The Mark of Batman: The Evolution of an Icon

This Wednesday, July 23rd, comic book shops across the world will be celebrating Batman’s 75th birthday. While Batman has essentially retained the same image, in his long time in print and on screen, the dark knight detective has had many different variations of his iconic costume.

The infographic below covers it all, from his first appearance in 1939 to the upcoming 2015 Batman v Superman film.

Batman-Infographic

Click for full image

What’s your favorite?

(Via HalloweenCostumes)

Enter The World of The Ding-A-Lings

King_Dingaling
King Ding (and Brain) via Retroist

Vintage toys are more than just plastic things, they are a time capsule to a different time. Case in point is this wonderfully bizarre line from Topper Toys, The Ding-A-Lings. One of the more ambitious and imaginative line of toys from it’s era, the Ding-A-Lings came in a wide variety of colors, sizes and abilities. From the shoe-shine robot to the biggest of all… King Ding, a robot so big his Brain had ti be inserted in the most graphic way possible.

I was lucky enough to see this ad at the Carolina Theatre in Durham but it was also included in the RiffTrax Christmas Shorts Extravaganza.

For more fascinating info on vintage toy robots, I recommend TopperDingalings.com, who put it best:

Like most avid Robot collectors I can trace my passion back to a specific time in my childhood when I received that very special toy sparking a fascination with Robots and Space Toys that has lasted well into my adulthood. The Ding-A-Lings by Topper Toys represented a unique blending of the versatility of brightly molded plastics with the ingenuity of motorized action as they glided along their elevated skyway. My initial set of Ding-A-Lings included Boxer, Answerman, Fireman, Saucer, Claw and that wonder of Battery Driven Wonders-the King Ding with Brain. Most collectors remember Ding-A-Lings as some of the most exciting and cherished toys of their childhood, but like most playthings were lost over the years to hard play, garage sales or fell victim to a younger sibling. Thanks to the Internet, Ding-A-Ling enthusiasts have again found a means to recapture some of their past by forming a loose Ding community to not only put collectors in contact with each other, fill gaps in collections, and provide tips on repair but perhaps, most importantly, to reminisce and validate the existence of one of the most important toys of their lives. Why would a relatively obscure toy line foster such fascination and devotion after thirty years? Ding-A-Lings may have struck a spark with the kids in the sixties who lived through the real space race, kids who not only watched endless science fiction films and television but who sat up late one night to watch man’s first landing on the moon. Firmly embedded in our psyche these toys are a part of our cultural history and express the direction we felt our lives would take with the promises of 2001- A Space Odyssey and Star Trek.

Rare BBC Interlude with Daleks

This is a rarity indeed. A short film from the 1960′s in which clockwork toys run wild… and then the Daleks from Doctor Who (courtesy of Louis Marx) arrive.

Via BBC:

Programmes, because they were live, didn’t always run as long as they should have done. And if you needed something to fill a few awkward moments, there were occasions where they would play these short pieces of film – interludes. There’s never any story to them, there’s never any beginning, middle and end. They just happen. The idea was that they can be as long as they need them. A lot of the images, in fact, they’re really harking back to a bygone age, even for the 1950s. There’s images of agriculture or spinning and things like that. It wasn’t contemporary. They were idealised past. At that time, I think television was very much seen as, you know, an evening’s relaxation. It was not something to stimulate you.

They started to disappear really round about the end of the ’50s, early ’60s. Because programmes became pre-recorded mostly, you knew how long they were. You could plan more carefully your schedule, and not have these little gaps any more.

Upcoming ‘Filmed in Supermarionation’ documentary explores Gerry Anderson’s legacy

Gerry Anderson With Troy Tempest From '' Stingray'' in 1966The sultan of the super-marionette, Gerry Anderson’s programs propelled children’s entertainment into un-thought of realms. From the fantastic details of machinery to the stupendous explosions, his projects were bog blockbuster films on a small scale. Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet, Supercar, Stingray, Joe 90, the Secret Service and more were templates for the kind of entertainment that we find commonplace today on big budget action feature films.

And it all started with a major disappointment… while Gerry Anderson was excited to develop new program he was devastated that he had to use puppets.

The new documentary ‘Filmed in Supermarionation’ will utilize digitally remasters clips along with new interviews and behind the scenes footage unveiling the majesty of the world Gerry Anderson and his acclaimed crew of visionaries developed in a small studio.

Released by Network,  ‘Filmed in Supermarionation’ has a October 2014 street date.

Meet the New Avengers

Begun in the 1960′s as a showcase for the top heroes in Marvel’s stable of characters, the Avengers united to defeat the villainous Loki. Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk (for a bit) Ant Man/Giant Man and the Wasp were the initial team, but after Captain America was rescued from a block of ice, the series found its heart and really took off. Since then there have been many many changes and throughout various dips in popularity, it has arguably eclipsed the X-Men as Marvel’s top tier property (with several spinoff monthly books and mini-series to be found on the shelves each month.

As the news world reels from one announcement to another, finally we have a visual of the latest team of Avengers. There are some big changes in here, some swapping around of characters, new faces and genders. The inclusion of the Winter Soldier, Doctor Strange, Ant Man, Deathlok and Scarlet Witch clearly hint at the need to tie into the Marvel Studios feature films and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series.

avengers-now-poster

Via Newsarama (via EW.com)

Yes, the next phase of Marvel NOW!, Marvel Comics’ initiative that’s run twice offering new first issues and refreshed looks at characters, new creative teams, and some drastic changes, is focused solely on the Avengers line of their superhero universe. In an announcement late Wednesday night at EW.com, Marvel announced the new initiative, which will feature fresh first issues for their “big three,” plus new issues, storyarcs, and pushes for other Avengers characters. The characters in the teaser poster will all be getting “prominent” roles in the Marvel Universe as 2014 closes out and 2015 begins.

We already know about Thor #1, starring a new female Thor in October, and All-New Captain America #1 is confirmed as beginning in November, starring Sam “The Falcon” Wilson as the newest person to lift Captain America’s shield. Add to that Superior Iron Man #1 in November, featuring Tony Stark in San Francisco (incidentally, where Daredevil just moved earlier this year) with a new version of his suit, and “very ambitious plans for the city that some of its residents embrace, but not all,” teased Marvel Comics editor-in-chief Axel Alonso.

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Of course, fans can all but rule out one often-speculated contender, Thor and Loki’s newly revealed half-sister Angela, as she appears in the Avengers NOW! teaser poster. Along with Angela, (new) Thor, Sam Wilson Captain America, and Iron Man in his new duds, we see The Winter Soldier and Deathlok, both of whom have newly-announced ongoing series, plus upcoming Marvel Studios “Phase 3″ stars Ant-Man and Dr. Strange, Avengers: Age of Ultron star Scarlet Witch, and finally Medusa and Inferno of the Inhumans rounding out the list.

We’ll have much more on Avengers NOW! and any additional new series at Comic-Con International: San Diego next week.

This raises that time honored question… what is your favorite Avengers roster?

Uncanny Avengers

Uncanny Avengers

Avengers 2009

Avengers 2009

Heroic Age Avengers

Heroic Age Avengers

90's Avengers

90′s Avengers

Avengers_80s

80′s Avengers

1970's Avengers

70′s Avengers

Avengers_CapsKookyQuartet

Cap’s Kooky Quartet

60's Avengers

60′s Avengers

Batman: Assault on Arkham – Opening Scene

'Batman_Assault_on_Arkham'_cover

Based on the hit Batman Arkham videogame series, the latest DC animated feature will delve into the violent world of Gotham City’s infamous facility for the criminally insane. The Suicide Squad is sent in on a mission to grab info from the Riddler. When Harley Quinn releases the Joker, all Hell breaks loose and Batman enters the fray.

Via BatmanNews:

Warner Bros. has released the opening scene from Batman: Assault on Arkham. It features the voices of Matthew Gray Gubler (Criminal Minds) as the Riddler, and CCH Pounder (E.R., The Shield, Warehouse 13) as Amanda Waller. And of course, Kevin Conroy as Batman at the very end.

Batman: Assault on Arkham will have its World Premiere on Friday, 07/25/14 at Comic-Con International. Produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Animation, the next entry in the DC Universe Original Movie series will be released by Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital HD on July 29, and on Blu-ray Combo Park 08/12/14

New items at ShopAFX.com!

Check out these great items available for pre-order at Action Figure Express!

My son would plotz over the Robin bank… and the Batarang bottle-opener is a must for yours truly.

Batman 1966 Robin Bust Bank by Diamond Select
Regular Price: 22.99
Our Price: 18.39 – You Save $4.60 (20%)!
Availability Preorder – November 2014

They say a good sidekick is worth his weight in gold, but is he worth his weight in pennies? This 8-inch bust of Robin as he appeared in the Batman Classic TV Series is actually a vinyl bank, with detailed sculpting and paint to make it resemble a high-end collectible. With a coin slot on the back and an access door in the base, you’ll be saying “Holy savings, Batman!” Packaged in a clear polybag.


Batman 1966 Batarang Bottle Opener by Diamond Select
Regular Price: 17.99
Our Price: 14.39 – You Save $3.60 (20%)!
Availability Preorder – November 2014

An essential item for any utility belt! In the Batman Classic TV Series, the Batarang served a multitude of purposes, from grappling hook to boomerang to cutting tool, and now we’ve given it another job! This 4-inch solid metal replica of the classic Batarang is actually a bottle opener, using the points and talons of the most famous Bat-tool to pry the cap off of any bottle. With two magnets on the back, it will hang on your Bat-fridge until it’s needed! Comes packaged in a full-color slipcase.


Alien Minimates 35th Anniversary Box Set by Diamond Select
Regular Price: 19.99
Our Price: 15.99 – You Save $4.00 (20%)!
Availability Preorder – November 2014

It’s been 35 years since Ridley Scott’s Alien set a new bar for both science fiction and horror and created a world that still amazes and terrifies us! DST is honoring the film that started it all with a special box set of four Minimates mini-figures, including Ripley, Kane, Parker and the Big Chap hiself, the original Xenomorph! Each fully poseable Minimate stands approximately 2 inches tall and features a variety of interchangeable parts and accessories, including a facehugger alien and the ship’s cat, Jonesy! Packaged on a blister card.


Godzilla Vinyl Wars First Godzilla Sofubi by Medicom
Regular Price: 97.99
Our Price: 78.39 – You Save $19.60 (20%)!
Availability Preorder – January 2015
From Bear Model/MEDICOM Toy. Godzilla: Vinyl Wars is a collaboration between Japan’s classic sofubi manufacturers and cutting-edge toy maker Medicom Toy. Each release in GVW is a reproduction of a classic Toho sofubi from the ’60s through today, released legitimately for Western collectors for the first time ever. These hand-crafted, hand-painted figures inspired the designer toy movement, and will hold a place of high honor in your collection! Bear Model originally released this classic, 1954-inspired sofubi to adoring collectors in Japan in 2003. Now wearing a more “true” green paint deco and measuring approximately 23cm (9″), this reissue is available in an edition not to exceed 200 pieces!

THIS WEEK AT YOUR COMIC SHOP 7/16/14

For the complete list of this week’s comics, click here.

Not sure where your local comic shop is? Try comicshoplocator.com!

(note: all information including ad copy is from the publisher)
If you can’t make it to the shop, just click on any of the images below to be taken to an online retailer. I don’t get any referrals for these sales, I’m just doing my bit to spread the word on some neat products.

PUBLISHER
TITLE, ISSUE NUMBER, PRICE IN U.S. DOLLARS (“AR” means “ask your retailer for the price”)

BEARMANOR MEDIA
Gorgo Production Background SC, $24.95

BIG FINISH PRODUCTIONS
Doctor Who The Companion Chronicles The Elixir Of Doom Audio CD, $14.99
Doctor Who The Last Of Colophon Audio CD, $18.99
Doctor Who Tomb Ship Audio CD, $24.99

BOOK PALACE
Illustrators Magazine #7, $24.99

BURLYMAN ENTERTAINMENT
Doc Frankenstein Volume 1 The Messiah Of Science Resurrected TP, $16.99

DC COMICS
Batman Eternal #15, $2.99
Batwoman #33 (Rafael Albuqerque Regular Cover), $2.99
Damian Son Of Batman Deluxe Edition HC, $24.99
DC Comics Super-Villains Armored Suit Lex Luthor Deluxe Action Figure, $49.95
New 52 Futures End #11, $2.99
Robin Rises Omega #1 (One Shot)(Andy Kubert Regular Cover), $4.99
Tales Of The Batman J.H. Williams III HC, $49.99

EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS
Marvel Chess Figurine Colllection Magazine #8 (Thor White Bishop), $16.00
Star Trek The Official Starships Figurine Colllection Magazine #16 (Ferengi Marauder), $20.00
Star Trek The Official Starships Figurine Colllection Magazine #18 (Bajoran Light Ship), $20.00

FANTAGRAPHICS BOOKS
Prince Valiant Volume 9 1953-1954 HC, $35.00
Special Exits TP (not verified by Diamond), $22.99
Walt Disney’s Mickey Mouse Volume 5 Outwits The Phantom Blot HC, $34.99

FLESK PUBLICATIONS
Prince Valiant Page HC (Sale Edition), $14.98

HUMANOIDS PUBLISHING
Sanctum HC, $29.95

MARRS MEDIA
Rue Morgue Magazine #146, $9.95

MARVEL COMICS
Avengers World #9, $3.99
Elektra #4, $3.99
Magneto #7, $3.99
Nova #19, $3.99
Original Sin #6 (Of 8)(Julian Totino Tedesco Regular Cover), $3.99
Rocket Raccon #1 Poster, $8.99
Savage Hulk #2 (Alan Davis Regular Cover), $3.99
She-Hulk #6, $2.99
Silver Surfer #4, $3.99
Uncanny X-Men #23 (Chris Bachalo Regular Cover), $3.99
X-Men #16 (Terry Dodson Regular Cover), $3.99

PANINI PUBLISHING
Doctor Who Essential Guide #2 (The TARDIS), $19.99
Doctor Who Magazine #474, $9.99

SCHIFFER PUBLISHING
Star Trek Collectibles An Unauthorized Value Guide SC (2nd Edition), $29.95

SCREEN POWER PUBLISHING
Scream Magazine #24, $8.99

VIDEO WATCHDOG
Video Watchdog #177, $8.95

Videos
Doctor Who The Enemy Of The World DVD, AR

Merchandise
Batman Retro 8-Inch Action Figure Series 3 Assortment, AR
DC Teen Titans Retro 8-Inch Action Figure Series 1 Assortment, AR
Nightcrawler Navy T-Shirt LG, $18.99
Star Trek Kirk 25×13 Wall Poster, $7.99
Star Trek Pixels 25×13 Wall Poster, $7.99
Star Trek The Original Series Art Prints Set 19, $34.95
Star Wars Admiral Ackbar Black T-Shirt LG, $18.99
Star Wars Kenner Hoth Rebel Soldier Jumbo Action Figure, $80.00
Star Wars Kenner Imperial Snowtrooper Jumbo Action Figure, $85.00

She-Thor is a thing again

Thor_Shockedfemale_thor

One of the core superheroes of the Marvel Universe, the Mighty Thor is a wonderful blend of science fiction and fantasy. A god who lives among humanity as its protector, Thor has fought alongside the Avengers for many years and even sided against his fellow heroes when necessary (he had a bone or two to pick with Tony Stark during the Marvel Civil War). He is a formidable adversary to evil doers and a noble hero cut from a different cloth hearkening back to Norse Mythology… interpreted as an adventure comic.

Initially bound to the human physician Donald Blake, Thor has had many guises and was once even a member of something called the Thor Corps (no kidding). In Earth-X, Thor was tricked into female form by his half-brother, Loki. In a ‘What If? ‘ take readers were given a glimpse of Jane Foster as a female Thor and there is also Thor-Girl from recent years.

But when Whoopie Goldberg breaks comic book news, people notice.

Today, the talk show The View debuted the news that the God of Thunder will be undergoing a major change. The decision has been made to make the bearer of the mystical uru hammer Mjolnir will be female. The general consensus is that the traditional Thor will take another weapon, the axe called Jarnbjorn and continue to knock skulls throughout the Marvel Universe. Meanwhile a new Thor will be unveiled.

Members of the Marvel Comics Bullpen spoke to Time.com about the decision, the history of controversy in Thor comic books as well as the dedication to making this more than a gimmick.

TIME: Why make Thor a woman instead of creating a whole new female character in the series?

Wil Moss, Marvel Comics editor of the upcoming Thor series: We can’t give away all the story details now obviously, but once the story is out there, it becomes clear why there’s a new female Thor. It’s not about filling a certain quota. It’s about providing a shot in the arm to the Thor titles definitely, but it’s something that’s a natural part of where this story and the Thor title is going.

TIME: Has there ever been a female Thor before?

Moss: There have been occasional alternate universe stories where there have been female Thors. And there have been occasional stories where a female has picked up the hammer; like there’s an X-Menstory where Storm picked up the hammer. But there’s never been a female Thor.

Axel Alonso, Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief: She wields the hammer because Thor can’t. This is different because for reasons we can’t disclose quite yet, Thor is unable to pick up the hammer. There are a number of women in Thor’s life, and we’re going to tease out for quite awhile the identity of who this woman is. But one of the women in Thor’s life picks up the hammer. She is in fact worthy. And she becomes Thor.

There’s only one Thor in the Marvel Universe. The character we know as Thor will not refer to himself as Thor anymore.

TIME: How many times has the hammer changed hands?

Moss: For the majority of the character’s history with the company, it has been this Thor. There have been periods when other people have had the hammer. Most famously Beta Ray Bill picked up the hammer and was Thor for a while. But for the majority of the character’s whole history with us, it’s been the same character.

Alonso: There’s been plenty of moments also in Marvel history where characters have attempted to pick up the hammer. The Hulk, who is arguably the strongest character in the Marvel universe, has tried on numerous occasions and not been able to lift it. So it’s not a matter of how heavy it is but whether that character is worthy.

TIME: How do you think this will impact fans who have been following the male version of Thor for such a long time?

Jason Aaron, writer of the Thor series: If you’re a long-time Thor fan you know there’s kind of a tradition from time to time of somebody else picking up that hammer. Beta Ray Bill was a horse-faced alien guy who picked up the hammer. At one point Thor was a frog. So I think if we can accept Thor as a frog and a horse-faced alien, we should be able to accept a woman being able to pick up that hammer and wield it for a while, which surprisingly we’ve never really seen before.

Alonso: There really is this one Thor for an extended period of time for which we have no real exit plan.

Moss: The male Thor—he’s still going to be around. He’s still a character.

Aaron: I’ve been writing Thor: God of Thunder for about 25 issues now. This is in some ways a continuation of everything that I’ve been doing on that. We’re not throwing out everything that’s come before.

thor woman marvel 660TIME: There are a lot of female comic fans who are excited about this because they always love to see characters and superheroes who look like them. Is Marvel conscious of trying to engage with its female readership more?

Alonso: Yes, we absolutely are. We see fans of all shapes and sizes and genders in comic stores and at conventions. And we perceived there to be a real thirst for characters that reflect what we see in the mirror. From Miles Morales, the African-American Spider-Man, to the new female Thor, our goal is to make our characters reflect the outside world.

Right now we have eight titles that are anchored by female leads where it’s that character’s name on the masthead. We’re definitely committed to growing that audience.

Thoughts?