Search Results for: Bieber

Justin Bieber goes MAD

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Is it really newsworthy that a popular music figure is being mocked in the mages of MAD Magazine, where they invented the pop culture mockery?The AP says Yes!

Ficarra said it made sense to put the 16-year-old singer on the cover of issue No. 508 and then playfully mock and satirize him within the pages, too.

“We like to do what we call Zeitgeist covers. When we found that his movie was debuting just about the same time we would be coming with the issue,” it all fell into place, Ficarra said. “We knew he’d be all over the place.”

The issue is bound to be a best-seller with Bieber on the cover, Ficarra said.


Put it this way, we’d be more surprised if Justin Bieber WASN’T in MAD. The Usual Gang of Idiots are not so idiotic after all.

Does the Bieber/Pilgrim connection somehow threaten our very existence?

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We can’t POSSIBLY be the first person to point this out…are we???? While the SCOTT PILGRIM trailer briefly supplanting Justin Bieber as the most important topic on earth has been noted, Bieber’s uncanny resemblance to an animated manga character has not — or at least not on comic book message boards.

Also it should be noted that while we were prepping this graphic, our software kept crashing — have we made a cute joke or opened the gateway to another dimension of terror and woe?

• In other Scott Pilgrim news, CBR interviewed Bryan Lee O’Malley:

Have you started work on your first project post “Scott Pilgrim,” and can you give us any teases on what it might be?

I’ll never tell. If there’s one thing I’m learning, it’s to not tell anyone anything about what I’m doing. It just creates weird and false expectations.

How heavily involved have you been with the filming of “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World?”

I have been heavily involved since day one. If I wasn’t busy writing and drawing the comic books, I think they would have had me working on the movie full-time. They really like my brain.


BUT, O’Malley also tweeted:

soon you will feel like a loser for ever having liked scott pilgrim and you will curse my name and rue the day etc etc

If O’Malley is somehow responsible for the Bieber-verse leaking into our own reality, then his name shall indeed be cursed.

Complaints over racist and sexist Vine star at Salt Lake Comic Con

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It was recently revealed to us olds that YouTube and other social media stars are actually more popular with teens than celebs old enough to be funny old aunt/uncle. Some of these stars are but teens themselves, and in the internet era it’s not surprising that video stars untether from network wisdom are very popular. One well known star is 16-year-old Nash Grier, kind of the Bieber of Vine, with millions of followers and loops. He’s also part of a tour now hitting comic-cons with a recent appearance at Wizard World, and an upcoming one in Salt Lake City. The latter has led to some protest however, as some of his videos are accused of being racist, sexist and homophobic, such as the one below. In case you can’t figure out how to turn it n, it shows Grier screaming a gay slur at an AIDS ad. It’s the kind of clueless thing teenagers do in private, now sharable the world over, god help us.

There’s been some blowback about him being a guest at Salt Lake City Comic Con, interestingly. BUt organizers have defended him as a guest:

Dan Farr, Salt Lake Comic Con’s founder, told City Weekly in a recent phone interview that Grier and his Fam Tour are a solid addition to this year’s lineup and will likely bring in a new, younger crowd—you know, people who love watching his videos telling young girls how to look sexier for men (December 2013), throwing a spoon down a set of stairs and saying that’s how Asians name their babies (April 2013) and explaining to his followers that HIV/AIDS is exclusive to the LGBT community.


Although Nash deleted the below, he’s still been caught being homophobic:

Nash apologized for the HIV clip, claiming he’d been “in a bad place”when he posted the video, since deleted, in April of last year. Yet that “bad place” seems to have been more than a few-month phase: He’s also purged multiple pejorative tweets about “homos” or being a “damn queer” that once littered his Twitter feed, as well as a post from May 2012 that read, “Gay rights? Nahhh.”


Normally this kind of thing might stay a teapot tempest, but, once again, as comic-cons get bigger and bigger, they’re going to get more and more scrutiny.

I’d be curious to know how the Grier brother tour went over at recent Comic-Cons. The whole teen you-tube star demo doesn’t seem to have much crossover appeal with nerd world…but I’ve been wrong before.

Comics stars taking the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge — UPDATED with Bendis and more

So far, I’ve only found one — Billy Tucci! Tragically, Tucci did not call out other comics folks, so the charity meme has not yet spread to out part of the world. But let’s give Billy a hand for doing it!

In case you missed it, the ice bucket challenge is meant to draw attention to ALS, aka Lou Gehrig disease. When called out, you must either dump a bucket of ice over yourself or donate $100 to the ALS Foundation. Most celebs who have been doing this do both. You make a mideo of yours;f getting dumbed on, and call out someone to take the challenge next at the end of your video.

It’s a fun way to while away the summer—somehow I don’t think this would be as popular in November. People who have done it so far include Lady Gaga, Robert Downey Jr., Justin Bieber (he didn’t actually use ice), Steven Spielberg, Carrie Underwood, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, the NY Mets, the NY Jets, and a bunch of nerdlebrities folks like Tom Hiddleston (very popular),

Chris Pratt, Nathan Fillion, James Gunn and Stephen Amell.

I found Dave Bautista’s by far the most impressive however.

When we look back at the summer of 2014, will it be as the time that famous people dumped ice on themselves? In these turmoil filled days, it’s nice to have something giving and fun and silly to talk about.

Meanwhile, comic folk, step up!

UPDATED: OK OK, I missed Brian Bendis:

Who calls out Fraction and Oeming.

And Frank Tieri, although I can’t find his video,

who called out Scott Snyder:

I’m told Dynamite’s Nick Barrucci also took the challenge.

So NOW we’re getting somewhere!

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/28/14: saving links for a rainy day

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/28/14: saving links for a rainy dayhttp://ift.tt/Mqn0WQ

§ Portland’s Steve Duin reports on last weekend’s Wizard World Portland, which kicked off the never ending con season:

The con featured Stan Lee (for a reported $75,000), William Shatner, Elvira, Summer Glau, a Playmate of the Year (Portland’s Sara Jean Underwood), and a Robin/Robin Lopez reunion.  Dark Horse and the green Power Ranger showed up. And because the tables in Artist’s Alley were free, several local cartooning all-stars were on hand, including Matt Bors, Shannon Wheeler, Matt Wagner and Periscope Studios.

§ Michael DeForge talks “Ant Colony” with Alex Dueben:

It’s the longest finished narrative I’ve done so far, so it was a pretty big change for me. (“Kid Mafia” has more pages, but isn’t close to being finished yet). I draw a lot of short stories, partially because I like that medium a lot, but also because I get bored really easily. It’s been difficult for me to commit to longer comics, although I think I’m getting better at it.

§ HBO just showed a documentary about the great editorial cartoonist Herblock and here’s a profile:

Stevens wanted to capture the man he’d known, but he also wanted to depict a time when a newspaper cartoonist had vast power, before television had sapped newsprint’s influence—to say nothing of the Internet. An irony of Herblock’s legacy is that he flourished as a creator of powerful images in an era when the printed—and broadcast—word were king. Today’s media environment is far more visually oriented, with bright, color pictures on screens big and small. Yet there’s no cartoonist of his stature and reach today.



§ And another link from The A.V. Club:

What makes Herblock—The Black & The White worth checking out is the handy gallery of the master’s cartoons, a selection cherry-picked from an enormous body of work. (Herblock originally contracted with the Post to supply a cartoon a day, seven days a week.) They add up to a remarkable record of a thoughtful, sensible man’s list of concerns over the course of the second half of the century. Although the interviewees all attest to Block’s childlike sweet nature, he was really good at deciding whom he ought to hate. One famous Herblock cartoon offered a free shave to newly elected President Nixon—whom Block rendered for years with the thick 5 o’clock shadow of a cattle rustler in a B-Western—as a way of saying that the office of the presidency mattered more than long-standing animosities. The beard on Herblock’s Nixon caricature had grown back by the beginning of 1969; being capable of an honorable gesture didn’t make Herblock a sucker.



§ If you are a student of the history of the comics blogosphere, you probably already read Tim O’Neil’s interview with Abhay Khosla:

Anyways, I don’t think I could’ve done more than that year– it was just … The lists would be material to bounce off of but it’d be the same lists month after month.  And it just took up a lot of time and … and it just wasn’t funny enough– I didn’t know what I was doing to do it well for that long. Plus, back then, all the good comic columns ended in a year.  This was back when there were comic columns…? People reading this might not even have any idea what I’m referring to– there were all of these columns, and they all lasted about a year, if they were good. Come in Alone, Basement Tapes, the Steven Grant columns, Gail Simone’s early thing, the whole forgotten era of comic columns as vehicles for online personae or what have you.  (My favorite was Warren Ellis’s Do Anything…?  That one was more of a subjective history of comics than a “column”).  No one gives a shit about columns anymore– not comic pros anyways, which is maybe just as well, the online persona bit being pretty gross.  On the other hand, I’m not sure if any of that’s gone away any– with twitter, I’m sure people are still getting sold on some shabby books based on “so and so’s brand stands for hugs”, so.  Columns arguably forced the author and recipient of the personae to consider some greater picture of Comics, maybe…?  Doesn’t matter.  That time is gone.



§ Speaking of comics internet history, Greg McElhatton, who goes all the way back to 1999 as a reviews, is putting his own review site on indefinite hold while he finishes up a degree among other things.

§ Here’s a review of Clifford Meth’s Comic Book Babylon, the SECOND comic book history of that name; his one digs into the struggle between publishers and creators.

§ Today’s moment of satori: A GOOD READ: Graphic novels not just for fans of action heroes

§ Writer Sterling Gates recounts his history of how he got into writing, and it’s a good story if you don’t know it:

“Good things can happen to you at your lowest — even when you’re sitting around eating Fruit Loops.” From an early age, Gates’ life was about superhero comic books because running a comic book store was his dad’s business. Gates said his father would keep the back stock in their garage and boxes of 20,000 comic books would line the wall floor to ceiling. “Comic books were the outlet for the trials and tribulations I had as a young man,” he said. “Bullies are mean … I sought solace in my comics.” After Gates’ father died in June 1998, his family got rid of the comic book store, but Gates’ love of comics never left him. Later, when Gates attended the University of Oklahoma School of Art and Art History, he began to think intellectually about comics and ask “What makes a good story?” and “How can I make it the most impactful?”

§ Valerie D’orazio compares Batman and Justin Bieber and it makes sense, honest.

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§ Do enough people appreciate Renee French? I think not.

One of those artists is Renee French, who’s been published by Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, PictureBox, Sparkplug Comic Books, Oni Press, Dark Horse, Toon Books, and Atheneum. Whether she does comics for a general audience, for children, or in collaboration with a writer, every one of her works is unsettling in ways that are difficult to immediately identify. Working with a small publisher like Yam Books undoubtedly meant that French could create exactly the kind of book she wanted. As anyone who read Tim Hensley’s Ticket Stub could tell you, Ayuyang spares no expense in terms of design, no matter how odd the request. In the case of her newest book, Hagelbarger and That Nightmare Goat, French has created an object that defies easy categorization.

§ Cartoonists as media stars! Rafael Grampa stars in a film for Absolut.

§ And on Apple’s 30th Anniversary website, Dave McKean describes the very early days of creating comics digitally in 1995.

§ Animation Magazine interviews Anne D. Bernstein, who doesn’t like always talking about being a woman in animation, but she ends up doing it anyway:


Anne D. Bernstein: Being a television writer—especially in comedy—means you have to learn to speak up. When I was starting out, I would say something funny, no one would react, and then 15 minutes later a guy would say the same thing louder and get a laugh. It goes hand-and-hand with drawing attention to yourself and being outspoken, traits not always encouraged in women. Most of the time I work with people I like, I am accepted and I enjoy the healthy competition.

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Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/28/14: saving links for a rainy day

§ Portland’s Steve Duin reports on last weekend’s Wizard World Portland, which kicked off the never ending con season:

The con featured Stan Lee (for a reported $75,000), William Shatner, Elvira, Summer Glau, a Playmate of the Year (Portland’s Sara Jean Underwood), and a Robin/Robin Lopez reunion.  Dark Horse and the green Power Ranger showed up. And because the tables in Artist’s Alley were free, several local cartooning all-stars were on hand, including Matt Bors, Shannon Wheeler, Matt Wagner and Periscope Studios.

§ Michael DeForge talks “Ant Colony” with Alex Dueben:

It’s the longest finished narrative I’ve done so far, so it was a pretty big change for me. (“Kid Mafia” has more pages, but isn’t close to being finished yet). I draw a lot of short stories, partially because I like that medium a lot, but also because I get bored really easily. It’s been difficult for me to commit to longer comics, although I think I’m getting better at it.

§ HBO just showed a documentary about the great editorial cartoonist Herblock and here’s a profile:

Stevens wanted to capture the man he’d known, but he also wanted to depict a time when a newspaper cartoonist had vast power, before television had sapped newsprint’s influence—to say nothing of the Internet. An irony of Herblock’s legacy is that he flourished as a creator of powerful images in an era when the printed—and broadcast—word were king. Today’s media environment is far more visually oriented, with bright, color pictures on screens big and small. Yet there’s no cartoonist of his stature and reach today.


§ And another link from The A.V. Club:

What makes Herblock—The Black & The White worth checking out is the handy gallery of the master’s cartoons, a selection cherry-picked from an enormous body of work. (Herblock originally contracted with the Post to supply a cartoon a day, seven days a week.) They add up to a remarkable record of a thoughtful, sensible man’s list of concerns over the course of the second half of the century. Although the interviewees all attest to Block’s childlike sweet nature, he was really good at deciding whom he ought to hate. One famous Herblock cartoon offered a free shave to newly elected President Nixon—whom Block rendered for years with the thick 5 o’clock shadow of a cattle rustler in a B-Western—as a way of saying that the office of the presidency mattered more than long-standing animosities. The beard on Herblock’s Nixon caricature had grown back by the beginning of 1969; being capable of an honorable gesture didn’t make Herblock a sucker.


§ If you are a student of the history of the comics blogosphere, you probably already read Tim O’Neil’s interview with Abhay Khosla:

Anyways, I don’t think I could’ve done more than that year– it was just … The lists would be material to bounce off of but it’d be the same lists month after month.  And it just took up a lot of time and … and it just wasn’t funny enough– I didn’t know what I was doing to do it well for that long. Plus, back then, all the good comic columns ended in a year.  This was back when there were comic columns…? People reading this might not even have any idea what I’m referring to– there were all of these columns, and they all lasted about a year, if they were good. Come in Alone, Basement Tapes, the Steven Grant columns, Gail Simone’s early thing, the whole forgotten era of comic columns as vehicles for online personae or what have you.  (My favorite was Warren Ellis’s Do Anything…?  That one was more of a subjective history of comics than a “column”).  No one gives a shit about columns anymore– not comic pros anyways, which is maybe just as well, the online persona bit being pretty gross.  On the other hand, I’m not sure if any of that’s gone away any– with twitter, I’m sure people are still getting sold on some shabby books based on “so and so’s brand stands for hugs”, so.  Columns arguably forced the author and recipient of the personae to consider some greater picture of Comics, maybe…?  Doesn’t matter.  That time is gone.


§ Speaking of comics internet history, Greg McElhatton, who goes all the way back to 1999 as a reviews, is putting his own review site on indefinite hold while he finishes up a degree among other things.

§ Here’s a review of Clifford Meth’s Comic Book Babylon, the SECOND comic book history of that name; his one digs into the struggle between publishers and creators.

§ Today’s moment of satori: A GOOD READ: Graphic novels not just for fans of action heroes

§ Writer Sterling Gates recounts his history of how he got into writing, and it’s a good story if you don’t know it:

“Good things can happen to you at your lowest — even when you’re sitting around eating Fruit Loops.” From an early age, Gates’ life was about superhero comic books because running a comic book store was his dad’s business. Gates said his father would keep the back stock in their garage and boxes of 20,000 comic books would line the wall floor to ceiling. “Comic books were the outlet for the trials and tribulations I had as a young man,” he said. “Bullies are mean … I sought solace in my comics.” After Gates’ father died in June 1998, his family got rid of the comic book store, but Gates’ love of comics never left him. Later, when Gates attended the University of Oklahoma School of Art and Art History, he began to think intellectually about comics and ask “What makes a good story?” and “How can I make it the most impactful?”

§ Valerie D’orazio compares Batman and Justin Bieber and it makes sense, honest.

201401280349.jpg

§ Do enough people appreciate Renee French? I think not.

One of those artists is Renee French, who’s been published by Fantagraphics, Top Shelf, PictureBox, Sparkplug Comic Books, Oni Press, Dark Horse, Toon Books, and Atheneum. Whether she does comics for a general audience, for children, or in collaboration with a writer, every one of her works is unsettling in ways that are difficult to immediately identify. Working with a small publisher like Yam Books undoubtedly meant that French could create exactly the kind of book she wanted. As anyone who read Tim Hensley’s Ticket Stub could tell you, Ayuyang spares no expense in terms of design, no matter how odd the request. In the case of her newest book, Hagelbarger and That Nightmare Goat, French has created an object that defies easy categorization.

§ Cartoonists as media stars! Rafael Grampa stars in a film for Absolut.

§ And on Apple’s 30th Anniversary website, Dave McKean describes the very early days of creating comics digitally in 1995.

§ Animation Magazine interviews Anne D. Bernstein, who doesn’t like always talking about being a woman in animation, but she ends up doing it anyway:

Anne D. Bernstein: Being a television writer—especially in comedy—means you have to learn to speak up. When I was starting out, I would say something funny, no one would react, and then 15 minutes later a guy would say the same thing louder and get a laugh. It goes hand-and-hand with drawing attention to yourself and being outspoken, traits not always encouraged in women. Most of the time I work with people I like, I am accepted and I enjoy the healthy competition.

DiDio: appearance of turmoil at DC is caused by social media

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DC is holding four “retailer roadshows” over the next few weeks to boost retailer confidence and tell them what’s coming up. If you were wondering why there was such a DC news dump on Monday, this is why: projects like JLA 3000 and Superman/Wonder Woman were unveiled to NYC area retailers on that day and a roomful of retailers is about as likely to keep secrets as Justin Bieber is to teach driver’s ed.

One such attendee, Roderick Ruth has written up a fairly detailed account of the event, complete with a video of the new lenticular covers for Villain Month—these are costly to print, so DC is actually taking a loss on each issue. Attendees got a lenticular SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #1 and a Trinity War poster (Above).

Much was made of DC’s foray into tying in with video games—Injustice: The Gods Among us is only one of the successful tie-in titles.
There was also a look forward to Zero Year tie-ins, according to Ruth:

After that, Dan Didio continued to discuss Forever Evil, which will arrive in October and shifts the focus of the DC Universe on some of it’s most notable villains.  There’s also another Green Lantern event in the works titled Lights Out in October.  He also touched on the crossovers that will be happening from the Zero Year arc in Batman.  Didio informed retailers that these stories were not manufactured as crossover titles just for the sake of crossing over and spreading out the success of Batman, but that these writers and creators had expressed a genuine interest in writing a story that occurs at the same time as Zero Year.  It seems there will be crossovers in Action Comics, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern Corps, Batgirl, Nightwing, Batwing, Catwoman, Detective Comics, and Birds of Prey.

And then there was that cranky retailer who asked uncomfortable questions:

After that, one retailer expressed her concern over the promises that were made by DC two years ago and her difficulty in instilling confidence to her customers with so much inconsistency over creative teams at DC.  Co-publisher, Dan Didio gave a boisterous speech about admitting that DC’s “new 52″ had only been planned up for a first act, and they had all been surprised that the “new 52″ would have garnered so much momentum two years ago.  He also confided that with any raising momentum, there inevitably a decline in momentum and DC is now prepared to unveil their second act.  He also addressed that creative changes are common place in the business of comic books and the seeming severity of it now is only much more apparent due to social media.  Didio’s admission and affirmations had re-instilled confidence amongst the retailers, but only time can officially tell how successful this “second act” will be.

One of the retailers present at the event told The Beat that DiDio said he had looked at old Comics Journals between 1978 and 1983, and creative teams changed all the time. (It should be noted this was right after the Famed DC Implosion, and a time of terrible sales and general floundering for the company.)

If this was a movie, the scene of Dan DiDio looking at old Comics Journals and taking notes of the news sections would definitely be accompanied by that chugging string music all superhero movies use as the hero peers into a microscope and fiddles with a laptop to get the formula right.

My collection is in storage, but maybe someone else can enact a similar research project.

According to another report on the meeting, DC plans big events every September—last year it was the Zero month, and now villains. It’s a good idea to keep the news coming if, as the above paraphrase seems to indicate, The New 52 has moved on.

Future roadshow dates:

Thursday, June 20, Orlando, FL
Saturday June 22, Burbank, CA
Monday, June 24, Portland OR

Of course we’d love to hear the thoughts ay any attendees at these events. You know the email: comicsbeat at gmail.com.

Great Moments of TCAF 2013

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If you want to see all the great moments of this year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival, I recommend scrolling back through Deb Aoki’s twitter feed. My roommate for the fest seemed to know where all the action was. She captured in a retweet from Japan this epic moment when Taiyo Matsumoto and Gengoroh Tagame exchanged books. Tagame’s is a collection of explicit, often brutal gay BDSM comics. Matsumoto’s is about some lonely orphans who sit in a car and dream.

The Matsomoto/Tagame meeting is kind of like what would happen if a Japanese con invited only two Americans and it was, oh say, Greg Capullo and Blaise Larmee. An unlikely friendship would bloom. Comics are like that.

On Friday, cartoonists from all over the world jumped in a bus and went to Niagara Falls. Aoki was on the scene to capture them with a friendly black squirrel:

Later on she and I witnessed the epic line for the Andrew “Homestuck” Hussie signing that would all the way through the Marriott Bloor halls.


I didn’t not at first know why so many young teens were on hand laughing and giggling like they were about to meet Justin Bieber. And then I realized: Homestuck. I do not understand this phenomenon at all, but I guess that’s why it’s a phenomenon.

Anyway more to come when I wake up…

New director for beloved franchise chosen…and the world will never be the same

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Where were you when Challenger blew up? When the towers fell? When Bieber kissed Selena? Just as with these defining moments, millions of nerds experienced a moment yesterday that they will never forget, a galvanizing, life-changing moment. There is before and after, and only those two states.

For days, weeks and years, fans had anxiously scanned twitter, tumblr, LiveJournal and even Deadline for clues to their savior. And at last a name was put forth.
[Read more…]

Preview: Bluewater’s Elizabeth Taylor Tribute

Bluewater Productions, purveyor of the Female Force line of comics, which celebrates a wide variety of real life, strong female characters – from Sarah Palin to Martha Stewart to Justin Bieber – has just come out with an Elizabeth Taylor tribute comic. [Read more…]

First Still from THE HOBBIT: The Desolation of Smaug and more 2013 movie previews

Warner Bros dumped a bunch of stills from 2013 movies the other day, including this first look at The Hobbit II: The Desolation of Smaug that shows Martin Freeman as Bilbo lounging about on Smaug’s gold hoard. That can’t end well.

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THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG (Peter Jackson)

Because the other photos include Ryan Gosling, Henry Cavill and a very troubling looking Sylvester Stallone, here are the rest of the photos: [Read more…]

Court rules making your own Batmobile violates copyright — UPDATED

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We’ve mentioned a few times here a lawsuit for copyright infringement by DC against an outfit called Gotham Garage, which sells replica Batmobiles—based on the ’60s Batman TV show in particular—as well as other vehicles based on famed fantasy cars, like the Mach Five.

If you were thinking of buying one, better hurry, because a judge has ruled that the Batmobile is subject to copyright.

Well of course it is, you may be saying. But that’s not actually the usual legal thinking. A car design is subject to trademark but not copyright. Gotham Garage owner Mark Towles argued that the Copyright Act can’t be extended to “useful articles” like a car. But the judge ruled that….the Batmobile isn’t really that useful, so that argument ran out of gas on the way back to the Batcave.

The judge ruled that Towles “ignores the exception to the ‘useful article’ rule, which grants copyright protection to nonfunctional, artistic elements of an automobile design that can be physically or conceptually separated from the automobile.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, a can of worms has been set loose by this ruling and other similar recent cases where copyright and ordinary use run afoul:

The copyrightability of designs has been a hot topic of late in courts. Could Batman’s costume be copyrighted? A lawsuit claiming copyright infringement in superhero costumes was settled in December before a judge gave a firm answer. Could Batman’s furnished dark cave hideaway be copyrighted? Hard to say for sure, but a judge rejected earlier this month a claim that furniture designs met the standard for being conceptually separable from their utilitarian purposes.

In other words, just because a chair is made to fit the expanding American butt, it isn’t just utilitarian, it’s designed…and maybe copyrightable.

Our legal knowledge being limited, we’re going to just shut up and yell, “Hey Jeff Trexler!”

UPDATE: Okay Maybe we don’t need Jeff Trexler. After looking at the court docs, it doesn’t look like this case has been settled one way or another—the judge has ruled against Towle’s motion to dismiss, but the most recent filing is not a definitive ruling.

Here’s the original complaint:

and the most recent motion:

Jack Kirby gets his own comic

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Bluewater Press, which has published countless bios of pop culture and political figures from Betty White to Justin Bieber is turning to the comics with a bio of…Jack Kirby.

“Orbit: Jack Kirby” highlights Kirby’s amazing artistic talents and how he truly reinvented the comic book.  Written by John Judy with art by Paul Cox, the task of writing about a comic book legend was somewhat intimidating. “What was it like trying to bring to life the man in a comic book who helped reinvent comics? In a word, daunting,” said Judy. “I was really concerned that the word balloons for each character only contained exact quotes. I wasn’t going to go literally putting words in anyone’s mouth.”


In the words of Charlie Brown…..ARRRRRRRGH.

Steve Bissette is back with TEEN ANGELS & NEW MUTANTS

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Steve Bissette is second to none when it comes to well-sourced, exhaustively thorough and stimulatingly thoughtful writings on culture, so his new book TEEN ANGELS & NEW MUTANTS should be quite the read. It’s a 400-page look at BRAT PACK, the great GN by Rick Veitch that is criminally underrated. Along the way, Bissette “offers a crash-course on teen pop culture and superhero sidekick history, provides fresh analysis of Dr. Fredric Wertham’s seminal books, ponders real-world “new mutants” like Michael Jackson, The Olsen Twins, and Justin Bieber, and charts the 1980s comicbook explosion and 1990s implosion–and more.”

Amazingly, while EW’s comics coverage has been spotty of late, here’s an awesome interview with Bissette in Shelf Life:

Brat Pack is not a graphic novel that tends to get mentioned in the same breath as, say, Watchmen or The Dark Knight Returns, when people talk about all-time great comics. Do you think it’s of a comparable quality?

I think so. It was, if you will, the underground answer to Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. I would also say that Kevin O’Neill’s Marshal Law is another of that same breed, same time period. Does it get as much attention? Of course not. It’s under the radar for most people. And that was another reason for seeing through this book project, to be honest. I think Brat Pack does deserve the attention.


BTW, I agree COMPLETELY on this. BRAT PACK is a searing, brutal take on the genre that completes the triumvirate of superhero deconstructionism. So there!

Convention Report: Swedish SPX 2011

Swedish SPX 11 Poster (Art by Ulli Lust)

In spite of the dramatic international intrigue Sparkplug Comic Books and its affiliates faced at the Canadian border on the way to TCAF last weekend, we managed to simultaneously invade a whole other continent at Stockholm Sweden’s 11th Annual SPX Festival. Sparkplug was honored to be invited to the festival for the 3rd year in a row along with many other hella distinguished international guests.

Swedish SPX is free to the public and held in the center of Stockholm in the same building as a – wait for it – comics library with a well rounded, up to date collection called the Kulterhuset. The Kulterhuset is exactly what it translates to from Swedish to English: a “Culture House” that is open to the public seven days a week. In addition to its comics library, it also houses five floors of screening rooms, restaurants and theaters .The festival took place on Saturday, May 7 through Sunday, May 8, with several satellite and on location events held on the Wednesday and Thursday before the show. You know, just how we do in America, except classier and with a buttload of government funding.

The Kulterhuset - Stockholm, Sweden (Photo: MK Reed)

Myself and Sparkplug published and distributed artists, MK Reed, Trevor Alixopulos and Austin English were at a table next to Swedish publisher and festival co-organizer, Galago. Close by were fellow US publishers Top Shelf and Fantagraphics and other North American festival guests, cartoonists Hope Larson, Dash Shaw, Vanessa Davis, Gabrielle Bell and Bryan Lee O’Malley. So what follows is a somewhat subjective report as I was either behind the Sparkplug table or on a panel for most of the show and didn’t get a chance to see everything I would’ve liked to.

Johannes Klennell and Mats Jonnson behind the Galago table (Photo: MK Reed)

Fantagraphics, Sparkplug Comic Books, and Domino Books tables (Photo: MK Reed)

Gabrielle Bell sizes up convention goers to sketch (Photo: MK Reed)

Kolbeinn Karlson, Vanessa Davis and Me (Photo: MK Reed)

But a lot of what I saw and did was good and worthy of sharing. Like, the first international edition of Drink and Draw Like a Lady attended by one of the DDLL co-founders herself, Hope Larson.

Hope Larson at the 1st International Drink and Draw Like a Lady (Photo: MK Reed)

The Drink and Draw was really relaxed and pleasant, with a lot of Stockholm ladies saying they didn’t know anyone there when they first arrived but left with the phone numbers of other girl cartoonists in the spirit of networking the event intends. Swedish organizer, Berit Verkland said they’ll definitely do it again.

I also enjoyed meeting Ulli Lust, an international guest of the festival from Berlin, Germany, and her husband, cartoonist Kai Pfieffer. Everyone at the show was buzzing about her book, Today is the last day of the rest of your life. Lust describes the 400+ page graphic novel as a “travel into the heart of darkness.” The site electrocomics.com (where you can download a full pdf English translation of the book) says it’s the story of how

Ulli, an aspiring punk girl with a catholic middle-class upbringing, meets Edi, a nymphomanic runaway her age. They dream of spending winter in Italy and try to make some money in a brothel (with only little success).

One look through the nicely packaged German edition and I was sold. As were several other festival guests, like Cuno Affolter, curator of Europe’s second largest comics collection in Switzerland, who couldn’t stop talking about how I need to let the rubes of the US of A know about this book over dinner on Saturday. Apparently, no less than Mr. Scott McCloud, is in agreement with the esteemed Mr. Affolter so take note and get on it US publishers.

Vanessa Davis, Trevor Alixopulos, and Ulli Lust at SPX (Photo: MK Reed)

I also liked Emelie Ostrergen’s new minicomic, The Story of a Girl from Swedish publisher, Optimal Press and Scandanavian US Expatriate (and Sparkplug artist) Juliacks’ new self-published venture, Invisible Forces, which features a visually pleasing and inventive use of Finish subtitles with English text (or vice versa, depending on which language you can or would prefer to read).

Emelie Ostregen's The Story of a Girl

One of the things I did get out to see was the table promoting Swedish Cartoonists Simon Gardenfors and Jonas Pike Dahlstrom’s animation project, Paco the Judo Popcorn.

Paco the Judo Popcorn and one of his creators, Simon G. (Photo: MK Reed)

The two have about a week  left on a Kickstarter campaign to fund the making of Paco, so go help out a couple of nice Swedish country boys if you’re able to (or at least watch the Paco trailer, which is pretty cute).

Another thing I didn’t get a chance to read was Austin English’s The Disgusting Room which debuted and sold out at the show but I’m looking forward to getting one (and hopefully I will, unless everything Sparkplug’s transporting via mail, ground shipping or air is on some Canadian child pornographer terrorist watchlist now). Some things I would’ve loved to have read but couldn’t because they weren’t translated into English included Swedish artist Sara Hansson’s new book by Galago (which sold out) and Finish artist Mari Ahokoivu’s new minicomics. I did however have the pleasure of being on a panel with both Hannson and Ahokoivu, as well as my fellow American guest, cartoonist Hope Larson, German editor and publicist Jutta Harms, and Carmela Chergui of the legendary French publisher L’Association on Thursday afternoon. The panel was moderated by Swedish cartoonist and radio journalist, Sofia Olsson and it concerned the current global state of women’s representation in comics publishing. Hope and I seemed to be in agreement that the US comics business environment sucks so much right now that cartoonists seem far more preoccupied with trying to get anything published, hopefully for actual money, than they are with making sure that both genders are represented equally by comics publishers. But we also both seemed to agree that US publishers would be business savvy to produce more work that’ll be capable of luring in female readers, thereby expanding the overall base of comics readers.

The Global State of Women in Comics Panel (Photo: MK Reed)

The other ladies on the panel had something to say as well, with Harms, whose been in the European comics business for over 20 years, asserting that women’s readership and interest in female creators has been steadily growing during her tenure. Hannson stated that she thinks female comics artists should be proud to be female authors whose work is of interest to female readers while Chergui said that L’Association prefers to promote authors with the emphasis on their art and stories without putting too much focus on either their gender or age.

Other panels included a reportedly well attended one featuring Austin English in conversation with Dash Shaw and a panel moderated by Galago’s Berit Viklund that purportedly asked the panelists how they field questions from the media and readers trying to understand their work in the context of their feminity. That panel featured Swedish artist, Sara Graner, of the Dotterbollaget Feminist Comics Collective, Gabrielle Bell and Vanessa Davis. Eric Reynolds of Fantragraphics also joined Johannes Klennell of Galago and others for a discussion moderated by Finish journalist and editor Ville Hanninen entitled “Is Humor Borderless?” to discuss which foreign titles do well in which foreign markets, which titles get lost in translation and why. Hanninen, himself, is the editor of another collection I would’ve liked to have seen more of, The Finish Comics Annual – although what I saw of it looked quite good – and it’s en anglaise at that.

Frederick Stromberg (of The Swedish Comics Association) holds up a copy of the 2011 Finish Comics Annual

I was on a Spotlight on Brian Lee O’Malley panel on Sunday that featured a free screening of Scott Pilgrim, along with a discussion moderated by prominent Swedish film critic Roger Wilson. Galago’s Mats Jonnson, Top Shelf’s Chris Staros, O’Malley, and myself talked about what makes a good comics film adaptation and whether the current “comics movie bubble” is stopping anytime soon (although it’s currently showing few signs of doing so).

But while that was fun, it wasn’t half as much fun as seeing all the teenage (or very close to teenage) Scott Pilgrim fans who were absolutely gaga to get the chance to talk to a very nice and patient O’Malley about how meaningful the series has been to them. It was kind of heartwarming to see that there’s something universal that kids can relate to in the Scott Pilgrim story that transcends international borders.

Another fun, international border transcending occurrence that I’m sure everyone in attendance will agree was the utmost highlight of the con, was the Justin Bieber Flash Mob that took place right outside the Kulterhuset on Saturday afternoon!

Bieber fever (Check out that naughty sign...) Photo: MK Reed

More Beiber Fever (Photo: MK Reed)

Now that's a flash mob (Photo: MK Reed)

Imagine yourself inside a small, pleasant indie comics convention, lazily browsing tables of books as hundreds of tween girls chant outside, “JUSTIN BIEBER! JUSTIN BIEBER! JUSTIN BIEBER!” nonstop for, I dunno, at least two hours. You can’t, can you? I only can because I lived it. Apparently, Bieber wasn’t able to make it to Sweden on his last world tour and the tween ladies of Sweden felt they had to take to the center square of Stockholm to protest the injustice of it all. In the immortal words of South Park creators Matt Parker and Trey Stone, I blame Canada. What is wrong with them? They won’t let the Biebs (a Canadian grown tweenybopper cyborg) out of the country to grace Sweden with his presence and they won’t let potentially, although ultimately indeterminately obscene comics into their own country.  Why must they get in the way of art and commerce so?

Also fun was the Galago Release Party on Saturday night, which featured a band singing historic Swedish Union songs and pinatas adorned with the faces of some of the country’s current very right leaning leaders to protest recent government decisions, like eliminating the Swedish government’s Artist Retirement Fund.  Yes. Artists had a retirement fund there. HAD. Let’s hope that no more of the arts funding that’s responsible for festivals like Swedish SPX and much of the recent prolific output from Scandanavian cartoonists is eliminated.

Eric Reynolds and Dash Shaw, totally ready to rock Stockholm (Photo: MK Reed)

Sweden's George Bush about to get bashed by an angry artist

The last fun thing I can speak of was our foray into the touristy Olde Town area of Stockholm on Sunday night to go to a medieval bar. The picture below says it all.

Medieval Times (Left to Right): Me, Simon G., Trevor Alixopulos, Gabrielle Bell, Vanessa Davis, Dash Shaw and MK Reed (Photo: Eric Reynolds)

If you want to see more about Swedish SPX, Gabrielle Bell hinted she might do a comic about her adventures in Sweden for her Lucky blog. She may not, so don’t hold me to it, but you should check back because, come on now, everything she does is good. And tak (that’s thanks in Swedish) for reading.

Can comics support truly new characters?

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Is there anything new under the spinner rack? Only yesterday, Chris Irving quoted the late, great Dwayne McDuffie on the difficulty of launching anything new in comics:

“I look at the new Blue Beetle, which was really well done and really entertaining, even though it didn’t sell at all. The new things in the universe are pretty much impossible, and new things out of the universe are pretty unlikely, because people won’t try new things. I hope I’m wrong and there’s some wonderful new thing. Maybe we’ll get lucky and Static will break, but I don’t think people will try it, or that people at comics stores will even care. That book should have come out in 2002 when it was the #2 cartoon on television, and not 2010 when it was in reruns on Disney XD.”


Jason Wood expands on this idea at iFanboy by actually counting the characters on the charts:

I was listening to John Siuntres’ always excellent Bendis Tapes this week and something they discussed served as inspiration for this week’s column. During the Q&A, one of the questions related to whether Bendis would ever consider launching a new team book, akin to The Order, where he would get to establish an entirely new lineup of characters. I’m paraphrasing, but essentially Bendis made the point that he may someday get that urge, but the market currently isn’t very supportive of those kinds of initiatives. He and John went on to observe that had Bendis launched Alias in today’s market, its chances of success and staying on the shelves would’ve been far less likely. When you juxtapose Bendis and John’s comments with some of the more vocal complaints fans have had lately as their favorite books get cancelled, it brings up a great point. Can new teams or characters thrive in today’s direct market?


Wood goes on to count all the characters on the top 1000 characters of 2010 and comes up with the following list of 35 “newish characters:

1 American Vampire
2 Avengers Academy
3 Avengers Childrens’ Crusade
4 Avengers Initiative
5 Batgirl
6 Batman and Robin
7 Batwoman
8 Blackest Night
9 Daken Dark Wolverine
10 Dark Wolverine
11 Fall of Hulks Red Hulk
12 Fall of Hulks Savage She-Hulks
13 Generation Hope
14 Green Lantern Emerald Warriors
15 Guardians of Galaxy
16 Haunt
17 Heroes for Hire
18 Hulk
19 Incredible Hercules
20 Izombie
21 Joe the Barbarian
22 Kick Ass
23 Nemesis
24 Scarlet
25 Secret Six
26 Secret Warriors
27 S.H.I.E.L.D.
28 Superior
29 Thunderbolts
30 True Blood
31 Uncanny X-Force
32 Walking Dead
33 World War Hulks
34 X-23
35 X-Factor


Personally, we’d hesitate to call, say, X-Factor, which debuted in 1986 a NEW property — new characters, sure, but really NEW? Wood goes into his reasons for picking each one and breaks them down into Kirkman-verse, Millar-verse etc., etc. It’s a good analysis. The need to create new characters is something we’ve been harping on for YEARS — we vividly recall standing in Paul Levitz’s office once and asking him to come up with a new character that was less than 5 years old (the closest we came up with was TRANSMETROPOLTAN.)

Thus it’s even a little MORE alarming to see that Wood’s cut-off for a new character is….”10-15 years”?

WHAT THE FRAK?

Five years ago, there was no Glee, no AVATAR, no Hunger Games, no Bieber, no Gaga. Seven years ago there was no Twilight, no Lost, no Dexter. It’s a lot harder to find new characters in film because they are as risk-averse as comics, but in TV and books they are the lifeblood. Have comics REALLY become that ossified?

Wood asks if 20 years ago Cable and Deadpool would have been singled out as new characters, and I can tell you that 17 years ago, anyway, they absolutely were.

The idea that something 10-15 years old qualifies as a “new” idea is patently alarming. And the idea that we can’t launch something newer than that is even scarier.