Comics Lowdown: RIP Monkey Punch, Kazuo Koike

Plus: Bill Mantlo in need, halfway through ‘Saga,’ awards and more.

The manga community has lost two legends in April, as both Lupin III creator Monkey Punch and Lone Wolf & Cub co-creator Kazuo Koike have passed away. Both men died from pneumonia six days apart, and were once considered rivals when their respective manga ran in Weekly Manga Action magazine. They also worked together on the Secretary Bird manga mini-series that ran in the magazine in 1970.

Monkey Punch, whose real name was Kazuhito Kato, was 81 when he passed away. His most famous creation, Lupin III, started as a manga and was later adapted into six animated television series, eight animated feature films, two live-action feature films, two musicals and several video games. He passed away April 11.

In addition to Lone Wolf & Cub, Koike is also known for such titles as Lady Snowblood, Crying Freeman, Samurai Executioner and many other popular series. His work influenced many American creators, including Frank Miller, who drew covers for First Comics’ publication of the series. Koike also worked on a few western series, including a Hulk manga and an issue of X-Men Unlimited. He passed away April 17 at the age of 82.

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Nominees announced for the 2019 Doug Wright Awards

Michael DeForge, Hartley Lin, John Martz and Fiona Smyth nominated for best book in the annual Canadian-focused awards program.

Nominees for the 15th annual Doug Wright Awards, which honor “the best work and most promising talent in Canadian comics,” were announced this morning. The list includes four nominees published by Koyama Press and two from Peow Studio.

You can find the complete list of nominees below.

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Comics Lowdown: ‘Astro Hustle’ canceled after sexual misconduct allegations against Jai Nitz

Plus: Mark Alessi passes away; DiNKy award nominees and more.

Dark Horse Comics has canceled the final two issues of Astro Hustle after writer Jai Nitz was accused of sexual misconduct.

The allegations were first published on the Her Campus website by Hannah Strader, a University of Kansas student who met Nitz when he was a guest lecturer in one of her classes. Nitz, whose recent work also includes a Suicide Squad story for DC Comics, briefly deleted his Twitter account (which is now set to private) and bailed on his appearance at 2019 Planet Comicon last weekend.

“Dark Horse takes all allegations seriously. We have cancelled future issues of Astro Hustle,” the publisher said in a statement to CBR.com. “While we were unable to prevent our distributor’s shipping of Astro Hustle #2, we are also suspending our professional ties with Jai Nitz.”

Astro Hustle artist Tom Reilly addressed the cancellation on Twitter, saying it was “for the best” and showing support for the victim. And Nitz released a statement to Bleeding Cool, saying “I am stepping away from comics and public life. I am seeking counseling and trying to live a better life for my loved ones.”

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‘Monstress,’ ‘Saga,’ ‘On a Sunbeam’ among the 2019 Hugo Awards finalists

‘Abbott,’ Paper Girls’ and ‘Black Panther: Long Live the King’ round out this year’s nominations in the the ‘Best Graphic Story’ category.

The nominees for the 2019 Hugo Awards have been announced, including the “Best Graphic Story” category. This year’s nominees include three comics from Image, one from Marvel, one from BOOM! Studios and a graphic novel from First Second.

Presented annually since 1955, The Hugo Awards recognize the best science fiction in books, comics, movies, TV and more. The Hugo Awards are voted on by members of the World Science Fiction Convention every year. The Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story has been awarded since 2009, with previous winners including volumes of Saga, Ms. Marvel, Girl Genius and Sandman: Overture. Monstress won the award for the last two years and is up for the award again this year.

This year’s nominees are:

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‘Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles’ wins a GLAAD Media Award

The comic by Mark Russell and Mike Feehan was recognized in a ceremony this week in Los Angeles.

The DC Comics revival of several classic Hanna Barbera cartoons as comics has brought some interesting results — and now it’s brought them a GLAAD Media Award.

Exit Stage Left: The Snagglepuss Chronicles took home the award last night in the Outstanding Comic Book category. The comic re-imagined the pink cougar as a gay playwright in the 1950s dealing with McCarthyism and the House Committee on Un-American Activities.

The comic was created by writer Mark Russell, penciller Mike Feehan, inker Mark Morales, colorist Paul Mounts and editors Marie Javins, Diego Lopez and Brian Cunningham.

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Nominees announced for this year’s NCS divisional, Reuben awards

Daniel Acuna, John Allison, Greg Smallwood, Rick Geary, Brenna Thummler and more receive nominations.

Nominees have been announced for the National Cartoonists Society’s annual awards program, which includes their divisional awards and the “Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year” award, a.k.a. The Reuben.

Four of the five Reuben nominees mirror last year’s line-up, as Lynda Barry, Stephan Pastis, Hilary Price and Mark Tatulli have all been nominated again. Joining them is Brain Basset, creator of the comic strips Red and Rover and Adam @ Home. Glen Keane won the award last year.

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Slate announces 2019 Cartoonist Studio Prize shortlists

Winners of the annual award by Slate and the Center for Cartoon Studies will be announced April 12.

The Slate Book Review and the Center for Cartoon Studies have announced the nominees for its annual Cartoonist Studio Prize, which awards $1,000 to the creator of one print comic and one webcomic.

Slate began the program in 2012 in conjunction with the Center for Cartoon Studies. Previous winners include Noelle Stevenson for Nimona, Chris Ware for Building Stories, Taiyo Matsumoto for Sunny, Winston Rowntree for Watching, Carol Tyler for Soldier’s Heart: The Campaign to Understand My WWII Veteran Father, Eleanor Davis for Libby’s Dad and Keren Katz for The Academic Hour.

This year’s print nominees include:

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Comics Lowdown: Awards round-up

See recently announced nominees and winners for several different awards.

Today seems like a good day for an awards rundown …

The nominees for the L.A. Times Book prize have been announced, including the five books chosen in the “Graphic Novel/Comics” category. They include:

  • Michelle Perez and Remy Boydell, The Pervert
  • Eleanor Davis, Why Art?
  • Aisha Franz, … Is Real
  • Jérôme Ruillier, The Strange
  • Tillie Walden, On a Sunbeam

Winners will be announced at a ceremony at the University of Southern California’s Bovard Auditorium on April 12, in conjunction with the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books.

The L.A. Times has given an award in the graphic novel category since 2009, when Asterios Polyp by David Mazzucchelli won the award. Other previous winners include The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez, Duncan the Wonder Dog by Adam Hines and Beverly by Nick Drnaso.

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Comics Lowdown: Tom King’s CIA service

Plus: ‘The Arrival’ selected for Hong Kong’s first ‘One City, One Book’ campaign, the obituary Marie Severin should have received, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Phoebe Gloeckner, Diamond Gem awards and more best-of-2018 lists!

Happy New Year from the Smash Pages staff! Coming back from the holiday break, let’s ring out the old and ring in the new with today’s collection of comic book news links.

Let’s start with a weird one: Last week Abhay Khosla, comics critic and past Superman writer, posted about his attempts to confirm with the CIA that Batman and Heroes in Crisis writer Tom King used to work for them. The topic of King’s former employer frequently comes up in interviews related to his Batman work (not to mention King’s Vertigo series The Sheriff of Babylon), and Khosla questioned whether any reporters who interviewed King about it had ever confirmed it. So Khosla sent the CIA a letter back in 2016 asking for confirmation, and the response he received from the agency was inconclusive.

This exchange occurred in 2016, and why Khosla decided to go public with it now isn’t clear. The point of Khosla’s post doesn’t seem to be to call out King as a liar (he starts his post by saying, “I don’t think this is really a story about Tom King”) but is more of a statement about entertainment journalism and fact-checking. He points out similar situations where a past DC writer, Micah Wright, lied about being in the armed services, as well as current Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski pretending to be Japanese early in his career.

The problem isn’t in asking the question — it’s posting about it without an answer or actually asking King about it. Like verifying facts, that’s also journalism 101. After the post went live, King was quick to respond on Twitter, showing proof that he was, indeed, in the CIA. Bleeding Cool, The Comics Reporter and Nick Hanover have more commentary on this.

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