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Amazon selects best comics & graphic novels of the year, so far

Afterlife With Archie

Afterlife With Archie

If you’re searching for some summer reading, Amazon’s Best Books of the Year So Far For 2014 is a pretty good place to start.

Led by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla’s Afterlife With Archie: Escape From Riverdale, the Comics & Graphic Novels division is as diverse as you’d probably expect, with entries ranging from Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta’s East of West to Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki’s This One Summer to Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

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One man’s ‘man cave’ is his wife’s ‘nerd room’

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Hello and welcome to Shelf Porn, your weekly invitation into one fan’s life. Today’s collection comes from Blaine in Murfreesboro, Tennessee — a graphic designer, comic book collector and toy collector “for many years.” He shared his comics, toys, metal signs, Pez dispensers and more.

If you’d like to see your collection here on Robot 6, you can find submission details at the end of this post.

And now here is Blaine …

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CBLDF debuts ‘Banned Books Week Handbook’

cbldf handbookAhead of Banned Books Week, which this year will focus on comics and graphic novels, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has unveiled its first Banned Books Week Handbook, featuring a cover by Jeff Smith, whose critically acclaimed fantasy adventure Bone was listed among the most frequently challenged titles of 2013.

Debuting today at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Las Vegas, the free guide provides an overview frequently challenged comics, and offers tips for readers on how to report and fight censorship and suggestions for librarians, retailers and educators for planning Banned Books Week celebrations.

A PDF of the handbook can be downloaded here; bundles of the printed edition can be ordered on the CBLDF website or through Diamond Comic Distributors.

The organization has also released the first of its discussion guides, designed to begin conversations, and address concerns and misconceptions, about specific comics, including Fun Home, Persepolis and Watchmen.

Banned Books Week is scheduled for Sept. 21-27.

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First Second to publish Venable & Wagner’s ‘Kiss Number Eight’

kiss number eightFirst Second Books has acquired the rights to Kiss Number Eight, a young-adult graphic novel by Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye writer Colleen AF Venable and newcomer Leela Wagner.

Set for release in 2016, the coming-of-age story is described as “an exploration of sexuality, family and faith” that centers on Amanda, who’s trying to figure out what the big deal is about kissing.

“I wanted to write a hopeful book about growing up queer in a conservative community — both in the present day but also in the past — inspired partially by my older sister’s coming out and the reaction of my very Catholic family, both good and bad, “Venable, an Eisner nominee and senior designer for First Second, said in a statement.

Wagner added, “When I read the script for Kiss Number Eight, I had this fantasy about if I were a decade younger, and I got to read this comic for the first time when I was Amanda’s age, and how much it would mean to me.  I remember the teenage feeling of a book having been written for me, and I think probably it would be one of those ‘I want to make comics’ or possibly ‘I want to be Colleen AF Venable’ moments. “

Comics A.M. | A closer look at Barnes & Noble split, Nook’s future

Barnes & Noble

Barnes & Noble

Retailing | Shares of Barnes & Noble rose 5.5 percent Wednesday, to $21.69, following the announcement that the bookseller plans to split into two companies, one for its retail stores and the other for Nook Media. Barron’s suggests those plans could buoy stock prices for a while, as long as the company doesn’t change its mind (again) about the split. The magazine also notes the possibility that an outsider buyer could make a bid for the retail stores before the split takes place, leaving Barnes & Noble with the Nook, which will be combined with the company’s successful college-bookstore operations. [Barron's]

Manga | Inspired by a line of T-shirts featuring the work of the manga artist Jiraiya, Guy Trebay talks to Anne Ishii and Chip Kidd about the popularity of hard-core gay manga, such as the work of Gengoroh Tagame, in the United States. [The New York Times]

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Comics A.M. | Asbury Park Comicon changes cities, name

East Coast Comicon

East Coast Comicon

Conventions | Organizers of the growing Asbury Park Comicon have announced that, after three years, they’re relocating the New Jersey convention to the Meadowlands Exhibition Center in Secaucus and renaming it East Coast Comicon. Founders Cliff Galbraith and Robert Bruce say the nearly 40-mile move was triggered by a sharp increase in rates at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel in Asbury Park, but the hotel’s manager thinks it’s because the venue couldn’t accommodate the dates requested by organizers. The inaugural East Coast Comicon will be held April 11-12, 2015. [Asbury Park Press]

Passings | Amadee Wohlschlaeger, who drew the comic strip Weatherbird for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for 70 years, has died at age 102. Weatherbird, which debuted in 1901, is the oldest continuously published comic in the United States, and Wohlschlaeger (who went by just his first name) is one of just four cartoonists to draw it. He was named one of the top 10 sports cartoonists in the country, and his drawing of Stan Musial inspired the statue at Busch Stadium. [KSDK]

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Action figures galore take over this Shelf Porn from Toronto

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If it’s Saturday, it’s time for Shelf Porn — our weekly look at one collector’s pride and joy. Today’s collection of action figures, comics and lots more comes from Ryan in Toronto.

If you’d like to see your collection here on Robot 6, you can find submission details at the end of this post.

And now let’s hear from Ryan!

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Comics A.M. | Taking a stand against harassment at cons

Geeks for CONsen

Geeks for CONsen

Conventions | Samantha Melamed looks at the problem of harassment at comics conventions, particularly of cosplayers, and what some women are doing about it. The article includes interviews with artist Erin Filson, one of the co-founders of Geeks for CONsent, which has called upon Comic-Con International to institute a more specific, and more visible, anti-harassment policy; cosplayer Nicole Jacobs, who describes a recent incident at AwesomeCon; and psychology professor Kimberly Fairchild, who studies harassment. [The Philadelphia Inquirer]

Creators | Frequent collaborators Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie discuss their new series The Wicked + The Divine, which debuted this week from Image Comics. [USA Today]

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SC governor approves budget ‘compromise’ in ‘Fun Home’ fight

fun home2South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley last week signed a state budget that requires two colleges to spend nearly $70,000 to teach the U.S. Constitution and other historical documents as punishment for selecting gay-themed books for their freshman reading programs.

According to The State, Haley said she appreciated the compromise, approved last month by the state Senate to prevent a standoff over the House’s punitive cuts of $52,000 to the College of Charleston and $17,142 to the University of South Carolina Upstate for selecting Alison Bechdel’s 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home, and Out Loud: The Best of Rainbow Radio, respectively. The figures represent the amount each school spent on last year’s programs.

During heated debates in both legislative bodies, some lawmakers accused the College of Charleston of promoting a gay agenda and forcing pornography on its students. On the floor of the Senate, where a vote was delayed by a Democrat-led filibuster, some legislators reportedly “compared Fun Home and its author to everything from slavery to serial murderer Charles Manson and Adolf Hitler.”

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Comics A.M. | Turkish cartoonist begins prison sentence

Mehmet Düzenli

Mehmet Düzenli

Legal | Turkish cartoonist Mehmet Düzenli began serving a three-month sentence this week on charges of insulting Muslim preacher Adnan Oktar, who espouses controversial views, such as creationism and Holocaust denial. Oktar sued Düzenli over a cartoon about him, and Düzenli refused to appeal the sentence on the grounds that even if it were suspended, he still would not be able to express himself freely. “If Mr. Oktar has the right to claim that he is the Mahdi [the redeemer who is supposed to appear at the ‘end times’], I have the right to say that he is lying,” he said. [Reporters Without Borders]

Comics sales | ICv2 has sales estimates for the direct market in May, which was a good month for chart-toppers, with four titles selling more than 100,000 copies, compared to just one in each of the first three months of the year. The top seller was Marvel’s Original Sin #1, at 147,045 copies, but ICv2 notes that sales were juiced by incentives, including variant covers and a plastic eyeball, and that orders for the second issue are considerably lower. They also give the top 400 comics and the top 300 graphic novels charts for the month. [ICv2]

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Fitzgerald’s ‘Photobooth’ tells a story of pictures — in pictures

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[Editor’s note: Every Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss “The best in comics from the last seven days” — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]

Meags Fitzgerald‘s Photobooth: A Biography is my favorite sort of book, the history of a common object that folds in all sorts of interesting side stories along the way. Photobooths were once ubiquitous in malls and shopping centers; you put in your quarter, mugged for the camera, waited what seemed like forever, and collected your strip of three or four photos to swap with friends or pin to your bulletin board. When I was growing up they were just sort of there, and nobody thought too much about them.

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Dark Horse to publish ‘New York Four’ and ‘Demo’ collections

new york fourDark Horse will publish omnibus editions of The New York Four and The New York Five, by Brian Wood and Ryan Kelly, and Demo, by Wood and Becky Cloonan. Editor Sierra Hahn told Publishers Weekly the acquisitions are part of the company’s ongoing commitment to the young-adult market.

Published in 2008 by DC Comics’ short-lived Minx imprint aimed at teen girls, The New York Four centers on four young women who move to New York City to attend New York University. A sequel miniseries, The New York Five, debuted in 2010 from DC’s Vertigo imprint.

Demo, released from November to 2003 to November 2004 by AiT/Planet Lar, was the breakout book for Wood and and Cloonan, who had previously collaborated on Channel Zero: Jennie One. The 12-issue series, which tells self-contained stories about young people with supernatural powers (well, mostly), was most recently collected in 2008 by Vertigo, which later published Wood and Cloonan’s sequel.

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Comics A.M. | Stan Lee greeted in Sydney with ‘Captain Australia’ shield

Stan Lee (via The Daily Telegraph)

Stan Lee (via The Daily Telegraph)

Creators | Stan Lee arrived at Sydney Airport for the Supanova Pop Culture Expo and was immediately presented with a “Captain Australia” shield, colored gold and green rather than red and blue. The Supanova Pop Culture Expo kicked off today, and continues through Sunday. [The Daily Telegraph]

Comics | Hussain Al-Shiblawi says he doesn’t usually mind the pamphlets he regularly receives from the local Bible Baptist Church in Roanoke, Virginia; even though he’s Muslim, he finds them inspirational. But he takes strong exception to the latest one, a Jack Chick tract titled Unforgiven, which claims that all Muslims are going to hell. The pastor, who declined to go on camera, says his church doesn’t create the pamphlets, it just distributes them, but he’s willing to meet with Al-Shiblawi to discuss the comic. [WDBJ News]

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Comics A.M. | Relaunched Eagle Awards renamed again

True Believers Comic Awards

True Believers Comic Awards

Awards | The awards ceremony for the recently renamed Stan Lee Eagle Awards has disappeared from the program of the London Film and Comic Con, and has been replaced by the True Believers Comic Awards. It’s not clear whether this is just a name change or something more, as Mike Conroy, the organizer of both awards, had no comment, but the Stan Lee nominations page is gone. There is an online voting page for the True Believers Comic Awards, however. Lee is still scheduled to attend the event in person. [Down the Tubes]

Creators | Writer Caitlin Kittredge talks about her first comic, Coffin Hill. [The Kindle Post]

Creators | I interviewed the “three-headed monster” behind the Adventures in Cartooning books — James Sturm, Andrew Arnold and Alexis Frederick-Frost — about their new kids’ graphic novel Sleepless Knight. [Good Comics for Kids]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Sherman’s Lagoon’ creator visits ocean floor

shermans lagoon

Creators | Jim Toomey sets his comic strip Sherman’s Lagoon under the sea, and now he’s going to get a close-up look at underwater life: As the artist in residence on Alvin, a Navy deep-sea submersible vehicle, he will get an up-close look at undersea life in the Gulf of Mexico. “Only three people are able to go down on the sub at a time, so it’s a very coveted opportunity,” said Toomey, who will talk to his children’s class from aboard the submersible and has set the current Sherman’s Lagoon story in the Gulf so he can introduce the sea creatures he is seeing firsthand. [The Washington Post]

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