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Graphic novels | An estimated 200 students, faculty and community members gathered Saturday at the College of Charleston in South Carolina to protest proposed budget cuts to that school and the University of South Carolina Upstate in retaliation for selecting gay-themed books — including Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home — for their summer reading programs. The South Carolina House of Representatives approved a proposal early this month that would slash $52,000 cut from the College of Charleston and $17,142 for USC Upstate, which represent what each school spent on the programs. The budget is now before the state Senate. [The Post and Courier]
The finalists have been announced for the 2014 Doug Wright Awards, which recognize the best in English-language comics by Canadians. The awards are named for Doug Wright, the late cartoonist whose strip Doug Wright’s Family appeared for more than 30 years in newspapers across the country.
The winners will be announced at Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) on May 10.
- Palookaville #21 by Seth (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Paul Joins the Scouts by Michel Rabagliati (Conundrum Press)
- Science Fiction by Joe Ollmann (Conundrum Press)
- Susceptible by Geneviève Castrée (Drawn and Quarterly)
- Very Casual by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
Robert Kanigher, Bill Mantlo and Jack Mendelsohn have been named the recipients of the 2014 Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Writing, named in honor of the uncredited co-creator of Batman.
Although the committee typically selects one posthumous and one living honoree, this year it voted to recognize two living creators, Mantlo and Mendelsohn.
“This year, the judges couldn’t decide between two living recipients so one said, ‘Why don’t we just give it to both of them?’ And we decided to give it to both of them,” committee chair Mark Evanier explained in a statement. “They’re two men who deserve the honor and we figured, why make one of them wait until next year, especially in light of the fact that Bill Finger would have turned 100 this year? And as for our posthumous recipient, Robert Kanigher, that one’s long overdue.”
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]
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]
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]
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.
The 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.
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]
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]
The 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.
The 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).
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]
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.
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]