Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Conventions | ReedPOP Senior Vice President Lance Fensterman talks about how New York Comic Con reached 151,000 attendees this year, what went well, what could have gone better, and what he learned for next time. The new badges and check in/check out system, introduced last year, let producers know exactly how long people stayed at the show, and that turned into a nice surprise for two attendees: “There was a couple [last year] who literally spent every minute that was possible at New York Comic Con for three and a half days. We reached out to them and did something special for them—gave them a bunch of free stuff and free tickets because they were at the show longer than anyone who wasn’t paid to be at the show.” [ICv2]
Political cartoons | Egyptian cartoonists Mohamed Anwar and Andeel discuss the difficulty of critiquing Egyptian president Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who doesn’t tolerate dissent; Anwar is a cartoonist for a mainstream newspaper and pulls some punches as the tradeoff for reaching a wide audience, while Andeel has moved over to the alternative press, where he can speak more freely. [The Guardian]
Creators | Jim Toomey sets his comic strip Sherman’s Lagoon under the sea, and now he’s going to get a close-up look at underwater life: As the artist in residence on Alvin, a Navy deep-sea submersible vehicle, he will get an up-close look at undersea life in the Gulf of Mexico. “Only three people are able to go down on the sub at a time, so it’s a very coveted opportunity,” said Toomey, who will talk to his children’s class from aboard the submersible and has set the current Sherman’s Lagoon story in the Gulf so he can introduce the sea creatures he is seeing firsthand. [The Washington Post]
Before he became well known as the writer and illustrator of charming children’s books, Dr. Seuss (aka Theodor Seuss Geisel) had another gig: He drew political cartoons. In fact, in the run-up to World War II, Seuss drew some fairly pointed cartoons accusing those who wanted to stay out of the war of being manipulated by the Nazis.
Alas, one stash of these cartoons is being kept firmly out of the public eye, as reporter Bill Sloat reveals in a fine piece in the Cincinnati City Paper: The Cincinnati Art Museum has five of Seuss’ political cartoons, all drawn for the left-leaning newspaper PM between 1939 and 1941, but they aren’t on exhibit, and the museum has no plans to put them on public display:
Efforts that started back in 2010 to put Snoopy on license plates in California have hit a milestone — the special plates, featuring artwork by Charles Schulz, are now available for order. And once 7,500 have been ordered, the Department of Motor Vehicles will begin production.
The proceeds from the official Snoopy license plate will go toward a grant program administered by the California Cultural and Historical Endowment to support California’s museums. The plates cost $50 for for a sequential plate or $98 for a personalized plate, with a portion of the higher fee also supporting programs to protect California’s environment. If 7,500 plates aren’t ordered in the first year (Rats!), you’ll have the option to try again next year or have your money refunded.
If you live in California and want to help Snoopy hit the road, you can order your plate here.
While in Baltimore to attend Baltimore Comic-Con 2013, while I had some pre-con free time on Friday, I decided to visit the pop culture museum, Geppi’s Entertainment Museum. The museum, which is just down the street from the Baltimore Convention Center at Camden Station (across from Camden Yards), is owned by Diamond Comics Distributors President/CEO Steve Geppi. A majority of the museum’s holdings are from Geppi’s private collection.
In recognition of the con this weekend, admission is half off for all Baltimore Comic Con 2013 attendees on September 7-8, 2013. What follows is a series of photos I took while visiting. The collection is vast and varied–and my cell phone camera photos do not do the 16,000-square-foot pop culture museum justice.
Conventions | The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival has come to an end, after establishing itself in just four short years as one of the most loved indie-comics events. A message posted on the event’s blog under the headline “Thank You and Good Night” reads simply, “We have decided not to continue with BCGF. We had a great run and thank all of our colleagues for their support.” [The Beat]
Creators | Garry Trudeau talks about Doonesbury, supporting wounded warriors, and his Alpha House show in a video interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Creators | Michael Aushenker profiles Rutu Modan, whose The Property, a tale of a Jewish woman returning to Poland to reclaim an apartment lost during the Holocaust, debuted at Toronto Comic Arts Festival: “When I go to vote, I have to decide who is bad and who is a good guy, but when I write I can support the Poles and the Jews. I’m much more interested in the gray areas. They’re more closer to reality.” [The Jewish Journal of Los Angeles]
Awards | Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies have awarded the Cartoonist Studio Prize for Best Graphic Novel of 2012 to Chris Ware for Building Stories, and the prize for Best Web Comic to Noelle Stevenson for Nimona. Each winner receives $1,000. [Salon.com]
Comics | Tom Spurgeon talks at length to Gary Groth, co-founder of Fantagraphics and editor-in-chief of The Comics Journal, about the prospects for young creators today versus years ago, changes at The Comics Journal, and Groth’s own interview with Maurice Sendak, which runs in the latest issue of TCJ. [The Comics Reporter]
Museums | So what is the deal with the move of the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art to the Society of Illustrators? They are being “transferred and acquired,” says MoCCA President Ellen Abramowitz, although the headline on this article says “rescued.” “After the transition, the Society of Illustrators will go on to be the sole overseer and manager of the holdings. ‘It’s in excellent hands,’ said Ms. Abramowitz.” [The Wall Street Journal]
Passings | Steve Roper and Mike Nomad artist Fran Matera has died at the age of 88. Matera, who worked briefly in the Quality Comics bullpen, where he worked on Doll Man and other titles, before enlisting in the Marines during World War II, also drew such comic strips as Dickie Dare, The Legend of Bruce Lee and Nero Wolfe. His comic credits also include the “Chuck White and Friends” feature in Treasure Chest, and issues of Marvel’s Incredible Hulk and Tarzan. [Rip Jagger’s Dojo]
Publishing | Dark Horse manga editor Carl Gustav Horn takes the long view and refuses to give pat answers to questions about trends and hot properties: “This August, the longest-running manga in the North American market, Kosuke Fujishima’s Oh My Goddess!, turns eighteen. We started OMG! during the era of manga marketed as comic books, continued it into the era of manga marketed as graphic novels, and transitioned into the era of manga marketed as tankobon (Japanese-style GNs). Now we’re moving ahead into the era of manga marketed for e-reading.” [ICv2]
Conventions | Executive director Warren Bernard said attendance at this year’s Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, was up 10 to 15 percent, with exhibitors reporting strong sales and many sell-outs. “A great line-up of new material was partially responsible, but the region itself is also a factor — the economy around metro DC has remained relatively stable even in the recession, and a lot of people with good jobs seem to save up their money for the whole year just to spend at SPX,” reported Publishers Weekly’s Heidi MacDonald and Calvin Reid. Because of the growth, next year the show will move to a bigger room with about 50 percent more space. Daniel Clowes and Chris Ware scheduled to attend. [Publishers Weekly]
Organizations | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, meanwhile, reports that it raised $12,500 at SPX, thanks to efforts like the Jeff Alexander Memorial Benefit auction and fundraising activities involving Craig Thompson, Roz Chast and Sara Varon. [press release]
To highlight the New Chicago Comics exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Art, NBC Chicago ran the above segment, which features creators Jeffrey Brown and Paul Hornschemeier talking about their work. The exhibit features their work, as well as that of Lilli Carré and Anders Nilsen.
Legal | A former middle-school teacher in Idaho has pleaded guilty to possession of obscene visual depictions of the sexual abuse of children for downloading 70 cartoon images of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct. Many of the images depicted characters from The Simpsons. Boise resident Steve Kutzner, 33, faces up to 10 years in federal prison, supervised release of up to three years, a maximum fine of $250,000 and … a special assessment of $100. Sentencing is set for Jan. 5. [Idaho Statesman, press release]
New York Comic Con | Tom Spurgeon settles in for a lengthy, bulleted look at the news and announcements from last weekend’s big convention. Gareth-Michael Skarka, meanwhile, offers commentary on the digital-comics arena. [The Comics Reporter, The Designer Monologues]
New York Comic Con | Ruth La Ferla uses the convention as a chance to look at the intersection of comic books and fashion, spotlighting both cosplayers and noted designers. [The New York Times]
Imagine your elementary school, if your elementary school was filled with comics.
Filled with them, from floor to ceiling, all in alphabetic order, to simply remove from the shelves and read to your heart’s content. Books all the way back from the 1940’s, comics you can only see in reprints or expensive collections, and no one scolds you for daring to get your fingers on something expensive or for reading for too long. Some magical school where you can read comics from 10am until 6pm (admissions close at 5:30).
I have seen the future and, unsurprisingly, it’s in Japan. My tens of readers (Hi Mom!) might have noticed a short absence from my musing duties here at The Fifth Color, and I am proud to report to you that I took a short trip to the Land of the Rising Sun, mostly to get rid of some of that fat Comic Shop Employee cash you just get laying about from selling comics all day. Secondly, to enjoy the adventure of traveling somewhere that wasn’t the San Diego Comic Con, to live where hot dogs are for breakfast and waffles are a dinner dessert. To see the great green expanses, to marvel at historical landmarks and to fly at 150mph on a bullet train. To have a public toilet entertain me with music.
When the Kyoto International Manga Museum was but a short walk from my hotel, there was no way I could resist.
Conventions | Wizard World Chicago Comic Con drew a lot of attention from mainstream media for the appearance on Saturday of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who charged $80 for photos and $50 for autographs (more than Star Trek: Deep Space Nine star Avery Brooks, the Chicago Sun-Times points out, but less than William Shatner). Blagojevich, who was convicted last week of lying to the FBI, told Fox News he didn’t receive an appearance fee, and that the event wasn’t all that lucrative for him: “I didn’t really get any money from any of the photos I took, because I took probably hundreds of them and couldn’t bother to ask anybody for any money for that. Those were free. I did sign some signatures. I was there because I was invited at the last minute by the promoters, and it was an opportunity to get out there among the people.”
For non-Blagojevich convention news, turn to Maggie Thompson, who posted daily coverage (noting the event was well-attended, with a lot of first-time attendees), and Rich Johnston, who rolled out video after video. Time Out Chicago has a report from the floor, as well as photo galleries from Friday and Saturday. [Wizard World Chicago Comic Con]
The California Association of Museums has launched a campaign to have a Snoopy drawing by Charles Schulz appear on a special California license plate. Proceeds from sales of the plates would establish a sustainable grant program to support state museums.
But for that to happen, at least 7,500 California drivers have to register interest in a Snoopy plate. Once there are enough interested Peanuts fans, the state will begin collecting a $50 fee from those who want the plate (more if you want it personalized). Curiously, The Snoopy Plate website doesn’t seem to list a deadline for registration.
The Snoopy plate is being made possible by Jean Schulz, the Charles M. Schulz Creative Associates and United Media Licensing, who are granting royalty-free rights to the California Association of Museums.