Comics Lowdown | Chinese government upset by Danish coronavirus cartoon

Plus: Changes at Kodansha, Cullen Bunn goes ‘Rogue’ and whatever happened to Lion Man?

Editorial Cartoons: A cartoon in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, depicting the Chinese flag with the stars replaced by coronaviruses, has, predictably, angered the Chinese government. (Jyllands-Posten is the same paper whose cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad caused an uproar in 2005.) The Chinese Embassy in Copenhagen has demanded an apology, but Jyllands-Posten editor Jacob Nybroe has refused, and the Danish prime minister is backing him up.

The Biz: Restructuring at Kodansha USA means a promotion for Alvin Lu, previously the general manager of Kodansha Advance Media. Publishers Weekly reports that Kodansha’s subsidiaries, including its digital arm Kodansha Advanced Media and the manga and novel publisher Vertical Inc., will be folded into Kodansha USA. Lu will be the CEO, and Ivan Salazar, former public relations and events specialist at ComiXology, has been hired as senior marketing director.

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Mail Call | Archaia to adapt Roxane Gay story

Plus: a new Shonen Jump series, Skybound’s ‘Fire Power’ plans and a new ‘Clone Wars’ series at IDW.

BOOM! Studios announced a new graphic novel, The Sacrifice of Darkness, based on Gay’s short story “The Sacrifice of Darkness.” In addition to Gay, the creative team includes writer Tracy Lynne Oliver, artist Rebecca Kirby, and colorist James Fenner, and the pub date is October 2020.

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Mail Call | Off and Running

News from Random House, BOOM! Studios, IDW and more.

Mail Call is a roundup of the announcements we received from publishers in our mailboxes recently. Hit the links for more information.

Congratulations to Random House Graphic, which officially launched this week! RH Graphic is a new line of graphic novels for young readers, spearheaded by Gina Gagliano, former marketing director for First Second.

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Comics Lowdown: Con wars, comics in Spanish, new kids’ imprint

Plus: Asterix, Jason Lutes, Derf Backderf, James Romberger and more!

Creator Talk: At The Beat, Matt O’Keefe interviews Chris Eliopoulos about his graphic novels (Cow Boy, Cosmic Commandos), his picture books (Ordinary People Change the World), the difference between comics and book publishing, and how he began his career as a comics letterer—his lettering firm, Virtual Calligraphy, still does a lot of lettering for Marvel.

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Tom Spurgeon, RIP

Comics has lost its greatest champion and best friend.

It’s a wonderful thing to be able to say of a person that they left the world a better place than they found it. 

Tom Spurgeon did that. He did it with journalism, and he did it with humanity. He left us this week at the untimely age of 50, but he has indeed left us, the readers and lovers of comics, better off than we were when he first arrived.

His site, The Comics Reporter, has been an essential read for anyone interested in comics since he launched it in 2004. It covers the world of comics with incredible breadth, from  corporate superheroes to tiny indy comics, corporations to creators, manga to BD to what-have-you. For the past 15 years, it has been the essential portal to the comics internet. Much of it was simply links, but Tom published original content as well, including lengthy, Rolling Stone-style interviews and Bart Beaty’s annual reports from the Angouleme Comics Festival.

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Comics Lowdown: Outhungering ‘Hunger Games’

Brian Fies reflects on going through the California fires a second time, Jamal Igle shows how he draws a cover, J. Caleb Mozzocco explains War Bears.

Passings: Coila Davis, longtime editorial cartoonist for the Rockford (Illinois) Register Star, has died at the age of 72.

Freedom of Expression: The nonfiction comics blog Cartoon Movement notes that they are currently blocked in China, Iran, Russia, and Turkey.

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Comics Lowdown: Rio mayor arrives too late to seize ‘Avengers’ comic

Plus: Lynda Barry, ‘Cathy,’ Brian Hibbs and more.

Censorship: The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcello Crivella, sent a team of law enforcement agents to the International Book Fair in his city to confiscate any and all copies of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, on the grounds that it shows a same-sex kiss. The mayor was concerned that it was “sexual content for minors” and would lead the children of Rio de Janeiro astray, but the joke was on him: The comic had sold out by the time his officers got there. The festival organizers took him to court and won an injunction against any further seizures or attempts to pull the festival’s permit, but the ruling was partly overturned the next day. “We will always continue to defend the family,” said the mayor, an Evangelical preacher, who apparently found a drawing of a kiss to be a more pressing matter than the fact that 40% of Brazilian children live in poverty.

Late-breaking addendum: Despite Crivello’s admonition that “Books like this need to be wrapped in black sealed plastic with a content warning displayed on the outside,” the daily newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo put the image on its front page.

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Dark Horse drops Brian Wood series after harassment accusation

‘Aliens Colonial Marines: Rising Threat’ has been cancelled by the publisher.

The Beat is reporting that Dark Horse has cancelled Brian Wood’s upcoming series Aliens Colonial Marines: Rising Threat following the revelation by writer and editor Laura Hudson that he harassed her repeatedly.

The Beat writer Samantha Puc wrote that when contacted for comment, Dark Horse responded “Effective immediately, Dark Horse will not pursue any new projects with Brian Wood. Dark Horse has cancelled the upcoming series Aliens Colonial Marines: Rising Threat.” The catalog page for the first issue is no longer visible on the Dark Horse website.

This is a significant move because Dark Horse has become the most important publisher of Wood’s work in recent years, most notably since the artist Tess Fowler accused him of sexually harassing her in October 2013.

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Comics Lowdown: Spiegelman withdraws essay after Marvel wanted to remove Trump reference

Plus: Hector Gonzalez Rodriguez III on the El Paso shooting, thieves caught selling comics to their actual owner; and more!

Marvel asked legendary comic creator Art Spiegelman to remove a line from his introduction for a new Golden Age comic collection for being too political. The essay refers to current president of the Unites States Donald Trump as an “Orange Skull.”

“In today’s all too real world, Captain America’s most nefarious villain, the Red Skull, is alive on screen and an Orange Skull haunts America”

The graphic novelist decided to withdraw his entire essay meant for a Folio Society deluxe collection and published it online at the Guardian, fully intact, and added a few paragraphs at the end about his experience with Marvel, being edited, and about how CEO of Marvel Entertainment Ike Perlmutter donated $360,000, the maximum amount allowed, to the “Trump Victory Joint Fundraising Committee.”

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