Comics Lowdown: Cartoonists entitled to freedom of expression in India

Parents fight to remove Alison Bechdel’s ‘Fun Home’ from school curriculum, Hope Larson’s ‘All Summer Long’ and more!

Legal: The high court in Madras, India, has ruled that political cartoonists are entitled to freedom of expression, stating that since it is their job to sway public opinion, often by making fun of public figures, they should not be vulnerable to lawsuits:

Upholding cartoonists’ unbridled freedom of expression, Justice Swaminathan stated that the “art of the cartoonist is often not reasoned or even-handed, but slashing and one-sided.”

He went on to quote extensively from US Supreme Court Justice William Rhenquist’s celebrated judgement in Hustler Magazine Inc v Falwell (1988): “The political cartoon is a weapon of attack, of scorn, ridicule and satire; it is least effective when it tries to pat some politician on the back. It is usually welcome as a bee sting, and it is always controversial in some quarters.”

The judge and several other commentators made numerous references to American cartoons, including the New Yorker cover depicting Donald Trump naked.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Saladin Ahmed on ‘Abbott’

Saladin Ahmed is an award-winning writer of fiction, nonfiction and poetry, best known for his epic fantasy novel Throne of the Crescent Moon. Last year he began writing comics at Marvel. His series Black Bolt was one of the most acclaimed superhero stories of the year, and he’s writing two new series at Marvel launching this spring including the much anticipated Exiles.

This year Ahmed also has a new comic, Abbott, drawn by Sami Kivela and colored by Jason Wordie. The five-issue miniseries from Boom tells the story of Elena Abbott, a reporter in 1972 Detroit who is dealing with social and political issues of the era in addition to a supernatural threat she’s trying to understand. The series and the lead character are very much a type, the noir influenced supernatural investigator and the series is reminiscent of Jamie Delano’s run on Hellblazer, which like this was a horror/fantasy story that was very political and concerned with social issues. It’s the story of a time and place that has a lot of echoes with today as Ahmed pointed out in our conversation.

The third issue of Abbott is out this week and Ahmed was kind enough to answer a few questions about the project.

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‘The Woods,’ ‘Batwoman,’ ‘America’ among 2018 GLAAD Award nominees

DC Comics, Marvel, BOOM! Studios and Black Mask Studios all represented in the 10 nominees in the comic book category.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, have announced the nominees for their 2018 Media Awards, which recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives.

BOOM! Studios received four nominations, including one for last year’s winner, The Woods. They were followed by Marvel with three, DC Comics with two and Black Mask Studios with one. James Tynion IV, writer of The Woods, was involved with three of the books that received nominations.

The GLAAD Media Awards ceremonies will be held in Los Angeles on April 12 at The Beverly Hilton, and in New York on May 5 at the New York Hilton Midtown.

Check out the full list of nominees below.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Takeshi Miyazawa on ‘Mech Cadet Yu’

The artist discusses his latest project with writer Greg Pak, involving giant robots, an interstellar war and the teenager in the middle of it all.

Takeshi Miyazawa has been drawing comics for years now. Some of us first noticed his work in Sidekicks and Love in Tights, others noticed his work when he started working for Marvel, with his runs on Runaways and Mary Jane and Ms. Marvel.

His current project, Mech Cadet Yu, is a book he co-created with writer Greg Pak and is about an interstellar war, an alien invasion and the unlikely teenager who finds himself at the center of this. It’s hard to make a book about giant robots that looks and feels new and dynamic, but Pak and Miyazawa have done just that. In every issue they manage to expand and deepen the world they’ve established in fascinating ways.

Next month the fifth issue of the series, and a collection of the first four issues come out, and Miyazawa answered a few questions about the project.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Pamela Ribon on ‘Slam!’

The novelist and screenwriter discusses her work on ‘Slam! The Next Jam,’ the BOOM! Box series that wraps up next week. Check out exclusive artwork from the final issue!

Pamela Ribon has had a long, successful writing career. She’s the author of novels including Going in Circles and Why Moms Are Weird and the memoir Notes To Boys (And Other Things I Shouldn’t Share in Public). She’s a member of the Disney Animation StoryTrust and has written or co-written a number of films including Moana, Smurfs: The Lost Village, and the upcoming Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It-Ralph 2. In 2016 Variety named her one of “10 Screenwriters to Watch” and she is a 2017 Film Independent Directing Lab Fellow.

Ribon also co-created and writes Slam! The series from BOOM! Studios’ BOOM! Box imprint revolves around roller derby derby and two very different women – Jen and Maisie – who become friends through the sport. The first miniseries featured artwork by Veronica Fish, while the second one, Slam! The Next Jam, features art by Marina Julia and covers by Fish.

It’s a series that spends a great deal of care and attention on how the sport works, on injuries, on depicting bodies and body types properly. More than that, it’s a also a comic that takes advantage of being a comic, playing with the form in a number of small but powerful and dynamic ways that demonstrate that Ribon has a deep understanding of how the medium works and what it is capable of doing. But really it’s a story of people and passion and obsession told with care and a great sense of fun.

If that weren’t enough Ribon wrote the just-released Rick and Morty #32, and has a graphic novel coming out next year, My Boyfriend is a Bear. The second miniseries, Slam! The Next Jam wraps up next week, and BOOM! sent an exclusive look at the issue to accompany my discussion with Ribon on roller derby, relationships and Chris Ware.

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Comics Lowdown: Legal woes for political cartoonists Ted Rall and Zunar

Plus: Hell’s Kitchen is trendy, fun and socially progressive comics, Alex Simmons and Erica Henderson celebrated, industry of immigrants

Legal: Political cartoonist Ted Rall has lost another round in his lawsuit against the Los Angeles Times. Rall, a former freelancer for the Times sued the paper for defamation and wrongful termination last year, after the editors determined a blog post he had written about his treatment by the Los Angeles Police Department was inaccurate. The Times dropped Rall as a freelancer and published an editor’s note stating that the blog post was incorrect. Last week, a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Joseph Kalin ruled that because Rall was a public figure, the editor’s note and any other articles about him are protected by the First Amendment. Consequently, Kalin granted the motion by the Times’s parent company, Tribune Media, to strike the complaint.

Legal: The Malaysian political cartoonist Zunar (pictured above) has filed a lawsuit against the government and the police, including 16 individual police officers, for seizing his books and T-shirts at a fund-raising event last December. Zunar had organized a “Tea with Zunar” event at the Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall in Kuala Lumpur on December 17, but before it began, police arrested the cartoonist and an assistant who was in charge of sales, and they confiscated 1,187 books and 103 T-shirts. Zunar and his assistant were released, but the merchandise was not returned. In the suit, Zunar alleges that the arrest and seizure were illegal and that some booksellers will no longer carry his books because of the fear they will be confiscated.

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BOOM! recruits Box Brown and Lisa Dubois for new ‘Rugrats’ title

New partnership with Nickelodeon will bring more 1990s Nick shows to KaBOOM!

BOOM! Studios and Nickelodeon have entered into a partnership to create comics based on the network’s 1990s television shows (so no Paw Patrol or Blaze, much to my son’s regret), and they’ve recruited an interesting creative team for the first one — Ignatz award-winner Box Brown will work with artist Lisa Dubois to tell new stories about Tommy, Chucky, Phil and Lil.

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‘The Woods’ wins a 2017 GLAAD Media Award

The BOOM! Studios title by James Tynion IV, Michael Dialynas, Josan Gonzalez and Ed Dukeshire comes out on top in a very competitive category.

The Woods has been named “Outstanding Comic Book” by The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, in their 2017 Media Awards.

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‘Love is Love,’ ‘Lumberjanes,’ ‘Black Panther’ among 2017 GLAAD Award nominees

DC Comics, IDW, Marvel, BOOM! Studios, Image and Black Mask Studios all represented as comics category expands to 10 nominations.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, or GLAAD, have announced the nominees for their annual Media Awards, which recognize and honor media for their fair, accurate and inclusive representations of the LGBTQ community and the issues that affect their lives.

DC Comics and Marvel Comics both received three nominations apiece (Dc shares one of theirs with IDW, as the co-published the Love is Love anthology), while BOOM! Studios received two — which include last year’s winner, Lumberjanes.

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