Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson said on his blog yesterday that the cover for Pigs #6 and an image from Glory #23 include swastikas and thus will not be featured as originally drawn in Diamond’s December Previews. The catalog is distributed in Germany, where the law prohibits the “use of symbols of unconstitutional organisations,” which includes the swastika if used in conjunction with Nazi idealism.
“This is nothing new,” Stephenson wrote. “Swastika-laden images have been prohibited from appearing in publications sold in Germany for decades at this point. I’m not sure I understand what the point is, though. World War II did happen, and Nazis did exist. I understand not wanting to encourage modern day Neo-Nazi groups, but censorship isn’t a particularly effective weapon against hate groups of any kind. Plus outlawing specific Nazi iconography seems strangely revisionist, as though it’s best to just not acknowledge the impact that symbol had, or the evil associated with it.”
The law Stephenson refers to is a remnant of the “Denazification” efforts in Germany by the Allies after World War II. Among other initiatives, the Allies sought to remove all symbols of Nazism, such as the swastika, from German culture. In a post written in 2009, when a swastika appeared on a cover for The Boys, German writer Marc-Oliver Frisch noted that the law has an exceptions clause, that it “shall not be applicable if the means of propaganda or the act serves to further civil enlightenment, to avert unconstitutional aims, to promote art or science, research or teaching, reporting about current historical events or similar purposes.” While The Boys issue with the swastika was not distributed in Germany, the German version of Maus, however, uses the original cover art that includes the swastika — but convention posters that used the Maus artwork have also been known to be confiscated by German authorities.
“Now you could argue that the paragraph clearly says that one of the exceptions is a work of art, which comics clearly are,” German blogger Subzero wrote in a post earlier this year. ” Well, not here in Germany and I guess it’s going to take a few decades till somebody here is willing to go to court on that point. In Germany comics don’t have that position.”
The Glory image that will appear in the catalog will not include the symbol, while the Pigs cover will be blurred out, as seen in the above image. You can find the Glory image by artist Ross Campbell, and a larger version of the uncensored Christian Ward-drawn Pigs cover, after the jump.
Creators | With the announcement that Rob Liefeld’s Extreme Studios is back in business, former Extreme Studios employee and current Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson reflects on his time with the studio. “From 1992-1998, Extreme Studios was more or less my life. Youngblood, Supreme, Brigade, Bloodstrike, Team Youngblood, New Men, Prophet, Youngblood: Strikefile, Bloodpool, Glory… We put out a lot of comics, and for the most part everyone involved was incredibly young. Rob and I were amongst the oldest at 25. So many of the artists involved in various aspects of production were just out of their teens, and that made the work as frustrating as it was fun. But looking back, the main thing I remember about that time is Rob wanted to share his success with people who loved comics and wanted to make a living in the business as much as he had.” [It Sparkles!]
Webcomics | A Distant Soil creator Colleen Doran, who began serializing the comic online in 2009, notes “my bottom line is up significantly, and my online audience is ten times higher than when I started the five day a week online serialization of A Distant Soil 2.5 years ago.” She also shares advice she received when she started the endeavor that hasn’t worked for her. [A Distant Soil]
iFanboys Ron Richards caught an interesting little aside on Image Comics publisher Eric Stephenson’s blog. Today at 4 p.m. Eastern, Stephenson will join Robert Kirkman, Rob Liefeld and Tim Seeley for the panel “Creator-Owned Comics with Robert Kirkman.”
“We won’t be joined by Ed Brubaker. Or will we?” Stephenson writes.
Is this a tease that Brubaker may be doing something for Image Comics? That might be jumping to conclusions, especially since Brubaker seems to be pretty busy at Marvel with Captain America and his various Icon series. But you may remember that Kirkman and Stephenson held a similar panel in San Diego this past summer, where Brian K. Vaughn and Fiona Staples’ upcoming project Saga was announced.
“The BKV announcement was THE news of the show, so, it’s safe to say there’s some level of expectation for a similarly sized announcement,” Richards said on iFanboy. And a new Brubaker-at-Image project would certainly fit that bill.
I guess we’ll find out at 4 p.m. if a) they actually are joined by Brubaker at the show and b) if he’ll be there to announce something. Maybe he’s just interested in talking about creator-owned comics …
Update: Brubaker was only at the panel in video form, but they did announce Fatale, an Image series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.
Copyright | After running a feature about “New York Multimedia Pop Artist” Chad Love-Lieberman, nephew of Sen. Joseph Lieberman, the website Campus Socialite retracted its story upon finding out that Love-Lieberman “is a fraud, taking other people’s art from the web, touting it as his own, and worst of all – selling it for profit.”
Ursula Vernon, creator of the webcomic Digger, noted that one of the pieces in the article was actually hers. “Mad props to the staff at the Campus Socialite, who got back to me in under ten minutes and promised to pull everything and edit the article — they were just as outraged as you’d expect them to me. I’ve actually granted them permission to use the art with appropriate credit if it’ll help illustrate the issue (pun intended),” she posted on her LiveJournal. The domain for Love-Lieberman’s site, art4love.com, isn’t working, but the site is still up. Artist Deirdre Reynolds has a list going on DeviantArt of all the pieces on art4love that artists have identified as their own. Gary Tyrell, meanwhile, has reached out to both Love-Lieberman and his uncle for comment. [Campus Socialite]
Digital | Comics Buyer’s Guide has gone digital; issues of the long-running industry publication are now available on iVerse’s Comics+ application. Johanna Draper Carlson notes that only two CBG-related publications are currently available — the July 2011 issue and 1000 Comic Books You Must Read by Tony Isabella. [press release, Comics Worth Reading]
Writer Brian K. Vaughan has been added to an Image Comics panel at Comic-Con International in San Diego, igniting speculation that the acclaimed co-creator of Y: The Last Man and Ex Machina will announce a new title.
The news came Monday from Image Publisher Eric Stephenson, who revealed on his personal blog that Vaughan will be among the special guests on the “Creator-Owned Comics With Robert Kirkman” panel, scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday. “You’ll want to go to this panel,” Stephenson wrote. “Why? Well, we’ve roped Brian K. Vaughan into attending, along with some other great guests, so … yeah. Be there.”
It’s been nearly a year since the conclusion of Ex Machina at WildStorm, and more than three years since Y: The Last Man wrapped up its 60-issue run at Vertigo. Since then, there have been few clues as to what the Eisner Award-winning writer had planned next — a return to creator-owned comics or a continued focus on film and television projects. But this news certainly suggests we’ll be seeing a new book from Vaughan in the near future. As Ryan K. Lindsay writes, “Why else would BKV be there except to announce something new?”
Read the panel description after the break, and follow Robot 6 and Comic Book Resources for any developments on Saturday.
Legal | Composer Jack Urbont is suing rapper Ghostface Killah of the Wu-Tang Clan and Sony Music Entertainment for illegally sampling the theme to the Iron Man animated series from the 1960s. The theme was used on two tracks from the 2000 album Supreme Clientele. Killah, who sometimes goes by the alias Tony Starks, had a song in the 2008 film and appeared in a deleted scene on the DVD. [Rolling Stone]
Digital | In Maps & Legends co-creator Michael Jasper shares a breakdown by percentage of where their sales are coming from, noting almost half of their sales are through Barnes & Noble’s Nookbook Store. [Michael Jasper, via The Beat]
Digital | The Globe and Mail looks at how electronic publishing is changing the way authors tell stories: “The Next Day is a graphic novel about people who have attempted suicide. Once it is posted online in September, you’ll be able to click your way through it according to your own preferences about how it should unfold.” [The Globe and Mail]
Many who have been following this blog know I’m a fan of both Image’s Skullkickers and Oni’s The Sixth Gun. So when I saw that the two creator-owned books were having a mini-crossover of sorts — or, to be more specific, an ad swap — I thought it might be fun to see if Skullkickers writer Jim “Zub” Zubkavich and The Sixth Gun‘ writer Cullen Bunn might be up for interviewing each other.
So the duo hit Skype and had a long conversation that covered many different topics — how they pitched their books, their writing process, how they work with their artists, finding time to write and much more. My thanks to both Cullen and Jim for doing this, with an extra tip of the hat to Jim for transcribing it. Be sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of the interview.
Zub: So, let’s start right off with the big news. Did I hear correctly that you’re now writing full time? You quit your day job?
Cullen: I did. This is my third week as a full-time writer.
Zub: Awesome. What were you doing before that?
In January, Image Comics announced that it had reached an agreement with the largest studio under its umbrella, Top Cow, to assume the duties of marketing, production and sales. In this consolidation the central Image office took over the responsibilities of production, marketing and sales; editor Phil Smith, Sales/Marketing Director Atom! Freeman, and Publicity Manager Christine Dinh were all let go.
At the same time, the central Image office –- called aptly enough “Image Central” –- announced a change in its own marketing department, with 10-month hire Betsy Gomez heading out and Image Administrative Assistant Sarah deLaine taking the role of public relations and marketing coordinator. Although the initial reaction to this story has been minimal, further talk around the virtual water cooler among journalists, professionals and industry watchers see two things revealed in this – the downsizing of Top Cow’s office in order to maximize profits, but secondarily – and maybe more importantly – is the state of publicity and marketing for the third-largest comics publisher in America. As a journalist covering comics for Robot 6 and other outlets, I’m without a doubt more acutely aware of any changes in the publicity desk; they’re the point-of-contact for journalists big and small, from Comic Book Resources to USA Today. But I’m also aware from my own background working as a publicist and marketing professional outside the comics industry.
Creators | Michael Cavna talks with cartoonist Art Spiegelman about being only the third American to receive the Grand Prix from the Angoulême International Comics Festival. As recipient of the honor, the 62-year-old artist will help plan next year’s festival. “I don’t know whether you should say ‘congratulations’ or ‘condolences,’ ” he says. [The Washington Post]
Legal | A Michigan judge on Monday ordered the DNA of former retailer Michael George to be compared with a hair found on the body of his wife when she was shot to death in 1990 in their comic book store. George, 50, was found guilty in March 2008 of first-degree murder, but that conviction was set aside because of prosecutorial misconduct and the possibility of new evidence. [The Detroit News]