Creators | Cartoonist Stacy Curtis talks about inking Cul de Sac for creator Richard Thompson, who announced last week he’s ending the celebrated comic strip because Parkinson’s disease has left him unable to maintain the schedule: “I never felt inking Cul de Sac for Richard worked. It was like going into a theater to see Jerry Seinfeld do stand-up and watching Steve Martin deliver his lines. And that’s what it felt like. Every time I sat down at my drawing table to ink Cul de Sac, I could hear a narrator’s voice say, ‘For tonight’s performance, the part of Richard Thompson will be played by his understudy, Stacy Curtis.’” The final strip will appear Sept. 23. [Stacy Curtis]
Graphic novels | Andrews McMeel Publishing, which has focused on comic strips and comic strip compilations up to now, has announced its first original graphic novel series: The Chronicles of Desmond, by Mark Tatulli, creator of Lio and Heart of the City. The books will be published in October 2013 under Andrews McMeel’s new AMP! imprint and will be aimed at middle-grade readers. [Publishers Weekly]
Legal | Human Rights Watch reports on the lawsuit filed by Malaysian cartoonist Zunar after he was arrested and his books seized by authorities. The court ruled that while the arrest, on grounds of sedition and publishing without a license, was lawful, the government’s continued possession of his materials was not. Zunar was never formally charged — a judge threw the arrest out after authorities could not point to any actual seditious material in his book, Cartoon-O-Rama — and therefore, the court ruled, the government had no right to continue to hold the books and must return them and pay him damages to boot. [Human Rights Watch, via The Daily Cartoonist]
Legal | Rich Johnston reports that copies of Howard Chaykin’s super-erotic Black Kiss 2 have been held at the border by U.K. customs. Diamond Comic Distributors is in talks with customs officials and hopes to get the books into the country next week. [Bleeding Cool]
As Kevin reported back in March, Andrews McMeel — the company that publishes the collections of popular newspaper comic strips like The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes, Cul de Sac, Baby Blues, Get Fuzzy, Dilbert, and Pearls Before Swine – also has new editions coming for Fox Trot, Lio, and Big Nate that are specially tailored to appeal to children. To do that, the publisher has created a new imprint: AMP!
Building on that previous announcement, AMP! has now revealed the official titles of those books and released the cover art. The books, they say, “are designed to bridge the gap between today’s mostly older-skewing comic book content and the demand from kids for comic books that are age appropriate. A boy genius, bickering siblings, and a comic book reading scientist – along with zombie bunnies, a robot maid, and a mischievous iguana – will have kids anticipating new offerings from AMP! season after season.”
It’s a cool idea, because while I don’t know that I’d keep my child away from any of the normal collections of those strips, certainly not every storyline of Foxtrot is going to appeal to him as much as the ones focusing on Jason and Quincy the iguana. Collecting just the strips that kids will most appreciate is pretty great.
The line launches next month with Lincoln Peirce’s Big Nate Makes the Grade and continues in October with another Big Nate collection (all color, Sunday strips) as well as Bill Amend’s AAAA! A Foxtrot Assortment for Young Readers and Mark Tatulli’s Lio: There’s a Monster in My Socks. There are already plans for Pearls Before Swine and other series to follow.
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a splurge item.
If I had $15, I’d grab the latest Lio collection, Zombies Need Love Too. Cartoonist Mark Tatulli has one of the better newspaper comic strips going these days.
If I had $30, I’d nab what is clearly the book of the week, NonNonBa, the latest book from Shigeru Mizuki, author of Onward Toward Our Noble Deaths. NonNonBa aims more toward Mizuki’s traditional milieu of Japanese folklore and yokai monsters, though this book is more autobiographical in nature in that it deals with his relationship with his grandmother and how she instilled in him an interest in the spirit world. I’ve been anxiously awaiting this release.
My splurge for the week would likely be one of two books from First Second: Either Baby’s in Black, Arne Bellstorf’s fictionalized tale of the sadly doomed Beatle, Stuart Sutcliffe, or Mastering Comics, Jessica Abel and Matt Madden’s follow-up to their previous how-to textbook, Drawing Words, Writing Pictures.