Legal | The Swedish Supreme Court has overturned the 2010 conviction of manga translator Simon Lundström on charges of possessing 39 drawings that violated the country’s child-pornography laws. The court found that while the images are pornographic and do depict minors, they are obviously drawings and cannot be mistake for real children. “The criminalization of possession of the drawings would otherwise exceed what is necessary with regard to the purpose which has led to the restriction on freedom of expression and freedom of information,” the court ruled. [The Local]
This weekend’s Boston Comic Con has all the virtues of a small show and most of the virtues of a large one as well. The headliners of this year’s show, which takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, are Mad Magazine artists Al Feldstein, Al Jaffee, and Paul Coker. That alone would get me onto the T, but there’s plenty of talent for all tastes: Peter Bagge, Simon Bisley, Becky Cloonan, Greg Horn, Jamal Igle, David Petersen, Jill Thompson, and Skottie Young are among the featured guests, while the Artists Alley will be graced by, among others Ming Doyle, Jarrett Krosoczka (creator of the all-ages Lunch Lady books), Adventure Time team Braden Lamb and Shelli Paroline, and local favorites the Boston Comics Roundtable. There’s a solid lineup of panels, and Marvel Comics will be doing portfolio reviews.
The nice thing about a small con like this is that it’s more relaxed than a big con. It’s easier to talk to artists at their tables and to browse the work of new creators if you don’t have the crowd at your back. If you’re in the area, it’s well worth checking out. I highly recommend taking public transit if you can–street parking is difficult and the garages are expensive–but I wouldn’t let that stop me from coming in if a car was my only option. The Pru garage offers significant discounts if you spend ten bucks in the restaurants or shops there. The upside is that unlike a lot of convention centers, the Hynes is located in an actual urban neighborhood with lots of interesting restaurants and shops, so you’re not stuck eating $9 turkey sandwiches for lunch.
See you at the con!
Creators | Watchmen writer Alan Moore responds to recent comments made by The Dark Knight Returns creator Frank Miller: “I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it. We would definitely have to agree to differ on that one.” [Honest Publishing]
Creators | Longtime Uncanny X-Men writer Chris Claremont is donating his archives to Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library. The collection includes materials for all of his major writing projects over the past 40 years, notebooks with story ideas, drafts of short stories, plays, novels and comic books, and materials from his early training in the theater and his career as an actor. “We hope this is the first of more comics papers to come to the University,” said Karen Green, Columbia University’s ancient/medieval studies librarian and graphic novel librarian. “We want it to be a magnet for these kinds of archives in New York City, where the comics medium was born.” [Publishers Weekly]
Creators | Michael Cavna talks to two comics creators with very different takes on Occupy Wall Street, sequential journalist Susie Cagle, who was arrested as part of the Occupy Oakland protests, and conservative editorial cartoonist Nate Beeler, who walks past the Occupy D.C. site every day and regards it as “quaint,” smelly, and out of step with the rest of the country.” [Comic Riffs]
X-Men writer Chris Claremont gets the Graphic NYC treatment this week: A stylish photograph by Seth Kushner and an in-depth interview with Christopher Irving. And this is just part one. Claremont starts out with an account of what might have been: His first foray into comics was thanks to a required internship while he was a student at Bard College. Not sure of what to do, he asked family friend Al Jaffee if he could do an internship at Mad Magazine.
“As it turned out, he went to my parents and said ‘There is no way in hell I’m going to recommend your son for an intern—Do you know what we do? Do you know what happens when we get together? You’d never forgive me!’
“He said ‘I’m friends with Stan Lee. Would you be willing to work for Marvel?’ and I said ‘Hell, yes.’”
“So, Al called Stan, Stan called me, and I told him I’d work for free. Stan, and Marvel, were never one to turn down a free lunch in those days, and he said ‘Come in and be a gopher for two months.’”
The rest, as they say, is history, and the interview that follows is a must for anyone interested in the inner workings of Marvel Comics back in the day.
It sounds a little shady, but The Art Hustle is actually a trading card series featuring original works of art (backed by a photo of the artist), because why should baseball players get all the trading-card glory? You can mix and match and collect the whole series, and there’s also a set of menko (which are apparently like POGs, only rectangular). And the latest contributor to the set is Camilla d’Errico, whose works include Make 5 Wishes (the Avril Lavigne graphic novel), Sky Pirates of Neo Terra, Burn, and a new art book from Dark Horse, Femina and Fauna. Al Jaffee is also represented in this pack, but other than that there don’t seem to be a lot of comics artists on the roster.
Conventions | Comiket 79, the winter installment of the self-published comic book fair held twice a year in Tokyo, set a turnstile attendance record last week with 520,000 people over three days. That’s just 20,000 less than the summer record — and the equivalent of about four Comic-Cons. [Anime News Network]
Legal | Archie Comics reportedly has threatened legal action against the in-production Indian film Boys Toh Boys Hain, which, according to this description, is “based on the lines of the celebrated [Archie] comic book but set in Delhi instead of Riverdale.” However, the director now claims that, “We never made any statement which suggested that the film is inspired from Archie comics. One of my actors may have said in an interview that the film has a feel similar to Archie, but never that the film is based on it.” The publisher was dealt a blow in an unrelated legal matter in September when India’s Delhi High Court refused to hear a complaint challenging the use of the name “Archies” by a Mumbai company. The court said it had no jurisdiction in the matter because Archie Comics doesn’t have an office in India. [Hindustan Times]
Publishing | Following Friday’s news that as many as 80 employees will be relocated or fired in DC Entertainment’s restructuring, Rich Johnston claims that most of the staff reduction will come from the end of temporary contracts. “DC has made it a policy to replace outgoing support staff with temporary staff for just this eventuality,” he writes. “New positions will open in Burbank to cover what is now needed over there, but there will be no cross-country moving arrangements for temps to fill them.”
Sean Kleefeld, meanwhile, provides commentary on the cuts: “Those layoffs? Those are for actual employees. Those are going to be admins and accountants and file clerks and licensing specialists and whatnot. Probably an editor or three. People who come in to DC’s offices in New York City to do their job. But what about the comic creators who also suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them? With Wildstorm and Zuda going away, won’t that mean all those creators who were working on books under those imprints no longer have an outlet for their work?” [Bleeding Cool, Kleefeld on Comics]
One of Mad Magazine‘s best-known creators, Al Jaffee, is taking on the auspicious project of chronicling his own life. In the upcoming book Al Jaffee’s Mad Life, Jaffee joins writer Mary-Lou Wiseman to tell the story of the award-winning cartoonist — now 89 years old — who worked in several capacities at Mad, including the popular fold-ins.
Al Jaffee’s Mad Life chronicles the octogenarian’s start as a child in Lithuania, his family’s escape from the Third Reich, and his heights working for Mad Magazine. The book, which will include 65 new illustrations be Jaffee, is scheduled to come out in October.
In addition to the book, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art is raising funds by way of Kickstarter for an Al Jaffee exhibit curated by Danny Fingeroth and Arye Kaplan. See more on that here.
And hey, Jaffee has a Facebook page!
While I did not attend Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art (MoCCA) Art Festival 2009, held back on June 6-7, I was struck at the amount of constructive feedback that came out of people’s reports after the festival. It goes without saying that almost everyone thought the new venue (the 69th Regiment Armory) needed air conditioning and many folks were understandably dismayed with the logistical challenges and delays that occurred at the festival’s start. While reading a great deal of reactions from attendees and exhibitors, I was curious to get a lessons learned perspective from the organizers. Fortunately, Karl Erickson, MoCCA Director, was willing to take my email questions. In his answers, Erickson seemingly made it clear he was open to constructive feedback. While my questions aimed to cover a great deal of various concerns, I welcome folks to chime in with additional thoughts in the comments section. My thanks to Erickson for his time.
Tim O’Shea: The first question has to be–did you explore the possibility of air conditioning this year? Was it deemed just too cost prohibitive? If you’re staying at the Armory, do you intend to have air conditioning in 2010?
Karl Erickson: We did explore air conditioning for the Armory, but, yes, it was just too expensive. As far as staying at the Armory we are looking at dates earlier in the spring to help alleviate the heat.
O’Shea: Can you speak to what happened to cause the hour-long delay on Saturday and logistical challenges (like delayed book deliveries, only one trashcan on the show floor [by some reports], names missing from the guide book)–and are you establishing measures to try to minimize these situations next year?
Erickson: The delay was due to a few different factors, the major being a severe miscommunication with the trucking company that was to deliver not only many of our exhibitor’s books, but all of our supplies for the festival, not least being our cash registers and other check-in essentials. Of the problems that we did have, having one trashcan for the entire show floor was not one of them. We definitely had many trashcans.
We are certainly taking steps to contain and minimize the mistakes of this year, the most important of which is getting a much earlier jump in the planning and execution of the Festival. This includes a lengthy review of the 2009 Festival with practical solutions suggested. These include moving the Festival earlier in the spring (as this is not the first year we have had heat problems, AC or no), starting on every aspect of the Festival earlier, and creating a new MoCCA website that will deliver information much more effectively to exhibitors and attendees.