Comics strips | Matt Saracini looks at the impact on Australian cartoonists of a cost-cutting decision by media giant News Corp. Australia to replace individual comics pages in their largest newspapers with one national page. In the process, some more expensive locally produced strips were jettisoned in favor for cheaper syndicated ones from overseas, like Garfield and The Phantom. News Corp. owns more than a hundred daily, weekly, biweekly and triweekly newspapers. [SBS.com]
Creators | Syrian cartoonist Ali Ferzat, now living in Kuwait after troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad attacked him and broke both his hands, talks about his decision to portray al-Assad explicitly in his cartoons, rather than sticking to more generic themes like freedom and human rights: “It was a big decision to start to draw Bashar and, yes, I was scared of what might happen, particularly when I was attacked. But I had a responsibility to do what I did. If I am not prepared to take risks I have no right to call myself an artist. If there is no mission or message to my work I might as well be a painter and decorator.” [The Guardian]
Conventions | Kandrix Foong, founder of Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, cautions latecomers that all 56,000 tickets for this weekend’s event are sold out. “We tell everybody now: ‘There are no on-site ticket sales,’” he said. “So they say: ‘OK, I’ll just try my luck when I get there.’ ‘No, no, no, you don’t understand. There are no on-site ticket sales. The end. If you show up you will be turned away. Sorry, but that’s the way it’s going to be.’” [Calgary Herald]
Conventions | Wizard World has released its annual report for 2012, and while its convention business was way up, from $3.8 million to $6.7 million, the company still finished the year with a net loss of $1 million. [The Beat]
Legal | The lawyer for Jack Kirby’s heirs asked the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday to overturn a 2011 ruling that Marvel owns the copyrights to the characters the late artist co-created for the publisher, arguing that a federal judge misinterpreted the law. Attorney Marc Toberoff, who also represents the heirs of Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster in their fight against DC Comics, told a three-judge panel that a freelancer who gets paid only when a publisher likes his work is not, under copyright law, performing work for hire. Marvel countered that Stan Lee’s testimony established Kirby drew the contested works at the publisher’s behest; the Kirby family insists the lower court gave too much credence to Lee’s testimony. Kirby’s children filed 45 notices in 2009 in a bid to terminate their father’s assignment of copyright to characters ranging from the Fantastic Four and the Avengers to Thor and Iron Man under a provision of the 1976 U.S. Copyright Act. However, in July 2011, a judge determined those comics created between 1958 and 1963 were work made for hire and therefore ineligible for copyright termination. [Law360.com]
Conventions | A group of 21 events companies, including New York Comic Con and BookExpo America organizer Reed Exhibitions, are opposing a plan by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to tear down the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. In a letter to the governor that was also distributed to 600 other officials, the Friends of Javits said they would not patronize the much larger venue that’s to be built in Ozone Park, Queens, primarily because of its distance from Manhattan. [Crain's New York Business, via ICv2]
Conventions | Comic-Con International is just six weeks away, and you know it’s coming when Tom Spurgeon posts his annual list of tips for enjoying the convention. It’s a wealth of information, compiled over 17 years of con-going, so go, learn. [The Comics Reporter]
Passings | Al Ross, the longtime New Yorker cartoonist who had more than 600 gag cartoons published in the magazine, passed away March 22 in the Bronx. He was 100. Ross had his first cartoon published in The New Yorker in 1937. Tom Spurgeon offers an obituary, while The New Yorker cartoon editor Bob Mankoff posts his own tribute. [The New York Times]
Creators | Underground cartoonist S. Clay Wilson underwent surgery last week due to complications from an accumulation of spinal fluid on the brain. According to cartoonist Justin Green, the prognosis is good, “meaning that he can be expected to stay alive without drastic cognitive impairment in the near future.” Green also shares details on a trust fund that’s been set up for Wilson and his wife Lorraine. Wilson fell and suffered a severe head injury in November of 2008. [Justin Green Cartoon Art] Continue Reading »
I suppose on a certain level running through all the loot you nabbed at this or that convention seems a bit like bragging, even if the intention is merely to say, “Hey, here’s some cool comics you should check out.” That being said, it seems like a while since anyone’s done one of those “here’s the stuff I bought” posts, so I thought I’d run down some of the more interesting-looking books I nabbed at SPX this past weekend. Forgive me.
The Body of Work by Kevin Huizenga. In addition to promoting the release of Ganges #4, Huizenga had a couple of mini-comics for sale as well. This one features some of the comics he’s been posting online like Postcard from Fielder.
The New Yorker’s John Lahr took in a showing of the big-budget, critically panned Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark, and and his review can be found on the magazine’s website. But even if you think you’ve heard enough about the troubled production already, there’s a good reason to check this particular review out — the accompany illustration by artist Tomer Hanuka, featuring Spider-Man, Mary Jane and an awesome Green Goblin.
Hanuka details the process of creating it over on his own site. Can we elect him as the official artist for the comic adaptation?
If it’s our umpteenth month with 9.5+% unemployment, it must be Chris Ware on the cover of this week’s “Money Issue” of The New Yorker, showing a family rendered faceless and hopeless by the economy. That’s our Chris — always good for a laugh!
In other news, you must read The ACME Novelty Library #20 when it comes out in November. That is all.
(via Whitney Matheson)
The Internet is filled with comics riches, and What Things Do, the corner of the Internet run by cartoonist/designer Jordan Crane, contains plenty of them. It’s filled to bursting with new and old comics by the likes of Crane himself, Jaime Hernandez, Sammy Harkham, Kevin Huizenga, Ted May, John Porcellino, Dan Zettwoch, and Steve Weissman. But for me, the big discovery at the site is the work of Abner Dean, a New Yorker and Esquire cartoonist who specialized in anxiety-dream images of (anatomically incorrect) naked people is satirically absurd situations. What Things Do is reprinting the 1947 Dean collection What Am I Doing Here?, and the bounty is rather astonishing — the strength of both the images Dean concocts and his execution of them all but bowls me over. I’ve never seen its like, though if you’ve ever seen Matt Groening’s Life in Hell, you’ve seen a kindred spirit at the very least. The shrunken-down image above truly doesn’t do justice to seeing Dean’s stuff in its full-sized, screen-spanning glory, so click on over and check it out!
One of the sad consequences of having to let my New Yorker subscription run out (bad economy and all that) is that I’ve had to go through some serious Roz Chast withdrawl. Thankfully, the New York Times seems to be feeling my pain, as they recently enlisted Chaz to contribute to their ongoing look at insomnia:
One thing I do when I can’t sleep is play alphabet games. I try to list various things from A to Z: countries, rock groups, prescription drugs, movies, books, celebrities whose first and last names begin with the same letter… you get the idea. I don’t mind repeating categories from one night to another. Diseases might seem to be an unlikely insomnia game category, but for some reason, it’s one of my favorites.
The magazine’s art director Francoise Mouly explains how she helped put together the recent four-cover anniversary issue (featuring Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Adrian Tomine and Ivan Brunetti) in this video. (via)
Heidi MacDonald and D&Q beat me to the punch, but just in case you missed the news, I thought I’d let you know that this week’s issue of The New Yorker magazine is sporting four swell covers by Chris Ware, Daniel Clowes, Adrian Tomine and Ivan Brunetti. Supposedly when you arrange the four covers together in a certain way, a super-secret picture forms. Alright, I’ll spoil it: It’s a picture of Eustace Tilly. It must be one of those “Magic Eye” type images though, because I’ve been staring at the bloody things for hours on end, and all I’m getting is a headache.
The New Yorker has posted a new strip by Chris Ware that has a bit of a Halloween theme. And an iPhone.
The Beat, er, beat me to this Lee Lorenz cartoon in this week’s issue of the New Yorker (I always seem to get my subscription issue several days late), but it’s amusing enough I think to warrant reposting here.