Free Comic Book Day postponed

The annual event will occur later in the summer.

Diamond Comic Distributors has announced that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Free Comic Book Day will be postponed “to a later date in the summer.” FCBD 2020 was originally scheduled for May 2.

“The severity and timing of the impact of the COVID-19 virus can’t be predicted with any certainty, but the safety of our retailer partners and comic book fans is too important to risk. As always, we appreciate your enthusiasm for and support of the comic industry’s best event and look forward to celebrating with you later in the Summer,” said Diamond Founder and CEO, Steve Geppi.

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Comics Lowdown: MoCCA postponed due to coronavirus

Plus: News about WonderCon, Jim Lee, Webtoon, Dark Horse and more!

Events: New York’s MoCCA Arts Festival, originally scheduled for April 4-5, is the latest event to be postponed due to the novel coronavirus, which has now been declared a pandemic.

“While New York is not officially calling for events of large gatherings to be canceled, many have been and we do not know what the next few weeks will entail. We recognize the amount of work and finances our exhibitors put into their tables and are trying to minimize the burden on them,” The Society of Illustrators, who puts on MoCCA every year, said in a statement.

They added, “In the meantime, we have made the decision to move forward and continue to judge the Awards of Excellence. In addition to the cash prize and Wacom tablets for Gold and Silver medalists, the Society will feature the award winners in an exhibition at the onsite Gallery we build at MoCCA Fest.”

A new date for the two-day festival has not been announced. It joins the Emerald City Comic Con, South by Southwest, E3, the London Book Fair and countless other events that have been impacted by COVID-19.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sophie Labelle

The creator of ‘Assigned Male’ discusses the long-running webcomic, her upcoming tour and more.

Sophie Labelle has been making the webcomic Assigned Male for years online and in collections like Nice Gender! Did your mom pick it out for you? and Dating Tips for Trans and Queer Weirdos. Labelle described the comic as “a bunch of very sarcastic and sassy trans and queer teenagers.” Which is true.

The adventures of Ciel, Stephie, Frank, Eirikur and others are funny and relatable, but they’re also thoughtful and poignant. Labelle has been making three and four panel comics for so long that she clearly understands the rhythm and style of them, but doesn’t necessarily deliver a punchline at the end of every strip. Sometimes she wants to make a dramatic point, other times she wants she to shock us. There are strips that have punched me in the gut and there are strips that have made me laugh out loud in public.

Labelle is touring the United States this fall and she has a novel coming out next year, and we spoke recently over e-mail about the strip, how she works and community.

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Dispatches from the Graphic Medicine Conference: Day 1

Brigid Alverson reports from the scene of the 2018 Graphic Medicine Conference in Vermont, which is focused on graphic novels that describe the experience of illness and of being a patient.

I’m up in White River Junction, Vermont, home of the Center for Cartoon Studies and, for this weekend only, the Graphic Medicine Conference. Actually, the conference has two venues—it starts at CCS and moves to the Dartmouth medical school on Saturday.

Stephen Bissette giving the opening address at the Graphic Medicine Conference

The term “graphic medicine” may conjure up an image of a comic about healthy eating or the wonderful world of the circulatory system, but graphic medicine in this case has a more literary bent. It’s part of the field called medical humanities and focuses not on educational comics but on graphic novels that describe the experience of illness and of being a patient, embracing titles as disparate as Jennifer Hayden’s The Story Of My Tits, Ellen Forney’s Marbles and Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (I wrote a short primer on the topic for School Library Journal recently.)

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Smash Pages Q&A: Gabe Fowler on Funhouse: An Interactive Book Fair

The proprietor of Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn discusses the upcoming event, scheduled for March 24-25.

Gabe Fowler is not a cartoonist, but he is a one of the people who makes the comics world run. He’s the proprietor of Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn, one of the great comic stores in New York, and which Fowler has made a hub of comics activity. He’s one of the organizers of Comic Arts Brooklyn, the annual comics show, and he also publishes Smoke Signal, a quarterly comics anthology, and published Resist!, the two comics edited by Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman last year.

Fowler is one of the organizers of Funhouse: An Interactive Book Fair, which will take place in Manhattan on March 24-25. The event isn’t just another comics show and isn’t quite a workshop, but rather something else, and I reached out to Fowler to ask about what the event will be and trying to make a different kind of show.

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Cullen Bunn teases ‘Metro,’ a new ‘very dark’ urban fantasy comic

Bunn joins Brian Quinn and Walt Flanagan on the new title, which will debut with a sneak preview at Comic-Con International.

Cullen Bunn, writer of X-Men Blue, The Sixth Gunn and Regression, among other titles, announced he is working on “a new comic book experience” called Metro with TV’s Brian Quinn (Impractical Jokers) and artist Walt Flanagan (Batman: The Widening Gyre).

Designer Anton Kromoff, inker Philip R. Williams Jr., colorist Wayne Jansen and letterer Marie Enger round out the creative team.

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Valiant hits the road with the Vans Warped Tour

The comics publisher will set up a booth at select stops, where attendees can buy merchandise and get a free comic.

This summer Valiant Entertainment is joining American Authors, Goldfinger, The Ataris, The Dickies, Bowling for Soup, Gwar, Eternal Boy and a host of other bands for the Vans Warped Tour, which kicks off June 16 in Seattle. In addition to using Valiant’s characters in its promotional pieces and merchandise (and its website) as part of its “super hero” theme, the Warped Tour will also include a Valiant Entertainment booth at several of its stops. And with the booth come merchandise and free comics.

Via press release, Valiant shared a look at the merch they’ll have at the show, including T-shirts, bandanas and stickers featuring their characters. In addition, they’ll offer an as-yet-unrevealed free comic for attendees, which will debut at the tour stops.

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