Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.
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Comic book heroes are not just for little kids and "Big Bang Theory" nerds anymore. Nearly 20 movies based on comic book characters are set to be released in the U.S. just this year. With their super powers combined, these movies are out to conquer the box office, winning over new fans in the process.
"The characters, and the stories have been around for so long, so that the generations that grew up reading our comics as kids, are now in positions of authority at movie studios and television studios," said Tom Brevoort, of Marvel Comics.
And it's not just movies. Last year, San Diego's annual Comic-Con gathering reached a record attendance of 130,000, up from just 145 attendees in 1970.
If you have never finished a superhero saga by turning the page, as opposed to watching it on the big screen, you're missing out. But don't worry, you can head to a comic book store on Saturday to see where the movie stars get their script ideas.
Why Saturday? Just ask Wolverine, er, Hugh Jackman. The actor appeared in a video promoting Free Comic Book Day.
The day is "designed to promote all the different types of comic books to all the people that wouldn't necessarily be exposed to them, and to, you know, get people started reading,"said Dave Kurokawa, manager at Fantom Comics in Washington, D.C.
It is a big weekend for flying crime fighters and their fans - Iron Man 3 hits theaters Friday. But don't let Robert Downey, Jr. fool you, there are many more masked adventurers waiting in the wings. Kurokawa shared one new character he likes that was created by celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain: Jiro, a sushi chef fighting off warlords in a far-off future.
The hope for retailers is customers come for the free comic books, and spend a lot of money on the ones that are not.
About 27 million free comics are expected to be given away Saturday, in 60 countries all over the world.
The question of whether the accused bombers had collaborators has yet to be definitively answered. The surviving brother, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, has told investigators they acted alone, according to law enforcement sources, telling investigators he and his brother were inspired by what they saw as unjust wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and radicalized themselves by what they read online.
The preachings of radical American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki were likely to have been among the videos the Tsarnaev brothers watched, according to a U.S. government official.
Investigators are also looking into whether the brothers read the jihadist online magazine "Inspire," the brainchild of al-Awlaki, the magazine reads like a how-to manual for would-be terrorists.
"For a number of years, that one magazine seemed to be a main recruiter of young Muslims in this country in terms of self-radicalization," Rep. Peter King, R-New York, said shortly after the Boston bombings.
One of the pressure cooker bombs allegedly used by the Tsarnaevs was similar to a bomb design found in the magazine's article "How to Make a Bomb in Your Mom's Kitchen."
The National Rifle Association says its annual meeting in Houston is on track to be its largest ever. The theme this year is "Stand and Fight." The NRA recently fought, and won, a battle against the most serious gun control legislation in years, when the U.S. Senate defeated a bipartisan gun control bill proposing expanded background checks in April.
As members were on their way to the NRA meeting, a man fired a gun inside Houston's largest airport, and then shot himself when he was confronted by police. He left behind a suicide note saying he had a "monster within" him, and wanted police to stop him before he hurt others. It is too early to say if there are any laws that could have prevented the shooting, but the question remains, how can we keep guns out of the hands of mentally unstable people?
"We have, since the mid-1990s urged Congress and the states to make certain that those who have been adjudicated to be potentially violently medically ill be included in the background searches through the National Instant Check system," said NRA president David Keene. "Yet it hasn't happened."
Yet many argue the system should also flag not just those who are adjudicated as violently mentally ill, but also those who are mentally ill on a lesser level, alerting gun sellers that there might be concerns about an individual expressed by a doctor, hospital, or an ex-wife.
"Most of the people who have mental problems, who are mildly depressed or whatever, are no more dangerous than you and I are," said Keene. "We should not willy-nilly be taking their rights away from them."
It's been seven months since the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya. We still do not have the killers, and the bureaucracy surrounding it is getting dizzying.
Now, the panel that was put together to investigate the Benghazi attack is itself under review, by the State Department's own Inspector General.
The Benghazi attack killed U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans, with the aftermath posing serious questions about why the State Department ignored months of requests for added security, whether anything more could have been done to help those being attacked, and why the Obama administration seemed so eager to blame it all on an anti-Muslim video, as opposed to its own mistakes.
There are reports that the Israeli air force flew into Lebanon's air space to prevent Syrian rebels or authorities from delivering arms to Hezbollah. Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren said he would not comment on operational details, but said that Israel would take action under specific circumstances.
"If the Syrian regime tries to transfer chemical weapons, or what we call game changing weaponry, to terrorist organizations, particularly to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel will not remain passive," said Oren.
In other words, if Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and his forces attempt to transfer chemical weapons, Israel would take military action to stop it.
The Lead with Jake Tapper draws not only on Tapper’s deep knowledge of politics and national issues, but also seeks to examine and advance stories across a wide range of topics that demonstrate his own curiosities and interests. Compelling headlines come from around the country and the globe, from politics to money, sports to popular culture, based on news drivers of the day.
The Lead with Jake Tapper airs weekdays at 4 p.m. ET.
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