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<<November 2014>>
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Results 1 - 25 of 60,753
1. CCI is aware of offensive remarks by alleged SDCC committee member

Last night twitter user Bill in San diego @BillntwrkBill got very vocal about the Ferguson protests on his account. Which is his right, as laid out by our Bill of Rights. However, it went over the line of what one might call civil commentary with calling the mother of a dead teenager a “whiny bitch” for grieving for her son, and a lot of other offensive rhetoric.

But here’s the interesting part. His bio lists

U. S . Navy Vet. Comic Con Regular Committee member. Married to wonderful woman. My tweets are my own. Go to CCI official website for factual information. Socal

and Comic-Con did indeed come up in several tweets. Bill (identified in this thread on his misdeeds as Bill Purcell) claimed he was not a committee member, but rather a volunteer. A volunteer who offered to give out passes for sexual favors?
billpurcell CCI is aware of offensive remarks by alleged SDCC committee member

And other sexual threats against comics industry members.

Although Bill claimed he was a volunteer for the con, I’m told he was actually a committee member for a while. And he was not a volunteer last year.

While, once again, expressing civilized opinions of current events is perfectly acceptable even if you disagree, using an association with one of the world’s biggest entertainment events—one which has a laudable track record for inclusion and diversity—as a platform for abusive, name calling language and threatening rape is probably not acceptable.

I reached out to Comic-Con and was told “This matter has been brought to our attention and we may be able to comment later in the day.”

9 Comments on CCI is aware of offensive remarks by alleged SDCC committee member, last added: 11/25/2014
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2. Black Friday ’14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)

by Zachary Clemente

gift guide Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)If you’re like me, you don’t have any siblings, which is a real shame since I really want to get kids into comics. Thankfully, I have enough younger cousins who are easily susceptible to the gift of comics no matter the occasion, so I spoil them rotten at pretty much every turn.

I hope they actually like them.

Either way, here’s a collection of great gifts to get your younger cousins (or siblings or children or whatever – take your pick) this Black Friday consumer-fest in preparation for the upcoming holidays.


STK644501 Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Adventure Time Fionna & Cake Mathematical Edition Hardcover – $29.99 (-25%) TFAW

Literally one of the most beautiful books I’ve read – whether you’re a fan of Adventure Time’s sometimes heroines, this loving tale of friendship with melt your heart. This is the collected series. Written and Drawn by Natasha Allegri.

prv14944 cov 772x1028 Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Promise Library Edition HC - $23.99 (-40%) TFAW

A must read for any fan of the “Avatar: The Last Airbender” series. This hardcover collects the three volumes of Gene Luen Yang’s canonical stories of the events directly after the end of the hit series, Drawn by Gurihiru. There are two more series after this one; “The Search” and “The Rift”.

4064457 01 Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Bride’s Story, Vol. 1 – $13.24 (-22%) Amazon

There is literally nothing like Kaoru Mori‘s series about the life of Amir Halgal, a young woman living during 19th century Silk Road, betrothed to a boy 8 years younger than her. Bride’s Story represents this situations with care, keeping the events historically accurate while making it accessible and entertaining for contemporary audiences. Additionally, Mori’s art is unparalleled with this series, currently 6 volumes in total.

BandettePresto Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Bandette Volume 1: Presto! Hardcover – $7.49 (-50%) TFAW

A lighthearted jaunt through the life of Bandette – the first collection of Paul Tobin and Colleen Coover‘s “harmless” crime romp is delightful and exquisitely executed. The second volume to out April 2015.

BATMAN 66 vol1 nm1mbsipz0  527c205d3e9f65.33103894 Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Batman ’66 Vol. 1 Hardcover – $12.64 (-37%) Amazon

Bringing back the spectacular fun of the classic Batman series, Jeff Parker writes dastardly deeds and timeless heroics with artists Jonathan Case, Ty Templeton, Joe Quinones, Sandy Jarrell, Ruben Procopio, and Colleen Coover. Batman ’66 currently has 2 volumes out, with the 3rd out April 2015.

cvr9781421550640 9781421550640 hr Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind Box Set - $42.00 (-30%) Amazon

Actually the most amazing thing on this list. While most American readers are familiar with Hayao Miyazaki‘s early masterpiece in animated form – it was original a manga – a far deeper and involved story about Nausicaä’s adventures. I literally cannot recommend this enough. The whole series is printed in two gorgeous hardcover books in this set.

91Z0pfjw9UL Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Battling Boy Vol. 1 Paperback – $9.68 (-39%) Amazon

A distillation of everything cosmic about Kirby and magical about Miyazaki; Paul Pope‘s entrance into all-ages comics is a fantastic tome for anyone looking for adventure. This is the first of two volumes, with an offshoot series Aurora West having one of two books currently out.

71iS9Uek5CL Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Smile/Sister Boxed Set – $18.68 (-15%) Midtown

No offense, but if Raina Telgemeier‘s work isn’t on your radar, better move out from under that rock and pick it up. I recently attended an event where she ran a workshop and it was literally swimming with eager children.

dcb772b0 e6df 43fa a11a 20f906690597 Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Ms. Marvel Paperback Vol. 1 – No Normal – $12.79 (-20%) TFAW

Same as above, if you aren’t aware of what Marvel is doing with the name “Ms. Marvel” you need to check out this book. Meet Kamala Khan, a teenage superheroine who is learning the ropes of how to juggle a like of crime-fighting and being an inconspicuous teenager in a devoutly Islamic household; it’s tremendous and important work. Written by G. Willow Wilson and Drawn by Adrian Alphona, this is an ongoing series.

Ewoks SoE Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Star Wars: Ewoks – Shadows of Endor – $3.99 (-50%) TFAW

There literally isn’t a reason to pick up Zack Giallongo‘s wonderful Star Wars book. He has a marvelous style that allows for epic battles and violence while riding the line of accessibility for all readers. Also, c’mon – Ewoks are the cutest. This is currently a standalone book.

johnny boo cover new lg Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Johnny Boo Hardcover Vol. 1 – Best Little Ghost in the World - $4.97 (-50%) TFAW

There are so many books by Vermonter James Kochalka that could (and should) be on this list, but the Johnny Boo series is my favorite. There are currently 6 super-cute volumes out and they’re all really fun.

Costume Quest Invastion Of The Candy Snatchers Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Costume Quest Hardcover: Invasion Of Candy Snatchers - $19.99 (-20%) TFAW

For me, this was a dream come true. Zac Gorman is well-known online for crafting wholly unique animated comics that distill that feeling of beating a temple in The Legend of Zelda on the first try at 2 in the morning. Since then, he’s been making amazing comics in print. Costume Quest is a property from the immensely wonderful company Double Fine (Psychonauts, Broken Age) and well-deserving of a beautiful comic.

MAY140616 Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)How Toons: Tools Of Mass Construction  – $9.74 (-35%) TFAW

That’s right. There’s a comic made to teach kids how to use DIY projects to practice science and explore engineering principles (safely enough). Created by Nick Dragotta, Saul GriffithJoost Bonsen, and Ingrid Dragotta, How Toons is the perfect gift for that would be physicist or doctor without seeming forced.

2005185 sailor moon 1 600dpi Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Sailor Moon Kodansha Edition Vol. 1 - $6.65 (-39%) Amazon

Fair warning – there are like 12 volumes of the premier Shōjo manga by Naoko Takeuchi, so in for a penny in for pound. Retranslated and reprinted starting a few years ago, the adventures of Usagi Tsukino, the leader of Sailor Senshi, are an absolute joy to read.

nov090804 Black Friday 14: Presents for Younger Cousins (And Other Such Family Members)Kazu Kibuishi’s Copper – $6.49 (-50%) TFAW

Last but not least, is Kazu Kibiushi‘s early work, Copper. Don’t get me wrong, his work on Amulet, Flight, Daisy Kutter, and more are amazing – especially as a fan of seeing his progression. However, nothing – any I mean nothing – has gotten as close to the tone and feeling that Calvin & Hobbes encapsulated; and we have to celebrate that.

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3. 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.

The combination fan wish fulfillment and classic writer comeback that is Convergence—DC’s two month fill in event slated for next March and April while the company moves—have been announced, via The Nerdist and IGN. Once again it’s old  home week with Marv Wolfman writing the Teen titans, Len Wein writing Swamp Thing, and artists including Tim Truman back at DC for one last go round.

This was originally going to be an event that featured a lot of younger creators, and there is one—EGOs artist Gus Storms is drawing the Legion.

BTW this event has gotten less and less attention as the weeks go on. Of course, the timing what with world news, is unfortunate. Also, holiday.

Convergence Adventures of Superman 674x1024 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: Roberto Viacava and Andy Owens
Colorist: Sotocolor
Superman and Supergirl try to escape the city through the Phantom Zone, but they enter a portion they’ve never seen before and learn that Supergirl is destined to die if they return to their proper time and dimension. True story

01 Batman and the Outsiders COLOR 1057x1600 300x454 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.

Writer: Marc Andreyko
Artist: Carlos D’Anda
Colorist: Gabe Eltaeb
After a year under the dome, the Outsiders have gone their separate ways, but when OMAC attacks, Batman must find out if they have what it takes to still be a team.

Convergence Flash 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.

Writer: Dan Abnett
Artist: Federico Dallocchio
Colorist: Veronica Gandini
Trapped in Gotham, Barry Allen has nowhere to run. He fights on, seeking justice as well as a way to save the city. But he faces a Tangent Universe foe that thinks faster than the Flash could ever move.

05 GreenLanternCorps COLOR 1044x1600 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.


Writer: David Gallaher

Artists: Steve Ellis and Ande Parks

Colorist: Hi-Fi
Say the Oath, save the world! If only being the Green Lantern Corps was that easy. Hal has resigned, John is busy, and Guy is pissed. Together for the first time—they’ll save Gotham or die trying.

Convergence Hawkman 615x475 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.


Writer: Jeff Parker

Artists: Tim Truman and Enrique Alcatena

Colorist: John Kalisz
Hawkman and Hawkgirl put their Shadow War on hold as they face the anthropomorphic might of rat-men and bat-men in the deadly land of Kamandi!

06 JLA COLOR 1039x1600 300x461 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.

Writer: Fabian Nicieza
Artist: ChrisCross
Colorist: Snakebite Cortez
With their heavy hitters sidelined, Elongated Man must lead the much-maligned “Detroit Justice League” against the overwhelming power of the heroes from the Tangent Universe!

09 NewTeenTitans COLOR 1041x1600 300x461 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.

Writer: Marv Wolfman
Artists: Nicola Scott and Marc Deering
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Titans Together! Fighting against the might of the Tangent Universe’s Doom Patrol, we are reminded why this is the greatest Titans team of all.

Convergence Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes 668x1024 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.


Writer: Stuart Moore

Artists: Gus Storms and Mark Farmer

Colorist: John Rauch
While Brainiac 5 struggles to break through the dome, Superboy tries to keep the Legion of Super-Heroes spirits up—but then the Atomic Knights ride into town.

Convergence Swamp Thing 668x1024 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.

Writer: Len Wein
Artist: Kelley Jones
Colorist: Michelle Madsen
Swamp Thing struggles to survive when the dome cuts off his contact with the Green.

04 WonderWoman COLOR 1006x1528 10 more Convergence titles with Wolfman on Titans, Wein on Swamp Thing, etc.

Writer: Larry Hama
Art and Color: Josh Middleton
White-jumpsuit-clad Diana Prince is in the grips of a Domesday cult when her lover Steve Trevor leaps into the fray to save Etta Candy from vampires of Red Rain.

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4. Ferguson. Power.

Ferguson, Missouri. Nov. 24, 2014. (Photo by Adrees Latif/Reuters)

from "Power" by Audre Lorde:

I am trapped on a desert of raw gunshot wounds
and a dead child dragging his shattered black
face off the edge of my sleep
blood from his punctured cheeks and shoulders
is the only liquid for miles
and my stomach
churns at the imagined taste while
my mouth splits into dry lips
without loyalty or reason
thirsting for the wetness of his blood
as it sinks into the whiteness
of the desert where I am lost
without imagery or magic
trying to make power out of hatred and destruction
trying to heal my dying son with kisses
only the sun will bleach his bones quicker.

(photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters)

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5. Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books

Well, sort of. It’s well known that some used book prices on Amazon are just kind of…loony. Take for instance, Monsters Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books by Ken Dahl, an excellent book about a guy who thinks he has herpes by Ken Dahl, published by Secret Acres but now out of print. (A new edition is planned for next year.) In the meantime, you can get a used copy for a mere $394.94… or brand new for $11,964.08.


Is this real? I doubt it. I know most of these books mentioned below can be found placidly waiting in bargain boxes at cons. Paging Frank Santoro!

I know a lot of old manga books do legit go for some high prices. For instance, TokyoPop’s Rave Master (4,5,6,7,8,9) Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books in a nice set, goes for $168 in library binding (that’s hardcover) and
but $8,038.21 used. And they wonder why people turn to piracy! 

Some other pricey old books: Battle Royale Ultimate Edition Volume 5 (v. 5) Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books = $499.00

Julie Doucet & Michel Go W/DVD Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books – $173.16

The recent Passion of Gengoroh Tagame Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books by now defunct Picturebox is listed at $226.73 used, and $598.77 new. I know this book does have a loyal fetish following so…supply and demand.

Another Picturebox book, C.F.: Powr Mastrs Vol. 1  Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books by Fort Thunder alum CF is listed at $134.62 used, $154.47 new. Glad I saved my copies!

TeratoidHeights Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books

Digging around some more long gone publishers, I found this from Highwater, Mat Brinkman’s Teratoid Heights Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books at $220.00. That was a great book!

And then there’s Buenaventura Press, which published Souvlaki Circus by finnish artist Amanda Vähämäki Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books $265.35 used, or $331.68 new/

Oddly, the book that you’d think would be the most valuable, the huge epic Kramers Ergot 7 Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books goes for a mere $140.00 used and only $112.50 new! The retail price was $125 so this is a bargain. Some people in the comments mention copies going for $1000 back in the day—the print run was destroyed by mold under mysterious circumstances—but obviously now its just another large, beautiful object to keep around the house.

Not just out of business publishers. I checked Dark Horse and found The Hellboy Collection: The Story So Far Volumes 1-7 Bundle Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books going for $2,881.50. I used to have all these but I think I sold them to the Strand for $20. =(

The moral of the story? Never throw anything out! I don’t!

4 Comments on Want some valuable comics? Try these rare small press books, last added: 11/25/2014
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6. Let’s get dangerous: Darkwing Duck writing credit kerfuffle

Darkwing Cover by lazesummerstone Lets get dangerous: Darkwing Duck writing credit kerfuffle

This thing is going on with a new publisher called Joe Books, and the credits on Boom! Studio’s long ago (2010) Darkwing Duck series. Yes. The Outhouse has a succinct round-up but as best as I can make out, here’s what happened:

* In 2010 Boom! published a Darkwing Duck comic book, edited by Aaron Sparrow and written by Ian Brill.

* Sparrow left Boom! after three issues were published. Depending on who you ask, he either left notes for Brill or actually wrote most of the subsequent series, leaving Brill’s name as writer on the credits.

* In the intervening years, Sparrow and Brill engaged in an internet kerfuffle over who actually wrote these books. (Links are in the Outhouse piece, and I’m not gonna look them up.)

* In recent days, a new publisher has emerged, Joe Books, led by Adam Fortier, formerly of Speakeasy and Boom and several other places. While they haven’t been making a lot of pr moves, they did announce a Darkwing Duck omnibus in this month’s Previews…with Sparrow rewriting it to bring it closer in line to his vision, as related by artist James Silvana:

Aaron Sparrow, the editor and driving force of the DW comics has gone back and painstakingly rewritten the book to bring it in step with the classic Disney Afternoon series. I also had the opportunity to revisit the art and make this edition the true Terror That Flaps In The Night. This omnibus also features the stellar work of Darkwing creator Tad Stones, artist Sabrina Alberghetti, writer Ian Brill, colorists Andrew Dalhouse and Lisa Moore, letterer Deron Bennett and cover artist Amy Mebberson.

* This led Brill to take to Tumblr to state how hurt he was by all this:

Currently a reprint collection of the Darkwing Duck comic that we worked on in 2010 and 2011 is being offered in Previews. In the announcement of this collection it said to be “painstakingly rewritten” to “bring it in step with the classic Disney Afternoon series.” We believe that this will not be the book that readers enjoyed when the series was originally published. We do not feel it is right to rewrite comics for a reprint collection. Since we feel this book will not reflect our intentions for the material we wish for our names to be removed from the book, and for our names to not be used in the promotion of the book. We have contacted Joe Books and made this request. This is our only and final comment about the situation. 

-Former Darkwing Duck writer Ian Brill and former Darkwing Duck editor Christopher Burns

* So heated was the controversy that former Boom! marketing director Chip Mosher chimed in on the situation with his own timeline, supporting Brill.

Could James, the artist on the book, have communicated with his good friend Aaron about each issue and then incorporated some of Aaron’s comments in future issues even though Aaron wasn’t officially involved in the series? Sure. I expect as much as they are very close. But that’s not “writing” or “co-writing.” Ian sat down at his laptop on every script. He broke down the pages and story beats and wrote the dialogue. That’s what writers do. They write!

It’s always disappointing in comics to see someone take credit for another’s hard work. I give Aaron a ton of credit for getting the series going at BOOM! and keeping the Darkwing Duck flame alive for the past three years. But I have real problems with him taking credit for Ian’s work and I think everyone who has written a comic would find it painful to have their former editor re-write their work without asking them about it first. It’s just a really sad, sad situation.

And there you have it.

What no one has come out and said is….IT’S FREAKING DARKWING DUCK, NOT THE WORKS OF SHAKESPEARE!

I poked around and found…passions running high on this topic! Disney fans seem to have taken up the “Sparrow Is The Original Author” campaign on various forums, which is…just like Disney fans. That is all I will say about that. I also understand that many times Disney proper tinkers with licensed work in various formats, and this may be one of those things.

Still…it’s Darkwing Duck! A character I worked on during my Disney years and loved very much. Gosslyn and Launchpad and Negaduck…it was a pretty good world. I’ve never read these new comics, but I’m sure they’re fine whoever wrote them, but my advice to Sparrow (who I don’t know) and Brill (who used to write for me when he was a journalist) is move on and create something of your own!

If you want a REAL Darkwing Duck scandal, read this post by the great Doug Gray on how I, as editor, ruined his marvelous “Darkwing vs. Fluffy Trilogy” stories from 1993! This was one of my favorite stories I got to edit at Disney Adventures, and I don’t remember why I made so many changes but…Doug, I’m sorry. I would do it all differently now.

I haven’t seen much press from Joe Books aside from some stuff on BC. The website is minimal. Piecing all this together it looks like they have the Disney/Pixar comics license for a while, so all I can say is: TALESPIN. IT IS TIME.

3 Comments on Let’s get dangerous: Darkwing Duck writing credit kerfuffle, last added: 11/25/2014
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7. Holiday mode engage!

ThanksCovs11 Holiday mode engage!

I’m hitting the road for Thanksgiving frolic, so we’re shifting into exciting HOLIDAY mode at the Beat! Oh there will be some news stories, and some GIft Guide suggestions, but also a lot of art and comics recommendations that I’ve been stockpiling for no good reason. Also, Beat contribours will be along with their own gift guide suggestions.

I’m also rounding up Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals, so ping me with those.

Also if you have any suggestions for webcomics to read, gifts to buy, or cranberry sauce recipes, feel free to share in the comments!

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8. Religion and the paranormal

OUP author Diana Walsh Pasulka recently caught up with fellow scholar of religion Jeffrey J. Kripal, to discuss the study of the supernatural and the paranormal within the university.

Diana Walsh Pasulka: You’ve written about the origin of the term paranormal and its link to the British and American Spiritualist movements. You’ve noted that the paranormal is inextricably linked to the idea of the sacred. How do you see the paranormal as different from the idea of the supernatural, which has traditionally been used to describe events that exceed naturalist explanations, like miracles, for instance?

Jeffrey J. Kripal: As a category or coinage, the paranormal is an attempted secularization of the supernatural. I like to translate it as the “super natural.” This is what the original inventors of the term meant, anyway. They meant to suggest that (a) psychical phenomena were quite real but (b) beyond our present scientific modeling and theorizing. The phenomena in question were thus both “normal” but also “beyond” (para-). Someday, these theorists thought, we would be able to incorporate these phenomena into our understanding of the natural world. So, for example, poltergeist phenomena were read not as the work of “angry ghosts” floating around but as expressions of the “ghosts of anger,” that is, they understood these as exteriorized symbolic expressions of pent-up frustration, conflict or angst. This may have been an advance, but it is still deeply offensive to our rationalisms. How, say, an abused or conflicted adolescent can start the curtains on fire or explode a vase at a distance might still be natural, but this is clearly a nature behaving in some most extraordinary or special ways. This is a kind of supernature.

A 14-year-old domestic servant, Therese Selles, experiences poltergeist / spontaneous PK activity in the home of her employer, the Todeschini family at Cheragas, Algeria, as featured on the cover of the French magazine La Vie Mysterieuse in 1911. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
A 14-year-old domestic servant, Therese Selles, experiences poltergeist / spontaneous PK activity in the home of her employer, the Todeschini family at Cheragas, Algeria, as featured on the cover of the French magazine La Vie Mysterieuse in 1911. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Diana Walsh Pasulka: In your most recent work you’ve called for a renewed examination of the supernatural and paranormal aspects of religion. You’ve also noted the irony that scholars of religion have tended to avoid these subjects even as they are presumably at the heart of most religious traditions. Can you say a bit more about how you would like to see this renewed emphasis develop? For example, is this an interdisciplinary project?

Jeffrey J. Kripal: I find it curious that the study of religion has “taken off the table” precisely those anomalous aspects of human experience that lie behind or within some of the most universally distributed religious ideas–say, strikingly real encounters with dead loved ones who carry some empirical information (say, about the means or mode of their death) that in turn give rise to the belief in a surviving “soul.” We are allowed to treat these beliefs as “discourses” or as power-plays, of course, but never as empirical phenomena in their own right. Then we are told that there is nothing essentially “religious” about religion, that it is all just context and construction, which, of course, is perfectly true, since we just took all of the stuff that is not just context and construction off the table. I find this situation circular, inadequate and, above all, depressing. It is not that it is wrong. It is simply that it is half-right. I think it is time to bring the other half back in and re-enchant reason.

Diana Walsh Pasulka: You’ve stated that popular culture has adopted the paranormal elements that have been well documented in the history of religion and folklore. Do you see popular culture, science fiction and superhero movies, for instance, replacing this aspect of religion? Or, perhaps, complimenting it? Or, does this development indicate something entirely different?

Jeffrey J. Kripal: I think the paranormal has migrated into popular culture and entertainment because it has been effectively exiled from both elite intellectual culture (which is more or less controlled now by scientific or Marxist materialism) and, oddly, the religious traditions themselves. But paranormal phenomena are clearly part of our human nature, part of human history. If we will not talk about them either in our public intellectual and scientific lives or in our public religious lives, where are they supposed to go? They will never go away, by the way, not at least as long as we are here, and for one simple reason: they are expressions of us.

Headline image credit: Urach waterfall. CC0 via Pixabay.

The post Religion and the paranormal appeared first on OUPblog.

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9. Band Aid (an infographic)

On this day in 1984, musical aficionados from the worlds of pop and rock came together to record the iconic ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ single for Band Aid. The single has gone down in history as an example of the power of music to help right the wrongs in the world. The song leapt to the number one spot over the Christmas of 1984, selling over a million copies in under a week and totalling sales of three million by the end of that year. The Band Aid super-group featured the cream of eighties pop, including David Bowie, Phil Collins, George Michael, Sting, Cliff Richard and Paul McCartney.

The sales target for the single was £70,000, all of which was to be donated to the African famine relief fund. With support from Radio 1 DJs and a Top of the Pops Christmas Special, sales sky-rocketed and Geldof, feeling the strength of public opinion behind him, went toe-to-toe with the conservative government in an attempt to have tax on the single waived. Margaret Thatcher initially refused the plea, but as public outcry grew, Thatcher caved-in to public demands and the tax on sales worth nearly £9 million was donated back to charity.

Bob Geldof and a host of artists old and new have re-recorded the single to help raise funds to stem the Ebola crisis. Our infographic marks the 30th anniversary of the original recording and illustrates the movers and shakers that made this monumental milestone in pop history possible.


To view free articles examining the cause, the people, and the music, you can open the graphic as a PDF.

Headline image credit: Live Aid at JFK Stadium, Philadelphia, 1985. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The post Band Aid (an infographic) appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. The not so thin blue line: policing economic crime

Fraud is one of the most costly crimes to society, with the last estimate produced by the now disbanded National Fraud Authority suggesting that in 2012 this figure was £52 billion. Yet the response from the Government, from the criminal justice system, and – most importantly – law enforcement, does not match the magnitude of the problem.

These are difficult times for the police. The most recent statistics on police numbers suggesting that officer levels have returned to where they were in 2002 as a consequence of deep funding cuts imposed by the coalition government. Nevertheless, in view of the cost of fraud – which is certainly a significant under-estimation due to the fact that not all frauds are reported and no law enforcement agency has a 100% detection rate – the public has a right to expect that the policing response to fraud is proportionate to these losses, and on a par with resources dedicated to investigating other acquisitive crimes such as burglary and robbery.

We are told that crime rates are falling, so why would this be an issue? Well, closer inspection of the Crime Survey for England and Wales reveals that the estimate of crime does not include any data for credit or debit card fraud, yet the last estimate by the National Fraud Authority was that in 2012 fraud was estimated to have cost the financial services sector over £5 billion. Fraud itself is on the increase; data evidence shows that reported fraud by individuals has risen by 17% in the 12 months to the end of March 2014. Yet again, it is only right for the public to expect that there are adequate police resources to tackle this rising crime problem.

So let us explore what the policing response to fraud actually amounts to in terms of officers dedicated to investigating this type of crime. Over the last 20 years there have been several studies that have illustrated a decline in specialist police resources dedicated to investigating fraud. During the mid-1980s, research by Michael Levi suggested there were 588 fraud squad officers. The Fraud Review published in 2006 identified that this figure had reduced to 416, which included 126 in London, and that this resource was actually under threat. Further research conducted by Robert Gannon and Alan Doig in 2008 suggested that in the last decade there had been a slight reduction in the number of police officers dedicated to the investigation of fraud, to around 400 officers. This in itself evidences the low priority that fraud is given by law enforcement, when considering that numbers of police officers rose year on year from 2000 to 2010.

Balancing The Account. Photo by Ken Teegardin. CC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr

To obtain a more up-to-date picture of policing resources dedicated to fraud, during the Summer/Autumn of 2013 a research team from the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for Counter Fraud Studies used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain data from Police Constabularies on the resources dedicated to fraud and economic crime. The term ‘economic crime’ was used because some forces have an economic crime unit. However, these units focus not only on the investigation of fraud, but a range of other financially related offences such as  money laundering, counterfeit currency, and criminal involvement in a financial enterprise to name but a few. The expectation was that, in line with the overall reduction in police numbers, this figure would show a further decline in resources dedicated to fraud.

This was not to be the case. The numbers show that the resources allocated to tackling economic crime – excluding ‘financial investigators’ – within police forces in England and Wales currently stands at 624.3 (full time equivalent), higher than in 2006. This figure represents a mix of specialist police and civilian investigators, reflecting current trends in the increased civilianisation of some policing activities.

However, do not get too euphoric: this figure actually represents only 0.27% of all police personnel, further illustrating that the trait of giving fraud the status of a “Cinderella crime” continues. Even more worrying is that of the 48 police constabularies in the UK, seven police forces claimed they did not have an economic crime unit. So, don’t become a victim of fraud in Cumbria, North Wales, Bedfordshire, or Gloucestershire to name a few, as there won’t be anybody available to investigate your case! This may also explain why many frauds reported to the national fraud reporting centre Action Fraud never get investigated. Similarly, how many civilian fraud investigators referring an internal fraud case to the police will be familiar with the response “the offender has been sacked, what more do you want?”

Although the ‘thin blue line’ turned out to be not so thin after all, when considering that the number of recorded fraud cases has risen by two fifths over the last three years, and that there are four times as many officers dedicated to investigating benefit fraud (which only accounts for £1.9 billion of a £52 billion fraud problem), the fact that the police are only able to offer 0.27% of the total resource to fraud and economic crime does seem rather thin. Whilst the announcement that the Metropolitan Police Operation Falcon will create the largest cyber-crime and fraud team in Europe, the present policing figures really do suggest that it’s ‘open season’ for fraudsters.

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11. Peanut butter: the vegetarian conspiracy

There is something quintessentially American about peanut butter. While people in other parts of the world eat it, nowhere is it devoured with the same gusto as in the United States, where peanut butter is ensconced in an estimated 85% of home kitchens. Who exactly invented peanut butter is unknown; the only person to make that claim was Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, the chief medical officer at the Sanatarium, the fashionable health retreat in Battle Creek, Michigan. Kellogg, a vegetarian who invented Corn Flakes, was seeking an alternative for “cows’ butter.” He thought puréed nutmeats might work, and in the early 1890s Kellogg experimented with processing nuts through steel rollers. He served the nut butters to his patients at the Sanatarium, who loved them. Remarkably, in less than a decade peanut butter would emerge from the province of extremist “health nuts” to become a mainstream American fad food.

America’s elite visited the Battle Creek Sanatarium to recover their health, and many fell in love with the foods served there—particularly peanut butter. It soon became a passion with health-food advocates nationwide, and newspapers and magazines quoted vegetarians extolling its virtues. A vegetarianism advocate, Ellen Goodell Smith, published the first recipe for a peanut butter sandwich in her Practical Cook and Text Book for General Use (1896).

Homemade peanut butter was initially ground in a mortar and pestle, but this required considerable effort. It was also made with a hand-cranked meat- or coffee-grinder, but these did not produce a smooth butter. Joseph Lambert, an employee at the Sanatarium, adapted a meat-grinder to make it more suitable for producing nut butters at home. He also invented or acquired the rights to other small appliances, all intended to simplify the making of nut butters. These included a stovetop nut roaster, a small blancher (to remove the skins from the nuts), and a hand grinder that cranked out a smooth, creamy product. In 1896, Lambert left the Sanatarium and set up his own company to manufacture and sell the equipment.

Lambert mailed advertising flyers to households throughout the United States, and some recipients who bought the equipment started their own small businesses selling nut products. As nut butters became more popular, these machines proved inadequate to keep up with demand, so Lambert ramped up production of larger ones. He also published leaflets and booklets extolling the high food value of nuts and their butters. His wife, Almeda Lambert, published A Guide for Nut Cookery (1899), America’s first book devoted solely to cooking with nuts.

Vegetarians — who at the time practiced what we may now consider veganism — enjoyed all sorts of nut butters, which weren’t simply novel spreads for sandwiches but also sustaining, high-protein meat substitutes. But peanuts were the cheapest nuts, and it was peanut butter that dominated the field. It was first manufactured in small quantities by individuals and sold locally from door to door, but before long, small factories sprang up and peanut butter became a familiar article on grocers’ shelves. The American Vegetarian Society (AVS) sold peanut butter and actively promoted its sale through advertisements in magazines. In 1897 the AVS also began promoting the sale of the “Vegetarian Society Mill,” with an accompanying eight-page pamphlet encouraging vegetarians to create home-based peanut butter businesses. Vegetarians all over the country began to manufacture commercial peanut butter. The Vegetarian Food & Nut Company, in Washington, D.C., sold a product called “Dr. Shindler’s Peanut Butter” throughout the United States for decades. The company also produced private-label peanut butter for grocery store chains, and non-vegetarians quickly adopted the tasty new product.

The Atlantic Peanut Refinery in Philadelphia, launched in December 1898, may have been the first company to use the words “peanut butter” on its label. The term was picked up by other commercial manufacturers, although a New Haven, Connecticut, manufacturer preferred the term “Peanolia,” (later shortened to Penolia), and registered it in 1899.

By 1899, an estimated two million pounds of peanut butter were manufactured annually in the United States, and by the turn of the century, ten peanut-butter manufacturers competed for the burgeoning US market. From its origin just six years earlier as an alternative to creamery butter, peanut butter had established itself as an American pantry staple and a necessity for schoolchildren’s lunch pails.

Headline image credit: Peanut Butter Texture, by freestock.ca. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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12. Keytar Appreciation 101

What is a keytar, anyway? Well, along with being (to me) the coolest electronic instrument ever, it’s a midi controller-sometimes-synthesizer that you can wear over your shoulder like a guitar. The Grove Music Online article on electronic instruments says that “Lightweight portable keyboard controllers, worn like a guitar, became popular with rock and jazz-rock keyboard performers around 1980, since they enabled the player to walk round the stage.”

While some use it to simulate the sound of a guitar, as in this laudable “Little Wing” cover:

Others embrace its synthesizer side, as in this lovely Michael Jackson medley:

One can find photographic evidence of several prominent musicians playing the keytar, such as Herbie Hancock, Rick Wakeman (Yes), James Brown, Matthew Bellamy (Muse), and Lady Gaga, who seems to have a penchant for custom-designed keytars. And lest you think that keytars are largely a curiosity of the late twentieth century (why would you think that?), new models are still being introduced: Japanese synthesizer giant Korg released one this year.

Though it’s possible the initial makers of keytars were unaware of it, the instrument actually has an acoustic predecessor in the orphica. As you can read in the just-published second edition of the Grove Dictionary of Musical Instruments, the orphica was a miniature piano that could be worn over the shoulder with a strap:

Orphica, by manufacturer Rollig, end 18th century, Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali di Roma. By LPLT. Creative Commons license via Wikimedia Commons.
Orphica, by manufacturer Rollig, end of the 18th century, Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali di Roma. Photo by LPLT. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Its name and shape was meant to recall the ancient Orphic lyre, and it was known in England as the “weekend piano.” Patented in 1795, nearly 200 years before the keytar came into existence, there are only about forty extant orphicas. The instrument’s greatest claim to fame is that, according to an 1827 letter written by a childhood friend, Beethoven may have composed a piece for it (possibly WoO 51). Which makes me wonder: had Beethoven been alive in the 1980s, what kind of keytar-led band would he have formed?

Headline image credit: Piano keys picture. Photo by Truls. CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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13. Cervantes Prize to Juan Goytisolo

       The Premio de Literatura en Lengua Castellana Miguel de Cervantes is the biggest Spanish-language author prize, and they've finally gotten around to giving it to the greatest -- and by far the most important -- living Spanish-writing author, Juan Goytisolo (though they haven't gotten around to mentioning that at the official site yet, last I checked ...); see, for example, the Latin American Herald Tribune report, Juan Goytisolo Wins 2014 Cervantes Prize.
       The Premio Cervantes has an impressive list of winners -- including Alejo Carpentier (1977), Jorge Luis Borges (1979), Octavio Paz (1981), Carlos Fuentes (1987), Miguel Delibes (1993), Mario Vargas Llosa (1994), and Álvaro Mutis (2001) -- but of course they'll never be able to live down not giving Gabriel García Márquez the prize, and they took their time with this other big-omission-to-date; thankfully, they came to their senses.
       There aren't too many incontestable all-time literary greats around right now -- Handke is one of the few in the same league -- but there's little doubt that Goytisolo is one of them. No doubt, actually.

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14. IMPAC award longlist

       The bizarre literary prize that is the International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award has announced its longlist -- 142 books, a (sort of) impressive 49 in translation, originally written in 16 languages.
       On the one hand, it's a neat idea -- libraries from around the world nominate books ! On the other hand, it's a batty idea -- libraries from select few libraries in parts of the world (preferably apparently not ... off-color parts of the world) nominate (far too often local) works.
       Yes, this is a prize which has as many nominators (one) from Liechtenstein as it does from all of Africa. More nominators from Iceland (one) than Japan (zero). More nominators from the Caribbean (two -- Jamaica and Barbados) than all of South America (one -- Brazil).
       And of course nationalism rules the day (surely the first rule here should be: you can't nominate a book by an author from the country you represent). So, for example, the National Library of Liechtenstein nominated ... Kurt J. Jaeger's The Abyssinian Cache because ... well, of course they did -- who wouldn't have ? Because you've seen The Abyssinian Cache at your local library/bookstore/friend's house. Amazon ranking 5,956,751 ? Pah -- it's published (meaning in this case also: self-published) by illustrious ... Windsor Verlag, with which you're as familiar as you are with Kurt J. Jaeger (who admirably and industriously also self-translated his masterpiece). (In case you unfathomably haven't gotten a copy for yourself yet: see their publicity page, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.)
       Look: I don't know, Kurt J. Jaeger may be the next coming of Günter Grass, Thomas Bernhard, and W.G.Sebald rolled into one -- but this sure smells to me like a hometown boy being put up for a prize that is way, way out of his league.
       Somehow, among the 141 other international contenders not a single work written in Arabic or Japanese makes the cut ? Sure, impressively a title translated from the Malay is in the mix -- but, hey, guess what: it was nominated by the National Library of Malaysia. For god's sake, the 'Literature Translation Institute of Korea Library' nominated two titles whose translation into English their parent organization subsidized -- how is that okay ? how is that permissible ? (And why is one of those -- At Least We Can Apologize by Lee Ki-ho -- listed on the 2015 Printable Longlist but not on the list of The Nominees ? I know it's hard to keep track of so many titles, but ... sheesh.)

       Anyway, the result is a mix of some really good stuff and ... works by ... how shall I put it politely ? less widely recognized ? local authors such as Kurt J. Jaeger. One hopes the judges will be able to separate the wheat from The Abyssinian Cache the chaff.

       A fair number of the nominated titles are under review at the complete review (and I'm also surprised by how many more I've read but didn't get around to reviewing) -- alas, not (yet ?) The Abyssinian Cache:

       The shortlist will be announced in April -- but, boy, do they have their work cut out for them trying to (re)gain the slightest bit of credibility .....

       See also M.Lynx Qualey on The Curious Relationship Between the IMPAC Prize and Arabic Literature at Arabic Literature (in English).

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15. García Márquez archive to Harry Ransom Center

       They've announced that Nobel Prize-Winning Author Gabriel García Márquez's Archive Acquired by The University of Texas at Austin's Harry Ransom Center.
       How much they paid is, alas, not revealed, but no doubt serious money was involved -- Maggie Galehouse reports in the Houston Chronicle that the National Library in Colombia had been negotiating for the papers, but they obviously couldn't come up with the money the Texans have at their disposal.
       Among the items are not only his manuscripts but also: "the Smith Corona typewriters and computers" he used.

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16. The past, present, and future of overlapping intellectual property rights

How does the law operate when intellectual property rights overlap? When a creative output, be it a photograph, a piece of music, or any artistic work, is protected by multiple intellectual property rights such as trademark and copyright, or a patent and data protection, it can be challenging to manoeuvre through the overlapping rights. Intellectual property law seeks to defend the rights of the artistic creator, and protects the expression of ideas, but when these rights overlap in both law and practice, how do they interact?

This is a question that Neil Wilkof, member of the Bressler Group, special IP counsel to Herzog, and Fox & Neeman, Israel, was faced with when a student asked him how overlapping trademarks and copyright might operate. Here, Wilkof discusses how this question might be tackled:

In practice, intellectual property rights very rarely occur independently; there is usually an overlap. Here, Wilkof explains how the disjuncture between written law and practice can be addressed by looking at intellectual property from a practical, rather than theoretical, perspective:

With the issues of overlapping intellectual property rights in mind, Wilkof goes on to discuss how this area of law might change and develop in the future:

Featured image credit: Lady Justice, at the Old Bailey, by Natural Philo. CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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17. Michelle Maclaren to direct ‘Wonder Woman’


wonderoman Michelle Maclaren to direct Wonder Woman

Great Hera! Variety has reported that Michelle Maclaren will direct Warner Bros’ “Wonder Woman” standalone motion picture. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the film aside from the fact that Gal Gadot will star as Princess Diana of Themyscira, and Charles Roven is a producer.

Maclaren is known for her work on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”, the Emmy award winning series “Breaking Bad”, and HBO’s “Game of Thrones”. Looks like Maclaren has over 20 years experience in Hollywood, so this feels like a really, really choice.

Here’s a video of Maclaren at work on the “Breaking Bad” set (FYI, spoiler alert):

“Wonder Woman” is set to hit theaters some time in 2017.

(H/T: Variety)

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18. Holiday Giveaway: Win McFarlane Toys Eli Manning and Joe Namath figures Signed by Todd McFarlane

Hey people, football playoff fever is well underway with so many unanswered questions keeping people up at night. Is the era of the scrambling quarterback over? Did it ever begin? Will Geno Smith ever start another game? Will the Giant or The Jets being more shame to the Meadowlands? And can Mark Sanchez redeem himself while still wolfing down Phillie cheese steaks all the time?

To celebrate this and more, we have a very special beat giveaway, in conjunction with our partner, Lockerdome. Just hit the links to register to win one of TWO special action figure packs to remind you of TWO of New York’s  Super Bowl winning quarterbacks, Eli Manning and Joe Namath. The figures are made by McFarlane Toys and are highly detailed in the style of the company figures. And both are SIGNED BY Todd McFarlane.

Void where prohibited. Contest is not open to Beat employees.


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19. Hickman & Bodenheim Bring ‘The Dying And The Dead’ To Image Surprising No One

by Zachary Clemente

dyingdead Hickman & Bodenheim Bring The Dying And The Dead To Image Surprising No One

“The last story of the Greatest Generation”

Don’t let the semi-snarky headline fool you – I love me some Hickman Madness. Secret with artist Bodenheim was one of my favorite short series releases of the past two years and I adore both Manhattan Projects and East of West. Beyond his actual work, what really excites me is that Hickman seems to be utilizing Image’s platform in a way (or at least at a rate) that I wasn’t expecting. I shouldn’t be surprised though; he’s been doing it from day one. After releasing The Nightly News in 2006 with Image, we saw Hickman crank out Pax RomanaTranshumanRed Mass for Mars, and The Red Wing all within a few years. It’s explosive and exhilarating and hopefully a trend that other creators will be afforded.

New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer Jonathan Hickman (EAST OF WEST, THE AVENGERS) teams up with explosive artist Ryan Bodenheim (RED MASS FOR MARS, SECRET) for an all-new adventure series fraught with mystery, intrigue, and exotic end-of life care in THE DYING AND THE DEAD, coming from Image Comics on January 28.

The adventures begins in THE DYING AND THE DEAD #1 when a murder at a wedding sets off a series of reactions, unraveling secrets hundreds of years old. At great cost, a man with a dying wife is given the opportunity to save her. A lost tribe is reborn in another time. Seemingly unconnected events that force relics from the Greatest Generation to come together for one last hurrah.

“It’s not often that you work on something that feels almost perfect from day one, but working with Ryan again and how we’re both so in sync regarding the story, it really does feel like it could be something special,” said co-creator Hickman.

THE DYING AND THE DEAD (Diamond Code NOV140534) is a massive, over-sized, 60-page Indiana Jones-style high adventure that arrives in stores this 1/28 and will be available for $4.50.

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20. New CAF: CXC in Columbus from Smith and Spurgeon

000cxclogo New CAF: CXC in Columbus from Smith and Spurgeon

And here’s the official word on that new comic arts festival that people were alluding to at ICAF: Cartoon Crossroads Columbus or CXC, which will be a lot more than a CAF, really. The event will debut in 2015 as a two-day event (held October 2-3) and then grow into a four day festival in 2016. The show has a four person executive committee consisting of Cartoon Books’ Jeff Smith and Vijaya Iyer, Comics Reporter’s Tom Spurgeon and Billy Ireland Library founder Lucy Caswell. Smith is the Artistic Director, while Spurgeon will be the Festival Director. Can you say heavy hitters?

You can read more about the event in the PR below. Obviously using the Billy Ireland library for a CAF-type event is a no brainer and given the muscle behind the show, it sounds like it will quickly move into a pre-eminent spot on the calendar. But, there is still the crowded calendar to contend with. There’s an existing show in Columbus, SPACE, which, while small, has roots that go back to the birth of the CAF with the Spirits of Independence tour. SPACE has staked out the spring slot, leaving October for CXC. While that’s a very crowded time slot, CXC is well placed to take advantage of cartoonists who may want to continue their tour after SPX, and perhaps on to the revamped APE.

At any rate, given the massive comics related resources located in Columbus, this is an exciting development, and another step on the growing importance of the CAF circuit for comics.

A tumblr has been set up here.

The Columbus, Ohio based Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC) has announced its formation and intention to stage a four-day, yearly comics festival beginning in Fall 2016.

The group also announced the CXC Launch Event for October 2-3, 2015. The CXC Launch Event will be a two-day show split between the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum (October 2) and the Columbus Cultural Arts Center (October 3). 

The October 3 portion of the event will be a one-day comics expo featuring up to 35 exhibitors.

The four-person Executive Committee for Cartoon Crossroads Columbus is:

* Lucy Caswell, Founder, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum
* Vijaya Iyer, President and Co-Publisher, Cartoon Books
* Jeff Smith, Award-Winning Cartoonist and Co-Publisher, Cartoon Books
* Tom Spurgeon, Editor and Co-Publisher, The Comics Reporter

Smith will further assume the title of President and Artistic Director. Spurgeon will serve as Festival Director, and will relocate to Columbus in early 2015.

”We’re extremely excited to try and bring a first-class comics festival to Columbus, Ohio,” said Jeff Smith. “I’ve attended and enjoyed so many great shows over the years, and hope that CXC can take its place alongside them.”

”I share with the council members a belief in the comics art form and a love for the American Midwest as a great place for comics,” said Tom Spurgeon. “We also share a passion for the professional development and infrastructure issues facing so many cartoonists. We hope that CXC can become a positive force for a better community and more effective industry.”

The group’s organizational status, its advisory council members, its initial sponsorships, details on the 2015 Launch Event including exhibitor application information and initial plans for the 2016 Festival and beyond will be announced in early 2015.

A placeholder site can be found at cxcfestival.tumblr.com

A twitter account can be followed @cxcfestival.

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21. WinterCon is coming to Queens, NY

slide WinterCon is coming to Queens, NY

Wait there is ONE MORE CON for New Yorkers! It’s called WinterCon and it will be held December 6th in Queens at the Resorts World Casino NY, which I’m told has a huge exhibition space. The event is put on by the folks behind EternalCon. It looks to be a pretty simple comics, cosplay and SF show, with comics guests Neal Adams, Herb Trimpe, Billy Tucci and so on, and as well as Yaya Han.

Given the shopping focus for December, I’ve often thought this could be a successful time slot for a simple show, especially for those who subscribe to the “one for you, one for me,” gift buying strategy. The casino runs free shuttles to the venue from various boroughs and there is free parking, as the flyer says, so getting there shouldn’t be too hard.

I’ll be curious to see how this show does.

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22. Con season winding down with Comics Arts LA

sophiacala1 Con season winding down with Comics Arts LA

It’s been a long, long year of cons, with new ones springing up every where. The CAF season is winding up with Comic Arts LA on December 6th. A nice posted by Sophia Foster-Dimino has just been unveiled, and the exhibitor list is here. LA hasn’t been entirely successful for indie comics centered events, but with the very vibrant animation scene going on and so many cartoonists moving there to work in animation, I’m guessing the time is now for this.

Of course, con season isn’t REALLY over as you can see from this list. And there’s the Mumbai Film and Comics Convention December 19th, and the winter Comicket kicking off December 28th, and even more events listed here. AND see the next item.

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23. 13 is the unlucky number of episodes for CONSTANTINE

constantine 13 is the unlucky number of episodes for CONSTANTINE
Constantine’s production has been halted at 13 episodes, Deadline reports, but it may not be gone for good.

While NBC recently made a similar decision on freshmen comedy series Bad Judge and A to Z, I hear the circumstances are different. While Bad Judge and A to Z had been de facto cancelled, Constantine remains in contention for a second-season renewal.

NBC had to make a decision whether to keep Constantine in continuous production with little ratings information. While the series began production on a standard fall premiere production schedule, its launch was delayed until late October when NBC’s Friday genre block usually debuts, so the network had to make a call whether to order additional episodes after only four episodes had aired vs. at least seven, which is the norm for freshman series.

The Flash and Gotham, which debuted earlier, already have full season orders. Constantine ratings had been inching upwards, so it isn’t a hopeless case. That said, I am still dreaming of seeing the ghostly white flesh of The Spectre someday, so do the right thing, NBC!

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24. Shopping Guide: Dave Dorman’s Star Wars prints on sale

a slight disturbance Shopping Guide: Dave Dormans Star Wars prints on sale

Dave Dorman, voted “#1 Star Wars Artist of All Time” by fans, we’re told, is having an online STAR WARS Holiday Print Sale of the remaining Artist Proofs he has available in his limited private inventory. The sales runs until Dec. 31st and order will be shipped free worldwide.

Dorman recently announced on his blog that he would not be attending Star Wars Celebration 7, as he was not a chosen artist for Celebration, so this is the last opportunity for many to collect the pieces they wanted to add to their collection at Celebration.

The pieces Dorman offers during his Holiday Sale include:
• Breaking Ground: Imperial Base, Moon of Endor from Star Wars Celebration 6 for $75
• A Slight Disturbance in the Force on the Battlefield of Hoth from Star Wars Celebration 5 for $75
• Lord Vader’s Persuation of the Outer Rim Worlds to Join the Empire from Star Wars Celebration 4 for $125
• Incident on the Jundland Wastes, Tatooine from Star Wars Celebration Europe for $100
• Rise of the Sith from Star Wars Celebration 3 for $50
• Plus many more Artist Proofs from his personal archives remaining from the duration he held a license with Lucasfilm.

Doran has more to say about his art not being accepted at Celebrations 7 here:

Well, now that Lucasfilm has announced the artists selected for the SW Celebration 7 Art Show, I can publicly confirm that I was not selectedto participate this year. It is with great sadness and disappointment that I am now announcing this, but the judging has been made, and there is no reversing that.

The judging was done differently this year, asking for comps of the art proposed, then submitted anonymously to be judged.
There was no respect for the reputation or the years of good will put in by any artist–just the comp, rough, or finished art submitted for approval.

So…here was my piece–a color rough featuring Vader continuing to pursue the genocide of the Jedi after Order 66. I guess I missed the mark in idea… or perhaps not doing a more finished rough..it’s not EU… ties directly into the gap between EP3 and 4…

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25. Disney to release Studio Ghibli titles on Blu-Ray: Pom Poko, Porco Rosso and Tales from Earthsea

February 3rd will see the release of three Studio Ghibli films on BluRay for the first time. Porco Rosso, the tale of a World War I flying ace, is a beloved Hayao Miyazaki classic. The other two are by other Studio Ghibli directors—Isao Takahata’s environmental saga PomPoko, and Tales from Earthsea, Goro Myazakis take on the Ursula K. Leguin fantasy The Farthest Shore. Good viewing!

30EB22A5 29BE 41AE B6AA 75D7B94115C5 Disney to release Studio Ghibli titles on Blu Ray: Pom Poko, Porco Rosso and Tales from Earthsea

Synopsis:                                 POM POKO
Studio Ghibli presents a film about the clash between modern civilization and the natural world from acclaimed director Isao Takahata. The raccoons of the Tama Hills are being forced from their homes by the rapid development of houses and shopping malls. As it becomes harder to find food and shelter, they decide to band together and fight back. The raccoons practice and perfect the ancient art of transformation until they are even able to appear as humans. In often hilarious ways, the raccoons use their powers to try to scare off the advance of civilization. But will it be enough? Or will the raccoons learn how to live in balance with the modern world? Celebrate the magic of the forest and the beauty of the creatures who live among us in “Pom Poko”—now on Disney Blu-ray for the first time ever.

B908425B FD89 4A39 A1BB C11338671837 Disney to release Studio Ghibli titles on Blu Ray: Pom Poko, Porco Rosso and Tales from Earthsea

Take flight with “Porco Rosso,” a valiant World War I flying ace! From tropical Adriatic settings to dazzling aerial maneuvers, this action-adventure from world-renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki is full of humor, courage and chivalry. When “Porco”—whose face has been trans- formed into that of a pig by a mysterious spell—infuriates a band of sky pirates with his aerial heroics, the pirates hire Curtis, a rival pilot, to get rid of him. On the ground, the two pilots compete for the affections of the beautiful Gina. But it’s in the air where the true battles are waged. Will our hero be victorious? For the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray, “Porco Rosso” is a thrilling ride you’ll never forget!

E1180595 FCDB 4FFB 9044 405F6CD2B1A2 Disney to release Studio Ghibli titles on Blu Ray: Pom Poko, Porco Rosso and Tales from Earthsea


An epic animated adventure directed by Goro Miyazaki, “Tales From Earthsea” features the voices of Timothy Dalton, Willem Dafoe, Cheech Marin and Mariska Hargitay. Based on the classic “Earthsea” fantasy book series by Ursula K. Le Guin, “Tales From Earthsea” is set in a mythical world filled with magic and bewitchment. In the land of Earthsea, crops are dwindling, dragons have reappeared and humanity is giving way to chaos. Journey with Lord Archmage Sparrowhawk, a master wizard, and Arren, a troubled young prince, on a tale of redemption and self-discovery as they search for the force behind the mysterious imbalance that threatens to destroy their world. Featuring a timeless story and magnificent hand-drawn animation, “Tales From Earthsea” is now available for the first time ever on Disney Blu-ray.

US Cast:                                  POM POKO  – Clancy Brown (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “Starship Troopers”) as Gonta, J.K. Simmons(“Spider-Man,” “The Closer”) as Seizaemon, Jonathan Taylor Thomas (“The Lion King,” “Home Improvement”) as Shokichi, John DiMaggio (“Futurama,” “Adventure Time”) as Ryûtarô and Olivia d’Abo (“The Wonder Years,” “Conan the Destroyer”) as Koharu.
PORCO ROSSO – Michael Keaton (“Batman,” “Toy Story 3”) as Porco Rosso, Cary Elwes (“The Princess Bride,” “Saw”) as Curtis,Kimberly Williams-Paisley (“According to Jim,” “Father of the Bride”) as Fio, Susan Egan (“Hercules,” “13 Going on 30”) as Gina, David Ogden Stiers (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Pocahontas,” and TV’s “M*A*S*H”) as Grandpa Piccolo and Brad Garrett (TV’s “Everybody Loves Raymond,” “Ratatouille,” “Finding Nemo”) as Mamma Aiuto Boss.
TALES FROM EARTHSEA  – Mariska Hargitay (“Law and Order: Special Victims,” “Leaving Las Vegas”) as Tenar, Willem Dafoe (“Spider-Man,” “Finding Nemo”) as Cob, Timothy Dalton (“The Living Daylights,” “License to Kill”) as Ged, Cheech Marin (“The Lion King,” “Nash Bridger”) as Hare.
Directors:                               POM POKO – Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies”, “Heidi: A Girl of the Alps”)
PORCO ROSSO – Hayao Miyazaki (“Spirited Away,” “Princess Mononoke”)
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Goro Miyazaki (“From Up on Poppy Hill”)
Original Story and              POM POKO – Isao Takahata (“Grave of the Fireflies,” “Heidi: A Girl of the Alps”)
Screenplay:                           PORCO ROSSO – Hayao Miyazaki (Concept)
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Based on the “Earthsea” series by Ursula K. Le Guin (Novel), Inspired by “Shuna’s Journey” by Hayao Miyazaki (Concept), Screenplay by Goro Miyazaki and Keiko Niwa (“The Secret World of Arrietty,” “From Up on Poppy Hill”).
Producers:                             POM POKO – Ned Lott (“My Neighbor Totoro,” Howl’s Moving Castle”), Toshio Suzuki (“Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”)
                                                      PORCO ROSSO – Rick Dempsey (“Howl’s Moving Castle”, The Real Ghost Busters”) and Toshio Suzuki (“Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”)
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Steve Alpert (“Spirited Away,” Princess Mononoke”), Javier Ponton (“Malachance,” “Souvenir Views”) and Toshio Suzuki (“Spirited Away”, “Princess Mononoke”)
Release Date:                       February 3, 2015
Bonus Features:                  POM POKO – Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailers
PORCO ROSSO – Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailer, Interview with Toshio Suzuki, Behind the Microphone
TALES FROM EARTHSEA – Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailers & TV Spots, the Birth of the Film Soundtrack, Origins of Earthsea

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