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.
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.
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.
The digital comics platform’s new program features exclusive comic content for comiXology and Kindle.
ComiXology has announced a line of exclusively digital comics, teaming with BOOM! Studios, Valiant Entertainment and the estate of Harvey Kurtzman on new content. Called “comiXology Originals,” the comics can only be found on comiXology and Kindle starting next year.
“Our mission is to make everyone on the face of the planet a comic fan, and with comiXology Originals we’re excited to offer a range of content by diverse creators,” said comiXology co-founder and CEO David Steinberger in a press release. “It’s fantastic to be working with publishers across the spectrum to deliver great comics to comiXology and Kindle, offering fans stories that they can’t get anywhere else.”
BOOM! Studios will offer a more realistic take on the WWE superstars, starting with a comic about the Shield.
Before Comic-Con International kicked off, BOOM! Studios announced a partnership with World Wrestling Entertainment to create comics based on WWE superstars. Not many details were revealed at the time, although they did share several comic images featuring WWE superstars. At the con itself, they revealed the focus of their first comic, their overall approach and the writer who will help bring it all to life.
IGN reports that during the con, BOOM! announced Spider-Woman writer — and WWE fan — Dennis Hopeless will write WWE: Then. Now. Forever., a 40-page one-shot starring Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins set during their Shield days. Shield, not SHIELD. So no, they won’t be cast as secret agents or space pirates or gladiators in Rome; the only Roman Empire that’ll be featured is the dwindling piece of the WWE Universe that still cheers for Reigns. The comics will be more realistic takes on the superstars, rather than putting them into a fictional universe like the last round of WWE comics did.
With issue 7 released of Cluster in early September writer edbrisson was kind enough to grant me an interview for his creator-owned Boom Studios! series.
Written by: Ed Brisson\Illustrated by: Damian Couceiro\Coloured by: Cassie Kelly
Midlothian is on the brink of a full-scale war between GOE and the rebels led by Samara and Grace.
Tim O’Shea: While the bulk of this interview pertains to issue 7, I would love focus on the opening of issue #1 with Samara Simmons’ arrest. How did you decide on that for your open?
Ed Brisson: It felt like a good place to seed the initial mystery of WHY Samara had ended up in prison, which eventually leads her to Midlothian. Love giving the reader just enough info so that we can get on with the story and then slowly doling out details as we go.
Also I love in issue #1, the story beat shown here.
What prompted you to play it that way?
Samara has a lot of baggage and she’s trying to deal with it in her own way, without any help from others. She could have easily turned to her father and NOT ended up on Midlothian. She could try to make friends in Tranent to make her time easier, but she didn’t. She’s in a self-imposed exile to pay penance for her crime.
What made you want to tell this original series at BOOM?
It was an idea that I’d been batting around in one form or another since high school. At one point, in early 2014, I’d picked it back up and was working on it and thought that Damian would be an amazing collaborator for it (He and I had done SONS of ANARCHY for BOOM, but had also done a few indie things together, going back to 2004). I was about to draft him an email and, I shit you not, as I was writing it, an email from Eric Harburn (my editor at BOOM) arrived in my inbox asking if I had any interest in doing a creator owned book with Damian at BOOM. It was fate! I told him that I was 100% interested and sent the short pitch for CLUSTER and, well, here we are now.
Who are some of the old-school, hard-boiled action storytellers that inspire you?
I’m a huge crime fan. My favourite authors are Elmore Leonard, Jim Thompson, Richard Stark, Charles Willeford, Richard Price, etc, etc.
I’m also a kid of the VHS generation and am a fan of 80s horror and sci-fi films. I tried to bring a lot of that influence into this book – movies like ALIENS (of course), DEADLOCK (rereleased as WEDLOCK), ROBOCOP, ENEMY MINE, THE BLOOD OF HEROES (basically any sci-fi with Rutger Hauer!). While CLUSTER is, of course, a comic first and foremost, giving it the flavour and feel of an 80s sci-fi flick was important to me.
Damian designed everything you see in the book. He’s responsible for bringing that feel to it. CLUSTER would be nothing without that.
Were there other names you considered or was the Punch always the Punch?
It was always The Punch. I like that it works two ways: that it’s your punch/time card and that if you mess with it, you’re gonna get hurt.
Compare the early issues to issue 7, which characters have grown on you?
McHenry is a character that really grew on me. He’s an awesome unstoppable force. If we were ever to do more CLUSTER, I’d love to do his origin story. Milton, one of the Pagurani, was a lot of fun to write, mostly because he doesn’t talk. His primary mode of communication is a big thumbs up.
I was struck at the scene were multiple dead bodies are draped next to active soldiers. Can you talk about not shying away from the casualties of war.
In that scene in particular, I just wanted to get across the idea that McHenry was this deadly bad ass that is not to be messed with. He’s not the type of guy who’s going to try and escape by sneaking around, he’s going to escape by cutting a path through anything (and anyone) that stands in his way.
I think it’s also important to pull back and show scenes like this sometimes to show what the actual devastation looks like. I mean, you can have a spaceship dog fight and ships explode and it becomes almost like a videogame, where once an avatar is killed, they just vanish. We really wanted to show that there are victims. There are bodies. People who once were are no longer. There’s a real devastation to this level of war and that should always be something that we think about – otherwise, why does the rest of it matter?
Do have anything else on the creator-owned horizon?
Well, although I can’t say much about it just yet, CLUSTER isn’t it for me and BOOM. Not long after it wraps, I’ll be writing a new creator owned book with them, due out in very early 2016, I believe. In fact, after this interview, I’m back onto writing the script for it. I’m very excited to get down to work on it and I think people are going to really dig it.
BUT, I can’t get into details! Just keep your peepers peeled.C