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26. Wakeful sleeping

Those of you who notice these things will have noticed that ReadySteadyBook has been very quiet for a very long time now. Recently, Stephen Mitchelmore wrote: "The main reason I still write this blog is to maintain a contact with the need or condition that drove me to read and write in the first place; a need often misdirected in pursuit of what the industry is talking about. Long silences here report stout resistance to the temptations of disinterested reception. But what is this need?"

My "resistance" is fully compromised, as I work in the industry to which Steve refers; my "long silences" report only that I'm busy elsewhere (currently at Foyles) doing my best to champion the kind of books I first started writing about here thirteen or so years ago. I'm loath to close RSB down, however, as I'm sure I'll soon have the time and energy to report again on what really matters. That horizon keeps receding, but those books that feel vital, axes for the frozen sea inside, remain the reason to maintain this space, and will be the only reason to return back to it.

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27. Anti-Bullying Comics Anthology RISE to Release Third Volume

by Melanie Burke

Images courtesy of Northwest Press

“It’s like an after school special but it’s a good one,” says Adam Pruett of the anti-bullying comics anthology RISE. “I’m not just saying that because it’s my book and I want to promote it—I actually believe in the material.”

Born from a frustration with caustic attitudes and gatekeeper mentalities within the comics community, RISE is the collaborative effort of editors Joey Esposito, Adam Pruett, Erica Schultz and Kristopher White. With hundreds of different contributors from all over the globe, the book currently has two issues out with Northwest Press and a third is slated for digital release this summer.

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“Out of that [frustration] came this idea, ‘Let’s do an anthology of celebrating being yourself’ and if there’s any place where that should be acceptable it’s the comics community,” says Esposito of the book’s initial inception.

The editorial team began working together in 2010 and approached Northwest Press several years later, launching a Kickstarter to fund printing costs in October of 2014. The Kickstarter platform, in addition to the for-sale issues on the Northwest Press website, made it possible to fund a book that is largely given away for free.

In addition to being available for free download at risecomics.org, RISE is distributed at all-ages events and school tours by Stand for the Silent and Prism Comics.

“It feels like we’re contributing to society,” says Esposito. “In a small but important way.”

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Part of the goal for the editorial team was to approach the issue of bullying from all sides—hence the power of an anthology that delivers such a diverse voice and wide range of art styles. The individual narratives range from tales of redemption and forgiveness between reformed bullies and their former targets to frustrated scientists with singing plants to aliens admonishing their peers for participating in late-night cow tipping.

“It’s not us and them, it’s not good guys and bad guys,” says publisher Charles “Zan” Christensen.“I think that the stories do a good job of showing that it’s not just there are bad people who do bad things, but that people sometimes do bad things.People can change, people can learn and do the right thing in the future.”

Tackling such a sensitive subject in a grand-scale way produced its own unique challenges—like coordinating such a large group of contributors.

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“We’re working on four different time zones, two or three continents, god knows how many countries,” says Schultz.“You’ll send an email off [and it] will be the end of the night, and then the next person who gets it is replying the equivalent of 2am for me.”

“It’s like herding cats,” says Esposito, laughing.

Additionally, the team had to make decisions regarding language and content for a young audience, without sacrificing the sometimes brutal realities depicted within the anthologies.

“That process was really illuminating,” says Christenson.“It was good to have those discussions and figure out how to strike that balance.”

Schultz says that the trade off to the chaos is “being introduced to creators who I wasn’t familiar with. And not just comic creators but people who work in different mediums as well coming on to write comics. That’s always great, getting to meet new people, getting exposed to different styles.”

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For Esposito, the excitement from contributors helped fuel the process. “[Seeing] the enthusiasm from everybody but seeing these really established creators come on board—donating their time and artistic talent to do something like this—was really exciting for me.”

The third and last issue of RISE will release sometime late June or early July of this year. After that, the team hopes to see the project continue in any variety of ways—potentially a once-a-year anthology.

“I hope it takes on a life of its own,” says Schultz.

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28. The Wicked + The Divine’s Fandemonium Trailer Will Have You Losing Your Head

Once again, we return to the end of another arc in Kieron Gillen’s, Jamie McKelvie’s, Matthew Wilson’s, and Clayton Cowles’ Image hit, The Wicked + The Divine.  The trade that collects the “Fandemonium” story will hit store shelves on Wednesday, July 1st.  To celebrate, designer James Leech has put together an expertly animated trailer featuring sad songs and even sadder gods.

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29. Inside Comic-Con’s offices and their million dollar war chest

sdcc_logo.jpgThe people who work at Comic-Con International, the non-profit organization that put on next week’s extravaganza, keep a pretty low public profile—SDCC president John Rogers (who now works full time for CCI) and executive director Fae Desmond hardly ever do interviews. (This 2010 chat with Rogers is the only one I ever remember seeing) but the NY Times tried to dig in a little, and spoke with David Glanzer while looking at some of the numbers of the organization:

The nonprofit that puts on Comic-Con has a longstanding reluctance to discuss its affairs or even, for the most part, to share more than rudimentary details about its leaders. “It has always been about the event, and not about the people who do the event,” said David Glanzer, the group’s director for marketing and public relations.

But during an interview at the organization’s headquarters in mid-June, Mr. Glanzer agreed to part with past practice to address questions about its structure, resources and prospects. In addition to Comic-Con, the organization runs the similar but significantly smaller WonderCon in Anaheim, Calif.

He described a vibrant, if deeply conservative operation — it has largely eschewed growth in favor of preservation — that behaves less like a business or conventional nonprofit than a collective of shadowy guardians. The group began almost by accident, with 300 friends and acquaintances meeting in 1970 to swap notes and artifacts under the aegis of the comic strip artist Sheldon Dorf in the basement of San Diego’s U.S. Grant Hotel.

Among the nuggets gleaned: according to tax documents, CCI has a warchest of some $16.4 million as insurance against a catastrophe canceling the show with money left over to pay employees and get the show running again.

Other tidbits: the con costs $12 million a year to run and the 180 degree video screens in Hall H that Warner Bros. is expected to use for their panel this year cost $600,000 to turn on.

While the CCI staff may be viewed as “shadowy” to some, Rogers does do the annual “talk back” panel at all the CCI shows, and if you’ve ever dealt with the con on a business level, you know the staff is incredibly professional and helpful in getting stuff done. Perhaps the launch of next year’s SVOD service with Lionsgate will blow the doors open a little more, but the way CCI does business seems to be working.

8 Comments on Inside Comic-Con’s offices and their million dollar war chest, last added: 6/30/2015
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30. All-New By Its Cover #5 (Covers For May 2015)

ALL-NEW-BIC

The column that judges a book by its cover, focusing on the month’s best-designed comic covers. For the month’s best-illustrated comic covers, see Best Comic Covers Ever (This Month).

Note: Apologies for the delay this month. I’ll try to get the next installment out super quick!

 

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Ninjak #3 by Lewis Larosa

Wow, that is an extreme perspective. The easiest way to make a composition feel dynamic is to have something in both the extreme foreground and in the background, and this has a single person existing in both. That is something.

The expectation that comic solicitations have some cover art to go with them means that artists are asked to create the art well in advance. When it comes to designers who are never quite happy with their designs, this means you can get a glimpse of their thought process when they tweak the cover before final publication.

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The layout on the left is pretty standard and boring. Using a drop shadow to separate the text from the image is a quick solution, but not very elegant and often a sign that the design just isn’t working yet. The image on the right is getting closer, but the glow around the logo is just as bad as the drop shadow, and is actually flattening out the art and ruining the illusion of depth.

The final printed version at top is clearly the best solution. Having the publisher logo and credits in the character’s hair feels a little bit weird maybe, but it works for me.

 

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Mythic #1 by John McCrea (A), Matteo Scalera (B), John McCrea (C)

I enjoy the concept of vertical logos and the design possibilities they open up. It’s just unfortunate that this one is nearly unreadable.

The two-color look of the cover above is really nice, but I think the composition could’ve been improved. It feels to me like the logo and image are fighting each other for focus. In particular, I’d try to move the head-in-hand out from under the logo and more into the upper corner where people might look first. Here’s a quick rough example of what I mean. It’s a little easier to make the image out now, right?

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I enjoy this composition slightly more because it has a foreground figure overlapping the logo, creating a dynamic sense of depth, and the vertical logo makes the vertical figure feel extra tall (at least to me). Again, if only it was readable.

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I’ve included this one just as an example of the worst aspects of both of the above covers. An interesting full cover image, but it’s being drowned out by the logo clumsily stamped on top of it. At the same time, the colors chosen for both the art and the logo are causing the logo to recede somewhat, which would make it harder to read if it wasn’t already unreadable. The other two variants are pretty solid, though.

 

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Arcadia #1 by Matt Taylor (above), Eric Scott Pfeiffer (below)Deep State cover

I absolutely love this logo box, and how it integrates the issue number and even the bar code into an interesting design. This logo is such a win (does anyone know who designed it?)

Unfortunately, the extra-busy cover art kind of clashes with the simple and stylish logo. Matt Taylor’s collage of lines worked really well last month with the lock theme of his Deep State cover, but here it seems like it’s more actively obscuring the art than just adding texture. And I feel like the the logo would work better with art that’s simpler and more open.

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This is my favorite of the Arcadia variants, a rare example of a comic being printed without any text on the front cover. Which I’m a huge fan of, because it reminds me of the glory days of rock album cover design. Even better, the concept of this image even looks like something that might be photographed as a rock album cover.

My one problem with this design is that the space below the bed seems like its just screaming out for a logo or text of some sort. White space is great for leading the eye around, but this is a case where the art feels a little unbalanced, like it needs a thing under the bed to balance it out. In case I sound like a crazy person to some of you, here’s a quick rough example of how I might rebalance the image without adding text. all I did was “zoom in” on the bottom half of the image. Do you see what I mean about the balance working better?

 

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Ghosted #20 by Dan Panosian

Speaking of rock album covers, this looks so metal. Even the treatment of the logo would work for an album cover. “R.I.P,” the new album from Ghosted.

The one thing that bugs me a little is the flower pedals touching the bottom of the frame. I kind of want just empty space all around the image so that you focus into the image and stay there, without being led out of the image through the bottom. Rough example — do you see what I mean?

 

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Fight Club 2 #1 by David Mack

I love the concept of this illustration, representing Tyler “waking up” while the narrator remains oblivious. I just wish the text around it had been placed better. ‘Some imaginary friends never go away” is a nice way to sum up the story, but its so hard to see here, it might as well not be there at all. And I’d rather the Fight Club 2 logo had been centered horizontally on the same background color as the illustration, rather than the so-so trade dress block that’s been designed.

 

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Divinity #4 by Jelena Kevic-Djurdjevic

This is a great example of an illustration where having a tiny minimalist logo really works. We’re focusing in on the distant character (with dramatic lighting behind him just to accentuate him that much more), and the logo is right there. Compare to this variant, where the logo placement just doesn’t work at all.

 

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Heart In A Box #1 by Merideth McClaren

Wow, this is striking. The large field of white surrounded by darker colors draws our eye in, and the field in question is a word balloon with a character speaking…an image of a heart (plus the issue number). What does it mean? I don’t know, we should find out by reading it.

My one critique would be that the heart is so busy. The white areas had me wondering if something more was going on, like if it was being pulled apart or something? It would’ve been less confusing if all the pieces of the hard had been colored red, no white negative sections. Or maybe even simplified a little.

 

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Dead Drop #2 by Raul Allen

This is the sort of cover I was saying would’ve worked better with that Arcadia logo. Simple and graphical. The speeding police car and the money flying away tells a slice of a story without even having to show us (presumably) the car being chased. There’s a great sense of movement, and yet the police car also feels like it’s a piece of the logo. Are the people running inside the logo necessary? Not at all, but they don’t hurt it, either.

 

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Trees #9 by Jason Howard

It’s a little mean for me to put this cover right after the last one, but I wanted to show how they coincidentally had a similar layout and similar movement in the same month of comics. But instead of a dramatic chase, this one conveys the feeling of being drowned.

The main problem with it (other than being placed right below Dead Drop, which looks a little more refined as an illustration) is that the bubbles floating upward don’t look much like bubbles. I wondered briefly if the bubbles were maybe transforming. Imagine if the one up top looked like a butterfly escaping, and what that might symbolize. But it’s not, it’s a sloppy group of bubbles.

 

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Ei8ht #4 by Rafael Albuquerque

I think this is the most successful Ei8ht cover yet in terms of the balance of space around the logo and how it relates to the main image. It’s also a nice contrast to go from the previous action images on a diagonal to a quiet, sad image on a diagonal. The large amount of black also helps a lot. The added contrast puts more focus on the white areas, which smartly includes the character on the bed.

 


Kate Willaert is a graphic designer for Shirts.com. You can find her her art on Tumblr and her thoughts @KateWillaert. Notice any spelling errors? Leave a comment below.

0 Comments on All-New By Its Cover #5 (Covers For May 2015) as of 6/29/2015 10:38:00 AM
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31. A West Ender’s stop on Broadway

We’ve got one day here and not another minute…”. Well, not one day exactly, but just five—a short week’s stay in NYC from England, and four nights to catch a few shows. So how to choose? The first choices were easy: two new productions of classic musical comedies, and as it happens, shows by the same team of writers. Betty Comden and Adolph Green were veterans of Broadway by the time they came to write On the Twentieth Century (1978), though merely young starlets when they first scored a hit with On the Town (1944).

The post A West Ender’s stop on Broadway appeared first on OUPblog.

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32. PEN seeks linguists

PEN Translates "seeks expert linguists with good knowledge of the publishing field to help us assess books submitted for a grant. Assessors are paid £140 per assessment. For the current round, we are urgently seeking assessors in the following languages: Occitan (Gascon), Portuguese (Brazil) and Danish."

Please write to rebekah@englishpen.org.

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33. Hedge funds and litigation: A brave new world

Hedge funds and other investment funds are emerging as sophisticated litigators, viewing litigation as an asset, which can create value and mitigate risk, rather than something to be avoided or feared. As a consequence, both the market and various legal systems are being disciplined and developed. How and why is this happening? Willing to litigate relentlessly and fearlessly, hedge funds will seek out and find gaps in documents and uncertainties in the law, and exploit them with ruthless efficiency, entering new legal territory and pushing the boundary of legal theories.

The post Hedge funds and litigation: A brave new world appeared first on OUPblog.

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34. Tensions in domestic and international criminal justice

In the wake of political violence, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has shown a clear and continued preference for multiple trials to be pursued at both a national and international level. The Court’s approach to complementarity and it’s reading of what constitutes ‘a case’ under Article 17 of its Statute lays the legal foundation for this move.

The post Tensions in domestic and international criminal justice appeared first on OUPblog.

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35. The Festival of Insignificance review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Milan Kundera's recent novel -- his first in over a decade -- The Festival of Insignificance.

       Interesting to see the mixed reactions to this -- and also how much review coverage there has been of it (the most, by far, of any book I 've covered so far this year).

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36. 'Russian Library' (redux ?)

       In The New York Times Andrew Roth reports that Columbia University Press to Publish New Translations of Russian Literature, as:

The idea, tentatively named the Russian Library, envisions dozens, and perhaps more than 100, new translations of Russian modern literature and classics, selected by the publisher with support from a committee of Russian and American academics.
       Columbia University Press already has some good foreign literature coverage -- especially east Asian literature -- and among the publishers they distribute is leading international literature publisher Dalkey Archive Press, so this could be a really good fit.
       There's one open question/issue, however: readers might recall that a project not so tentatively named The Russian Library -- "scheduled to publish 125 volumes over the next 10 years" -- was launched by the very same Read Russia and the very same Peter Kaufman not all that long ago, in partnership with The Overlook Press (who, with imprint Ardis, have long been in the Russian game, too) -- see, for example, the Shelf Awareness report Overlook Press to Publish 'Russian Library' (which even pictures Vladimir Grigoriev and Peter Kaufman sealing the deal in 2012); see also the Publishers Weekly report from back then.
       So what happened with the Overlook deal ? (Disappointing reporting on the part of The New York Times, not to even acknowledge that this is apparently take two of this project, or to poke around and learn what happened to take one.)

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37. HKW International Literary Prize

       The've announced that Amos Oz's הבשורה על פי יהודה, in Mirjam Pressler's German translation (as Judas) has won this year's Internationaler Literaturpreis - Haus der Kulturen der Welt -- the big (€25,000 for the author, and €10,000 for the translator) German best translated (contemporary) book award; see also, for example, Sabine Peschel's report Amos Oz wins major German literature award at DeutscheWelle.
       It no doubt will appear in English translation eventually, but it hasn't yet. (Hey, why shouldn't it appear in ... say, Brazil before it comes out in the US/UK provinces, right ? I do note, however, without comment, that Oz is handled by 'literary' agent Andrew Wylie.)

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38. How Lying Made BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT the Best Comic Game Ever (Spoilers!)

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Rocksteady’s Arkham Knight, the finale to their Batman trilogy is here and with it all the comic easter egg goodness. Warning before we get into the why and what not about the game’s relevance let me disclaimer you: this will be filled with spoilers. So if you care about that kind of thing and haven’t played the game or watched the cinematics on YouTube, turn away.

Just an update before we get started. Last week, Comics Beat put up a story about the press release sent out in regards to WB pulling the PC version of Batman: Arkham Knight from store shelves and Steam. It was written in a way that made it seem as though Rocksteady was only at fault for the game’s catastrophic PC launch. The PC edition was ported and optimized for computer hardware by a different developer known as Iron Works. Rocksteady has since stated they’ll come in and devote resources to fixing the game with Iron Works, in fact yesterday they released a patch to remedy some of the issues. Yes, we’re in the age of pre orders putting out inferior and often times buggy product, but Rocksteady have had a great track record of working games and the controversy shouldn’t reflect solely on them.

 

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If you’re going to San Diego Comic Con in a few days and want a limited edition Arkham Knight print, E3 shirt, and Batman: The Animated Series figure just follow us on instagram @ComicsBeat and I’ll post details later on.

 

Ok let’s get into the game spoilers in 3… 2… 1…

Batmobile

First, we have to acknowledge the elephant in the bathtub. Just about every review and comment from gamers who’ve  played Arkham Knight loathe driving the Batmobile in the game. These opinions aren’t entirely unfounded. Driving around in Batman’s car and having it handle like a lawnmower with an attached jet engine can be frustrating for two reasons. First of all; the car is just plain overused. More than 3/4 of the objectives in the game can’t be completed without the Batmobile. In fact the moment where the car is crushed by the giant drilling machine gave me a sigh of relief, only to be snatched out from under me by the addition of a back up car. Secondly, using the car wouldn’t be so bad if there was more of a learning curve to driving. Particularly in the Riddler track challenges that Batman has to complete in order to release Catwoman from the bomb collar. You’ll go from an easy straight forward track to executing barrel rolls in a sewer as you have to focus on steering and triggering puzzle elements in the level. Then there’s the tank mode, at the push of a button the car goes battle stations and takes on enemy vehicles . These sequences slow down the pace of the game but never enough to take you out of the story. Learning to transition between the sets of controls effectively takes time and patience. Both of which I have in spades… now excuse me while I put this quart of frozen ice cream in the microwave.

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This all begs the question; would we have been better off not having the car in the game? No. Having the game on newer consoles like PS4 and Xbox One meant it was going to be bigger and better looking. It needed something new, something more forthright than switching between Robin or Nightwing during certain melee sequences. Driving the Batmobile was a logical progressive addition to the series. Could it have been better executed and more balanced with the story? Yes, but I’ll take Batmobile over no Batmobile any day.

The Stories that made up Arkham Knight

After E3, we talked a bit about how “one-way” the streets that connect comics and video games can feel. Comics are more often tasked with bringing video games to books than gaming taking on the tales we love. Sure there’ve been a few games that have tried translating the language of comics in games. Most of the stories lucky enough to make the jump become cannon fodder for the activity/reward relationship games are built on. With Arkham Knight, Rocksteady, managed to translate pieces from a library of Batman stories containing 75 Years worth of history to build something that harmonizes with sitting down to play a video game .

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Anyone that’s played previous Arkham games knows, like television, there’s always two plots to a story. While the surface of Arkham Knight is about stopping the Scarecrow from unleashing his fear cloud over Gotham; Batman was grappling with his Joker infection from the events of Arkham City. A disease that threatens to wipe away Bruce Wayne and replace him entirely with the consciousness of his worst enemy. It’s a story we’ve seen before in the Batman Beyond animated universe story, Return of the Joker. There it was Tim Drake of the future who felt the Joker take over his mind from beyond the grave.

Then there’s the Joker running down the events of his days of yore with the dark knight. If you played the game, those chilling moments in the Batman’s mind where Joker makes him relive the horror of paralyzing Barbra Gordon from Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke. Rocksteady captured that iconic moment in history nearly panel-for-panel. Knowing what would happen when Joker stepped through that doorway made it that much more intense for us and kudos on not diluting the madness of that moment for the sake of a friendlier rating. When the game first received it’s “mature” M from the ESRB, it wasn’t hard to guess we’d see some of the Batman’s most graphic moments played out in front of our eyes.

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The sequence where Batman and Robin (Tim Drake) have to recover escaped Jokerized patentients in the movie studio cuts to a piece of comic’s history. It nods to the, A Death in the Family, story where Joker blows up second Robin, Jason Todd. Not only did it tell parts of those events, but it somehow made them more brutal. In Rocksteady’s version there would be no desert and no bomb. Instead they got around the revolving door of comic death by not actually killing Jason Todd. Joker would hold Robin in secret, warping his mind and turning him against the Batman.

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Red Hood Story Pack

Joker’s torture created the Red Hood comic fans are familiar with today. Most of the events the actual Arkham Knight character puts Batman through during the game are calculated insider tactics only someone close to the Bat would know. Breaching Wayne security, informing Crane about Oracle, even calling the Batman “Bruce”; it all pointed to Jason Todd being the Arkham Knight. During the game’s penultimate moments, the Arkham Knight lifts his veil and reveals himself to Batman. So much of that moment and Jason’s motivations borrow from Judd Winnick’s Under the Red Hood.

There’s the lies Rocksteady told

An editorial I came across last night, over on IGN, read like an angry complaint letter to the game. I see how anyone invested in the Batman mythology could feel lied to. One should understand the ballsy chance Rocksteady took. In today’s age of “scoops” where secrets and mysteries just don’t exist; the developer risked agitating the audience and consciously chose to add mystique where there couldn’t have been any. It worked. We all guessed Jason would be under the Arkham Knight’s mask, but we took Rocksteady at their word when they said it would be an original character. Is being honest and upfront a requirement for making great games? Who knows. Though it’s hard to be angry at Rocksteady because the lies they have been telling since Batman: Arkham City have value. Remember when Mark Hamill came out and said voicing the Joker in Arkham City would be the last time he’d ever do it. Had the studio come out a year ago and said Jason Todd is the Arkham Knight, then it would have been easy to deduce the return of the Joker. After all he’s as intertwined with him as he is with Batman.

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Sure by the middle of the game it’s bombastically obvious, Jason Todd is the Arkham Knight.  That wasn’t the surprise this game banked on. Had I known about the Joker in the game before it’s release then I would have lost that moment where I’m about to put the controller down for the night and then like a bolt of lightning to the system, I see the face of the Clown Prince of Crime alive and well (sort of). The shrill echo of Mark Hamil’s laughter comes through my speakers and no I’m definitely not turning in yet.

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The argument about this not being an original story is also flat. When you look at all three Arkham games as a whole, it’s probably the most original Batman story in recent years; next to Scott Snyder turning Gordon into the new dark knight. Sure, Arkham Knight borrows a lot of notes from several DC Comics stories, but that’s the way it should be. DC could sell tons of books to gamers who’ve never read comics by marketing the list of “stories that inspired the game”. Lies equated to an end result that has potential to boost two industries. That’s a fair trade for any negative PR they’ll get.

This Arkham universe remained true and defied the convention of comic’s revolving door of death where no one ever really dies. Joker was dead and using him in Batman’s head was a brilliant way of still being able to keep him in the series without betraying the events of before. If Rocksteady isn’t lying and THIS is the end of their Batman run then they went out on a better note than what Christopher Nolan did.

In the end, they lied. So what? The Golden State Warriors lied and now they’re NBA champions. Tom Brady did the things with deflated sports balls and he’s married to a supermodel. A story about a fictional comic book character is allowed to be marketed any way it sees fit to make money in a gray world.

Batman: Arkham Knight is a gorgeous end to the character. One where he loses in the end, not a loss he’ll live with either. It’s an ending we could never get in comics or film. The existence of the Arkham universe is finite and it gave Rocksteady a freedom no one else has had with the character. Sure they took some liberties with our attentions over the last two years but in the end we got the Batman game we deserve.

2 Comments on How Lying Made BATMAN: ARKHAM KNIGHT the Best Comic Game Ever (Spoilers!), last added: 6/30/2015
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39. 100 years of black music

Celebrate the end of Black Music Month with this timeline highlighting over 100 years of music created and produced by influential African-Americans. Kenny Gamble, Ed Wright, and Dyana Williams developed the idea for Black Music Month back in 1979 as a way to annually show appreciate for black music icons. After lobbying, President Jimmy Carter hosted a reception to formally recognize the month.

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40. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 6/29/15: How big is that room?

§ All things Comic-Con: The Unofficial Comic-Con blog laid out all the sizes of all the panel rooms so you can guess if you’re going to get in or not. My advice: just get in line now.

§ As I expected, Torsten investigated the new Marriott Hall exhibit area with maps and such, but I still can’t figure our where it was. I guess I’ll find out when I see a hole in the ground.

§ Even for a governor, Maine’s Paul LePage is a batf*ck wacko. Last week he threatened to shoot a cartoonist he didn’t like, a fairly mild sin on his list. Luckily, now LePage may have done something that is actually illegal, and people are talking impeachment. Given that the guy got elected twice, I’m not optimistic, but you never know. Meanwhile, the Bangor Daily News responded to the threat with “9 times George Danby was funnier than Paul LePage.” I think you have to be up on your Mainer politics to get these (my family lives in Maine), but I’m pretty sure they are funnier than threatening to shoot someone.

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§ Ken Parille has more interpretations of that surprisingly controversial Chris Ware Minecraft cover for the New Yorker.

§ Paul Levitz’s exclusive with DC is over, as he’s now writing a book for Dark Horse called Brooklyn Blood with art by Tim Hamilton. As a sidenote: a book by Paul Levitz was announced on Bleeding Cool, so anything in the world is actually possible.

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§ Zainab went to ELCAF last weekend and she has a survey of opinions on the show from exhibitors and attendees and a list of what she bought, and as usual she managed to find the most mind boggling art, in this case Pablo and Jane and the Hot Air Contraption by Jose Domingo.

§ Not comics, but Joe Gonzalez, occasional co host of the Comic News Insider podcast, announced that he’s moving upstate, and summed up all the reasons that no one can live in New York City anymore. Pretty much everyone I know is moving to LA, and in the past I would have been alarmed but now it seems only sensible.

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41. Eventbrite Survey: conventions have achieved gender parity but some still feel unwelcome

EventBrite, the ticketing agency, caused a lot of talk last year when they released the results of the first survey of convention attendees with breakdowns on gender, spending and more.

They’ve done another survey this year, and the results are even more detailed. Rob Salkowitz has done a round-up over at ICv2 but the Beat has also been given an exclusive preview of some of the data on safety at the con.

The survey was done to provide greater insight into the multi-billion dollar fandom events and convention business, and surveyed 2165 total respondents over two weeks in May. Respondents were drawn from Eventbrite users, with a few from external respondents via social media. 94% of respondents attended a fan event or convention in the past 12 months, While the poll did not cover sexual orientation, race or ethnicity, it delved into gender, and the news is that as far as men and women go it’s now even steven. Also, there is far more gender diversity among purchasers of indie/alt.comix than among regular comics. And that attendees of Tabletop/role-playing games felt less safe than any other kind of event — perhaps because fans of these are actually USED to acting out? Just a guess there.

 

SO MUCH TO CHEW ON. For breakdowns read on:

 

 

Fandom Overall Has Achieved Gender Parity

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• Last year, in a survey using the same methodology and roughly the same sample size, the overall gender breakdown across all fandoms was 46% female, 54% male, but was 50/50 under age 30. (the survey did not provide a non-binary/other option in 2014)
• This year, gender identity breakdown across all responses was 48.9% female, 48.7% male, , 2.4% non-binary/other
• Fandom as a whole is trending female, with women very slightly outnumbering men in our overall sample.
• Under age 40, it’s 50.8% female/46.1% male/3.1% non-binary/other
• There are hardly any significant attitude or behavior differences expressed between male and female fans across most topics polled.





…but gender gaps remain across specific fan interest areas.

• Despite the overall trend toward women across all fan interest areas polled, no individual fandom is close to 50/50
• Tabletop and role-playing gaming and comic book fandom are where the boys are, clocking in at over 62% male.
• Female fans flock to anime/manga, science fiction and genre/comics-based media.
• Fans identifying as “non-binary/other” are most likely to be found in Alt/small press and anime/manga fandom.

Cosplayers are Intense Fans, Spenders, Frequent Con Attendees




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• 499 respondents, or around 23% of our sample, identified themselves as serious cosplayers and/or people who attend shows just to engage in cosplay
• The highest percentage – 29.4% – identified themselves as primarily manga/anime fans. 21% are fans of comic and genre-based media, and 17.7% science fiction and fantasy fans.
• More than 85% of cosplayers are under 40, with nearly 60% between the ages of 23-39.
• Cosplayers are predominantly female (62.5%), with 32% male and 5% non-binary/other
• Only 30% of cosplayers report spending less than $100 at shows. Most (42.7%) spend between $101-250, consistent with the spending patterns of non cosplayers.
• Cosplayers go to more cons than practically any other group. 64% of serious cosplayers attend 3 or more fan events per year. More than 27% attend 5 or more fan events per year.




Cons Generally Make Fans Feel Safe and Welcome
• When asked “In general, do you feel the fan events you attend do enough to make all attendees feel safe and welcome,” 7.2% of respondents (143 total)  said no. 92.8% said yes.
• Anime/manga and toy/collectible fans seem to feel their events do best, with fewer than 5% feeling unsafe.
• By far the worst fandom for safety is Tabletop/role-playing games, with around 17% of fans in that category answering “no.”
• Videogaming fans (mostly male fandom) response is at about 10%; comic and genre-based media (the most female fandom) is around the same.
• There were few statistical differences between how men, women and non-binary/other genders answered this question.




• Among those who feel unsafe and unwelcome:
o 53.5% are female, 45.1% are male, 1.4% are non-binary/other
o 20% are serious cosplayers. 44% do not cosplay at all.
o 40% have been going to cons for more than 10 years
o 35% spend $250 or more
o 85% go in groups of two or more, including family




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42. HeroesCon Interview with Michel Fiffe Part 2: The Possibility of Digital, Comparisons to Cerebus, and What’s to Come in COPRA

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Continuing on from our first entry this past Friday, here is the second part of my HeroesCon interview with Michel Fiffe, creator of the self-published and much lauded action-adventure comic, COPRA.

It’s funny, the way I discovered your work actually came through a friend of mine at first, as a word of mouth sort of thing. Then I firmly jumped in when Oliver Sava starting writing about it on the A.V. Club, and you ended making a ton of these “Best of 2014″ lists, which is pretty exciting right? That sort of vindication has to be rewarding.

It’s nice, it’s nice that people like it, absolutely. Oliver’s a great supporter.

Everyone wants to make a superlative list at some point, right?

Yeah, that means a lot to me personally, and it actually translates into more readers. I think word of mouth has really worked a lot on COPRA, without any huge marketing muscle behind it. That’s been the primary thing, people are just excited about it, and that’s super flattering. To like it so much – in today’s aggressive marketplace – that they spread the word out of genuine enthusiasm… what more could you want?

That’s literally what’s happening, though the only hurdle is, of course, availability.

That’s the only hurdle right now. Bergen Street Press has been working hard for a couple of years now to get over it. We don’t want to make it super exclusive, this isn’t a super limited boutique item by any means, but it’s also not as simple as pushing a magic button for  books to suddenly appear. Others have that magic button.

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When you made the collections, which have obviously been a great way to pull in readers, you went with Bergen Street Press, and that’s Tucker Stone’s outfit right?

Yeah, that’s Tom Adams and Tucker Stone, they’re co-owners of the store, Bergen Street Comics and they started publishing and putting out “compendium” collections of the issues early on because I started selling out of the issues. So they met that demand, they helped me meet that initial burst of enthusiasm. I was too caught up creating the next issue. My financial model is that one issue pays for the next, there’s no room for reprints, that’s not within my budget. Bergen really helped make it more available and more accessible to people. The compendiums led to an official collection, the current “Rounds” as they’re called, which collects six issues at a time. That’s the kind of thing that we’re trying to get into all the comic shops across the country.

It’s showing up in stores in Atlanta, and I even think I saw copies in the UK over Gosh Comics perhaps.

Yeah, we get a lot of orders from all over the world.

Did you just have a relationship with Tucker and Tom, is that why you went with them as the distributor and publisher and go-to guys?

I trust them and respect them, and I couldn’t happier with that specific team of players. Their point of view and their involvement with the comics industry is something I can get behind.

In regards to availability though, is digital not in the cards?

It’s not NOT in the cards, it’s just something I still have to manage and deal with. There are just so many issues with it, the platform, the way it looks, the time to get everything in order. I’m still dealing with the print issues, that’s a huge thing for me, just getting one of these out every four to six weeks. I barely have any time to do anything else BUT this issue. When it comes to digital, I want to be as hands-on as possible, and that’s a time sucker. I wouldn’t rule digital out, but at the moment it’s not a primary concern. Having said that, I don’t want to exclude anyone from reading it, I understand there’s a large portion of the readership that’s gone digital because its more convenient, but personally I haven’t related to that model. So, it’s not a priority. I don’t feel like it’s something that’s burning in me to address anytime soon.

copra physical

But there is an argument you made yesterday (on a panel with Klaus Janson) about the visual of the comic as a physical object. When you go digital, you do lose that. I mean, you can put everyone of those pages, including the back cover and back matter into a digital copy, but it’s not the same.

It’s not the same, and I want to be clear that I don’t want to impose my fetish of the newsprint comic on anyone. But readers do have the option to buy the issues or NOT to buy them, and that’s the risk I take. I’m not forcing people nor am I trying to change the industry “back to the glory that it was”. I’m just doing this because it’s a model that I’m familiar with and I aesthetically like. It’s a much more intimate thing. I just don’t read that many digital comics. That’s not how I absorb this stuff. I would feel weird putting it out in the world if I’m not sure of it myself.

Cerebus

The comparison has been made, and COPRA has been compared very favorably to works like Cerebus, and that’s a comparison that I find to be really quite apt in that you’ve taken an analogous set of characters, like Dave Sim did with Conan the Barbarian, but by Round Three, you’ve expanded that world and its character set in a way not dissimilar from his work in “High Society”. Is that a comparison that you find interesting?

It is, mostly because Dave and I were born on the same day.

Really?

Yeah, so it just means we’re both stubborn and hard headed, and we’re gonna do what we want no matter what. But the COPRA/Cerebus thing… I imagine it’s more accurate than I’d like to think, but the main difference is that Cerebus started out as a parody. And my book…well, I personally fucking hate parody comics of that nature. I like Cerebus, but  I especially mean modern indie takes on this sort of stuff. It’s low hanging fruit. You’re going to make fun of superheroes, good job, you’re wasting your precious time on earth doing that. Who cares? You’re not gonna outdo Marshal Law. I love that comic to death. There was a lot of anger behind that book, but it didn’t look down at anyone. Now, you either like superheroes or you don’t, and it’s perfectly fine to dislike it. In fact, you probably shouldn’t. I have zero interest in making fun of this stuff. From the first page of COPRA, it was serious business to me, serious business while fully realizing and basking in the absurd nature of this material.

That’s a difficult balance to achieve – seriousness without being overtly grim.

I just don’t want to wink at readers. I respect the readership too much to be winking at them – like, hey get the joke? Isn’t this DUMB? It’s like, fuck that joke, it’s a terrible joke. And I think Dave Sim wised up to it early on, because he was parodying Conan and the goofy barbarian genre, but then it took on a different identity all together.

Copra WirAnd I feel like that’s where you’re headed too. Round 3 is stunning, and I think when it hits a collected edition, I think there’s going to be a lot of talk. I don’t know how else to put it. I don’t want to speak too highly here, but I think that’s going to be when – people already notice it, but I mean, my god, that chapter when Wir goes back home…

Yeah, that’s a favorite. I was worried about making that one too because it’s so bizarre, even within the norms of COPRA, you know?

It was so touching and so raw. It struck nerves for me. And then Gracie in Miami, and you’re working out some of your own feelings about the city and you even say as much on the back end.

Yeah. Every issue pretty much has at least one autobiographical component in it. And I find that interesting when I read older comics too, whether they meant it or not, I think it comes through. Especially for the older creators who really had no other option but to express themselves through The Brave and the Bold or something. But for me to actually write this stuff, I have to put some sort of personal experience in it. So every issue, there’s something there that’s really personal. But I also don’t want it to be too obvious, though.

COPRA-22-page-674x1024Let’s talk about Round Four or the presumed Round Four, about what’s coming up, what’s being developed. Spoiler alert: Dutch got it at the end of the latest issue. And clearly there’s another team that’s sort of gaining up on the COPRA side of things. At least that’s what it seems like. There’s an organized group of evil doers. What can we expect in the next couple of issues; I think there are two left in this round?

I have two left. And then I’m going to have a 25th issue anniversary-sized thing, that’s going to stand apart from the narrative, the main arc. And then starting with issue 26 that starts another arc all together. I’m going to work in six issue chunks, but there are going to be main storylines in that. I think I’m going to go up to fifty issues, so 25 will be an anniversary issue, as well as the halfway point.

So there will be an endpoint that’s set in stone?

Yes, I do have an ending set, I’ve mapped it out that far. I’m so excited for it.  Knowing that it’s going to end and that everything is building up towards it makes every step of the way that much more fun for me, much richer.

So what can you tell me that we can expect in just very general terms, without spoiling anything, for the next two issues? Is it going to be a battle between the team and this group of guys that are coming after them?

It’s going to be COPRA vs COPRA. That’s all I’m going to say.

VDO-22

You’ve got two other narratives occurring in these books, you’ve got Dieter VDO’s back cover story for Man-Head…

Which is non-canonical.

Let me ask you how that got arranged first. Are you and Dieter friends?

Oh, I’m a big fan of his work. He did a Savage Dragon story for this collection of back ups I edited. This was ages ago. Anyway, Dieter… I like spreading the word on him. I think he’s great, one of my favorite cartoonists. I wanted to have unique back matter for this current arc and he was the first person I thought of to do something. Instead of pin ups, though, I wanted a serialized narrative. Thankfully he was on board. His own weird version of COPRA? Who wouldn’t want to see that?

So what is going on between your narrative and his narrative in these orange and white pages? There’s something appearing in the sky…?

Oh, that. Well, that’s a subplot that has to do with Rax’s dimension. It’ll all make sense once you read it together, there IS a point to it; it’s not as arbitrary as it seems. I’ve been playing it quietly because if I show too much, it’ll spoil things.

When can we expect the next issue to hit?

Maybe 4 weeks, a month? After the show I’ve to get back to drawing it. I’m not really ahead, schedule-wise. As soon as the issue is done, it’s practically in the readers’ hands.

You can purchase recent issues of COPRA at Michel Fiffe and Kat Roberts’ Etsy store. While Bergen Street Press is currently sold out of both collected editions of the series, you can purchase the first collection at InStockTrades.

1 Comments on HeroesCon Interview with Michel Fiffe Part 2: The Possibility of Digital, Comparisons to Cerebus, and What’s to Come in COPRA, last added: 6/28/2015
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43. New Line to take over Vertigo adaptations

Morpheus," god of Sleep

Creating a shared universe on-screen is tough work, especially if you’re starting at the ground-level like Warner Bros is doing with their DC Comics properties.

Currently the studio has nine films currently either in production or in pre-production stages, which are slated to establish the DC Cinematic Universe (The Flash, Green Lantern, Cyborg, etc…).

With all that in mind, it left many to wonder about the status of films like Sandman and Guillermo Del Toro‘s long simmering Dark Universe. According to THR, the former, and most other Vertigo adaptations, will now be handled by WB’s sister arm New Line, which they absorbed many a moon ago.

Strangely, Dark Universe will remain at Warner Bros, and will conceivably continue to be attached to the DC properties that surround it. The bad news? Del Toro is off the project, which sadly, is not a new feeling where he’s concerned. On the other hand, Shazam! will continue to be developed by New Line, meaning much like the Vertigo properties they’re working on, Shazam! may very well not be connected to the DC Cinematic Universe either.

You get all that? In summary: all of Warner Bros. superhero movies except Shazam! will be developed by WB, all Vertigo movies except Dark Universe will be developed by New Line. I’m getting a headache just thinking about it.

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44. Marvel explores Synergy of Games and Comics with Contest of Champions from Ewing and Medina

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Marvel has just announced a new Contest of Champions title — a return to the three-issue mini-series of 1982 originally dubbed: Marvel Super Heroes Contest of Champions. The new game on IOS bearing the same name serves as the inspiration of the comic, which includes Maestro (Hulk villain) headlining the cover to the first issue. Al Ewing and Paco Medina are chronicling the adventures of this new team of Champions who have been gathered by the Collector to do battle with each other. Ewing wondered aloud: “Where are the trapped heroes stored when they aren’t fighting?”

Venom and Gamora appear to be locked into a battle with various other characters in the Marvel Universe frozen over in blocks of ice. CNet announced the news — along with the cover to the issue. Contest of Champions will launch in October as part of the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe. Also featured in the series is Guillotine, a new character created jointly by Marvel and Kabam, the developers of the Champions IOS title. The heroine is powered up via a special sword handed down all the way from the French Revolution.

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45. Hart-Celler and a watershed in American immigration

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the congressional passage of the Hart-Celler Immigration and Nationality Act, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. It was the culmination of a trend toward reforming immigrant admissions and naturalization policies that had gathered momentum in the early years of the Cold War era.

The post Hart-Celler and a watershed in American immigration appeared first on OUPblog.

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46. SDCC ’15: Boom! announces signings and sketches and party

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I imagine some people will be excited about Rebecca Sugar (Steven UNiverse) and Noelle Stevenson (Lumberjanes) being at the BOOM! booth; others perhaps by Bryan Cranston and Mia Furlan. What are Walter White and Danielle Rousseau doing at BOOM!? I guess it has something to so with comics!

Also the Boom party returns Thursday to the Hilton this time with 10th Anniversary flair.

Award-winning comic book publisher BOOM! Studios and its imprints, KaBOOM!, BOOM! Box, and Archaia, announced today it will return to exhibit for the 10th straight year at Comic-Con International in San Diego, to be held at the San Diego Convention Center in San Diego, California July 8-12, 2015.
 
BOOM! can be found at Booth #2229 on the show floor and will host an army of talent for signings, including appearances by Alyssa Milano, Bruce Boxleitner, Bryan Cranston, Seth Green, David Petersen, Mark Waid, Frank Barbiere, James Tynion IV, Noelle Stevenson, Rebecca Sugar, Asaf Hanuka, and many more. BOOM! will also host its 10th Annual Comic-Con drink-up, which has been renamed the BOOM! 10 Year Birthday Bash to celebrate 10 years of publishing.
 
APPEARANCES
 
The following talent is scheduled to appear at the BOOM! booth throughout the weekend:
 
• Alyssa Milano (HACKTIVIST)
• Adam Smith (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA)
• Asaf Hanuka (THE REALIST)
• Bruce Boxleitner (LANTERN CITY)
• Bryan Cranston (SUPERMANSION)
• Collin Kelly (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
• David Petersen (MOUSE GUARD)
• Frank Barbiere (BROKEN WORLD)
• Jackson Lanzing (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
• Jake Wyatt (LANTERN CITY)
• James Tynion IV (THE WOODS, UFOLOGY)
• Jen Wang (ADVENTURE TIME WITH FIONNA & CAKE: CARD WARS)
• Jillian Bell (SUPERMANSION)
• Joe Madureira (SUPERMANSION)
• Mark Waid (STRANGE FRUIT, IRREDEEMABLE)
• Matthew Fox (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA, UFOLOGY)
• Matthew Daley (LANTERN CITY)
• Matthew Senreich (SUPERMANSION)
• Michael Alan Nelson (HEXED, DAY MEN)
• Mira Furlan (LANTERN CITY)
• Noelle Stevenson (LUMBERJANES)
• Olivia Olson (ADVENTURE TIME)
• Rebecca Sugar (STEVEN UNIVERSE)
• Seth Green (SUPERMANSION)
• Shannon Watters (LUMBERJANES)
• Thomas Willeford (LANTERN CITY)
• Trevor Crafts (LANTERN CITY)
• Zeb Wells (SUPERMANSION)

 
In addition, the BOOM! Studios booth will host sketch artists all weekend, including:
 
• Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES issues #9-12) will be sketching on our all-new LUMBERJANES sketch covers
• Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
• Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
For $30, fans can request and purchase custom sketches to be drawn on blank Get-A-Sketch covers at the show. Fans can also pre-order sketches in advance starting now on the BOOM! website and pick them up at the show. Supplies are limited so act now!
 
• To pre-order a LUMBERJANES sketch on our brand-new LUMBERJANES sketch covers from Carolyn Nowak, go to http://bit.ly/LJSketch.
• To pre-order an ADVENTURE TIME, BRAVEST WARRIORS, BEE AND PUPPYCAT or STEVEN UNIVERSE sketch from Ian McGinty, go to http://bit.ly/Iansketch.
• To pre-order an ADVENTURE TIME, BEE AND PUPPYCAT, STEVEN UNIVERSE,     or THE AMAZING WORLD OF GUMBALL sketch from Travis Hill, go to http://bit.ly/TravisSketch.
 
Listed below is the schedule of appearances at the BOOM! Studios booth, #2229. (Please note these are subject to change. Check at the booth for the latest updates.)
 
Wednesday, July 8th
Signing:
6:30-7:30pm Mark Waid (STRANGE FRUIT, IRREDEEMABLE)
 
Sketching all evening:
Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
Thursday, July 9th
Signing:
11am-12pm Jen Wang (ADVENTURE TIME WITH FIONNA & CAKE: CARD WARS)
3-4pm Olivia Olson (voice of Marceline on ADVENTURE TIME)
3-4pm LUMBERJANES with Carolyn Nowak, Noelle Stevenson, and Shannon Watters
 
Sketching all day:
Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
Appearing all day:
Adam Smith (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA)
Collin Kelly (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
Frank Barbiere (BROKEN WORLD)
Jackson Lanzing (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
James Tynion IV (THE WOODS, UFOLOGY)
Matthew Fox (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA, UFOLOGY)
Michael Alan Nelson (HEXED, DAY MEN)
 
Friday, July 10th
Signing:
11am-12pm LUMBERJANES with Carolyn Nowak, Noelle Stevenson, and Shannon Watters
1-2pm Asaf Hanuka (THE REALIST)
2-3pm David Petersen (MOUSE GUARD)
3-4pm Mark Waid (STRANGE FRUIT, IRREDEEMABLE)
 
Sketching all day:
Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
Appearing all day:
Adam Smith (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA)
Collin Kelly (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
Frank Barbiere (BROKEN WORLD)
Jackson Lanzing (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
James Tynion IV (THE WOODS, UFOLOGY)
Matthew Fox (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA, UFOLOGY)
Michael Alan Nelson (HEXED, DAY MEN)
 
Saturday, July 11th
Signing:
11am-12pm LUMBERJANES with Carolyn Nowak, Noelle Stevenson, and Shannon Watters
12-1pm Rebecca Sugar (STEVEN UNIVERSE)
 
Sketching all day:
Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
Appearing all day:
Adam Smith (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA)
Collin Kelly (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
Frank Barbiere (BROKEN WORLD)
Jackson Lanzing (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
James Tynion IV (THE WOODS, UFOLOGY)
Matthew Fox (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA, UFOLOGY)
Michael Alan Nelson (HEXED, DAY MEN)
 
Sunday, July 12th
Signing:
12-1pm David Petersen (MOUSE GUARD)
 
Sketching all day:
Carolyn Nowak (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (MUNCHKIN, BRAVEST WARRIORS)
Travis Hill (ADVENTURE TIME)
 
Signing all day:
Adam Smith (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA)
Collin Kelly (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
Frank Barbiere (BROKEN WORLD)
Jackson Lanzing (HACKTIVIST, MAZE RUNNER: THE SCORCH TRIALS OFFICIAL GRAPHIC NOVEL PRELUDE)
James Tynion IV (THE WOODS, UFOLOGY)
Matthew Fox (LONG WALK TO VALHALLA, UFOLOGY)
Michael Alan Nelson (HEXED, DAY MEN)
 
The following signing events are TICKETED. Tickets are FREE (though purchase of an item to be signed may be required) and are available for pick up on a first-come, first-served basis on the morning of the signing.
 
SUPERMANSION (Thursday, July 9, 1-2pm)
Stoopid Buddy Stoodios creators and members of the voice cast of the upcoming Crackle animated stop-motion comedy series will be signing FREE copies of the “SuperMansion” San Diego Comic-Con Exclusive comic book.
 
Bryan Cranston (voice talent)
Jillian Bell (voice talent)
Seth Green (executive producer)
Matthew Senreich (writer, executive producer)
Zeb Wells (writer, executive producer)
Joe Madureira (comic book cover artist)
 
ADVENTURE TIME (Thursday, July 9, 3-4pm)
Olivia Olson, the voice of Marceline on the Adventure Time animated series, will be on hand to sign Adventure Time comics!
Olivia Olson (voice of Marceline on Adventure Time)
 
LANTERN CITY (Saturday, July 11, 1-2pm)
Creators and cast members of the cast will be signing copies of the Lantern City #2 San Diego Comic-Con Variant ($10) and other Lantern City products.
Trevor Crafts (co-creator)
Bruce Boxleitner (co-creator)
Matthew Daley (writer)
Mira Furlan (Martha Ellen Gray in the upcoming LANTERN CITY TV series)
Jake Wyatt (cover artist of the SDCC variant)
Thomas Willeford (creative collaborator)
 
HACKTIVIST (Saturday, July 11, 4-5pm)
The creator and writers will be signing copies of the Hacktivist Vol. 2 #1 San Diego Comic-Con Variant ($10) and other Hacktivist products.
Alyssa Milano (creator)
Collin Kelly (co-writer)
Jackson Lanzing (co-writer)

BOOM! 10th BIRTHDAY BASH


On Thursday, July 10th from 9pm until close, BOOM! Studios will hold its 10 Year Birthday Bash at the Odysea Bar, located inside the Hilton Bayfront Hotel at 1 Park Boulevard, two blocks south of the Convention Center. It is open to the public and no RSVP is required.
 
Additional details about BOOM! Studios Panels and Exclusives will be released shortly.









































































































































































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47. Webcomic alert: Witness the economic struggle of the cartoonist in ICE CREAM by Alex Fellows

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Here’s a comic that sums up all the money stuff we’ve been talking about for the last few weeks. The unnamed cartoonist in Alex Fellows’ ICE CREAM has just purchased a fancy refrigerator he can’t really afford. I think most of us will empathize with the financial soul searching, credit card juggling and marital discord that follows.

I could pull any number of panels in this comic but here’s just one.

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Ouch.

I wasn’t familiar with Fellows work, but he won a Xeric in 2002 for Blank Slate and a Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent in 2011 for his comic, Spain and Morocco. You can see more of his work here. I’ll definitely be following Ice Cream!

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48. The Battle of Marston Moor and the English Revolution

As a schoolboy I was told that on the eve of the battle of Marston Moor in 1644, as the rival armies drew up, a sturdy yokel was found ploughing his fields. When brought up to speed about the war between King and parliament he asked, "What has they two fallen out again?".

The post The Battle of Marston Moor and the English Revolution appeared first on OUPblog.

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49. XTRA XTRA: Jeff Lemire and Humberto Ramos lead the Extraordinary X-Men

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With author Brian Michael Bendis leaving the X-Men franchise via Uncanny X-Men #600, Marvel fans have been waiting for the announcement of the next creative team on the title. Now, the wait is over as the House of Ideas has revealed writer Jeff Lemire, penciller Humberto Ramos and colorist Edgar Delgado as the next team for the upcoming All-New, All-Different X-Men title: The Extraordinary X-Men. We asked Lemire about the prospects of writing the X-Men just last week in our exclusive interview with the creator — read what he had to say.

Many of the plot details in the comic are shrouded in mystery surrounding of Secret Wars. However, Lemire revealed that the story is spinning a stronger relationship between the X-Men and Inhumans — the Terrigen Mists will play a role in the story. Also, Cyclops and many of the main cast members appear to be missing from the traditional X-Men roster.

The new line-up sees a team without the more traditional versions Wolverine or Cyclops — that’s where Old Man Logan comes in with the eXtra eXperience. Storm is leading the Extraordinary X-Men in the place of the absent Wolverine. The All-New X-Men of the time displaced future are still represented in the title through Jean Grey. The adult Ice Man is gracing the team alongside the traditional versions of Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Magik. CBR announced the news and shared an exclusive interview with Lemire.

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Here’s Lemire talking to CBR about the origins of the phrase “Extraordinary”:

We wanted something new that hadn’t been used before and “Extraordinary” almost felt like one of those ones where we couldn’t believe no one had done a book called “Extraordinary X-Men” before.

The author chimed in on how he feels about his past work intercut with this current feelings on the X-Men franchise:

I think in the past I got too focused on plot and lost characters a bit in the other team books. There’s a tendency to have plot plot plot, insert character moment here. For the X-Men, I’m approaching it much more where the whole book is a character moment with action stuff interspersed, kind of the reverse of that.

No release date has been announced for the title. Stay tuned to The Beat, as more Marvel information is set to be revealed this week.

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50. Wedding Days


When the Supreme Court's decision on marriage equality was announced, a friend who'd just heard a snippet of news texted me: "Is it true?"

"Yes," I replied. "My mothers' marriage must now be recognized in all 50 states."

This is true and wonderful. As others have pointed out, the ruling lets marriage just be marriage, without the modifiers that have dominated the discourse of the last fifteen years or so — it is no longer gay marriage or same-sex marriage or traditional marriage, just marriage. (Although marriage between two people only. Polyamory is still mind-bending to the mainstream.)

Inevitably, and immediately, there were countless thinkpieces written, plus plenty of grandstanding and righteous gnashing by people who disagreed with the Court's majority decision. Also, and just as inevitably, there were the folks who see marriage of any sort as a tool of neoliberalism and oppression. It really takes a special sort of self-righteousness to pour contempt on millions of people's celebrations. And as political strategy it's pretty stupid, since standing off to the side being Comrade Grumbly McGrumblepuss is not likely to build much of a movement. (Responding to "We're so happy!" with "NO! You are not ideologically pure!" has rarely led to good revolutions.) But hey, each to their own. I will defend to the death your right to be a wet, mildewy blanket.

But I get it, too. I have quite a few friends in committed relationships who have no desire to get married. (Now they can get harassed about their unmarried status in all the states unmarried straight couples can get harassed in!) And as much as I celebrated the ruling, because it has significant positive material consequences in the lives of so many people I know and love, as a contentedly single person I was unsettled by what Richard Kim called the "sentimental, barfy, single-shaming kicker" at the end of Justice Kennedy's written decision, in which Kennedy and the co-signing justices (one of whom, Elena Kagan, has never married) extol marriage as embodying "the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice and family", etc. Rebecca Traister writes:
This will come as news to the millions of people who aim their love, fidelity, sacrifice, and devotion high, but in directions other than at a spouse. “In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than they once were,” Kennedy continues, just hammering it home: Married partnership, according to the Supreme Court, is not only a terrific institution into which we rightly should welcome all loving and willing entrants, it is an arrangement which apparently improves the individuals who enter it, that makes them greater than they were on their own. Those who have previously not been allowed to marry, Kennedy avers, should not be “condemned to live in loneliness,” as if the opposite of marriage must surely be a life sentence of abject misery.
As Traister goes on to say, plenty of married people are lonely and plenty unmarried people are not. The freedom to marry must also include the freedom not to marry. Marriage isn't everything. But it's also not nothing.

I am thrilled for my mothers' marriage (which began as a civil partnership when that became legal in New Hampshire, and then turned into a marriage when the law changed) because it's a relationship that works well for them in all sorts of different ways, including the very real benefits it provides for taxes, health care, etc. It's what they need and what they want.

I don't ever expect to be married myself. I never have expected to. Even if I met somebody I wanted to settle down with (an alien idea to me at this point), I have a hard time imagining my personality changing enough to want the kind of celebration a wedding involves. I can imagine that at a certain point the legal and financial benefits become worthwhile, even if it's unfortunate that they must be codified in this particular institution, but wedding ceremonies are ... well, I'll just say it's okay if you don't invite me to your wedding and I hope you won't mind if I just send a card or gift or something instead of attending. But that's me. You should be happy in the ways you can be happy.

When the Supreme Court first agreed to hear Obergefell v. Hodges, my mother and I were driving somewhere and she asked, "Did you ever think this sort of thing would happen in your lifetime?" and I thought for a moment and replied, "I don't really remember what I expected, but I know I didn't expect it would be marriage!"

When I was a college student in New York in the mid-'90s, just getting acquainted with queer politics and activism, I vividly remember how much I loathed Andrew Sullivan and his book Virtually Normal. Sullivan was all respectability politics all the time, and he was exactly the sort of blithely bourgeois conservative queer I would have rather died than become. His vision was a powerful one, though, because he recognized that a lot of gay people, perhaps the majority, really really wanted to be respectable, really really wanted to enter into mainstream institutions, really really wanted not to revolutionize society but to be able to participate more equally in it. One hugely meaningful path toward mainstream respectability is marriage, which carries immense symbolic weight. More importantly, marriage is something so common to the traditions of everyday society that it is entirely legible and normalizing. To speak of someone as my husband or my wife is to add a whole set of immediately clear meanings to a relationship, even as those meanings shift over time. While people may be used to thinking of the husband or wife as the "opposite sex", it's not all that hard to begin to adjust, because the meaning of the words is so well established.

You'll still have to pry my copy of Michael Warner's The Trouble with Normal out of my cold, dead hands, but these days I better value the ways that normal can be reconstituted, the ways a million tiny revolutions can lead to something big. Giving a commencement speech at RISD recently, self-declared "filth elder" John Waters said, "I didn’t change. Society did." A worthy goal. Don't change yourself, change your world. Even if that change is incremental, even if it doesn't right all the economic and social wrongs of our ever so violently wrong economy and society.

I've just begun reading A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. Forster by Wendy Moffat, which begins with a prologue telling the story of Christopher Isherwood's receipt of the manuscript of Maurice shortly after Forster died in 1970 at the age of 91. Isherwood had first read the manuscript in 1933, and for decades had encouraged Forster to publish it, but the best he could do was convince Forster to allow publication after his death. That was why he received a typescript of Maurice and some of Forster's unpublished homoerotic stories, which he immediately shared with John Lehmann, (an old friend who'd encouraged Leonard and Virginia Woolf to publish Isherwood's first novel, The Memorial):
The typescript was weighed down by the care so many had taken to preserve it for so long. It was heavy with a history of stealth. For six decades Forster had nurtured it in secret, painstakingly revising and adding chapters. He commissioned two wondrously named lady typists — Mrs. Jones and Mrs. Snatchfold — to copy the contraband manuscript in pieces, to protect them from the novel's secrets. He carefully kept track of each copy of the typescript, requesting that the chosen reader return it to a safely neutral location... Late in old age, when he was almost eighty-five, Forster reflected on the cost of this lifetime effort: "How annoyed I am with Society for wasting my time by making homosexuality criminal. The subterfuges, the self-consciousness that might have been avoided."
Heavy with a history of stealth.

More and more, that destructive, terrible need for stealth can be relegated to history, and the effort of bearing that history will be shared and thus less painful, less difficult. More and more, the energy necessary to survive in a world of hate, the energy that fueled subterfuges and self-consciousness, can be dispensed with or repurposed toward healthier, and perhaps even revolutionary, goals.

And we do still need those goals. Marriage equality is not queer liberation. Marriage equality is not economic justice. Marriage equality is not the end of racism, the end of transphobia, the end of violence. It is not universal health care, it is not a guaranteed living wage, it is not the abolition of police violence or the end of the New Jim Crow or a reconfiguration of how we think about punishment and mercy or any number of social changes that I, at least, desire.

But it is not nothing.

Nationalism and homonationalism reared up after the Supreme Court's ruling, perhaps most vividly with the Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, D.C. singing the paean to war that is the U.S. national anthem, and with the video of a conservative pundit proclaiming the marrying kind to be patriots, and with much else — but even as I resist it I'm still embroiled in our patriotic mythology, and I hope these sentiments can be put to good use. Seeing the pictures of the White House lit as a rainbow never fails to move me, and looking at newspaper front pages from every state declaring the decision was breathtaking — so many pictures of happy people embracing each other, kissing each other — across the country — images that not long ago would have been assumed to be somehow disgusting or even pornographic, presented alongside stories seething with superciliousness — but now so much of the superciliousness is gone, and the stories share the celebration — across the country—

Twenty years ago, did I ever think this sort of thing would happen in my lifetime? No, I can't say that I did. Were I to go back in a time machine and take some of those newspaper front pages to my self in the 1990s, what would that self say?

"Imagine that," he might say, shaking his head, bemused and perhaps a bit awed. "Imagine that..."

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