life superheroes, who organize via the World Superhero Registry, have triggered the inevitable backlash — one far worse than the so-called Consortium of Evil that sought Shadow Hare’s identity.
Introducing ROACH — Ruthless Organization Against Citizen Heroes — whose “primary goal is to be a counter balancing force against the Superheroes of the world who’s [sic] goodwill and penchant for spreading hope has gone on unchecked for far too long. Where they exist to help and motivate society, we exist to help and motivate ourselves and to bring society under our boot!”
Unearthed over the weekend by io9.com, ROACH appears highly organized, with a mission statement, a youth-outreach division called LARVA — Lower Aged Recruits for Violence and Aggression — and, of course, T-shirts.
Shadow Hare, what have you gotten yourself into?