Awards | Sammy Harkham’s Everything Together: Collected Stories, published by PictureBox, won the 33rd annual Los Angeles Times Book Prize for graphic novels/comics. The Los Angeles Times also profiles Harkham as “a significant voice on the L.A. cultural scene.” [Los Angeles Times Book Prizes]
Awards | Now that their work is done, the Eisner Award judges share their experiences and the insights they have gleaned from six months of reading as much of last year’s’ graphic novel output as possible — and four days of deliberations. [Comic-Con International]
Creators | Craig Thompson (Blankets, Habibi) interviews the French creator Blutch, whose So Long, Silver Screen will be released soon by PictureBox. [BoingBoing]
Legal | Disney has filed a motion to dismiss a $5.5 billion copyright-infringement lawsuit filed in October by failed dot-com Stan Lee Media Inc. in its sixth attempt to claim ownership of the Marvel characters co-created by Stan Lee. SLM, which is no longer affiliated with its co-founder and namesake, asserts Lee didn’t properly assign ownership of the works to Marvel, and that Disney didn’t file its Marvel agreement with the U.S. Copyright Office. Disney calls the lawsuit “completely frivolous,” and argues, in part, that the claims have already been litigated and rejected. [The Hollywood Reporter]
Publishing | As final print edition of The Dandy promptly sells out and the venerable U.K. children’s comic migrates online, David Fickling briefly discusses why he launched The Phoenix — a weekly geared for readers ages 6 to 12 — nearly a year ago, and why comics aren’t dead: “Reading comics was always a delight. Reading them under the bedclothes or the desk, even better. Now at last the experts are understanding the importance of reading comics. The loss of reading for pleasure has been identified as one of the principle reasons for falling standards of literacy. Perhaps part of the reason for our disgraceful literacy rates is that we don’t have comics. Comics are a link to books not competition; in short they are a great leveller.” [The Telegraph]
Awards | The gold medal for Best Graphic Album at the Angoulême International Comics Festival went to Guy Delisle for Jerusalem, and the jury awarded a Special Prize to Jim Woodring for his Congress of the Animals. Veteran French creator Jean-Claude Denis was awarded the Grand Prix de la ville d’Angoulême, so he will preside over next year’s festival, as Art Spiegelman did this year. Two manga won awards as well: Kaoru Mori’s A Bride’s Story won the Intergenerational Award, and Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s autobiographical A Drifting Life received the World Outlook Award. The Heritage Award went to Glenat’s edition of Carl Barks’ Donald Duck. [Paris Match]
Joey Manley has a provocative post up this week about where the energy is in the digital comics scene. While webcomics are the realm of individual creators making a name for themselves in nontraditional ways, it’s a different story on the iPad and other devices:
On my iPad, the best comics reading experience, bar none, is not from small, scrappy innovators. It’s from the big companies, via Comixology’s apps (the “Comics” one, which includes DC and a lot of other familiar publishers, and the “Marvel” one, which is exactly the same application, but limited in content to Marvel comics only). The deal is this: you buy “issues” of printed comic books, which have been repurposed and re-engineered to be read more easily on the device.
Manley gets right away that these devices are a digital newsstand bringing DC and Marvel comics to a new audience, and he thinks the publishers could be doing a better job of repackaging them, but his main point is that the big, clumsy comics companies of yesteryear are doing the best job of exploiting this new platform. Of course, that’s because they have ComiXology to do the tech work for them; DC and Marvel are really just supplying content, and in this case, it’s mostly content that has already been published in other forms.
In the comments, SLG’s Dan Vado complains that indy comics are getting swept aside:
This is pretty much dead on. Comixology has all but stopped converting SLG titles in favor of, their words, “higher volume” sellers.
UPDATE: ComXology’s David Steinberger responds to Vado and the others in the same comment thread, saying that they remain committed to indie publishers:
To be clear, we’re dedicated to the indie market, and are investing a ton of our resources to make the access to our platform more equitable. We took the opportunities that we created with this platform, and now we’re catching up to being able to continue to get great books from all publishers.
Donna Barr is a creator with a rich history in the comics industry. As noted in her Wikipedia profile (which Barr directs people to): “Common elements in her work are fantastic human/animal hybrids and German culture. She is best known for two of her series. One is Stinz (about a society of centaur-like people in a setting reminiscent of pre-industrial Germany). Originally published in 1986 as a short story in a hand-bound book, it was then serialized in the Eclipse Comics series ‘The Dreamery,’ edited by Lex Nakashima. It was picked up by Albedo creator Steve Gallacci under his Thoughts & Images label, moving on to MU Press and its imprint Aeon Press. It was then self-published under A Fine Line Press.
Her other long-running series, The Desert Peach is about Pfirsich Rommel, the fictional homosexual younger brother of Erwin “The Desert Fox” Rommel. Beginning in 1987, it was set in North Africa during World War 2). The first three issues were published by Thoughts & Images. Additional issues were published by Fantagraphics Books, Aeon Press, and then self-published. Other works include Hader and the Colonel, The Barr Girls, and Bosom Enemies.
Barr has also recently published a number of novels, including Permanent Party, An Insupportable Light, and Bread and Swans. The last two of these feature Stinz and The Desert Peach, respectively. Some of her later books take advantage of the new print-on-demand technologies.”
Barr and I initially started this email interview to discuss Afterdead, her project currently running at Webcomics Nation. My thanks to Barr for her time and to Joey Manley for helping to facilitate this interview.
Tim O’Shea: While some veteran creators are new to webcomics, you are not–as you’ve been running your work with Joey Manley’s various sites since 2003, I believe. How did you jump into webcomics well before some of your contemporaries and what attracted you to the medium?
Donna Barr: Joey asked me to. It’s a good decision; he’s one of those GOOD publishers that make me feel I haven’t gone to the dark side.