Comics Lowdown: Sophie Labelle’s webcomic hacked

Plus news and updates on Don Martin, Todd McFarlane, Tom Spurgeon and more.

Webcomics creator Sophie Labelle reported on Facebook yesterday that her webcomic about a transgender girl, Assigned Male, had been hacked and the page was down:

My webcomic about a transgender girl’s page, Assigned Male Comics, is currently down because it got hacked during the night, along with my personal page and the french version of the comic. After receiving several thousands of death threats in the past few days for making my art, my address was also posted on several forums. I am currently in a safe place and my roommate and I will move away before the end of the week.

Labelle is transgender, and the attack came on May 17, which is the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Assigned Male is still available on Tumblr and print comics can be purchased on Etsy; Labelle also has a Patreon. In this 2016 interview, Labelle talks about creating the comic and some of the political aspects of depicting transgender issues in comics form.

Did You Know? Department: The late MAD Magazine cartoonist Don Martin made several tries at a syndicated newspaper strip. On what would have been Martin’s 86th birthday, his widow, Norma, writes about The Nutheads, on which the two of them collaborated, and shows some examples.

Interviews and Profiles

Pénélope Bagieu talks about California Dreamin’, her graphic biography of singer Cass Elliott, best known as Mama Cass of the 1960s group The Mamas and the Papas:

Again, the accuracy, especially in Cass’s family members, didn’t matter that much. They have the appearance of what they are to her. Her mom looks permanently worried (a little pissed) and exhausted, her dad looks kind and always just about to have a very bad idea, etcetera. That’s the great part with writing comics (compared to, say, photography); it’s not a documentary, I can twist reality anytime I need to for the purpose of my story.

Image Comics co-founder Todd McFarlane talks about 25 years of creating Spawn.

The tables are turned at the Process Party Podcast, where Zack Soto and Mike Dawson interview comics journalist Tom Spurgeon. Actually, Spurgeon is a man of many hats, and the discussion includes his experiences in the early days of Fantagraphics and his role as director of the Cartoon Crossroads Columbus festival as well as his previous work as editor of The Comics Journal and his current website, The Comics Reporter.

The Biz

Overwatch director Jeff Kaplan says the graphic novel Overwatch: First Strike was canceled because the story would have limited the gameplay possibilities in the future:

“The reason had less to do with the specific content in that novel and more to do with the way that it would have limited us,” he told us. “It was a very specific, contained story.”

A panel from Area 69 Hospital, by Lim Yue Lynn and Wallace Destiny

Ella Pikri reports on the Malaysian comics collective Garaj Komik, which remains resolutely print-only in a digital world.

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