X-POSITION: Phoenix, Upstarts & More Tear Up Bowers & Sims' "X-Men '92"
The finalists have been announced for the 2013 Doug Wright Awards, which recognize the best in English-language comics by Canadians. The awards are named for Doug Wright, the late cartoonist whose strip Doug Wright’s Family appeared for more than 30 years in newspapers across the country.
What’s more, organizers have released Ethan Rilly‘s poster for the ninth annual awards ceremony, which will be held May 11 in conjunction with the Toronto Comics Art Festival. Rilly, who won the 2012 award for best book, is nominated again this year in that category. The finalists are:
Organizations | Tom Spurgeon reports that The Hero Initiative has now received close to $3,000 so far due to campaigns asking those people who watch Marvel’s The Avengers to donate money to the organization. The Jack Kirby Museum, meanwhile, reports it has received $1,300 from Avengers-related giving. [The Comics Reporter, The Kirby Museum]
Conventions | Chris Butcher, co-founder and director of the Toronto Comics Art Festival, reports that about 18,000 people attended this year’s TCAF-related events: “TCAF 2012 was the most ambitious festival yet, and my most ambitious personal undertaking. With more off-site and lead-up events than ever before, more partnerships than in previous years, an additional day of programming, and more than 20 featured guests, I worried in the weeks leading up to the show that perhaps we’d bit off a bit more than we could chew. Luckily through the talent and support of some wonderful folks we had varying levels of success on every front, and as always, lessons were learned and we think 2013 will be even stronger.” [Comics212]
Comics | With the success of The Avengers film, Kendall Whitehouse discusses the narrative techniques comics have “explored and exploited,” including “multi-issue story arcs, crossovers, team-ups, reboots and multiple title tie-ins,” noting they not only help sell more comics but also have blazed the trail for complex stories: “The story has now become a world unto its own that allows the reader to explore whichever dimensions are of the greatest interest. Follow the events from the perspective of Iron Man or Thor. Or just peruse the core series and ignore the supplementary story elements. The series presents a nearly unbounded narrative universe for the reader to experience. It is easy to interpret this with a cynical eye as nothing more than a series of cheap marketing tactics designed to pump sales. And yet, when well executed, something larger emerges.” [Knowledge@Wharton Today]
Retailing | Saturday’s Free Comic Book Day also served as the grand opening for Aw Yeah Comics, a store in Skokie, Illinois, owned (as the name suggests) by Tiny Titans creators Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani and retail veteran Marc Hammond. [Skokie Review, Time Out Chicago]
Canada’s own Doug Wright Awards were presented Saturday night in conjunction with the Toronto Comics Art Festival, and Kate Beaton, who the 2009 Emerging Artist award, fulfilled that early promise by taking home the award for the best book for Hark! A Vagrant.
Ethan Rilly won the Doug Wright Spotlight award for Pope Hats #2, and Michael Comeau received the Pigskin Peters award, given for experimental or avant-garde comics, for his Hellberta. In addition, cartoonist Terry “Aislin” Mosher, who has been drawing cartoons for The Montreal Gazette for 40 years now, was inducted into The Giants of the North, the Canadian Cartoonists Hall of Fame.
Publishing | Continuing its domination of the graphic novel sales in bookstores, The Walking Dead laid claim to seven of the Top 10 spots on BookScan’s April chart. The series, by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore and Charlie Adlard, took the first four positions. What’s more, 12 of the Top 20 graphic novels were volumes of The Walking Dead. [ICv2.com]
Publishing | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson talks to Right Stuf director of marketing and communications Alison Roberts about that company’s announcement earlier this week that it will be publishing the first three volumes Hetalia: Axis Powers as a print-on-demand books. The series was originally licensed by Tokyopop, which is co-branding the books with Right Stuf. [MTV Geek]
The finalists have been announced for the 2012 Doug Wright Awards, which recognize the best in English-language comics by Canadians. The awards are named for Doug Wright, the late cartoonist whose strip Doug Wright’s Family appeared for more than 30 years in newspapers across the country.
The winners of the eighth annual awards will be presented May 5 during the Toronto Comics Art Festival. The finalists are:
This week on Thursday’s Jazz Alternatives [on New York radio station WKCR] there was an interview with a member of the New York Jazz Initiative, an organization that holds workshops in New York area high schools to get kids interested in jazz. The idea is to have them play with professional musicians, and in doing so create a new audience for the music. Their plan is “to educate and inspire the next generation of performers and listeners.”
During the interview there was a lot of talk about how the golden age of jazz has passed and now schools are churning out jazz musicians with nowhere to play. There are more players than listeners, really, so a new audience for the music has to be created lest it become “museum music.”
I couldn’t help but think about comics while I was listening to the interview. This might be a new “golden age” of comics but what if the audience just dries up in the next decade or so? Jazz was dominant on the radio and in nightclubs in 1960, but by 1970 jazz musicians were running out of places to play. I thought, “What’s going to happen when all the comics shops close?” That won’t happen, you say? Well, they said that about record shops, too, and now they are just about all gone.
–Cartoonist and critic Frank Santoro, writing on the future of comics for The Comics Journal. Santoro is writing as a partisan of independent/small press/alternative/art comics published by entities other than large corporations, and as such I wonder if his concern is a valid one. From Peter Laird shutting down the Xeric grants for self-published comics to DC going same-day digital for its entire line, the assumption made by people all across comics is that the replacement of print by digital is a difference in degree, but what if it’s a difference in kind?
AdHouse Books has a habit of producing some pretty exquisite-looking books, so it’s no wonder Stuart Immonen has teamed with them to produce Centifolia V2, an 128-page collection of the artist’s sketches, concept designs, illustrations and comics.
I believe the sold-out first volume was self-published, but AdHouse will also bring it back into print. They’re also offering a limited slipcase edition that includes both volumes and a print.
“I was very happy to be approached by Stuart to help make this happen. We’ve been con-buddies for a few years now, and I really love his work,” Pitzer said.
All three will be available starting at the 2011 Toronto Comics Art Festival on May 7 & 8. You can find the entire press release after the jump.
Legal | A federal judge has dismissed a copyright-infringement lawsuit filed in April 2007 against Marvel, Sony Pictures and other companies by Ghost Rider co-creator Gary Friedrich, who claimed the film and merchandising rights to the character had reverted to him in 2001. [Comics Commentary, via Bleeding Cool]
Passings | Cartoonist Tony DiPreta, best known for his work on the Joe Palooka and Rex Morgan M.D. comic strips, passed away on June 3 of of respiratory and cardiac arrest. He was 88. [Connecticut Post]
Passings | Francis Metcalfe, the manga blogger who wrote under the name Tiamat’s Disciple, passed away last week after a long fight with cancer. [Tiamat’s Manga Reviews]
Publishing | Viz Media has confirmed that its public relations and design departments were among those affected by Tuesday’s layoffs. In a brief statement released yesterday, the company assured fans that, “We have no plans at this time for drastic measures such as product cancellations or business line closures. Your favorite series are not going away.”
Legal | As a Belgian court decides whether to ban Tintin in the Congo because of racist content, Roger Bongos and Sebastian Rodriguez argue that Hergé’s book shouldn’t be censored but rather read and analyzed within the context of the era in which it was created. “You cannot deny however that the book is very discriminatory of black people,” Bongos writes. “Hergé wasn’t a racist person himself: he simply reflected the image the Western world had of the Congo and of Africa during those years, as well as the colonial aspirations of Belgians. In this sense, the book is kind of Proust’s ‘madeleine episode’ for us: it helps us remember our colonial history.” The court is expected to issue its ruling on May 31. [France 24]
Publishing | Brigid Alverson, Simon Jones, Gia Manry and Daniella Orihuela-Gruber provide commentary on Tuesday’s announcement that Viz Media is restructuring, laying off up to 60 employees and closing its New York City branch. Manry cautions that there’s little need for panic, while Jones points out that it’s unclear whether the company’s cuts are in its manga or anime divisions.
Alverson notes that the news came as such a surprise because Viz publishes the most popular manga properties (Naruto, One Piece, Fullmetal Alchemist) as well as some of the most acclaimed (Children of the Sea, Pluto, 20th Century Boys): “However, as publishing veterans know, acclaim does not necessarily equal sales.” [Viz Media]
Internet | Wikimedia co-founder Jimmy Wales has relinquished some of his website privileges following complaints by contributors that he deleted images without consultation. Last week administrators of Wikimedia Commons removed hundreds of images in the wake of a complaint filed with the FBI in April by Wikipedia co-founder Lawrence Sanger accusing the media repository of “knowingly distributing child pornography” in violation of the U.S. PROTECT Act. Sanger, who left Wikipedia in 2002 and four years later launched the rival Citizendium, specifically pointed to entries on pedophilia and lolicon.
Wales, apparently feeling pressure from a Fox News report on Sanger’s accusations, posted his support for removing “images that are of little or no educational value but which appeal solely to prurient interests,” and deleted many pictures himself. Some images deemed by the Wikipedia community to have educational merit have returned to the site. [BBC News]
Digital piracy | Although some have credited, or blamed, Rich Johnston for bringing pirate website HTMLcomics.com to the attention of publishers, Harlan Ellison has stepped forward to gleefully suggest he may have had something to do with its exposure: “Several months ago, if you recall, we were advised of an internet pirate who was posting — along with about 30,000 other pages — DC, Marvel, Archie, Dark Horse, and on and on — my stories from HARLAN ELLISON’S DREAM CORRIDOR. When we advised him to cease and desist, he essentially told me to go fuck myself, and urged me to sue him. Just like every one of them, all the way back to my AOL suit, he told me he couldn’t be found, he was impregnable, I could go fuck myself. … I warned him. … I asked four members of The Flying Blue Monkey Squad to help me. They found him in one day, unsnarled all his shunting devices, tracked his footprint back to his main server, we got his name, his location in Tampa, Florida, and sent that data on to, well, friends of friends.”
Publishing | Haven Distributors will offer direct-market retailers “the deepest discount option available” — 50 percent off the cover price — on the full line of BOOM! Studios titles, undercutting Diamond Comic Distributors. The deal expands on an agreement announced in October for distribution of the publisher’s second printings and specialty items.
Johanna Draper Carlson has commentary: “I’m not sure current readers understand how big a deal it is for a publisher to thumb their nose at what used to be the biggest elephant in the comic industry. Saying “go buy our books elsewhere, they’re cheaper” is amazingly brazen, but this isn’t the first time Boom! has tweaked Diamond, and they’re quite ambitious with their distribution plans.” [Haven Distributors, BOOM! Studios]
On his blog, illustrator Michael Cho unveils his cover for the 2010 edition of Houghton Mifflin’s The Best American Comics, which is guest-edited by Neil Gaiman. “Like most of my favourite cover assignments, the concept for this one came together pretty intuitively and I had an idea of what kind of response the image should provoke,” Cho writes.