INTERVIEW: Gail Simone Guides 'Blockbuster Update' of Red Sonja, Vampirella and Dejah Thoris
Following a two-month fight with Walmart, cartoonist Jeph Jacques has shut down his parody site walmart.horse and turned over the domain name to the retail giant.
Launched in February, the website consisted solely of the above image, created from two public-domain photos superimposed on one another. The idea came to the cartoonist after he saw a list of new Top Level Domains, domain-name extensions that reflect specific interest. “The idea behind the site started out as a conversation with a friend of mine,” he explained in March. “We were extremely amused by the new .horse TLD and decided to register a bunch of ridiculous domain names with it.”
Creators | Cerebus creator Dave Sim was scheduled for surgery Tuesday after checking himself into the emergency room for severe stomach cramps. According to Sim’s friend, Dr. Troy Thompson, “the presumptive diagnosis is cecal volvulus, which is a twisting of the colon causing obstruction.” However, nothing will be known for sure until after the surgery. Sim was already feeling better after doctors inserted a nasogastric tube to remove the contents of his stomach. [A Moment of Cerebus, which is offering updates]
Legal | Matthew Pocci Jr., who in July drove into the crowd of ZombieWalk: San Diego, held annually during Comic-Con International, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a charge of felony reckless driving. His lawyer said that Pocci, who is deaf, was scared for his safety and that of his family when his car was engulfed by a crowd of people during the event. He initially stopped the car but then restarted the engine and moved forward, striking several people. [UT-San Diego]
Jeph Jacques, creator of the long-running webcomic Questionable Content, may have come up with the website walmart.horse on a whim, but global retail leviathan isn’t amused. In fact, Walmart has demanded the cartoonist, well, stop horsing around.
Jacques explained to Ars Technica that the webpage was inspired by the latest batch of Top Level Domains, domain-name extensions that reflect different interests. “The idea behind the site started out as a conversation with a friend of mine — we were extremely amused by the new .horse TLD and decided to register a bunch of ridiculous domain names with it,” he said.
One of these was walmart.horse; the page consists entirely of the image above, which itself is composed of two public-domain photos superimposed on one another. Jacques calls it “postmodern Dadaism — nonsense-art using found objects.”
Censorship | The Tanzanian government has banned a regional newspaper, The EastAfrican, apparently because of a cartoon by Godfrey Mwampembwa (GADO) that was critical of President Jakaya Kikwete. [The Washington Post]
Creators | “My idea is that if you want to defend Islam against cartoons, you do it by drawing cartoons, not by killing the cartoonists,” says Palestinian cartoonist Mohammed Sabaaneh, who is back on the job after being suspended for a cartoon that some interpreted as being a likeness of the Prophet Muhammad (Sabaaneh insists it was not). This profile of Sabaaneh includes an interview with the creator and a nuanced look at the milieu in which he works. [The Independent]
Manga | The 72nd and final volume of Masashi Kishimoto’s Naruto, released in Japan on Feb. 4, topped the weekly sales charts, with 874,120 volumes sold in its first week. [Crunchyroll]
Conventions | With 10 fan conventions coming to Indianapolis this year, David Lindquist takes a look at the business of comics-themed entertainment, with interviews with Wizard World CEO John Macaluso and Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture author Rob Salkowitz. [Indianapolis Star]
Publishing | U.K. comics distributor Impossible Books will close up shop on Feb. 28, after two years in the business. On their blog, owners Camila Barboza and Taylor Lilley explained they simply don’t have the time and energy for the enterprise any longer. They are putting their titles on sale in the meantime, and Zainab Akhtar has some recommendations for bargain-minded readers. [Comics & Cola]
Crime | Daryl Cagle’s website, which hosts a lot of editorial cartoons, went down last week after being hit by a Distributed Denial of Service attack. Cagle tells Alan Gardner that his site gets attacked by hackers fairly frequently, but the latest was different in that the only goal was to take down the site. Gardner speculates it may be related to cartoons about the Prophet Muhammad and Charlie Hebdo. [The Daily Cartoonist]
As slain Charlie Hebdo editor Stéphane Charbonnier was laid to rest Friday, a cartoonist from the predecessor magazine Hara-Kiri denounced his determination to run the Prophet Muhammad cartoons despite violence and threats.
The latest issue of the French satire magazine continues to sell briskly, as print runs climbed to 5 million, and the Charlie Hebdo app has been updated, with this week’s issue available in English as well as France. Reactions from Muslim scholars and clerics to the latest issue were negative, but generally counseled restraint. Around the world, protestors have taken to the streets; most of the demonstrations have been peaceful but a few have turned violent.
The cartoonist Luz, one of the artists of the Muhammad covers, gave an emotional eulogy at Charbonnier’s funeral, calling him a “friend, brother, drinking buddy… partner in crime,” and expressing his regret that Charbonnier would not be there to draw the events following the Jan. 7 attack, and expressing his hope that “thousands of Charlie Hebdos” will spring up in its aftermath.
Meanwhile, Henri Roussel, one of the contributors to the magazine that became Charlie Hebdo, denounced Charbonnier for continuing to publish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad after the magazine’s offices were firebombed in 2011.
Nasser bin al-Ansi, head of al-Qaida in Yemen, has claimed responsibility for the attack Jan. 7 on the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo that killed 12 people, including five prominent cartoonists.
“As for the blessed Battle of Paris, we, the Organization of al-Qaida al Jihad in the Arabian Peninsula, claim responsibility for this operation as vengeance for the Messenger of God,” al-Ansi said in a video posted on YouTube. He claimed the massacre was ordered by al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahri, and that the “one who chose the target, laid the plan and financed the operation is the leadership of the organization.”
Graphic novels | December’s Nielsen BookScan list of the Top 20 graphic novels sold through the book channels looks markedly different from previous months because it now includes nonfiction. That actually makes it a much more interesting chart, with Roz Chast’s memoir Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? taking the top spot, followed by the first two volumes of The Walking Dead Compendium, the fourth volume of Saga and the Oatmeal book The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances (which is apparently classified as nonfiction) showing up at No. 5. The chart, which tracks books sold in retail bookstores, some mass market stores and Amazon, also included a couple of much-hyped December debuts, the first collected volume of Ms. Marvel and Richard McGuire’s Here. [ICv2]
Political cartoons | In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo shootings, Zeidy David revisits the case of Palestinian cartoonist Mohammad Saba’aneh, who was arrested in Israel and held without charges for several months before being given a five-month sentence and a fine for “contact with a hostile organization” — a Jordanian publisher with whom he had discussed a possible book. [Mint Press News]
Below are some links to news, commentary and reactions to the Charlie Hebdo shootings, but to start off, here’s a fascinating look at the staff at work, planning their first Prophet Muhammad cartoon issue. This five-minute video not only shows the slain cartoonists at work, it provides valuable context for everything that follows. [The New York Times]
Demonstrations | The crowd at Sunday’s rally in honor of the slain Charlie Hebdo cartoonists was estimated at 1.6 million, and leaders of more than 40 nations were there as well. [The New York Times]
Crime | Police have surrounded an industrial park in the town of Dammartin-en-Goele, France, 25 miles north of Paris, where the two suspects in Wednesday’s massacre at the offices of satire magazine Charlie Hebdo are believed to be hiding. Police say brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi have taken over a print shop and are holding a hostage, and have reportedly told negotiators they wish to die as martyrs. The Associated Press reports that a second, apparently linked siege at a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris is believed to involve Amedy Coulibaly, suspected of killing a police officer on Thursday. Police say he’s holding at least six hostages. [The Guardian]
Felix Dennis, who passed away this week at age 67, was the founder of a publishing empire that included the men’s magazine Maxim and the news magazine The Week, but he also has a place in comics history as one of the defendants in a famous U.K. obscenity trial that drew support of many prominent figures of the time, from John Lennon to Germaine Greer.
Dennis was one of the editors of the British satire magazine Oz, which published a mix of prose, art, poetry and comics. Stung by criticism that they were out of touch with youth, the editors in 1970 placed a notice in the magazine inviting schoolchildren to contribute to a special issue. About 20 teenagers came to London, singly and in groups, to create and edit a special “Schoolkids” issue. (One of those students, Charles Shaar Murray, described the experience 30 years later, and another contributor, David Wills, has posted the full issue online.) Although the “Schoolkids issue” was created by teenagers, it wasn’t necessarily created for them. On the other hand, teenagers were obviously already reading the magazine, as that’s where the call for contributions appeared.
(Warning: Potentially NSFW image below.)
She specializes in zeitgeisty op-ed columns featuring schoolyard-taunt nicknames for the most powerful people in politics…and in MAYHEM! She’s New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, and she’s kicking ass and uncovering the crime of the century in The Incredibly Fantastic Adventures of Maureen Dowd, “A Work of Satire and Fiction” from Night Business and Gangsta Rap Posse author Benjamin Marra.
Told in Marra’s inimitable, po-faced ’80s-trash throwback style, TIFAoMD‘s preview pages show Dowd — winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for distinguished commentary and recently named the eighth-biggest hack in journalism by Salon’s Alex Pareene — lounging in lingerie, battling burglars, flirting with fellow Times columnist Tom Friedman, and trying to blow the lid off the Valerie Plame scandal before her big date with George Clooney. And for a political junkie like me, it’s basically heaven. (Ordering info and preview page after the jump.)
We’ve all heard countless times that President Barack Obama is a fan of Spider-Man and Conan the Barbarian, and we saw where his affinity for the wall crawler led a few months ago. Now the other sword has dropped.
On Sunday, Comic Continuum posted Devil’s Due Publishing’s solicitations for June, and they include a comic titled Barack the Barbarian: Quest for the Treasure of Stimuli #1, written by Larry Hama. There’s also a poster offered of the cover to the first issue by Tim Seeley (pictured above). Here’s the full solicitation text:
BARACK THE BARBARIAN: QUEST FOR THE TREASURE OF STIMULI #1
Written by Larry Hama, art by various, covers by Tim Seeley and Rachelle Rosenberg.
From a far away land rises a mighty hero. The son of peasants from two different realms, the one known only as Barak protects the people of Hope Kingdom at all costs. Watch as he takes on the likes of Boosh the Dim, Red Sarah, and Cha-nee the Grim in this first issue!
But wait, there’s more!
So with the Super Bowl settled some sports fans have moved on to other sports, such as following their favorite NBA team again. Or maybe they want to laugh about their least favorite basketball team. (Honestly, as an Atlanta native, I can say with great authority that for many years with the Hawks, all you could do is laugh . . . or cry). Why am I talking about sports at a comics blog? Well, this interview happens to focus upon the creators of the Garbage Time All-Stars (GTAS) webcomic: Josh Frankel and Mark Haven Britt. As noted here: “Josh and Mark are the cartoonists responsible for the weekly NBA satire of Garbage Time All-Stars. Their comics first appear every week at the Yahoo! Sports Ball Don’t Lie blog, and are then archived here.” This week’s strip (posted on Wednesday morning) aims to welcome NFL fans back with a summary of the NBA season so far. Thanks to this interview, I now want to ask Tom Spurgeon if he thinks the 1979 addition of the three-pointer revitalized or ruined the game.
Tim O’Shea: How did the strip first come about?
Mark Haven Britt: Josh brought it up. He’s a huge NBA nerd. Even bigger than me. He knows the blogs, the sites and the community of NBA fandom. No one was really doing comics about the NBA and that he was sure that there was an audience for it. I thought it sounded like such fun. Josh is hilarious. I had to be a part of it so I weaseled my way into drawing it.
Josh Frankel: It’s true, I am an NBA nerd. I play fantasy basketball which requires total information gathering — stats, injury reports, local dispatches about coach moods — and it leads to long NBA rants in emails to friends. If I’m already doing all of that work I might as well try to get a comic out of it. Of my comics friends Mark is the guy I’ve always talked hoops with. It all fell into place.