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All-Star throwback: Revisiting NBA’s Superman slam dunk rivalry

LexDunkHed

Tonight, basketball fans will be looking to New York City, where the NBA is hosting its annual All-Star Weekend. The traditional midpoint of the league’s season, the schedule of events includes everything from celebrity appearances to skills competitions to a “Rookie/Sophomore” game, all leading up to Sunday’s All-Star Game. But even for the most casual of NBA fans, one of the biggest draws of the weekend is the annual slam dunk contest.

While the throwdown sets some of the hottest players against each other in a “flash over fundamentals” battle, we’re doubting this weekend’s contest will push nerd buttons quite the same way the 2008-2009 rivalry run between Dwight Howard and Nate Robinson did, drawing as it did on Superman iconography for one of the most dastardly finishes in dunk history.

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How ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ should’ve ended

hishe-dofp

For a film whose plot relies so heavily on time travel and Quicksilver’s super-speed, the 2014 blockbuster X-Men: Days of Future Past may not have exploited either element to its full (or wholly logical) potential, as the folks at How It Should Have Ended note in their latest video.

And while Superman enthusiastically endorses moving really fast and reversing time — “Sounds groovy! I’m going to have to try that some day!” — a coffee-swilling Batman is all too happy to point out the inherent flaws in the mutants’ approach.

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DC Collectibles unveils ‘BTAS’ Batmobile, DC Icons action figures

dc collectibles-bats

Ahead of Saturday’s kickoff of Toy Fair 2015, DC Collectibles has unveiled a lineup that includes the debut of the DC Comics Icons action-figure line, based on the work of artist Ivan Reis, and the first 6-inch-scale Batmobile inspired by Batman: The Animated Series.

Accompanying the Batmobile is the fifth wave of figures from Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures — Nightwing, Bane, Mad Hatter and Scarecrow — plus a two-pack from Mask of the Phantasm (MTV News has the full details on the figures). The Batmobile features sliding door access and room for two 6-inch figures.

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Superman made his radio debut 75 years ago today

Seventy-five years ago today, radio listeners first heard the immortal words “Up in the sky! Look! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s Superman!” And the rest is pop-culture history.

Within months of his debut in Action Comics #1, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuter’s superhero had already made the leap to newspaper comics pages, but the radio offered DC Comics an opportunity to reach an even larger audience.

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Plan for Superman statue finally takes flight in Cleveland

A fiberglass prototype of the planned Superman statue

A fiberglass prototype of the planned Superman statue

Long recognized as the birthplace of Superman, Cleveland may at long last get a statue commemorating the creation of the Man of Steel.

According to The Cleveland Plain Dealer, plans are under way to erect a 12-foot burnished-steel statue of Superman near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, about five miles from the house where teenagers Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster dreamed up the superhero in the early 1930s.

Sculpted by David Deming, who’s been working on the project for nearly seven years, Superman will be mounted atop a 30- to 35-foot pedestal, with smaller, life-size statues of Siegel, Shuster and Lois Lane model Joanne Siegel looking up at him.

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DC Comics charts ‘Superman’s first new power in decades’

super flare

Ahead of the debut of the Man of Steel’s new power and costume in Wednesday’s Superman #38, DC Comics has released a graphic charting the history of his abilities, from super-speed to flight to, now, super flare.

The conclusion of the “Men of Tomorrow” storyline by Geoff Johns, John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson, the new issue apparently climaxes with the unleashing of what the writer calls “the most destructive power Superman has.”

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Quote of the Day | Alex Ross on reinventing superheroes

superman-alex ross“The intent of [many of] the companies is redesign, reinvent, for a modern readership who want their own version of a thing as opposed to their grandfather’s version of a thing.

I’ve always thought there’s a beautiful eloquence of having a connection to something that was designed 50, 60, 75 years ago, that is essentially undiluted. They don’t need to be over-altered for the sake of upcoming generations. They don’t have to be unified.

If you have to always make characters younger because, ‘well, young people won’t connect with older protagonists,’ well, that is such horseshit.”

Alex Ross, lamenting the desire of some publishers to remake superheroes for a modern audience, in the same piece in which he says he’s learned not to get too attached to certain depictions of characters: “If you start thinking that your version of a thing is the most popular, beloved version, then when they go a different way, as they have with their version of Superman today, it breaks your heart.”

Comics A.M. | Nostalgia, franchises and the new comics economy

Howard the Duck

Howard the Duck

Analysis | Rob Salkowitz kicks off the new year with big-picture questions about “geek culture”: With the popularity of comics-based movies, will continuity and nostalgia become less important? And will comics themselves become less important? “Putting out comics is a relatively costly and troublesome process with limited revenue potential relative to other ways of exploiting the intellectual property. A fan base that buys licensed merchandise and watches entertainment programming without needing a monthly fix of new art and story is probably considered a feature of the new comics economy, not a bug.” [ICv2]

Creators | Chew artist Rob Guillory, who will appear this weekend at Wizard World New Orleans, talks about the strange comics that he read as a kid (The Adventures of Kool-Aid Man) and the unexpected success of Chew, which will end next year with its 60th issue: “In the beginning, John and I were kind of like, ‘Well, best-case scenario, we can go 60 issues. Worst-case scenario, we can do five and go our separate ways and never speak again.’ I don’t know if we’ve seen the peak of our reception. I don’t think we’ll see how popular we’ve been until it’s over. When it’s wrapped and it’s the complete thing, I think people will start missing us.” [Best of New Orleans]

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Superman faces Doomsday in fan-made trailer

superman-doomsday

Alex Luthor (not that Alex Luthor) created a stir online last week with his epic trailer for the DC vs. Marvel movie that we’ll likely never see. For his follow-up, he teamed with video editor kashchei2003 for a fan trailer that’s not as epic or as polished, but certainly interesting nonetheless: Superman vs. Doomsday.

Inspired by the 1992 DC Comics storyline “The Death of Superman,” the trailer naturally borrows heavily from Man of Steel, with the Doomsday sequences appearing to be largely altered footage from 2008’s The Incredible Hulk (taken from kashchei2003’s own Superman: Doomsday fan film).

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Ring in the holidays with festive comics-themed ‘ugly’ sweaters

guardians-sweater

Your holiday sweater collection doesn’t have to be scary anymore; you can improve it with comic book-inspired designs. Once upon a time, the thought of attending an ugly-sweater themed holiday party was unappealing: The sweaters used to be legitimately hideous and tacky, with flocked teddy bears, noisy bells and glittery snow, and they were itchy and hot. Those garments of yore could be fun to wear, but I never liked scouring thrift stores and forking over cash for them.

That’s all changed, because the idea of the ugly holiday sweater has evolved. The designs are no longer what I’d call ugly, and they’re more likely to be printed on comfortable sweatshirts instead of stuffy sweaters. You can find several prints inspired by pop culture franchises and even comic books.

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Ma and Pa Kent meet their match in ‘Superman: Terrible Twos’

superman-terrible-twos

You’d think that during its 10 seasons, Smallville would’ve thoroughly covered ever facet of the Man of Steel’s early years. However, it turns out the producers glossed over a particularly dark chapter of his youth: the terrible twos.

Luckily Nerdist and writer/director Victor Quinaz are on hand to document that period in Superman: Terrible Twos, a short film that finds a beleaguered Jonathan and Martha Kent (Matt Hobby and Jessica Chobot) driven to drink by little Clark’s burgeoning powers, which make bathtime, bedtime and, well, anytime virtually impossible.

Where’s Letitia Lerner when you need her? (Be warned: The video auto-plays.)

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‘Action Comics’ #1 leads $7.17 million comics auction

action-310000A CGC-graded 3.0 copy of Action Comics #1 fetched $310,700 in a recent $7.17 million comics and comics art auction, Heritage Auctions announced.

That’s a far cry from the record $3.2 million paid in August for a pristine copy of the 1938 first appearance of Superman, but certainly nothing to sneeze at.

“High-end, vintage comic books across the board continue to show incredible market durability,” Ed Jaster, Heritage’s senior vice president, said in a statement. “The auction total, at $7.17 million, is the third-highest grossing comics auction in history, period.”

Other comic book highlights of the Nov. 20-22 auction include a CGC-graded 7.0 copy of Pep Comics #22, featuring the first appearance of Archie Andrews ($143,400) and a CGC-graded 6.5 copy of Captain America Comics #1 ($107,550).

The auction house also noted high prices paid for the first appearances of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, which it attributes to anticipation for the characters’ big-screen debuts: a CGC-graded 5.5 copy of All Star Comics #8 sold for $44,813, more than triple its list value, and a CGC-graded 3.5 copy of More Fun Comics #73 went for $38,838, 10 times its guide price.

Also of note: Bill Everett’s original cover art for 1967’s Strange Tales #152, depicting Doctor Strange and Umar, sold for $71,700, while Frank Frazetta’s 1967 cover painting for Jongor Fights Back fetched an impressive $179,250.

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Superman action figure soars to edge of space, returns to Earth

superman-space2

There’s something wonderfully and refreshingly uplifting about this video, which chronicles DesignSpark‘s mission for Mattel Toys Italy to launch a Superman action figure to an altitude of 29,000 meters — “to the edge of space” — and bring it parachuting back to Earth. It’s pretty amazing.

DesignSpark has provided more details at Instructables, including downloadable instructions so you can send your own action figure into the atmosphere.

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In ‘LEGO Batman vs Superman,’ the Bat-gloves come off

lego-bat-v-supes

Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice won’t arrive in theaters for another 16 months, but BrickNerd Studios has already envisioned the tense standoff between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel.

In “LEGO Batman vs Superman,” the stop-motion animated short by Tommy Williamson, the Caped Crusader may not be sure why he opposes the Last Son of Krypton, but that doesn’t stop him from breaking out his entire arsenal. Well, almost his entire arsenal. In restrospect, Bruce probably wishes he’d brought the Batmobile into play.

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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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