Ewing's "Ultimates" Stand Guard Against Alien Empires & Cosmic Entities
Awards | Cartoonist Roz Chast is one of six recipients of this year’s Heinz Awards, which recognize “exceptional Americans, for their creativity and determination in finding solutions to critical issues.” The honor comes with an $250,000 cash prize. “‘Floored’ does not begin to describe it,” says the author of the acclaimed graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? “I don’t think I’ve fully absorbed it yet.” [The Washington Post]
Political cartoons | In a radio interview, Afghan political cartoonist Habib Rahman Habib talks about his work. [NPR]
The Toronto Reference Library has been the host venue for the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) since 2009, and now visitors can sample some of what TCAF has to offer year-round with at the library’s own festival-affiliated comic shop.
Conventions | Ace Parking, which manages parking at the San Diego Convention Center and six other nearby lots, will move to a lottery system this year to assign permits for Comic-Con International (those lots are Hilton Garage, Petco Lots, Padres Parkade, Diamond View Tower, Horton Plaza and Gaslamp City Square). For a shot at one of those spaces, you have to email Ace Parking by April 12. A drawing will be held on April 15, with the winners receiving information about how to purchase permits for their assigned location. See the full details on the Ace Parking website. [SDCC Unofficial Blog]
Comics are art, and sometimes art is comics. The print collective Secret Panel, which ROBOT 6 wrote about last fall, has released two new limited-edition prints by Becky Cloonan and Matt Taylor focusing on Sex Criminals, the acclaimed Image Comics series by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (now being developed for television).
This is the fourth release for Secret Panel since its launch in October, following prints based on Nameless, Hotline Miami and Revival. Here are Taylor and Cloonan’s prints, the latter of which isn’t exactly safe for work:
For years after the ill-fated 1986 film, Howard the Duck was considered a joke character by many. However, the March-debuting new series from writer Chip Zdarsky (Sex Criminals) and Joe Quinones (Black Canary and Zatanna: Bloodspell) looks to be taking Steve Gerber and Val Mayerik’s character more seriously than most recent depictions, while still having fun.
The latest evidence: a variant cover by Paul Pope — making a rare Marvel appearance — for Howard the Duck #1, revealed on Twitter earlier today by Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso. The cover channels Shakespearean pathos with a downright somber-looking Howard, albeit juxtaposed with a rubber ducky.
Pope’s full cover follows below.
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival is opening a boutique store at the Toronto Reference Library, site of the annual event.
The TCAF Pop-Up Shop will kick off Wednesday at 6 p.m. with a book launch for the comedy sex guide Just the Tips, featuring co-author Chip Zdarsky (who wrote the book with Sex Criminals collaborator Matt Fraction). The store will begin regular business hours Thursday at 9 a.m.
Saturday, aka Day 2, of HeroesCon was much busier for creators, so I didn’t always get the opportunity to chat with them that I did on the first day of the Charlotte, North Carolina, convention. In those instances, in place of project updates I provide links to the creators and/or their related works.
If you’re a fan of both Sex Criminals and The Wicked + The Divine, you’re in luck: USA Today has unveiled Chip Zdarsky’s alternate cover for the second issue of the new Image Comics series … featuring creators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie.
Debuting this week to positive reviews, The Wicked + The Divine centers on 12 gods who are reborn every 90 years as the ultimate pop stars.
Conventions | So you think Comic-Con International is too big? The Taipei International Comics and Animation Festival drew 330,000 attendees last year — its first year — and with Attack on Titan creator Hajime Isayama as a guest, this year’s show promises to be just as big. [Focus Taiwan]
Conventions | Crystal Gutierrez files a report on Albuquerque Comic Con, which took place over the weekend. [KRQE]
Comics | Gene Demby talks to several “thoughtful geeks” about race and superheroes, using as a starting point Orion Martin’s project in which the X-Men were re-colored to appear to be brown-skinned. Related: Writing for CBC News, Niigaanwewidam Sinclair looks at the depictions of indigenous peoples in comic books. [NPR]
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]
Normally, photo covers are pretty boring and easy to pass by, but Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky’s Olan Mills-style portrait for the fourth printing Sex Criminals #1 is … well, indescribably awesome. Unveiled this morning by Image Comics, the cover features Fraction with his hands on Zdarsky’s shoulders while the latter cradles first-printing copy of Sex Criminals #1. The entire image is delightfully awkward, with both gazing vacantly into the distance.
And then there’s the timely blurb at the top, which references Fraction’s recent amicable departure from Marvel’s upcoming series Inhuman.
While I won’t go so far to say it’s the first time creators’ photos have been used for cover, it’s certainly a rare occurrence, and undoubtedly one of the most creative uses of a multiple-printing variant. Also, it should absolutely become tradition that any fourth printing of a comic breaks the fourth wall.
When Matt Fraction’s Sex Criminals debuts next week from Image Comics, some readers will be exposed to Chip Zdarsky for the first time. And I tell you, it’ll be an unforgettable experience.
Zdarsky may be virtually unknown to devotees of mainstream comics, but for the people of Toronto and those in certain corners of the Internet, he’s a bit of a phenomenon. I was introduced to his work around 2003 through a collected edition of his comic strip Prison Funnies, and then through discussions on the Warren Ellis Forum. He was one of the early members of the web collective Act-I-Vate, contributing a short-lived but legendary series called Zdarsky-verse, which included a drug-fueled Pac-Man.
Creators | Beetle Bailey creator Mort Walker received messages from the likes of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Dolly Parton and Prince Albert II of Monaco ahead of his 90th birthday today. The cartoonist, who introduced Beetle Bailey in 1950, still supervises daily work on the strip at his Stamford, Connecticut, studio. [The Associated Press]
Creators | Gene Luen Yang discusses his newest work, Boxers and Saints, a 500-page, two-volume set that examines China’s Boxer Rebellion through the eyes of two very different characters. [Graphic Novel Reporter]
“It just felt right. There’s never been, that I can think of, like a sex comedy for comics the way that we go see sex comedies in the movies or on TV. It just seemed like a genre that was totally virgin — pardon the pun. And I love that stuff, whether it’s like Billy Wilder or Superbad or any of that stuff. It’s a genre I enjoy; it makes me laugh. And if you’re going to do a comic, it should be a comic. It shouldn’t be a screenplay that you just give up and convert to the page. So I wanted something that looked visually spectacular and kind of play with the form. Comics does time on the page very well. It’s a chance to make a piece of cartooning and a piece of comic bookery that ordinarily wouldn’t be possible.”
Ryan North’s (Dinosaur Comics, Adventure Time) Kickstarter for his illustrated prose book, To Be or Not To Be is way past being fully funded with 24 days still to go, so this isn’t a plea for action so much as it is a public service announcement. Because, dude …
North is putting together something that he can’t call Choose-Your-Own-Adventure for legal reasons, but totally is, only it’s for grown-ups, based on Hamlet, allows you to play as various characters including the ghost, and is illustrated by an insane line-up of artists like Kate Beaton, Chip Zdarsky, Chris Hastings, David Malki, Dustin Harbin, Jim Zubkavich, Kazu Kibuishi, Ray Fawkes, Vera Brosgol. … Seriously, I’m going to embarrass myself by leaving someone awesome out and the list is loooong. Check out the Kickstarter page for the full scoop.
$15 gets you a PDF copy, but $20 gets U.S. residents the PDF and a paperback copy too. Backers outside the U.S. are asked for a $30 pledge to cover shipping costs. And of course there are other goodies for pledging more.