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Comics A.M. | Russ Manning Award nominees announced

"Shutter" #20, by Leila del Duca

“Shutter” #20, by Leila del Duca

Awards | The nominees have been announced for the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: Daniel Bayliss, artist of Kennel Block Blues and Translucid (BOOM! Studios); Leila del Duca, artist of Shutter (Image Comics); Dan Mora, artist of Klaus and Hexed! (BOOM! Studios); Marguerite Sauvage, artist of DC Comics Bombshells (DC Comics), Scarlet Witch (Marvel) and Faith (Valiant); and Tillie Walden, writer/artist of I Love This Part and The End of Summer (Avery Hill). The winner will be announced in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego. [Comic-Con International]

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Comics A.M. | San Diego could get a Comic-Con museum

comic-con logo2

Conventions | Organizers of the San Diego Hall of Champions sports museum announced this week they’ve been in talks with Comic-Con International about establishing a comics-focused museum in the city’s Balboa Park. The report notes that “details remain sketchy,” even though discussions have been under way for the past year. “There’s no hurry to move it along,” said Hall of Champions board member Dan Shea. As the report notes, this isn’t the first time a Comic-Con museum has been discussed: Stalled expansion plans for the current San Diego Convention Center called for a museum celebrating the event. [The San Diego Union-Tribune]

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Comics A.M. | Graphic novelist charged in torture killing of girlfriend

Blake Leibel (via KTLA TV)

Blake Leibel (via KTLA TV)

Crime | Screenwriter and graphic novelist Blake Leibel has been arrested on charges of torturing and murdering his girlfriend Iana Kasian, who recently gave birth to their child. Leibel, the 35-year-old son of a wealthy Toronto family, is the co-creator of the graphic novel Syndrome, published in 2010 by Archaia, which he described at the time as “a lengthy graphic novel that grappled with the questions surrounding what provokes a person to commit evil acts.” The press was quick to pick up on several aspects of the murder that mirrored the graphic novel: among them, that he allegedly drained Kasian’s blood, as a character does to several victims in Syndrome. Leibel has pleaded not guilty to the charges. [The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times]

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Comics A.M. | Mike Mignola named Spectrum Grand Master

mike mignola2

Awards | Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has been named the Grand Master of the 2016 Spectrum Fantastic Art Awards, which honor fantasy, horror and science fiction art. First presented in 1995, the Spectrum Award for Grand Master goes to an artist who was worked at a consistently high level for at least 20 years, and who has influenced and inspired others. Previous honorees include Frank Frazetta, Jean “Moebius” Gerard, H.R. Giger and Ralph McQuarrie. [Spectrum Fantastic Art]

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Comics A.M. | Ringleader gets 20 years in death of comic collector

"The Human Torch" #23 was among the comics in Marciniak's collection

“The Human Torch” #23 was among the comics in Marciniak’s collection

Legal | Rico J. Vendetti of Rochester, New York, was sentenced to 20 years in prison Wednesday for planning a 10 home-invasion robbery that led to the death of 78-year-old comic book collector Homer Marciniak. According to prosecutors, Vendetti had been running eBay scams for years, selling merchandise shoplifted by others, and planned to do the same with Marciniak’s $30,000 collection of comics, which dated back to the 1930s. During the home invasion, the robbers hit Marciniak, threatened him and tied him up; he died shortly afterward. Vendetti pleaded guilty to a federal racketeering charge. Co-defendant Donald Griffin, who admitted hitting Marciniak, was also sentenced to 20 years in prison this week. [Buffalo News]

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Comics A.M. | NYC cracks down on costumed characters

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Minnie Mouse and Hello Kitty allegedly brawled over a tip in 2015 (file photo)

Legal | Despite a joint appeal from Spider-Man and The Joker, New York City Council passed legislation Thursday to allow the Department of Transportation to regulate public plazas and place new restrictions on the costumed characters who now roam Times Square. The move comes in response to repeated complaints, and some arrests, involving fights between the characters and the solicitation of tips from tourists. Keith Albahae attended last week’s City Council meeting dressed as The Joker, and Abdelamine Elkhezzani was there as Spider-Man, to tell their side of the story. “I agree with The Joker, even though he’s a villain and I’m a superhero,” Elkhezzani said. “We’re there to entertain people, we put a big smile on people’s faces and we work on tips. This has opened up a lot of opportunities for people to support their families.” Last year, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called on Disney and Marvel to crack down on unlicensed costumed characters, but to no avail. [CNN, The New York Times]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Batman vs. Superman’ tops March bookstore sales

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Graphic novels | With audiences flocking to see Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it’s little surprise that the bestselling graphic novel in bookstores in March was Batman vs. Superman: The Greatest Battles, a compilation of previously published stories about the pair’s earlier tiffs. Also not surprising: All five volumes of Tokyo Ghoul are on the chart. That manga series seems to be the new Attack on Titan, with more readers coming in every month. The rest of the chart is a very mixed bag, with two Deadpool titles, a new Plants vs. Zombies graphic novel, and Daniel Clowes’ Patience among the month’s big sellers. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Tokyo Ghoul’ bites into bookstore sales chart

"Tokyo Ghoul," Vol. 5

“Tokyo Ghoul,” Vol. 5

Graphic novels | The latest volume of Tokyo Ghoul topped the February BookScan chart of the bestselling graphic novels in the bookstore channel, and four volumes of that series made the top 20. The third volume of The Walking Dead Compendium took the second slot. Overall, the list is an interesting mix: It’s half manga, a couple of Marvel and DC Comcis titles, Dark Horse’s Plants vs. Zombies (an all-ages graphic novel based on a video game), and Philippa Rice’s Soppy: A Love Story, a print version of her webcomic about her life with her boyfriend. [ICv2]

Legal | Former Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Maurice Sinet has sued philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy for calling him an anti-Semite. Levy wrote in an article in Le Point magazine that Sinet, who goes by the pen name Sine, was “a former employee of Charlie Hebdo who was kicked out for his anti-Semitism and racism.” Sine wrote an article in 2008 claiming that Jean Sarkozy, the son of the former French president, had dodged the consequences of a car accident by saying he was planning to convert to Judaism and marry a Jewish woman. The story was intended to be satirical, but it caused a controversy and he was ultimately fired from the magazine. [Times of Israel]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Bad Batman’ arrested in string of armed robberies

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Crime | Deputies in Orange County, Florida, have arrested a man suspected of committing eight armed robberies — two of which while dressed as Batman. Investigators say 26-year-old Juan Carlos Nieves Morales — dubbed the “Bad Batman” — kicked off the string of crimes on Jan. 22, targeting Dollar Stores, food stores and even a paint shop. He allegedly entered the businesses armed with a black or silver handgun, and demand cash, and sometimes even property, from the employees. [CBS12, WDBO]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Comic Con’ trademark feud nears an end

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Legal | It looks as if the end is in sight in the trademark dispute between Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con over the use of the term “comic con.” The organizers of Comic-Con International in San Diego claim legal ownership of the term “Comic Con” and sued the producers of the Salt Lake City even in 2014 for trademark infringement. Although settlement talks have broken down before, attorneys for both sides say they’ve resolved many of their disagreements, and have asked a federal judge to give them until March 1 to work out the finer points of a deal. [The Associated Press]

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Comics A.M. | Noelle Stevenson’s ‘Nimona’ earns Nebula nomination

nimona

Awards | Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona has been nominated for a Nebula Award, presented presented by the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America. As Gary Tyrrell points out, the Nebulas (unlike the Hugos) don’t have a specific graphic novel category; Nimona is nominated for the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. [SFWA]

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Comics A.M. | A look at Stan Lee’s complicated legacy

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Creators | Writing for New York Magazine’s Vulture blog, Abraham Reisman takes a warts-and-all look at the career and legacy of Stan Lee in a lengthy article article alternately titled “It’s Stan Lee’s Universe” and “Why is Stan Lee’s Legacy in Question?” Peppered with quotes from the likes of Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, Mark Evanier, Colleen Doran, Paul Levitz and Mark Waid, it’s a deep dive into Lee’s history, touching upon everything from his disputes with one-time collaborators Jack Kirby and Steve Dikto to his more recent output to the state of his company POW! Entertainment, which by most indications is struggling. [Vulture]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Ms. Marvel’ wins Dwayne McDuffie diversity award

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Awards | Ms. Marvel, by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona, won the second annual Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics, presented over the weekend at Long Beach Expo in Long Beach, California. The other nominees were Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven, by Brandon Easton and Denis Medri;  Fresh Romance, edited by Janelle Asselin; Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, by Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare and Natacha Bustos; and Zana, by Jean Barker and Joey Granger. The Beat has Wilson’s acceptance video. [Long Beach Comic Expo]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Naruto,’ ‘One-Punch Man’ top book store sales

Naruto Seventh Hokage

Graphic Novels | The one-volume Naruto sequel, Naruto: The Seventh Hokage and the Scarlet Spring, and the first four volumes of One-Punch Man dominate the BookScan top 20 graphic novels list for January, taking five of the top six slots and making room only for Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. BookScan tracks sales in bookstores, and the presence of not only Fun Home but Watchmen and American Born Chinese suggests that graphic novels are popping up on lots of required-reading lists for the spring semester. Three collected editions of Star Wars comics, the first four volumes of Tokyo Ghoul, and the fifth volume of Saga also made the list. [ICv2]

Passings | Linus Maurer, a professional cartoonist whose name Charles Schulz borrowed for his Peanuts character, has died at the age of 90. Maurer was a co-worker of Schulz’s at the Art Instruction Schools in Minneapolis when Schulz was developing the characters for Peanuts. “Linus came from a drawing that I made one day of a face almost like the one he now has,” Schulz later wrote. “I experimented with some wild hair, and showed the sketch to a friend of mine who sat near me at art instruction, whose name was Linus Maurer. It seemed appropriate that I should name the character Linus.” Maurer started his career as an illustrator and was an art director for the McCann Erickson ad agency before becoming a full-time cartoonist, working on a number of nationally syndicated comics including Old Harrigan, Abracadabra, and In the Beginning. In his later years he was a cartoonist for the Sonoma Index-Tribune. “I feel very honored that Schulz used my name in his strip,” Maurer said in an interview in 2000. “I can’t imagine what my life would have been like if the cartoon Linus had never existed. I think we have a lot in common. We’re both philosophical and level-headed.” Maurer didn’t carry a security blanket, but, he said, “I do keep a lot of sweaters and jackets in the trunk of my car.” [The Press Democrat]

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Comics A.M. | Angouleme Grand Prix goes to Hermann

"Jeremiah" art by Hermann

“Jeremiah” art by Hermann

Awards | Jeremiah creator Hermann has been selected as the winner of the Angouleme International Comics Festival Grand Prix. The Belgian artist, who was a finalist last year, will serve as president of the 2017 festival. The prestigious award was mired in controversy this year when the longlist of nominees featured the names of 30 male creators but no women. Hermann is well known in the French-language comics world; some of his work has been published in English by Dark Horse. [Le Monde, YouTube]

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