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Comics A.M. | Cartoonist Ted Rall sues Los Angeles Times

Ted Rall's crosswalk cartoon for the Los Angeles Times

Ted Rall’s crosswalk cartoon for the Los Angeles Times

Legal | Political cartoonist Ted Rall has sued the Los Angeles Times, claiming the newspaper defamed him and unfairly fired him from his position as a freelance cartoonist. In May 2015, Rall wrote a blog post for new newspaper’s website about being mistreated, handcuffed and “roughed up” by Los Angeles police when he was stopped in 2001 for jaywalking. Two months later, the L.A. Times published a column that cast doubt on Rall’s account, and announced it would no longer carry his work. Rall protested and later claimed that an audiotape of the incident supported his side of the story, although the paper found otherwise. In the lawsuit, filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Rall claims the Times defamed him by questioning his veracity. The paper’s response: “The Times will defend itself vigorously against Mr. Rall’s claims.” [Los Angeles Times]

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Comics A.M. | Amazon may open more than 300 physical stores

amazon books-seattle

Retailing | After opening its first physical store in November in Seattle, online retail giant Amazon is reportedly planning hundreds more. The news came from Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of real-estate investment company General Growth Properties, who revealed Tuesday in an earnings call that, “You’ve got Amazon opening brick-and-mortar bookstores and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400.” An Amazon spokesperson told Gizmodo the company doesn’t comment on “rumors and speculation.” The retailer’s Seattle store, called simply Amazon Books, stocks between 5,000 and 6,000 titles. [The Wall Street Journal]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Roller Girl’ named as Newbery Honor Book

Roller Girl

Roller Girl

Awards | Victoria Jamieson’s Roller Girl, a graphic novel about a middle-schooler who joins a roller derby team that changes her life, was one of three children’s books named Newbery Honor Books over the weekend by the American Library Association during its midwinter meeting. The John Newbery Medal is given each year to the “most distinguished” children’s book published the previous year, and the Newbery Honor Books are basically the runners-up. Three other graphic novels were Honor Books in different categories: Liz Suburbia’s Sacred Heart won an Alex Award, given to adult novels with teen appeal; Written and Drawn by Henrietta, by Liniers, was a Mildred Batchelder Honor Book, which recognizes books originally published in languages other than English; and Don Brown’s Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans was a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book, a category that recognizes excellence in nonfiction young adult books. [Publishers Weekly]

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Comics A.M. | ‘MAD’ veteran Tom Koch passes away

From "43-Man Squammish," written by Tom Koch

From “43-Man Squamish,” written by Tom Koch

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]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ will likely end in three years

Attack on Titan, Vol. 14

Attack on Titan, Vol. 14

Creators | Attack on Titan creator Hajime Isayama estimates that the blockbuster manga series will end in three years. “I’d like to end things quickly, with a tight pace of story developments,” he told Japan’s Da Vinci magazine, “and then I always end up feeling like I should qualify that with a ‘but,’ so for now, I can’t say anything more specific.” [RocketNews 24]

Conventions | Nigeria, the largest economy in Africa, has a thriving entertainment industry, and comics are blossoming there as well. At The Beat, Deji Bryce Olukotun interviews Ayodele Elegba, co-founder of this past weekend’s Lagos Comic Con, about the popularity of comics, what makes the Nigerian comics scene different from others, and the ever-present problem of piracy. [The Beat]

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Comics A.M. | Tintin in the Congo isn’t racist, Belgian court rules

From "Tintin in the Congo"

Legal | A Belgian court of appeals has ruled that Tintin in the Congo is not racist and stated that the book has “gentle and candid humour.” The ruling came in a case brought in 2007 by Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, an immigrant from the Congo, and the Belgian Council of Black Associations. Although Herge himself expressed regret in later life for the book, which includes numerous depictions of black characters as stupid and inferior, the court did not support the plaintiffs’ claim that “The negative stereotypes portrayed in this book are still read by a significant number of children. They have an impact on their behaviour.” [Sky News]

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