2019 Joe Shuster Award nominees announced

Awards recognize the best in Canadian comics and creators

To celebrate the 105th anniversary of the birth of Joe Shuster, the 2019 Joe Shuster Award nominations were announced on July 10.

The awards celebrate the Canadian comic industry and the creators who work in it. The nominees will be unveiled in two rounds. Later this month, the nominees for the Dragon (Comics for Kids) Prize, Hall of Fame, TM Maple, Webcomics, Cover Artist and the Harry Kremer Retailer will be announced

The date and location of the ceremony have not yet been announced; however, they are expected to be awarded in September 2019.

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Comics Lowdown: New player in town: Graphite digital comic subscription service

Plus: Steve Morrow passes away, New York Times stops editorial cartoons, and more!

The New York Times reports on a new digital comics service, Graphite, that operates on a subscription basis, like ComiXology Unlimited. Graphite will offer a free version with ads, and their premium ad-free version is priced at $4.99 a month, a buck cheaper than ComiXology Unlimited, but their real selling point is automated recommendations:

On other platforms, recommendations are typically offered by editors, said Tom Akel, Graphite’s chief content officer. “Ours takes into account your user behavior, what you’ve watched before, what the pool of people around you liked and cross references that the same way a Netflix algorithm will,” he said.

The real test of a digital comics service, of course, is content. Graphite’s lineup will include BOOM! Studios, Tokyopop, Dynamite, IDW and the children’s publisher Papercutz, but not Marvel or DC (both of whom have their own subscription services). This is a choice that seems to make sense for the smaller publishers; as BOOM!’s Filip Sablik commented, “We’ve had free content available for multiple years, and it hasn’t cut into our Comixology business. In fact, it has continued to grow.

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Tommi Parrish, Blue Delliquanti + Kazimir Lee win Lambda Literary Awards

‘The Lie and How We Told It,’ ‘Miles & Honesty in SCFSX!’ were both recognized in New York last night.

The 31st annual Lambda Literary Awards, which honor LGBTQ writing across 24 categories, were presented last night in New York City.

The Lie and How We Told It by Tommi Parrish took home the award in the LGBTQ Graphic Novel category. Published by Fantagraphics, the graphic novel is about two formerly close friends trying “to salvage whatever is left of their decaying relationship.”

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Comics Lowdown: Who owns Atlas Comics?

Plus: Bob Clampett Humanitarian Award recipients, Paige Braddock, Frank Santoro, Dr. Gene Luen Yang and more!

Who exactly owns Atlas Comics? That seems to be the question raised in two articles from The Hollywood Reporter. Earlier this month Steven Paul, producer of the Ghost Rider film, announced via a press conference that he had bought the rights to the Atlas Comics and planned to work with Paramount to turn the properties into movies. Not so fast, said Dynamite Entertainment, who followed up by telling THR that they own the name “Atlas Comics.”

Many of you may be wondering “What the heck was Atlas Comics?” while others might be thinking, “Wait, wasn’t Atlas the company that eventually evolved into Marvel Comics in the 1960s?” And still others are wondering, “Didn’t he learn his lesson after Ghost Rider?”

But getting back to Atlas, yes, there was an Atlas Comics in the 1950s that grew out of Timely Comics and eventually became Marvel Comics. It was owned by publisher Martin Goodman, and it put out comics in a variety of genres like horror, crime, espionage and even a few superhero titles featuring characters like Captain America and the Human Torch, who had previously been published under the Timely banner. However, this isn’t that Atlas Comics.

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Mike Friedrich, E. Nelson Bridwell to receive Bill Finger Award

Annual award will be presented during the Eisner Award celebration at Comic-Con International in July.

Comic-Con International has announced the recipients of this year’s Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Writing, which goes to writers who have not been given due recognition for their work.

This year’s award will go to Mike Friedrich, a pioneer of independent comics as well as a writer for both DC Comics and Marvel, and E. Nelson Bridwell, who worked on MAD Magazine and co-created The Inferior Five, The Secret Six and The Angel and the Ape for DC Comics. Before becoming professional writers, both men were active letter-writers to comics letter columns. You can read more about both men on the CCI website.

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Pastis wins the Reuben; ‘Kafkaesque,’ ‘Vampironica’ win NCS division awards

Winners of the annual awards presented by the National Cartoonists Society given out this weekend in Huntington Beach.

The National Cartoonists Society announced the winners of the annual Reuben Award and other divisional awards this weekend during NCS Fest in Huntington Beach, California.

After 11 nominations,Pearls Before Swine creator Stephan Pastis took home the Reuben Award, beating out Lynda Barry, Hilary Price, Brain Basset and Mark Tatulli for the honor.

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Comics Lowdown: Stan Lee’s former caretaker charged with elder abuse

Plus: Jonathan Hickman details his plans for the X-Men, comic sales in April and more.

Stan Lee’s former caretaker and manager, Keya Morgan, has been charged with felony elder abuse. The charges include felony counts of false imprisonment of an elder adult, theft, embezzlement, and forgery or fraud against an elder adult, according to the Los Angeles Superior Court.

A warrant for Morgan’s arrest had been issued. The 43-year-old memorabilia collector was served with a restraining order by Lee’s family last summer, when they accused him of elder abuse. Lee passed away in November.

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2019 Doug Wright Awards winners announced

Xiaoxiao Li, Arianne Dénommé and Hartley Lin win at the annual awards program for Canadian comics.

Xiaoxiao Li, Arianne Dénommé and Hartley Lin each took home an award from the Doug Wright Awards ceremony held at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival this weekend.

The Doug Wright Awards honor “the best work and most promising talent in Canadian comics.” Check out the winners below:

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Comics Lowdown: Oni Press, Lion Forge announce merger, restructuring, layoffs

Plus: Patrick Gleason, Emily Carroll, awards and more!

Oni Press and Lion Forge will merge in order to “strengthen their library of original comics and graphic novels and help them to leverage their characters on other media platforms, including animation and film,” according to a story in the New York Times. The new publishing company will fall under the Polarity umbrella, a media entertainment entity launched by Lion Forge co-founder Dave Steward II last year.

The new company’s combined publishing efforts will be overseen by Oni Press publisher James Lucas Jones, who will be president and publisher. “We’re going to take a look at efficiencies and identify a number of areas of growth as well,” said Steward. The Beat details several layoffs that have already occurred at both companies, including Andrea Colvin, Lion Forge’s editor in chief, and Oni’s Desiree Wilson. According to Publisher’s Weekly, Joe Nozemack, founder of Oni Press, will join the new entity’s board and serve in an advisory role.

As far as their publishing lines go, Lion Forge Senior Publicist Jeremy Atkins tweeted that Oni Press “will be the publisher of all creator-owned books going forward,” while company-owned IP, like the Catalyst Prime universe, will fall under the Lion Forge banner. This one is still developing, so no doubt more information on the new structure and publishing entity will be forthcoming.

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