Comics Lowdown: Artist OK with defacement of Zunar mural

Also: Moto Hagio returns to the Poe saga, Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez talk ‘Assassinistas,’ and Annie Koyama looks back at her first decade as a comics publisher

Someone has defaced a mural of the Malaysian cartoonist Zunar—but the artist who created the mural is OK with that. “I don’t see it as ruined but as a response, and it does not matter to me who is responding,” said Bibichun, the artist. “It’s in the public domain and it’s for members of the public to consume in their own way.” The mural depicted Zunar with his mouth covered by the flag of UMNO, the dominant political party of Malaysia (and therefore a frequent target of Zunar’s cartoon). Recently, an unknown man painted the flag black. “The piece was a response to the suppression of Zunar’s exhibition at the Penang Literary Festival last year,” said Bibichun. “I’m surprised it took Umno supporters such a long time to respond.” Zunar recently canceled a planned exhibit of his work out of concern that it, too, would be attacked.

A caricature of Stan Hart by MAD Magazine artist Sam Viviano

Passings: MAD Magazine writer Stan Hart has died. Hart was a writer for the magazine from 1962 to 2000. In a statement on its website, the magazine said:

With a razor wit and a keen eye, Stan was best known for his movie and TV satires and articles about the relationship between parents and kids. In addition, Stan authored several original MAD paperbacks and co-wrote the Off-Broadway musical “The MAD Show.”

Passings: Physicist and cartoonist Pavel Kantorek died last week in Toronto at the age of 75. Kantorek was born in the Czech Republic (then known as Czechoslovakia) in 1942, and from 1962 to 1968, he published cartoons in the Czech periodical Dikobraz. He left his native country in 1968, after the Russian invasion, and settled in Canada. He was a professor of physics at Ryerson University in Toronto, but he also published many cartoons in Czech periodicals, some of which were collected into books. His work was also published in Canada, the U.S. and Switzerland.

Interviews and Profiles

An illustration from 1977’s Spellbound comic story Beware the Mystery Dolls

The BBC looks at Scottish women who are active in comics, including artists Tanya Roberts and Vicky Stonebridge; the creators’ collaborative Team Girl Comics; and scholar Louise Quirion, the curator of a current show of vintage girls’ comics, “Girls in Print.”

Kicking Ass, Taking Names: I talked to Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez about their Black Crown comic Assassinistas.

Make Mine MAD: Ahead of an appearance at the Animix Tel Aviv festival, MAD Magazine art director Sam Viviano talks about his job and living the MAD life.

Your Longread of the Day: Sarah Horrocks interviews Katie Skelly for The Comics Journal.

“After One War—They Start Raising Babies for the Next,”

Art for The Masses: Françoise Mouly and Art Spiegelman profile cartoonist Art Young, who was active in the late 19th/early 20th centuries; his work for the Communist paper The Masses led to a trial for treason, but he was nonetheless a popular and well-liked artist, and as Mouly and Spiegelman point out, many of his drawings withstand the test of time.

Ten Years of Kickass Annie: Annie Koyama reflects on Koyama Press’s first decade and tells the unlikely story of how it began (she was sidelined by a brain aneurysm that at first was thought to be terminal, and she used the money she had saved up to travel to start publishing comics instead).

Manga

Poe no Ichizoku

More Poe: Although it hasn’t been translated into English (legally), Moto Hagio’s vampire saga Poe no Ichizoku (The Poe Clan) was an important and incredibly popular shoujo manga in the 1970s, so it’s big news that she picked up the story again last year, serializing it in a monthly magazine first and then publishing it as a new volume, Poe no Ichizoku: Haru no Yume (The Poe Clan: Dream of Spring). Writing for the Yomiuri Shinbun, critic Kanta Ishida explains the history of Poe and reviews the story as a whole.

The Biz

Career Paths: Todd Allen does an interesting analysis of the background of creators who have top-selling comics at Image right now. There’s a lot to chew on here, but the tl;dr is that most of the more successful creators made their bones at Marvel or DC; aside from Robert Kirkman, creators who have built their careers primarily at Image don’t do as well.

Small Is Beautiful: We focus a lot on the larger shows, but here’s a local-news story about a real grass-roots comics event: The Comics and Collectibles Trade Show in St. Girardeau, Missouri. Six vendors, about 50 attendees, free admission, and it’s sponsored by a local comics shop. Another local shop participates as well, and the owner says the small show is a great way to have real conversations with customers.

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