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Comics A.M. | Alcaraz’s ‘Hate City’ cartoons spark legal threat

One of Lalo Alcaraz's cartoons about the protests in Murrieta, California

One of Lalo Alcaraz’s cartoons about the protests in Murrieta, California

Editorial cartoons | The public-relations consultant hired by the city of Murrieta, California, after residents protested the arrival of refugee children to be processed there, told cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz that referring to Murietta as “Hate City USA” was “actionable.” “There IS a fine line between your constitutional right to draw cartoons and expressed (sic) your opinions,” Hermosillo wrote in a comment on Alcaraz’s Facebook page, “and falsely, deliberately, and maliciously labeling and attacking an entire community as racist or as ‘Hate City.’ You are working overtime to damage Murrieta and such a false premise is actionable. There’s a fine line between humor and stupidity. You may have crossed that line at your own peril.” Murrieta spokesperson Kim Davidson walked that back, however, saying the city has no plans to sue Alcaraz. [The Press Enterprise]

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‘I’m fond of that geeky stuff': Chatting with ‘Twelve Gems’ author Lane Milburn


A weiner dog with butterfly-esque wings that’s a master mechanic. A space-faring Amazonian warrior who’s handy with a blade. A pig-faced, hard-living bounty hunter. Mad scientists with really odd-shaped glasses. These are just some of the characters and elements that make up Twelve Gems, Lane Milburn’s ever-so-slightly tongue-in-cheek sci-fi opera.

Drawing on classic adventure role-playing games, fantasy films and manga, Gems finds the first three aforementioned characters banding together at the request of a mysterious Dr. Z to find the titular gems for purposes unkown (at least initially). Along the way they come across all manner of strange creatures, hostile planets, old foes and metaphysical craziness. Milburn lets his imagination run rampant throughout the book, resulting in a fast-paced, crazed graphic novel full of scenes that could easily be blown up onto a black velvet poster. Plus it’s a lot of fun to boot.

I recently chatted with Milburn about the new book, its inception and his work with the Closed Caption Comics group.

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Space out with Lane Milburn’s Twelve Gems

from Twelve Gems by Lane Milburn

from Twelve Gems by Lane Milburn

It’s ’80s-indie black-and-white space-opera action as you like it! Presenting Twelve Gems, a graphic novel in the making by cartoonist Lane Milburn of Baltimore’s Closed Caption Comics collective. Milburn, a recipient of the Xeric Grant for his self-published action-horror collection Death Trap. calls it “a comedic sci-fi space epic starring three heroic characters enlisted to travel the galaxy in search of twelve magical gems.” Judging from the very impressive preview pages — filled with Heavy Metal hotness and crosshatched and black-spotted to within an inch of their lives — Milburn’s really going for the gusto here. Closed Caption Comics is best known for genre-influenced artcomics in the Fort Thunder/Paper Rodeo mode, but Twelve Gems seems to me to have more in common with the giddy throwback style of Benjamin Marra. I can’t wait to see more.

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