Comics Lowdown: ECCC volunteer suit settled

Plus: the ALA, Jillian Tamaki and more.

The former owners of Emerald City Comic Con will pay $493,227.84 to former volunteers and the attorneys who represented them under a settlement that will keep the matter from going to court. Jerry Michael Brooks, a former volunteer at the con, filed a class action suit on behalf of all volunteers who worked at ECCC in 2014 and 2015, claiming that they were treated like employees and therefore should have been paid for their work. (Seattlish posted the details of the suit when it was first filed.) Under the settlement, Eitane Emerald Corp. and the Demonakos family will pay almost $500,000 to the volunteers, with the lawyers scooping up $123,300 for their troubles, Brooks getting $5,000, and the 250 or so other “volunteers” will divvy up the rest according to how many hours they worked. Although the defendants admit to no wrongdoing, the payments to the volunteers are to be regarded as part wages, part settlement for nonpayment of wages. ReedPOP, which purchased the con in 2015 and ran the 2016 and 2017 events, does not use unpaid volunteers.

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Bear-ing your heart: Oni announces new graphic novel from Ribon & Farris

Due next April, ‘My Boyfriend is a Bear’ features a woman who falls for a 500-pound American black bear.

Oni Press has announced a romantic comedy of a different breed — My Boyfriend is a Bear, by Pamela Ribon and Cat Farris. Fed up with the dating scene, Nora starts dating a 500-pound American black bear. Comedy ensues.

“The comics market right now has a lot of very dark, serious stories,” Farris said in a press release. “I’m really excited to help put a story out there that is silly and sweet. Something that hopefully makes people smile. It’s not every day you get to sell people a book about a girl dating a literal bear, and I hope folks are as charmed by this story as I have been while working on it.”

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Comics Lowdown: Bookscan charts, female readers and the Big Two

Comics gets a wake-up call, Wonder Woman gets a long-lost brother and Ted Rall gets SLAPPed.

It’s like comics is going through its half-year review, and manga and kids’ graphic novels get high marks but Marvel and DC get a low “needs improvement.” Heidi MacDonald has a long but very readable article at The Beat summarizing what’s going on: Comics are thriving, but not monthly comics and not in comic shops:

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Comics Lowdown: ‘Jem and the Holograms’ wraps, Alex Hallatt on World Oceans Day

Plus: La Borinqueña, Gemini Comix, ‘Fu Jitsu,’ San Jose comic shops and more.

The End of Jem? Jem and the Holograms comes to an end with issue 26, but writer Kelly Thompson and artist Gisèle Lagacé still have a lot to say, and a new Jem/Misfits crossover series, Infinite, will be launching at the end of this month. At CBR, Thompson and Lagacé talk about what it’s been like working on the critically acclaimed series, and what we can expect in the future.

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D + Q announces, then cancels, Berliac’s ‘Sadbøi’

Publisher sites 2015 essay “comparing cultural appropriation and transgender people” as a reason they canceled the project.

Three days after announcing plans to publish Sadbøi by cartoonist Berliac, Drawn & Quarterly issued an apology and said they no longer plan to release the graphic novel.

The quick version:

  1. The project was announced last Tuesday, which spurred several reactions on social media.
  2. The issues raised mainly centered around statements Berliac made in 2015 in an essay comparing cultural appropriation and transgender people, and his subsequent reaction to criticism of that essay.
  3. Berliac responded to D+Q’s decision on Facebook.

So what’s this all about? Let’s break it down …

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Fantagraphics to collect Michel Fiffe’s ‘Zegas’

One of the first projects by the creator of ‘Copra’ returns in a new collection this November.

Before Copra came Michel Fiffe’s Zegas, the title that started his self-publishing operation, Copra Press, back in 2011. Fiffe sold single issues of the title through his Etsy store, but they’re long gone at this point, so it’s good news then that “all the out-of-print stories previously lost to the ages” will be collected by Fantagraphics this November.

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‘Wishless: A Graphic Anthology’ debuts on store shelves today

What if Pinocchio’s wish was never granted, and he never became a real boy?

Wishless: A Graphic Anthology
Sho Uehara was at work when he turned to a fellow employee and said, “Hey! I have this great idea! What if Pinocchio never got his wish and he was just an empty immortal wooden puppet forever?” Nick Johnson thought it was brilliant, and the two of them started spit firing ideas back and forth until they realized they had an anthology on their hands. Wishless: A Graphic Anthology was born.

Wishless is independently created by Calgary artists including Nicole Brunel, Jillian Fleck, Jackson Gee, Joanne Leung, Lyndon Navalta, Nick Johnson, Jarett Sitter and Sho Uehara. Today marks their official launch party and book signing at Shelf Life Books in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Wishless creators Nick Johnson and Sho Uehara

“When we realized how intense and how many possibilities there were, I was like, ‘You know, this might be the perfect thing to unify in an anthology,’” Johnson explained. “I wasn’t really into doing anthologies anymore because I had done a bunch already, but by doing one where everyone was tapping that same idea and seeing where they would go with it got us both really excited!”

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Anders Nilson’s ‘Tongues’ kicks off in August

New comic retells the story of Prometheus, with a bit of a twist.

Big Questions creator Anders Nilson has announced his next project, Tongues — a retelling of the Greek myth of Prometheus.

“The book is a mash-up of many things,” Nilson writes on his website. “It’s an adventure story, set in the modern Middle East, it is based on Greek myth in part, but is also about human nature and origins, revenge and murder, politics and religion. And it brings back a character from the first real book I ever put out.”

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Talbots’ ‘Grandville’ series wraps up in November

Bryan and Mary Talbot’s five-part graphic novel series Grandville will complete its run this fall with the final volume, Grandville: Force Majeure, coming from Dark Horse Comics.

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