I haven’t done K’n’B in almost a month because I’ve done five shows in seven weeks and that happened. My travel schedule is back to normal until SDCC however, so back to the semblance of normalcy.
§ Cartoonist Sophie Labelle was targeted by online trolls, doxxed, hacked and had to move house because of the harassment. Apalling.
For the past two years, Montreal-based artist Sophie Labelle has published Assigned Male, a webcomic about an 11-year-old transgender girl named Stephanie who is in earliest stages of transitioning and coming out to the people around her. While Labelle’s work has been noted in the queer webcomics community for its frank and powerful portrayals of everyday life for trans youth, the artist has recently become a victim of a targeted attack from online trolls who’ve sent her death threats and doxxed her personal information like her address in an attempt to scare her.
I haven’t kept up with further developments in this alarming case, but Labelle’s comic, Assigned Male, which got knocked offline for a while and replaced by Nazi imagery, is back up. Hope it stays up.
§ Molly Ostertag’s Witch Boy hasn’t been pblished yet but is has been optioned by Fox Animation.
Fox Animation has preemptively picked up the feature film rights to The Witch Boy, an upcoming graphic novel by Molly Knox Ostertag. Witch Boy centers on 13-year-old Aster, whose family raises all their girls to be witches and boys to be shapeshifters. Anyone who dares cross those lines is exiled. The boy hasn’t shifted, and he’s fascinated by witchery. When a mysterious danger threatens the other boys, Aster knows he can help … but as a witch. With the help of a non-conforming friend, Aster will have to find the courage to save his family while also be true to himself. Scholastic Press, which is behind such graphic novel best-sellers as Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters and Ghosts, is set to publish The Witch Boy in October.
§ Stan Lee’s POW! Entertainment was sold to a Chinese company called Camsing International; what that means I don’t know except Stan got more money probably because, face it, the guy must live like a pauper.
Camsing International is a member of Camsing Global Group, a China business consortium founded by Vivian Lo in Hong Kong in 1996. The company has offices in Guangzhou, Beijing, Shenzhen, Singapore and Los Angeles. In making the announcement, Lee said he would be involved in the development and production of POW! Entertainment projects and that the acquisition will allow “additional resources” for his company. He calls it a merger, while Camsing calls it an acquisition. Said Lo, Camsing’s Chairman and CEO: “I believe the merger will bring significant synergy by combing POW!’s existing intellectual property library and Camsing’s strong IP merchandising network in China, therefore creating value for our shareholders. At the same time, this deal will enhance Camsing’s comic intellectual property creation capability by working with Lee, who is a global proven name.
Good luck, Camsing, Stan’s pacts have a very strange history.
§ This was a VERY STRANGE STORY about how some rando claimed to have created Kung Fu Panda and ended up in jail for two years. The spurious suit filer was convicted of fraud!
Gordon, 51, sued DreamWorks for copyright infringement and proposed that the company settle for $12m. DreamWorks refused to settle, and litigation continued for a further two years, costing the studio $3m in legal fees.
Dreamworks later discovered that Gordon had traced some of his sketches from a colouring book featuring characters from Disney’s The Lion King, prosecutors said. Gordon also deleted evidence from his computer and lied under oath. He was convicted of fraud and perjury by a federal jury in November.
These kind of plagiarism cases are common but such a satisfying* ending I did not see coming.
§ I used the word satisfying because here are many spurious, rando lawsuits claiming that Steven Spielberg stole all someone’s good ideas. Oddly enough, these people are never heard from again while Steven Speilberg makes several excellent films for 30 years. However, that doesn’t mean ripping off people’s ideas doesn’t happen daily, and sometimes Steven Spielberg is influenced by the great filmmaker Satyajit Ray, who certainly did a lot of things. I suppose this Kung Fu Panda business could have a chilling effect on real cases with merit, but still..copying a coloring book?
§ One of the shows I attended on my jaunt was TCAF and Kim Jooha talked to Chris Butcher about running North America’s best loved comics festival.
Running a comic book show doesn’t require as much specialized knowledge as running a bookstore does. It does require very specialized knowledge in smaller doses, things like how to deal with hotels and if you fuck that up your show is over. If you forgot to order a book or you didn’t set up an account up, your store doesn’t close, you just like don’t get that book. If you don’t understand how hotel bookings work and guaranteed room rates and having that money and things like that, then they just cancel your hotel on Friday night and none of your guests have anywhere to stay and all of your room bookings are blocked and everyone’s pissed at you and the show stops. I’ve seen that happen literally three times. Once in Toronto.
§ Gabrielle Bell was profiled for PW.
§ Not really an interview, but Jillian Tamaki is quizzed on breaking out of a creativity rut.
§ Wizard World Phillie has come and gone and so have the gallerys of people in costume from local media:
Among the big name draws at this year’s con included actor Jesse Eisenberg, “The Social Network” and “Batman v. Superman Dawn of Justice,” actor Chuck Norris, “Delta Force” “Walker: Texas Ranger,” Gene Simmons, the co-lead singer of “Kiss,” actor Michael Rooker, “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Doctor Who” actresses Billie Piper and Pearl Mackie and “X-men” star Famke Janssen. For the many fans and artists in attendance for the convention, Wizard World’s perennial appeal had less to do with what stars would be stopping by and more about the chance to have fun and let your geek flag fly proudly.
§ Speaking of TCAF here’s a post mortem from Cute Juice Comics
Sometimes I think the Harvard Biz Review should do a business case study on TCAF. If people want to know how equity gets done without sensitivity training, draconian policies and rules, special committees to chastise management, etc., just look at TCAF, with its radically collaborative and inclusive approach. I think we too often fall for the trap of believing that hyper competitiveness and a “colourblind” winner-take-all attitude is the only formula for success. We do not question if a collaborative, non-combative approach would have produced even better, more sustainable results. This kind of framing leads us to subscribe to a false dichotomy of a competitive, results-oriented organization that only sees merit versus a collaborative, inclusive organization that will underperform. TCAF shows us that casting diversity as a problem or issue to be dealt with is not the right approach. It is an opportunity that should be embraced.
§ This twitter thread questions whether con hours make a con successful for dealers
VARIOUS TYPES OF WRITING
§ Rosemary Valero-O’Connell weighs in on that whole making a living at cartooning thing for VICE
§ Bully listed previous globe grabbing motifs from the comics.
§ I think I remember that Robin, aka Dick Grayson is going to so something awful again in the comics. Dick’s troubled past is examined in this essay Dick Grayson vs. Toxic Masculinity
Why do Robins die in brutal ways? Why must the male ones be rehabilitated as vicious killers? (See also Wayne, Damian.) Why do Dick Grayson fans always feel like the crosshairs are on him? Sure, Robin exists to lighten up Batman and so it makes a certain kind of sense that in eras that trend darker, as the late 80s and mid-oughts certainly did, whoever’s wearing the pixie boots will be first on the chopping block. But I think there’s something additional at play here.
§ Another one from Book Riot on the trouble with serialized comics:
As I began reading, I found that I did remember most of the previous stories, or at least enough to understand what was going on. And I started thinking about why that was—and why I was more willing to give a comic series a shot when I find book series so overwhelming. Before reading volume 7 of Saga, I didn’t really remember what happened in volume 6 any better than I remembered what had happened in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince before diving into Deathly Hallows when it first landed in stores. But that didn’t stop me from reading, understanding, and being utterly broken by the continuing adventures of Alana, Marko, Hazel, and the rest of their motley crew. It seems to me that, when it comes to comics, it’s more palatable because it’s simply the nature of the beast. The medium is presented in issues (or collections of issues). The issues land once a month (or every few months) and trades show up a few months to a year after the fifth issue or so. That’s what we get to work with. A book series might only be a trilogy while a comic series can run for hundreds of issues. Yet, for me, the comics—spanning years in publication time, though perhaps only months in story time—feel less terrifying.
§ The Best Comic Colorists of 2017 (So Far) put the spotlight on some creators who have a HUGE impact on today’s comics.
§ Dilray Mann’s cover for Island #12 was very controversial for its stark racial imagery. Here’s a podcast where Julian Lytle, J. A. Micheline, Darryl Ayo Brathwaite, Cheryl Lynn Eaton, Jonathan W. Gray & Ronald Wimberly talk about that cover, and, I’m guessing, other things. I can’t imagine six people who I would rather listen to speak on this topic; the podcast is nearly two hours long so t’s going to take me a lot of trips to the treadmill to finish.
§ George Carmona 3 read Martha Washington for the first time, thanks to Dark Horse’s timely reprint of the Frank Miller/Dave Gibbons classic.
§ A review of Kristen Radtke’s ‘Imagine Wanting Only This’, a new GN from Pantheon.
§ And a big graphic novel review round up by Douglas Wolk in The New York Times