A New Mexico school district has at least temporarily removed Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere from its lone high school following an objection to the fantasy novel’s “inappropriate” content.” The book has been part of the 10th-grade English curriculum in 2004.
The Alamogordo Daily News reports that Nancy Wilmott, whose daughter was reading the novel as part of an assignment, was offended by a four-paragraph passage on Page 86 that “graphically describes an adulterous sexual encounter between a married man and a single woman in which the F-word is used three times, along with a brief description of groping of one’s anatomy.”
“I trusted the school system. I trusted the school district to pick proper material, and this is not,” Wimott, who contacted school officials last week about the material, told KASA Channel 2. “I did state to the principal that this is rated-R material, and she can’t get into a rated-R movie.”
On Thursday, the school district ordered Neverwhere “temporarily removed from usage” until it can be reviewed.
Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. It’s only Monday, but our contributors have their eyes on Wednesday releases, ranging from John Wagner and Arthur Ranson’s Button Man: Get Harry Ex to a new jumping-on point for 2000AD to … well, it’s not exactly a comic book but it does involve two comics creators.
To see what we’re looking forward to this week, just keep reading.
Neil Gaiman will be in Portsmouth, England, on Sunday as the city renames a road after his new novel The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
The author’s first novel for adults since 2005′s Anansi Boys, the modern fairy tale follows an unnamed man who returns to his childhood hometown for a funeral only to be caught up in events that began 40 years earlier. The book was published in June.
Publishing | As the movie version of 2 Guns heads toward theaters this weekend, BOOM! Studios CEO Ross Richie talks about his company’s “creator share” model and his career in comics publishing, from Malibu Studios to Atomeka to BOOM!, which he co-founded on a suggestion from Keith Giffen, whom he describes as “the Aerosmith of comics”: “If Steven Tyler came up to you and said, ‘You really ought to produce albums,’ you probably would listen.” [The New York Times]
Legal | The prosecutor for Singapore’s Attorney-General’s Chambers has decided not to pursue sedition charges against cartoonist Leslie Chew, who was arrested in April on charges stemming from a cartoon at his Demon-Cratic Singapore Facebook page. Chew still faces charges of contempt of court for “scandalising the Judiciary of the Republic of Singapore.” That case will be heard on Aug. 12. [Straits Times]
Legal | Kevin Lim and Evaline Danubrata add some context to the story of Singaporean cartoonist Leslie Chew, who was charged Thursday with contempt of court for several cartoons critical of the Singapore courts that appeared on his Facebook page Demon-cratic Singapore. This isn’t the first time Chew has run afoul of authorities; he was charged with sedition earlier this year for alleging official discrimination against the Malay population. Singapore recently enacted a law requiring licenses for news sites that report regularly on the country, a move that critics of the ruling People’s Action Party see as an attempt to silence dissent. [Reuters]
Retailing | Comic-store owners in the Tampa Bay area agree that sales are up, but they differ on the reasons why. [The Tampa Tribune]
It appears 2013 is going to be another banner year for Neil Gaiman: He’s already following the release of a new novel with a highly anticipated return to The Sandman, and now comes word that he’s writing a video game.
In an interview with Mashable, the author reveals he’s working with the video game companies Odd Gentlemen and Moonshark on a multiplatform game titled Wayward Manor that centers on a haunted house. Set for release this fall, it follows a ghostly resident of the manor as he encounters the various owners and tenants of the house over a 200-year period. Sounds scary? Gaiman’s got more for you than just horror.
Neil Gaiman, Torchwood and Arrow star John Barrowman and Futurama voice actors Maurice LaMarche, Lauren Tom and David Herman will be among the presenters at the 25th annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards ceremony, held July 19 during Comic-Con International in San Diego.
They’ll be joined by talk-show host and comics writer Jonathan Ross, TV host Chris Hardwick, artist (and nominee) Becky Cloonan, writer/artist Bill Morrison, Hall of Fame cartoonist Sergio Aragonés and promised “special surprises.” This year’s title sponsor is Syfy.
Doors will open to the Hilton San Diego Bayfront’s Indigo Ballroom at 7:45 p.m., with the Eisner Awards ceremony beginning at 8 p.m. Advance seating will start at 7 p.m. for nominees, sponsors, presenters and attendees with pro badges. Everyone who attends the ceremony will receive a graphic novel from the Will Eisner Library, published by DC Comics.
In addition to the 30 Eisner categories, other presentations will include the Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award, the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailing Award and the Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Comic Book Writing.
The New York Times premiered a small image of the cover for The Sandman: Overture #1 in its article about concentrated efforts to rebuild Vertigo, but artist J.H. Williams III wasn’t happy with how dull it appeared on the newspaper’s website. And so, lucky for us, he’s revealed super-sized versions on his own blog, both with text and without.
Debuting Oct. 30, the bimonthly six-issue miniseries details the events that led Morpheus to be exhausted and so easily captured in 1989′s The Sandman #1. Boasting covers by Williams and original series cover artist Dave McKean, the title will alternate with The Sandman: Overture Special Edition, which includes Gaiman’s original scripts, Williams’ concept art and sketches, interviews with the creative team and more.
Sequart Research & Literacy Organization and Respect! Films, the folks behind the documentaries Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods and Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts, are next turning their camera on bestselling author and comics writer Neil Gaiman.
Directed by Patrick Meaney, the documentary is described as “an all-access look at the scribe’s illustrious, media-spanning career, from his first foray into published writing all the way up to the current signing tour for his new novel, The Ocean at the End of the Lane.” It will include footage from Gaiman’s lectures and readings, as well as from his performances with Amanda Palmer, and interviews with his fans, contemporaries and collaborators.
More details are expected to be revealed over the summer, with the documentary premiering in 2015. In the meantime you can check out the teaser trailer below.
Bestselling novelist and comics writer Neil Gaiman took over the Guardian Books site today — “Even as I write this the power is starting to go to my head,” he cautions in his introduction — and delivered precisely the kind of content you would expect: There’s a gallery of artwork by his longtime collaborator Dave McKean; Damian Walter’s Q&A with Harlan Ellison; an excerpt from Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane; an invitation for readers to write a story with the author (he provided the opening, “It wasn’t just the murder, he decided. Everything else seemed to have conspired to ruin his day as well. Even the cat.”); and a webchat.
If the recent New York Times profile of former Vertigo Executive Editor Karen Berger — to say nothing of industry sentiment — made it appear as if the position and prestige of the 20-year-old imprint have been greatly diminished under the restructured DC Entertainment, the company would like to assure you otherwise.
A new Associated Press article, which seems tailored in response to that May 29 piece, turns the spotlight away from Berger and on to her successor Shelly Bond, who has worked at the imprint since its launch in 1993.
The Times contends that Berger’s departure in March “raises questions about the future of Vertigo and where its renegade spirit fits into an industry and a company that seem increasingly focused on superhero characters who can be spun off into movies and TV shows.” However, Bond speaks in rosier terms about the direction of the imprint, which lost its last founding title — and longtime flagship — in February with the end of Hellblazer (which was resurrected in the DC Universe as Constantine).
“I am so ready to bring in some new blood and new bravado and just continue to show the masses that comics are the most essential part of pop culture,” she tells The AP.
I’ve often heard creators who’ve worked on the comic-book adventures of Doctor Who comment that current showrunner Steven Moffat is somewhat dismissive of the contributions comics have made to the character’s extended canon. That said, last Saturday’s episode featured the recurring series MacGuffin “the Eye of Harmony,” which has Alan Moore to thank for around 50 percent of its backstory.
In his first season in charge, Moffat inserted an episode based upon the Doctor Who Monthly strip “The Lodger” by Gareth Roberts, adapted by Roberts himself. His second season featured the Ray Bradbury and Hugo award-winning “The Doctor’s Wife” written by Neil Gaiman, who’s been known to write a comic or two in his time. He’s returned to the series this season to write “Nightmare in Silver.”
“The model for tomorrow, and this is the model I’ve been using with enormous enthusiasm since I started blogging back in 2001, is to try everything. Make mistakes. Surprise ourselves. Try anything else. Fail. Fail better. And succeed in ways we never would have imagined a year or a week ago.”
Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at the comics, books and whatever else we’ve been checking out lately. Today we are joined by guest Evan Young, an “influential pioneer” of digital literature and creator of the digital graphic novel The Carrier. He’s currently raising funds for his next project, The Last West, via Kickstarter, so head over there and check it out.
To see what Evan and the Robot 6 team have been reading, click below.
Comics sales | The bookstore chain Books-A-Million had an up year, and CEO Terrance G. Finley credited that in part to strong graphic novel sales, including The Walking Dead and kids’ graphic novels. [ICv2]
Digital comics | Wired runs down a handful of digital comics apps, noting both the pluses and the minuses of each one. [Wired]
Creators | Yehudi Mercado talks about his kid-friendly comic Pantalones, TX, which is filled with Saturday morning cartoon-style action, authority-questioning, and risky business: “I did purposefully envision Pantalones, TX as the anti-safety pad cartoon. I see my nieces and nephews growing up in a sheltered and sanitized environment, they don’t play outdoors at all. When I was a kid we shot fireworks at each other while playing in a bayou. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do, but there should be a balance.” [Wired]