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Comic Books, Film
Conventions | The producers of Salt Lake Comic Con are expanding westward, and taking their FanXperience spinoff event to Asia. Organizers have announced a partnership with Pop Life Entertainment, the parent company of Funko, to hold FanX events this year in the Philippines (June 10-12), China (Sept. 14-17) and Thailand (Dec. 11). Salt Lake co-founder Bryan Brandenburg said Pop Life has an agreement with a Hollywood talent agency to bring “A level” guests to the Asian shows as well as to Salt Lake Comic Con. [The Salt Lake Tribune]
Festivals | More than 40 French publishers, including all the major publishers of graphic novels, have signed on to a press release saying they won’t participate in next year’s Angouleme International Comics Festival without significant, fundamental changes in the way it’s run. The signatories include almost every publisher that was at this year’s festival. Guy Delcourt, head of Delcourt publishing and the president of the BD commission of the national publishers’ association, said there have been problems with the festival for a long time, and attendance has been dropping, but after this year’s omission of any female nominees for the Grand Prix and the unfunny fake awards ceremony, he is fed up with the whole thing. Delcourt stopped short of calling for executive director Franck Bondoux to resign, saying the problem is not with one individual but with the entire structure of the festival, which is overly complex and opaque. The publishers have asked the Minister of Culture to name a mediator to work with them to solve the problema and give the festival, in Delcourt’s words, “the governance it deserves.” [ActuaBD]
Passings | Longtime Mark Trail artist Jack Elrod Jr. died Wednesday at age 91. Mark Trail was created in 1946 by Ed Dodd, who brought on Elrod four years later as a background artist. When Dodd retired in 1978, Elrod took over the comic strip, and earned many awards from environmental organizations. He also made a significant change due to reader feedback, removing the title character’s pipe after a 6-year-old fan wrote to him saying, “It is bad for his health, pollutes the air, and it is dangerous to the birds.” Elrod retired in 2014, handing over Mark Trail to current artist and writer James Allen. [Gainesville Times]
Julie Maroh, Chloé Cruchaudet, TanXXX and Aurélie Neyret have announced publicly they will not accept the honor, which recognizes contributions to arts and literature in France. However, Riad Sattouf, author of Arab of the Future, released a statement saying he’ll “accept it with pleasure.”
Manga | Akira Himekawa, the two-woman team that drew the Legend of Zelda manga, has announced a new project: The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, based on the 2006 game of the same name. The manga will be published on Shogakukan’s MangaOne app, which is not the same as the Manga One app available in English. Viz Media published Akira Himekawa’s previous Zelda manga, which ran from 1998 to 2008. [Anime News Network]
The members of the Angouleme grand jury, who chose the winners of this year’s awards, have released a statement saying they are “stupefied by the cruelty and vulgarity” of the fake prizes presented Saturday during the festival’s closing ceremony.
“The announcement of fake awards, which broke the hearts of numerous authors, publishers and readers, in addition to the sexist and off-color remarks of the MC, are beneath the dignity of a festival that remains an internationally respected flagship event in the world of comics,” said the statement, signed by all seven members of the grand jury.
The winners of the major awards (called “fauves”) at the Angouleme International Comics Festival were announced Saturday evening in a ceremony that has turned out to be quite controversial: The emcee came on and announced the nine winners, only to be followed by two actresses who revealed it was all a joke, after which the real awards were presented.
We’ll have more on that shortly, but first of all, here’s the list of the actual winners:
Eight creators were named last week as Knights of France’s Order of Arts and Letters in recognition of their contributions to arts and literature.
Fleur Pellerin, the French Minister of Culture, made the announcement Thursday at the opening night of the Angouleme International Comics Festival. The creators are: Julie Maroh, Chloé Cruchaudet, Aurélie Neyret, Tanxxx, Marguerite Abouet, Christophe Blain, Mathieu Sapi, and Riad Sattouf.
Creators | Pierre Christin, the creator of Valerian and Laureline, discusses the possibility that his space opera was a source for the Star Wars movies — and how he and his collaborator Jean-Claude Mézières changed the story to move it away from the Star Wars universe: “I instantly felt connected with Star Wars because of the number of intersections and parallels with our comic strips. George Lucas had created complex worlds, just as we had. Like us, he had staged the functioning of societies from within, although Star Wars focused perhaps a bit more on the struggle between good and evil. In this respect, Valerian was more European, more intellectual.” [EuropeComics]
Awards | Jeremiah creator Hermann has been selected as the winner of the Angouleme International Comics Festival Grand Prix. The Belgian artist, who was a finalist last year, will serve as president of the 2017 festival. The prestigious award was mired in controversy this year when the longlist of nominees featured the names of 30 male creators but no women. Hermann is well known in the French-language comics world; some of his work has been published in English by Dark Horse. [Le Monde, YouTube]
Legal | Iranian political cartoonist Atena Farghadani and her lawyer Mohammad Moghimi have been acquitted on charges of “non-adultery illegitimate relations.” The charges were brought after the two shook hands during one of Moghimi’s visits to Farghadani in prison, where she’s serving a 13-year sentence for drawing a cartoon critical of the Iranian parliament. The “illegitimate relations” charges carried a maximum penalty of 99 lashes, and in the course of the investigation, Farghadani was subjected to involuntary pregnancy and virginity tests. She’s not out of the woods yet, however: The prosecutor could appeal the acquittal. [CBLDF]
The saga of the Grand Prix d’Angouleme has taken another sour turn, as one of three finalists for the festival’s top honor has asked people not to vote for her.
French illustrator Claire Wendling said she doesn’t want the Angouleme International Comics Festival award, writing on Facebook, “Would you like to please me? Don’t vote for me any more.”
Alan Moore, Claire Wendling and Hermann have been named as finalists for the Angouleme International Comics Festival’s Grand Prix.
The announcement arrives two weeks after the unveiling of an all-male list of nominees for the festival’s top honor sparked calls for a boycott, leading 12 creators to ask that their names be withdrawn from consideration.
Under fire, organizers briefly offered up a revised list that included six female creators, only to quickly change course and announce academy members could vote for whomever they like.
Collecting | For the better part of three decades, 78-year-old Ray Brown has been “rescuing” comic books and giving them a good home — namely, his. The South Dakota man estimates his collection includes some 75,000 comics, the bulk of which he purchased from five Rapid City-area stores that went out of business. “They take up a lot of room,” he says. “They don’t eat anything, though.” Brown doesn’t read them, however; instead he simply takes pleasure in saving them from the trash bin. He does sell a few on the Internet from time to time, but he’s in no hurry to get rid them. [Black Hills Fox]
It’s all over now but the voting. After a whirlwind of controversy, commentary and boycotts, the organizers of the Angouleme International Comics Festival withdrew their all-male slate of nominees for the Grand Prix, the festival’s top prize (and one of the most prestigious awards in all of comics) and said the voters could choose anyone they want. All creators who publish works in France are eligible to vote
Franck Bondoux, the festival’s executive director, published a “mea culpa” in the French newspaper Le Monde, calling the omission of women from the list of nominees a “symbolic error.” He accused the media of confusing the Grand Prix, which looks at 10 years or more of a creator’s work, with the festival’s book awards, which recognize graphic novels published in the past year. In that regard, the festival is ahead of its time, he maintained, as 25 percent of the nominated books are by women, who only make up 13 percent of creators in France, and women are well represented in the festival’s exhibits and book awards.
But then he doubled down on the “no women in comics history” argument: