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Comics A.M. | Judge rules Sherlock Holmes is in public domain

Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #4

Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #4

Legal | In a decision that will undoubtedly usher in more Holmes and Watson novels, comic books, movies and television, a federal judge has issued a declarative judgment that the elements included in the 50 Sherlock Holmes stories published by Arthur Conan Doyle before Jan. 1, 1923 are in the public domain in the United States. That means creators are free to use the characters and elements from those stories (but not from the 10 published after 1923) without paying a licensing fee to the protective Arthur Conan Doyle Estate Ltd.

The ruling came as a result of a lawsuit filed early this year by Leslie Klinger, who served as an adviser on director Guy Ritchie’s two Sherlock Holmes films and with Laurie R. King edited In the Company of Sherlock Holmes, a collection of new stories written by different authors. Although Klinger and King had paid a $5,000 licensing fee for a previous Holmes-inspired collection, their publisher received a letter from the Conan Doyle estate demanding another fee; in response, Klinger sued. [The New York Times]

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Uproxx picks the 15 best comic books of 2013

afterlife with archie3As the clock ticks down on 2013, the entertainment and pop-culture website Uproxx joins has joined in the seasonal ritual with its list of the 15 best comic books of 2013. In slideshow form:

  • Batman, by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo (DC Comics)
  • Heck, by Zander Cannon (Top Shelf Productions)
  • Nowhere Men, by Eric Stephenson, Nate Bellegarde and Jordie Bellaire (Image Comics)
  • Mighty Avengers, by Al Ewing and Greg Land (Marvel)
  • Buzzkill, by Donny Cates, Mark Reznicek and Geoff Shaw (Dark Horse)
  • Astro City, by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson (Vertigo)
  • The Crow: Curare, by James O’Barr and Antoine Dode (IDW Publishing)
  • Afterlife With Archie, by Roberto Sacasa-Aguirre and Francesco Francavilla (Archie Comics)
  • Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics) Continue Reading »

io9.com’s best comics and graphic novels of 2013

east of west6The sci-fi and technology blog io9.com has released its list of the best comic books and graphic novels, which writer Rob Bricken acknowledges includes “a lot” of Image Comics titles (well, five out of 18):

  • East of West, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta (Image Comics)
  • The Wake, by Scott Snyder and Sean Murphy (Vertigo)
  • Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction, David Aja, Javier Pulido, et al (Marvel)
  • Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller, by Joseph Lambert (Disney-Hyperion)
  • Sex, by Joe Casey and Piotr Kowalski (Image Comics)
  • Adventure Time, by Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb (BOOM! Studios)
  • The Unwritten: Tommy Taylor and the Ship That Sank Twice, by Mike Carey and Peter Gross (Vertigo)
  • Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh (Simon & Schuster) Continue Reading »

Comics A.M. | Linework NW comics festival set for Portland

Linework NW

Linework NW

Conventions | The standalone Stumptown Comics Fest may be history, but an event has popped up to help fill the void: Linework NW, organized by Zack Soto and Francois Vigneault, a free, one-day show that will take place April 12 in Portland, Oregon. Michael DeForge has been announced as a special guest for the event, which will include such exhibitors as Fantagraphics, Koyama Press, Oni Press and Top Shelf Productions. [The Comics Reporter]

Creators | Scott Snyder is the subject of a glowing profile in The New York Times, which states the writer has “reinvented Batman in the past two years, deepening and humanizing the Dark Knight’s myth — in the making since 1939 — like no one since Frank Miller in the 1980s.” [The New York Times]

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USA Today’s best graphic novels and collections of 2013

black beetle-v1USA Today’s writers-about-comics Brian Truitt, David Colton and John Geddes list the best graphic novels and collections of the year:

David Colton
Before Watchmen, by various (DC Comics)
Comics About Cartoonists, edited by Craig Yoe (IDW Publishing)
The Great War: July 1, 1916: The First Day of the Battle of the Somme, by Joe Sacco (W.W. Norton)
John Byrne’s Fantastic Four Artist’s Edition (IDW Publishing)
S.H.I.E.L.D. by Steranko: The Complete Collection (Marvel)

John Geddes
Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second Books)
The Black Beetle, Vol. 1: No Way Out, by Francesco Francavilla (Dark Horse)
Journey, by Aaron Becker (Candlewick Press)
Saga, Vol. 2, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
The Thrilling Adventure Hour, by Ben Acker and Ben Blacker (Archaia)

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Pop Candy’s favorite comics and graphic novels of 2013

private eyeUSA Today’s Pop Candy blogger Whitney Matheson gets into the spirit of the season with her own rundown of the best comics and graphic novels of 2013. However, she cautions this isn’t a “definitive” list, as “I can only read so much!”

  1. March: Book One, by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
  2. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley (First Second)
  3. Calling Dr. Laura: A Graphic Memoir, by Nicole J. Georges (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
  4. My Dirty Dumb Eyes, by Lisa Hanawalt (Drawn and Quarterly)
  5. Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes, by Matt Kindt (First Second)
  6. The Private Eye, by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin (Panel Syndicate)
  7. Pippi Fixes Everything, by Astrid Lindgren andIngrid Vang Nyman (Drawn and Quarterly)
  8. Trillium, by Jeff Lemire (Vertigo)
  9. Bad Houses, by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil (Dark Horse)
  10. A Matter of Life, by Jeffrey Brown (Top Shelf)
  11. Burning Building Comix, by Jeff Zwirek (Top Shelf)

Her commentary on each entry can be found at the link.

The Village Voice names best graphic novels of 2013

sacrificeCritic R.C. Baker checks in with The Village Voice’s best graphic novels of 2013, a list that comes in both article and gallery form. It’s probably best described as … eclectic:

  • The Best of EC Comics Artist’s Edition, Vol. 1 (IDW Publishing)
  • The Adventures of Jodelle, by Guy Peellaert and Pierre Bartier (Fantagraphics)
  • Before Watchmen: Comedian/Rorschach Deluxe Edition, by Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo and J.G. Jones (DC Comics)
  • Ray and Joe: The Story of a Man and His Dead Friend, by Charles Rodrigues; edited by Bob Fingerman and Gary Groth (Fantagraphics)
  • Curing the Postmodern Blues: Reading Grant Morrison and Chris Weston’s The Filth in the 21st Century, by Tom Shapira (Sequart)
  • Law of the Desert Born: A Graphic Novel, by Louis L’Amour, Charles Santino, et al (Bantam)
  • Sandcastle, by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters (SelfMadeHero)
  • Sacrifice, by Sam Humphries and Dalton Rose (Dark Horse)
  • Occupy Comics 1 and 2, by various (Black Mask)
  • The Alluring Art of Margaret Brundage: Queen of Pulp Pin-Up Art, by Stephen D. Korshak and J. David Spurlock
  • Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second)

Exclusive: Manti Te’o hoax makes ‘MAD’s’ ‘Dumbest’ list

mad-magazine-cropped

MAD joins in the end-of-the-year insanity next week as only the venerable humor magazine can, with its rundown of the “20 Dumbest People, Events and Things of 2013.” It’s a list that includes the best and brightest — or is that worst and dimmest? — from the worlds of politics, sports and entertainment, from President Obama and the U.S. Congress to Miley Cyrus and Paula Deen.

Coming in at No. 6, as MAD has reveals exclusively to ROBOT 6, is Manti Te’o’s dead ‘girlfriend.” As you may recall, the former Notre Dame linebacker rose to prominence not because of his Heisman Trophy candidacy but for the revelation that his girlfriend, who had battled leukemia only to die after a car crash, never existed. It turns out she was the creation of one of Te’o’s acquaintances, who admitted to orchestrating the hoax.

“It’s unclear if Te’o was in on the scam,” the magazine writes, “or just a gullible romantic who got got catfished — but either way, the whole thing is hard to swallow.”

The full list can be found in MAD #525, which goes on sale Dec. 18.

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The A.V. Club’s best graphic novels and art comics of 2013

charles forsmanA day after revealing its picks for the top mainstream and superhero comics of the year, The A.V. Club returns with a rundown of the 10 best graphic novels and art comics, led by Charles Forsman’s Celebrated Summer.

  1. Celebrated Summer, by Charles Forsman (Fantagraphics)
  2. The Property, by Rutu Modan (Drawn And Quarterly)
  3. Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
  4. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth, by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown and Company)
  5. Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second)
  6. Over the Wall, by Peter Wartman (Uncivilized)
  7. Little Tommy Lost: Book One, by Cole Closser (Koyama)
  8. Julio’s Day, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
  9. Kinski, by Gabriel Hardman (Monkeybrain)
  10. Out of Skin, by Emily Carroll (self-published)

Once again, you can visit The A.V. Club for commentary on each of the selections.

The A.V. Club’s best mainstream and superhero comics of 2013

mind mgmt13With only a relative handful of pages left on the calendar, The A.V. Club has released its picks for the year’s 20 best mainstream and superhero comics, prefaced with a bit of commentary about the state of publishing.

  1. Mind MGMT, by Matt Kindt (Dark Horse)
  2. Nowhere Men, by Eric Stephenson and Nate Bellegarde (Image Comics)
  3. Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction, David Aja, et al. (Marvel)
  4. Astro City, by Kurt Busiek and Brent Anderson (Vertigo)
  5. Swamp Thing, by Charles Soule, Kano, et al. (DC Comics)
  6. FF, by Matt Fraction, Michael Allred and Laura Allred (Marvel)
  7. Locke & Key: Omega and Alpha, by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez (IDW Publishing)
  8. East of West, by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta (Image Comics)
  9. The Superior Foes of Spider-Man, by Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber (Marvel)
  10. Five Ghosts, by Frank J. Barbiere, Chris Mooneyham, et al. (Image Comics)

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Good Comics For Kids picks best graphic novels of 2013

March cover (hi-res)Continuing the march of best-of-the-year lists, the School Library Journal’s Good Comics for Kids blog has compiled its list of the Top 10 graphic novels for kids in 2013. It’s a pretty diverse group, ranging from historical fiction to fantasy to biography, with Abrams, First Second and Top Shelf well-represented:

  • Fairy Tales Comics, edited by Chris Duffy(First Second)
  • Odd Ducks, by Cecil Castellucci and Sara Varon (First Second)
  • Nothing Can Possibly Go Wrong, by by Prudence Shen and Faith Erin Hicks (First Second)
  • Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: The Donner Dinner Party, by Nathan Hale (Abrams)
  • Monster on the Hill: Book One, by Rob Harrell (Top Shelf)
  • Dogs of War, by Sheila Keenan and Nathan Fox (Graphix)
  • Bluffton: My Summers with Buster Keaton, by Matt Phelan (Candlewick)
  • March: Book One, by Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
  • Hilda and the Bird Parade, by Luke Pearson (Nobrow)
  • The Misadventures of Salem Hyde, Book One: Spelling Trouble, by Frank Cammuso (Abrams)

Follow the link to read about the Good Comics For Kids bloggers have to say about each of the selections.

A dozen graphic novels rank among NPR’s great reads of 2013

captain marvel-v1On the heels of Time magazine, National Public Radio has released a substantial list of the best books of 2013, which includes a dozen comics and graphic novels among its more than 200 titles (although, granted, not all of them are strictly “comics”). A handful of the selections should by now be familiar from previous best-of lists:

  • Battling Boy, by Paul Pope (First Second)
  • Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
  • Captain Marvel, Vol. 1: In Pursuit of Flight, by Kelly Sue Deconnick, Dexter Soy and Emma Rios (Marvel)
  • Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein, by Mary Shelley and Gris Grimly (Balzer+Bray)
  • Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
  • Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh (Touchstone)
  • Julio’s Day, by Gilbert Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
  • New School, by Dash Shaw (Fantagraphics)
  • Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley (First Second)
  • Super Graphic: A Visual Guide to the Comic Book Universe, by Tim Leong (Chronicle Books)
  • The Encyclopedia of Early Earth: A Novel, by Isabel Greenberg (Little, Brown and Company)
  • You’re All Just Jealous of My Jetpack: Cartoons, by Tom Gauld (Drawn and Quarterly)

‘Time’ names ‘Sex Criminals’ top comic of 2013

sex criminals1The parade of best-of-the-year lists continues apace, with critic Douglas Wolk selecting Time magazine’s Top 10 Comics and Graphic Novels of 2013:

  1. Sex Criminals, by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (Image Comics)
  2. The Phoenix: The Weekly Story Comic, by various (David Fickling Books)
  3. Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples (Image Comics)
  4. Fran, by Jim Woodring (Fantagraphics)
  5. Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
  6. Zombo: You Smell of Crime and I’m the Deodorant!, by Al Ewing and Henry Flint (2000AD)
  7. Hand-Drying in America and Other Stories, by Ben Katchor (Pantheon)
  8. Very Casual: Some Stories, by Michael DeForge (Koyama Press)
  9. Bad Houses, by Sara Ryan and Carla Speed McNeil (Dark Horse)
  10. Incidents in the Night, Vol. 1, by David B. (Uncivilized Books)

Visit Time to read Wolk’s comments about each title.

The best of the best-of-the-year lists (Part 1)

beautiful creatures mangaIt’s December, which means best-of-the-year lists, both large and small, will begin appearing at a mind-boggling pace. And while not all of them are comics-specific, many include a smattering of graphic novels and collections. Here are three of the most recent offerings:

For the Best Graphic Novel of 2013, GoodReads members selected Beautiful Creatures: The Manga (Yen Press), Cassandra Jean’s adaptation of the bestselling young-adult novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It beat out such contenders as March Book One, Boxers & Saints and Saga, Vol. 2.

Slate’s list of the Overlooked Books of 2013 includes critic Tammy Oler’s recommendation of Hawkeye, Vol. 1: My Life As a Weapon (Marvel), by Matt Fraction, David Aja and Javier Pulido. “Fraction’s smart writing comes to life in stunning art and innovative panel layouts,” Oler writes, “making Hawkeye deeply entertainingly and moving.”

At Salon, Laura Miller recounts 10 unforgettable graphic novels from 2013: Boxers & Saints, by Gene Luen Yang; Calling Dr. Laura, by Nicole J. Georges; The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, by H.P. Lovecraft and I.N.J. Culbard; Encyclopedia of Early Earth, by Isabel Greenberg; How to Fake a Moon Landing, by Darryl Cunningham; Opera Adaptations, by P. Craig Russell; RASL, by Jeff Smith; The Freddie Stories, by Lynda Barry; The Property, by Rutu Modan; and When David Lost His Voice, by Judith Vanistendael.

Comics A.M. | WonderCon wants ‘to get back to the Bay Area’

WonderCon Anaheim

WonderCon Anaheim

Conventions | Although convention organizers rolled out an altered name — WonderCon Anaheim — and logo when they confirmed two weeks ago that the event will return to Anaheim, California, again next year, they insist they haven’t close the door on San Francisco. “We still want to get back to the Bay Area. […] We are in touch with [the Moscone Center organizers] fairly regularly and we have an open dialogue,” says David Glanzer, director of marketing and public relations. “They haven’t given up on us, either.” The convention was uprooted from the Moscone Center in 2012 first because of remodeling and now because of scheduling conflicts. WonderCon Anaheim will be held April 18-20. [Publishers Weekly]

Digital comics | I spoke with Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater and iVerse Media CEO Michael Murphey about the new “all-you-can-eat” digital service, Archie Unlimited. [Good E-Reader]

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