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1. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Someone lost their tail in the toilet. #sdcc #sdcc2014


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2. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat The year the shoe broke. Does anyone have duct tape? Srsly. Calling all cosplayers. #sdcc #sdcc2014


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3. The Beat Podcasts! – SDCC ’14 Day 2: Don Rosa, Eleanor Davis, Lucy Knisley & Archie Comics

logo-pod-more-to-come-1400.pngLive from San Diego Comic Con, it’s More To Come! Publishers Weekly’s podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

In part two of More To Come’s San Diego Comic-Con special, Calvin Reid talks to Don Rosa about Scrooge McDuck, European fans and Carl Barks; Eleanor Davis on her new book How to Be Happy; and Lucy Knisley about her new book An Age of License. Meanwhile, Heidi MacDonald interviews Archie Comics President Mike Pellerito and sr. v-p Alex Segura about Life With Archie, dead Archie and zombie Archie. All this and more from Publishers Weekly’s More To Come!

Listen to this episode in streaming here, download it direct here and catch up with our previous podcasts on the PublishersWeekly website, or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

 

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4. Grant Morrison’s Trippy Map of DC’s Multiverse

Grant Morrison’s got some structure in mind for his upcoming  Multiversity series and now we have a map to prove.  As you might expect, the map has a serious New Age feel to it.  Heaven and Hell show up in the ring around the multiverse along with Heaven and Hell in the “Sphere of the Gods.”  The “Monitor Sphere” surrounds the Sphere of the Gods.  Is that as in The Monitor and the Anti-Monitor (who’s recently turned up again)?  An excellent question.  The Rock of Eternity sits below the “House of Heroes”  in the center.

Entertainment Weekly has the announcement.

Multiversity-map_1400x1074

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5. SDCC 14: Aspen Comics Another “Aloha”

By David Nieves
Aspen Comics beat their own drum through the walls of Hall 9 today at SDCC. Panelsts included EIC Vince Hernandez, Beth Sotelo, Siya Oum, Jordan Gunderson, Giuseppe Cafaro, T.G Roberts, J.T Krul, Josh Reed, and Scott Lobdell. Festivities were led as usual by Frank Mastromro and Peter Steigerwald, kicking off with the traditional thunderous “aloha”.

While the company didn’t have a ton of new announcements, the panel went through much of their current offerings. *Damsels in Excess* was up first, written by Vince the book has exclusive SDCC covers that will be available through their online store in limited quantities. The Siya cover is the gorgeous and we’ll post the file in a bit.

That led into Siya talking about her book *Lola xoxo*. Her upcoming plans include a spinoff volume called “Wasteland Madam”. Afterwards an official volume 2 will be released but not solid dates were given for either book.

Peter Steigerwald’s long awaited Zoo hunters was once again teased. In Peter fashion once again “it’ll be out soon”.

Last years hit *Jirni* came back with a new volume. Writer J.T Krul promises more danger and excitement with a Conan like story in the upcoming final acts of the chapter. The collected edition for volume 1 will be available soon.

*Seven to Die* is the new Aspen novel by T.G Roberts. Her pitch for the story was a tale about a huge universe but focusing on the adventure of a girl exploring her new found mystic items.

Fathom has a Halloween comic called *Fathom: Adventures of Ernie*. A coloring book for kids, Aspen is attempting to reach out beyond their young adult audience. Like the family they are he group chimed in saying, “Vince is still trying to solve the puzzles inside.”

Soulfire and Fathom will have big plans soon to be announced for next year. But they are putting out Marvel style source books for both the properties. The books are to get readers of their newer properties who don’t pick up the flagship line an enticing blueprint of their properties.

Another one of the more popular 10 -for-10 books, *Legend of the Shadow Clan* will get a brand new volume. No new updates were given on the EA Iris movie.

Dellec volume 2 will come to retail this year. Once again Vince and Frank will be working together on the book. Shrugged also has plans to return but neither has a solid launch date.

A big announcement about the entire Aspen library will be made next month but today a deal was finalized with the digital publisher Madefire. More details need to be discussed but it looks like the entire Aspen library will get a fancy digital tratment. A Fathom mobile game is in the works. Aspen just signed a deal with a development firm to flesh out some new video games based on Aspen’s properties.

The lively audience Q&A closed their panel. Among some of the topics discussed were the company’s view of female characters. All of the panelist seemed to agree that it’s what they’re mostly known for to most people and sometimes that hurts sales among male readers. In Peter’s view male or female a good story is a good story.
One thing that we brought up was with the return of NBC’s *Heroes* would we see new digital transmedia material from the publisher or possibly bring back some of the old material. It’s a possibility but they would have to have talks with the network first.

NOTE: come back later as we’ll post all the stuff shown today later this afternoon as soon as we get it.

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6. Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans on ‘Angela’ #1

Angela, the character created by Neil Gaiman in another lifetime as part of the Spawn universe, will be receiving her own ongoing series later this year from the creative team of Kieron Gillen, Marguerite Bennett, Phil Jimenez and Stephanie Hans.

Angela_Asgards_Assasin_Hans_Variant

I don’t know how we reached this point either, but that’s a packed lineup of creators up there. Jimenez is superstar enough, and his presence bodes well for the project. Gillen and Bennett will co-write the series, with Hans working on a back-up strip which’ll appear in each issue. That looks like her work on the cover as well.

The book will follow the character – revealed to be Thor and Loki’s sister in an Original Sin miniseries which either has or hasn’t started yet – as she decides to head off and make a name for herself in the Marvel Universe, primarily through the method of slashing people up and presumably growling at them a whole lot.

An ongoing series, the book will be edited by Wil Moss, and start in November.

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7. SDCC ’14: Mighty Avengers Relaunches with Captain America in the Lead

Did you know that Falcon is Captain America now? Just thought it worth mentioning ahead of time, so this article doesn’t confuse you. He’ll be the lead in a relaunch for Mighty Avengers in November, you see, with Al Ewing and Luke Ross on as the creative team for the series.

Captain_America_and_the_Mighty_Avengers_Luke_Ross_Cover

 

The team, as you can see, seem largely to have remained intact. Monica Rambeau is up there, along with Blue Marvel, White Tiger, and I think Luke Cage with rocket feet.

You’ll also see Spider-Man trying to catch up with them in the image – having annoyed all of them back when he was inadvertently ‘superior’, one of the first storylines will see him attempt to rejoin the team, to the particular dismay of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones.

Sam Wilson will be the lead role in the book now, as he assembles the team once more specifically for himself to lead. Starting in November, Captain America & The Mighty Avengers will be an ongoing series.

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8. SDCC ’14: Scott McCloud’s Big Flashy Solo Panel

Photo by Henry Barajas.

Scott McCloud charming the crowd while he figured out some technical difficulties.

Thursday was a good day if you’re a fan of the Scott McCloud. McCloud and his adoring family rushed from his insightful panel with Gene Luen Yang. The rooms couldn’t have been farther apart, and the technical difficulties didn’t help. Luckily, his daughters Winter, Sky and wife Ivy accompanied him in the thick of things.

The comics theorist revealed the cover art Jaime Hernandez drew for his upcoming book “The American Comics” that will release on Tuesday, Oct. 7. McCloud asked that the audience refrain from taking pictures of pages from his upcoming book The Sculptor. He teased some intriguing pages that we won’t see again until (forever from now) Feb. 3 2015. The book is a 500 page love story about a sculptor named David Smith (no relation to actual American Abstract Expressionist sculptor and painter) that made it big at a young age, but the fame and fortune didn’t last long. He makes a deal with death so he can create anything he could phantom, but he will only have 200 days to live. With nothing to lose, Smith accepts the deal. But Smith didn’t anticipate meeting the love of his life.

McCloud wanted to dispel the rumor that has been floating around how long he’s actually been working on this book. McCloud said he came up with this idea in high school. “I couldn’t get the idea out of my head because it became a real story,” McCloud said. He heard that someone says he has been working on this book for 30 years or something ridiculous, but this book has been in the process for only five.

McCloud and his family read excerpts from the book. It was reenactments were dramatic enough to get some gasps and complete silence from the end of the reading. It was cruel for them to flaunt this powerful scene, and left the room begging for more. The characters are inspired by actual people in McCloud’s life. McCloud discussed the character’s desire and how important it is to the story. “I’m trying to find desires and a path that hasn’t been seen before,” McCloud said. “It takes it the edge of reason and beyond.”

mcloud2

The panel was starting to come to a conclusion, but McCloud took a few questions because of the late start. Someone asked “The Smartest Man in Comics” what the future has in store for the medium. He said he predicts that there will be an increase of female comic book creators. McCloud said the cross-legged manga generation that spent a lot of time at Borders have since went on to art school.

“Is it possible that 10 years from now the industry will be female majority? I think so,” McCloud said.

McCloud is hosting the fourth annual two-day comic book workshop on theory and practice on Saturday, Aug. 16 and Sunday, Aug. 17 at the The Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, 16926 Saticoy St. Van Nuys, CA. Click here to sign up.

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9. Unassuming Barber Shop: Batman Country, Part Two

ubs

In case you missed the first portion of this special two-parter, it was revealed that Batman has conquered America and has established his black Bat-capital in a cave in Branson, Missouri.

That is not entirely true, but I do hope something of the story in the Bald Knobbers (cringey name aside) rang true for Batman fans. The vigilante story is old and real in America.

But is it enough to explain Batman’s popularity? We know many possible fictive sources for Batman – detective stories, operas, and movies – but what about other real ones?

There are a few possibilities. Both Bob Kane and Bill Finger, the co-creators of Batman, probably attended the 1939 New York World’s Fair. One of the Fair’s regular attractions was the skydiving “Bat-man”:

fr

There were many “Bat-Men” who jumped all over the country. They were so popular that Major Malcolm Wheeler Nicholson (who basically invented comic books), urged America to “consider the possibility of bat-man troops!” in a 1941 article.

ttom

But this might just be distraction, like billowing smoke from a Bat-capsule. We don’t really go to air shows that much anymore, after all. Is it Batman’s design motif? The vampire bat doesn’t even crack the top 25 of National Geographic Kids’ most popular animals. Certainly the car and Kevlar help, but you can’t last 75 years with just a black cape and pointy ears.

Batman’s creators might help provide answers. You probably know Batman’s artistic origin already, but the general public may not, so we have to keep repeating it. Bob Kane was a fledgling New York artist supposedly jealous of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the two creators of Superman. Kane pleaded to editor Vin Sullivan, who gave him a weekend to create a new superhero.

Kane needed help, so he approached Bill Finger, a former shoe salesman whom he had worked with previously on some Western comics. The result of their new collaboration was Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939. Finger wrote the script and Kane drew the action. Kane got the byline. How and why this happened is not fully known. Kane was a hustler and Finger was meek, though there was probably more to it than that. After all, most of this story, if not all of it, was first told by storytellers.

In that first issue, Kane swiped liberally from Henry Vallely and copied poses from “Flash Gordon.” Finger’s first script was probably inspired by pulp stories like “The Black Bat,” movies like “The Bat Whispers,” and a Shadow story. Superman had been crafted over several years and was something really brand-new. Batman was a smoky concoction of vigilante stuff thrown together to create a quick, commercial superhero.

Finger worked on Batman comics, including the first telling of the origin, in complete anonymity for decades. Kane drew only sporadically and wore ascots to parties. Finger is acknowledged by many as being responsible for some of the major chess pieces of the mythos. Kane appeared on The Tonight Show and died rich at 84. Finger died poor and alone at 59. This year, Kane is going to receive a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Kanedraws

As a consequence, fandom has not been kind to Bob Kane. Any mention of him at a Comic-Con panel usually results in some story about him stiffing a dinner bill forty years ago or bragging about supposedly dating Marilyn Monroe. In his autobiography, Kane even waxes breathlessly about fighting a gang as he swung around a lumberyard. Kane also claimed to have drawn the monthly Batman comic for decades when he positively did not. And he didn’t publicly recognize Finger’s contributions to Batman until after Finger was dead.

Still, there is no question that Bob Kane is the co-creator of Batman. He drew the first appearance of the character. For comics – which are words combined with images – that is half the whole world.

Still, Kane (and to some extent DC’s) treatment of Finger is considered by many to be wrong, even criminal. It is well-documented and crusaded upon, as it should be. But I am interested in crime of a different sort here.

Bill Finger’s early days have been mostly lost to time. Born in Colorado in 1914, Finger grew up with his immigrant parents and a sister. His father Louis, according to his World War I draft card, was a “cloak-maker.”

louis

Bob Kane was born Robert Kahn in 1915. When he was born, his parents ran a candy store in New York City. His father later worked for the Daily News as a typesetter.

Both Kane and Finger grew up on the Grand Concourse, a nearly five-mile stretch in the Bronx. They stared up at art deco buildings and gargoyles.

garg

They were not friends as kids. But they both saw bad things. Real things.

Crime in New York City during the twenties and thirties was on an escalating slope. On August 1, 1931, the New York Times ran a table titled “Homicides by Shooting.” In fifteen years, the number of murders in New York City tripled from 108 to 316. By 1939 – Batman’s debut – the rate had reached nearly two murders a day.

homicides

Every day, the papers were a blotter of theft and murder. Gangsters, passerby, and children were robbed and killed in streets and doorways. In April of 1939, the papers reported the tragic story of a brother and sister coming home from the movies to find their parents shot dead on the floor.

NJ

People lived in sadness and fear. It eventually turned to anger. When five children were struck down by stray bullets in the Bronx in 1931, Police Commissioner Mulrooney vowed that “We’re going to meet force with force…If they want war, we’ll give it to them.” Several articles urge the formation of “vigilante committees” to enforce the law themselves.

This is where Batman began.

In late 1937, when Kane was just breaking in and earning around $25 a week. A small article appeared in the November 28, 1937 issue of the Times titled “Woman, 75, Killed in Street.” It read:

Mrs. Augusta Kahn, 75 years old, of 1,160 Grant Avenue, the Bronx, was fatally injured shortly after 5 P.M. yesterday while crossing Broadway at 115th Street. She died on her way to Columbus Hospital . . . Alexander Novinsky, 26 years old, of 6,802 Nineteenth Avenue, Brooklyn. Novinsky was held on a technical charge of homicide.

Bob Kane’s mother was named Augusta Kahn.

But this wasn’t her. It was a different woman. It was someone else – a double somehow– who was very real. Was Kane even aware of the story? Who knows, though someone surely must have noticed it in the paper and told the family. Kane was living with his parents at the time. If he did know of it, it must have provoked a visceral response. Especially because of what would happen next:

Alexander Novinsky, 27 years old . . . arrested Nov. 28, last when an automobile he was driving struck and killed Mrs. Augusta Kahn . . . was discharged yesterday by Magistrate Edgar Bromberger in Homicide Court for lack of evidence tending to show culpability.

The driver who killed the other Augusta Kahn — someone else’s mother — went unpunished. Novinsky walked scot-free. Was it an accident, or something else? The courts ruled that there was not enough evidence to pursue it.

Just as forty unpunished murders provoked a solider to don a mask in the Ozarks, so might crime in the Bronx have inspired a fictional character to do the same. The cowl, the cape, the symbol and all the pulp stories and films that inspired the look of Batman — is a smokescreen. Crime is why it stuck.

I think that much of what we claim to like about Batman is a complete cop-out. The most common explanation of the character’s popularity is his “humanity.” What that usually means is that anyone – if they had enough money, ninja training in Nepal, gadgets, and a sidekick – could be Batman. But none of us really believes that. Batman is not real, even though we constantly act like he is. The only thing real about him is his genesis in crime, whether it is a story in a comic or the story of his creators.

When James Holmes killed twelve people at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises on July 20, 2012, the press made connections to the killer being inspired by the Joker. Most of this has since been dismissed, but it speaks volumes that this explanation was the first one that made any kind of sense to the general public. Not that Holmes was clearly psychotic and a killer, but that our response to him, at first, involved Batman. When Holmes first appeared in court several days after the shooting, survivors of the massacre showed up to the courtroom wearing Batman t-shirts.

james_holmes_hearing_batman_shirts

The current writer of the monthly Batman comic, Scott Snyder (who also teaches creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College) has a theory about Batman that might help. In Batman #27 (note the number), Snyder (alongside collaborator Greg Capullo on art) has Alfred dramatically assess Bruce Wayne’s mission:

You keep us all around to bear witness, to see that you can do the thing that none of us could do for you. That none of us were there in the alley that night, not Gordon, not me, not anyone in this city. And you’re out to punish us for that every night.

capullobatman27

What Batman has made us watch for seventy-five years – an epoch in pop culture – is a one-man war that most of us don’t know how to fight. Batman isn’t about hope; it’s about fighting back against things bigger than us — crime, characters, and the Batkid’s cancer. It is not a place of light or peace or even nobility. It is a street in a city. Most of us can’t jump around on rooftops. But we can imagine that action — that rebellion — when we wear the black t-shirt. That we can do.

Batman is the most popular superhero in America because we all want to hit something sometimes. This applies to fandom as well. Sometimes it can be fairly vacant — Affleck, nipples — but sometimes it is more important. When Batman character The Spoiler, a teenage girl, was killed in the comics, fans began protesting the lack of a memorial to her in the comics’ Batcave. Marc Tyler Nobleman (with Ty Templeton) produced a book about Finger and led a massive campaign to get a Google Doodle to honor the writer. Filmmaker Kevin Smith (who has built an empire around a Batman podcast) also helps to run The Wayne Foundation, a non-profit group dedicated to help stop the sexual traffic of children. Finger documentaries are being funded, Glen Weldon has a cool new book on the horizon, a new Batgirl is making waves, and for the first time, Bill Finger’s name was credited on a Batman comic. That last one has a simple explanation.

What matters is that these endeavors – all of them real – are small vigilante acts done in the name of Batman. It is not the fictional character or the dead men we rally around, it is that central story in Crime Alley. That’s the one that gets us. That’s the one that inspires us to do things, try to help, or just like Batman. That is where the humanity — and popularity — of Batman really lies: in the detective and the crusader, not the pull-ups in a cave.

On November 24 of 1939, just a few months after Batman’s debut, the winners of a kids costume contest were announced in the Times:

costumes
I won’t argue that “The Bat Man” is an infinitely better costume than “cotton picker” or “camera,” but Angelo Carbone didn’t just want to win a free chicken. With the exception of the boxer, all of the other costumes sound parent-selected. Not “The Bat Man.” Angelo saw something in a comic he liked and went for it. He saw something he needed to be.

As I write this in Cleveland, there was a break-in last night at the university I teach at. Three students – all studying – were robbed at gunpoint in the common room of their dorm. A few weeks ago, in the middle of a sunny day, young men walked into my favorite neighborhood bar, The Colony, and shot the owner, Jim Brennan, dead.

Why is Batman so popular? Look around you and read the news.

This is Batman Country. That should both empower and terrify us.

 

P.S.

Speaking of detectives: there is one last mystery to bring up.

In the late nineties, a story surfaced out of Boston suggesting that another artist may have created Batman well before Kane and Finger (and not Siegel and Shuster, as I’ve half-suggested before).

Frank D. Foster II was a cartoonist who worked with Al Capp in the thirties. When he couldn’t get regular work, he abandoned comics for a job at what would become the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.

Supposedly, Foster had samples of a character named “Batman” that he shopped around New York before leaving for Washington — well before 1939. When Foster later saw fully-realized Batman comics in the forties, he was stunned — had they stolen his character? Foster and his family talked to an attorney in 1975, which was also when Siegel and Shuster’s plight was all over the news. After Foster died in 1995, his son Frank continued to ask questions. His website. OriginalBatman.com, reads: “Although there is no hard physical evidence, there is little room for doubt that people at DC saw the drawings. Most likely it was Bob Kane himself who was at DC at the time and claimed credit for creating Batman.”

foster
The problem is that there were no superheroes in 1932. Not til Superman. And these sketches are definitely of a superhero – the bottom face also looks very much like a Bill Everett Sub-mariner (thanks to fellow Beat contributor Jeff Trexler for that). At one point, Foster places the drawing even earlier, in the twenties. None of this is impossible, of course, but if true, then Foster’s Batman would have been the first superhero.

There are other problems of dates and letters, but take a look for yourself. Foster’s 1975 interview with the lawyer provides fascinating insight into how artists worked back then. And how the fallibility of memory complicates everything.

Is there any way to prove that Kane and Finger saw Foster’s drawings? They never mentioned him. Or did they?

In 1960, when Batman was well-established, Bill Finger wrote a script for Batman #135 called “Crimes of the Wheel.” In the story, the Dynamic Duo breaks up a gambling den, sending its leader, a man nicknamed “Big Wheel” to jail. He escapes and puts on a bright costume that is a garish copy of Batman’s. Now a villain with who uses wheel gadgets, he calls himself “The Wheel” (hey, it’s still better than “Bald Knobbers”).

balls

His ridiculous costume looks like a garish version of Batman’s. But he’s a moron and soon gets tossed back in jail. He gets made fun of — by other criminals, by Batman and Robin — for the entire issue. The character’s name who steals Batman’s shtick but fails? Frank Foster.

tec135

Is this pure coincidence or a hidden in-joke?  On his website, Foster’s son says of the original drawings by his dad:

I know he created Batman. It’s the first Batman. It was there, at the same place, at the same time Batman was published. There has to be a connection. The possibility of two men in 5,000 years of history arriving at the same character who’s a hero of the night, with the same name of Batman, at the same time, at the same place on the earth, is zero.

I don’t know what to make of Foster, but I do know that the possibility is never zero when it comes to talking about comics and culture. If we think of Batman as a cape and cowl, then sure, but as the fictional embodiment of our own fear of crime and desire for vengeance? That is more universal than zero. Perhaps more than we’d like to admit.

 

If you’re at Comic-Con, come to “Who Created Batman?” on Fri. from 2:30-3:30 in Room 26AB for a panel with Travis Langley, Tom Andrae, Athena Finger, Marc Tyler Nobleman, Denny O’Neill, Jens Robinson, Arlen Schumer, Michael Uslan, Nicky Wheeler Nicholson, and myself. PW is calling it one of the 14 Best Panels at Comic-Con.

Brad Ricca is the author of Super Boys: The Amazing Adventures of Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster – The Creators of Superman, now available in paperback. He also writes for StarWars.com. Visit www.super-boys.com and follow @BradJRicca.

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10. SDCC ’14: Spider-Verse panel Recap

by Alexander Jones

This early in the morning, it’s tough to get comics fans to wake up for anything. Luckily here at San Diego Comic-Con, there was a room full of eager Spidey fans frothing at the mouth to hear more news about the upcoming Spider-Verse event over at Marvel. The event combines every single Spider-Man character (owned by Marvel) into one jam packed story. This saw multiple heroes down at the show decked out in some awesome costumes. There was an Black Cat cosplayer in the room, a Miles Morales Spider-Man, and the original Peter Parker outfit as well.Spider-Man - Spider-Verse variant cover by Skottie Young

The panelists included Dan Slott, writer of the event; Senior Editor Nick Lowe; Daredevil author Mark Waid; Superior Foes of Spider-Man author Nick Spencer; artist Humberto Ramos; and Amazing Spider-Man colorist Edgar Delgado. Nick Lowe solicited much excitement from the crowd who happy to oblige amongst some of the others. He teased that he was going to show some of the fans a video later on in the panel. Mark Waid was attempting to tease that artist Humberto Ramos was only late because he wanted to make a big entrance. This solicited even more applause from an energetic crowd.

We then got another tease at the Spider-Verse tease variant covers by Gabrielle Dell’Otto.

Another comic was shown off at the upcoming The Superior Spider-Man #32 by Slott and author Christos Gage, along with Giuseppe Camuncoli and Adam Kubert teased the Edge of Spider-Verse. Humberto Ramos then showed up to a crowd who didn’t give him any applause at first. The audience then gave him some news after the initial whimper. Lowe explained that they were not going to show us any of the art from Spider-Verse yet.

Slott elaborated on the return of Superior Spidey. He states that Spidey got caught in a time vacuum and ended up stranded in 2099, where the new comic book picks up. The audience was shown some variant Skottie Young covers that are absolutely gorgeous. The focus then naturally shifted over to Spider-Man 2099. Lowe asked the audience if they bought the title from Will Sliney and original creator of the hero; Peter David. The audience once again broke off into massive applause. The editor explained some of the premises behind the issue. Rick Leonardi was mentioned as returning to the book with Issues #4 and #5 coming in October.

Mark Waid then teased Daredevil during Original Sin, which focuses the spotlight on Matt Murdock’s mother. She had abandoned him as a child, and Matt sees her again when she has been on tough times and found her way to prison. She is on her way to Wakanda. The group teased pages from upcoming Daredevil #7. Lowe shared that the group has a terrifying story coming up entitled “Who Are The Purple Children.” Waid states that the happy-go-lucky Daredevil is now starting to lose his cool with this title.

IMG_0844Slott elaborated about the Original Sin storyline crossing into Spider-Man, which features the Spider that bit Peter has also bitten Cindy Moon. She is also known as the Spider-Bride by Ezekiel. Ezekiel served as Spidey’s mentor for a short  time. Ezekiel has been keeping Moon enslaved for a certain amount of time, and her breaking out of imprisonment is going to be a major inciting incident towards Spider-Verse.

Lowe then brought some more attention to The Superior Foes of Spider-Man. Author Nick Spencer was talking about how this comic is focusing on some of the C and D-list villains in the Marvel Universe. He teased that that the comic book series may be crawling down to a halt soon. Issue #14 shifts the character focus more towards Overdrive. Spencer noted that at times he only needs to write down a paragraph and then have artist Steve Lieber work out what the page in full is going to look like.

Edge of Spider-Verse #2 by Jason Latour and Robbi Rodriguez was met with much fanfare, as it features the return of Gwen Stacy as an alternate Universe Spider-Man. Edge of Spider-Verse #3 is written by Gerard Way and Jake Wyatt was also met with much acclaim. Lowe stated that he has been trying to find a way to write for Marvel for some time. The musician turned comic artist has a massive following.

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In The Amazing Spider-Man Issue #7, Dan Slott teased a brand new spider-Man that he created for Spider-Verse. The Spider-UK, who has supposedly been on the Captain Britain Corps. The next issue bring in the MC2 Spider-Girl known as Mayday Parker. Slott teased that she may be in for a “rough” time.

Spider-Verse Team-Up was then announced which is a new comic shipping in November. Each issue is being written by a different author. Christos Gage, Roger Stern, Tom DeFalco, Dave Williams, and others will be penning the story.

The crowd was even more excited about the brand new Scarlet Spiders tale. The comic is a mini-series written by Mike Costa and drawn by Paco Diaz. The book features Ultimate Jessica Drew, Ben Reilly Spider-Man, and the Scarlet Spider. The cover teased was a variant issue drawn by long-time Ultimate Spider-Man artist Mark Bagley.

The trailer for a multi-media project was teased. Developed by Gameloft, the panel was teasing a video game entitled Spider-Man Unlimited. There are 23 playable Spider-Men in the brand new phone game. Lowe noted that each Spider-Man has different abilities, and there are going to be other villains in the title. The game is set-up like a Temple Run style format.

Whew! That is a lot of Spidey info. Spider-Verse kicks off in Amazing Spider-Man #9 in November.

 

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11. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Toothless, you don’t look well. What’s wrong, boy? #sdcc


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12. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Congratulations to the remarkable @hotwingforgery for winning 1st place in the @skylandersthegame costume contest!


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13. SDCC 14: Steve Niles Talks Bones and Punk Rock

By David Nieves
At SDCC I had the privilege to sit and talk with the master purveyor of words Steve Niles himself. It was a brief chat about what went into one of the best books to come out of Dark Horse’s stable, Breath of Bones: A tale of the Golem. Along the way we managed to get into the philosophies of true punk rock.

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CB: How are you enjoying Comic-Con?
” I’m enjoying this one [laughs]. It’s become such a commercial machine and so different from the hang out with your friends good time it use to be for me.”

**CB: Agreed, so with WW II stories the best seem to have a personal connection with the writer and this was a great one. What was your personal connection to Breath of Bones, if any?**
“Probably the relationship. I mean I have no connection to WWII, I was born in 1965. But what I do have is I never knew my grandparents, I knew one of my grandfathers for about ten minutes, never had a relationship with my father that whole thing. It’s sort of writing in absence, writers do that to. Everybody’s always write what you know well I spend a lot of time writing what I don’t know. I don’t know functional
relationships, families. I don’t know about these things where families pass down traditions that’s amazing to me. I was writing about wish full thinking and what I see in other people. A grandfather passing down a thing to his grandson to protect this town.

**CB: It’s gorgeous that you can do this story looking in from the outside in a way.**
“We all feel the same things, all have the same feelings. Even though I didn’t grow up with a functional family I have my own version of a family now. My wife and I, Monica, have nine animals. My life is ruled by animals. I think Gil has a bigger audience than I do [laughs].

**CB: Were you working on Eyes of Frankenstein at the same time as this story because they both feel similar in tone?**
It has that element because of the sympathy for the Frankenstein monster. [His] eyes are giving out after hundreds of years and his one enjoyment is reading, its a nightmare. There’s always something about a big giant guy that has the heart of a child.

**CB: if you could pick between Karloff and Lugosi to appear at Comic-Con should would you choose?**
I just love Karloff, there’s something about him that makes me feel comforted. I watch Thriller every night… not that I dislike Bella, I have different feelings for him there’s something very tragic and sad about Bella and part of that is the drug thing. He had this great career and then it was down. Borris Karloff started Frankenstein when he was in his 50s or 40s, he was already an older guy. He seems more modest kind of guy I’d like to talk to.

**CB: When do we get your punk rock story?**
I don’t know that I could ever do it. If I did it I’d leave the music out of it. I don’t want to see panels of a band playing. Nothing embarrasses me more that seeing musical notes with lyrics behind as they do the play thing. Somethings just don’t translate to other mediums. If I could tap into it… I’d wish I’d kept a journal through all those things. To me it’s more about the little moments than the big ones. First time I got to talk to Ian McKay or go to his house. There’s all these things that happen in a punk rock existence that moment you realize you don’t have to wait for anybody. You can do anything in this world on your own, to me that’s what it was always about.

**CB: To go back to BoB for a second, at the end of the book was the Golem the spirit of his grandfather?**
” A lot of people think that because of the timing but no. Here’s my reasoning, if it was it would have been a different departure. That’s also his wife sitting there, I feel like he would try and communicate that… my idea was just supernatural force.

**CB: Are there any monsters left you want to tackle?**
“Werewolves! I want to figure out a way to do werewolves.”

**CB: What draws you to that?”**
” Cause I hate every f***king one[laughs]. There’s always apart that makes me go ugh. I love the original Wolf man although I hope my dad would wait a little longer before beating me. I love the Howling but not the overall concept, the idea of a twelve step program for werewolves was a little silly to me.

**CB: Do you think it would be hard to do in a modern era?**
“It’s like the Golem, I thought about it for years till I found the right one.”

Needless to say Steve Niles is an eye opening creator to talk to and we’ll have full the audio from our interview later on.
Breath of Bones is available now in trade both in stores and digitally through Dark Horse. Visit their website for more details.

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14. SDCC’ 2014: A Peek Inside

by Pam Auditore

Wednesday night there were fireworks  over the Bay.  Last night there were oodles of events including:  the MTVu fan fest at PetCo park; the Nerd HQ parties; the Comic Book Defense League Party; the Witches of East End Party around the San Diego and at the Convention Center and so it will continue into Sunday.

The 2014 Comic Convention and News media Circus has fully descended on San Diego’s GasLamp District and  you don’t need a badge for Events outside the Convention Center.  And there are plenty, such as Nerd HQ, Petco Park Events  and the Chuck Jones Gallery.  Check out The Outside-Comic Con Blog and the SDCC Unofficial Blog for more details.

In the meantime, let me wet your appetite with a peak of only a few sights  from the Exhibit floor.imageimage

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15. SDCC ’14: Bryan Fuller reveals season 3 Hannibal spoilers

 By Hannah Lodge

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[Spoilers for the show up to and including season 2 below - obviously! - Steve]

Hannibal show runner Bryan Fuller revealed some early details for the upcoming third season at Comic Con panel and press events Thursday, including the likely inclusion of Gillian Anderson as a series regular next year, the return of several characters whose lives were left hanging in the balance, and a shift in time.

Fans attending the Hannibal panel were treated to an early spoiler when cast member Raul Esparza, who plays Doctor Frederick Chilton, was confirmed to be returning for season three in spite of taking a bullet to the face at the end of season two.

Espara said he knew his character would survive what appeared to be his bloody end, and revealed in a press conference that he’ll have a crucial role in the future of the series.

“I know that I’m instrumental in catching him,” Esparza said. “He’s going to become my prisoner. Doctor Bloom is involved.”

Fuller also revealed in the press event that guest star Gillian Anderson, who plays the role of Bedelia Du Maurier, is currently in negotiations to become a regular on the series.

“Bedelia is the smartest character on the show,” he said.

Fuller said the third season would take place a full year after the events in the season 2 finale, giving the audience a glimpse at Hannibal and Bedelia’s life on the run, which he described as Talented Mr. Ripley-esque.

Caroline Dhavernas (Doctor Alana Bloom) also attended the events and confirmed she would be participating in the upcoming season, though she would not reveal exactly what had happened to her character.

“She will be back, but I’m not sure in what state,” she said. “I know she will be a changed woman, and will continue on with a different way of life.”

In addition to the time jump, season three will feature flash backs (including one with guest star Eddie Izzard) and will focus less on the procedural episode-of-the-week and more on the manhunt for Hannibal.

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16. SDCC ’14: Jeff Lemire talks the return of The Legion of Super-Heroes and the end of his Green Arrow run

JLU_Cv4_selfie_varBy Kyle Pinion

While Jeff Lemire has recently been making waves with the announcements of his upcoming The Black Hammer at Dark Horse and Descender at Image, his DC work continues to be amongst the premiere offerings of the publisher. I had a chance to sit down with Lemire to discuss what’s coming from him in The New 52.

Kyle: Congratulations on another well-deserved Eisner nomination for Trillium. It’s kind of funny to think about this – Trillium is sort of an opening shot in this line up of sci-fi titles that have started to release from other creators. Where do you see Trillium sitting in this “new sci-fi revolution” we’re seeing in comics?

Jeff: Yeah, well I think Saga was the first shot. It was so inspiring to see a sci-fi book do so well. I think every nerd has a sci-fi story they want to tell eventually, and this is the time. Where does Trillium sit? I don’t know – it just came out so you kind of have to look back in maybe 5 years from now to see where it stands and if people are still talking about it. I tried to experiment a lot and tried to tell an emotionally affecting story set in a big, cosmic setting. It’s hard to analyze your own work when it’s so fresh still.

Kyle: And I know you have a special attachment to the stuff you draw yourself. Do you have plans to do more of that soon?

Jeff: Yeah, I’m working on a graphic novel right now for Simon & Schuster that I’m drawing that’ll come out next fall. Then I’ll probably do another ongoing monthly thing that I’ll draw after that.

Kyle: Justice League United is one of my favorite titles coming out of DC right now. It’s very exciting and a lot of fun, the origins of that title though – it changed at one point from Justice League Canada when it was announced initially to Justice League United. Is there a background story as to why that changed?

Jeff: No, it’s pretty simple. I was really just taking over Justice League America and I wanted to move the team to Canada, which they were totally cool with, so we changed the title to Canada and then as we got closer to publication, I think they realized having Canada in the title might be a little bit too specific for international readers and American readers. So it just made sense. We want to get as many people reading the book as we can, and it didn’t affect the content of the story at all, so it was cool with me. No drama.

Kyle: The tone of Justice League United is very DC animated universe-esque. Was there an outward attempt to aim for a more fun tone?

Jeff: Yeah, very much. I feel like there are so many super hero comics that are very serious and take themselves very seriously. Green Arrow, for example, is very much that, I write some of that stuff too. But I think there needs to be more balance, and I think sometimes we forget that these are super hero comics. They should be fun, and the characters should be having fun. And I really tried to bring that back. A lot of the stuff that I read when I was younger, that I gravitated towards, had a sense of humor to it, and a sense of fun and wonder.

Kyle: It’s kind of opening up a lot of the cosmic stuff of the New 52 as well. Was that one of your long term goals with the series?

Jeff: Absolutely, yeah, that’s some of my favorite stuff in DC history is all the cosmic stuff. It was one big corner of the universe that hadn’t really been exploited too much aside from the Green Lantern titles, you know, so I felt there was a lot of potential there. I’m really getting into Raan and Thanagar and the politics there and seeing other alien races and the Legion of Super Heroes coming, which blows everything wide open.

Kyle: So what can you tell us about the Infinitus Saga?

Jeff: Ultra the Multi-alien, the child that they found in the first arc was a big part of that moving forward, and what Ultra is destined to become is something that has a huge impact in the 31st century. So we see a few Legionnaires come back to deal with Ultra, and that kind of spirals from there into a massive cosmic saga. I grew up reading Legion and the great darkness saga so this is my attempt to throw down the gauntlet and do one of those big sprawling space opera stories with like 40 super heroes running around the galaxy. It’s been a blast.

Kyle: Can we expect to see your Legion further beyond this story, possibly?

Jeff: I don’t know. I would love to. That’s definitely a property I have a lot of ideas and opinions on. I think there’s a lot of untapped potential right now. So that would be something I would definitely be interested in. Who knows?

Kyle: I hope so. Do you have a favorite Legionnaire, Jeff?

Jeff: I do. And it’s Ultraboy. Or Brainiac 5. Or Mon-El. Those 3.

Kyle: You get one choice sir!

Jeff: I always dug him (Ultra Boy) more as a kid, I love that idea that he was as powerful as Superman but he could only use one at a time, that’s so fun. It kind of limits him. Superman can be too powerful sometimes to write plausible threats for him, whereas Ultra Boy had that power but it was limited in a really fun and interesting way. He was very charismatic as well.

Kyle: The storytelling potential of that is pretty strong. I always liked the fact that his powers comes via a whale, being named Jo Nah.

Jeff: Those costumes are so cool, and for some reason his costume always got me. I just liked drawing it as a kid.

Kyle: So we can expect some good Ultra Boy scenes perhaps?

Jeff: Yeah I haven’t really had a really good one yet. I’m on the fourth script of a six issue story so I’ve got to really find a good moment. You’ve got to find one moment for everyone, because there’s so many of them. I’ll find his.

Kyle: And that’s going to run through the next, what, 5 issues of JLU?

Jeff: Yeah, it starts in the Annual. Then it goes for 5 issues after that. So 6 issues total.

Kyle: Is Mike McKone going to be penciling?

Jeff: No, Mike’s done on Justice League United. He’s moved on. Mike, he’s awesome to work with, I love him, but he always knew he was only going to do the first arc because I think he has some other projects he wanted to get done. So we’re bringing in an artist named Neil Edwards from the U.K. I think Neil worked with the same studio as Bryan Hitch, so they have a common thread in their style, and he’s great. He’s been great so far.

Kyle: Equinox is going to have her profile increase over the next few issues as well. Are you excited to have your own character that you created taking the forefront of the story?

Jeff: Very much so, there are a couple of cool things; like the Futures End issues where we jump 5 years into the future. I got to play with her and where she is 5 years from now, so she’s much more confident and much more entrenched in the larger DC universe, playing a bigger role, so that was fun. And in the Legion story, she’s someone who’s lived in a small isolated community, and all of a sudden she’s in space with 40 other alien super heroes, and her reaction to that is a lot of fun to play with, and her being an aboriginal woman and meeting Dawnstar who is an aboriginal woman from the future, and learning that she’s a huge inspiration for the next thousand years, is this really great moment that I’m really proud of.

Kyle: have you heard much from the basis of the character, Shannen Koostachin’s family?

Jeff: Yeah, it was kind of misreported. The character wasn’t really based on Shannen. Shannen – that story is very inspiring – she was a young activist who was killed, and I wouldn’t presume to try to tell her story in a super hero that without her family’s blessing or anything. The idea of creating a teenage character who was based in the same area, she is certainly one of the inspirations for her, but the character wasn’t really based on her.

Kyle: It’s good to have that clarification! So, with the little bit of time we have left I’d like to talk to you about Green Arrow. It’s a fabulous run, probably one of my favorite DC comics coming out right behind JLU, it’s coming to an end sadly. Was it always planned it would end at issue 35?

Jeff: No, I didn’t really know when it would end whe? I started it. I knew there was the big Outsiders story I wanted to tell and the Richard Dragon story, so I just kind of let it happen at its own pace. There were a couple of things that Andrea (Sorrentino) wanted to tackle project-wise and I think he was really a collaborator in every sense on this book, a real co-story teller, and I didn’t want to do the book without him. I feel like we had created something special together. I know he was anxious after 20 issues to move onto something else, move on to a new character and keep things fresh for him, so I knew that was coming. And the Futures End thing provided us with a unique opportunity to literally tell the end of Green Arrow’s story. Because he dies in Futures End, I could literally tell the story from my last issue to his death, the last 5 years of his life, and finish his story essentially. So that’s kind of a unique thing, because usually you just pass the character on so they can tell the rest of his life in one big issue.

Kyle: You are actually going to be able to hang on to Green Arrow and Animal Man and JLU, and you’ve got Frankenstein in Futures End. Isn’t it funny that you seem to have the same characters following you throughout the New 52?

Jeff: You fall in love with them, you invest in them, and you put a lot of yourself into them. You spend months and months and sometimes years writing the characters and it’s hard to let them go, you know? So whenever you can keep them and keep evolving them as characters, I always grab those opportunities.

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17. SDCC ’14: Image Comics Goes to Infinity Recap

by Zachary Clemente

Image Comics’ all-around rad panel host (among other talents) David Brothers hosted the first of many of the “I is for…” panels scheduled this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Following in line with their new branding which spins their lineup with succinct descriptive words that being with “I”. “Innovative”, “Irreverent”, “Interplanetary” have been banded about with this new means of breaking the bonds of genre definitions – but today’s panel (“Infinite” for those keeping score at home) was all about introspection.

IMG_1207A good mix of writers and illustrators joined the panel to talk their work in respect to genre definitions, their experiences at Image, the next stages of their projects, and field a good amount of questions from the audience. Since the publisher has a whole mess of creators working with them, an interesting mix is available. On the panel was Ryan Burton (Dark Engine), Nick Dragotta (East of West), Jason Latour (Southern Bastards), Richard Starkins (Elephantmen), Declan Shalvey (Injection), Tom Neely (The Humans), Stuart Moore (EGOs), and Rick Remender (Deadly Class).

The two most noticeable things about the panel was that it all of the creators on it were white and male. Considering Eric Stephenson’s points of the necessity of diversity in their creators at yesterday’s Image Expo, the panelist lineup does seem to strike an odd chord. Granted, the following Image panels scheduled throughout the rest of the week due feature non-white creators and female creators – so let’s chalk it up to scheduling.

I have to say, often panels like this can hit low points where the people participating weren’t sure where to go from the previous discussion, but give it up for Brothers – this one moved smoothly between talks; allowing all the panelists good time to talk about their own experiences and share their own stories, while the rest were able to interject casually. It felt more like watching a conversation than attending a press event, which is what I look for in a good panel.

Going up and down the table, each creator touched on the influences that shape their books and their relationships with genres such as sci-fi and western and how that informs their books. Burton commented on how he doesn’t feel that Dark Engine could be done elsewhere as he’s allowed to push the concept further – creating an intensely powerful female character in the vein of Conan or Beowulf, going as far as give her a sword made from a T-Rex’s rib.

One interesting topic broached was the age gap for most Image readers. There really isn’t much along the lines of all-ages or kid-friendly currently being published by Image – and Nick Dragotta was happy to discuss the strange interplay he has as an artist recollecting the for-kids DIY educational HowToons book and his raucous and bloody work in East of West. We also found out that East of West is set at about 60 issues, with each 15-issue installment representing approximately a year in the story’s timeline.

Jason Latour, half of the Jason-based team creating Southern Bastards talked about how the book, while not from exact experiences, is ingrained with impressions of spending childhood weekends in rural North Carolina. Otherwise, he jokingly suggested that “it’s about watching dogs poop.” When pressed about his working relationship with Jason Aaron and their southern roots, Latour explained their occasional disagreements with the example of  “I’ve tried to convince him that farm animals are off-limits for sexual proclivities,” which received quite a hoot n’ holler from the audience.

Notably, many questions were directed to Remender, which isn’t too surprising considering he now has 4 titles with Image (Black ScienceThe LowDeadly Class, and the recently announced Tokyo Ghost). As he had in the back of the trade release of Deadly Class, Remender delved into his past, much unpleasant, that influenced the world and emotional core of the teenage assassins book. When queried about engaging the controversy over a certain scene involving Marvel character Sam Wilson and how fan reaction plays a part in their work, Remender was quick to explain that there wasn’t a true controversy in play and that as the outrage built, he “removed himself and spent 3 days hugging his kids, while eating toast and crying.”

As the rest of the panel attempted to field the question, Latour piped in, saying that “some of the rednecks who would have a problem with Southern Bastards can’t read.” Problem solved.

Overall, it was a well-organized panel that come from a lot more thought about their lineup of talent and book on the part of the publisher that I expect of most, though perhaps a slightly more diverse cast would have played well. I’m looking forward to the rest of the Image panels, featuring different guests to discuss different topics.

 

 

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18. SDCC ’14: Female Heroes, Then & Now Panel Recap

By Matthew Jent

To mark the 25th anniversary of Heartbreakers, an action/sci-fi serial originally serialized in Dark Horse Presents, co-creator Anina Bennett brought the conversation about Female Heroes, Then & Now to SDCC.

Allison Baker & Claire Hummel share their personal heroes with a full  room.

Allison Baker & Claire Hummel share their personal heroes with a full room.

Anina was joined by her husband and Heartbreakers co-creator Paul Guinan, Geek & Sundry’s Kiala Kazebee, comics/movie/video game writer Jimmy Palmiotti, Monkeybrain Co-Publisher and IDW Director of Operations Allison Baker, and former Xbox/current HBO Production Designer Claire Hummel.

The room was packed, and it was filled with men, women, and a fair share of cosplayers. There was a twi’lek wielding a lightsaber, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy, a TARDIS, and a little Batgirl — also carrying a lightsaber, which was downright adorable.

Anina, who introduced herself as “a recovering comic book editor,” led off by thanking so many people for turning out for a positive discussion about female heroes. Her first question to the panel was about their real-life female heroes, and the panel name-checked a lot of the more popular and interesting female cartoonists in the industry today — Kate Beaton, Colleen Coover, Joelle Jones, Kate Leth, Erika Moen, and others. Claire Hummel specifically pointed out Sheilah Beckett, known for her work on the Little Golden Books, and 20th century artist Mary Blair. “Everyone’s trying to be Mary Blair,” Claire said.

Allison Baker mentioned comics writer & all-star Trina Robbins, Jimmy Palmiotti and Paul Guinan lauded their (respective) mothers and wives, and Kiala Kazebee said she looks up to her Geek & Sundry co-hosts Felicia Day, Veronica Belmont, and Bonnie Burton.

The panel moved on to discussing some of the everyday examples of sexism and fear of feminism in the comics, film, and video game industries, including Ubisoft’s recent declaration that female avatars were too difficult to add to the upcoming Far Cry 4, and David Finch’s assertion that his upcoming run on Wonder Woman will feature a strong, but not feminist, version of the Amazon.

In a time when more and more women are creating and enjoying media in comics, film, and video games, this backward assertion comes from, in the opinion of the panel, that fact that the editors, managers, and leaders of these companies are still men. Without that diversity of thought and opinion from the top, there will continue to be shortsighted missteps like Ubisoft’s.

Anina stressed to the panel attendees: don’t be afraid to call yourself a feminist.

“It means we want equal rights,” said Kiala. “That’s all it is. It’s very simple.”

“I think real men are feminists,” Allison added, and the audience agreed.

There was a brief discussion of the new Thor, but that was deemed not as good news as it might seem, since there are still so few freelancers working on Marvel titles.

“Representation is important, but also on the creators’ side,” Claire said.

Paul asked if Thor as a woman, and Captain America as an African-American, were just gimmicks. But the panel mostly shrugged it off.

“It’s more than DC is doing,” Kiala said.

So why aren’t there more female creators on the big-name books? Jimmy Palmiotti asserted that at DC it was matter of putting the right creators on the right books, but Allison said, “It’s the sign of a rut. The editors don’t go outside of their circles when assembling their creative team. If women see more women working in that field, more women will go into that field.

When asked if leaders had a responsibility to build more diverse teams, the panel’s answer was resoundingly yes. More diverse teams would mean more diverse outlooks, which would mean better books, movies, and games.

Nearing conclusion, Anina asked if the panelists had themselves been accused of sexism or bigotry. Claire talked about creating some Indian-influenced steampunk designs in her early Tumblr days, and being called out for still relying on primarily Western concepts. She said it was because, at the time, she thought, “Steampunk is Western.” Being called out made her realized it didn’t have to be. “I can say I’m sorry, and I can move forward, and I learned how to react reasonably and take advice,” she said.

(Although apparently some doofball approached her after the panel to add a particularly doofy addendum to this commendable and enlightened anecdote. But we’re patient and enlightened feminists around here, so we won’t let that ruin a perfectly good panel.)

A few other examples were given, including a recap of the Harley Quinn/art contest/bathtub snafu from a few months back, but Anina summarized them all with, “All examples involved taking a step back and changing your attitudes and your behavior.”

With a growing number of women in the industry (and fandom), these kinds of conversations are going to happen more often, and not just within the confines of the old school “Women in Comics” panels that used to permeate conventions of this size. Women Heroes was an engaging and (overall) positive discussion about how far this industry has come — and how far it still has to go.

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19. SDCC ’14: Fairy Tale Remix Panel Recap

By Matthew Jent

The Fairy Tale Remix panel, moderated by author Shannon Hale, brought together more than half a dozen authors of young adult and fantasy fiction in front of a packed panel room. Hale a confident and fun tone, promising a fight to first blood by the panelists if things got boring. Full disclosure? I took a seat in this panel to get a good spot for a later panel in the same room that I wanted to cover for the Beat — but Fairy Tale Remix has proven to be the highlight of my SDCC 2014 experience so far. It was a symposium on fairy tales, storytelling, writing and the search for magic in real life. No first-blood-fights were required, and there wasn’t an empty seat in the room. The audience included mostly women, from kids on up, with more than a few cosplayers. Before the panel began, there were a number of kids (and their accompanying grown-ups) having their pictures taken with some folks who cosplayed the Frozen sisters Elsa & Anna and if you weren’t yet caught up on this season of Once Upon a Time, it was a bad audience to eavesdrop on.

Shannon Hale holds court.

Shannon Hale holds court.

After introducing the panel members as Marissa “The Mauler” Meyer, Katherine “No Safe” Harbour, “The Hammer of Lore” John Peck, “The Baroness Schadenfreude” Cornelia Funke, Tony “The Terror” DiTerlizzi, Ben “The Equalizer” Tripp (dressed in a Georgian England costume, complete with white wig), and Danielle “Toto’s Bane” Paige, Hale began with a quote from Albert Einstein: “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be moreintelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Asking how the panelists were introduced to fairy tales, it was across the board as children.

“It was the first time I realized, everything is a metaphor,” Tripp said, “These stories are all about something else.”

Funke, after explaining that she is German and so was naturally raised with the original, brutally violent versions of the tales, said she hated them as a child. They were full of death and dismemberment, and swans who had to knit sweaters for their brothers.

Meyer added that her first fairy tale love was Disney’s film version of The Little Mermaid, and upon subsequently reading the original version by Hans Christian Andersen, in which Ariel dies at the end, she wondered, “What else is Disney not telling us?”

That discomfort and that desire to know more was a strong motivator for the writers to tell their own versions of Rapunzel, Oz, or Puss N Boots. Meyer got her start as a writer with Sailor Moon fan fiction, and writing new versions of fairy tales was a logical progression. When Hale asked the panel if it was fair to call what they were doing fan fiction, everyone agreed.

“How is rewriting fairy tales different from fan fiction?” Hale asked.

They’re basically the same thing, the panel agreed, but “You can take fairy tales in more directions than fan fiction,” said Meyer. Tired of passive princess characters, Meyer wanted to get back to the older versions of very old tales — where Little Red Riding Hood rescued herself from the Big Bad Wolf, instead of waiting for the Woodsman to appear.

Fairy tales come to represent the times and the places in which they are written. Adding something new to those tales — characters, points of view, social agendas or social awareness that did not exist when they were first told — is part of a storytelling tradition that goes back to Shakespeare, and earlier. Peck added that no story was worth retelling without adding something new.

The panel ended with a Q&A from the audience, many of whom were writers and storytellers themselves. One audience member asked where the writers found magic in the modern world to write about.

“Where do you not find it?” Funke said. “Look at the people in this room, the hundred million stories in these chairs, in these costumes. There is so much in this room I would call magic. We are just the reporters of that. We are in pretty magical times.”

A parent asked how she could encourage her daughter, who wanted to be a writer.

“Forbid it,” said Tripp, whose own son was studying medicine and science.

“Don’t give too many instructions,” Funke said. “And give her beautiful, empty notebooks.”

It sounds like the beginning of a fairy tale.

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20. SDCC 14: Dark Horse’s ‘Aliens, Predator, Prometheus and Beyond’ Panel

imageBy Kyle Pinion

Dark Horse Editor in Chief Scott Allie has pulled together a wide array of young and up and coming talent for the upcoming four interlocking mini-series that revolve around the Aliens, Predator and Prometheus franchises entitled “Fire and Stone”. The majority of those creators joined him on stage for Dark Horse’s panel on the subject and included Paul Tobin (Prometheus), Chris Sebela (Aliens vs. Predator), Chris Roberson (Aliens), Joshua Williamson (Predator), Juan Ferrerya (Prometheus), and Ariel Olivetti (Aliens vs. Predator).

While the majority of the discussion held therein was for the most part news that has already been reported in the previous months leading up to the end of year release of this long-anticipated “mega-series”. There were a number of items worth noting:

- The collaborative process between the entire team has been a smooth one, despite a significant bump caused by notes given by Fox and Ridley Scott’s team regarding some of the content and the narrative direction of the series, causing much of each creative teams’ work to be scrapped. Though Tobin made note that the studio has now opened up “more of the tool-box” for their usage.

- This change of direction from Fox is one of the major factors that caused the eventual release delay of each series.

- Originally, Williamson was slated for an Aliens comic before the “Fire and Stone” concept came into place, and while he was sad to see the take that he and Allie had worked out not see the light of day, he believes this new effort is equally as exciting.

- Each team member stressed that the chemistry of their writers’ room approach was a big part of why this project came together as well as it did, despite significant rewrites being needed.

- Kelly Sue DeConnick, who is also writing the finale of the series in Prometheus Omega, was credited as the key driver of research regarding incorporating Prometheus into the Alien and Predator universe. According to Allie, she brought an entire pink binder full of Prometheus theories from the internet.

- Ferrerya was brought on board to the project because of his design skill, and that was an angle that the team wanted to make sure was highlighted. Roberson likened Ferrerya’s map-making abilities to being “one step away from a DnD campaign”.

- Paul Tobin was brought in for the Prometheus series because of his previous work with Ferrerya on Colder.

- Williamson discussed the eponymous Predator of his Predator series, named Ahab, who is indeed hunting for a “white whale” though the identity of said target had to remain a secret. He also was proud of the fact that Ahab already has an action figure, which could be found at the Dark Horse booth on the show floor.

- Williamson also discussed his protagonist, Galgo, who will be appearing in Prometheus first, followed by Aliens v Predator, eventually becoming the lead in Predator. The writer made sure to mention the morally grey nature of the character, and also his verbose nature.

- Sebela, regarding Aliens vs. Predator, stated that he spent his entire childhood trying to figure out a way for Xenomorphs and Predators to fight and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do the same in comics. Allie felt as though Sebela’s horror background was a particularly strong fit for the “monster-like” material in his series. Olivetti expressed excitement for the cinematic nature of the visuals he is producing, a first for him in comics.

- When asked if the stories connect, the team stressed that the books could be read independently of one another and readers could get a satisfying story that way, but they would see the larger picture form if they wanted to read the entire event.

- The chronology of “Fire and Stone” was also cleared up, as Aliens is a pseudo prequel to the other tales, and takes place between scenes of Aliens (the film), Predator takes place after the other minis and Prometheus Omega is the finale.

- In response to a question regarding previous usage of “The Space Jockey” and the mythos built around it in previous Dark Horse Aliens comics, Allie said those stories will not come into play with Fire and Stone.

- Bouncing off of that, Roberson made mention that the key directive was to “start from the films and go from there”, and the only films that team really concentrated on were: Prometheus, Alien, Aliens, and Predator. Sebela, when asked, said that the two Aliens vs. Predator films were not canon to his series.

- When the divisive nature of Prometheus amongst fandom was brought up, Paul was quick to point out that he wasn’t interested so much in leaving any elements of that film behind, so much as he wanted to highlight the parts of it that worked well, specifically the concept of scientists going on a mission and realizing that things are far bigger than they ever imagined. Ferrerya then joked that he was excited to bring back the biologist and cartographer characters that everyone “loved” from the film.

- Allie made sure to underline that theme was key driver in the storytelling of each mini-series, particularly the idea of the “stewardship of life”, which runs in the background of the Alien and Prometheus films particularly. Roberson also made mention that the parallels that run between the androids in Aliens and Prometheus was a major influence.

- And yes, there will be Black Goo! Which, according to Roberson’s read of the notes they received from Fox, is called “accelerant”. They declined to go into further detail regarding the role it will play in the stories themselves.

- Prometheus and Aliens will both be due out in September, Aliens vs Predator and Predator will see release in October. The Prometheus Omega one-shot is set to arrive in February. Each series will be a 4-issue mini respectively.

2 Comments on SDCC 14: Dark Horse’s ‘Aliens, Predator, Prometheus and Beyond’ Panel, last added: 7/25/2014
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21. SDCC 2014: Movie Poll!

And now… time for a reader poll!

Which actor would you most like to see on screen?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

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22. SDCC ’14: Avengers & X-Men: AXIS Panel Recap

by Alexander Jones

Marvel’s Avengers & X-Men: AXIS panel is officially getting underway here at San Diego Comic-Con International. Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso is hovering near the stage about to get ready. In the background there is a line of people getting ready for the show. Name placards for the panel are all lined up as follows; Senior Editor Nick Lowe, AXIS writer Rick Remender, and Executive Editor Mike Marts.

Senior Editor Nick Lowe is moderating the effort. Jordan D. White, the Editor of Deadpool made an appearance at the show as well. As soon as that was done the group jumped right into some of the new announcements from the show.Avengers_Rage_of_Ultron_Interior

All-New Captain America is given an official name and features the art of Stuart Immonen.

Remender stated that the new comic is going to have a completely different tone for this new series. He stated that having Steve and Sam working together is going to add some new dynamics to the title. A new Alex Ross cover for the book was also shown here at the show. Remender states that writing more lighthearted characters in the book adds a sense of fun to the storyline. Ian Rogers is also revealed as the new Nomad in the comic book series. It was also stated that Hydra is being built up again in a way that apparently we have not seen before. Marvel vaguely stated that they are doing something completely new with Marvel’s premiere terrorist organization.

Remender talks about how Immonen takes the story to a nearly perfect level. He was wondering “what drugs were being put in Stuart Immonen’s water supply,” as the panel were shocked that the artist was able to give such detailed work and deliver it to the publisher on time. Captain America #25 is also going to have a bit of Stuart Immonen artwork towards the back half of the title featuring the brand new incarnation of Hydra. Unfortunately this also means that Stuart Immonen is departing fan-favorite title All-New X-Men

The Avengers: Rage Of Ultron Original Graphic Novel was then announced. Rick Remender is once again writing the storyline along with artist Jerome Opena and Dean White. The new story is an in-continuity original graphic novel that has an April 2015 release date. Alonso stated in a joking manner that Jerome “is so much better than Stuart Immonen.” This event takes place in a post-AXIS environment, which “leads to some very exciting things that are coming down the line.  The under-appreciated hero known as Starfox is heading back to the surface in the brand new graphic novel. The Red Skull is also going to tie into the big Avengers & X-Men: AXIS storyline with the March to AXIS titles including Uncanny Avengers #24 and Captain America #24 which sees the final fate of Jet Black and observe what has been happening with the Red Skull.

IMG_0812-1

The panel then revealed Avengers & X-Men: AXIS Issue #1, whose first is entitled The Red Supremacy. The title contains artwork from Adam Kubert. The group shared that the Vision is being toyed with once again. He is said to play a part towards a major moment in the upcoming AXIS and Graphic Novel storylines. We are also shown the debut of the brand new Jim Cheung cover for Avengers & X-Men: AXIS #2 pencilled by Kubert again. The third issue was revealed as well, which is being drawn by Leinil Yu.

The focus then shifted over towards the AXIS: Carnage mini-series from Rick Spears and the AXIS: Hobgoblin mini-series by Kevin Shinick and Javier Rodriguez. Where the group explained that there are exciting things to come from both series. AXIS: Revolutions features writing from Dennis Hopeless and Simon Spurrier with art from Ken Lashley.

There were even more small issues that were announced including Uncanny Avengers Issue #25 and Deadpool #36. Remender and artist Daniel Acuna are covering the final issue which is born out of the conflict with Scarlet Witch and the Red Skull.

Magneto #11, Loki: Agent of Asgard #7, All-New X-Factor #15 were all also announced to tie into the event.

When the floor turned over for Question and Answers from fans, a young man named Rory dressed up like Captain America asked a question about the Fantastic Four. Alonso stated that an upcoming event storyline is going to be more focused on the team. Another fan asked about certain X-Men characters joining the Avengers, and was wondering why there is less cross pollination happening with X-Men becoming Avengers

IMG_0813-1Lowe elaborated that the X-Men is categorized in that group based on their genetics. White noted the amount of cross-over and talked about books like Danger, Longshot, Mimics, and some of the other comics’ characters that have been featured on both teams. It was announced that Brevoort was really the one that had the idea of the Onslaught motif powered by Professor Charles Xavier. Remender said at first he sort of rejected the idea, but then started to re-think it towards the past few minutes, and it all came into a notebook for him.

Remender interjected that he is trying to mix both of these separate continuities to blend together shaking up the status quo for each hero. Another fan was curious about why there is a lack of X-Men material at the show, while there are many Avengers and X-Men panels that are featured here at the show. Nicke Lowed Jokingly stated to the group, “Put the hack Brian Michael Bendis on the book.” The panel explained that fans had nothing to worry about as AXIS is going to feature a heavy amount of X-Men material. On the topic of unworthy Thor, Remender stated that he had spent hours on the phone with Aaron talking about how they can tie the storyline into AXIS.

A comic book reader asked point blank whether Cyclops was going to be killed in Avengers vs. X-Men. The panelists explained that the idea might have been “floating around in the room, but never entertained for too long. “It was also announced that Jason Aaron was the one who had actually had the idea of the female Thor.

 

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23. SDCC ’14: Hall H shocker! No lines!

Whaaaaaaaaaat?

Was it just a slow day in Hall H? Or were we more right than we even knew about this being the year things didn’t get crazier? Did the new wristband system—and the ban on tents, forcing people to Rambo it—work? IS this just another world? Maybe everyone went to the PetCo Park experience?

Zillions of reports all day from Twitter about minimal lines for Hall H.

And Ballroom 20

Craziest Comic-Con EVAH this year.

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24. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Kneel before your god(zilla)


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25. SDCC 14: #comicsbeat Really top-notch Bee and Puppycat cosplay by @microcake !


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