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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.
Graphic novels | BookScan’s January list of the Top 20 graphic novels sold in bookstores shows a bit more variety than the previous month, in which 10 of the slots were taken by volumes of The Walking Dead. This time it’s just
six, with Building Stories, Saga, and the latest volumes of Sailor Moon and Fables cracking the Top 10. An adaptation of the Book of Revelation from evangelical publisher Zondervan was No. 9, followed by perennial bestseller Watchmen. (Note: The original version erroneously reported the number of Walking Dead titles in the Top 20.) [ICv2]
Creators | Paul Pope talks about his graphic novel Battling Boy, due out this summer, as well as the prequel comic The Death of Haggard West, which will released in in July. [Kotaku]
Awards | Brian Crane (Pickles), Rick Kirkman (Baby Blues) and Stephan Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) have been nominated for the 2012 Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year, presented by the National Cartoonists Society. [National Cartoonists Society]
Awards | Nominations are being sought for the Russ Manning Most Promising Newcomer Award, which will be presented July 19 at Comic-Con International during the Eisner Awards ceremony. The deadline is April 5. [Comic-Con International]
Awards | The National Cartoonists Society initiated a webcomics award last year, and this year the organization is splitting it in two, one for short-form works and one for long-form. The challenge with including webcomics, says NCS President Tom Richardson, is that to be eligible, creators must make the majority of their money from cartooning. “That isn’t an easy thing to quantify anymore. With online comics, we need to take into account site traffic, professionalism in consistent and regular publication, online community activity and other factors that are the hallmark of professional online work,” he says. “In some cases, it’s pretty obvious the creator is making a career out of cartooning. In some, it’s not so obvious.” [Comic Riffs]
Tom Richmond, J.H. Williams III, Ben Katchor and Jon Rosenberg were among the winners of the 2012 National Cartoonists Society Divisional Awards, which were presented last night in Las Vegas, Nev.
Richmond, a cartoonist known for his work on MAD Magazine, won the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year. Williams’ work on Batwoman was honored in the comic category, while Katchor won the graphic novel category for The Cardboard Valise. Rosenberg won the online comic strip category for his webcomic Scenes from a Multiverse.
You can find a complete list of all the winners after the jump.
The National Cartoonists Society has announced the nominees for its 2012 NCS Divisional Awards, which will be presented May 26 during the 66th annual NCS Reuben Awards in Las Vegas.
• Ben Bocquelet and Antoine Perez, production design on The Wonderful World of Gumball (Cartoon Network)
• Penn Ward, character design on Adventure Time (Cartoon Network)
• Erik Wiese, production design on The Mighty B (Nickelodeon)
• Mark McCreery, character design: Rango
• Carlos Saldanha, director: Rio
• Jennifer Yuh-Nelson, director: Kung Fu Panda: The Kaboom of Doom
Legal | A teenager was sentenced Monday to seven years in prison for his role in the July 2010 theft of a valuable comic collection from an elderly Medina, New York, man, who later died of a heart attack. Eighteen-year-old Juan C. Javier, who pleaded guilty last fall to attempted second-degree burglary, is one of seven people whom police say were hired by businessman Rico J. Vendetti to break into the home of Homer Marciniak to steal his comics. Marciniak, 77, awoke during the burglary and was beaten, suffering only cuts and bruises. However, he had a fatal heart attack later that day. Eight people, including Vendetti and Javier, were indicted in November 2010; the indictments were dismissed against four of the accused so the U.S. Attorney could charge them with murder under federal law. [The Daily News]
Creators | Dan Parent discusses an upcoming Archie storyline that will bring Valerie Brown from Josie and the Pussycats to Riverdale, causing sparks to once again fly: “The fans can expect the next step in what I think is the most romantic story in Archie history. The chemistry between Archie and Valerie was hot the first time they got together, and now you’ve really got to see it simmer, all the way from the rekindling of their romance to getting much more serious than we’ve seen before.” [USA Today]
Editorial cartoons | Cartoonist Jeff Stahler has resigned from The Columbus Dispatch following accusations that he lifted ideas from other cartoons, including one that ran in The New Yorker. [Poynter]
In 2008, 12 families set out to accomplish a monumental task: To read all of R.C. Harvey’s biography of Milton Caniff. “What no one knew at the time,” the narrator intones, as a fiddler keens behind him, “is that it was over 900 pages long.” Tom Gammill’s five-minute parody film The Donner Book Party juxtaposes wistful, old-timey music with sepia-toned photos of funny-looking Victorian people as it tells the story of the families’ struggles—the readers’ dismay at the world’s longest sentence, the ill-fated advance party sent ahead to edit the book, the scout who warned some of them off, suggesting they read Milt Caniff: Rembrandt of the Comic Strip, or maybe a book about budgies, instead. There’s even a bit of a twist at the end. The video was presented at the Reuben Awards ceremonies as a preview of an upcoming Ken Burns history of the comic strip, and Mike Lynch says he was actually fooled for the first few seconds.
It’s not exactly pirates vs. ninjas, but there has been, shall we say, some ill feeling between webcomics creators and the National Cartoonists Society over the years. But there comes a time to put away childish things, including feuds, and this year the NCS actually invited three webcomics creators—Kate Beaton, Randall Munroe, and Dave Kellett—to present a panel at their annual meeting, which was held this past weekend in Boston. Naturally, Kellett worked this event, along with some of the high points of the evening, into his daily webcomic, Sheldon.
The big news of the evening was that Richard Thompson won the award for outstanding cartoonist of the year, an honor that anyone who reads Cul de Sac can tell you was well deserved. The award for best newspaper strip went to Jeff Parker and Steve Kelley’s Dustin, Jill Thompson won the Best Comic Book Award for Beast of Burden, and Joyce Farmer took Best Graphic Novel honors for Special Exits.
Legal | A Rochester, N.Y., businessman and the three men he allegedly hired to steal $40,000 worth of comics have been indicted on federal murder charges in connection with the death last summer of an elderly collector.
Authorities allege that Rico Vendetti hired Rochester residents Arlene Combs, Albert Parsons and Donald Griffin to break into the rural Medina home of Homer Marciniak, a 77-year-old retired janitor, on July 5 to steal his comic collection, described as “his pride and joy.” Police say the burglars entered the house in the pre-dawn hours after cutting the telephone line. When Marciniak awoke and surprised them, he was allegedly beaten and knocked to the floor. Although his injuries weren’t life-threatening, Marciniak died of a heart attack later that day. The four defendants face mandatory terms of life in prison if convicted. [The Buffalo News]