Was DB Cooper a French Canadian who got the idea from Belgian comics?

The FBI thinks that DB Cooper, the infamous parachuting plane hijacker, was a French Canadian who got the idea from a Belgian comic book:

On the cover of one issue of the Belgium-produced comic — sold in Europe and French Canada shortly before Cooper’s hijacking of a Portland-to-Seattle flight — the Canadian superhero is shown parachuting from an aircraft. And that’s what the man calling himself Cooper did four decades ago this week — during a rainstorm while flying somewhere above the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest — to escape justice after receiving his ransom payoff from U.S. authorities.

The informally deputized investigators, who were invited to analyze the Cooper mystery by Seattle-based FBI agent Larry Carr, are Tom Kaye, a paleontologist at Seattle’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Illinois-based metallurgical engineer Alan Stone and University of Chicago scientific illustrator Carol Abraczinskas.

FBI-backed team finds Canadian link to famous ’60s-era plane hijacking (Thanks, Nadreck!)  FBI has lead on D.B. Cooper - Boing Boing Plane hijacker D.B. Cooper's parachute found - Boing Boing Mystery inmate identified - Boing Boing Read the rest

How comics downloading was born, a Streisand effect tale with a twist

In a 2007 ComicMix article, Glenn Hauman recounts the bizarre story of "Letitia Lerner, Superman's Babysitter," a comic story by Kyle Baker with Liz Glass that was spiked by DC Comics publisher and president Paul Levitz, who ordered the whole run of Elseworlds 80 Page Giant #1 spiked. The early shipments to Europe survived, though, and went viral on the Internet. When comics fans heard there was kick-ass Kyle Baker stuff to be had online, they learned, in great hordes, to use torrent sites and to decode CBR files -- and a generation of new Internet comics downloaders was born. And even though the comic was never legally published, Baker won two Eisner awards for it and it was subsequently reprinted.

The point is that when the distribution system– and I mean the entire chain, from publishers to distributors to retailers — fails, a black market will pop up. It happened with this story. It happened when people couldn’t get copies of Captain America #25. It’s happening now with Miracleman, one of the more popular torrents out there, because it can’t be brought back into print. It’s happening in countries where legitimate versions aren’t available yet, if ever — witness fan-subbed manga and anime, or Doctor Who episodes. It’s happening more and more as publishers try to extract every last dime they can out of the existing fan base, placing themselves on the upper half of a Laffer curve.

And it’s not going to get any better. But then, it never does, once you’ve shown them that sometimes, getting a copy online is the only way you’re ever going to get to read it.

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Teaser for upcoming graphic novel based on Karl Schroeder's Sun of Suns

Karl Schroeder sez, "This is a link to a teaser image for my upcoming reveal of the new graphic novel version of Sun of Suns, my far-future freefall steampunk pirate adventure. I'll be introducing the project, the artists and company--and the art--this Saturday night at 6:00 p.m. at the SFContario convention in downtown Toronto."

Previewing this Saturday... (Thanks, Karl) Read the rest

Comics legend and crusading lawyer Bill Mantlo now brain-injured and warehoused in Queens

National Underwriter Life & Health Magazine has the insanely depressing story of comics legend Bill Mantlo, an incredibly prolific comics writer who created ROM and wrote Micronauts before getting a law degree and taking a huge pay cut to work as a crusading New York public defender, right up to the time that a hit-and-run driver left him with a near-fatal brain injury. Mantlo's insurer, Cigna, rode his family hard, pushing to get him moved out of top-flight rehab institutes (where he'd been making progress, even writing) and into a cheap warehousing facility for seniors and head-injury cases. Mantlo is still in that facility, in Queens, where his life is a kind of waking nightmare.

Bill can hear and recognize when people speak to him, but his own speech is slow, labored and typically consists of single words or very short sentences. Most times, he simply yells at anybody who enters his room. He has a history of lashing out violently at staff and patients, though in his current condition, the only person he is likely to hurt with a swing is himself.

His room is nearly empty. No television. No radio. No books, magazines or newspapers. No decorations on the walls. No mementos from previous visitors. Nothing at all to mark the individual who has lived here since 1995. A solitary prison cell has more personality than this, even though Bill is not prohibited from going anywhere. He just lacks mobility, and most times, the will. His average day consists of waking up, getting changed and cleaned by the morning shift nurses, and then a sit in his wheelchair, where he stares at nothing.

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Bechdel's Fun Home to be a musical

"Fun Home," Alison Bechdel's brilliant graphic novel memoir (review here) is being adapted for musical theater:

“My father and I grew up in the same small Pennsylvania town and he was gay and I was gay and he killed himself and I became a lesbian cartoonist,” Bechdel's character says in Fun Home.

Kron is a founding member of the theater company Five Lesbian Brothers and an Obie Award winning playwright for her autobiographical play 2.5 Minute Ride.

Tony nominated composer Tesori won the 1999 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music in a play with her compositions for Twelfth Night at Lincoln Center and she also picked up the Obie Award for the score for 1997’s off-Broadway show Violet as well as composing 11 new songs for a production of Thouroughly Modern Millie that transferred to Broadway in 2002.

Alison Bechdel's Graphic Novel 'Fun Home' to Become a Stage Musical (via The Mary Sue) Read the rest

Art Spiegelman lecture on Maus

In this fascinating hour-long Seton Hall lecture, Art Spiegelman expounds on Maus, his Pulitzer-winning graphic novel history of the Holocaust, providing excellent companion material to Metamaus, the new book that recounts Maus's history, which came out last month.

Art Spiegelman lecture Read the rest

Why does the rising moon look so big?

A few years ago, artist Maki Naro drew a comic explaining why the Moon appears larger on the horizon than it does way up in the sky.

Recently, he got a helpful email from astronomy blogger Phil Plait. Turns out, the original comic was just a bit wrong and Phil Plait had a much more thorough explanation. So, like any good evidence-based comic artist, Naro drew a new version of the comic, featuring a only-sorta-creepy Phil Plait jumping out of the bushes to accost people with accurate astronomical information.

See the full comic

Check out this post on Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy blog, upon which the comic is based. Read the rest

Simon and Kirby Crime comic anthology: exclusive Boing Boing excerpt

Titan Books has just released a new volume in their The Simon and Kirby Library. This one is called Crime. They've kindly given us permission to run a complete story, which you may read after the jump. This one is about Guy Fawkes, the chap who almost succeeded in blowing up King James and England's Parliament in 1605.

The creators of Captain America and the Boy Commandos produced some of the hardest-hitting crime comics of the 1950s.

Often featuring real-world criminals like Ma Barker, Al Capone, and Pretty Boy Floyd, and true-to-life events like the St. Valentine's Day Massacre, these adventures were torn from post-prohibition headlines. Explosive enough to draw the attention of the congressional committee on juvenile delinquency, they remain action-packed for today's graphic novel audience.

These are the best of the Simon and Kirby Crime comics, fully restored and collected for the first time.

Read the rest

Class War funnies: 1935 Daily Worker comics

Ruling Clawss was a Daily Worker comic strip by "A Redfield," better known for his contributions to the New Yorker under the name Syd Hoff. The strips are pretty resonant today, amid the Occupy uprisings and crackdowns.

Syd Hoff’s Teeth: The Leftist Satire of A. Redfield (via MeFi) Read the rest

Robin knee-socks with capes

These (sold out, sob!) ladies' Robin socks come with capes, which is nothing less than a stroke of genius.

Robin Socks w/Capes Jr Women Knee-Highs (Sold Out) (via Geekologie) Read the rest

The Homeland Directive: taut technothriller for the paranoid era

Robert Venditti and Mike Huddleston's stand-alone graphic novel The Homeland Directive is a tight, suspenseful technothriller (in Bruce Sterling's definition of the term: "a science fiction story with the president in it"). Mysterious government spooks are hunting a pair of CDC epidemiologists. One is murdered, the other, Dr Laura Regan, is framed for a variety of crimes and barely escapes in the company of rogue spooks who spirit her away to a safe house. The story that unfolds -- a plot to terrorize America into accepting an otherwise unthinkable authoritarian rule in the name of fighting terrorism -- is taut, filled with great spycraft and action sequences. A great, paranoid read for the modern age. Read the rest

Spider Man swing-dancers

This clip from the 2007 American Lindy Hop Championships features a pair of talented hoofers cutting a rug to a cool jazz rendition of the Spider Man theme, and the fella is wearing a Spider Man getup. It's aces. (via The Mary Sue) Read the rest

The Someday Funnies - an exclusive Boing Boing preview

Forty years in the making, The Someday Funnies is a 12" x 16", 215-page book containing color comic strips about the 1960s. They were created by famous cartoonists in the early 1970s for a Rolling Stone project that never materialized. Finally, these comics are seeing the light of day!

The Someday Funnies is the long-awaited collection of comic strips created in the early 1970s by world-famous artists and writers. What started out as a special insert for Rolling Stone took on a life -- and mythology -- of its own as writer/editor Michel Choquette traveled across two continents, commissioning this visual chronicle of the 1960s, only to find himself without a publishing partner or the financial support to continue -- until now.

Among the contributors Choquette commissioned are cartoonists and comic book luminaries such as Will Eisner, Art Spiegelman, Harvey Kurtzman, R.O. Blechman, Jack Kirby, Ralph Steadman, Sergio Aragones, C. C. Beck, Vaughn Bode, Moebius, Jean-Claude Forest, Gahan Wilson, Barry Windsor-Smith and Wally Wood; notable writers William S. Burroughs, Harlan Ellison, Michael O'Donoghue, and Tom Wolfe; celebrated film director Federico Fellini; artists Red Grooms and Allen Jones; as well as renowned musicians Pete Townsend and Frank Zappa.

Comics historian Jeet Heer says it all in his foreword, "The possibility that such an amazing anthology of original strips was being compiled seemed too good to be true... that this fabled collection failed to materialize as planned in the early 1970s only reinforced its status as an enticing dream rather than an imminent reality."

Forty years later, readers finally get to experience this legendary anthology as Choquette celebrates the birth, death, and resurrection of The Someday Funnies--129 previously unpublished strips by 169 writers and artists from 15 countries.

Read the rest

Red Light Properties: spooky and bawdy serial webcomic about realtors who specialize in haunted houses

Dan Goldman's Red Light Properties is a serial webcomic about a Florida real-estate brokerage that specializes in exorcising haunted houses and then listing them for cheap. Goldman (who created the fantastic 08 graphic novel) takes a somewhat lighthearted premise and uses it as contrast to make the fundamental spookiness of his stories stand out in stark relief. Goldman's ghost stories made the hairs on the back of my neck prickle, while the bawdy slapstick interludes served only to lure me into dropping my guard for the next scare. Highly recommended. Read the rest

Introducing Ed Piskor's Brain Rot

It's my great pleasure to welcome Ed Piskor to Boing Boing, where he's launching a new comic strip, Brain Rot.

You may know Ed from his work on Wizzywig, which he recently completed. A professional cartoonist since 2005, Piskor has produced his own minicomics series and collaborated with Harvey Pekar on American Splendor and two graphic novels. You can follow him on Twitter.

Catch the first strip and bookmark the archive. Read the rest

Romanians invade Comic-Con

A tip for New York Comic-Congoers: don't miss the Romanian booth for a look at some of the weirdest, coolest comics being made in the world today. See my piece in Forbes from a few years back on Romania's "otaci." Read the rest

Patrons sought for Jack Kirby Museum

Seen at New York Comic-Con, which I'm presently attending: this plea for 500 Jack Kirby fans to kick in $60 each to get a pop-up Jack Kirby museum in a Lower East Side storefront, to be curated by the folks who do the most excellent online Kirby Museum and Research Center Read the rest

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