Jim Hanley’s Universe
Legal | A Belgian court of appeals has ruled that Tintin in the Congo is not racist and stated that the book has “gentle and candid humour.” The ruling came in a case brought in 2007 by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, an immigrant from the Congo, and the Belgian Council of Black Associations. Although Herge himself expressed regret in later life for the book, which includes numerous depictions of black characters as stupid and inferior, the court did not support the plaintiffs’ claim that “The negative stereotypes portrayed in this book are still read by a significant number of children. They have an impact on their behaviour.” [Sky News]
Legal | As he promised he would do last month after a federal judge declared the heirs of artist Jack Kirby had no claim to copyrights on the superheroes he co-created for Marvel Comics, Kirby family lawyer Marc Toberoff filed an appeal Monday with the Second Circuit Court of Appeal.
“Specifically, the estate of comic book superhero legend Kirby — co-creator of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, The X-Men, The Avengers, Iron Man, Hulk, The Silver Surfer and Thor — sent notices terminating copyright to publishers Marvel and Disney, as well as film studios that have made movies and TV shows based on characters he created or co-created, including Sony, Universal, 20th Century Fox and Paramount Pictures,” Deadline reports. [The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline]
The Staten Island location of Jim Hanley’s Universe will be closed again today after suffering extensive damage Sunday as New York experienced record rainfall. According to the New York Daily News, the city was soaked by up to 8 inches, the most recorded in a single day since the National Weather Service began keeping records more than a century ago. Heavy tropical rain is expected to continue today.
The video above captures much of the damage to the New Dorp Lane store, with water pouring from the ceiling, leaving an inch or more of water on the floor and destroying merchandise. A call has gone out for assistance with cleanup. Writer Dan Slott, meanwhile, suggested helping out by buying comics this week from Jim Hanley’s Manhattan location.
“We have a lot of work to do,” the retailer tweeted, “but we have the best staff in the world and we WILL reopen.”
Creators | Robert Crumb pens a letter to The Sydney Morning Herald, explaining why he pulled out of the Graphic 2011 festival: “I was quite alarmed when I read the article in the Sunday Telegraph. I showed it to my wife, Aline, who said, ‘That’s it, you’re not going.’ She got a very bad feeling from the article. She feared I might be attacked physically by some angry, outraged person who simply saw red at the mention of child molesters. She remarked she’d never seen any article about me as nasty as this one.” Sunday Telegraph staff writer Claire Harvey, meanwhile, responds to Crumb’s comments and criticisms lobbed at the newspaper: “Crumb seems to be living in fear of the reaction he once sought to provoke. It seems a sad place for any artist to be.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]
Passings | Kim Thompson eulogizes Argentina cartoonist Francisco Solano López, who passed away on Friday. [The Comics Journal]
Conventions | Reporting from this weekend’s Wizard World Chicago, the Chicago Tribune talks to former comic shop owner Gary Colabuono, who displayed rare ashcan editions of comics from the 1930s and 1940s featuring Superman, Superwoman, Superboy and Supergirl at the show. Blogger Matthew J. Brady has pictures of the ashcans, as well as a report from the show. [Chicago Tribune]
At some point in every comic book readers life, they have frequented a store that has quirky ambiance, fellow customers and/or employees. Chris Walker is a writer/director/producer who thought a comedy built around a comic book store would make for a great webseries. And from that initial concept the webseries Anti-Matter launched in late 2010. Filmed in New York’s Jim Hanley’s Universe, Anti-Matter features “hilarious hijinks that happen with the staff and idiosyncratic regulars of a NY comic book shop who treat the store more like a clubhouse than a place of business”.
Tim O’Shea: Can you give some insight into the character development and casting process for the series?
Chris Walker: Anti-Matter was created to be a humorous snapshot of hanging out at the comic store. I wanted to move past the conventional geek/nerd cliché and give a candid, witty look at this world. My goal was to show the broad spectrum of people one might encounter at their local comic shop.
Casting is always a challenge, especially at an indie level. Since the series is based in New York, a lot of talented actors came through for auditions. We had the fortune of casting from the same talent as pool shows like SNL and 30 Rock. Gratefully, we had one of the more unique challenges of production: “How do we fit all this talent on one show?”
This Saturday, November 14, at 3 PM, Jim Hanley’s Universe (at 4 West 33rd St.in New York) will present “an EXCLUSIVE screening of the award-winning documentary (and comics evangelism project) Dig Comics with filmmaker Miguel Cima“. In advance of this screening, I caught up with Cima to discuss the project, as well as to find out where things stand on the planned expanded version of the documentary. At the San Diego Comic-Con this past summer, Dig Comics received the Best Documentary Award at the Comic-Con International Independent Film Festival (CCI-IFF). According to Jim Hanley’s Universe, after the exclusive screening, it will also “have an A-List panel discussion with Mr. Cima; Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort; Writer/Editor of the PW Beat Blog, Heidi MacDonald; noted DC writer/editor and founder of Paradox Press, Andy Helfer; author and editor of the Graphic NYC Blog Chris Irving; and author of Superman on the Couch and Disguised as Clark Kent, Danny Fingeroth!” Cima’s passion and strong opinions are apparent in this email interview–and I appreciate his time. Please be sure to visit YouTube for the Dig Comics trailer.
Tim O’Shea: How long have you been pursuing this project, and in terms of your documentary approach, I was curious if there were certain documentary makers that influenced how your approached the project?
Miguel Cima: I’ve been working on this for about three years now. I guess my main angle is sort of a Michael Moore model, as in let’s see what’s wrong here and what can be done. Plus I too am a husky loudmouth, so there you are.
This November, writer Vito Delsante‘s collaboration with artist Rachel Freire, FCHS: Volume 1, will be released by AdHouse (Diamond Order Code: SEP09 0568). As described at the AdHouse site: “Do you remember high school? All the fun and trouble you used to get into? All of the sex, sports and alcohol that was your Senior year? It’s time to go back! Join Hector, Kennedy, Jules and the whole gang at FCHS as they begin their last year of high school. Will they be ready for ‘the real world’ when it’s all over? Will they all make it? Archie meets 90210.” Delsante, who has written for a number of publishers (including DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Dynamite Entertainment, and Simon & Schuster), was kind enough to do an email interview with me. In addition to discussing FCHS, we discuss his experience working at Jim Hanley’s Universe, as well as some of his other upcoming projects.
Tim O’Shea: FCHS got its start at the Chemistry Set, how did the publishing arrangement with AdHouse come about?
Vito Delsante: A mini comic. Seriously! Rachel and I attended MoCCA two years ago and at that point, we had about 21 strips on the site that we turned into seven 3-tier pages. We were handing them out to just about anyone who was interested, with the thought that we’d bring some traffic back to Chem Set. Chris [Pitzer, AdHouse Books publisher] got one and a few weeks later, right before Comic Con Intl., he e-mailed us and asked if we were interested in doing a book. I think, in the back of my head, I was hoping to get a few publishers interested in FCHS, but when Chris offered, we jumped at it. Rachel and I are big fans of AdHouse, and to be a member of that family is a very good feeling.