"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
Creators | Legendary MAD Magazine cartoonist Al Jaffee now holds the Guinness World Record for the longest career of a comics artist, at more than 73 years. Jaffee was presented with the certificate, and a proclamation from the New York City Mayor’s Office declaring March 30 as “Al Jaffee Day” in a gathering on Wednesday to celebrate his 95th birthday. [DC Entertainment]
Creators | Writing for New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, Abraham Reisman takes a warts-and-all look at the career and legacy of Stan Lee in a lengthy article article alternately titled “It’s Stan Lee’s Universe” and “Why is Stan Lee’s Legacy in Question?” Peppered with quotes from the likes of Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Mark Evanier, Colleen Doran, Paul Levitz and Mark Waid, it’s a deep dive into Lee’s history, touching upon everything from his disputes with one-time collaborators Jack Kirby and Steve Dikto to his more recent output to the state of his company POW! Entertainment, which by most indications is struggling. [Vulture]
Conventions | A number of cosplayers at London’s MCM Comic Con reportedly had to hand over their fake guns due to the United Kingdom’s strict laws, which ban private ownership of both real handguns and realistic fakes. Anyone toting a BB gun or a black plastic pistol without a bright red or orange cap on the end had to turn it over at the door, although many owners got them back. Other types of weapons are banned as well, although replicas are allowed, and attendees could buy real swords and knives at the show and have them delivered to their homes. [NBC News]
Creators | Hajime Isayama’s hometown of Hita City has named him “Tourism Friendship Ambassador to the ‘Beautiful Riverside Location of Hita.'” Isayama, the creator of Attack on Titan (which describes a city under siege by man-eating giants and defended by teenagers), came to town over the weekend for a cultural event titled “Shingeki no Satogaeri” (“Attack on Returning Home”), and he mentioned in a speech that the area was his inspiration for the scenery in the manga. [Anime News Network]
Publishing | Dark Horse announced there are 500,000 copies of its Plants vs. Zombies: Lawnmageddon graphic novel in print; this presumably means that sales are in that range as well. The key here may may be that the book is available at Scholastic book fairs, where the numbers really add up. [Dark Horse]
Conventions | An advocate for the homeless claims San Diego police are harassing homeless people to keep them away from downtown during Comic-Con International. The mayor and police chief deny the accusation and say officers are simply doing outreach, but at least one homeless man has been given a “stay away” order. Comic-Con begins Wednesday with Preview Night. [ABC 10 News]
Digital comics | Following the news that the comics market was estimated at $850 million in 2013, of which $90 million was digital, George Gene Gustines looks at a couple of different digital models, including Thrillbent’s new subscription service and Panel Syndicate, Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin’s name-your-own-price approach. [The New York Times]
Publishing | Variety speaks with Madrigall President Antoine Gallimard about how the French publishing giant and its holdings (Gallimard, Casterman, Flammarion and Futuropolis, among them) handle the film rights to their many graphic novels, and the popularity of comics as source material: “I think that the French publishing and film industries feed on, complement, and ultimately do help each other. The number of films adapted from books that are produced every year in France is eloquent testimony to this.” Noting that, “In recent years, there’s a real feeding-frenzy for graphic novels, comic books,” Gaillimard says, “Comedy, in all its variants, is the most popular of adapted materials.” [Variety]
Legal | An Algerian judge has made a preliminary recommendation of 18 months’ imprisonment for cartoonist Djamel Ghanem for drawing a cartoon, which was never published, that government officials deemed offensive. In an odd twist, Ghanem was sued by his own newspaper, La Voix de l’Oranie, which tends to favor the current administration, and as a result, he has been blackballed by the Algerian media. The cartoon is critical of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s bid for a fourth term but doesn’t even depict the president — it shows two people in conversation, comparing the fourth term to baby diapers — Ghanem said the point was that Algerians were treated like children. Pressed by the district attorney to admit the cartoon was insulting to the Bouteflika, Ghanem insisted that wasn’t his intention. [Global Voices Online]
Awards | Sean Phillips was named as best artist and Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, as best comic/graphic novel at the 2013 British Fantasy Awards, presented Sunday at the World Fantasy Convention in Brighton, alongside the World Fantasy Awards. [British Fantasy Society]
Publishing | Tim Pilcher of Humanoids talks about his company’s new plans to distribute its graphic novels in the United Kingdom through Turnaround Publisher Services. [ICv2]
Conventions | Italy’s Lucca Fest had a record-breaking show, with 200,000 tickets sold and 300,000 attendees in all. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Conventions | The San Diego Chargers are opposing the proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center — viewed as crucial to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015 — saying it will interfere with plans for a new football stadium. Instead, the NFL franchise proposes building a second venue a few blocks away, which would be part of a complex that included the stadium but would not be contiguous with the existing convention center. [Los Angeles Times]
Conventions | Meanwhile, on the other coast, New York Comic Con is about to begin, and Luke Villapaz has seven tips for surviving the con. One additional point, though: While it’s nice that NYCC has its own mobile app, chances of its actually working inside the Javits Center, which is notorious for its many cell phone dead zones, are slim. [International Business Times]
Acclaimed cartoonist Al Jaffee, whose work for MAD Magazine spans nearly six decades, has donated his archives to Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
According to the press release from Columbia University Libraries/Information Services, the archives will arrive in several stages, beginning with Jafee’s artwork for Esquire and Playboy, notebooks of ideas for the Harvey Kurtzman-edited magazine Humbug and Timely Comics’ Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal, press clippings, fan mail, photocopies of strips never submitted for publication, photographs, biographical material for Al Jaffee’s Mad Life and more.“I feel privileged and honored to have my work added to Columbia University’s collections,” Jaffee, widely known for the long-running MAD Fold-In feature, said in a statement. “Columbia is a jewel in the crown of New York City; keeping my work here is my way of giving something back to the city in appreciation for all that was given to me.”
The 92-year-old Jaffee, who lives with his wife Joyce in Providence, Massachusetts, still contributes to MAD.
Established in 2005, Columbia University Libraries/Information Services began its push to acquire special collections of comics work following the donation in 2011 of Chris Claremont’s archives.
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.