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Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 5/20/15: Surviving Charlie Hebdo cartoonist quits and other news of the week


§ Luz, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist who sirvived the January attack, is quitting the magazine in September, he revealed in an interview on Monday. It’s hard to blame him.

“Each issue is torture, because the others are gone,” Mr. Luzier said. “Spending sleepless nights summoning the dead, wondering what Charb, Cabu, Honoré, Tignous would have done is exhausting,” he added, referring to cartoonists who were killed by two Islamist brothers by their pseudonyms.

Although Renald Luzier, to use his full name, drew the post-attack cover that showed a weeping Mohammed he also said that he’s not going to draw the prophet any more, as it doesn’t interest him. He has other projects to work on, including an autobiographical comic and an adaptation of The Shining. I think we can all wish him some peace of mind.

§ Here’s a very goofy story: pop star Rihanna and DC are clashing over the trademark of the word “Robyn” which is her given name—her full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty. DC thinks that’s too close to Robin. The tussle flared up when RiRi sought to trademark the word for some business interests:

Rihanna, or as us good friends apparently call her, Robyn, owns a company, Roraj Trade LLC that owns the trademarks associated with her businesses like her cosmetics and perfume line. In June 2014, Roraj Trade filed a trademark registration application for the term ROBYN used for “providing on-line non-downloadable general feature magazines”. So it appears Rihanna wants to use her real name in association with some online magazine. DC Comics has its own Robin, of course. Batman’s sidekick first appeared way back in 1939 and since that time, the Dynamic Duo have had an on and off relationship but DC Comics still uses the character and trademark to this day. In 1984, DC Comics received a trademark registration for ROBIN for action figures and in 1995 received another for comic books. DC Comics use of the ROBIN trademark is well established and DC Comics has invested a lot of time and money establishing the character and the trademark.

The Outhouse has the legal filings on the matter. While this all seems silly, both Robin and Rihanna often go out in public wearing briefs, so we can see how the public might be confused.

§ Here is a new site called ComicsChicago that lists comicksy type things to do around the Windy City. Here’s one that sounds promising: Sex & Gender Empowerment in the Comics.

§ J. Caleb Mozzocco is now writing for Comics Alliance! They have all the cool kids. And here he is reviewing Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona:

Noelle Stevenson‘s Nimona is not your typical fantasy comic heroine. I say that not because of her style, which includes a partially shaved head, with dyed hair and piercings; and not because of the way she dresses, which is in practical chain mail and leather adventuring gear; and not because of her build, which is short and stocky, in sharp contrast to the tall willowy male characters.

No, Nimona is not your typical fantasy comic heroine because Nimona is not a hero period. She’s a villain.

§ And speaking of Nimona, it’s been optioned by Vertigo. SAY WHAT?!? Oh Vertigo Entertainment, which is run by Roy Lee”

Lee will produce the adaptation through Vertigo, with production president Adam Stone overseeing. Vertigo most recently produced the Ryan Reynolds horror/comedy The Voices, Warner Bros.’ smash animated hit The Lego Movie, and the Liam Neeson starrer Run All Night. Vertigo is currently producing a number of high-profile projects, including The Lego Movie sequels and spinoffs, the Adventure Time adaptation, and Stephen King’s It. Vertigo’s latest, the Poltergeist remake, is set to bow this weekend.

§ And just to wrap up this Nimona discussion, I’ve mentioned a few times that I think this is one of the most important graphic novels of the year from a publishing standpoint as it’s a major house—HarperCollins—getting back into original comics content after some early missteps. Graphic novels for younger readers are definitely the hottest category out there, but a strong showing by this book would show that Smile isn’t just an outlier. So how’s it doing? Not bad as of right now:

Amazon sales rankings are of course only a snapshot, but this is a pretty solid indication that it’s finding an audience.

As well it should. Stevenson is so young and has that out-of-the-box talent and confidence that presages a very long and successful career. And Nimona is a wonderful book, as Mozzocco suggests above, taking fantasy tropes and recasting them in fresh and funny ways. You should check it out.

§ Luvable Simon Pegg suddenly turned into a snarling wolverine when he dared to criticize nerd culture for being “childish.” Nice one, Scotty. Just who is paying your salary again. But in a thoughtful op-ed, the Spaced co-creator explained that he was talking about the co-opting of media for marketing puposes among other things:

Recent developments in popular culture were arguably predicted by the French philosopher and cultural theorist, Jean Baudrillard in his book, ‘America’, in which he talks about the infantilzation of society. Put simply, this is the idea that as a society, we are kept in a state of arrested development by dominant forces in order to keep us more pliant. We are made passionate about the things that occupied us as children as a means of drawing our attentions away from the things we really should be invested in, inequality, corruption, economic injustice etc. It makes sense that when faced with the awfulness of the world, the harsh realities that surround us, our instinct is to seek comfort, and where else were the majority of us most comfortable than our youth? A time when we were shielded from painful truths by our recreational passions, the toys we played with, the games we played, the comics we read. There was probably more discussion on Twitter about the The Force Awakens and the Batman vs Superman trailers than there was about the Nepalese earthquake or the British general election.

This is very true. I have seen way more discussion in my Twitter feed of the fictional rape of a fictional character than the real horrifying systematic rape and impregnation of kidnapped girls and children because criticizing fiction is fun, but trying to fix the actual world of brutality and suffering is hard and depressing. I will just direct you to The Project Solution, a charity run by my friend Joe Gonzalez, of the podcast Comic News Insider, that tries to do little things like build a well for a village or buying a computer for some orphans. Small measurable things that do make a difference. Calling out HBO for its gross pandering is a good thing, but I’m pretty sure Boko Haram doesn’t watch Game of Thrones. Anyway, we have to be vigilant on BOTH fronts, but don’t forget, there is so much misdirection out there.

§ And speaking of which, obligatory Marvel section. They’re the best at what they do and what they do is market stuff like crazy: How @Marvel Perfected the Integrated Social Campaign | Simply Measured

…OR DO THEY? I know you are sick of AVENGERS: AFE OF ULTRON think pieces but this much linked piece by Sady Doyle explains How Marvel Is Killing the Popcorn Movie that lays out some of the fatigue many are feeling:

The movie also has a pre-determined narrative, which we know because it’s the same narrative every Marvel movie adheres to, which is, roughly: There’s a thing and a bad guy and the bad guy steals the thing, so they fight. They lose one fight and then they lose another fight and then they win the last fight. The end. We also need to end the movie in such a way that all of the characters with ongoing franchises can go back to those franchises, alive and more or less unchanged.

True enough, but all hot dogs are pretty much the same and people still like hot dogs.


  1. ….and as Steven Universe would say: “If every pork chop were perfect, we wouldn’t have hot dogs!”

    Not sure how it contributes to the conversation, other than it plays into what Simon Pegg was saying.

  2. Speaking of DC and Robins, do you have any behind-the-scenes dope on whether or not DC’s decision to turn Jason Todd into Red Robin was a copyright move to protect the name from hamburger restaurant chain, “Red Robin”?

  3. It’s funny, Heidi, reading Simon Pegg’s blog post reminded me of the conversation we had after that “marketing to geeks” panel at SDCC last year. And it was well-timed after the Mad Men finale ended with the “I’d like to buy the world a Coke” commercial.

  4. There is a talented blonde singer/dancer named Robyn already out there and doing well. How would she fit in the DC/RhiRhi mix?

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