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Comics A.M. | ‘Charlie Hebdo’ massacre survivor recounts attack

Sigolène Vinson

Sigolène Vinson

Crime | Sigolène Vinson, a writer for Charlie Hebdo, gives her account of the Jan. 7 shootings that killed 12 at the French satire magazine’s headquarters. Vinson was in the kitchen and heard brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi shoot her coworkers; she hid in a colleague’s office but came face to face with Saïd Kouachi, who told her “Don’t be afraid, calm down. I won’t kill you. You’re a woman, we don’t kill women. But think about what you do, what you do is bad. I’m sparing you and because I’ve spared you, you will read the Qur’an.” (However, Chérif killed writer Elsa Cayat, the only female victim of the attack.) [The Guardian]

Awards | This year’s grand prix de la ville d’Angoulême, the lifetime achievement award given every year at the Angoulême International Comics Festival, won’t be given to the staff of Charlie Hebdo, despite a petition started by jury president Gwen de Bonneval that garnered 1,200 signatures plus significant support on Twitter and Facebook. Two Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, Wolinski, who was killed in the Jan. 7 attack, and Willem, who wasn’t in the office that day, have been awarded the grand prix in previous years. The festival has announced a special Charlie Hebdo award that will go to a cartoonist whose work embodies resistance to oppression and censorship, and organizers will also publish a special album of cartoons drawn in response to the attacks. [France Inter]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Kuroko’s Basketball’ creator breaks silence on threats

Kuroko's Basketball

Kuroko’s Basketball

Creators | Kuroko’s Basketball creator Tadatoshi Fujimaki remained silent over the past year while hundreds of threatening letters were sent out to retail stores that sold the manga and anime, venues that hosted doujinshi (fan comics) events connected with it, and even his alma mater, but now that police have arrested a suspect in the case, he has made an official statement. Fujimaki expressed relief that the suspect had been caught, thanked the police who were involved in the investigation, and promised that more chapters of Kuroko’s Basketball are on the way. [Anime News Network]

Conventions | Salt Lake Comic Con producer Dan Farr is voicing his support for the construction of a “mega hotel” near the Salt Palace convention center. The Utah state Legislature ended its legislative session without passing a $100 million bill to fund such a hotel, but backers hope to see it revived in the next session. Ticket sales for the 2013 convention topped 50,000, and Farr told the local news station, “A convention center hotel would be a big help for us.” [Fox News 13]

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Kickstart my art | Will Elder documentary needs your help

Chicken Fat

Gary VandenBergh is directing a documentary called Chicken Fat about MAD Magazine artist Will Elder, and he’s using the fund-raising site Kickstarter to get the $15,000 he needs to do it.

Specifically, he wants to raise funds to complete interviews with Hugh Hefner, Daniel Clowes, William Stout and Joe Dante about the man whose artistic “technique became the defining look of the early MAD and, subsequently, the visual style that defined a generation.” Like other Kickstarter efforts, he’s offering a range of prizes depending on how much you donate, from copies of the complete film on DVD to a credit in the film for high-dollar donations.

In addition to those named abovem the documentary will feature interviews with Maus/Raw creator Art Spiegelman, underground cartoonists Bill Griffith and Jay Lynch, actor and comedian Andy Kindler, MAD fold-in creator Al Jaffee, cartoonist Arnold Roth, artist Drew Friedman, MAD editor Nick Meglin and the late Harvey Kurtzman, Bill Gaines and Will Elder himself. If you’re interested in seeing this come to life, go check it out.

Video of the day: Will Elder documentary

Taking the name from the Fantagraphics book, Will Elder, The Mad Playboy of Art is a 20-minute documentary on the famous cartoonist and Mad artist. Part one is above, part two is below the jump. (via)

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Talking Comics with Tim: Harry Bliss

Luke on the Loose

Luke on the Loose

Harry Bliss makes comedy and storytelling work on many levels. How do I know? He crafted comedy out of my dry questions in this email interview. In all seriousness, I credit Bliss’ collaborations with Doreen Cronin (including 2003’s Diary of A Worm and 2005’s Diary of a Spider) as being a key catalyst (by tapping into my son’s sense of humor) in sparking an increased interest in reading for him. So when I found out about Bliss’ new book (for Françoise Mouly’s Toon Books), Luke on the Loose (“Luke looks on at the pigeons in Central Park, while Dad is lost in ‘boring Daddy talk’, and before you know it—LUKE IS ON THE LOOSE! He’s free as a bird, on a hilarious solo flight through New York City”, a story in which he handles both the writing and illustrating roles), I jumped at the chance to email interview him. My thanks to Bliss for his time–and to Ron Longe for his assistance in making this interview possible.

Tim O’Shea: You’ve worked with Françoise Mouly for years at the New Yorker–in terms of Luke on the Loose coming together, did she seek you out to work with the Toon Books imprint–or did you seek the publisher out yourself?

Harry Bliss: Francoise asked me to contribute to Toon Books and she is the publisher, so…

O’Shea: You’ve collaborated with several children authors, including Doreen Cronin, Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee and Sharon Creech. Were there any storytelling assets or lessons you took away from these collaborations?

Bliss: I learn many things from all the wonderful authors I’ve had the good fortune to work with over the years, mainly, how to integrate words and pictures. It’s really a dance, trying to pair up the text with the art, not simply illustrating the words, but to move the story forward visually. If something is not enriching the story/characters, then it needs to go. This was especially critical with Luke. The author and I went back and forth constant- wait, I wrote Luke! Sorry.

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