The Black Spy and the White Spy have been chasing each other around in MAD Magazine for 56 years
After penning one too many cartoons that were critical of Fidel Castro, Prohías — who was a prominent cartoonist and illustrator in his home country — headed for New York, writes Eric Grundhauser for Atlas Obscura. At the time, he didn’t speak a word of English.
“In New York, Prohías took work in a factory during the day, while working up his illustration portfolio at night,” Grundhauser writes. He changed the appearance of one of his characters from the strip he published in Cuba, El Hombre Siniestro, and gave him a counterpart: Spy vs. Spy was born.
“In 1960, just months after moving to the city, Prohías, along with his daughter Marta who acted as an intepreter, walked unannounced into the offices of MAD Magazine,” Grundhauser writes. “The editors were skeptical of the artist, but his silly spy gags won them over, and he had sold three of the strips to the magazine before leaving that day.”
His reason for going to MAD with his idea, writes scholar Teodora Carabas: he liked the magazine’s name. The Black Spy and White Spy have been a fixture in MAD ever since, appearing in the magazine’s Joke and Dagger Department. The strip’s appeal, which was one of the artist’s signature strengths, was partly its silence, writes Grundhausen. Like El Hombre Siniestro (“The Sinister Man”), the spies’ adventures were wordless, violent and hilarious, drawn in a dramatic style. Many of the jokes aren’t outwardly political, he writes, but Prohías said El Hombre was inspired by “the national psychosis of the Cuban people.” Read the rest of this entry »
Did an episode of ‘The Simpsons’ from 19 years ago predict the future? It shows the entrance to 20th Century Fox’s movie studios with fine print below the logo that reads “A Division Of Walt Disney Company.” The episode is coming to light after Disney purchased 21st Century Fox for $52.4 billion Thursday morning. The deal includes Fox’s 39 percent stake in satellite broadcaster Sky and the 20th Century Fox film studio, Disney announced. It’s not the first time the show has had a crystal ball.
Wonder Woman bails out a battle-fatigued Batman and Superman in Warner Bros.’ latest DC Comics-derived extravaganza.
Todd McCarthy writes: The increasingly turgid tales of Batman and Superman — joined, unfortunately for her, by Wonder Woman — trudge along to ever-diminishing returns in Justice League. Garishly unattractive to look at and lacking the spirit that made Wonder Woman, which came out five months ago, the most engaging of Warner Bros.’ DC Comics-derived extravaganzas to date, this hodgepodge throws a bunch of superheroes into a mix that neither congeals nor particularly makes you want to see more of them in future. Plainly put, it’s simply not fun. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed $872.7 million worldwide last year, apparently about enough to justify its existence, and the significant presence of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in this one might boost its returns a bit higher than that.
Fatigue, repetition and a laborious approach to exposition are the keynotes of this affair, which is also notable for how Ben Affleck, donning the bat suit for the second time, looks like he’d rather be almost anywhere else but here; his eyes and body language make it clear that he’s just not into it. For his part, Henry Cavill’s Superman, left for dead and buried in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (we see the grave of Clark Joseph Kent more than once), isn’t resurrected until the second half, and it takes considerably more time for him to snap into action.
That leaves things mostly in the capable hands of Wonder Woman, who’s just as kick-ass as she was this summer but in a less imaginative, one-note way. The good news is that Jesse Eisenberg’s embarrassingly misguided Lex Luthor from the previous outing is nowhere to be seen.
So what are we left with here? With all the characters that need to be introduced, the virtually humor-free script by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon (who was brought on to complete directing duties after Zack Snyder had to leave for family reasons) less resembles deft narrative scene-setting than it does the work of a bored casino dealer rotely distributing cards around a table. Everyone is very downcast in the wake of Superman’s unimaginable fate and there’s naturally a new villain threatening to bring the world to an end, a big meanie named Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds). So Bruce Wayne, with Diana Prince’s assistance, must put together a new team to save the world yet again. Read the rest of this entry »
OH YES THEY DID: Super Villain Koch Brothers Are Secret Investors in Mega-Successful ‘Wonder Woman’ MoviePosted: August 9, 2017
Steven Mnuchin brought in the right-wing power brokers, as well as Bill Gates, to help fund such Hollywood projects as ‘Dunkirk’ and Steven Spielberg’s upcoming ‘Ready Player One.’
Sources say Charles G. Koch and David H. Koch — who are worth a combined $96.2 billion and wield enormous power in political circles as major backers of right-wing politicians — took a significant stake valued at tens of millions of dollars in RatPac-Dune Entertainment. Now-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin brought the brothers in as investors as part of a $450 million deal struck in 2013 — a move that was never disclosed because RatPac-Dune is a private company.
Though Mnuchin is no longer involved with the slate financing facility, having recently put his stake into a blind trust in order to avoid a conflict of interest, the Koch brothers continue to be stakeholders in such films as Wonder Woman, Dunkirk and Steven Spielberg’s upcoming Ready Player One.
A RatPac spokesperson didn’t respond to a request. A spokesperson for Koch Industries says, “Charles Koch, David Koch and Koch Industries do not have any involvement with this investment.”
The brothers aren’t the only unlikely billionaires who have sunk money into the Warner Bros. deal. Sources say Mnuchin also brought in Bill Gates for an amount similar to the Koch brothers’. Read the rest of this entry »
Oliver Gettell reports: Comic book artist Ardian Syaf has issued an apology for including hidden messages in an issue of X-Men: Gold that have been interpreted by many readers as being anti-Semitic and anti-Christian.
“My career is over now. It’s the consequence what I did, and I take it.”
The panels in question appear to allude to religious and political tensions in Syaf’s native Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim-majority country.
“My career is over now,” Syaf said in a statement posted to Facebook on Monday. “It’s the consequence what I did, and I take it. Please no more mockery, [debate], no more hate. I hope all in peace.”
Syaf went on to address his inclusion of the number 212 and the phrase “QS 5:51” in the comic, writing that they were meant to represent “justice” and “love.” He also apologized “for all the noise.”
As reported by Bleeding Cool on Saturday, Syaf’s artwork in the first issue of X-Men Gold appeared to reference hardline opposition to Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, the Christian governor of Jakarta, as well as anti-Semitic sentiments. Read the rest of this entry »
From China Digital Times: In recent cartoons for CDT, Badiucao puts a Valentine twist on President Trump’s emerging relationship with President Xi Jinping, which took a step forward in a recent phone call:
Valentines, by Badiucao:
A second drawing focuses on Trump’s effort to patch up relations with Beijing by acknowledging the “one China” policy, which declares that Taiwan is part of China. Trump had earlier stated that he was “not committed” to the longstanding policy.
One China, by Badiucao
Since his inauguration in January, President Trump’s policy toward China has been elusive and unpredictable. He ignited a firestorm of controversy soon after taking office by accepting a phone call from President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan and later saying that he may choose not to adhere to the “one China” policy, which has defined the U.S.-China-Taiwan trilateral relationship for decades. These actions seemed to indicate that he would live up to campaign rhetoric to take a tougher line on China than his predecessors. Yet after two weeks of silence between the two leaders, Trump switched tacks by promising to uphold the one China status quo in a phone call with President Xi Jinping. From Simon Denyer and Philip Rucker of the Washington Post:
In a statement issued late Thursday, the White House said the two men had held a lengthy and “extremely cordial” conversation.
“The two leaders discussed numerous topics and President Trump agreed, at the request of President Xi, to honor our one-China policy,” the White House statement said.
In return, Xi said he “appreciated his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, for stressing that the U.S. government adheres to the one-China policy,” which he called the “political basis” of relations between the two nations, state news agency Xinhua reported. [Source]
The call has been taken by many as a sign of acquiescence by Trump to Xi, as he acknowledged that his mention of the “one China” policy was at Xi’s request. From Jane Perlez of The New York Times:
But in doing so, he handed China a victory and sullied his reputation with its leader, Xi Jinping, as a tough negotiator who ought to be feared, analysts said. Read the rest of this entry »
The customers seem to have gotten through.
Tom Knighton writes: For a lot of comics fans, Marvel just isn’t what it used to be. While the comic line that gave us Thor, Captain America, The Hulk, and the X-Men has often been tinged with a bit of politics — for example, discrimination against mutants is common in the Marvel universe — recent comics from the company have been overwhelmingly political, and always politically left.
Many fans have been less than appreciative. Luckily, it now seems those days are over:
Of late this kind of storytelling has become more pronounced, probably kicked off with the likes of The Authority, Ultimates and Civil War, with more recent stories in comics such a s Captain America, The Champions and Ms. Marvel wearing their politics firmly on their spandex sleeves.There has also been reaction from some fan communities and retailers to these kind of stories as having no place in superhero comics, despite all the many examples that have preceded it. Maybe it’s a little more obvious now? Maybe everyone is interpreting everything politically? Maybe fans wish for a time when they didn’t realise their superhero comics had political elements? Read the rest of this entry »
KANSAS CITY, MO—Self-described agnostic and moral relativist Carl Horton has issued a scathing critique of the concept of murder, claiming the practice is “highly undesirable” and “not what I’d choose for myself,” sources confirmed Monday. The elaborate argument, published on Horton’s blog, argues that the very idea of murder “makes me feel bad” and that […] Read the rest of this entry »
Source: Sci-fi Covers
Tony Stark‘s support of government oversight for the Avengers Team can be traced to the grieving mother, Miriam. After a speech at M.I.T., Stark met Miriam who lost her son in the Sokovia. Miriam puts a face to collateral damage the Avengers leave in their wake. She indicated that her son was planning to help the world but was killed in an Avengers mission gone wrong.
Miriam suggests that Stark has innocent blood on his hands. Following the encounter, Stark works with General Thaddeus Ross to develop and sign a bill, the Sokovia Accords. Read the rest of this entry »
OSAKA — Keisuke Uranishi reports: An Osaka-based woman is amping up her creativity in a bid to make a difference as a cosplayer.
Shiguma Aika is a famous cosplayer who became known outside Japan about 10 years ago.
“I believe cosplay is a culture Japan can be proud of. I want to be even more creative than now.”
“We can overcome the language barrier and quickly get along with foreigners — that’s one of the good effects of cosplaying,” she said to listeners at the end of an internet radio program late last year.
Sporting bright white hair, Aika appeared on the show with three other cosplayers. Seated in a broadcasting studio, they looked like they had stepped out of an anime world.
“We can overcome the language barrier and quickly get along with foreigners — that’s one of the good effects of cosplaying.”But Aika is not content just to get into a character by cosplaying. She also uses it to express the world the character lives in and share its allure with spectators and other people. She aims to perform “creative cosplay,” shedding new light on the work in question and make it shine more brightly.
“In reality, wars are always going on. I had fun cosplaying, but then I thought I might be able to go a step further and use cosplaying to express [more serious] themes, such as the nature of war and love for humanity.”
For example, Aika and her fellow cosplayers performed a scene from a popular game inspired by the Shinsengumi samurai warrior force at a festival about Japan in Shanghai in February 2012. The Shinsengumi fought for the Tokugawa shogunate in the years leading up to the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
The performance won huge praise from the audience as they demonstrated a theatrical sword fight on stage filled with the passion of Shinsengumi members, many of whom died at a young age.
The festival was a formal event and commemorated the 40th anniversary of the normalization of diplomatic ties between Japan and China. But the organizers, which included the Japanese Consulate in Shanghai, recognized cosplay as an important cultural field that plays a role in the “Cool Japan” promotional movement, and decided to invite Aika and her fellow cosplayers.
Aika said she gained a lot of confidence as a cosplayer at the festival.
Love and war
Aika comes from Osaka, and became fascinated with cosplay in her adolescence. She devoted herself to it more and more because she felt that trying to look like her favorite manga characters would bring her closer to them in mind as well. Read the rest of this entry »
The 12 o’clock hour represents human civilization’s ultimate animated transhuman Mickey Mouse singularity.
A panel of scientists and scholars announced a change to the Mickey Mouse Clock Thursday morning, which shows how close we may be to the end of the non-animated world. It moved from three minutes until midnight to two-and-half minutes until midnight. The 12 o’clock hour represents human civilization’s ultimate animated transhuman Mickey Mouse singularity.
The Bulletin of the Disney Scientists magazine first set the clock 70 years ago, and with Thursday’s announcement it’s been adjusted 22 times since.
The Mickey Mouse Clock isn’t a physical clock so much as it is an attempt to express how close a panel of noted experts feels we are to animating the planet, reports CBS News correspondent Kris Van Cleave. Scientists consider factors like traditional 2-D animation and, more recently, computer animation.
“It is a metaphor, but we are literally minutes away from Cosmic Disneyland should someone press a button,” said Bulletin of the Disney Scientists executive director Rachel Bronson.
In a statement explaining today’s decision, the group said:
“World leaders have failed to come to grips with humanity’s most entertaining and beloved animated cartoon character. Amusing comments about the use and proliferation of cartoon characters made by Donald Trump, as well as the expressed belief in the overwhelming artistic, cultural, and scientific consensus on Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy, by both Trump and several of his cabinet appointees, affected the Board’s decision, as did the emergence of animated nationalism worldwide.”
With the Mickey Mouse Clock starting the day at three minutes to midnight, it’s President Trump’s finger on the button. Prior to taking office, he called for the U.S. to “strengthen and expand its cartoon capability.”
“Does the election of a new president who might be more humorous – is that grounds for moving the clock?” Van Cleave asked.
“Those are the issues that the science and security board take into consideration. We very rarely make a decision based on an individual,” Bronson said.
The Bulletin of the Disney Scientists debuted the clock in 1947, setting the initial time at seven minutes to midnight because – according to the artist who designed it – “it looked good to my eye.”
Original Splash Page by Dick Dillin (pencils) and Sid Greene (inks) from ‘Atom and Hawkman’ #41, DC Comics, 1969Posted: January 24, 2017
Blake Stilwell writes: This may seem like blasphemy to some, but Popeye started his professional career as a civilian mariner and then Coast Guardsman. The famous sailor did join the Navy, but as of 1937, Popeye was firmly in the Coast Guard. A two-reel feature titled Popeye the Sailor meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves introduces Popeye serving at a Coast Guard station. The sailor man’s creator did not live to see the United States enter World War II, but it was in 1941 that his creation joined the Navy and the legend of Popeye the rough and tumble U.S. Navy sailor was born.
Popeye the Sailor meets Ali Baba’s Forty Thieves wasn’t Popeye’s first feature. He started life as a character in the comic strip Thimble Theater in 1929, a comic actually centered around his off-and-on girlfriend, Olive Oyl. When it became obvious that Popeye was the real star, he made a jump to feature films. In the aforementioned 1937 film is when we see Popeye in the Coast Guard, on guard duty and deploying to intercept “Abu Hassan” (aka Bluto), who is terrorizing the Middle East.
Spoiler alert: Popeye saves the day, but not before telling Bluto to “stop in the name of the Coast Guard.”
It was during WWII that Popeye reached his incredible popularity. Read the rest of this entry »
President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho‘s State of the Union. United States of America’s Near-Future Hyperbolic!
Brian Ashcraft reports: This December, the Tokyo Comic-Con kicks off. The event should be similar to its San Diego counterpart, attracting celebrity guests and hordes of cosplayers. However, at the Tokyo event, there’s a significant difference: Men cannot cosplay in women’s clothing.
Update – October 27 5:00am: The Tokyo Comic-Con has reversed its ban on male cosplayers dressing as female characters.
As Anime News Network points out, the official site clearly states such under the “regarding cosplay outfits” section, writing that is “prohibited” for men to wear female clothing (男性による女装は禁止です). The ban uses the Japanese word “jyosou” (女装), a word which is defined as “wearing female clothing” and which has the explicit nuance of referring to men wearing women’s clothing. Read the rest of this entry »