Archive for the 'Comics' Category

How Casinos Influence Comics

Comics have been around since the first half of the 19th century, and there have been loads of different stories told in this time. If you’re a reader of comic books, then you know there are various themes that recur in many of the stories. You’ll have noticed that casinos are a common influence in comic books. There’s something about the glitziness of casinos that make them fit perfectly into many comic book scenes.

The Joker

One of the first casino-influenced comic book characters that comes to mind is Batman’s famous enemy, the Joker. This supervillain from DC Comics first appeared all the way back in 1940. Interestingly, this character was meant to be scrapped after the first appearance. However, following editorial intervention, the character was saved and became Batman’s archenemy.

The character is depicted as a highly intelligent criminal psychopath. The Joker’s main identifiable feature is that he carries joker playing cards with him at all times. At the end of Batman Begins, the first installment of the recent Batman trilogy, Commissioner Gordon finds a joker at the scene of the crime, introducing the movie to follow.

Royal Flush Gang

The Royal Flush Gang, or RFG as they are sometimes known, are DC Comics supervillains. They first appeared in Justice League of America #43 in 1966. The common theme amongst the group members is playing cards. The different members each have card-themed codenames: Ace, King, Queen, Jack, and Ten.

The group was originally the childhood gang of Professor Amos Fortune. Fortune was Ace and they fought against the Justice League on a couple of different occasions. When they fought, they would make use of Amos Fortune’s super ability to alter luck using his stellaration technology and playing cards.

The Gambler

In 1944’s Green Lantern #12, Henry Kuttner and Martin Nodell introduced the Gambler. This character relies upon amazingly quick wits, a five barrel Derringer which is always up his sleeve, and a selection of razor-sharp throwing knives hidden under his jacket.

But that’s not all. He also devises traps based upon his love for gambling. In some of the stories, he uses various machines — such as a roulette wheel and a pinball machine — to ensnare his foes.

Mobile Casinos

You can play a number of different comic book themed games at mobile casinos. Marvel Comics and DC Comics have both licensed a number of their most popular characters to be used for slot games. And the best thing? These slots are from some of the best developers in the industry, meaning they’re of the utmost quality.

There are also a lot of mobile casinos that you can play at today. Play mobile casino with Ladylucks here and you’ll be guaranteed an excellent time. This mobile site offers players a great range of games including slots, table games, and bingo along with some fun bonuses to keep things interesting.

Superman-JFK comic book cover art sells for whopping $112K

If you’ve been saving your comics and thinking they might be worth something in the future, you may not be wrong. That’s if they’re something special, though!

A little something special recently went under the hammer in York, Pennsylvania and the winning bid came in at $112,015.75. The item in question was Curt Swan’s original cover drawing of Action Comics #309. It’s a historic comic book featuring JFK and the Man of Steel himself. In the drawing, JFK is disguised as Superman’s alter ego Clark Kent and he’s shaking hands with Superman whilst the cover blurb asks “Who is the mystery masquerader?”

Anyone who’s read this issue knows that Superman asked JFK to dress up as Kent when the Last Son of Krypton was busy meeting with other heroes such as Batman and Robin, who are depicted in the image standing in line along with other heroes. For those who know comic book history, it’s not surprising that this image took such a high price. And I can tell you now, if I’d been bidding I would’ve wanted to win the jackpot at lucky nugget casino to claim this cover for myself!

The comic book featuring this iconic cover art came out just days after the president was shot and killed in Dallas on November 22, 1963. Alex Winter, the general manager of Hake’s Americana and Collectibles who ran the auction in York, said that the artwork had been expected to fetch a really good price and the ironic timing of the comic’s original release date only makes it even more legendary.

Not only did the comic book come out at an ironic time, but the auction coincided with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. This added a whole whack of extra value to the image and significantly increased interest in the sale. Now if only I had that kind of money to spend on my collection…

Pics Or It Didn’t Happen: Long Beach Comic & Horror Con 2013

If you hate reading and just wanna look at the pictures, then I’ll sum it up for you with one quick sentence: The 2013 Long Beach Comic & Horror Con was good! Okay, now you’re free to skim the rest of this blog post and peruse the photos.

But if you actually care about why it was good, I’ll be glad to tell you!

First off, I was greeted by a program book with a cover by my buddy V Ken Marion (who joined us a couple of weeks ago to talk about All New Soulfire #1). I’m not gonna lie — having that personal connection really kicked things off right.

Though I’ve been living in Long Beach for almost a year now, I haven’t established a link with the local comics community. Part of that’s because I’m sorta sick of the comic shop scene right now. Part of that is because I’m a bit burned out on the notion of a comics scene in general after spending over a decade embroiled in a love-hate relationship with Pittsburgh’s community of fans and creators.

So I’ve been living a largely scene-free life down here in the coastal city that’s sort of like Los Angeles’s shorter and scrappier (and potentially hairier and more tatted up) cousin. As press, I did attend the Long Beach Comic Expo in the spring — which is a smaller and supposedly more indie-focused show — but otherwise my link between Long Beach and comics has been nil.

But ya know what? The Long Beach Comic & Horror Con felt pretty indie too! Artist Alley was an egalitarian mix of known and unknown. It smashed all kinds of artists together, with seemingly no preferential placement that pushed lesser-knowns to the back of the con floor like plenty of other shows love to do.

And it’s that particular quality which starkly distinguishes LBCHC from Anaheim’s WonderCon, which I attended for the first time last spring. While that show had a lot of similarities to LBCHC, one thing it did differently was make the greener creators look shunned by placing them at the extreme edge of the show.

Here in Long Beach, however, everybody was jammed together into a comfortably snug lower level hall with an intelligent layout that made the artists look like the real stars of the show.

Yeah, there were a few corporate booths up front featuring larger indie comics publishers, plus some companies I’d never heard of promoting a range of other products from guitars to electronics.

But make no mistake about it — while the company booths were closer to the entrance, it was pretty obvious that the real electricity and draw was smack dab in the middle of the floor at Artist Alley. It was the heart of the show and that really gave me a good vibe, having experienced too many other cons where Artist Alley is pushed against the back wall or hidden in a little area around the corner.

If I had to describe the atmosphere, I’d say it was a cross between SPX and NYCC. I’ve exhibited at both of those shows in the past, and I loved and hated them for a wide range of reasons.

But this time I was just a member of the press perusing the con. And I liked what I saw. I mean, maybe I’d feel differently if I’d exhibited at LBCHC this year. Or maybe not. None of the traditional red flags were apparent to me. This show was extremely diverse in just about every way imaginable from the kinds of comics to the kinds of booths to the kinds of people.

Take a close look at these pictures, for example. I didn’t even realize it until after I took them — they’re packed full of female exhibitors and attendees!

And the biggest star by far? Amanda Conner, who had the longest line of any exhibitor at the convention.

There were tons of “sexy” cosplayers but I didn’t pick up on a skeevy vibe from any dudes. And everyone genuinely seemed to be having a great time. Well, except for that one cranky-looking guy at the IDW booth and the legendary Len Wein (co-creator of countless cosplay characters and Hugh Jackman’s favorite per$on).

It was so awkward that I couldn’t bear to photograph the scene. Len was sitting at a stark white table adorned with a single hand-written sign featuring a price list on it. He sat at the far left of the table and furiously wolfed down his lunch. Here’s my sloppy artist’s rendition of what I witnessed:

Is it a bummer that Len didn’t have a line of fanatic readers holding stacks of books to be signed? For sure. But at the same time, he wasn’t exactly approachable.

Anyway, I haven’t even broached the topic of programming, which was impressive considering that LBCHC is a medium-sized show with a pretty low ticket price. They had wall-to-wall panels covering a ton of topics. I loved Jimmy Palmiotti’s Kickstarter panel, which was chock full of sage advice.

Some of the other panels I attended weren’t as engaging, but they were still strong topics with a good selection of panelists. And because LBCHC is in that sweet spot between large and small, the panels are intimate enough that you can sit up front, ask plenty of questions, and then talk to the creators afterwards.

All-in-all I was impressed by my new hometown’s comic book convention. Would I exhibit here next year? I dunno. I’m pretty burned out on exhibiting. But LBCHC has a friendly atmosphere with a lot of enthusiastic creators and engaged attendees, so it’s an attractive option if I decide I want to start tabling again!

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Sequential Underground’s hosts are on Kickstarter with “Love & Monsters”

Love & Monsters is a comics and music anthology that’s currently crowdfunding on the ol’ Kickpooper. It features art by the hosts of the Sequential Underground podcast, Shawn Atkins and yours truly (under my musical pseudonym, Nik Furious… ya know, the musician who makes all of the AudioShocker podcast themes).

So what’s it about? Four cartoonists and three musicians riffing on the same two themes: love and monsters (yeaaaahh… I guess that’s kinda obvious, huh?).

This collection features work by some past AudioShocker guests including Virginia Shields, Jared Catherine, and the project’s organizer, Cynthia Lee.

With that said, I’m probably not the best person to give you all of the details. Cynthia’s put together a comprehensive description on the campaign’s main page.

But if ya got questions, feel free to leave ’em in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer ’em! (Sample question: “Do you prefer ultra soft toilet paper, the generic kind that runs out in two days, or the sandpaper style that sits on the roll for months?” Answer: “This is about my Kickstarter campaign. Stop being a jerk.”)

Throughout this blog post, you’ve been looking at some gorgeous Shawn Atkins art. I’ve already completed one of the songs for his project. It’s called Wet-On-Wet and a small part of it just happens to be the theme for the new Animatic Attack podcast. You can listen to the full song here:

But if ya wanna own it, then ya gotta pony up the big bucks (at least $10, to be exact) and back Love & Monsters!

The AudioShocker is #45 on the Top 100 Comic Blogs To Follow In 2013

The fine folks at CouponAudit have prepared this massive infographic about comic blogs. And we’re in the top 50, baby!

An infographic by the team at CouponAudit. (here’s the full res version)

You should pop over to their home page right now because CouponAudit has a nifty comic strip as their header. My favorite part is the depressed guy whose happiness can only be restored by the power of CouponAudit’s incredible savings.

Anyhoo, thx to David Soto for including us in this Top 100 list! Numbers 1, 3, 11, 22, 28, 47, and 95 (and 45!!) are all sites that I frequent, so I think this is a pretty legit collection of blogs. I’m gunning to have the AudioShocker at #13 in 2014!!!

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