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Disabled Superman fan gets donations to stolen collection

Wed Nov 16, 2011 1:20pm EST

CLEVELAND (Reuters) – A mentally-disabled Illinois man who had his Superman memorabilia collection stolen got a superhero’s welcome in Cleveland this week, where he met some of the comic fans who had worked to restore what was lost.

Mike Meyer, 48, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of everything Superman, started his collection in the early 70s and had amassed more than 1,800 comic books, 100 action figures and a wall’s worth of statues valued at around $5,000. They were stolen in September by an acquaintance posing as Meyer’s friend.

What began as a St. Louis-area news story about Meyer turned into an international movement to do what fans say Superman would do. One of those fans was John Dudas, co-owner of Carol John’s Comic Book Shop in Cleveland, the birthplace of Superman’s creators.

“John first saw the story on the Internet and as a comic lover it struck him how wrong that this guy befriended him so he could do this,” says Carol Cazzarin, co-owner of the shop.

Dudas, as a fellow collector, worked with Meyer’s friend Keith Howard of Belleville, Illinois and other super fans to do their best to replace what Meyer lost.

“A collector knows how important a collection is,” explained Howard. The donations came in from China, Australia, India and Paraguay but primarily from Cleveland, the home of Superman co-creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.

Howard, who looks a bit like Superman television actor George Reeves, was dressed head-to-boot in a Superman costume as he accompanied Meyer on visits to Cleveland comic book shops Wednesday.

Meyer’s story garnered so much attention from the Superman community, “he even got a call from Brendan Routh, the actor from Superman Returns,” Howard told Reuters. “He talked to him for about a half-hour.”

It all culminated mid-September when Howard made a surprise visit to the Illinois McDonald’s where Meyer works decked out in his Superman costume with his daughter as Supergirl in tow. It was then Howard delivered nearly 200 pounds of donated Superman memorabilia to a flabbergasted Meyer.

“It is chance to be a superhero and isn’t that what every superfan wants?” Howard adds.

Along with the donated items, Dudas was able to raise enough money to give Meyer and Howard a two-day Superman tour in Cleveland. They visited the house and office of Jerry Siegel and the building thought to inspire “The Daily Planet.” Meyer also was given gift certificates to every comic book shop in the city.

Howard and Meyer, wearing an ear-to-ear smile and a bright blue Superman hoodie, kept getting stopped in the parking lots of shops to pose for pictures with families passing by.

It was at one of the shops where Meyer heard the news that the man who stole his collection had been sentenced.

“Today I received the news that the villain that had done this crime has been convicted,” Meyer told a group gathered at a Cleveland comic shop.

“Is he going to jail or the Phantom Zone?” joked one of the comic fans in attendance.

Gerry Ambruster, 37, pleaded guilty to one count of residential burglary for the Meyer theft and one count of aggravated battery for an unrelated crime and got six years for both, to run concurrently, according to the Madison County State’s Attorney’s office in Illinois. According to Howard, Granite City police caught Ambruster after he assaulted an elderly man. Meyer’s collection, minus a few items, was returned to him.

After his original collection was returned, Meyer donated six boxes of comics and action figures to a St. Louis children’s hospital.

Meyer spent the evening after hearing of Ambruster’s sentence at a party in his honor, thanking people and signing copies of Superman comic book covers he sketches from memory. Meyer then recited a quote from his extensive collection. “Do good to others and every man can be Superman.”

Dudas said Superman is more than a trademark or a collectible. Dudas said, “What Superman really is — is an idea.”

(Writing and reporting by Kim Palmer; Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Greg McCune)

From: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/11/16/us-superman-idUSTRE7AF22K20111116

Rare Superman comic expected to fetch record $1.5m at auction

Rare Superman comic expected to fetch record $1.5m at auction London: An extremely rare comic that was stolen over a decade ago has been discovered and is expected to fetch a record 1.5 million dollars at auction.

The inaugural issue of Action Comics from 1938 containing the first ever appearance of Superman is the most sought after comic in the world.

The copy for sale was stolen in the year 2000 from the home of an American collector and the police had ever since been hunting for it.

The disappearance had become a cause of concern in the world of comic collecting and theories abounded about who had it.

The same comic had already set a world record when the collector paid 150,000 dollars for it some years back.

Now the book is set to break its record again with experts estimating it to go for more than the current record of 1.5 million dollars (934,000 pounds).

In April this year the comic turned up inside some storage units a Californian entrepreneur had bought.

After examination, experts confirmed that the Action Comics No. 1 was the same one that had been stolen 11 years earlier.

Stephen Fishler, CEO of ComicConnect.com and Metropolis Collectibles, which has now put the comic up for sale online, had always dreamed of finding the legendary copy.

“It really bothered me over the years. It’s such an important book and it meant a lot to me. How could a comic book of this magnitude just disappear?” the Daily Mail quoted Fishler as saying.

“When we were contacted in April and saw a picture of the comic, we were shocked. After spending so many years looking for the book, I was blown away when it appeared.

“I immediately knew it was the one.

“I had worried that the book might turn up disfigured or in poor shape, but luckily for comic book fans it’s in near perfect condition. And now it’s for sale,” he added.

Bidding for the comic book ends on November 30.


From: http://zeenews.india.com/entertainment/art-and-theatre/rare-superman-comic-expected-to-fetch-record-1-5m-at-auction_100257.htm

Nic Cage’s Stolen Superman Comic Poised to Break Auction Record

Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage’s nearly-pristine copy of Action Comics  no. 1 featuring the first appearance of Superman—stolen from his home in 2000 and just recovered in April in a storage locker—is poised to become the most expensive comic ever sold on the open market during an online auction now being conducted by comicconnect.com. 

Nicolas Cage’s Biggest TroublesNicolas Cage Loses $9.5 Million on Rhode Island Mansion

The auction started today and ends on Nov. 30th.  After just a few hours bidding has already reached $900,000.  The current record is $1.5 million for a less well-preserved copy of Action Comics no. 1 sold in March 2010.

PHOTOS: Biggest Hollywood Splurges

Few comics have as interesting  or complicated a back story as Cage’s copy of Action Comics no. 1.  Certified Guaranty Company, the leading grader of the quality of collectible comics, recently assigned this copy a grade of 9.0, making it the best-preserved publicly-known copy of Superman’s first appearance.  Approximately 100 copies of Action Comics no. 1 remain in existence.  Experts believe only about five others, all in private hands, are of comparable quality to this copy.  Sotheby’s sold this comic at auction in 1992 for a then-record $82,500.  Cage bought it in 1997 for about $150,000.

On January 21, 2000, Cage reported the comic stolen to the Los Angeles Police, along with high-grade copies of Batman’s first appearance in Detective Comics no. 27 and Marvel Mystery no. 71.  According to an account Comicconnect CEO Stephen Fishler posted on a collector’s website, Cage had the books displayed in security frames mounted to the wall.  The exact moment of the theft is unknown but the comics had possibly been missing for a week when Cage discovered the frames were empty.  The Marvel Mystery resurfaced a few months later but the other two comics remained lost.

In April 2011, Cage’s copy of Action Comics no. 1 was recovered in a San Fernando Valley storage locker.  The man who found the comic had bought the contents of an abandoned locker.  Cage’s publicist released a statement from the actor at the time calling the recovery of the comic “divine providence” and expressing hope “that the heirloom will be returned to my family.”  Cage had received an insurance payment for the comic but at the time expressed interest in reaching a settlement to regain ownership of the book.

Fishler would not confirm this is the Action Comics stolen from Cage but the provenance of the comic–from its sale in the early 1990s to its theft in 2000—matches the history of the Cage comic. Comicconnect is selling it for the current owner, which is still believed to be Cage. Earlier, several websites devoted to comics speculated that this is the copy of Action Comics from Cage’s collection. Representatives for Cage have not yet responded to a request from The Hollywood Reporter for comment. See a copy of the fabled Cage Action Comics no. 1 below.


From: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/nic-cage-stolen-superman-auction-record-260733

Superman debut comic expected to top $1.5 million


Superman’s debut on block

Up, up and away is synonymous with Superman and may have a new meaning for collectors, too, as an ultra-rare and pristine copy of Action Comics No. 1 went up for auction online Friday.

The issue, featuring the first appearance of Superman, is expected to surpass the $1.5 million record set in 2010.

“It’s an iconic milestone of the 20th century,” said Stephen Fishler, CEO of ComicConnect.com and Metropolis Collectibles, of the issue, which was published in 1938 and cost just 10 cents. The auction lasts through Nov. 30.

The issue for sale has a story of its own that wouldn’t be out of place in the pages of a comic book plot, either. Twice before it set the record for the most expensive book ever – it sold for $86,000 in 1992 and then $150,000 in 1997. That, Fishler said, was a nod to its near-mint condition.

In March 2010, a copy of Action Comics No. 1 sold for $1.5 million, just a few weeks after another copy of the issue sold for $1 million.


Confidence on the rise

Consumer confidence rose more than projected in November, offering additional support to the biggest part of the economy.

The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment climbed to 64.2 this month, the highest since June, from 60.9 in October. The median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News called for a reading of 61.5.


‘Call of Duty’ sets record

By the third time around, it really shouldn’t be a surprise. The latest “Call of Duty” video game set a first-day sales record this week, generating $400 million in sales in its first 24 hours in stores. That breaks the record its predecessor set this time last year.

“Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3” is the third game in the military shooter series to set such a record. Last year, “Call of Duty: Black Ops” raked in $360 million in its first 24 hours on sale. “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2,” sold 4.7 million copies in its first 24 hours to reap $310 million

The latest installment of the game from Activision Blizzard Inc. went on sale at midnight Tuesday in North America and Britain.

Activision said Friday the game sold 6.4 million units in its first 24 hours.


Electric car batteries tested

A Chevrolet Volt that caught fire three weeks after its lithium-ion battery was damaged in a government crash test has regulators taking a harder look at the safety of electric car batteries, federal officials said Friday.

But based on testing so far, regulators believe the batteries are safe and don’t pose a greater fire risk than gasoline-powered engines, a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration official told the Associated Press. The official requested anonymity in order to speak freely.

The car that caught fire was tested May 12 by an agency contractor at a Wisconsin facility using a relatively new side-impact test intended to replicate crashing into a pole or a tree, the official said. Three weeks later, while the car was parked at the test facility, it caught fire and set several nearby vehicles on fire. A NHTSA investigation concluded the crash test damaged the battery, which later led to the fire.

This article appeared on page D – 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle

From: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/11/BUEH1LRKB6.DTL

Action Comics 1 _ lost 11 years _ up for sale

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Up, up and away is synonymous with Superman and may have a new meaning for collectors, too, as an ultra-rare and pristine copy of Action Comics No. 1 goes up for auction online Friday.

The issue, featuring the first appearance of Superman, is expected to surpass the $1.5 million record set in 2010.

“It’s an iconic milestone of the 20th century,” said Stephen Fishler, CEO of ComicConnect.com and Metropolis Collectibles, of the issue, which was published in 1938 and cost just 10 cents. The auction at www.comicconnect.com lasts through Nov. 30.

The issue for sale has a story of its own that wouldn’t be out of place in the pages of a comic book plot, either. Twice before it set the record for the most expensive book ever — it sold for $86,000 in 1992 and then $150,000 in 1997. That, Fishler said, was a nod to its near mint condition.

“It is clearly one of the finest and that it’s held the record for the most expensive book ever sold, speaks to that,” he said of the issue, which is graded a 9.0.

In March 2010, a copy Action Comics No. 1 — graded at 8.5 — sold for $1.5 million, just a few weeks after another copy of the issue sold for $1 million.

Neither of those issues are in as good a condition as the issue that goes on sale Friday. There are about 100 copies of Action Comics No. 1 believed to be in existence, and only a handful in good condition.

After it was stolen in 2000 Fishler said collectors figured it would never be found or, worse, would be destroyed.

“It was so recognizable that the risk was that the person who stole it could have tried to destroy it,” Fishler said of the comic, whose owner he’s not identifying. “I felt there was a chance that it would never turn up.”

But turn up it did, earlier this year, in a storage shed in California, that had been purchased in an auction.

“When we were contacted in April and saw a picture of the book, we were shocked,” Fishler said. “After spending so many years looking for the book, I was blown away when it appeared.”

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

From: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ikAYTo78txQ5FnXfHQ6EjygCFdrQ?docId=ff5857554f114fe8a0dd3fb6a5e74df0

Cavill strikes with ‘Immortals,’ ‘Man of Steel’

In person, the stubbly, dark-haired actor, the fourth of five brothers, is equal parts gentleman, guy’s guy and geek, cautiously lowering his voice when peppering his charming English timbre with saucy language and nervously chattering his gleaming white teeth before formulating responses to perplexing questions.

From: http://www.boston.com/ae/movies/articles/2011/11/10/cavill_strikes_with_immortals_man_of_steel/

New BattleStar Comics shop in Burton takes comic lovers back to their first … – The Flint Journal

View full sizeAustin Anthony | The Flint Journal James Kruger poses in his comic book store, BattleStar Comics.

When you walk into the new BattleStar Comics shop in Burton, it should feel like you’re a kid getting your first comic book again.

Or that’s what owner James Kruger, 47, hopes.

“It is my first priority is to make the store kid friendly,” said Kruger, father of three. “I want it to remind me of the comic book store I went to as a kid with my dad. There was always a section for me as a kid with new comics and really cool stuff, and there was a section for dad.”

Kruger is a musician and resident of Grand Blanc, and is originally from New Jersey. He opened the doors of his brand new comic shop in mid-October, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

The shop, at 4383 Saginaw Road, offers comic books, action figures, collectibles, jewelry, trading cards, shirts, hats and even guitar lessons.

“First and foremost this is a book store. I sell a certain type of books — comics — but it’s a book store and I get excited to see kids want to read,” he added.

“The most exciting part for me is watching the kids and how excited they get when they get a comic book.”

Kruger says his store will offer kid comics old and new, with everything from Carton Network comics, Batman, Superman, Tiny Toons, Disney, Looney Tunes, and Star Wars Clone Wars.

There’s also a section for teenagers that will feature story lines of Twilight, Scott Pilgrim, Harry Potter, plus clothes and jewelry.

Most importantly, it will be a shop that reminds people how awesome the art of comic books is, he says.

View full sizeAustin Anthony | The Flint Journal Grover “GT” Tigue, of Grand Blanc, buys a comic and a sweatshirt from James Kruger Thursday in Kruger’s newly opened comic book store, BattleStar Comics, in Burton.

“I love comics and all pop culture, really. I started collecting and loving all comics when I was 7 and have never lost my passion for them,” Kruger said.

“I can remember the first time I bought my first Supermen comic in 1971. It was Superman #233 Number 1, and it had the coolest cover ever. I was hooked.”

Kruger probably isn’t alone when he says superhero comics are his favorites. He’s a lover of Batman, but his logo is Superman and opening a store of his own presented an opportunity to showcase that.

“My logo is Superman because he was the first superhero in my life and the wonderful thing that has happened is that my son Ben’s hero is also Superman.”

Kruger says his store won’t only be family-friendly, but will support local artists and independent comic book artists.

He’s currently looking for artists to sell their creations in his shop. Chris Reed, local comic artist from Flint, already is on board.

Reed, 40, has two, soon to be three, publications on the shelves at BattleStar.

“Being able to sell my work in a store like BattleStar is special to me, because I was born and raised in Flint,” Reed, 40, said.

“I’ve been selling my work in Ann Arbor for a while now, but having my books in a Flint store is cool because it’s a place I can hang out at, and a place I can take my children to.”

More than anything, Kruger says he hopes his shop can draw people in and really live up to its tag line: “Cool stuff for cool people.”

“I want people to come by and relax and pick up a comic book and read it here.”

BattleStar Comics is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

For more information, call 810-341-3331 or find BattleStar Comics on Facebook.

From: http://www.mlive.com/entertainment/flint/index.ssf/2011/11/new_battlestar_comics_shop_in.html

Action heroes’ digital challenge

November 7, 2011 11:22 pm

From: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/66a608ee-0483-11e1-b309-00144feabdc0.html?ftcamp=rss

Authors: New comic books full of sex, violence

TEMPE, Ariz. – There’s something for parents to watch out for.

Some comic book authors are worried about what kids might see while reading new stories of their favorite super heroes.

DC Comics is targeting a more mature audience with its re-launch of comics like “Superman.” Some say the new comics have more sex.

One of the few women comic writers in the business is G. Willow Wilson. The Wall Street Journal said that Wilson wrote that she has to “rush to her comic book pile” every time kids under 14 start to look at them because “some issues constitute soft porn. Never before did it occur to me how bizarre that is…having to keep a kid away from comics.

Russ Kamierczak is the author of the “Amazina Arizona Comics.” It’s a series of comic books that take a satirical look at current Arizona politics. But he’s also been a fan of comic books for over 20 years and couldn’t believe what he saw when he browsed through some new material at a comic book store.

“So I picked up Catwoman Number one to see what’s going on,” said Kazmierczak. “Catwoman’s a household name, everyone knows who Catwoman is. But on the last page, she and Batman are getting ready to ‘get it on.’ It’s very explicit.”

Kazmierczak said sex has always been a part of comic books. He says “Wonder Woman” is one example, going back to the 1940’s.

“When men bound Wonder Woman, that was her weakness. That was her Kryptonite. She had to break out of those binds,” said Kazmierczak. “At the same time, her weapons were a lasso that tied up men and convicted them to tell the truth. She had bullet-reflecting bracelets which could look like S and M gear nowadays if somebody wears them right.”

Kazmierczak said what was in comic books in the past was subtle compared to what is in comic books now. The Wall Street Journal said the size of the breasts of women characters is “exaggerated” with “exposed cleavage.” The Journal said there is “serious debate about sex and violence in comics online between comic writers, artists and editors.”

Some are saying the comics are also more violent. Kazmierczak said violence in comics is nothing new.

“In the 1940s, superheros were punching out Nazis. They were supporting the war effort, and it was almost patriotic.” Kazmierczak said.

After the war ended, the violence lost a focus. Writers in the ’50s turned the superheros to fighting gangsters. Kazmierczak said the 1960s were what he calls the “Adam West Batman era,” influenced by the campy “Batman” television series and it’s phrases that showed words like “Pow” and “Zoom” every time Batman and Robin threw a punch. Kazmierczak said it’s “hard to say” whether the comics are more violent than they were in the past.

Kazmierczak is concerned about the sex. DC has started a line of “family friendly” comic books called “DC Kids.” Kazmierczak fears that young people may find it too boring and reject it.

Kazmierczak noted that comic book companies have started putting ratings on their books, much like those that are on movies.

Kazmierczak had this advice for parents: When you take your kids to the comic book store, don’t just sit in the car and wait while they go inside. Go in with them. Take a look at what’s on the shelves. Get involved and see that your kids are picking up books that are appropriate for them. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to ask those who work at the store. Kazmierczak said there are many good comic book stores in the valley where the employees know the comics, and can give you good advice.

From: http://ktar.com/category/local-news-articles/20111107/Authors:-New-comic-books-full-of-sex,-violence/

Alan Moore vs. DC Comics: The Story Behind The “Unpleasentness”

In the 1980?s Alan Moore was one of DC Comics most important writers, crafting immensely interesting and enduring takes on Superman and Batman, reviving the character of Swamp Thing (helping to create the character of John Constantine), and writing what is considered to be the greatest graphic novel of all time, Watchmen. So why in 1989 just after the release of his follow up series, V for Vendetta, did Moore leave the company and has been on bad terms with them since? Sadly it’s because of that age old problem: money.

Back then, DC had a pretty standard contract for their talent, one that stated DC owned the rights to a comic just as long as they used the characters in some form, usually by printing new edition of a book. If in one year the characters weren’t used, the rights would revert back to Moore and artist Dave Gibbons. This was the normal way to do business at DC as it was unheard of at that time to produce multiple printings of the same graphic novel. Then Watchmen happened. The popularity of the book exploded, leaving quite a cash cow in DC’s hands, one that they would never hand over the rights to anyone else. Add to that a dispute over merchandising (Moore and Gibbons never received any money from the Watchmen badge set, which DC defined as a ‘promotional item’), and reports that the creators only earned 2% of the overall profits made by the series. Moore wasn’t a happy man so he left, leaving at least one project unfinished, which I will talk about in a future article. But sadly this wasn’t the last time he and DC would clash.

After leaving DC, Moore set up an independent comic publishing company, Mad Love, which he initially used to focus on various political causes. Alongside Mad Love, he also began producing material for another independent called Taboo, which published From Hell and with who he began work on Lost Girls, which finally saw print in 2006. He worked as an independent for a few years before, in 1993, he made his way back to the mainstream and started writing superhero comics again, this time for Image Comics. He wrote stories for the company’s most popular characters, including Spawn and WildC.A.T.S., before joining Image co-founder Rob Liefeld in his own company, Awesome Comics. Moore stayed there for a few years, but was unhappy because the people he worked for seemed to “be less than gentlemen”. He left Awesome Comics, and joined Jim Lee’s company WildStorm Productions in 1999.

One of the carrots dangled in Moore’s face by Lee was the chance to make his own imprint, which he named Americas Best Comics. Through ABC he created The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Tom Strong, Promethea and Top Ten. But everything was far from perfect. Not long after Moore joined Wildstorm, Lee sold the company to DC, forcing him to work with the company he vowed never to work with again. Moore decided to go ahead with the imprint because there was too many people involved to back out, and DC assured him that they would not interfere directly with his work. They, of course, lied. One instance had an entire print run of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen #5 destroyed because an advertisement in the story bore the word ‘marvel’. To avoid any friction with Marvel Comics, DC Executive Paul Levitz ordered a reprint with the advertisement amended to ‘amaze’. Also, a story involving Moore’s character Cobweb and references to American occultist Jack Parsons and his ritual “The Babalon Working” was blocked by DC due to, what they called, the subject matter. It was later revealed that a similar story was already published in their publication The Big Book of Conspiracies. With his stories planned for ABC coming to an end, and his increasing dissatisfaction with DC, Moore left Wildstorm, returning to independent comic publication. He retained the rights to the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, launching a new saga with Volume III: Century, published by Top Shelf Productions and Knockabout Comics.

So there it is, the full story of a ‘war’ between Alan Moore and DC comics. Moore hasn’t hid his contempt for the company, saying pretty defamatory things in interviews and through other media. I find myself falling on Moore’s side in this one. He doesn’t own the rights to his most popular story and characters, thats like if George Lucas didn’t own Star Wars (though some people would see that as a good thing). What do you think?


From: http://whatculture.com/comics/alan-moore-vs-dc-comics-the-story-behind-the-unpleasentness.php


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