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Creators take to social media in support of ‘Charlie Hebdo’

JeSuisCharlie-banner
Following the devastating attack Wednesday on the Paris headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead — among them, five cartoonists — countless creators turned to social media to express their outrage and grief, but also their support of free speech and solidarity with those who risks their lives when they put pen to paper.

Hashtags such as #JesuisCharlie, #CharlieHebdo, #weaponsofchoice, #WeaponsOfMassConstruction have sprung up across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, many accompanying photos of artists wielding their “weapons of choice”: pens and pencils.

We’ve highlighted just some of those posts, as well as a few others that address the killings.

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Cartoonist Philippe Honoré among ‘Charlie Hebdo’ victims

Al-BaghdadiA fifth cartoonist has been named among the victims of the shootings Wednesday at the Paris offices of satire magazine Charlie Hebdo: Philippe Honoré, whose cartoon of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was in the magazine’s last tweet before the attack. Honoré was critically injured in the shootings and died in the emergency room.

Cartoonists Stéphane Charbonnier (aka Charb), Jean Cabut (Cabu), George Wolinski and Bernard Velhac (Tignous) were also killed in the attacks, which left 10 magazine staff members and two police officers dead.

Born in 1941 in Vichy, Honoré was a self-taught artist whose first cartoon was published in the daily newspaper Sud-Ouest when he was just 16 years old. He started working at Charlie Hebdo in 1992 and published two or three cartoons a week there. His work also appeared in Le Monde, Libération, Les Inrockuptibles and Charlie Hebdo‘s predecessor, Hara-Kiri.

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Remembering the cartoonists of ‘Charlie Hebdo’

Love Stronger Than Hate“C’est peut-être un peu pompeux ce que je vais dire, mais je préfère mourir debout que vivre à genoux.”

“It may be a bit pompous for me to say this, but I prefer dying on my feet to living on my knees.”

Stephane Charbonnier, aka Charb, the editor of Charlie Hebdo, who was among those killed in today’s attacks.

The assassination — for that’s what it is — of four cartoonists, six other Charlie Hebdo staff members and two policemen unleashed a torrent of grief and solidarity around the world today as news spread of the attack by masked gunmen on the Paris offices of the satirical weekly.

That the gunmen reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) and “The Prophet has been avenged” points to the likelihood that the shootings were in retaliation for the several issues of the magazine that carried cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. (It should be noted from the start that Charlie Hebdo is an equal-opportunity offender; recent cartoons have also lampooned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the birth of Christ.) Time has a short history of the magazine’s provocations, and Mic.com has posted a selection of the Muhammad cartoons.

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Stan Lee buys $4.4 million Hollywood Hills home

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After selling a piece of property in Hollywood Hills West in November, comics legend Stan Lee has reportedly bought a contemporary home off the Sunset Strip for $4.4 million.

According to real estate website Trulia, the “luxurious” 5,285-square-foot pad boasts four bedrooms, seven baths, a remodeled chef’s kitchen, a “professional-grade” movie theater, den, sauna and, outside, a pool, spa and patios. The home, which sits on more than an acres, was last sold in 2005 for $3.22 million.

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Artist sets out to draw one ‘Star Wars’ comic a day

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While many of us are simply counting the days until the Dec. 18 release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Gerard Folz is channeling that anticipation into comics.

The cartoonist, who’s collaborating with Seth Kushner on The Roman Nose, has kicked off a project in which he transforms one Star Wars scene each day into a comics panel. Dubbed #darthdays, the planned year-long project has already given us the initial confrontation between Darth Vader and Princess Leia, the Tatooine sunsets and Stormtroopers on the search for droids.

Follow Folz on Twitter for updates.

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Zander Cannon heads to monster island with ‘Kaijumax’

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After sending his hero into the underworld in the acclaimed 2013 graphic novel Heck, for his next project cartoonist Zander Cannon is sticking his characters in a different kind of hell: a maximum-security prison for giant monsters.

Debuting in April from Oni Press, Kaijumax follows Electrogor, a new inmate at the titular island facility in the South Pacific who only wants to get back to his hungry and frightened children. Standing in his way are Ultraman-like guards, led by the fearsome warden Kang, and some of the biggest, baddest monsters of legend and popular culture.

Cannon spoke with ROBOT 6 the inspiration for the ongoing series, grounding the outlandish premise with a surprisingly straight-laced tone, and coming up with kaiju slang.

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Jason Latour offers advice to creators that everyone could use

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Partly inspired by the fundraising efforts to help veteran artist Norm Breyfogle, who’s recovering from a stroke, Jason Latour offered some sage advice overnight to young creators. What began as a single tweet, grew into a series, tinged with the creator’s blunt honesty about his own struggles.

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Fundraiser launches to help Norm Breyfogle following stroke

norm breyfogleA fundraiser has been established online to help cover the medical expenses of veteran Batman artist Norm Breyfogle, who suffered a stroke last week, leaving the left-handed illustrator paralyzed on his left side.

According to the campaign, launched by his brother Kevin Breyfogle and sister-in-law Wendy Wiegert, the 54-year-old Breyfogle 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.

A day into the effort, it’s raised nearly $16,500 toward its $200,000 goal, which will be used to cover the $10,000-a-month costs of the nursing home (Wiegert and Kevin Breyfogle say that Medicaid is expected to begin covering those expenses after six months).

“Norm as touched many fans throughout his career as a professional artist and now needs all of our help,” the campaign page states. “Norm has helped so many with his generosity throughout the years and has saved others lives in nearly the same situation of those in need of medical care expenses.”

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Kamala Khan and her creators named among ‘kick-ass Muslims’

Kamala Khan

Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson and editor Sana Amanat are in impressive company on BuzzFeed list of “21 Kick-Ass Muslims Who Changed the Narrative in 2014, which includes a Nobel laureate, a religious scholar and an Olympic athlete.

Written by Ahmed Ali Akbar, the rundown singles out not only the duo behind the creation of teenager Kamala Khan, the Pakistani American superhero, but also the character herself.

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Nobody cares about Stan Lee, says Stan Lee

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It’s not easy being Stan Lee, particularly when it feels as if people only like you for your body of work.

“I’m glad people care about Spider-Man and Iron Man and the X-Men and the Hulk and Doctor Strange and all the others,” the legendary creator says in the latest installment of “Stan’s Rants.” “But this burns me up: I’ll meet somebody. ‘Hello, how are you? My name is Stan.’ ‘I’m Joe, that’s fine … Hey, Stan, tell me about Spider-Man.’ Or, ‘Hey, Stan, how come in the latest Iron Man story you did … Stan, how come this happened?’ Nobody ever says to me, ‘Tell me about yourself.’ All they want to know is my characters. How about me? What makes me happy? Did I have a good day, did I have a bad day? What are my hopes, my dreams, my aspirations? Nobody cares!”

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Nate Simpson’s ‘Nonplayer’ #2 gets a cover, likely May release

nonplayer2It turns out that Nate Simpson’s long-awaited Nonplayer #2 is not only finished, it has a tentative release date — and, as you can see at right, a cover.

Following up on last week’s announcement, the artist reveals the issue likely will be listed in Image Comics’ solicitations for May, a little more than four years after the critically acclaimed debut of Nonplayer #1.

In an FAQ posted on his website, beneath the headline “Halley’s Comic Returns,” the artist also elaborates on the factors that led to the lengthy delay between issues (in addition to the previously mentioned shoulder injury, new child and day job, Simpson reveals he also helped to care for his mother, who passed away last year).

“… I ended up having to throw out the original first six pages of #2,” he writes. “They felt like they had been drawn by somebody whose eye was not on the ball, which they were. When I finally shook off the brain-fog and gave the first pages an honest read, it was clear they’d have to be redone. Super bummer. On top of all that, I had contrived to switch from Photoshop to IllustStudio to streamline my pipeline. Not only did it take me a while to get comfortable with the new interface, the work I did with the program felt lifeless because of the way the linework was automatically stabilized. I finally found the right settings to replicate the feel of the first issue, but that took time. And then time ran out.”

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Watch this interview with Mark Gruenwald from 1988

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The now standard “What’s your next big storyline about?” approach to interviewing wasn’t created by the comics Internet. But before news sites existed, those conversations did take longer to reach the public. This weekend, one arrived after a 26-year delay.

Flying Color Comics retailer and Free Comic Book Day founder Joe Field wrote in with a curious discovery from his archives: a video interview conducted with Marvel writer and executive editor Mark Gruenwald at the 1988 Wonderful World of Comics Convention in Oakland, California, a precursor to today’s WonderCon.

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Seth Kushner is returning home for the holidays

Seth Kushner self-portrait

Seth Kushner self-portrait

Diagnosed in April with acute myeloid leukemia, photographer and writer Seth Kushner was able to return home in late September after a seemingly successful bone marrow transplant. But after just 16 days out of the hospital, it was discovered the leukemia had returned; Kushner’s prognosis was grim. However, the writer’s Facebook page was updated Sunday with some welcome good news: Following what they’re now just referring to as “alternative treatment,” and some uncertainty, “there is now no leukemia in my blood.”

“The doctors are saying this is remarkable,” Kushner writes. “I don’t know what the future holds, but for now I feel great and I’m planning on going home on Wednesday. Spending the holidays at home with my family, after spending the better part of the 8 months in a hospital bed, will be a gift.  Thank you all for all your prayers, support and positive thoughts. I have a lot of people to thank, but for now I’ll thank my lovely wife, Terra, without whom I surely would not be here now. I’m still here because she wouldn’t let me go. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.”

Visit Kushner’s Facebook page to read the full post. A GoFundMe page has been set up to help cover medical costs not paid by insurance and for his wife and son’s living expenses.

Joshua Dysart heading to Kurdistan for UN project

joshua dysartUnknown Soldier writer Joshua Dysart has announced he’ll be traveling to the troubled Kurdistan region of Iraq to conduct research for a project he’s planning with the United Nations World Food Programme.

“We’ve been plotting to tell some stories about the complexity and necessity of feeding the world’s displaced people in an engaging way,” Dysart writes on his website. “Now we’re finally getting started and soon I’ll be leaving for northern Iraq. There, I’ll begin researching the current situation facing Kurdish refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict and the violent push of the Islamic State.”

The writer spent a month in Acholiland, Uganda, in 2007 to research Unknown Soldier, his Eisner-nominated Vertigo series that recast the classic DC Comics character as Moses Lwanga, a physician who returns to his native country to help the refugees caught up in the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency.

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Derf Backderf celebrates 11 years well spent

Backderf at the Angouleme International Comics Festival last January

Backderf at the Angouleme International Comics Festival in January

Derf Backderf, author of My Friend Dahmer, has a poignant post on his blog marking the 11th anniversary of the end of his cancer treatment:

On that grey day in November when I walked out of the Radiology Department in the basement of University Hospitals for the final time, I was exhausted, sporting several ghastly scars and missing a few chunks of my body, battered and roasted to a crisp, but happy. I’d made it.

Cancer messes with your head. I always thought I’d live to a ripe old age like my grandfather, who lived to 105 (his brother lived to 108!), but my body started to fall apart at age 35  like a Chevy Vega. On that November 18th, I was determined to make the most out of whatever time I had left.

And he did; in the past 11 years he has completed three graphic novels, including the award-winning My Friend Dahmer, published five minicomics, two webcomics and numerous other works, traveled to France and Belgium, won multiple comics awards, and, on a personal note, watched his children grow up and his parents grow old.

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