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Comics A.M. | New York City considers restricting costumed characters

times scare

Legal | New York City Council is once again considering legislation that would restrict Times Square’s infamous costumed characters to specific zones. The council’s transportation committee will take up the bill this morning, just days after after a man in a Spider-Man costume was charged with assault following an alleged fight with a tourist over a tip. “Come to New York, duke it out with a superhero!” said Councilmember Daniel Garodnick, one of the bill’s sponsors. “Is that really what we want to be known for?” [Fox 5]

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Comics A.M. | Man demands ‘Magic’ cards in attempted robbery

magic-surveillance-social

Crime | A sheepish would-be robber walked away empty-handed Monday afternoon after attempting to hold up a Little Rock, Arkansas, comic store for Magic: The Gathering Cards. “I hate to do this, but I have a gun, and I want a box of Magic cards for my son’s birthday,” the man allegedly told a clerk at The Comic Book Shop. However, when the employee offered him a pack of the cards, he reportedly declined and left, saying, “Don’t call police.” The suspect remains at large, although police have distributed an image of him taken from a security camera. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette]

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Comics A.M. | Houston tourism group sues con over ‘Space City’ name

Space City Comic Con

Space City Comic Con

Legal | The Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau has sued the organizers of Space City Comic Con, claiming trademark infringement over the event’s use of the term “Space City.” Many Houston businesses use the nickname, which dates back to the 1960s, but the bureau’s lawyer said the trademark only covers tourism- and convention-related events. The bureau owns a 50 percent share in Comicpalooza, which directly competes with Space City Comic Con, and has asked the court to not only stop the show from using the name “Space City” but also to turn over part of its profits and agree not to compete with the bureau. [Houston Chronicle]

Cartoons | Playboy was once one of the best markets for gag cartoons, but with the recent redesign, they were tossed out the window along with the nude centerfolds. Jules Feiffer, Doug Sneyd, Playboy editorial director Jason Buhrmester and others talk about the reasons for, and ramifications of, that decision, Playboy‘s history as a magazine showcasing great cartoons, and what the future may hold. [FastCoCreate]

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Comics A.M. | Manga sales gain momentum in 2015

tokyo ghoul-v1

Manga | ICv2 wraps up a week of intensive manga coverage with a look at the overall market, and it’s looking pretty good: Manga sales were up 13 percent in the first eight months of 2015, and they have been increasing for three years straight. What’s more, it’s a broad-based increase, with healthy sales in all channels — comic shops, bookstores, the mass market (i.e. Walmart) and libraries. ICv2’s Milton Griepp attributes the growth to several factors, including the popularity of streaming anime (which gives related manga properties a strong boost), the emergence of several blockbuster properties (Attack on Titan, One-Punch Man and Tokyo Ghoul), and increasing acceptance of geek culture in general, and anime/manga fandom in particular. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Bad Batman’ arrested in string of armed robberies

robbery-batman

Crime | Deputies in Orange County, Florida, have arrested a man suspected of committing eight armed robberies — two of which while dressed as Batman. Investigators say 26-year-old Juan Carlos Nieves Morales — dubbed the “Bad Batman” — kicked off the string of crimes on Jan. 22, targeting Dollar Stores, food stores and even a paint shop. He allegedly entered the businesses armed with a black or silver handgun, and demand cash, and sometimes even property, from the employees. [CBS12, WDBO]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Ms. Marvel’ wins Dwayne McDuffie diversity award

ms marvel

Awards | Ms. Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, won the second annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics, presented over the weekend at Long Beach Expo in Long Beach, California. The other nominees were Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven, by Brandon Easton and Denis Medri;  Fresh Romance, edited by Janelle Asselin; Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare and Natacha Bustos; and Zana, by Jean Barker and Joey Granger. The Beat has Wilson’s acceptance video. [Long Beach Comic Expo]

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Comics A.M. | Stan Lee announces final appearance in Canada

stan lee2

Creators | Stan Lee has announced his visit to Fan Expo Canada in September will mark his final appearance in that country. “It’s so pleasant to go somewhere where people like you and want to hear what you have to say,” he said. “It’s very flattering. But I’m 93 years old. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to do it. I want to make this one big event.” When it was pointed out that Lee doesn’t look as if he’s slowing down, the legendary creator replied, “Well, I can’t run the marathon and win the way I used to.” Lee made his final convention appearance in Europe in 2014. [Toronto]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Cash mob’ rallies to help struggling store

Cape & Cowl owner Jay Roy, during the Feb. 13 "cash mob"

Cape & Cowl owner Jay Roy, during the Feb. 13 “cash mob”

Retailing | When the customers of Cape & Cowl Comics in Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia, heard the store was falling on tough times, they organized a “cash mob” to rescue it: They gathered in a nearby park and walked together to the store, where they each spent at least $10. “We created a lot of ruckus along the way,” said Jennifer Welcher, one of the organizers. “The whole idea was to draw some attention to the place, and make a lot of noise on the way up.” Beyond selling comics, Cape & Cowl has promoted local crafts and created a safe space for LGBTQ youth, and it’s a popular community spot, but like many comic shops, it saw a dip in sales in the last two months. Owner Jay Roy says he was concerned he would have to close up in March, but the cash mob, which spent more than $5,000, brought in enough to get him through the winter. [Truro Daily News]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Roller Girl,’ ‘Nimona’ win Cybils awards

roller-girl-social

Awards | The winners of the Cybils book blogger awards, which honor children’s and young-adult books, were announced on Saturday. Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl won the graphic novel prize in the elementary/middle school category, while Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona was the winner of the young adult award. [Cybils]

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Comics A.M. | Near-mint ‘Amazing Fantasy’ #15 could sell for $400K

amazing fantasy15

Auctions | A near-mint copy of Marvel Amazing Fantasy #15, featuring the 1962 first appearance of Spider-Man, is expected to sell for more than $400,000 at auction later this month. “We think this comic has the potential to realize the highest price ever paid at public auction for a Spider-Man comic book,” said Lon Allen, managing director of the comics department at Heritage Auctions. “It could soar well past our estimate.” [Fine Books & Collections]

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Comics A.M. | Oregon paper pulls ‘Non Sequitur’ cartoon; Daniel Clowes honored by fellow artists

Non Sequitur

Non Sequitur

Comic Strips | The Portland Oregonian pulled three Non Sequitur strips that made fun of the occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge after one of the occupiers was killed. “The strip, which had been making fun of such groups, seemed jarring and in poor taste given that someone now was dead,” said Oregonian editor Mark Katches. “That decision has yielded a grand total of two reader complaints.” Cartoonist Whitey Miller said he did not know the strips were being pulled and replaced with older ones. “This is the first I’ve heard about it,” he said. “Not controversial to my knowledge.” [Willamette Week]

Creators | Set aside some time this weekend to read Robert Ito’s in-depth profile of Daniel Clowes, which covers his life and career from his childhood through his most recent work, Patience. The piece is illustrated with drawings by prominent cartoonists such as Seth, Rutu Modan, and Richard Sala, as well as photos by Ian Allen. [California Sunday]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Valerian’ creator on (possibly) influencing ‘Star Wars’

valerian2

Creators | Pierre Christin, the creator of Valerian and Laureline, discusses the possibility that his space opera was a source for the Star Wars movies — and how he and his collaborator Jean-Claude Mézières changed the story to move it away from the Star Wars universe: “I instantly felt connected with Star Wars because of the number of intersections and parallels with our comic strips. George Lucas had created complex worlds, just as we had. Like us, he had staged the functioning of societies from within, although Star Wars focused perhaps a bit more on the struggle between good and evil. In this respect, Valerian was more European, more intellectual.” [EuropeComics]

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Comics A.M. | Complete set of Marvel comics sells for $200,000

marvel collection

Retailing | The complete set of Marvel comic books offered for sale by B-Bop Comics of Kansas City has been sold to an anonymous buyer for for the asking price of $200,000. “The first guys who came to look at it bought it,” said B-Bop owner Frank Mangiaracina. [ICv2]

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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. | Viz Media expands Walmart deal, makes Best Buy debut

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1

Publishing | Viz Media has struck separate agreements that will expand the number of manga titles it sells at Walmart and bring its books to Best Buy for the first time. Under the Walmart deal, bestsellers Tokyo Ghoul, Pokeman, One Punch Man and the new Naruto one-shots will be available in more than 2,000 of the retailer’s locations across the United States. Under the Best Buy agreement, two Naruto titles and Assassination Classroom will be packaged with their respective anime and featured in floor displays at 687 locations. [Publishers Weekly]

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