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Comics A.M. | Conan O’Brien, “Agents of SHIELD” & More wrap SDCC trolleys

Conventions | The San Diego trolleys will get a new look for Comic-Con International: They will be fully wrapped in ads for comics-themed TV shows. The ads bring in about $300,000 to the Metropolitan Transit System, and advertisers see them as a good way to get the message out to their natural audience: “The trolley train wraps are very effective because they allow you to have fun with your marketing and also are constantly in motion, giving your campaign strong circulation to reach a wide range of fans,” said Angela Courtin, chief marketing officer for Fox. Fun fact: It takes eight hours to wrap a single trolley car. No statistics were available on how long it takes to unwrap it after the con. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

Creators | Mark Russell, who scripted DC’s satirical series Prez, talks about his work on their reboot of The Flinstones. When they first approached him, his response was “I kind of hate ‘The Flintstones,'” and when they were OK with that, he said, “I knew from the beginning that it would be a satiric, edgy response to ‘The Flintstones.'” The new series debuts next month. “It’s a critique of the suburban values that the original ‘Flintstones’ and [precursor] ‘The Honeymooners’ were about,” Russell said. “[The comedy] absorbed the values of the time and used them as a backdrop for broad humor.” Artist Steve Pugh, on the other hand, enjoyed the show; as a child growing up in the gritty British industrial town of Birmingham, he saw it as a “ray of light” in an otherwise grim world. [Comic Riffs]

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Comics A.M. | Del Rey manga titles return – on iTunes

Nodame Cantabile

Nodame Cantabile

Manga | Four older manga series are making a comeback in digital format: School Rumble, Alive, Nodame Cantabile, and Princess Resurrection, all originally published in English by Del Rey, will be available in the iTunes Store beginning on July 26. The Del Rey manga imprint became defunct in 2010, when the Japanese publisher Kodansha stopped licensing its manga to them and started publishing the books directly as Kodansha Comics. [Anime News Network]

Passings | Chester “Chet” Krause, who was the owner of the Comics Buyers Guide from 1983 to 1991, has died at the age of 92. Krause, who also owned a number of other papers catering to special interests (Numismatic News, Sports Collectors Digest), hired Don and Maggie Thompson as the editors of CBG, and under their leadership it became an important gathering point and communications channel for comics fans in the days before the internet. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Brabner gathering cartoonists for GOP convention

cleveland rnc

Political cartoons | Joyce Brabner, the widow of Harvey Pekar and a comics creator in her own right, is raising funds to bring a group of cartoonists to Cleveland to do a live feed of comics and videos about the Republican National Convention “by people who detest everything Donald Trump stands for.” Tim Fielder, Ted Rall, Tony Puryear, Vishavjit Singh and Seth Tobacman are on board already, with other names to be announced. Brabner works with Gerta Oparaku, a Muslim artist who lives in Albania, and she is particularly interested in bringing more women and Muslim cartoonists into the mix. She will be providing housing, food, and escorts when needed; the GoFundMe is intended to pay travel expenses for artists who would not otherwise be able to participate. [GoFundMe]

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Comics A.M. | ComiXology adds new titles to Unlimited service

afterlife-with-archie

Digital Comics | ComiXology Unlimited, the “all you can eat” service offered by the digital platform comiXology, has announced some new additions that will debut on June 27. The new selections include Afterlife with Archie #1-3, Bee and Puppycat #1-4, vol. 1 of Katie Cook’s all-ages comic Gronk, Legends of Red Sonja #1-5, The Sixth Gun: Sons of the Gun #1-5, and vol. 1 of The Steve Ditko Archives. And a new publisher is joining the mix: Magnetic Press will debut on the service on June 27 with an array of comics that includes The Adventures of Basil & Moebius #1-4, Daomu: Complete Edition, Naja #1-2, and Poet Anderson #1. [ComiXology Unlimited]

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Comics A.M. | Russ Manning Award nominees announced

"Shutter" #20, by Leila del Duca

“Shutter” #20, by Leila del Duca

Awards | The nominees have been announced for the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award: Daniel Bayliss, artist of Kennel Block Blues and Translucid (BOOM! Studios); Leila del Duca, artist of Shutter (Image Comics); Dan Mora, artist of Klaus and Hexed! (BOOM! Studios); Marguerite Sauvage, artist of DC Comics Bombshells (DC Comics), Scarlet Witch (Marvel) and Faith (Valiant); and Tillie Walden, writer/artist of I Love This Part and The End of Summer (Avery Hill). The winner will be announced in July at Comic-Con International in San Diego. [Comic-Con International]

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Comics A.M. | World’s (physically) longest comic debuts

Comics | The world’s longest comic—in terms of linear feet, not number of pages—was unveiled last week in Lyon, France, just ahead of that city’s comics festival. The comic, a time-travel story that depicts life in Lyon and Barcelona through the ages was drawn by the French artist Jibé in a normal format, then blown up and assembled panel by panel in a tunnel. The finished work is 1,625 meters long, beating the current record of 1,200 held by an American effort. [Forbidden Planet]

Legal | The prosecution says it will reduce the charges against Jonathon M. Wall, who allegedly posed as a federal agent to get into a VIP room at Salt Lake Comic Con, from a felony to a misdemeanor. Wall, who works at Hill Air Force Base, showed his ID card and said he was an Air Force special agent in pursuit of a fugitive. A retired police officer who was working as a security guard nearby got suspicious and called the real Air Force special agents. Wall pleaded guilty in April to a felony charge of impersonating a federal officer but the judge in the case rejected his plea, saying she was concerned he did not understand the consequences of having a federal felony on his record. [Deseret News]

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Comics A.M. | Stu Levy on Tokyopop’s return to print

tokyopop-alice

Publishing | As Tokyopop returns to the graphic novel market, CEO Stu Levy talks about what he learned when the company stopped doing print in 2011, what happened with Tokyopop Germany, and how he sees the market now. Tokyopop is relaunching in print with three manga based on Disney properties, which Levy compares to the Korean tacos popularized by the food truck Kogi in Los Angeles: “To me that’s the epitome of fusion food done right, and I think what we’re doing with Disney manga is along those lines. It’s Japanese manga artists interpreting Disney characters and stories in a way that makes it uniquely manga, but it also retains the essence of Disney and the beloved characters that are a worldwide brand for a reason.” [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Graphic novelist charged in torture killing of girlfriend

Blake Leibel (via KTLA TV)

Blake Leibel (via KTLA TV)

Crime | Screenwriter and graphic novelist Blake Leibel has been arrested on charges of torturing and murdering his girlfriend Iana Kasian, who recently gave birth to their child. Leibel, the 35-year-old son of a wealthy Toronto family, is the co-creator of the graphic novel Syndrome, published in 2010 by Archaia, which he described at the time as “a lengthy graphic novel that grappled with the questions surrounding what provokes a person to commit evil acts.” The press was quick to pick up on several aspects of the murder that mirrored the graphic novel: among them, that he allegedly drained Kasian’s blood, as a character does to several victims in Syndrome. Leibel has pleaded not guilty to the charges. [The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times]

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Comics A.M. | Troubles at Space City Comic Con

space city logo

Conventions | This year’s Space City Comic Con in Houston seems to have had a number of organizational problems. Among other things, the Sons of Anarchy cast reunion did not occur, and actor Charlie Hunnam left early after encountering problems with payment; there are unconfirmed reports of a testy encounter in which security was called. Hunnam’s early departure caused a cascade of problems, with some unpaid volunteers walking out after being berated by angry fans, and attendees who paid up to $2,000 for VIP tickets looking for refunds (and in at least some cases, getting them). Sons of Anarchy cast member Kim Coates called it “a complete breakdown by upper management,” and there does seem to be some internal wrangling, with some members of organization that runs the con trying to remove organizer George Comits. [Houston Chronicle]

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Comics A.M. | “Legend of Zelda” creators hint at English-language manga license

zelda-social

Manga | Akira Himekawa, the two-woman team behind the Legend of Zelda manga, hinted on their Facebook page last week that Viz would license the English-language version of their new series, The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Viz refused to confirm the license, but given that they published the earlier Legend of Zelda manga (which they are planning to reissue as two-in-one omnibus editions), and the Japanese publisher of the series, Shogakukan, is one of Viz’s parent companies, it would be odd if they didn’t get the license. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | Looking back on 30 years of Dark Horse

dark horse-30 years

Publishing | Dark Horse founder and CEO Mike Richardson looks back at 30 years in the business in a two-part interview that covers the rise of shoujo manga and the way it changed American comics, the evolution of comics distribution and the direct market, the status quo and future plans for Dark Horse, and how the comics world is changing and continues to change: “The internet, of course, has changed the industry dramatically. The comic book industry was pretty much focused on the East Coast. As the internet rose, it helped companies like Dark Horse build a comics industry here in Portland. Portland right now is probably the epicenter of the comic book industry in the United States — companies, creators, organizations, all related to comics. We have a huge comic book population here from all angles of the business. It’s pretty amazing.” [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Wait, comics depicting crime are illegal in Canada?

detective27

Legal | Crime comics, including most superhero titles, are illegal in Canada, thanks to a seldom-enforced 1940s-era law that’s still on the books. The law, which was enacted during one of the early waves of anti-comics hysteria, bans the publishing, sale or possession with intent to sell of any comic that depicts a crime. Elton Hobson tells the whole tale, which starts with a murder and ends with a shrug from a retailer who’s confident she won’t be clapped in irons for selling Spider-Man comics. [Global News]

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Comics A.M. | Mike Mignola named Spectrum Grand Master

mike mignola2

Awards | Hellboy creator Mike Mignola has been named the Grand Master of the 2016 Spectrum Fantastic Art Awards, which honor fantasy, horror and science fiction art. First presented in 1995, the Spectrum Award for Grand Master goes to an artist who was worked at a consistently high level for at least 20 years, and who has influenced and inspired others. Previous honorees include Frank Frazetta, Jean “Moebius” Gerard, H.R. Giger and Ralph McQuarrie. [Spectrum Fantastic Art]

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Comics A.M. | Tokyopop returns with first books in five years

tokyopop-alice

Manga | Pioneering U.S. manga publisher Tokyopop is back with its first new books in five years, and all three are tie-ins with other media. Alice in Wonderland: Special Collector’s Manga is a hardcover collection of Jun Abe’s manga adaptation of Tim Burton’s film, which will be released just before the premiere of Disney’s Alice Through the Looking Glass. Similarly, Finding Nemo: Special Collector’s Manga, Ryuichi Hoshino’s adaptation of the Pixar blockbuster, will be released a week before the sequel Finding Dory. The third property is the five-volume series Kilala Princess, a shoujo manga series featuring Disney princesses. Tokyopop published the first two volumes of Kilala Princess during its earlier incarnation. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Farm News fires cartoonist Rick Friday amidst comic strip controversy

The cartoon Rick Friday claims got him fired from Farm News

The cartoon Rick Friday claims got him fired from Farm News

Political Cartoons | Farm News has ended Rick Friday’s gig as its editorial cartoonist, and Friday says he was fired because an advertiser complained about one of his cartoons. In the cartoon, a farmer comments that “In year 2015, the CEOs of Monsanto, DuPont Pioneer, and John Deere combined made more money than 2129 Iowa farmers.” The publisher and editor of Farm News declined to comment on why they let Friday go, and spokespeople from DuPont and Monsanto said they were not aware of the cartoon. But on his Facebook page, Friday wrote, “Apparently a large company affiliated with one of the corporations mentioned in the cartoon was insulted and cancelled their advertisement with the paper, thus, resulting in the reprimand of my editor and cancellation of It’s Friday cartoons after 21 years of service and over 1090 published cartoons to over 24,000 households per week in 33 counties of Iowa.” [Des Moines Register]

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