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Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani sentenced to 12 years

Atena Farghadani (photo from CRNI)

Atena Farghadani (photo from CRNI)

Iranian political cartoonist Atena Farghadani has been sentenced to 12 years in prison after being found guilty of “insulting members of parliament through paintings” and “insulting the Iranian supreme leader.”

The charges stem from a cartoon Farghadani posted online that depicted members of the Iranian parliament with the heads of cows and monkeys. A painter as well as a cartoonist, Farghadani was also charged with “gathering and colluding with anti-revolutionary individuals and deviant sects” because she mingled with the relatives of political prisoners and members of the Baha’i faith during an exhibit of her paintings of protesters killed by the Iranian government.

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Comics A.M. | Singapore agency pulls grant for Sonny Liew GN

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye

Graphic novels | The National Arts Council of Singapore has withdrawn a $8,000 publication grant for Sonny Liew’s graphic novel The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, a biography of the Singaporean comics pioneer that depicts some tumultuous events in the nation’s history. “We had to withdraw the grant when the book The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye came out because its sensitive content, depicted in visuals and text, did not meet our funding conditions,” said Khor Kok Wah, senior director of the literary arts sector of the NAC. He did not specify what the “sensitive content” was, but the book makes satirical references to Singaporean politics and history. The publisher, Epigram, will return the $6,400 that was disbursed already and will cover the NAC’s logo on the book cover with a sticker. The book will be published next year in the United States by Pantheon. [Straits Times]

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DC Metro bans ‘issue’ ads rather than run Muhammad cartoon

dc metro2

The Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has decided to reject all issue-oriented advertising through at least the end of the year after an anti-Islam group sought to run an ad in subway stations and on buses featuring a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.

The illustration, by comic artist Bosch Fawstin, was the winning entry in the Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest held May 3 in Garland, Texas, where two armed gunmen were killed by police during a foiled attack on the event.

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Comics A.M. | Cartoon Art Museum secures lease extension

Cartoon Art Museum

Cartoon Art Museum

Museums | San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum, which announced last month that it would have to move by the end of June, will be able to remain at its current location at 655 Mission St. through September, thanks to a lease extension. Skyrocketing rent is forcing the museum to leave property that’s been its home since 2001; officials have yet to find a new location. [KRON]

Political cartoons | Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi has launched an online magazine of political cartoons, Black and White: Strokes of Resistance. The first issue includes work from another project, “A Cartoon for Every Lash,” a series of 50 cartoons in support of Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for allegedly insulting Islam. Trivedi himself was arrested in India in 2012 on sedition charges that were later dropped. [Reporters Without Borders]

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Comics A.M. | Hoopla launches digital comics service for libraries

hoopla

hoopla

Libraries | Digital media distributor Midwest Tape has announced a new e-book and comics service for libraries, which will be accessed via its hoopla platform. Unlike the widely used Overdrive, the service will allow multiple checkouts for a single book, rather than limiting checkouts to one user at a time. [Publishers Weekly]

Legal | The trial began Tuesday for Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani on charges of spreading propaganda and insulting members of parliament, stemming from a cartoon she posted on Facebook depicting politicians as monkeys and other animals. Farghadani has been an activist in other ways as well, meeting with the families of people killed during the 2009 presidential elections. She was arrested last August and sent to prison, released, and then arrested again after posting a video online describing beatings by prison guards. She has been in solitary confinement since January and suffered a heart attack in February, after being on a hunger strike for three weeks. [The Washington Post]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Charlie Hebdo’ cartoonist Luz resigns

Rénald Luzier

Rénald Luzier

Creators | Saying his job has become “too much to bear,” cartoonist Renald Luzier (Luz) is leaving the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. He said he worked too hard in the aftermath of the January attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in which 12 people, most of them his co-workers, were killed, and he did not give himself time to grieve. “I needed time but I carried on for solidarity and not to let anyone down,” he said. However, the loss is taking its toll: “Each issue is torture because the others are gone.” He had previously announced he would no longer draw cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, saying it no longer interested him, and he is tired of the media attention. “We are not heroes, we have never been, we never meant to be,” he said. “Everyone evokes the spirit of Charlie for anything and everything now.” [The Independent]

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Comics A.M. | Kodansha plans ‘Fairy Tail’ ‘Master’s Edition’

Fairy Tail Master's Edition

Fairy Tail Master’s Edition

Manga | Kodansha Comics will publish a “Master’s Edition” of Hiro Mashima’s fantasy-adventure manga Fairy Tail, collecting the first five volumes in a deluxe oversize format, similar to its Attack on Titan: Colossal Edition. Priced at $39.99, the first volume will go on sale in October. [Kodansha Comics]

Political cartoons | Christiane Gruber looks at Muslim cartoonists who are critiquing ISIS: “Over the past year, cartoonists across the Middle East have critiqued ISIS with equal amounts of ferocity and fearlessness. From Jordan to Iran, they frequently lambast ISIS — referring to it through its acronym Daesh, which is related to the pejorative Arabic term meaning ‘to tread under foot’ — as destructive of Islam and the world’s cultural heritage, as the growling lapdog of various superpowers, as the ultimate devil and grim reaper of Iraq and as an Oscar-winning sensation obsessed with bloody forms of self-promotion.” [Newsweek]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Yu-Gi-Oh!’ creator heads to Comic-Con

Yu-Gi-Oh! Vol. 1

Yu-Gi-Oh! Vol. 1

Conventions | Yu-Gi-Oh! creator Kazuki Takahashi will be a guest in July at Comic-Con International. Yu-Gi-Oh! is a card-fighting manga that has inspired a number of anime and manga spinoffs as well as, logically enough, a card game. This is the second announcement in two weeks of a high-profile manga-ka coming to America, as Naruto creator Masashi Kishimoto will be a special guest in October at New York Comic Con. [Anime News Network]

Awards | Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer is the winner of the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, and Richard McGuire’s Here is the 2015 Honoree. [Pennsylvania Center for the Book]

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Comics A.M. | DeConnick named among ‘Most Creative People in Business’

Kelly Sue DeConnick

Kelly Sue DeConnick

Creators | Fast Company named writer Kelly Sue DeConnick as one of its 100 “Most Creative People in Business 2015,” a list that includes innovators in technology, scientific research, entertainment, medicine and social media. The writer of such comics as Bitch Planet and Pretty Deadly, DeConnick is cited specifically for “reanimating a superhero,” Captain Marvel. [Fast Company]

Awards | Bad Blood, the Dark Horse miniseries written by Jonathan Maberry and illustrated by Tyler Crook, won the Bram Stoker Award for superior achievement in a graphic novel, presented over the weekend by the Horror Writers Association. [Horror Writers Association]

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Comics A.M. | Muhammad cartoonist to be added to ‘hate group’ list

Bosch Fawstin

Bosch Fawstin

Creators | The Southern Poverty Law Center, which compiles an annual list of hate groups operating in the United States, said it will add artist Bosch Fawstin to its 2016 report. He drew the winning entry in the Prophet Muhammad contest in Garland, Texas, where two gunmen were killed Sunday in a foiled attack. The American Freedom Defense Initiative, which sponsored the competition, is already included on the list. Heidi Beirich of the SPLC described Fawstin’s work as “virulently ugly” and “hate views.” The artist, who was raised as a Muslim but is now an outspoken critic of Islam, responded, “So they want to put a cartoonist on there who doesn’t act out violently? Go for it.” Fawstin, creator of the “anti-jihad superhero” Pigman, also vowed to continue his work despite fears for his safety: “I understand the threat, but I’m not going to be cowed by it. I still intend to go up there and I still intend to speak out.” [Reuters]

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Comics A.M. | A look at banned manga, from ‘Death Note’ to ‘Ultraman’

Light Yagami, from "Death Note"

Light Yagami, from “Death Note”

Manga | Lynzee Lamb lists seven manga that have been banned in different areas, including Ultraman (banned in Malaysia for alleged misuse of the word “Allah”) and Dragon Ball, removed from all school libraries in Wicomico, Maryland, because of nudity and “sexual content.” [Anime News Network]

Retailing | Joe Field, owner of the Concord, California, comics shop Flying Colors, talks about how he markets children’s and all-ages titles, with a staff that is ready to make recommendations special area in his store that is easily recognized as safe for kids. “Besides what we’re doing right in that corner though, I think it’s the approach that we take to the entire store, and that is that I’ve never hung up a poster that has blood splatter on it or that has sexually suggestive stuff. We keep the store very family-friendly for everyone,” he said. “It’s not that we’re not selling things for a mature audience, we just don’t push that in the face of people who come in because we are in a suburban area. It is an area with a lot of families and we want the store to be accessible to everyone.” [ICv2]

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Two gunmen killed at Muhammad cartoon exhibit in Texas [Updated]

Police block nearby streets in Garland, Texas, following Sunday's shooting

Police block nearby streets in Garland, Texas, following Sunday’s shooting

UPDATE (8:14 a.m.): An FBI official has identified one of the gunmen as Elton Simpson of Phoenix, ABC News reports. The FBI had previously investigated Simpson for possible terrorism, and he was convicted in 2010 of lying to federal officials about the purpose of a trip to Africa. He is suspected of being the person who tweeted several times, once using the hashtag #TexasAttack, shortly before the event.


Two gunmen were killed Sunday evening after they shot a security guard outside a controversial contest and exhibit in Garland, Texas, devoted to cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

According to The Dallas Morning News, the two men pulled up in front of the Curtis Culwell Center, just as the event was ending, opened fire on a security guard and then were shot and killed by Garland police. The guard was taken to the hospital but was later released. Meanwhile, the bodies of the two gunmen remained in the street while the bomb squad was called to investigate their vehicle. The center was locked down, and nearby Walmart and Sam’s Club stores were evacuated.

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Comics A.M. | Spiegelman calls removal of ‘Maus’ in Russia ‘a real shame’

Art Spiegelman

Art Spiegelman

Creators | Responding to the removal of Maus from Moscow bookstores as the Russian government cracks down on Nazi symbols, Art Spiegelman said, “It’s a real shame because this is a book about memory. We don’t want cultures to erase memory.” Retailers fear the swastika on the graphic novel’s cover may be enough to run afoul of a new law prohibiting “Nazi propaganda” as the country prepares to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Germany. “I don’t think Maus was the intended target for this, obviously,” the cartoonist told The Guardian. “But I think [the law] had an intentional effect of squelching freedom of expression in Russia. The whole goal seems to make anybody in the expression business skittish.” [The Guardian]

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Comics A.M. | Roz Chast wins $250,000 Heinz Award

Roz Chast

Roz Chast

Awards | Cartoonist Roz Chast is one of six recipients of this year’s Heinz Awards, which recognize “exceptional Americans, for their creativity and determination in finding solutions to critical issues.” The honor comes with an $250,000 cash prize. “‘Floored’ does not begin to describe it,” says the author of the acclaimed graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? “I don’t think I’ve fully absorbed it yet.” [The Washington Post]

Political cartoons | In a radio interview, Afghan political cartoonist Habib Rahman Habib talks about his work. [NPR]

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Comics A.M. | Calgary Expo ejects GamerGate-affiliated group

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo

Conventions | Calgary Expo organizers asked an exhibitor to leave after learning the group had misrepresented itself and is affiliated with GamerGate. The group, Honey Badger Radio, raised money through crowdfunding to set up a booth at the convention, but registered under a different name (as explained on the crowdfunding site, they were in “stealth mode”). At the convention, the exhibitor displayed a poster with a GamerGate logo and monopolized the Q&A session at a panel on women in comics. In a statement released on Twitter, the event organizers said, “The Calgary Expo is a positive and safe event for everyone. We have reason to believe that the Exhibitor in question does not fall in line with this mandate … so we have politely requested that they not participate in our show or future shows.” [The Mary Sue]

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