X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
With Jack Kirby’s birthday just 11 days away, his granddaughter Jillian has kicked off the fourth annual Kirby4Heroes campaign to help creators in need. Watch the launch video below.
In celebration of what would’ve been the comics legend’s 98th birthday, on Aug. 28 retailers across the country will throw “birthday parties,” and donate a portion of that day’s proceeds to The Hero Initiative, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a financial assistance to creators. Many artists also participate in Wake Up and Draw, in which they create illustrations in tribute to Kirby and then auction them later on eBay, with the money going to the nonprofit.
“I write for my partners. I write with them and to them. I seek collaborators and co-conspirators rather than employees. I share ownership of the books I do (Hawkeye obviously an exception) with the artists for whom I write as a rule. They make more than me, too, as a rule, and they earn it. Comics are a visual medium; to quote Mark Twain, ‘Thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the job.’
It is a high-class problem at all that anyone wants to write critically about a book I write and I understand that, but I find it fatuous at best and disingenuous at worst when any book I write gets referred to as ‘mine.’ These comics result from the work of ‘us.’ One may as well write a restaurant review without referring to the actual taste of a meal, or a piece of music solely by its duration.
Legal | Mohammed Moghini, the attorney for jailed Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani, has been arrested for shaking his client’s hand. (According to this Pakistani source, the official charge is “fornication.”) Held at Rajai Shahr Prison, his bail has been set at about $7,000. This presents a potential problem for Farghadani, who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for drawing a cartoon “insulting” the country’s Parliament and leader, as she has only a limited time to appeal that sentence, and now her attorney is behind bars. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Conventions | Comic-Con International is seeking a new sponsor for Artists’ Alley after DeviantArt, the sponsor of the area for the past two years, withdrew support. In a letter sent Wednesday to exhibitors, organizers said they are seeking a new sponsor and remain committed to Artists’ Alley. Heidi MacDonald provides context, noting that the development comes amid ongoing fears about the future of Artists’ Alley, which occupies valuable floor space in an exhibition hall starving for more. [The Beat]
Political cartoons | Michael Cavna has issued an open for cartoonists to draw cartoons in support of imprisoned Iranian artist Atena Farghadani, and tweet them with the hashtag #Draw4Atena. Robert Rusell, executive director of Cartoonist Rights Network International, has written an open letter to the leaders of Iran asking them to intervene. [Comic Riffs]
Francis Tsai, the concept and comic-book artist who continued to draw even after Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis cost him the use of his arms and legs, passed away Thursday.
After word of his death began to spread last night on social media, his wife Linda made the official announcement on his Facebook page, writing, This is all pretty new and I’m still a little in shock. Suddenly there is a big hole in my life. Francis was my soul mate. I loved him for his integrity, his (somewhat warped) sense of humor and his artistic drive. I will miss him like crazy.”
Following the announcement last month that it will begin accepting unsolicited submissions and pitches, Oni Press has released detailed guidelines that not only cover what to send, but also what not to.
Among the things to avoid, “Superheroes! They have their place but their place is not with us,” and “long-form series or stories in oversaturated genres such as supernatural noir, zombies, vampires and gritty detectives with a dark past.” Also, “delicate subjects such as rape and sexual abuse as fodder for exposition in genre stories.”
Oni’s submission periods will operate on a two-months open, two-months closed schedule, with the first window opening from May 1 to June 30.
“Over the years, when he heard somebody liked other artists more than his work, he was really non-competitive. The thing, though, that I think a lot of people never got about Jack was that Jack wasn’t really competitive with most other comic book artists, because in his mind, they had a different job description. When John Buscema sat down to draw an issue of Fantastic Four — and, actually, nothing I’m about to say is knocking John Buscema in any way, or any of the artists I’m going to mention here — his goal was to do an issue of the Fantastic Four. When Jack sat down to do an issue of Fantastic Four, in his mind his job description was to create a new universe, three spinoffs and take comics to another level.”
Note: The original version of this post misattributed the comment. It’s been edited to correct that, and to provide a fuller quote.
Lobo co-creator Roger Slifer, who was seriously injured in a 2012 hit and run, died this morning while on the way from his nursing home to an emergency room. He was 60 years old.
“It is especially sad because in the last month he was making great progress,” his sister Connie Carlton wrote on Facebook. “He was writing words on his new whiteboard that I bought with money his friend Larry Spears sent for Christmas. He was nodding yes and no to questions. A couple weeks ago they put a passey muir device (speaking valve) in his trach and he said ‘yes, no, and hi.’ They were getting ready to start him on speech therapy and occupational therapy. Things were finally looking up for him. But God needed another angel.”
With a week left in the Kickstarter campaign, industry veteran Jackie Estrada is still a little more than $6,000 short of the funding goal for her hardcover Comic Book People 2: Photographs From the 1990s.
As the title indicates, the planned 176-page book is a follow-up to last year’s Comic Book People: Photographs From the 1970s and 1980s, and collects snapshots taken mostly at Comic-Con International, but also at other conventions and trade shows of the era.
Estrada, administrator of the Eisner Awards and co-publisher of Exhibit A Press, promises photos of Will Eisner, Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Paul Norris, Nick Cardy, Neil Gaiman, George Perez, Frank Miller, Grant Morrison, Todd McFarlane, Rob Liefeld, Garth Ennis, Jeff Smith, Carla Speed McNeil, Paul Pope, Colleen Doran and more — about 600 shots in all.
Speaking up is a hard thing to do for many creators, because as freelancers they often work at the whim of others. But Sean Murphy has made a name for himself beyond his actual work as an outspoken member of the artist community. Recently, he took to his deviantART page to pull back the curtain on an overlooked aspect of a creator’s life — one rife with doubts and unfulfilled promises, but with the occasional bright spot: conventions.
“While many of my pro friends are eternally grateful for their careers and for these generous invites, some of the shows are taking advantage of creators — ALL levels of creators — and not following through with what’s promised,” Murphy wrote. “Believe me, I love traveling and I want to visit all my readers in every country I can, but there’s nothing worse than getting to the ‘convention reserved’ hotel room and finding out you wasted your money staying in some foreign ghetto.”
While Murphy might now be in the upper echelon of creators vied for by conventions and stores, the New England artist has been attending cons for more than a decade.
Murphy is doing more than just complaining, however; he’s offering a solution — what he calls a list of “Creator’s Rights” pertaining to conventions.
The Eisner Awards judges have selected Little Lulu creator Marjorie “Marge” Henderson Buell and Katy Keene creator Bill Woggon for automatic induction into the Will Eisner Comic Awards Hall of Fame.
Marge debuted the single-panel Little Lulu in 1935 in The Saturday Evening Post. She continued to write and draw the antics of the mischievous little girl until 1947, by which time Lulu was the story of a syndicated strip, comic books and animated shorts. Although Marge stopped drawing the comic, the retained creative control, finally selling Little Lulu to Western Publishing upon her retirement in 1971. She passed away in 1993 at age 88.
Spring 1992’s Batman #475 may not be all that important in the Dark Knight’s history, but it was a pretty pivotal issue in my own history with comics. It wasn’t just the first time I bought a Batman comic — beginning a growing interest in superhero comics that has yet to subside — but it was also the first time I encountered the work of artist Norm Breyfogle.
It was his incredible artwork that convinced me to purchase that issue over all of the other Batman comics on the stands and in the beat-up boxes of my local comic shop, and that fueled my many return visits, to buy new Breyfogle-drawn Batman comics as they arrived and dig out the dozens of earlier ones from the back-issue bins.
At the time, comics cost just $1 — a quarter of what the average issue costs today — but I was 14 years old, so my only income came from allowance, birthday and Christmas gifts, and what my grandfather paid me to mow his lawn. Comics were to me then, as they are now, a luxury purchase of sorts, something one spent one’s extra money on. As adults, that means they’re what we buy after we’ve paid the rent and utilities, bought groceries and filled up the gas tank.
Tentative categories — they may be altered at the discretion of the judges — are: best short story, best single issue, best continuing series, best limited series, best new series, best publications for kids and teens, best humor publication, best anthology, best digital comic, best graphic album–new material, best graphic album–reprint, best reality-based work, best adaptation from another medium, best archival collection, best U.S. edition of foreign material, best writer, best writer/artist, best penciler/inker (individual or team), best painter (interior art), best lettering, best coloring, best comics-related book, best scholarly/academic work, best comics journalism periodical or website, and best publication design.
Publishers who wish to submit entries must send one copy each of the comics or graphic novels, along with a cover letter that includes what’s being nominated, and in what categories, and the names of the creators. Creators may submit works for consideration if their publisher is no longer in business or is unlikely to submit nominations itself.
Entries should be mailed to: Jackie Estrada, Eisner Awards Administrator, Comic-Con International, P.O. Box 128458, San Diego, CA 92112. Submissions for the best digital comic category can be emailed to Estrada. The full list of nominees will be announced in April.
Additional details can be found on the Eisner Awards website.
Following the devastating attack Wednesday on the Paris headquarters of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo that left 12 dead — among them, five cartoonists — countless creators turned to social media to express their outrage and grief, but also their support of free speech and solidarity with those who risks their lives when they put pen to paper.
Hashtags such as #JesuisCharlie, #CharlieHebdo, #weaponsofchoice, #WeaponsOfMassConstruction have sprung up across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, many accompanying photos of artists wielding their “weapons of choice”: pens and pencils.
We’ve highlighted just some of those posts, as well as a few others that address the killings.
Publishing | Alex Abad-Santos examines how Marvel has created a mystique around its writers’ retreats, using the necessary secrecy to transform the planning meetings “into something fans are genuinely interested in.” The piece goes beyond that, however, touching upon recent accusations of sexism, and the inclusion of newly Marvel-exclusive writer G. Willow Wilson in this month’s retreat. [Vox]
Comics | Matt Cavna interviews Matt Bors, editor of The Nib, the comics section of the website The Medium, which has become the go-to site for journalism and commentary in comics form. [Comic Riffs]
Best of the year | The Publishers Weekly critics vote for the best graphic novels of the year; Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer tops the list, and there are plenty of interesting suggestions as books that got even one or two votes are included. [Publishers Weekly]