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Comics A.M. | Man sentenced for role in plot to kill cartoonist

Mohammad Hassan Khalid

Mohammad Hassan Khalid

Legal | Mohammad Hassan Khalid was sentenced last week in Philadelphia to five years in prison for his part in a failed 2009 plan to kill Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist who drew the head of the Prophet Mohammed on the body of a dog. Khalid, now 20, was a teenager and an honors student when he became involved with Colleen LaRose, aka “Jihad Jane,” who in January was sentenced to 10 years in prison for her part in the plot. Prosecutors pointed to the fact that Khalid also translated violent jihad videos into English, which may have helped recruit new terrorists, but they also asked for leniency because he cooperated with them after his arrest. The defense claimed he was simply a vulnerable, awkward teenager who has since been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Khalid, who had been offered a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University but was arrested before graduating from high school, will get credit for the three years he has already served in prison. [Reuters]

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‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ mobile game swings in with launch trailer

asm2-game

Marvel and Paris-based mobile game developer Gameloft have released the launch trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a tie-in to the Sony Pictures movie sequel that pits the wall-crawler against villains ranging from Electro and the Green Goblin to Kraven and Venom.

Available now on iOS and Google Play, the action-adventure follows Spider-Man as he swings through Manhattan in an effort to save New York City from the chaos of a costumed crime wave.

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Houston bar aims for different crowd with comics, video games

neils bahr1

With a name that gives a nod to a 19th-century physicist and a sign that features an olive within an atom, it’s a safe bet that Houston’s new Neil’s Bahr isn’t your run-of-the-mill drinking establishment.

Instead, Eater reports, it’s a bar where patrons can browse the comic book library, read sci-fi novels in the comfy lounge or play Super Nintendo and vintage arcade games.

“I’ve always wanted a geeky bar where people can watch The Simpsons or Star Wars on TV, a very hole-in-the-wall place,” owner Neil Fernandez told the website. He also has Industry Night Tuesday, which caters to bar and restaurant employees, and soon plans to launch trivia and cabaret/karaoke nights. Fernandez is even considering going “full-blown nerd” with Magic: The Gathering.

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Deathstroke leaves a bloody mess behind in fan film

deathstroke-fanfilm

Following the teaser trailer we posted last week, Going Nowhere Studios has released the full version of Deathstroke: Arkham Assassin, a fan-film prequel to the video game Batman: Arkham Origins.

The film features Slade Wilson auditioning for Black Mask, who has put a bounty out on Batman on Christmas Eve. Deathstroke shows off his skills in the action-packed, very bloody and probably NSFW fan film. It’s timing couldn’t be better, as DC just announced a starring role for Deathstroke in Suicide Squad.

Check it out below.

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Deathstroke goes in for kill in trailer for ‘Arkham Origins’ fan film

deathstroke

Going Nowhere Studios has debuted a pretty impressive trailer for Deathstroke: Arkham Assassin, a fan-film prequel to the Warner Bros. video game Batman: Arkham Origins.

In the game, a bounty is placed on the Dark Knight by the Black Mask, bringing eight of the world’s greatest assassins to Gotham City on Christmas Eve — including the formidable Deathstroke. But as the trailer teases, the crime lord requires a demonstration of his skills.

The short film is set to premiere Monday online.

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‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ game debuts launch trailer

winter-soldier-bw

Marvel has released the launch trailer for Captain America: The Winter Soldier — The Official Game, a film tie-in that allows players to control Steve Rogers as he commands an elite team of S.H.I.E.L.D. agents tasked with stopping a sinister global plot.

Developed by Gameloft for Adroid and iOS, the mobile game features an original story by comics writer Christos Gage. Players can call in Falcon and Black Widow for help as the go up against such adversaries as King Cobra, Taskmaster, Puff Adder and the Winter Soldier. A multiplayer mode offers the ability to join clans and to compete for a higher position in leagues.

The game is available for download now. Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens Friday.

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It’s Goku vs. Luffy in the streets of Tokyo

one piece-dragon ball1

In the battle no one ever expected — Dragon Ball‘s Goku vs. One Piece‘s Monkey D. Luffy — no clear winner emerges, but there is an obvious loser: the sidewalks of Tokyo.

The pretty impressive life-size sculpture is on display through Sunday outside the Shibuya Parco department store to promote the release of J-Stars Victory Vs., the Shonen Jump 45th-anniversary multiplayer fighting game featuring many of the magazine’s most popular characters.

More photos can be found at Game Watch Impress.

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Namco Bandai pulling plug on ShiftyLook

wonder momoShiftyLook, the Namco Bandai webcomic platform designed to revive dormant vide0-game characters, is closing, about two years after its debut.

“The idea was to take the unused, ‘sleeping’ video game characters of our past and bring them back first with webcomics, and then – once they had gotten enough traction – expand into other media like web animation, games, and merchandise,” Cory Casoni, ShiftyLook’s head of marketing, explained today on the website. “I’m happy to say that we’ve done this with Wonder Momo, Bravoman, and some other very cool characters [...] That said, now that we have successfully revived so many franchises, the heavy lifting is completed – and so is our work. We battled the video games abyss and won, which means it’s time for us to move on and let the hit-makers play with some new toys.”

Launched in March 2012, ShiftyLook featured such creators as Ryan North, Jim Zubkavich, Christopher Hastings, Ben McCool, Dean Haspiel and Hitoshi Ariga working on classic properties like Wonder Momo, Dig Dug, Galaga and Bravoman.

Wonder Momo, which Casoni characterized as ShiftyLook’s “star franchise,” is being developed as a game by WayForward Technologies.

Casoni details all of the dates for the closing at ShiftyLook.com; the website will no longer be updated as of March 20, and the servers will shut down on Sept. 30.

Disney Interactive cuts 700 jobs, scales back output

disney interactiveDisney Interactive slashed about 700 jobs on Thursday, more than one-quarter of its entire staff, as part of entertainment giant’s continuing battle to make its video game and Internet division profitable. Although the cuts had been anticipated for some time, few expected them to run that deep.

The Playdom group, which produces social-media games, is believed to be hit hardest. Disney purchased that company in 2010 for $563 million, an investment that clearly didn’t pay off.

Disney also plans to dramatically scale back in-house development of games, relying instead on outside licensing, which The New York Times characterizes as “a major shift in strategy.” The newspaper reports the company, which last year released about two dozen games, will reduce its output by 50 percent, and merge Playdom with the more successful mobile games unit.

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A growing collection of graphic novels and more from Canada

SP4

Kyle from Ontario, Canada has only been collecting comics for a couple of years, but you can already tell he’s been bitten by the bug. Today he shares his growing collection of graphic novels, video games and more.

“I started buying comics and graphic novels about two years ago and my collection (especially this past year) has just kept growing,” Kyle said. “I mainly stick to DC but have started to branch out recently.”

If you’d like to see your collection here on Robot 6, scroll down to the bottom of this post to find out how.

And now let’s hear from Kyle …

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Image, BOOM! top 2013 Gem Awards as publishers of the year

diamond gem awardsImage Comics and BOOM! Studios were voted Best Comic Book Publishers of the Year in their respective divisions in the 2013 Diamond Gem Awards.

DC Entertainment led with six awards, including Top Dollar Comic of the Year for Superman Unchained #1, with Dark Horse closed behind with five wins, including Original Graphic Novel of the Year for Hellboy: The Midnight Circus hardcover. Marvel earned honors for Top Dollar Comic Book Publisher of the Year and Comic Book of the Year (Under $3), for The Superior Spider-Man #1 NOW!

Other winners include Archie Comics’ Afterlife with Archie #1 for Comic Book of the Year (Under $3), Top Shelf Productions’ March: Book One for Indie GN of the Year, and Image Comics’ East of West for Best New Comic Book Series. The complete list can be found below.

Nominees were selected by a panel of Diamond Comic Distributors product specialist based on their impact on the industry (for the vendors), and sales performance and quality (for the products). The winners were then chosen by direct market retailers.

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First Second unveils books by Doctorow, Wang and Dalrymple

InRealLifeIt’s been a busy week for First Second: Following on its announcement of The Stratford Zoo, which features animals staging a production of Macbeth, the publisher has revealed two more graphic novels.

InRealLife, written by Corey Doctorow and illustrated by Jen Wang, is a story about the human side of gaming—specifically, the “gold farmers” who make real-world money from gaming. Based in part on the experiences of Doctorow’s wife, who was a high-level gamer in the 1990s, the book revolves around a teenager named Anda who’s recruited into a fictional multiplayer online game, Coarsegold, and ends up as a player in the game’s underground economy.

The graphic novel will explore attitudes about gaming and gamers, and, Doctorow says in an interview at Kotaku, there is a larger point:

When you contemplate the microscale phenomenon of a world-in-a-bottle like an MMO and the toy economy within it, it equips you with a graspable metaphor for understanding the macroscale world of monetary policy. In other words: thinking about gold farming is a gateway drug to thinking about money itself.

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Comics A.M. | Police auction off criminal’s comics on eBay

Some of the seized comics

Some of the seized comics

Auctions | The Leicestershire (England) Police are auctioning about 1,200 comics — most of them are post-2000 DC Comics titles, described as in mint condition — seized as criminal assets in Dorset (the police force doesn’t have its own eBay account). “Some are signed by the artists and they are mainly Superman and Spider Man, that sort of thing,” said Dave Hargrave, proceeds of crime asset realization manager. “[...] The person who had the comics was obviously a collector.” About 400 comics have been sold, bringing in £600 (about $985 U.S.). [Leicester Mercury]

Publishing | Avatar Press has returned to Diamond Book Distributors as its distributor to bookstores, the mass market, library services, and other markets. Avatar left DBD in 2011 to sign on with BOOM! Studios to distribute its books through Simon & Schuster in the United States and HarperCollins in Canada. [ICv2]

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Just how big of a hit was ‘Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia’?

legend of zeldaWe already knew Dark Horse’s video game art book The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia was a pretty big deal. After all, it debuted in late January at the top of the Nielsen BookScan, Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller lists, making it clearly the No. 1 book in America that week. In addition, the publisher announced an initial 400,000-copy print run for the $34.99 hardcover.

But more than 10 months later, after all of the early buzz subsided, how did things shake out? Amazon.com gives us a bit of an idea with its rundown of its 100 bestselling adult print books of the year: The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia comes in at No. 6, ahead of anything by the likes of Stephen King, John Grisham, Robert Galbraith (aka JK Rowling) and the Duck Dynasty cast.

Of course, there are no actual sales numbers, but it certainly provides a bit of context for Hyrule Historia‘s success; it charts behind such high profile books as Dan Brown’s Inferno, Bill O’Reilly’s Killing Jesus and Khaled Hosseini’s And the Mountains Echoed. (And who knew conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer had the kind of following to come in at No. 5?)

Featuring an introduction by game designer Shigeru Miyamoto, The Legend of Zelda: Hyrule Historia collects historical information about the hit franchise, never-before-seen concept art, a chronology and more.

Comics A.M. | Injured ‘Spider-Man’ dancer makes public appearance

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Stage | Dancer Daniel Curry, who was seriously injured during an Aug. 15 performance of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, made his first appearance since the accident at a benefit concert held Monday that raised $10,000 for his medical bills. Curry was injured when his leg was pinned by an automated trap door — he blames malfunctioning equipment, producers say it was human error — resulting in fractured legs and a fractured foot; he has undergone surgeries and unspecified amputations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration and Actors’ Equity have launched investigations into the accident, and Curry’s lawyers are exploring a possible lawsuit against the $75 million show and the equipment suppliers.

During previews of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark — before the March 2011 firing of director Julie Taymor and the sweeping overhaul that followed — no fewer than five performers were injured, the most serious previously being aerialist Christopher Tierney, who fell about 30 feet in December 2010, breaking four ribs and fracturing three vertebrae. He returned to rehearsals four months later. There have been no major accidents since the show opened in June 2011. [The New York Times]

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