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§ Nice Art: Adrian Tomine’s cover for The New Yorker this week is called “Love Life” but it captures many of the aspects of lockdown life.

§ It’s Best Comics of the Year Season! And let’s get rolling:

• NPR has a pretty sprawling selection  including many graphic novels which I think you can see here. 

• And here’s The Guardian‘s list, with an emphasis on UK publishers.

• From Michael Cavna at The Washington Post, Graphic novel and comics trends, including politics and representations.

• School Library Journal weighs in, but you may have to jiggle your browser a bit to read it.

Hard to spot the front runners for Book of the Year here — so many books came out in 2020 without the benefit of cons and media events and holding it in your hands to give it reality. One that I’ve seen mentioned several times is Derf’s Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio.

§ Goodreads is running the finalists in their Good Read Choice Awards voting. I used to write about this noting that almost all the books are by female-identified cartoonists, but a couple of guys slipped in this year.

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§ Whit Taylor on Having a Baby in Quarantine for The New Yorker.

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§ Arpad Okay weighs in on Jaime Hernandez’s  “The Death of Speedy Ortiz,” quite simply one of the greatest comics ever. Not a week goes by where I don’t think of the last page.

Consider “The Death of Speedy Ortiz” an open lane into the longest ongoing story in comics this side of One Piece. Criminals and burnouts vivid with charisma and bad choices and the struggle for one’s independence during the post-adolescents’ coming-of-age come together with the nature, artifice, and poignancy of a Varda film. A hopelessly romantic pulp. A pulp romance. Jealousy. Power. Family. Respect. “The Death of Speedy Ortiz” will rip your heart out and has the potential to heal you as Maggie suffers and recovers. There is no other read in comics quite like Love and Rockets.

§ Here’s a virtual con that is ginning up press well in advance! Black Friday at Mainframe Comic Con — a DC-centric event to be held March 1st with a $5 entrance fee.

Black Friday is now BAT Friday!!! Join us for a one-night only event featuring the top names in DC comics as we discuss everything from art, writing, upcoming titles and a lot more. PLUS get your hands on some great DC con exclusives.

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§ At WWAC Elvie Mae Parian talks to Bernie Mercado and Nissie Arcega about Penlab, a web portal for Filipino ekomiks. 

As a response to differentiate itself from the existing platforms that serve webtoons, Penlab had launched to serve as a centralized hub specifically to host Filipino ekomiks online. I had the opportunity to interview Bernie Mercado, Penlab’s managing editor, and Nissie Arcega, the platform’s webmaster. They took the time to share what went behind the development of Penlab, their own personal insights on the komiks industry, and their thoughts on the future of the art scene in the Philippines.

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§ Shelfdust has been doing a great job of looking back at classic comics in the light of modern sensibilities, and Kelly Kanayama takes on Youngblood #1:

There are two things you need to know about Youngblood #1 right off the bat:

  1. It features a character called Shaft, who, unlike the famed movie detective of the same name, is a white redheaded man who kills a guy by throwing a pen at him in a shopping mall.
  2. It wants you to believe in a world where an ex-gymnast who is 5 feet 9 inches of pure muscle weighs 140 pounds.

As you may have guessed from the above fun facts, Youngblood #1, which came out in 1992, is a first issue that demonstrates a, uh, tenuous relationship with reality – or, more specifically, with the gap between reality and realism, into which this comic plummets in a bombastic shower of pouches, big hair, and cross-hatching. 

§ On what would have been Chadwick Boseman’s 44th birthday, Marvel unveiled a new opening for the Disney+ version of Black Panther, with images and quotes of Boseman in the opening montage. The heart breaks over and over.

 

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§ Speaking of Marvel, the rights to Daredevil have gone back to Disney, and fans are clamoring for Charlie Cox and Vincent D’Onofrio to enter the mainstream MCU.

Fans are making a last push to make sure that Netflix doesn’t conjure a fourth season of Daredevil out of the blue, and are also pushing series star Charlie Cox for any future MCU Daredevil projects. The campaign is being run under the hashtag #SaveDaredevil. They are asking fans to list the reasons why Daredevil should revert to Marvel Studios. To see the full Twitter thread with instructions, click here.

I wouldn’t mind seeing the Netflix cast come back in some form. Those Netflix shows were a bit unevenly paced but the performances were solid.

§ At Vanity FairRosario Dawson finally addressed the charges of transphobia against her in an interview about her role as Ahsoka Tano in The Mandalorian:

Court records show 18 of the 20 claims were withdrawn voluntarily without a settlement, and his lawyer left the case. Two counts remain alleging a physical altercation, and a judge will rule on whether that can move forward next month. There are people that would say, “Well, this is just another example of a wealthy, famous person overpowering the system.” So what would you say to those people who are unconvinced, both about this case and about what you actually believe about trans people?

Dawson: The reason that all of the discrimination claims were dropped is because they didn’t happen. I was raised in a very inclusive and loving way, and that’s how I’ve lived my entire life. I’ve always used my voice to fight for, lift up, and empower the LGBTQA community, and use my platform to channel trans voices, in fiction and nonfiction work that I’ve produced and directed. So I feel the record is really clear.

 

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