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Yoshihiro Tatsumi, father of the gekiga style of manga, dead at age 79

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Yoshihiro Tatsumi, known as the creator and grandmaster of the darker gekiga style of Japanese manga, has passed away at the age of 79.

News of Tatsumi’s passing comes from a message posted by London-based comic book journalist Paul Gravett on his website. “The news came through to me in a short email [from director Eric Khoo] yesterday, March 7th 2015: ‘Sensei passed away today,'” Gravett wrote. “His innovations were vitally important for Japanese comics and his lifetime’s work stands as some of the most psychologically powerful and humane narratives, not only in manga but in global comics culture.”

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Cayman Islands police end active search for comic book inker Norman Lee

Gary Higgins/The Patriot Ledger

Gary Higgins/The Patriot Ledger

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Service have called off their search and recovery mission for missing comic book inker Norman Lee.

The 44-year-old Lee, a resident of Weymouth, MA, and a frequent contributor to Marvel comics such as Marvel Adventures: Spider-Man and Wolverine & The X-Men, went missing the morning of Thursday, March 5th while snorkeling with his wife near their hotel, the Reef Resort East End. About 250 yards from shore, the couple became separated, and Lee’s wife immediately filed a report upon returning to shore.

Though we initially reported a rescue operation was underway into Saturday based on a story from Boston’s WCVB, Cayman 27 (via Comicbook.com) reports that search and recovery operations began and ended late Friday afternoon.

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Marvel inker Norman Lee goes missing in Cayman Islands

Gary Higgins/The Patriot Ledger

Gary Higgins/The Patriot Ledger

Frequent Marvel Comics inker, artist Norman Lee has gone missing while on vacation in the Cayman Islands.

Boston-area ABC affiliate WCVB filed a report this afternoon about the status of Lee, a resident of nearby town Weymouth. Apparently, Lee and his wife set out on a snorkeling trip this morning from the Reef Resort East End, but about 250 yards from shore the pair became separated. Lee’s wife returned to land and filed a report late this morning. As yet, rescue workers have found no sign of the artist.

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Happy birthday, Norm Breyfogle

norm breyfogle

Veteran Batman artist Norm Breyfogle turns 55 years old today, which is the perfect opportunity to remind his fans of the fundraiser to help pay for his care and rehabilitation. With two days remaining in the campaign, the effort has generated nearly $98,000 — not quite half of its $200,000 goal.

Breyfogle suffered a stroke in December that left the left-handed artist paralyzed on his left side. With no medical insurance and his savings eaten away by hospital stay, he and his family turned t crowdfunding to help pay for his months of care and physical therapy at a nursing home.

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Stan Lee sketches Spider-Man for young autistic fan

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Drawing may never have been Stan Lee’s forte, but when called upon for a good cause, even Stan The Man can put pencil to paper.

That’s the focus of a rather heartwarming story that ran in The New York Times this weekend focusing on 8-year-old autistic Harlem resident Jamel Hunter. The youngest of five children to a mother who herself has physical disabilities, Hunter was the subject of a profile in the paper late last year when he received a Spider-Man themed birthday party. The story caught the notice of retired jazz musician Corky Hale — who just happens to be the neighbor of the 92-year-old Marvel Comics legend. Hale enlisted Lee to draw a sketch of Spidey declaring “Hi Jamel!” and sent it to the boy via Times reporter Michael Wilson.

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Diplo sort-of apologizes for swiping GIF, ‘trollish tendencies’

diplo

After responding first with vulgarity and flippancy to criticism that he used an artist’s GIF without permission or credit, Grammy-winning producer Diplo has changed his tune, even if he can’t quite muster a full-throated apology.

“Sorry if I hurt your feelings, or trivialize your art,” he wrote in a message to illustrator Rebecca Mock, before effectively blaming everyone else for Wednesday’s social media firestorm that led Defamer to run the headline “Diplo Is a Dick.” Which really, at this point, is pretty difficult to dispute.

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Producer swipes art, responds with vulgar tweets when called out

mock tweet

Grammy-winning producer Diplo on Wednesday teased the new Jack U collaboration with Missy Elliot with an Instagram video, which should’ve been a harmless bit of self-promotion. Instead, it led to a flurry of mocking and misogynistic tweets aimed at Rebecca Mock and others after the illustrator pointed out the DJ had used one of her GIFs without permission or credit.

Diplo, whom In the Mix once ironically dubbed the “King of Twitter,” added Mock’s credit to the Instagram post, only to trumpet his action with this vulgar exchange:

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Bill Finger biographer proposes NYC memorial bench for Batman co-creator

Bill Finger

Bill Finger

Last year Bill Finger biographer Marc Tyler Nobleman campaigned unsuccessfully for a Google Doodle to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the writer’s birth, but now he’s proposing a more attainable goal: a commemorative bench in Poe Park in The Bronx, New York, honoring the uncredited co-creator of Batman.

In a blog post published Sunday — Finger’s birthday — Nobleman dusts off a Kickstarter proposal he’d written in 2013 that lays out the plan, which calls for $6,000 to install the bench and plaque as part of the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation’s Adopt-a-Bench program. “If it generates enough enthusiasm here, it might embolden me to launch it immediately!” he writes.

Nobleman, author of Bill the Boy Wonder: The Secret Co-Creator of Batman, states that the project would not only “help right a wrong,” but also make pop-culture history as “the first memorial honoring a superhero creator in NYC, the Superhero Capital of the World.”

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Colorist Lee Loughridge mentors at SCAD Atlanta

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Last week Lee Loughridge, colorist of Deadly Class, Southern Cross and Catwoman, spent a few days last week at the SCAD Atlanta campus lecturing and working with students in conjunction with the institution’s Alumni Mentor Program.

According to Pat Quinn, associate chair of sequential art: “The Alumni Mentor Program’s intent is to show current students how alumni found success in their field. Lee is an incredible example for our students, not just because he’s great at what he does, but more importantly because he knows the business inside and out. His insights into the art of making comics and how to survive as an artist are really invaluable.”

Quinn offered ROBOT 6 photos that he took over the course of the colorist’s visit, and we were able to chat briefly with Loughridge and some of the students about the experience.

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Norm Breyfogle: ‘I’m crying tears of joy every day’

norm breyfogleIn a whirlwind of updates over the past few days — including a video from his Michigan nursing home — we learned veteran Batman artist Norm Breyfogle is making headway following his Dec. 17 stroke.

“This is just another little video for me to express my thanks to all you out there who have provided such great moral and financial support,” he says in a message recorded by BJ Litsenberger. “I want to show you I can move my afflicted side. I can even stand. Check this out!”

That video arrives amid a New York Times story about crowdfunding medical expenses that highlights Breyfogle’s situation, and a Paste magazine profile of the 54-year-old artist.

Famed for his stints on Batman and Detective Comics in the late 1980s and early ’90s, Breyfogle was hospitalized in mid-December after suffering a stroke that paralyzed his left side, including his drawing hand. According to the online fundraising campaign launched by his brother Kevin Breyfogle and sister-in-law Wendy Wiegert, he has no health insurance and a savings eaten away by his hospital stay, yet requires months of care and physical therapy at a nursing home. (The artist tells Paste had hadn’t signed up for Obamacare at the time of his stroke, explaining, “I just never got around to it. I was on the hamster wheel of meeting deadlines. I was in denial.”)

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Brian Michael Bendis recommends comics in ‘Late Night’ video

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When Brian Michael Bendis appeared last week on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, he did more than promote Playstation Network’s Powers adaptation and Marvel’s Secret Wars. He also offered up some comic-book recommendations.

In “Comic Book Gateway,” a video shot backstage at Late Night and released this week, the writer suggests some titles for newcomers. While he gives nods to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy and Star Wars, Bendis devotes most of his time to creator-owned comics.

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Sean Murphy tackles creator’s rights for conventions

Illustrators Christian Dibari, bottom left, and Sean Murphy above left, at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in 2013.  Photo by Tim Greenway.

Illustrators Christian Dibari, bottom left, and Sean Murphy above left, at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in 2013. Photo by Tim Greenway.

Speaking up is a hard thing to do for many creators, because as freelancers they often work at the whim of others. But Sean Murphy has made a name for himself beyond his actual work as an outspoken member of the artist community. Recently, he took to his deviantART page to pull back the curtain on an overlooked aspect of a creator’s life — one rife with doubts and unfulfilled promises, but with the occasional bright spot: conventions.

“While many of my pro friends are eternally grateful for their careers and for these generous invites, some of the shows are taking advantage of creators — ALL levels of creators — and not following through with what’s promised,” Murphy wrote. “Believe me, I love traveling and I want to visit all my readers in every country I can, but there’s nothing worse than getting to the ‘convention reserved’ hotel room and finding out you wasted your money staying in some foreign ghetto.”

While Murphy might now be in the upper echelon of creators vied for by conventions and stores, the New England artist has been attending cons for more than a decade.

Murphy is doing more than just complaining, however; he’s offering a solution — what he calls a list of “Creator’s Rights” pertaining to conventions.

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Excelsior? Stan Lee thinks the world will probably blow itself up

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With collaborators like Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, Stan Lee dreamed up futuristic technology and alien civilizations, but he still marvels at the advancements he witnesses in our world.

I always knew new inventions and new things would come along,” he tells music producer Steve Aoki the latest edition of Wired’s “Neon Future Sessions.’ “I didn’t think it would happen so fast. I didn’t think in my lifetime we’d have things like navigators in automobiles, that we’d have smartphones that can talk to you, but, boy, science is moving so fast. They’re actually managing to keep up with me.”

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Todd McFarlane swears off the possibility of DC/Marvel freelance, but not crossovers

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Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane has made it a habit of late to open up his archives via his Facebook page, sharing everything from early Spawn designs to evolutionary charts. But this weekend, he held court on some of his publishing philosophy as it applies to his past life as a Marvel Comics superstar.

“Here’s the the answer to a question I get asked a lot: ‘NO!… I WILL NEVER DRAW for Marvel or DC Comics AGAIN!'” the artist wrote in a new post. “But it’s not why you might think…”

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Brian Michael Bendis talks ‘Powers,’ ‘Secret Wars’ on ‘Late Night’

bendis-seth-meyers

Writer Brian Michael Bendis appeared last night on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, where he talked about Marvel’s big Secret Wars announcement, how he stumbled into a job at a comic store, and consulting with Sony Pictures on The Amazing Spider-Man.

But first and foremost, he was there to promote the upcoming premiere ofPowers , the long-developing adaptation of the comic he created with Michael Avon Oeming (note how Bendis politely corrects Meyers, ensuring his collaborator receives proper credit).

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