Harley Quinn's Greatest Moments from "Batman: The Animated Series"
TV, Comic Books
“No Fear” used to be one of the most recognizable apparel brands, but a new venture between IDW Publishing and Fright-Rags bringing imagery from Ben Templesmith and Steve Niles’ “30 Days of Night” to a host of T-shirts may have some folks adopting a slightly modified motto: “No, fear.”
Legal | Disney on Tuesday asked a panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to dismiss a two-year-old lawsuit by Stan Lee Media claiming the copyright to such Marvel superheroes as Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men. A lawyer for Stan Lee Media, which no longer connected to its namesake, argued a federal judge in Colorado erred last year in dismissing the 2012 complaint, but Disney countered that the copyright claims have been addressed time and again by the courts. “This is their seventh bite of a rotten apple,” Disney attorney Jim Quinn said after the hearing. The three-judge panel hasn’t issued its decision. [The Associated Press]
Manga | The finale of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, which will run in an upcoming issue of Shonen Jump (both the Japanese and the North American editions), will be two chapters long, with the second appearing in full color, the manga magazine announced. Naruto was at one time the bestselling graphic novel in the United States and is still one of the top selling manga in the country. [Anime News Network]
DC Comics has announced a new lineup for its digital-first series Adventures of Superman that includes a collaboration between veterans Jerry Ordway and Steve Rude.
No stranger to the Man of Steel, Ordway was a staple of DC in the 1980s and ’90s known for his runs as artist, writer-artist and then writer of The Adventures of Superman and writer-artist of Superman. And while mostly closely associated with his own Nexus, Rude also has a past with the Last Son of Krypton: He illustrated the 1990 miniseries World’s Finest and the 1999 crossover The Incredible Hulk vs. Superman.
Ordway and Rude’s story, “Seed of Destruction,” appears April 14.
The other creators in the March and April lineup are: Joe Keatinge, Ming Doyle and Brent Schoonover with “Strange Visitor,” Part 1; Keatinge, Doyle, David Williams and Al Gordon with “Strange Visitor,” Part 2; Keatinge, Tula Lotay and Jason Shawn Alexander with “Strange Visitor,” Part 3; Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro with the one-part “Mystery Box”; and Steve Niles and Matthew Dow Smith with the one-part “Ghosts of Krypton.”
New chapters of Adventures of Superman are available each Monday at DC Digital First.
The golem, an artificial being usually created from mud or clay and endowed with life, has appeared in stories of every media since … well, since about the time people started telling stories, particularly if you consider the biblical first man Adam to be a form of golem (“And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” from the second, less poetic of the two creation stories in Genesis).
But there may be no medium better suited to this creature of Jewish folklore than the American comic book, as the most famous of golems, the Golem of Prague, was in many ways a prototypical superhero. That golem was supposedly created in the late 1500s by a Rabbi Loew to defend the Jewish people of his city from pogroms, and there you have a few of the basic components of the American superhero: the bizarre origin, the defense of the oppressed, the home turf in need of protection and, of course, the Jewish nature of the character’s identity (often sublimated or coded in the early American superhero comics).
It is, of course, impossible to tell exactly how present in the backs of the minds of the many, many Jewish men who created the American comic book industry some 100 years or so after the legend of the Golem of Prague started appearing in writing in the third and fourth decades of the 19th century. But looking back, and looking for them, it’s easier to see them, from Superman as a sort of Golem of Metropolis to the stony Ben Grimm of the Fantastic Four.
An eBay auction has launched to benefit writer Steve Niles, whose Austin home flooded last week following heavy rains in Central Texas. He, his wife, musician Monica Richards, and their pets are now staying in a friend’s guesthouse.
Organized by writer Matt Miner, the auction is expected to arrive in two, and possibly three, waves, beginning with such items as 30 Days of Night original art by Ben Templesmith, original painted pages from Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who — Assimilation by J.K. Woodward, a Black Widow illustration by Phil Noto, comic-book script reviews by Scott Snyder and Ron Marz, and signed comics by the likes of Chris Burnham, James Tynion IV, Jamie S. Rich, Greg Pak and J.M DeMatteis. Visit the auction page for the full listing.
“I’ll keep doing auctions as long as comics pros want to send me stuff,” Miner said. Professionals wishing to contribute items for the auction should contact Miner.
Heavy rains hit Central Texas last night , causing flooding in Austin and the surrounding area. 30 Days of Night writer Steve Niles lives in the area and awoke this morning to find his house flooded. He posted on Tumblr this morning that getting to his turtle, Gil, was the hardest part:
Woke up at 6am to water rushing into the house. Already ankle deep by the time we saw it. We got as much as we could off the ground and tried to block but there wasn’t much we could do. The worst was trying to get to Gil. It was waist deep almost and strong enough to throw around logs. I reached him and he was submerged and freaking out. Don’t remember much more then lifting him and carrying him all the way back to the house. Looking back I can see how scary it was.”
We are securing the house as much as we can and going through the damage. A scrapbook full of original art I’ve kept for 30 years is gone. A lot more.
Our friends Belinda and Steve are setting up a fund to help. I feel terrible about this but once things settle I’ll have to face up that we need help. I just wish I could catch my breath for 5 minutes and I can make my own money. Austin has had other ideas I guess.
We’ll keep you posted. We’re sort of trapped here for right now. Going to pack and move as much as we can before the next storm hits.
Thank you guys so much.
Publishing | Jody LeHeup, who joined Valiant in May 2012 as associate editor, has left the publisher, and will focus on his writing career. However, he noted on Twitter, “I am open to discussing editorial work as well.” LeHeup previously worked for four years at Marvel, where he edited such titles as Deadpool, X-Force and the Eisner-nominated Strange Tales before being let go in October 2011 during a round of layoffs. [Twitter]
Creators | Tom Spurgeon pointed out a disturbing paragraph in this article about the dangers of being a political cartoonist in the Middle East: Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan hasn’t been heard from in months and may be dead, according to Robert Russell of the Cartoonists Rights Network International, which has been advocating for Raslan’s release from prison. Raslan was arrested last year, and Russell was told his trial was delayed and then that he had been killed. [CNN]
Comics | The Venezuelan government is issuing illustrated versions of the country’s constitution to all school children, and plans are already under way for another edition that will be in comics format. [Foreign Policy]
While talking about the financial difficulty of hitting a lot of big conventions during the year, a group of comics writers came up with a potential new way to make creator appearances more frequent and cost-effective.
Jimmy Palmiotti started the conversation by noting that when most creators attend a convention, they do so on their own dime. And for writers it’s especially tough, as they’re unable to sell artwork to recoup costs. Ron Marz noted that even when the table is free, he still loses money unless the convention at least pays for travel and hotel expenses, while Steve Niles added that recovery time after conventions is also a factor. Time spent at a show (or being sick after a show) is time not spent on creating comics.
None of these creators prefers to stay home and miss meeting readers and other industry people, so Niles shared how, because he wasn’t able to attend Comic-Con International this year, he Skyped into a panel and had a good experience. “I wish we could do this at stores to meet fans,” he wrote. And then the conversation took off.
Preview Night doesn’t begin for another 11 hours, but judging from the flurry of announcements, Comic-Con International has been well under way since, oh, about Monday. So, if it feels like you’re already falling behind, that’s because you probably are.
To help you catch up, we’ve rounded up early news from DC Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, Madefire and Marvel, along with a few other convention-related items.
• Dynamite Entertainment came out of the gate running this week with news that Steve Niles and Dennis Calero will reboot Army of Darkness, James Robinson will launch his crime romance Grand Passion, the Legends of Red Sonja miniseries will team Gail Simone with an all-female creative team that includes Marjorie M. Liu, Nancy A. Collins, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Mercedes Lackey, Nicola Scott and Devin Grayson, Peter Milligan will debut his sci-fi action series Terminal Hero, Duane Swiercyznski will expand the publisher’s crime line with Ex-Con, Howard Chaykin will return to The Shadow with the miniseries Midnight in Moscow, NBC’s Heroes will get a “fifth season” in a series written by Cullen Bunn, the acquisition of the Robotech license spawns a Robotech/Voltron crossover, and The Heart of the Beast, the graphic novel by Dean Motter, Judith Dupré and Sean Phillips, will receive a 20th-anniversary prestige-format edition.
Steve Niles recently shared on Twitter this encouraging (and kind of gross) postcard he received from Stephen King in 1988, when Niles was just starting out as a writer. Niles had sent King a copy of his first comic Bad Moon, which featured a giant nun named Sister Anne who was trying to stop a demon with the help of a priest, a werewolf and a vampire. Niles told me the nun was named after the MC5 song and “was more akin to the Hulk than Mother Teresa.” He also joked, “Nuns in Space was King’s suggestion, but I never got around to it.”
Thirty-six questions. Six answers. One random number generator. Welcome to Robot Roulette, where creators roll the virtual dice and answer our questions about their lives, careers, interests and more.
Joining us today is writer Steve Niles, who you know from 30 Days of Night, Criminal Macabre, Mystery Society, Chin Music, Edge of Doom and the just-released-this-week Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem.
Now let’s get to it …
This week saw the debut of Chin Music, a monthly series written by Steve Niles and drawn by Tony Harris. Announced at last year’s Image Expo, Chin Music is about a man named Shaw who flees through time from his ancient enemies, landing in Prohibition-era Chicago to find himself surrounded by gangsters, law enforcement and the local supernatural underground.
So does Chin Music hit the right notes or does it fall flat? Here are a few thoughts on the first issue from around the web:
Happy Presidents Day weekend, America, and happy Sunday to everyone else. Welcome to a very presidential What Are You Reading?, which really isn’t that different than a regular one, but you can imagine every entry being written by Daniel Day-Lewis if you’d like.
Today our special guest is Chris Smits, publisher of Aw Yeah Comics Publishing! and blogger at Creator-Owned Comics. Aw Yeah Comics, of course, is the all-ages comics series being created by Art Baltazar and Franco, with help from folks like Mark Waid, Brad Meltzer, Jason Aaron and many others … including Chris. If you’d like to get your hands on the adventures of Awesome Bear, Daring Dog, Polar Cycle, Marquaid, Action Cat and more, then let me point you to their Kickstarter campaign, which has hit its goal but you can still get in on the fun (and the comics!)
And to see what Chris and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Organizers of STAPLE! The Independent Media Expo have provided ROBOT 6 with an exclusive first look at the details for their ninth annual event, held March 2-3 at the Marchesa Hall & Theater in Austin, Texas. Billed as the premier indie-comics convention in the Southwest, STAPLE! showcases a range of performers, exhibitors and artists, with an emphasis this year on independent table-top gaming, web TV, animation and pop-culture podcasting.
The announced panelists are: comics creators James O’Barr, Steve Niles and Bernie Wrightson; veteran game designers Jason Morningstar, Jeff Dee and Marc Majcher; web TV icons Danni Danger, Sara Reihani and Jessica Mills; animators Dax Norman, Kyle Sullivan, Bill Byrne and Mongrel Studio Productions; and podcasters Geek Bombast, Chris Cox, Martin Thomas, The League of Extremely Ordinary Gentlemen and The Random Access Web TV Podcast. See the panelist biographies below. A full list of exhibitors can be found on the STAPLE! website.
The event, and its official “Live Art Show” after-party, also will feature performances by the macabre musical troupe After Midnight, nerdcore hip-hop artist Bad Barry, DJ LD and chiptune artist Run/DMG.
Two-day passes can be purchased for $15 from the Marchesa Hall & Theater website, or at the door.
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.
If I had $15 this Wednesday, it’d be all Image for me – starting with Nowhere Men #3 (Image, $2.99). The Beatles as a scientific supergroup, through the lens of Dr. Strangelove? Let’s do this. I’ve been a big fan of Nate Bellegarde for a while, and this book finally seems to capture what’s unique about him – his comedy, his stark scientific acumen, and his humanism. After that I’d get Glory #32 (Image, $3.99). Beautiful cover by Ricken here, and reads like a great manga building up to some epic battle. After that I’d get Brian Wood and Ming Doyle’s Mara #2 (Image, $2.99). I tried to hold back my expectations before reading Issue 1, and I was blown away – so now Issue 2 has something to prove. Finally, I’d get Invincible #100 (Image, $3.99) (Cory Walker’s cover, if you want to know!). I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: I think Invincible is better than The Walking Dead. No need to compare the two really, though, because no matter how you cut it, this series is great … and what Kirkman and Ottley have planned for the 100th issue looks to be unique – both for the promised deaths and the promise of seeing what could have been had Mark Grayson chosen differently.
If I had $30, I’d make up for lost time and get Brian Ralph’s Cave-In (Drawn & Quarterly, $14.95) . I’m reticent to admit this, but I’ve never read this book. I loved Daybreak, but never found a copy or the motivation to seek out more … but this Wednesday that will change.
For splurging, I already have most of this in the single issues, but I can’t help but splurge on the new collection X-Men: Mutant Massacre (Marvel, $34.99). This was my first crossover in comics, buying back-issues before I discovered events like Crisis on Infinite Earths and Secret Wars. In my rose-colored glasses, it’s an ideal crossover for not being too overbearing and relating to a conflict or situation that isn’t superhero-specific. Love the Morlocks, love Uncanny X-Men and the associated books around this time, so I’m buying this and spending an evening enjoying it all over again.