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Comics A.M. | Montreal Comiccon looks to draw 50,000 fans

Montreal Comiccon

Montreal Comiccon

Conventions | More than 50,000 fans are expected this weekend at Montreal Comiccon, where comics guests include Adam Kubert, Andy Belanger, Becky Cloonan, Bob Layton, Chris Claremont, Dale Eaglesham, Dan Parent, David Finch, Karl Kerschl, Mike Grell and Rags Morales.  Last year’s event drew 32,000, but organizers believe the inclusion of celebrity guests will attract significantly more attendees. [Montreal Gazette]

Creators | Artist, writer, and former carnival fire-eater Jim Steranko talks about his career in comics ahead of Nashville Comic Expo, where he will appear this weekend. He talks about learning to read — from comics — when he was a year and a half old, his many adventures outside of comics, and why he chose Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. when Stan Lee asked him which Marvel comic he would like to work on: “I could have nailed Spider-Man or Thor or the Fantastic Four, but that meant following Kirby. I might be crazy, but I wasn’t stupid. I pointed to Strange Tales and said I’d tackle the S.H.I.E.L.D. series, which was a Marvel embarrassment — the word ‘wretched’ comes to mind. I didn’t mention it to Stan, but I figured that on this strip, there was nowhere to go but up!” [Nashville Scene]

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Comics A.M. | Three IDW comics make their Madefire debut

Art by Dave Gibbons

Art by Dave Gibbons

Digital comics | IDW Publishing released its first batch of digital comics on the motion-comics platform Madefire this week. The selection includes partially animated My Little Pony, Star Trek and Transformers comics, which sell for $1.99 each. Jeff Webber, IDW’s vice president of digital publishing, noted that because Madefire has a partnership with DeviantArt, the books are being exposed to “an incredibly broad network of illustration fans.” To commemorate My Little Pony’s Madefire debut, Dave Gibbons drew the image at right “to show that Friendship IS Magic!” `[Publishers Weekly]

Passings | Cartoonist Jack Matsuoka, who chronicled life in the Poston, Arizona, internment camp in his book Camp II, Block 211, has died at the age of 87. , Born in the United States to Japanese parents, Matsuoka was a teenager when his family was sent to internment camps in Salinas, California, and then Poston. After leaving the camp he was drafted and served as an interpreter for the U.S. Army in occupied Japan. He went to college on the G.I. Bill and worked as an illustrator and cartoonist for many years. Camp II, Block 211 was based on sketches he did while living in the camps and set aside for many years; his mother found them and encouraged him to share them with the public. They were put on exhibit in San Francisco and then collected into the book, which was first published in 1974. A revised edition was released in 2003. [The Rafu Shimpo]

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Comics A.M. | Second-best month for comics sales this century

Superman Unchained #2

Superman Unchained #2

Publishing | John Jackson Miller dissects the latest sales numbers and finds July 2013 to be the second-best month for comics sales in the direct market so far this century—actually, since 1997. Combined comics and graphic novel sales were up almost 17 percent compared to July 2012, and year-to-date sales are up almost 13 percent compared to last year. [The Comichron]

Retailing | Brian Hibbs, one of the founding members of the direct-market trade organization ComicsPRO, has left the group “because of the reactions of the Board to recent DC moves.” He revealed his decision in the comments on his blog post about DC’s allocation of 3D covers for Villains Month: “The org that I formed was intended to look out for the little guy; the current Board seems much more interested in keeping the big guys big. Democracy in action, I suppose, so I vote with my dollars.” [ICv2]

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Comics, statues, action figures from Edmonton highlight this Shelf Porn

IMG-20130225-00139

Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, where fans invite us into their homes to take a look around. Today’s shelves come from Jeff in Edmonton, Canada, who shows us his collection of comics, statues, action figures and more.

If you’d like to submit your own collection, you can find the details here. We’ve built up a pretty good backlog, so it might be awhile before your collection appears — but don’t worry, we’ll get to it!

And now here’s Jeff …

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Cheat Sheet | From ‘X-Men’ to ‘The Wake’ to 2D

cheat sheet-may27

Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. While most readers in the United States are enjoying a three-day weekend, our contributors are already looking to the week ahead, from the comics arriving on shelves Wednesday to 2D, the Northern Ireland Comics Festival, which kicks off Thursday.

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Cheat Sheet | From Phoenix Comicon to ‘Half Past Danger’

may20-cheat copy

Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. While some of you will be taking full advantage of the three-day Memorial Day Weekend by enjoying a summer blockbuster, a barbecue or the first dip of the year in the outdoor pool, others will be heading to the Phoenix Convention Center for the 13th annual Phoenix Comicon.

But while everyone else is packing their bags, and stocking up on sunscreen, ROBOT 6’s contributors are busy spotlighting some of the best books going on sale Wednesday.

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Comics A.M. | Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival closes

Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival

Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival

Conventions | The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival has come to an end, after establishing itself in just four short years as one of the most loved indie-comics events. A message posted on the event’s blog under the headline “Thank You and Good Night” reads simply, “We have decided not to continue with BCGF. We had a great run and thank all of our colleagues for their support.” [The Beat]

Creators | Garry Trudeau talks about Doonesbury, supporting wounded warriors, and his Alpha House show in a video interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Creators | Michael Aushenker profiles Rutu Modan, whose The Property, a tale of a Jewish woman returning to Poland to reclaim an apartment lost during the Holocaust, debuted at Toronto Comic Arts Festival: “When I go to vote, I have to decide who is bad and who is a good guy, but when I write I can support the Poles and the Jews. I’m much more interested in the gray areas. They’re more closer to reality.” [The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles]

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Grumpy Old Fan | Sequelizing the New 52

Someday I will run a landscaping company called Kneel Before Sod.

Someday I will run a landscaping company called Kneel Before Sod

Gather ‘round, kiddos, because we begin with another tale of Gen-X adolescence!

From 1977 through 1986, I grew from a snot-nosed third-grade punk into a snot-nosed (I had allergies) high-school senior, accompanied along the way by at least one big-budget sci-fi/fantasy movie milestone.* Specifically, right in the middle of the run were three sequels by which every self-respecting fan swears: The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Superman II (released in the United States in 1981) and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). Each built on its predecessor using darker elements and/or more “mature” themes, because each had the sequel’s luxury of an established setting.

For Young Tom, though, the cumulative effect of these three movies was mind-expanding, if not mind-blowing. I’m not talking about Empire’s Big Reveal (echoed coincidentally in Khan) or the unsettling sight of a powerless Clark Kent. Instead, each catapulted the fevered suppositions of a junior-high imagination to higher levels of awareness. I went into the theater each time wondering will this be as good? and came out giddy at how much better each one was.

So what’s this have to do with comics? Read on …

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An Australian Man Cave to be proud of

006

Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, where fans invite us into their homes to take a look at their collections. Today Jamie from Australia shares his “man cave,” which features action figures, comics, DVDs, more action figures and much more.

If you’d like to share your collection, you can find details on how to do so here.

And now let’s hear from Jamie …

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Obama refers to ‘Jedi mind meld,’ sees nerd cred plummet [Updated]

obama-lightsaber

You might criticize President Obama’s drone policy or question his stance on immigration, but his nerd credentials have always been beyond reproach. After all, this the commander-in-chief who collects Spider-Man and Conan comic books, does battle with a pint-sized wall-crawler in the White House, wields Lion-O’s Sword of Omens and flashes the Vulcan salute with Nichelle Nichols. However, what happened today now throws all of that into question.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in an impromptu briefing this morning about sequestration, Obama was asked about keeping Congressional leaders in a room until a solution could be worked out. His response was absolutely shocking: “I know that this has been some of the conventional wisdom that’s been floating around Washington that somehow, even though most people agree that I’m being reasonable, that most people agree I’m presenting a fair deal, the fact that they don’t take it means that I should somehow, you know, do a Jedi mind meld with these folks and convince them to do what’s right.”

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Gay sci-fi author asks DC for ‘balance,’ offers to write Superman

Babylon 5 #10

Babylon 5 #10

In an open letter, award-winning science fiction author David Gerrold has asked DC Comics for balance — and a job.

In response to the publisher hiring Ender’s Game author and gay-marriage opponent Orson Scott Card to contribute to its Adventures of Superman anthology, Gerrold suggests DC hire an “openly gay writer,” which he happens to be.

“I see that you have hired a writer for Superman who has written strongly of his opposition to equal rights for LGBT people. And I see that there is an online petition protesting that move,” he wrote on Facebook. “Perhaps you could balance that decision by hiring an openly gay writer to draft a Superman story for a future issue.”

Gerrold brings an impressive resume to the table, having written numerous science fiction TV shows, novels, nonfiction and even some comics. His credits include episodes of Star Trek (including the famous “The Trouble with Tribbles” episode), Babylon 5, Land of the Lost, The Twilight Zone and even The Adventures of Superboy — so has some experience with the Last Son of Krypton. And he wrote two issues of the Babylon 5 comic, published by DC Comics, as well as Star Trek manga. His novelette The Martian Child won Hugo and Nebula awards.

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What Are You Reading? with Sonia Harris

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we reveal our picks for the best Super Bowl ads … er, where we talk about what we’ve been reading lately. Today our special guest is Sonia Harris, who writes a weekly column – Committed – for Comics Should Be Good, and is a graphic designer on books such as Butcher Baker the Righteous Maker (collected in hardcover now from Image Comics) and upcoming comic books SEX (beginning March) and The Bounce. (beginning May).

To see what Sonia and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Watch a homemade take on Star Trek Into Darkness trailer (BRAAM!)

Hair stylist to the bridge!

I’m not sure what I enjoy most about DustFilms Originals’ shot-for-shot recreation of the Star Trek Into Darkness trailer, the musical score created by voices — BRAAAAAAM! — the exaggerated eyebrows on the Chris Pine/James Kirk analog, or the choice of a hair salon as a stand-in for the bridge of the Enterprise (with trademark J.J. Abrams lens flares, no less). Too many choices! You can watch the recreation, and a side-by-side comparison with the original, below.

If some of the players, or the approach, look familiar, it’s because the same folks were behind the homemade Man of Steel trailer that made the rounds in December. This one’s better, though.

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Food or Comics? | Yogurt or Young Avengers

Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.

Check out Diamond’s release list or ComicList, and tell us what you’re getting in our comments field.

Young Avengers #1

Graeme McMillan

If I had $15 this week, it’d be all first issues, all the time. Being a Trek fan, I couldn’t resist IDW’s Star Trek: Countdown to Darkness #1 ($3.99), offering some glimpses into the new movie for the first time outside of the trailer, for one thing. Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie’s Young Avengers #1 (Marvel, $2.99) looks to be equally unmissable judging from both the previews and interviews heralding its launch, and also Gillen’s performance on Iron Man and other titles recently, so that’d make it in there, too. Finally, I’d grab The Answer #1 (Dark Horse, $3.99), Dennis Hopeless and Mike Norton’s new superhero/mystery series. I’ve been back and forth about Hopeless in the past (loved his X-Men: Season One; hate his Avengers Arena), but the hook for this one looks pretty solid and Norton’s work is always nice to gaze at.

Should I suddenly find myself with an additional $15, I’d add some current favorites to the pile: Chris Roberson and Dennis Calero’s pulp dystopia Masks #3 (Dynamite, $3.99), Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opena’s Avengers #3 (Marvel, $3.99, and less a “favorite” than an “undecided about, but was surprised by how much I appreciated that second issue”) and Greg Rucka and Matt Southworth’s Stumptown #5 (Oni, $3.99). After the fourth issue of Stumptown, I’d pick that last one up even if Rucka had accidentally forgotten to write any dialogue in there. Did you see that last issue? Man …

Were I to splurge, it’d almost feel greedy after this week of bounty. Nonetheless, I’d grab The Spider, Vol. 1: Terror of The Zombie Queen (Dynamite, $19.99), the collected edition of the first storyline from David Liss’ revival of the pulp hero that I loved based on the first issue but somehow fell off of before the end of that first arc for reasons that escape me. Definitely curious to revisit it.

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What Are You Reading? with Brian Cronin

Mara #1

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where we take a look at the comics, books and other things the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately. We kick off the new year with Brian Cronin from Comics Should Be Good! as our special guest. In addition to running our sister blog, Brian is also an author, having written two books on comics trivia. He also runs the blog Urban Legends Revealed, where he talks about sports and entertainment urban legends.

To see what Brian and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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