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Stephen Colbert analyzes new ‘Star Wars’ lightsaber

colbert-lightsaber

The Colbert Report host and all-around expert on Star Wars Stephen Colbert returned to his popular Comedy Central show after a week away, and there was one pressing piece of news he made sure to touch upon: the debut of the Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer. But not just any aspect of the teaser.

“Check out this awesome lightsaber! It’s a lightsaber with too many lightsabers on it,” Colbert said during his show’s opening segment. “It’s a menage-a-sabre. Sadly, there are some stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf herders out there who aren’t thrilled with the new Jedi weapon. They say if these things are supposed to protect your hand like sword hilts, it wouldn’t work, because the first time you crossed lightsabers, and it slid down to the bottom of the blade, your opponent would cut through the little side-sabers and cut off your hand.”

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Alex Ross pits Darth Vader against Doctor Doom

alex-ross-vader-doom-croppe

OK, so maybe Batman versus Darth Vader wasn’t exactly a fair fight, but what about Doctor Doom versus the Dark Lord? Alex Ross depicts such a scenario in a painting he created for a friend. Both characters blend magic and technology, and they cut mean figures in their capes and suits of armor. It seems like a pretty good match-up.

By this point, Ross is becoming an old hand at the Sith Lord, having recently provided variant covers for Marvel’s Star Wars #1 and Star Wars: Darth Vader #1.

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It’s Batman vs. Darth Vader in ‘Super Power Beat Down’

batman-v-vader

If as a kid — or, hell, as an adult — you ever dreamed of seeing Batman face Darth Vader in a lightsaber duel, it’s your lucky day. In the 14th episode of its “Super Power Beat Down” series, Machinima pits the Dark Knight against the Dark Lord of the Sith in a mission to rescue Superman from the Death Star.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say we get to hear (but not see) Oracle, and Batman delivers a couple of solid lines, including, “I’ll take my science over your magic any day.” But is Bat-tech enough to overcome the power of the Dark Side?

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Photographs transport superheroes back to 16th century

sacha goldberger7

French photographer Sacha Goldberger, who previously made a splash with images of his 91-year-old grandmother as a superhero, exhibited his latest series “Super Flemish” over the weekend at the Grand Palais in Paris. As you might have guessed from the title and the above photo, the project features superheroes (and villains), Star Wars characters and other pop-culture figures — as if they were posing for Flemish paintings.

But these are indeed photographs, requiring models, costumers, hair and makeup artists and the like. And, as you can see from the gallery on Goldberger’s website, he even recruited his grandmother again. See more images, and photos from the exhibition, on Goldberger’s Facebook page.

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LEGO artists recreate comic covers, brick by brick

lego-asm

DC Comics’ LEGO variants are fine and all, but they don’t hold a candle to the LEGO recreations of comic book covers on display over the weekend at DesignerCon in Los Angeles.

The pieces, some of which can be found in the “Comic Bricks!” gallery, range from classics like Detective Comics #27 and Adventure Comics #445 to modern issues like The Amazing Spider-Man #700 and Invincible #63. Ewoks, from Marvel’s old Star Comics imprint, even makes an appearance.

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Dark Horse launches Humble Star Wars Bundle

star-wars-bundle

The Star Wars license is passing to Marvel at the end of the year, but before that happens, does Dark Horse have a deal for you.

The publisher has partnered with Humble Bundle to let fans to get up to $190 worth of Star Wars digital comics for … well, a heck of a lot less than that. Humble Bundle allows customers to purchase DRM-free downloads for as little as a penny, with a portion of the proceeds going to charity (in this case, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund).

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Cliff Chiang poster serves as warning on ‘Star Wars’ set

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In 2010, a time when the Star Wars prequels still lingered as a bitter aftertaste, Cliff Chiang created a set of posters that embraced both the franchise’s classic characters and the imagery of World War II-era propaganda campaigns– right down to the Empire’s version of “Loose lips sink ships.”

Now fast-forward four years, to a time when fans eagerly search for even the smallest details about director J.J. Abrams’ Star Wars: Episode VII, which will not only launch a new trilogy, but a new era. The latest scrap of information from the film’s set comes courtesy of veteran producer Frank Marshall — husband of Lucasfilm President Kathleen Kennedy — who tweeted a photo of the warning that greets visitors at Pinewood Studios: Chang’s poster that oh-so-gently reminds us, “Loose Lips Bring Down Starships.”

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‘Blue Milk Special': May the farce be with you

2013-03-11-shadows-500px-wideLong, long ago there was a little movie called Star Wars, and it and its two sequels became the highest-grossing movies of all time. Yet, there was a time the interstellar saga wasn’t quite as mighty a pop culture juggernaut as it is today. Some time between President Reagan’s “Star Wars” SDI initiative and Lucas’ CG retooling of his cinematic babies, Star Wars existed primarily in the books, comics and video games that made up the Expanded Universe. Star Wars was a nerdier pursuit, when the true fans followed the adventures of Mara Jade and Admiral Thrawn.

Since the prequel trilogy, Star Wars has barreled back into the mainstream like a hungry Rancor. Merchandise depicting Darth Vader, Yoda and newcomers named Asajj Ventress and Savage Oppress peek from the shelves of every Toys R Us, Walmart and FYE.

If there’s something Star Wars fans love to do, however, it’s laugh at themselves: For example, Jeffrey Brown has released three books that play around with the idea of Darth Vader as a doting father.  Darths & Droids, meanwhile, has turned screenshots of the Star Wars saga into a long role-playing game.

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Comics A.M. | Gaiman, McCloud & Smith on Banned Books Week

Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman

Banned Books Week | Michael Cavna talks with Jeff Smith, Scott McCloud and Neil Gaiman about the importance of Banned Books Week. Says Gaiman, “I get tired of when people say that no books are banned just because [you can get it elsewhere]. Say you’re a kid in a school district [that banned a book] and there’s not a local Barnes & Noble and you don’t have 20 or 50 bucks in disposable income … That book is gone. It was there and now it’s not. The fact you can buy it on Amazon doesn’t make that any less bad.” [Comic Riffs]

Banned Books Week | Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, discusses comics and censorship in a video interview. [Reason Magazine]

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It’s not an off-brand Groot, it’s a ‘Cuddly Plush Alien Tree’

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There are a lot of products offered on Etsy that likely would be frowned upon by most film studios, television networks and publishers — posters, jewelry, clothing, toys, etc., featuring properties protected by trademark and copyright. However, there’s something wonderfully charming about Handmade Stuffs‘ off-brand plushes based on well-known fictional characters.

Sure, the stuffed creations are plenty cute in and of themselves, but the imaginative (and hopefully non-infringing!) names are what really sell them. Take, for instance, “Cuddly Plush Alien Tree” (“This adorable botanical extraterrestrial is ready to guard the galaxy with you!”), or the sold-out “Cuddly Plush Furious Director” (“He may only have one eye, but he’ll always be on the lookout for bad guys!”)

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The Four is with ‘Sesame Street’s’ new ‘Star Wars’ parody

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During its first-ever appearance at Comic-Con International, Sesame Workshop teased a Star Wars send-up — one in a long, fantastic series of parodies that’s included Sons of Anarchy, Homeland, True Blood and Boardwalk Empire — and now that it’s here, it certainly doesn’t disappoint.

Called “Star S’Mores,” the short sends Luke Piewalker — complete with pitch-perfect whine — Flan Solo and Chewie the Cookie on a mission to rescue Princess Parfaita, but only after they find a way to stop Flan Solo (played by Cookie Monster) from eating his co-pilot. The solution, Only One Cannoli suggests, is to use the Four. However, their other mentors have strategies of their own.

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Tickets are already on sale for D23 Expo 2015

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If it seems far too soon, and far too exhausting, to start planning for Comic-Con International 2015 (it’s just330 days away) then think about this: Early-bird tickets went on sale Thursday for D23 Expo 2015, scheduled for about a month after the San Diego convention.

Billed as the Ultimate Disney Fan Event, it will be held Aug. 14-16, 2015, at the Anaheim Convention Center, across the street from Disneyland. It brings together elements of Disney, Pixar, ABC, Lucasfilm and Marvel under one (figurative) tent.

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Disney teases expanded ‘Star Wars’ presence at theme parks

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Surprising no one, CEO Bob Iger revealed Tuesday that Disney has plans for “a far greater Star Wars presence” at its theme parks.

According to Entertainment Weekly, he promised that the sci-fi franchise would become one of Disney’s answer to Universal Studios’ Harry Potter attractions. Details are expected sometime next year.

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Comics A.M. | Viz Media executives talk state of manga market

Viz Media

Viz Media

Publishing | Leyla Aker, Viz Media’s vice present of publishing, and Kevin Hamric, its director of publishing sales and marketing, discuss the state of the manga market and how the company’s books are selling through the print and digital channels (including comiXology, where Viz just signed on last month). One interesting tidbit: Viz products are carried by 64 percent of Diamond Comic Distributors’ accounts (i.e., comic shops). “Some of the store owners just don’t understand manga yet,” Hamric said. “They’re like librarians were years ago. They’re afraid of it, but if it’s children’s and Pokemon, or has a tie-in, especially to anime or television, then they’re not afraid to take it.” [ICv2]

Publishing | Tom Spurgeon talks to Drawn and Quarterly’s Tracy Hurren about the company’s new website, which launched this week, as well as life in the D+Q offices. [The Comics Reporter]

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In a galaxy far, far away, Jeffrey Brown continues his ‘Star Wars’ saga

BobaJeffAmong the bigger announcements to come out of Comic-Con International was that Marvel will resume publishing Star Wars comics after a nearly 30 years, 23 years of which the license called Dark Horse home. We’ve known it was happening for a while, of course, but this was the official unveiling of titles and creative teams.

Completely unaffected by all of this is one particular pocket of Star Wars comics, those made by cartoonist Jeffrey Brown, who’s found a great deal of success in marrying his particular wit and style with the pop-culture icons of the franchise. That’s good news for comics and/or Star Wars fans who prefer  their take on that universe to be ironic and funny, and, of course, for little kids.

This month, the latest installments of Brown’s two ongoing Star Wars-related projects dropped, one from Chronicle Books, the other from Scholastic.

Brown’s professional, published relationship with Star Wars began with 2012’s Darth Vader and Son, a series of full-color cartoons based on the premise that Luke knew who his real father was at a very young age, and Vader was attempting to raise his innately heroic child as a single parent while balancing his home life with a rather demanding day job: that of a Sith Lord helping the Emperor rule the galaxy with an iron fist. That was quickly followed by Vader’s Little Princess, a collection of cartoons with the same premise, only substituting Leia for Luke.

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