Publishing| Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso talks about bringing more Latino characters — and more diversity in general — to the Marvel lineup: “People out there reading our comic books are of all sizes, creeds and colors and it’s our responsibility to make them feel included. This isn’t some PC initiative, this is capitalism. This is about supply and demand.” [Fox News Latino]
Creators | Grant Morrison discusses winding up his run on Action Comics: “Symbolically I’m not a big fan of dealing with politics in superhero comics because I think it diminishes both sides of the argument, but I do have my own take on things. I’ve got my own politics and so they do tend to find their way in. And really for me, its more symbolic, the way story winds up to tackle all those issues and looks at them through the perspective of Superman and Red Kryptonite and weirdness. So it’s gone underground. I think the early Superman was very much more aligned with the anti-establishment, anti-authoritarian current, because I think when Superman started out that he was what entered into.” [Comics Alliance]
Awards | The National Press Foundation has named political cartoonist Robert Ariail, who draws for Universal UClick and the Spartanburg, South Carolina, Herald-Journal, as the winner of this year’s Berryman Award. [The Washington Post]
Creators | Brothers Wesley and Bradley Sun discuss their upcoming graphic novel, Chinatown; Wesley is a hospital chaplain in Chicago, and Bradley quit his job in Florida to join his brother and work on the book. [Hyde Park Herald]
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]
The winners of the 2012 British Comics Awards were announced Saturday evening at the Thought Bubble convention in Leeds. This is the first year for the awards, which were announced in January. Here’s the list of winners:
Nelson, edited by Rob Davis and Woodrow Phoenix
Bad Machinery, by John Allison
Young People’s Comic Award
Hilda and the Midnight Giant, by Luke Pearson
Hall of Fame Award
Since it was first announced in the United Kingdom in 2010, World Book Night has quickly established itself as a big deal indeed, a headline-grabber, something that has re-energized the national debate here about books and literature (always a good thing). Each year, a team of more than 20,000 “givers” volunteers to distribute a million free books, selected by a committee of experts, and donated by their publishers. The charity is partnered with the BBC, which regularly features the run-up and the event itself throughout its current affairs and cultural output: The booklist was featured last night on The One Show, and will be debated tonight on Newsnight Review. Doubtless someone on the panel will look baffled by its inclusion, like a caveman presented with the keys to a Ferrari.
The books announced yesterday as next year’s selection include, for the first time, some comics in the form of 2000AD/Rebellion Publishing’s Judge Dredd: The Dark Judges. Inclusion in this event could be seen as trumping Free Comic Book Day, with tens of thousands of copies of an entire graphic novel distributed freely across the entire nation in a hail of publicity. This edition features some stone-cold classics by John Wagner, Alan Grant, Brian Bolland, Brett Ewins and others, and includes the most celebrated panel ever in Bolland’s career at the venerable British anthology:
The U.K. newspaper The Guardian marked the U.S. Election Day with a short comic called America: Elect! that uses limited animation in some very effective ways. The comic is constructed as one continuous series of panels, and as the reader scrolls downward, elements move in and out of the picture — primary candidates get crossed out, a tiny Osama bin Laden falls from the sky, sign-carrying tea partiers pop into the panel.
The comic is credited to “Guardian US Interactive Team with Richard Adams and Erin McCann“; Adams is in the newspaper’s Washington, D.C., bureau, and McCann is a copy editor who recently wrote about New York Comic Con for the Guardian blog. It’s lighthearted and clever, and will take about five minutes to read. Of course, it’s also incomplete, as the comic was posted yesterday. The story says “stay tuned for the final chapter,” but it’s not clear where that’s going to be posted.
The winners of the Observer/Jonathan Cape/Comica Graphic Short Story Competition were announced over the weekend, and the top prize winner was no newcomer: Corban Wilkin is just 22, but he has participated in the contest four times.
“The only thing I’m sad about is that I won’t be able to enter again,” he told Rachel Cooke of The Observer. “I’ve loved doing it over the past few years. The brief is tricky – a very limited format and yet complete freedom of subject matter – but it’s a challenge I relished. Once you enter, your writing improves pretty quickly. Four pages is a small space in which to tell a proper story.”
Wilkin’s winning short story, “But I Can’t,” can be seen on the contest website or his own site. The story follows two girls, starting when they are 8 years old and share a fascination with UFOs and bringing them through their teens, as they take drastically different paths. He packs an amazing amount of story into just four pages, sketching the characters in a loose, expressive style with brush and ink and a limited color palette. Wilkin, who cites Craig Thompson and Seth as his influences, is also working on a longer graphic novel, and the prize money will be most welcome, he says, as the rent is due.
The runner-up is Steven Tillotson’s I, Yeti, in which the Abominable Snowman gets all philosophical.
(via Forbidden Planet)
Graphic novels | The seventh volume of Sailor Moon was the top-selling graphic novel in bookstores in September, according to BookScan, followed by Naruto,Vol. 58, an Avengers character guide, the third volume of Batman: Knightfall, and vol. 3 of Avatar: The Last Airbender: The Promise. ICv2 notes that, the Avengers book aside (and it is published by DK Publishing), Marvel is completely absent from the top ten, although DC makes a strong showing. [ICv2]
Creators | Hope Larson, who adapted Madeline L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time into graphic novel form, chats with Margaret Ferguson, her editor on the project. [Publishers Weekly]
Graphic novels | A musical based on Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home will open the fall season of the Public Lab series of the Public Theater in New York City. Featuring music by four-time Tony Award nominee Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Tony nominee Lisa Kron, the show is scheduled to run from Oct. 17 through Nov. 4 at the Shiva Theater. [The New York Times, The Public Theater]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez guests on the comiXologist podcast to talk about Love and Rockets and what he has been reading lately. [comiXology]
Creators | Brian Wood and Ming Doyle talk about their new comic Mara, which will debut from Image Comics in December and features a volleyball player with superpowers in a world where sports and warfare are no longer so far apart. While Wood is not really a sports fan, he is fascinated by the portrayal of athletes in popular culture: “‘This is tied into the superhero thing, recognizing parallels between the two,’ Wood says. ‘I think there’s a lot to talk about there and part of me feels I’ll need more than one comic series to do it in. We’ll see.’” [USA Today]
The U.K. comics scene continues its angst-ridden inner debate following news that The Dandy will cease print publication in December. For the living legend John Wagner, it’s a matter of regret close to shame that a comics institution of nearly 75 years will end on our watch. Others see the debate as hand-wringing — “pious sackcloth-and-ashes nonsense” to quote one U.K. comics writer on Facebook — that, between technological advances and the Darwinism of the newsstand, the kids have spoken: Comics are no longer the chosen literature of children, so move on. Publisher DC Thomson certainly seem to have — The Dandy‘s website now makes no mention of the print comic at all, linking purely to the Apple App store.
For some creators, the debate is more about spotting a widening hole in the market, and developing a product to fill that niche. So far, the following cartoonists have waded in on this theme:
Passings | Douglas Phillips, who drew many stories over the years for the rough-and-tumble British boys’ comics The Rover and The Victor, has died at the age of 85. [Blimey!]
Creators | Green Lantern writer (and DC chief creative officer) Geoff Johns is returning to his hometown, Detroit, to appear at a comics shop and the Arab American National Museum, promoting Baz, the first Arab-American Green Lantern. Johns himself is of Lebanese descent. [Detroit Free Press]
The Dandy may look like just another wacky kids’ comic to American readers, but it is as deep in the British DNA as Archie is here, and last week’s announcement that publisher DC Thomson will cease print publication of the 75-year-old comic drew an array of responses from different quarters.
Charlie Brooker of The Guardian may be unique in thinking that the move from print to digital is a good thing for The Dandy; of course, he never liked the comic to begin with, and he accuses it of not keeping up with the times:
Why is The Dandy going all-digital? Because it’s a magazine for children, and today’s children don’t seem to want magazines any more than I wanted a 1920s whirligig when I was their age. Kids today have Moshi Monsters and the Nerf Vortex Nitron Blaster. Traditional ink on paper looks like medieval tapestry to them.
Brooker clearly hasn’t read The Dandy in a few years, as it is not the dated fossil he portrays it as; on the contrary, it has been home to some bright new talent in the past few years, and creator Jamie Smart (who draws their most beloved legacy character, Desperate Dan), called on those creators to start their own comic:
Digital comics | The Japanese web portal JManga today launched an unlimited-access site JManga7, although it won’t be putting any actual content on it until October. Unlike JManga, which sells digital manga one volume at a time, JManga7 operates on an “all-you-can-eat” model, with single chapters of a variety of titles available for free, and a wider selection with a paid subscription. The site will be updated daily and will include a mix of genres, with some new content that is being published close to its Japanese release date as well as some older series. The idea is for readers to check out the manga at JManga7 and ultimately buy them for keeps at JManga. To encourage readers to pre-register, JManga is raffling off seven Nexus 7 tablets and seven free subscriptions. Plans for the site were unveiled last month at Comic-Con International in an exclusive interview with Comic Book Resources. [JManga]
Rumors have been flying that DC Thomson was considering shutting down The Dandy, and today the publisher confirmed the news, announcing it will cease print publication of the United Kingdom’s longest-running comic following the Dec. 4 release of the 75th anniversary issue.
It’s strictly a matter of numbers, with the magazine selling fewer than 8,000 copies each week. This may not be curtains for The Dandy, however: It appears the comic will continue in digital form, with chief executive Ellis Watson telling The Guardian that, “It’s what comes online then that will set the tone for the next 75 years.” Perhaps there The Dandy will find the larger audience it deserves. The website was taken down a few days ago to deter potential hackers, but the current incarnation invites visitors to leave their e-mails so they can be “the first to know,” which implies there may be news in the future.
The Dandy writer Lew Stringer offered his reactions to The Dandy‘s possible demise, and urged people to pick up a copy of the comic, although he acknowledged that may not be easy to do, as many newsagents no longer carry it. Artist Jamie Smart had an article in The Guardian about why The Dandy is important, and he has more at his blog:
The long-lived children’s comic The Beano has a new look (and a new subtitle: The Beano starring Dennis the Menace and Gnasher). Comics artist Lew Stringer takes a look inside at some of the changes. Nigel Parkinson takes over on Dennis the Menace, who will start to be menacing again; his character was watered down a while ago, but apparently the editors have started listening to 8-year-old boys, which is a good thing in this case. And several of the long-lived comics have had art changes. Only 19 of this issue’s 36 pages are comics, though.
• Stringer also reviews a history of The Dandy, which has the same parentage as The Beano but in recent years has become the edgier of the two (i.e. more fart jokes). It looks like The Beano may be evening things out a bit in that regard. John Freeman posts a lengthier review of the book at Down the Tubes.
• Jeremy Briggs talks to the organizers of Carlisle Mega-Con, a new convention taking place next weekend. As the organizers are also staffers at the local Waterstone’s, they have some insight into local tastes; interestingly, manga and superhero comics are both popular, but customers really prefer “genre books with a dark edge to them such as Vertigo.”