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Sean Murphy tackles creator’s rights for conventions

Illustrators Christian Dibari, bottom left, and Sean Murphy above left, at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in 2013.  Photo by Tim Greenway.

Illustrators Christian Dibari, bottom left, and Sean Murphy above left, at the Maine Comics Arts Festival in 2013. Photo by Tim Greenway.

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.

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Marge and Bill Woggon named to Eisner Hall of Fame

marge-woggon

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.

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On Norm Breyfogle: What would Batman do?

retun of scarfaceSpring 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.

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Submissions open for 2015 Eisner Awards

eisnerawards_logoSubmissions are being accepted through March 17 for the 2015 Will Eisner Comics Industry Awards, which will be presented July 10 during Comic-Con International in San Diego.

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.

Creators take to social media in support of ‘Charlie Hebdo’

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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.

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Comics A.M. | The mystique of the Marvel writers’ retreat

Marvel

Marvel

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]

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Joshua Dysart heading to Kurdistan for UN project

joshua dysartUnknown Soldier writer Joshua Dysart has announced he’ll be traveling to the troubled Kurdistan region of Iraq to conduct research for a project he’s planning with the United Nations World Food Programme.

“We’ve been plotting to tell some stories about the complexity and necessity of feeding the world’s displaced people in an engaging way,” Dysart writes on his website. “Now we’re finally getting started and soon I’ll be leaving for northern Iraq. There, I’ll begin researching the current situation facing Kurdish refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict and the violent push of the Islamic State.”

The writer spent a month in Acholiland, Uganda, in 2007 to research Unknown Soldier, his Eisner-nominated Vertigo series that recast the classic DC Comics character as Moses Lwanga, a physician who returns to his native country to help the refugees caught up in the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency.

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Comics A.M. | Wizard World won’t return to San Antonio in 2015

Wizard World San Antonio

Wizard World San Antonio

Conventions | It looks as if Wizard World’s convention won’t be returning to San Antonio, Texas, in 2015. A Wizard World spokesman said the company couldn’t come up with a date that fit the schedule of the city’s Henry B. Gomez Convention Center, adding, “We hope to revisit the possibility for 2016.” However, reporter Rene Guzman notes that San Antonio’s Alamo City Comic Con was a much bigger deal this year, in terms of the exhibit floor (it took up three exhibit halls of the convention center, compared to Wizards’ one) and probably attendance as well: Wizard World said its inaugural event in August drew “thousands,” and Alamo City had 73,000 attendees, almost twice as many as last year. There will be a Wizard World Austin conventionn in 2015, so anyone wanting a taste of that Wizard magic can find it a short road trip away. [San Antonio Express News]

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Comics A.M. | Jillian Tamaki wins Governor General’s Award

This One Summer

This One Summer

Awards | Jillian Tamaki has won the prestigious Governor General’s Literary Prize for children’s literature illustration for her work on This One Summer, a graphic novel collaboration with cousin Mariko Tamaki (who was nominated in the text category). Their first book, 2008’s Skim, was previously nominated in the text division, further demonstrating a separation of illustration and story that Jillian Tamaki finds “strange.” ““I think we are both creators of the book,” she tells the Edmonton Journal. “You can’t read a comic without either component, it won’t make sense. It’s something I will always be addressing when talking about the award. But I am completely flattered by the honor and will be sharing the prize with my cousin.” [Edmonton Journal, via The Comics Reporter]

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Comics A.M. | Charges filed against ‘Hi Score Girl’ creator, others

Hi Score Girl, Vol. 4

Hi Score Girl, Vol. 4

Legal | The saga of Hi Score Girl continues this week, with the Osaka Prefectural Police charging creator Rensuke Oshihiri and 15 employees of publisher Square Enix with copyright infringement. Game publisher SNK Playmore originally filed criminal charges against Square Enix over the summer, claiming that Hi Score Girl, a comedy about gamers, used its characters without permission. Square Enix has recalled the published volumes of the series and halted serialization in its Monthly Big Gangan magazine. [Anime News Network]

Passings | Political cartoonist and collector Art Wood, a founding member of the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists, died Nov. 4 at age 87. He donated more than 40,000 pieces of original cartoon art to the Library of Congress for its bicentennial, and the library published a book, Cartoon America, based on the collection. [The Daily Cartoonist]

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Dennis Culver breaks down the characters of ‘Breaking Bad’

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In late 2012, Edison Rex artist Dennis Culver delighted The Wire fans with his illustration gallery of 52 characters in one giant poster. Now Culver has done it again, but this time with 58 Breaking Bad characters in one poster that celebrates the acclaimed Vince Gilligan drama.

The 24-inch by 36-inch poster is available for preorder, and will begin shipping on Nov. 10.

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Seth Kushner returns to hospital, chould use your help

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Late last month, I celebrated Seth Kushner returning home after a bone marrow transplant to combat his April-diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia. Soon after the article appeared, I corresponded briefly with the photographer and writer, and it was clear he was eager to regain his strength and begin working again.

Unfortunately, as his wife Terra noted last week in a Facebook post, within two weeks doctors informed Kushner that his leukemia had returned:

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Comics A.M. | Alexis Deacon wins Observer/Cape/Comica prize

From "The River"

From “The River”

Awards | Alexis Deacon has won the 2014 Observer/Cape/Comica graphic short story prize for “The River,” “a luscious, tangled, whispering kind of story” that earned him £1,000 (about $1,611 U.S.). The runners-up were Fionnuala Doran’s “Countess Markievicz” and Beth Dawson’s “After Life.” The short-story competition has been held annually since 2007 by London’s Comica Festival, publisher Jonathan Cape and The Observer newspaper. [The Observer]

Publishing | Mark Peters spotlights Archie Comics’ recent transformation from staid to startling, with titles like Afterlife With Archie and the new Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. [Salon]

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This weekend, it’s the Locust Moon Comics Festival

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If you’re a comics fan who happens to be in the Philadelphia area on Saturday, you’ll not want to miss the third annual Locust Moon Comics Festival.

Held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the The Rotunda in West Philadelphia (4014 Walnut St.), the event features an impressive guest list that includes Bill Sienkiewicz, Paul Pope, Denis Kitchen, J.G. Jones, Farel Dalrymple, Dave Bullock, Box Brown, Nathan Fox, Dean Haspiel, Rebecca Mock, Dave Bullock, Tom Scioli, José Villarrubia, Benjamin Marra and Ronald Wimberly.

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Comics A.M. | DiDio and Lee on DC’s move, changing audience

Gotham Academy #1

Gotham Academy #1

Publishing | DC Entertainment Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee talk about the state of the comics market, DC’s upcoming move from New York City to Burbank, the growing female audience and more. “There’s also a diversification within the audience itself the past couple of years,” Lee observed. “You’ve seen more women, more female readers, in general. When we launched Batgirl and Gotham Academy, those books struck a different note, different tonality, and that was in large part due to editor Mark Doyle bringing these projects together with different kinds of creators. It was our way of broadening the base of the Batman family of books but doing it in a different way to attract a different audience. I think it speaks well to the future that we’re not just going to strike the same note looking for the same customer. […] You can’t necessarily rely on the same continuity, the same core hardcore comics-driven material; you have to diversify, broaden your net and bring in different voices to the company.” [ICv2]

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