Four calling birds, three french hens, two turtle doves … welcome to day three of our holiday gift-giving guide, where we ask comic pros:
1. What comic-related gift or gifts would you recommend giving this year, and why?
2. What gift (comic or otherwise) is at the top of your personal wish list, and why?
A great big thank you to everyone who helped us out this year, including the ones who’ll be showcased tomorrow. Be sure to come back then for our big wrap-up!
1. The Simpsons/Futurama Crossover Crisis. Leela helps Maggie deal with school bullies. Homer and Bender go drinking. England invades the USA. Come on, you need this.
Flex Mentallo: Man of Muscle Mystery. The most ludicrous and wonderful supporting character from Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol got his own miniseries, and it’s just now being reprinted for the first time. I loved this miniseries when it first came out, and I’m gearing up to love it all over again.
Starstruck. The great Lee/Kaluta sci-fi epic, now between two robust hard covers. I should declare an interest: I wrote the intro. But I did that because it’s awesome beyond the feasible limits of possible awesomeness.
2. A Very Peculiar Practice, season 2. Wow. Just how much of my life right now is ’80s nostalgia? I think I need to get some professional help. Probably from Duran Duran.
Mike Carey has written numerous comics (and a few novels) over his career, including Lucifer, My Faith In Frankie, Ultimate Fantastic Four and Hellblazer. He currently writes X-Men: Legacy and The Unwritten.
Fox has released images and an official synopsis for this week’s episode of The Simpsons, which features a guest appearance by Neil Gaiman. In addition, Gaiman posted a clip from the show which, as you can see from the above screenshot, includes a glimpse of a bookstore display showcasing the author’s work, including The Absolute Sandman, Vol. 1, and The Absolute Death. Clearly they’re not in the Springfield Barnes & Noble.
Here’s how Fox describes the episode, called “The Book Job”: “Lisa becomes disheartened when she learns the shocking truth behind the ‘tween lit’ industry and her beloved fantasy novel characters. But Homer decides to cash in on the craze and forms a team to group-write the next ‘tween lit’ hit, with the king of fantasy, Neil Gaiman (guest-voicing as himself), lending his expertise to the effort. After catching the eye of a slick industry publisher (guest-voice Andy Garcia) at the Springfield Book Fair, the team gets an advanced copy of their work and discovers that the corporate lit business is a bigger operation than they imagined.”
Gaiman previously appeared in animated for in a 2010 episode of Arthur. Check out the clip and images from “The Book Job” below. The Simpsons airs Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
Although I stopped watching the show on a regular basis a few seasons back, I try not to miss the Simpsons Treehouse of Horror episode every year that for some reason is typically shown the Sunday after Halloween. I also try not to miss Bongo’s Treehouse of Horror comic special, which seems to go out of its way every year to recruit an interesting array of contributors. The last couple of years have featured everyone from cat and transforming robot cartoonist Jeffrey Brown to Lemmy of Motorhead.
This year is no different, as it features stories by Go-Go/Lady Robotika‘s Jane Wiedlin, Zander Cannon and Gene Ha of Top Ten fame and indie artist Jim Woodring. I’ll be sure to add this to my buy list when it comes out Sept. 28.
Legal | The Lithuanian publisher of The Simpsons comic has been fined for breaching laws banning the advertising of alcohol with its depiction of Duff Beer, the fictional brand consumed by Homer and other residents of Springfield.
Although Simpsons creator Matt Groening has never licensed the Duff trademark out of concern that it might encourage children to drink, companies in several countries have released beer using the Duff name (Fox and Groening sued an Australian brewery for doing so in 1995, forcing the product to be pulled from shelves and destroyed). The existence of unlicensed Duff beers apparently was enough for a government watchdog, who handed down the more than $4,000 fine. The publisher said it has stopped publication of The Simpsons while it tries to address the Duff matter — a major issue, considering that Bongo Comics reportedly doesn’t permit content changes to licensed titles. [The Australian]
Threadless has a fetching new T-shirt aimed at spreading the word about the growing epidemic of dog owners who won’t pick up after their pets. The shirt features various cartoon and comic strip dogs and their owners, um, doing their thing, including Snoopy and Charlie Brown, Scooby Doo and Shaggy, and Homer Simpson and Santa’s Little Helper. If I ever had the urge to wear a shirt featuring dogs dropping a deuce, which I haven’t, this would be the shirt for me.
Steven Kutzner was sentenced on Tuesday in Boise, Idaho, to 15 months in federal prison, followed by three years of supervised release and mandatory sex offender treatment, for possessing drawings of minors having sex. This case has received a lot of attention on comics blogs because the images mentioned in the plea agreement were all of characters from The Simpsons, and the case is one of several in recent years that have involved drawn images. Child pornography in the form of photographs or movies involves the exploitation of real children, but drawings and animation are more of a thought crime, and a robust discussion has sprung up as to whether it’s something that should be prosecuted.
Sean Michael Robinson, who has been following this case at The Comics Journal, spoke to Kutzner’s attorney D.J. Carr, who said that while he felt the statute under which Kutzner was prosecuted “puts the government in places it shouldn’t be,” this wasn’t the case to test it. The fact is, the 33-year-old Kutzner isn’t some hapless hobbyist being victimized by an overzealous prosecutor. German police and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency had identified Kutzner’s computer as the one that offered a file of actual child pornography for download on a peer-to-peer network, and Kutzner admitted that he had downloaded child pornography and then wiped his computer to remove all traces of it.
This reads a bit like an episode of Law & Order: SVU, in that prosecutors knew Kutzner had downloaded child pornography, but they might not be able to prove it in court, so they charged him with possession of obscene cartoons instead. Kutzner pleaded guilty to avoid the more serious charges. In fact, there is unlikely to ever be a clean test case of laws banning drawings of child obscenity, in the sense that prosecutors would go after someone because of one or two images in an otherwise innocuous collection. The DA in this case, Jim Peters, basically said as much to Robinson in October, when Kutzner pleaded guilty:
Creators | Renowned artist Steve Rude and his family are in danger of losing their home, so the co-creator of Nexus is auctioning art in hopes of raising the money to meet a Nov. 15 deadline. [Steve Rude's Facebook, The Comics Reporter]
Publishing | Retailer news and analysis site ICv2.com suggests Bryan Lee O’Malley’s Scott Pilgrim series could close out 2010 as the No. 1 graphic-novel property of the year, surpassing the top-selling adaptation of Stephen Meyer’s Twilight. [ICv2.com]
Digital comics | David Brothers wonders how the rise of digital comics might change comics “culture,” and the Wednesday ritual. [4thletter!]