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Comics A.M. | San Diego police prepare for ‘safe and successful’ Comic-Con

san diego convention center

Conventions | In the wake of mass shootings in San Bernardino, Orlando and Dallas, and the attack last week in Nice, France, one newspaper looks at the security surrounding Comic-Con International, which kicks off Wednesday in San Diego. Although few details are revealed, a San Diego Police Department official says there will be “numerous” uniformed officers on foot, on bike, in patrol cars and in helicopters, as well as a “large” contingent of undercover cops “to make it was a safe and successful event.” The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System got more specific, noting that nearly 200 armed transit officers and TSA-trained K9 units will be deployed along transit route and platforms. [The Press-Enterprise]

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Comics A.M. | Sonny Liew wins Singapore Literature Prize

charlie-chan-hock-chye-social

Awards | Sonny Liew’s “The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye” is the first graphic novel to win the Singapore Literature Prize for English Fiction. Ironically, the awards are supported by Singapore’s National Arts Council, which had originally provided financial support for the book but withdrew it last summer when controversy arose over its contents. “The award is given by the Book Council rather than NAC, so I don’t think it represents change in NAC’s stance towards the book, but it is a real honour winning this prize and gives me more encouragement for future projects,” Liew said. [Malay Mail]

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Comics A.M. | It’s official: ‘Bleach’ manga will end within 10 weeks

bleach

Manga | It’s official: Tite Kubo’s “Bleach” will come to an end within the next 10 weeks. Japanese “Shonen Jump” editor Hisashi Sasaki revealed the news on Viz Media’s weekly Shonen Jump podcast. The 74th volume will be the final collection. [Anime News Network]

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Comics A.M. | Comic sales surpass $1 billion, ‘Smurfs’ colorist passes away at 86

smurfette

Passings | Nine Culliford, the woman who made the Smurfs blue, died on July 5 at the age of 86. Nine met Pierre Culliford, the artist who would later take the pen name Peyo, in 1946, the same year his first cartoon was published. Nine was the colorist for the Smurfs from their first appearance in “Johan et Pirlouit” (English title: “Johan and Peewit”) in 1958 until her husband’s death in 1992, and she continued to be active on Smurf projects after her son Thierry and her daughter Véronique took over. It was Nine who came up with the idea of coloring the Smurfs blue, as she felt the color would stand out agains the green, wooded backgrounds of the comic. [The Blue Print]

Comics | Sales of comics and graphic novels have crashed through the $1 billion threshold, according to calculations by Milton Griepp of ICv2 and John Jackson Miller of Comichron. That includes $350 million in sales through retail book channels, $90 million in digital, and $20 million in newsstand sales, with the rest coming through the direct market. Griepp and Miller estimate that graphic novels account for $535 million in sales and serial comics for $405 million. Griepp attributed the growth in sales to increased attention to comics properties from the media and an expanding audience, as more women and children come to the medium. [ICv2]

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Comics A.M. | Sacramento store pushes to rebuild after fire

Courtesy of Big Brother Comics

Courtesy of Big Brother Comics

Retailing | The Sacramento, California, comic shop Big Brother Comics was severely damaged last weekend by a fire. Owner Kenny Russell, whose apartment adjoins the store, heard a loud noise on Sunday morning and opened his back door to see his store in flames. “It was all on fire, like movie-style fire,” he said. Although firefighters responded quickly, and his apartment was protected by fire doors, his store is “toast” and much of his merchandise suffered smoke damage. A GoFundMe campaign to help Russell rebuild has already brought in more than $12,000. [KCRA]

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Comics A.M. | New death threats at “Charlie Hebdo”

Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo

Crime | French police are investigating two new death threats to the staff of the French satirical weekly “Charlie Hebdo.” The first threat was posted on the magazine’s Facebook page and then removed; the second was sent to the editor a few days later. “The messages raise the idea of killing several members of the editorial, again,” an anonymous source told the French newspaper Le Parisien. Security is tight at the “Charlie Hebdo” editorial office, which was moved to a secret location after 12 people were killed in an attack in January 2015. [The Local]

Conventions | Rob Salkowitz interviews Comic-Con International chief communication and strategy officer David Glanzer, who has been going to Comic-Con since 1978 and working for them since 1994. Glanzer discusses attendance, the possible saturation of the pop-culture convention market, and what might cause the con to leave San Diego, however reluctantly. And he emphasizes the importance of comics to Comic-Con: “We have a great and unique demographic and are pinged constantly by organizations who want to target that demographic for marketing purposes. But while it may be true that they are a key demo for marketing, we don’t want a participating company to exhibit or present a panel for that reason alone. They should have an organic relationship to comics and popular art. It’s a difficult area to maintain, but it’s one we pride ourselves on at least trying to remain true to our mission.” [Forbes]

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Comics A.M. | WizKids loses ‘HeroClix’ shipment in train crash

heroclix2

Business | WizKids has canceled pre-release events for Marvel HeroClix: The Superior Foes of Spider-Man after losing its shipment in an explosive train collision Tuesday in Texas that killed two crew members. A third is missing and presumed dead. “While a sizable amount of the product release will be in an unknown state for an unforeseeable time,” the company said in a statement, “our current plan is to proceed with the launch of the product as scheduled as we have sufficient quantities for all stores who have preordered to date and the majority of the product is unaffected. Our thoughts go out to the families who lost their loved ones in this horrific accident.” [WizKids, via ICv2.com]

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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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