X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
Passings | Maine cartoonist Jeff Pert, best known for his cartoons and illustrations of lobsters and moose, died Friday on his way to the hospital with chest pains. He was 55. His cartoons adorned souvenir postcards and coffee cups, but he was also an active part of the local comics community in Brunswick, Maine, a regular at Casablanca Comics, and a participant in the Maine Comic Arts Festival. Pert created his first comic when he was in fifth grade and sold copies to local comic shops. “They probably gave us the money and then threw them in the garbage, but we were happy,” said his collaborator (and best friend) Jon Dumont. Pert was known for supporting other artists and even persuaded his local state representative, Maggie Daughtry, to start drawing her own comics: Daughtry knocked on Pert’s door when she was campaigning for office, and, she said, “Within an hour of meeting him, he literally changed my life.” When Daughtry told Pert that she had dreamed of being a cartoonist as a child, he encouraged her to start drawing again, which she did. [Portland Press Herald]
Russell Willis of Panel Nine has announced the iPad app Sequential will now carry a selection of titles from NBM Publishing, including Rick Geary’s Madison Square Tragedy, Margreet de Heer’s Science: A Discovery in Comics and Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics, and Renaud Dillies’ Abelard, Betty Blue, and Bubbles and Gondola.
Sequential began as a U.K. app and launched in August in the United States. With a strong focus on indie and underground graphic novels, it started out with titles from U.K. publishers like Blank Slate, Myriad Editions and Knockabout but has since added titles from U.S. publishers Fantagraphics and Secret Acres. While comiXology goes wide, with apps for every device and comics for every taste, Sequential has taken a different path, with a curated catalog of graphic novels for a particular audience and a sleek interface for a single device, the iPad.
It must be working: Sequential’s other announcement is that it will be a major sponsor of the MoCCA Arts Fest, together with the School of Visual Arts, Blue Sky Studios and Wacom. That sponsorship makes a lot of sense, as MoCCA features the sort of independent, literary comics and graphic novels that appeal to Sequential’s audience — including NBM.
Starting today, UK underground comics publisher Knockabout Comics and digital-comics publisher Sequential are teaming up to publish Neil Gaiman’s Lost Tales, a collection of Gaiman’s comic strips from the 1980s, for free—and they will donate 50 cents to charity for every download.
The 100-page collection, which is available only via the Sequential iPad app, includes stories from Outrageous Tales from the Old Testament and Seven Deadly Sins, as well as a science fiction story from 2000AD and other material. Some of the comics are collaborations with other creators, including Bryan Talbot and Dave McKean, and many are long out of print. Also included is a 1988 interview with Gaiman.
Editorial cartoons | The Cartoonists Rights International has given its 2013 Courage in Editorial Cartooning award to Syrian cartoonist Akram Raslan, who was arrested in his newspaper office in Hama, Syria, about six months ago and has been held incommunicado since then; reliable sources report that he has been tortured while in prison. Raslan will be tried on Monday in a special court on an array of charges, including insulting the president and incitement to sedition, stemming from his cartoons. [Cartoonist Rights Network International]
Creators | Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette cartoonist Rob Rogers is donating the prize money from the Thomas Nast Award he recently received to the CRNI. Rogers’ donation will go directly to a cartoonist who’s in hiding for fear of being deported to his home country of Syria. [Cartoonist Rights Network International]