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

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With more than 200 panels to choose from at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday alone, the programming at the show can be completely overwhelming -- and it's far too easy to miss a panel you know 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 panels, screenings, and events, starting with programming for Thursday 24th July -- with an emphasis, of course, on comics programming.

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Buy This Book: ‘The Fox: Freak Magnet’ From Dean Haspiel, Mark Waid And J.M. DeMatteis

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If you've been reading ComicsAlliance for any length of time at all, you've probably already twigged to the fact that I tend to like really weird comics. Whether it's obscure Golden Age oddities, the Ninja training manuals that were sent to comic book stores in the '80s, or the pouch-filled excesses of the '90s, that's what I love to read. And in three solid decades of reading comic books, I've rarely seen one as weird as The Fox.

Even though it had some of the biggest names in comics involved -- drawn and plotted by Dean Haspiel with scripts by Mark Waid and J.M. DeMatteis -- the miniseries seemed to slip under the radar for a lot of people, and to be honest, I can see why. It's a strange story about a strange character that most people aren't too familiar with. Now that it's out in paperback, though, it's easy to pick up and read -- and you should, if only because it's even stranger when you read it all together.

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Archie’s Dark Circle Imprint Announces The Fox, The Shield, And The Black Hood

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The first three ongoing titles in Archie Comics' new Dark Circle line of superhero comics have been announced, and they offer an immediate glimpse of the diversity of the range, with one offbeat comedy book, one violent noir book, and what looks like a fairly classic legacy superhero story.

Duane Swierczynski and Michael Gaydos tackle noir in The Black Hood; Mark Waid and Dean Haspiel return for more of The Fox; and novelists Adam Christopher and Chuck Wendig join artist Wilfredo Torres on The Shield. All three titles have promise, but they paint a slightly different picture of the line than the forbidding 'Dark Circle' umbrella might have lead readers to expect!

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Gail Simone’s ‘Comics Survival Kit’ Tumblr Is Full Of Great Advice For Aspiring Creators

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Writer Gail Simone, who is getting ready to wrap up a sometimes-tumultuous run on Batgirl, has started a new Tumblr called Comics Survival Kit that aims to help up-and-coming or aspiring comic creators navigate the tricky landscape that is professional comics work.

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Archie’s Superhero Line Turning To The Dark Side With ‘Dark Circle’ Relaunch Is A Gamble That Makes Sense

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Archie Comics has developed a reputation for doing the unexpected and somehow pulling it off. The wholesome publisher pipped Marvel and DC to the lead in launching an ongoing book with a gay teen protagonist in Kevin Keller; it broke with the conventions of comic book continuity with its attention-grabbing Archie Marries... books; and it successfully brought zombies to Riverdale with its critically and commercially successful Afterlife With Archie books, potentially kicking off a new line of horror books.

So it feels in keeping with that spirit that Archie Comics announced yesterday that it plans to relaunch its cheery (and under-exposed) Red Circle superhero line as 'Dark Circle,' a line of adult-oriented series with the sophisticated narrative ambitions of HBO or Showtime. It's certainly unexpected. Can Archie Comics pull it off?

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Here’s The Thing, Episode 15: Why’s Mark Waid’s ‘Flash’ Run So Great

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If our weekly Ask Chris column isn't enough of definitive comic book (and pro wrestling) opinions for you, good news: ComicsAlliance is proud to present Here's The Thing, a series of videos where you can join our own extremely opinionated senior writer, Chris Sims, as he dives into comics history to explain why you're wrong and he's right.

This week, a reader wants to know just what the big deal is about Mark Waid's run on Flash in the '90s, and, as tends to happen with this sort of things, that simple question sends Chris into a lecture about the history of the DC Universe and the underlying themes, with an argument that Flash is the third most important character in DC History.

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Batman Writer Alan Brennert, ‘Gotham’, And The Truth About DC Comics Media Royalties

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A favorite among many longtime and hardcore Batman fans, writer Alan Brennert released a statement on Facebook this week regarding his lack of compensation for the use of the character Barbara Kean Gordon in the upcoming Fox TV show Gotham, a live-action series based on the Batman characters. Brennert wrote a story in 1981 where the character was created as the fiancée of then-Lt. James Gordon. While it was an out-of-continuity story, the character was later brought into canon as Commissioner Gordon’s wife (most notably in Batman: Year One, and in the films Batman Begins and The Dark Knight). In the television series' pilot episode -- which ComicsAlliance staffers have seen and verified -- Barbara Kean is introduced as James Gordon's bride-to-be, played by Erin Richards.

For this reason, Brennert requested equity in the character and compensation for her use in Gotham – a request that has been denied, which has in turn inspired consternation among Brennert's fans, industry observers and other creators.

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Original Spin 5: Going Commando [Marvel Original Sin Recap]

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Inexplicably cleared in the phone hacking scandal, ComicsAlliance is back with the fifth installment of Original Spin, the only Original Sin recap that... exists, maybe? We don't know! We haven't done any research. That's what makes us a name you can trust.

The Watcher is dead. Nick Fury is also dead. A bunch of disparate heroes spent four issues wandering around crime scenes before discovering they're maybe all working for Nick Fury, who isn't dead, and was maybe responsible for all those crime scenes, so.. what? The Watcher probably also won't be dead, eventually. That's the story so far. With issue #5... that's... still the story, because nothing really happened. But here's a recap anyway!

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Interview: Artist Barry Kitson On The Birth and Rebirth Of ‘Empire’ With Mark Waid

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As part of the short-lived Gorilla imprint of Image Comics in 2000, frequent collaborators Mark Waid and Barry Kitson launched Empire, a creator-owned title about the reign of a supervillain who succeeded where so many others failed, and actually conquered the Earth, uniting it under his brutal, iron-fisted rule. The initial run only lasted two issues, but a few years later, Waid and Kitson finished the first story arc under the DC Comics banner, and in so doing created something of a cult classic that some fans still regard as their best work together -- work that includes The Legion of Super-Heroes, JLA: Year One and Flash & Green Lantern: The Brave and the Bold.

Now, fourteen years after Golgoth first took control of the world, Waid and Kitson have returned to Empire, releasing it as a webcomic through Thrillbent's monthly subscription model, whereby you get access to the entire Thrillbent catalogue for $3.99, and a free download of Empire volume 1.

To find out more about the return of Empire, we spoke to Kitson about the initial idea, how he approached designing a world that had been conquered by evil, and where he and Waid intend to take the very long awaited Empire volume 2.

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War Rocket Ajax Early Edition: Secret Origins, Original Sin [Podcast]

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Each week, ComicsAlliance’s Chris Sims and Matt Wilson host the War Rocket Ajax podcast, their online audio venue for interviews with comics creators, reviews of the books of the week, and whatever else they want to talk about. ComicsAlliance is offering clips of the comics-specific segments of the show several days before the full podcast goes up at WarRocketAjax.com on Mondays.

This week, Chris and Matt are offering up some extended reviews of DC Comics' Secret Origins #1 by Greg Pak, Lee Weeks, Kyle Higgins, Doug Mahnke, Tony Bedard, and Paulo Siqueria, and Marvel's Original Sin #0 by Mark Waid and Jim Cheung.

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