"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Legal | Malaysian cartoonist Zunar was arrested last night on sedition charges stemming from a tweet criticizing the court that upheld the sodomy conviction of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. On Tuesday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar posted a screencap of the offending tweet, which said, “Followers (Barua-barua) in black robes were proud in delivering judgement. Reward by Mr Politician must be lavish,” reflecting the popular opinion that the conviction was a political ploy by the government of Prime Minister Najib Razak to silence Anwar. Zunar then tweeted a cartoon of Najib as the judge handing down the verdict. Although his lawyer said Zunar offered to come in to answer questions, he was brought to the Dang Wangi police station, where he can be detained until Saturday — or longer, if police renew the remand order. [The Rakyat Post]
Awards | The winners of the first Kirkus Prize were announced last night, and Roz Chast took top honors in the nonfiction category for her graphic memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? Chast is also a finalist for the National Book Award, marking the first time a graphic novel has been nominated in one of the adult categories. [The Washington Post]
Legal | A Turkish court acquitted cartoonist Musa Kart on charges of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, stemming from a cartoon Kart drew last year portraying the then-prime minister as complicit in covering up government corruption. “Yes, I drew it [the cartoon] but I did not mean to insult,” Kart said. “I just wanted to show the facts. Indeed, I think that we are inside a cartoon right now. Because I am in the suspect’s seat while charges were dropped against all the suspects [involved in two major graft scandals]. I need to say that this is funny.” If convicted, Kart could have faced nearly a decade in prison. [Today’s Zaman]
Organizers of Stumptown Comics Fest have announced they will end the 10-year-old show as a standalone event and will instead move its panel programming and convention awards to Rose City Comic Con, which debuted last year. Stumptown Comics Inc., which achieved nonprofit status earlier this year, now plans to focus “more on its educational goals.”
“From the very beginning, Stumptown’s goals were to bring an artistic and educational focus on comics to Portland,” Shawna Gore, chair of Stumptown’s board of directors, said in a statement. “In those early days there was only one other comics convention in Portland, so the Fest eventually took the shape of a more mainstream-style show to give us a place to gather creators and fans together for our workshops and symposiums. But now Portland has multiple comic and pop culture cons. By partnering with Rose City Comic Con as a venue to present both our programming and our awards, we can focus on new ways to pursue our organizations educational mission.”
History | Michael Dooley celebrates Banned Books Week with a look at the comics singled out by Dr. Fredric Wertham in Seduction of the Innocent as particularly corrupting of our youth; Dooley juxtaposes scans of the pages with Werthem’s commentary. [Print]
Creators | Lynda Barry is now an assistant professor of interdisciplinary creativity in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Wisconsin Institute for Discovery (WID) as well as the UW-Madison Department of Art; she was an artist in residence at the university last year. [University of Wisconsin-Madison News]
Creators | Congressman John Lewis, co-author Andrew Aydin and artist Nate Powell talk about their involvement in the graphic novel March. [Free Comic Book Day]
Despite a guest list that includes Star Trek: Deep Space Nine alum Avery Brooks, Serenity actress Jewel Staite and Flash Gordon star Sam Jones, this weekend’s Rose City Comic Con remains about comics. It’s a good thing, too, considering that Portland, Oregon, is a mecca for creators and publishers alike.
“This town is lousy with comics folks,” writer Greg Rucka tells The Oregonian. “But this town has also been lousy about comic book shows.”
Legal | A dancer seriously injured last month during a performance of the Broadway musical Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark insists the accident was caused by malfunctioning equipment and not, as the show’s producers contend, by human error. Daniel Curry made the claim in documents filed Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court that seek to prevent the production from altering or destroying the computerized stage lift before his experts can inspect the equipment in preparation for a potential civil lawsuit. He’s also requesting maintenance records and any internal reports about the accident. The 23-year-old Curry was injured during the Aug. 15 performance of Spider-Man when his leg was pinned in an automated trap door. According to court papers, he suffered fractured legs and a fractured foot, and has had to undergo surgeries and unspecified amputations. [New York Daily News, The New York Times]
Despite the solitary nature of creating comics (or perhaps because of it), it’s very easy for writers and artists to become fast friends with one another — be it at conventions, in-store signings or even just online. Over the years editor-turned-writer Jamie S. Rich has accumulated countless friends and connections in the industry through his time at Dark Horse, Oni Press, writing books like 12 Reasons Why I Love Her and living in the comics mecca of Portland, Oregon. And after moderating numerous panels at conventions and even hosting his own “Evening with Jamie S. Rich” movie night at a Portland theater, the writer is taking things even further with a new comics interview webseries called From the Gutters.
Awards | The National Cartoonists Society initiated a webcomics award last year, and this year the organization is splitting it in two, one for short-form works and one for long-form. The challenge with including webcomics, says NCS President Tom Richardson, is that to be eligible, creators must make the majority of their money from cartooning. “That isn’t an easy thing to quantify anymore. With online comics, we need to take into account site traffic, professionalism in consistent and regular publication, online community activity and other factors that are the hallmark of professional online work,” he says. “In some cases, it’s pretty obvious the creator is making a career out of cartooning. In some, it’s not so obvious.” [Comic Riffs]