§ The “Comic shop killer” Michael George has lost a second appeal of his 2011 conviction for killing his wife Barbara George in 1990. It’s been a long legal road for George since he was charged with his wife’s murder in 2007—Barbara George was found shot in the head in the back of the comic shop the two owned. Michael George was convicted in 2008, had the result thrown out because of irregularities, was retried in 2011, convicted again, and has been appealing ever since. However this time the Michigan Appeals court ruled that George did not deserve another trial.
In its ruling, the appeals court stated evidence the jury considered showed George had both a financial incentive and a personal motive to kill her to end an unhappy marriage and allow him to pursue an extramarital relationship with another woman.
§ In happier news, here’s another overview of the growing comics market in India:
“Today’s readers demand a more realistic and contemporary storyline,” says Pratheek Thomas, co-founder of Manta Ray, an independent publisher of comics & graphic novels based in Bangalore. Thomas, also the brain behind the popular Hush comics, says today’s audience demands content and graphic that match standards of their international peers. “Internet and applications have made foreign graphic novels and comic books easily accessible. So, our readers demand the best,” explains the 32-year-old.
These picky readers will be at the Bangalore Comic Con June 1 and 2, and check out titles such as Julius Caesar ( Campfire Publishing), Mixtape 2, Twelve (Manta Ray Publishers), Aghori 3, Ravanayan Finale (Holy cow Entertainment), Tamas (Mrinal Rai), The Princely Buffalo (Trendy Toons), Butterfingers, Shikari Shambu, Defective Detectives (Tinkle Tall Tales).
§ Area man goes to a convention for the first time. He decided he needed more time and money to do it right.
§ In the Hollywood Korner, they are reviving TimeCop, one of the eldest of indie comic book movie properties! Originally a Dark Horse comic by Mark Verheiden, Phil Hester and Chris Warner, it was adapted by Verheiden and Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson as a successful vehicle for Jean Claude Van Damme, who was a movie star at the time. Ah, the Nineties. It was also a brief TV show and a direct to DVD sequel. Anyway, guess it’s time to bring it back. Since it worked once, why not again? But the world is all too short of Belgian kickboxers to star in it, so we’ll have to come up with something new.
§ Rob Salkowitz suggests that comics need to make more use of Big Data since everyone else does.
In the world of comics, we don’t know much about what kind of data is being collected or how it’s being used. Direct market sales figures remain a black box, with reader preferences filtered through the lens of retailer orders, then distorted again by the nature of the direct market’s self-selected audience. Diamond’s POS system provides information about what is going through the cash register, but not much about who is actually buying. Every so often, a publisher releases the results of a demographic study on readership.
§ This link has been going around, but it’s certainly worth remembering Mike Diana, a Florida cartoonist who became the first American artist to be convicted of obscenity 1994 when he comics were found to be obscene by a Florida court. He was forbidden to draw for three years. After years of staying away from Florida becuase of lingering legal troubles, Diana recently returned for an art show. Although little known today, the Diana case was a notorious one in the 90s, and his punishment for drawing admittedly violent but truly harmless comics was the most disturbing thing about the case:
But his troubles with Florida law enforcement didn’t end there. Diana was eventually convicted on three misdemeanor counts of obscenity for publishing, distributing, and advertising his works Boiled Angel #7 and Boiled Angel #ATE. He became the first artist in U.S. history to be convicted on criminal charges of obscenity. He spent four days in jail and three years on probation. “It was definitely a strange time,” he says, reflecting upon those days. “I feel that one thing that upsets me, that I think is obscene, is the jail and prison system. A lot of people are put behind bars who don’t need to be there.”
Although Diana’s persecution was outrageous, his story has a happy ending of sorts—his work is now collected, he’s showing in galleries around the world and working on a graphic novel about his entire ordeal.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.