Legal | The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI on Thursday shut down the popular file-sharing site Megaupload, seized $50 million in assets and charged its founder and six others with running an international enterprise based on Internet piracy that’s cost copyright holders at least $500 million in lost revenue. The FBI has begun extradition proceedings in New Zealand to bring company founder Kim Schmitz, aka Kim DotCom, to the United States. He and three other associates are being held without bail until Monday, when they’ll receive a new hearing. Three others remain at large. They face a maximum of 20 years in prison.
News of the shutdown was met with retaliation by the hacker collective Anonymous, which attacked the websites of the Justice Department and the Motion Picture Association of America.
It’s been just over two years since the last time cartoonist Shannon Wheeler and I have done an interview. Since then, he’s gotten even more popular with his successful New Yorker cartoon submissions; turned his New Yorker rejections into the Eisner Award winning collection (from BOOM! Studios), I Thought You Would Be Funnier; collaborated with Simon Max Hill on a Little Golden Book parody, Grandpa Won’t Wake Up (BOOM! Studios); as well as teaming with Steve Duin (The Oregonian columnist) on Oil and Water (from Fantagraphics, set for release this month). This new interview focuses on the experience of winning a second Eisner (to go with his 1995 Best New Series win for Too Much Coffee Man), his various current collaborations, comedic boundaries and the impact of stress in his creative process. Be sure to peruse Fantagraphics 19-page preview of Oil and Water after enjoying the interview.
Tim O’Shea: Not many folks can say they’ve won an Eisner, but this year’s was actually your second Eisner win. How gratifying was it to get such validation again? Also, how amused were you that you won an award for a collection of work rejected by the New Yorker?
Shannon Wheeler: It was more moving than validating. I didn’t think I would win this time around. I swore I wouldn’t be one of those people who cry on stage at a stupid award ceremony. But once I got up and took the award in my hand I honestly choked up. It meant more to me than I thought.