#GivingTuesday: Support the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (and get a pin)

On the official day of giving, the CBLDF offers a pin featuring artwork by Raina Telgemeier and an anthology featuring stories by Neil Gaiman, Jim Lee, Jeff Lemire and many more.

Today is Giving Tuesday, the softer, less crass sibling to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and to help celebrate the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has a few special offers for contributors.

First up is a special pin featuring artwork by Raina Telgemeier, which can be yours for a $10 donation to the fund:

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sophie Goldstein on ‘House of Women’

The creator of ‘The Oven’ discusses her new book from Fantagraphics, as well as science fiction, her next book and much more.

Sophie Goldstein is best known as the cartoonist behind the book The Oven, and the co-writer and artist of the webcomic Darwin Carmichael is Going to Hell. She’s received multiple Ignatz Awards and her work has appeared in Best American Comics.

Fantagraphics has just released House of Women, the collection of Goldstein’s Ignatz Award-winning series. Goldstein and I have been meeting each other at comic shows for years and I last interviewed her when The Oven was released, shortly after House of Women Part 1 won an Ignatz Award. The new book, which Goldstein designed, is beautiful, and we spoke about the changes in her artwork over the course of making it, science fiction and her next book, An Embarrassment of Witches.

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Comics Lowdown: ‘Rurouni Kenshin’ creator arrested on child porn charges

Plus: The Cartoon Art Museum gets a new home, the Guinness Book of World Records recognizes the largest X-Men collection, and much more!

The manga world was rocked on Tuesday when Rurouni Kenshin creator Nobuhiro Watsuki was charged with possession of child pornography. Police didn’t target the 47-year-old manga-ka; they were investigating someone else when he turned up as a possible purchaser of child porn, and indeed he has been charged with possessions of “numerous” DVDs containing footage of nude girls in their early teens. In a deposition, Watsuki, stated that he “liked girls in late elementary school to around the second year of middle school.”

The penalty for possession of child pornography in Japan is up to a year in prison and a fine of up to 1 million yen, if convicted, but for Watsuki the consequences are already grave: His publisher, Shueisha, said it is taking the news very seriously and it has suspended his current series, Rurouni Kenshin: Hokkaido Arc, which he is co-creating with his wife, Kaoru Kurosaki; it has not decided yet what to do about the volumes that are already in print. Rurouni Kenshin started in 1994 and has over 60 million volumes in print; Viz has the U.S. license and has been re-releasing the original series in omnibus format, and is publishing the Hokkaido Arc simultaneously with the Japanese release.

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Holiday shopping deals from comiXology, Drawn & Quarterly, Skybound and more

Get Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals on comics, merchandise and more.

With the arrival of Black Friday come several opportunities for comic fans looking for that perfect gift or just a good deal. Here’s a rundown of some comic-related things to check out today, over the weekend and on Monday (which is Cyber Monday).

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Spies save the world from the supernatural in ‘Beasts of the Black Hand’

Paul Harding, Ron Marz, Matthew Dow Smith and Neeraj Menon look to kickstart a new graphic novel featuring a British secret service agent’s battle against the mad monk Rasputin.

Ron Marz and Matthew Dow Smith have teamed up with sculptor Paul Harding for Beasts of the Black Hand, a new graphic novel they’re funding through Kickstarter. Featuring colors by Neeraj Menon, the first volume will come out in early 2018, “laying the groundwork for an epic multi-volume story.”

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Oeming + Soma launch ‘The After Realm’ webcomic

Elves, rangers, Ragnarok and secret doors inhabit a new story from the co-creator of ‘Powers.’

Just in time for the holidays, Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma have kicked off a new webcomic about elves — okay, maybe not of the “ho ho ho” variety, but more of the Lord of the Rings/Norse mythology kind.

The After Realm is an all-ages comic about an elf named Oona Lightfoot, who wants to become a ranger so she can reunite with her best friend, who was trapped in the apocalyptic landscape of Ragnarok. So far three pages have been added, with more coming on a weekly basis. You cna help support it by bakcing Oeming on Patreon. Check out some pin-ups of the various characters below.

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Smash Pages Q&A: GG on ‘I’m Not Here’

The Canadian cartoonist discusses her latest project, published by Koyama Press.

GG is the pen name of a Canadian cartoonist who in recent years has produced a small but beautiful body of work. In a series of short comics like Semi-Vivi, Valley, Don’t Leave Me Alone and I’m Crazy she’s established herself as an amazing talent. GG’s artwork is clean and precise, and the clarity of the art stands in sharp contrast to her writing, where she leaves the meaning of the narrative up to the reader. There’s a way in which her comics are very quiet and yet simultaneously unsettling and off-putting. They’re tales of transformation, disruption, and told in a way that the reader is never instructed what to think, how to react or how to feel. The result can be unsettling and strange and a difficult read, as every panel should be scoured to understand what’s happening. It can also be transcendent and brilliant.

This year Koyama Press published I’m Not Here, GG’s longest work to date and her first book. It is arguably her best work to date. The book features a young woman who is caretaker for her mother and walks around town taking photographs. What happens next, well, that depends on the reader. As someone who has been a caretaker and likes to walk, I have my own take on what happens and what it means – which is no doubt different from many readers and no doubt different from GG – but that is precisely the response she wants to create. That sense of narrative uncertainty requires readers to engage with the story differently. I’m Not Here is quite simply one of the most affecting and best comics of the year and GG was kind enough to open about the book and how she works.

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Superstar armies fight for fame in ‘VS’ [Preview]

Esad Ribić, Ivan Brandon, Nic Klein and Tom Muller team up for a new series from Image Comics.

Image Comics has released a preview for VS, by artist Esad Ribić, writer Ivan Brandon, colorist Nic Klein and designer Tom Muller.

Announced in 2016, here’s how Image describes the series:

War has become a spectator sport.

Privately funded armies of superstar soldiers march into battle for fame, profit and the glory of their sponsor nations. When a new generation of soldiers arrive, top gladiator Satta Flynn is about to discover how fleeting the limelight can be—and how punishing.

“Making VS is a dream,” said Ribić. “After all these years, it feels great to be able to create my own world and tech from scratch.”

Check out the preview below

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Love, Image Comics Style: Alex de Campi helms ‘Twisted Romance’ anthology

Katie Skelly, Alejandra Gutiérrez, Carla Speed McNeil, Trungles and more contribute to a new miniseries featuring stories about love.

Image Comics has announced Twisted Romance, a four-issue, weekly miniseries featuring “love gone right, wrong and everything in between” that will run in the most romantic month of the year, February.

“This project is a dream for me,” said writer Alex de Campi. “I’m getting to collaborate with some of comics’ coolest creators and some amazing prose fiction voices. Everything everyone is doing looks so amazing. I’m just giddy that Image basically handed us the reins and said, ‘do whatever you want. This looks cool.’ So, yeah: come February, we’re going to break your heart, fill you with joy, and give you awkward pants feels. Sometimes in same story. Occasionally, even on the same page.”

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