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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 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:
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]
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]
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]
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:
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.
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.
Prism 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.
The 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.
Early last month Brian Michael Bendis returned to Cleveland for the first time in 14 years to speak at a TEDxCLE event at the Cleveland Museum of Art. His nearly 25-minute presentation, “The Little Boxes,” is now available online.
“I was young, and I would read these books, and I became obsessed with the little boxes in the front of the book, the little boxes with the names of the people who were responsible for the experiences I was having,” the writer recalls. “At first I thought I just wanted to see my name in those boxes because I thought it was the coolest place on Earth to see your name. I was a little kid, it seemed really cool to me. But really what was happening was I was experiencing — we’ve all experienced it in some medium — I was experiencing true storytelling for the first time.”
Watch the entire presentation below.
On the opening night of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, organizer Christopher Butcher articulated a simple and very important vision for the event:
I looked at the people we were already approaching for 2014 last year, and we had an incredibly strong lineup already of people who wanted to participate who were women who were working in the industry with a history or who were fresh faces doing exciting, wonderful material, and we decided that was going to be an unspoken theme, we were going to really try to spotlight, highlight, the work of women in the industry … This isn’t a one-year thing for us. This isn’t just a theme this year, we aren’t going to be going back to anything, I think we have done a good job of showing the diverse faces of the comics industry but we can always be better… I want us to continue to be as inclusive as possible and to include all different kinds of work. I want comics to be the theme of TCAF and that means including everyone who makes comics, and particularly people who are doing a good job.
Then Butcher did something truly amazing: He introduced a panel of three women that was not titled “Women in Comics.” At TCAF, women were simply treated as equals and judged on their merits. And trust me, I walked the halls at the Toronto Reference Library and came back with two bags of comics and graphic novels, so I know: There were no charity cases at TCAF. Every exhibitor, male and female, was top-notch. This is a show that a huge number of people want to be a part of, so organizers can pick and choose. What they did this year was simply choose more women, which makes sense in a field where women have been well represented for many years. (There were plenty of men as well, they just weren’t in the majority as they are at every other show.)
A comics pioneer, Marie Severin was one of the very few women working in the industry during the Gold Age and Silver Age, first as a colorist at EC and then as a penciler, inker and colorist at Marvel. Now she’s the subject of TwoMorrows Publishing’s upcoming book, aptly titled Marie Severin: The Mirthful Mistress of Comics.
Written by Dewey Cassell and Aaron Sultan, it’s a compendium of Severin’s art, from classic covers and stories to rare, unpublished sketches; it also includes an expansive interview with the 84-year-old artist.
Severin got her start coloring her brother John’s work at EC Comics, but her best-known work was for her Marvel, where she was employed for 30 years as a production artist, penciler, inker and head colorist. She co-created Spider-Woman, and provided cover and interior art for such titles as The Avengers, Captain America, Conan the Barbarian, Crazy Magazine and The Incredible Hulk.
Photographer and comics writer Seth Kushner was recently, and quite suddenly, diagnosed with leukemia — as Hannah Means Shannon relates, he went from seemingly healthy to having the flu to hospitalization, all within two weeks — and now requires a bone marrow transplant.
A celebrated portrait photographer, Kushner is well known in comics circles for his collaboration with writer Christopher Irving on Graphic NYC and on the book Leaping Tall Bounds: The Origins of American Comics. A member of Brooklyn’s Hang Dai Studio, he’s also created numerous photocomix, and collaborated with numerous artists on the webcomic Schmuck, whose print collection was successfully funded last month on Kickstarter.
Toronto has become Comics Town this week, as the Toronto Comic Arts Festival (aka TCAF) presents an entire week of events capped by a two-day MoCCA-style show this weekend at the Toronto Reference Library.
As it has in previous years, the event has drawn a stellar list of comics creators, including Lynn Johnston and Kate Beaton (who will be doing a kick-off panel tonight, moderated by Raina Telgemeier), Jeff Smith, Trina Robbins, Ed Brubaker, Kazu Kibuishi, Michael DeForge, Darwyn Cooke, Luke Pearson and Moyoco Anno. The list of debut books includes Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer, Michael DeForge’s A Body Beneath, Anno’s Insufficient Direction, Gabrielle Bell’s Truth Is Fragmentary and Box Brown’s Andre the Giant. You can just save this list now and use it as a cheat sheet for next year’s Eisner nominations.
And, recognizing the most important demographic in comics, there will be a full slate of children’s programming on Saturday.
TCAF has an indie vibe, more in the vein of MoCCA and SPX than Wizard World, but with a strong manga component. There are no cast members from The Walking Dead, no Marvel and DC panels, and no booths selling T-shirts or plushies. Cosplay is politely, but firmly, discouraged: