FBI has 7,526 page long file on a cartoonist

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The FBI has amassed a 7,526 page file on cartoonist/essayist Molly Crabapple, as she tweeted the other day. Crabapple’s lawyer has filed to see the papers under the Freedom of Information Act, and the FBI will reviews them 750 pages a month and pass along ones they deem fit for Crabapple to see.

What has Crabapple done to merit such attention?

Created Dr Sketchy’s Anti-Art School
Documented and helped organize the original Occupy movement at Wall Street
Crowdfunded “Molly Crabapple’s “Week in Hell” performance art piece
Was arrested during a protest on the one year anniversary of Occupy
Kickstarted a series of paintings about “The Great Recession”
Visited the Guantanamo Bay prison and wrote about it for Vice
Obviously some dangerous stuff there. HOpefully they have equally large files on actually dangerous wackadoos.

Demo-Graphics: LOTS more info on who buys comics

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Brett Schenker is pressing onwards with his Facebook research into comics likers, who they are what they buy and what they do. While his gender based research continues to be a benchmark, this time out he has a lot of trends on education, employment and so on.

Compared to the general Facebook populace, comic fans are much more likely to be “single,” “in a relationship,” or “engaged.” They are much less likely to be “married.” As far as education, they are slightly more likely to be college educated. Take the above and we’re looking for younger college educated individuals.


Also of note, what else comics readers like:
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That’s just a sample. Hit the link for the whole thing. Brett tells me that some racial breakdowns should be available soon and that should prove to be fascinating as well.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/3/15: Cartoonist gets a new job and then she posts about it!

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Danielle S. Pemble for The New York Times

§ Norm Breyfogle suffered a stroke on December 17th, but he’s making great progress, as shown in this video; his fundraiser to help with his rehab is still underway and NOW he’s the poster child for medical bill crowdfunding, with this profile in the New York Times. It’s great to see Norm recovering and we send him all our best.

§ The New York Times also covered the Angouleme comics fest complete with a slideshow. Of course, the focus was on Charlie Hebdo, but…as someone who has been following comics media for more than a decade that is still pretty amazing.

§ Everyone was puzzled and angry about the new FF trailer, so they had to watch it over and over again to make sure of what was puzzling and angering them. And then it became Fox’s’ most watched trailer ever. Who’s laughing now, sucker?

§ Cartoonist Robyn Chapman is now employed as assistant editor at First Second, which is win win win for everyone. Congrats, Robyn!

§ Yam Rooks Rina Ayuyang has a very detailed run down of her 2014, with show reports and more. [Link via The Tiny Report]

§ And Zainab Akhtar runs down the 20 most anticipated comics and graphic novels for 2015; after a look it’s going to be a very good year.

§ I put together another list of Spring 2015 GNS for PW, but it’s still behind the paywall. I’ll alert the troops when it’s out.

§ SF book shop Borderlands Books is closing in March and the main cause is that California has raised the minimum wage to $12.25 an hour. That will increase the payroll 39% and operating costs 19%. It’s very sad that paying workers the very modest sum of $12.25 an hour will cause an unworkable business model, especially since SF is the second most expensive city to live in in the US, it seems to be a downward spiral. I wonder if this will also affect Californian comics shops?

§ FanX was held over the weekend in Salt Lake City, and it went fine, especially with capping tickets at 50,000—previous shows has some crowding, which was avoided this time:

Halfway through its third and final day, Salt Lake Comic Con announced it had sold out its FanX event and was closing on-site ticket sales.

Unlike previous comic con events, which drew as many as 120,000 attendees, ticket sales were capped at 50,000, with attendance measuring just above that, according to preliminary reports.

“I think we kept it just about the right size,” co-founder Bryan Brandenburg said. ” FanX officials ironed out logistical concerns from previous events, including the second Salt Lake Comic Con that was held just four months ago in September.

Wristbands with RFID chips kept lines flowing in and out of the Salt Palace while the limited ticket numbers ensured the previously crowded convention floor was comfortable to navigate. “I think we’ve learned a few lessons from last time,” Brandenburg said. “I think we kept it just the right size, and our customer support lines were more quiet than they’ve ever been, which is great.”

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§ Joe Illidge looks at the history of Storm.

A strong Black woman who survived through poverty and the loss of her parents as a child, discovered her extraordinary gifts and used them to help her people, travelled to America to help on a global scale, lost her powers, refused to become a victim and emerged as a woman strong enough to wrest leadership of the X-Men from a superpowered comrade, became the leader of a band of underground mutants by defeating the band’s leader in battle, returned home for self-exploration, regained her powers, and married King T’Challa, thereby becoming the Queen of Wakanda, one of the most technologically advanced nations on Marvel’s Earth.

§ Stolen Sharpie has a list of fine fest and small press-y things, but it is far from complete and missing a bunch of CAFs, but clip and save and pencil in. [Link via Panel Patter]

§ Zak Sally has not only released one of the most challenging comics of the last 12 months, but he’s joining Anders Nilsen in doing an end around on Amazon.

§ While I was checking that last bit, I also noticed that Zally has lost the URL LaMano21 which is the site for his publishing company, due to missing a renewal and a squatter moved in and now he’s in a fight to get it back. Which is a good reminder. FOR GOD’S SAKE SET YOUR DOMAINS TO AUTORENEW. Or at least make sure your GoDaddy* emails don’t go to spam. It’s very difficult to get a lapsed domain back and a little attention and it will never happen.

* Yes I know GoDaddy is comprised of sexist pigs but they also make renewing very easy.

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§ Finally, this Funnybook Babylon link has been making the rounds, but it is a sobering reminder of just how awful the 90s really were for comics, when Wizard Magazine was considered the hottest cool thing in the biz and ran things like panels of women and explained how hot and sexy they were. I mean yes, people didn’t have internets so they had to find wank material anywhere they could, but this was the best selling item in comics shops for several years.

Why Does Wizard Think This is Sexy? They’ve never seen a real porno magazine before, so the idea of one appearing in a comic book is mysterious and wonderful. This is a tangent, but it always bothers me when people in comic books act like their world actually looks like a comic book. People have distinguishing characteristics besides costumes and colors; if you put different people in (most) superhero outfits, no one would mistake Thor/Iron Man/Captain America/Bruce Banner for Hawkeye just because Mark Ruffalo or Chris Hemsworth put on Jeremy Renner’s costume. I think everyone could tell that it was Zoe Saldana as Gamora even though her skin color was altered, so color-corrected She-Hulk nudie photos would look like nudie photos of She-Hulk with caucasian skin. I haven’t seen anyone go “it’s cool if you post my leaked naked phone pics, so long as you Photoshop my skin to be green, that way no one will know it’s me.”

Thank god we’ve come so far since then.

Word Without Borders publishes 9th annual Graphic Novels issue

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Black Spring by Maxence Emery and Thomas Humeau

 

The annual graphic novel issues of Words without Borders, an online international literary magazine, is out, and it has a great line-up, which you can see by clicking through. I’ve post a few preview images at the bottom of the post.

 

In a timely piece of graphic reportage produced in partnership with Amnesty International, the French team of Maxence Emery and Thomas Humeau give voice to an exiled, and disillusioned, Cuban revolutionary and political prisoner. 

From a book that won special mention at the 2011 Angoulême International Comics Festival, Spanish artist and video graphic star Soulman and French writer Maximilien Le Roy depict a sorrowful memoir of loss and reconciliation in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

And on the light side, Italy’s prolific Paolo Bacilieri clues us in on the invention of the crossword puzzle in 1914 New York City.  

Editorial director Susan Harris said of this month’s issue, “Whether illustrating stark reportage or fanciful satire, the vivid images here add another dimension to our understanding of history both personal and political.” 

The issue also features work by Oscar Pantoja, Miguel Bustos, Felipe Camargo, and Tatiana Córdoba (Colombia), Hippolyte and Patrick de Saint-Exupéry (France), Manfredi Giffone, Fabrizio Longo, and Alessandro Parodi (Italy), and Kim Han-min (South Korea). 

[Read more…]

Newbery! Caldecott! Librarians Honor Graphic Novels including El Deafo and This One Summer

The American Library Association announced their 2015 youth media award winners at its Midwinter Meeting in Chicago.

Covering a diverse range of titles and readers, graphic novels were among the honorees!  [Read more…]

Riad Sattouf’s “The Arab of the Future” wins top honor at Angoulême festival prizes

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The winners are in. and Riad Sattouf won the top prize for Album of the Year, for his L’Arabe du Futur (The Arab of the Future) which will be published in the US this fall by Holt. As might be expected from the title, the book deals directly with the matter of the day, and I expect it will get a lot of attention. Sattouf is well known in France for his cutting social humor, and is also a prize winning film director. Here’s the rest of the winners with my rough translations of the prize names from the official site—the only American prize was Chris Ware’s Building Stories for the Jury Prize.

• FAUVE D’OR – PRIX DU MEILLEUR ALBUM, parrainé par Cultura (Best Book)
L’Arabe du futur, Tome 1 Riad Sattouf / Allary

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX SPECIAL DU JURY, parrainé par Cultura (Jury Prize)
Building Stories
Chris Ware / Delcourt

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX DE LA SÉRIE, parrainé par Cultura (Best series)
Lastman, Tome 6
Balak, Mickaël Sanlaville et Bastien Vivès / Casterman

(Volume 1 is coming out in a few months from First Second)

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• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX RÉVÉLATION (Best Newcomer)
Yekini, le roi des arènes
Lisa Lugrin et Clément Xavier / Editions Flblb

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX DU PATRIMOINE, (Best Reprint)
Caisse d’Epargne San Mao, le petit vagabond
Zhang Leping / Fei

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX DU PUBLIC CULTURA (Public Prize)

Les Vieux fourneaux, Tome 1 – Ceux qui restent

Wilfrid Lupano et Paul Cauuet / Dargaud

• FAUVE POLAR SNCF (Best thriller)

Petites coupures à Shioguni

Florent Chavouet / Philippe Picquier

• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX JEUNESSE (Best book for younger readers)

Les Royaumes du Nord, Tome 1

Clément Oubrerie et Stéphane Melchior / Gallimard

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• FAUVE D’ANGOULEME – PRIX DE LA BANDE DESSINÉE ALTERNATIVE (Best Alternative Book)

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Édité par l’association Une autre image (France)

• PRIX JEUNES TALENTS (New new talent)

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Camille Debra, Maman
Cloé FrancisciBallet (She apparently won the Women’s Prize)
Anna Griot, Boat People »

• PRIX JEUNES TALENTS POITOU-CHARENTES (Best local newcomer)
Quentin Jeulin

• PRIX DU CONCOURS DE LA BD SCOLAIRE « A L’ECOLE DE LA BD » (Prizes for the local cartoonists high school level — Samples can be seen here)
parrainé par la Caisse d’Epargne et le Ministère de l’Education Nationale

- Prix d’Angoulême de la BD Scolaire :

Margaut Shorjian

- Prix Graphisme du Concours de la BD Scolaire :

Louis Fourel

- Prix Scénario du Concours de la BD Scolaire :

Catherine Manesse

- Prix Coup de Coeur du Concours de la BD Scolaire :

Fanny Ehl

- Prix BD des Régions :

Thomas Ouedraogo

• PRIX DES ÉCOLES D’ANGOULÊME, en partenariat avec la Mairie d’Angoulême et l’Inspection Académique de la Charente (Best from the local cartooning school)
Nas poids plume Tome 1
d’Ismaël Méziane / Glénat

• PRIX BD DES COLLÈGES POITOU-CHARENTES, avec le rectorat de Poitiers (Best college level)
Alisik Tome 1
Helge Vogt, Hubertus Rufledt et Bisson Pierre / Le Lombard

• PRIX DES LYCÉES POITOU-CHARENTES, avec le rectorat de Poitiers
Choc Tome 1 – Les fantômes de Knightgrave
Stéphane Colman et Éric Maltaite / Dupuis

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• PRIX RÉVÉLATION BLOG (Best webcomic)
Vraoum Mademoiselle Karensac pour son blog
http://blickaboo.blogspot.fr/

• PRIX CHALLENGE DIGITAL (The webcomic Vanguard award)
Oscar Langevin pour « Moontagne »

Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

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The 42nd Angoulême International Comics Festival is well underway, wrapping up the second day of exhibits as you read this, and the year is dominated, of course, by the Charlie Hebdo killings. Matthias Wivel is offering on the scene reports, and security is very high for the festival this year the checkpoints and bomb sniffing dogs.

BIZARRO WORLD A rain-drenched Angoulême has been preparing for the annual influx of people from all over the world for weeks, scrambling to take the necessary precautions against possible terrorism. Bomb-sniffing dogs around the Noveau Monde comics tent and body searches with portable metal detectors, backing up visitors at every entrance is the new reality at Angoulême.

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The Charlie Hebdo massacre looms large everywhere, even as people are trying to carry on as usual. The Lewis Trondheim-designed festival mascot appears on the cover of the official program brandishing the ubiquitous JE SUIS CHARLIE sign, while absent festival president Bill Watterson’s delightful official poster, hanging in shop windows around town, reminds one of a (seemingly) more innocent time in comics.

Charlie Hebdo itself has been given a special prize, and the names of those slain loom over the entrance to the festival, a shown in the photo above by Wivel.
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• Comixology is back at FIBD and has a big All Access Angouleme program going on via TwitterTumblr,Facebook, and Google+ channels.

ComiXology, the revolutionary cloud-based digital comics platform, celebrates this year’sAngoulême International Comics Festival with a sale spotlighting comics, bandes dessinées (BD), graphic novels and manga from all over the world from January 29th through February 1st. ComiXology will also be covering the show through their social media channels under the “All Access Angoulême” moniker – giving fans around the world a way to experience the festival. The AngoulêmeInternational Comics Festival takes place in Angoulême, France and runs from January 29th to February 1st.

 

They also have an Angoulême sale going on and just announced a deal to carry Humanoids comics. Both sections reward browsing.
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• LES ROYAUMES DU NORD by Stéphane Melchior and Clément Oubrerie (Aya), an adaptation of Phllip Pullman’s The Golden Compass won the YA prize. I already like it better than the movie.
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• Local resident Jessica Abel has a few tweets of note:


AND she has a new book, Trish Trash! Finally!


And her eating guide in case you haven’t figured out how to buy a crepe.

§ The Sodastream controversy continues, with an open letter signed by 110 cartoonists and allies protesting the sponsorship by the Israeli company that has factories on the West Bank. Festival director Franck Bondoux has responded:

“We are no longer in the same situation as last year,” remarked Bondoux, whom we reached last night. “SodaStream announced in 2014 that the factory under discussion will be moved. This means that the problem is in process of being resolved and has been understood.” The executive director of the festival further believes that the letter “moves into a broader proposal with terminology that goes much farther in its call for a boycott.” “We have moved from a discussion where one speaks of a specific problem to a total generality.” “This is an incitement to a stronger, more militant form of resistance.” Bondoux refuses to “judge” or “comment” if only to say “that in the current situation [reference to Charlie Hebdo and Kosher supermarket attacks], I’m not certain whether this is a time to welcome such proposals.”

But the petition organizers Ethan Heitner (NYC) and Dror Warschawski (Paris) have also responded:

On the eve of the 42nd International Comics Festival in Angoulême, the open letter we have sent to the festival director has more than 110 signatories, including 14 cartoonists having been awarded prizes at Angoulême and 7 Grand Prix laureates.

Additional signatures are still coming in from illustrators outraged by the contempt that Mr Bondoux displays towards them.  Several of them had initially not thought it necessary to sign this letter, feeling that the one sent last year had served as a warning, at a time when Mr Bondoux could plead naivety.  This year, with the facts out in the open, they cannot accept that the art of comics be used to whitewash the crimes of colonization and complicity in war crimes, be it in Angoulême or elsewhere.

Last year Mr Bondoux challenged the truth of the information we had provided and claimed that the Sodastream factory was not situated in territory militarily occupied by Israel since 1967.  This year, without blushing, he declared to the press that “the Sodastream firm announced in 2014 that the factory would be relocated.  The problem is being resolved.” (Sud Ouest newspaper, 23 January 2013).  Firstly, as of now the factory has not been relocated, and Sodastream is still a sponsor of the Angoulême festival.  Secondly, the “problem” is not being resolved and it is now 67 years that the Palestinians have been waiting for a solution.  Finally, cartoonists cannot accept that their art form be exploited by a firm that will, in addition, profit from the expulsion of Palestinian Bedouins in order to install its new factory on their land, and thus participate in the ethnic cleansing policy carried out by the State of Israel.

Mr Bondoux adds that “In the light of current events, I am not sure that such excessive remarks are appropriate”.  We suggest that Mr Bondoux discuss it with Willem, a Charlie Hebdo survivor, Grand Prix laureate in 2013, president of the Angoulême Jury in 2014, and a signatory of the letter.  We also suggest that he speak with the artists to whom his own festival has awarded prizes, and especially with other Grand Prix laureates (Baru, Jean-Claude Mézières, José Muñoz, François Schuiten, Tardi, Lewis Trondheim…).  It is they, rather than Mr Bondoux, who make this festival what it is.  Their voices must be heard, and the Sodastream firm must be driven out of the Angouleme festival.

 

• According to the Matthais Wivel account, China is very much involved as a sponsor in this year’s festival, so you can see cultural clashes of this kind will continue.

• It wouldn’t be an Angoulême without some kind of particularly Gallic controversy, although this year the Hebdo situation has swept most of that aside. Before the fest there was a huge controversy about Bondoux, who actually works for a firm contracted by the festival to put it on, taking aggressive steps to trademark the name of the festival, an event that got everyone’s dander up and forced the Angouleme minister of culture to make a public show of his outrage. Locals tell me that there is a three way battle over the festival between L’Association (no relation to the publisher) which puts it on, 9e Art+, the contractor, and the local government. While this tussle has been put on hold due to the greater events sweeping over the French cartooning community, it hasn’t been solved.

• Finally, this comes from the NY Post of French comics coverage, so add some salt, but along with the above controversy, there have been claims that FIBD (Festival Festival international de la bande dessinée d’Angoulême) has inflated it’s attendance figures and does not draw the 200,000 that is claimed. Quelle horreur! A lot of the evidence seems to be based on whether 40,000 is a typo for 400,000, which is flimsy, but there have been other claims about this perviously. Speaking for myself, after actually going I’d guess that 200,000 people don’t all show up every day, but there are more than 50,000 people every day, too. Also, in the rough Google translation, it seems that, SDCC-style, scrutiny is being given to the costs versus the amount spent by attendees, with a study by the local tourism board showing major expenditures: the festival costs € 4.3 million, € 1.9 million of it public money, but brings in € 1.1 million for restaurants and € 0.72 million for hotels, with visitors spending some € 1.42 million (About US$1.6 million.) That actually amounts to….$18 per attendee, so the French may also be a living embodiment of the Single Can of Tuna Theory*.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/30/15: Chew on this!

A week’s worth of reading:

§ Has Manga Become a Niche Category? Johanna Draper Carlson examines some opinions on this, and quotes comments by Vertical’s Ed Chavez that I missed:

The fact that shonen continues to be the only category that is consistently strong, and that moe has kinda catching up to shojo for second is interesting. Knowing that seinen still lacks, even though vocal fans ask for it, kinda tells me that readers either grow out of manga or only stick with a specific type of it… Essentially pigeonholing it (turning it into a niche). Having talked to some comic/media critics I think it is becoming harder for them to get into manga also. Will kids still consume the stuff? Sure. I mean, most manga pubs are seeing growth while stores are cutting manga shelves. But unlike the 00’s, where a shojo boom introduced a whole new demographic to manga, there hasn’t been a culture shifting movement recently to break manga out of this current position it has settled into.


I think Manga has become a “mature” business as they say, but it’s still chugging along, if not at the heights of the 00s. On the other hand, even in Japan where sales have long been in decline, there was a 1% uptick last year. Not exactly enough to make people knock over cars with joy, but at least it isn’t a decline:

According to the recent report by Research Institute for Publications, which is operated by AJPEA (All Japan Magazine and Book Publisher’s and Editor’s Association), the manga sales in Japan for year 2014 was 1% up from the previous year. The modest growth was supported by new top sellers including Haruichi Furudate’s Haikyu!! and Io Sakisaka’s Ao Haru Ride, both had very successful TV anime or live-action film adaptations last year, in addition to the continuously popular series like Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece and Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan.


Manga is hanging in there in the US, but it has competition from actual American comics. If you look at Bookscan’s top 20 from ICv2 for November 2014 you see six manga in the list. The list from November 2013 has eight, a number more typical of what I’m used to seeing. OTOH in actual numbers, a lot of things we thing of as successful are niche.

§ Whit Taylor talks to Chuck Forsman about Revenger his new action comic:

Charles: I think the inspiration for Revenger is a combination of things. First are the comics that I read when I first started reading them at 10 or 11 years old. This was during X-Men’s heyday with Claremont and Jim Lee and the launch of Image Comics. The second are movies. I got back into watching John Carpenter movies like Escape from New York and Assault on Precinct 13. And even new movies like The Guest which came out a few months ago. The Guest actually made me scrap the first completed version of Revenger #1 and I started over almost from scratch. That movie reminded me that what I wanted to do was something much leaner without any fat. My original version of Revenger had a much larger world. I was worrying too much about the made-up world politics and trying to make an interesting mystery with the story. Sometimes after experiencing someone else’s work that connects with you it makes what you want much clearer.

§ Darling sleeper quizzes Sean Ford and Leslie Stein.

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§ Zainab Akhtar reviews the new US edition of Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese and falls under his languid spell:

His name are the very first words of the text and Pratt goes on to declare him a ‘man of destiny,’ but more than any other quality, here he imbues cool. The closes iconography I’m reminded of is the coiled looseness of heroes in westerns- the hint of swagger but an assumed relaxed pose: quietness, cockiness, and surety all hinted at simultaneously. Take a look at the composition and body language here: head and torso positioned centrally in the panel, feet up, cigarette in hand, cap and hair shielding his eyes. He’s watchful perhaps lost in thought. The immediate next panel is a close-up side profile, and the narration is semi-admiring, semi-mocking him as he lights up ‘as if he were performing for an invisible audience.’  In fact for the whole first page he doesn’t say anything -until he’s interrupted by a drunken brawl-, an interaction that involves the reader just looking at Corto, feeling the atmosphere, the presence of the man,  serving to set him up as this strong and silent type, in the know, someone cool, someone to be admired, someone to beware of.

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§ This fellow, Indian artist Hetain Patel, has made a sculpture of Spider-man covered with words.

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§ Ng Suat Tong has Best Online Comics Criticism 2014 and declares it a bad year for onlien comics criticism. There are some cracking good pieces there, however, including many I missed first time out. Click through! Also this:

Apart from the perennial issues of racism and sexism in superhero comics (or maybe in general?) there weren’t many critical controversies in 2014. I can’t say that this failure to engage with fellow critics and their ideas is a positive sign of health; especially if this reticence is symptomatic of intellectual torpor or a lack of breath in comics thinking.


But I think that will kick off an entire post at some point.

§ And speaking of the perennial issues of racism and sexism, Marvel Has A Serious Problem Merchandising Its Female Characters

But when you look at the merchandise for those properties, it feels like they barely exist. Despite being introduced in Iron Man 2, it would take until The Avengers for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow to get an action figure: even then, she was shortpacked in the third wave of figures that came out months after the movie hit, with the prime first wave spots going to Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk. It took until The Winter Soldier last year for Widow to show up in both Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Infinite 6-inch line and Funko’s wildly popular range of Marvel Pop Vinyls for the first time, a whopping four years after the character first appeared. Fast forward to Age of Ultron today and she’s once again seemingly missing — she doesn’t show up at all in the new action figure playsets. She’s not in the first set of Pop Vinyls, and neither is Scarlet Witch, another prominent female member of the cast. She appears in one of the six new Lego sets for the film (Cap’s in three, Iron Man is in four). She doesn’t appear in the team shots on the boxes of merchandise (to be fair, neither does Hawkeye. Poor Hawkeye.). Hell, the first action figure we’ve seen for her for AoU specifically is Diamond Select’s, and even then, that was revealed in a way that still, almost hilariously, managed to avoid showing an actual figure of the character.


§ Finally, as part of a piece on second acts for publisher personnel, Calvin Reid catches up with Joan Hilty.

Hilty, who is also a member of 5E, teamed with Pete Friedrich, a cartoonist and designer, in 2011 to launch Pageturner, a packaging house that develops “comics projects outside of the comics industry.” Pageturner develops projects with and for a variety of institutions, among them the ACLU, which created a comics series about the Bill of Rights. “Now we’re getting lots of interest from nonprofits and arts organizations,” she said. Pageturner has worked on projects with Chronicle Books and TBS/Turner Networks. As a freelance contractor, Hilty has worked with comics publishers like Boom! and Dark Horse Comics, and with Forbes magazine, which published the Zen of Steve Jobs in 2011, a webcomic and print graphic biography of Jobs that examines his 30-year pupil-teacher relationship with a Zen Buddhist monk.


§ Finally, after 15 yearsAndrew Sullivan has announced he’s giving up blogging. (He did it once before.) I could only nod my head in agreement at his reasons—he wants to spend time with actual humans and the toll of always being on call impacted his health. Now tat Sully’s done, the rest of us can quit with our heads held high!

Katsuhiro Otomo wins Grand Prix at Angoulême

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In what is not a shock but is a break with tradition, Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira and Domu, has been awarded the Grand Prix at the 42nd annual Festival d’Angoulême which is taking place as we speak.

Otomo beat out beloved Belgian cartoonist Hermann (the safe choice) and Alan Moore, who probably would have just chucked it into his garden and forgotten about.

This caps off several years of unrest for the prize, which is awarded for a body of work and voted on by participating cartoonists (just how you participate isn’t always clear, but I think attending a past Angouleme qualifies you.) Traditionally the prize has been given to Franco-Belgian cartoonists—all strong but many of them better known for being popular with their peers than for making a mark on world cartooning. In 2013 a younger, more international group of cartoonists wanted to give the prize to Akira Toriyama, but Willem, a Dutch cartoonists who makes his home in Paris, was selected, with Toriyama being given a special prize.

In 2014, Otomo was once again a finalist, along with Alan Moore and Bill Watterson, who weren’t very likely to actually make the trip to pick up the prize and attend the festival, as if the Gran prix winner’s duty. In the event, Watterson won out and he’s represented at the festival by a gorgeous art exhibit.

This time, the influence of manga has finally been recognized officially and a new day is dawning for the world culture of comics.

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Otomo is of course one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists and animators, whose visionary work has influenced countless creators around the globe. Akira, a darkly futuristic tale of bikers racing across a neon Tokyo, helped create the entrée look of cyperpunk and video games. He’s world class and highly deserving of the win.

Also, if I’m not mistaken, the prize is usually given out on Sunday night…so not sure why the news was released on the first day of the festival. Maybe it was just leaked. Hope here’s his acceptance speech:

Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier, Lego Helicarrier!

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Lego has made a Helicarrier. Repeat, LEGO HAS MADE A HELICARRIER. OVER DO YOU COPY? And it comes with Black Widow AND Maria Hill! Oh and HAwkeye, Nick Fury and Captain America. And 3 Quinjets, and and and…It’s not the one from Avengers: Age of Ultron (if there is one) but who cares. It come with:

• Includes 5 minifigures: Nick Fury, Black Widow, Captain America, Hawkeye and Maria Hill, plus an iconic SHIELD eagle stand to display them on
• Features 3 microscale Quinjets, 3 fighter jets, a gasoline truck, 2 forklift trucks, 2 runways, 4 road blockades, armored exterior with translucent elements, detailed interior, plus 12 microfigures (Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Captain America, Iron Man and 8 SHIELD agents)
• Also includes a detailed runway
• Weapons include Hawkeye’s bow, Black Widow’s gun and Captain America’s shield
• SHIELD Agent Maria Hill minifigure is new for spring 2015!
• Includes a plaque with facts about The SHIELD Helicarrier
• Add lights and spinning rotors to the Helicarrier with the 88000, 8883 and 8870 LEGO® Power Functions sets (sold separately)
• Rotors can also be turned manually
• Includes a display stand
• Helicarrier measures over 11” (29cm) high, 31” (80cm) long and 17” (45cm) wide
• Each Quinjet measures over 1” (3cm) high, 2” (7cm) long and 2” (7cm) wide
• Minifigure stand measures over 4” (12cm) high, and 2” (6cm deep) and 6” (16cm wide)

 

With nearly 3000 pieces, this is not a cheap set. No It will set you back US $349.99 ($399.99 in Canada) but…it’s still pretty awesome.Here’s some pictures for you to dream over.

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Preview: Squirrel Girl #2 —Enter Galactus

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With Squirrel Girl, Marvel is proving just how strong the Marvel brand is—so strong that it can do a 180 and it’s still part of the fun. Written by Ryan North (Adventure Time, Dinosaur Comics) and drawn by Erica Henderson (Atomic Robo, Marceline and the Scream Queens) this book is as “indie” and charming as comics can get. It even has lovely flat colors by Rico Renzi. Squirrel Girl is Doreen Green a typical college student except that she also has the proportionate speed and strength of a squirrel….and a big bushy squirrel tail, which she stuffs into her pants to keep her secret identity secret. Squirrel Girl was created in 1992 by writer Will Murray and Steve Ditko (!) and the gimmick is that even with powers that sound less than a-list, she can defeat anyone —and so far she’s defeated Doctor Doom, MODOK, Terrax, and Thanos, all with the help of her squirrel sidekick Tippy-Toe.

In the first issue of her book she (spoiler) defeated Kraven the Hunter while negotiating coed life and singing a theme song that sounded a lot like maybe it was like the Spider-Man theme song…like Kamala Khan, Doreen Green takes the classic Marvel “young adult with a problem” formula and updates it for a world that’s not grim and gritty, but chipper and hopeful.

Perhaps anxious to make sure that Squirrel Girl gets her licks in before Secret Wars, the second issue goes all the way to the top and features none other than Galactus. Here’s a preview of the issue, which takes place at…a comics convention. The main cover is by Henderson and the variant by Joe Quinones.

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #2 goes on sale next week, February 4th.

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Preview: Project Superpowers: Blackcross #1 by Warren Ellis and Colton Worley

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Warren Ellis is having a crack at reimagining the Project Superpowers universe, and Blackcross #1 hits in March. We’ve had an advance peek and it’s not what might be expected, with a strong horror bent. Here’s some brand new pages of Colton Worley’s art to give you a  taste, as well as variant covers by Jae Lee, Gabriel Hardman, Declan Shalvey and Tula Lotay. 

 

All small towns have secrets. All small towns have ghosts. Blackcross, in the Pacific North West of America, has more secrets than most. And it is being haunted by something impossible. BLACKCROSS, a supernatural extension of the PROJECT SUPERPOWERS mythos, is a ghost story about something reaching out from the other side of the night, through the forest and mist of this remote town, to grasp at the hearts of a handful of people who may not find out that they’re the targets of a strange killer until it’s much, much too late.

 

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A new edition of Street Angel is out today

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Speaking of AdHouse, a second printing of Jim Rugg’s classic Street Angel is out today, the story of a homeless girl who fights crime while riding around on her skateboard. It was action packed, sad and beautiful.  Originally appearing in 2004, this book was, along with Scott Pilgrim, an early adapter of the “new mainstream” esthetic whereby comics broke out of both superhero and autobiographical tropes to reach a new, younger audience growing out of the manga boom. Originally published by Slave Labor the book had a cult following beforei being released by AdHouse last year. And now its in its second printing. Rachel Edidin has an overview of the book here.

The new edition has a pink pages and purple ink, making it perhaps the most perfect Street Angel edition of all. And just because I can here’s a preview:

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Sophie Goldstein’s The Oven coming from AdHouse

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CCS just keeps turning out interesting new cartoonists. Sophie Goldstein is a recent grad whose works defies easy categorization, except to say that she’s got a great line and a keen eye, she writes stories and anything can happen. And now AdHouse is bringing out The Oven by Goldstein in April. It’s set in a totalitarian future where “dwindling resources have driven the human race into domed cities where population controls are strictly enforced. When a young couple goes looking for an anti-government paradise in the desert they may have found more than they bargained for.”

Biblio deets:
80 2C pages
5.5″ x 7.5″ SC
$12.95 US funds
ISBN 978-1-935233-33-6
Shipping April 2015
Diamond Order Code: FEB15 0903

And here’s a preview, AND a link to Goldstein’s 20 thumbnails for the cover image.

 

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Preview: Kiani Stars in Aspen Comics Sister Act

By Davey Nieves

As Aspen Comics announced towards the end of last year the Fathom universe’s anti-hero Kiani would get a new volume in her saga. Written by Vince Hernandez, with Giuseppe Cafaro on art, this February will see Fathom: Kiani Vol.4 #1 hit stores.

Following the catastrophic destruction of the Volna, the Russian Government’s secret Blue research facility, the United States has decided to take action against the rising threat of the Blue. However, in Africa, Kiani and Anika discover that their family bond is stronger than any one army—as their fight to survive above the surface will lead to a revolution amongst the people that will change the landscape of the human race forever!

Fathom: Kiani #1 will be out February 11th, 2015. Check out the preview below including a painfully cute cover by MLP artist Agnes Garabowska.

Heavy Metal locating its comics in Portland

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Since relaunching early last year, the new Heavy Metal has been relatively quiet, relaunching Hoax Hunters under their banner and pursuing their multi media plans mostly behind the scenes. However, a recent appearance at Wizard World Portland has revealed plans for locating the comics operations of the company in Portland, OR where they’ll pursue a model that takes advantage of their well known branding:

“We’re looking at (comics) properties in the same way we look at television and film,” says Krelitz, who attended Wizard World Portland last weekend.

“We have a much better economic model than anyone will offer in the marketplace.  We have a merchandizing company that’s one of the biggest in the world.  Not only are we not going to fleece you to get your self-published book, we’re going to help your brand building.”


The new Heavy Metal is run by film producer Jeff Krelitz and former music exec David Boxenbaum, with comic only part of a film, tv and licensing model. According to the piece, they plan to launch eight titles this year, 12 more next year and more than fifty over five years. “We’re positioning to be a premiere publisher,” Krelitz told Steve Duin, author of the above piece.

While things ramp up, the regular Heavy Metal website is publishing some short comics such as “Deadline of Death” by Jason Paulos, (shown above) a satisfyingly ECish tale of a deal with the devil to work for Marvelous Comics. Short version: do not make a deal with the devil.