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Joe Shuster Awards announces 2015 winners

Ms. Marvel #5, by Adrian Alphona

Ms. Marvel #5, by Adrian Alphona

The winners of the 2015 Joe Shuster Awards, which honor Canadian comics creators, were announced Sunday in London Ontario, at the Forest City Comic Con. The awards are named after Superman co-creator Joe Shuster.

The winners are:

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Comics A.M. | Inside DC Comics’ diversity efforts

Black Canary #1

Black Canary #1

Publishing | Vox takes a lengthy look at the effects of DC Comics’ efforts to diversify, in terms of characters, titles and creators. The article, which includes interviews with Marguerite Bennett, Genevieve Valentine, Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, notes that while new titles like DC Comics Bombshells have been successful, others launched under the “DC You” umbrella – Black Canary and Midnighter, for instance — are on far shakier ground, sales-wise. However, Co-Publisher Lee suggests the company is standing behind the initiative: “I think it’s important for us to listen and to learn and basically to adjust and pivot. There is this emerging audience. Comics are changing. At the end of the day, if you’re going to remain competitive and grow and flourish, you have to be able to adapt and change and evolve.” [Vox.com]

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Comics A.M. | The changing face of female superheroes

Ms. Marvel

Ms. Marvel

Superheroes | Dave Itzkoff looks at the growing interest in female superheroes in comics as well as in TV and movies. The article includes interviews with writers Gail Simone and G. Willow Wilson, and Wilson speaks poignantly about Ms. Marvel: “If you wanted to work in the business, you kept your head down – you did not want to be seen as having an agenda. I would never have pitched that, because I frankly would have worried that it would have prevented me from getting other work.” [The New York Times]

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Female creators sweep the 2015 Ignatz Awards

sex fantasy

The big news about this year’s Ignatz Awards, presented over the weekend at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland, is that all the winners were women.

The second piece of big news is that Sophia Foster-Dimino took home three awards, while Sophie Goldstein won two.

Named in honor of the brick-wielding mouse in George Herriman’s Krazy Kat strip, the Ignatz Awards recognize achievement in comics and cartooning. Nominees are selected by a panel of five cartoonists, and then voted on by SPX attendees.

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Comics A.M. | Noelle Stevenson nominated for National Book Award

nimona_final

Awards | Noelle Stevenson’s fantasy comic Nimona has made the longlist for the National Book Awards in the Young People’s Literature category. It’s rare but not unprecedented for a graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award: Gene Luen Yang’s American Born Chinese was the first, and his Boxers and Saints made the 2013 longlist. One of the creators of Lumberjanes, Stevenson launched Nimona in 2012 as a webcomic; the print edition was published in May by HarperCollins. [The New Yorker]

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Comics A.M. | DC and Marvel in the creator-owned era

Daredevil, by Marcos Martin

Daredevil, by Marcos Martin

Comics | David Harper examines why Marvel and DC remain important — “indispensable,” even — despite the ascendance of creator-owned comics. “Opposite to what it was before where you’d form yourself in your own comics and then graduate to the big companies, now the big companies are going to form you in order to graduate you to your own comics,” Marcos Martin explains. “That’s why I think Marvel and DC are indispensable. They’re great. That means there is an industry. We need that industry in order to bring creators and form them so they can at one point put together their own stories.” [Sktchd]

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Comics A.M. | Duke freshmen divided over ‘Fun Home’ selection

Fun Home

Fun Home

Graphic novels | A number of incoming freshmen at Duke University have refused to read Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, chosen as the summer reading selection for the class of 2019. Brian Grasso started the conversation by posting on the class Facebook page that he wouldn’t read the graphic novel because of its depictions of sexuality, saying, “I feel as if I would have to compromise my personal Christian moral beliefs to read it.” That opened up a discussion in which some students defended the book and said that reading it would broaden their horizons, while others shied away from the visual depictions of sexual acts. And Grasso felt that the choice was insensitive, commenting: “Duke did not seem to have people like me in mind. It was like Duke didn’t know we existed, which surprises me.” [Duke Chronicle]

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Comics A.M. | Ted Rall claims he’s ‘vindicated’ by enhanced LAPD tape

Ted Rall

Ted Rall

Political cartoons | Cartoonist Ted Rall, who was cut loose last week by the Los Angeles Times after the Los Angeles Police Department cast doubt on a blog post he wrote for the newspaper about being stopped in 2001 for jaywalking, has posted an enhanced version of the audiotape of that incident, which he says backs his version of the story. [aNewDomain]

Creators | Stan Lee waxes philosophical in an interview conducted at Boston Comic Con: “I think people need somebody to look up to as a role model, you know? Just like people need to believe in God, you need to feel there’s someone somewhere who can help you because you’re aware this is not a perfect world.” [Boston Herald]

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Comics A.M. | ‘One Piece’ is nowhere close to ending

One Piece

One Piece

Manga | Nearly two decades into his blockbuster fantasy adventure, it appears creator Eiichiro Oda still has a long way to go before he completes the epic One Piece. Just ahead of the manga’s 18th birthday on Sunday, its current editor Taku Sugita revealed on a Tokyo radio show that somewhere around the 60th volume Oda estimated the story had reached the halfway point. With the release of Vol. 78 earlier this month, Sugita guesses One Piece is “maybe” 70-percent complete. “I don’t think it’s at 80 percent yet,” he said. “Something like that.” [Rocket News24]

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Comics A.M. | Matt Bors quits The Nib, Beaton talks new book

Ana MorenoPassings | Anastasia Moreno, co-creator of the webcomic Marine Corps Yumi and a manga translator for Seven Seas, has died. Moreno was the translator of Kisses Sighs and Cherry Blossom Pink, Girl Friends, and Strawberry Panic, as well as the Love Hina and Trinity Blood novels. [Crunchyroll]

Comics | Political cartoonist Matt Bors has left his post as editor of The Nib, the comics section of the website The Medium, which he had built into a highly regarded online comics site until Medium gutted it. Bors told Tom Spurgeon he would be launching a Kickstarter for a Nib book, but he did not reveal any future plans. [Comics Reporter]

Editorial Cartoons | Political cartoonist Adrian Raeside is being laid off from the Victoria Times Colonist after 30 years. [Vancouver Sun]

Comics | I rounded up the kids’ comics news at Comic-Con. [Publishers Weekly]

Creators | “I kind of understood inherently — and I wasn’t really conflicted about this — that comics were not for me or by people who looked like me,” says Noelle Stevenson. Discovering the “free for all” of webcomics, and seeing women making stories for women, changed her attitude, and at 23 she already has a solid career, as the creator of Nimona (which started as a webcomic) and one of the co-creators of Lumberjanes. [Hero Complex]

Creators | Kate Beaton talks about her new picture book, The Princess and the Pony, and the power and joy of making kids laugh with poop and fart jokes. [Jezebel]

Creators | Pearls Before Swine creator Stephan Pastis talks about comics and being mistaken for Robert Downey, Jr. [Huffington Post]

Graphic Novels | Leah Hayes talks about her graphic novel Not Funny Ha-Ha, which follows the experiences of two women as they have abortions; the book focuses on the procedure itself, not the decision to have an abortion or the discussion that surrounds it. [MTV]

Graphic Novels | Phil Morehart covers three creator panels on diversity in graphic novels at the American Library Association annual meeting. Trina Robbins, Brenden Fletcher, Noelle Stevenson, and Jeremy Whitley were among the participants. [American Libraries]

Manga | Deb Aoki rounds up the recommendations from the Best and Worst Manga panel at Comic-Con (in which I took part). [MangaComicsManga]

Comics A.M. | Audience ‘hungry’ for diverse characters, DiDio says

We Are Robin #1

We Are Robin #1

Comics | In advance of a radio show titled “White Men in Capes,” to be broadcast Tuesday, BBC News looks at diversity in comics and finds it lacking; as DC Entertainment Co-Publisher Dan DiDio says, there “doesn’t seem to really be a proper representation of ethnic characters across the entire industry.” He talks about DC’s efforts to bring diversity to its line, and he explains why: “There’s a very hungry audience, excited audience and the reason why we know that exists is because we go to the conventions and we hear from our stores and you hear the make-up of the people shopping in those stores.” [BBC News]

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Comics A.M. | Bongo Comics leaves comiXology for Simpsons app

Simpsons Comics #221

Simpsons Comics #221

Digital comics | Tom Spurgeon reports that Bongo Comics has quietly left comiXology and will be putting its comics in a new Simpsons Store app instead. While users won’t be able to buy new Bongo comics on comiXology, they will still be able to access those they already purchased. [The Comics Reporter]

Political cartoons | The American Freedom Defense Initiative has a new advertising campaign, placing Bosch Fawstin’s cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad on billboards around St. Louis. Transit systems in several cities, including New York and Washington, D.C., have stopped accepting political advertising rather than carry the group’s ads depicting the Prophet Muhammad. In St. Louis, they have drawn mixed reactions: Dr. Ghazala Hayat of the Islamic Foundation of Greater St. Louis says she would like to see the signs removed but not at the cost of violence or property damage, while Jim Hanson, the executive vice president of the Center for Security Policy, said that freedom of speech is more important than avoiding offense. [WKRC]

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Comics A.M. | Witnesses testify in ZombieWalk crash hearing

ZombieWalk: San Diego 2014

ZombieWalk: San Diego 2014

Legal | Witnesses testified Wednesday in a preliminary hearing that driver Matthew Pocci honked his horn and drove through the crowd of spectators last year during the annual SDCC ZombieWalk: San Diego, despite attempts by spectators stop him. Pocci, who is deaf, has been charged with felony reckless driving causing serious injury. But Pocci’s fiancee, April Armstrong, said the crowd had mostly passed when he started the car, and that the people surrounding them were frightening: “People then started laughing at us. People were getting close to us. I started to freak out. I couldn’t understand what was going on. I was looking back at my son, he was scared. I told Matt, ‘please let’s go.'” Armstrong also testified, however, she had told a neighbor she felt she couldn’t tell the true story because of her relationship with Pocci. [San Diego Union-Tribune]

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Comics A.M. | Cartoon Art Museum secures lease extension

Cartoon Art Museum

Cartoon Art Museum

Museums | San Francisco’s Cartoon Art Museum, which announced last month that it would have to move by the end of June, will be able to remain at its current location at 655 Mission St. through September, thanks to a lease extension. Skyrocketing rent is forcing the museum to leave property that’s been its home since 2001; officials have yet to find a new location. [KRON]

Political cartoons | Indian cartoonist Aseem Trivedi has launched an online magazine of political cartoons, Black and White: Strokes of Resistance. The first issue includes work from another project, “A Cartoon for Every Lash,” a series of 50 cartoons in support of Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi, who was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for allegedly insulting Islam. Trivedi himself was arrested in India in 2012 on sedition charges that were later dropped. [Reporters Without Borders]

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Comics A.M. | Hoopla launches digital comics service for libraries

hoopla

hoopla

Libraries | Digital media distributor Midwest Tape has announced a new e-book and comics service for libraries, which will be accessed via its hoopla platform. Unlike the widely used Overdrive, the service will allow multiple checkouts for a single book, rather than limiting checkouts to one user at a time. [Publishers Weekly]

Legal | The trial began Tuesday for Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani on charges of spreading propaganda and insulting members of parliament, stemming from a cartoon she posted on Facebook depicting politicians as monkeys and other animals. Farghadani has been an activist in other ways as well, meeting with the families of people killed during the 2009 presidential elections. She was arrested last August and sent to prison, released, and then arrested again after posting a video online describing beatings by prison guards. She has been in solitary confinement since January and suffered a heart attack in February, after being on a hunger strike for three weeks. [The Washington Post]

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