Comics Lowdown: Armed man arrested at Phoenix Comicon

Plus news and updates on The Dark Knight III: The Master Race., comiXology’s Valiant High, Marissa Moss, These Machines Are Winning and more.

Police in Phoenix, Arizona, arrested 31-year-old Matthew Sterling at Phoenix Comicon on Thursday after being alerted that he was posting photos of police officers from inside the convention center and talking about harming the police. He told police he was the Punisher and could tell which police officers were good and which were bad.

Matthew Sterling (Photo from Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office)

When he was arrested, Sterling was carrying three handguns, a shotgun, ammunition, and a knife, and wearing body armor, according to Phoenix Police Sgt. Mercedes Fortune. He was charged with one count of attempted murder, three counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, wearing body armor during the commission of a felony, resisting arrest and carrying a weapon in a prohibited place, and was held on a $1 million cash bond. Although police believe this was an isolated incident, security is being boosted at the convention; all prop weapons have been banned, and some entrances and exits will be closed, which has resulted in lines to get into the show.

Interviews and Profiles

“Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love,” by Marissa Moss

When my daughters were young, they loved Marissa Moss’s Amelia’s Notebook books, which were sort of an early version of the Wimpy Kid books, stories told in a graphic format with lots of pictures. But when my kids were laughing their way through Moss’s books, the author was living through her husband’s short-lived bout with ALS. Now Moss has written a graphic memoir of her family’s experiences with his illness and death, Last Things: A Graphic Memoir of Loss and Love, and it sounds like it’s bracingly real:

“It’s not a story about the redemptive power of a terminal illness,” she said. “That wasn’t our story.”

At the same, she believes that sharing how she and her sons held together during the ordeal, grieved and then moved on offers a powerful message about love and resilience. “It’s also about living, about the strong bonds of family and how they can sustain us through impossible situations.”

Comics and Culture

These Machines Are Winning

The band These Machines Are Winning is about to release a three-album box set and a comics trilogy titled Slaves for Gods. And it’s not just a side project:

The band attends comic book conventions and shows its videos at film festivals, making its work a true multimedia project. It has made connections by appearing at these events, including one with Charlie Adlard, best known for his work on The Walking Dead comic. Adlard has contributed artwork to Slaves for Gods, which will be distributed by Hermes Press.

The only way you can physically buy the music is by buying the comics first. If you want all three albums, you have to buy the box set. And only 100 box sets will be made. While people can cry foul about that, the group has put all these measures in place to ensure all its projects get equal attention.

Reviews and Roundups

Charles Pulliam Moore is digging Valiant High, which puts all the characters of the Valiant Universe together—in high school:

In an age where most major comics publishers use sprawling events and reboots like Secret Empire or Rebirth to lure in new readers, Valiant High stands out because of how utterly fun and action-packed it manages to be while also being relatively low-stakes, story-wise. Where Marvel and DC use the apocalypse as a reason to get all of its heavy hitters in a room together to interact, Valiant chose to focus on something much more relatable and eternally present: teenage anxiety.

Kieran Schach pens a lengthy and considered review of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight III: The Master Race.

I rounded up seven manga set in space—some are classic space operas, others vary from the genre a bit.

The Biz

On the 40th anniversary of the premiere of the first Star Wars movie, John Jackson Miller looks at the sales and printing history of the early Star Wars comics.

Venus’s Comic Shop, which is set to open in July, will “prelaunch” at Awesome Con in Washington, DC, on June 16-18. The shop will sponsor the Artists Alley and also have a booth on the exhibit floor. CEO Raymond Francis says the store will feature superhero and independent comics and graphic novels, and a portion of each month’s profits will be donated to cancer research, to honor a fan who recently died of cancer.

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