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Paris attacks | Iranian cartoonist arrested after posting Paris cartoon

Hadi-Heidari-Paris-Cartoon

Legal | Iranian cartoonist Hadi Heidari was arrested Monday in the Teheran newspaper office where he works, a day after posting a cartoon on Instagram showing a weeping face with the Eiffel tower for a nose. According to Heidari’s co-workers, “a young man came with a warrant. He showed Hadi the warrant and they took him quietly.” They speculated that he was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization.

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Comics A.M. | SDCC preregistration badge sale arrives Saturday

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Although it may seem way too early to begin the countdown to Comic-Con International, badge sales open Saturday at 9 a.m. PT for those who attended the 2015 convention and preregistration (this isn’t the annual mad dash, which arrives in a few months). If you’re eligible, you should receive your registration code by email at least 24 hours before badge sales open. Comic-Con provides a detailed walk-through of the process. [Toucan]

Legal | The Malaysian Federal Court affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the government shouldn’t have banned two books of Zunar’s political cartoons, 1Funny Malaysia and Perak Darul Kartun. “This is a victory for all cartoonists, it tells the Home Ministry and the government that drawing cartoons is not a crime,” Zunar said. He also said the ruling means that the government must also lift bans on all his books and drop sedition charges against him. “Stop raiding this my office, stop harassing my webmaster for selling the books online, and stop raiding and threatening printers and shops involved in the production and sales,” he said. [Malaysyakini]

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Men suspected of plotting Pokemon attack plead not guilty

Kevin Norton, left, and James Stumbo

Kevin Norton, left, and James Stumbo

Bail was set Tuesday at $150,000 for the two Iowa men accused of plotting an armed attack against the Pokemon World Championships, held in Boston in August. That’s double the amount requested by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, pleaded not guilty at their arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court on charges of possession of a large-capacity weapon and other crimes.

The Boston Herald reports that in setting the bail, Suffolk Superior Court Clerk-Magistrate Gary D. Wilson explained their are no conditions of release that would prevent the defendants from purchasing more firearms. “They can buy guns anywhere: Wal-Mart, Bass Pro Shops. … I’m not going to add a thousand conditions that are virtually unenforceable.”

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Men suspected in Pokemon championship plot head back to court

Kevin Norton, left, and James Stumbo

Kevin Norton, left, and James Stumbo

Two Iowa men suspected of plotting to attack the Pokemon World Championships in August will be arraigned today in a Boston courtroom.

Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, have been held without bail on firearms charges since their arrests on Aug. 22 after police found guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in the car the two drove to the Boston event. Prosecutors say they made multiple online threats against the Pokemon World Championships, which they’d been invited to attend.

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Comics A.M. | Malaysian cartoonist challenges nation’s sedition act

Zunar

Zunar

Legal | On the day his trial on sedition charges was due to begin, Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar threw a curve ball, asking the high court to declare the sedition law unconstitutional. The Malaysian government has repeatedly attempted to ban or censor Zunar’s cartoons, but this case actually stems from a series of nine tweets he wrote following the conviction of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges; Zunar accused the court of following the wishes of the prime minister. On Friday, Zunar’s lawyers (one of whom has also been charged with sedition) filed a petition with the high court saying that the lower court that was to hear the case had no authority to do so. The Malaysian Federal Court recently dismissed a challenge that made a similar argument; Zunar’s case is now scheduled to be heard on Dec. 8, with a decision expected a week later. [Index on Censorship]

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Comics A.M. | Sydney, Australia’s oldest comic store is closing

comic kingdom

Retailing | After nearly 30 years in business, Comic Kingdom — the oldest comic store in Sydney, Australia — will close its doors for good. Clayton Wildridge, who’s worked at the store for two decades and now manages it, points the finger at digital comics: “The culture has changed. It’s all internet and downloads now. The last thing I read said readership of comics was actually up, but purchases of hard copies were down. People download them instead and read them on the phone.” [The Daily Telegraph]

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Comics A.M. | Superman rights fight returns to Ninth Circuit

Superman

Superman

Legal | No, the lengthy battle over the rights to the Man of Steel still isn’t over. Attorneys for Warner Bros. and the family of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel on Tuesday were back before the Ninth Circuit to argue once again whether Siegel’s daughter Laura Siegel Larson was entitled to rescind a 2001 settlement agreement. The outlook doesn’t appear promising for the Siegel family. [Courthouse News Service, The Beat]

Political cartoons | The group Palestinian Media Watch has critiqued the cartoons of Palestinian political cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh as anti-Semitic, saying they dehumanize Jews and portray them as villains. Sabaaneh, who has done time in an Israeli prison, counters that he is simply reflecting the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his cartoons. [The Washington Post]

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Comics A.M. | Two ‘banned’ Judge Dredd strips to see print again

From the Judge Dredd "Burger Wars" episode

From the Judge Dredd “Burger Wars” episode

Legal | A Judge Dredd comic that makes fun of McDonald’s and Burger King is finally being reprinted in a collection, thanks to a change in the European Copyright Directive, which now allows creators to use copyrighted characters if the intent is clearly parody. In the “Burger Wars” story, first published in 1978, Judge Dredd is captured on a trip to the United States and force-fed fast food; the story includes images of Ronald McDonald and the McDonald’s logo. Another story, “Soul Food,” has a mad scientist creating versions of the Jolly Green Giant and the Michelin Man. Ben Smith of Rebellion Publishing says fans have been asking for years for these story to be reprinted in their collected editions, but they were held back for fear of legal action. When the law was changed, Smith said, they took another look: “It was like a light bulb went on. We thought: ‘Surely this means we can look at Burger Wars?’ We looked into it and here we are. This is straight-out pastiche, parody and arch satire. There didn’t seem any reason not to bring them to the public again.” [The Independent]

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Comics A.M. | Settlement may loom in ‘Comic Con’ dispute

Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International

Legal | Representatives of Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con are scheduled to meet Nov. 24 with a federal judge to discuss a possible resolution of their dispute over the term “Comic Con.” Comic-Con International sued the Utah event in 2014, insisting organizers were attempting to “confuse and deceive” fans and exhibitors with their use of the term “Comic Con.” The producers of Salt Lake Comic Con have called the lawsuit “frivolous,” arguing that Comic-Con International’s trademarks are invalid. Salt Lake Comic Con co-founder Bryan Brandenberg, who met this week with Comic-Con International organizers, said he’s confident a settlement would be “greats news for our fans,” but he declined to say whether the Utah event would keep its name. [KSL.com]

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Comics A.M. | Trial begins in 2014 ZombieWalk crash

ZombieWalk: San Diego 2014

ZombieWalk: San Diego 2014

Legal | The trial began Monday in San Diego for Matthew Pocci, the driver who plowed through a crowd of pedestrians, injuring one, last year at the annual ZombieWalk, held during Comic-Con International. He;s charged with felony reckless driving. Pocci, who’s deaf, said he was frightened by the crowd, but prosecutors say he was angry and impatient. New video shows the car moving through the crowd and running over one woman. [NBC San Diego]

Political cartoons | J.J. Sedelmaier shows off some political cartoons by Winsor McCay on the topic of Prohibition, taken from a compilation, Temperance—or Prohibition?, that Sedelmaier picked up in a used bookstore. [Paste]

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Comics A.M. | Cosplayers run afoul of UK gun laws at MCM Comic Con

MCM Comic Con

MCM Comic Con

Conventions | A number of cosplayers at London’s MCM Comic Con reportedly had to hand over their fake guns due to the United Kingdom’s strict laws, which ban private ownership of both real handguns and realistic fakes. Anyone toting a BB gun or a black plastic pistol without a bright red or orange cap on the end had to turn it over at the door, although many owners got them back. Other types of weapons are banned as well, although replicas are allowed, and attendees could buy real swords and knives at the show and have them delivered to their homes. [NBC News]

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Comics A.M. | BOOM! Studios explains production cutbacks

Filip Sablik

Filip Sablik

Publishing | Filip Sablik, BOOM! Studios’ president of publishing and marketing, describes the company’s announced cutback in the number of titles as a contrarian move: “All of the major mainstream comic publishers are pushing out more titles. Since February’s ComicsPro meeting, it’s something we’ve consistently heard from the front lines of the industry. So we decided to swim upstream a bit by trimming back our line and really focus, doubling down on our marketing and our positioning for each title, believing that a sniper-like approach would yield better profitability.” [ICv2]

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Police assure parents ‘Death Note’ doesn’t pose a threat

death note

Police and school officials in Nashua, New Hampshire, held a public forum Wednesday night to soothe concerns about a Death Note-inspired notebook discovered last week at a local high school.

The list, found Oct. 9 at Nashua High School North, reportedly contained the names of 17 students, along with a description of how and when they would die. In Death Note, Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata’s hit manga turned anime and live-action movie franchise, a high school student sets out to rid the world of evil using a supernatural notebook that kills anyone whose name is written in it.

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Comics A.M. | ‘Real Stuff’ writer Dennis Eichhorn passes away

Dennis Eichhorn (photo by  Matt Crowley)

Dennis Eichhorn (photo by Matt Crowley)

Passings | Underground comics writer Dennis Eichhorn passed away on Oct. 8 at age 70. He’s best known for his autobiographical comic series Real Stuff, which often involved tales of alcohol, sex and drugs. Published from 1990 to 1995 by Fantagraphics, the multiple Eisner-nominated Real Stuff was illustrated by the likes of Lynda Barry, Chester Brown, Peter Kuper, Joe Sacco, Roberta Gregory and Ed Brubaker. [The Stranger]

Legal | Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani, already serving a 12-year sentence for a cartoon depicting members of the Iranian parliament with animal heads, and under investigation for shaking hands with her male lawyer, had to endure yet another indignity in August: She was forced to undergo a “forced virginity and pregnancy test” as part of the investigation of the latter charge. “In doing so, the Iranian judicial authorities have truly reached an outrageous low, seeking to exploit the stigma attached to sexual and gender-based violence in order to intimidate, punish or harass her,” said Said Boumedouha of Amnesty International, which is calling for her release. [Amnesty International]

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New Hampshire high school shaken by ‘Death Note’ scare

death note

The discovery of a Death Note-inspired notebook at a New Hampshire high school has left parents rattled.

According to NH1, administrators at Nashua High School North met Tuesday with the parents of 17 students who were listed in the book, along with a description of how and when they would die.

“This book was found by a student with the ways, times and dates 17 students were going to die,” one unnamed parent said. “My daughter in particular was pretty horrific, disturbing and explicit.” School officials maintain that no one was ever in any danger.

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