Angoulême fest announces line-up of exhibits and spotlights: Watterson, Kirby, Moomins, Taniguchi

The Angoulême Festival International de la Bande Dessineé for 2015 has released the schedule of art exhibits, spotlights and other goodies. They attached this as an English-language pdf which I’ve inserted below.

There are several amusing typos on the list, see if you can spot them. All that aside, this is a pretty stunning—and cosmopolitan—line-up, with comics from around the world including the Finnish Moomin saga, the Americans Jack Kirby and Bill Watterson, manga giant Jiro Taniguchi and so on. When they say exhibits, these are museum-quality shows that enhance your experience of even familiar projects. Truly Angouleme is the temple of comics. I think extending its esthetic to more comics is a great development.

There are obviously a lot of changes coming to this most Franco-Belgian of all comics events, and a lot of behinds the scenes turmoil which I’ll be reporting on in a separate post.

British Comic Awards winners announced

The winners of the third annual British Comics Awards were announced during the Thought Bubble fest and they are:

Best Comic – The Wicked + The Divine #1 by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)

Best Book – The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg (Jonathan Cape)

Young People’s Comic Award – Hilda and The Black Hound by Luke Pearson (Flying Eye Books)

Emerging Talent – Alison Sampson for her artwork on Genesis (Image Comics) and ‘Shadows’ from the In The Dark anthology (IDW)

Hall of Fame – Posy Simmonds

I can’t think of five better books and people to represent Comics 2014. A conversation between Simmonds and Maura McHUgh will be posted on the BCA site in a few days.

Comic Cons around the world: Mumbai Film and Comic Con 2014

Mumbai Film and Comic Con

Among the countries most taken by comic con fever is India. A lengthy email offering pr on this year’s Mumbai Film and Comic Con 2014, taking place at the Bombay Exhibition Centre from 19th December-21st December arrived in my mail box. Among the facts revealed: Guests include Nick Spencer, Nicolas Wild and Dan Goldman. She show will offer a 50,000 sq feet show floor and 100 exhibitors, including Amar Chitra Katha, Orange Radius, Pop Culture Publishing, Holy Cow Entertainment, Crimzon Studios, Simon and Schuster India, HarperCollins Publishers, Aayumi Productions, Shamik Dasgupta, Jazyl Homavazir, Pepper Script and Raj Comics.

If you’re wondering how Indian cons stack up with US shows, the email included the following figures. I don’t know if these are verified, but they do present a narrative of steady growth:

1.  At the 1st Comic Con India in Feb’11 in New Delhi, the turnout was approx. 20000 and Sales touched 25 Lakhs in 2 days.
2.  At the Comic Con Express Mumbai, the travelling version of Annual Indian Comics  Convention that took place in October ’11, the turnout was approx 12000 and Sales touched 30 Lakhs in 2 days.
3. At the 2nd Comic Con India that took place in Feb’12 in New Delhi, the response was amazing, footfall touched 35 thousand and sales touched 50 lakhs in 3 days.
4. At the Comic Con Express Bangalore, the travelling version of Annual Indian Comics Convention in that took place in Sept ‘12, the turnout was approx 35000 and the sales crossed over 65 Lakhs in 2 days.
5.  At the 1st ever “Mumbai Film and Comic Con” that took place last year in Mumbai in Oct‘12, the turnout was approx 26000 and the sales crossed over 45 Lakhs in 2 days.
6. At the 3rd Comic Con India that took place in Feb’13 in New Delhi, the response was tremendous, footfall touched 50 thousand and sales touched crore in 3 days.
7. At the 1st ever annual “Bangalore Comic Con” that took place in Bangalore in June’ 13, the turnout was approx 62000 and the sales touched 1 crore 25 Lakhs in 2 days.
8. At the First Ever Comic Con Express Hyderabad, the travelling version of Annual Indian Comics  Convention that took place in Sept ’13, the turnout was approx 25000 and Sales touched 75 Lakhs in 2 days.
9. At the 2nd edition of “Mumbai Film and Comic Con” that took place last year in Mumbai in Dec‘13, the turnout was 35000 and the sales crossed over 1 crore 20 Lakhs in 2 days.
10. At the 4th Comic Con India, that took place in Feb’14 in New Delhi, with a ticketed entry, the response was tremendous, footfall touched 40 thousand and sales touched almost 2 crores in 3 days.
11. At the 2nd annual “Bangalore Comic Con” that took place in Bangalore in Sept’ 14, with a ticketed entry, the turnout was approx 40000 in 3 days.
12. At the 1st ever annual “Hyderabad Comic Con” that took place in Hyderabad in Oct’ 14, with a ticketed entry, the turnout was approx 25000 in 3 days.

Reminder: I’m still looking for an Indian comics correspondent for The Beat.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 11/13/14: CM Punk and Noelle Stevenson are writing Lady Thor, but can they lift her hammer?


§ Marvel is putting out a Thor Annual and they pulled out all the stops to get the wackiest mix of creators ever. Wrestler CM Punk will write one story, that Chew’s Rob Guillory will draw; Lumberjanes’ Noelle Stevenson is writing another, with Marguerite Sauvage on art. And regular dude Jason Aaron is writing yet a third tale, with Tim Truman drawing it.

Punk, a long time comics fan, has been absent from the wrestling scene since he walked away from the WWE so he’s had lots of free time to learn how to write a comics script. In the ultimate perk for any writer, he even got a story with the hallowed title Welcome to Marvel, CM Punk – Hope You Survive the Experience. Wow that is a lot to live up to. Punk reveals he got the gig by pestering editors at cons, just the way most folks do.

Stevenson is well on her way to being a huge star, and this is her first Marvel work. Smart move, Marvel. The cover, above is by Rafael Albuquerque.

§ Best title of the day: Top Ten Comfort Comics For Fall by Megan Byrd.

§ The AV Club has a preview of that Gilbert Hernandez Wonder Woman story in Sensation Comics #14. The story saw print before it went digital which is…I missed the memo explaining that.


§ I have hitherto neglected to link to this comic which was presented on Boing Boing called Lichtenstein’s Theft and the Artists Left Behind contrasting the modest means which artist Russ Heath lives under with the immense price a painting by Roy Lichtenstein based on his work has fetched. But I got a chance to remedy that when Albert Ching wrote more about the story and its origin, Turns out it was actually drawn two years ago for a Hero Initiative publication.

Hero Initiative President Jim McLauchlin reached ROBOT 6 to clear the air on a couple of elements of the “Bottle of Wine” coverage. First, the comic strip (colored and lettered by Darwyn Cooke) was initially published in May 2012, in IDW’s Hero Comics 2012. (In fact, ROBOT 6 ran the comic that month.) Also, the Lichtenstein work cited in the comic, 1963’s “Whaam!,” was actually based on a panel by Irv Novick in 1962’s All-American Men of War #89, published by DC Comics — Lichtenstein lifted from Heath in 1962’s “Blam,” with a panel also from All-American Men of War #89. Same issue, different artists.

As several folks have p[ointed out, the real message of the strip is that that drawing comics has not traditionally been a great line of work for those who want hefty retirement funds. I’ve said it many times—supporting the Hero Initiative is one of the most important things you can do in comics.

§ Thought Bubble, the much loved indie focused show in Leeds, UK, is this weekend. Steve Morris is spotlighting some of the comics and cartoonists of the show.

§ Zainab Akhtar spotlights Daryl Seitchik’s Missy, a striking mini comics about a young girl.

The rehabilitation was sparked by Daryl Seitchik’s Missy comics- a diary comic of a Daryl persona (I’m not sure to what extent this may be auto-biography) starting as a young girl and jumping forward in years as she grows. I like the ‘straight’ superficial reading of the Missy comics -especially Missy 1 when Daryl is still a kid- as this sharp young girl observing people, the way they behave, relationships, and working through her thoughts and feelings, as much as I like digging into it a bit deeper.

Missy was definitely one of the buzz books at CAB. You can read it online here.

§ Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli have a new graphic novel out called Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague Here is a review.

§ And now, turning to SHOWBIZ, some stills from Constantine give us a first look at Emmett J. Scanlan who will play Jim Corrigan also known as the Spectre. Look, all I wanna know is DOES HE HAVE WHITE LEGS? The episode will air on 11/21, and also stars Doctor Midnite. It is a voodoo themed episode.

§ I always get a kick out of these celebrity interviews where they reveal what comics they read or read (past tense.) In this case is Joaquin Phoenix, who doesn’t really explain why he didn’t go for Doctor Strange, but reveals a very famliar reading pattern:

“There’s some great Batman stuff and classic Frank Miller Dark Knight stuff and Arkham Asylum. But I was always a big Wolverine guy. I love Wolverine—big [frick]ing great dramatic character. They’re all conflicted, and they’re really interesting.”

Everyone loves Frank Miller.

Magnetic Press to publish Daomu graphic novel


Magnetic Press launched earlier this year bringing some top-notch French comics to the US market and they’re not only still here, they are expanding to Chinese comics with DAOMU, which adapts the popular novel series by Chinese author Xu “Kennedy” Lei, who’s knwn as China’s Stephen King.  How popular is this series? The first novel, which forms the basis of the graphic novel has sold three million copies as of 2010 with an additional 20 million copies on the black market. I didn’t know there was a lack market for novels but it’s a thrilling world.

The GN is the work of Concept Art House and artist Ken Chou, and follows young Chinese American Sean Wu as he gets involved with a mysterious and legendary band of grave robbers.

The book is a joint production with Evertold Inc, which is run by James Zhang and Matthew Le Merle.

“Daomu is an enormous phenomenon across China with tens of millions of fans clamoring for more books, comics, films and TV adaptions of the characters and their adventures,” says James Zhang of Evertold, who brought the project into Evertold.  “The moment I heard about the books and spoke with the author, Kennedy, I was convinced that this amazing novel would resonate with readers around the world.  With this first graphic comic collection let the journey begin.”

Here’s a trailer.

And some art:

daomu540968 daomu3-56978


Bill Watterson draws poster for Angoulême 2015, but will not participate in fest —UPDATED

Updated, The Billy Ireland’s Library’s Caitlin McGurk has confirmed that she and Jenny Robb—who helped organized the Watterson art exhibit at the library—will represent him at Angoulême.

Earlier this year, the selection of Bill Watterson as the Grand Prix winner at the Angoulême comics festival created quite a stir. The winner is traditionally the “grand marshal” of the whole festival, helping plan exhibits and appearing at official events. (Or, as in the case of Willem, last ear’s winner, hanging out at Le Chat Noir until 1 am with everyone else.) It seemed a bit of a stretch for Watterson, but was it impossible?

Although the once reclusive Calvin & Hobbes creator hasn’t exactly turned into Taylor Swift, he makes occasional semi public appearances and is way more accessible in interviews. (If you call once or twice a year accessible.) When the win was announced, Watterson’s editor Lee Salem said he would try to tell him how wonderful Angoulême is, so maybe Watterson would make an exception for this so not a comic-con event?

However, an interview at the French language 20 Minutes website has not only unveiled Watterson’s poster for the festival but confirmed that the poster will be the full extent of his participation. The traditional exhibit of Watterson’s work will be based on the exhibit at OSU. According to the brief but news-packed interview, Watterson found the poster an interesting challenge, but did not use his Calvin and Hobbes characters because he doesn’t believe in using them to promote anything—even comics. But according to Google Translate, Watterson says “In this sense, I hope I have managed to express both my work and comics in general. And to pay tribute to what makes this medium so pleasant to read.”

Digital Manga announces MASSIVE six-figure Tezuka Kickstarter

Digital Manga has been successfully Kickstarting publication of several books by God of Comics Osama Tezuka for a few years now. So far they’ve done Barbara, Swallowing the Earth and more. But Tezuka drew some 150,000 pages of comics in his lifetime, so this is a pretty big task to bring all his comics to English. The new project has ambitious goals: to publish the following titles:

• The Three-Eyed One Vol.1-13
• Rainbow Parakeet Vol.1-7
• Wonder 3 Vol.1-3
• Alabaster Vol.1-2
• The Vampires Vol.1-4
• Birdman Anthology Vol. 1-2

And to do that they are trying to raise a mere….$380,000. That will take many Tezuka fans. But he is a god of comics after all. Here are the books they are looking to fund:

The Three-Eyed One: Sharaku Hosuke is a 3-Eyed One descended from an unknown ancient race, and seems an innocent child at times, but when the bandages are removed from his forehead and reveals his third eye, he becomes a dark, merciless boy who will do anything to find his people’s history and a place to belong.

Kickstarter Release date: Vol.1-13: 7/2015

Rainbow Parakeet: An actor of wide renown as a master of mimicry and disguise who fills in difficult roles for a small fee: the employers must turn a blind eye to his thieving, but young and spunky detective Senri Mariko relentlessly pursues him, always a few steps behind.
Kickstarter Release date: Vol.1-7: 7/2015

Wonder Three: In the series, Wonder 3, it is the year 196X, and in a world beset with constant war can humanity redeem itself in one year before the galactic space federation decides to end Earth once and for all?
Kickstarter Release date: Vol.1-3: 7/2015

Alabaster: is about James Block, a once famous athlete, now infamous villain Alabaster, who seeks revenge on those who’ve betrayed him and revolts on anything he considers beautiful. He adopts a girl Ami who he regards as the perfect invisible woman, but will her hope of young love for another man be Alabaster’s undoing?

Kickstarter Release date: Vol.1-2: 7/2015

The Vampires: Has a young werewolf boy, Toppei, move to Tokyo in search of his missing father, but when he is witnessed killing a man in his transformed state he is embroiled in Rokuro Makube’s devious machinations for money and power. Will Toppei ever be able to free himself in order to find his father?

Kickstarter Release date: Vol.1-4: 7/2015

Birdman Anthology: In Birdman Anthology, it was decided through galactic intervention that humans were unfit to run society, so special seeds were scattered throughout Earth that evolves birds into the dominant sentient race. They believed they were better than the humans that lived on Earth, however it seems that history always has a way of repeating itself…

Kickstarter Release date: Vol.1-2: 7/2015

Tezuka is a bit of an acquired taste but once you’ve got the taste you want more. His works are problematic for endemic reflection of conventional racism and sexism, but no one approached stories with a more humanist slant. I think it’s pretty balsy of Digital Manga to try to get all of this done in one colossal swoop….and I wish them luck.

Humanoids announces The Metabaron for 2016

AnnonceMB US.1.jpg

The Metabarons is a long running French SF epic originally by Alexander Jodorowsky and Juan Gimenez (spinning out of The Incal by Jodorowsky and Moebius) about a race of perfect warriors and their generation spanning advenures. The story wrapped up in 2003 after selling more than a millions copies internationally. Now Humanoids is bringing it back as just Metabaron starting in 2016 in a four book series written by Jerry Frissen from a story by Jodorowsky and drawn by different artists. the story will follow the fate of No Name, the last of the Metabarons. Ecah chapter will be 108 pages long, released in 8 month intervals.

The first chapter features Valentin Sécher (Khaal: Chronicles of a Galactic Emperor) on art, the second Niko Henrichon (Pride of Baghdad, Noah). The new series isn’t due until June 2016. That’s a long time to wait for your mind tripping space fantasy, but according to Humanoids, a new edition of Metabarons is planned for 2015.

Confession: I have never actually read The Metabarons, but it looks like have some time to catch up. Like the recently announced Corto Maltese revival , it’s a continuation of a very successful Euro comics classic, but this time with the cooperation, it seems, of the still living author. HUmanoids, after many stops and starts in the US market has been releasing material at a good clip, so it seems the genera graphic novel boomlet has lifted this boat, at least.

British Comic Awards announce their short list


The British Comic Awards have announced their short list of nominees and that the great Posy Simmonds will be inducted into the hall of fame. The nominees were selected by the BCA Committee based on suggestions from the public and winners will be chosen by a panel consisting of Jonathan Entwistle, Jessica Hynes. Danny John-Jules (yes The Cat from Red Dwarf!), Jonathan Ross and Suzy Varty. Winners will be announced November 15th at Thought Bubble.

Best Comic
• Dangeritis: A Fistful of Danger – Robert M Ball and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell (Great Beast)
• In The Frame – Tom Humberstone (New Statesman)
• Raygun Roads – Owen Michael Johnson, Indio!, Mike Stock and Andy Bloor (Self published)
• Tall Tales & Outrageous Adventures #1: The Snow Queen & Other Stories – Isabel Greenberg (Great Beast)
• The Wicked + The Divine #1 – Kieron Gillen, Jaime McKelvie, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)

Best Book
• The Absence – Martin Stiff (Titan Books)
• Celeste – I.N.J. Culbard (Self Made Hero)
• The Encyclopedia of Early Earth – Isabel Greenberg (Jonathan Cape)
• Lighter Than My Shadow – Katie Green (Jonathan Cape)
• Sally Heathcote: Suffragette – Mary Talbot, Kate Charlesworth and Bryan Talbot (Jonathan Cape)

Young People’s Comic Award
• Bad Machinery Vol 2: The Case of The Good Boy – John Allison (Oni Press)
• BOO! – Paul Harrison-Davies, Andrew Waugh; Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Jonathan Edwards, James Howard, Gary Northfield and Jamie Smart (Self published)
• Corpse Talk: Season 1 – Adam Murphy (David Fickling Books)
• Hilda and the Black Hound – Luke Pearson (Flying Eye Books)
• The Beginner’s Guide to Being Outside – Gill Hatcher (Avery Hill Publishing)

Emerging Talent
• Alison Sampson (Genesis, Shadows (In The Dark) – artist)
• Briony May Smith (Tam Lin, The Courting of Fair Spring and Red-Nosed Frost, The Mermaid)
• Rachael Smith (House Party, One Good Thing, Flimsy, Vicky Park (Leicester Mercury), The Amazing Seymore (Moose Kid Comics))
• Becca Tobin (Eye Contact, Peppermint Butler’s Peppermint Bark (Adventure Time #30), numerous short comics)
• Corban Wilkin (Dreams of a Low Carbon Future – artist, Breaker’s End, If Not Now Then When (Offlife #6))

Graphic novelist opens French bookstore in NYC’s French Embassy


Via PW, word that Antonin Baudry, who wrote the GN Weapons of Mass Diplomacy and happens to be the the cultural counselor of the French Embassy is opening Albertine, a French language bookstore in the building that houses the French consulate in New York, a historic building located across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art designed by the great Stanford White, with the embassy’s cultural services division at 972 Fifth Avenue, across the street from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The store will house “14,000 volumes of fiction, nonfiction, art, graphic novels, and children’s books in both English translation and French.”

Ya hear that? Graphic novels!

The inspiration behind Albertine, which is modeled after a private French library, comes from Baudry’s own love of bookstores, and concern for their well-being. “I don’t want to live in a city without [at least] three great bookstores,” he says. “Independent bookstores in the U.S., especially in New York, face a hard thing with rent,” he adds alluding not just to the closing of Librairie de France after its rent was tripled. More recently high rent has forced Rizzoli Bookstore, Bank Street Books, and St. Marks Bookshop to relocate.

Like many of the most successful stores, Albertine will offer an active events program, much of it comprised of French in conversation with Americans about literature and science. The store will kick off its events with a six-night festival (Oct. 14-19) curated by cultural critic and author Greil Marcus. Among those featured are graphic novelist and filmmaker Marjane Strapi, Mad Mencreator Matthew Weiner, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.

I’ve been to a few events in this building and it’s definitely swoon-worthy. The bookstore sounds amazing and should be a nice beachhead in the continuing invasion of Franco-Belgian graphic novels into the US. Oh yeah, there will also be books without pictures, too. Don’t forget those.

2014 Shuster Award Winners—with audio


The 2014 Joe Shuster Awards, honoring the best in Canadian comics, were handed out on Saturday and here are the winners. For more information on the legacy award winners, please check out the Shuster Awards home page. In addition, Jammin’ Jamie Coville recorded the ceremony and has more photos and a list of the winners handily formatted. Thank you Jamie!

Joe Shuster Awards 2014 (September 22) 19 Photos

Full 2014 Joe Shuster Awards Ceremony (1:13:35, 67.3mb)

Presented at the Back Space Toronto, 587A College Street, Toronto, Ontario.

The awards start off with a video of Stan Lee who congratulating a 2007 Joe Shuster Awards. The Awards had flashed 2014 on the screen for comedic effect.

The presenters were Kevin Boyd, Jennifer Haines, Robert Haines, Anthony Falcone & Scott VanderPloeg, Robert Pincombe, Andrew Walsh, Ivan Kocmarek and Scott Chantler.

Awards went to:


Ed Brisson – Sheltered 1-5, Comeback 3-5, Dia De Los Muertos 2 “The Skinny One” (Image), Secret Avengers 10-11 (Marvel)

Maryse Dubuc avec Marc Delafontaine – Les Nombrils T.06 : Un été trop mortel (Dupuis)

Ray Fawkes – Batgirl 17-18, Constantine 5-9 (w/Jeff Lemire) 1-4, Justice League Dark (w/Jeff Lemire) 16-21, Legends of the Dark Knight 9 “Tap Tap”, Trinity of Sin: Pandora 1-6, Young Romance “Dreamer” (DC Comics), Time Warp “00:00:03? (DC/Vertigo) Creepy 14 “Black Feathers” (Dark Horse), Pathfinder: Goblins 3 “The Way of the Goblin” (Dynamite)

Jeff Lemire – Animal Man 16-26, Annual 2, Constantine (w/Ray Fawkes) 1-5, Batman: Black and White 2 “Winter’s End”, Green Arrow 17-16, Justice League of America (w/Geoff Johns) 6-7, Justice League Dark (w/Ray Fawkes) 16-21, Swamp Thing (w/Scott Snyder) 17 (DC Comics), American Vampire Anthology 1 “Canadian Vampire” (DC/Vertigo)

Ryan North – Adventure Time 12-23, Midas Flesh 1 (Boom!)

Ami Vaillancourt – Kissinger & nous T.01, Charlebois & l’Osstidgang (Glénat Québec)

Kurtis Wiebe – Rat Queens 1-3, Peter Panzerfaust 8-15, Dia De Los Muertos 3 “Lonesome” (Image)

Cartoonist / Auteur:

Darwyn Cooke – Richard Stark’s Parker: Slayground (IDW)

Ray Fawkes – The Spectral Engine (McClelland & Stewart)

Réal Godbout – Amérique ou le disparu (La Pastèque) / Amerika (Conundrum Press, 2014)

Jeff Lemire – Trillium 1-5 (DC/Vertigo), Adventures of Superman 1 “Fortress” (DC Comics)

Francis Manapul – The Flash (with Brian Buccelato, USA) 16-17, 19-25 (DC Comics)

Joe Ollmann – Science Fiction (Conundrum Press)

Zviane – les Deuxièmes (Pow Pow)

Artist / Dessinateur:

Nick Bradshaw – Wolverine and the X-Men 23, 31-25, Annual 1 (Marvel Comics)

Delaf – Les Nombrils 06 : Un été trop mortel (Dupuis)

Djief – Le crépuscule des Dieux T.07: Grand hiver (Soleil)

Jason Fabok – Detective Comics 16-20. 22-25 (DC Comics)

Stuart Immonen – All-New X-Men 5, 9-14, 16-18, X-Men: Battle for the Atom 1 (Marvel Comics)

Julie Rocheleau – Colère de Fantômas T.01: Les bois de justice (Dargaud)

Chip Zdarsky – Sex Criminals 1-3 (Image)

Fiona Staples – Saga 9-17 (Image)

Cover Artist / Dessinateur Couvertures:

Kalman Andrasofszky

Nick Bradshaw

Mike Del Mundo


Ken Lashley

Michael Walsh

Julie Rocheleau

Webcomics Creator / Créateur de Bandes Dessinées Web:

Attila Adorjany – Metaphysical Neuroma

Olivier Carpentier and Gautier Langevin – Far Out

Emily Carroll – The Three Snake Leaves, Grave of the Lizard Queen, Out of Skin

Kadi Fedoruk – Blindsprings

Canaan Grall – Max Overacts

Dakota McFadzean – The Dailies and Chilblains

Ty Templeton – Bun Toons

Jayd Aït-Kaci (with Christina Strain) – The Fox Sister

The Dragon Award (Comics for Kids) / Le Prix Dragon (Bandes Dessinées pour Enfants):

The Advenures of Superhero Girl by Faith Erin Hicks (Dark Horse)

L’Agent Jean tomes 4 et 5 by Alex A. (Presses Aventure)

Bigfoot Boy Vol.2 by J. Torres and Faith Erin Hicks (Kids Can Press)

Guiby tome 1 by Sampar (Michel Quintin)

Hocus Pocus Takes the Train by Sylvie Desrosiers and Remy Simard (Kids Can Press)

Odd Duck by Cecil Castelucci and (Sara Varon) (First Second)

Spera Vol.2 by Josh Tierney and Kyla Vanderklugt (with various non-Canadian artists) (Archaia)

Couette tomes 2 et 3 by (Severin Gauthier) and Minikim (Dargaud)

Gene Day Award (Self-Publishers) / Prix Gene Day (Auto-éditeurs):

Jordyn Bochon – The Terrible Death of Finnegan Strappe: The Claw of the Earth #2

Antonin Buisson – garder le rythme

Stephen Burger – TALK!

James Edward Clark – Evil Issue 2

Cloudscape Comics Collective – Waterlogged: Tales from the Seventh Sea

Mike Myhre – Barbaric Sword of Savagery

Diana Tamblyn – Gerald Bull and the Supergun Vol. 1

Steven Gilbert – The Journal of the Main Street Secret Lodge

Harry Kremer Award (Retailers) / Prix Harry Kremer (Détaillants):

Amazing Stories (Saskatoon, SK)

Comic Readers (Regina, SK)

Another Dimension (Calgary, AB)

Timemasters (St. John’s, NL)

The Comic Shop (Vancouver, BC)

New Award! The T.M. Maple Award / Prix T.M. Maple:

Jim Burke (1956-1994) (A.K.A. T.M. Maple) & Debra Jane Shelly (1974-2014)

Canadian Comic Book Creator Hall of Fame / Temple de la renommée Créateur Canadien de Bandes Dessinées:

CY BELL (1904-197?), EDMOND GOOD (1910-1991), TY TEMPLETON (1962-)

Details about the awards can be found

World Comics: Lagos Comicon Turns Three

Attendees at the 2013 Lagos Comic Con

Attendees at the 2013 Lagos Comic Con

A panel at last years Lagos Comic Con

By Deji Bryce Olukotun

[Editor’s note: At The Beat we’re always trying to cover little known and emerging comics scenes, tus we’re excited to present this look at the Nigerian comics scene and this weekend’s Lagos Comic Con. For those who think Africa is all about ebola, think again.]  

Nigeria may be wracked by Boko Haram and the threat of the dreaded Ebola virus, but the entertainment industry is booming in the largest economy in Africa. The Nigerian film industry, popularly called Nollywood, sells an estimated $800 million in mostly straight-to-video movies every year. What the films lack in production quality, they make up for in verve and melodrama–it’s hard not to get sucked into watching one if you happen upon one on television. The country also boasts a thriving independent press, and internet penetration is rapidly rising as the government pushes out broadband. Books, too, remain popular, led by the public intellectual and Nobel Prize Winner Wole Soyinka and the emergence of the national $100,000 NLNG Nigeria Prize– although a recent decision by the Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to place a crippling tax on imported texts has limited their availability. Piracy is also a problem. On my recent trip to Nigeria, I purchased a few CDs at what appeared to be a fancy music store and they all turned out to be pirated, and even the distributors of Nollywood films pirate the films they are supposed to be selling.

The comics scene in Nigeria has been thriving since the 1980s, but has yet to burst into the mainstream. There are tastes of what may soon emerge as youth in Nigeria fully embrace the internet—check out this sci-fi short on YouTube here, which includes an animated spaceship—but comics are still an emerging industry. On Friday, the third annual Lagos Comic Con will launch in the commercial capital of 20 million people. I corresponded with comics creator and co-founder Ayodele Elegba about the event, where we wrote about attractions, popular comics, Ebola, and cosplay.

Q: How did the Lagos Comicon get started?

Elegba: The Lagos Comic Con began in 2012 when I realized that the comic medium was not appreciated by the Nigerian public like it used to be in the 80s while I was growing up. I had previously published a newsletter to raise awareness about the scene but the response was low and people kept asking me where they could get comic books and if there were comics created by Nigerians. I wanted to debunk the myth and show people that Nigerian Comics do exist and that we have comic artists and writers here in Nigeria. That was when I decided to start the Lagos Comicon, with no funds but a dream to make it an international festival.

lagos comic con

Q: What will you have at the event?

Elegba: This year the event is much bigger because we have included other genres of entertainment such as movies, games, and animations, which are like an extension of comic books. We will have a Comic Zone, where you can buy Nigerian Comics and meet African creators. We also have Nollywood Village: this is where you can buy Nigerian-made movies with an action/comics bent and meet A-list Nigerian film stars and music celebrities. We have the Game Zone, where we’ll run a competition this year called “Battle of the Game Lords,” where gamers will compete for a prize of over US$2000. We have an Arts and Culture Zone where we showcase fine arts, sculptures, paintings, and the beautiful culture of the Nigeria. We have a workshop session with 12 speakers who will talk about various genres of entertainment. Finally, we have the Kids Zone, where kids can play and have fun while their parents shop. We also have other segments like karaoke, exhibitions, dance performances and music performances from pop stars.

Q: What are some of the most popular themes in Nigerian comics (e.g. scifi, history, romance, adventure)?

Elegba: The most popular themes right now in Nigerian comics are magical or cultural, though we have superhero comics and military comics too.

Q: Are there any topics that you won’t find in other countries? For example, there is a series on President Goodluck Jonathan.

Elegba: Well Nigeria is unique, and there is a particular comic called Central Attack which deals with the issue of Boko Haram, the terrorist group in Nigeria.

[Interviewer’s Note: Central Attack depicts an elite government strike team that protects the country against the militant Islamic sect Boko Haram. You can read more about it here.]

Q: Who are the most popular comic book authors and writers?

Elegba: The most popular comic book artists are Ibrahim Ganiyu, Jide Olusanya, Stanley Obende, Mohammed Agbadi and many more. Writers include myself Ayodele Elegba, Wisdom Omon, Niyi, and Niran Adeniji.

Q: Piracy is a problem in Nigeria for fiction authors and for films. Is this an issue for comics in Nigeria?

Elegba: Right now there is no piracy in comics. Piracy dwells on the financial success of a products. Comics don’t have that yet.

Q: Will scares about Ebola cause any issues for attendance?

Elegba: I don’t think so. The Ebola scare has been well curbed by the Nigerian government and so far all cases of Ebola infections have been effectively quarantined and taken care of. We have also put in place measures for hand washing and sanitization at the event. We will be checking everyone’s temperature as they go into the hall.

A panel at last years Lagos Comic Con

Q: How is the internet affecting the comics scene in Nigeria? Can you buy local comics online?

Elegba: The internet is a developing media in Nigeria, but so far Nigerian comics are doing well. We have about five indigenous online comic stores in Nigeria now.

Will there be any cosplay?

Elegba: Sure, what’s a comic con without cosplay? There will be cosplay and there will be prizes for the winners.

[Deji Bryce Olukotun (@dejiridoo) is the author of Nigerians in Space, a thriller out now from Unnamed Press.]



Broken legs, death threats and fatwas: the trials and tribulations of THE 99 

[Reprinted from The National. An Arabic version is located here.
downloadWe first met. Naif Al-Mutawa several years ago, and followed the story of The 99 and Teshkeel Comics, as he attempted to offer modern, constructive role models for youth in the Arabic world. At a time when the world seemed to be in a hopeless conflict, Dr. Al-Mutawa’s work seemed to be a shining example of the unifying power of comics. However in recent months, he’s come under a fatwa, imposed by a Saudi Arabian cleric, as recounted here.  With  his permission, we’re reprinting, his current piece on the Fatwa and what he’s doing to fight a charge of heresy.]

Many years ago, I was the volleyball counsellor at a summer camp in New England. It was 1990 and I was fit for five minutes. It seems there’s always an injury I can blame my (lack of) fitness on. That summer was no different.

Running into the lake, I slipped. My hands instinctively shielded my face from hitting the lake bottom and my elbows jerked back and got caught in the sand, sending my right shoulder out of its socket. I popped it back in. It was painful. I had to rest for a week before seeing a doctor. And then, on the way to the clinic, I had a terrible car accident that meant I completed my journey to the hospital in an ambulance. I’ve had my share of car accidents. Two of them were not my fault. This was one of those. It involved being shunted by a Mack truck while I was stationary at a traffic light.

At the hospital I was told that my shoulder had popped out again and that the boot of my car had been compressed to within inches of my head. I was lucky.

It was there I met an ambulance chaser, which was a first. I got his card. I got his pitch. I told him there and then not to bother: if the lorry driver who had written off my car had money, I reasoned, he would have had brakes too. I also told him I did not want to live my life by taking something away from someone else. I wanted to create rather than destroy. I did not want to be associated with a bottom feeder.

A few weeks later, a six-year-old boy sneaked up on me while I was brushing my teeth and said: “You don’t have a country … you don’t have a country …” A fellow counsellor who had roughly the same intellect as the young boy was hiding behind a tree. He had put the child up to it. It was surreal.

I called my father in Kuwait and he casually explained to me that Iraq’s invasion was a routine matter that would solve itself in a matter of days. It didn’t. The things fathers say.

Now, many years later, I have spent the summer recovering from another painful injury (giving me another excuse to explain away why I’m still not fit).

Last summer, as I was leaving my children’s summer camp in New England, I missed a step on an outdoor staircase and got my leg caught between a step and a tree root. I went in one direction and my leg in another. I broke my leg so badly my bones came out of my body for a breath of fresh air. My surgeon referred to my fracture as Humpty Dumpty. It took several surgeries and months of physical therapy to start to feel normal again.

While I recovered, another bottom feeder made his way into my life, this time forcefully. A man whose view of reality is narrow and violent, sued me for heresy and went around submitting false accusations to various institutions asking for a fatwa on my work with THE 99, a super-hero cartoon series I created based on the 99 attributes of God.

Sadly, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and the ministry of Islamic affairs in Kuwait did not do their homework and issued fatwas condemning THE 99 based on false accusations and misstatements provided by this ambulance chaser. This is after THE 99 had been broadcast daily for two years all over the world.

The United Nations, the World Economic Forum, world leaders including president Barack Obama, the emir of Kuwait and many others endorsed my work for bridging cultures and tolerance.

In fact, THE 99 has been approved by the ministries of information in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and was funded by a Saudi Islamic Investment Bank with its own Sharia board.

This accusation opened up a Pandora’s box and led to an avalanche of extremists each trying to outdo one another. It led to fatwas and more recently death threats from Twitter accounts linked to ISIL and Al Qaeda.

You can imagine the call I had with my parents and my children when the front page of Kuwait’s leading daily newspaper quoted various death threats. Look on the bright side I told my parents. This shows the impact of THE 99.

My son, who is a summer camp counsellor this year, called me in a state of panic. His friends told him I was dead or that I was going to jail. I tried to allay his fears by telling him it was routine. The things fathers say.

But that is not the end of the story. The early 1990s witnessed Disney releasing their smash hit Aladdin. The opening lyrics of the song entitled Arabian Nights were: “Oh I come from a land, from a faraway place, where the caravan camels roam, where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face, it’s barbaric, but hey, it’s home.”

Having released it on the heels of Desert Storm, Disney thought they could get away with the lyrics. They couldn’t. Protests led to changing the lyrics on the video and DVD versions. I was among the protesters.

Last week I took my children to watch Aladdin the Musical on Broadway. And as I sat in the audience I couldn’t help wonder should those lyrics have been changed? Should I have protested against them? Isn’t someone trying to cut off my head because they don’t like the way I think?

As I write this I am considering going to Kuwait to answer charges of heresy. The ministry of information has turned a number of production companies over to the public prosecutor for violating the audio-visual media law.

May God bless Kuwait and may the forces of darkness not muffle innovation and creativity. And may the ministries start to understand that in the name of protecting our culture they are responsible for killing it by scaring off the content creators and the content investors.

Why would anyone invest in media content if the producers can be sent off to the public prosecutor’s office and potentially serve jail time. Isn’t it just easier to keep dubbing Turkish, Mexican and American dramas?

And if we keep doing that, aren’t we diluting our culture? And if we do, then whose fault is that? Perhaps the ministries were not set up to protect our culture after all.

Naif Al-Mutawa is a Kuwait-born, U.S. educated psychologist who created “THE 99,” a comic book about a group of superheroes based on Islamic archetypes.

Infographic: the evolution of digital comics in the US

This infographic is also an ad for WEBTOONS, a portal short serialized digital comics that are native on mobile platforms. The site is run by NAVER, the Google of South Korea. Despite the proprietary nature there is still some interesting info on the graph including projected worldwide size of the digital comics market…no idea where that came from, but webtoons are an established entertainment format in South Korea, seemingly more than in the US.


Small Press Spotlight: Breakdown Press and Mutiny Bay


When co-editor and former PictureBox publisher Dan Nadel goes on a rampage ANYTHING can happen but he had a pretty good one today, about cutting edge comics:

Here’s a report on the new London comics festival, Safari, hosted by my candidate for most-promising young publishing house, Breakdown Press. What makes an exciting young comic book publisher? Well, pull up a chair and listen to this bitter old failure preach it: Precise and adventurous taste; a sense of serving an actual community (not fake mascot- or brand- driven community); the discovery and nurturing of young avant garde talent; a strong editorial vision; a crystalized production/design aesthetic; an ambition to advance the art form. Besides Leon Sadler’s Famicon, I can’t think of another publisher that’s done this lately. Pretty much everyone else right now is struggling for an identity or aping someone else’s, which may be related to the profusion of festivals and avalanche of self-publishing concerns. There’s so much stuff being made, so few venues, and so few rewards that people are literally taking to the road to just get the shit out. Another beacon of hope for me is Happiness, Leah Wishnia’s enthusiastic anthology of comics and underground culture. I like the spirit of it, the focus on unique creative voices, and the ambitiousness of her editorial and graphic scope. I also really appreciate the low price point and sense of a localized community. Hey humans who read this, I sure would like some writing about all this on Send me your ideas! Boy, listening to this Grateful Dead channel on Sirius really got me going. Howard Stern is in repeats, so I’m on my other medicine. Phew. Ok, back to your daily links…

Part of the UK’s rapidly exploding and thrilling mini and micro-publisher scene, Breakdown Press hasn’t gotten too much “groundlevel” coverage, outside of our own Jessica Lee reviewing Antoine Cosse’s J.1137 (Oh Jessica where are you? Report to base!). But they put out a print edition of Conor Willumsen’s Treasure Island (above), so they are definitely on the side of the angels. They’ve just released Cosse’s Mutiny Bay which sounds intriguing as heck:

1519. A Spanish fleet leaves Seville, heading west. Portuguese Captain Magellan is convinced of the existence of a South American strait that will expedite trade with the Indonesian Spice Islands. Months later, in a deserted and inhospitable land, mutiny brews, two men are marooned and the world explodes in a riot of hallucinatory colour.

Antoine Cossé’s most substantial work to date is a fascinating drama, examining one of history’s most intriguing mysteries.

And here’s a preview….Comics! It’s a Golden Age!

BONUS: and here’s a report on Safari, a small press show that just wrapped in London.

mutiny bay cosse mutiny bay cosse mutiny bay cosse

Comic Con India teams with ReedPop


Photo courtesy Comic Con India

According to a forwarded email, ReedPOP, the event company that throws New York Comic Con, C2E2, PAX and many other popular fan events, has expanded its international reach by teaming with Comic Con India, which launched three years ago and now throws shows in Mumbia, Hyderabad, Bangalore and Delhi. (The Bangalore show is the weekend after next.)

We Are Thrilled And Excited To Announce That Comic Con India Is Now Part Of The Illustrious Reed Pop Family Of International Pop Culture Events. Over The Past Three Years, We Have Endeavored To Create First Class Pop Culture Experiences, Acting As A Stage For Local And International Talent To Showcase Creativity And Interact With Enthusiasts, With Active Support Of Partners Such As You.

With This Joint Venture, Indian Fans Should Now Expect New Events And Better Experiences In The Coming Years. Our Partnership With ReedPOP Will Help Us Scale Further And Create World Class Events That Will Deliver The Best Experiences To Audiences Here In India.

We Look Forward To Your Constant Support And Hope To Have You On-Board For Some Really Awesome Times Ahead.

ReedPOP previously teamed with the Oz Comic Con in Australia and the Singapore Toy, Game and Comic Convention, and throws a European Star Wars Celebration. Parent company Reed Expo throws events worldwide, so ReedPOP is uniquely suited to these kinds of ventures.

The Indian comics scene has been growing rapidly,  with an emerging middle class, and the spread of pop culture globally. A native Indian comics market is being supplemented by imports from the US and other English language companies. I met two of the principles of Comic Con India last year and they told me that indie comics are as popular as superheroes in their market—so there is definitley a lot to grow on here.

Speaking  of which, The Beat needs an Indian comics correspondent! If you are interested email me at comicsbeat at gmail.



Cosplay at the Bangalore Comic Con speaks a universal language. Photo courtesy of Comic Con India.