NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped veggies and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":

Pages

A Comics Crusader Takes On The Digital Future

Aug 7, 2012
Originally published on September 16, 2013 2:40 pm

He wouldn't make the claim himself, but when it comes to comic-book writers, Mark Waid is one of the greats.

"I've pretty much hit all of the pop culture bases," Waid says, surrounded by comic-book memorabilia in his Los Angeles home. Batman, Spider-Man and even The Incredibles have all had adventures dreamed up by Waid.

"Jan. 26, 1979, was the most important day of my life," Waid says. "Because that's the day that I saw Superman: The Movie. I came out of it knowing that no matter what the rest of my life was going to be like, it had to involve Superman somehow."

Waid's writing made the DC Comics' miniseries Kingdom Come into one of the definitive Superman stories — the ultimate "what if" tale.

"What happens when Superman retires and the next generation of heroes come along and make a mess of things, and Superman has to come back and set the world straight?" Waid says.

"You know," he laughs, "that is kinda what I'm doing right now."

Remaking Comics For Hand-Held Screens

That's because Waid has begun remaking comics for iPads and similar gizmos — crafting stories that use simpler pictures and bigger text that read well on screens of any size. And he's found new storytelling tricks, like captions that shift over a static piece of art.

"That doesn't change the image, but it completely changes the context of what the story is," Waid explains.

Take the comic Waid wrote for Marvel's new Infinite Comics line, designed specifically for the digital format. In it, a hero hurtles through space, a red-orange blur behind him.

But when the reader swipes the screen, the page doesn't turn — instead, the image shifts focus. The blur becomes the fiery cosmic Phoenix, the X-Men's most deadly foe.

"I got news for you: I've been doing this for 25 years, and this is the hardest writing I've ever had to do," Waid says.

Others have tried adapting comics from print to digital form, but it hasn't been easy. One attempt, a hybrid cartoon/comic called Motion Comics, failed to really take off.

"Because what makes comics ... is that you are in control of the pace at which you absorb the story," Waid says. "It's a relationship between you and the page."

So far, the biggest hits have been apps from a company called Comixology. These put issues of paper comics directly onto phones and tablets. They're good, but not perfect, Waid says. He likens it to what happened when movies went to VHS and were hacked to fit TV screens.

"That seemed unacceptable to me," he says. "[It] seemed to me that the smart money is to go the reverse and create things specifically for a digital medium."

Taking A Risk On A Digital Future

And Waid is betting the Kent family farm on it. He's selling off his personal collection — 40 years' worth of comics — to fund his new venture, Thrillbent.com. There, he hopes to build an audience by giving away the work for free.

If he can find a way to make Thrillbent pay, Waid will take that cash and then make print collections of the stories for stores.

"And hope that enough store owners haven't hung me in effigy in the meantime, where there's not a market for that stuff," Waid says.

Robert Hennessey is one of those store owners Waid wants to keep the peace with. Hennessey dreads the end of print comics, when stores like his are no longer the center of the comic-book universe.

Sitting with Waid in his shop, Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica, Calif., Hennessey describes his worst-case scenario.

"OK, here's my fear," Hennessey says. "That what happens is that we get comics out there digitally, and that they become either free or so nearly free that it starts to cannibalize the audience for print comics."

But some see that change as inevitable.

"The weekly superhero comic is not long for this world," says Glen Weldon, a critic and contributor to NPR's Monkey See blog. "The other thing to keep in mind is that it's really surprising how ... easy it is to get comics nowadays digitally."

But that doesn't mean they're selling. In June, Comixology revealed they had pulled in $19 million in sales in 2011 — less than what print comics make in a single month. The company's projections for the current year put them on track to take in $70 million — a big jump that would equal about two months' take from print.

That leaves Waid with a never-ending battle: to make the digital world safe for creators, fans and the comic-book way.

Noah Nelson is a reporter for Turnstyle, a project of Youth Radio.

Copyright 2013 Turnstyle. To see more, visit http://turnstylenews.com/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish. This summer, comic book movies have earned one and a half billion dollars here in the U.S. That's more than triple the sales of actual comic books for all of last year. The comic book industry is trying to figure out how to expand its audience and part of the answer is probably digital, but nobody has landed on the perfect comic equivalent of the eBook, MP3 or streaming internet video.

Noah Nelson of Turnstyle News brings us the story of one man who is trying to solve the problem. Mark Waid, superhero scribe by day, digital comics revolutionary by night.

NOAH NELSON, BYLINE: He wouldn't make the claim, but when it comes to comic book writers, Mark Waid is one of the greats.

MARK WAID: I pretty much hit all of the pop culture bases.

NELSON: Batman, Spiderman, even the Incredibles have had their adventures dreamt up by Waid.

WAID: January 26, 1979 was the most important day of my life because that's the day that I saw "Superman: The Movie."

NELSON: Waid was 15 years old.

WAID: And I came out of it knowing that no matter what the rest of my life was going to be like, it had to involve Superman somehow.

NELSON: He made the D.C. Comics miniseries "Kingdom Come" into one of the definitive Superman stories, the ultimate what-if tale.

WAID: What happens when Superman retires and the next generation of heroes come along and make a mess of things and Superman has to come back and set the world straight?

NELSON: Mark, isn't that what you're doing right now?

WAID: You know, that is kind of what I'm doing right now.

NELSON: Waid has begun remaking comics for iPads and similar gizmos, stories that use simpler pictures and bigger text that read well on any size screen. He's found new storytelling tricks like captions that shift over a static piece of art.

WAID: That doesn't change the image, but it completely changes the context of what the story is.

NELSON: Take the comic Waid wrote for Marvel's new Infinite Comics line. A hero hurtles through space, a red-orange blur behind him. When the reader swipes the screen, the page doesn't turn. Instead, the image shifts focus. The blur becomes the fiery cosmic Phoenix, the X-Men's most deadly foe.

WAID: I got news for you. I've been doing this for 25 years and this is the hardest writing I've ever had to do.

NELSON: Others have tried to adapt comics from print to digital, but it hasn't been easy. One attempt was a hybrid cartoon comic called Motion Comics. Those failed to really take off. So far the biggest hits have been apps from a company called Comixology. These put issues of paper comics right onto phones and tablets. They're good, but not perfect.

Waid says it's like what happened when movies went to VHS and were hacked to fit TV screens.

WAID: That seemed unacceptable to me. It seemed to me like the smart money is to go the reverse and create things specifically for a digital medium.

NELSON: Waid is betting the Kent family farm on it, selling off his personal collection, 40 years worth of comics, to fund his new venture, Thrillbent.com, building an audience by giving away the work for free. If he can find a way to make Thrillbent pay, Waid will take that cash and then make print collections of the stories for stores.

WAID: And hope that, you know, enough store owners haven't hung me in effigy in the meantime where there's not a market for that stuff.

ROBERT HENNESSEY: Hanging in effigy wasn't really part of my plan.

NELSON: That's Robert Hennessey.

HENNESSEY: But...

WAID: Although...

HENNESSEY: Yeah, but now that you mention it...

NELSON: He's co-owner of the Santa Monica comic book store Hi De Ho Comics. Hennessey dreads the end of print comics when stores like his are no longer the center of the comic book universe.

HENNESSEY: OK. Here's my fear, is that what happens is that we get comics out there digitally and that they become either free or so nearly free that it starts to cannibalize the audience for print comics.

NELSON: But some see that change as inevitable. Glen Weldon is a critic whose book on the history of Superman is due next year and he's a contributor to NPR's Monkey See blog.

GLEN WELDON: The weekly superhero comic is not long for this world. The other thing to keep in mind is that it's really surprising how much - how easy it is to get comics nowadays digitally.

NELSON: But that doesn't mean they're selling. In June, Comixology revealed they'd pulled in $19 million in sales in 2011. For perspective, that's less than what print comics make in a month, which leaves Waid with a never-ending battle, to make the digital world safe for creators, fans and the comic book way.

For NPR News, I'm Noah Nelson.

CORNISH: Noah Nelson is a reporter for TurnstyleNews.com, a project of Youth Radio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.