SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
Conventions | The annual scramble for discounted Comic-Con International rooms in 54 participating hotels kicks off Tuesday at 9 a.m. PT. Comic-Con badger holders should’ve already received an email containing a link to the Travel Planners hotel reservation website. [Toucan]
Passings | Michael Cavna remembers cartoonist Jim Berry, who died Friday at age 83: “Berry’s World, the syndicated single-panel feature that he drew for 40 years, beginning in 1963, was a remarkably steady stream of thoughtful observational humor that — like the unfussy art itself — rarely seemed to strain for the laugh. Each gag, as steady as a top golfer’s approach shots, just ‘landed.’ Precision meets concision.” [Comic Riffs]
Crime | The Wow Cool Alternative Comics store in Cupertino, California, has been burglarized for the second time in two months, and it looks as if it was the same crew both times. The thieves took cash and pretty much every minicomic and digest in the store, as well as a box of Marvel and DC comics. [Wow Cool Comics]
Political cartoons | Malaysian cartoonist Zunar, who’s facing sedition charges in his home country, has been invited to speak at a United Nations forum next month in Geneva, Switzerland, titled “Defending Artistic Expression — Time for the UN to Act.” “In my speech, I will reaffirm my stand that freedom of expression for artistes including cartoonists is paramount and cannot be compromised,” he said, and he will also criticize the UN’s lack of commitment to the issue, which has “given more power to corrupt regimes and extremist bigots to be more repressive toward artists.” [The Rakyat Post]
The president of last year’s festival, and the winner of the previous year’s Grand Prix d’Angoulême, was Willem, a staff cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo. He didn’t like to attend staff meetings, so he wasn’t in the office on Jan. 7 when two gunmen killed 12 people, including another Grand Prix winner, Wolinski.
“The 2015 festival will be a time to remember but we also want to demonstrate that life goes on,” said festival director Franck Bondoux. The commemorations include a special exhibit on Charlie Hebdo, a virtual album with contributions by artists from around the world, and a new award, the Charlie Prize, which will be awarded posthumously to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists this year, and in future years will recognize creators who have fought for freedom of expression. The town of Angoulême will also festooned with posters of Charlie Hebdo covers.
Legal | A 16-year-old in Nantes, France, was arrested last week for posting a cartoon on Facebook that mocks the Charlie Hebdo killings; the charge is “advocating terrorism.” The cartoon shows someone holding a copy of Charlie Hebdo and being struck by bullets. Electronic Intifada posts what is most likely the offending cartoon (it had been shared widely on social media), a takeoff on one of the more notorious Charlie Hebdo covers, accompanied by the text, “Charlie Hebdo is shit. It doesn’t stop bullets.” The original cover featured a cartoon of an Egyptian protestor holding the Koran, with text that read, “The Quran is shit, it doesn’t stop bullets.” [France 3]
Publishing | Sales were down in 2014 for Diamond Book Distributors, even though the industry overall had an up year. The reason: DBD lost a key client, Dark Horse, to Random House. Nonetheless, Vice President Kuo-Yu Liang sees good things in store for 2015, including strong sales of indie graphic novels, expanding international sales, and the much-anticipated March: Book Two, which was released this week. [Publishers Weekly]
Editorial cartoons | The leaders of Pakistan, Turkey and the Taliban on Thursday condemned the new Charlie Hebdo cover depicting the Prophet Muhammad. “If someone is printing a cartoon insulting the prophet, there is a provocation,” Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told reporters. The lower house of the Pakistan parliament unanimously approved a resolution condemning the cartoons, and the Tailban emailed a statement saying, “We strongly condemn this repugnant and inhumane action,” which is “opening the door to provoking the sensitivities of nearly one and a half billion Muslims.” Also, several people were injured when police broke up an anti-Charlie Hebdo protest outside the French Consulate in Karachi. [Bloomberg]
Crime | Sigolène Vinson, a writer for Charlie Hebdo, gives her account of the Jan. 7 shootings that killed 12 at the French satire magazine’s headquarters. Vinson was in the kitchen and heard brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi shoot her coworkers; she hid in a colleague’s office but came face to face with Saïd Kouachi, who told her “Don’t be afraid, calm down. I won’t kill you. You’re a woman, we don’t kill women. But think about what you do, what you do is bad. I’m sparing you and because I’ve spared you, you will read the Qur’an.” (However, Chérif killed writer Elsa Cayat, the only female victim of the attack.) [The Guardian]
Awards | This year’s grand prix de la ville d’Angoulême, the lifetime achievement award given every year at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, won’t be given to the staff of Charlie Hebdo, despite a petition started by jury president Gwen de Bonneval that garnered 1,200 signatures plus significant support on Twitter and Facebook. Two Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, Wolinski, who was killed in the Jan. 7 attack, and Willem, who wasn’t in the office that day, have been awarded the grand prix in previous years. The festival has announced a special Charlie Hebdo award that will go to a cartoonist whose work embodies resistance to oppression and censorship, and organizers will also publish a special album of cartoons drawn in response to the attacks. [France Inter]
Below are some links to news, commentary and reactions to the Charlie Hebdo shootings, but to start off, here’s a fascinating look at the staff at work, planning their first Prophet Muhammad cartoon issue. This five-minute video not only shows the slain cartoonists at work, it provides valuable context for everything that follows. [The New York Times]
Demonstrations | The crowd at Sunday’s rally in honor of the slain Charlie Hebdo cartoonists was estimated at 1.6 million, and leaders of more than 40 nations were there as well. [The New York Times]
Members of the Groupe d’Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale (GIGN), a special forces unit of the French army, stormed two locations simultaneously today, killing Chérif and Saïd Kouachi, the two brothers believed to be responsible for the attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo, as well as a man who had taken a number of hostages in a supermarket and demanded that the Kouachi brothers be freed.
The twin actions brought an end to two days of tension in Paris and throughout France that began Wednesday when the Kouachis forced their way into the Paris office of the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo and killed 12 people, including five cartoonists. The attack was apparently in retaliation for cartoons the magazine had published that mocked the Prophet Muhammad. The two gunmen fled in a series of hijacked cars, and this morning they engaged into a shootout with police on the N2 motorway at Dammartin-en-Goële, near the Charles de Gaulle airport. The brothers fled to a nearby print shop, where they took one person hostage.
Crime | Police have surrounded an industrial park in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele, France, 25 miles north of Paris, where the two suspects in Wednesday’s massacre at the offices of satire magazine Charlie Hebdo are believed to be hiding. Police say brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi have taken over a print shop and are holding a hostage, and have reportedly told negotiators they wish to die as martyrs. The Associated Press reports that a second, apparently linked siege at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris is believed to involve Amedy Coulibaly, suspected of killing a police officer on Thursday. Police say he’s holding at least six hostages. [The Guardian]
Publishing | The French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo will be published next week, to demonstrate that “stupidity will not win,” according to columnist Patrick Pelloux. Ten of the magazine’s staff members were among those killed Wednesday when three armed men attacked their Paris headquarters, apparently because Charlie Hebdo published cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad. [The Guardian]
Political cartoons | Adam Taylor looks at the history of controversies regarding depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. [The Washington Post]
Political cartoons | Cartoonist and syndicator Daryl Cagle pens a remembrance four of the slain Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, some of whom he knew personally, and also talks about the importance of editorial cartooning in France. [Darylcagle.com]
A fifth cartoonist has been named among the victims of the shootings Wednesday at the Paris offices of satire magazine Charlie Hebdo: Philippe Honoré, whose cartoon of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi was in the magazine’s last tweet before the attack. Honoré was critically injured in the shootings and died in the emergency room.
Cartoonists Stéphane Charbonnier (aka Charb), Jean Cabut (Cabu), George Wolinski and Bernard Velhac (Tignous) were also killed in the attacks, which left 10 magazine staff members and two police officers dead.
Born in 1941 in Vichy, Honoré was a self-taught artist whose first cartoon was published in the daily newspaper Sud-Ouest when he was just 16 years old. He started working at Charlie Hebdo in 1992 and published two or three cartoons a week there. His work also appeared in Le Monde, Libération, Les Inrockuptibles and Charlie Hebdo‘s predecessor, Hara-Kiri.
“It may be a bit pompous for me to say this, but I prefer dying on my feet to living on my knees.”
— Stephane Charbonnier, aka Charb, the editor of Charlie Hebdo, who was among those killed in today’s attacks.
The assassination — for that’s what it is — of four cartoonists, six other Charlie Hebdo staff members and two policemen unleashed a torrent of grief and solidarity around the world today as news spread of the attack by masked gunmen on the Paris offices of the satirical weekly.
That the gunmen reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) and “The Prophet has been avenged” points to the likelihood that the shootings were in retaliation for the several issues of the magazine that carried cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad. (It should be noted from the start that Charlie Hebdo is an equal-opportunity offender; recent cartoons have also lampooned North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and the birth of Christ.) Time has a short history of the magazine’s provocations, and Mic.com has posted a selection of the Muhammad cartoons.
Masked gunmen attacked the Paris headquarters of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo this morning, killing at least 12 people — 10 employees and two police officers — and wounding eight others. The three attackers remain at large after fleeing the scene and hijacking a car.
Paris has been placed on highest alert following what Francoise Hollande described as “a terrorist attack.”
While the specific motive for the shooting is unclear, Charlie Hebdo has a history of satirizing Islam, and Charbonnier was included on a “most wanted” list published in the Al-Qaeda magazine Inspire. The last tweet sent out on the Charlie Hebdo account before the shooting was an image of ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, and this week’s magazine included an article about Michel Houellebecq’s new novel Submission, which depicts a future France under Islamic rule. The Guardian notes that there had been an uptick in threats against the magazine in recent weeks, and security at the Charlie Hebdo offices had been increased.
The magazine’s offices were firebombed in 2011 when it published an issue “guest-edited” by the Prophet Muhammad. The following week, the magazine responded with a cover image of Muhammad kissing a male Hebdo journalist. In 2012 Charlie Hebdo published cartoons of a naked Muhammad, and in 2013 released a serious cartoon biography of the prophet. News reports at the time noted that Charbonnier had received death threats and was living under police protection.
Auctions | An original 1939 drawing of Tintin created by Herge for the cover of the weekly magazine Le Petit Vingtième sold Sunday for $673,468 at an auction of French and Belgian comics art held simultaneously in Paris and Brussels. The auction featured 101 works, of which 86 were purchased for a total of $2.4 million. [Agence France-Presse]
Auctions | A copy of The Hulk #181, featuring the first appearance of Wolverine, fetched $8,000 at an auction held Saturday at Back to the Past comics store in Redford, Michigan. [My Fox Detroit]
Retailing | System of a Down drummer John Dolmayan, who shuttered his online store Torpedo Comics in 2010 after about three years in business, is looking to open a brick-and-mortar shop. A brief story notes that while Las Vegas store Comic Oasis, owner Derrick Taylor is partnering with Dolmayan to open Torpedo Comics in January at 8775 Lindell Road, Building H, Suite 150. [Vegas Inc.]
Jiro Taniguchi, creator of The Walking Man, A Distant Neighborhood and more than 40 other manga, will be a special guest in January at the 42nd Angoulême International Comics Festival, which will include a major exhibit of his work — the first of its scale in Europe.
Titled “Taniguchi, l’homme qui rêve” (“Taniguchi, the dreaming man”), the exhibition will cover four decades of Taniguchi’s work, which includes the memoir A Zoo in Winter, the conquest-of-Everest tale Summit of the Gods, the time-travel story A Distant Neighborhood, and the mystery The Quest for the Missing Girl.
Not only does Taniguchi’s work span most of the major graphic novel genres, the official press release points out, but he has crossed over to become an author with universal appeal. Indeed, Laurent Duvault, director of international media development for the publishing group Media Participations, told me at this year’s festival that “Taniguchi was the first Japanese artist to have his own area, not in the manga section but in the French section [of bookstores]. It was a graphic novel approach, not a manga approach.” He attributed this in part to the fact that Taniguchi’s work is flipped, so it reads left to right, making it more accessible to readers of European languages. Taniguchi is no stranger to Angoulême: A Distant Neighborhood was awarded the Alph’Art prize for best scenario at the 2003 festival, and he was one of the nominees for the Grand Prix this year.
Taniguchi, who has four new books coming out this year in France, will be present at Angoulême to open the exhibit and participate in the program; after the festival is over, the show will go on tour around France and the rest of Europe.