Comics Lowdown: More Manga, Scary Stories and an Inside Look at North Korea

A North Korean cartoonist looks at the lighter side of defection, an American cartoonist turns down an Iranian award, and Humanoids announces an all-ages horror graphic novel.

Struggles and Smiles: Former North Korean animator Choi Seong-guk was surprised at how different the comics were when he defected to South Korea: “When I first saw South Korean cartoons, I just didn’t get them,” he says. “There were no stories about patriotism or catching spies or war. They just seemed useless to me.” There were a lot of other differences too, including some idioms that he misunderstood. Now he has turned his experiences into an online comic that depicts both the funny and the serious side of the lives of North Koreans at home and in South Korea.

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Kickstarter ‘Gold’ brings back 7 comic projects

‘Black,’ ‘Plume,’ ‘The Secret Loves of Geek Girls” and more get remixed as they return to the crowdfunding site for another go.

Kickstarter is giving new life to several of their past campaigns, including seven of them from the comics category.

“Kickstarter Gold” brings back projects by creators who were “specially selected for their creativity, ingenuity and past success on Kickstarter,” the site reads. “We’re spotlighting them because they do excellent work — and because creators who repeatedly use Kickstarter to support and sustain creative ventures are an integral part of our community’s ecosystem.”

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Comics Lowdown: Satire comic gets Warsaw Comics Festival in trouble

Plus: profiles on ‘Black’ creator Kwanza Osajyefo and ‘Top Ten’ artist Gene Ha, the Ledger Awards shortlist, and Montreal’s AstroBooks turns to crowdfunding to pay its tax bills.

The Warsaw (Poland) Comics Festival will lose three years’ worth of city subsidies, totaling $44,500, because a comic ridiculing Polish nationalists was distributed at this year’s event. Tomasz Lesniak and Rafal Skarzycki’s Poland: The Champion of Poland, lampooned nationalists, racists and anti-Semites, and that didn’t sit well with the local nationalists, who complained to the city council. The council released a statement saying, “After reviewing the comic we explicitly declare that we do not accept its content,” and announced it would sanction the festival.

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‘March,’ ‘M.A.S.K.’ and more take home 2017 Glyph Awards

Annual awards presented last night at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention.

Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell continued to add to the awards pile last night for March: Book Three, the final chapter in the trilogy that detailed Lewis’ experiences during the Civil Rights movement, at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention in Philadelphia. The Glyph Awards, which recognize the best in comics made by, for and about people of color, also recognized Tuskegee Heirs and IDW’s M.A.S.K. series with multiple awards.

Founded by Rich Watson, the Glyph Awards have been presented annually since 2006. This year’s nominees are listed below, with the winner in bold.

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New graphic novel answers the question, ‘What if only Black people had superpowers?’

Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, Sarah Litt and Khary Randolph launch a Kickstarter to bring ‘Black’ to life.

Kwanza Osajyefo, Tim Smith 3, Jamal Igle, Sarah Litt and Khary Randolph have teamed up to create a new graphic novel called Black: “In a world that already fears and hates them – what if only Black people had superpowers?” They’re looking to raise a little under $30,000 via Kickstarter to bring it to life.

Here’s a description of the story:

After miraculously surviving being gunned down by police, a young man learns that he is part of the biggest lie in history. Now he must decide whether it’s safer to keep it a secret or if the truth will set him free.

“With Black, we’re looking to tell a great story, but we’re also purposefully challenging the pop culture status quo, which is dominated by a White male aesthetic,” Osajyefo said in a press release. “Black tackles the very real and palpable issue of race, which is at the forefront in America and around the world. We are trying to confront the issue of race head-on by creating a world in which only Black people are superheroes — and the Black superhero trope isn’t subtly cast under a label of mutant, inhuman, or meta-whatever. It is also both thrilling and liberating to create the superheroes we’ve always wanted to see — and, frankly, be — outside of the entrenched publishing system.”

If funded through the Kickstarter campaign, Black will be available digitally to backers as DRM-free PDFs in monthly installments, starting in mid-2016. The limited edition print run of the six-chapter Black graphic novel is due out late in 2016. The campaign runs through Feb. 29. For more information, check out the Kickstarter page, their web site or this Washington Post article.

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