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Comics A.M. | Emerald City, and the future of ‘geek culture’

Emerald City Comicon

Emerald City Comicon

Conventions | Rob Salkowitz, who wrote a book about Comic-Con International, looks forward to this weekend’s sold-out Emerald City Comicon, and explains why it represents the convention of the future: “One reason ECCC is such an ideal place to talk about the future of comics is because the show itself looks like the future of comics–at least the one that I call ‘The Expanding Multiverse.’ Supportive of creators and celebrities alike, embracing the broadest conception of styles and subjects from indie work to mainstream superheroes, self-consciously diverse and inclusive in its conception of fandom, ECCC and shows like it represent a sustainable path forward for geek culture in an age of super-saturation and sensory overload.” Salkowitz will be a participant, not just a fan: He has developed a programming track on comics and digital culture that will feature a number of people (IDW’s Ted Adams, Monkeybrain’s Alison Baker) giving short presentations, similar to the format and spirit of TED Talks. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Winter pours cold water on comics’ hot streak

Batman #28

Batman #28

Comics sales | ICv2 unpacks February’s miserable direct market sales numbers a bit, noting that for the second month in a row just one comic — in this case, Batman #28 — sold more than 100,000 copies, indicating weakness at the top of the list. Since September 2011, when the most recent “growth spurt” began, at least two comics have sold more than 100,000 copies each month; however, that streak ended with the first two months of 2014. One cause of the poor sales may be the unusually cold winter, which meant higher heating bills and thus less disposable income for some folks. ICv2 also has a separate analysis of dollar sales and the charts of the top 300 comics and graphic novels of the month. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Silver Spoon,’ and the rise of … farming manga?

Silver Spoon

Silver Spoon

Manga | In Japan, as elsewhere, people would rather read about farming than actually do it; agriculture has become a popular topic for manga, and the Agriculture Ministry recently announced an award for manga that raise interest in farming. The article mainly focuses on Hiromu Arakawa’s Silver Spoon, which has recently been made into a movie; Arakawa is also the creator of Fullmetal Alchemist, a fact the article omits. [The Wall Street Journal]

Awards | Silver Spoon was on of the 10 nominees for this year’s Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize; two manga that are published in English, Attack on Titan and Animal Land, also made the list. [Anime News Network]

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Taiyo Matsumoto and Emily Carroll win Cartoonist Studio Prize

"Out of Skin," by Emily Carroll

“Out of Skin,” by Emily Carroll

Taiyo Matsumoto and Emily Carroll are the recipients of the second annual Cartoonist Studio Prize, presented by The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies.

The two were selected by The Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois, the faculty and students of CCS and this year’s guest judge, Chris Butcher, manager of The Beguiling in Toronto and co-founder of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Each winner receives $1,000.

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‘Fifth Beatle,’ ‘Artifice’ among Lambda Literary Award finalists

Fifth BeatleThe finalists have been announced for the Lambda Literary Awards, which this year debuts a graphic novels category. No Straight Lines: Four Decades of Queer Comics was selected in 2013 as best anthology, marking the first time a graphic novel had one in that division.

Now in their 26th year, the Lambda Literary Awards celebrate achievement in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender writing for books published in the previous. The finalists in the graphic novel category are:

  • Artifice, by Alex Woolfson and Winona Nelson (AMW Comics)
  • Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir, by Nicole J. Georges (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  • Duck! Second Chances, by Tana Ford (Bang A Left)
  • The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story, by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson, Kyle Baker and Steve Dutro (Dark Horse/M Press)

The winners will be announced June 2 during a ceremony held in New York City.

Comics A.M. | Kadokawa’s app to offer manga in English

ComicWalker

ComicWalker

Digital comics | Japanese publisher Kadokawa plans on March 22 to launch ComicWalker, a digital comics service that will carry manga in three languages: Japanese, English and Chinese. The stories will include some well-known classics (Sgt. Frog, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Gundam: The Origin) as well as new manga, and apparently they will be free. The launch will include 150 titles, 40 of which will be translated, so it sounds like not everything will be available in English right away. [Anime News Network]

Conventions | Lewis Trondheim, a former winner of the Grand Prix d’Angoulême and therefore a member of the academy that chooses each year’s winners, provides an insider’s view of the voting and the causes and effects of the changes that have been made over the past two years: “In its forty-three years, the festival has had, I believe, three Americans, one Argentine, one Swiss, three Belgians, and over thirty Frenchmen. This doesn’t seem to correspond with the reality of the comics world to me.” [The Comics Journal]

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Comics A.M. | Nominees announced for Cartoonist of the Year

Heart of the City

Heart of the City

Awards | Wiley Miller (Non Sequitur), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange) and Mark Tatulli (Heart of the City, Lio) has been nominated for the 2013 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. The winner will be announced May 24 during the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Awards dinner in San Diego. [National Cartoonists Society]

Political cartoons | Cartoonist Majida Shaheen refused an interview recently, saying she continues to feel “threats and pressure” over a cartoon she posted on her Facebook page depicting he military wing of Islamic Jihad as a dog. However, Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab says his organization isn’t behind them. “No one attacked her officially from the part of the movement. I followed up on the comments on Facebook, and these comments do not express our point of view. We consider her to be merely an unknown artist seeking fame,” he said, adding, “Every person has the right to express their convictions. Yet, we were upset with the indecent approach, which is not part of freedom of expression.” [Al Monitor]

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Finalists announced for 2013 Bram Stoker Awards

fatale-v3The Horror Writers Association has announced the final ballot for the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards, which recognize “superior achievement” in horror writing. The graphic novel nominees are:

  • Fatale, Vol. 3: West of Hell, by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Dave Stewart and Bettie Breitweiser (Image Comics)
  • Alabaster: Wolves, by Caitlin R. Kiernan, Steve Lieber and Rachelle Rosenberg (Dark Horse)
  • Witch Doctor, Vol. 2: Mal Practice, by Brandon Seifert and Lukas Ketner (Image Comics)
  • Sin Titulo, by Cameron Stewart (Dark Horse)
  • Colder, by Paul Tobin and Juan Ferreyra (Dark Horse)

Voting is open for eligible HWA members through March 31. The winners will be presented May 10 during a ceremony held at the World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon.

The graphic novel award was first presented in 2012, although there was a best illustrated narrative category from 1998 to 2004. Previous graphic novel winners are: Neonomicon, by Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows; and Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, by Rocky Wood, Lisa Morton and Greg Chapman.

David B., Nilsen, Sacco among L.A. Times Book Prize finalists

incidents in the nightThe finalists have been announced for the 34th annual L.A. Times Book Prizes, which for the fifth year include graphic novel/comic among the 10 categories. Those nominees are:

  • David B., Incidents in the Night: Vol. 1 (Uncivilized Books)
  • Ben Katchor, Hand-Drying in America: And Other Stories (Pantheon)
  • Ulli Lust, Today is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life (Fantagraphics)
  • Anders Nilsen, The End (Fantagraphics)
  • Joe Sacco, The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme (W. W. Norton & Co.)

The winners will be presented in an awards ceremony held April 11, on the eve of the L.A. Times Festival of Books.

The finalists, and the winners, are selected by panels of judges — nine panels with three judges each (the fiction panel also handles the first fiction category).

Comics A.M. | Two Japanese men arrested for uploading manga

Gin Tama

Gin Tama

Legal | The Hiroshima, Japan, police arrested a 36-year-old man on Monday for illegally uploading the manga series Gin Tama to the Internet; he was charged with copyright infringement. This comes just a few days after the arrest of another unemployed man for uploading a volume of Berserk. In both cases, the publisher and the creator of the manga involved have sued the suspects. [Crunchyroll]

Creators | Batman writer Scott Snyder talks about the women of Gotham City. [Comicosity]

Creators | In the first part of a two-part interview conducted at WonderCon, writer Kelly Sue DeConnick discusses how she grew up reading comics in the 1970s, her work for Tokyopop and Marvel, and what Carol Danvers means to her fans. [Toucan]

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2013 Cartoonist Studio Prize shortlists announced

boxers-and-saints2-croppedThe Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies have announced the shortlist for their second Cartoonist Studio Prize, which honors one graphic novel and one webcomic released in 2013.

The shortlists were selected by Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois; the faculty and students at the Center for Cartoon Studies, represented by CCS Fellow Nicole Georges; and this year’s guest judge, Christopher Butcher of the Toronto comic book store The Beguiling and co-founder of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

Best Graphic Novel of the Year Shortlist

  • Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang. Published by First Second.
  • The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg. Published by Little, Brown.
  • The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs, by Étienne Davodeau. Published by NBM.
  • Julio’s Day by Gilbert Hernandez. Published by Fantagraphics.
  • Map of Days, by Robert Hunter. Published by Nobrow Press.
  • Paul Joins the Scouts, by Michel Rabagliati. Published by Conundrum Press.
  • The Property by Rutu Modan. Published by Drawn and Quarterly.
  • Sunny Vol. 1 and Sunny Vol. 2, by Taiyo Matsumoto. Published by VIZ Media.
  • Susceptible by Geneviève Castrée. Published by Drawn and Quarterly.
  • Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. Published by Fantagraphics.

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Comics A.M. | Artists rally in support of jailed Tunisian cartoonist

"Free Jabeur"

“Free Jabeur”

Legal | Artists from around the world are drawing in support of Tunisian cartoonist Jabeur Mejri, who is serving a seven-and-a-half-year prison sentence for posting caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad online. Just two weeks after Tunisia adopted a new constitution that protects freedom of expression, Jabeur’s supporters have launched a “100 Cartoons for Jabeur” website and released a statement saying, “While freedom of expression and conscience are guaranteed in this founding text, the continued detention of Jabeur Mejri is contrary to the spirit and the text of the constitution.” [Yahoo News]

Publishing | Andrews McMeel’s AMP! division will publish Reading With Pictures: The Graphic Textbook, a collection of graphic stories on a number of topics, including math, history and social studies, that is designed to fit into the Common Core standards. The creators involved include Roger Langridge, Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey. While this is big news for Reading With Pictures, the organization behind the book, it’s also an interesting move for AMP!, which has been focusing on kid-friendly reprint collections of its parent company’s newspaper strips. [The Beat]

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Deadline for Will Eisner library grants approaching

New York The Big City

New York The Big City

The deadline for the new Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries is fast approaching — any library that would like to apply has until Feb. 7 to turn in their applications.

The pair of grants were announced in December by The American Library Association and the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation. The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Growth Grant will provide support to a library that would like to expand its existing graphic novel services and programs, while the Will Eisner Graphic Novel Innovation Grant will provide support to a library for the initiation of a graphic novel service, program or initiative.

“The Will Eisner Graphic Novel Grants for Libraries is a significant grant award that recognizes libraries for their contributions to the growth of graphic literature, sequential art, and comics as a literary medium. We are excited to give more opportunities to libraries to shape new ideas about graphic novels at their library,” said Carl Gropper, the President of the Will and Ann Eisner Family Foundation, in a press release. “Will Eisner is recognized as one of America’s most influential comic artists. But this was not always the case. Will Eisner stayed true to his passion that sequential art served a wide range of needs. Today, graphic novels are one of the fastest growing categories in publishing and bookselling. These novels are more complex and varied in content than the comics that preceded them. They are subject to academic study, library and museum exhibits and prestigious literary awards.”

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Comics A.M. | ComiXology updates app with Wish List, more

comiXology

comiXology

Digital comics | ComiXology has released an update for its Comics iOS app with a few fixes and a new feature: a Wish List. The app also now supports Manga Fixed Format. [App Advice]

Digital comics | Rob Salkowitz takes a look at the issues surrounding digital comics platforms for libraries and discusses one possible solution, iVerse’s Comics Plus Library Edition. [ICv2]

Digital comics | Tyler James offers some solid advice for creators planning to use comiXology Submit. [Comix Tribe]

Conventions | Steve Duin has a largely tepid assessment of last weekend’s Wizard World Comic Con, declaring, “Thank God for Emerald City.” [The Oregonian]

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Comics A.M. | American Library Association honors ‘March,’ ‘Relish’ and more

March: Book One

March: Book One

Awards | March: Book One, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, was honored this morning at the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia with the Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Award, recognizing an African American author and illustrator of outstanding books for children and young adults. Other youth media winners include: Lucy Knisley’s Relish, the Alex Award as one of the 10 best adult books that appeal to teens; Chip Kidd’s Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design, a finalist for the YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults; and Brian Selznick, recipient of the May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award. [press release]

Passings | One of Fiji’s best-known cartoonists, Laisiasa Naulumatua, was remembered by his former editor as someone who relied on humor rather than venom to make his point. A number of former government officials, including a former prime minister, came to pay their respects to the cartoonist, who used the pen name Lai, at his funeral on Saturday. [The Fiji Times]

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