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Taiyo Matsumoto and Emily Carroll win Cartoonist Studio Prize

"Out of Skin," by Emily Carroll

“Out of Skin,” by Emily Carroll

Taiyo Matsumoto and Emily Carroll are the recipients of the second annual Cartoonist Studio Prize, presented by The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies.

The two were selected by The Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois, the faculty and students of CCS and this year’s guest judge, Chris Butcher, manager of The Beguiling in Toronto and co-founder of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival. Each winner receives $1,000.

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Life (and life and life) after death in Jason Shiga’s ‘Demon’

demon-teaser

Jason Shiga, the creator of the innovative Meanwhile …, the creepy Fleep and the super-cool Bookhunter, has kicked off another webcomic called Demon. The story thus far revolves around a man trying to kill himself, but with each attempt he ends up waking up afterwards without any explanation as to why it didn’t work.

Shiga, who recently served as a judge for the Ignatz Awards, explained that the submissions for the webcomics category overwhelmed him.

“It felt like being hit by a tidal wave of comics and subsequently drowning to death,” he wrote. “To read every page of every webcomic that was sent to me would literally be a life’s work. It was a truly humbling experience to learn that what I thought of as comics was in fact just a small crumb in the vast expanse of the comics universe. I hadn’t really felt that way about the comics medium since walking into a shojo manga store in Japan 10 years ago.”

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Comics A.M. | Pioneering comics journalist Bhob Stewart dies

Bhob Stewart

Bhob Stewart

Passings | Comics journalist and commentator Bhob Stewart died Monday at the age of 76. Stewart kicked off his career in 1953, at the age of 16, by publishing an EC fanzine; the following year, as Carol Tilley documented in a recent talk, he sent a copy to anti-comics crusader Fredric Wertham, along with some tart commentary. Stewart went on to become an influential voice in the conversation about comics; he wrote several books, taught classes at the School for Visual Arts, and curated the first exhibit of comics art in a major American museum. Heidi MacDonald credits him with inventing both Wacky Packages and the term “underground comics.” [The Beat]

Editorial cartoons | German cartoonist Burkhard Mohr has apologized for a cartoon depicting Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg with a hooked nose, an image that critics said was reminiscent of Nazi propaganda. The cartoon appeared in the early editions of the Munich newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, but Zuckerberg’s face was replaced by an empty hole in later editions. “I’m very sorry about this misunderstanding and any readers’ feelings I may have hurt,” Mohr said. “Anti-Semitism and racism are ideologies that are totally alien to me” [ABC News]

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Meet the next Avengers franchise: the fan-made Avengers UK

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Marvel’s Avengers have grown from a single team to a full-blown franchise, with early spinoffs like West Coast Avengers giving way to the current crop, which sports modifiers like “New,” “Mighty,” “Young,” “A.I.” and even “World.” But some U.K. fans felt at least one version of the Avengers was missing … so they made their own.

Avengers UK is a “‘just for fun non-profit’ fan-based fiction,” where a group of Marvel’s British-based heroes unite to fight evil. According to writer/artist Darren Wilson, in Avengers UK you can “see spectacular battles, amazing abilities and standards of queuing up in a way that only residents of the U.K. can truly achieve (except maybe not the last one)!”

As seen above, the primary Avengers UK team is Captain Britain, Pete Wisdom, Dark Angel and Motormouth, although the comic has teased other members — both memorable and arcane in Marvel and Marvel UK continuity.

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Comics A.M. | U.K. artists Gordon Bell & Tony Harding pass away

"Dennis the Menace," by Gordon Bell

“Dennis the Menace,” by Gordon Bell

Passings | British cartoonist Gordon Bell has died at the age of 79. He was a contributor to DC Thomson’s children’s comics, including The Beano and The Dandy, in the 1960s and ’70s; his creations include The Bash Street Pups. After that, he went on to become a political cartoonist (under the nom de plume Fax) for the Dundee, Scotland, newspaper The Courier, which is also apparently owned by DC Thomson. Lew Stringer has posted a sampling of his work at Blimey! [The Courier]

Passings | Another U.K. creator who drew for weekly children’s comics, Anthony John “Tony” Harding, has also died. While Bell’s work was on the goofy side, Harding drew soccer stories for action-packed boys’ comics such as Bullet, Hornet and Victor. His best-known gig was as the artist for “Look Out for Lefty,” the story of a hotheaded soccer player with a skinhead girlfriend, which got a bit too close to reality with its depictions of violence during soccer games. Again, Lew Stringer posts some of his work. [Down the Tubes]

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Yale Stewart’s ‘JL8′ comes to the rescue on Valentine’s Day

jl8-3

Cartoonist Yale Stewart, creator of the popular fan comic JL8 and apparent author of an upcoming licensed Superman’s book, has released a series of Valentine’s Day cards featuring seven of his li’l Justice Leaguers.

He encourages fans to print them out and “share these with your special someone/someones,” which might be a particularly good idea for anyone who forget this is the Big Day. Heck, even if you did remember, it wouldn’t hurt to stick one of these in the bouquet.

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Patreon offers a new way to crowdfund comics

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In a relatively brief amount of time, crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have changed the way comics are published. From providing start-up funds for projects that wouldn’t otherwise exist to creating an influx of cash to prop up a publisher that’s hit a rough patch, it allows creators to go directly to potential readers for support. Services like Kickstarter have proved popular, but they’re not the only way it can be done. Enter Patreon.

Launched last year, Patreon doesn’t focus on funding a specific project, but instead allows fans to become patrons of their favorite creators by contributing money on a regular basis. Creators can choose to ask for money to be given on a monthly or, say, per-comic basis.

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2013 Cartoonist Studio Prize shortlists announced

boxers-and-saints2-croppedThe Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies have announced the shortlist for their second Cartoonist Studio Prize, which honors one graphic novel and one webcomic released in 2013.

The shortlists were selected by Slate Book Review editor Dan Kois; the faculty and students at the Center for Cartoon Studies, represented by CCS Fellow Nicole Georges; and this year’s guest judge, Christopher Butcher of the Toronto comic book store The Beguiling and co-founder of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

Best Graphic Novel of the Year Shortlist

  • Boxers and Saints by Gene Luen Yang. Published by First Second.
  • The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg. Published by Little, Brown.
  • The Initiates: A Comic Artist and a Wine Artisan Exchange Jobs, by Étienne Davodeau. Published by NBM.
  • Julio’s Day by Gilbert Hernandez. Published by Fantagraphics.
  • Map of Days, by Robert Hunter. Published by Nobrow Press.
  • Paul Joins the Scouts, by Michel Rabagliati. Published by Conundrum Press.
  • The Property by Rutu Modan. Published by Drawn and Quarterly.
  • Sunny Vol. 1 and Sunny Vol. 2, by Taiyo Matsumoto. Published by VIZ Media.
  • Susceptible by Geneviève Castrée. Published by Drawn and Quarterly.
  • Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life by Ulli Lust. Published by Fantagraphics.

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New webcomic alert: Drew Weing’s Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo

margocolor001-1A

I have been a huge fan of Drew Weing ever since I read his Set to Sea, a graphic novel told entirely in full-page panels, so it’s great news that he is launching a new webcomic, The Creepy Casefiles of Margo Maloo. With just four pages up so far, he has already set up an interesting story: The lead character, a kid named Charles, is objecting crankily as his hippie parents move into a decrepit former hotel in a new city. Weing’s detailed art is perfect for the story he is telling, and this comic looks like it will be kid-friendly but fun for adults as well. Jump on now so you won’t have to click through the archives later!

Tapastic’s CEO talks new partnership, launch of ‘Like a Wolf’

From "Like a Wolf"

From “Like a Wolf”

The web is the most decentralized comics platform: There’s no comiXology or Diamond Comic Distributors for the web, and a lot of webcomics, such as xkcd and Homestuck, have huge followings that don’t necessarily cross over into the rest of the comics world. At the same time, the question of how to make money by giving away a comic is one that creators answer over and over again, often in very different ways.

That’s why Tapastic is worthy of notice. It aims to be the central location, sort of a YouTube of webcomics, and the big news this week is that the company has signed a deal with the Korean Internet portal Daum Communications for $2 million of Series A funding. One immediate result of the partnership is that Tapastic has begun carrying an English-language version of the Like a Wolf, one of the most popular webcomics in Korea.

We talked to Tapastic CEO Chang Kim about his plans for Tapastic and how the Korean webcomics market differs from the U.S. market. Plus we also have an exclusive look at art from Like a Wolf.

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Comics A.M. | Small Press Expo table lottery begins Friday

SPX

SPX

Conventions | Registration begins Friday for the Small Press Expo 2014 Exhibitor Table Lottery, a new system designed to both bring the old process into the 21st century and address rapidly increasing demand. Online registration will continue through Feb. 14, with lottery winners announced on Feb. 21. There’s a good deal of information to absorb, but convention organizers have created a lottery FAQ. [SPX]

Publishing | Reports of the demise of Ape Entertainment turns out to have been premature. The company, which had one of the bestselling digital comics a few years ago with Pocket God, has been quiet of late and recently canceled a number of outstanding orders. However, COO Brett Erwin emerged Tuesday to say the publisher is simply going through a period of reorganization after the departure of CEO David Hedgecock, who now works for IDW. Ape will release a new Fruit Ninja comic at the end of the month. [The Beat]

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Comics A.M. | Steinberger on comiXology’s growth, what’s next

comiXology

comiXology

Digital comics | ComiXology CEO David Steinberger dicusses the growth of the digital-comics platform, which was the top-grossing non-game iPad app for the third year in a row. “We’re finding that a larger and larger percentage of our user base — our new user base — is people who are buying comics for the very first time with us,” he tells Wired. Steinberger also hints at a next step for comiXology: curation. [Wired.com]

Comics | Torsten Adair looks back at some comics trends in from 2013 and looks ahead to what we can expect in 2014. [The Beat]

Comics | Dark Horse Editor-in-Chief Scott Allie discusses the relaunch of the publisher’s Alien, Predator and Alien vs. Predator series and the debut of Prometheus. [io9]

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Comics A.M. | Looking back at the year in comics business news

Sales

Sales

Comics | Retail news and analysis site ICv2 lists the top 10 comics business events of 2013, from strong sales growth in all three channels (book market, direct market and digital) to issues with sexual content, both Apple’s restrictions on in-app purchases and the sentencing of a Missouri man to three years in prison for possession of obscene comics. [ICv2]

Comics | Here’s a local-news take on Dark Horse’s loss of the Star Wars comics license, in which Publisher Mike Richardson reveals the franchise makes up 4 to 6 percent of the company’s bottom line. [KGW]

Comics | Tom Spurgeon talks to writer-about-comics Zainab Akhtar about her own writing and a good handful of other people’s graphic novels. [The Comics Reporter]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Jihad Jane’ faces lengthy sentence for cartoonist murder plot

Colleen LaRose

Colleen LaRose

Crime | Federal prosecutors are seeking a lengthy prison term for Colleen LaRose, who was convicted, along with two other people, in a foiled 2009 plot to kill Lars Vilks, a Swedish cartoonist who drew a caricature of the Prophet Mohammed. LaRose, who goes by the online name “Jihad Jane,” could face a life sentence, but as she assisted U.S. authorities with several terrorism investigations, they are merely asking that she spend “decades” behind bars. LaRose’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for Monday; her co-conspirator, Mohammad Hasan Khalid, will be sentenced on Tuesday. [The Guardian]

Creators | Neil Gaiman, who maintains a highly visible presence on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr — he has 1.8 million followers on Twitter alone — is taking a six-month “sabbatical” from social media to focus on his writing. “I feel that I’m getting too dependent on phones, on Twitter,” said Gaiman, who began blogging in 2001. “It’s a symbiotic relationship. That instant ability to find things out, to share. I want to see what happens when I take some time off.” [The Guardian]

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Robot 6′s favorite comics of 2013

bestoftheyear2013

We’ve been hearing about what comics various industry folks enjoyed in 2013 in our Looking Forward, Looking Back series, and now it’s our turn: ROBOT 6 contributors share their favorites from 2013, which include Hawkeye, Marble Season, East of West and Batman.

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