SDCC: "Batman: The Killing Joke" Cast & Crew Debuts Film at Comic-Con International
Retailing | The Sacramento, California, comic shop Big Brother Comics was severely damaged last weekend by a fire. Owner Kenny Russell, whose apartment adjoins the store, heard a loud noise on Sunday morning and opened his back door to see his store in flames. “It was all on fire, like movie-style fire,” he said. Although firefighters responded quickly, and his apartment was protected by fire doors, his store is “toast” and much of his merchandise suffered smoke damage. A GoFundMe campaign to help Russell rebuild has already brought in more than $12,000. [KCRA]
Conventions | Cox Communications and Comic-Con International will provide free WiFi to the entire downtown area of San Diego from July 8 to July 24, a period that encompasses the 2016 MLB All-Star Game as well as Comic-Con International. However, the WiFi will only be available outside the convention center during Comic-Con. Cox will install 100 hotspots around town, and for the period of Comic-Con will make them available for free to all users. After July 24, the hotspots will be available to Cox customers, and non-subscribers will be allowed one free hour per month. [San Diego Union-Tribune]
Manga | As part of its Cool Japan initiative, the Japanese government plans to build the “Manga National Center” — a museum dedicated to manga, anime and video games — in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Expected to cost about $90 million, the project will be funded through a mixture of public and private-sector money. [Chicago Tribune]
Passings | Augie Scotto, an artist whose work appeared in Will Eisner’s PS magazine, passed away March 15 at age 88. He began his career in 1949, drawing largely crime and Western stories for such early publishers as Eastern Color, Atlas and Charlton. Scotto seems to have left comics for a while around 1953, but returned in 1968 as the penciler for Tower Comics’ Dynamo and as an inker for DC Comics until around 1978. [Timely-Atlas-Comics]
Collecting | For the better part of three decades, 78-year-old Ray Brown has been “rescuing” comic books and giving them a good home — namely, his. The South Dakota man estimates his collection includes some 75,000 comics, the bulk of which he purchased from five Rapid City-area stores that went out of business. “They take up a lot of room,” he says. “They don’t eat anything, though.” Brown doesn’t read them, however; instead he simply takes pleasure in saving them from the trash bin. He does sell a few on the Internet from time to time, but he’s in no hurry to get rid them. [Black Hills Fox]
Legal | The trial began Monday in San Diego for Matthew Pocci, the driver who plowed through a crowd of pedestrians, injuring one, last year at the annual ZombieWalk, held during Comic-Con International. He;s charged with felony reckless driving. Pocci, who’s deaf, said he was frightened by the crowd, but prosecutors say he was angry and impatient. New video shows the car moving through the crowd and running over one woman. [NBC San Diego]
Political cartoons | J.J. Sedelmaier shows off some political cartoons by Winsor McCay on the topic of Prohibition, taken from a compilation, Temperance—or Prohibition?, that Sedelmaier picked up in a used bookstore. [Paste]
Political cartoons | On the 10th anniversary of the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, experts and journalists reflect on the controversy that followed. While the publication of the cartoons and their aftermath have “made some journalists more thoughtful about the way they cover minority groups,” journalism professor Angela Phillips says, “In other instances I think it made quite a lot of journalists if anything less sensitive to these issues. There is in some countries an even faster recourse to a rather essentialist notion of freedom of expression.” [Agence France-Presse]
Creators | Masashi Kishimoto says he’s done with Naruto and his friends, now that the manga has ended its 15-year run, and he’s also not eager to return to the grind of a weekly series. However, that doesn’t mean he’s putting away his pen and ink. On the contrary, he has already created character designs for a new sci-fi series, and he’s interested in working with the digital magazine Shonen Jump Plus, which would be more flexible with regard to the story’s length and schedule. “Since Naruto was a bigger hit than I could ever imagine,” he said, “I’d like to aim for the next hit. I don’t know when I can announce the next manga, but because I plan on challenging myself to surpass Naruto, please wait for it.” [Kotaku]
The Kramers Ergot anthology, edited by Sammy Harkham, has had an irregular publication history, with long spaces between volumes and a different publisher every few years. The oversized Kramers Ergot 7, which stood almost two feet tall, was released in 2008 by Buenaventura Press, and Kramers Ergot 8 came out in 2012 from the now-defunct art publisher PictureBox.
So it’s big news that a new volume is on the way, this time from Fantagraphics.
Ed Piskor’s bestselling book series Hip Hop Family Tree will released beginning in August as a monthly comic, a first for Fantagraphics Books. Each issue will feature a new cover and splash page, “director’s commentary” from Piskor and other extras.
Debuting in 2013, the Eisner-nominated series chronicles the history of hip hop, tracing the genre back to its origins in the South Bronx. The 32-page first issue shines a spotlight on those break-dancers, graffiti artists, DJs and MCs who formed hip-hop culture in the early 1970s.
If you thought teaser images and announcements of announcements were strictly the domain of superhero publishers, think again.
Fantagraphics Books raised the subject of Daniel Clowes’ next graphic novel with a teaser image posted on its Twitter page:
Passings | MAD Magazine writer Tom Koch passed away March 22 at age 89. He was a writer for the Bob and Ray radio comedy show in 1957, when MAD was trying to broaden its reach by featuring work by popular comedians. Koch adapted some routines he had written, and editor Al Feldstein realized his work was a good fit and asked him to to become a contribute. He wrote for the magazine for nearly four decades, contributing more than 300 pages, but he said he was proudest of a 1965 work, “43-man Squamish.” It’s still the magazine’s most requested reprint. [News from ME, MAD Magazine]
At first glance, you might expect Lucy Knisley‘s latest travelogue Displacement to be filled with the same humor and insight as her previous books Relish: My Life in the Kitchen and An Age of License. After all, it recounts the 2012 cruise with her memory-impaired 91-year-old grandmother and physically challenged 93-year-old grandfather. Yet the quality that’s made Knisley a great storyteller — her ability to recall nuanced encounters with a blend of wit and compassion — allows her to craft a compelling and complicated account of this time spent with her grandparents.
Auctions | A page of original artwork from 1971’s Asterix and the Laurel Wreath sold at auction Sunday for more than $158,000, with proceeds going to benefit the families of those killed in the attack on Charlie Hebdo‘s offices. The art included a special dedication by Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo, who came out of retirement in the days after the attack to draw tributes to the victims. The auction house Christie’s waived its commission for Sunday’s sale. [BBC News]
Political cartoons | Ecuadorean cartoonist Xavier Bonilla, who has been sued, threatened and reprimanded by his own government because of his political cartoons, revealed last week that he has also received threats from an Ecuadorean member of ISIS over a cartoon making fun of the extremist group. While he ultimately decided the threat wasn’t credible, Bonilla said, “It has to be understood within this climate of hostility and harassment that’s been created within the country. It’s gotten to the point where even humor is being persecuted and oppressed by the president.” Reporter Jim Wyss also looks at some other cases of government suppression of political cartoons in Latin America [Miami Herald]
As anyone who’s ever worked at a newspaper can attest, readers don’t react well to changes to the comics section, which is a major reason why so many strips trudge on, zombie-like, long after the spark of life left them. So when financial or space constraints force editors to eliminate some old favorites, they expect complaints — although not necessarily a profanity-laced tirade from an 8-year-old.
The Society of Illustrators has announced the winners of the 2015 Comic and Cartoon Art Annual competition. Olivier Schrauwen took the gold medal in the Long-Form category for Arsène Schrauwen, and Bianca Gagnarelli received top honors in the Short Form category for Fish. Lauren Weinstein won the gold medal in digital media for Carriers, her five-part webcomic about learning she and her husband both had the gene for cystic fibrosis, and therefore her unborn child might have the disease.
The winning entries will be put on display in two exhibits at the Society of Illustrators gallery in New York: The Short Form, Digital Media, and Special Format exhibit will run from June 16-July 18, and the Long Form, Single Image, and Comic Strip show will run from July 21-August 15. Many of the entries will also be on display at the MoCCA Arts Fest in April.
Here’s the complete list of winners: