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The ComicsAlliance 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

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The Holiday Gift-Giving season is upon us once again, and as always, that presents a pretty unique problem for comic book readers. We tend to hit our local shops or Comixology every week to grab our favorite books, so when it comes to finding something in comics that we really like, well, chances are good that we already have it. Fortunately, there's a lot of really cool stuff out there that's related to comics that makes for a fine gift.

So whether you're looking for something to give to a comic book fan or just looking for something to tell your loved ones to look for so that you don't end up with another box of Spider-Man themed Monopoly (note: this is the worst possible present), we're here with the first installment of our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide!

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The Superhero Balloons of the Comics Alliance Thanksgiving Parade!

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For me, one of the single greatest moments of the holiday season is the annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! Not only does it signal the official start of the Christmas season, but it's the perfect combination of crass commercialism, holiday festivity and high school marching bands. And yet, as much as I love it, it just doesn't have enough comics for my tastes.

Sure, they've had balloons of Snoopy, Pikachu and Spider-Man before, and Marvel even had a couple of incredibly complex floats back in the '80s, but really, that just scratches the surface. Which is why today we teamed up with Anthony Clark, the artist and creator of the beloved webcomic Nedroid and the recent Beartato and the Secret of the Mystery collection, to launch the ComicsAlliance Thanksgiving Day Parade with the balloons we want to see!

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New Arkham Knight Trailer: Batman Rolls In With Guns A-Blaze… Wait What?

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For those of you who prefer to see Batman driving around in a car with a gigantic gun sticking out at the top, blowing up tanks, shooting people and also shoving crooks' heads into electrified fuse boxes, we have some good news! For those of you who don't, well, maybe just close this window and go for a walk for a few minutes or something. See, this week brought us some new footage from Rocksteady's upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight video game, in which Batman takes on a small army of soldiers and (presumably unmanned) tanks led by the title villain to rescue a few NPCs in an all-out assault on Ace Chemical.

And just so you don't think it's all just things designed to make me grumpy, you also get to see Batman doing a straight-up Street Fighter-style shoryuken, and that's pretty awesome.

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Jonathan Hickman & Ryan Bodenheim Reunite For ‘The Dying And The Dead’ In January

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I've been a fan of Jonathan Hickman's work at Image ever since he hit the ground running with The Nightly News, and the thing I tend to love most about those projects is how unrelentingly high-concept they are. There's always a new hook that I've never seen before, whether it's a satire about super-powered mutant apes or an ongoing series featuring real-life historical figures involved in truly ridiculous acts of mad science. As a result, if you tell me that Hickman and artist Ryan Bodenheim, who worked together on Red Mass For Mars, are doing a new series together called The Dying and the Dead, then my first question is "what's the high concept?"

And that's when I found out that they're referring to it as "Indiana Jones for old people," and I'm pretty much sold.

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The Batman ’66 Episode Guide 1×01: Hi Diddle Riddle

The Batman '66 Episode Guide 1x01: Hi Diddle Riddle

The 1966 Batman television show was one of the most successful and influential adaptations of comic books to mass media of all time. Over the course of three seasons and 120 episodes, the series became a cultural force with its unique combination of tongue-in-cheek humor, thrilling superhero adventure and celebrity guest stars, and shaped the way the public would view the Caped Crusader for the next five decades. Now, in the midst of a well-deserved renaissance of the show, ComicsAlliance is proud to present The Batman '66 Episode Guide, an in-depth examination of every single adventure, arch-criminal and deathtrap cliffhanger of the series.

This week, the guide begins with the pilot episode, "Hi Diddle Riddle," in which the Prince of Puzzles has given up his life of crime... or has he?

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Roc Upchurch Arrested For Domestic Violence, ‘Rat Queens’ Will Continue With A New Artist

Rat Queens art

Earlier this week Bleeding Cool reported that Rat Queens artist John Upchurch, who draws under the pen name Roc Upchurch, was arrested in Georgia last month on charges of "Battery - Family Violence." The report sourced a blog post by Upchurch's wife describing the events, one which she later deleted but that is still available in the form of Web cache. Roc Upchurch confirmed the arrest in a statement to Bleeding Cool.

Following questions of what would become of the series, Rat Queens writer and co-creator Kurtis Wiebe announced on his website that in light of the nature of the charges, Upchurch will no longer be drawing the comic, and that Rat Queens will continue with a new artist.

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Behold: Geof Darrow Draws ‘The Legend Of Korra’ For Limited Edition Print

Legend of Korra print by Geof Darrow
Click for full size

Each and every week, ComicsAlliance puts the spotlight on some of our favorite pieces in our regular Best Art Ever (This Week) feature. Every now and then, though, something comes along that deserves to take the spotlight all on its own, and there's a new art print that definitely fits the bill. In this case, it's because it combines two of our favorite things: Artist Geof Darrow and The Legend of Korra.

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Ask Chris #221: Superman Takes Down The Clan Of The Fiery Cross

Ask Chris art by Erica Henderson

Q: What's your favorite example of a comic having an effect on the real world? -- @jamesdeleech

A: You know, a lot of the questions I get for this column, at least the ones I tend to like answering, are the ones that are open to interpretation, and it's fun to pick and choose stories to talk about that back up a particular idea that I have about how something works. This one, though, is one of those questions that's about as close to having one definitive answer as is possible. When you talk about those great times when comics changed the real world, there's really only one choice.

It's when Stetson Kennedy teamed up with Superman to bring down the Ku Klux Klan.

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‘Multiversity’ Colorist Nathan Fairbairn Explains ‘Pax Americana’ Process

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I'm sure more than one comic came out this week, but you wouldn't know that form my Twitter feed, where all anyone is talking about is Pax Americana, the latest chapter of Multiversity by Grant Morrison, Frank Quitely and Nathan Fairbairn. Using the old Charlton Comics characters that inspired Dave Gibbons and Alan "The Original Writer" Moore's classic graphic novel Watchmen, Pax Americana tells a story that is in turn inspired by Watchmen, creating a meticulously structured comic with layers so dense that it's blowing minds all across the comics scene.

And one of the most important parts about the comic is color. That's true of any comic printed in color, of course, but in this particular issue, color becomes a major theme, creating a backdrop for the story that's tied into ideas about spiral dynamics, something that's verbosely explained by the Question about three quarters of the way through the book.

If that sounds complicated, well, it is, and our own David Uzumeri is hard at work on annotations explaining it all. Until then, we're fortunate enough that Fairbairn has taken to his Tumblr to break down his coloring process and how he worked with Quitely to create the incredible visuals of Pax Americana.

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‘LEGO Batman V. Superman’ Fan Film Is The Only Dark Knight/Man Of Steel Fight You’ll Ever Need

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We're still over a year away from the big-screen debut of the amazingly titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which your two favorite DC Comics heroes will be v-ing each other alongside other members of the Justice League, and maybe getting around to fighting an actual supervillain somewhere in hour three, if they have time. If you can't wait, though, I have some good news: BrickNerd Studios has brought you a short film in which the LEGO counterparts of the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel slug it out in brutal combat... for... some reason.

I'm not overselling things when I say that this is the best possible version of this fight that you're likely to see onscreen, and that Hollywood's going to have a hard time topping it in 2016.

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