"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Passings | Brian Jacoby, owner of the Tallahassee, Florida, comic shop Secret Headquarters and a well-known presence on Twitter and comics discussion boards, died suddenly on Thanksgiving. The news was first released in a tweet from the store. His memorial service will be held Tuesday. [ICv2]
Editorial cartoons | Bob Staake’s New Yorker cover showing a broken Gateway Arch in St. Louis, a commentary on the events in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, received a lot of attention just before Thanksgiving — and even more when it got around that syndicated cartoonist R.J. Matson had drawn a similar cartoon in August. Matson brushes that aside, however, pointing out that editorial cartoonists often come up with similar visuals: “Finding a good joke is like solving a puzzle and very often there is one very best solution to the puzzle. Any cartoonist worth his salt would kick himself or herself for not finding that solution.” And when five cartoonists do it on the same day, he said, “we call it a Yahtzee.” [The Washington Post]
Museums | The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., has added comics to its permanent collection for the first time. Abigail and William Gerdts donated 176 comics, including Zap Comix and Arcade: The Comics Revue. Judith Brodie, curator of modern prints and drawings, cited the influence of comics on artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein: “They were all drawing their inspiration from cartoons and comic books. It seems totally logical that we’d want a representation of those.” [The Washington Post]
Passings | Greek cartoonist Ilias Skoulas died passed away Thursday at age 87. Skoulas began his career as an editorial cartoonist at the age of 32, and his work was published in numerous Greek newspapers and magazines, as well as 13 books. [Greek Reporter]
Roz Chast’s graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, a National Book Award finalist and winner of the inaugural Kirkus Prize for nonfiction, we selected best in the category; the list is organized in best-selling order.
If you’re searching for some summer reading, Amazon’s Best Books of the Year So Far For 2014 is a pretty good place to start.
Led by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s Afterlife With Archie: Escape From Riverdale, the Comics & Graphic Novels division is as diverse as you’d probably expect, with entries ranging from Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta’s East of West to Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer to Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
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]
Digital comics | Google was granted a patent this week for “Self-creation of comic strips in social networks and other communications,” which means the Internet giant apparently has patented a mechanism for creating comics about your status updates and chats and sharing them via social media. This sounds a lot like the wildly popular, but widely reviled, Bistrips. [Geekwire]
Best of the year | Brian Truitt takes a look back at the year in comics, picking out some significant events and offering his nominations for best creator, best comic book movie, and best comic in a variety of genres and formats. [USA Today]
Best of the year | Writing for The Advocate, cartoonist Brian Andersen reflects on the year’s 10 greatest LGBT moments in mainstream comics. [Advocate.com]
We’ve been hearing about what comics various industry folks enjoyed in 2013 in our Looking Forward, Looking Back series, and now it’s our turn: ROBOT 6 contributors share their favorites from 2013, which include Hawkeye, Marble Season, East of West and Batman.
Creators | Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki remained silent over the past year while hundreds of threatening letters were sent out to retail stores that sold the manga and anime, venues that hosted doujinshi (fan comics) events connected with it, and even his alma mater, but now that police have arrested a suspect in the case, he has made an official statement. Fujimaki expressed relief that the suspect had been caught, thanked the police who were involved in the investigation, and promised that more chapters of Kuroko’s Basketball are on the way. [Anime News Network]
Conventions | Salt Lake Comic Con producer Dan Farr is voicing his support for the construction of a “mega hotel” near the Salt Palace convention center. The Utah state Legislature ended its legislative session without passing a $100 million bill to fund such a hotel, but backers hope to see it revived in the next session. Ticket sales for the 2013 convention topped 50,000, and Farr told the local news station, “A convention center hotel would be a big help for us.” [Fox News 13]
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]
As 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:
The 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):
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]
USA Today’s writers-about-comics Brian Truitt, David Colton and John Geddes list the best graphic novels and collections of the year:
• 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)
• 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)
USA 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!”
Her commentary on each entry can be found at the link.