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Jeff Smith’s ‘Tuki Saves the Humans!’ to debut at CBLDF event

tuki-tease

Not many comics can say they made their debut during a brunch, but then again, not many comics are created by Jeff Smith.

The creator of Bone and RASL will attend a benefit brunch for the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Kids’ Right to Read program at the Society of Illustrators in New York City on Nov. 10, where he will unveil his newest project, an all-ages webcomic called Tuki Save the Humans!. Smith joined the CBLDF board earlier this month, and revealed he was working on the project at WonderCon last spring.

“… this is a story of the first human being to leave Africa, and all the forces of Africa are conspiring to keep him from doing it,” Smith told CBR’s Kiel Phegley at WonderCon. “I think it’ll be fun. There’ll be sabertooth tigers and other humanoids and Gods and things. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The charity brunch begins at 11:30 a.m., and the performance will begin at 12:30 p.m., to be followed by Q&A, an auction and viewing time in the Society’s galleries. More information and ticket pricing can be found on the CBLDF website.

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Gaiman’s ‘Neverwhere’ removed by New Mexico school district

neverwhereA New Mexico school district has at least temporarily removed Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere from its lone high school following an objection to the fantasy novel’s “inappropriate” content.” The book has been part of the 10th-grade English curriculum in 2004.

The Alamogordo Daily News reports that Nancy Wilmott, whose daughter was reading the novel as part of an assignment, was offended by a four-paragraph passage on Page 86 that “graphically describes an adulterous sexual encounter between a married man and a single woman in which the F-word is used three times, along with a brief description of groping of one’s anatomy.”

“I trusted the school system. I trusted the school district to pick proper material, and this is not,” Wimott, who contacted school officials last week about the material, told KASA Channel 2. “I did state to the principal that this is rated-R material, and she can’t get into a rated-R movie.”

On Thursday, the school district ordered Neverwhere “temporarily removed from usage” until it can be reviewed.

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Comics A.M. | Jeff Smith on CBLDF; Archie’s ‘hardcore horror book’

Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith

Creators | Jeff Smith, who was named last week to the board of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, talks briefly about the importance of the organization, and the 2010 challenge to his all-ages graphic novel Bone in a Minnesota school. [Comic Riffs]

Comics | Archie Co-CEO Jon Goldwater, writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and artist Francesco Francavilla have a few things to say about the new zombie series Afterlife With Archie. “We are taking a series of characters known to be lighthearted and young adult-oriented and doing a horror comic with them, so the mood, atmosphere, and setting are very important to make this a believable horror and not a comedy horror,” says Francavilla, who’s also the creator of The Black Beetle. “Fortunately, I am really good at making things dark and ominous.” [The Associated Press]

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Report Card | ‘Lazarus,’ ‘Earth 2′ and more

Earth2_tease

Welcome to “Report Card,” our week-in-review feature. If “Cheat Sheet” is your guide to the week ahead, “Report Card” is a look back at the top news stories of the previous week, as well as a look at the Robot 6 team’s favorite comics that we read.

So read on to find out what we thought about Lazarus and Earth 2, as well as to review the news of the week!

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Brad Meltzer to talk Banned Books Week on Google Hangouts

brad-meltzerNew York Times bestselling author and Identity Crisis writer Brad Meltzer will host a Google Hangout on Tuesday sponsored by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund for a Banned Books Week discussion, including the censorship of literary material throughout history and how individuals and groups have found ways to combat banned books.

Meltzer is best known in comics for Identity Crisis and the 2006 relaunch of Justice League of America, for which he and artist Gene Ha received an Eisner Award for Best Single Issue. An accomplished novelist, he most recently released the political thriller The Fifth Assassin.

The CBLDF’s Banned Books Heroes Google Hangout takes place September 24 at 8:00 PM Eastern/5:00 PM Pacific. Those interested in joining can RSVP on the Google+ event page.

Comics A.M. | Is comiXology positioning itself for an IPO?

comiXology

comiXology

Digital comics | Tim Beyers speculates that with 8 million downloads per month (rivaling print comics sales, although it’s not clear all those downloads are paid), comiXology may be heading for an initial public offering. [The Motley Fool]

Creators | Alan Moore reminisces about the origins of his new graphic novel Fashion Beast, which was originally commissioned as a screenplay in 1985 by Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren. The movie was never made, and Moore set the script aside and forgot it for 20 years: “What I am surprised about, and this is something I only realised at a signing for Fashion Beast when I was reading some promotional material — which is how I generally remember the events that have happened in my life – I found out that I had written Fashion Beast in 1985 which is before I had completed Watchmen. I think it is a lot more grown up than Watchmen and perhaps a bit more prescient in its way.” [Northampton News]

Awards | The Grand Prix at 17th Salon of Antiwar Cartoon in Kragujevac, Serbia, has gone to Iranian cartoonist Shojaei Tabatabaei. [Tehran Times]

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‘Clockwork’ creator gives birthday gift to charity

Brett Weldele's art for "Mercy Kill," a story in Clockwork.

Brett Weldele’s art for “Mercy Kill,” a story in Clockwork.

Paul Allor is turning 35 on Oct. 3, and he’s celebrating by giving a few presents — to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Hero Initiative. “It’s my birthday present to two of my favorite service organizations,” Allor says.

The CBLDF helps defend free-speech cases involving comics, while The Hero Initiative provides a safety net for creators who are in need of financial help.

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Comics A.M. | Market shrinks for Australian comic strips

Ginger Meggs

Ginger Meggs

Comics strips | Matt Saracini looks at the impact on Australian cartoonists of a cost-cutting decision by media giant News Corp. Australia to replace individual comics pages in their largest newspapers with one national page. In the process, some more expensive locally produced strips were jettisoned in favor for cheaper syndicated ones from overseas, like Garfield and The Phantom. News Corp. owns more than a hundred daily, weekly, biweekly and triweekly newspapers. [SBS.com]

Creators | Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, now living in Kuwait after troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attacked him and broke both his hands, talks about his decision to portray al-Assad explicitly in his cartoons, rather than sticking to more generic themes like freedom and human rights: “It was a big decision to start to draw Bashar and, yes, I was scared of what might happen, particularly when I was attacked. But I had a responsibility to do what I did. If I am not prepared to take risks I have no right to call myself an artist. If there is no mission or message to my work I might as well be a painter and decorator.” [The Guardian]

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Comics A.M. | In battle between DC and Marvel, who wins?

DC Versus Marvel Comics #1

DC Versus Marvel Comics #1

Publishing | Douglas Wolk uses a classic comics trope — who would win in a fight between Marvel and DC Comics, or rather, Batman and Iron Man? — to talk about the strengths and weaknesses of the two companies and how their business models have evolved. [Slate]

Comics | Archie Comics Co-CEO Jon Goldwater and writer and artist Dan Parent talk about the latest story arc, which takes the Riverdale gang to India for an encounter with Bollywood. [The Times of India]

Manga | Charles Brownstein, executive director of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, spoke about manga and the importance of freedom of expression at the most recent Comiket, the world’s largest comics event, in Tokyo. [CBLDF]

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South Carolina group blasts ‘Fun Home’ as ‘pornographic’

Fun Home

Fun Home

Calling Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home “pornographic,” a conservative Christian group in South Carolina is criticizing the College of Charleston’s selection of the acclaimed graphic novel as recommended reading for incoming freshmen. The school, however, is standing by its choice.

The Eisner Award-winning 2006 memoir, which details Bechdel’s childhood with her closeted gay father, his apparent suicide and her own coming out as a lesbian, is part of the annual “The College Reads!” program, which provides free copies of the selected works to full-time faculty and new students. The books aren’t required reading.

However, Fun Home was labeled “A Shocking Summer Reading Assignment” by Palmetto Family, an advocacy group whose “vision is to transform the culture in South Carolina by reclaiming the values and virtues of marriage, the traditional family model and sexual purity.”

“If this book were a magazine it would be wrapped in brown paper,” Palmetto Family President Oran Smith is quoted as saying. “We reviewed every book assigned in SC this year. Many were provocative. This one is pornographic. Not a wise choice for 18-year-olds at a taxpayer-supported college.”

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SDCC ’13 | CBLDF announces Comic-Con Welcome Party plans

cbldf welcome party

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund will help kick off Comic-Con International in San Diego on July 18 with a welcome party featuring top creators, artwork and exclusive merchandise.

Sponsored by Image Comics, comiXology and Aces Weekly, the event starts at 8 p.m. at the Westgate Hotel (1055 Second Ave., San Diego) with confirmed guests John Layman, David Lloyd, Nick Pitarra, Paul Pope, Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare and Nick Spencer (with many more expected). Here’s a breakdown of some of the party’s offerings:

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SDCC ’13 | Check out some of the art for the CBLDF auction

Art by Jill Thompson

Art by Jill Thompson

Retailer Things From Another World has again partnered with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund for the charity’s auction at Comic-Con International. For the fifth annual event, creators ranging from Jill Thompson and Jonathan Case to Roger Langridge and Charlie Adlard have donated artwork in an effort to raise more than $100,000 for the CBLDF.

Some five dozen artists are participating; you can see some of the artwork below and on the TFAW website. You can bid July 20 during the CBLDF Auction at Comic-Con.

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Tony Millionaire covers ‘Quantum and Woody’ #1 for CBLDF

QW_001_VARIANT_CBLDF-tease

Valiant Entertainment not only became a corporate member of the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund this week, but also debuted a variant cover edition of Quantum and Woody #1 that will be sold at Comic-Con International in San Diego next month to benefit the organization.

Drawn by Tony Millionaire of Maakies and Sock Monkey fame, the Quantum and Woody #1 CBLDF Liberty Variant will be limited to 750 copies. It’ll only be sold at the CBLDF’s booth at San Diego and via the CBLDF website.

Check out the full cover below.

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Comics A.M. | Jeff Robinov to exit Warner Bros. amid shakeup

Jeff Robinov

Jeff Robinov

Business | Following weeks (if not months) of rumblings, Warner Bros. has made it official: Jeff Robinov, the Warner Bros. Pictures Group president who oversaw the 2009 restructuring of DC Comics into DC Entertainment, will leave the studio following a reorganization that establishes a new leadership team: Sue Kroll, president of worldwide marketing and distribution, Greg Silverman, president of creative development and worldwide production, and Toby Emmerich, president and chief operating officer of New Line Cinema. It doesn’t appear as if Robinov will be replaced. DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson, who initially reported Robinov, presumably will answer directly to Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara; following a shakeup last month in the television and home entertainment division, Nelson reported to both Robinov and Tsujihara. [The Hollywood Reporter]

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Comics A.M. | Egyptian artist Magdy el Shafee arrested in protest

Magdy el Shafee

Magdy el Shafee

Legal | Egyptian artist Magdy el Shafee, creator of the graphic novel Metro, was arrested by security forces in Cairo and is being held in Tora Prison. The arrests weren’t directly related to his graphic novel, which was banned by the regime of Hosni Mubarak; el Shafee went to Abdel Moneim Riyad Square to try to stop a showdown between protesters and the Muslim Brotherhood, and ended up being arrested in a sweep that rounded up 38 people. [Words Without Borders]

Legal | The local paper profiles Susan Alston, who has been active in the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund since the 1990s and even ran it for a while from the garage of her Northampton, Massachusetts, home. [Masslive.com]

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