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1. New open source Comic Smart Panels allows you to make your own animated comics

As digital comics have become a cornerstone of comics reading, several companies have offered their own version of a technology which allows the panels to transition for digital reading. Comixology has “Guided View,” Marvel has its Unlimited technology; iVerse offers uView. The iVerse systems can be applied by users to comics viewed through their platforms, and Comixology also allows publishers to adapt their own comics.

Yugoslavian software developer Zoran Bosnjak writes to inform us of a new open source software that allows you to apply this kind of technology to any comic. It’s called Comic Smart Panels Creator & Viewer (available for Windows for now) which allows fluid panel animations and scaling for any kind of comic. Balloon sequence can also be defined, as seen with the Thrillbent comics and other “ecomics” platforms.

The files are stored in Comic Panel Definitions (CPD) files which are JSON files (with meta information about panel positions and dimensions.) While these can be read by the companion “Viewer” program, they should be importable to other viewing platforms.

As you can see from the screenshots below this still seems to be a but tech-y and not necessarily a weekend project for most folks.Both Guided View and uView are already available to those who want it, and have perhaps a bit less of a learning curve (the issue of the Maxx shown in the YouTube video is perhaps the least likely candidate for any kind of guided view.) . However, the more software the more people have, the more results you’ll see.
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3 Comments on New open source Comic Smart Panels allows you to make your own animated comics, last added: 4/27/2015
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2. Entertainment Round-Up: New Nightcrawler concept art, Daniel Brühl confirms his role as Baron Zemo, Michael Green to pen Wolverine sequel

It’s the start of another week, here are the headlines that are making waves this morning!

Bryan Singer is keeping the teases rolling for X-Men: Apocalypse, this time around, he shared some concept art for Kodi Smit-McPhee’s younger version of Nightcrawler:

nightcrawler-x-men-apocalyse

This new Nightcrawler isn’t too terribly far afield from Alan Cumming‘s appearance in X2: X-Men United, which is surely the point. I do wonder though if we’ll get any explicit connection between Kurt and Mystique (and/or Azazel), perhaps that’s a road best not taken.

– Even though we pretty much knew this already, Daniel Brühl recently confirmed in an interview with The Independent that he will indeed by playing Baron Helmut Zemo in Captain America: Civil War, as he responded in the affirmative to a question about his upcoming role:

“I think I can tell you that without being thrown into Marvel prison… For the first few days I’ll walk around like a little boy, just amazed by the megalomania of it. It’s such a huge project. We could do 20 films with the budget.”

So there you have it folks, along with whatever is happening between Iron Man and Captain America, the appearances of Spider-Man and Black Panther, and whatever angle the Winter Soldier story takes, we’re also getting Baron Zemo. This movie is looking more stuffed than Age of Ultron.

– Over the weekend, and somewhat lost in the hoopla over Jared Leto’s Joker, TheWrap reported that Green Lantern and Blade Runner sequel screenwriter Michael Green will be penning the upcoming sequel to James Mangold‘s The Wolverine.

I’m not sure how much blame Green should take for what ended up on screen in Green Lantern, but given his recent high profile gigs (that also includes work on Prometheus 2), we’ll keep our fingers crossed that it was just an aberration on his resume.

Hugh Jackman has stated that this will be his final outing as Logan, so perhaps the time is right to adapt Old Man Logan, especially since it’ll be a while before the Wolverine films and the X-Men films catch up to each other on the timeline, most likely. The new film is scheduled to release on March 3, 2017.

– For those interested, Fox has updated the Fantastic Four movie website to now include bios of the team, with some interesting descriptions of their powers; for example Reed now has abilities that “can warp the space around him, and appear to stretch his body into impossible forms and to incredible lengths.”

Check out further details at the site.

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3. The evolution of Taiwan statehood

Taiwan easily satisfies the traditional requirements for statehood: a permanent population, effective control over a territory, a government, and the capacity to interact with other states. Yet the realities of global power politics have kept Taiwan from being recognized as such.

The post The evolution of Taiwan statehood appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Anthony Trollope: an Irish writer

Nathaniel Hawthorne famously commented that Anthony Trollope’s quintessentially English novels were written on the "strength of beef and through the inspiration of ale … these books are just as English as a beef-steak.” In like mode, Irish critic Stephen Gwynn said Trollope was “as English as John Bull.” But unlike the other great Victorian English writers, Trollope became Trollope by leaving his homeland and making his life across the water in Ireland, and achieving there his first successes there in both his post office and his literary careers.

The post Anthony Trollope: an Irish writer appeared first on OUPblog.

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5. Here’s a giant interactive map of 200 comics events around the world

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Planning to visit a con, or set up? You can map your world tour with this resource. Biserka Stringer-Horne has just created a massive interactive map of more than 200 comics conventions in 50 countries as part of her site Comics Explorer.

Because comic conventions are such an important part of any creator’s calendar, I wanted to collect together as much information as I could to help you find the perfect convention near you. As you can see there are gazillions, and you have no excuse not to go to at least one. So, pick one, go meet some people and spread the word of your comics awesome. Happy con-going, wherever you are in the world!


I hadn’t seen Comics Explorer before, but it’s a nice site aimed at comics creators with a lot of resource posts. Stringer-Horne helps put on Thought Bubble, the much loved con/CAF, held every fall in Leeds UK. The site also has posts on choosing the perfect con, and convention prep, all worth a look.

If nothing else, this map shows how comics culture has become ingrained in world culture, from the Chile Comic Con in Santiago to TwinCon in Islamabad, Pakistan.

And as a reminder, The Beat is always looking for “On The Scene” reports from comics events anywhere in the world, including original reports and links to your reports. This is a thriving worldwide phenomenon and reflecting that is one of our missions here. Email us here.

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6. Batman: Arkham Knight, Now With More Nightwing, Robin, and Azrael?

Here it is:

Batman: Arkham Knight developer, Rocksteady are ending their Arkham series with a nuke. Today’s trailer shows off a new feature for the series. This time around players will have the ability to switch between characters from the Bat-family. The trailer shows Nightwing and Robin executing co-op attacks on enemies. Previously these characters have only appeared as DLC for the game’s challenge maps, but now their going to be a part of the campaign narrative.

In addition comic fans will recognize the character known as Azrael. No word on if this version is Jean Paul Valley, who took over the mantle of the bat during the Knightfall storyline in the comics. So far all the marketing materials points to a bold move from the developer that may spell the demise of Batman.

Batman: Arkham Knight comes to the PS4, Xbox One, and PC June 23.

We’ll talk more about this latest trailer and the Silent Hill cancelation this evening, in the meantime what are your thoughts about this new Batman trailer?

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7. Peter Stamm Q & A

       At the PEN Atlas Tasja Dorkofikis has a Q & A with All Days are Night-author Peter Stamm
       Among the points of interest: with Michael Hofmann (not 'Michael Hoffman', as the post has it ...) having translated all his available-in-English titles, Stamm notes: "Michael asks very few questions. (...) Other translators ask me more questions."

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8. C2E2 2015: CM Punk to Write Ongoing Marvel Book

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Image Credi: Fox Sports

 

 

Announced at C2E2, former wrestler turned UFC fighter turned author, CM Punk will write a new Drax the Destroyer ongoing comic for Marvel. The series will launch in Winter 2015. No co-writer or series artist was named, but the cover for the first issue will be drawn by Ed McGuinness.

Punk recently did a short story for Thor Annual alongside Chew artist Rob Guillory. His next story that will see print is part of DC/Vertigo’s Strange Sports Stories. This also marks Drax’s first solo ongoing comic joining the fellow Guardian ranks of Rocket Raccoon and Legendary Star-Lord. 

As the book is still aways away, more details are to be revealed soon. Teasing the book was a good move on both parties parts. Punk being a Chicago native, a big announcement about his future in comics during one of the biggest shows made all the sense in the world.

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9. The life of Colonel William Eddy

Missionaries and US Marines? It did not seem a natural combination. But while working on a book about American Protestant missionaries and their children I came across a missionary son who became a prominent officer in the USMC and one of the most effective agents of the Office of Strategic Services during World War II. Col. William Eddy was in charge of the OSS operations in North Africa [...]

The post The life of Colonel William Eddy appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. Batman in Dior

There is more to Batman 47 than Joe ChillGirl in Dior has been getting great press worldwide for its depiction of one of the most influential premiere collections in fashion history, but there are a couple of classic superhero connections as well.

Sixty-eight year old fashion spoiler alert!

Protesting long skirts

As Girl in Dior aptly depicts, the designer’s debut collection split the fashion world. For some, the longer length of the skirts in Christian Dior’s first collection in 1947 was a step backward, but what ultimately won the day was a sense that Dior had tapped into deeper, more vital currents in the post-war West. Besides changing the course of fashion for a generation and, along the way, mentoring his successor in innovation, Yves Saint Laurent, Dior inspired a description that immediately became synonymous with his designs and, over time, any revolutionary break from existing style: the New Look.

Girl in Dior beautifully depicts the entry of this phrase into the fashion lexicon. After noting the presence of legendary Harper’s Bazaar editor Carmel Snow in the front row, author Annie Goetzinger lavishly recreates the moment when, following the show, Snow uttered the phrase that solidified Dior’s place in fashion history.

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If you’re reading this site, though, chances are that you’re already thinking that the New Look sounds mighty familiar.

Check out this house ad and more on Dial B for Blog

It was, of course, the name famously — and not coincidentally — given to the modernization of Batman's appearance in 1964.

But that wasn’t the first time Dior’s New Look appeared in Batman comics – there’s also a reference contemporaneous with Dior’s early work.

Dior’s New Look garnered a lot of press in the U.S., from the revolutionary collections in the late ’40s to the Dior-mania of the subsequent decade and more. For our purposes, two articles in particular stand out: a January 1948 New York Times piece headlined “New Look to Stay, Expert Asserts” and Life Magazine‘s coverage of Dior’s latest “New Look” collection in February 1948.

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To see how such stories influenced comics, we can turn to the June 1948 of Batman, which re-tells Batman’s origin and includes his epic encounter with his father’s murderer, Joe Chill. However, that’s not the only story in this book, which deserves a digital restoration in full on Comixology (hint, hint).

The landmark Batman #47 actually opens with a Catwoman story called “Fashions in Crime.” The tale begins with Catwoman breaking out of jail, only to hear herself mocked by other women as she walks down the street while wearing her civilian clothes:

“Hmmph! She’s wearing a short skirt! She doesn’t have the NEW LOOK!”

As the women go on to ridicule her for not reading the latest fashion magazines, Catwoman makes the painful realization that “since [she’s] been in prison, the style has changed.” But this also gives her an entrepreneurial idea: she creates her own fashion magazine, Damsel, along with a Damsel fashion TV program.

Months later Damsel is the hottest media empire in the fashion world, and the scene shifts to an older socialite, who, wearing an elaborate hat, notes that Catwoman-turned-Damsel-publisher-Madame-Moderne’s latest designer favorite is “a gown by Millie Karnalee.” Karnalee’s name seems odd, but at the time it would have made sense as a pun on the popular American designer Hattie Carnegie, the subject of the January 1948 New York Times piece. Carnegie, besides, ahem, adapting (i.e. copying) Dior’s “New Look” at a lower price for the U.S. market, also made a point of condemning the predilection of younger women not to wear hats.

And despite a nifty later scene wear Batman cracks the case thanks to his encyclopedic knowledge of fashion illustration technique, that’s where the story begins to diverge from the world of Girl in Dior.

Apparently the writers weren’t aware of the free samples and ample cashflow that would have been accrued to the publisher of the world’s hottest fashion magazine, because Catwoman proceeds to use her newfound high-society access to steal clothes and rob women at an exclusive fashion show. Not surprisingly, the scene at Catwoman’s show is rather different from the more modest Parisian runways of the time — in true 1940s Batman fashion, it features “giant needles … scissors … thimbles … and a huge sewing machine!”

Girl in Dior might not end with a fight on oversized designer props, but it is nonetheless a most enlightening read. I could go on, but I’ll leave that to an actual reviewer – ceci n’est pas une critique de Jeune fille en Dior.

Girl in Dior

2 Comments on Batman in Dior, last added: 4/27/2015
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11. Leg over Leg as/is a novel ?

       At her Arabic Literature (in English) weblog M. Lynx Qualey reports on a recent Library of Arabic Literature workshop in Oxford where they discussed What Does it Matter if Leg Over Leg is the 'First Arabic Novel' ?
       That would be Ahmad Faris al-Shidyaq's Leg Over Leg, in the wonderful Library of Arabic Literature edition of Humphrey Davies' translation -- now available in paperback ! -- the first two volumes of which are under review at the complete review, here and here.
       An interesting discussion -- but I too don't know that it's particularly important to consider/hail any particular book as 'first' in its category -- though, of course, literary scholars enjoy that sort of thing.
       Whatever you want to consider it, it's a hell of a book -- and a hell of an historically important one, too.

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12. It’s the Golden Age of Superhero Communism: Enter Miracleman by Gaiman & Buckingham

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This announcement is somewhat confusing, but so is the entire legacy of Miracleman, one of the most interesting heroes that Marvel has ever published. First off, the run with The Original Writer (Alan Moore) has come to an end with issue #16 that Marvel started printing after they acquired the rights to the character again. Instead of just continuing the book, the publisher has decided to renumber the title starting with Neil Gaiman’s first issue #17 and changing it to Miracleman by Gaiman & Buckingham #1.

However, the news does not stop yet, at C2E2’s Marvel Next Big Thing panel, the run with Gaiman (drawn by Fables artist Mark Buckingham) was announced to debut September 2015. The original comic ended before the run came to an end with Miracleman #24. There were originally only seven issues of the tale, but Marvel is now attempting to publish the rest of the saga written by Gaiman.

Unfortunately, it’s unclear whether there are any issues done, or whether Gaiman and Buckingham could perhaps start creating material with the character? Marvel already scraped Grant Morrison material from the vault with All-New Miracleman #1. Who’s to say they can’t publish more? Thanks to CBR for originally reporting on the news — and thanks to Miracleman for being one of the most interesting and convoluted characters in comics both in front of and behind-the-scenes of comics history.

For an incredible history lesson on the birth and death of Miracleman, take a look at our own Poison Chalice pieces.

9 Comments on It’s the Golden Age of Superhero Communism: Enter Miracleman by Gaiman & Buckingham, last added: 4/28/2015
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13. The truth will set you free

First of all, gratitude. Gratitude to Opera Parallèle for its consistently high quality productions of contemporary works, and for their extensive educational outreach program. More specifically, gratitude for its new production of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, featuring revised scoring for smaller orchestral ensembles—a revision that loses nothing and makes the piece more accessible for smaller companies.

The post The truth will set you free appeared first on OUPblog.

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14. The Mahé Circle review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Georges Simenon's The Mahé Circle.

       Penguin Classics have started publishing the complete Maigret-series in new translations -- a wonderful undertaking -- but I've always been more partial to the other half of his œuvre, the so-called romans durs (as well as the hors catégorie works such as the Mémoires intimes (not in the abbreviated English translation ...)), and admirably they've been paying some attention to these as well.
       The Mahé Circle -- first published in 1946 -- was, astonishingly, never translated into English before; it finally came out, in Siân Reynolds' translation, in the UK last year and has now made its way to the US.
       You can understand that some of Simenon's prodigious output might fall through the cracks, but this corrects a major oversight: this is a major work. Brutally bleak -- probably why it was previously neglected -- but very well done.

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15. A-Force #1 Preview: Yes, Captain Marvel Punches a Shark…Stop Asking!

Marvel’s A-Force #1 from G. Willow Wilson and Marguerite Bennett with art from Jorge Molina features a stable of the publishers mightiest female heroes — and Captain Marvel punching a shark. The comic takes place during Battleworld in the upcoming Secret Wars event, which see’s nearly every Marvel character converging (haha) on one singular planet. The warriors attempt to defend their section of Battleworld, and Marvel notes that they have to fight off a mysterious horde. Nestled in the preview art is a mysterious woman in the back of the roster (five points to anyone who can figure out who she is in the comments!) The title includes a large roster of characters including familiar faces like She-Hulk, Spider-Woman, Rogue, Dazzler, Phoenix, Pixie, Captain Marvel, Medusa and more. The new comic is set to debut at local comic shops on May 20, 2015 at a $3.99 price point. Cover artists include Jim Cheung, Jorge Molina, Stephanie Hans, Russell Dauterman, Adam Hughes, and more. Thanks to CBR for the preview. More importantly, Captain Marvel punches a shark in this comic…you’re welcome.

A-FORCE #1 (MAR150665)
Written by G. WILLOW WILSON & MARGUERITE BENNETT
Art by JORGE MOLINA
Inhumans 50th Anniversary Variant by ADAM HUGES (MAR150666)
Variant Covers by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN (MAR150667) STEPHANIE HANS (MAR150668)
JORGE MOLINA (MAR150669) and SKOTTIE YOUNG (MAR150670)
Blank Variant Also Available (MAR150671)
FOC – 04/27/15, On-Sale – 05/20/15
As the Secret Wars begin, the Avengers as you know them are no more – and a new team will lead the way! In a secluded corner of Battleworld lies Arcadia, an island nation fiercely protected by a team of Avengers the likes of which has never been seen before!
So who are the Marvel powerhouses taking center stage? “She-Hulk, Dazzler, Medusa, Nico Minoru and other fan favorites, will take charge,” says series co-writer G. Willow Wilson. “We’ve purposefully assembled a team composed of different characters from disparate parts of the Marvel U, with very different power sets, identities and ideologies.”
And there came a day unlike any other, when Earth’s Mightiest Heroines found themselves united against a common threat. Fighting to protect the small sliver of their world that’s left, they stand tall, shoulder-to-shoulder, ready to take on the horde. Ushering in a new day with a rallying cry heard across Battleworld – A-FORCE ASSEMBLE!









A-Force-1-Dauterman-Variant-af093 A-Force-1-Hans-Variant-dfea6 A-Force-1-Hughes-Inhumans-50th-Anniversary-53121 A-Force-1-Molina-Variant-693ae A-Force-1-Preview-1-b7c75 A-Force-1-Preview-2-81b31 A-Force-1-Preview-3-ffa1a

2 Comments on A-Force #1 Preview: Yes, Captain Marvel Punches a Shark…Stop Asking!, last added: 4/28/2015
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16. A World Intellectual Property Day Quiz

Every year on 26 April, the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) celebrates World Intellectual Property Day to promote discussion of the role of intellectual property in encouraging creativity and innovation. As the recent lawsuit between the Marvin Gaye estate and Pharrell Williams showed, intellectual property law is just as relevant as ever.

The post A World Intellectual Property Day Quiz appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Ty Templeton is home and has some advice for all of us

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The Beat has been reporting over the last few weeks on Ty Templeton’s severe heart attack and I’m pleased to report that he’s home and recovering. In Templeton fashion, he made a comic out of it, but he also revealed the severity of his health issues—he was brought back to life three times and wasn’t expected to survive.

My wife updated the internet about what was going on, so folks knew what was happening, but she kept how bad it was a secret so my kids didn’t know how the real details of it all until I was out of danger.   It seems the staff didn’t expect me to survive more than a day or two, and I ended up earning the nickname “Miracle Man” from some of the doctors there when I woke up from the medially induced coma a little earlier than they saw coming.  That’s kind of cool.  My first professional inking job was in the back of a Miracleman comic from Eclipse, back in the day, so it seems only fitting.

Recovery is slower than I expected.  I have to nap every time I climb a set of stairs, and drawing still isn’t back up to speed (hence the stolen panels in the above Bun Toon), but never fear, I’m getting better slowly, and expect to be putting pencil to paper in a week or so, just as soon as I can go more than an hour awake.  There’s probably another Bun Toon or two in the whole experience (you people need to know what it’s like to be awake for an aortic stent operation, science is COOL!)

I’m going to close with this:  For everyone who needs to think about changing their lifestyle, please use me as the poster boy, and don’t wait until your own wake up call.  I’ll take the hit for everyone if they just learn my lesson.  NO PROCESSED FOODS!  Raw veggies, water and fruits, and no meat until after sundown, and it’s a long life for all of us.  Oh, and walk around a bit, not just back and forth to the fridge.

While thankful for Templeton’s survival. it’s worth heeding his closing thoughts as well. As someone who makes her living sitting down for 12 hours a day I can tell you that is extremely unhealthy and I’m not alone. No sleep deadlines backed up by caffeine and nicotine and performance enhancing energy drinks are an industry norm. It’s a good idea to take care of yourself in some way. A couple of ideas:

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I’d like to recommend this book, No Pain: Injury Prevention for Cartoonists by Kriota Wilberg which has important information on how to sit if you’ve got to do it. (And just a few minutes ago we reported on one well known cartoonist’s arm injury, so this is a real thing.)

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Everyone wants to lsoe weight but there’s love handles and there’s a serious issue. For those who are thinking “I’ve tried and this is impossible” I’d like to point out this inspiring public post by Action Labs’ Jamal Igle who has instituted a lifestyle change that has yielded incredible results for him:

Weight loss update..This is a big one.*I just want to add something. Someone said that “looks don’t matter” and they’re…

Posted by Jamal Yaseem Igle on Thursday, April 23, 2015

I’ve recently made some health changes myself, going from a diet that was high in sugar and carbs to cutting out bread and sweets about 95% of the time and reintroducing more weight resistance exercise into my life style. Finding the time for all this is hard, but my discovery was that feeling better makes me MORE productive as opposed to sitting and fretting and chugging more and more coffee as a hedge against time. I have a ways to go, but something is better than nothing.

Reporting on health issues for cartoonists is a once a week feature of this site and others. Some of it is chance, but some of it is preventable. Take a few moments to think about yourself and what changes you can make that are achievable to improve your health—if not for you, for the people you love. They’ll be glad you did and so will you.

4 Comments on Ty Templeton is home and has some advice for all of us, last added: 4/27/2015
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18. PEN World Voices Festival countdown

       The PEN World Voices Festival runs 4 to 10 May in New York.
       Lots of worthwhile events -- and note that reservations are advised for even the free ones, so you might want to get on that .....
       Hard to pick and choose from the offerings -- but consider:

       But there's a lot more, too -- check out the full schedule ..... Read the rest of this post

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19. Play it again (Uncle) Sam: continuities between the adoption and renewal of Trident

In March 2007 the British government of Tony Blair officially decided to extend the life of the Trident submarine deterrent through a ‘life extension programme’ whilst also placing before parliament the need for a successor system. This essentially began the debate on a successor system.

The post Play it again (Uncle) Sam: continuities between the adoption and renewal of Trident appeared first on OUPblog.

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20. Walking the Game Beat: Batman, Disney Infinity 2.0, Call of Duty, RIP Silent Hills

What a 48hrs it’s been. Gamers have been given reason to cheer and cry. Such weight that can only be decompressed with hours of performing Mortal Kombat X fatalities.

Wait that ain’t it… oh well let’s talk about some of the major news video games has recently bombarded us with.

On Sunday, Treyarch showed off the first full trailer for the next installment of the Call of Duty franchise. Call of Duty: Black Ops III comes to the PS4, Xbox One, and PC this November.

Now the series has become a yearly expectation, not unlike a new Madden Football game or MLB The Show. Hell, the game has even aided in giving birth to pro gaming leagues where Mountain Dew fueled players compete for bragging rights and copious amounts of cash. So what can a new installment bring that we haven’t seen before? Bigger combat arenas allowed the game to boast a 4-player co-op campaign. For the first time in the franchise’s history, the campaign’s protagonist is fully customizable. In addition to upgrading abilities, changing your character’s appearance and tweaking weapons, players can pick the gender of their Call of Duty hero. Black Ops also brings back Zombie survival mode, where players obliterate wave after wave of the undead. This time the mode comes with a full character progression system similar to multiplayer.

Being the third CoD game by Treyarch, the group is leaving nothing out. Come November we’ll see wall running, underwater combat, unlimited sprinting, the ability to customize your solider as a heroic female in the campaign, and swimming. Yes according to the developer certain battle arenas will have areas where players can have their solider swim while still controlling weapons and combat. Though we haven’t seen much of how this development will affect the game, it sure does sound like a thing they threw in after the art directors pool party. The one thing the game really needs is a new Jim Lee drawn cover.

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Cause this weird “I gotta go to the bathroom but I don’t want to put my guns down” box ain’t cutting it.

 

WtolZw1Call of Duty: Black Ops III is set to release on November 6, 2015. Preordering through Gamestop will get you access to the upcoming beta.


 

 

Disney Infinity 2.0 finally released their mobile app on Android today. The guesstimated five of us that don’t have iPhones can now:

Create your own worlds and games starring over 60 of your favorite Marvel and Disney characters! Marvel Super Heroes come to Disney Infinity: Toy Box 2.0, with some of your favorite characters including the Avengers, Spider-Man, and Guardians of the Galaxy. Also explore some of your favorite Disney and Disney/Pixar characters from Frozen (Elsa & Anna), Big Hero 6 (Hiro & Baymax), Brave (Merida), Pirates of the Caribbean, Monsters Inc, and more!

For anyone that hasn’t picked up any Disney Infinity console and PC version… yes the cost goes beyond what you’ll initially pay after the starter set. This is just the new trend in gaming. These miniature versions of Mickey Mouse, Venom, Jack Sparrow, and Baymax we all have to buy are the new form of downloadable content for games. Though they have the distinction of having desk/shelf potential for collectors, it can still add up to serious coin, which is why it’s a nice feature that you can use web code cards from your physical Disney Infinity Figures to unlock characters in the mobile game. Such a novelty is essentially making the content transferable through all the platforms that gives it a value other games could learn from.

Now if we could just get those Legos and Amibos to talk to each other.

Plus look at the meme potential!

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As we talked a little about yesterday, Batman: Arkham Knight or as I call it “That thing I’m not going to work the week of June 23rd for,” dropped a new trailer that included the long awaited story playability of Nightwing, Robin, and Catwoman (I don’t count Arkham City cause you had to download her). The feature looks to be similar to what Grand Theft Auto 5 did with switching between three main characters at the push of a button at any time.

Here it is again in all it’s glory:

Two-Face, Oracle, Azrael, and the bat-plane also appear in the trailer. In addition to all this, pre-ordering the game get’s you a playable Harley Quinn in the game’s challenge maps and if you do it through GameStop then the Red Hood (Jason Todd) will also be yours. The game’s “Mature” rating doesn’t shine through in the trailer but you can see a level of despair that hasn’t been hit in the series yet, and that’s saying a lot because Arkham City wasn’t exactly sunshine and roses.

Fortunately we won’t have to wait too much longer as the game is locked into releasing worldwide June 23, 2015 on the PS4, Xbox One, and PC.

In the meantime, have you figured out who “Johnny Charisma” is yet?


 

Before we start the rundown of what gaming comics will be in stores this week, we should take a moment of “silence” for Silent Hills. Last year the world was told to play the creepy ass downloadable game P.T. In it, you’re put in the shoes of a man trapped in the hallways of a house where some supernatural depressing Scooby Doo ghost shit is going down.  The erie vibrance and mind bending nature of the situation made the game a brief but intense ride. Then at the end players find out that this is just a “Playable Teaser” for a game called Silent Hills. As if that wasn’t enough, we’re then told the game is being developed by Metal Gear Solid creator Hideo Kojima and master film director Guillermo Del Torro. Then as if that isn’t enough we’re told Daryl Dixon himself, Norman Reedus, is going to  model and voice the main character.

Yesterday, Konami confirmed our worst fears and officially canceled Silent Hills.

For fans of the Silent Hill series; the teaser was like being defibrillated back to life. A franchise whose better days were behind them, only showing mere glimpses of awesome in comics being published by IDW, was going to make a comeback. For a brief moment two storytelling giants that specialize in the bizarre were going to give fans the game they knew this series could be and P.T was the proof.

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What went wrong? While we may never know the real answer to that, at least until someone makes the documentary about all this ten years from now; the writing had been on the wall for quite sometime. Rumors surrounding Kojima leaving Konami after Metal Gear Solid 5 turned into plausible scenarios. Though he doesn’t look it, Hideo Kojima is like 50 something years old (Somewhere there’s an attic with a painting of an old Hideo Kojima screaming cause this guy doesn’t age). If he feels it’s time to move on and tell a new story then he’s earned that right. Most feel that he’ll put his passion for Hollywood to use. Then, Konami itself is starting to show signs of restructuring to focus on other ventures like gambling; they even pulled themselves from the New York Stock Exchange. Though, if you look at their numbers, it was apparent very little trading happened in the US for them. Both parites will undoutebly be okay as their names and properties alone could keep them afloat for years.

There’s the matter of Guillermo Del Torro. He was the first one to come out and say that he was no longer working on Silent Hills. The news was just the latest in a string of incomplete projects the filmmaker has in his portfolio; Justice League Dark and Haunted Mansion (announced at SDCC 2010 but only now finding its star) come to mind . It looks like Pacific Rim 2 will be done before either of those movies gets to theaters. In the end the tragic news of Silent Hills doesn’t fall on Del Torro, he’s a gamer and a storyteller who wanted to create art with a man he sees as a legend. When it became apparent that the legend was leaving the table, he decided not to do the project.

Kojima will be okay, Del Torro will be okay, Konami will be okay; the only real casualties here are all of us because we’ll never know what could have been.

 


 

Gaming Comics 4/29:

Injustice: Year Three Annual #1                                                                                                                                         (W) Ray Fawkes, Brian Buccellato (A) Sergio Fernandez Davila & Various (CA) Neil Googe

The Year of Magic is over, and the stalemate between Superman’s regime and Batman’s resistance continues. But some mysteries remain to be explained, like the true start of John Constantine’s involvement. What secret role did Dr. Occult play? And what have the Titans been up to all this time?
Munchkin #4 (BOOM! Studios)
(W) Tom Siddell, Jim Zub (A) Mike Holmes, Rian Sygh (CA) Ian McGinty
Based on the popular card game. A squad of space marines are sent to investigate a colony that has recently fallen out of contact, but when they get there, they find the first signs of nonhuman life are super annoying. Plus, an exclusive game card is included with every copy of the first printing!
Sonic Boom #7 (Archie Comics)
(W) Ian Flynn (A/CA) Matt Herms & Various
It’s wacky-racin’ adventure in “Everybody’s Super Sonic Racing” Part Two: Dr. Eggman’s fun and “friendly” go-kart challenge has turned deadly! But, really, who didn’t see that “twist” coming? Can Sonic salvage the race and prove to the bad doctor he can win fair and square? More importantly, can Sonic survive long enough to return to the race course?! Discover the fate of life, limb and ego in this super-fast story with cover art from Sonic comic fav Jamal Peppers, and an all-new “insubordination” variant cover from painter Erik Ly!

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21. Tüki Save The Humans #4 delayed by Jeff Smith arm injury

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Issue #4 of Tüki Save The Humans, Jeff Smith’s saga of early humans and their migration, has been postponed from May to December due to a recurrence of an arm injury that creator Jeff Smith has been battling for a while.

“The past 12 months have been really busy,” says Smith, “and last month, after doing two issues of TUKI back to back, I noticed my arm was getting numb. I’ve had trouble with carpel tunnel syndrome before, and while I haven’t crossed the line, it’s not something I want to mess with.”

“I also have a secret project I’m working on that is adding to the workload,” he continued, “so I’ve decided the best thing to do was to slow down, move the book to where it will be best for TUKI. Sincere apologies to all of my readers, and I thank you for your patience. We plan to add a few surprises to the issue and hopefully the wait will be worthwhile!”

Tüki launched as a webcomic, with print issues following, and the third “season” wrapper a while ago.

While this is disappointing news, any “secret project” from Smith is exciting.

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22. The “Blurred Lines” of music and copyright: Part one

A peppy beat and bassline. Cowbell. An ecstatic whoop in the background. Make a note, because all these elements now belong to family of Marvin Gaye. Or do they? The recent verdict against Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams in the 'Blurred Lines' case has perplexed followers of the music industry. One might think the ruling was a vindication of the rights of artists, but composers like Bonnie McKee see it differently.

The post The “Blurred Lines” of music and copyright: Part one appeared first on OUPblog.

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23. C2E2 2015: Marvel Warzones Rounds Out C2E2 Announcements

Rounding out Marvel’s Secret Wars themed panels was “Warzones” and to do this editors Jake Thomas, Jon Moisan, and Nick Lowe were joined by James Robinson, Marguerite Bennett, Dan Slott, and Dennis Hopeless.

The presentation kicked off with Rick Remender’s Hail Hydra, a series that shows a piece of the Battleworld where Hydra rules all. It’s a book that does those things creators always want to explore but never could in exploring a world where evil always triumphs.

Marvel then announced a new series, Hank Johnson, Agent of HYDRA, which will be written by Curb Your Enthusiasm executive producer David Mandel with art by Michael Walsh. It features a cover by Amanda Conner. The book is billed as an everyman who just so happens to work for the most villainous organization on the planet.

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Dennis Hopeless moved into his book, Inferno. “Inferno has been raging for five years and it’s like Colossus in ‘Escape From New York,’ said Hopeless. Art was shown from the book that featured Colossus squaring off against an army of demons. The group also touched on his other book, House of M.

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Lowe then talked about Infinity Gauntlet. Gerry Dugan is reinventing the cosmic side of the Marvel U for Secret Wars. He’ll tell a new story about the culmination of all the Infinity Stones (yep there calling them stones). Lowe also praised the work of series artist Dustin Weaver.

Old Man Logan was up next as the panel showed off interior artwork. The story is more of a continuation than a retelling as the book will deal with trying to dethrone all the super villains who’ve taken over. Bendis was eager to take on the story to try and one-up original writer Mark Millar.

Nick Lowe talked a bit about the 2099 universe and how Peter David’s book, Secret Wars 2099, was one of the first stories to be solidified for Secret Wars. He teased the appearance of characters we know and characters we’ve never seen, but also that the series could move into post Secret Wars Marvel.

A-Force interior art from Jorge Molina appeared, featuring high-flying action including Captain Marvel. The showing was a crowd favorite and writer Marguerite Bennett talked about the cast which features Dazzler, She-Hulk, Medusa, Nico Minoru and a new character named Singularity.

Planet Hulk was brought up and the group talked about how brutal the series is shaping up to be. The book will see all the Hulks gathered on a patch of planet called “Greenland”. Writer Sam Humphries also cast a gladiator Captain America that’s thrown right in the middle of all the savagery.

Another tease for the Spider-Verse series was given by Dan Slott. The book which is written by Mike Costa will feature Arana, Spider-UK, Spider-Man India, Spider-Ham, Spider-Man Noir, and Spider-Gwen. It’s an over-sized continuation of what Slott set up at the end of Spider-Verse.

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Slott then moved into Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows. The writer gave more details about the series, “This is Peter in a world where he is father, husband, hero — in that order. That will change everything.”  He made it even more intense by revealing that Peter Parker will be putting on the Black Costume once again.

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Some interior art was shown from Skottie Young’s Little Marvel:AvX. The pages showed a glimpse of a battle between baby Archangel and Falcon. The group then briefly mentioned other series such as 1872 and Squadron Sinister before James Robinson talked a bit about Armor Wars. In the part of the Battleworld called Technopolis, everyone who wants to survive has to wear a suit of armor. A murder mystery unfolds when one character finds out the cause of the illness that’s confined their world. The writer also made it clear we’d see just about every incarnation of Iron Man armor that’s come before in addition to some new ones.

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Not many new details were given for Years of Future Past and Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos. However, Lowe did bring up Guardians of Knowhere, a book that will again bring the creative team of Bendis and Mike Deodato. The duo is “reinventing” the location for Secret Wars and will see a new villain that has a future beyond the event.

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps was brought up. The book is written by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson featuring art by David Lopez. Not many new details were given about the story but the group talked about how blown away they were by Lopez’s pages.

The big reveal of the panel was Howard the Human, a tie-in book by Jim Mahfood. It’s a book that takes place in an all animal version of the Marvel U with influences from films such as Roger Rabbit and Cool World. Even the city is taken on a new identity, “New Quack City”.

Howard-The-Human-9c2bd

 

With Secret Wars right around the corner, has Marvel’s announcements and hype machine got you any more excited for their upcoming “Nothing will ever be the same” event?

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24. Fun Home the musical gets 12 Tony Award nominations

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The Tony Awards nominations are out today, honoring the best on Broadway, and Fun Home tied for most nominations with 12 (An American in Paris also got 12.) The musical, based on the Alison Bechdel graphic novel, was nominated for Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Director, Best Actor in a Musical (Michael Cerveris), Best Actress in a Musical (Beth Malone), three in the Best Featured Actress category ( Judy Kuhn, Sydney Lucas and Emily Skeggs,) Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Orchestration.

I was lucky enough to see this last week, and its deserving of every honor it gets, a truly mesmerizing and heartbreaking night of theater. If I had to pick one performance to call out it would be 12 year old Sydney Lucas, who is simply astonishing as Small Allison. Alison Bechdel’s memoir about her family life, family secrets, coming out and dealing with the past has achieved a cultural significance that no graphic novel save Maus has ever come close to.

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Bechdel drew a brief but powerful coda to the Fun Home experience as a webcomic for Vulture.

And the NY Times profiles her and the strange experience of seeing your life turned into a musical::

“She is a curious human being, and she’s curious about herself most of all,” Ms. Malone said of Ms. Bechdel. “Even her look is all about telling the truth — no ornamentation, nothing pretty. She hates lies — lies and embellishments are what got her dad killed.”

Ms. Bechdel has no formal role in creating the musical, but checks in often, answers questions by email and offers the periodic note. She asked them to change one sentence, to make clear that her father, a fastidious home restorer and antiques collector, had used real William Morris wallpaper, and not an imitation.

 

 

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25. Juan Goytisolo picks up Premio Cervantes

       They announced (and I mentioned) a while back that the great Juan Goytisolo would receive the 2014 Premio Cervantes, the leading Spanish-language author-prize and on 23 April -- not just Shakespeare's birthday, but also Cervantes' -- they had the ceremony handing over the prize.
       I was waiting/hoping for some English-language coverage -- it's Goytisolo ! the major Spanish-language author-prize ! royalty ! -- but ... little has been forthcoming. (Still, there's some: Cervantes prizewinner laments state of Spain during ceremony, Javier Rodríguez Marcos reports at El País 'In English'.)
       You can watch/listen to Goytisolo's acceptance speech here, or read it here, both in the original Spanish. (Come on, someone publish the English translation !)

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