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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Culture, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 1 - 25 of 655
1. Wondercon’16: Chris Hardwick and Nerdist News Speak About Community and Nerdiness

Chris Hardwick belting his rendition of "The Children are our FutureBy Nicholas Eskey If you label yourself a “nerd” and wear it with pride, undoubtedly you already follow Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist News. The quick witted comedian and mega-nerd took heads the podcast driven news network for nerds with a wonderful collection of colleagues and special guests, discussing everything from the current state of all things […]

1 Comments on Wondercon’16: Chris Hardwick and Nerdist News Speak About Community and Nerdiness, last added: 4/10/2016
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2. Local opera houses through the ages

Nineteenth and twentieth Century opera houses are finding new lives today. Opera houses were once the center of art, culture, and entertainment for rural American towns--when there was much less competition for our collective attention.

The post Local opera houses through the ages appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. Who owns culture?

The quiet corridors of great public museums have witnessed revolutionary breakthroughs in the understanding of the past, such as when scholars at the British Museum cracked the Rosetta Stone and no longer had to rely on classical writers to find out about ancient Egyptian civilisation. But museums’ quest for knowledge is today under strain, amid angry debates over who owns culture.

The post Who owns culture? appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. If You Were Me and Lived In … Italy: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World | Dedicated Review

Do you have your passaporto (passport) handy? It’s time to merriggiare (rest at noon in a shady spot) with a copy of If You Were Me and Lived In .. Italy and introduce your kids to the wealth of culture that abounds in the Republic of Italy—the famous country shaped like a boot.

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5. If You Were Me and Lived In … Italy, by Carole P. Roman | Book Series Giveaway

Enter to win a complete autographed set of the If You Were Me series, written by award-winning author Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga; including If You Were Me and Lived in … Italy: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World! Plus, the grand prize winner will also receive the Educational Insights Geosafari Jr Talking Globe. Giveaway begins January 10, 2016, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends February 16, 2016, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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6. If You Were Me and Lived In … Italy | Blog Tour 2016

Join us as we go on tour with award-winning author Carole P. Roman and explore If You Were Me and Lived In ... Italy: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World.

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7. The life of culture

Does culture really have a life of its own? Are cultural trends, fashions, ideas, and norms like organisms, evolving and weaving our minds and bodies into an ecological web? You hear a pop song a few times and suddenly find yourself humming the tune. You unthinkingly adopt the vocabulary and turns of phrase of your circle of friends.

The post The life of culture appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. Event: SF’s The Isotope Brings Roberta Gregory, Donna Barr, & JH Williams III to the Fans

By Victor Van Scoit The San Francisco Bay Area has some fantastic comic book shops, with each having its own take for hosting creator events. One such store known for their intimate signings and creative shindigs is The Isotope. They’re hosting two upcoming events this November that, should you live anywhere in Northern California, are worth checking out. […]

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9. “Challenging change” – extract from A Foot in the River

We are a weird species. Like other species, we have a culture. But by comparison with other species, we are strangely unstable: human cultures self-transform, diverge, and multiply with bewildering speed. They vary, radically and rapidly, from time to time and place to place. And the way we live - our manners, morals, habits, experiences, relationships, technology, values - seems to be changing at an ever accelerating pace. The effects can be dislocating, baffling, sometimes terrifying. Why is this?

The post “Challenging change” – extract from A Foot in the River appeared first on OUPblog.

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10. NYCC and SDCC ’15: Portraying Mental Health in Comics

Mental illness has been a trope in comics-related properties ranging from Peanuts to Gotham, but do new sensitivities to mental health issues mean that it’s time for this to change? At this year’s San Diego and New York Comic-Cons, I had the privilege of moderating a couple of panels on the portrayal of mental illness […]

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11. ZombiCon Shooting – 1 Dead, 4 Wounded

Gunfire at the Ft. Myers charitable event created a real-life running zombie herd, but the organizers’ security safeguards may have helped prevent further harm. Shootings have become a depressing fact of life here in the U.S. — and for those of you who spent a fair amount of time in New York and other large […]

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12. “It’s Not Dead” Punk Rock’s Version of Comic-Con

Punk Rock Comic-Con

1 Comments on “It’s Not Dead” Punk Rock’s Version of Comic-Con, last added: 10/15/2015
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13. NYCC ’15: Cosplay Meltdown!!!

NYCC ’15 has come and gone, but the photos The Stately Beat Manor took are here to stay.  We had a number of fantastic journalists on the scene, taking pictures of the events happening at the Javits Center as well as the great cosplays attendees wore.  Here are a few favorites:

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14. NYCC ’15: Cosplay Fabrics Announces New Line at Jo-Ann’s

     As cosplay flies from niche to mainstream, so too goes the market for the material used to create it. Quality cosplay is a combination of craft and components – even the most ingenious designer and tailor can find themselves frustrated by poor quality material. One sign of the demand for good cosplay goods: […]

1 Comments on NYCC ’15: Cosplay Fabrics Announces New Line at Jo-Ann’s, last added: 10/12/2015
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15. NYCC ’15: Diversity Sells Out

Diversity is a recurring theme in panels at this year’s New York Comic-Con, mirroring a trend in fandom nationwide. Race, gender, physical ability, mental health, even geeks as an emerging protected class – amidst the how-to’s and PR announcements, programming about diversity is filling rooms and getting headlines. The power of this theme is something […]

4 Comments on NYCC ’15: Diversity Sells Out, last added: 10/13/2015
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16. ‘Us’ and ‘Them': Can we define national identity?

Surveys show that a high percentage of British citizens "feel British." But what exactly do people have in mind when they say this? People may think differently about this question, and perhaps it is also British to give various meanings to British identity. Still, can we define what it is to "feel" British? Or even what is un-British—be it a pattern of behavior, a belief, or a way of doing things?

The post ‘Us’ and ‘Them': Can we define national identity? appeared first on OUPblog.

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17. Introducing psychoanalysis

Daniel Pick, author of Psychoanalysis: A Very Short Introduction, introduces psychoanalysis, discusses its role within history and culture and tells us how psychoanalysis is used today. How has psychoanalysis developed from the late nineteenth century?

The post Introducing psychoanalysis appeared first on OUPblog.

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18. INTERVIEW: Don’t Call it a Porno, Nik Guerra Takes On Mystery and Sensuality in “Magenta: Noir Fatale” [NSFW]

by Alex Dueben At a time when many comics are criticized for their approach to female characters, it’s interesting to read a comic which is about fetish models.  Moreover, it’s wonderful to discover that the comic is far less exploitive and sensational than many mainstream comics. In NBM’s new graphic novel,Magenta: Noir Fatale, Italian writer and […]

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19. Rhodesia and American Paramilitary Culture


When the suspect in the attack on the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Carolina was identified, the authorities circulated a photograph of him wearing a jacket adorned with the flags of apartheid-era South Africa and post-UDI Rhodesia.

The symbolism isn't subtle. Like the confederate flag that flies over the South Carolina capitol, these are flags of explicitly white supremacist governments.

Rhodesia plays a particular role within right-wing American militia culture, linking anti-communism and white supremacy. The downfall of white Rhodesia has its own sort of lost cause mythic power not just for avowed white supremacists, but for the paramilitarist wing of gun culture generally.



The power of Rhodesia for paramilitarists is evident throughout the history of Soldier of Fortune magazine, a magazine that in the 1980s especially achieved real prominence. The first issue of SoF was published in the summer of 1975, and its cover story, titled "American Mercenaries in Africa", was publisher Robert K. Brown's tale of his visit to Rhodesia in the spring of 1974. (You can see the whole issue here on Scribd. Warning: There's a gruesome and disturbing picture of a corpse with a head wound accompanying the article.) For Brown's perspective on his time in Rhodesia, see this post at Ammoland.

SoF continued to publish articles on Rhodesia throughout the 1970s and into the early 1980s. They also published articles about South Africa. Here's a two-page spread from the August 1985 anniversary issue (click to enlarge):


The introduction to the first article states:
SOF made quite a reputation in the early years of publication for fearless, firsthand reporting from the bloody battlefields of Rhodesia. Our efforts in that ill-fated African nation and our support of the Rhodesian government in operations against communist insurgents gained us two unfortunate, undeserved labels: racists and mercenaries. We are neither. On the other hand, we have never avoided consorting with genuine mercs to insure readers get the look and feel of Third World battlefields.
It's true that anti-communism was the primary ideology of SoF in the 1970s and 1980s and that they would take the side of anyone they considered anti-communist regardless of their race or nationality — they published countless articles supporting the mujahideen in Afghanistan, the Karen rebels in Burma (heroes of Rambo 4), and the contras in Nicaragua. (Ronald Reagan, he of the Iran-Contra scandal, supported white Rhodesia even longer than Henry Kissinger, causing them to have their first public disagreement. See Rick Perlstein's The Invisible Bridge pp. 671-673.) But the kind of anti-communism that supported Ian Smith's Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa was an anti-communism that supported white supremacist government.

The second page there begins an article written by a veteran of the South African anti-insurgency campaigns, and it sings the praises of the brutal Koevoet (crowbar) unit in Namibia. Here's a passage from the next page: "It doesn't pay to play insurgency games with Koevoet. SWAPO had felt the force of the crowbar designed to pry them out of Ovamboland."

It's no great mystery why such campaigns would appeal to white supremacist groups, and why white supremacists would use the examples of Rhodesia and South Africa to stoke the fears and passions of their followers.

Consider the Greensboro massacre of November 1979. Tensions between the Communist Workers Party and the Ku Klux Klan led to the Klan and the American Nazi Party killing 5 activists. The neo-Nazi and Klan members accused of the crimes were acquitted. The head of the North Carolina chapter of the National Socialist (Nazi) Party of America in 1979 was Harold Covington, who was implicated in the massacre but never faced criminal charges. Covington loved to brag that he'd been a mercenary in Rhodesia, though his brother claimed that wasn't quite accurate:
I suppose he wanted to move someplace where everything was white and bright, so after a yearlong stint at the Nazi Party headquarters, he wound up going to Rhodesia, and he joined the Rhodesian Army. In different blogs and writings, he was always bragging, "Oh, I was a mercenary in Rhodesia and I went out and did all this fighting." But to the best of my knowledge, according to the letters he wrote to my parents, he was a file clerk. He certainly never fired a shot in anger. He started agitating over there, and the [white-led] Ian Smith government said, "We have problems enough without this nutcase," and they bounced him.
The myth of the lost white land of Rhodesia has proved resilient for the paramilitary right. It plays into macho adventure fantasies as well as terror fantasies of black hordes wiping out virtuous white minorities. Rhodesia sits comfortably among the other icons of militia culture, as James William Gibson showed in his 1994 book Warrior Dreams, in which he described a visit to a Soldier of Fortune convention:
All the T-shirts had their poster equivalent, but much else was available, too. John Wayne showed up in poses ranging from his Western classics to The Sands of Iwo Jima (1949) and The Green Berets (1968). Robocop and Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry decorated many a vendor's stall. An old Rhodesian Army recruiting poster with the invitation "Be a Man Among Men" hung alongside a "combat art" poster showing a helicopter door gunner whose wolf eyes stared out from under his helmet; heavy body armor and twin machine gun mounts hid his mortal flesh. (157-158)
Anti-communism doesn't have much resonance these days, and so the support of Rhodesia or apartheid South Africa can no longer be couched in any terms other than ones of white supremacy — terms that were previously always at least in the shadows. Militarism, machismo, and white supremacy have no objection to hanging out together, and the result of their association is often deadly.

See also: "The connection between terrorist Dylann Roof and white-supremacist regimes in Africa runs through the heart of US conservatism" from Africa as a Country.

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20. Closing Time: Anthony Desiato’s ‘My Comic Shop History’ Chronicles the Life, Death, and Legacy of His Local Comic Shop

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In the end, memories are what make us who we are.  Although they slip away so easily, these small fragments of past inform our future decisions and influence us every moment we’re alive.  For most of us comic book readers, a formative moment in our personal histories is the first time we step into a comic shop.  The pulpy smell of fresh floppies stacked in Diamond stamped boxes.  The glistening translucent cases filled with TCG singles at exorbitant prices.  The stern and booming voices of people arguing Batman chronology in the back by the trades.

The places individual comics fans make these universal memories shape their lives.  For Director and Comics Historian Anthony Desiato and many other comics luminaries from upstate New York such as Rocket Girl writer Brandon Montclare, these formative experiences took place at Alternate Realities, which is going out of business after nearly a quarter of a century.

Desiato has made it his mission to chronicle the store’s final days through his podcast, My Comic Shop History.  The last episode of this audio series comes out today, and in honor of his intriguing work and Alternate Realities’ storied history, we sat down with him to talk about the legacy of the store.


 

Alex Lu: So for those unfamiliar with Alternate Realities, can you give us a brief overview of your store’s history and what makes it special?

Anthony Desiato: Alternate Realities is (soon-to-be “was,” sadly) a comic book store in Scarsdale, NY, that is closing up shop for good after 23 years.

The store is the subject of my independent film, My Comic Shop DocumentARy, and my current podcast, My Comic Shop History.

The podcast is a 12-episode exploration of the store & its closing from the perspective of past and present owners, customers, and employees. We’ve been peeling back the curtain on the retail side of the comic book industry as we discuss the store’s inner-workings and comic shop culture generally.

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What makes the store special—and the reason I’ve found it such a source of inspiration—is the community.

We count among our ranks a customer who worked at T.G.I. Friday’s but claimed to have killed 25 people in the line of duty as a secret agent; our resident curmudgeon, a former flea market vendor who condemns modern society with language that would make a sailor blush; and the store’s owner, Steve Oto, who traded his legal career for a life behind the counter and a very love-hate relationship with his clientele.

Lu: What’s your role in the store and how long have you been involved?

Desiato: Heroes World (a long-defunct store in White Plains) was my first comic shop, and when it abruptly closed on me during elementary school, Alternate Realities became my new go-to place. For the first few years of my patronage there, I was just the shy kid who would pick up my books every week while my mother waited in the car.

In high school, Steve offered me a summer job, and that was my entry into a whole new world. Throughout high school and college, both my level of responsibility at the store as well as my friendships with the guys who shopped & worked there would grow.

It wasn’t until the end of my employment there (during law school) that I began to take on my current role of—for lack of a better term—“store chronicler.” That new path gave birth to my film about the store, its spinoff (By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story), and now the podcast.

Lu: What do you think drove the decision to close the store?

Desiato: If you believe Steve’s closing announcement, he’s closing in large part “because of those customers who have left me in the lurch” by not buying the items they ordered. However, if you truly analyze the situation, as we’ve been doing over the course of My Comic Shop History, it becomes clear that the stated reason for closing is perhaps a bit disingenuous.

If customers are reneging on their orders, there are steps a store can take to at least try to remedy the situation first. Closing the store is the nuclear option! It’s not really a proportionate response to address what’s ultimately a small group of delinquent customers.

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What we all realize is that Steve’s complaints are really just symptomatic of a growing frustration and fatigue with running the business.

In Episode 7 (“Comic Shop Business School”), I spoke with the owner of The Spider’s Web, a relatively new comic shop in Yonkers. That owner is two years in and still has his passion for the business and the hobby.

After 23 years of the grind of running a small business, Steve simply doesn’t have that anymore. As he has said many, many times over the years—in person, on Facebook, in My Comic Shop DocumentARy, and in My Comic Shop History—he’s tired. And I don’t think anyone would dispute that he’s earned his rest.

Lu: How has the community responded to the store’s closing?

Desiato: That’s really what the podcast is all about and why I wanted to do it in the first place.

Aside from the friendship we share, what I hope listeners take away from this show is how much we all care about “The Store.”

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Everyone who has participated in the podcast has worked, owned, or volunteered at Alternate Realities at some point. We’ve all invested time and effort and wanted the store to be as strong as possible.

To see the store end in this way has been very bittersweet. Not to speak for the entire community, but for myself and many of the people I spoke to on the podcast, I feel there’s a sense of sadness that it came to this, acceptance that it’s the right move for Steve, and, most importantly, appreciation for everything the store has meant to us. It’s been our clubhouse, truly.

Lu: Given that Alternate Realities has such a long and storied history, those who have been there have had the unique perspective of having seen the comics reading audience grow exponentially and the industry dramatically change. How would you compare comics at the store’s opening to comics now, at the store’s close?

Desiato: Well, seeing as how I was 5 when the store opened, I’m not sure I can really give a full answer to that question! Interestingly, though, the store opened the same year that “The Death of Superman” (my first comic) came out. That was arguably the beginning of “event” storytelling as we know it today, and the store is closing amidst Convergence and Secret Wars, two huge events from the Big Two. So, in a way, maybe not that much has changed!

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To answer your question more specifically: Based on the time that I’ve been affiliated with Alternate Realities, I would argue that we have not seen huge shifts the way you might expect. For example, the rise of comic book movies didn’t necessarily drive hordes of new customers to the store. At the same time, the advent of digital comics did not erode our customer base too much, either.

Lu: What do you think is the next big thing for the industry?

On the retail side, one of the things we talk about on the podcast (we do a “Comic Shop Business School” series-within-a-series across a number of episodes) is how comic shops need to be a “destination” in order to survive these days. Areas to hang out, events, signings–things like that.

Lu: What new projects are the Alternate Realities crew heading off to pursue?

To find out what the store’s owner, Steve Oto, is up to next, I encourage folks to listen to the finale of the podcast, out today! Up next for me is a new documentary and, hopefully, more podcasting in the future! As for our group, we plan to continue the friendships we forged at Alternate Realities. The store may be gone, but the community lives on.


RENT My Comic Shop DocumentARy and By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story on Vimeo!

SUBSCRIBE to My Comic Shop History on iTunes!

LIKE My Comic Shop History on Facebook!

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21. SDCC ’15 – Comic Book People at Comic-Con

FullSizeRenderWant to know what comic-cons are really about? Get these books.

In my previous post I talked about the importance of community — it is central to proper understanding of ethics, and as such it is essential to a fan life well-lived. As an influx of new people explore the comics universe, the risk of losing sight of what connects us beyond passive viewing increases and the importance of learning from our history only grows.

That’s why Jackie Estrada’s Comic Book People is so vital – and if you’re at San Diego Comic-Con, you can get the hot-off-the-Kickstarter second volume at the Exhibit A Press booth, #1909 (aisle 1900, near the Lobby B2 entrance).

If you’re new to comic-cons there might be a temptation to think that books filled with photos of people from the ’70s and ’80s (vol. 1) and ’90s (vol. 2) are just for people who went to conventions back then, but as Don Draper would say, this isn’t nostalgia; it’s a time machine. The genius of these books is that you are in many ways their target audience — in addition to names and photos, Comic Book People explains who these people are and why they are important. Not only will this help you discover stories you might have otherwise missed, but they show you a world-shaping network as it grows. These folks built a global pop-culture empire that made billions and changed lives, inspiring an intensity of personal connection that rivals if not transcends that found in other art. Know them and you’ll understand the world you’ve just entered; follow their example and you’ll create a world that today exists only in dreams.

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22. SDCC ’15 Photo Essay – Cosplay Culture

IMG_3070If you’re into cosplay, Saturday night is made for fighting the lines to get into the annual masquerade contest. Here are a few backstage pics from the show, along with a few other shots.

If you attended any of the panels I moderated, you know that my themes this year were community and personal connection. The above candid of what appear to be a mother and son is probably my favorite scene of the show.

As you know, guys have a proclivity toward taking pictures of cosplaying women in revealing garb, with little regard for who these women are as people. A pic I didn’t get: a young woman in an artful Poison Ivy costume who explained her costume to the photographer with a rather revealing statement: “I’d rather wear this every day than be slinging coffee.”

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Captain America stopped by lunch on Saturday afternoon, and judging by the detail on the costume he wasn’t a cosplayer but the real Captain America.

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The good folks at Comic-Con let me join the lucky few Jimmy Olsens and Peter Parkers who get to go backstage the shoot posed photos after each entry performs their routine. Before the show, however, cosplayers who aren’t part of the contest can have their photos taken as well. Harley Quinn dazzled the photographers with an array of poses …

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… and afterward she handed out business cards – turns out she’s a talented seamstress, designer and costume fabricator. This is the case more often than one might guess — cosplay is often a marketing tool as much as a form of self-expression, an aspect of the culture that your typical “babes of cosplay” photo essay tends to miss.

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The daughter of Batman and Poison Ivy enchants the photographers. Kids open the annual cosplay masquerade contest.

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Princess Anna of Arendelle. This is where being in the photographer area was rather illustrative vis a vis the real culture of cosplay. The cosplayers weren’t told to strike a sexy pose — the repeated requests were for them to show the fabric details, construction, and in many cases, lighting and other tech that didn’t show up all that well on my iPhone under bright lights.

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Fabric on display – cosplayers are asked to pose front, back, side to side, in angles highlighting key details, and finally, in whatever pose happens to be their favorite.

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This looked great, but when the head came off it looked like the costume had almost killed the wearer. These things are hot and heavy.

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The Transformers Bumblebee cosplay was a technological marvel to behold – and so tall that it couldn’t fit in the photographer staging area. As a result, we could photograph only the folks who made it work.

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Minecraft 3D.

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This costume was clever and funny – the Barbie doll was a fantastic touch. After the photographers called out for poses highlighting particular aspects of the design, one called out, “Show us your teeth!” — to which the cosplayer deadpanned: “I don’t have interesting teeth.”

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There were a number of other costumes worth highlighting, but like most of the other folks I know here, I’m beat.

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23. New Black Lightning Archive: DC, Tony Isabella Reconcile

Black Lightning 4“Dogs and cats, living together!” – that’s what immediately popped into my mind yesterday when I read Tony Isabella praising DC on Facebook for how it was treating him in regard to Black Lightning.I’ve never seen the original contract between DC and Isabella in regard to Black Lightning so I have nothing to say of substance in regard to the property’s legal status, but as anyone who has followed Tony’s online writing over the years can tell you, Isabella’s statements about DC’s treatment of him and his landmark creation have not exactly been complimentary. That changed, however, yesterday, when Isabella called attention to an Amazon listing of the April 2016 release of Black Lightning, volume 1, the first of what could be a series of collections featuring DC’s first African-American superhero to star in an an eponymous book.

According to Isabella, the rapprochement is the result of outreach by Dan Didio and Geoff Johns, and Isabella is confident that DC will treat him fairly in regard to the payment of royalties. He also raised the possibility of doing more work for DC given sufficient reader demand; the prospect of Isabella working with, say, the creators of the revived Milestone line on a multi-generational crossover is particularly intriguing, given certain thematic resonances with Milestone’s nuanced reflections on creative identity.

To say that Isabella’s announcement is the most unexpected Facebook post of the year is an understatement — it’s one of the most dramatic turnarounds I’ve seen in decades of reading about comics-related disputes, and kudos to all involved for bringing about what I hope will be a truly lasting peace in our time.

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24. If You Were Me and Lived in … China: A Child’s Introduction to Culture Around the World | Dedicated Review

If You Were Me and Lived In … China is an easy read and a fun way to introduce the People’s Republic of China to children.

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25. Unassuming Barber Shop: In Search of the Fantastic Four

On April 12, 1961, Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gargarin became the first human being to achieve Earth orbit, effectively winning the space race. At NASA, scientists sighed, poured more coffee, and redoubled their efforts. In New York, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Fantastic Four. With a new FF movie coming out, readers and fans […]

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