Happy Mother’s Day and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and what have you we’ve been checking out lately. Joining us today is Allison Baker, co-publisher of Bandette, Edison Rex and all the other Monkeybrain Comics you can find on comiXology.
To see what Allison and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, where fans show off their collections. Today’s shelves come from Bill on the outskirts of Chicago, who shows us his comics, trade paperbacks, statues, art prints and more, with special guest appearances from Jim Lee and Grant Morrison.
Want to contribute your own shelves? Find all the details here.
Take it away, Bill …
Comics legend Stan Lee will pay another visit to Springfield next season, playing himself in an episode of Fox’s The Simpsons.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the 90-year-old Lee will pop by The Android’s Dungeon & Baseball Card Shop to offer advice about comics and romance to Comic Book Guy, whose budding relationship with a young Japanese woman/manga fan stands to be ruined by Homer.
Hopefully this time Lee annoys Comic Book Guy a little less than he did in his first appearance on The Simpsons, in the 13th-season episode “I Am Furious (Yellow).” Next season will be the show’s 25th.
Oh, sure, the parkour craze may be a little dated, but that doesn’t diminish the entertainment value of this latest video of Stan Lee, having exchanged that orange sweater for a burgundy one, running, jumping and climbing his way — Spider-Man-like! — to a lunch meeting (with Robert Downey Jr., we’re told). Parkour!
OK, it may actually be Josh Yadon performing the stunts dressed, somewhat convincingly, as the 90-year-old comics legend. But still. It’s all backed by Minor Obsession’s “Stan Lee Parkour Master,” which you can download from iTunes. Parkour!
Despite recent setbacks with a pacemaker implant and a bout of flu, 90-year-old Stan Lee appears as spry, and sly, as ever. For proof, you need look no further than his most recent “Stan’s Rant,” recorded following the news that wrestling is being dropped from the Olympics. In response, Lee demands that pole dancing be added to the Games.
“They have everything else, all sorts of gymnastics,” he says. “Dancing around that pole and hugging it and swinging on it and doing all of those things — that’s like the sexiest gymnastics of all. We love it, everybody loves it! Get with it, Olympics Committee!” He doesn’t specify, so we’ll presume this Olympics discipline would be for women and men; it’s only fair.
(Aside #1: If Lee saying “pole dancing” doesn’t make its way into at least one remix, somebody isn’t doing his job. Aside #2: While Googling to figure out whether “pole dancing” is hyphenated — I swear! — I discovered there’s a U.S. Pole Dance Federation. Really. Aside #3: Robot 6 now has a pole dancing tag.)
Legal | A federal judge on Friday denied DC Comics’ bid for sanctions against the attorney for the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, finding that Marc Toberoff made “no deliberate attempt to mislead” during the discovery process and, perhaps more importantly, did not interfere with the publisher’s rights to the Man of Steel when he allegedly inserted himself into settlement talks in 2001. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Legal | Stan Lee will be deposed this week by lawyers representing Stan Lee Media in its multi-billion-dollar lawsuit against Disney involving the rights to the characters the legendary writer co-created for Marvel. Stan Lee Media, which no longer has ties to its namesake, claims Disney as infringed on the copyrights Iron Man, the Avengers, X-Men and other heroes since 2009, when it purchased Marvel. The long, tortured dispute dates back to a sequence of events that occurred between August 1998, when Marvel used its bankruptcy proceedings to terminate Lee’s lifetime contract, and November 1998, when Lee entered into a new agreement with the House of Ideas and signed over his likeness, and any claims to the characters. Stan Lee Media has long claimed that on Oct. 15, 1998, Lee transferred to that company the rights to his creations and his likeness. SLM asserts in the latest lawsuit that neither Marvel nor Disney, which bought the comic company in 2009, has ever registered Lee’s November 1998 agreement with the U.S. Copyright Office. [The Hollywood Reporter]
As unlikely as it may seem, the Guardians of the Galaxy are poised to be the next Marvel team to get a tent-pole movie, following The Avengers (me, I was hoping for a Champions movie, as all but Hercules have been previously introduced in movies*).
The publisher has turned to Avengers-rehabilitation expert Brian Michael Bendis to write a new Guardians of the Galaxy series, and after teasing them in the first arc of Avengers Assemble, the comic featuring the cast from the Avengers movie, the writer is all set to launch a new Guardians monthly, penciled by Civil War artist Steve McNiven.
The title kicked off Wednesday with its first issue, Guardians of the Galaxy #0.1 (market research apparently revealed that comics buyers are more attracted to decimal points than either the number 1 or even 0), and it isn’t a bad read at all.
It’s the origin of Peter “Star-Lord” Quill, and while the story is essentially one character telling another his history, Bendis, McNiven & Co. depict it as a regular comic, rather than a long, dull conversation, as Bendis is often in the habit of doing. The last two pages reveal the cast.
And who, exactly, is this cast, and where did they come from? Based on the sales of the previous volume of Guardians of the Galaxy vs. sales of your average Bendis or McNiven comic, I imagine a lot of folks will be reading the new series without knowing much of that. And, as always, I think it’s worth keeping in mind who created these characters and how long ago (none of them are any newer than 1976, if you’re wondering).
So let’s take a look at your new Guardians of the Galaxy, shall we?
Eisner-winning writer Mark Waid has put his muscle behind a new college course — and everyone is invited into the classroom.
The course is a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled “Gender Through Comic Books,” and it will feature interviews with Brian Bendis, Scott Snyder, Matt Fraction, Gail Simone, editor Sana Amanat, and a host of other comics creators and insiders.
This isn’t just coming out of the blue: Ball State University adjunct professor and doctoral candidate Christina Blanch has already taught the course in the traditional format, as she explained in an interview at Wired’s GeekMom blog, and last semester Ball State asked her to teach it as a MOOC. The course is offered via the Canvas Network, and it’s free; the only cost is the textbooks, i.e. comics, which, if you’re reading this, you may already own. Blanch is answering questions and responding to comments about the course on Twitter.
Stan Lee, who knows a thing or two about storytelling, has teamed with the animators at How It Should Have Ended to right a handful of cinematic wrongs, primarily by inserting himself into pivotal moments of films ranging from Star Wars: A New Hope to Inception to Batman Begins.
“Now that I’ve done so many unforgettable cameos, I have become an expert at all kinds of movies,” the 90-year-old creator says in the video posted on his YouTube channel. “One thing, though, that bothers me: So many of the endings of famous movies are wrong.”
But Lee isn’t content to merely alter some memorable scenes; he also imagines himself changing the course of history by ensuring three blockbusters were never made.
Legal | Forbes profiles Michael Wolk, a lawyer who’s organized the financial backing for Stan Lee Media’s prolonged, and so far unsuccessful, multibillion-dollar lawsuits against Marvel and Disney over the rights to the characters co-created by Stan Lee. Wolk’s primary investor is Elliott Management, one the nation’s largest hedge funds. SLM, which is no longer affiliated with its co-founder and namesake, asserts Lee didn’t properly assign ownership of the works to Marvel, and that Disney didn’t file its Marvel agreement with the U.S. Copyright Office. “We are in the right here,” says Wolk, who’s not actually a Stan Lee Media shareholder. “No court has ever addressed or ever decided who is the owner of the characters — all of the prior litigation got dismissed for reasons that have nothing to do with who owns the characters.” [Forbes.com, via The Beat]
Publishing | Radical Studios has secured $3 million in its first round of fundraising to further develop its catalog, expanding its digital publishing efforts and licensing capabilities. The publisher, which ultimately hopes to raise $9.5 million, has two comic-book adaptations in development at major studios: Oblivion, starring Tom Cruise, at Universal Pictures, and Hercules: The Thracian Wars, starring Dwayne Johnson, at Universal Pictures. [Variety]
Retailing | Dave and Adam’s Card World, billed as the largest online seller of baseball cards, has branched out, with an eye toward becoming the largest online seller of vintage comic books by 2014. “We were somewhat shocked and surprised that vintage comic books are more popular than vintage baseball cards. As a card collector, that just hurts,” c0-founder and CEO Adam Martin joked. [Lockport Union-Sun & Journal]
Headliner Stan Lee is ill and “physically unable to travel” to this weekend’s Amazing Arizona Comic Convention in Phoenix, organizers announced overnight.
The 90-year-old Lee abruptly canceled two public appearances in September only to reveal he was recuperating after having a pacemaker implanted. “Now hear this!” he wrote in a message to fans. “Your leader hath not deserted thee!” True to his word, Lee was soon as ubiquitous as ever, and recently recorded a reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” as well as a message to a 16-year-old Spider-Man fan critically wounded in a school shooting.
On the convention website, organizers explain refund procedures for attendees who purchased Stan Lee Photo Ops or Stan Lee Packages. The event, which kicks off Friday at the Phoenix Convention Center, features special guest Jim Lee and a creator lineup that includes Scott Lobdell, Joshua Hale Fialkov, John Layman, Cory Walker, Ale Garza, Jason Pearson and Kyle Higgins.
Legal | DragonCon co-founder Ed Kramer, who hasn’t been associated with the show since 2000, has been brought back to the Gwinnett County Jail and booked on child molestation charges that date back to August 2000. The 51-year-old Kramer was released on bond after his initial arrest following accusations that he sexually abused three boys, and has avoided jail and court for more than a decade because of his health problems, although he was under house arrest for a while. He was arrested again in Connecticut in 2011 for violating the conditions of his bond after he was allegedly found alone in a hotel room with a 14-year-old boy. Atlanta Magazine ran a lengthy expose on Kramer last year. [The Atlanta Journal-Constitution]
Stan Lee has created a video message for a Taft, California, teenager who was given the nickname “Bulletproof Spider-Man” after being shot a week ago at school.
Sixteen-year-old Spider-Man fan Bowe Cleveland suffered injuries to his chest and abdomen Jan. 10 after police say he was shot by classmate Bryan Oliver in an incident at Taft High School. According to The Bakersfield Californian, Oliver admitted to targeting Cleveland and another student because, he said, they had bullied him. Cleveland was slowly being awakened from a medically induced coma early this week, even as students returned to Taft High School, some wearing Spider-Man T-shirts or red and blue to show their support for the teen.