superheroes Archives | Robot 6 | The Comics Culture Blog

Vintage photos become colorful superhero art

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You could say that Los Angeles artist Alex Gross has a superpower all his own. He possesses the ability to transform stodgy, old black-and-white photos into colorful pop0culture icons. The likes of the “Star Trek’s” Christopher Pikem DC Comics’ Bizarro and even Flynn from 1982’s “Tron” have all graced Gross’ repurposed photographs.

His love of days gone by inspired him to create the pop-culture masterpieces. “I absolutely love old photos and vintage pictures,” he told Vivianite. “The Victorian Era is the time when I would have liked to live.” An avid collector of “cabinet cards” — a thin paper photograph mounted on a 4.5-inch by 6.5-inch piece of cardboard popular in the 1870s — Gross takes the single-shot portraits and transforms them in to pop culture icons.

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WATCH: Real-life insurance company protects you from superheroes

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“Mercury Insurance covers it all,” according to their website, including — apparently — superheroes. In a thirty-second advertisement published to YouTube, the insurance company claims to cover collateral damage caused by caped crusaders.

“The red guy threw my car at the blue guy, and the blue guy had a freeze ray,” says the distressed claimant, standing in his destroyed living room.

“We see that a lot this time of year,” his agent responds.

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Comics A.M. | Superheroine debuts at Puerto Rican Day parade

La Borinqueña

La Borinqueña

Characters | Puerto Rican superhero La Borinqueña will make her debut in her own comic this fall, but she made an advance appearance on a float at the Puerto Rican Day parade in New York last weekend. Creator Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez wanted to create a heroine who embodied both a classic superhero look and Puerto Rican iconography. And she will have dark skin: “It’s a 2016 approach to creating an image. Meaning that, as a Latino creating an image that represents Latinos, she’s not going to be whitewashed, like a telenovela actress. She’s not going to be the trigueña that’s going to be the nanny, or the maid, in the background. She’s going to be in the forefront. There’s room for all of us, but there’s a necessity to represent all of us as well.” The comic will debut at the Café con Comics event in New York later this year. Miranda-Rodriguez and Run-DMC member Darryl McDaniels are co-founders of Darryl Makes Comics!, but they have not decided whether La Borinqueña will be published by them or another publisher. Either way, a cut of the sales will go to the National Puerto Rican Day Parade organization’s scholarship program. [New York Daily News]

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Comics A.M. | Longtime artist Ken Barr passes away

"The Rampaging Hulk" #1, by Ken Barr

“The Rampaging Hulk” #1, by Ken Barr

Passings | Longtime comic artist Ken Barr has passed away at age 83. Born in Scotland, Barr his start drawing covers in the 1950s for the science fiction magazine Nebula, moving on to covers and posters for Star Wars, Star Trek, and the first 14 issues of the British comic Commando. Barr moved to the United States in 1968 and began drawing covers for comics published by Warren (Creepy, Vampirella, Doc Savage, Planet of the Apes). He was a penciler, inker and writer for a number of DC’s war comics under editor Joe Kubert, and he drew the first Losers story in Our Fighting Forces. He also worked on some of Marvel’s black-and-white comics, and continued to create book covers and trading cards until his retirement in 1987. [Down the Tubes]

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‘Interheroes’ peers inside the stylish homes of superheroes

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We’ve seen Wayne Manor, the Baxter Building and Tony Stark’s many bachelor pads depicted in countless Marvel and DC comic books over the decades. However, in “Interheroes,” illustrator and architect Federico Babina offers a look at the stylish homes of superheroes if they were decorated to reflect their costumed identities.

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Comics A.M. | Viz Media expands Walmart deal, makes Best Buy debut

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1

Assassination Classroom, Vol. 1

Publishing | Viz Media has struck separate agreements that will expand the number of manga titles it sells at Walmart and bring its books to Best Buy for the first time. Under the Walmart deal, bestsellers Tokyo Ghoul, Pokeman, One Punch Man and the new Naruto one-shots will be available in more than 2,000 of the retailer’s locations across the United States. Under the Best Buy agreement, two Naruto titles and Assassination Classroom will be packaged with their respective anime and featured in floor displays at 687 locations. [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | Comics, diversity and the ‘Asian superhero’

Silk #1

Silk #1

Comics | Keith Chow, editor of The Nerds of Color, responds to the New York Times opinion column that questioned the very concept of an Asian superhero, pointing out that there have actually been a number of successful Asian superheroes, several of whom debuted this year; that contrary to what the writer Umapagan Ampikaipakan says, there are a lot of superheroes in manga; and that the story of Superman, the original superhero, was essentially an immigrant story. “Coincidentally, Ampikaipakan derisively refers to Kamala Khan’s storyline in ‘Ms. Marvel’ as ‘merely another retelling of the classic American immigrant experience,’ and therefore not worthy of the universality of the superhero archetype,” Chow writes. “I guess immigrant experiences only matter so long as the immigrant isn’t brown.” [NBC News]

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Comics A.M. | Charting the growth of the graphic novel market

"Drama," by Raina Telgemeier

“Drama,” by Raina Telgemeier

Publishing | Calvin Reid and Heidi MacDonald assemble a roundtable of comics insiders to for a detailed discussion of how the graphic novel market has evolved over the past 10 years, how their own business models have evolved, and what challenges they expect the future to bring. “Graphic novels are now firmly established in the book market worldwide in every genre: superhero, creator-owned, kids, middle-grade, young adult, webcomic, media tie-ins … etc,” says Kuo-Yu Liang, vice president of sales & marketing for Diamond Book Distributors. “While the overall book business is flat, most retailers are reporting comics/graphic novels and related merchandise as one of the few segments growing.” [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | Store employee foils theft of $114 in comics

JHU Comic Books employee Dani Ward (via JHU Comic Books)

JHU Comic Books employee Dani Ward (via JHU Comic Books)

Crime | An alert employee of JHU Comic Books in Staten Island helped foil a would-be shoplifter who was trying to make off with $114 worth of comics in his pants. According to police, Dani Ward noticed that Nicholas Perciballi, 22, was acting nervous, and she suspected he might be up to something, so she kept her eye on him as he shopped. Sure enough, as he was leaving the store, he allegedly dropped some comics from underneath his shirt. Ward reportedly called out and ran after Perciballi, then called the cops, who picked him up about 20 minutes later. When he was searched, police say they found four packets of heroin and a number of comics hidden in his clothes. Perciballi has been arrested three times in recent months on drug charges, and he allegedly told police, “I’m selling to support my habit and to cover my court fees from my last case.” [New York Daily News]

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Santa could wipe the floor with other superheroes, expert says

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Santa Claus can crisscross the globe in a matter of hours, squeeze down tiny chimneys and, to the dismay of children the world over, determine who’s been bad and good. It’s a power set that places Ol’ St. Nick on par with the mightiest superheroes, one expert claims.

In fact, says Michael Dennin, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, Santa is a superhero. However, he may be in a league of his own.

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Your books can take flight with this superhero floating shelf

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If need a present for a present for a fan of superhero comics, and a trade paperback or a gift card won’t do, the Supershelf may be just what you’re looking for.

Manufactured by Artori Design, the floating metal shelf gives the impression your books are being held aloft by a certain flying, caped superhero. While it’s probably not advisable for single issues, it’s likely perfect for collections and graphic novels.

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Comics A.M. | Sydney, Australia’s oldest comic store is closing

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Retailing | After nearly 30 years in business, Comic Kingdom — the oldest comic store in Sydney, Australia — will close its doors for good. Clayton Wildridge, who’s worked at the store for two decades and now manages it, points the finger at digital comics: “The culture has changed. It’s all internet and downloads now. The last thing I read said readership of comics was actually up, but purchases of hard copies were down. People download them instead and read them on the phone.” [The Daily Telegraph]

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Comics A.M. | The changing face of female superheroes

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

Superheroes | Dave Itzkoff looks at the growing interest in female superheroes in comics as well as in TV and movies. The article includes interviews with writers Gail Simone and G. Willow Wilson, and Wilson speaks poignantly about Ms. Marvel: “If you wanted to work in the business, you kept your head down – you did not want to be seen as having an agenda. I would never have pitched that, because I frankly would have worried that it would have prevented me from getting other work.” [The New York Times]

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Comics A.M. | DC and Marvel in the creator-owned era

Daredevil, by Marcos Martin

Daredevil, by Marcos Martin

Comics | David Harper examines why Marvel and DC remain important — “indispensable,” even — despite the ascendance of creator-owned comics. “Opposite to what it was before where you’d form yourself in your own comics and then graduate to the big companies, now the big companies are going to form you in order to graduate you to your own comics,” Marcos Martin explains. “That’s why I think Marvel and DC are indispensable. They’re great. That means there is an industry. We need that industry in order to bring creators and form them so they can at one point put together their own stories.” [Sktchd]

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Here’s a handy guide to the weaknesses of superheroes & villains

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Faced with an angry Superman, every Tom, Dick and Dark Knight knows to break out the Kryptonite (it’s usually next to the bandages and antiseptic in the first-aid kit). Likewise, if cornered by Electro, most of us might make sure we’re well-grounded, and then reach for the nearest water hose. But what about those myriad other superheroes and villains?

Glad you asked! MorphSuits, which ruffled so many feathers with its breakdown of Marvel’s most badass female characters, now scrutinizes the Achilles’ heels of costumed characters, probing for a weakness that might help out in a pinch.

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