Comics A.M. | NYC cracks down on costumed characters

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Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty allegedly brawled over a tip in 2015 (file photo)[/caption]

Legal | Despite a joint appeal from Spider-Man and The Joker, New York City Council passed legislation Thursday to allow the Department of Transportation to regulate public plazas and place new restrictions on the costumed characters who now roam Times Square. The move comes in response to repeated complaints, and some arrests, involving fights between the characters and the solicitation of tips from tourists. Keith Albahae attended last week's City Council meeting dressed as The Joker, and Abdelamine Elkhezzani was there as Spider-Man, to tell their side of the story. "I agree with The Joker, even though he's a villain and I'm a superhero," Elkhezzani said. "We're there to entertain people, we put a big smile on people's faces and we work on tips. This has opened up a lot of opportunities for people to support their families." Last year, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called on Disney and Marvel to crack down on unlicensed costumed characters, but to no avail. [CNN, The New York Times]

Conventions | Bryan Brandenburg, co-founder of Salt Lake Comic Con and its spinoff event FanXperience, has announced there may not be a FanX in 2017, saying, "there is no availability at the Salt Palace." It's also true that FanX will hold three conventions in Asia this year, so producers are a bit busy. The Salt Lake Tribune's Sean P. Means wonders whether two conventions a year is a bit much for Salt Lake City, but Brandenburg reassures the locals there are more events on the way, saying, "when you REALLY find out what we are up to you'll be dancing in the streets." [Salt Lake Tribune]

Conventions | Attendees at the fifth Middle East Film and Comic Con in Dubai participated in a question-and-answer session with Stan Lee via Skype — and they got to see a preview of a "mini-film" involving Lee, Spawn creator Todd MacFarlane, and and actors Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds and Anthony Mackie. Lee's assistant teased that the project includes clues "for the next Marvel production." [Gulf News]

Comics | Sen. Elizabeth Warren is the latest politician to receive the bio-comics treatment from Storm Comics (formerly Bluewater). Publisher Darren G. Davis and writer Michael Frizzell say that despite making comics about politicians, they try to steer clear of politics. "We mostly keep them pretty much unbiased because, at the end of the day, I don’t want anyone knowing who I personally vote for, especially when we start getting into the political world," Davis said. [MSNBC]

Comics | Oni Press editors talked with me about the open submissions process they went through last year, which resulted in 10 new titles — five of which were announced Thursday at Emerald City Comicon. [Publishers Weekly]

Manga | Christopher Gates looks at the hardcore Japanese attitude toward sports, as reflected in baseball and basketball manga. [Paste]

Graphic novels | High school students have a lively discussion of what graphic novels are and aren't, how they differ from other comics, and whether they are literature, in an article written for their school newspaper. [The Express]

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