The London Super Con happened over the weekend, complete with a sizable roll call of legends attending (including Neal Adams, George Perez, Bill Sienkiewicz and Brian Bolland). These days, it wouldn’t be a U.K. comic convention without a fresh batch of photographs turning up in the Twitter stream of 2000AD super-fan John Burdis and friends dragged up as Mega City One judges, administering some on-the-spot justice to his fellow convention goers. This time, there were some familiar faces to be spotted amongst his willing victims: There are literally hundreds of shots like these on Burdis’s Facebook gallery. Also seen at Facebook: a very jolly-looking Batman sharing a joke with Judge Court.
At the Muddy Colors illustration collective, Arnie Fenner (art director of the sci-fi/fantasy art bible Spectrum) is offering his advice to artists on how best to exhibit their work during the upcoming convention season. It’s fascinating stuff, even for the non-professional, offering everyone an insight into just how much time, expense and sheer hard work your favorite artists have to put into making a successful and profitable appearance in artist alley. As well as being eminently sensible, Fenner has a great sense of humor that comes out in tips such as this:
Ed Kramer’s extradition to Georgia last week on child-molestation charges dating back to 2000 has again cast a spotlight on his relationship with DragonCon, the Atlanta convention he helped found nearly 26 years ago.
The 51-year-old Kramer hasn’t been directly associated with the event since his arrest in August 2000 on charges of sexually abusing two teenage boys. However, he continues to receive annual dividends from DragonCon — $154,000 for 2011 alone, according to Atlanta Magazine — after attempts to buy out Kramer’s stake in the for-profit corporation proved unsuccessful. The litigious Kramer has filed two lawsuits against co-founder Pat Henry and DragonCon/ACE Inc.
But horror author Nancy A. Collins, who was among the first to speak out against Kramer, contends DragonCon organizers haven’t done enough to extricate themselves from its co-founder. And so in a proposal circulated Monday by Stephen Bissette, the former Swamp Thing writer calls for professionals to boycott the convention in an effort “to cut off the flow of money” to Kramer, “who has been using the 150K+ a year he receives each year from DragonCon to avoid trial and manipulate the justice system.”
Creators | For Slate’s “Doers” feature — “People who accomplish great things, and how they do it” — David Wiegel spotlights Rob Liefeld’s decision to revive his Extreme Studios line by handing over the properties to creators like Brandon Graham, Joe Keatinge and Tim Seeley. Acknowledging his critics prefer these new versions of Glory, Prophet and Bloodstrike to his originals, Liefeld tells the website, ““The internet snark has zero effect on me. I was there 20 years ago, I’m out there on the convention circuit, I experience the real and tangible enthusiasm for me and my work. You can’t rewrite the history books, you can’t eliminate the impact of my work and my characters. [...] Rob Liefeld is to today as Michael Jackson and Michael Jordan are to my kids.” [Slate.com]
Passings | Paul Gravett pays tribute to the late British writer and critic Les Coleman. [Paul Gravett]
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival will celebrate its 10th anniversary in style May 11-12 with a truly stellar lineup of guests. Let’s get right to that, actually. Here’s the list, straight from the TCAF site:
- Art Spiegelman: Author of Maus, winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Co-Founder RAW Magazine. Debuting:Co-Mix
- Francoise Mouly: Art Editor of The New Yorker, Founder of Toon Books, Co-Founder RAW Magazine
- Taiyo Matsumoto Author of Tekkon Kinkreet (adapted into film by Sony Pictures). First North American event. Debuting: Sunny Volume 1. (Japan)
- Raina Telgemeier: New York Times Bestselling Author of the childrens’ and middle-grade graphic novels Smile and Drama
- Blutch: Angouleme Grand Prix Winner. First North American event. Debuting: So Long, Silver Screen. (France)
- Gengoroh Tagame: Acclaimed Japanese gay comics creator. First North American event. Debuting: The Passion of Gengoroh Tagame. (Japan)
- Dash Shaw: Author of BodyWorld. Debuting: New School.
- Maurice Vellekoop: Acclaimed illustrator and comics author. Artist of TCAF 10th Anniversary Poster.
Publishing | As part of its coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Variety spotlights DC Entertainment’s digital moves, particularly its “Digital First” initiative, with titles like Smallville, Arrow and Batman: Arkham Unhinged, and the increase in sales since the company began going day-and-date with its comic books in September 2011. “What we launched last year as an experiment, we’ll increase the frequency now because it’s gotten so popular,” Hank Kanalz, senior vice president of Vertigo and Integrated Publishing, says of Digital First. [Variety]
Retailing | Halifax, Nova Scotia, comics retailer Calum Johnston is looking for a new location for Strange Adventures, as the current location is being redeveloped and the rent will go up as a result. Johnston would rather pay for more staff than pay a higher rent: “When people come in looking for a major title like the death of Peter Parker in Marvel Comics’ The Amazing Spider-Man, they inevitably have questions about other titles. It is important to have staff available to keep customers up to date on new developments and titles.” [The Chronicle Herald]
Awards | The National Cartoonists Society initiated a webcomics award last year, and this year the organization is splitting it in two, one for short-form works and one for long-form. The challenge with including webcomics, says NCS President Tom Richardson, is that to be eligible, creators must make the majority of their money from cartooning. “That isn’t an easy thing to quantify anymore. With online comics, we need to take into account site traffic, professionalism in consistent and regular publication, online community activity and other factors that are the hallmark of professional online work,” he says. “In some cases, it’s pretty obvious the creator is making a career out of cartooning. In some, it’s not so obvious.” [Comic Riffs]
Rick Olney, the comics advocate, publisher and convention promoter perhaps best known for his public conflicts with creators, passed away Friday at his home in Mohawk, New York. He was 58.
Founder of Organized Readers of Comics Associated (ORCA), Olney became a somewhat-notorious figure in recent years for his dealings as both a publisher and a convention organizer. He was accused by several creators of non-payment for their work for his company TightLip Entertainment, and misleading others about his conventions. No shrinking violet, Olney frequently responded to the claims online with charges of libel and harassment.
Olney, a former Marine and National Guardsman, is survived by his wife Barbara and five children. His funeral was held today in Whitesboro, New York.
Conventions | Japan’s Comic Market (aka Comiket), the world’s largest convention dedicated to self-published comics, stands to lose about $117,900 because of a decision to bar artist groups (“circles”) dedicated to the manga Kuroko’s Basketball following a threat letter. Organizers are refunding entrance fees to about 900 Kuroko’s Basketball circles that registered for the Dec. 29-31 event, and must help pay for increased security in cooperation with local police and the Tokyo Big Sight complex. Since October, letters containing powdered and liquid substances have been sent to more than 20 locations linked to Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki. At least six Kuroko’s Basketball doujinshi events have been canceled. [Anime News Network]
Citing an increased workload at Millarworld and Millarworld Productions, organizers Sarah and Lucy Unwin have announced London’s Kapow! Comic Convention won’t return next year. However, there are hopes for “an even bigger and better show” in 2014.
“Sarah and I have had to make a very tough decision, and after much deliberation and poring over upcoming work schedules, we have decided to put Kapow! 2013 on hold,” Lucy Unwin said in a statement. “The event is a genuine pleasure to work on and everyone has been a total delight, but this year we are unable to dedicate the time necessary to deliver a weekend that once again exceeds the expectations of attendees, guests, exhibitors, publishers and studios.”
Mark Millar, who launched Kapow! in 2010 “to bring “San Diego Comic-Con to these shores,” added on his message board: “4 movies, 4 new comic series, overseeing the Marvel movies at Fox and starting our TV line mean 2013 just too mental for Kapow this year, I’m afraid. we absolutely hope to come back and wow everyone in 2014 tho.”
In addition to signing on in September as a consultant on Fox’s Marvel film properties, Millar has Kick-Ass 2 opening next year, and a handful of adaptations — Nemesis, Supercrooks and The Secret Service among them — moving into production. Add to that such Millarworld comics projects as Jupiter’s Legacy, Nemesis 2 and Kick-Ass 3, and the aforementioned television line, which begins Jan. 3 with the BBC One documentary Pavilion of Dreams.
The finalists have been announced for the 2012 SPACE Prize, selected from among the titles collected at the 2012 Small Press and Alternative Comics Expo in Columbus, Ohio.
The winner in each of the three categories — General, Minicomics/Short Story and Webcomic — will be chosen by two rotating judges and registered 2012 SPACE exhibitors. The winner in the General category receives $300 and a plaque, while the winners in the Minicomics/Short Story and Webcomic category each receive $100 and a plaque.
Winners will be announced in January, and presented with their plaques April 13 during SPACE 2013. The finalists are:
• Binary Gray #1-2, by Chris Charton and Rowel Roque (Assailant Comics)
• Blink: Wonka Wonka Kochalka, by Max Ink (Point Media)
Legal | A Belgian court of appeals has ruled that Tintin in the Congo is not racist and stated that the book has “gentle and candid humour.” The ruling came in a case brought in 2007 by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, an immigrant from the Congo, and the Belgian Council of Black Associations. Although Herge himself expressed regret in later life for the book, which includes numerous depictions of black characters as stupid and inferior, the court did not support the plaintiffs’ claim that “The negative stereotypes portrayed in this book are still read by a significant number of children. They have an impact on their behaviour.” [Sky News]
Publishing | Declaring this “the year of The Walking Dead,” the retail news and analysis site ICv2 notes the $60 Compendium volumes One and Two could “easily” be the top-selling graphic novels of 2012. Those two books also topped the Nielsen BookScan chart of graphic novels sold in bookstores in November, joined by six other collections from the acclaimed horror series in the Top 20. Chris Ware’s $50 Building Stories, which has emerged on best-of lists as one of the books — and the graphic novel — of 2012, was No. 3 in November, followed by DC Comics’ Superman: Earth One, Vol. 2, and, in a surprise Top 20 appearance by Marvel, the $75 Avengers Vs. X-Men hardcover at No. 5. [ICv2]
Philadelphia comic shop Locust Moon has had an ambitious year with a relocation and an anthology published by Dark Horse, but it’s not done yet. On Dec. 16, the three-year-old store is organizing a one-day comics convention in West Philadelphia’s Rotunda called, appropriately enough, the Locust Moon Comic Festival.
“There are plenty of comic conventions in Philly, but we want to do something that’s not about video games and Star Trek and professional wrestling and geek culture,” store owner Josh O’Neill said in a statement. “[Locust Moon Comics Festival] is about the fierce creativity of cartoonists and writers and illustrators who follow their own paths and speak from the heart. We want to exalt the infinite possibilities of the medium and acknowledge the intrepid talents that restlessly explore and expand its edges.”
The festival lineup includes its poster artist Farel Dalrymple, Jim Rugg, Box Brown, Brandon Graham and David Mack. As part of the festival weekend, Locust Moon will host a gallery show at its store location that weekend and an “all-star” Drink & Draw the day before the festival.