"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Film, Comic Books
Conventions | Denver Comic Con kicks off today, with organizers expected a weekend attendance of 100,000 — a big jump from the 20,000 who turned out in 2012 for the first convention. This year’s event will also see tighter security measures, which will include the confiscation of prop weapons deemed potentially dangerous. “While we can’t discuss details, we look at different threats going on around us and we have made adjustments accordingly,” said organizer Tara Hubner, “and we will have a robust security presence on site.” [KDVR, CBS Denver]
— Living France mag (@LivingFrance) May 24, 2016
Comics | The world’s longest comic—in terms of linear feet, not number of pages—was unveiled last week in Lyon, France, just ahead of that city’s comics festival. The comic, a time-travel story that depicts life in Lyon and Barcelona through the ages was drawn by the French artist Jibé in a normal format, then blown up and assembled panel by panel in a tunnel. The finished work is 1,625 meters long, beating the current record of 1,200 held by an American effort. [Forbidden Planet]
Legal | The prosecution says it will reduce the charges against Jonathon M. Wall, who allegedly posed as a federal agent to get into a VIP room at Salt Lake Comic Con, from a felony to a misdemeanor. Wall, who works at Hill Air Force Base, showed his ID card and said he was an Air Force special agent in pursuit of a fugitive. A retired police officer who was working as a security guard nearby got suspicious and called the real Air Force special agents. Wall pleaded guilty in April to a felony charge of impersonating a federal officer but the judge in the case rejected his plea, saying she was concerned he did not understand the consequences of having a federal felony on his record. [Deseret News]
Crime | Screenwriter and graphic novelist Blake Leibel has been arrested on charges of torturing and murdering his girlfriend Iana Kasian, who recently gave birth to their child. Leibel, the 35-year-old son of a wealthy Toronto family, is the co-creator of the graphic novel Syndrome, published in 2010 by Archaia, which he described at the time as “a lengthy graphic novel that grappled with the questions surrounding what provokes a person to commit evil acts.” The press was quick to pick up on several aspects of the murder that mirrored the graphic novel: among them, that he allegedly drained Kasian’s blood, as a character does to several victims in Syndrome. Leibel has pleaded not guilty to the charges. [The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times]
Passings | Mell Lazarus, creator of the comic strip Momma, died Tuesday at age 89. Lazarus grew up in Brooklyn, New York, and started his career as a professional cartoonist while still in his teens. He worked for Li’l Abner creator Al Capp and also for Toby Press, which was managed by Capp’s brother, and he later turned his experiences in book publishing into a novel, The Boss Is Crazy, Too. He launched Miss Peach in 1957, and it ran till 2002; he started Momma in 1970 and it is still running, although with different creators. At Comic Riffs, Michael Cavna rounds up tributes from Lazarus’s colleagues in the biz and notes that he was an early supporter of creators’ rights. [News From ME]
Legal | Crime comics, including most superhero titles, are illegal in Canada, thanks to a seldom-enforced 1940s-era law that’s still on the books. The law, which was enacted during one of the early waves of anti-comics hysteria, bans the publishing, sale or possession with intent to sell of any comic that depicts a crime. Elton Hobson tells the whole tale, which starts with a murder and ends with a shrug from a retailer who’s confident she won’t be clapped in irons for selling Spider-Man comics. [Global News]
Mariko and Jillian Tamaki’s award-winning graphic novel This One Summer has been removed from the library of the public school in Henning, Minnesota, which serves grades kindergarten through 12, on the basis of a single complaint.
The American Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Blog reported on the incident, which, ironically, might never have occurred if the book hadn’t won so many awards and garnered such good reviews:
Awards | Nick Sousanis’ Unflattening is the winner of the 2016 Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novel of the Year. Two graphic novels were named honor books: Lucy Knisley’s memoir Displacement and Kathryn and Stuart Immonen’s Russian Olive to Red King. The award is named for Lynd Ward, who published six wordless graphic novels between 1929 and 1937, all based on woodcuts. Ward’s daughters donated a collection of his original art to Penn State, which sponsors the award. [Penn State News]
This One Summer, the award-winning graphic novel by cousins Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki, has been removed from elementary school libraries in two Florida school districts. One district is also pulling the book from high school libraries.
The action followed a complaint from Melissa Allison, the mother of a third-grader who checked the book out of the library at Sabal Point Elementary School in Longwood, Florida. “How do you explain to a 9-year-old the graphic things that were in this book?” Allison said.
The main character of This One Summer, Rose, is on the brink of adolescence but not quite there yet. She and her family are spending their summer vacation at a lake house, where Rose is fascinated by the lives of the local teens (one of whom is pregnant). At the same time, she’s dealing with tensions within her own family and with her younger friend Windy. The book includes some crude language and blunt talk about sex. Publisher First Second gives This One Summer an age rating of 12-18 years on its website, and a number of library review sites give it 12+ and 13+ ratings.
Legal | Two Iowa men suspected of plotting an armed attack in August against the Pokemon World Championships will stand trial on May 9 in Boston. A pretrial hearing is set for Dec. 30. Kevin Norton, 18, and James Stumbo, 27, have been held since their Aug. 22 arrest on charges of possession of a large-capacity weapon and other crimes. Prosecutors say the two, who allegedly made multiple online threats against the event, drove to Boston with guns and hundreds of rounds of ammunition in their car. [Ames Tribune]
Retailing | The Philadelphia comics and art shop Locust Moon is closing its doors as a retailer so that co-owner Joshua O’Neill can focus on a different area of the business: publishing. “[A]s publishers, we’re just getting started,” O’Neill posted on his Facebook page. “[W]e’ll now be able to focus our attentions on making books full time. we’re incredibly excited about that. locust moon is not dying — it’s still just being born.” Locust Moon has already published an Eisner Award-winning anthology of Little Nemo comics, and is running a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of some very early “lost” Will Eisner comics. [PhillyVoice]
Conventions | After a profitable 2014, Wizard World Inc. is reporting a $1.8 million loss in the second quarter of 2015 (in contrast to a $760,000 profit during the same period last year), owing much to the rapid increase in the number of conventions it’s producing. However, as ICv2.com notes, the company is also seeing a drop in revenue per show. Wizard World also reports that its inaugural convention in China, held May 30-June 1, “was not as successful as we anticipated.” [ICv2]
Political cartoons | The Association of American Editorial Cartoonists is calling for an independent review of the audio tape provided by the LAPD to the Los Angeles Times to refute Ted Rall’s claim he was treated roughly by an officer when he was stopped for jaywalking. “Determining the truth in this matter is important to Mr. Rall’s personal and professional reputation, and to the rights of journalists to freely express themselves,” the statement said, adding that the newspaper “should have demanded a higher standard of proof in this matter.”
The comics publisher Last Gasp has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the publication of a new edition of the manga Barefoot Gen for distribution to libraries, schools and individual readers.
Barefoot Gen is a partially fictionalized account of creator Keiji Nakazawa’s experiences during the bombing of Hiroshima and its aftermath. Nakazawa, who was six years old at the time, was walking to school when the bomb was dropped. The woman who was walking with him was killed instantly, and his father, brother and sister died when their burning house collapsed on them — in front of his mother, who managed to escape; she gave birth that day to a baby who died a few days later.
Creators | Political cartoonist Ted Rall talks to the local news about his firing by the Los Angeles Times, which concluded a post he wrote in May for its OpinionLA blog about being stopped by police in 2001 for jaywalking contained “inconsistencies.” Rall, who worked for the Times on a freelance basis, insists the audiotape of the incident provided to the newspaper by the Los Angeles Police Department doesn’t contradict his statements about being treated rudely and handcuffed. “I would do it all over the same way today,” Rall told CBS Los Angeles. “I’m disgusted that the Times took the LAPD’s word, based on nothing.” [CBS Los Angeles]
Creators | Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto isn’t getting the break he was looking forward to, although he was finally able to take his honeymoon, more than 10 years after his wedding. At a preview of Boruto: The Naruto Movie, he talked about moving from the hit manga, which ended its 15-year run last fall, to working on the movie: “I had thought that I could finally rest when I finished the manga series, but I couldn’t rest …” His own son is the same age as Boruto, the protagonist of the new movie (and Naruto’s son). And when asked about a sequel, he said, “I can’t. Please let me rest now,” adding that he thought Boruto was “perfect.” The movie will open on Aug. 7 in Japan and Oct. 10 in the United States. [Anime News Network]