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The National Cartoonists Society has announced the divisional nominees for the 68th annual Reuben Awards. They join the finalists for the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year Award — Wiley Miller (Non Sequitur), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange) and Mark Tatulli (Heart of the City, Lio) — revealed in late February.
The winners will be announced May 24 at the annual NCS Reuben Awards dinner in San Diego.
The government of Saudi Arabia has banned the animated adaptation of the comic The 99, saying its representations of Allah’s names and attributes cannot be tolerated.
Based on Islamic concepts but intended by creator Naif Al-Mutawa to promote universal values, the comic features 99 ordinary teenagers and adults from across the globe who become imbued with magical powers. The title and premise refers to the 99 names and attributes of Allah.
According to Dubai’s Gulf News, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta issued its decision in response to a complaint about the series’ broadcast on the Saudi-owned television channel MBC3.
The agreement kicks off in August with Steven Universe, based on the new animated comedy by Rebecca Sugar (Adventure Time) about a boy named Steven and a team of magical Guardians of the Universe. BOOM! teased the comic in October, ahead of the show’s November premiere, with a sneak peek in the Adventure Time 2013 Spoooktacular.
BOOM! began its partnership in February 2012 with the debut, under the KaBOOM! imprint, of Adventure Time, which has transformed into a hit franchise with spinoff limited series and original graphic novels.
“Our partners at Cartoon Network have a stellar lineup of new shows that we are looking forward to publish as equally stellar all-ages comics, following the tremendous success of Adventure Time and Regular Show,” BOOM! Studios CEO Ross Richie said in a statement. “Steven Universe has that same edginess that will resonate with readers — and that’s just the beginning.”
According to US Today, Ice Cream Kitty gains its powers when it eats ice cream mixed with mutagen, and it “turns into the Turtle’s secret weapon.”
Eastman’s appearance on the show is just one way the TMNT’s 30th anniversary is being celebrated. A March 14 episode reunites the voice cast from the original cartoon — Cam Clarke, Townsend Coleman, Barry Gordon and Rob Paulsen. Meanwhile, an anniversary special being released by IDW will reunite Eastman with Turtles co-creator Peter Laird, who worked together on the cover. The Turtles will also be featured this year in Comic-Con International’s souvenir book, which spotlights various comics and pop culture anniversaries.
A year after the murder of Army Sgt. Kimberly Walker, her family has resolved their dispute with a Cincinnati cemetery about the SpongeBob SquarePants monuments commissioned to mark the grave site.
Their disagreement drew national attention last fall after the family was told the two 6-foot-tall, 7,000-pound statues — one for Kimberly Walker and the other for her living twin sister Kara — didn’t meet the standards of the historic Spring Grove Cemetery and had to be removed. That’s despite the Walker family receiving design approval from a cemetery employee for the $26,000 monuments, which were created with the permission of Nickelodeon. The cemetery insisted the staff member simply made a mistake, and offered alternative proposals.
The big news from DC Collectibles ahead of this weekend’s Toy Fair 2014 is, of course, the new collector’s line of 6-inch action figures based on Bruce Timm’s designs from Batman: The Animated Series and The New Batman Adventures, debuting in November. There are also figures from the direct-to-video animated films Son of Batman and Infinite Crisis, and Superman, Wonder Woman and Zatanna statues, among others.
However, for my money, it’s tough to beat the announcement of a line of action figures based on Li’l Gotham, the digital-first series by Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs, beginning with Batman, Robin, The Joker and Harley Quinn. Nguyen has posted his designs for the figures, which are just as adorable as you’d expect.
Publishing | DreamWorks Animation’s announcement on Monday that it is launching its own book-publishing unit doesn’t mean the end of the road for its comics licensees, at least not yet: ICv2 talked to representatives from IDW Publishing, which publishes the Rocky & Bullwinkle comics, and Ape Entertainment, which has had a number of DreamWorks licenses, and both say that this won’t affect their comics. [ICv2]
Auctions | A collection of comics that included the first issues of The Amazing Spider-Man and the British satirical comic Viz, as well as long runs of several Marvel series, brought in almost £25,000 (about $41,300 U.S.) at an auction in Newcastle, England. The majority of the comics were from a single collector whose wife decided to put them up for sale after he died. For those who are curious about the details, Duncan Leatherdale of The Northern Echo liveblogged the auction. [BBC News]
I somehow missed this incredible auction when it took place in November, but thanks to Tumblr I still get to marvel at the art (not that I would’ve plunked down $850, mind you): 16 crash effects cels from Hanna-Barbera’s 1967 animated series The Fantastic Four.
Of course, those effects, coupled with Alex Toth’s character designs, are pretty much the best things about the cartoon, which like other series of the era was crippled by poor animation. These, however, are suitable for framing.
Check out some of them below, and more here.
Passings | Bomb Queen and Five Weapons creator Jimmie Robinson writes a touching remembrance of pioneering cartoonist Morrie Turner, who passed away Saturday at age 90. Widely recognized as the first nationally syndicated African-American cartoonist, the Wee Pals creator frequently spoke at schools, and it was during one of those visits that he inspired a young Jimmie Robinson: “When he came to our class he spoke about his craft and showed us how he worked and what his job demanded. He spoke about his newspaper comic strip and how he had to write it every day. He spoke about the diverse cast of characters in his strip, but he never once spoke about the issue of his race. But for me he didn’t have to. The fact that he, a black artist, even existed, spoke volumes.” The New York Times also has an obituary for Turner. [Jimmie Robinson]
Passings | Animator and blogger Michael Sporn died Sunday in New York City from pancreatic cancer. He was 67. Sporn’s short film Doctor DeSoto, based on William Steig’s book, was nominated for an Oscar, and his The Man Who Walked Between the Towers won several awards. He created animated adaptations of a number of children’s books, including Lyle Lyle Crocodile and Goodnight Moon, for HBO. In comics circles, he was also known as a blogger who turned up cool bits and pieces of animation and art. [Variety]
Publishing | Torsten Adair crunches some numbers from The New York Times 2013 bestseller lists, looking at each category and, in some cases, each publisher separately and breaking down the charting books into easy-to-follow pie charts. [The Beat]
Among the nominees announced earlier this week for the 41st annual Annie Awards is none other than Guy Davis, creator of The Marquis and longtime artist of B.P.R.D., for his contribution to the opening titles of The Simpsons‘ “Treehouse of Horror XXIV.” He shares the nod for Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production with director Guillermo del Toro and storyboard artist Ralph Sosa.
Davis, who provided the monster designs for del Toro’s Pacific Rim, has been described by the director as “one of the best monster designers alive right now!” Their collaborations go beyond those two projects, however: Davis is a concept artist for FX’s upcoming vampire thriller The Strain, based on the horror novels by del Toro and Chuck Hogan (the filmmaker co-wrote and directed the pilot, and serves as an executive producer), and on the long-discussed feature adaptation of Pinocchio.
The Simpsons couch gag, which you can watch below, is an epic homage to some of the director’s own works as well as horror classics, filled to the brim with references to Ray Harryhausen, Alfred Hitchcock, H.P. Lovecraft and more.
The winners of the Annie Awards, which recognize excellence in animation, will be announced Feb. 1.
The family of a murdered Iraq war veteran appears to have reached an impasse with a Cincinnati cemetery over twin 6-foot-tall, 7,000-pound statues of SpongeBob SquarePants installed at her grave site.
According to The Associated Press, the headstones were erected in Spring Grove Cemetery on Oct. 10, nearly eight months after 28-year-old Army Sgt. Kimberly Walker, who had served two tours in Iraq, was found strangled and beaten to death in a Colorado hotel room, allegedly at the hands of her boyfriend.
Because of Walker’s longtime love of the cartoon character — she even had a SpongeBob-themed birthday party ever year — her family decided the best memorial would be statues of the energetic cartoon sea sponge, one in an Army uniform to represent Kimberly and a second in a Navy uniform for her living twin sister Kara, an IT specialist for the Navy. They spent $26,000 on the statues, receiving permission from Nickelodeon and design approval from a cemetery employee.
Achewood devotees were excited in February when cartoonist Chris Onstad revealed on his rarely updated blog that he was heading to Los Angeles to pitch an animated series based on his incredibly popular webcomic. Unfortunately, the network meetings didn’t go well — but Onstad remains undeterred. In fact, he says he was reinvigorated by the experience.
“A couple places seemed interested, but there is a lot of hokum and jive in the process of shopping a TV show,” he explains to The Verge. “Most networks have a shopping list for the season, or a format they’re already looking for — we didn’t fit any of them this time around.”
Yes, “this time around”: Onstad and his collaborators are going back to the drawing board, developing a new pitch.
“I don’t think we nailed the tone and humor of Achewood by any means,” he says. “I’m excited to write version two, knowing what I know now about how all that work, all those actors, engineers, and producers come together, which is a hell of a lot.”
Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles products have grossed more than $475 million in retail sales since the latest animated series premiered in September 2013. The announcement, made this week at the Brand Licensing Europe show in London, comes just four years after the cable network’s parent company Viacom bought the property for a reported $60 million.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, about $250 million of those sales come from the United States, with the remainder coming from overseas markets, where the Turtles are just as huge. They’re the top action figures in Australia, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and, yes, the United States (where Nickelodeon says they make up 15 percent of the action-figure market).
“Nothing’s bigger,” Pam Kauffman, the network’s president of consumer products, told the trade paper. “We are beating Iron Man, Batman, WWE.”
Stan Lee has a pretty good track record when it comes to creating heroes, and now he’s added one more to that long list: Chakra.
The character that will make his animated debut Nov. 30 in an hour-long television movie called Chakra: The Invincible, which will air across South Asia on Cartoon Network. According to Deadline, the movie potentially could reach 34 million households. Readers received their first taste of the character in May in Liquid Comics’ Free Comic Book Day offering.