Axel-In-Charge: "Secret Wars" Jam Session Talking "A-Force," "Ultimate End" and More
Passings | MAD Magazine writer Tom Koch passed away March 22 at age 89. He was a writer for the Bob and Ray radio comedy show in 1957, when MAD was trying to broaden its reach by featuring work by popular comedians. Koch adapted some routines he had written, and editor Al Feldstein realized his work was a good fit and asked him to to become a contribute. He wrote for the magazine for nearly four decades, contributing more than 300 pages, but he said he was proudest of a 1965 work, “43-man Squamish.” It’s still the magazine’s most requested reprint. [News from ME, MAD Magazine]
Graphic novels | ICv2 has the January graphic novel chart from Nielsen BookScan, which tracks sales in book channels. Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? tops the list, with the fourth volume of Saga coming in second, and the 22nd volume of The Walking Dead in third. The list is a bit different from previous months because the chart began including nonfiction graphic novels just last month, and going forward ICv2 will break the titles into three categories: superhero/genre, manga and “author” graphic novels. The retailer-oriented website throws in some interesting bits of analysis, including the fact that six of the Top 20 titles — including books No. 1 and 2 — had female creators or co-creators. [ICv2]
Awards | Longtime MAD Magazine cartoonist Mort Drucker has been named as the first recipient of the National Cartoonists Society’s Medal of Honor. [Comic Riffs]
As Comic Book Resources reported Monday, longtime Marvel colorist and Archie Comics artist Stan Goldberg passed away Sunday at age 82 following a recent stroke. The obituary recounts much of his lengthy and prolific career — it spanned six decades, from the Golden Age of comics to the birth of the Marvel Age to the wedding of Archie Andrews — so we won’t recount the details here.
Instead, we’ve rounded up statements about Goldberg, his impact and his influence, from Marvel, Archie Comics, the National Cartoonists Society and more:
“No less than Stan Lee, Jack Kirby or Steve Ditko, Stan Goldberg was one of the pioneers of the Marvel Age of Comics. As Marvel’s one-man coloring department, it was Stan G who determined that Iron Man would be red and gold, that the Thing would be orange, and that Spider-Man would be red and blue-black. He was also a talented cartoonist specializing in teen humor strips such as Millie the Model and Kathy the Teen-Age Tornado, which led him to become one of the mainstays of the Archie Comics line for decades. Stan was a gregarious and upbeat individual who was always a pleasure to work with.”
— Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s executive editor and senior vice president of publishing, in a statement to ROBOT 6
The Eisner Awards, arguably the most prestigious in the comics industry, will be presented July 25 during Comic-Con International. Among the assortment of awards given to artists, writers and colorists, there’s an odd little thing that’s a relative newcomer: the Best Digital Comic Award. Here’s the criteria: “The best digital comic category is open to any new, professionally produced long-form original comics work posted online in 2012.” They have to have a unique domain name, and they have to be “online-exclusive for a significant period” before being available in print.
Rather odd, considering that many of this year’s nominees barely qualify under those parameters. A “long-form comic” suggests an extended, dramatic story. The Oatmeal doesn’t really qualify (unless you consider the bid for a Tesla museum to be a real-life epic). High Crimes technically has a domain name, but it directs you to comiXology for digital download. It’s all part of the challenge in determining what, exactly, a “digital comic” is. Looking at previous nominees, there are several that don’t fit neatly within the rules.
Comic book awards. You can’t live with them, you can’t live without them. On the one hand, there are several challenges to clear. Who’s worthy of nomination? If it’s “Best Digital Comic,” what are you awarding it for — the way it takes advantage of its online environment, or the content? Generally, it’s the content, but if that’s the case, shouldn’t it be competing in the existing comic categories rather than be banished to the sidelines? (Several webcomics, including The Adventures of Superhero Girl, have been in contention in other categories … but only after their digital content has been converted in the traditional currency of ink and pressed wood pulp, as God intended.)
In addition, the NCS presented awards in 15 other categories during the ceremony in San Diego. Isabella Bannerman’s Six Chix was named best newspaper strip and Speed Bump by Dave Coverly won for best newspaper panels. Sergio Aragones Funnies, published by Bongo, won for best comic book, while The Fifth Beatle by Vivek J. Tiwary, Andrew C. Robinson and Kyle Baker won for best graphic novel. Jeff Smith’s Tuki won for long-form webcomic, while Ryan Pageow’s Buni took home the award for short-form webcomic.
You can find a list of the other award winners below.
The National Cartoonists Society has announced the divisional nominees for the 68th annual Reuben Awards. They join the finalists for the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year Award — Wiley Miller (Non Sequitur), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange) and Mark Tatulli (Heart of the City, Lio) — revealed in late February.
The winners will be announced May 24 at the annual NCS Reuben Awards dinner in San Diego.
Awards | Wiley Miller (Non Sequitur), Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine), Hilary Price (Rhymes With Orange) and Mark Tatulli (Heart of the City, Lio) has been nominated for the 2013 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. The winner will be announced May 24 during the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Awards dinner in San Diego. [National Cartoonists Society]
Political cartoons | Cartoonist Majida Shaheen refused an interview recently, saying she continues to feel “threats and pressure” over a cartoon she posted on her Facebook page depicting he military wing of Islamic Jihad as a dog. However, Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shehab says his organization isn’t behind them. “No one attacked her officially from the part of the movement. I followed up on the comments on Facebook, and these comments do not express our point of view. We consider her to be merely an unknown artist seeking fame,” he said, adding, “Every person has the right to express their convictions. Yet, we were upset with the indecent approach, which is not part of freedom of expression.” [Al Monitor]
“It’s very humbling to put your best effort into something for so many years, and not really know if it’s appreciated, and then to find out that people have been paying attention and following what you’ve been doing.”
— artist Russ Heath, famed for his work on such titles as G.I. Combat and Our Army at War, reacting to the news that he’ll be honored in May with the National Cartoonists Society’s Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award
The National Cartoonists Society will honor legendary comics artist Russ Heath with the Milton Caniff Lifetime Achievement Award on May 24 during the Reuben Awards banquet in San Diego.
Heath’s career has spanned from Timely’s Wild Western in the 1940s and DC’s Sea Devils in the 1960s to Marvel’s The Immortal Iron Fist in 2009 and Aardvark-Vanheim’s Glamourpuss in 2010. However, the 87-year-old artist is perhaps best known for his work on DC’s war titles like G.I. Combat, All American Men of War and Our Army at War — or for his detailed depictions of Roman and Revolutionary War battle scenes in ads for toy soldiers that appeared on the back of comic books throughout the 1970s.
Heath, who teamed with writer Cary Bates in 1981 to revive the syndicated Lone Ranger comic strip, was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2004.
Named for Terry and the Pirates creator, and NCS co-founder, Milton Caniff, the Lifetime Achievement Award is given by unanimous vote of the group’s board for “a lifetime of outstanding and accomplished work to a cartoonist who has not previously won the organization’s highest honor, the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year.”
Previous recipients include Will Eisner, Al Hirschfeld, Jack Davis, Dale Messick, Charles Schulz, Jerry Robinson and Joe Kubert.
(via The Comics Reporter)
Digital comics | It took three years for comiXology to reach 100 million downloads, but just one year for it to reach 200 million. Matthew Flamm profiles the company and its CEO, David Steinberger, who first saw a business opportunity in comics when he was trying to sell his collection and couldn’t find software to catalog it. The next big moment for comiXology is likely to come in October, when the fourth season of The Walking Dead premieres on television the same week the 10th-anniversary issue of the comic is released. Image Comics projects it will sell 300,000 print copies and another 45,000, or about 15 percent, as digital. [Crains New York]
Creators | Writer Mark Waid admits he didn’t think he’d be a good fit for Daredevil, because he doesn’t write in the darker style favored by his predecessors. “I’m better at swashbuckling adventure,” he says. “When I was asked to take that tack, I was in.” [Comic Riffs]
Conventions | More than 50,000 fans are expected this weekend at Montreal Comiccon, where comics guests include Adam Kubert, Andy Belanger, Becky Cloonan, Bob Layton, Chris Claremont, Dale Eaglesham, Dan Parent, David Finch, Karl Kerschl, Mike Grell and Rags Morales. Last year’s event drew 32,000, but organizers believe the inclusion of celebrity guests will attract significantly more attendees. [Montreal Gazette]
Creators | Artist, writer, and former carnival fire-eater Jim Steranko talks about his career in comics ahead of Nashville Comic Expo, where he will appear this weekend. He talks about learning to read — from comics — when he was a year and a half old, his many adventures outside of comics, and why he chose Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. when Stan Lee asked him which Marvel comic he would like to work on: “I could have nailed Spider-Man or Thor or the Fantastic Four, but that meant following Kirby. I might be crazy, but I wasn’t stupid. I pointed to Strange Tales and said I’d tackle the S.H.I.E.L.D. series, which was a Marvel embarrassment — the word ‘wretched’ comes to mind. I didn’t mention it to Stan, but I figured that on this strip, there was nowhere to go but up!” [Nashville Scene]
Baby Blues creator Rick Kirkman and Pickles creator Brian Crane shared the Reuben Award this year, which honors the outstanding cartoonist of the year. According to the Daily Cartoonist’s Alan Gardner, this is only the second time in the award’s history that two cartoonists have shared the award, the previous time being in 1968.
The National Cartoonist Society presented the Reuben and its divisional awards in Pittsburgh, Penn. last night. Other winners included Rich Webber, director of the Aardman segments that appear on Cartoon Network’s DC Nation, as well as Joann Sfar for the animated The Rabbi’s Cat, Chris Ware for Building Stories, Bernie Wrightson for Frankenstein Alive, Alive!, and Vince Dorse for the Untold Tales of Bigfoot webcomic.
The complete list of winners can be found below.
THE REUBEN AWARD for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year:
Rick Kirkman and Brian Crane
Rich Webber, Director, Aardman Animation Studios, DC Nation
Conventions | Stan Lee has canceled his appearance at Denver Comic Con, held May 31-June 2, citing a conflict with filming for a cameo in a Marvel movie. William Shatner has stepped in to take his place. Nonetheless, a reporter snagged a pre-convention interview with Lee, in which he talks about what makes a convention great and how comics help kids learn to read, and counters a common criticism: “Some people will say, ‘Why read a comic book? It stifles the imagination. If you read a novel you imagine what people are like. If you read a comic, it’s showing you.’ The only answer I can give is, ‘You can read a Shakespeare play, but does that mean you wouldn’t want to see it on the stage?'” [The Denver Post]
Charities | Matthew Price rounds up efforts by the comics community to help those in Oklahoma devastated by the tornadoes. [NewsOK.com]
Legal | Former comics retailer Michael George has lost his appeal for a new trial. He was convicted twice for the 1990 murder of his wife, first in 2008 and then in a 2011 retrial. George is serving life in prison without parole. [The Macomb Daily]
Creators | John Sutter profiles Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, whose hands were broken by government troops in an (unsuccessful) attempt to keep him from ever drawing again. [CNN]
Creators | Michael Diana, the first artist in the United States to be convicted of obscenity (for his comic Boiled Angel), returns to Miami after more than 20 years for a show of his work at the Miami Art Museum — which paid his remaining fines so he could enter the state without risk of arrest. [Miami New Times]
The National Cartoonists Society has announced the divisional nominees for the 67th annual Reuben Awards. They join the finalists for the Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year Award — Brian Crane (Pickles), Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues) and Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) — who were revealed last month.
The winners will be announced May 25 at the Reuben Awards dinner in Pittsburgh.