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Comic Books, Film
The Xeric Foundation, the nonprofit organization founded in 1992 by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird, has announced its final grant recipients:
• Laurianne Uy, Polterguys
• Max Badger, Oak
• Arwen Donahue, Old Man Gloom
• Marnie Galloway, In the Sounds and Seas: Vol. 1
• Olivia Horvath, Tiny Bangs
• Aidan Koch, The Blonde Woman
• John Malta, The Professor and the Paperboy
• Hazel Newelvant, Ci Vediamo
• Shih-Mu Dino Pi, Dear Beloved Stranger
• Liz Plourde and Randy Michaels, How I Made the World
• Benjamin Seto, Usagi Jane and the Skullbunnies
• Darin Shuler, Castle Wood
• Caitlin Skaalrud, Sea Change: A Choose-Your-Own-Way Story
• Bernard Stiegler, The Reptile Mind
• Laura Terry, Overboard
• Elaine M. Will, Look Straight Ahead
• M Young, Wild Child
A combined $74,510 was awarded to help creators publish their comics. Laird announced in July 2011 that he was ending the self-publishing grants because changes in technology now allow creators to release their work online. The organization has awarded more than $2.5 million since 1992.
Creators | Daniel Kalder looks at the state of French comics tradition following the death last month of Jean Giraud, the influential artist widely known as Moebius, and finds it’s in the capable hands of David B (“one of the most sophisticated cartoonists in the world”) and Nicolas de Crecy (“the ‘mad genius’ of French comics”). [The Guardian]
Creators | Tom Spurgeon talks to Michael Cho about what sounds like a really interesting project, his book Back Alleys and Urban Landscapes: “Because I don’t have an affinity for drawing a pastoral landscape. [laughs] You know what I mean? I’ve never lived in that environment, so I can’t draw that thing with confidence. When I close my eyes I don’t visualize that with any confidence. But a city is something I’m surrounded with constantly. With alleyways and lane ways and how light poles connect up to transformer towers which have extra leads leading down to the basement apartment. I can see that when I close my eyes, you know?” [The Comics Reporter]
Welcome to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy at our local comic shop based on certain spending limits — $15 and $30 — as well as what we’d get if we had extra money or a gift card to spend on a “Splurge” item.
If I had $15, I’d try something new first with the Xeric-winning Fantastic Life GN (Big If, $9.95) by Kevin Mutch. I’ll always give Xeric winners a second look, and this looks built for me: slackers, punk rock, zombies. Next up I’d get the ongoing adventures of Butcher Baker – the Image one – with Butcher Baker Righteous Maker #8 ($2.99). I’ll admit that the series went off a little bit around #5, but I’m still holding on for hopes it’ll right itself or I’ll figure out what I’d been missing. Lastly, I’d get Secret Avengers #21.1 (Marvel, $2.99). Seriously, is Rick Remender becoming the writer of all-things secret in the Marvel U? I’m not complaining though, as he’s bringing his Uncanny X-Force mojo and, from what it looks like, a lot of new cast members.
If I had $30, I’d get my usual pull of The Walking Dead #93 (Image, $2.99) and a Hickman two-fer, Fantastic Four #602 (Marvel, $2.99) and FF #14 (Marvel, $2.99). If you would have told me two years ago I’d be seeing two Fantastic Four titles (and two I’d be reading, no less) I would have been gobsmacked. Hickman does it again. And that’s it.
What, you say I didn’t spend my full $30? It’s a light week for me, so I’d spending the remaining on bags and boards or, *gasp*, food as it says in the title. Tijuana Flats, Taco Tuesday, be there.
Coming back if I could splurge, and I’d put down my tacos and pick up the ADD HC (Vertigo, $24.99) by Douglas Rushkoff, Goran Sudzuka and Jose Marzan Jr. From the outside it looks like The Hunger Games meets Ender’s Game, and Rushkoff looks to be just the one to make that mash-up more than, well, a mash-up.
Comics College is a monthly feature where we provide an introductory guide to some of the comics medium’s most important auteurs and offer our best educated suggestions on how to become familiar with their body of work.
This month we finally break Comics College’s glass ceiling (what took us so long anyway?) with an in-depth look at one of the many notable female cartoonists to come out of the alt-comix scene of the 1990s, Jessica Abel.
Since 1992, the Xeric Foundation, founded by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird, has awarded grants to comic creators that allowed them bring their comics to the world. Late last week Laird announced that the foundation would stop providing grants to amateur creators, noting that “the advent of essentially free web publishing has forever altered the way aspiring comic book creators can get their work out into the public eye.” The foundation will instead devote its grant funds to charitable organizations.
The barriers to entry for getting your comic work out in front of people may have changed, but as Sean Kleefeld points out, the Xeric Foundation provided another benefit to comic fans. “…here’s why I’ll miss the Xerics: they have been an incredibly powerful shorthand for identifying great comics,” he wrote on his blog. “Oh, there’s other comic awards out there, of course, but those always come across as hit or miss for me. Just because a comic won a Harvey or an Eisner or whatever doesn’t mean I’ll really enjoy or appreciate it. But the Xerics, I’ve found, are consistently high quality and enjoyable. I have yet to read a Xeric-winning book that I didn’t enjoy, a claim I can’t make regarding the Eisners.”
So when I threw out the idea to do a Six by 6 list highlighting some of our favorite Xeric Foundation recipients over the years, I didn’t realize what I was asking; it didn’t register just how many completely awesome creators out there have benefited from the grant. So, when I say “Six Xeric Foundation grant recipients we love,” that’s not to say that they are the only ones we love. Hell, just throw all the names in a hat and pick out six, and you’ll have a list just as legitimate as this one.
Also, it was interesting to see how my fellow bloggers interpreted my request for entries for this list; while some, like Chris Mautner, did what I was expecting and talked about what one of their favorites went on to do after receiving the grant, others reached out to some of them to get their thoughts on the discontinuation of the grants. So the content of the list is … varied.
As always feel free to share thoughts on some of your favorites in the comments section. You can find a list of all the recipients here.
Publishing | DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio talks about the gay and lesbian characters appearing in the company’s books come September, including Batwoman and WildStorm imports Apollo, Midnighter and Voodoo: “When we looked at trying to incorporate some of the characters that inhabited the WildStorm universe Apollo and Midnighter are two characters that have always popped out. Not because of what they represent, but they’re just strong characters in their own right and [they] were able to represent a story, a style of character that wasn’t represented in the DC Universe. There’s more of an aggressive nature with those characters that will interact interestingly with other characters and allows us to tell more and better stories.” [The Advocate]
Publishing | Todd Allen, Tom Foss and Graeme McMillan react to the list of changes to the “younger, brasher and more brooding” Superman who will inhabit the DC Universe following the September relaunch. [Indignant Online, Fortress of Soliloquy, Blog@Newsarama]
Since its inception in 1992, the Xeric Foundation has given out over $2,500,000 worth of grants to help independent comics artists get their work into print. But now it’s coming to an end.
Founder Peter Laird (the co-creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) posted a message on the foundation’s website saying that the world has changed, and it’s time for the Xeric Foundation to change as well:
The advent of essentially free web publishing has forever altered the way aspiring comic book creators can get their work out into the public eye. With this in mind, I have decided that it makes sense that the Xeric Foundation will no longer provide grants to self-publishing comic book creators, and instead devote all of its available grants funds to charitable organizations.
However, aspiring creators do have one last chance: The foundation will award one last round of grants, with work being reviewed in May 2012.
The most recent Xeric award winners were announced in February.
(via Comics Worth Reading)
Publishing | As the fallout mounts from the revelation that former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger fathered a child more than a decade ago with a member of his household staff, plans to revive the Terminator star’s acting career have been put on hold — a move that now extends to The Governator, the comics and animation project co-developed by Stan Lee. “In light of recent events,” representatives announced last night, “A Squared Entertainment, POW, Stan Lee Comics, and Archie Comics, have chosen to not go forward with The Governator project.” However, Entertainment Weekly notes the statement was revised two hours later, putting the project “on hold.”
Unveiled in late March, on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, no less, The Governator features a semi-fictional Schwarzenegger who, after leaving the governor’s office, decides to become a superhero — complete with a secret Arnold Cave under his Brentwood home that not even his family knows about. “We’re using all the personal elements of Arnold’s life,” Lee said at the time of the announcement. “We’re using his wife [Maria Shriver]. We’re using his kids. We’re using the fact that he used to be governor.” But even before the couple’s separation became public, producers had backed off depicting Shriver and their children. [TMZ, Entertainment Weekly]
Awards | The Xeric Foundation has announced its grant recipients for spring 2010: Margaret Ashford-Trotter, Thunder in the Building #2; Jason Brubaker, reMIND; Jonathon Dalton, Lords of Life and Death; Wei Li, Lotus Root Children; Jed McGowan, Lone Pine; Ansis Purins, Zombre #2: The Magic Forest; and Brittney Sabo and Anna Bratton, Francis Sharp in the Grip of the Uncanny! Book 1. A total of $32,761 was awarded for the seven projects. The next deadline for comic-book grants is Sept. 30. [via The Beat]
Creators | The Washington Post has named Olivia Walch, a 21-year-old rising senior at the College of William and Mary, as the winner of the America’s Next Great Cartoonist contest. [Comic Riffs]
AdHouse has a nice-looking book called Duncan the Wonder Dog shipping in September, by Xeric recipient Adam Hines. The description of the book reads:
What if animals could talk? Would some of them form a militant group in reaction to how humans treat them? Would humans treat them different? Come explore this dense tome of an alternate universe where the lavish renderings recall Dave McKean. 2009 Xeric winning Duncan the Wonder Dog WILL be one of the most talked about books of 2010.
After the jump you’ll find a preview of the first few pages of the book, but there’s an even longer one over on AdHouse’s site, available as a PDF. Go check it out.
Haunted is a full-color collection of Smeaton’s webcomic about a group of middle-school friends who want nothing more than to sneak into a high-school Halloween party at an abandoned mansion. But once they get there, they discover they’re not the only uninvited guests. (I interviewed Smeaton about Haunted in November.)
My copy arrived in the mail today, and it looks great: digest-sized, beautifully colored and with a half-dozen pages of extras. If I were near Brandon on Saturday, rather than almost 800 miles away, I’d definitely stop by the signing.
Awards | The Xeric Foundation, the nonprofit corporation established in 1992 by Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles co-creator Peter Laird, has announced the recipients of the fall/winter grants: Sarah Becan, The Complete and Original Ouija Interviews; Sixta C., Soldiers of God; Ben Costa, Shi Long Pang, The Wandering Shaolin Monk; Blaise Larmee, Young Lions; Lane Milburn, Death Trap; Stefan Salinas, Within the Rat; and Nathan Schreiber, Power Out.
The Xeric grants assist creators with the costs of self-publishing. [The Xeric Foundation]
Retailing | Ron Marshall has resigned after just a year as chief executive of the financially troubled Borders Group. Michael J. Edwards, who joined the book chain in September as chief merchandising officer, has been appointed as interim chief executive. [The New York Times]
A recipient of a 2009 Xeric Foundation grant, cartoonist Joshua Smeaton wasted little time in moving his comic Haunted from the Web, where the story has unfolded for the past two years, and into print.
Beautifully illustrated and colored, Haunted centers on a group of middle-school friends who want nothing more than to sneak into a high-school Halloween party being thrown at an abandoned mansion. But once they get there, they soon discover that they’re not the only uninvited guests. (Smeaton has described it as “like Goonies in a haunted house.”)
Smeaton, who lives outside of Tampa, Florida, took some time over the weekend to talk about the graphic novel, which is listed in November’s Previews (order code: NOV090896).
I believe I only became aware of Haunted back in July, when you received a Xeric Foundation grant. When did you begin working on it, and how long has it appeared online?
I originally wrote Haunted as a screenplay with the idea in the back of my head that I would eventually draw it as a comic. That was around 2003/2004. I started putting Haunted online in July 2007.