Author Archive for Brandon Staley

CBLDF, NCAC Co-Sponsor Comic Protest Guide Ahead of National Walkout

CBLDF, NCAC Co-Sponsor Comic Protest Guide Ahead of National Walkout

A new comic from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship aims to teach kids about one of the most important rights in the United States of America — the right to free speech. The comic is titled Be Heard! and aims to teach children (and interested adults) about the best practices for asserting one’s right to speech, protest, assembly and petition.

Penned by Kai Texel, the comic also outlines potential risks while pointing to resources for readers to gather a more nuanced understanding of the right to free speech’s many intricacies. The comic book is free and downloadable from both the CBLDF and NCAC’s websites. Be Heard! is being released now in preparation for the National School Walkout and March for Our Lives events.

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“This comic book feels just right,” Judy Blume, an NCAC Board of Directors member, said in a press releasae. “It’s so important to support and encourage kids on issues that affect their own lives and their country.”

National School Walkout is part of the #Enough movement aimed at reducing gun violence in the United States. The school walkout will be held on March 14 at 10 a.m. and asks students and administrators to walkout of classes for 17 minutes as a show of solidarity for victims of gun violence, the most recent which being the 17 people killed by a gunman in Parkland, Florida.

March for Our Lives is a more centralized protest against gun violence that will be held on March 24 at 12:00 p.m. and begin at Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. between 3rd street and 12th street NW. The Washington, D.C. march is just one of many such events being held throughout the world. At the time of reporting, roughly 690 March for Our Lives marches have been confirmed worldwide.

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“In the US, freedom of speech is paramount,” Co-chair of CBLDF’s Advisory Board Neil Gaiman said. “The First Amendment states that you can’t be arrested for saying things the government doesn’t like. It’s important that students everywhere know that they have the right to be heard. This comic will help provide them with practical tools to raise their voice.”

Be Heard! can be downloaded in its entirety and for free at and Both organizations encourage march members to distribute the comic as freely and widely as they can. Additional updates about both marches and the comic can be followed at #StudentsBeHeard on social media.

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Shuri Graces the Cover of Black Panther #1 in Stanley Lau Variant

Shuri Graces the Cover of Black Panther #1 in Stanley Lau Variant

Marvel Comics today unveiled the variant cover art for the upcoming Black Panther #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña. The variant was illustrated by Stanley “Artgerm” Lau and places a heavy focus on Shuri, sister to T’Challa and princess of Wakanda.

Black Panther #1 is part of a companywide initiative at Marvel will the goal of relaunching popular series from the ground up. The Black Panther relaunch looks to send the people of Wakanda into the final frontier — space.

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So far, it’s unclear what Shuri’s role will be when the people of Wakanda take to the stars, but the new variant cover teases that she’ll have a major impact on the story as it unfolds. The art also came with an assurance from Coates that the series would be more action-oriented than his previous outings.

Black Panther #1 is a creative challenge for me. My first few books were more philosophical, and while that still rings true here, this is a fast-paced, high-octane story,” Coates said in a press release. “And with Daniel Acuña’s art, I think people are really going to feel the energy and intensity here. I wanted people to feel like this is a really fresh storyline, and I think we succeeded in that. It’s meaty, it’s different, and it’s perfect for new readers just coming to the world of T’Challa and Black Panther.’’

Published by Marvel Comics, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña’s relaunch of Black Panter will begin on May 23.

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Slott & Schiti’s First Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 Interior Art Revealed

Slott & Schiti’s First Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 Interior Art Revealed

It sounds like coming back from the dead was an understandably traumatic experience for Tony Stark. That will be the focus of Dan Slott’s upcoming Tony Stark: Iron Man #1, the writer’s first project since departing Amazing Spider-Man.

Marvel Comics today revealed the first black and white pages for the upcoming Tony Stark: Iron Man #1. The series will once again cement Tony’s identity as Iron Man after a year where the role was passed between characters such as Riri Williams and Doctor Doom.

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“As a futurist, Tony Stark thought he had all the answers. But since coming back from the dead, he now sees the Marvel Universe in a whole new light!” Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski said in a press release. “How does Iron Man continually evolve and stay relevant in a world where technology advances on a daily basis? Well, Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti and Edgar Delgado are here to answer those questions as they take our Armored Avenger on adventures that push the boundaries comic storytelling and visuals! And Dan writes Tony with such heart…pun intended…we had to put his name in the title.”

Tony Stark: Iron Man #1 by Dan Slott and Valerio Schiti will be available for purchase on June 20.

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Marvel & Vans Tease New Sneaker Collaboration

Marvel & Vans Tease New Sneaker Collaboration

Looking for some new kicks? It sounds like Marvel Comics and Vans will be teaming up once again for a line of superhero-inspired shoes. Vans recently put up a Marvel page on their site, including a teaser video featuring Spider-Man in action and a reference to “off the wall” heroes. There’s not much more information to go on at the moment, but an official announcement is sure to follow.

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This isn’t the first time Vans and Marvel have teamed up. The two companies joined forces back in 2013 for a series of Avengers, Iron Man and Spider-Man themed shoes. The designs were available on a wide range of shoe types, so it’s reasonable to expect the upcoming Marvel footwear will follow suit.

Shoes with comic book and video game ties-ins have been popular for some time now. Recently, pairs of Nike PlayStation shoes sold out in a matter of moments after going up for sale. New Balance has also found success with its Black Panther­-themed sneakers, which released on the same day as the film.

RELATED: Mark Millar, Brian Bendis & The End Of A Marvel Era

There’s no telling what kind of footwear Marvel and Vans’ latest collaboration will bear, but with the popularity of Black Panther only increasing and Avengers: Infinity War right around the corner, it seems only natural for the celebratory kicks to go all out.

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Comic Con Africa Announced by ECCC, NYCC Organizers

Comic Con Africa Announced by ECCC, NYCC Organizers

ReedPOP, the organizers of such events as Emerald City Comic Con and New York Comic Con, have announced Comic Con Africa, a comic book-focused convention slated to be held at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit and International Convention Center in South Africa. The convention will run from Sept. 14 to Sept. 16.

Comic Con Africa is currently accepting applications for exhibitors from the comic book, film, television, video game and collectibles industries. The convention will include guest appearances, autograph sessions, e-sports tournaments, comic book collectibles, an Artist Alley, panels and, of course, cosplay.

The new Comic Con will also feature a definite focus on gaming, as Comic Con Africa was developed in partnership with VS Gaming, one of the largest tournament organizers in South Africa. As is the case with most other areas of the world, online competitive games like DOTA 2, CS:GO, Overwatch and League of Legends are all incredibly popular in South Africa.

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This will not be the first time ReedPOP has produced a convention with a video game focus, as the company has also organized the various PAX events (PAX West, PAX East, PAX South and PAX Australia), as well as the annual streaming celebration TwitchCon.

Additional information about the convention will be released in the coming months. Ticket prices and a preliminary list of exhibitors and guests have not yet been revealed.

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Marvel Teases the End of Amadeus Cho’s Time as Hulk

Marvel Teases the End of Amadeus Cho’s Time as Hulk

Amadeus Cho might be the totally awesome Hulk, but he’s still the Hulk. That’s a name that comes with a lot of baggage, as the character has always been defined by dual personalities. Bruce Banner was never able to control the nigh-unbeatable beast within for very long, and now it sounds like the curse of the Hulk will come calling for Amadeus — which might spell the end of his run as the big green guy.



Cover by FRANK CHO


The curse of the Hulk has turned into a horror, and now Amadeus enters his final showdown with the monster within. But what happens if the monster…turns out to be Amadeus himself? A hero faces his greatest demons with the lives of everyone he loves in the balance and massive repercussions for Amadeus and the Hulk!

32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

The description is pretty grim, but not much of a surprise. Marvel has been teasing this showdown with Amadeus’ brutal Hulk side for some time now. Incredible Hulk #714 will start the World War Hulk II storyline, which will see Amadeus’ inner Hulk unchained, a result of his time in the Gauntlet of Sakaar.

RELATED: A History of Marvel’s Incredible, Cannibalistic Hulk

There’s no telling where Amadeus’ story will end, but whatever happens it seems certain that he will emerge a changed man… if he emerges at all.

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This Creepy Joker Bust was Designed by an Oscar-Winning Makeup Artist

This Creepy Joker Bust was Designed by an Oscar-Winning Makeup Artist

The Joker wasn’t designed to be a pretty face to look at, but a new bust from DC Collectibles takes the Clown Prince of Crime’s mug to all-new levels of disturbing. That’s not surprising, though, considering that the bust was designed by Rick Baker, a seven-time Oscar award-winning makeup and hairstyle artist whose filmography includes some truly terrifying visages — Hellboy, Men in Black II and Videodrome are just a few films to which Baker has added his personal touches.

The bust, which was designed, sculpted and painted by Baker, will (appropriately) be released in October. If you like what you see, though, you’re going to have to act fast. Only 200 of the busts, which stand at a 1:1 scale (that’s right, you can have a life-sized Joker head in your home), are slated to be produced.

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By all accounts, the Joker bust looks so unique because DC Comics gave Baker full control from start to finish. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Baker recounted how the process of working with DC began, noting that he never thought the company would go for what he had in mind. Still, he got the green light all the way through.

“When DC Collectibles approached me about this project, I told them I was interested, but wanted complete control of the design,” Baker said. “I figured they wouldn’t go for it, but to my surprise, they said, ‘OK.’ I insisted that I would need a proper amount of time to create the bust and their answer was, ‘Take whatever time you need.’ I asked if I could choose the character and they said, ‘Fine.’ I told them I wanted to make a version of the Joker that’s never been done before,’ and they replied, ‘Sounds great.’ I then said, ‘You guys are just too difficult,’ and left. [Laughs] Seriously though, I didn’t expect DC Collectibles to keep their promises, but they did. I had a blast sculpting my version of the Joker and exploring his twisted and demented personality.”

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The bust has arrived just in time for New York Toy Fair, which is set to begin on Saturday, Feb. 17 and conclude on Tuesday, Feb. 20. DC Comics was also keen to reveal a few more figures prior to the fair opening its doors, such as the cast of the current Doomsday Clock run and two statues depicting Batman and the Joker based on illustrations by Gerard Way. The Joker busts will be numbered and released through DC Gallery.

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Verdict: This Judge Dredd Figure Gets the Grimace Just Right

Verdict: This Judge Dredd Figure Gets the Grimace Just Right

Pop Culture Shock Toys has announced when its latest Judge Dredd figure goes up for pre-order, and if you’re not into it then you’re probably breaking some kind of dystopic mega city future law or something. The figure will go up for pre-order on Feb. 5, with an estimated arrival date of somewhere between February and April of 2019. It retails for $799.99.

The Dredd 1:3 Cursed Earth EX figure stands at 1/3 scale and is made from full polystone. Crafted from a mix of digital and traditional sculpting, the figure includes an environmental base, a swapped clenched teeth portrait and a removable radiation cloak. The figure stands at 71 centimeters high, 32 centimeters in diameter and 38 centimeters wide.

RELATED: The Reggae Origins of Judge Dredd

The Judge Dredd figure hearkens back to the 1978 Cursed Earth storyline, which is the second extended storyline the series received. The Cursed Earth follows Judge Dredd as he leads a land-based assault on Mega-City Two, which has been stricken with a virus that causes regular people to group up in violent mobs. Much of the extended story followed Dredd and his crew as they traveled across the irradiated American wasteland.

The Dredd 1:3 Cursed Earth EX figure will open for pre-order on Feb. 5 at 3 p.m. PST. The figure is priced at $799.99 with discounts available for customers who pay in full or opt into a payment plan.

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Quesada Pens Open Letter on Social Media’s Impact on Comics

Quesada Pens Open Letter on Social Media’s Impact on Comics

Joe Quesada has penned an open letter about the state of the social media and its influence on the overall comic book community. Quesada is the Chief Creative Officer at Marvel Comics and held the Editor-in-Chief position at the company from 2000 to 2011.

Quesada’s statement, which can be read in full on his Facebook page, comes at a time when many industry figures have been debating the importance of social media, a medium that has the power to both amplify a creator’s voice and become a focal point for harassment.

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Quesada addresses the old ways of communicating with fans (reader mail sections and creator columns) before delving into the heart of the matter:

“For me the connectivity outweighs all the rest. It always has, even when it was just letters. The other insanely cool thing is that if you want to write a letter you still can, if you prefer to read letters columns there right there, those things haven’t gone away, go crazy! Or should I say, ‘Go Postal!’ Heh, I’m clearly terrible at this.

“And hey, I also understand how sometimes the harshness of social can make it all feel bleak, like there’s no community out there, but I believe there is and always will be, it’s just how we reach each other that will constantly change. Can’t wait for those Twitter brain implants. Fun!”

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Quesada ends the letter with a hearty thank you to comic book fans everywhere, readers and passionate commenters alike.

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Marvel Names 2018 Slate of Featured ‘Young Guns’ Artists

Marvel Names 2018 Slate of Featured ‘Young Guns’ Artists

Marvel Comics has announced its slate of 2018 young artists to watch. The announcement is part of the company’s Young Guns program, which began back in 2004 as a way to spotlight emerging talent in the comic book industry. The program has been dormant since 2014, but has seemingly been rekindled this year.

Marvel has selected six emerging artists to recognize this year. Those artists are:

Pepe Larraz, artist on Avengers: No Surrender

Javier Garron, artist on a secret upcoming project

Marco Checchetto, artist on Old Man Hawkeye

Aaron Kuder, artist on Infinity Countdown

Mike Del Mundo, artist on a secret upcoming project

Russell Dauterman, artist on Mighty Thor

Past Young Guns have included the likes of Steve McNiven, Adi Granov, David Finch, Trevor Hairsine, Jim Cheung and Olivier Coipel in 2004. In 2006, Marvel dubbed Billy Tan, Clayton Crain, Pasqual Ferry, Ariel Olivetti, Simone Bianchi and Leinil Yu its emerging artists to watch for the year. Daniel Acuna, Stefano Casselli, Mike Choi, Marko Djurdjevic, Khoi Pham, Francesco Mattina and Rafa Sandoval received the honor in 2009. In 2014, it was Ryan Stegman, Nick Bradshaw, Mahmud Asrar, Valerio Schiti, David Marquez and Sara Pichelli.

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“I still clearly remember the launch of Marvel’s original Young Guns campaign over a decade ago, crafted as an innovative way to recognize and promote the upcoming artists we believed in — and knew would one day be superstars!” Said C.B. Cebulski, Editor-in-Chief of Marvel Comics, in a press release. “From its inception, Young Guns has always been about living up to Marvel’s long legacy of identifying and hiring unique and groundbreaking talent to give our fans the best-looking comics on the stands. And here we go again! Introducing the class of 2018, six artists poised for greatness, whose art will grace the pages of some of the coolest comics of the year!”

While it’s certainly an honor to be acknowledged by one of the largest comic book publishers in the world, it’s also worth noting that this year’s slate is entirely male and has been active in the industry for quite some time – perhaps not exactly in the spirit of a program devoted to highlighting emerging artists.

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Aside from working on their respectively, ongoing series, the Young Guns award recipients will create a special, limited-exclusive variant cover for six new books. Those books are Avengers #678, X-Men Red #1, Marvel Two-in-One #3, Doctor Strange: Damnation #1, Black Panther #170, and Amazing Spider-Man #797 (check out the gallery containing each below). The Young Guns variants will be available at certain retailers throughout the world starting on Jan. 31.

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