Reimagining Robin Hood as a Badass Gay Outlaw.

Merry Men cover.

Merry Men cover.

Comic book publisher Oni Press recently released the first issue of a very queer new take on literary hero Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men. Titled, simply enough, Merry Men, the comic book is written and created by out writer Robert Rodi, with art by Jackie Lewis, and features a bold new story that recasts the familiar medieval characters as gay men.

Merry Men might sound at first like a delightfully campy series, but it is quite the opposite. The comic is a grounded, realistic look into a world where Robin Hood, still the familiar rogueish leader living in the woods with his band of outlaws with a good cause, is now also a badass homosexual who rises up in the face of discrimination and oppression.

The Advocate chatted up Rodi about his new series, what inspired him to delve into the Robin Hood mythos, and how impactful this comic book is as an allegory for our modern cultural landscape. Also, an exclusive artwork for issue 2!

Read it all here.

Lego Nostalgia.

At least for us older people.

LEGO designers have developed a new flashback kit, an advanced model that replicates many of the iconic elements of a vintage 1960 Volkswagen Beetle. Built using 1,167 pieces, the bright blue replica has several operational features, including a pop-up hood and truck, flip-down seats, and a removable roof to peep the steering wheel and other accessories found inside.

Designers made sure not to leave out any detail, including a model of the original 4-cylinder air-cooled engine, fuel tank, rounded mudguards, interchangeable license plates, and tiny window decals. On the roof of the vehicle, LEGO also added a rack that fits a tiny surfboard and cooler containing ice and bottled drinks. In total, the new kit is 15 centimeters high, 29 centimeters long, and 12 centimeters wide. The kit becomes available to the public on July 17.

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I would have much preferred a shiny, bright red beetle, but you can’t everything. I’ll probably still have to indulge in this.

Via Colossal Art.

Indiginerds Unite!

Indigicon

Join us this fall in Albuquerque, New Mexico at the National Hispanic Cultural Center for the very first Indigenous Comic Con!  Featuring Indigenous creators, illustrators, writers, designers, actors, and producers from the worlds of comic books, games, sci-fi, fantasy, film, tv, and graphic novels. The Indigenous Comic Con seeks to highlight the amazing work that brings understanding about the Indigenous experience to the world of popular culture!  The action begins Friday afternoon and continues through Sunday evening!

 Everyone is welcome!

You can buy tickets now.

Red Wolf creator, Award-Winning Native American Comic Artist & Designer from the Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe, Jeffrey Veregge will be one of many special guests at this year's Indigenous Comic Con.

Red Wolf creator, Award-Winning Native American Comic Artist & Designer from the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Jeffrey Veregge will be one of many special guests at this year’s Indigenous Comic Con.

With a growing number of Native people making comics and designing videogames as a way to revitalize their languages, one great way to break down stereotypes is a Native-centered event. The inaugural Indigenous Comic Con on November 18-20 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, hopes to do just that.

“There are a lot of Indigenerds out there,” said Indigenous Comic Con artistic director and Laguna Pueblo member, Dr. Lee Francis IV. “We joke about that word, but the idea that Native People, Indigenous People, get to participate in pop culture…We wanted to create a space of celebration and say ‘Hey. We are in these spaces.’ A lot of wonderful creators are doing some incredible work in these areas. It’s time to celebrate that.”

After a year of planning and a joint sponsorship between Francis’s Native Realities Publishing and A Tribe Called Geek, the organizers selected the November 18-20 date and the site of the comic con at Albuquerque’s National Hispanic Cultural Center, 1701 4th St. S.W. Francis said the NHCC has the facility requirements as well as a long history with hosting Native poetry and other indigenous workshops.

At press time, the keynote panelists scheduled are Jeffrey Veregge (Port Gamble S’Klallam), the artist for Marvel Comics’ Red Wolf, and Arigon Starr (Kickapoo), the creator of Super Indian Comics. Other events include an exhibition hall, live music and cosplay contests.

In the FAQ section of their website, there is a disclaimer about the cosplay and costumes that states “no Tontos or other Indigenous stereotypes.” Although this Comic Con will be fun, the panels will not shy away from serious subjects such as stereotypes, marginalization and the issue of Natives being “historicized.”

[…]

“Our approach is to be very positive,” Francis said. “We’re looking for positive images. We’re vetting the folks that we want to come in. We’re not going to be bringing in folks that were in a random Indian movie. We want folks who are going to be thoughtful about the portrayals, whether they’re a comic book creator, an actor, someone doing games or science fiction. Being very thoughtful about the work that they’re putting into the world because of all these stereotypes and historicizations. The sheer number of folks we’re trying to get on panels and the conversations that we want to spark, I think, are going to address those negative representations of Indigenous people in pop culture.”

ICTMN has the full story.

DC Comics Reboot: Rebirth

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DC Comics, once known as Detective Comics, slowly came to life and prosperity in the late 1930s and early 1940s. While moderately successful in its early days, it wasn’t until the rises of Batman and Superman that the company really took off. Skip ahead over 75 years, and DC Comics is one of the “big two,” along with Marvel. Now, they’re about to completely reboot their entire line of comics… again.

After the marginal success of their last reboot, the company aims to refocus on the core of what makes their characters so special. This reboot’s called Rebirth, and as DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns explained in an announcement trailer, “The whole point of Rebirth for all of us is to get back to the essence of the characters.” Because sweeps like this don’t happen very often, this week we’re looking at Batman, Superman, Green Arrow, and Green Lantern. Do they mark a bold new direction for the company? Or should readers steer clear?

Giaco Furino at The Creators Project has the low down on all the new rebirths – Batman, Superman, Green Lantern and Green Arrow.

EEEEEEEEEEEEE!

Emma Watson as Belle.

Emma Watson as Belle.

Emma Watson will be starring in Disney’s live version of Beauty and the Beast. Oh, baby. Not normally something I’d watch, but along with Ms. Watson, the cast also includes Dan Stevens playing Beast, and Ian McKellen, Ewan McGregor, Emma Thompson, Stanley Tucci, Audra McDonald, and Gugu Mbatha-Raw will be featured as the many household items we’ve come to know and love.

Via Pride.

INKS

For their latest video game INKS, London-based State of Play Games have created a new spin on classic pinball by turning the background of a pinball game into a piece of interactive art. As the ball traverses the course, the bright lights and clanking sounds of traditional pinball are replaced with pockets of watercolor paint that explode into flourishes. The ball in turn leaves trails of color as you solve each level. […] It’s a visually stunning game with some pretty innovative ideas, even if you don’t particularly enjoy pinball. You can download INKS for iOS here.

Via Colossal Art.

And, if you prefer a longer version:

I always sucked at pinball, but this looks fun.

X-Men: Apocalypse

If you haven’t developed a nerd boner brainer for X-Men: Apocalypse and all its ‘80s glory yet, this new promo might just do the trick. It’s cleverly shot as an old school promotional film for Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, starring Jubilee and some of her mutant buddies. It’s Marvel meets Degrassi Junior High. Via Out.

Here’s the promo for X-Men: Apocalypse, in theaters May 27:

Star Trek Beyond

I skipped the second reboot flick, I just couldn’t cope with a pasty white Khan, but I might have to see this one because…Idris Elba.

Star Trek Beyond, starring Idris Elba, Chris Pine, Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, John Cho, Anton Yelchin and Karl Urban, dropped late yesterday at a fan event and features the Enterprise being torn to shreds by a terrifying shroud of alien creatures.

The alien leader even dares to sit in Captain Kirk’s chair.

The film is premiering in IMAX at Comic-Con on July 20 and hits theatres two days later.

Via Towleroad. More about the movie: http://birthmoviesdeath.com/2015/12/15/its-a-clash-of-philosophies-in-star-trek-beyond and http://screenrant.com/star-trek-beyond-alien-races/.

Cool Stuff Friday

Punk Portraits in Pink, by Scott Scheidly, are simply fabulous. Many of them made me laugh in delight. I’m only going to include two here, be sure to go see the rest.

While most people find PINK funny, “I have been told to kill myself because of the Spock piece (you know how Trekkies are), the Russians said that there are people coming to get me for my Putin pieces, and one lady lost her mind in a gallery over the Pope John Paul piece.

Whhhyyyyyy? I *love* Emo Spock. Nimoy would have loved Emo Spock, it would have made him laugh. I’d buy it in a second if it weren’t sold. And Care Bear Putin? Adorable. Reagan keeps making me laugh. Only time he’s ever done that.

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Reagan Hates Me

Emo Spock

Emo Spock

Via Creators Project.

Toshiba 1400 FL Typewriter, 1940

Toshiba 1400 FL Typewriter, 1940

Today every tweet is archived, every Facebook selfie stashed and cached, every arts/tech/culture blog mirrored, and the idea of the permanence of data is taken for granted. But things like physical objects aren’t permanent. They break down, melt, or are tossed in the trash, and could potentially disappear from public consciousness forever, leaving behind but a foggy memory. Thngs, a digital database for the preservation of physical objects, wants to change that. Billing itself as “A place for everything,” this new system allows users to interact with objects old and new, whether they be a bust of Emperor Vitellius from the 1800s, or the Spice Girls-branded Polaroid Spice Cam from 1997.

Thngs co-founder Dima Dewinn comes from a background in social design and architecture, but quickly became interested in the preservation of physical items. Calling in from Moscow, Dewinn explains, “We were learning for a long time about the philosophy of the preservation of an entity. About all the things that we are surrounding ourselves with. All the things that we adore, we don’t know much about them because there’s no such thing as a Wikipedia of things.” So Dewinn set out “to make a tool that would preserve and structurize data of the material world. And we wanted to make it sexy.”

It’s an interestin’ place, have a look around. You can add to it, too.

X-23, the New Wolverine?

(Credit: Marvel)

(Credit: Marvel)

future X-Men movie could have a so-called “female Wolverine” and — for once — fans are embracing the change.

After 17 years of Hugh Jackman filling the role of Wolverine on the big screen, X-Men: Apocalypse director Bryan Singer revealed to Fandango this week that he had already spoken to Fox about instead using the character X-23 — a female Wolverine clone — for a future X-Force movie.

“I have discussed that with the studio,” Singer explained. “I actually initially pitched the X-Force and the female.”

According to the Marvel Database, scientists created Laura Kinney — or X-23 — as a clone when they were unable to salvage the Y chromosome from the original Weapon X experiment.

Unlike fans disdain for female Ghostsbusters characters, the idea of a “female Wolverine” was largely met with praise on Twitter.

There are some tweets and more at Raw Story. Many of those supportive of the change have what I feel is a bad reason – they don’t want another male actor to replace Jackman, so a female Wolverine would be easier to take. As someone who has never much cared for Jackman, I wouldn’t care about him being replaced, but I am all for X-23, bring her on!

Why the stakes are so high for the Black Panther

The first issue of Black Panther, a Marvel series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, was released last month. Marvel Comics

The first issue of Black Panther, a Marvel series written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, was released last month. Marvel Comics.

The stakes are high for Marvel and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates to do Black Panther well. The character appears this month in the blockbuster “Captain America: Civil War,” a prelude to the film he’ll headline in 2018. And last month, Coates released the first issue of a new Black Panther comic series.

When it was first reported last September that Coates would script a 12-issue arc of the Black Panther, some commentators suggested that he might be an “odd” fit.

The implication was that a MacArthur Genius Grant recipient and winner of the National Book Award was participating in a genre and medium beneath his talents. But they might be surprised to learn discussions of racism in superhero comics is a long – albeit often troubled – tradition. They also might not recognize the extent of Coates’ literary undertaking. He is tasked not only with appealing to comics readers but also with attracting new fans to the genre. This would be a daunting prospect, no matter the property. But the Black Panther character poses a very specific set of challenges.

[…]

A white superhero film failing has not caused studios to shy away from superhero films with white protagonists. The failure of a superhero film starring a woman or person of color, however, can set back the development of diverse superhero films for some time. Many people would probably rejoice in anything that stops the superhero franchise juggernaut. But the last few years have brought increased attention to the real struggles for women and people of color to break into the comics and film industries.

Unfortunately, when it comes to underrepresented populations, the success or failure of these texts always ends up being about more than the specific text in itself. It becomes a referendum on whether or not stories about people who are not straight, white men are valuable, and whether or not people who tell such stories should be given the resources to do so.

Full Story Here.