Seduction_of_the_InnocentThis year marks the 60th anniversary of Fredric Wertham’s influential and notorious Seduction of the Innocent, and Comic Con’s programming schedule includes several panels addressing the book and its core themes.

Today (Thursday) at noon, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund is holding a panel on the increasingly important topic of “Using Graphic Novels in Education,” and a key issue that it will address is how to deal with the prospect of censorship. Speakers include CBLDF web editor Betsy Gomez; Meryl Jaffe, author of Raising a Reader! How Comics & Graphic Novels Can Help Your Kids; and Carol Tilley, who in addition to being a nationally renowned Wertham critic is also an information science professor whose work “focuses on the intersection of young people, comics, and libraries.”

The legal dimension of censorship is one of the topics covered by law professor Marc Greenberg in his new book, Comic Art, Creativity and the Law, and he will be speaking on “Forecasting How Business and Law Will Affect Creativity in Comics” today at noon in a panel with futurist Rob Salkowitz, author of Comic-Con & the Business of Pop Culture.

Friday is the peak of Werthamania, with no fewer than three panels dealing with Wertham, his legacy and more contemporary approaches to the impact of comics on kids.

At 1pm, the CBLDF is sponsoring “Dr. Wertham’s War on Comics,” which is dedicated to Professor Tilley’s widely celebrated research on his work.

Later on Friday, at 8pm, I will be moderating “60 Years of Seduction: Right, Wrong, and Wertham,” in which a panel of experts will discuss Wertham’s legacy and what he means today. Besides the intrepid Carol Tilley, the panel also includes Robert A. Emmons, Jr., whose documentary Diagram for Delinquents can be downloaded here; historian Bradford Wright, author of Comic Book Nation: The Transformation of Youth Culture in America; and forensic psychiatrists Vasilis Pozios and Praveen Kambam of Broadcast Thought, the pathbreaking consulting firm on media and mental health.

Finally, I’ve just learned that the 4pm Friday Reading with Pictures panel, “Getting the Most Out of Graphic Novels in Your Classroom and Library,” has added Carol Tilley as a panelist. 60 years ago Wertham warned that comics were a threat to literacy, and this panel exemplifies how antiquated notions of a world ruled by words are giving way to a future in which reading pictures is an essential skill.

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By Victor Van Scoit

Preview BlurA few years back I decided I to start arriving to San Diego a day early. Then it became two days. This time it was three. No matter what it seems like San Diego Comic Con is unrelenting in its reach as it too seems to start earlier. It all truly kicks off on Preview Night, and then it’s off to the races. Experience has provided me with the insight to take what you can, move on, and enjoy the ride. If you do, you will look back on your day and think “Wow! That was a lot. That was a good day.”

My day started with checking into my hotel. I’ve avoided hotel roulette and booked via a vacation rental site. It provides me a cheaper rate, and puts me near the downtown action with Analog restaurant nearby. I then set off towards the convention center already smiling at the installations being setup and loving the overheard conversations steeped in pop culture. After ten SDCCs you can start to forget how fun it is to see everyone excited for the days to come.

I was on my way to see about attending Image Expo with the rest of The Beat Staff. Timing being what it was, I noticed badge registration was short. I jumped on the chance to knock off a to do list item. After arriving at the Hilton Bayfront it became clear that Image Expo was a no go. It was a shame because Image is really bringing the creative energy to comics that I think many of us want to see. Instead of dwelling I realized The Beat had folks covering and soon I’d get to read all the news. That and I went to Image Expo in San Francisco and I didn’t want to be greedy. After some conversation with The Beat Staff regarding the week’s plans and what we were eager to see and cover, with a gap in my schedule I had another opportunity to pivot.

Provisions. Snacks. The good stuff. It was time to hit World Market and get snacks to last the days to come so as to avoid the convention floor bonk. Speaking with the staff we remarked how it always seems it’s never too busy over SDCC. This place really is a haven for no lines and great food and drink options.

En route to dropping off the provisions at my hotel I was stopped by street team for Legends with their Unlock Your Legend swag. Sean Bean is so good that I really hope this show works out for him. It also reminds me of the ads on the airport baggage claim pleading “Don’t Kill Sean Bean”. It was good I was stopped when I was because the swag seagulls (seagulls?) descended like a mob on these poor girls and it became a scrum just to get anything.

Glancing at my watch I had plenty of time to grab a cocktail and I stopped in at Jsix. They’ve since added a nice happy hour with 5$-7$ drinks and inexpensive but tasty bites. As luck would have it I ran into the How It Should Have Ended gang. For a crew that’s got over 3MM subscribers it’s fun to see that they’re here at SDCC as fans as well. I took the opportunity to share convention schedules, find a time to meet up again, and then we all hit Preview Night.

Preview Night has gotten easier for me. That’s not to say it’s still not difficult to move around, or that you won’t get mad at the person in front of you that just stopped to gawk at a booth. It’s easier because I didn’t have any agendas to fill, unlike those lining up for Hasbro, Funko, Adult Swim, and publishing exclusives. Our group just got to enjoy all the well designed booths and soak in the fun of Comic Con. See the video below for brief highlights.

I closed out Preview Night by delivering extra badges to friends at Rare Form. While there it was nice to try out their cocktails and deli board and decompress with friends. It was these friends who helped get me to my first Comic Con ten years ago, so it was nice to catch up. But there was one last even to do.

The Beat Staff meet up at El Pulpo. What a great time and great seafood tacos! I’m always part of a group here at SDCC, but this time I was part of a team eager to pass on news and our insights of the con. We talked past experiences, our own interests in comics and pop culture, Morrison Con memories, shared tips, and even aspirations. What a way to creatively recharge!

I called it a night since the rest of the week was filled with long days. I knew I’d sleep well. It’s these friends and new friends that make me realize that SDCC can be so much more if you let it.

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

In day one of our special San Diego Comic Con 2014 coverage, Heidi interviews Eric Powell – artist/writer creator of The Goon – about his latest miniseries, creating a long-running comic series and his progress on The Goon animated movie. Next, she interviews writer and Comicraft lettering mastermind Richard Starkings about his ongoing series Elephantmen and life as an Image Comics creator. Tune in tomorrow for more SDCC coverage from More To Come!

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

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Madefire is on the move with their technology enabling more “motion books” comics, with news of a launch on Android a new store and more.

Madefire is making a massive push to scale its cutting-edge digital comics publishing platform today by launching on Android at San Diego Comic Con. Madefire Motion Books that uniquely combine images, sound and interactivity will immediately be available via Google Play to Android users worldwide with in-app purchase support. The Madefire ecosystem will further expand with the addition of a new “Print Books” category. This “authentic” comics reading experience will offer simple pageview, pinch and zoom navigation for a huge catalog of comics and graphic novels. A new UI for all storefronts will also debut making it easier than ever to navigate and discover the books that matter to readers in this new global comics marketplace

Top publishers like IDW, Valiant, Oni Press, Top Cow, Liquid Comics, and others have signed on to support the new Print Books category. With rights to thousands of titles, Madefire now represents both scale and digital story telling innovation in comics across all screens and devices worldwide. Madefire also continues to expand their Motion Book category with a new partnership and licensing deal with Fox Digital Entertainment. Madefire and Fox will collaborate to create original alternative storylines and characters to extend the new “Maze Runner” film franchise mythos. Based on the New York Times best selling books, Maze Runner is slated for theatrical release this fall.

Madefire was founded on the principle of empowering the indie-creator with the tools to create and publish the “new myths of the 21st century.”  Last week, Madefire did just that rolling out their powerful web-based Create Tool to all users worldwide. Working closely with the massive on-line artistic community at DeviantArt, Madefire is energizing individual artists and authors to create new stories that can be published within minutes on the web. This process can take months on other platforms.

“Since we opened our Motion Book Tool we’ve been staggered at the appetite for digital comics,” said Ben Wolstenholme, CEO of Madefire. “From Print comics to Motion Books, and from new creators to established studios like DC, it’s all on Madefire. It’s taken years, but we’ve now rolled out the most advanced comic book platform in the world and made it open to all.”

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STAR_SPANGLED_WAR_STORIES_#1Admit it, if you hear title “Star Spangled War Stories featuring G.I. Zombie,” you’re probably going to wince a little bit.  Especially given the track record DC’s had trying to push war books in the “New 52.”  Still, the writing team is Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, who usually warrant a look and you’ve got Scott Hampton on the art, who doesn’t pop up as often as he should.  The result is a book that feels a lot more Vertigo than “New 52.”  (Why are they still calling it “New 52,” when there aren’t 52 titles these days?  GET OVER IT, DC.)

Actually, it isn’t at all clear from the first issue why this comic is titled “Star Spangled War Stories.”  There’s not much war in it, so far.  Oh, you’ve got soldiers and ex-soldiers.  You’ve got some military weapons floating around.  It’s more a crime comic with some espionage overtones than a war comic, though.  Perhaps what will change, but the title creates some false expectations of the first issue.  The pacing here is from the slow burn school, so if you’re fearing spoilers, best to move on to the next article.  Since we don’t know entirely what’s going on, I’m going to have to deal with the plot a bit more directly than I might like to.

So basically, we find our hero, designated “G.I. Zombie” on an undercover mission with a partner, who might be a soldier of fortune and might be a Department of Defense agent.  At any rate she’s been assigned a mission by the D.O.D. and she’s infiltrating an outlaw biker gang as they look for some stolen rifles, one of which was used in a military base shooting.

G.I. Zombie, given name Jared, isn’t your run of the mill zombie.  He’s the “thinks and talks normally” variety of zombie.  He’s also a lot more indestructible than your Walking Dead variety zombie.  He can take a head shot and his limbs will reattach. It looks like he might have some compulsory feeding habits and control issues thereof, and we’re not entirely sure how long he’s been around.  The Darwyn Cooke cover would suggest at least a couple hundred years.

As far as first issues go, this is a bare bones (pun intended) character setup and just slightly more into the mission.  The largest segment of the book is the opening sequence with the biker bar and a bloody interrogation.  Another case where you’d really like to have seen a double-sized issue so once the plot got setup,  it could start moving and you could get some idea where the book was going.

Now, slow moving plots and taking time to set up some character bits, or in this case, mysteries surrounding characters is not an inherently bad thing.  The atmosphere works, striking a balance between the realism school normally used for a crime caper and a “6 inches into the unknown” horror comic.  Both elements co-exist nicely and I had no sudden suspension of disbelief issues.  The middle section reads not unlike a police procedural and then there’s what you might call a “zombie moment.”  It works.

The art is also lovely and with Hampton doing his own coloring has a very distinctive look you’re not likely to mistake for anything else DC is putting out right now.

All and all, a nice package.  The thing is, I have absolutely no idea where this comic is going.  Will it stay on the bikers with stolen military hardware angle, that just happens to have an undead operative in it?  Will it jog right into more horror?  Will it job left into espionage?  (Quite possible with the last page.)  Are we going to start having battlefield scenes?  I really don’t know.

Let’s call this one to keep an eye on.  It’s absolutely not the kind of schlocky book you might expect from something called “Star Spangled War featuring G.I. Zombie.”  I’m just not completely sure what it’s going to end up being.  Hopefully, it doesn’t dive head first into a crossover.

Tentative recommendation to check out if you like crime stories or VERY grounded horror.  Moreso if your tastes run Vertigo.

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First it was vampires, then it was zombies. After that it was bronies but now? It’s all about monkeys and Image Comics is one step ahead of the latest ape craze with a new creator owned series, The Humans - an epic tale of big hairy apes on badass choppers looking for sleazy, biker gang exploitation style kicks in an alternative, bleak and nihilistic version of late 1960′s California.Yesterday at SDCC’s Image Expo, the company announced that the series (created by Keenan Keller and Tom Neely and colored by Kristina Collantes) is slated to debut as a regular series this November. Keller, Neely and Collantes are hawking an issue zero at SDCC that’s going quick (stop by the Image booth for a copy while you can). They kindly took time out from monkeyin’ around at SDCC to answer some questions and grace Beat readers with some preview pages:

humans_postcard_2-736x1024 (1)

1) How did The Humans come to Image? How did you initially see it published (did you always plan to do it in a multi issue format)?

Keenan Marshall Keller: From the moment Tom and i started working on this, we wanted it to be a mini-series with possibilities to expand and continue the story line after The HUMANS ends, if we wanted. The story arc will hopefully be collected into a TPB one day, but we’re fans of single issue, monthly comics and are very excited to be working on one together. 

Tom Neely:
 We both come from the DIY, self-publishing world, so naturally we had planned to self-publish the series somehow. But when my friend Charles Brownstein apparently mentioned it to Eric at Image, pretty soon we were talking to them about the possibilities. They were happy to let us do our own release of The HUMANS #0 for SDCC and then we’re excited to launch the rest of the series with them later this year. I’m excited to have my first traditional size floppy comic in my hands and can’t wait to see a series hitting the shelves on Wednesdays. 

2) The first comic is a great fight comic that builds up the Humans post apocalyptic landscape slowly and subtly. What can you tell us about the story arc you’ll follow over a multi issue series with Image?

KMK:  The story’s not really set in a post apocalyptic world, but a world with a history that matches our own, except with Apes at the head of the evolutionary hierarchy.  Its a nihilistic, bleak and violent story of biker gangs, drug running, human-cock fighting, and Vietnam flashbacks. The story follows the HUMANS as they deal with in-fighting, rival gangs, crooked cops, violent hijackers, and the freedom of the supposed American dream.

3) The three of you make for an interesting team with varied credits (Neely is perhaps most recently well known for his popular Henry & Glen series from Microcosm, while Collantes is an an up and coming superstar illustrator who is on deck to color another upcoming Image series, tentatively titled, Null:void with series creator, James Harvey and Keller has been self-publishing comics and curating art shows for several years under his imprint, Drippy Bones Books). How did it all come together for you to work on the project?

TN: Keenan and I have been friends for years, but we’ve always done our own comics. After working on Popeye a couple of years ago, I became more open to the idea of working with a writer because what I really want to do is focus on drawing as much as I can now. So, when he mentioned his idea of a biker gang of ape-men in 1970s America, I immediately started drawing apes on motorcycles in my sketchbook and we’ve been developing the world collaboratively ever since. I’ve loved apes and monkeys and motorcycles and exploitation movies all my life, so it just felt like a perfect new project for me following Henry & Glenn and my other more “artsy” comics. Kristina and I met a little over a year ago and have been collaborating on a few art projects so far. She’s a brilliant artist with a unique color palette and very interested in working in comics, so when she offered to color our series, it was a perfect fit!
Kristina Collantes: I’m the latest addition to the Humans collective. I met Keenan through Tom, who invited me to join the gang earlier this year. Tom and I have collaborated on projects before so it made a lot of sense for me to be the colorist for the series, which demands very specific art direction and ambience. I feel lucky and proud to be a part of this hairy team!


4) Kristina, you’re coloring another Image book and you’re also an in demand freelance illustrator. What advice do you have for comics freelancers to successfully manage multiple projects?
KC: This year I had to learn how to remove myself from my drawing table when I became too frustrated with a project. I liked doing all-day drawing sessions and would often find myself going to bed at 5AM. I would then wake up groggy and uninspired and repeat the process. A peaceful, well-rested mind is often rewarded by a flow of great work. Learn how to walk away from stress! – it clears your head and lets you see your drawing with a new perspective. I believe this is important to keep in mind while working on one or more assignments.


KMK: Don’t work with Tom Neely or Keenan Marshall Keller…. don’t drink with Tom Neely or Keenan Marshall Keller…. hahaha.
5) In the letters section, Humans gang member, Karns, says he wants letters from “skins only.” I take it this means the letters section will be a regular feature with the series. What’s a skin? Can “skins” write to any other Humans member other than Karns?


TN: A “skin” is a hairless, non-ape human-animal like yourself.
KMK: Karns is a deviant sexual freak. He’s not interested in his own species, he’s only into skins, which is the term for homo sapiens in The HUMANS.  Thats why Karns is hoping to meet a few skin ladies while answering fan questions in our letter colum, APESHIT: The Karns Korner. It will be our ongoing letters section thru the IMAGE series but that doesnt mean that people can’t write to any of the other HUMANS. Karns is just the perfect, gnarly mouthpeice for the HUMANS, he cant even read the letters sent, Marras gotta read them to him…So, there’s a pretty good chance you’ll see some of the others getting involved along the way.


6) What’s next for The HUMANS in terms of upcoming appearances through the rest of 2014?

KMK: I can’t wait. We’ll be heading to SPX in Sept. It will be my first time and I’m very excited to hang out with East coasters I rarely get to see, like Jim Rugg, Benjamin Marra, Matt Crabe, Josh Bayer, Pat Aulisio and a bunch of others. Should be a blast. In November, when IMAGE launches issue #1, we’ll be doing a west coast tour on our way to Short Run, in Seattle, WA. We’re hoping to hit around 7-8 shops on our way up and down the coast. Should be alot of fun. Starting to book that now. Then, into the next year. I hope to attend as many conventions and events as we can, spreading The HUMANS like a venereal disease across America.

Let’s get to spreadin’ then. Here are the first five pages of The Humans Issue #0, available while it lasts at Comic Con:

Humans_0_Page_1 Humans_0_Page_2 Humans_0_Page_3 Humans_0_Page_4 Humans_0_Page_5

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by Zachary Clemente

At Image’s pre-SDCC Expo,12 announcements were made, we covered it live, but here are the full details:

Rick Remender and Sean Gordon Murphy’s TOKYO GHOST:


TOKYO GHOST welcomes readers to the isles of New Los Angeles, 2189. Humanity has become nothing more than a sea of consumers, ravenous and starving wolves, sick from toxic contamination, who have to borrow, beg, and steal for the funds to buy, buy, buy their next digital fix. Getting a thrill, a distraction from reality, is the only thing left to live for. Entertainment is the biggest industry, the drug everyone needs, and gangsters run it all. And who do these gangsters turn to when they need the “law” enforced? Led Dent and Debbie Decay, constables of the law, which is a nice way to say “brutal killing machines.” The duo are about to be presented with an assignment that will force them out of the decay of LA and into the mysterious lost nation of Tokyo.


Marian Churchland, Claire Gibson, and Sloane Leong’s FROM UNDER MOUNTAINS:


Set in the isolated country of Akhara, rival houses face off in the struggle for political power and military security in FROM UNDER MOUNTAINS. Three unlikely figures—a lord’s daughter, a disgraced knight, and a runaway thief—will change the fate of their world, but the only hope of peace may lie with the mystery shrouded goblins and witches, and the ancient powers they command.


Joe Casey and Paul Maybury’s VALHALLA MAD:


VALHALLA MAD introduces a set of brand new characters: the Glorious Knox, Greghorn the Battlebjorn and Jhago the Irritator. The series depicts this

particular trio of fun-loving gods’ return to Earth—Manhattan, specifically—to drink and party and revel in their resplendent godhood after many decades of being away. Needless to say, they find a very different world than the one they last visited.


John Arcudi and James Harren’s RUMBLE:


RUMBLE is a strange book, that’s for sure—like a scarecrow-Conan fighting in a Louis C.K. TV show directed by David Fincher—with a supporting cast of odd characters, many of whom aren’t even human.  


Ray Fawkes’ INTERSECT:


Bodies shift and merge, warring with themselves. Blood rains from the skies. A child’s song is translated into toxic, thought-destroying whispers. Everything is changing. Everything is wrong. This is the world of INTERSECT.


Tom Neely and Keenan Marshall Keller’s THE HUMANS:


Apart, they are nothing… deemed by society as outcasts, misfits, losers, no good punks! But together, they are THE HUMANS! Follow Bobby, Johnny, and all The HUMANS as they fight and fly down the road to oblivion on a ride filled with chains, sex, leather, denim, hair, blood, bananas and chrome.


Gabriel Hardman’s KINSKI and Hardman and Corinna Bechko’s INVISIBLE REPUBLIC:


KINSKI, previously a digital-only collection, both written and drawn by Hardman, promises to be a quirky crime thriller about Joe, a down-on-his-luck salesman who finds a cute puppy. The thing is, this puppy already has a home. What starts as a simple rescue mission from neglectful owners quickly escalates into a righteous crusade. Hardman announced a second project to be executed with frequent collaborator Bechko (HEATHENTOWN, Savage HulkStar Wars: Legacy). Described as a gritty sci-fi series, INVISIBLE REPUBLIC explores the secret history of one man’s rise to power after an unspeakable act of violence elevates him to folk-hero status on a war-torn planet seeking independence.


Becky Cloonan and Andy Belanger’s SOUTHERN CROSS:


Now boarding: SOUTHERN CROSS, tanker flight 73 to Titan. Alex Braith is on board retracing her sister’s steps to the refinery moon, hoping to collect her remains and find some answers. The questions keep coming though—How did her sister die? Where did her cabin mate disappear to? Who is that creep across the hall? And why does she always feel like she’s being watched?


Jeff Lemire and Dustin Nguyen’s DESCENDER:


DESCENDER will explore one young robot’s struggle to stay alive in a universe where all androids have been outlawed and bounty hunters lurk on every planet.


Ivan Brandon and Nic Klein’s DRIFTER:


Mankind’s colonization of the galaxy has left countless planets mined bare and lifeless in DRIFTER. A space transport crashes onto a backwater world whose unique properties set the stage for a story that combines the dark wonder of a strange and alien landscape with the struggles of an abandoned and lawless frontier town.


Kurt Busiek and Ben Dewey’s TOOTH AND CLAW:


In TOOTH AND CLAW, a secret conclave of wizards brings a legendary champion back through time to save the world, with disastrous consequences. Swords, sorcery, animal-wizards, gods, empires, golems of radioactive decay, crystalline badlands, con women, ancient armories, young love, mystery, blood and death and treachery and destiny…TOOTH AND CLAW is an epic story you won’t want to miss out on.


Warren Ellis and Declan Shalvey’s INJECTION:


INJECTION explores how loud and strange the world is becoming, and the sense that it’s all bubbling into chaos—a chaos poised to become the Next New Normal—and that we did this to ourselves without thinking for a second about how we were ever going to live inside it.

“Each and every year, it is our goal to grow the comics marketplace with new creativity, and this current slate of talent is intent on doing exactly that,” said Eric Stephenson, Publisher at Image Comics. “It’s nothing short of thrilling to be involved with so much unique and inventive talent, and I couldn’t be more proud of the work these amazing men and women are developing as we finish out this year and head into the next. We don’t pass out assignments or dictate directions here, we ask writers and artists what they want to do and let their creativity guide us. For some, relying on so much new material might seem like an uncertain way forward, but I prefer to look at every venture into uncharted territory as yet another path to the future. Thanks to these creators and more, that  future is looking brighter than ever.”

As always, keep your eyes keenly trained on The Beat for any and all coverage from San Diego Comic-Con 2014!

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Mera seems to love the camera.

Mera seems to love the camera.

By: Nick Eskey

DC Collectibles had a fine showing today of toys, figurines, and statues for the upcoming year. Each one meets the fine level of detail that is synonymous with the DC brand. With the variety of collectible shown, it was hard to decide what to talk about in length.

For their action figures, DC will be coming out with series 2 of their designer line. We got a glimpse of Zero Year Batman, Commissioner Gordon, Batgirl, and a fierce Two-Face. All were designed by Greg Capullo, and will be out sometime February of 2015. Also for their action figures and in time with Warner Brother’s TV show, Arrow, DC has unveiled figures based on said show. They featured a couple versions of Arrow (a fight ready, and a bare chest one), Deathstroke, Canary, and others. They also teased with a Flash figurine for the upcoming series The Flash. Arrow will return to the CW on Wednesday October the 8th, 8/7 central time, whereas The Flash will premiere Tuesday October the 7th, 8/7 central time.

Those who are fans of any of the Batman cartoons, you’ll be excited to here DC will be rolling out with additions to the Batman the Animated Series line, and launching The New Adventures of Batman series. For Batman the Animated Series, they showed series 2 Poison Ivy, Robin, The Joker, Man-Bat, a uncolored version of Batgirl that will part of series 4, and teased in the background uncolored shots of The Riddler, Penguin, and Batman. Batman, Two-Face, The Joker, Catwoman, and Mister Freeze were shown for The New Adventures of Batman series 1, and also shown were Harley Quinn series 3, and uncolored versions of Killer Croc and Baby Doll. The New Adventures of Batman series 1 will be out this year November, with series 3 sometime March of next year. Batman the Animated Series series 2 will be out this December.

Based off of the upcoming video game from Rocksteady and Warner Bros. Interactive, DC will be releasing highly detailed toys of characters from Batman: Arkham Knight. Shown were Batman, Harley Quinn, Scarecrow, and the new character Arkham Knight. These should be released sometime March of next year.

An interesting addition to this year’s lineup was a few kid inspired toys. We had a couple plush dolls, Deadman and Crow (set to be released October of this year), and a few wooden figures of both Superman and Batman (releasing December of this year). Also coming September of this year will be series 4 of the Scribblenauts mini figures.

One of my favorite collectibles is DC Entertainment’s statues line. In their Bombshells line, we will be seeing a gamut of new faces such as Lois Lane posed as an old-fashion newspaper seller, Hawkgirl complete with chewing gum, a day at the beach ready Mera, and a magical Zatanna. All are set to be released intermittently throughout next year. In addition to the Cover Girl line, vicious Vixen will be added to the roster April 2015. Some other noteworthy statues coming soon will be Shazam, Superman, Wonder Woman, and a new Batman Black & White.

For those who will be attending Comic-Con International, DC Entertainment has a “Con-Exclusive.” At Diamond retailer booths, you can purchase a limited edition Batman: Arkham City Harley Quinn statue. This full color gal stands at 9.25” tall and will retail for $124.95.

Lastly, we’ll talk about some of the things that weren’t allowed to be photographed. Some of the noteworthy ones were a new Cover Girl Harley Quinn, complete with oversized hammer and cork-gun, out by June of 2015. As part of DC Comic’s the new 52 line, we were teased with nicely done renderings of a Roller Derby Harley Quinn complete with pistol, a dressed down Joker wearing a simple buttoned up white shirt, black pants, gloves, his large iconic grin, and brandishing a rather big carving knife, and a John Steward Green Lantern. And there as well was a light up, pulsating Mother Box prop replica. It’s yet unclear what other features it will have when it rolls out aside from lighting up, but it is set to be released sometime July of 2015.

Much is in store for this year and the next for DC Entertainment, and it’s assured that each will make a splash in the collector world. Only unsure thing is how one can afford them all.

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An upward pinky is also always good etiquette.

An upward pinky is also always good etiquette.

By: Nick Eskey

With people arriving in droves from around the country to attend the San Diego International Comic-Con, the influx of hotel occupancy zooms to record highs for the city. However, not all convention goers can afford the extended hotel stays. Or perhaps they were too late in securing a room before they filled up. For those who know some locals with a spare room or even a couch, this isn’t a problem. It’s even a great way to save some dough for collectibles or the overpriced convention food. But just because someone is being gracious enough to give up part of their living quarters, doesn’t mean you get to treat it like a rock-star treats a suite. Here are some general things that should be adhered to if you are either a couch surfer, or the gracious host.

The Surfer

You’re probably going to be packing light right? Right. If you’re planning to attend the con with a different costume per day, or if you brought your entire Omnibus collection to get signed by your favorite artists, please be mindful of your stuff. If you can only imagine the look of terror on your host’s face when they see their guest room looking like something from a scene in “Animal House,” or their living room turned into a warzone. Keep everything that’s not in use in their designated cases. If that’s not possible, at least have everything neatly together in one corner.

If you are dressing up, there might be some level of makeup involved, and it’s possible that your friends only have one bathroom. Please be mindful of how long you’ll be occupying it, because you aren’t the only one there. Try not to leave it cluttered with makeup kits, wet towels, and remnants of other toiletries. Showers should be kept to almost military time minimums, because I’m sure they’d appreciate you not racking up their water bill. And if you use up the last of the toilet paper, please alert your host. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having to take a shower because you realize a little too late that the paper roll is on empty.

Just because you’re attending the convention doesn’t mean your host is as well. And if they are, their scheduled panels might be entirely different from yours. Please keep them informed if you’re going to be coming back at some ungodly hour, since they might be the ones that have to let you back in. A loud series of knocks from a disheveled Harley Quinn and Thor standing on their doorstep at one in the morning isn’t hilarious. And for that matter, you don’t have to be silent as church mice when you are in their living space, but be conscientious of your noise.
It’s not like you’re paying rent right?

If you are mindful of these things, then next year there’s a good chance you’ll be invited back to surf on that couch again. If it doesn’t happen, well I guess you burned that bridge.

The Host

You haven’t seen your buddies in forever, or you’re being kind enough to let some space to your long time online friends. You’re a hero! But just because you’re being kind enough to let your friends share in your living quarters for the duration of con, doesn’t mean you should be a tyrant with it. Can; yes. Should; no. Give some cursory ground rules if you feel that they are necessary, but don’t be a Catholic school nun about it. They’re there for fun.

If your guests are unfamiliar with San Diego, the convention food can seem to them like their only choice. Give them some helpful pointers on where they should go to eat. They do want to save a little bit of pocket money on other things after all. And if you’re feeling really gracious, have some breakfast pastries set out for them in the morning so they can eat, get ready, and start their day right.

If you’re normally not a… cleanly type of person, you might have to break that habit for the weekend. You don’t want to gross out your friends with the cluttered living room that they are supposed to be staying in. And don’t get me going on about the bathroom and kitchen. They are guests after all, please impress them. If they are happy with the overall situation, they just might ask you again next year or perhaps invite you to their Star Trek themed wedding. You can be the best Klingon.
To everyone out there, happy conning!

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by Zachary Clemente

Image Comics is rolling out their announcements fast and hard – holding one of their semi-annual Expos before the convention even official opens its doors. Keep your eyes peeled here for live coverage of exciting announcements from one of the hottest publishers today!


Update 1: While waiting for the Expo to start, the two projection screens on either side of the small stage show the following quote:

“The only rules are the ones we invent.” – Warren Ellis

Perhaps we’ll hear some exciting Ellis-related news? He already has Supreme: Blue Rose and Trees with the publisher – what else could he be up to?

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