In an unprecedented week in American history, comics were all over the place.
After seeing a rioter in Captain America gear during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Neal Kirby, the son of Jack Kirby, has condemned the use of his father’s character by the far right. “Captain America is the absolute antithesis of Donald Trump,” he wrote, later adding “My father, Jack Kirby, and Joe Simon, the creators of Captain America and WWII veterans, would be absolutely sickened by these images.”
The problem with the Punisher: The Punisher’s elongated skull logo (and specifically, the version used in the 2004 film) has become an icon for white nationalists, Proud Boys and Blue Lives Matter enthusiasts. At Inverse, Eric Francisco offers a brief history of the alt-right’s use of the skull and Disney’s failure to assert its IP rights. At CBR, Cass Clarke summarizes the thoughts of Gerry Conway, who created the character. At SyFY Wire, Mike Avila calls on Marvel to retire the logo and “give the Punisher a makeover.” He also reached out to former Punisher writer Garth Ennis, who had this to say:
Plus: Court rules Dr. Seuss/Star Trek mash-up book not protected by fair use, ‘Batman’ #1 auction and more!
Legal: Comics creator Richard Meyer has dropped his lawsuit against Mark Waid, according to Waid’s legal defense GoFundMe page. The suit began in 2018 after Meyer announced that Antarctic Press would publish his comic Jawbreaker. The publisher reversed that decision after a phone call from Waid, however, and Meyer successfully crowdfunded the comic instead. He also sued Waid for “tortious interference with contract and defamation.”
Also: Batman manga coming to Japan, Ohio legislators complain about anime text, and a chat with the creator of the ‘Sickos’ meme
Eisner Awards: The judges for the 2021 Eisner Awards have been announced: Retailer Marco Davanzo, who is the executive director of ComicsPRO); Shelley Fruchey, a member of the Comic-Con Board of Directors; Pamela Jackson, Popular Culture Librarian and Comic Arts Curator in Special Collections and University Archives at San Diego State Universit; Keithan Jones, founder and owner of the independent publisher KID Comics; Alonso Nuñez, executive director, and lead instructor of Little Fish Comic Book Studio in San Diego; and independent comics scholar Jim Thompson.
Plus: New graphic novels by the Mayor of Montreal and rapper Rico Nasty
Auction Watch: An unpublished Alan Moore script is being auctioned off on eBay. The 35-page script was written circa 1997 for a Wildstorm one-shot, Gen13 Annual: The Coming of the Collector!, which was never completed or published.
Scott Dunbier, who is auctioning off the script, acquired it when he was an editor at Wildstorm. Proceeds from the auction, which has Moore’s blessing, will benefit inker Bob Wiacek, who is suffering from vision problems that prevent him from working.
Plus: How comics ease quarantine, who buys variant covers and more.
Tennis champ Naomi Osaka is the star of a new story in the Japanese shoujo manga magazine Nakayoshi (which first published Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura, among others), and the creators are taking pains to get her skin tone right. Osaka’s mother is Japanese and her father is Haitian-American, describes herself as “tan,” but an instant-noodle brand that depicted her with light skin caused an uproar last year. This time, the Nakayoshi designers consulted Osaka’s sister Mari Osaka, who is a tennis player and illustrator, for help in getting the skin tones right. The story features Naomi using her tennis skills to battle extraterrestrials in outer space, supported by Mari and her parents. Osaka has drawn some criticism in Japan, where she was born, for her outspokenness on racial matters, but the magazine focuses on her skill and dedication rather than her political statements.
Plus: Authors Guild objects to PRH-S&S deal, a look at the Eritrean comics scene and more!
Legal: The Indian Attorney General has given the go-ahead for contempt charges to be pressed against Rachita Taneja, creator of the webcomic Sanitary Panels, because of several Tweets that, the AG found, portray the Supreme Court of India as “biased towards the ruling party.” A law student, Aditya Kashyap, requested permission to begin contempt proceedings, citing three of Tanecha’s tweets, all of which are basically political cartoons.
Other Indian artists have spoken out publicly in support of Taneja, and on Dec. 2, Taneja tweeted “Thank you for the outpouring of love. I am filled with gratitude. It’s a rough time for a lot of people, and we’ll get through it by sticking together” along with a comic showing hearts pouring out of her computer:
Plus: New manga licenses, minicomics reviews, and more!
Paul Rainey has won the 2020 Observer Jonathan Cape Comica Graphic Short Story Prize for his storySimilar To But Not, a memoir of a chance encounter with a celebrity in a local pub in 1975. Rainey’s story and the runner-up, Ellen Durkin’s The Worm, are both available to read online.
Your roundup of essential comics news is back, with an Angoulême update, cussin’ Stan Lee and more!
Big publishing news: Bertelsmann, the parent company of Penguin Random House, announced the day before Thanksgiving that it will buy Simon & Schuster. This will affect graphic novels and manga in a big way, because PRH and S&S distribute a LOT of graphic novels and manga.
In a series of Tweets, Ed Chavez sketches out what the manga landscape will look like, and why it matters. ICv2 lists all their comics/distribution clients; keep in mind that this is in addition to the graphic novels the companies themselves publish under a variety of imprints: Random House has RH Graphics and Pantheon (which publishes the works of Chris Ware and other literary graphic novels), and S&S has Gallery 13 and, just announced, two new lines of graphic novels for young readers.
Plus: News on Terrific Production, Archie Comics, Rebellion, L.A. Comic-Con and more.
Distributors: UCS Comics Distributors, one of the two comics distributors that began working with DC Comics during the COVID-19 industry shutdown earlier this year, has told retailers they will no longer distribute DC’s books as of January 2021. Their accounts will be serviced by Lunar Distribution, the other distributor for DC that came into being during the pandemic. UCS was formed by retailer Midtown Comics, while Lunar was formed by Discount Comic Book Service.
So is UCS going away? Not according to the email they sent to retailers, which you can read over at The Beat. It says “UCS is not closing. We will be offering other exciting items that stores can use!” So it’ll be interesting to see what they offer in the future. John Jackson Miller has additional commentary.