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26. Women and restaurants in the 19th-century United States

Delmonico’s in New York opened in the 1830s and is often thought of as the first restaurant in the United States. A restaurant differs from other forms of dining out such as inns or taverns and while there have always been take-out establishments and food vendors in cities, a restaurant is a place to sit down to a meal.

The post Women and restaurants in the 19th-century United States appeared first on OUPblog.

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27. Emerald City news round-up: 10 new titles from Dark Horse, Mouse Guard and more

VALIANT-ORIGINS_web-series_logo.jpg

• Valiant announced VALIANT ORIGINS a web series spotlighting the origins of Valiant’s biggest heroes. 10 episodes will be released bi-weekly Valiant’s official YouTube channel.  Heroes in the spotlight include Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, Ninjak, Livewire, Quantum and Woody, Divinity and more.

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• In July Valiant is releasing the BOOK OF DEATH. Teaser art by Robert Gill.

• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Kevin Eastman is now exclusive with IDW with many new projects to be announced. “Kevin is one of my oldest friends in comics and it makes me extremely happy that he’s going to be part of the IDW team, said IDW CEO and Publisher, Ted Adams. “Kevin’s contribution to pop culture can’t be overstated and everyone at IDW is looking forward to helping him bring his new ideas into the world.”

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• Archaia is release an Art of Mouse Guard book in July:

THE ART OF MOUSE GUARD 2005-2015

Author: David Petersen

Artists: David Petersen, Mike Mignola, Stan Sakai, Bill Willingham, Various

Cover: David Petersen

Format: 12″ x 12″, 368 pages, color and B&W, hardcover

On sale: July 2015

Celebrate the first 10 years of a comics classic from the very first sketch. For the first time since the series debut, David Petersen’s process for creating the world of Mouse Guard and bringing it to life in stunning illustration is documented in exquisite detail. With never-before-seen sketches; 100 pages of full-color, oversized artwork; and commentary from colleagues, collaborators, and Petersen himself, readers and fans get an unprecedented look behind the pages at how their favorite characters and adventures were born.

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• Boom is releasing Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake: Card Wars, a miniseries by Jen Wang (In Real Life) and Britt Wilson, also in July.

Cake is a Card Wars champ who can’t be beat, and Fionna…is really tired of getting beaten! They set off in search of a challenger who can really test Cake’s mettle. When they stumble across some gamer slugs, they think they’ve hit the jackpot, but these guys have never heard of Cake and refuse to even play with her!

 

• And Dark Horse is releasing TEN new series!

BARB WIRE

Barb Wire #1

Chris Warner (W)

Patrick Olliffe (A)

On Sale in July

Nail-hard tough and drop-dead gorgeous, Barb Wire is the baddest bounty hunter on the mean streets of Steel Harbor, where gangsters can lift bulldozers and leap rusting factories in a single bound. The hunting is stupid good and the bounties are hella big—if Barb lives long enough to collect!

KING TIGER

King Tiger #1

Randy Stradley (W)

Doug Wheatley (A)

On Sale in August

Blood, death, and fire—the darkest kind of magic. A monstrous secret from King Tiger’s past has found the mystic warrior, but can Tiger’s skills and sorcery triumph against an unthinkable supernatural obscenity linked to his own destiny? If the Tiger falls, the Dragon will rise!

NEGATIVE SPACE

Negative Space #1

Ryan K Lindsay (W)

Owen Gieni (A)

On Sale in July

When one man’s writer’s block gets in the way of his suicide note, he goes for a walk to clear his head and soon uncovers a century-old conspiracy dedicated to creating and mining the worst lows of human desperation. A corporation has manipulated his life purely so they can farm his suicide note as a sadness artifact that will be packed and shipped to ancient underwater creatures who feed off our strongest and most base emotions. Our hero partners with a cult intent on exposing the corporation, and only a suicide mission can solve the whole mess.

TOMORROWS

The Tomorrows #1

Curt Pires (W)

Jason Copland (A)

On Sale in July

A bold new speculative-fiction comic from the mind of writer Curt Pires, each issue illustrated by a different brilliant artist!

The future: art is illegal. Everything everyone ever posted online has been weaponized against them. The reign of the Corporation is quickly becoming as absolute as it is brutal—unless the Tomorrows can stop it.

They told you the counterculture was dead. They were wrong. Welcome to the new reality.

DEATH HEAD

Death Head #1

Zack Keller, Nick Keller (W)

Joanna Estep (A)

On Sale in July

When Niles and Justine Burton go camping to get a break from their stressful lives, they expect to find peace . . . not an abandoned village hiding an ancient evil. In a turn of events ripped straight from a horror movie, a brutal killer wearing a plague doctor’s mask begins hunting Niles, Justine, and their two kids. Who is the Plague Doctor? What does he want? And how will the family survive?

ZODIAC STARFORCE

Zodiac Starforce #1

Kevin Panetta (W)

Paulina Ganucheau (A)

On Sale in August

They’re an elite group of teenage girls with magical powers who have sworn to protect our planet against dark creatures . . . as long as they can get out of class! Known as the Zodiac Starforce, these high-school girls aren’t just combating math tests. They’re also battling monsters—not your typical afterschool activity! But when an evil force from another dimension infects team leader Emma, she must work with her team of magically powered friends to save herself—and the world—from the evil Diana and her mean-girl minions!

From Kevin Panetta (Bravest Warriors) and Paulina Ganucheau (TMNT: New Animated Adventures, Bravest Warriors), this super-fun and heartfelt story of growing up and friendship—with plenty of magical-girl fighting action—delivers the most exciting new ensemble cast in comics!

ADAM3

Adam.3 #1

Scott Kolins (W/A)

On Sale in August

Award-winning writer and artist Scott Kolins (Past Aways, The Flash, The Avengers, Solomon Grundy) premieres Adam.3.

On a futuristic island paradise populated by talking animals and monitored by orbiting control satellites, the peaceful lives of Adam and his wife Skye are troubled by growing tension between Adam and his previous son, Beo. The situation goes from bad to worse when an alien invader infects the animals—turning them into aliens themselves. When Beo is captured, Adam must battle his transformed animal friends to save his son—and their island home!

POWER CUBED

Power Cubed #1

Aaron Lopresti (W/A)

On Sale in September

On his eighteenth birthday, Kenny’s inventor father gives him a phenomenal piece of matter-reinterpreting technology, attracting the attention of a bumbling Nazi scientist and an elite government agent. Aaron Lopresti delivers a comical coming-of-age tale in a fantastic sci-fi universe!

STEAM MAN

The Steam Man #1

Mark Miller (W)

Joe R. Lansdale (W)

Piotr Kowalski (A)

On Sale in October

The Old West (but not as we know it): Giant robots that run on steam power are created to take down invading Martians and armies of killer albino apes in an all-out brawl. The Steam Man, a giant metal man operated by a team of monster hunters, seems to have the town protected and the West under control, until a crazed and powerful vampire comes to town to bring forth the apocalypse.

CHIMICHANGA

Chimichanga: Sorrow of the World’s Worst Face #1

Eric Powell (W)

Stephanie Buscema (A)

On Sale in late 2015

Wrinkle’s Traveling Circus’s most adorable bearded girl and her savory-named beast are back, and there is a new act in store! Come one, come all to the Sorrow of the World’s Worst Face! But beware: those who look behind the curtain are in for an awful treat, and it’s not just his face we’re talkin’ about!

1 Comments on Emerald City news round-up: 10 new titles from Dark Horse, Mouse Guard and more, last added: 3/30/2015
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28. Cinderella science

Imagine a plant that grew into a plum pudding, a cricket bat, or even a pair of trousers. Rather than being a magical transformation straight out of Cinderella, these ‘wonderful plants’ were instead to be found in Victorian Britain. Just one of the Fairy-Tales of Science introduced by chemist and journalist John Cargill Brough in his ‘book for youth’ of 1859, these real-world connections and metamorphoses that traced the origins of everyday objects were arguably even more impressive than the fabled conversion of pumpkin to carriage (and back again).

The post Cinderella science appeared first on OUPblog.

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29. Vergil in Russia: milestones of identity

In 1979, one of the most prominent Russian classical scholars of the later part of the twentienth century, Mikhail Gasparov, stated: "Vergil did not have much luck in Russia: they neither knew nor loved him." Gasparov mostly blamed this lack of interest on the absence of canonical Russian translations of Vergil, especially when it came to the Aeneid.

The post Vergil in Russia: milestones of identity appeared first on OUPblog.

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30. Translating from ... Kannada

       Via I'm pointed to the interesting Six lessons on translating the untranslatable at Scroll.in by Susheela Punitha, the translator of U.R.Ananthamurthy's Bharathipura -- her first translation.

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31. Meet the International Law marketing team

We are pleased to introduce the marketing team for International Law at Oxford University Press. Cailin, Jo, Erin, Jeni, Kathleen, and Ciara work with journals, online reference, and books which are key resources for students, scholars, and practitioners worldwide. The OUP portfolio in international law covers international criminal law, international human rights law, international economic […]

The post Meet the International Law marketing team appeared first on OUPblog.

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32. Interview: we talk Doctors, Secret Wars and Hitchhiker’s Guide with Ninth Doctor issue 1 writer Cavan Scott

Ninth Doctor issue 1 coverIn 2005, few believed that a modern re-launch of the BBC adventure series Doctor Who would be successful. The show broadcast it’s last episode just before Christmas, 1989 after running for 27 years. In reviving the show for a new audience, the casting of Christopher Eccleston was a masterstroke, as the actor was known for his more serious roles in both television and film. Eccleston burst onto the scene as the Ninth Doctor, grabbing former pop-star Billie Piper’s hand and telling her to “run!” Eccleston parted ways with the show after only one season, something never done before or since in Doctor Who history. This left fans of Eccleston’s Ninth Doctor hungry for more. When Titan Comics announced they’d be releasing new Doctor Who comics,  fans reportedly stuffed their email inbox with pleas for the release of a Ninth Doctor comic series.

We spoke with Cavan Scott, writer of the new Ninth Doctor Comic series about what it was like to bring Nine back to life in a new story featuring fan favorite companions Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness.

Edie Nugent:  So, first question: why did you choose this particular moment in the Ninth Doctor’s timeline for your story?

Cavan Scott: For two reasons. First of all, it seemed the only natural gap in the series. Most of the episodes lead straight into each other, like one continuous story. Here, between The Doctor Dances and Boom Town, we have a definite gap where lots of stories are said to have happened that we never saw. Handy!

Secondly, we wanted Jack in there, mainly because we never saw enough of the three of them in the TV show.

Nugent:  I had that thought instantly upon seeing where this story occurred: the fans will be so excited, because this group and moment were so popular.

Scott: Well, I hope so. They’re such a well-oiled machines when we see them in Boom Town too. They’ve obviously been adventuring together for some time.

Nugent: You have a lot of dialogue describing the “science” of the situation up front. Do you have a real interest in the science part of science fiction?

Scott: That question makes me smile because I have an ongoing ‘debate’ with Doctor Who book author Nick Walters where I insist that Doctor Who is fantasy and he throws things at me shouting that its science FICTION!

You know, in this case I didn’t even think about whether there was a lot of pseudo-science in the book. I was just trying to capture the tone of the original series, where they throw a lot of pseudo-science around. I think with Doctor Who, you need to make it sound plausible even if some of the science is dodgy!

Nugent: Nine is showing his most chipper self in this book, is that due to being flanked by the ‘dream team’ of Rose and Jack? Or has he just progressed in his emotional healing from the Time War by this point?

Scott: I honestly think that Doctor number Nine is chipper for the most of the time we see him – or at least he’s trying to give the impression that he is. A lot of people pigeon-hole him as an ‘angry’ Doctor, but he spends a hell of a lot of time smiling and even cracking really, really bad jokes.

Trust me, we’ll see his angry side as the book continues, but I wanted to show the fact that he is enjoying himself again.

9D_01_Strip1

Nugent: Sure, but there’s a real difference in tone here from, say, Dalek for instance, which is only 4 episodes earlier.

Scott: Well, the situation in Dalek is pretty grim. Certainly, we see a ‘lighter’ Ninth Doctor in The Empty Child to The Long Game. I think the resolution of The Doctor Dances would have helped as well. There we see the Doctor at his most optimistic. I definitely think he’s enjoying life with Rose and Jack.

Nugent:  This story had a real “hitchhiker’s guide” feel to it, was that intentional?

Scott: Not at all! In fact, I didn’t realise it was there! Never a bad thing though, especially as Douglas Adams’ City of Death was apparently one of the templates for 21st Century Who.

I’m intrigued now. Which elements did you think were Hitchhikers-esque? (Is that a word? It is now)

Nugent: The story set up: they’re beamed into the hold of a sluggish and war-like race, scanned repeatedly to determine who they are, then saved from death only to be sentenced to it a moment later. Reminded me of Ford & Arthur’s first stop after hitch hiking off the earth into the Vogon ship. No poetry from your war-bots though.

Scott: I think the Lect would be particularly bad poets. All those ‘Directives’ and ‘Possibilities’ in their speech patterns will never touch the soul!

9D_01_Strip3

Nugent: Your credits are so diverse–was it exciting to be able to tell a self-contained, more adult television episode-style story? Was your approach to the material different as a result?

Scott: It was. In a lot of ways writing the comic was similar to writing Doctor Who audio plays, definitely when I was structuring the plot for all five issues, I went about it the same way as my audio work, working out the big set pieces, working out where the cliffhangers sit.

But – and this is a huge but – the fact that it’s a comic has left me giddy with excitement. Writing a long-form American style series has been a dream for me ever since I first picked up a Marvel UK reprint back when I was a kid.

Nugent:  And what comic was that, do you remember?

Scott: I do. It was Marvel Superheroes Secret Wars issue one. I knew superheroes from TV and films and, even though I was a massive comic fan, it was largely British humour weekly titles. That first issue of Secret Wars literally changed my life, or at least my interests. It opened my eyes to the Marvel universe, which led me venturing into a comic shop and seeking out US comics, both for Marvel and their Distinguished Competition.

Oh, and it had Alpha Flight as the back up strip which introduced me to John Byrne, who I became obsessed about!

Nugent:  That’s a lot of continuity to absorb for a first ever comic experience! Sort of like Doctor Who…

Scott: I think that’s what appealed to me. i like continuity and diving into new universes. It’s why I’ve been enjoying picking up the Valiant books recently.

Marvel’s Transformers comic was another major hook for me. Basically, the UK weekly soon ran out of original US material and so started slipping in extra stories between the US issues – which of course were part of the Marvel Universe too. And the Doctor Who universe for that matter, as Death’s Head first appeared in Transformers and then slipped into Doctor Who and then into the main Marvel U.

You’ll be sorry you asked me about that now! I could talk about this stuff for ages!

Nugent: Well, it is somewhat timely. Are you following the announcements from Marvel about the new Secret Wars? As a comic writer AND fan, you probably have different perspectives on it.

Scott: With a huge amount of nostalgia! I’m certainly intrigued to see what’s coming. The continuity geek in me is having a whale of a time spotting references in what’s been released so far. The writer in me is having heart palpitations about what they’re trying to pull off. I’m looking forward to it. I’m a sucker for these big game-changing events. Again, it’s John Byrne’s fault for Man of Steel!

Nugent: I noticed lots of moments in your story where Rose reaches for the Doctor’s hand & is pulled away. Is this an intentional after-the-fact foreshadowing of the separation from the Tenth Doctor in Doomsday?

Scott: Heh! It might just be. It might not be the last time you see that motif in the series either.

Nugent: So far you’ve written for Doctors: Three, Five, Six, Seven, Eight, Nine, Ten and Eleven. What Doctor would be your top choice to write for next?

Scott: Well, I wouldn’t say no for a chance to write for the current model – but really I’ve got a hankering to complete the set. In fact, I’ve written for another incarnation that I can’t mention yet. Spoilers!

Nugent:  Speaking of spoilers, are there any tidbits you can give our readers regarding events still to come in your Ninth Doctor story?

Scott: Well, there are going to be suns and romans and floating octopi and dinosaurs and masks coming off. And lots and lots of more great art from Blair!

Ninth Doctor issue 1 is available in comic stores on April 1st.

 

1 Comments on Interview: we talk Doctors, Secret Wars and Hitchhiker’s Guide with Ninth Doctor issue 1 writer Cavan Scott, last added: 3/31/2015
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33. ECCC’15: Valiant opens the Book of Death

Valiant has just revealed a brand new event at Emerald City Comic Con following up Armor Hunters entitled Book of Death. The following image drawn by Robert Gill was sent as a press release. With a 25th Anniversary, the publisher is looking to celebrate their line including the old and new versions of the company. The image teases a July 2015 release and popular characters like Quantum and Woody, Archer & Armstrong, X-O Manowar, Vincent Van Goat, Ninjak, Rai, Punk Mambo, Bloodshot, Dr. Mirage, Divinity, The Eternal Warrior, Shadowman, Faith, Peter Stanchek, and more hidden in the background. The heroes lurk below what seems to be a representation of Death in the Valiant Universe.

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Could we see some characters from the old Valiant line come back in this story? Is this the Blackest Night of Valiant?

1 Comments on ECCC’15: Valiant opens the Book of Death, last added: 3/30/2015
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34. Baseball, Comic-Cons, and Paying Volunteers

Minimum WageYesterday The Mary Sue published an article noting that for-profit comic-cons might be violating federal labor law by not paying minimum wage to workers improperly classified as volunteers. However, a recent case involving Major League Baseball shows how commercial comic-cons could beat the tag.

The use of free labor by for-profit companies has become a hot issue in recent years. Internships have become a particularly touchy topic – class action lawsuits by former interns have prompted some companies to end their unpaid internship programs, although there are at least a couple high-profile cases on appeal in which companies are challenging the Department of Labor’s standards for determining whether an intern is actually an employee.

Given how costly it can be for a company to fall afoul of federal law on this issue, it is indeed prudent for the companies that run comic conventions to assess whether it is legal for them to use unpaid volunteers. This is especially conventions run by for-profit companies, since charitable nonprofits enjoy a special exemption from minimum wage and overtime requirements in regard to volunteers. The Mary Sue has once again performed a service to the community in calling attention to this important issue.

With that in mind, in making this analysis it’s important to be aware of both the law’s requirements, the specific practices of each company, and the exemptions that are available outside the one given to charities.

First, since conventions produced by ReedPop — NYCC, ECCC, C2E2 — were mentioned in the post, it’s worth noting, as several “volunteers” have stated in the original comments thread and a related Reddit thread, that ReedPop pays volunteers minimum wage as official crew. Calling people volunteers in this context is a great way to foster a sense of community and community — one of things for which Lance Fensterman and company are to be commended is the way that they have fostered this communal sensibility while maximizing return on investment.

But not every for-profit comic-con that brings on volunteers gives these workers compensation – in fact, depending on the convention, you might actually be required to pay a fee for the privilege of helping the company out! Although this may seem on its face like a violation of federal law, there’s a legal loophole that has enabled countless commercial businesses to use volunteers in the standard sense of term.

Over the years the federal Fair Labor Standards Act has accumulated dozens of exemptions for a wide range of ventures, from homemakers making wreaths to C-level executives. For a company that operates a program taking place within a limited period of time during the year, there is one exemption in particular that catches the corporate attorney’s eye: minimum wage and overtime requirements do not apply to “any employee employed by an establishment which is an amusement or recreational establishment…” that operates no more than seven months a year or meets a financial test as to revenue generated at different times of the year. (29 USC 213(a)(3))

There are several cases that show how a commercial comic-con can take advantage of this provision, but the ruling perhaps most on-point was issued just a year ago in the Southern District of New York – coincidentally, the same federal district in which the New York Comic-Con takes place. Chen v. Major League Baseball Properties was brought by a former volunteer for the 2013 All-Star Week FanFest at the Javits Center (!), and the volunteer made arguments similar to those made in the intern lawsuits: volunteers at the event met the criteria for employee status, and thus Major League Baseball should have paid them at least minimum wage.

Major League Baseball — and the court — disagreed. As the court observed, although Major League Baseball operates all year long, Department of Labor regulations distinguish an entire enterprise from an “establishment,” which specifically refers to “a distinct place of business.” The exemption was put in place to accommodate seasonal ventures employing people for discrete periods of time in activities that might offer “non-monetary rewards.” The court concluded Major League Baseball’s FanFest was analogous to the amusement and recreational activities in view when legislators originally enacted the exemption, and the plaintiff’s federal as well as state law claims were summarily dismissed.

The plaintiff has appealed the district court’s ruling – in fact, it was argued in the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals today, March 30 – but as noted above, there are a number of cases in other circuits that have reached similar conclusions. What’s more, even if the appeal succeeds, the main case being cited in opposition focuses on aspects of one baseball team’s operations that are distinguishable from a comic-con. For instance, while the team in question utilized its stadium for events throughout much of the year, comic-cons typically take place in rented facilities for discrete periods of time.

The analysis gets somewhat trickier for an entity operating multiple conventions. For instance, let’s assume that Wizard World doesn’t pay its volunteers — there’s nothing about compensation in the volunteer information packet, at least; Wizard World volunteers don’t even get munchies or parking reimbursements. The fact that Wizard World operates year-round could be grounds for arguing that the seasonal establishment exemption doesn’t apply, but there are also clever counter-arguments and organizational strategies that could persuade a court to disagree. Others have tried and succeeded with even more daunting facts – which, on a related front, is why the NCAA doesn’t have to pay taxes on ads sold for March Madness.

The seasonal exemption has long been a lifeline for companies offering an opportunity to volunteer for ventures that operate on a limited-term basis, such as amusement parks, outdoor swimming pools, Oprah’s Life You Want Tour, and New York Fashion Week. If you are an unpaid commercial comic-con volunteer who believes a lawsuit for back wages would be a clear home run, expect Major League Baseball Properties and cases like it to be deployed to strike you out.

1 Comments on Baseball, Comic-Cons, and Paying Volunteers, last added: 3/31/2015
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35. Women in Philosophy: A reading list

To celebrate Women in Philosophy as part of Women’s History Month, we have created a reading list of books, journals, and online resources that explore significant female philosophers and feminist philosophy in general. Recommendations range from general interest books to biographies to advanced reader books and more.

The post Women in Philosophy: A reading list appeared first on OUPblog.

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36. The Arrow/Flash Spin-off finds a Hawkgirl

ciara-renee

The still yet to be titled spin-off of The Flash and Arrow that will presumably air sometime next year on The CW continues to add to its cast, this time establishing a new character as Broadway star Ciara Renée will take on the role of Kendra Saunders/Hawkgirl.

Here’s how Deadline, who broke the news, describes this version of the character:

In the new series, Saunders is a young woman who is just beginning to learn that she has been repeatedly reincarnated over the centuries. When provoked, her ancient warrior persona manifests itself, along with wings that grow out of her back, earning her the moniker Hawkgirl.

The superhero team-up show, produced by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Marc Guggenheim has already brought on Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Victor Garber, Wentworth Miller, and Dominic Purcell to play their various members of the DC Universe for the series, and it’s expected that more are to join soon, including three characters that have yet to appear on television (which Deadline surmises that Hawkgirl is not one of those reported three).

Hawkgirl hasn’t gotten a lot of attention in the live action side of things, having only briefly appeared on Smallville, but the character was a standout in the DC Animated Universe having been wonderfully played by Maria Canals-Barrera in Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.

Bringing on another female superhero, including one that is a person of color, is a terrific move and my excitement for this new series continues to grow.

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37. The causes and consequences of the 2011 London riots

During the London riots in August 2011, the police lost control of parts of the city for four days, and thousands of people took part in destruction and looting that resulted in property damage estimated at least $50 million. A recent article in Social Forces examines the residential address of 1,620 rioters -- who were arrested and charged in the London riots, to investigate potential explanations for rioting.

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38. The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction: Why American? Who American? What American?


Cambridge University Press recently released The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction edited by Eric Carl Link and Gerry Canavan, a sequel, of sorts, to 2003's The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction edited by Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn. I bought the James and Mendlesohn volume at the first science fiction convention I ever attended, the Worldcon in Boston in 2004, and I think it's an admirable volume that mostly does its best to try for the impossible, which is to present a coherent overview of the history and scholarship of science fiction as a genre-thing (mostly in the Anglo-American mode). I have mixed feelings about the Cambridge Companion to... series, because the volumes often feel like grab-bags and pushmi-pullyus, a bit too specific for people looking for an introduction to the scholarship on a topic, a bit too general for people with knowledge of a topic. They often contain a few excellent individual chapters amidst many chapters that feel, to me at least, like they needed about 15 more pages. That's still, inevitably, the case with James and Mendlesohn's volume, but many of the chapters are impressively efficient, and as a guide for beginning scholars, the book as a whole is useful.

The new Link and Canavan book doesn't work quite as well for me, and it has a higher number of chapters that seem, frankly, shallow and, in a couple of cases, distortingly incomplete and sometimes flat-out inaccurate. With a topic limited to a particular geography, you'd think the editors and writers would be able to zero in a bit more. Some chapters do so quite well, but my experience of reading through the book was that it felt more diffuse and less precise than its predecessor, with annoying little mistakes like Darren Harris-Fain's statement that James Patrick Kelly's story "Think Like a Dinosaur" requires close reading to find its SF tropes (it's set on a space station and includes aliens; finding the SF tropes doesn't require close reading, just the most basic literacy). Despite the annoyance of little errors and the frustration of wild generalizations in many of the post-WWII chapters, I began to wonder if the big problem might be a matter of the volume's determination to focus on "American" science fiction, a determination that works very well for the chapters looking at pre-World War II fiction, but then becomes ... problematic.

The problem, though, might be me. I'm not at all the intended audience for the book, I have ideological/methodological hesitations about some of the framing, and I have a love/hate relationship with academic science fiction scholarship in general — feelings that are probably mostly prejudices unburdened by facts. (Sometimes, I have trouble shaking the feeling that SF criticism is still wearing training wheels.) At the same time, though, I'm also drawn to the idea of scholarship about science fiction and its related genres/modes/things/whatzits, because I am (for now) ensconced in academia and also have been reading SF of one sort of another all my life, off and on. I'm not particularly familiar with Eric Carl Link as a scholar (though I'm using his Norton Critical Edition of The Red Badge of Courage in a course I'm teaching right now), but I've been following Gerry Canavan's work for a few years and I think he's a force for good, someone who is trying to keep SF criticism moving into the 21st century. Indeed, I just got back from the International Conference on the Fantastic in the Arts, where I heard Canavan deliver a truly interesting paper on posthumanism, Kim Stanley Robinson, eco-SF, etc.

In my more radical moments, I wonder if, to move into this century, we shouldn't just get rid of the whole idea of "American" science fiction, or at least the study of it as such. (Heck, in my most radical moments, I wonder if we shouldn't get rid of the whole idea of "science fiction", but that's a topic for another time...)



Let's look at the book, or at least its premise and introduction. (I'm not going to do a blow-by-blow review of each chapter. If you must know, the chapters that seem to me most worth the time it takes to read them are Lisa Yaszek's "Afrofuturism in American Science Fiction", John Rieder's "American Frontiers", Karen Hellekson's "Fandom and Fan Culture", and Priscilla Wald's "Science, Technology, and the Environment".) The introduction by the editors serves various purposes, and succeeds impressively in giving a concise overview of 19th century American science fiction. If you want to know where to begin with American proto-SF, you could do a lot worse than to read that section of this intro.

The most provocative part of the introduction is the part that seeks to justify the book's focus on science fiction from the United States (there's no Canada or Mexico, so this isn't North American SF, though Margaret Atwood gets some passing mentions; there's nothing about South American SF; this is United Statesian):
The simple premise of the present volume ... is that the science fictional imagination is so fundamental to the arc of history across the so-called American Century that we might productively talk about a specifically American SF. Many of the ideas, themes, and conventions of contemporary science fiction take their roots in a distinctly American cultural experience, and so SF in America serves as a provocative index to twentieth- and twenty-first-century American culture, reflecting America's hopes, desires, and fears. (4)
I am an avowed skeptic of canonical nationalism, and so my instincts are to tear into these statements, but at the same time there's a real truth to them: science fiction as a genre is deeply tied to origins in American pulp magazines and then in the paperback revolution of the 1950s, '60s, and 70s, as well as, to some extent or another, the dominance of blockbuster Hollywood over so much cultural production (although in some ways that also helps de-genrefy SF by absorbing the idea of the science fictional into whatever Hollywood product happens to be highly popular, whether Star Wars or The X-Files or superhero movies). Additionally, as this Cambridge Companion makes clear, USian mythmaking is a key component to a lot of the foundational works of what we think of as genre SF — myths of individualist heroism, myths of the frontier (John Rieder's chapter tackles this head-on, which is one reason why it's among the strongest chapters in the book). For a long time, what we USians might call SF in other countries was different from American SF, even as American SF was derived from primarily European writers of the 19th century, especially Wells and Verne. One of the major differences was that it was in the US that an immigrant from Luxembourg, Hugo Gernsback, successfully severed science fiction from other streams of fiction, distinguishing it not only from "literature", but also from all other types of popular and pulp fiction. The innovation was not simply a matter of definition or labelling, as that had been done plenty of times elsewhere, with terms like "scientific romance". Science fiction as a genre didn't need a definition, it needed a system. It was Gernsback who, in the late 1920s, not only gave SF its own magazine but also created ways for readers of that magazine to identify themselves as a discourse community — to be, in a word, fans. It was in the US, then, that the production, distribution, and reception of SF as a genre system successfully began, and that system soon allowed for the dissemination of the values constituting it, values that were often stereotypically "American".

After World War Two, things get awfully complex, however, as genre SF becomes quite productively transatlantic, and as the space race and the Cold War affect global perceptions of technology and the future. The New Wave, for instance, makes little sense from a purely US-centric standpoint, and yet the decade of the 1960s in literary SF — and all its repercussions — makes no sense without the New Wave. (Further, as Samuel Delany has pointed out multiple times, it should really be New Waves — Moorcock's New Wave was not Ellison's New Wave was not Merril's New Wave was not Cele Goldsmith's New Wave, etc. The way they diverge and overlap deserves attention.)

And yet, it's also true that American SF publishers and media producers have had more power and success overall than others, at least with English-language SF, and so their ideas of SF spread easily beyond US borders.

The hegemonic monster (hegemonster?) of US power in the second half of the 20th century deserves scrutiny, and science fiction could be a tool for such scrutiny, as I expect the editors of this book hoped to be able to at least begin to do, and as some of the chapters, do, indeed, pay attention to. We need, though, a Cultures of United States Imperialism for science fiction, or a study of Rick Perlstein's histories of US conservatism alongside a study of science fiction in the same era, or ... well, the possibilities are many, because science fiction is often a genre of power fantasies, and the United States is often a country fueled by such fantasies. (For all its messiness, Thomas Disch's The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of at least asked some useful questions.) Such an intervention isn't really what Cambridge Companions are about, however.

One of the dangers that the field of American Studies faces is the danger of re-centering American power just as we're beginning to de-center it in literary, cultural, and political studies. We can see the de-centering effort on a small scale with literary science fiction, where the rise of the internet has allowed a nascent movement of global SF to grow, and where there is a stronger awareness than ever of writers and audiences from around the world. There's a long way to go, but if the 20th century was an American century, and also a century of American science fiction, then perhaps the 21st can centered differently.


The editors of the Cambridge Companion hint toward this in their introduction. They are no American jingoists. But they also write: "The vast canon to which all contemporary creators of SF (in all media, forms, and genres) respond is thus (for better or worse) tightly linked to American ideas, experiences, cultural assumptions, and entertainment markets, as well as to distinctly American visions of what the future might be like" (5). I think that statement is false in one important way — I would say "most creators of anglophone, genrefied SF" rather than "all contemporary creators of SF (in all media...)" etc, because I think this rather all-encompassing generalization neglects certain tendencies in British SF that have been influential, and it completely wipes out non-US/UK SF. The result is an unfortunate and I expect unintentional valorizing of UScentricity, unless it is premised on a very narrow definition of SF, which it seems not to be. But this is the danger of nationalistic scholarship, especially when performed by scholars from within a particular nation — they remain blind to the world they cannot see, and so the map they create is one where the US is in the center and is bigger than any other area.

Americanness was, obviously, not quite so much of a problem for the James and Mendelsohn Cambridge Companion, where many of the contributors were not America. Nonetheless, it was very much not a Cambridge Companion to Global Science Fiction — a topic too big for the slim confines of any one book in the Cambridge Companion series. (To see some of the scope, look at the International tag at the SF Encyclopedia site.)

There is no denying the centrality of the US to science fiction in any way that science fiction makes sense as a label. (For better or worse, as Link and Canavan say.) But for myself, I wonder what it means to study American science fiction solely, much as I wonder what it means to study American literature solely, or American anything solely. Or to call it "American".

And yet to deny the centrality of a thing called "American literature" is foolish and distorting, even though, in my more idealistic and la-la-land moments, I might want to. We are not the world? We are the world? We are ... what?

As I think about the introduction to this book and my inchoate (if not incoherent) resistance to the American in American Science Fiction, I can't help but also think about a paragraph in Aaron Bady's recent, important Chronicle of Higher Education essay, "Academe's Willful Ignorance of African Literature", a paragraph that I have no answers for, and which nags at me:
I worry that as Americanists move into “World Anglophone” literature, the world outside of Britain and the United States gets included in theory, but will continue to be excluded in practice. As crass it might be to use “world literature” as a shorthand for “the rest of the world,” the alternative might be worse. I worry that the actual effect of rebranding English departments as “World Anglophone literature departments” would only normalize the status quo. Will their survey of Anglophone letters still consist of dozens of scholars working on British and American literatures and a single, token Africanist? That might be the best-case scenario. For all its flaws, at least the term “postcolonial literature” recognized on which side of the global color line it located its subject, and recognized how much work was yet to be done.
When thinking of "American science fiction", I can't help but think of all that that term doesn't encompass, and perhaps my struggle with this Cambridge Companion is that my own deepest interests are in what sits at the margins, what defies the definitions, what lurks beyond the scopes.

(I told you I'm not the audience for this book!)

I wonder, too, why there isn't more scholarly attention to things like Analog magazine and Baen Books. Neither appears in the index to The Cambridge Companion to American Science Fiction, and the sorts of things published by Analog and Baen don't seem to get much discussed by SF scholars. And yet shouldn't a book about American science fiction provide more than just the most passing of passing mentions to Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven? The ascent of science fiction in the United States parallels the ascent of Reaganism and neoliberalism, and how is it that among the various references to Star Wars in this book there are none (that I found, at least) to Ronnie's own beloved version? This American Science Fiction needs more Amurrican science fiction, more Newt Gingrich, more Rapture culture, more survivalism. Too much academic SF criticism cherry-picks favorites to valorize, and since most academic lit critics are armchair leftists of some sort or another (myself included), we get lots of Left Hand of Darkness and not nearly enough Left Behind.

(I have no good transition between these paragraphs, so I hope you'll pardon me this momentary aside to admit it. Hi, how are you? Thanks for continuing to read this rambling post, even though I'm sure you have something better to do. We're almost done. Shall we get back to it?)

To set down scholarly stakes within a realm called The American not only risks valorizing an already highly valorized Americanicity, but it also risks seeing things in a narrower way than the creators of the works under study themselves did, and I firmly believe that criticism should add breadth and depth to material rather than narrowing it, should give us more techniques of reading rather than fewer. This is my problem with some versions of canonical nationalism: they are procrustean, and miss the ways writers, for instance, learn from a variety of materials that are not so geographically bound. Among scholars, there's been in recent decades more of a push for, for instance, a view of transatlantic writing and thinking — of the Black Atlantic, of transatlantic Romanticism and transatlantic Modernism(s).

"American" is not only geographical but ideological: the mythography of Americanism. Tracing the flows to and from that ideology is especially interesting to me, particularly as a way to try to interrupt those flows, or at least look at their edges, cracks, and pores. (The Cambridge Companion to Anti-American Science Fiction, anyone? No?) I like that Link and Canavan end the book with a chapter titled "After America", and though I have reservations about the chapter itself, which isn't nearly ambitious enough, the gesture seems necessary for this age: to at least imagine a move beyond the centrality of US power and US dominance, to change the perspective and shift our lenses. Certainly, as global warming threatens to eradicate most life on Earth, the moral imperative of our age is to move beyond any one nation, to perceive the planet entire, and to do what so much science fiction has aspired to do, even if it has almost always failed: to look at things from a broader perspective.

What if "After America" were to mean after the idea of America, after the dominance of the nation, after the discourse of Americanness? (America is just so 20th century, dude.) By ending with "After America", this Cambridge Companion includes the seeds of its own destruction. A worthwhile move, it seems to me. But then, I like books that want to destroy themselves.

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39. ECCC’15: The SECRET WARS Marvel’s Telling Everyone About

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Marvel held a fan panel for their upcoming Secret Wars event. Their big ECCC panel wasn’t an announcement dropper, but it did reveal some key information readers have been curious about. On the deus was C.B Cebulski, Rick Remender, Kelly Sue DeConnick, and Charles Soule. Moderator, Mike Marts jokingly asked Cebulski how he wanted to start things.

“Fight!” Remender chimed in.

Remender then jumped in to talking about Hail Hydra, his contribution to Battleworld. As we knew, the book will be about Ian Rogers being caught in a Hydra ruled world. Remender gushed about once again re-teaming with Winter Soldier collaborator Roland Boschi.

Soule was up next talking about Attilan Rising He compared it to Casablanca of all things. The writer talked about the book having a civil war in it and also taking part on the Civil War piece of battleworld where Captain America never surrendered to Iron Man.

“Aviation Porn” were the words used to describe DeConnick’s Carol Corps book. The intriguing part of the story is that there are no stars in Battleworld’s sky. This made for the interesting conflict of Carol wanting to go up to explore the sky while others wanted to keep her down.

The panel then opened up to Q&A:

It opened with a point many readers have been wondering about. With the current Marvel U ending what memories and continuity will be erased?

Cebulski made it crystal clear, everything that came before will still count. They stood behind their statement of this not being a reboot.

A fan asked about the Fantastic Four’s place in the Marvel Universe and if they’d been downplayed because of the movies?

Cebulsk defended the publishing position of the films not influencing the comics. He even revealed that there would definitely be a Fantastic Four book post Secret Wars.

The question of Secret Wars being used to undo the status quo of Wolverine, Captain America, and Thor was brought up.

Remender interjected, “What comes out of Secret Wars is secret but it will not undo the work we’ve done.” The example of female Thor’s success was given. Jason Aaron will be telling that story for as long as he wants because it stuck with readers.

Another fan asked about Miles Morales being the Marvel U’s main Spidey.

Peter Parker is still going to be around, he’s not going anywhere.” Said Cebulski.

The last question was about a possible return for Richard Rider (Nova).

Mart’s answered by letting everyone know Duggan has more story to tell with the current Nova Sam Alexander.

The panel wrapped and no matter what Secret Wars is coming. Marvel did try to make it clear that if you want to skip the orbiting books and stick to the spine story; readers can do that. We won’t have to wait long to find out if that’s true as the event is rapidly approaching its launch date.

Are you relieved to find out Peter Parker will still be in the Marvel U? Do you buy that this isn’t Marvel’s reboot? Who do you want for your Captain America going forward?

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40. Interview: Hope Larson on Adapting A Wrinkle in Time

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By Matthew Jent

Hope Larson is a New York Times bestselling graphic novelist, an Eisner-award winning cartoonist, and the writer & director of Got A Girl’s music video for “Live Too Fast.” Her graphic novel adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic sci-fi/fantasy tale A Wrinkle in Time is out this week in paperback. Originally from Ashville, NC, she currently lives in Los Angeles.

A New Yorker profile on Madeleine L’Engle a few years ago said, “There are really two kinds of girls. Those who read Madeleine L’Engle when they were small, and those who didn’t.” Did you have a relationship with A Wrinkle in Time or L’Engle’s writing before coming on board to adapt & illustrate the graphic novel?

Larson: Yeah, I was definitely the kind who read L’Engle. I started with A Wrinkle in Time, but I ended up reading a lot of her other books, too. There was a bookstore in Asheville called Accent on Books, and my parents would often take me and my brother there after church on Sundays, since it was next to the restaurant where we often ate Sunday lunch. Accent on Books had a great kids’ section, and there was a shelf with seemingly limitless books by L’Engle. Her books fascinated me because they were more thematically complicated and edgier than most of the other books for younger readers.

Wrinkle is one of those books I returned to many times over my childhood and adolescence. I loved the sci-fi/fantasy aspects of it, and I loved the imperfect character of Meg.

What’s it like to take on something that looms so large in the culture and in readers’ lives? Did you have any hesitation in adapting it?

Larson: I was definitely nervous about adapting it. I actually declined the job at first, but when the publisher asked me to reconsider I said yes. I thought, well, I love this book and I know what it means to people, and at least I know I’ll be adapting it with love and respect.

My version will not and cannot take the place of the original, but maybe it will serve as a gateway to this story for kids who might not have found it otherwise. Hopefully those kids will go on to read the original, too.

What was your process like for scripting or outlining the adaptation?

Larson: I bought a very cheap copy of the book and completely butchered it — drew page breaks in it, highlighted it, ripped the pages out as I completed them. I put pretty much everything that’s in the novel into the script for the graphic novel. I figured I’d make the publisher tell me what to cut, but none of us could figure out what to remove without destroying what makes Wrinkle special, so we ended up with a very large graphic novel.

Does the dialogue come entirely from the text of the novel?

Larson: Very little of the dialogue changed. I tweaked a few bits for space, and I added a few bits of internal monologue for clarity. L’Engle had a background in theater, and her work makes a lot of sense in light of that fact. Wrinkle is mostly dialogue, like a play, without a lot of action or direction. This made it a good candidate for adaptation into a comic since the story was carried primarily by the dialogue, and I had a lot of freedom with the “acting”.

Did you learn anything new about Wrinkle, or your own craft in general, through adapting & illustrating this book?

Larson: It was a luxury to live inside someone else’s book for a while, and get to know it intimately. When I’m drawing a book I’ve written, a book I’ve already spent months or years scripting and editing, it’s hard to see the whole for what it is and to appreciate it. I generally have no idea if what I’m writing has much value, or where it stands in my body of work. It was nice to work on a book that absolutely, definitely was a great and important story.

I don’t know how much I really learned about craft, but I implemented workflow practices that I still use now. I put in a lot of checks and balances. I made self-care and taking care of my body — since drawing is so physically destructive, believe it or not — a priority. I definitely learned my limits on this book.

Afterwards I burned out big time and there were a couple of years when I didn’t draw much. I focused on writing and film and doing other things. While I don’t recommend burnout as a career choice, it led me to some interesting places before I found my way back to drawing again.

You do a lot with the white & black & blue color palette in A Wrinkle in Time, especially the blue/black flashback or memory panels. Can you talk about your use of color in this book and in your work in general?

Larson: Thanks! A big shout-out to Jenn Manley Lee, who did the coloring and was an all-around rockstar.

The flashback stuff was one of the trickier bits to figure out. The first chapter was one of the most challenging parts of the adaptation since it’s largely in Meg’s head and she’s reflecting back on things which have happened while lying in bed during this terrible storm. There’s a lot going on.

I’ve never been comfortable working in full color, and I also have a background in printmaking, so I stick to limited color palettes as often as possible. Flat washes of color and bold black lines have always appealed to me. Eleanor Davis and I were talking recently about how we both struggle to combine line and color in a way that feels integrated and satisfactory to us. It’s an ongoing frustration and I still haven’t figured it out.

What do you look for in a protagonist? Is there a relationship between Meg in A Wrinkle in Time and the characters you write and draw in your own books?

Larson: Yeah, there’s absolutely a through-line from Meg to the characters I write. The earlier ones, for sure. I can’t get enough of weird-outcast-girl-saves-the-day stories. These days I write more of a range of character types, but the complicated outsider is the one that comes most naturally to me.

What was the reaction like to your adaptation? Do you introduce yourself at parties as New York Times Bestselling Graphic Novelist Hope Larson?


Larson: Yes, and I have a license plate frame that says that, too.

Honestly, the response has been a gratifying one. I was locked up with that book for so long with no idea what would happen when it came out; I was just hoping not to be tarred and feathered. What’s meant to most of me is hearing that reluctant readers and kids with autism have found the adaptation useful and accessible. That validates my work as a cartoonist like nothing else.

Are there other novels or stories you’d like to adapt as graphic novels?

Larson: There isn’t a story I particularly want to adapt. I’m pretty busy with my own stuff right now, but never say never.

Can we talk about your webcomic Solo? You recently called it your romance comic, in response to the Fresh Romance Kickstarter. Is a modern narrative about love & relationships inherently a romance comic, or do you see Solo as part of the tradition of romance comics as they existed from the 1940s-70s?

Larson: I haven’t read that many of those old romance comics but I have read a few of the classic DC ones… and thought they were boring. I don’t know that Solo exists within any kind of romance comic historical context, but it’s the only story I’ve ever written that is, definitively, a love story. There are a lot of other elements, but the relationship between Leah and Wade has always been the reason I wanted to write this story.

But is it a romance? What is a romance versus a love story or a story about love? I don’t know! Just looking at modern romance novels, they’ve come a long way from the ones I used to get from the library as a kid. They can be very smart and complicated and empowering. I don’t know that Solo fits in with those stories, exactly, but it’s not radically different from them, either.

You’re releasing Solo page by page as you complete them, “the moment the ink’s dry, raw and fresh and full of mistakes,” as you said on your blog. It seems like a very personal project. Do you want to publish Solo in book form when it’s complete, or will it live exclusively online?


Larson: It’s quite a personal story but it’s not autobiographical. It’s had a looooong gestation period. It’s not The Story of Hope’s Divorce because the script predates that, but having gone through a divorce I have to pat myself on the back and say that I nailed the emotional aspects of divorce. There was a long period when I thought about shelving the project over my worries that readers would see it as some kind of tell-all, but ultimately I decided that would be a shame. And anyway, a lot of people assume my other work is autobiographical, too!

I definitely want to publish it when it’s complete. I’ve been putting together little minicomic versions for shows, which has been fun. I’m about a third of the way through the story right now, so it’s going to be a while before I have to worry about what to do with the thing.

What’s a normal workday like for you? Are you writing or drawing every day?

Larson: Right now I have a lot of different projects on the go, so I try and split my workday up. I either write in the mornings and draw in the afternoons or vice versa, with a break in between to go for a run or bike ride. If I have busywork (lettering, or flatting colors, or e-mails) I try and leave that until the evening. It really depends on what’s the most pressing item on my to-do list, though. Whenever possible, I take weekends off to rest and hang on to my sanity.

Music plays a large part in Solo — do you listen to music as you work? Did you have a playlist for A Wrinkle in Time?

Larson: I do listen to music when I work, whether I’m writing and drawing. I love music, but in a naïve way; my understanding of music on a theoretical and historical level is fairly shallow. I like writing about musicians because it’s a way to put all the ideas that interest me about being a creative person into a more appealing wrapper.

I didn’t have a playlist for A Wrinkle in Time. The main thing I remember listening to while drawing it is the Millennium seriesThe Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc.

What are you excited about in comics today? Are there books or creators you’re reading or looking forward to?

Larson: I’m presenting the LA Times Book Award for graphic novels this year, so I’ve been reading the finalists. I really need to read more of Jaime Hernandez’s work. I need to read more Roz Chast. I’m very excited about Sam Alden’s work right now. I’m reading Saga. I liked Megahex a lot in spite of the fact that I’m not the target audience for that book!

What’s next? What are you working on in the near future that you can (and wanna) talk about?


Larson: Hooooo boy. So many things! Next week Jen Wang and I are starting to pitch the cartoon series we’ve been working on for the past year, which is exciting! I’m finishing up the first draft of the script for a middle-grade graphic novel I’ll both write and draw. I’m working with Rebecca Mock to put the finishing touches on Compass South, the first book in our Four Points series of middle grade graphic novels, which will be out next year. The second volume, Knife’s Edge, will be out in 2017; it’s scripted, but we have a long road of drawing, coloring, lettering and revisions ahead. Those projects and Solo are the biggies, but I’m also working on a few other things that may or may not happen.

If my life is a rollercoaster, it feels like I’m just about to go over the top — and I mean that in a good way.

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41. Is chocolate better than exercise for the brain?

Everyone knows that aerobic exercise is good for the body, but is it always as good for brain? Furthermore, is exercise better than eating lots of chocolate for the aging brain? A recent study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience by a group of scientists from Columbia University and NYU gave a large daily dose […]

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42. And now the Arrow/Flash Spin-Off adds a Doctor Who alum as Rip Hunter

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We barely had an hour for the just previously announced Hawkgirl casting news to settle in before another superhero has been lined up for the Arrow/Flash superhero team-up spin-off.

Arthur Darvill, known best to some segments of fandom as playing Rory Williams on Doctor Who, has signed on to play Rip Hunter on the new show.

The Wrap, who exclusively reported the news, briefly described Hunter:

The former Doctor’s Companion will play DC comic book character Rip Hunter, a roguish time traveler who hides the strains of being responsible for history itself behind a facade of charm and wit.

The character, created in 1959 by Jack Miller and Ruben Moreira for Showcase, is probably best known for starring in his own series, Time Masters, being a part of the Linear Men just prior to Zero Hour and playing a major role in 52, The Return of Bruce Wayne, and the Geoff Johns’ written Booster Gold series.

The British-born Darvill is a fascinating choice for the role, but given that he was one of the highlights of the recent Doctor Who seasons and a standout on Broadchurch, this may be another casting masterstroke.

The irony of Darvill playing a time-traveler is not lost on me.

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43. The Battle of Bayside, Queens: a Q&A

From 1970 to 1975, Bayside Hills—a pleasant and prosperous neighborhood in Northeastern Queens, a borough of New York City—was embroiled in controversy when a local woman named Veronica Lueken announced that the Virgin Mary was appearing to her at St. Robert Bellarmine’s Church. At first Lueken was regarded as a “local kook.” Then, in 1973, a traditionalist Catholic group from Canada called The Pilgrims of St. Michael declared her “the seer of the age” and pilgrims started to flock to Bayside Hills.

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44. 17-Year-Old Driver Killed in Mile High Comics Crash

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Photo from CBS

CBS Denver initially reported that a woman crashed her car into Mile High Comics in Denver Yesterday. The 17-year-old woman died as a result of the crash. Nobody was inside the store at the time of the collision and no other injuries resulted from the accident. CBS News followed-up on the event with a separate video as well. The woman’s identity is currently not known to the public, but owner Chuck Rozanski placed two bouquets of flowers next to the loading dock where the accident happened. “If this was my daughter I would just be just devastated just beyond words,” Rozanski told CBS News .

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45. Spring issue of New Books in German

       The Spring 2015 issue of New Books in German is now available online, with reviews of new books (and some 'Forgotten Gems' -- some of which are already available in translation) and a variety of other features.
       The review section introduces a decent selection of new titles -- and great to see that, for example, the Nino Haratischwili already has a UK publisher (I have a copy but haven't gotten around to covering yet -- 1280 pp. is no misprint, but, yes, it impresses).

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46. ECCC’15: Marvel Animated “One Man, Several Clips”

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Over the weekend at Emerald City Comic Con , Marvel’s Vp of animation Cort Lane threw a one man panel with lots of teases for most of the Marvel animated shows and a preview of Avengers Assemble returning only to  ‘Disassemble” .

Ultimate Spider-Man will return to finish its season in July with a new storyline titled S.H.I.E.L.D ACADEMY. Many of the characters Spider-Man recruited at the beginning of Web-Warriors will be joining him again. Even Trition from the Inhumans and Squirrel Girl are coming back. Fans can also look forward to the threat of Arnim Zola, voiced by Mark Hamill, in a look that can only be described as Kang from Ninja Turtles meets Apple Computers. In addition Robert Patrick will be voicing The Whizzer, yep that guy.

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Fans also got a look at the entire first episode of the “Disassembled” arc. If you want the spoiler run then highlight this blank space.

Episode begins with a Captain America-less Avengers battling the Adaptoid. Spider-Man joins the team in order to combat the robot who can mimic all the powers of the Avengers. Cap joins the fray alongside S.H.I.E.L.D as he’s been working for them since leaving the team an episode before. He’s even in his Winter Soldier film based costume.

The audience finds out Adaptoid is actually Ultron in disguise and he’s been after Starks tech the entire time. In a desperation move, Stark enacts his “final protocol,” destroying his labs and Avengers Tower to stop Ultron.

Cap and Stark are clearly building towards a mini inner Avengers civil war. Spider-Man is trying to hold things together, but ditched the Avengers. Cap has called for a new Avengers team, seeing Falcon, Black Widow and Hulk join his team, while Tony, Hawkeye, and Thor ban together.
The Avengers have officially disassembled, giving Ultron exactly what he wanted.

During the fan Q&A we got a few teases about the animated Marvel U:

-No kid Avengers plans.

-Plans are in the works to have animation produce something that takes place in the Marvel cinematic universe.

-No X-Men plans since those rights are still controlled by Fox, which include animation. They’ve only been able to get away with using Wolverine in his solo character costume incarnations with no X-Men ties.

To close things out, Cort showed the Guardians of the Galaxy prequel shorts leading up to the premiere of the animated series. First was Star-Lord part I. It takes most of its cues from the film version of the team, even going so far to say it may be a fill in for missing information. What we saw deals with what happened when Peter Quill was beamed aboard the alien ship as a child. In this version he’s had the Element Guns all along but is just now discovering their power.

A preview was show of Rocket Raccoon’s short. We see the moment he escapes the lab and becomes partners with Groot. You’ll hear the famous “Ain’t no thing like me…” line and it’s even got mature tones of his acceptance that he’s lost anything that will connect him to his species.

Marvel’s animation presentation was the most informative of all their ECCC panels. Cort’s division has made the Disney merger benefit Marvel without having to sacrifice much in the way of character voice.

Hopefully during Wondercon we’ll get answers to when fans will see the Guardians prequel shorts, what’s coming up in Agents of S.M.A.S.H and what the future holds for Ultimate Spider-Man once its third season ends since typically most Marvel animated series after 1997 only last between 3-5 years.

Would you want to see Marvel animated do something in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

4 Comments on ECCC’15: Marvel Animated “One Man, Several Clips”, last added: 3/31/2015
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47. Matchbox Theatre review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Thirty Short Entertainments by Michael Frayn, Matchbox Theatre.

       While Faber & Faber brought out the UK edition last year, the US edition just came out from slightly less well-known Valancourt Books. They apparently specialize in: "the rediscovery of rare, neglected, and out-of-print fiction" -- and with five early Frayn novels coming up, along with this, are certainly doing something right.

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48. More IDW news including new Ryall/Rodriguez, Stokoe back on Godzilla

Here’s a round-up of more IDW announcements during ECCC, most of them part of a “Five Featured Firsts” program which will see a new book every week in July.

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• Onyx by Chris Ryall (Zombies vs Robots) and Gabriel Rodriguez (Locke & Key),

Onyx tells the tale of a female metal-suited warrior who comes to Earth on a quest to either save the planet or destroy it. It’s up to a team of super-soldiers to figure out which before it’s too late, and before a much greater threat overwhelms both them and the planet itself.

The series will be introduced with a standalone 5-page story, Onyx #0, that will run in Many of IDW’s May titles. Variant cover artists for Onyx #1 include Ashley Wood, Charles Paul Wilson III, Alan Robinson and Sal Buscema.

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•The Shrinking Man by Richard Matheson, Ted Adams and Mark Torres

IDW CEO and Publisher Adams adapts Matheson’s famed science fiction novel, The Shrinking Man

This legendary tale chronicles the events of an average family man, Scott Carey, who, after being exposed to a mysterious cloud, comes to the frightening realization that he is shrinking slowly day-by-day is being brought to vivid life in this 4-issue series.

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• String Divers by Ashley Wood, Chris Ryall and Nelson Daniel
Wood and Ryall write this title based on Wood’s 3A Toys’ line of titular figures, String Divers “incorporates string theory as threats to our universe at the sub-microscopic level have dire and lasting repercussions in our universe and across all dimensions.” Daniel provide the art.
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• Godzilla in Hell
James Stokoe, whose Godzilla: The Half Century War mini-series stunned and delighted many, returns with the first issue of a five-issue mini series that sends the Big G to, yes, the underworld. “This July the mystery of what led to Godzilla’s damnation, and what it will face, will take readers on a dark and twisted journey unlike any Godzilla story! A rotating creative team will each take Godzilla through a new layers of Hell, beginning with writer/artist James Stokoe with successive issues by Bob Eggleton; Dave Wachter; Ulises Farinas; Erick Freitas; and Brandon Seifert with artists to be announced at a later time.”




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•EC Comics Cover Month
IDW jumps on the “variant cover month” trend with “EC Comics cover month” in July. Here’s the line-up, and that’s Jeff Zornow’s Godzilla variant above, via Multiversity

• Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency #3 – Robert Hack
• Edward Scissorhands #10 – Drew Rausch
• The Fly: Outbreak #5 – Alberto Ponticelli
• Ghostbusters: Get Real #2 – Doc Shaner
• Godzilla in Hell #1 – Jeff Zornow

• G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #216 – Andy Suriano
• Onyx #1 – Alan Robinson
• The Shrinking Man #1 – Mark Torres
• Star Trek #47 – Derek Charm
• Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #48 – Ryan Browne
• T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents 50th Anniversary Special – Andrew Pepoy
• Zombies vs Robots #7 – Mark Torres











• X-Files Season 11 is coming, with writer Joe Harris on board.

• Ghostbusters: Get Real by Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening.

Art for Lost Angeles by frequent Eastman collaborator Simon Bisley, via CBR

Art for Lost Angeles by frequent Eastman collaborator Simon Bisley, via CBR

• New IDW exlcusive artist Kevin Eastman reveals more of what’s coming in a CBR interview:

Besides the Turtles stuff I do, my next project, that I’m actually working on now, is “Lost Angeles.” It’s a post-apocalyptic retelling of “The Warriors,” if you will, all set in LA. That’s the first one I’m working on now, but we looked at the stuff I wanted to do — there’s one story I developed 10 years ago, and drew 200 pages on, and just got frustrated with, and it wasn’t working the way I wanted it to, so I put it on a shelf, and it sat for five or six years. [Laughs] That’s another project that will probably find its way into the IDW schedule.

It feels like home. It’s a great bunch of people, really creative. I buy all of their Artist’s Editions. The first time when they did one of the “Turtles” collections — such a beautiful package.

 

 

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49. The Librarian review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Mikhail Elizarov's The Librarian, winner of the 2008 Russian Booker Prize and just out in English from Pushkin Press.

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50. Entertainment Round-Up: Fear The Walking Dead, West and Ward return to Batman ’66, Arya Stark is coming to Doctor Who

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Greetings all! I come to you from Austin, Texas today, writing this in a dimly lit Hyatt hotel room. Let’s run down a few fun things that broke over the past 24 hours in the Entertainment world.

– Last night’s finale for The Walking Dead was surely another ratings smash, and will likely notch up another victory on par with Season 4’s 15.7 million viewer finale, Wrestlemania or no Wrestlemania. Those watching also got a taste of the upcoming spin-off series, (the unfortunately titled) Fear The Walking Dead, as AMC debuted a 15 second tease for the Los Angeles-based prequel:

The first season of the new series is set for six episodes, debuting this Summer, and there is already a second season commitment in place. Get ready for year-round zombie-based drama.

Adam West and Burt Ward, while on a panel at Mad Monster Party in Charlotte, spilled the beans about a new project celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 1966 Batman television series: an animated film! According to the pair, they’ll be reprising their iconic roles of Batman and Robin for (what is presumed to be a) direct to home media release in 2016.

Consequence of Sound got the footage of this surprising, yet very welcome announcement.

Did I ever tell you folks what a big fan I am of Jeff Parker‘s work on Batman ’66 and Batman: The Brave and the Bold?

– Lastly, hang onto your hats folks! We’ve got two fandoms converging this year, as the BBC has announced that Maisie Williams aka Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, will be appearing on Doctor Who this season/series.

In an announcement on the BBC website, showrunner Steven Moffat stated:

We’re thrilled to have Maisie Williams joining us on Doctor Who. It’s not possible to say too much about who or what she’s playing, but she is going to challenge the Doctor in very unexpected ways. This time he might just be out of his depth, and we know Maisie is going to give him exactly the right sort of hell.

Additionally, the same press release also detailed two more series episodes: “The Girl Who Died” written by new fan favorite Jamie Mathieson and Moffat and “The Woman Who Lived” by Catherine Tregenna (the first female writer of the Moffat era). Whether Williams will appear in those two episodes is not made clear based on this initial announcement.

 

2 Comments on Entertainment Round-Up: Fear The Walking Dead, West and Ward return to Batman ’66, Arya Stark is coming to Doctor Who, last added: 3/31/2015
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