Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
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 comics medium allows for diverse interpretations of characters, both narratively and visually. Artist Jaakko Seppälä has taken 10 of the most iconic comic characters — from Asterix to Batman to Lucy van Pelt — drawn in the style of 10 famous artists (including their respective creators or most popular illustrators).
A watercolor of Corto Maltese by his creator Hugo Pratt sold at auction Saturday in Paris for $485,500, more than twice the original estimate. According to Agence France-Presse, that’s the highest price ever paid for a piece of Corto Maltese art.
Created for a 1979 French edition of Corto Maltese in Africa (“Corto Maltese – Les Ethiopiques”), the piece was among 400 lots of comic art sold by French auction house Artcurial. An original Tintin strip from The Castafiore Emerald signed by Herge fetched the the top price, about $503,000.
Corto Maltese is one of the most prized series and characters in European comics, and now he’s coming back.
The comic’s longtime publisher Casterman has announced the October 2015 release of the first new Corto Maltese story in 25 years. As creator Hugo Platt passed away in 1995, Blacksad writer Juan Diaz Canales will be joined by artist Ruben Pellejero for the new story. There’s no word word whether this will be serialized or published as a standalone book, but Casterman promises it will be released simultaneously in Europe in French, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. What about English-speaking audiences? Well, that’s another story.
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Passings | Steve Roper and Mike Nomad artist Fran Matera has died at the age of 88. Matera, who worked briefly in the Quality Comics bullpen, where he worked on Doll Man and other titles, before enlisting in the Marines during World War II, also drew such comic strips as Dickie Dare, The Legend of Bruce Lee and Nero Wolfe. His comic credits also include the “Chuck White and Friends” feature in Treasure Chest, and issues of Marvel’s Incredible Hulk and Tarzan. [Rip Jagger’s Dojo]
Publishing | Dark Horse manga editor Carl Gustav Horn takes the long view and refuses to give pat answers to questions about trends and hot properties: “This August, the longest-running manga in the North American market, Kosuke Fujishima’s Oh My Goddess!, turns eighteen. We started OMG! during the era of manga marketed as comic books, continued it into the era of manga marketed as graphic novels, and transitioned into the era of manga marketed as tankobon (Japanese-style GNs). Now we’re moving ahead into the era of manga marketed for e-reading.” [ICv2]
Corto Maltese in Africa (1978), page 51. Hugo Pratt.
American action cartooning has Jack Kirby, the Japanese have Tezuka, France has Herge — and in Italy, there is Hugo Pratt. Like all the truly great cartoonists, Pratt picked up his country’s comics tradition and moved its trajectory into line with that of his own work: the epic historical adventures contained in his Corto Maltese saga provided a stylistic blueprint Italian cartoonists would draw on or react against for decades after the series began appearing, and Pratt has provided inspiration for comics artists around the world — Paul Pope is an avowed devotee, Eddie Campbell and Mike Mignola picked up more than a few lessons, and hey, does anybody remember the name of the contested island that provides Frank Miller’s Dark Knight with its nuclear conclusion? It seems bizarrely fitting that in the week Moebius passes on, the English-speaking world should be reintroduced to late 20th-century Europe’s other foundational cartoonist via a new series of Corto translations.