Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Publishing | U.K. comics distributor Impossible Books will close up shop on Feb. 28, after two years in the business. On their blog, owners Camila Barboza and Taylor Lilley explained they simply don’t have the time and energy for the enterprise any longer. They are putting their titles on sale in the meantime, and Zainab Akhtar has some recommendations for bargain-minded readers. [Comics & Cola]
Crime | Daryl Cagle’s website, which hosts a lot of editorial cartoons, went down last week after being hit by a Distributed Denial of Service attack. Cagle tells Alan Gardner that his site gets attacked by hackers fairly frequently, but the latest was different in that the only goal was to take down the site. Gardner speculates it may be related to cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad and Charlie Hebdo. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Passings | Bermuda-based cartoonist Peter Woolcock died Wednesday after being struck by a car as he was walking to the office of The Royal Gazette to deliver his weekly cartoon. He was 88. Born and raised on a farm in Argentina, Woolcock served on a British tank crew in World War II (during which time he also kept a sketchbook) and worked as a cartoonist and illustrator for almost 60 years, first for children’s magazines in the United Kingdom and then, after moving in 1981 to Bermuda, as an editorial cartoonist. Both his editors and the politicians he depicted have kind things to say in this lengthy obituary, which notes that his final cartoon was about San Diego losing the bid to host the America’s Cup. [The Royal Gazette]
Creators | Candorville cartoonist Darrin Bell talks about the political cartoons he drew in response to the non-indictments of the police officers in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, as well as his own experiences as a black man who got “the talk” when he was 6 or 7 years old and will some day have to give it to his own son. [Comic Riffs]
Columbia University Libraries’ Rare Book & Manuscript Library has acquired the archives of Kitchen Sink Press, comprised of more than 50,000 letters, plus 30 years’ worth of draft artwork and published and unpublished story ideas.
Operating from 1969 to 1999, Kitchen Sink Press published the work of cartoonists ranging from Al Capp and Will Eisner to Trina Robbins and Art Spiegelman. According to the library, publisher Denis Kitchen meticulously date-stamped virtually every letter he received, kept the envelope and even attached a copy of his own response.
“Apparently I am a natural-born archivist,” Kitchen said in a statement. “I will miss the rows of file cabinets full of handwritten letters, illustrated letters, and even letters that came out of devices called typewriters, all created before the digital age made traditional correspondence all but obsolete, but I hope they provide scholars with insights into the development of underground comix and the work of the multiple generations of creators I had the distinct pleasure of working with.”
Conventions | The San Diego Chargers are opposing the proposed $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center — viewed as crucial to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015 — saying it will interfere with plans for a new football stadium. Instead, the NFL franchise proposes building a second venue a few blocks away, which would be part of a complex that included the stadium but would not be contiguous with the existing convention center. [Los Angeles Times]
Conventions | Meanwhile, on the other coast, New York Comic Con is about to begin, and Luke Villapaz has seven tips for surviving the con. One additional point, though: While it’s nice that NYCC has its own mobile app, chances of its actually working inside the Javits Center, which is notorious for its many cell phone dead zones, are slim. [International Business Times]
Acclaimed cartoonist Al Jaffee, whose work for MAD Magazine spans nearly six decades, has donated his archives to Columbia University’s Rare Book and Manuscript Library.
According to the press release from Columbia University Libraries/Information Services, the archives will arrive in several stages, beginning with Jafee’s artwork for Esquire and Playboy, notebooks of ideas for the Harvey Kurtzman-edited magazine Humbug and Timely Comics’ Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal, press clippings, fan mail, photocopies of strips never submitted for publication, photographs, biographical material for Al Jaffee’s Mad Life and more.“I feel privileged and honored to have my work added to Columbia University’s collections,” Jaffee, widely known for the long-running MAD Fold-In feature, said in a statement. “Columbia is a jewel in the crown of New York City; keeping my work here is my way of giving something back to the city in appreciation for all that was given to me.”
The 92-year-old Jaffee, who lives with his wife Joyce in Providence, Massachusetts, still contributes to MAD.
Established in 2005, Columbia University Libraries/Information Services began its push to acquire special collections of comics work following the donation in 2011 of Chris Claremont’s archives.