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Tensions resurface as Wizard World arrives in Minneapolis

springconAs the ever-growing Wizard World tour pulls into Minneapolis, Minnesota, this weekend, KARE TV shines a spotlight on the friction between the inaugural show and organizers of SpringCon, a 26-year-old annual event that’s being held two weeks later.

“We don’t have William Shatner at $199 an autograph, we don’t have the stars and that kind of thing,” Nick Postiglione of the Midwest Comic Book Association, which organizes SpringCon, tells the TV station. “We have comic book creators, writers and artists.”

The nonprofit group’s displeasure with the timing of Wizard World Minneapolis Comic Con is no secret: When the convention was announced last year as part of an expansion that included shows in Sacramento, San Antonio and Atlanta, an email circulated accusing the company of “specifically and strategically” selecting a date so close to Spring Con, contrary to assurances by chairman John Macaluso that the established event “was not on our radar.” The email also quoted Postiglione as saying Wizard had previously approached the Midwest Comic Book Association regarding the possibility of purchasing or absorbing SpringCon, an offer organizers declined.

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UK’s Eagle Awards relaunched as The Stan Lee Eagle Awards

stan-lee-eagle-awardsNearly two years after their presumed demise, the United Kingdom’s Eagle Awards have reemerged with a new name and host convention: The Stan Lee Eagle Awards, to be presented July 12 at London Film and Comic Con.

Named after the British children’s comic Eagle, the fan awards were presented more or less annually from 1977 until going dormant in the early 1990s. They were resurrected again in 2000, only to be shuttered in 2012 with a surprise announcement that made public a riff between awards chair Cassandra Conroy and MCM Expo.

Conroy, daughter of Eagle Awards co-founder Mike Conroy, is again at the helm. “My dad’s intention was always to give the fans a voice, and I’m delighted that this latest initiative will take his vision to an entirely new plane,” she said in a statement.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ passes 30M in sales in Japan

Attack on Titan, Vol. 1

Attack on Titan, Vol. 1

Manga | The 13 volumes to date of Hajime Isayama’s dystopian fantasy Attack on Titan have sold a combined 30.37 million copies in Japan, making the manga only the third series to do so since market research firm Oricon began tracking the numbers in 2009 (the first two were, of course, mega-hits One Piece and Naruto). [Anime News Network]

Digital comics | John Casteele considers the acquisition of comiXology from Amazon’s point of view: “It’s easy to see how the ComiXology purchase is going to benefit Amazon. Access to the ComiXology platform not only provides the company with additional revenues from the growing digital comics market and to the comic series that had the highest-selling single issue in 2013 (The Walking Dead, which also had five of the top 10 best-selling graphic novels for the year). It could also provide synergy with Jet City Comics and the Kindle, giving both access to the ComiXology publishing platform. Amazon could also use its Kindle platform to further refine the ComiXology’s ‘Comics’ app, which is already available for the Kindle Fire but might enjoy more direct integration in the future.” [Business Insider]

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Comics A.M. | Man sentenced for role in plot to kill cartoonist

Mohammad Hassan Khalid

Mohammad Hassan Khalid

Legal | Mohammad Hassan Khalid was sentenced last week in Philadelphia to five years in prison for his part in a failed 2009 plan to kill Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist who drew the head of the Prophet Mohammed on the body of a dog. Khalid, now 20, was a teenager and an honors student when he became involved with Colleen LaRose, aka “Jihad Jane,” who in January was sentenced to 10 years in prison for her part in the plot. Prosecutors pointed to the fact that Khalid also translated violent jihad videos into English, which may have helped recruit new terrorists, but they also asked for leniency because he cooperated with them after his arrest. The defense claimed he was simply a vulnerable, awkward teenager who has since been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Khalid, who had been offered a full scholarship to Johns Hopkins University but was arrested before graduating from high school, will get credit for the three years he has already served in prison. [Reuters]

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Eyeing the Eisners: a look at the 2014 nominees

The Oatmeal

The Oatmeal by Matthew Inman

One of my favorite times of the year is here: the announcement of the nominees for the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. I love poring over each category to look for surprises, seeing books I never heard of or never got a chance to read. I guess when you get right down to it, I love getting to celebrate awesome comics.

It seems that with each year, the Eisners get better at reflecting the comics art form and industry at that moment. The judges not only hit the fan favorites and critical darlings, but also unexpected choices and hidden gems that truly benefit from this kind of recognition. It’s where quality instead of sales rule, as it should be for an award recognizing the very best of the industry.

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Quote of the Day | Comics industry’s ‘frozen adolescence’

“No idea has proven more damaging to the comics industry than the myth that its professionals — not just creators, but retailers, even distributors — work for love and not money. It’s a philosophy that has justified exploitation of creators and theft of intellectual property. It’s allowed the entire industry to pass the buck for its failures — from publishers to retailers, and retailers to — for decades. And it’s why the comics industry lingers in a frozen adolescence, clinging to a shrinking target audience like a sea captain railing at the storm — when the real problem is the rotting wood of his own hull.”

Rachel Edidin, former Dark Horse editor turned freelance writer and editor, addressing reactions to Amazon’s announced purchase of comiXology for Wired.com

Oni splits with vendor over ties to anti-marriage equality group

oni logoOni Press has ended its business relationship with packaging supply company Uline over its CEO’s financial support of an Illinois group that went to “unseemly lengths” last year to try to block passage of that state’s marriage-equality bill.

In a letter signed by a dozen employees and posted Tuesday on its blog, the Portland, Oregon-based publisher explained that, “While our professional relationship with Uline has been a prosperous one, the fact that Family-PAC is funded in part by Uline’s CEO [Richard] Uihlein, is information we simply cannot abide or ignore.”

The Chicago-based Family-PAC, which describes itself as “the leading pro-family, anti-tax political action committee in Illinois,” was behind robocalls that targeted state Rep. Mike Smiddy for accepting $6,500 in donations from “Chicago homosexuals” and decried the alleged negative effects same-sex marriages have on children.

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Where are the archives of the Comics Code Authority?

Approved_by_the_Comics_Code_AuthorityIt’s safe to say few were sorry to see the Comics Code Authority quietly fade away in 2011, having become literally no more than a stamp on the covers of a handful of titles, but it was nonetheless an important part of history.

Sean Howe, author of Marvel Comics: The Untold Story, realized this three years ago and sent a letter to Heidi MacDonald, asking who had the files of the Comics Magazine Association of America, the trade association that administered the Code. While Howe thought the records had vanished, Mark Seifert was told they were donated to DC Comics.

This week, Howe reiterated his appeal on his blog:

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Reminder: Annual Comic-Con hotel rush kicks off this morning

The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889

The Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889

If you purchased badges for Comic-Con International but haven’t received an email directing you to the Travel Planners hotel reservation website, it’s time to begin frantically searching your spam folder. That’s because, as we noted Friday, the annual free-for-all for discounted rooms begins this morning at 9 PT. That’s, oh, two hours from now …

If you didn’t receive, or can’t find, that email with the website link, the URL should appear on the Comic-Con International hotel page after 9 a.m. At that time you can also call 1-877-552-6642 or 212-532-1660 for assistance.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ Vol. 13 gets 2.75M-copy print run

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13

Attack on Titan, Vol. 13

Manga | Attack on Titan is as much of a manga juggernaut in its native Japan as it is the United States, and the 13th volume had a print run of 2.75 million copies, a new record not only for the series but for publisher Kodansha. [Crunchyroll]

Comics | Tom Risen has a thoughtful piece, which includes an interview with Axel Alonso, on how superhero comics have changed since the War on Terror began: “Superheroes since the 2000s have increasingly held up a mirror to controversies like mass surveillance, remote killings using drones and the ‘with us or against us’ mentality espoused by former President George W. Bush. Misuse of military technology also played a key role in recent movie adaptations featuring Batman, Spider-Man, Captain America and Iron Man, showing how fighting dirty to defeat evil can make America its own worst enemy.” [U.S. News & World Report]

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The mad dash for Comic-Con hotel rooms is Tuesday

san diego

Now that you’ve recovered from the 90-minute marathon for badges, it’s time prepare for the next hurdle on the route to Comic-Con International in San Diego: the annual melee for discounted hotel rooms. As the little bird at the convention’s Toucan blog tells us, reservations open Tuesday at 9 a.m. PT.

More than 70 hotels, from Downtown San Diego to the airport to Mission Valley, are part of the convention block, offering room rates ranging from $152 to to $375 per night — up slightly from last year — the July 24-27 event.

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Comics A.M. | Cartoonist Signe Wilkinson named in defamation suit

From the Wilkinson cartoon in question

From the Wilkinson cartoon in question

Legal | Signe Wilkinson, Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and Philadelphia Daily News, has been named in a defamation lawsuit filed against the newspapers by Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice Seamus McCaffery and his wife Lise Rapaport. The judge and his wife accuse the two papers of running a smear campaign against them, and the suit specifically mentions a Wilkinson cartoon satirizing their marital and work relationship (it’s complicated). Blogger Alan Gardner adds that he hasn’t been able to find a case in which a cartoonist was successfully sued for defamation, although in this case the newspapers’ reporting is part of the issue as well. [Philadelphia, The Daily Cartoonist]

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Comics A.M. | Image, manga dominate March bookstore sales

The Walking Dead, Vol. 20

The Walking Dead, Vol. 20

Graphic novels | BookScan’s list of the bestselling graphic novels in bookstores in March divides neatly into eight Image Comics titles (six volumes of The Walking Dead and two of Saga), eight volumes of manga (four Attack on Titan, four Viz Media titles) and four volumes of media tie-ins. For the second month in a row, not a single DC Comics or Marvel title cracked the Top 20, although an older DK Publishing character guide to the Avengers (not actually a graphic novel) came in at No. 11. The top-selling title was the 20th volume of The Walking Dead, and the No. 2 was the third volume of Saga. It’s also interesting to note that the first three volumes of Attack on Titan charted higher than the most recent release, which suggests new readers are still coming into the franchise in substantial numbers — and sticking with it. [ICv2]

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Quote of the Day | Kelly Sue DeConnick on diversity

captain marvel1

“The message that we send when we don’t represent the broader culture in our stories is that ‘You are other.’ … As a community, as an organism, it is a thing that makes us ill. It is actually bad for us.”

Kelly Sue DeConnick, writer of Captain Marvel and Pretty Deadly, speaking about the need to diversity the kinds of characters that appear in comics, at the “Broadening Comics Readership” panel at Emerald City Comicon

Cully Hamner spearheads campaign to help Joe Phillips

header

Joe Phillips has been drawing comics for 25 years, telling stories of superheroes in the pages of Mister Miracle, Timber Wolf and Wonder Woman. Now he could use some heroes in his corner.

Last fall, complications from diabetes forced the artist to have his foot amputated. He’s received generous charitable assistance during that time from The Hero Initiative and IDW Publishing, for whom he recently drew Star Trek, but at the end of the day it’s not enough. But Phillips has incurred sizeable medical bills, and understandably has trouble getting up and about for work each day. So fellow artist Cully Hamner has stepped in to kickstart a $5,000 fundraising drive to pay for a prosthetic foot for Phillips.

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