"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Conventions | WonderCon Anaheim has announced the first round of guests for its April 3-5 show: Neal Adams, Becky Cloonan, Aaron Kuder, Kevin Maguire and Dustin Nguyen. [Toucan Blog]
Publishing | Magnetic Press is looking for a marketing assistant. [Magnetic Press]
Retailers | The Laughing Ogre chain has announced its Lansdowne, Virginia, location (Phoenix Comics & Toys) has lost its lease and will close Dec. 18. That store is managed by chain co-owner Gary Dills, the former ComicsPRO treasurer named as the subject of an investigation into a possible misuse of organization funds. The chain has two other locations, in Fairfax, Virginia, and Columbus, Ohio. [Laughing Ogre, via Bleeding Cool]
Creators | In a new profile of Naif Al-Mutawa, the creator of the Islamic superhero comic The 99 addresses the death threats made against him by ISIS and the fatwa issued against the animated adaptation in Saudi Arabia, and reveals he recently met with Kuwaiti police “to answer the charges of being a heretic.” Mutawa also blames pressure from “a handful of conservative bloggers” in the United States for The Hub not following through with plans to air the animated series. He said that after President Obama praised his work in 2010, attacks on him escalated in the United States, where he was painted as a jihadist “intent on radicalizing young kids to make them suicide bombers. And here [in the Gulf] I became an apostate Zionist. My mother told me growing up, be careful who your friends are because you end up inheriting their enemies. And that’s what happened: I don’t know President Obama. I’m very honored he called me out. But the hate became magnified after that.” [Al-Monitor]
Editorial cartoons | The public-relations consultant hired by the city of Murrieta, California, after residents protested the arrival of refugee children to be processed there, told cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz that referring to Murietta as “Hate City USA” was “actionable.” “There IS a fine line between your constitutional right to draw cartoons and expressed (sic) your opinions,” Hermosillo wrote in a comment on Alcaraz’s Facebook page, “and falsely, deliberately, and maliciously labeling and attacking an entire community as racist or as ‘Hate City.’ You are working overtime to damage Murrieta and such a false premise is actionable. There’s a fine line between humor and stupidity. You may have crossed that line at your own peril.” Murrieta spokesperson Kim Davidson walked that back, however, saying the city has no plans to sue Alcaraz. [The Press Enterprise]
Conventions | San Diego City Council has given final approval to the planned $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, viewed as necessary to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015. The project still faces a legal challenge to a financing scheme involving a hotel-room surtax, as well as state regulatory approval, leading the city attorney to caution that the targeted 2017 completion date is just “a goal.” Whether Comic-Con organizers can be convinced to sign another three-year extension to their contract remains a big question. [NBC San Diego]
Conventions | Most of Heidi MacDonald’s article about New York Comic Con is behind a paywall at Publishers Weekly, but she pulls out some stats at The Beat: Ticket sales are up 190 percent over this time last year. As the capacity of the Javits Center is somewhere south of 110,000 people, this means the ReedPOP folks won’t sell any more tickets than last year, but they are selling out faster. Three-day and four-day passes are already gone, only Friday tickets remain, and ReedPOP vice president Lance Fensterman expects everything to be sold out by the time the show begins. [The Beat]
Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland was probably the perfect last comic from the legendary writer. Published in April, a little less than two years after the writer’s death, it treated the setting of almost all of his works as the subject, and, intertwining biography with city history, it synthesized the the story of the man and the story of Cleveland into one. With beautiful art by Joseph Remnant, which evoked the best qualities of some of Pekar’s best contributors, it was a pretty perfect punctuation at the end of Pekar’s writing career.
And now here’s another comic.
Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, written by Pekar with Philadelphia-based artist JT Waldman (Megillat Esther), is seemingly on a subject far less associated with Pekar than Cleveland, one that can be incredibly controversial, as Israel’s history embodies a sort of perfect blend of serious life-and-death issues that almost everyone is extremely passionate about. It’s also, incidentally, not a a subject Pekar owns the way he owns, say, Cleveland; I don’t necessarily seek out graphic novels about Israel and its relations with its neighbors, but in the past few years the following have come across my desk: Sarah Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, Joe Sacco’s Palestine and Footnotes in Gaza, Marv Wolfman and company’s Homeland, Rutu Modan’s Exit Wounds and Jamilti and Other Stories and Guy Delisle’s Jerusalem: Chronicles From the Holy City.
As suggested by the cover image, a drawing of Pekar regarding the reader, standing in a field of empty space filled only with the title and credits, this is actually another book about Pekar, Pekar’s life, and Pekar’s city; the “Me” and “My Parents” in the title are almost as — if not just as — important as the “Israel” in the title.