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Gail Simone launches Comics Survival Kit on Tumblr

Gail Simone

Gail Simone

Writer Gail Simone launched a new blog, Comics Survival Kit, that promises to be a source of useful, practical information for creators.

“Like all comics pros, I am asked all the time for advice on how to become a pro, and how to maintain that position once you have attained it,” she writes in the introductory post. “It is a huge question, even if we knew the answers, it would be a lot to process!” So she is presenting information in small, tightly focused posts and drawing on her many friends in the industry, including Kelly Sue DeConnick, Greg Pak, and Jim Zubkavich, for their advice as well.

Simone is a pretty good resource herself; she has written more than 400 comics, and her credits include Birds of Prey, Secret Six and Red Sonja. What sets this Tumblr apart from other creators’ is its exclusive focus on information and advice; what sets it apart from other creator-information sites is the high profile of the owner and the contributors.

The Tumblr already has a collection of interesting posts, including Red Sonja editor Molly Mahan on what editors want to see in an artist’s portfolio, Third Eye Comics owner Steve Anderson on communicating with retailers and Paul Allor (Orc Girl) on the perils of self-publishing.

SDCC | Highlights of the Friday programming schedule

Comic-Con InternationalComic-Con International organizers have rolled out the programming schedule for Friday, July 25, the second full day of the show.

And what a full day it is, with comics adaptations like AMC’s The Walking Dead, The CW’s Arrow and iZombie, and ABC’s Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter all taking the stage. However, that’s not to say actual comic books are being slighted: There are panels devoted to Image Comics, DC Comics’ Batman, The Multiversity and more, Marvel’s Spider-Verse and The Avengers, Top Shelf Productions, IDW Publishing’s 15th anniversary and its Hasbro titles, Milestone at 21, gender in comics, LGBT comics for young readers and the (gulp) 30th anniversary of Power Pack.

Plenty of creators step into the spotlight, too, with panels dedicated to the likes of Neal Adams, Mark Brooks, Francesco Francavilla, Jae Lee, Mike Mignola, Terry Moore, Fiona Staples and Brian K. Vaughan. To top it all off, there’s the Eisner Awards ceremony.

Check out some of the comics-related highlights below, and visit the Comic-Con website for the full schedule.

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ISIS calls for the death of ‘The 99′ creator

Cover-of-the-first-issue-001-214x300The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the jihadist group better known by the acronym ISIS, has put out a call for the assassination of Nayef Al-Mutawa, creator of the superhero comic The 99.

The Kuwait Times reports that in a series of tweets, the group accused Al-Mutawa of mocking the 99 names of Allah, and offered a reward for his death. “Who can kill Nayef Al- Mutawa who makes fun of Allah’s names?” was posted by one ISIS account while another said, “Whoever finds him, kill him, and he will be rewarded.”

Growing out of al-Qaeda in Iraq, which has since disavowed the group, ISIS has of course been in the news for its military gains in Syria and Iraq, where it seeks to establish an Islamic emirate. BBC News has a solid primer on the extremist organization.

Al-Mutawa, who said he will take legal action against those behind the account, defended himself on his own Twitter, writing, “My work has glorified Islam from the U.S. to China for the past ten years. I really do not believe in ISIL and Qaeda … I don’t care about them.”

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SDCC | Highlights of the Thursday programming schedule

comic-conThe days of easing into Comic-Con International are but a distant memory, as the schedule for the first event’s official day, Thursday, July 27, oh so helpfully reminds us.

As we’ve come to expect, the Thursday programming is a mix of comic books, television, toys and video games, with a smattering of film, plus several Batman panels tied to the Caped Crusader’s 75th anniversary (including a spotlight on co-creator Bill Finger, “DC Comics: Batman 75: Legends of the Dark Knight” and “Batman in the ’70s”).

Comics programming includes panels from 2000 AD, Avatar Press, Bongo Comics, BOOM! Studios, DC Digital, Image Comics, IDW’s Artists Editions, Marvel’s Avengers & X-Men: AXIS, Monkeybrain Comics, Skybound’s The Walking Dead and Vertigo. But that only scratches the surface, as there are also creator spotlights on the likes of Dan Slott, and Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti, a conversation between Gene Luen Yang and Scott McCloud, a look at the creative processes of Lee Bermejo, John Romita Jr. and Nicola Scott, and an examination of the intersection of hip hop and comics.

Check out some of the comics-related highlights below, and visit the Comic-Con website for the full schedule.

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Comics A.M. | Bill Watterson’s return to the public eye

From the final "Calvin and Hobbes" strip

From the final “Calvin and Hobbes” strip

Creators | Shaenon Garrity chronicles Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson’s recent return to the public eye. While Watterson stopped drawing the strip in 1995, he recently provided a painting for the Team Cul De Sac charity, did an interview and created a poster for the documentary Stripped, and contributed as a guest artist to Stephan Pastis’ Pearls Before Swine comic strip. [Paste Magazine]

Comics | Some bonus Calvin and Hobbes content: Adam Weinstein looks at the history of those “peeing Calvin” decals, with a short road trip into the “praying Calvin” variant. [Gawker]

Creators | Marc Sobel interviews Ganges creator Kevin Huizenga. [The Comics Journal]

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SDCC | Hall map and exhibitor lists released

sdcc-map

In case today’s date isn’t indication enough that Comic-Con International is rapidly drawing closer — it’s July 1 already! — here’s an unmistakable sign: Organizers have released this year’s exhibit hall map and exhibitor list.

The exhibition floor map can be viewed as an Issuu document or PDF, while the exhibitor, artists alley, small press and fan tables lists can be found on the convention website.

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Winners of 2014 Inkwell Awards announced

inkwell awards-2014

The winners of the seventh annual Inkwell Awards, which recognize creative achievement in the field of inking in American comics, were announced over the weekend at HeroesCon in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Nominees were selected by a nominating committee and then presented for online voting. Another committee chose two recipients of the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award. The winners are:

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Comics A.M. | The secret of Batman’s enduring appeal

Detective Comics #27

Detective Comics #27

Comics | Liam Burke, editor of the essay collection Fan Phenomena: Batman, discusses the enduring appeal of the Dark Knight, who of course turns 75 this year: “This isn’t a guy who’s from an alien planet, this isn’t someone who was bitten by a radioactive spider. This is an average guy, albeit incredibly wealthy and incredibly intelligent, at the peak of human fitness, but an average guy nonetheless. That sort of aspirational quality has been identified as the reason Batman sort of stands above Spider-Man, Superman or any number of heroes.” [RN Drive]

Publishing | David Harper looks at the economics of monthly creator-owned comics, as well as how trades fit into the picture; for creators, the monthlies provide a regular stream of income so they can always be working on the next issue. Brandon Montclare, Jim Zubkavich and others provide some first-hand commentary on how things work in the real world. [Multiversity Comics]

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Comics A.M. | Stan Lee greeted in Sydney with ‘Captain Australia’ shield

Stan Lee (via The Daily Telegraph)

Stan Lee (via The Daily Telegraph)

Creators | Stan Lee arrived at Sydney Airport for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo and was immediately presented with a “Captain Australia” shield, colored gold and green rather than red and blue. The Supanova Pop Culture Expo kicked off today, and continues through Sunday. [The Daily Telegraph]

Comics | Hussain Al-Shiblawi says he doesn’t usually mind the pamphlets he regularly receives from the local Bible Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia; even though he’s Muslim, he finds them inspirational. But he takes strong exception to the latest one, a Jack Chick tract titled Unforgiven, which claims that all Muslims are going to hell. The pastor, who declined to go on camera, says his church doesn’t create the pamphlets, it just distributes them, but he’s willing to meet with Al-Shiblawi to discuss the comic. [WDBJ News]

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Comics A.M. | Retailer Geoffrey Patterson passes away

Geoffrey Patterson as Captain Greedy in 2003

Geoffrey Patterson as Captain Greedy in 2003

Passings | Retailer, creator, superhero fan and occasional crime-fighter Geoffrey Patterson Sr. died Sunday at age 72. The owner of Geoffrey’s Comic Shop in Gardena, California, Patterson created the character Captain Greedy, who appeared on local access TV and in the shop, as well as in comics. “Patterson was well-known for his eccentric love of super heroes,” writes Jordan England-Nelson. “His home in Torrance is decorated inside and out with super-hero statues, wooden cutouts and other comic book memorabilia. The home would get hundreds of visitors on Halloween, when Patterson would hand out comic books with candy and let people check out his superhero-themed graveyard.” And Patterson chased down purse snatchers and other wrongdoers on several different occasions, at least once while wearing his Captain Greedy costume. [The Daily Breeze]

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Joe Shuster Awards announce 2014 nominees

joe shuster logo

The nominees have been announced for the 10th annual Joe Shuster Awards, which recognize the best of the Canadian comics world. They’re named in honor of Toronto-born artist Joe Shuster, co-creator of Superman.

The winners will be presented later this year, at a time and location to be announced. The nominees are:

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The secret art of sketch cards

Spider-Man by Fred Hembeck

Spider-Man sketch card by Fred Hembeck

While the old trading card business in comics  has never been the same since the 1990s, there is a vibrant off-shoot that’s caught hold for both artists and fans. Sketch cards have almost completely overshadowed mass-produced trading cards as a way for fans to buy original, one-of-a-kind art from both established and up-and-coming artists.

Can’t afford to buy the original art from a page of your favorite comic book? Sketch cards sell at a fraction of the price and are just as unique. Can’t make it to a comic book convention or pay commission prices? Sketch cards are like instant mini-commissions. They also retain the collectibility of trading cards because companies typically commission artists to do a finite number around a specific theme for a limited-edition series. Artists are also free to make their own sketch cards and sell those. As someone who used to voraciously collect Marvel trading cards in their heyday, I view this as a cool alternative that highlights and supports the individual artist more.

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Epic ‘Bartkira’ project is offering a limited-run exhibition book

bartkira3-cropped

More than a year ago, James Harvey took Ryan Humphrey’s idea of a Simpsons/Akira mashup and ran with it, launching an ambitious jam project in which artists — 768 in all — would recreate every page from Katsuhiro Otomo’s pioneering cyberpunk epic using characters from Matt Groening’s beloved animated series. That’s the story of Batkira, a sprawling, loving tribute to both creators that received its own gallery show last month at Floating World Comics in Portland, Oregon.

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Prism Comics opens submissions for 2014 Queer Press Grant

queer press grantPrism Comics, the nonprofit organization that supports lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender creators, comics and readers, has opened submissions for the 2014 Queer Press Grant.

The grant is awarded to writers/artists or teams self-publishing comic books, comic strips, webcomics or graphic novels with significant LGBT characters and themes; creators don’t need to be LGBT to apply. Entries are judged by the Prism board and past recipients based first on artistic merit, and then financial need, proposal presentation and the work’s contributions to the LGBT community.

The grant is funded through donations from creators and fans. Past winners include Hazel Newlevant, Robert Kirby, Eric Orner and Megan Rose Gedris.

Guidelines can be found on the Prism Comics website. The deadline for proposals is Sept. 1; the recipient will be announced at the Alternative Press Expo, held Oct. 4-5 in San Francisco.

Inaugural MondoCon to feature Mignola, Jock, Darrow & more

mondo logoThe art gallery and online store Mondo has announced the inaugural MondoCon, a Sept. 20-21 event in Austin, Texas, designed to celebrate film, music, art and toys. It will coincide with the first weekend of Alamo Drafthouse’s annual Fantastic Fest.

The initial wave of guests includes such comics artists as Geof Darrow, Francesco Francavilla, Jock, Mike Mignola and Bernie Wrightson. To mark the occasion, Mondo has also announced a Bride of Frankenstein limited-edition print by Mignola, on sale Thursday at MondoTees.com.

“We specifically picked these first 15 to show a sampling of what to expect from MondoCon,” Mondo Creative Director Justin Ishmael explains on the event website. “Not only will we have people that we’ve worked with before, but we’ll also have guys that we’ve been HUGE fans of showing up, too. We want you in the same room as Mike Mignola who is also in the same room as Richey Beckett who has a booth next to Geof Darrow, etc. Picture walking down that aisle and stopping at like every booth. That’s at least the idea and if you do or not is obviously up to you, but if we were to walk into a convention and these guys were all there, it’d be a day long event for me going around bugging everyone. The thing is that we’re 100% fans of everyone in this room.”

MondoCon will feature new artwork and products, as well as panels and special screenings. Tickets, which go on sale Wednesday, cost $35 for one day and $70 for the full weekend.

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