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The Comics Alliance Guide to San Diego Comic-Con 2014: What To Do On Friday

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With hundreds of panels to choose from at San Diego Comic-Con, the show can be an overwhelming experience — and it’s far too easy to miss a panel you think you might have loved, or to find yourself on the wrong side of the con floor five minutes before a great panel is about to start!

Take heart, brave reader. ComicsAlliance has sifted through the schedule to offer up our pick of the best programming at the con. Today we offer our suggested highlights for day two, Friday July 25, 2014 — with an emphasis on comics programming. We’ll also let you know where and when you can find ComicsAlliance contributors at the San Diego show.

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Best Art Ever (This Week): The Sopranos, Skrillex, The Tick, Prince, Cowboy Bebop and More

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We make a regular practice at ComicsAlliance of spotlighting particular artists or specific bodies of work, as well as the special qualities of comic book storytelling, but because cartoonists, illustrators and their fans share countless numbers of great pinups, fan art and other illustrations on sites like Flickr, Tumblr, DeviantArt and seemingly infinite art blogs that we’ve created Best Art Ever (This Week), a weekly depository for just some of the pieces of especially compelling artwork that we come across in our regular travels across the Web. Some of it’s new, some of it’s old, some of it’s created by working professionals, some of it’s created by future stars, some of it’s created by talented fans, awnd some of it’s endearingly silly. All of it is awesome.

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Archie Comics Releases All-Star Series of Variant Covers, Weirdly They’re To Commemorate Archie Andrews’ Death

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What is assuredly the weirdest sentence I'll have written in all my years at this website: Archie Andrews will heroically sacrifice his life to save that of a deae friend in the penultimate issue of Life With Archie in July

Written by Paul Kupperberg with art by Pat & Tim Kennedy and Fernando Ruiz, Life With Archie #36 will depict the title character's death and come with a plethora of variant covers by some of our favorite artists like Francesco Francavilla, Fiona Staples, Ramón Pérez, Walt Simonson, Jill Thompson, Mike Allred, Cliff Chiang, Adam Hughes, Tommy Lee Edwards and Alex Ross.

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Fiona Staples Covers ‘Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man’ #1 In First Marvel Work

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On sale in May, Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man #1 relaunches the saga of its titular superhero in high style, featuring a a particularly cool variant cover by Fiona Staples that you're seeing here for the first time. The co-creator of Image Comics' very popular and much acclaimed Saga, Staples is an artist whose routinely gorgeous covers for DC Comics, WildStorm, Archie IDW and Dark Horse have earned her numerous award nominations, but not until now has the artist's work graced the cover of a Marvel Comics publication.

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Best Sequential Art Ever (This Week): Wes Craig and Fiona Staples

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The comic book, animation, illustration, pinup, mashup, fan art and design communities are generating amazing artwork of myriad styles and tastes, all of which ends up on the Internet and filtered into ComicsAlliance’s Best Art Ever (This Week). The

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Wiebe And Upchurch’s ‘Rat Queens’ Puts A Modern Spin On Dungeon Crawling Adventure [Preview]

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On the surface, Image Comics' new series Rat Queens by Peter Panzerfaust writer Kurtis J. Wiebe and artist Roc Upchurch is a traditional, Dungeons and Dragons-style story. It's got a fighter, a mage, a cleric and a thief going into a cave to clear out some goblins. But there's something...different about it. It's got four female lead characters, for one thing. And kind of a punk attitude.

You can check out the first-issue cover, a Fiona Staples variant, and few (partially NSFW) preview pages from the new series, which debuts September 25, after the jump.

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‘Building Stories,’ ‘Saga’ Dominate 2013 Eisner Awards [SDCC 2013]

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Industry professionals new and old gathered last night for the 2013 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards at Comic-Con International in San Diego, and it proved to be a big night for Chris Ware, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Ware's Building Stories took home four awards, including Best Writer/Artist and Best Publication Design, while Vaughan and Staples' Saga swept its three categories: Best Continuing Series, Best New Series and Best Writer. Among the highlights of the evening was several award recipients and presenters using their time on stage to offer a few kind words in remembrance of Kim Thompson, the legendary Fantagraphics co-publisher who passed away last month.

And while we regretfully inform you that ComicsAlliance was not among the evening's winners, we once again thank the judges for considering us.

You can see a complete list of nominees and winners below.

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Thinking About Brian Stelfreeze’s ‘Day Men’ And The Reascension Of The Comic Book Artist

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On sale this week from BOOM! Studios is the first issue of Day Men, a new series that introduces readers to the human helping hands of the violent vampire elite who rule the world in secret. Written by Matt Gagnon (Freelancers) and Michael Alan Nelson (Supergirl), Day Men is a cool organized crime-tinged take on the enduringly popular vampire genre, but the major selling point for the series is that it marks the return to monthly comics of one of the American industry’s most talented but elusive artists: Brian Stelfreeze. Does the final product live up to the auspicious occasion? Yes and no, but that it exists at all might be more important.

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Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson on the ‘Saga’ App Store Fiasco [Interview]

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Last Tuesday comics writer Brian K. Vaughan announced that Apple declined to sell the latest issue of his and Fiona Staples' hit Image Comics series Saga in its iOS App Store market on account of depictions of gay sex acts. The

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TWIST: Apple Didn’t Ban ‘Saga’ #12 from App Store, ComiXology Never Submitted It

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Earlier this week writer Brian K. Vaughan transmitted a press release stating that the latest issue of his and Fiona Staples sci-fi comic Saga would not be available for in-app purchase via ComXology or anything else in Apple's App Store for iOS devices, citing "two postage stamp-sized images of gay sex." Specifically, the artwork depicted graphic oral sex between men, including several ejaculations. While ComicsAlliance chalked the apparent banning up to the App Store's consistently inconsistan

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