Comics Lowdown: Comic-Con to Stay in San Diego

Plus: Udon to publish Daigo manga, another comics shop is robbed, a comics professor quits his job

It’s official: Comic-Con International will remain in San Diego for now, resisting the blandishments of other cities such as Los Angeles and Anaheim, which have been trying to woo it away. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced on June 30 that the city has signed a three-year deal with Comic-Con that will last through 2021; the current contract ends after next year’s show. Faulconer made a pitch for expanding the convention center, something that has been talked about for years now; the City Council recently refused his request to put a special tax on the November ballot to fund an expansion. Con-goers get a bit of a break in this new contract, though: The last contract held all hotel rooms to their 2016 prices for the duration, and the new one only allows a 4% increase over the 2018 price over the subsequent three years.

Udon Comics has licensed Daigo the Beast, the manga biography of real-life professional gamer Daigo Umehara, who started out during the heyday of fighting games. One senses the manga will have a reverent tone:

Daigo Umehara is best known for his aggressive play and nearly psychic ability to predict and counter his opponent’s next move. This power not only paralyzes world-class opponents, but has also led to many unforgettable comebacks from the brink of defeat. His many victories and bloodthirsty style have earned him the nickname “The Beast.”

Troubles in Academia: Michael Bonesteel has left his post as adjunct assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago after several clashes with students in a three-day period last December. Bonesteel taught courses on outsider art and comics, with a particular focus on outsider artist Henry Darger. A transgender student objected to his assertion that Darger’s trope of drawing little girls with penises may have resulted from childhood abuse, and another student claimed that Gerard Jones, the author of one of the assigned readings, was anti-Semitic. Bonesteel met with a diversity counselor and posted an apology after the first incident, but ultimately he was told he would no longer be teaching his comics and outsider-art courses, and his hours would be cut to a level that would cause him to lose health benefits.

Police Blotter: Whoever targeted the Wilmington, North Carolina, comic shop Whatever Wilmington knew exactly what he or she was looking for. On Sunday night or Monday morning, someone stole $12,000 worth of comics and collectibles, including a copy of The Incredible Hulk #1 autographed by Stan Lee. Kenyata Sullivan, the owner of the store, says he filed a police report but he really just wants his merchandise back.

Interviews and Profiles

Sibling Revelry: The sister-and-brother team of Jennifer and Matthew Holm talk about the origins of their wildly popular Babymouse, how they work together, and the challenges of sending Babymouse to middle school in their latest book, Lights, Camera, Middle School!

This Blasted Place! Andy Kirk talks about his new graphic novel Doom Towns, about the fake towns (complete with food and mannequins) that the federal civil defense administration set up in the divided desert in the 1950s to test the effects of nuclear blasts.

Family Ties: I interviewed Japanese manga creator Gengoroh Tagame, who has done a remarkable pivot, from erotic gay manga, often with BDSM themes, to My Brother’s Husband, a teen-friendly family drama about a single dad who realizes he has a lot to learn when the husband of his late twin brother comes to visit.

Monster Mashup: I also got to talk to Grace Ellis, Shae Beagle, and Laurenn McCubbin, the creators of Moonstruck, the new supernatural romantic comedy with a cast of characters that includes a werewolf, a centaur, and a host of other fantastic creatures.

Reviews, Roundups, and Commentary

Superheroes in the Sticks: Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer: Secret Origins may be a superhero pastiche, but it’s a good superhero pastiche, says reviewer Osvaldo Oyola. The comic stars a group of washed-up superheroes who are trapped in a farm town.

Cool Visuals: Paste produces a mid-year list of the best comics artists of 2017.

History Mystery: Scholar Katherine Roeder discusses why comics are not as well accepted by art historians as they are by their colleagues in the English Department.

The Biz

Colvin Moves Up: Lion Forge has promoted Andrea Colvin to the position of vice president ­– executive editor, taking over from Mark Smylie, who has moved from executive editor to contributing editor. Colvin was the senior editor for the Roar Comics and Cub House divisions, and prior to that she was vice president of content, book division, for Andrews McMeel, where she helped start their AMP! line of middle-grade graphic novels.

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