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Your official Robot 6 Wrestlemania predictions

by James Hornsby

by James Hornsby

Taker or Lesner? Bryan or Hunter? Wyatt or Cena? Yes, it’s once again Wrestlemania weekend, and like last year I reached out to several folks in the comic community to get their take on the WWE’s signature event. Our panel shared their thoughts, opinions, hopes and dreams for tomorrow’s big card, which for the first time will be available via the WWE Network. So let’s just cross our fingers that we get to see the entire card.

Let’s meet our panel:

James Hornsby is the cartoonist behind Botched Spot, the webcomic that satirizes pro-wrestling culture, be it televised products, dirt sheets or fandom. He also makes “Over Like Olav,” a comic that focuses on his own characters, Olav and Rad Bad DeBone, as they make their way through the wrestling world. Check out his work at www.jameshornsby.com or www.botchedspot.com, follow him on Twitter @BotchedSpot, and see him on Facebook at facebook.com/botchedspot.

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Comics A.M. | ‘The 99′ creator questions reports of Saudi ban

The 99

The 99

Legal | The creator of the Islamic superhero comic The 99 says he hasn’t been officially notified of a reported ban of the animated adaptation of his comic in Saudi Arabia. “Nobody ever contacted me, nobody ever asked me any questions,” Naif Al Mutawa says. There have been numerous Twitter campaigns against me for a while now and so for me it’s not new. Maybe it is true this time, but I find it very difficult to believe that a group as influential and high profile as them [Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta] wouldn’t recognize the good that The 99 has done for Muslims around the world.” He adds that the comic has been available in Saudi Arabia for seven years, while the cartoon has been airing for two and a half years, making the timing of a ban “a bit weird.” [Gulf Business]

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Comics A.M. | Injured ‘Spider-Man’ actor blames stage equipment

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark

Legal | A dancer seriously injured last month during a performance of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark insists the accident was caused by malfunctioning equipment and not, as the show’s producers contend, by human error. Daniel Curry made the claim in documents filed Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court that seek to prevent the production from altering or destroying the computerized stage lift before his experts can inspect the equipment in preparation for a potential civil lawsuit. He’s also requesting maintenance records and any internal reports about the accident. The 23-year-old Curry was injured during the Aug. 15 performance of Spider-Man when his leg was pinned in an automated trap door. According to court papers, he suffered fractured legs and a fractured foot, and has had to undergo surgeries and unspecified amputations. [New York Daily News, The New York Times]

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Comics A.M. | Market shrinks for Australian comic strips

Ginger Meggs

Ginger Meggs

Comics strips | Matt Saracini looks at the impact on Australian cartoonists of a cost-cutting decision by media giant News Corp. Australia to replace individual comics pages in their largest newspapers with one national page. In the process, some more expensive locally produced strips were jettisoned in favor for cheaper syndicated ones from overseas, like Garfield and The Phantom. News Corp. owns more than a hundred daily, weekly, biweekly and triweekly newspapers. [SBS.com]

Creators | Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, now living in Kuwait after troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attacked him and broke both his hands, talks about his decision to portray al-Assad explicitly in his cartoons, rather than sticking to more generic themes like freedom and human rights: “It was a big decision to start to draw Bashar and, yes, I was scared of what might happen, particularly when I was attacked. But I had a responsibility to do what I did. If I am not prepared to take risks I have no right to call myself an artist. If there is no mission or message to my work I might as well be a painter and decorator.” [The Guardian]

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All hands on deck for one sailor’s Shelf Porn

image

It’s the first Saturday in August, and what does that mean? Shelf Porn! Today’s shelves come from Willie, who shows us his comics, Lucha Libre masks and Hiro, the comic-guarding dog.

If you’d like to see your collection featured here on Shelf Porn, check out the submission instructions for complete details.

And now let’s hear from Willie.

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Comics A.M. | Weak April for graphic novels in bookstores

The Walking Dead Compendium, Vol. 2

The Walking Dead Compendium, Vol. 2

Graphic novels | April was a slow month for new graphic novel releases, so the BookScan Top 20 had plenty of room for some backlist titles. The Walking Dead dominated, of course, but the 10th volume of Sailor Moon was there for a second month and actually moved up a notch. And the first volume of Saga came in at No. 12, perhaps because people were curious as to what all the fuss is about. [ICv2]

Editorial cartoons | Nick Anderson, the Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for the Houston Chronicle, has responded to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s criticism of Jack Ohman’s cartoon with a cartoon of his own. [Comic Riffs]

Conventions | Jeff Smith, Brian Wood, Sean Murphy and Raina Telgemeier are the headline guests at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in Portland on May 19. [Foster's Daily Democrat]

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WWE debuts Jill Thompson-designed shirt for CM Punk

punk-shirt-thompson

CM Punk might have had a rough Sunday taking on the Undertaker and his unbeaten streak at Wrestlemania, but his week seems to be getting better: The WWE has released a new shirt for the former WWE champion designed by Beasts of Burden artist Jill Thompson.

Thompson is no stranger to the wrestling world, having designed gear for Daniel Bryan and having teamed with Mick Foley for a couple of wrestling-themed kids’ books. And Punk,a comics fan, recently penned the intro to the Avengers vs. X-Men hardcover. Now where’s that Marvel book they once talked about?

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Your official Robot 6 Wrestlemania predictions

photo by Ryan Penagos

photo by Ryan Penagos

A few years back, to celebrate the WWE’s annual Wrestlemania event, I reached out to several comic folks who I knew were wrestling fans to get their predictions on how the matches would go. It was a lot of fun; so much fun that apparently I let three years go by before doing it again (in my defense, I had a baby somewhere in those three years, so … yeah).

In any event, this year I got my act together enough to reach out to some of my Robot 6 colleagues, as well as several members of the comics community, to once against ask: Rock or Cena? Brock or Triple H? Undertaker or Punk? Scholars or Funk? Our panel shared their thoughts, opinions, hopes and dreams for tomorrow’s big pay-per-view event.

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CM Punk tapped to pen Avengers Vs. X-Men hardcover intro

CM Punk

WWE fans have been wondering all week who CM Punk would choose to fight at the WWE’s next pay-per-view event — his old nemesis John Cena or the as-yet-undefeated (at least under his current gimmick) Ryback. But here’s something else to wonder about: Was he Team Cyclops or Team Captain America?

No doubt we’ll find out in a few short weeks, as Punk drops one of his vintage “pipe bombs” on comics fans. The WWE Champion has been tapped to write the introduction to the Avengers vs. X-Men hardcover, due in stores Nov. 7.

“I worked really hard to get to where I’m at and it’s cool to be afforded opportunities like this. To me, it’s hard work paying off and I’m having a lot of fun right now,” Punk told USA Today’s Brian Truitt.

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Don’t tell DC, luchador Mephisto dons a Bane mask

Bane may be gone from Gotham, but he’s alive in Mexico. A luchador named Mephisto has recently taken to wearing a rendition of Bane’s popular mask from The Dark Knight Rises in his matches for the Mexican wrestling promotion CMLL. And that’s not all — his finishing move is the backbreaker. There’s no word on what DC Comics has to say about this development, but Mexico’s intellectual property situation is famously murky.

This isn’t the first time a wrestler has borrowed something from comics. In the 1970s, a young wrestler named Terry Bollea was a guest on a Memphis-area talk show beside bodybuilder Lou Ferrigno, who was there promoting the television series The Incredible Hulk. The host noted how the wrestler was even bigger than the guy who played the Hulk, and the wrestler took up the “Hulk” moniker as a nickname … first as Terry “The Hulk” Boulder, and later morphing into Hulk Hogan. Hogan has been able to use the name through a decades-old agreement with Marvel.

Rey Mysterio Rises at SummerSlam

Proving once again that he’s the biggest comic fan in the WWE, Rey Mysterio appeared at tonight’s SummerSlan pay-per-view event dressed all in black, sporting a cape and bat ears. Wrestling’s equivalent of Batman wasn’t able to fully “rise” in his match against The Miz, but at least he looked good while doing it.

At past events, the high-flying Mysterio has worn outfits inspired by the Silver Surfer, Daredevil, Spider-Man, Joker, Flash, Iron Man, Captain America and the movie Avatar.

You can find more photos of Bat Rey at WWE.com.

Talking Comics with Tim | Aubrey Sitterson

Gear Monkey (from DoubleFeature Comics)

Former Marvel editor Aubrey Sitterson has made the leap to the wonderful world of freelance writing. To mark this critical career jump, Sitterson stopped by Talking Comics with Tim to discuss his transition from editor to writer, as well as his current and upcoming projects — namely the Gear Monkey tale (by Sitterson with art by Nate Lovett) that appears in DoubleFeature Comics‘ digital release Fantasy Double Feature #3, and Redakai (for Viz Media). I was interested to learn why Sitterson lettered his own Gear Monkey tale, as well as to discuss his love of wrestling.

Tim O’Shea: You started out in the industry on the editorial side, but am I correct in assuming it was always in hopes of pursuing a full-time writing career?

Aubrey Sitterson: You’re ab-so-lutely correct, sir. While I really enjoyed my time editing comics, the goal has always been to transition into a comics writer. It was all part of my devious master plan to start at Marvel as an intern in college, get hired as an Assistant Editor, stick my finger in as many pies as I could, learn at the knee of two of comics’ best editors (Tom Brevoort and Axel Alonso) then strike out on my own in pursuit of Complete and Utter Comics Domination. I’m still working on that last part.

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What Are You Reading? with Aubrey Sitterson and Charles Soule

The Massive #1

Happy Father’s Day and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. Today’s guests are two of the contributors to Skullkickers #18, which features several “Tavern Tales” short stories by different creative teams. Joining us today are Charles Soule of 27, Strange Attractors and Strongman fame, and Aubrey Sitterson, winner of the Skullkickers Tavern Tales Contest. He’s also the writer of Gear Monkey for Double Feature Comics and community manager for WWE Games.

To see what Charles, Aubrey and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Comics A.M. | Justice League #1 sells 360,000 copies in four months

Justice League #1

Publishing | Four months in, the DC Comics relaunch seems to be a success. The most recent sales figures show Justice League #1 selling more than 360,000 copies since August, and Batman #1 and Action Comics #1 selling more than 250,000. By contrast, Marvel’s strongest seller was Ultimate Spider-Man #160, which was in the 160,000-copy neighborhood. These figures seem to reflect sales in the direct market only; it would be interesting to see how many digital copies have been sold. [The Hollywood Reporter]

Awards | Nominations are open for this year’s Eagle Awards. [Eagle Awards]

Retailing | San Francisco retailer Brian Hibbs shares the top-selling graphic novels in his store for 2011, by units and by dollars. [Savage Critics]

Retailing | Christopher Butcher looks back on the events of the past year in the comics store he manages, Toronto’s The Beguiling. [The Beguiling blog]

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Comic Couture | Jill Thompson designs gear for WWE’s Daniel Bryan

Wrestler Bryan Danielson, a.k.a. the American Dragon, a.k.a. Daniel Bryan in the WWE, shares a design for a jersey/T-shirt designed by Beasts of Burden artist and wrestling fan Jill Thompson. It’s a pretty sweet design, and although I’ve already got a couple of shirts designed by Thompson in my closet, they could use a new friend if someone decided to make it.


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