Happy Birthday Image Comics

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Wow, February 1 is a banner day in comics history. It is also the day that Image Comics was created—20 years ago. Via Facebook co-founder Jim Valentino shared a photo of the founders and one pal on that fateful day, from left to right Erik Larsen, Hank Kanalz, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Jim Lee, Marc Silvestri, and Jim Valentino. They’e all still in the game, all better off than they were 20 years ago. Collectively, they’ve changed the industry a time or two. It was also a day when people wore denim shirts. Ah, what a time…

Teaser of the Day #2: PATIENCE

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And also from Image…this Shep Fairey-influenced teaser for..something. Guess we’ll have to be…calm until we find out what it’s all about.

Teaser of the Day #1: SPIDER-MEN

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Okay, just so we don’t forget the OTHER member of the Big Two on this day long to be remembered…Marvel has a new project involving…more than one man tagged Spider.

It comes out in June.

As you were.

Beat Exclusive: Warlord of Mars: Fall of Barsoom Extended Preview

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You may have noticed the Warlord of Mars, Fall of Barsoom tpb was in stores today. Maybe you’d like to read the first issue and see if you like it?

Commentary: The Comedy of "Before Watchmen" Hype

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Oh, we all knew the Watchmen sequel was coming. The art leaked and DC’s lawyers went wild — unusual enough to know something was close to an announcement. Then the last round of announced reprint books included The Art of Amanda Conner (some of her art was in that leaked batch) and a HC reprint of Dave Gibbons’ Green Lantern work (more on that in bit) made it clear an announcement was imminent. What do we get with the actual announcement? Comedy. And more comedy from the PR than from the reactions, if you ask me.

After Before Watchmen: the industry reacts

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Whether you think the original WATCHMEN is akin to Moby Dick—as Alan Moore opined—or the Bible, as J. Michael Straczynski thought, it is definitely something—DC’s bestselling graphic novel of all time[*], a beloved classic taught in schools, one of Time’s Best 100 novels of the last 100 years, the book that defined grim and gritty. You name it. Like all great works, it’s multifaceted.

So doing a “Scarlet” on it brings up every argument over whether comics are literature or licensing. You wouldn’t get much argument that Watchmen is literature and Moore is a literary figure. But there’s also the obsessive need of devotees to get MORE — there’s a reason why 12 volumes of the J.R.R. Tolkien’s jumbled, confused notes and scribblings were published as hardcover books. Once you enter a beloved fictional world you don’t want to leave — even if your hosts are yawning and looking longingly at their pajamas.

Adam Hughes speaks on on drawing blue penises for BEFORE WATCHMEN

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Over at his blog, Adam Hughes has posted his thoughts on drawing Dr. Manhattan for BEFORE WATCHMEN:

Kate Beaton announces she's taking some time off from her webcomics

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Given that she was the Person of the Year for 2011, and enjoyed a bestseller with her Hark! A Vagrant collection, it’s no surprise that Kate Beaton has been getting lots of offers lately, ranging from children’s books to television work.

Thus it will also come as no surprise that she’s going to be spending less time on her webcomics to work on some of these opportunities:

Daniel Radcliffe's Adult Vehicle: A Review of The Woman in Black

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Last night, I had occasion to take in a preview of Daniel Radcliffe’s first adult film vehicle (no, I’m not counting “My Boy Jack” towards that). “The Lady in Black” is adapted (somewhat creatively, I gather) from the 1983 Susan Hill novel by director James Watkins and screenwriter Jane Goodman (who Beat readers will likely remember from Kick Ass, X-Men: First Class and Stardust). No more wizards and spells for Radcliffe as he finds himself in over his head dealing with a vengeful spirit.

Women in Refrigerators — 13 years later

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It was 13 years ago that an “amateur” comics journalist named Gail Simone ran a survey about the phenomenon of “Women in Refrigerators” in comics. That site—currently housed here—used the moment of Kyle Rayner came home and found his girlfriend stuffed in the refrigerator as a lens for the entire phenomenon of female comics characters getting beaten, crippled, stabbed, mutilated, assaulted, and devalued.

Luckily, since then, everything has been fixed!

It's official: DC announces Before Watchmen

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After years of rumors, DC has confirmed that they will publish BEFORE WATCHMEN, a series of seven interconnected prequels to the Alan Moore/Dave GIbbons classic. As absurd as the idea may seem on the surface, they have rounded up a bunch of A-listers for the project which will consist of six mini series, a wrap-up and an ongoing pirate-themed “featurette”. Here’s the line-up:

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.

Fund ZEGAS #2!

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Speaking of ACT-I-VATE, charter member and Beat contributor Michel Fiffe is running a Rockethub campaign to fund issue two of his comic ZEGAS. I believe a few hours are left to contribute—the first issue was outstanding and the second will be a double-sized 44-page issue.

Happy Birthday Act-i-Vate!

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Another birthday being celebrated today is the web collective ACT-I-VATE which launched six years ago. Meaning a baby born that day would now be in school. Yikes.

Founder Dean Haspiel celebrates here. It’s been six years of some outstanding comics and memorable parties; THE ACT-I-VATE PRIMER is a really gorgeous book well worth tracking down if you don’t have a copy.

We're Two!

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Yes, The Beat is two years old today as its own standalone website. Woot. And we’re celebrating just as we always do –slaving away into the wee hours of the day so you have something to read with your coffee.

Oh yeah, we also changed the background just for the day—yes, it’s awful, but it’s our blog and we’ll be tacky if we want to.