Small Press Expo
Business | Propelled by Disney’s planned $4-billion purchase of the company, Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter debuts at No. 230 on Forbes magazine’s annual list of the 400 richest Americans. The 67-year-old Perlmutter has an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion. [New York Post]
Creators | Several sources report that cartoonist Rusty Haller passed away this week of as-yet-unknown causes. He was 45. Haller, who began his comics career in the mid-1980s, is perhaps best known for his work in the early ’90s on Marvel’s licensed ALF and Count Duckula titles and, later, on Archie Comics’ The Flintstones. He also created Ace and Queenie, an anthropomorphic spy/romance series that appeared in the Radio Comix anthology Furrlough. [The Beat]
Publishing | Deb Aoki rounds up the license-acquisition announcements from last weekend’s New York Anime Festival. If Library War is half as awesome as it sounds — a fearless squad of librarians fight censorship! — I can’t wait to read it. [About.com]
Conventions | Now on to the Small Press Expo, and convention recaps from David Welsh, Alert Nerd and Samuel Rules. Johanna Draper Carlson reports on the Critics’ Roundtable panel, while Sean T. Collins provides the audio. [SPX]
Publishing | Arthur de Wolf comments on the debut this week of Mickey Mouse & Friends under the BOOM! Kids banner, noting that the 10-part “Wizards of Mickey” story was told in weekly installments in Italy. In the United States, it will be published monthly: “When Gladstone and Gemstone printed long Don Rosa stories in their original three parts (meant for the European weeklies), readers complained about the stories being spread out over three months. It’ll be interesting to see if readers will have the patience to follow Mickey’s wizardry adventures for nearly a year before its conclusion.” [Disney Comics Worldwide]
Creators | Using the copyright-reclamation bid by Jack Kirby’s children as a news hook, Geoff Boucher takes a look at the artist’s legacy, his creative partnership with Stan Lee, and his bitter feud with Marvel. “A lot more people know the name Stan Lee than the name Jack Kirby,” says daughter Lisa Kirby. “I’m not putting down Stan Lee’s talents but it’s difficult for us to see that he does dominate the credit. That doesn’t reflect the work or the reality. To see Jack Kirby in small letters and Stan Lee in big letters, that’s hard for us.” [Los Angeles Times]
Publishing | Jim Shelley considers what effect the recession may be having on the illegal downloading of comic books. He finds there are more downloads, but they’ve become more difficult to track. [Flashback Universe, via Kleefeld on Comics]
The winners of the Ignatz Awards were announced yesterday during a ceremony at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland.
Named in honor of the brick-wielding mouse in George Herriman’s Krazy Kat strip, the awards recognize achievement in comics and cartooning. Nominees are selected by a panel of five cartoonists and then voted on by SPX attendees.
The winners of the 2009 Ignatz Awards are:
Outstanding Artist: Nate Powell, Swallow Me Whole (Top Shelf)
Outstanding Anthology or Collection: Kramer’s Ergot #7, edited by Sammy Harkham (Buenaventura)
Outstanding Graphic Novel: Acme Novelty Library #19, Chris Ware (Drawn & Quarterly)
Outstanding Story: “Willy,” Papercutter #10, Damien Jay (Tugboat)
Promising New Talent: Colleen Frakes, Woman King (self-published)
Outstanding Series: Uptight, Jordan Crane (Fantagraphics)
Outstanding Comic: Uptight #3, Jordan Crane (Fantagraphics)
Outstanding Mini-Comic: Stay Away From Other People, Lisa Hanawalt
Outstanding Online Comic: Year of the Rat, Cayetano Garza
Congratulations to all of the winners. The complete list of nominees can be found here.
Legal | Yaoi Press Publisher Yamila Abraham was arrested Monday in Las Vegas on federal fraud charges related to online sales of an “herbal” alternative to recreational street drugs. Authorities claim the product contained no herbal supplements and was actually composed of dextromethorphan hydrobromide (DXM), the active ingredient in over-the-counter cough suppressants. The charges date from 2005 and 2006, when Abraham operated the mail-order website Pleasureherbs.com.
If convicted, Abraham, 34, could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the seven counts of mail fraud, up to one year in prison and a $250,000 fine on one count of misbranding a drug, and up to two years in prison and a $250,000 fine on one count of introducing goods in domestic commerce by means of false statement. She also could be forced to forfeit property from the proceeds of the crime up to $186,680 and any equipment used to make the drugs.
On the Yaoi Press blog, Abraham asked for everyone to “please keep a cool head, and have faith. This situation is not going to end Yaoi Press. Don’t believe the hype.” She stressed that she will continue to appear at conventions, including this weekend’s OtakuMex in Albuquerque, New Mexico. [Las Vegas Sun]
The programming schedule for this year’s Small Press Expo is up on their website, which includes spotlight panels on Gahan Wilson, Peter Kuper, Jeffrey Brown, John Porcellino and more, as well as a critics round table that features our own Chris Mautner and recent guest blogger Sean T. Collins, among many others:
A murderers’ row of comics critics will address general issues facing comics criticism today and will candidly discuss several new and recent works in a lively, no-holds-barred, roundtable conversation. Rob Clough, Sean Collins, Gary Groth, Chris Mautner, Joe McCulloch, Tucker Stone and Douglas Wolk will share their acute critical insights with moderator Bill Kartalopoulos.
Overall it sounds like a great line-up, so check it out if you’re able. SPX will be held Sept. 26-27 in Bethesda, Maryland.
For a title that was originally rejected for inclusion in the Previews catalog by Diamond on the grounds that its format was “unpopular with collectors and retailers,” Frank Santoro and Ben Jones’s psychedelic sci-fi action-adventure teen-angst punk-rock extravaganza Cold Heat sure is generating enough prequels, sequels and spin-offs to satisfy even the most dedicated fan of front-of-Previews mega-events.
At the Cold Heat Comics blog, co-creator Frank Santoro reveals that the upcoming Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, will see the release of three new CH titles, featuring the continuing adventures of sword-wielding teenage heroine Castle, resurrected rock god Joel Cannon, and their cosmic alien allies and evil government enemies. First up is Cold Heat 7/8, an omnibus edition of the PictureBox-published series’ next two issues. Next is Fantagraphics’ ongoing anthology series Mome Vol. 16, which like Vol. 14 will include a Cold Heat prequel story — two, actually, one of them featuring art by Jon Vermilyea. (A preview of the Santoro/BJ contribution, and the rest of the issue, can be found here.) And finally, another Cold Heat Special is on the way, the latest in a series of limited-run comics made by Santoro in collaboration with such artists as Dash Shaw, Jim Rugg, Lane Milburn, and Ryan Cecil Smith.
Cold Heat has been at the crest a new wave of unabashed alternative genre comics, including C.F.’s Powr Mastrs, Kazimir Strzepek’s The Mourning Star, Brian Ralph’s Daybreak, and Johnny Ryan’s Prison Pit. Readers who like their science-fiction slugfests thought-provoking as well as pulse-pounding would do well to check it out.
Named after George Herriman’s brick-wielding mouse from Krazy Kat, the Ignatz Awards honor “exceptional work that challenges popular notions of what comics can achieve, both as an art form and as a means of personal expression.” The nominees are selected by a panel of five judges and voted upon by SPX attendees.
This year’s nominees are: