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Welcome to Store Tour, ROBOT 6’s weekly exploration of comics shops, and the people who run them; think of it as the retailer version of Shelf Porn. Each Sunday we feature a different store, and also get to know the person behind the register.
This week’s stop has the distinction of being the easternmost comics shop in North America, Downtown Comics, located at 141 Duckworth St. in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. We spoke with owner Jason Conway.
Fan-favorite Walking Dead character Daryl Dixon goes solo in this stop-motion animated LEGO short by Marc-Andre Caron (aka “MonsieurCaron”).
The wordless and surprisingly bloody (well, for LEGO) video follows Daryl as he takes a detour into the forest to investigate smoke, only to discover a man besieged by walkers. “It’s not really a Walking Dead story,” Caron explains, “more of an homage to Norman Reedus character and the zombie genre.”
Passings | MAD Magazine writer Tom Koch passed away March 22 at age 89. He was a writer for the Bob and Ray radio comedy show in 1957, when MAD was trying to broaden its reach by featuring work by popular comedians. Koch adapted some routines he had written, and editor Al Feldstein realized his work was a good fit and asked him to to become a contribute. He wrote for the magazine for nearly four decades, contributing more than 300 pages, but he said he was proudest of a 1965 work, “43-man Squamish.” It’s still the magazine’s most requested reprint. [News from ME, MAD Magazine]
Entertainment Weekly has unveiled the cover for Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead: Invasion, the sixth prose novel expanding upon the universe of the long-running comics series.
Written once again by Jay Bonansinga, the book follows the events of last fall’s Descent, with protagonist Lilly Caul struggling with a ragtag group of survivors struggling to carve out a new life after the fall of Woodbury. Here’s the synopsis from publisher Thomas Dunne Books:
If you’ve somehow missed out on the ratings juggernaut that’s The Walking Dead, there’s probably no faster (and funner) way to catch up on the first two seasons than this new video from 8 Bit Cinema, which reimagines the AMC drama as an old-school arcade game.
The story is super-condensed, of course, spanning Rick’s emergence from a coma to the flight from Hershel’s farm in less than five minutes. If only the search/wait for Sophia had taken as long …
As readers and viewers of The Walking Dead well know, secluded farms, penitentiaries and gated communities will only protect you for so long from the undead hordes shambling across the post-apocalyptic landscape. But short of plunking down $113,000 for a zombie-proof log cabin, what’s a person to do?
According to researchers from Cornell University, you should start packing for the Rockies.
Libraries | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has responded to the recent removal of a copy of Gilbert Herandez’s Palomar from a high school library in New Mexico following complaints from a parent, who called the acclaimed graphic novel “pornographic.” Taking a local television station to task for its “biased reporting,” the organization notes the removal of the book by Rio Rancho Public Schools officials appears to violate the district’s own challenge policy. [Comic Book Legal Defense Fund]
Manga | Here’s an interesting insight into the Japanese publishing industry: Deb Aoki, in Tokyo as a judge for the Manga Translation Battle, collects a series of her tweets and the responses of others (including a number of pros) to the symposium that followed the awards reception. The juxtaposition of two charts is startling: Manga sales are sharply down in Japan but rising in the United States, although of course the orders of magnitude are different. In keeping with the theme, she also discusses what makes a “good” translation, with actual manga translators weighing in with their opinions. [Storify]
Lumbering into Toys”R”Us stores next month, the new assortment of Walking Dead Minimates from Diamond Select Toys will feature characters from the “All Out War” story arc of the acclaimed comic series by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard.
Inspired by Adlard’s artwork, each 2-inch minifigure features 14 points of articulation, interchangeable parts and character-specific accessories. The assortment features four two-packs, each with a human paired with a walker. Here’s the character lineup:
With comics, live-action television, prose, video and board games, and collectibles already covered, it’s only a matter of time before Robert Kirkman & Co. complete their conquest of popular culture with a Walking Dead animated series. Not Saturday-morning cartoons mind you — hey, that era came to an end in October — but possibly a late-night show; Adult Swim maybe.
Whatever the case, there’s a pretty good chance it’s coming, and artist Edward Pun may have a pretty vision of what it would like. He’s drawn terrific animated-style versions of the central cast of the hit AMC drama, capturing the actors’ likenesses without losing his own artistic flair.
The Hollywood Reporter has debuted a tribute to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo shootings created by The Walking Dead artist Charlie Adlard.
The illustration, which appears in the Jan. 23 issue of the Hollywood trade, depicts Rick Grimes holding up a pencil in his remaining (if bloody) hand to salute the dead. Adlard and the Walking Dead website unveiled a different version of the same image.
“You know, I don’t regret my mistakes, but I don’t know that I liked them. I certainly don’t want to publicize them. I did draw my very first comic book, and that was a mistake. I am not a good artist. I spent three months and I was going to write and draw a comic book and I worked on this thing and it was terrible. I sent it to the distributor and they were like, ‘This is not of professional quality, we will not distribute this.’ That was a mistake, but I learned from it and it led to me realizing that drawing comics is a fool’s game. I think it led to good things.”
— The Walking Dead co-creator Robert Kirkman, recalling his “favorite mistake” in a brief Q&A with Playboy. Of course, “I think it led to good things” may be a bit of an understatement.
Gone are the days of Highways of Agony, The Last Prom and other antiquated (yet still horrifying) short films some of us were subjected to in driver’s ed classes. In their place, the Illinois Department of Transportation now has The Driving Dead, a web series starring The Walking Dead alum Michael Rooker.
Set in a rather familiar post-apocalyptic, zombie-filled world, the series depicts the dangers of not wearing seat belts and driving under the influence … even while being pursued by the undead, or the gun-wielding living. For instance, in the second episode, which debuted last week, survivors end up having to weigh the greater risk: remaining in the range of a sniper, or getting into a car with a buzzed driver. Decisions, decisions …
Their dilemma may come off a little more humorous than it was intended, but overall The Driving Dead is pretty good, with stronger acting and production values than you’d probably expected from a state-sponsored driving-safety initiative.
If you’ve been holding out for a musical parody of The Walking Dead set to the tune of the classic Queen anthem “Another One Bites the Dust,” then it’s your lucky day, as that’s exactly what The Hillywood Show delivers in its latest video. It’s pretty good, too, with all the gore you would expect from Rick Grimes & Co., with all the dancing and slow-motion flips that you wouldn’t.
For Supernatural viewers, there’s also a cameo by fan-favorite actor Osric Chau (plus, for everyone, a behind-the-scenes video).
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.
Passings | Dr. George Slusser, co-founder of the University of California, Riversides’ renowned Eaton Collection of Science Fiction & Fantasy, passed away Tuesday at age 75. Curator emeritus and professor emeritus of comparative literature, Slusser expanded the Eaton holdings from 7,500 items to more than 300,000, making it the largest publicly accessible collection of science fiction and fantasy literature in the world. It encompasses novels, journals, manuscripts, comics and manga, fanzines and anime, and includes first editions of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Action Comics #1 and The Fantastic Four #1. “Over three decades, George Slusser built the Eaton Collection up from a small core of titles into the world-class archive that it is today,” Rob Latham, co-director of UC Riverside’s Science Fiction and Technoculture Studies program, said in a statement. “The field of science fiction scholarship owes him an incalculable debt.” [UC Riverside]