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Nominations open for the Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award

Comic-Con International announced today that submissions are being accepted for the 31st annual Russ Manning Promising Newcomer Award, which will be presented in July during the Eisners ceremony at the San Diego Comic-Con. The award was named after Russ Manning, the prolific artist who worked on Tarzan and Star Wars, and created the classic comic series Magnus, Robot Fighter.

Started in 1982 as a joint presentation of Comic-Con International and the West Coast Comics Club, this award honors a comics artist who, early in his or her career, shows a superior knowledge and ability in the art of creating comics. Previous winners of the award include Dave Stevens, the first winner in 1982, as well as Art Adams, Jeff Smith, Gene Ha, Jerome Opeña, Steve Rude, David Petersen, R. Kikuo Johnson, Marian Churchland and Nate Simpson, who won last year.

Below is the criteria for the award that was sent out by CCI:

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Comics A.M. | Comic-Con ‘getting a handle on’ badge process

Comic-Con International

Conventions | Comic-Con International spokesman David Glanzer addresses problems with the badge-buying process: “After the two aborted events last year, we learned that each person had a multitude of browsers open. That’s going to create a bottleneck no matter what you do. Were there issues? Are we trying to work on them? Yes, we are. I think people’s anger is understandable, when all they’re trying to do is pay someone for a badge to attend an event and they can’t do that. We do test after test, and lo and behold something will happen. But (selling out in) an hour 20 minutes shows us we’re getting a handle on it.” [U-T San Diego]

Comic strips | Darren Bell talks about having Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was killed by a neighborhood watch member, appear  in his comic strip Candorville: ” I decided to incorporate him into Candorville as soon as I saw one of my Facebook ‘friends’ post a photo of Trayvon [that turned out to not be this Trayvon], flipping off his webcam. Even if that had been the real Trayvon Martin, it wouldn’t have mattered. … What this told me was people were starting to dehumanize Trayvon, so they could rationalize what happened and insulate their own belief about ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws, about race, about concealed carry laws, etc., from any fallout.” [Comic Riffs]

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Comics A.M. | Comic-Con hotel reservations open Thursday

Comic-Con International

Conventions | The hotel reservation system for Comic-Con International in San Diego will open Thursday at 9 a.m. PT, as the yearly mad dash for discounted hotel rates begins. CCI has posted a list of hotels, and if you’re willing to stay in Mission Valley, you can book a room early. The process will be the same as last year — select up to 20 hotels where you’d be willing to stay, and you’ll get a confirmation email no later than April 1. You can leave your April Fool’s jokes in the comments below. Also of note this year, shuttles to and from hotels will run 24 hours a day during the show, beginning at 5 a.m. Thursday. [CCI]

Editorial cartoons | Michael Cavna rounds up nine editorial cartoons commenting on the killing of Florida teenager Tryavon Martin. [The Washington Post]

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Comics A.M. | Not-guilty pleas in death of elderly comic collector


Legal | Rico Venditti and six other alleged members of a stolen-goods ring pleaded not guilty Tuesday to federal murder and racketeering charges following a revised grand jury indictment in the July 2010 home invasion of an elderly comics collector. The victim, 78-year-old Homer Marciniak of Medina, New York, died of a heart attack a few hours after being tied up and assaulted during the robbery, which prosecutors claim was set up by Venditti and two others. [The Associated Press]

Conventions | A preview of the first Image Expo, which kicks off Friday in Oakland, California, does double duty as a profile of Image Comics. [Contra Costa Times]

Conventions | Bruce Lidl looks at the potential “Comic-Con tax” that could hit attendees as a result of the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. [The Beat]

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Pre-registration opens for Comic-Con International

Comic-Con International has opened pre-registration for those hoping to attend the July 12-15 convention. That’s right, pre-registration.

Seeking to ease the online process for purchasing badges, organizers this year are requiring prospective attendees to sign up for a free Comic-Con Member ID that they will use to log into the system once registration actually opens.

Having a Member ID doesn’t ensure your entry into Comic-Con; anyone with a valid and unique email address can get one. However, everyone — attendee, volunteer, professional or press — who intends to purchase or apply for a convention badge must first have a Member ID.

More information can be found on the Comic-Con website. You can sign up for a Member ID here; the video below will walk you through the process.

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Comics A.M. | Comic-Con co-founder Richard Alf passes away

Richard Alf

Passings | Richard Alf, who as a teenager fronted the money for the first three years of San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con, the annual event that later became Comic-Con International, passed away Wednesday from pancreatic cancer. He was 59. Alf, who co-chaired the first convention in 1970 and became chairman the following year, later opened Comic Kingdom in North Slope, a business he sold by the end of the decade. [U-T San Diego, Mark Evanier]

Conventions | iFanboy, San Francisco’s Isotope Comics and Grant Morrison are teaming up for MorrisonCon, which will feature “A once in a lifetime opportunity to see Grant Morrison and 9 hand picked comic creator superstars, all together for one weekend, one time only.” They’ve released few details so far, but the website says it’ll occur next fall. [MorrisonCon]

Awards | Comic-Con International is now accepting submissions for the 2012 Eisner Awards, which will be presented in San Diego in July. The deadline for submitting materials for consideration is March 6. [CCI]

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Comics A.M. | Charges dropped against Susie Cagle in Occupy arrest

Susie Cagle

Legal | Cartoonist Susie Cagle, who was arrested last month while covering Occupy Oakland, says she has been cleared of all charges by the Oakland Police Department. The Society of Professional Journalists sent a letter to the Oakland police condemning the arrest, which ultimately assisted in getting the charges dropped. The letter called out the department’s crowd management policy, which says, “Even after a dispersal order has been given, clearly identified media shall be permitted to carry out their professional duties in any area where arrests are being made, unless their presence would unduly interfere with the enforcement action.” [Fishbowl LA]

Conventions | San Diego City Council approved a plan to have San Diego hotels pay for a $520 million convention center expansion. The plan moves to a second hearing in January and requires a vote of two-thirds of the hotels that cast ballots for approval. [NBC San Diego]

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Judges announced for 2012 Eisner Awards

Eisner Awards

Comic-Con International has announced the judging panel for the 2012 Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, which includes Comic Book Resources and Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson.

The six-person committee will meet in San Diego in late March to select the nominees to appear on the Eisner ballot, which then will be voted on by comics industry professionals. The winners will be announced July 13 during an awards ceremony at Comic-Con.

Besides Alverson, who also writes MangaBlog and contributes to Publishers Weekly and MTV Geek, the judging panel includes: retailer Calum Johnston, owner of Strange Adventures: Comix & Curiosities in Nova Scotia; Jesse Karp, librarian at the LREI independent school in New York City and instructor of a graduate-level course on graphic novels at the Pratt Institute; veteran cartoonist Larry Marder, creator of Tales of the Beanworld, former executive director of Image Comics and former president of McFarlane Toys; author and educator Ben Saunders, professor of English at the University of Oregon; and Mary Sturhann, longtime secretary on the board of directors of Comic-Con International.

Comics A.M. | More on Marvel layoffs; CCI plans Balboa Park event


Publishing | Heidi MacDonald and Tom Spurgeon offer commentary and context regarding last week’s layoffs by Marvel. [The Beat, Comics Reporter]

Conventions | San Diego City Council President Tony Young and Comic-Con International staff are working together on a “marquee event” at Balboa Park that around the time of Comic Con. While convention organizers are interested in a Balboa Park event, they don’t support Yong’s original proposal, a nationally televised parade that would kick off or end the con, saying that the logistics, traffic and crowding would be problematic. [Sign On San Diego]

Conventions | Ohio State University’s student newspaper covers this past weekend’s Mid-Ohio Con. [The Lantern]

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What Are You Reading? with special guest Janice Headley

Big Questions

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly column where we successfully answer the question in the title. Our special guest this week is Janice Headley, events coordinator, publicist and “ambassador of awesome” for Fantagraphics.

To see what Janice and the Robot 6 crew have been reading this week, click the link below.

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SDCC ’11 | Jaime Hernandez on how the hell he’s going to top his last two Love and Rockets stories

The San Diego Comic-Con is the gift that keeps on giving, this time in the form of an interview with Love and Rockets co-creator Jaime Hernandez by CBR’s Kiel Phegley. Ask anyone who’s reading the series in its book-formatted New Stories incarnation — including this autumn’s #4, which picks up where last year’s massively acclaimed “Browntown”/”The Love Bunglers” storyline left off — and they’ll tell you: Jaime’s making some of the best work of his career, some 30 years after L&R made its debut. Unfortunately, that left him floundering when it came time to come up with a story for next year’s volume:

I almost blew my wad on these last two issues. I was so proud of it, and I wrapped up so many loose ends, and I was so proud of myself. And I said ‘Okay, now it’s time to do a new issue’…and I was blank. I swear, I was blank! I was actually looking out the window, looking for something, some kind of inspiration, you know? That happens to me once in a while, but this time — I mean, big! I was just wandering around, asking my wife, ‘Do you need me to go do something out in the back yard, or…?’ I just felt like the most useless human being. It’s what I always call the post-comic withdrawal, where after I’ve just gone BANG on one issue, after it’s done, I feel so useless. I need to do something, but it’s like nothing’s there. It always comes, but I can’t make it come. It’s an organic thing with me, where it comes when it comes. Luckily, it’s always come within the deadline.

Watch the entire fascinating interview, which reveals a lot about Jaime’s creative process and his desire to do comics outside his usual “Locas” world, above.

SDCC ’11 | How comics learned to stop worrying and love the Con

San Diego 2011 was all about playing the game, about recognizing that Comic Con isn’t gonna be what any of us wants or needs or cares about, it’s instead going to try to be a little bit of what everyone who comes there cares about. All the starfuckers just there to see someone who was on TV one time, all of the PR flacks looking for the next big thing or trying to sell us the next big thing, the toy makers, the funny t-shirt hawkers, the deep discounters, the booth-babes, and even the comics folks—this is the year we all just sucked it up and realized that we were all gonna be in this together, and it’s gonna be in the same old San Diego convention centre in the same old gaslamp, and we’re all just gonna get used to it. So we did. We’re all playing the game now.

–from retailer/blogger/TCAF organizer/Wallace Wells inspiration Chris Butcher’s excellent report on this year’s San Diego Comic-Con. It’s an entertaining blend of photo parade, personal anecdotes, and astute analysis of the comics presence at the show.

Butcher contrasts San Diego with other shows he’s worked at “where 100% of the audience was potentially interested in 100% of what I was selling,” as opposed to even a good year at San Diego, where most attendees are there for something other than buying comics, let alone the specific comics and comic art he was selling as booth manager for Street Fighter publisher UDON and representative of Toronto retailer The Beguiling’s original art sales wing. He also notes that no single book garnered “book of the show” accolades of the sort that previously greeted such works as Blankets, Kramers Ergot, and the one-volume Bone, and that even publishers with a killer suite of products and announcements walked away from the show playing second fiddle to the usual churn of Hollywood advance buzzmaking and Marvel and DC announcements (which were themselves fairly subdued this year).

But! Butcher says it was the best San Diego he’s been to in a while, which is reflective of what I’ve heard from most of the comics-centric attendees this year. Whether it’s due to Hollywood’s lowered expectations for the show and the consequently lessened obnoxiousness from that aspect of the show; the establishment of offshoot events dedicated specifically to comics; recalibrated expectations and/or wholesale retreat from the con by some of its more outspoken alternative-comics detractors; or simply renewed attention to its still-fine line-up of comics publishers, retailers, creators, and programming; the show went over better this year among comics folks than at any time in recent memory, lack of a “book of the show” be damned.

Comics A.M. | Why the new Spider-Man matters; a look at ‘work for hire’

Miles Morales

Comics | In a post subtitled “Why the new biracial Spider-Man matters,” David Betancourt shares his reaction to the news that the new Ultimate Spider-Man is half-black, half-Latino: “The new Ultimate Spider-Man, who will have the almost impossible task of replacing the late Peter Parker (easily one of Marvel Comics most popular characters), took off his mask and revealed himself to be a young, half-black, half-Latino kid by the name of Miles Morales. When I read the news, I was beside myself, as if my brain couldn’t fully process the revelation. My friendly neighborhood Spider-Man was … just like me? This is a moment I never thought I’d see. But the moment has arrived, and I — the son of Puerto Rican man who passed his love of comics to me, and a black woman who once called me just to say she’d met Adam West — will never forget that day.”

The New Yorker, meanwhile, posts the opening on an essay from the year 2120 that looks back at the cultural significance of the new Spider-Man. [Comic Riffs, New Yorker]

Legal | Analysis of the Kirby estate/Marvel case continues, as both Modern Ideas and Copyhype look at the concept of “work for hire” in light of the ruling. [Modern Ideas, Copyhype]

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SDCC ’11 | A whole bunch of artwork from the Oni Press panel

Black Metal 2

As I was going through the folders I’d set up on my hard drive for my yearly trek to the San Diego Comic Con, seeing what needed to be cleaned out and what was still on my “to do” list, I realized I was sitting on a huge stockpile of art that Oni Press had given me after their panel on Friday. I’d asked Oni’s Cory Casoni for the artwork they showed from Rascal Raccoon, the new book they announced at the show, and he gave me everything they showed during their presentation.

And there was a lot of stuff. Granted, a lot of it you’ve probably seen before — Chris posted some preview art from Power Lunch last week, for instance, and they had a lot of pages from The Sixth Gun that came from various issues of its run — but I figured why not share it all? And this seemed the week to do it, since they showed a lot of pages from Phil Gelatt and Tyler Crook‘s Petrograd, which hits shops this week.

So, after the jump, you’ll find the covers for some upcoming books like the second Black Metal and Spell Checkers volumes, as well as pages from One Soul, Petrograd and many other Oni books. For more on the panel itself, I’ll direct you to John Scarff’s report over on CBR.

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SDCC ’11 | Brian Ralph’s San Diego Comic-Con diary

I’ll admit it, it’s a bit of a shock to see a Brian Ralph comic that isn’t about some deceptively adorable character adventuring their way through an impeccably rendered rubble-strewn environment. Then again, is surviving the San Diego Comic-Con really all that different? The Daybreak cartoonist and alumnus of the influential Fort Thunder collective is chronicling his experience at Comic-Con International 2011 in diary comics form for The Comics Journal all week long. Day one’s a doozy, a journey from misery to triumph and back to misery in the space of a few panels. Look out for the cameo appearance from Drawn and Quarterly’s staff supercouple Peggy Burns and Tom Devlin, who emerge as a sort of obscenity-spewing Statler & Waldorf.

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