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Comics A.M. | Sherlock Holmes copyright case appealed to high court

Sherlock Holmes and the Liverpool Demon #2

Sherlock Holmes and the Liverpool Demon #2

Legal | The estate of Arthur Conan Doyle has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court seeking to overturn a June decision by the Seventh Circuit affirming that the 50 Sherlock Holmes stories published before Jan. 1, 1923, have entered the public domain. The estate had long insisted licensing fees be paid for the characters and story elements to be used in movies, television series and books, but author, editor and Holmes expert Leslie Klinger refused to fork over $5,000 for an anthology of new stories. In a series of legal defeats, the Doyle estate not only lost any claim to the stories but had to endure stinging public reprimands by Judge Richard Posner, who labeled the licensing fees as “a form of extortion” and praised Klinger for performing a “public service” by filing his lawsuit.

In its petition to the high court, the Doyle estate continues to cling to its argument (gleefully dismantled by Posner) that Holmes is a “complex” character that he was effectively incomplete until the author’s final story was published in the United States; therefore, the entire body of work remains protected by copyright. Hoping to draw the interest of the justices, the estate points to a circuit split on the matter of extending copyright. The lawyers also repeat the unsuccessful argument that Klinger’s case shouldn’t have been heard until after his book was published. In June, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kegan refused to issue a stay to prevent the Holmes stories from officially entering the public domain. [TechDirt]

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Stan Lee promotes importance of library cards for ALA campaign

stan lee-library cardLibrary Card Sign-up Month kicked off Monday, with Stan Lee serving as its honorary chair.

An annual campaign of the American Library Association, it’s intended to remind parents, educators and children that a library card is an important tool to academic success. Lee’s image appears in print and online in public service announcements containing the quote, “The smartest card in my wallet? It’s a library card.”

“When you have a library card it’s like having a key to all the information in the world,” the 91-year-old creator says in a video (below). “When you have a library card, you can read anything about anything, and I have found that whatever you read, it doesn’t matter, it increases your fund of knowledge. So a library card is the ‘Open Sesame’ to all the knowledge in the world.”

In the video, Lee recalls as a child being a frequent visitor to public libraries first in Manhattan and then in the Bronx because he couldn’t afford to buy all the books he wanted to read. “Without libraries, I just wouldn’t have read as much as I did, so it would’ve been a great loss, to me,” he says.

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Stan Lee takes the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge (well, sort of)

stan-lee-ice-bucket-challen

Even at 91 years old, a spry Stan Lee is willing to accept the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.

During his weekend appearance at Wizard World Comic Con, the legendary creator happily agreed to the challenge from Wizard World CEO John Macaluso, and braced himself for the shock of cold water. However, Macaluso had other plans: He instead drenched a Stan Lee Funko POP! vinyl figure (which, judging from the reaction in the video below, Lee had never seen).

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SDCC, Day 1 | ComiXology, ‘Rage of Ultron’ lead Thursday’s news

avengers-rage of ultronThe biggest comics news Thursday out of Comic-Con International was undoubtedly that, after years of debate, comiXology has introduced DRM-free backups of titles purchased from its storefront, with Image Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, MonkeyBrain Comics, Thrillbent, Top Shelf Productions and Zenescope Entertainment signing on to the program.

An email went out last night notifying customers that books they’ve purchased can be downloaded and stored as PDF or CBZ files, and pointing them to an FAQ on the subject.

“This has been an oft-requested feature,” comiXology CEO David Steinberger said during the company’s Comic-Con panel. “It’s a real backup file — it’s a fairly plain PDF or CBZ. They are high resolution, not a lot of bells and whistles, and my feeling is that people will continue to use the cloud-based reader to do their reading.”

The other big announcement was that Marvel will publish Avengers: Age of Ultron, an in-continuity graphic novel by the Uncanny X-Force team of Rick Remender, Jerome Opeña and Dean White scheduled to arrive in April 2015, ahead of the premiere of Avengers: Age of Ultron.

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SDCC | Stan Lee cancels Comic-Con appearance

stan-lee-pole-dancing

Stan Lee has canceled his appearance at Comic-Con International in San Diego after reportedly losing his voice due to laryngitis.

“Stan is otherwise well and in good health,” a spokesperson told The Hollywood Reporter, “though he is disappointed to miss the event and wishes everyone a great time.”

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Photo of the Day | Stan Lee and John Lewis

lewis-lee

Nothing made me smile more today than seeing the above photo on the Facebook page of Congressman John Lewis. “It was wonderful to join the hardworking librarians at the ALA annual and meet new friends like Stan Lee,” he wrote.

Lewis, a civil rights leader who has represented Georgia’s 5th congressional district since 1987, is now of course also an acclaimed comics writer: The memoir March: Book One, the first installment of a trilogy by Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, was published last year by Top Shelf Productions.

Shelf Porn straight from the Danger Room

shelfporn-900

Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, our weekly trip into the houses and hallways of fans around the world. Today’s collection of goodies comes from Pennsylvania’s Mark Stong, who shows us his “Danger Room” filled with autographed statues, props and more.

If you’d like to see your stuff right here on Robot 6, you can find details on how to submit it at the end of this post.

Now let’s turns things over to Mark …

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Comics A.M. | Stan Lee greeted in Sydney with ‘Captain Australia’ shield

Stan Lee (via The Daily Telegraph)

Stan Lee (via The Daily Telegraph)

Creators | Stan Lee arrived at Sydney Airport for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo and was immediately presented with a “Captain Australia” shield, colored gold and green rather than red and blue. The Supanova Pop Culture Expo kicked off today, and continues through Sunday. [The Daily Telegraph]

Comics | Hussain Al-Shiblawi says he doesn’t usually mind the pamphlets he regularly receives from the local Bible Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia; even though he’s Muslim, he finds them inspirational. But he takes strong exception to the latest one, a Jack Chick tract titled Unforgiven, which claims that all Muslims are going to hell. The pastor, who declined to go on camera, says his church doesn’t create the pamphlets, it just distributes them, but he’s willing to meet with Al-Shiblawi to discuss the comic. [WDBJ News]

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Stan Lee introduces new kids’ book ‘Dex T-Rex’

dex t-rexStan Lee himself has officially announced the next picture book from Stan Lee’s Kids Universe, the children’s imprint founded in 2011 by POW! Entertainment and 1821 Media: Katya Bowser‘s Dex T-Rex, The Mischievous Little Dinosaur will debut July 23 at Comic-Con International. Watch Lee’s video below.

The book, about a loveable young dinosaur who plays too rough, until he learns an important lesson about playing nice, is the latest addition to the imprint’s lineup, which already includes Monsters vs. Kittens, Once Upon a Time There Was a Pig and Reggie the Veggie.

“My hope is that parents will appreciate the messages in the book while children will be so drawn to the colorful pages and fun storyline that they won’t even realize that they are learning and building their imaginations as they follow along with Dex on his adventures,” Lee said in a statement.

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Comics A.M. | Relaunched Eagle Awards renamed again

True Believers Comic Awards

True Believers Comic Awards

Awards | The awards ceremony for the recently renamed Stan Lee Eagle Awards has disappeared from the program of the London Film and Comic Con, and has been replaced by the True Believers Comic Awards. It’s not clear whether this is just a name change or something more, as Mike Conroy, the organizer of both awards, had no comment, but the Stan Lee nominations page is gone. There is an online voting page for the True Believers Comic Awards, however. Lee is still scheduled to attend the event in person. [Down the Tubes]

Creators | Writer Caitlin Kittredge talks about her first comic, Coffin Hill. [The Kindle Post]

Creators | I interviewed the “three-headed monster” behind the Adventures in Cartooning books — James Sturm, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost — about their new kids’ graphic novel Sleepless Knight. [Good Comics for Kids]

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Comics A.M. | MCM London Comic Con draws a reported 101,600

MCM Comic Con

MCM Comic Con

Conventions | MCM London Comic Con have announced that 101,600 people attended the May 23-25 show, which is being dubbed “the largest event of its kind ever held in the U.K.” That figure represents an increase of more than 31,500 from the May 2013 installment, and 13,600 from the October show. [MCM London Comic Con]

Creators | Kyle Anderson talks to director John Carpenter and writer Eric Powell (The Goon) about Big Trouble in Little China, the BOOM! Studios comic that picks up where the movie left off. Powell talks about renting the movie as a kid: “My sister and I would always go in there, and we’d always need to get a funny one and a scary one. Big Trouble kind of covered both of those situations.” The comic debuts on June 4. [Entertainment Weekly]

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‘Scriptnotes’ co-host clarifies his ‘Slut-Hulk’ comments

she-hulk3While comics fans — joined by none other than Stan Lee himself — line up to lambast screenwriter David S. Goyer for his recent podcast comments about She-Hulk, Scriptnotes co-host Craig Mazin has stepped forward to clarify his own remarks, insisting, “I wasn’t saying that I think she’s a slut.”

Goyer, the writer of Man of Steel and the upcoming sequel Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, sparked controversy by asserting that She-Hulk was created as “a giant green porn star that only the Hulk could fuck.” However, Mazin has also been criticized for suggesting, “The real name for She-Hulk was Slut-Hulk. [...] The whole point of She-Hulk was just to appeal sexistly to 10-year-old boys. Worked on me.”

Writing Thursday on the Scripnotes blog, Mazin emphasized that he “used the word ‘sexist’ in the podcast,” and explained, “I said this because I believe it. Unlike the Hulk, whose appeal was clearly divorced from any kind of normative standard of physical beauty, She-Hulk was initially drawn (and consistently drawn for many years) as slender, long-legged and large-breasted with flowing locks. Her face was the same old media-model-pretty version we see time and time again.”

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Stan Lee responds to David Goyer’s She-Hulk remarks

shehulk-mayhew

Stan Lee scoffs at screenwriter David S. Goyer’s suggestion that She-Hulk was created as “a giant green porn star that only the Hulk could fuck,” responding that, “Only a nut would even think of that.”

“Never for an instant did I want her as a love interest for Hulk,” Lee, who with artist John Buscema introduced She-Hulk in 1980 as Bruce Banner’s cousin, told The Washington Post.

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UK’s Eagle Awards relaunched as The Stan Lee Eagle Awards

stan-lee-eagle-awardsNearly two years after their presumed demise, the United Kingdom’s Eagle Awards have reemerged with a new name and host convention: The Stan Lee Eagle Awards, to be presented July 12 at London Film and Comic Con.

Named after the British children’s comic Eagle, the fan awards were presented more or less annually from 1977 until going dormant in the early 1990s. They were resurrected again in 2000, only to be shuttered in 2012 with a surprise announcement that made public a riff between awards chair Cassandra Conroy and MCM Expo.

Conroy, daughter of Eagle Awards co-founder Mike Conroy, is again at the helm. “My dad’s intention was always to give the fans a voice, and I’m delighted that this latest initiative will take his vision to an entirely new plane,” she said in a statement.

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Stan Lee wishes Bob Kane were alive to see Marvel’s film success

stan-lee-bloomberg

Separate from Bloomberg Businessweek‘s Marvel Studios cover story, Bloomberg Television chats with Stan Lee about the current popularity of superhero movies, concerns about “superhero fatigue,” and the differences between the box-office performances of the Marvel and DC Comics properties.

“I wish my friend Bob Kane were still with us — he’s the fellow who created Batman,” Lee says. “Bob always used to tease me about the fact that Batman was a big deal on television and in movies, and we at Marvel had done nothing. I wish he was here now so I could return that teasing. A character should be somebody that the reader, or viewer, really cares about, and maybe at Marvel we put a little more effort into refining the characteristics and the nature of our heroes, maybe a little more effort than they have on the other side of the aisle.”

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