Friends of Lulu
Sue at DC Women Kicking Ass came up with an interesting idea in light of the demise of Friends of Lulu and its annual Lulu Awards for female comics creators. She points out the variety of categories the Lulus celebrated as well as the Hall of Fame, but specifically misses the Kim Yale New Talent Award, named in honor of the late writer whose many accomplishments include, with husband John Ostrander, developing Barbara Gordon into Oracle.
“I hate to see an award that honors and remembers a vital creator like Kim Yale no longer exist,” Sue wrote. “While one can debate whether there is still the need for an organization like Friends of Lulu, recognizing and encouraging new female creators — especially in light of the discourse that’s gone on in this market this past year — is, I believe, still very important.”
Comics | Frank Miller says he has finished his upcoming graphic novel, Holy Terror, which is due from Legendary Comics in September. The book, which once was set to feature Batman fighting terrorism, now stars a character called The Fixer: “I took Batman as far as anyone, and this guy is just not him. He’s been playing the crime fighter to stay in shape. What he really wants to do is fight terrorism. He knew the day would come. The story is essentially New York under attack by suicide bombers and our hero is out to find out their greater scheme. He’s much more a man of action than a detective. He’s a two-fisted Dirty Harry type, really.”[Hero Complex]
Comics | Calling it a “sick magazine comic strip depicting shootings in schools,” The Daily Mail reports on “Beat My Score,” written by UK comedian Jimmy Carr with art by Ryusuke Hamamoto. The reporter says the comic, which appears in the latest issue of Mark Millar’s CLiNT magazine, “will horrify the families of school shooting tragedies such as Dunblane and Columbine with his ultra-violent story.” CLiNT responded by saying the strip is “a nihilistic satirical sideswipe at the glamourisation of violence, tackling the difficult and disturbing effects as seen in school shootings around the world.” The comments are fun. [Daily Mail]
This year has been a difficult one for Friends of Lulu, but with their 2010 Lulu awards, a new website, and some plans for the future, they seem to be winding it up on a hopeful note.
- Leah Adezio Award for Best Kid-Friendly Work: Diana Nock, The Intrepid Girlbot
- Best Female Character: Ramona Flowers, Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley
- Kim Yale Award for Most Talented Newcomer: Kathryn Immonen: “The Runaways”
- Lulu of the Year: Kate Beaton
- Woman of Distinction Award: Lauren Sankovitch: editor, Marvel Comics
- Female Cartoonists Hall of Fame: Alison Bechdel
Acting board member Kynn Bartlett also responded to Johanna Draper Carlson’s questions about the group’s IRS status and its plans for the future, saying that the interim board will be working on getting the house in order but keeping the organization’s options open for the elected board, and asking people not to make donations until the group straightens out its status with the IRS.
Friends of Lulu, the all-volunteer organization founded to “promote and encourage female readership and participation in the comic book industry,” has certainly had its troubles this year, but it looked like president Valerie D’Orazio had things back on track with an interim Board of Directors and the opening of voting for the Friends of Lulu awards. (Full disclosure: I was a judge for last year’s FoL awards and was asked to cast a tie-breaker vote for this year’s nominees, although I did not do so.)
The nominations raised some eyebrows, however, because male creator Von Allan was nominated for the Kim Yale Newcomer Award. D’Orazio defended the nomination, stating that there is nothing in the rules that disqualifies men, although at The Beat, Heidi MacDonald unearthed some evidence to the contrary. It gets weirder, actually, if you look at the full list: Marla Levesque, a character in Allan’s The Road to God Knows, was nominated for Best Female Character, the book was nominated for Lulu of the Year, and his
assistant was nominated for the Woman of Distinction category. To sum up: Von Allan or a direct connection was nominated for four of the seven Lulu awards. and his assistant was nominated in a category that also includes Peggy Burns and Francoise Mouly. Edit: Boswell is actually the editor of the book, so I’m withdrawing my objection to that.
Publishing | Chart-watcher John Jackson Miller wades into the grim direct-market sales figures for August, and notes that they mirror the state of the market in 2000: “Like 2010, 2000 was a year with a successful super-hero movie release — the first X-Men film. In that year, however, it had little impact on the market partially due to the cash-poor position of retailers at the time — and we might expect retailers were in the same position this year. [...] In 2000, by contrast, the reason wasn’t the general economy, but rather the seven-year industry recession that preceded it. Another similar element: price increases. From 1999 to 2000, Marvel went from benchmarks of $1.99 and $2.50 to $2.50 and $2.99. Other titles increased as well; $2.95 first became the industry’s median price in late 1999. The 2000 jumps are one of the more drastic previous increases by percentage — eclipsed, of course, by the current $2.99-to-$3.99 move.” [The Comichron]
Legal | India’s Delhi High Court has refused to hear a complaint by Archie Comics challenging the use of the name “Archies” by Mumbai-based Purple Creations. The court said it had no jurisdiction in the matter because Archie doesn’t have an office in India. [Deccan Herald]
This has been a tough year for the Friends of Lulu, but they seem to be getting off to a fresh start with a new Board of Directors, and the fact that they were able to pull the awards together so quickly is a good sign.
(Full disclosure: I was a judge for last year’s Lulu Awards.)
Hit the jump for a full list of awards and nominees. Then pick your favorites and VOTE!!
Organizations | Friends of Lulu, the comics advocacy group whose struggles have come to light in recent months, is in danger of losing its tax-exempt status as a charitable organization. Johanna Draper Carlson reports the 16-year-old group appears on the Internal Revenue Service’s “List of Organizations at Risk of Automatic Revocation of Tax-Exempt Status,” which includes organizations “for which the IRS does not have a record of a required annual filing for 2007 and 2008, and whose 2009 return, due on or after May 17 and before October 15, 2010, has not yet been received.” [Comics Worth Reading]
Publishing | One year ago today, Disney announced its intent to acquire Marvel Entertainment. James Hunt looks back at the purchase and its effects: “A year on, the content of Marvel’s books has seen no significant shift. It’s true that the year-long ‘Dark Reign’ meta-arc has recently given way to a more upbeat, optimistic ‘Heroic Age’ meta-arc, where heroes are heroes and villains are villains, but mature readers comics such as Punishermax, Deadpoolmax and, yes, the sequel to Kick-Ass are all still coming out. If Miramax could aim its product at adults from within Disney’s backyard, so, it seems, can Marvel.” [Den of Geek]
Conventions | Wizard World Chicago Comic Con drew a lot of attention from mainstream media for the appearance on Saturday of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who charged $80 for photos and $50 for autographs (more than Star Trek: Deep Space Nine star Avery Brooks, the Chicago Sun-Times points out, but less than William Shatner). Blagojevich, who was convicted last week of lying to the FBI, told Fox News he didn’t receive an appearance fee, and that the event wasn’t all that lucrative for him: “I didn’t really get any money from any of the photos I took, because I took probably hundreds of them and couldn’t bother to ask anybody for any money for that. Those were free. I did sign some signatures. I was there because I was invited at the last minute by the promoters, and it was an opportunity to get out there among the people.”
For non-Blagojevich convention news, turn to Maggie Thompson, who posted daily coverage (noting the event was well-attended, with a lot of first-time attendees), and Rich Johnston, who rolled out video after video. Time Out Chicago has a report from the floor, as well as photo galleries from Friday and Saturday. [Wizard World Chicago Comic Con]
Nominations for the Lulu Awards, which honor female creators and characters in comics, are now open. (Full disclosure right here: I was a judge for last year’s Lulu Awards.) The awards ceremony take place at Long Beach Comic Con in October, and nominations are currently open to the public.
The future of Friends of Lulu, which sponsors the awards, was looking uncertain for a while, after president Valerie D’Orazio disclosed two weeks ago that the organization had major problems, including missing financial records, and had frozen its membership. D’Orazio stated that she would take steps to dissolve FoL if no one stepped forward to help run it. People did step up, and a few days later D’Orazio announced that a new interim Board of Directors had been formed, and the organization will continue, at least for now.
More or less concurrent with this, D’Orazio sketched out the goals for a new initiative, which she has dubbed Comics Revolution 2012. The goals are pretty ambitious:
- The Return Of Comics To The Masses
- The Creation of Tomorrow’s Heroes & Icons
- Increasing Opportunities For Comic Creators
- Misogyny/Racism/Homophobia No-Tolerance Policy
- Giving Back To The World
D’Orazio has set up a website, Comics Are For Everyone, for Comics Revolution 2012, and for the moment, at least, the Friends of Lulu blog will be hosted there.
Legal | The big news over the weekend was that a federal judge ruled in the latest chapter of the prolonged Neil Gaiman/Todd McFarlane legal battle that the characters Dark Ages Spawn, Domina and Tiffany are simply derivatives of their earlier creations Medieval Spawn and Angela. Therefore, Gaiman has a right to a share of profits from the properties.
Maggie Thompson, who has been covering every twist and turn of the case from the beginning, offers her take on the ruling. Meanwhile, John Jackson Miller revisits sales estimates of the Spawn issues written by Gaiman, Alan Moore, Dave Sim and Frank Miller. [MaggieThompson.com, The Comichron]
Organizations | Friends of Lulu President Valerie D’Orazio details the circumstances surrounding the recent and rapid decline of the 16-year-old group — questions about tax status, missing financial documents, an apparently absent board of directors — and states that, “If by September 2010 nobody steps forward and shows interest in helping run this organization, I will start taking steps to officially dissolve it as a non-profit.” [Occasional Superheroine]
Comic-Con | Two hours before Comic-Con International ended on Sunday, organizers sold out of all 15,000 Preview Night passes for the 2011 convention. (For comparison, the Preview Night memberships for this year’s event didn’t disappear until October.) These are the limited number of four-day memberships that include access to the Wednesday-night preview; regular four-day memberships presumably will go on sale in August. Collider has more details. [North County Times]
Nominations have been announced for the 2009 Friends of Lulu Awards, which recognize “the people and projects that helped to open eyes and minds to the amazing comic and cartooning work by and/or about women.”
Voting is open via email through Oct. 19, with winners announced in November.
The nominees are:
Kim Yale Award for Best New Talent