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Comics A.M. | Batmobile covered by copyright; more on Archie feud

A Batmobile replica from Gotham Garage

Legal | A judge refused to dismiss DC Comics’ lawsuit against Gotham Garage, a manufacturer of custom-made Batmobiles, ruling that the design of Batman’s vehicle is indeed copyrightable. DC sued the California company in May for copyright and trademark infringement, claiming Gotham Garage is confusing the public into thinking the cars are authorized products. The manufacturer asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, arguing that the U.S. Copyright Act affords no protection to “useful articles.” The judge disagreed, ruling that Gotham Garage “ignores the exception to the ‘useful article’ rule, which grants copyright protection to nonfunctional, artistic elements of an automobile design that can be physically or conceptually separated from the automobile.” [The Hollywood Reporter]

Legal | Nancy Hass provides a broad overview of the legal battle at Archie Comics that pits Co-CEOs Jon Goldwater and Nancy Silberkleit against each other for control of the 73-year-old company. Silberkleit, who spoke briefly to Hass before a New York judge issued a temporary restraining order last month, called claims that she’s threatened and harassed the publisher’s employees and vendors “completely untrue.” [The Daily Beast]

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Exclusive: Makeshift Miracle interview and art

A splash page from Makeshift Miracle

Jim Zubkavich, the writer of Skullkickers and an editor at comics publisher UDON Entertainment, relaunched his webcomic Makeshift Miracle a few weeks ago with a revised story and new art. I interviewed Jim about the comic back then, but the artist, Shun Hong Chan, is from Hong Kong and doesn’t speak English.

Jim solved that problem by interviewing Hong himself with his boss, Erik Ko, who also speaks Chinese, acting as translator. He offered to share the interview with Robot 6 readers along with some exclusive teaser art—how could we say no? I was particularly intrigued by Hong’s description of how comics artists work in Hong Kong—it sounds like an assembly-line version of an Exquisite Corpse.

Jim: It’s been a thrill working with you on Makeshift and I’m excited to give readers a better idea of who you are and the passion you bring to your work. Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers? Where were you born? When did you join the comic industry and what are some of your past creations?

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Comics A.M. | Asterix co-creator retires; publisher Sergio Bonelli dies


Creators | Eighty-four-year-old artist Albert Uderzo, who created Asterix the Gaul in 1959 with writer René Goscinny, has announced he’s retiring, saying he’s “a bit tired” after 52 years of drawing. The news came as publisher Hachette celebrated the sale of 350 million Asterix books worldwide. Uderzo, who took over writing after the death of Goscinny in 1977, said he has found an as-yet-unnamed successor to continue his legacy, beginning with a new book planned for release in late 2012. [Reuters, BBC News]

Passings | Italian comics writer and publisher Sergio Bonelli, whose company Sergio Bonelli Editore (formerly CEPIM) releases such titles as Dylan Dog and Nathan Never, passed away Monday in Milan. He was 79. [UPI]

Legal | A witness testified Monday in Michael George’s murder trial that she heard the defendant and his first wife Barbara George have a particularly heated argument in their Clinton Township, Michigan, comic store on July 13, 1990, only hours before Barbara was shot and killed. [Detroit Free Press]

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Sneak preview | Jim Zubkavich’s Makeshift Miracle

After a week of teasers, Jim Zubkavich launches his new webcomic Makeshift Miracle today. If you’re getting a feeling of deja vu, it’s because Jim first published Makeshift Miracle online, and it has been through several different versions already. Now he is relaunching it with new art, by Shun Hong Chan, and a revised story; it will be serialized for free and then published in print form by UDON Entertainment next year. Jim’s Skullkickers was a big success last year, but Makeshift Miracle is a very different story. Jim told us all about it — and shared an advance look at the art as well.

Robot 6: For those of us who weren’t reading webcomics in 2001, can you briefly summarize what this comic is about?

Jim Zubkavich: Makeshift Miracle is the story of Colby Reynolds, a teenage boy on his own for the first time in his life. He’s exploring independence, trying to figure himself out, and then he encounters something that will change everything he knows about dreams, desires and his future.

It’s a surreal coming-of-age story. Part Sandman, part Stand By Me with some Miyazaki-esque visuals thrown in for good measure.

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SDCC ’11 | A roundup of Saturday’s announcements


Three down, one to go … here’s a list of the major comics-related announcements made at Comic-Con International in San Diego on Saturday:

• A number of new projects were announced or promoted at Image’s Creator-Owned Comics panel, not the least of which is the return of Brian K. Vaughan to comic books. Vaughan will write a book called Saga, which is co-created and drawn by Fiona Staples. Vaughan told CBR that the book is “an epic drama chronicling the life and times of one young family fighting to survive a never-ending war. 100 percent creator-owned. Ongoing. Monthly. Fiona and I are banking issues now.”

• Image also announced that Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman is collaborating with Charlie Adlard on a new series of graphic novels called Album. The books will be released roughly 18 months apart, 60 pages long, with different themes each year, with the first being Passenger. It’s co-published with Delcourt in France and will be available simultaneously in English and France.

• Jonathan Hickman and Nicky Pitarra will team up for The Manhattan Projects at Image. Hickman is also doing a book called Secret with artist Ryan Godenheim.

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SDCC Wishlist | UDON brings Mega Man, Street Fighter, RandomVeus to San Diego

The good folks at UDON Entertainment will be at the San Diego Comic-Con later this month, and they were kind enough to send over details on the books they’ll be selling at their booth (#5037). Their list includes Street Fighter Legends and MegaMan hardcovers, as well as their first-ever original graphic novel, RandomVeus by Jeffrey “Chamba” Cruz. You can also find details on booth signings and their panel below ….


Comic-Con International: San Diego 2011 marks the beginning of UDON’s second decade of operations, and one of its biggest San Diego outtings ever!

With three new books debuting at Comic-Con (including 2 con-exclusives!) and more than 16 creators in attendance signing and sketching every day, no comics, video game, or art fan is going to want to miss out on all the great stuff going down at UDON, booth #5037!

Art Books and Graphic Novels Debuting at Comic-Con:

MegaMan Tribute

Celebrating over 20 years of the ‘blue bomber!’

Hundreds of artists from around the world join forces to pay homage to one of the most iconic figures in gaming with Mega Man Tribute! This 300+ page, full-colour art book is the ultimate celebration of the blue bomber, featuring the characters of Mega Man classic, Mega Man X, Mega Man Zero, Mega Man ZX, and Mega Man Legends in every style you can imagine! Includes original pieces by comics superstars Hitoshi Ariga (Mega Man: Megamix), Sean “Cheeks” Galloway (Teen Titans: GO!), Sanford Greene (Dark Horse Presents), and many more!

Premiering at Comic-Con, this limited edition hardcover version features exclusive cover art by Mega Man manga artist Hitoshi Ariga (Megamix, Gigamix) that will not be available on the softcover! This HC is a convention/UDON exclusive! Limited to 500 copies. SRP $80.

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Kickin’ the Gun #2: Bunn, Zubkavich on Marvel and DC, creator-owned comics and more

As I noted yesterday, I’m a fan of both Image’s Skullkickers and Oni’s The Sixth Gun. So when I saw that the two creator-owned books were having a mini-crossover of sorts — or, to be more specific, an ad swap — I thought it might be fun to see if Skullkickers writer Jim “Zub” Zubkavich and The Sixth Gun writer Cullen Bunn might be up for interviewing each other.

And they were. If you missed part one, no worries; you can find it here. In part two, they discuss Marvel and DC, the recent focus on creator-owned comics, Dungeons & Dragons, their ad swap and more.

Zub: So, speaking of collaborators, how did your DC and Marvel work come about?

Cullen: I did a little thing for Marvel a year and a half ago, which was one of the Immortal Weapons books. That one came after I sent the editor a copy of The Damned. He finally got around to reading it and said, “Hey, you want to do this one-shot?” The new stuff all came about primarily through The Sixth Gun. A number of writers, artists and editors have picked it up, read it and either pushed me to their editors or thought I would work for other projects they had. It was definitely weird because I’m not used to anyone contacting me. I’m used to begging for work. For years I’ve gone to San Diego, and it’s the most humbling experience.

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Udon invites you to pay tribute to Mega Man

Udon Entertainment, which has published several Mega Man manga, is putting out an artbook paying tribute to the venerable video game-cartoon-comics franchise, and they are inviting everyone to participate:

UDON is sending out a call to comic artists, video game artists, freelance illustrators, and fan artists all around the world to show us your artistic tribute to Mega Man! Give us your best artwork featuring the cast of Mega Man®, Mega Man® X, Mega Man® Zero, Mega Man® ZX, and Mega Man® Legends. All styles are welcome – anime, western comic style, cartoon, pixel-based, sculptures – whatever you can come up with as your tribute to the blue bomber!

The fine print includes some fairly specific legal stipulations. Characters from the Mega Man Battle Network and Mega Man Star Force series are not allowed, and crossovers are also verboten. And the characters have to be from the games only, not comics or animation. “For example, the green Mega Man from the Captain N animated series is not allowed.” Got that? And no fan-created characters: “You may not, for example, create your own Zebra-themed Robot Master named ‘Zebra Man’.” Damn! Plus no drinking, smoking, or nudity, although now that I think about it, those elements probably be hard to integrate into a Mega Man comic anyway. (Not impossible, but difficult.)

On the other hand, the editors are open to a variety of different styles. The top 300 entries will be published and the creators will get a copy of the book.

Read the UDON-illustrated comic prequel to Nolan’s Inception

Inception: The Cobol Job

Inception: The Cobol Job

Warner Bros. has released an online comic prequel to Inception, the highly anticipated sci-fill thriller from The Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan. Called “The Cobol Job,” the prequel is written by the film’s co-producer Jordan Goldberg (Batman: Gotham Knight) and illustrated by UDON Entertainment‘s Long Vo, Joe Ng and Crystal Reid.

Although it’s called a prequel, I’ve seen warnings that the comic is somewhat spoiler-ish, and will make more sense after a viewing of the movie. So, you may want to wait until you’ve returned from Inception‘s midnight debut to give “The Cobol Job” a read.

Could we see a Marvel vs. Capcom 3 comic?

Marvel vs. Capcom 3

Marvel vs. Capcom 3

On the heels of the official announcement of Marvel vs. Capcom 3 comes hints that the latest installment of the epic fighting game could cross over into comics.

Kotaku reports that although Marvel won’t confirm discussion of an adaptation, a representative for UDON Entertainment, which holds the Street Fighter license, said a comic would be a “natural progression.”

“The comic medium is such an influence on both companies, both franchises,” UDON Project Manager Jim Zubkavich told the gaming blog. “You look at the game, the style, it’s built off of a comic book aesthetic. It’s such a natural fit. It’s easy to build off of. The reality is, we are a generation of people who love these fan crossovers, it’s almost like fan fiction come to life.”

However, a company spokesman was quick to clarify the publisher isn’t in a position to confirm a possible comic-book crossover.

Ontario-based UDON has held the comics rights to Street Fighter since 2003, and currently releases the titles Street Fighter II Turbo and Street Fighter Legends: Ibuki. The publisher also has provided artwork for Capcom games like Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix and Capcom Fighting Evolution, and promotional art for the re-release of Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes.

Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds is set for release in spring 2011.

What are you reading?

Essential Man-Thing Vol. 1

Essential Man-Thing Vol. 1

Welcome to What Are You Reading Our guest this week is the blogger and critic Noah Berlatsky.

Click on the link to find out what Noah and the rest of us are currently reading. And don’t forget to tell us what you’re reading too in the comments section.

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2009 Joe Shuster Award nominees announced

The nominees for the 2009 Joe Shuster Awards, which honor Canadian comics creators, were announced today. The five-year-old awards program is named after Joe Shuster, co-creator of Superman. The list of nominees this year includes Darwyn Cooke, J. Torres, Karl Kerschl, Dave Sim, Kathryn & Stuart Immonen, Faith Erin Hicks and Seth, among many others.

Check out the full list of nominees in the press release after the jump.

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