Nerd Alert! Margaret Atwood gets graphic; all hail Darth Trump

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      Welcome to Nerd Alert!, your weekly round-up of news from the world of science fiction, fantasy, comic books, animation, and all things nerdy. 

      ON TUESDAY, DARK HORSE Comics announced it will be publishing a series of graphic novels written by Canadian literary giant Margaret Atwood. Angel Catbird, drawn by Vancouver's own Johnnie Christmas, tells the story of an unusual superhero (as opposed to all those average superheroes we encounter on a daily basis). "I have concocted a superhero who is part cat, part bird," a Dark Horse news release quoted Atwood as saying. "Due to some spilled genetic Super-Splicer, our hero got tangled up with both a cat and an owl; hence his fur and feathers, and his identity problems."

      Angel Catbird's tale of Super-Splicer and super-angst will unfold over the course of three graphic novels, the first of which Dark Horse will release next fall. The publication is connected to a Nature Canada initiative called Keep Cats Safe and Save Bird Lives. As anyone who has ever had a cat can tell you, one of the best ways to save bird lives is to keep them the hell away from cats, but that's a topic for another day.

      In related news, Dark Horse has announced that it will publish The Secret Loves of Geek Girls (mentioned in this very space back in June), which began life as an independent, Kickstarter-funded anthology of comics and stories created by women and lovingly curated by editor Hope Nicholson. One of those women is Atwood, who contributed some of her cartoons. The Secret Loves of Geek Girls is slated for release next October.

      WHAT WITH THE (ultimately doomed) attempt to scrub Donald Trump's name off of a prominent downtown Vancouver building, plus the fact that a certain movie that might make a bit of money is opening next week, the following seems timely:

      R.I.P. SHIGERU MIZUKI Pioneering Japanese comic-book creator Shigeru Mizuki has died. According to a post on the Drawn & Quarterly blog, the cartoonist was 93. He was hailed as one of the forefathers of manga, and in 2010, the Japanese government named him a Person of Cultural Merit and opened a museum and cultural centre in his name. He was little-known in the English-speaking world until 2011, when Drawn & Quarterly published an Eisner Award–winning translation of his book Onward Towards Our Noble Deaths. D&Q subsequently published a number of other works by Mizuki, including his four-volume Showa: A History of Japan, and, more recently, a graphic biography of Adolf Hitler. Mizuki passed away on November 30.

      Does the world need new Godzilla and Tarzan movies? Hell, no! Why is this even a question? Well, whether we need them or not (which we totally don't), we're getting them. Okay, so technically the Godzilla one isn't really a reboot. It's just the latest entry in a long-running Japanese franchise. But it's the first one in a decade, and look—they've gone all "shaky-cam" on us!