WATCH: Batman Unmasked in New "Batman v Superman" Footage
Retailing | Variety Comics, which opened in Chicago in summer 1974, will close its doors for good Halloween. “Business is down,” says co-owner Vin Nguyen. “It’s sad but you know, it is what it is.” Nguyen and his partner Victor Olivarez bought the store in 2009 following the death of original owner Rick Vitone. [DNAInfo]
Conventions | The Houston Press looks at allegations of organizational problems and financial mismanagement at the Houston-based convention Anime Matsuri, which has been growing steadily (attendance at this year’s event was 24,000), despite leaving a trail of lawsuits, unpaid bills and angry guests. [Houston Press]
Conventions | Comiket, the world’s largest comics expo, drew 550,000 attendees to its summer edition, which ended Sunday at to the Tokyo Big Sight. That’s about the same number of people as the summer 2014 installment. (Note: Those figures account for the number of visits during the three-day convention to the Tokyo Big Sight, rather than individual attendees.) The winter installment of the biannual event will be held in December. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | In an attempt to avoid the sort of bad press they got last year, organizers of Rhode Island Comic Con put a clause in this year’s press application requiring news organizations promise to avoid “insulting or disrespectful comments and giving a bad image of the show” in order to get press passes. That worked about as well as you would expect: The convention quickly apologized and reversed course following push-back from not only the Rhode Island Press Association but also the Rhode Island Convention Center and Dunkin’ Donuts Center. [GoLocal Providence]
Between three solo movies and two Avengers features, there have been a lot of Iron Man action figures release over the past eight years, but few of them — all right, none of them — are as amazing as these custom creations by Sam Kwok.
The artist repaints and sculpts Hot Toys Iron Man and War Machine figures (which don’t come cheap, mind you), reimagining them as characters ranging from Batman and Ultraman to Hello Kitty and the Alien Xenomorph.
The city of Sukagawa, Japan, is honoring hometown hero Ultraman with not one but four statues.
The star of a 1960s television series as well as multiple manga and anime series, Ultraman is the brainchild of Sukagawa native Eiji Tsuburaya, and the city has erected four statues — of Ultraman, Ultra Seven, Gomora and Eleking — on the street where he once lived.
The installation marks the second anniversary of Sukagawa’s sister-city relationship with the Land of Light, Ultraman’s homeland in the series, and city officials are hoping that the statues will put the city on the map for tourists, especially Ultraman fans.
Viz Media has announced the August launch of Ultraman, the manga series by Linebarrels of Iron creators Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi.
Debuting in November 2011 in Shogakukan’s Monthly Hero’s magazine, the series is inspired by the 1966 Japanese superhero television show. Set decades later, the manga centers on Shinjiro Hayata, a seemingly ordinary teenager who learns that his father Shin Hayata was the first Ultraman and passed on the “Ultraman Factor” to him.
Although many of us are lucky if our empty soda cans make it as far as the recycle bin, Japanese artist Makaon has found another purpose for them: as raw material for incredible sculptures of pop-culture icons, ranging from Batman and Ultraman to Sgt. Frog and the Catbus.
As you can see from the photos below, and from even more images on the artist’s blog and website, Makaon doesn’t take shortcuts; he even tracks down peach-colored labels for Mario and Luigi’s skin tones.
A Malaysian government official confirmed today that the comic Ultraman the Ultra Power was banned because it contains translated text that refers to one of the characters as “Allah,” the Arabic word for God, which could confuse young readers and offend Muslims.
“It’s stated that Ultraman King is Allah, so that is wrong for Muslims because Allah is not Ultraman King,” Hashimah Nik Jaafar, the Home Ministry’s secretary of Publication and Quranic Texts Control Division, told The Malay Mail. “It’s stated that Ultraman King is Allah, so that is wrong for Muslims because Allah is not Ultraman King. We have banned that because it can create confusion among children who read this caption. “They might think Ultraman King is Allah, which is wrong for Muslims because Allah is not to be visualized in any way.”
The offending sentence reportedly is, “He is considered, and respected as, ‘Allah’ or the Elder of all Ultra heroes.”
Malaysia’s Home Ministry has banned the release of Ultraman the Ultra Power, claiming the comic book contains elements detrimental to public order.
While it’s unclear what specific content in the Maylay edition alarmed the ministry, The Malay Mail reports the decision has been met with widespread mockery online. One government official even questioned the move, with Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin tweeting, “What is wrong with UItraman?”
“Ultraman is not an evil Superman. He’s a Superman who believes in power and strength. Strength is the most important attribute, above everything else. If you’re strong, and you’re the strongest there is, that’s all that matters. And that’s how Ultraman views everything.
The fact that there was a being that destroyed Krypton and then ravaged his Earth and could possibly come to ours — he actually is worried in the back of his head that there’s something out there that’s stronger than him. His motivation is to shore this world up and prepare for war.
And Ultraman’s a perfect example of the absence of empathy. Complete absence of empathy. He comes to our world and he sees things like soup kitchens and homeless shelters, and he sees us taking care of the sick, and he does not understand it. Why do we waste our time? In his mind, we’re keeping our gene pool weak. And that all points back to his paranoia about our world not being ready to fight, or strong enough to survive an attack.”
— Forever Evil writer Geoff Johns, discussing the Crime Syndicate and their “different breed of villainy”
Brian Stelfreeze is a well-known cover artist, with runs on DC Comics’ Batman, Birds of Prey, Firestorm, Shadow of the Bat and others, but that immense skill often overshadows another of his talents: superhero costume design. Very early in his career he created what has become the seminal Nightwing, and he recently did some more DC character redesigns — but this time for fun.
For the past few weeks, Stelfreeze has been drawing redesigns of DC’s Crime Syndicate of America and posting them on a Yahoo! Group devoted to his work. The idea came about when Stelfreeze was talking to his friend Robert Jewell about the comics they grew up with, and they pinpointed an issue of Justice League of America they read as kids that focused on the Crime Syndicate. With the Crime Syndicate getting new life in DC’s current Forever Evil, Jewell and Stelfreeze thought it’d be fun for the artist to redesign these classic characters. Using notes from Jewell and members of the Yahoo! Group, Stelfreeze took on these characters and developed his own takes on them — with amazing results.
I’ve seen people make little statues out of empty aluminum cans, but Makaon takes it to a whole other level. Her Batman is probably my favorite, but hit the jump to see a Smurf, Pikachu, Ultraman, and an Imperial Stormtrooper. And of course, there’s lots more at her website.
Welcome to another episode of Send Us Your Shelf Porn, where we take the photos you send us of your comic book collection and paste them here for everyone to gawk at. And no, we’re not changing the name of this column. Sorry.
This week Carl Jansson, a former manager of Comic Universe in Fountain Valley, CA. Before we begin, however, I want to thank everyone who’s sent in photos over the past week. The amount of interest I’ve received has truly been staggering, and I promise each and every one of you will get your day in the sun. So don’t fret if you haven’t heard back from me yet; you will, and soon. I promise.
And now let’s join Carl on a tour of his home …