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Insulting the referee is a pastime as old as sports itself, but it’s rare to call one out by name in a comic strip. So when Brian Basset and Rob Harrell’s syndicated comic Adam@home took a potshot at former National Hockey League referee (and current Guelph, Ontario, city councilor) Andy van Hellemond, the ref called foul. According to Kathy English, public editor of the Toronto Star, van Hellemond has served a libel notice on the paper, saying he intends to sue for defamation, and that the comic strip has caused him “serious and irreparable harm”:
Our client takes the position that the publication of his last name and prior occupation in respect of his ability to referee professional hockey games was calculated to disparage both his personal and professional reputation and was defamatory.
For those who (like me) don’t follow hockey too closely, English gives a good summary of why van Hellemond might be a likely target for Adam‘s humor (which was the setup for a bad pun, not cutting sports commentary), and she defends the strip as legal, although admittedly unfair (and a bit random, as van Hellemond left the ice in 1996). She also says that this is the first time anyone at the paper has ever heard of a lawsuit being filed over a comic strip.
(via Graphic Policy)
Ok, maybe that’s a bit stereotypical, but it gives me a chance to fill you in on this innovative new series that’s being previewed free online. Created by writer Geoffrey Wessel and artist Jeff Simpson, the soccer crime serial Keeper is a very strong piece of work with an very unique concept ripe for success.
The creators are serializing pages of the comic online every Wednesday while also building towards a full first issue for print release.The comic has gotten some good accolades from veteran comic creators like Phil Hester, Rob Williams and Jacen Burrows — with the latter describing it as a “sports horror hybrid”.
Both creators were on hand earlier this month at C2E2 showing off their book in the Web Pavilion. For more, you can visit their site keeper-comic.com
A new “virtual sports theme park” launching later this spring seeks to combine “the most appealing aspects of online gaming with the joys of real world play,” and helping them to do that is Red Robin writer Fabian Nicieza.
FunGoPlay will allow kids to earn medals, points and power-ups in the virtual world by wearing branded sports gear when they play in the real world that apparently keeps track of their activity levels and sends it back to the game.
“Our research shows that kids’ activity levels are determined when they are eight and nine years old. Not coincidentally, this is the time that they are being sucked into the often sedentary lifestyle of video games and surfing online,” said FunGoPlay President David Jacobs in a press release. “We saw an opportunity to combine two leading kid passions—digital entertainment and real world active sports play—so we changed the game by introducing a virtual world that rewards kids for playing and being active in the real world. We see this as a future of online gaming that both parents and children can enjoy.”
Nicieza, the longtime comic scribe who also served as editor-in-chief of the Acclaim’s comic line, is the head of creative for FunGoPlay. He will write all the storylines for the various characters that appear in the game, a spokesperson said. The company also includes David Mauer, former president of Mattel USA and current CEO of EB Brands, and David Jacobs, formerly with Sesame Workshop.
If you’re in the Chicago area, Lance Briggs wants your old comics.
The Chicago Bears linebacker and comics fan is working with Chicago-based comic retailer Comic Vault to collect comic book donations for the needy and members of the Armed Forces. The drive ends Dec. 11, when Briggs will make an appearance at the shop.
The comics will be donated to the Chicago Housing Authority and to the Armed Forces. You can find more details here.
Publishing | D.C. Thomson & Co., publisher of long-running comics like The Beano and The Dandy, is closing a printing plant in Dundee, Scotland, eliminating up to 350 jobs. The facility is used to print magazines and books. The company, which also owns The Evening Telegraph and Sunday Post newspapers, employs more than 2,000 people. [BBC News]
Publishing | Lori Henderson returns to the question of what led to the failure of the CMX manga imprint: “Its parent company, DC didn’t do anything to market that line. Putting a solicitation in Previews is not marketing. DC claimed they would bridge the manga and comic store gap, yet did nothing to help retailers or promote the books to bloggers, bookstores or librarians, their three strongest advocates. You can’t buy or recommend books you don’t know about. While there were other factors that contributed to its ultimate end, the mishandling of the imprint in its first year, and then being completely ignored for the rest was the main factor in its lack of sales.” [Manga Xanadu]