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Comics A.M. | ‘Attack on Titan’ Vol. 18 tops Japan’s weekly chart

Attack on Titan, Vol. 18

Attack on Titan, Vol. 18

Publishing | The 18th volume of Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan sold 969,743 copies in its first week of release in Japan, claiming the top spot on the weekly manga sales chart. According to market research firm Oricon, thats an increase of nearly 200,000 copies from the debut of Vol. 17 in August. Attack on Titan has sold about 8.8 million copies this year, a drop of almost 50 percent from 2013. [Crunchyroll]

Passings | Cartoonist and editor Jacques Hurtubise, who went by the pen name Zyx, has died at age 65. Hurtubise attended college in Montreal during a time of separatist turmoil, and in 1971 recceived a government grant to publish L’Hydrocéphale illustré, an anthology of work by emerging Quebecois cartoonists. The magazine folded a year later, but Hurtubise continued to be an active promoter of local comics in various forms, and in 1979, he teamed up with two other editors to start the children’s humor magazine Croc, which carried a large selection of comics. The magazine, which ran until 1995, provided paying work to many eminent Canadian cartoonists in their early years. After Croc folded, Hurtubise left the comics industry for a career in technology, but he was inducted in 2007 into the Shuster Awards Hall of Fame. [Sequential]

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Comics A.M. | New Kickstarter study reveals failure rates

Kickstarter

Kickstarter

Crowdfunding | A new report released by Kickstarter shows that about 9 percent of the projects on the crowdfunding platform failed to deliver the promised rewards. While that is fairly consistent across all categories, comics do appear to do a bit better than most. Another interesting tidbit: Projects that raise less than $1,000 are the most likely to fail. [Kickstarter]

Creators | Writer Kyle Higgins talks about his new Power Rangers comic, Green Ranger: Year One, which focuses on the Ranger who was originally a villain before reforming and joining the team: “Basically, in going the modernization route I decided that I didn’t really want to jump in and tell new origins of the Power Rangers or anything like that. So looking at the introduction of the Green Ranger to the team, of him joining the team, was the window that I took for the story in order to get us into the world.” [Hero Complex]

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Comics A.M. | Tintinologist named as UK’s first professor of comics

tintin-social

Comics | Benoît Peeters, a French comics writer, critic and Tintin expert, has been named as Lancaster University’s Visiting Professor in Graphic Fiction and Comic Art, characterized as the first appointment of its kind in the United Kingdom. “This professorship is a great honour for me,” said Peeters, whose works include Tintin and the World of Herge. “I want to explore the connections between the history of graphic fiction and contemporary creation, between the world of French and Belgian bande dessinée, and the world of comics and graphic novels.” [The Telegraph]

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Comics A.M. | Bidding farewell to the long-running ‘Apartment 3-G’

apartment3g

Comic strips | The soap opera comic strip Apartment 3-G ended its 54-year run Sunday with little fanfare, leaving it up to a handful of bloggers, including Tom Spurgeon of The Comics Reporter and Josh Fruhlinger of The Comics Curmudgeon, to give the longtime funny-page staple a proper sendoff. “It definitely has an unaffected, what-we-call-Lynchian quality where what you’re seeing and what you’re ‘hearing’ as dialogue don’t match,” Spurgeon writes. “The limited sets and slightly faded color choices make it a bit nightmarish, almost like the world is collapsing comic book ‘crisis’ style around these increasingly feckless characters. It’s hard to believe there are more than a dozen “places” in the world these characters exist. [The A.V. Club]

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Comics A.M. | The rise of the custom retailer variant cover

John Romita Jr.'s exclusive "Dark Knight III" #1 variant for Ssalefish Comics

John Romita Jr.’s exclusive “Dark Knight III” #1 variant for Ssalefish Comics

Retailing  | The Winston-Salem (North Carolina) Journal looks at the increasing popularity of custom retailer variant covers, focusing on local stores Acme Comics and Ssalefish Comics, which last week debuted an exclusive red-foil variant for Wrath of the Eternal Warrior and this week will release a cover by John Romita Jr. for Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1. The latter costs Ssalefish $18,800, which covered printing of color and black-and-white covers and Romita’s commission. “Even if we don’t make money back on the books, it’s still nice advertising,” said Bret Parks, owner of Ssalefish. “It’s a lot of fun and it makes our customers realize they’re getting something special, because although you might see a big stack of these ‘Eternal Warrior’ variants in our store, we’re the only store in the world that has them.” [The Winston-Salem Journal]

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Comics A.M. | Ta-Nehisi Coates wins National Book Award

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Awards | Journalist and author Ta-Nehisi Coates, who’ll write Marvel’s new Black Panther series, has won the National Book Award for nonfiction for his acclaimed memoir Between the World and Me; he was awarded a prestigious MacArthur “genius grant” in September. Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona was shortlisted for the National Book Award for young people’s literature, making the 23-year-old cartoonist the youngest finalist ever. However, Neal Shusterman won in that category for his novel Challenger Deep. [The New York Times]

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Comics A.M. | Michael Gross, designer of ‘Ghostbusters’ logo, passes away

Ghostbusters

Ghostbusters

Passings | Michael C. Gross, the artist, designer and film producer best remembered for creating the iconic Ghostbusters logo, passed away Monday following a prolonged battle with cancer. He was 70 years old. Hired in 1970 as the art director of The National Lampoon, Gross is credited with pioneering the magazine’s approach to comics and illustration; he’s also famed for his notorious cover bearing the headline, “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.” Gross was encouraged by his friends John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd to move in the early 1980s from New York to Los Angeles, where he produced such films as Heavy Metal, Twins and both Ghostbusters films, and worked on the animated series The Real Ghostbusters. [The Associated Press]

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Paris attacks | Iranian cartoonist arrested after posting Paris cartoon

Hadi-Heidari-Paris-Cartoon

Legal | Iranian cartoonist Hadi Heidari was arrested Monday in the Teheran newspaper office where he works, a day after posting a cartoon on Instagram showing a weeping face with the Eiffel tower for a nose. According to Heidari’s co-workers, “a young man came with a warrant. He showed Hadi the warrant and they took him quietly.” They speculated that he was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization.

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Comics A.M. | Malaysian cartoonist challenges nation’s sedition act

Zunar

Zunar

Legal | On the day his trial on sedition charges was due to begin, Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar threw a curve ball, asking the high court to declare the sedition law unconstitutional. The Malaysian government has repeatedly attempted to ban or censor Zunar’s cartoons, but this case actually stems from a series of nine tweets he wrote following the conviction of opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on sodomy charges; Zunar accused the court of following the wishes of the prime minister. On Friday, Zunar’s lawyers (one of whom has also been charged with sedition) filed a petition with the high court saying that the lower court that was to hear the case had no authority to do so. The Malaysian Federal Court recently dismissed a challenge that made a similar argument; Zunar’s case is now scheduled to be heard on Dec. 8, with a decision expected a week later. [Index on Censorship]

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Comics A.M. | Sydney, Australia’s oldest comic store is closing

comic kingdom

Retailing | After nearly 30 years in business, Comic Kingdom — the oldest comic store in Sydney, Australia — will close its doors for good. Clayton Wildridge, who’s worked at the store for two decades and now manages it, points the finger at digital comics: “The culture has changed. It’s all internet and downloads now. The last thing I read said readership of comics was actually up, but purchases of hard copies were down. People download them instead and read them on the phone.” [The Daily Telegraph]

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Comics A.M. | Superman rights fight returns to Ninth Circuit

Superman

Superman

Legal | No, the lengthy battle over the rights to the Man of Steel still isn’t over. Attorneys for Warner Bros. and the family of Superman co-creator Jerry Siegel on Tuesday were back before the Ninth Circuit to argue once again whether Siegel’s daughter Laura Siegel Larson was entitled to rescind a 2001 settlement agreement. The outlook doesn’t appear promising for the Siegel family. [Courthouse News Service, The Beat]

Political cartoons | The group Palestinian Media Watch has critiqued the cartoons of Palestinian political cartoonist Mohammad Sabaaneh as anti-Semitic, saying they dehumanize Jews and portray them as villains. Sabaaneh, who has done time in an Israeli prison, counters that he is simply reflecting the realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in his cartoons. [The Washington Post]

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Comics A.M. | Two ‘banned’ Judge Dredd strips to see print again

From the Judge Dredd "Burger Wars" episode

From the Judge Dredd “Burger Wars” episode

Legal | A Judge Dredd comic that makes fun of McDonald’s and Burger King is finally being reprinted in a collection, thanks to a change in the European Copyright Directive, which now allows creators to use copyrighted characters if the intent is clearly parody. In the “Burger Wars” story, first published in 1978, Judge Dredd is captured on a trip to the United States and force-fed fast food; the story includes images of Ronald McDonald and the McDonald’s logo. Another story, “Soul Food,” has a mad scientist creating versions of the Jolly Green Giant and the Michelin Man. Ben Smith of Rebellion Publishing says fans have been asking for years for these story to be reprinted in their collected editions, but they were held back for fear of legal action. When the law was changed, Smith said, they took another look: “It was like a light bulb went on. We thought: ‘Surely this means we can look at Burger Wars?’ We looked into it and here we are. This is straight-out pastiche, parody and arch satire. There didn’t seem any reason not to bring them to the public again.” [The Independent]

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Comics A.M. | Trial begins in 2014 ZombieWalk crash

ZombieWalk: San Diego 2014

ZombieWalk: San Diego 2014

Legal | The trial began Monday in San Diego for Matthew Pocci, the driver who plowed through a crowd of pedestrians, injuring one, last year at the annual ZombieWalk, held during Comic-Con International. He;s charged with felony reckless driving. Pocci, who’s deaf, said he was frightened by the crowd, but prosecutors say he was angry and impatient. New video shows the car moving through the crowd and running over one woman. [NBC San Diego]

Political cartoons | J.J. Sedelmaier shows off some political cartoons by Winsor McCay on the topic of Prohibition, taken from a compilation, Temperance—or Prohibition?, that Sedelmaier picked up in a used bookstore. [Paste]

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Comics A.M. | Malaysian cartoonist claims Facebook blocked cartoon

Zunar

Zunar

Censorship | Malaysian cartoonist Zunar claims Facebook removed his latest cartoon, which portrays the wife of the Malaysian prime minister as the head of a bank. Zunar, who is awaiting trial on nine counts of sedition stemming from tweets critical of the government, said the cartoon was “blocked” half an hour after he uploaded it, and subsequent efforts to upload the cartoon failed. Several of his Facebook pages display the text but no image, but the entire cartoon is gone from his main fan page. “It is really funny because normally you can re-upload the image with a different file name,” he said. “This seems like a well-executed plan by cybertroopers to block the content.” [The Malaysian Insider]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Real Stuff’ writer Dennis Eichhorn passes away

Dennis Eichhorn (photo by  Matt Crowley)

Dennis Eichhorn (photo by Matt Crowley)

Passings | Underground comics writer Dennis Eichhorn passed away on Oct. 8 at age 70. He’s best known for his autobiographical comic series Real Stuff, which often involved tales of alcohol, sex and drugs. Published from 1990 to 1995 by Fantagraphics, the multiple Eisner-nominated Real Stuff was illustrated by the likes of Lynda Barry, Chester Brown, Peter Kuper, Joe Sacco, Roberta Gregory and Ed Brubaker. [The Stranger]

Legal | Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani, already serving a 12-year sentence for a cartoon depicting members of the Iranian parliament with animal heads, and under investigation for shaking hands with her male lawyer, had to endure yet another indignity in August: She was forced to undergo a “forced virginity and pregnancy test” as part of the investigation of the latter charge. “In doing so, the Iranian judicial authorities have truly reached an outrageous low, seeking to exploit the stigma attached to sexual and gender-based violence in order to intimidate, punish or harass her,” said Said Boumedouha of Amnesty International, which is calling for her release. [Amnesty International]

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