Luke Cage History: From Hero for Hire to Hollywood
TV, Comic Books
Legal | A South Korea court has ruled an exhibition devoted to One Piece can be held as planned after it was abruptly canceled earlier this month following allegations that Eiichiro Oda’s popular pirate manga contains images that resemble the Rising Sun flag, considered a symbol of Japanese imperialism in South Korea. The company staging the One Piece show, which includes life-sized statues, rare figures and Oda’s sketches, asked the court to step in after the War Memorial of Korea in Seoul pulled the plug on the event just days before its scheduled July 12 opening. The court found that One Piece can’t be considered to “[hail] Japanese imperialism” simply because it depicts a flag reminiscent of the Rising Sun; and even if those images are of the Rising Sun flag, it’s mainly shown in a negative light. [The Asahi Shimbun]
Conventions | An advocate for the homeless claims San Diego police are harassing homeless people to keep them away from downtown during Comic-Con International. The mayor and police chief deny the accusation and say officers are simply doing outreach, but at least one homeless man has been given a “stay away” order. Comic-Con begins Wednesday with Preview Night. [ABC 10 News]
Digital comics | Following the news that the comics market was estimated at $850 million in 2013, of which $90 million was digital, George Gene Gustines looks at a couple of different digital models, including Thrillbent’s new subscription service and Panel Syndicate, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s name-your-own-price approach. [The New York Times]
Publishing | Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater responds to Singapore’s ban of the third volume of Life With Archie, which features the wedding of Kevin Keller and Clay Walker: “Riverdale will always be about acceptance, equality and safety. I’m sad readers in Singapore will miss out on the chance to read such a pivotal moment in comics.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
Business | Devin Leonard looks at the possible effects of a Fox/Time-Warner merger on superhero movies; Time-Warner owns DC Entertainment, and Fox has the movie rights to some Marvel characters. The New York Times offers a broader overview. [Business Week]
“I think worrying about the life and death of superheroes is pretty meaningless. The search for ‘importance’ by the superhero comic audience is a problem, a disease. The only thing that’s important is story. If it’s a good story, it’s important and meaningful. Saying ‘I’ll bet he’ll be back within a week’ is to proudly affirm that you know Kermit is just a puppet.”
– Wolverine writer Paul Cornell, addressing a Comic Book Resources reader’s question about the often-temporary nature of superhero deaths
Legal | Turkish cartoonist Mehmet Düzenli began serving a three-month sentence this week on charges of insulting Muslim preacher Adnan Oktar, who espouses controversial views, such as creationism and Holocaust denial. Oktar sued Düzenli over a cartoon about him, and Düzenli refused to appeal the sentence on the grounds that even if it were suspended, he still would not be able to express himself freely. “If Mr. Oktar has the right to claim that he is the Mahdi [the redeemer who is supposed to appear at the ‘end times’], I have the right to say that he is lying,” he said. [Reporters Without Borders]
Comics sales | ICv2 has sales estimates for the direct market in May, which was a good month for chart-toppers, with four titles selling more than 100,000 copies, compared to just one in each of the first three months of the year. The top seller was Marvel’s Original Sin #1, at 147,045 copies, but ICv2 notes that sales were juiced by incentives, including variant covers and a plastic eyeball, and that orders for the second issue are considerably lower. They also give the top 400 comics and the top 300 graphic novels charts for the month. [ICv2]
This is the Best of 7 for several weeks. Also I consider this making the best of a tough situation.
As previously reported, Seth Kushner is fighting leukemia and is going to need a bone marrow transplant. In the meantime, he has to be isolated and is away from his young son. To help ease the pain (for both father and son) of separation, Kushner is drawing daily superhero pinups for his son.
I received Kushner’s permission to run some of the sketches and promised him I would make folks aware of the National Bone Marrow Registry. In addition to needing matches, the registry will also take financial donations.
Conventions | Vulture examines efforts by ReedPOP, producer of New York Comic Con and C2E2, to take a comic con-style approach to Book Expo America with BookCon, billed as “the event where storytelling and pop culture collide.” On Saturday, the final day of the country’s largest publishing trade show, the public is invited (for a $30 admission fee) to interact with authors and publishers, get autographs, attend film panels and even catch a sneak peek at an upcoming release. “You can see the Comic Con logic: Draw in rabid fans across genres and media any way you can,” Vulture’s Boris Kachka writes. “What publishers would like to know is whether they will come for the books — and eventually buy them.” [Vulture]
Get ready to tear up: WPLG TV reports 5-year-old superhero fan Brayden Denton passed away on May 8 in Newton County, Indiana due to a rare form of brain cancer, and in order to honor him, his family donned the costumes of his favorite characters for the funeral.
It’s not often that we see superheroes enjoying some quiet time and communing with nature, most likely because that would make for some incredibly boring comic books. However, the concept leads to some lovely images, as photographer and digital artist Benoit Lapray demonstrates in his series “The Quest for the Absolute.”
Dropping costumed characters into (mostly) serene settings, Lapray creating scenes of Thor strolling in a lush forest, Spider-Man resting at the side of a winding mountain road, the Silver Surfer pondering a deep valley, Wonder Woman perching in the spray of a waterfall, and more.
Check out some of the images below, and more on Lapray’s website.
It boggles my mind that it’s been more than eight years since cartoonist Dean Trippe and current ROBOT 6 contributor Chris Arrant launched Project: Rooftop, a website dedicated to superhero costume redesigns, but indeed it has. They were inspired by a “Draw Batgirl” meme that made the rounds in 2006, and to mark eight years they returned to the subject with “Batgirl Begins Again,” to typically stellar results.
They’ve posted their top three entries, as selected by a panel of the site’s regular judges plus special guests; you’ll recognize the names of at least two of the chosen artists — Chris Samnee and Joe Quinones — and will likely be searching for more work by the third, Elizabeth Beals.
Check out Samnee’s Batgirl redesign, and visit Project: Rooftop for me. The site promises to show off the runners-up next week.
“When I first got this role I just cried like a baby because I was like, ‘Wow, next Halloween, I’m gonna open the door and there’s gonna be a little kid dressed as the Falcon.’ That’s the thing that always gets me. I feel like everybody deserves that. I feel like there should be a Latino superhero. Scarlett does great representation for all the other girls, but there should be a Wonder Woman movie. I don’t care if they make 20 bucks, if there’s a movie you’re gonna lose money on, make it Wonder Woman. You know what I mean, ’cause little girls deserve that. There’s so many of these little people out here doing awful things for money in the world of being famous. And little girls see that. They should have the opposite spectrum of that to look up to.”
– Captain America: The Winter Soldier star Anthony Mackie, discussing playing the Falcon, and the need for more representation of women and minorities in superhero movies
Political Cartoons | Facebook has removed an article from the Revolution News Facebook page, issued a warning to the owners of the page, and banned one admin for 12 hours, apparently because the article included a cartoon by Carlos Latuff that “violated community standards.” The cartoon shows Death pulling a skeleton from the grave; the skeleton has a swastika on its skull and is wrapped in a Greek flag, a reference to recent neo-Nazi activities in Greece. [CBLDF]
Comics | The Edmonton, Alberta police department has created a digital graphic novel about Alex Decoteau, the first Aboriginal officer in the department. Decoteau was also an Olympic runner and was killed during World War I at the age of 29. [CBC]
Manga | Attack on Titan is as much of a manga juggernaut in its native Japan as it is the United States, and the 13th volume had a print run of 2.75 million copies, a new record not only for the series but for publisher Kodansha. [Crunchyroll]
Comics | Tom Risen has a thoughtful piece, which includes an interview with Axel Alonso, on how superhero comics have changed since the War on Terror began: “Superheroes since the 2000s have increasingly held up a mirror to controversies like mass surveillance, remote killings using drones and the ‘with us or against us’ mentality espoused by former President George W. Bush. Misuse of military technology also played a key role in recent movie adaptations featuring Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America and Iron Man, showing how fighting dirty to defeat evil can make America its own worst enemy.” [U.S. News & World Report]
The press release I received this morning from Titan Comics calls Martin Eden’s Spandex “the world’s first comic featuring gay superheroes,” which seems like the sort of claim that gets refuted as soon as you post it on the Internet. Still, Eden has taken the idea of, basically, an all-gay Justice League and really run with it.
Spandex was nominated for an Eagle Award, and Titan Books collected the first three issues into a trade edition a couple of years ago. Now it’s making the first two issues available on comiXology for $1.99 each.
With rare exception, characters in superhero comics seldom age. Sure, there’s Savage Dragon and, once upon a time, DC’s Justice Society and former sidekicks like Dick Grayson, Wally West and Donna Troy, but by and large, publishers (and creators and readers) like only the illusion of change; the heroes can’t actually age (or, in several cases, get married, as that mysteriously makes them older as well).
However, no one apparently told that to Lesley Vamos, artist for Lion Forge Entertainment’s Punky Brewster comic, who this month has been depicting costumed in their golden years in a series of wonderful illustrations on her Facebook page. From Storm to Iron Man to The Phantom, Vamos captures them and their wrinkles, gray hairs, liver spots and bulging midsections.
Check out Ant-Man and Rogue below, and even more on Vamos’ Facebook page.