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The president of last year’s festival, and the winner of the previous year’s Grand Prix d’Angoulême, was Willem, a staff cartoonist at Charlie Hebdo. He didn’t like to attend staff meetings, so he wasn’t in the office on Jan. 7 when two gunmen killed 12 people, including another Grand Prix winner, Wolinski.
“The 2015 festival will be a time to remember but we also want to demonstrate that life goes on,” said festival director Franck Bondoux. The commemorations include a special exhibit on Charlie Hebdo, a virtual album with contributions by artists from around the world, and a new award, the Charlie Prize, which will be awarded posthumously to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists this year, and in future years will recognize creators who have fought for freedom of expression. The town of Angoulême will also festooned with posters of Charlie Hebdo covers.
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
Drawn and Quarterly is celebrating the 100th anniversary of Tove Jansson’s birth with Moomin: The Deluxe Anniversary Edition, a beautiful, slipcased book that collects all the Moomin comics drawn by Jansson in a single oversized volume.
The Moomin comics were sort of hiding in plain sight: Jansson’s fanciful, hippo-like creatures appeared in children’s books (originally published in Swedish and quickly translated into English) and an animated television series, but for some reason the comics, which were originally published in English in The London Evening News, were not only out of print but rare. In the introduction to this book, Drawn and Quarterly creative director Tom Devlin tells of how he discovered the comics: Dylan Horrocks gave him a photocopy of the first English collection, which Horrocks in turn had gotten from critic Paul Gravett. There’s an almost mythical aspect to that story, and it makes a fine introduction to the comics.
Conventions | The inaugural Indiana Comic Con, held over the weekend at the Indianapolis Convention Center, attracted nearly 15,000 attendees, and it sold out on Saturday. Guests included comics creators Joe Eisma, Steve Englehart, Geof Isherwood, Joelle Jones, Don Kramer, Cary Nord and George Perez, and actors Evan Peters, Caity Lotz, Maisie Williams and Daniel Cudmore. [WRTV]
Comics sales | Comics sales in the direct market were down in February for the second time in two months, according to Diamond Comic Distributors. John Jackson Miller runs the numbers: Sales of comics and graphic novels combined are down 10.39 percent from February 2013 in terms of dollars, 14.77 percent in units. Because January sales were also anemic, year-to-date sales are down as well. Still, Miller notes, total dollars are up 3 percent from February 2012. February is traditionally a low month for comic sales, and the number of releases is the lowest in months, with just 692 new products (comics, graphic novels and magazines) being shipped last month. [Comichron]
Legal | Eriq Gardner delves into the issues underlying the continuing legal battle over unauthorized replicas of the Batmobile from the 1966 Batman television series and the 1989 film: This summer the Ninth Circuit will consider the appeal of Gotham Garage owner Mark Towle, whose Batmobile replicas were found in February 2013 to violate DC Comics’ copyrights and trademarks. While Towle argues that Batman’s ride is a “useful article,” meaning a utilitarian object not protected by U.S. copyright law, a federal judge ruled the Batmobile is “a copyrightable character.” Gardner notes that if the appeals court sides with DC/Warner Bros., “Hollywood studios would win a powerful weapon to stop products that are similar to props like light sabers and ruby slippers.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
“They’re traditional Finnish recipes – it’s an introduction to Finnish cuisine,” said editor Emma Hayley at independent publisher SelfMadeHero. “There’s drinks, salads, desserts, breakfast at the end of a Nordic summer night – it’s great fun, with dialogue and Moominisms interspersed throughout the recipes.” Other recipes will include the Snufkin’s picnic pot, the Lighthouse Keeper’s fish pie and potato au gratin for hungry Moomins.
The cookbook has already been published in Finnish, Swedish and French, where it is doing well, Hayley said. Jansson’s writings have recently undergone a revival in the UK, with her adult novels The Summer Book, The Winter Book, Fair Play and The True Deceiver all reissued in the last 10 years.
Jansson is beloved throughout Europe (and other places as well) for her Moomin series of books, comics and other printed matter, about an unflappable, gentle hippo-shaped family that frequently find themselves engaged in some rather bizarre adventures. Drawn and Quarterly has been publishing Jansson’s Moomin comic strips in some rather handsome hardbacks, and the fifth volume is due to come out later this year.
This is the most wonderful thing I’ve seen in … well, a few days: Andres Vazquez points to the portfolio of Russian interior and industrial designer Maria Yasko, who created amazing rooms for a “family entertainment center” inspired by Tove Jansson’s Moomin books.
I’m not sure what the “family entertainment center” is, exactly, but above is the children’s play room. After the break, you can see the cafeteria. For more images, and the Jansson illustrations that inspired them, check out Yasko’s portfolio.