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Comics A.M. | Phoenix accused of axing comic to please advertiser

From the Karl Stevens comic in question

Comics | The editor-in-chief of the Boston Phoenix denies accusations that the alternative weekly canceled Karl Stevens‘ satirical comic Failure because advertiser Anheuser-Busch was offended by last week’s strip, which referred to Bud Light as “diluted horse piss.” Stevens, whose comic has appeared on ThePhoenix.com since 2009, claims he was told by the art director that Failure was being canceled specifically because of the Bud Light jab. “Apparently I offended Bud Light, and cannot be trusted,” Steven told Publishers Weekly. However, Editor-in-Chief Carly Carioli called the accusation “categorically false,” insisting Failure was canceled because it no longer fit The Phoenix, which has changed from a weekly newspaper to a weekly magazine. “It is categorically false that Karl’s strip was discontinued due to any outside objections. As the Phoenix’s editor in chief, it was my sole decision to discontinue Failure,” Carioli told The Boston Globe. “There were no sponsor objections — zero — to this strip or any other that I’m aware of.” [Publishers Weekly, The Boston Globe]

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Comics A.M. | Two graphic novels crack Costa Book Awards shortlist

Dotter of Her Father's Eyes

Awards | Graphic novels for the first time have made the shortlist for the Costa Book Awards (formerly the Whitbread Awards): Mary and Bryan Talbot’s Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes in the Biography category, and Days of the Bagnold Summer by Joff Winterhart in the Novel category. [The Guardian]

Passings | Indian politician and former editorial cartoonist Bal Thackeray has died at the age of 86; Thackeray was in the news most recently supporting fellow cartoonist Aseem Trivedi, who was jailed briefly on charges of sedition. [The Comics Reporter]

Awards | The Australian Cartoonists Association has bestowed their highest honor, the Gold Stanley Award, on David Pope, cartoonist for The Canberra Times. [The Canberra Times]

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Comics A.M. | Original Calvin and Hobbes strip sells for $203,000

Comics strips | An original 1986 Sunday installment of Calvin and Hobbes, drawn and hand-colored by Bill Watterson, has sold at auction for $203,150. The piece had been owned by Adam@Home and Red and Rover cartoonist Brian Basset, who exchanged original comics with Watterson in 1986. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Best of the year | The Top Ten lists are coming thick and fast now. Michael Cavna counts down his favorites of the year, which include Chris Ware’s Building Stories, Raina Telgemeier’s Drama, and Matt Dembicki’s Washington, D.C.-focused anthology, District Comics. [The Washington Post]

Best of the year | … and George Gene Gustines weighs in with his list. [The New York Times]

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Nominees announced for first British Comic Awards

The nominees have been announced for the inaugural British Comic Awards, held in conjunction with Thought Bubble, the Nov. 17-18 Leeds comic art festival. Recognizing “the finest examples of creativity, ingenuity, skill and originality in sequential storytelling” by U.K. creators over the past year, the  awards don’t distinguish between print and digital or published and self-published.

The Hall of Fame inductee will be selected by the BCA committee and announced shortly before the Nov. 17 awards ceremony. The nominees for the Young People’s Comic Award, presented in association with the Leeds Book Awards and Leeds Library, were selected by that same committee, and will be voted upon by children at participating schools. The winner will be announced Nov. 16 in a ceremony at the Leeds Library.

The nominees for the first British Comic Awards are:

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U.K. publishing: Aces Weekly goes live, Escape continues comeback

More corroboration emerges for my theory that the United Kingdom is quietly undergoing a Golden Ages of comics publishing: The return of that foundation stone of the mid-’80s U.K. indie scene, Escape Books, came last month with the publication of The Great Unwashed, a compilation of work from assorted ’80s and ’90s anthologies by the Pleece Brothers. Now current U.K. indie staple Paul Rainey has announced that Escape will be collecting his previously self-published kitchen sink sci-fi epic No Time Like the Present.

That work luxuriated in the minutia of just how time travel would realistically alter the lives of its cast of pop-culture obsessives. Rainey’s currently running webcomic Thunder Brother: Soap Division will give you a hint of the earlier work’s tone: As before, things start realistically enough before escalating quickly into the surreal as genre elements get introduced in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. Plus, a working knowledge of U.K. television is fairly essential in both cases.

And the first installment of David Lloyd’s start-studded new digital anthology Aces Weekly has gone live. Designed to work just as well on the screen of a home PC as on a tablet, it’s a fine-looking interface. The digital edition of Lloyd’s graphic novel Kickback also showed how canny the man is when it comes to producing comic work for new media, and the man should know a thing or two about launching an anthology — his work appeared in the first issues of Hulk Weekly, Warrior, plus the second issue of A1 — and they all turned out to be important milestones in the development of the format.


Paul Grist and Sean Phillips on DC Thomson’s Nikki, from 1987

All this recent talk of defunct DC Thomson girls’ and kids’ comics, plus the release this week of the latest issue of Mudman from Image Comics, has prompted The Dandy‘s Lew Stringer to post some of Paul Grist’s early work for the historic Scottish publisher. These pages show how Grist’s style was born almost fully formed, remaining fairly unchanged to this day.

Grist isn’t the only familiar name to today’s U.S. comics audience to have worked there, of course: Grant Morrison wrote and drew some Starblazer digests; Sean Phillips also used to draw for DC Thomson’s girls comics, simultaneously to the period Grist was working at Nikki, while just out of art college, and was even drawing strips for Bunty in 1982, while just 17  (Sean blogged extensively on the subject in 2007); and Dan McDaid was once a sub-editor on a women’s magazine at the Dundee giant(!).

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U.K. anthology OFF LIFE launches with call for submissions

A new U.K. street-press comics anthology announced itself Tuesday by simultaneously launching a website and a Twitter account making an open call for submissions. Intrigued by this approach, we contacted editor Daniel Humphry to discuss his ambitions for the new title.

Robot 6: How far on are you with your plans for issue 1?

Daniel Humphry: Everything seems to be coming together pretty well so far. The first call for artists went out two days ago, along with our site and Twitter going live, and already we’ve had plenty of strong submissions, though deadline isn’t until Aug. 24. The next stage is approaching advertisers, and after that we’ll be aiming for a mid-September launch date.

Any contributors you’re ready to name, or are you still recruiting?

I probably shouldn’t name any just yet, as we’re only a few days in to recruiting, but I can say I’ve been surprised by some of the names who’ve submitted, given their experience on more established anthologies or magazines.

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