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Results 26 - 50 of 61,709
26. Inhumans Enter The Secret Wars Battleworld

By Davey Nieves

Yesterday we learned Miles Morales and the rest of the Ultimate universe would enter Secret Wars Battleworld in Ultimate End. Today Marvel announced superstar writer Charles Soule would bring the Inhumans into Battleworld with the new ongoing series Inhumans: Attilan Rising. The scribe will be joined by artist John Timms for what Marvel calls “a tale of romance and intrigue” that affects the entire Marvel U.

Inhumans: Attilan Rising joins the current Inhuman and recently announced Uncanny Inhumans ongoings to total three core Inhuman books Marvel will be publishing come May along side solo Inhuman characters like Ms.Marvel. Attilan Rising is poised as a sweeping war epic that puts the royal couple Blackbolt and Medusa front and center. What’s most exciting for Soule about launching this book in the coming mega-event Secret War is being able to give these characters a new context. In Soule’s words, “Things don’t have to be the way we’re used to seeing them.” No other major story details were revealed as Marvel continues to keep the shroud of secrecy looming over Secret Wars.

Both the Dave Johnson and W. Scott Forbes covers for issue one were shown today, check them out below.

Inhumans Attilan Rising 1 Cover 198x300 Inhumans Enter The Secret Wars Battleworld

Inhumans Attilan Rising 1 Forbes Variant 198x300 Inhumans Enter The Secret Wars Battleworld

1 Comments on Inhumans Enter The Secret Wars Battleworld, last added: 1/30/2015
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27. Inhumans Enter The Secret Wars Battleworld

By Davey Nieves

Yesterday we learned Miles Morales and the rest of the Ultimate universe would enter Secret Wars Battleworld in Ultimate End. Today Marvel announced superstar writer Charles Soule would bring the Inhumans into Battleworld with the new ongoing series Inhumans: Attilan Rising. The scribe will be joined by artist John Timms for what Marvel calls “a tale of romance and intrigue” that affects the entire Marvel U.

Inhumans: Attilan Rising joins the current Inhuman and recently announced Uncanny Inhumans ongoings to total three core Inhuman books Marvel will be publishing come May along side solo Inhuman characters like Ms.Marvel. Attilan Rising is poised as a sweeping war epic that puts the royal couple Blackbolt and Medusa front and center. What’s most exciting for Soule about launching this book in the coming mega-event Secret War is being able to give these characters a new context. In Soule’s words, “Things don’t have to be the way we’re used to seeing them.” No other major story details were revealed as Marvel continues to keep the shroud of secrecy looming over Secret Wars.

Both the Dave Johnson and W. Scott Forbes covers for issue one were shown today, check them out below.

Inhumans Attilan Rising 1 Cover 198x300 Inhumans Enter The Secret Wars Battleworld

Inhumans Attilan Rising 1 Forbes Variant 198x300 Inhumans Enter The Secret Wars Battleworld

5 Comments on Inhumans Enter The Secret Wars Battleworld, last added: 1/30/2015
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28. Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

201501291441 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

In what is not a shock but is a break with tradition, Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira and Domu, has been awarded the Grand Prix at the 42nd annual Festival d’Angoulême which is taking place as we speak.

Otomo beat out beloved Belgian cartoonist Hermann (the safe choice) and Alan Moore, who probably would have just chucked it into his garden and forgotten about.

This caps off several years of unrest for the prize, which is awarded for a body of work and voted on by participating cartoonists (just how you participate isn’t always clear, but I think attending a past Angouleme qualifies you.) Traditionally the prize has been given to Franco-Belgian cartoonists—all strong but many of them better known for being popular with their peers than for making a mark on world cartooning. In 2013 a younger, more international group of cartoonists wanted to give the prize to Akira Toriyama, but Willem, a Dutch cartoonists who makes his home in Paris, was selected, with Toriyama being given a special prize.

In 2014, Otomo was once again a finalist, along with Alan Moore and Bill Watterson, who weren’t very likely to actually make the trip to pick up the prize and attend the festival, as if the Gran prix winner’s duty. In the event, Watterson won out and he’s represented at the festival by a gorgeous art exhibit.

This time, the influence of manga has finally been recognized officially and a new day is dawning for the world culture of comics.

2015012914411 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

Otomo is of course one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists and animators, whose visionary work has influenced countless creators around the globe. Akira, a darkly futuristic tale of bikers racing across a neon Tokyo, helped create the entrée look of cyperpunk and video games. He’s world class and highly deserving of the win.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, the prize is usually given out on Sunday night…so not sure why the news was released on the first day of the festival. Maybe it was just leaked. Hope here’s his acceptance speech:

0 Comments on Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême as of 1/30/2015 1:11:00 AM
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29. Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

201501291441 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

In what is not a shock but is a break with tradition, Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira and Domu, has been awarded the Grand Prix at the 42nd annual Festival d’Angoulême which is taking place as we speak.

Otomo beat out beloved Belgian cartoonist Hermann (the safe choice) and Alan Moore, who probably would have just chucked it into his garden and forgotten about.

This caps off several years of unrest for the prize, which is awarded for a body of work and voted on by participating cartoonists (just how you participate isn’t always clear, but I think attending a past Angouleme qualifies you.) Traditionally the prize has been given to Franco-Belgian cartoonists—all strong but many of them better known for being popular with their peers than for making a mark on world cartooning. In 2013 a younger, more international group of cartoonists wanted to give the prize to Akira Toriyama, but Willem, a Dutch cartoonists who makes his home in Paris, was selected, with Toriyama being given a special prize.

In 2014, Otomo was once again a finalist, along with Alan Moore and Bill Watterson, who weren’t very likely to actually make the trip to pick up the prize and attend the festival, as if the Gran prix winner’s duty. In the event, Watterson won out and he’s represented at the festival by a gorgeous art exhibit.

This time, the influence of manga has finally been recognized officially and a new day is dawning for the world culture of comics.

2015012914411 Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

Otomo is of course one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists and animators, whose visionary work has influenced countless creators around the globe. Akira, a darkly futuristic tale of bikers racing across a neon Tokyo, helped create the entrée look of cyperpunk and video games. He’s world class and highly deserving of the win.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, the prize is usually given out on Sunday night…so not sure why the news was released on the first day of the festival. Maybe it was just leaked. Hope here’s his acceptance speech:

0 Comments on Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême as of 1/30/2015 6:53:00 AM
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30. Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Back 01 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!
Lego has made a Helicarrier. Repeat, LEGO HAS MADE A HELICARRIER. OVER DO YOU COPY? And it comes with Black Widow AND Maria Hill! Oh and HAwkeye, Nick Fury and Captain America. And 3 Quinjets, and and and…It’s not the one from Avengers: Age of Ultron (if there is one) but who cares. It come with:

• Includes 5 minifigures: Nick Fury, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye and Maria Hill, plus an iconic SHIELD eagle stand to display them on
• Features 3 microscale Quinjets, 3 fighter jets, a gasoline truck, 2 forklift trucks, 2 runways, 4 road blockades, armored exterior with translucent elements, detailed interior, plus 12 microfigures (Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Captain America, Iron Man and 8 SHIELD agents)
• Also includes a detailed runway
• Weapons include Hawkeye’s bow, Black Widow’s gun and Captain America’s shield
• SHIELD Agent Maria Hill minifigure is new for spring 2015!
• Includes a plaque with facts about The SHIELD Helicarrier
• Add lights and spinning rotors to the Helicarrier with the 88000, 8883 and 8870 LEGO® Power Functions sets (sold separately)
• Rotors can also be turned manually
• Includes a display stand
• Helicarrier measures over 11” (29cm) high, 31” (80cm) long and 17” (45cm) wide
• Each Quinjet measures over 1” (3cm) high, 2” (7cm) long and 2” (7cm) wide
• Minifigure stand measures over 4” (12cm) high, and 2” (6cm deep) and 6” (16cm wide)

 

With nearly 3000 pieces, this is not a cheap set. No It will set you back US $349.99 ($399.99 in Canada) but…it’s still pretty awesome.Here’s some pictures for you to dream over.

76042 SHIELD Helicarrier copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 MF Black Widow Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 MF Captian America Copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 MF Hawkeye Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 MF Maria Hill Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 MF Nick Fury Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 Minis Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 Plane Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Front 01 Copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Front 02 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Front 05 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Func 03 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Func 06 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Func 07 01 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

1 Comments on Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!, last added: 1/30/2015
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31. Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Back 01 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!
Lego has made a Helicarrier. Repeat, LEGO HAS MADE A HELICARRIER. OVER DO YOU COPY? And it comes with Black Widow AND Maria Hill! Oh and HAwkeye, Nick Fury and Captain America. And 3 Quinjets, and and and…It’s not the one from Avengers: Age of Ultron (if there is one) but who cares. It come with:

• Includes 5 minifigures: Nick Fury, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye and Maria Hill, plus an iconic SHIELD eagle stand to display them on
• Features 3 microscale Quinjets, 3 fighter jets, a gasoline truck, 2 forklift trucks, 2 runways, 4 road blockades, armored exterior with translucent elements, detailed interior, plus 12 microfigures (Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Captain America, Iron Man and 8 SHIELD agents)
• Also includes a detailed runway
• Weapons include Hawkeye’s bow, Black Widow’s gun and Captain America’s shield
• SHIELD Agent Maria Hill minifigure is new for spring 2015!
• Includes a plaque with facts about The SHIELD Helicarrier
• Add lights and spinning rotors to the Helicarrier with the 88000, 8883 and 8870 LEGO® Power Functions sets (sold separately)
• Rotors can also be turned manually
• Includes a display stand
• Helicarrier measures over 11” (29cm) high, 31” (80cm) long and 17” (45cm) wide
• Each Quinjet measures over 1” (3cm) high, 2” (7cm) long and 2” (7cm) wide
• Minifigure stand measures over 4” (12cm) high, and 2” (6cm deep) and 6” (16cm wide)

 

With nearly 3000 pieces, this is not a cheap set. No It will set you back US $349.99 ($399.99 in Canada) but…it’s still pretty awesome.Here’s some pictures for you to dream over.

76042 SHIELD Helicarrier copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 MF Black Widow Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 MF Captian America Copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 MF Hawkeye Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 MF Maria Hill Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 MF Nick Fury Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 Minis Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 1to1 Plane Copy copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Front 01 Copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Front 02 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Front 05 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Func 03 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Func 06 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

76042 Func 07 01 copy Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

1 Comments on Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!, last added: 1/30/2015
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32. Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

sqgirl2015002 dc11 Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus
With Squirrel Girl, Marvel is proving just how strong the Marvel brand is—so strong that it can do a 180 and it’s still part of the fun. Written by Ryan North (Adventure Time, Dinosaur Comics) and drawn by Erica Henderson (Atomic Robo, Marceline and the Scream Queens) this book is as “indie” and charming as comics can get. It even has lovely flat colors by Rico Renzi. Squirrel Girl is Doreen Green a typical college student except that she also has the proportionate speed and strength of a squirrel….and a big bushy squirrel tail, which she stuffs into her pants to keep her secret identity secret. Squirrel Girl was created in 1992 by writer Will Murray and Steve Ditko (!) and the gimmick is that even with powers that sound less than a-list, she can defeat anyone —and so far she’s defeated Doctor Doom, MODOK, Terrax, and Thanos, all with the help of her squirrel sidekick Tippy-Toe.

In the first issue of her book she (spoiler) defeated Kraven the Hunter while negotiating coed life and singing a theme song that sounded a lot like maybe it was like the Spider-Man theme song…like Kamala Khan, Doreen Green takes the classic Marvel “young adult with a problem” formula and updates it for a world that’s not grim and gritty, but chipper and hopeful.

Perhaps anxious to make sure that Squirrel Girl gets her licks in before Secret Wars, the second issue goes all the way to the top and features none other than Galactus. Here’s a preview of the issue, which takes place at…a comics convention. The main cover is by Henderson and the variant by Joe Quinones.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 goes on sale next week, February 4th.

sqgirl2015002 dc21 Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

sqgirl2015002 int2 00001 Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

sqgirl2015002 int2 00002 Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

sqgirl2015002 int2 00003 Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

1 Comments on Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus, last added: 1/30/2015
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33. Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

sqgirl2015002 dc11 Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus
With Squirrel Girl, Marvel is proving just how strong the Marvel brand is—so strong that it can do a 180 and it’s still part of the fun. Written by Ryan North (Adventure Time, Dinosaur Comics) and drawn by Erica Henderson (Atomic Robo, Marceline and the Scream Queens) this book is as “indie” and charming as comics can get. It even has lovely flat colors by Rico Renzi. Squirrel Girl is Doreen Green a typical college student except that she also has the proportionate speed and strength of a squirrel….and a big bushy squirrel tail, which she stuffs into her pants to keep her secret identity secret. Squirrel Girl was created in 1992 by writer Will Murray and Steve Ditko (!) and the gimmick is that even with powers that sound less than a-list, she can defeat anyone —and so far she’s defeated Doctor Doom, MODOK, Terrax, and Thanos, all with the help of her squirrel sidekick Tippy-Toe.

In the first issue of her book she (spoiler) defeated Kraven the Hunter while negotiating coed life and singing a theme song that sounded a lot like maybe it was like the Spider-Man theme song…like Kamala Khan, Doreen Green takes the classic Marvel “young adult with a problem” formula and updates it for a world that’s not grim and gritty, but chipper and hopeful.

Perhaps anxious to make sure that Squirrel Girl gets her licks in before Secret Wars, the second issue goes all the way to the top and features none other than Galactus. Here’s a preview of the issue, which takes place at…a comics convention. The main cover is by Henderson and the variant by Joe Quinones.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 goes on sale next week, February 4th.

sqgirl2015002 dc21 Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

sqgirl2015002 int2 00001 Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

sqgirl2015002 int2 00002 Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

sqgirl2015002 int2 00003 Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

0 Comments on Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus as of 1/30/2015 6:53:00 AM
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34. Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!)

Fandom-inspired fashion certainly isn’t going anywhere; gone are the days of unisex, potato-sack tees as companies like WeLoveFine, Hot Topic and other retailers capitalize on the craze. The latest launch from Hot Topic is one of the most fandom-specific ones I’ve seen. It actually all revolves around a single character: Harley Quinn. And we have some to give away!

Some of these offerings are basically straight-up cosplay fodder, like the Harley suspender leggings and dress:

10278175 HarleenLeggings hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!) 10277465 HarleenDress hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!)

Others aim at slightly more subtle/everyday approach, like an argyle cardigan or mesh-sleeve top:

10280926 HarleenCardigan hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!) 10232899 DCHarleenMeshTop hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!)

The collaboration from Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Hot Topic, dubbed Harleen, is available now at a fairly reasonable price point (mostly the $20 – $30 range).

Also, if you’re one of those quizzie types, they’ve launched an app to hook you up with your ideal comics-related companion. While I’m not 100% convinced that the Joker is the right man for me, it’s only a few questions long and comes with a coupon for the gear at the end.

PLUS: Giveaway! You can win a Joker and Harley Quinn Mesh Girls Pullover Top! To enter, tweet “I have mad love for Harley Quinn, @hottopic and @comicsbeat” Prize supplied by Hot Topic, and winner selected in a random drawing. The contest will end Monday, February 2 at noon est. Tweet away!

0 Comments on Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!) as of 1/30/2015 6:48:00 AM
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35. Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!)

Fandom-inspired fashion certainly isn’t going anywhere; gone are the days of unisex, potato-sack tees as companies like WeLoveFine, Hot Topic and other retailers capitalize on the craze. The latest launch from Hot Topic is one of the most fandom-specific ones I’ve seen. It actually all revolves around a single character: Harley Quinn. And we have some to give away!

Some of these offerings are basically straight-up cosplay fodder, like the Harley suspender leggings and dress:

10278175 HarleenLeggings hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!) 10277465 HarleenDress hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!)

Others aim at slightly more subtle/everyday approach, like an argyle cardigan or mesh-sleeve top:

10280926 HarleenCardigan hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!) 10232899 DCHarleenMeshTop hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!)

The collaboration from Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Hot Topic, dubbed Harleen, is available now at a fairly reasonable price point (mostly the $20 – $30 range).

Also, if you’re one of those quizzie types, they’ve launched an app to hook you up with your ideal comics-related companion. While I’m not 100% convinced that the Joker is the right man for me, it’s only a few questions long and comes with a coupon for the gear at the end.

PLUS: Giveaway! You can win a Joker and Harley Quinn Mesh Girls Pullover Top! To enter, tweet “I have mad love for Harley Quinn, @hottopic and @comicsbeat” Prize supplied by Hot Topic, and winner selected in a random drawing. The contest will end Monday, February 2 at noon est. Tweet away!

1 Comments on Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!), last added: 1/30/2015
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36. FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

Salt lake scity ccc FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

It isn’t primarily a comic-con, but Salt Lake City Comic Con’s FanX starts today, a three day show with a focus on nerdlebrities: Glen and Beth will be there; Walter White Jr will be there; Jamie Lannister will be there, Judge Doom, Doctor Who and even Princess Leia! A few comics guests as well, including Neal Adams. And a LOT of SF authors—Utah is actually the nerdiest state, and there’s a lot of support for this kind of material.

unnamed4 FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

Past SLC Comic Con events have had huge crowds and some logistical programs. I’m not sure if this is new for FanX, but they have instituted RFID bracelets and tapping in and out, as they do at New York Comic-Con.

If nothing else, FanX has pretty snappy instructional graphics.

Which reminds me, the trademark lawsuit over the use of the term “Comic-Con” files by the San Diego Comic-Con folks is ongoing—CCI settled with the Newspaper Agency Corp., which promoted the SLC shows, and they can no longer produce anything that looks “confusingly similar” to the CCI trademarks. The rest of the suit, against the SLC show running group, is still on. Maybe The Beat’s resident legal expert Jeff Trexler can weigh in on this one at some point?

At any rate, none of this legal stuff should affect the con goers, who will doubtless have a swell time.

3 Comments on FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today, last added: 1/30/2015
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37. FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

Salt lake scity ccc FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

It isn’t primarily a comic-con, but Salt Lake City Comic Con’s FanX starts today, a three day show with a focus on nerdlebrities: Glen and Beth will be there; Walter White Jr will be there; Jamie Lannister will be there, Judge Doom, Doctor Who and even Princess Leia! A few comics guests as well, including Neal Adams. And a LOT of SF authors—Utah is actually the nerdiest state, and there’s a lot of support for this kind of material.

unnamed4 FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

Past SLC Comic Con events have had huge crowds and some logistical programs. I’m not sure if this is new for FanX, but they have instituted RFID bracelets and tapping in and out, as they do at New York Comic-Con.

If nothing else, FanX has pretty snappy instructional graphics.

Which reminds me, the trademark lawsuit over the use of the term “Comic-Con” files by the San Diego Comic-Con folks is ongoing—CCI settled with the Newspaper Agency Corp., which promoted the SLC shows, and they can no longer produce anything that looks “confusingly similar” to the CCI trademarks. The rest of the suit, against the SLC show running group, is still on. Maybe The Beat’s resident legal expert Jeff Trexler can weigh in on this one at some point?

At any rate, none of this legal stuff should affect the con goers, who will doubtless have a swell time.

0 Comments on FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today as of 1/30/2015 6:48:00 AM
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38. Heroes In Action – Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti-Islamic Ads

by Zachary Clemente

10934042 348076775385575 7477015537591114790 n Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic AdsWhen not out fighting fiendish villains, teaming up (adorably) with Wolverine, or being late to class – Kamala Khan AKA Ms. Marvel has found an entirely new spotlight by having her image used on top of anti-Islamic bus ads in San Francisco. These ads, found on Muni busses, were purchased earlier this month by right-wing extremist American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and an anonymous graffiti artist has stepped in to address the hatred with some heroics. The ads make parallels between Islam with Nazism, utilizing a photo of Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, an anti-Zionism Muslim leader, and demand end to aiding Islamic countries.

This is especially poetic as Kamala is a Pakistani-American teenager and Muslim superhero, I might add. Her deeds were posted by Street Cred and have spread far and wide, befitting any hero’s work. While many may cry foul that the unknown artist’s actions are oppressing free speech, in actuality, this is a fantastic representation of public discourse in action and a poignant means of engaging such an issue in light of how many of the reactions to the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris ended up: scattered, veering, and hasty.

10830754 348076875385565 8805719012231739861 o 1000x747 Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic AdsWhat’s just as impressive is the level-headed response Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson had to offer on the subject:

You can find Kamala’s Adventures monthly in Ms. Marvel. I thoroughly suggest reading the first collected trade, No Normal, available in digital and in print.

background2 Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic Ads

Art by Jaime McKelvie

 

1 Comments on Heroes In Action – Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti-Islamic Ads, last added: 1/30/2015
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39. Heroes In Action – Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti-Islamic Ads

by Zachary Clemente

10934042 348076775385575 7477015537591114790 n Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic AdsWhen not out fighting fiendish villains, teaming up (adorably) with Wolverine, or being late to class – Kamala Khan AKA Ms. Marvel has found an entirely new spotlight by having her image used on top of anti-Islamic bus ads in San Francisco. These ads, found on Muni busses, were purchased earlier this month by right-wing extremist American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and an anonymous graffiti artist has stepped in to address the hatred with some heroics. The ads make parallels between Islam with Nazism, utilizing a photo of Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, an anti-Zionism Muslim leader, and demand end to aiding Islamic countries.

This is especially poetic as Kamala is a Pakistani-American teenager and Muslim superhero, I might add. Her deeds were posted by Street Cred and have spread far and wide, befitting any hero’s work. While many may cry foul that the unknown artist’s actions are oppressing free speech, in actuality, this is a fantastic representation of public discourse in action and a poignant means of engaging such an issue in light of how many of the reactions to the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris ended up: scattered, veering, and hasty.

10830754 348076875385565 8805719012231739861 o 1000x747 Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic AdsWhat’s just as impressive is the level-headed response Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson had to offer on the subject:

You can find Kamala’s Adventures monthly in Ms. Marvel. I thoroughly suggest reading the first collected trade, No Normal, available in digital and in print.

background2 Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic Ads

Art by Jaime McKelvie

 

3 Comments on Heroes In Action – Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti-Islamic Ads, last added: 1/30/2015
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40. Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

When Scholastic launched its Graphix imprint 10 years ago, graphic novels were a novelty, if you can pardon the expression, in the mainstream publishing world. And kids comics were an unknown quantity—comics shops didn’t want them and bookstores didn’t know what to do with them. In the first wave, there were many miscues and misunderstandings at many houses along the way. But Graphix wasn’t the one making them. Granted, starting out a line with Jeff Smith’s Bone is about as much a sure thing as possible—6.9 million copies in print and counting. But picking Raina Telgemeier to do a Babysitter’s Club relaunch and eventually Smile, and Kazu Kibuishi to publish his Amulet series weren’t as sure—but they sure paid off. Along the way Graphix has picked up multiple Eisner Award wins and nominations, a Stonewall Book Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor, an Edgar Allan Poe nomination, and 14 New York Times bestsellers. They’ve published many more top cartoonists such as Doug TenNapel, Greg Ruth, Mike Maihack and Jimmy Gownley. And there’s more to come.

To celebrate their tenth anniversary—Bone: Out From Boneville was published in 20o5—Scholastic has some cool stuff on tap. To kick things off they’re revealing two covers for the first time:

SpaceDumplins Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

Craig Thompson’s Space Dumplins comes out in August. It’s the first kids book by the acclaimed author of Blankets and Habibi, and his first one in full-color, with Dave Stewart adding hues.

SunnySideUp Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

And the sister/brother duo of  Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, best selling authors of Babymouse and Squish have a new one as well: Sunny Side Up (August 25, 2015; ages 8-12), which is a semi-autobiographical story, their first.

In addition, 12 Graphix artists have created new art that will be offered as prints throughout the year at events and online. The line-up: James Burks, Nathan Fox, Jimmy Gownley, Matthew Holm, Kazu Kibuishi, Mike Maihack, Dave Roman, Greg Ruth, Jeff Smith, Raina Telgemeier, Doug TenNapel, and Craig Thompson. Events include ALA Midwinter (Chicago, IL), Emerald City Comic Con (Seattle, WA), Texas Library Association (Austin, TX), BookExpo (New York City, NY), ALA Annual (San Francisco, CA), Comic-Con International (San Diego, California), Long Beach Comic Expo (Long Beach, CA), Salt Lake Comic Con (Salt Lake City, UT), and New York Comic Con (New York City, NY).

Finally, on February  24, Graphic will publish BONE #1: Out from Boneville, Tribute Edition, with a new illustrated poem from  Jeff Smith and new tribute art from sixteen top artists.

Along with the cover reveal, Graphic has announced some future projects:

  • Two more installments in the Amulet series
  • A new graphic novel, as yet untitled, by Kazu Kibuishi
  • Books 3 and 4 in Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space series
  • And from Raina Telgemeier, a nonfiction family story in the vein of  Smile and Sisters), a collection of short stories, and a fictional graphic novel.

It’s definitely worth giving Graphix and its founder, David Saylor, a tip of the cap. 10 years ago it was a gamble. Today it’s an institution.

 

4 Comments on Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm, last added: 1/30/2015
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41. Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

When Scholastic launched its Graphix imprint 10 years ago, graphic novels were a novelty, if you can pardon the expression, in the mainstream publishing world. And kids comics were an unknown quantity—comics shops didn’t want them and bookstores didn’t know what to do with them. In the first wave, there were many miscues and misunderstandings at many houses along the way. But Graphix wasn’t the one making them. Granted, starting out a line with Jeff Smith’s Bone is about as much a sure thing as possible—6.9 million copies in print and counting. But picking Raina Telgemeier to do a Babysitter’s Club relaunch and eventually Smile, and Kazu Kibuishi to publish his Amulet series weren’t as sure—but they sure paid off. Along the way Graphix has picked up multiple Eisner Award wins and nominations, a Stonewall Book Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor, an Edgar Allan Poe nomination, and 14 New York Times bestsellers. They’ve published many more top cartoonists such as Doug TenNapel, Greg Ruth, Mike Maihack and Jimmy Gownley. And there’s more to come.

To celebrate their tenth anniversary—Bone: Out From Boneville was published in 20o5—Scholastic has some cool stuff on tap. To kick things off they’re revealing two covers for the first time:

SpaceDumplins Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

Craig Thompson’s Space Dumplins comes out in August. It’s the first kids book by the acclaimed author of Blankets and Habibi, and his first one in full-color, with Dave Stewart adding hues.

SunnySideUp Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

And the sister/brother duo of  Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, best selling authors of Babymouse and Squish have a new one as well: Sunny Side Up (August 25, 2015; ages 8-12), which is a semi-autobiographical story, their first.

In addition, 12 Graphix artists have created new art that will be offered as prints throughout the year at events and online. The line-up: James Burks, Nathan Fox, Jimmy Gownley, Matthew Holm, Kazu Kibuishi, Mike Maihack, Dave Roman, Greg Ruth, Jeff Smith, Raina Telgemeier, Doug TenNapel, and Craig Thompson. Events include ALA Midwinter (Chicago, IL), Emerald City Comic Con (Seattle, WA), Texas Library Association (Austin, TX), BookExpo (New York City, NY), ALA Annual (San Francisco, CA), Comic-Con International (San Diego, California), Long Beach Comic Expo (Long Beach, CA), Salt Lake Comic Con (Salt Lake City, UT), and New York Comic Con (New York City, NY).

Finally, on February  24, Graphic will publish BONE #1: Out from Boneville, Tribute Edition, with a new illustrated poem from  Jeff Smith and new tribute art from sixteen top artists.

Along with the cover reveal, Graphic has announced some future projects:

  • Two more installments in the Amulet series
  • A new graphic novel, as yet untitled, by Kazu Kibuishi
  • Books 3 and 4 in Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space series
  • And from Raina Telgemeier, a nonfiction family story in the vein of  Smile and Sisters), a collection of short stories, and a fictional graphic novel.

It’s definitely worth giving Graphix and its founder, David Saylor, a tip of the cap. 10 years ago it was a gamble. Today it’s an institution.

 

0 Comments on Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm as of 1/30/2015 6:48:00 AM
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42. Kin selection, group selection and altruism: a controversy without end?

I recall a dinner conversation at a symposium in Paris that I organized in 2010, where a number of eminent evolutionary biologists, economists and philosophers were present. One of the economists asked the biologists why it was that whenever the topic of “group selection” was brought up, a ferocious argument always seemed to ensue. The biologists pondered the question. Three hours later the conversation was still stuck on group selection, and a ferocious argument was underway.

Group selection refers to the idea that natural selection sometimes acts on whole groups of organisms, favoring some groups over others, leading to the evolution of traits that are group-advantageous. This contrasts with the traditional ‘individualist’ view which holds that Darwinian selection usually occurs at the individual level, favoring some individual organisms over others, and leading to the evolution of traits that benefit individuals themselves. Thus, for example, the polar bear’s white coat is an adaptation that evolved to benefit individual polar bears, not the groups to which they belong.

The debate over group selection has raged for a long time in biology. Darwin himself primarily invoked selection at the individual level, for he was convinced that most features of the plants and animals he studied had evolved to benefit the individual plant or animal. But he did briefly toy with group selection in his discussion of social insect colonies, which often function as highly cohesive units, and also in his discussion of how self-sacrificial (‘altruistic’) behaviours might have evolved in early hominids.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the group selection hypothesis was heavily critiqued by authors such as G.C. Williams, John Maynard Smith, and Richard Dawkins. They argued that group selection was an inherently weak evolutionary mechanism, and not needed to explain the data anyway. Examples of altruism, in which an individual performs an action that is costly to itself but benefits others (e.g. fighting an intruder), are better explained by kin selection, they argued. Kin selection arises because relatives share genes. A gene which causes an individual to behave altruistically towards its relatives will often be favoured by natural selection—since these relatives have a better than random chance of also carrying the gene. This simple piece of logic tallies with the fact that empirically, altruistic behaviours in nature tend to be kin-directed.

Strangely, the group selection controversy seems to re-emerge anew every generation. Most recently, Harvard’s E.O. Wilson, the “father of sociobiology” and a world-expert on ant colonies, has argued that “multi-level selection”—essentially a modern version of group selection—is the best way to understand social evolution. In his earlier work, Wilson was a staunch defender of kin selection, but no longer; he has recently penned sharp critiques of the reigning kin selection orthodoxy, both alone and in a 2010 Nature article co-authored with Martin Nowak and Corina Tarnita. Wilson’s volte-face has led him to clash swords with Richard Dawkins, who says that Wilson is “just wrong” about kin selection and that his most recent book contains “pervasive theoretical errors.” Both parties point to eminent scientists who support their view.

What explains the persistence of the controversy over group and kin selection? Usually in science, one expects to see controversies resolved by the accumulation of empirical data. That is how the “scientific method” is meant to work, and often does. But the group selection controversy does not seem amenable to a straightforward empirical resolution; indeed, it is unclear whether there are any empirical disagreements at all between the opposing parties. Partly for this reason, the controversy has sometimes been dismissed as “semantic,” but this is too quick. There have been semantic disagreements, in particular over what constitutes a “group,” but this is not the whole story. For underlying the debate are deep issues to do with causality, a notoriously problematic concept, and one which quickly lands one in philosophical hot water.

All parties agree that differential group success is common in nature. Dawkins uses the example of red squirrels being outcompeted by grey squirrels. However, as he intuitively notes, this is not a case of genuine group selection, as the success of one group and the decline of another was a side-effect of individual level selection. More generally, there may be a correlation between some group feature and the group’s biological success (or “fitness”); but like any correlation, this need not mean that the former has a direct causal impact on the latter. But how are we to distinguish, even in theory, between cases where the group feature does causally influence the group’s success, so “real” group selection occurs, and cases where the correlation between group feature and group success is “caused from below”? This distinction is crucial; however it cannot even be expressed in terms of the standard formalisms that biologists use to describe the evolutionary process, as these are statistical not causal. The distinction is related to the more general question of how to understand causality in hierarchical systems that has long troubled philosophers of science.

Recently, a number of authors have argued that the opposition between kin and multi-level (or group) selection is misconceived, on the grounds that the two are actually equivalent—a suggestion first broached by W.D. Hamilton as early as 1975. Proponents of this view argue that kin and multi-level selection are simply alternative mathematical frameworks for describing a single evolutionary process, so the choice between them is one of convention not empirical fact. This view has much to recommend it, and offers a potential way out of the Wilson/Dawkins impasse (for it implies that they are both wrong). However, the equivalence in question is a formal equivalence only. A correct expression for evolutionary change can usually be derived using either the kin or multi-level selection frameworks, but it does not follow that they constitute equally good causal descriptions of the evolutionary process.

This suggests that the persistence of the group selection controversy can in part be attributed to the mismatch between the scientific explanations that evolutionary biologists want to give, which are causal, and the formalisms they use to describe evolution, which are usually statistical. To make progress, it is essential to attend carefully to the subtleties of the relation between statistics and causality.

Image Credit: “Selection from Birds and Animals of the United States,” via the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

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43. Sospiri’s Jenny Forsyth on voice and song

Throughout the month, we’ve been examining the myriad aspects of the human voice. But who better to discuss it than a singer herself? We asked Jenny Forsyth, member of the Sospiri choir in Oxford, what it takes to be part of a successful choir.

Which vocal part do you sing in the choir?

I sing soprano – usually first soprano if the parts split, but I’ll sing second if I need to.

For how long have you been singing?

I started singing in the training choir of the Farnham Youth Choir, in Surrey, when I was seven. Then I moved up through the junior choir when I was about 10 years old and then auditioned and moved up to the main performance choir at the age of 12 and stayed with them until I was 18. After this I studied for a Bachelors in Music, then did a Masters degree in Choral Studies (Conducting).

What first made you want to join a choir?

I had recently started having piano lessons and my dad, a musician himself, thought it would be good for my musical education to join a choir. We went to a concert given by the Farnham Youth Choir and after that I was hooked!

What is your favourite piece or song to perform?

That’s a really difficult question – there is so much great music around! I enjoy singing Renaissance music so I might choose Taverner’s Dum Transsiset. I also love Byrd’s Ne Irascaris Domine and Bogoroditse Devo from Rachmaninoff’s Vespers.

I also sing with an ensemble called the Lacock Scholars, and we sing a lot of plainsong chant, a lot of which is just so beautiful. Reading from historical notation – neumes – can give you so much musical information through such simple notation; it’s really exciting!

I’ve recently recorded an album of new commissions for the centenary of World War I with a choir from Oxford called Sospiri, directed by Chris Watson. The disk is called A Multitude of Voices and all the commissions are settings of war poems and texts. The composers were asked to look outside the poetical canon and consider texts by women, neglected poets and writers in languages other than English. I love all the music on the disk and it’s a thrilling feeling to be the first choir ever to sing a work. I really love Standing as I do before God by Cecilia McDowall and Three Songs of Remembrance by David Bednall. Two completely different works but both incredibly moving to perform.

However I think my all-time favourite has to be Las Amarillas by Stephen Hatfield – an arrangement of Mexican playground songs. It’s in Spanish and has some complicated cross rhythms, clapping, and other body percussion. It’s a hard piece to learn but when it comes together it just clicks into place and is one of the most rewarding pieces of music!

blog pics 2
Photo by Jenny Forsyth

How do you keep your voice in peak condition?

These are the five things I find really help me. (Though a busy schedule means the early nights are often a little elusive!)

  1. Keeping hydrated. It is vital to drink enough water to keep your whole system hydrated (ie., the internal hydration of the entire body that keeps the skin, eyes, and all other mucosal tissue healthy), and to make sure the vocal chords themselves are hydrated. When you drink water the water doesn’t actually touch the vocal chords so I find the best way to keep them hydrated is to steam, either over a bowl of hot water or with a purpose-built steam inhaler. The topical, or surface, hydration is the moisture level that keeps the epithelial surface of the vocal folds slippery enough to vibrate. Steaming is incredibly good for a tired voice!
  2. I’m not sure what the science behind this is but I find eating an apple just before I sing makes my voice feel more flexible and resonant.
  3. Hot drinks. A warm tea or coffee helps to relax my voice when it’s feeling a bit tired.
  4. Regular singing lessons. Having regular singing lessons with a teacher who is up to date on research into singing techniques is crucial to keeping your voice in peak condition. Often you won’t notice the development of bad habits, which could potentially be damaging to your voice, but your singing teacher will be able to correct you and keep you in check.
  5. Keeping physically fit and getting early nights. Singing is a really physical activity. When you’ve been working hard in a rehearsal or lesson you can end up feeling physically exhausted. Even though singers usually make singing look easy, there is a lot of work going on behind the scenes with lots of different sets of muscles working incredibly hard to support their sound. It’s essential to keep your body fit and well-rested to allow you to create the music you want to without damaging your voice.

Do you play any other musical instruments?

When I was younger I played the piano, flute and violin but I had to give up piano and flute as I didn’t have enough time to do enough practice to make my lessons worthwhile. I continued playing violin and took up viola in my gap year and then at university studied violin as my first study instrument for my first two years before swapping to voice in my final year.

Do you have a favourite place to perform?

I’ve been fortunate enough to travel all around the world with the Farnham Youth Choir, with tours around Europe and trips to both China and Australia. So, even before I decided to take my singing more seriously, I had had the chance to sing in some of the best venues in the world. It’s hard to choose a favourite as some venues lend themselves better to certain types of repertoire. Anywhere with a nice acoustic where you can hear both what you are singing and what others around you are singing is lovely. It can be very disconcerting to feel as though you’re singing completely by yourself when you know you’re in a choir of 20! I’m currently doing a lot of singing with the Lacock Scholars at Saint Cuthbert’s Church, Earl’s Court, so I think that’s my favourite at the moment. Having said that, I would absolutely love to sing at the building where I work as a music administrator – Westminster Cathedral! It’s got the most glorious acoustics and is absolutely stunning.

What is the most rewarding thing about being in a choir?

There are so many great things about singing in a choir. You get a sense of working as part of a team, which you rarely get to the same extent outside of choral singing. I think this is because your voice is so personal to you can find yourself feeling quite vulnerable. I sometimes think that to sing well you have to take that vulnerability and use it; to really put yourself ‘out there’ to give the music a sense of vitality. You have to really trust your fellow singers. You have to know that when you come in on a loud entry (or a quiet one, for that matter!) that you won’t be left high and dry singing on your own.

What’s the most challenging thing about singing in a choir?

I think this is similar to the things that are rewarding about being part of a choir. That sense of vulnerability can be unnerving and can sow seeds of doubt in your mind. “Do I sound ok? Is the audience enjoying the performance? Was that what the conductor wanted?” But you have to put some of these thoughts out of your mind and focus on the job in hand. If you’ve been rehearsing the repertoire for a long time you can sometimes find your mind wandering, and then you’re singing on autopilot. So it can be a challenge to keep trying to find new and interesting things in the music itself.

Also, personality differences between members of the choir or singers and conductors can cause friction. It’s important to strike the right balance so that everyone’s time is used effectively. The dynamic between a conductor and their choir is important in creating a finely tuned machine, and it is different with each conductor and each choir. Sometimes in a small ensemble a “Choirocracy” can work with the singers being able to give opinions but it can make rehearsals tedious and in a choral society of over a hundred singers it would be a nightmare.

Do you have any advice for someone thinking about joining a choir?

Do it! I think singing in a choir as I grew up really helped my confidence; I used to be very shy but the responsibility my youth choir gave me really brought me out of myself. You get a great feeling of achievement when singing in a choir. I don’t think that changes whether you’re an amateur singing for fun or in a church choir once a week or whether you’re a professional doing it to make a living. I’ve recently spent time working with an “Office Choir”. All of the members work in the same building for large banking corporation, and they meet up once a week for a rehearsal and perform a couple of concerts a year. It’s great because people who wouldn’t usually talk to each other are engaging over a common interest. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re a CEO, secretary, manager, or an intern; you’re all in the same boat when learning a new piece of music! They all say the same thing: they look forward to Wednesdays now because of their lunchtime rehearsals, and they find themselves feeling a lot more invigorated when they return to their desks afterwards.

Lastly, singing in a choir is a great way to make new friends. Some of my closest friends are people I met at choir aged 7!

Header image credit: St John’s College Chapel by Ed Webster, CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

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44. 'Why translate ?'

       It's an old piece ("first published in Books from Finland 1/1982") but now available online -- and always an interesting question: translator Herbert Lomas (e.g. Arto Paasilinna's The Year of the Hare) tries to explain: Why translate ?
       Among the questions he tries to answer: "Why this lack of interest ?" (in literature in translation) -- a situation that has perhaps improved since (there seems more intense interest -- even if not yet exactly a widespread one).

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45. 'Revisiting Raja Rao's fiction'

       Kanishk Tharoor's piece on 'Revisiting Raja Rao's fiction', India As Metaphysic ?, is now finally freely accessible at The Caravan.
       The focus is on the recently republished by Penguin India titles -- with Tharoor not equally enthusiastic about all of them: "How to describe the monumental tedium of The Serpent and the Rope ?" he wonders ..... Read the rest of this post

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46. Victorian Premier's Literary Awards

       They've announced the winners of the (Australian) Victorian Premier's Literary Awards: Alan Atkinson's The Europeans in Australia: Volume Three: Nation was both the non-fiction category winner, as well as the Victorian Prize for Literature (i.e. overall/grand prize) winner; see, for example, The Australian's report, Alan Atkinson main winner at Victorian Premier's Literary Awards.

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47. No Tomorrow review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Vivant Denon's small eighteenth century classic (in Lydia Davis' translation), No Tomorrow, which New York Review Books brought out a couple of years ago.

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48. Mehcad Brooks is your new Jimmy Olsen in Supergirl

mehcad brooks Mehcad Brooks is your new Jimmy Olsen in Supergirl

When Melissa Benoist was cast as Supergirl last week for the CBS upcoming superhero drama of the same name, I had a feeling the Jimmy Olsen announcement could only be a few days away, given that the auditions for both roles were held pretty closely together.

Like magic, we now have a new Jimmy Olsen! Mehcad Brooks (Desperate Housewives, True Blood) will be playing everyone’s favorite Daily Planet photographer/giant turtle-based superhero. Actually, the latter probably won’t happen sadly, but Brooks will surely have a camera in hand at some point.

The Supergirl iteration of Jimmy is described as “a smart worldly photographer for CatCo, the media company where Kara works. He had previously been working and living in National City for mysterious reasons, and his salt of the earth nature piques Kara’s interest”.

I’m not totally up on my Supergirl lore, but National City doesn’t ring any of my DC Comics bells (other than being the former name of the company). I assume its something created specifically for the new series.

There are a number of roles still to be cast, including: Cat Grant, Hank Henshaw – the Supergirl obsessed director of the Department of Extra-normal Operations, Kara’s CatCo colleague Wynn Schott, and Kara’s sister Alex.

 

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49. Are the mysterious cycles of sunspots dangerous for us?

Galileo and some of his contemporaries left careful records of their telescopic observations of sunspots – dark patches on the surface of the sun, the largest of which can be larger than the whole earth. Then in 1844 a German apothecary reported the unexpected discovery that the number of sunspots seen on the sun waxes and wanes with a period of about 11 years.

Initially nobody considered sunspots as anything more than an odd curiosity. However, by the end of the nineteenth century, scientists started gathering more and more data that sunspots affect us in strange ways that seemed to defy all known laws of physics. In 1859 Richard Carrington, while watching a sunspot, accidentally saw a powerful explosion above it, which was followed a few hours later by a geomagnetic storm – a sudden change in the earth’s magnetic field. Such explosions – known as solar flares – occur more often around the peak of the sunspot cycle when there are many sunspots. One of the benign effects of a large flare is the beautiful aurora seen around the earth’s poles. However, flares can have other disastrous consequences. A large flare in 1989 caused a major electrical blackout in Quebec affecting six million people.

Interestingly, Carrington’s flare of 1859, the first flare observed by any human being, has remained the most powerful flare so far observed by anybody. It is estimated that this flare was three times as powerful as the 1989 flare that caused the Quebec blackout. The world was technologically a much less developed place in 1859. If a flare of the same strength as Carrington’s 1859 flare unleashes its full fury on the earth today, it will simply cause havoc – disrupting electrical networks, radio transmission, high-altitude air flights and satellites, various communication channels – with damages running into many billions of dollars.

There are two natural cycles – the day-night cycle and the cycle of seasons – around which many human activities are organized. As our society becomes technologically more advanced, the 11-year cycle of sunspots is emerging as the third most important cycle affecting our lives, although we have been aware of its existence for less than two centuries. We have more solar disturbances when this cycle is at its peak. For about a century after its discovery, the 11-year sunspot cycle was a complete mystery to scientists. Nobody had any clue as to why the sun has spots and why spots have this cycle of 11 years.

A first breakthrough came in 1908 when Hale found that sunspots are regions of strong magnetic field – about 5000 times stronger than the magnetic field around the earth’s magnetic poles. Incidentally, this was the first discovery of a magnetic field in an astronomical object and was eventually to revolutionize astronomy, with subsequent discoveries that nearly all astronomical objects have magnetic fields.  Hale’s discovery also made it clear that the 11-year sunspot cycle is the sun’s magnetic cycle.

5374438446_5f1f72c145_o
Sunspot 1-20-11, by Jason Major. CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

Matter inside the sun exists in the plasma state – often called the fourth state of matter – in which electrons break out of atoms. Major developments in plasma physics within the last few decades at last enabled us to systematically address the questions of why sunspots exist and what causes their 11-year cycle. In 1955 Eugene Parker theoretically proposed a plasma process known as the dynamo process capable of generating magnetic fields within astronomical objects. Parker also came up with the first theoretical model of the 11-year cycle. It is only within the last 10 years or so that it has been possible to build sufficiently realistic and detailed theoretical dynamo models of the 11-year sunspot cycle.

Until about half a century ago, scientists believed that our solar system basically consisted of empty space around the sun through which planets were moving. The sun is surrounded by a million-degree hot corona – much hotter than the sun’s surface with a temperature of ‘only’ about 6000 K. Eugene Parker, in another of his seminal papers in 1958, showed that this corona will drive a wind of hot plasma from the sun – the solar wind – to blow through the entire solar system.  Since the earth is immersed in this solar wind – and not surrounded by empty space as suspected earlier – the sun can affect the earth in complicated ways. Magnetic fields created by the dynamo process inside the sun can float up above the sun’s surface, producing beautiful magnetic arcades. By applying the basic principles of plasma physics, scientists have figured out that violent explosions can occur within these arcades, hurling huge chunks of plasma from the sun that can be carried to the earth by the solar wind.

The 11-year sunspot cycle is only approximately cyclic. Some cycles are stronger and some are weaker. Some are slightly longer than 11 years and some are shorter.  During the seventeenth century, several sunspot cycles went missing and sunspots were not seen for about 70 years. There is evidence that Europe went through an unusually cold spell during this epoch. Was this a coincidence or did the missing sunspots have something to do with the cold climate? There is increasing evidence that sunspots affect the earth’s climate, though we do not yet understand how this happens.

Can we predict the strength of a sunspot cycle before its onset? The sunspot minimum around 2006–2009 was the first sunspot minimum when sufficiently sophisticated theoretical dynamo models of the sunspot cycle existed and whether these models could predict the upcoming cycle correctly became a challenge for these young theoretical models. We are now at the peak of the present sunspot cycle and its strength agrees remarkably with what my students and I predicted in 2007 from our dynamo model. This is the first such successful prediction from a theoretical model in the history of our subject. But is it merely a lucky accident that our prediction has been successful this time? If our methodology is used to predict more sunspot cycles in the future, will this success be repeated?

Headline image credit: A spectacular coronal mass ejection, by Steve Jurvetson. CC-BY-2.0 via Flickr.

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50. Mehcad Brooks is your new Jimmy Olsen in Supergirl

mehcad brooks Mehcad Brooks is your new Jimmy Olsen in Supergirl

When Melissa Benoist was cast as Supergirl last week for the CBS upcoming superhero drama of the same name, I had a feeling the Jimmy Olsen announcement could only be a few days away, given that the auditions for both roles were held pretty closely together.

Like magic, we now have a new Jimmy Olsen! Mehcad Brooks (Desperate Housewives, True Blood) will be playing everyone’s favorite Daily Planet photographer/giant turtle-based superhero. Actually, the latter probably won’t happen sadly, but Brooks will surely have a camera in hand at some point.

The Supergirl iteration of Jimmy is described as “a smart worldly photographer for CatCo, the media company where Kara works. He had previously been working and living in National City for mysterious reasons, and his salt of the earth nature piques Kara’s interest”.

I’m not totally up on my Supergirl lore, but National City doesn’t ring any of my DC Comics bells (other than being the former name of the company). I assume its something created specifically for the new series.

There are a number of roles still to be cast, including: Cat Grant, Hank Henshaw – the Supergirl obsessed director of the Department of Extra-normal Operations, Kara’s CatCo colleague Wynn Schott, and Kara’s sister Alex.

 

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