Comics Lowdown: My Favorite Thing Is Comics

Awards, best of the year, comics journalism comics, and how the shift in retail channels is changing the industry.

The Best of the Year lists are starting to roll out. Katie Green’s Lighter Than My Shadow tops Amazon’s list, which also includes Jeff Lemire and Dean Ormston’s Black Hammer and Emil Ferris’s My Favorite Thing Is Monsters. That book shows up on Publisher’s Weekly’s list as well, but the similarities end there.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Joseph Remnant on ‘Cartoon Clouds’

The creator of ‘Blindspot’ and artist of Harvey Pekar’s ‘Cleveland’ discusses his first solo graphic novel from Fantagraphics, balancing his work as a storyboarding artist with his own projects, and more.

Like most comics fans I first got to know Joseph Remnant’s work from The Pekar Project. The web project featured the late great Pekar working with a number of artists and Remnant went on to draw Cleveland, a very personal graphic novel written by Pekar that was published after his death.

Remnant was making short work in his comic series Blindspot, in addition to recording music and working on various other projects, but Fantagraphics just released his first solo graphic novel, Cartoon Clouds. The book is about a group of students who have just graduated from art school, and are trying to find their own way and understand their feelings about art. Remnant admits that working on the project over the course of many years has meant that his own feelings about the characters and some of the issues he raises in the book have changed over time, though his linework is masterful throughout.

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Comics Lowdown: Court strikes down gag order in ‘comic-con’ lawsuit

Plus: Top graphic novels, comics retail chat and two new manga from Jiro Taniguchi!

The 9th U.S. District Court of Appeals ruled on Monday that a gag order imposed by a judge in the trademark lawsuit between Comic-Con International and Salt Lake Comic Con is unconstitutional. The case stretches back to 2014, when Comic-Con International, which produces the San Diego comic con, sued the organizers of Salt Lake Comic Con over the use of the term “comic con,” which CCI claims it owns. The Salt Lake organization countersued, claiming the term is widely used by other conventions and is a generic term. The trial is scheduled to begin on Nov. 28, and because they were concerned that Salt Lake’s postings about the issue on social media would taint the jury pool, CCI asked that they be restrained from commenting publicly about the case. U.S. District Court Judge Anthony Battaglia placed a strict limit on what Salt Lake could post about the case, and limited that even further after CCI claimed that Salt Lake violated the ban. However, the appeals court overturned that order on Monday, saying,

San Diego Comic-Con has presented no evidence as to how many, if any, of the approximately 35,200 Twitter followers are registered voters in San Diego and Imperial counties and how many, if any, of the 120,000 attendees of the 2014 Salt Lake Comic Con in Utah are even possibly members of the current San Diego-area jury pool.

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Oni announces ‘Aquicorn Cove’ by Katie O’Neill

The new graphic novel by the creator of ‘Princess Princess Ever After’ and ‘The Tea Dragon Society’ arrives in October 2018.

Oni Press has announced plans to publish Aquicorn Cove, by Princess Princess Ever After and The Tea Dragon Society creator Katie O’Neill.

“As a kid I was obsessed with books about marine biology and ocean creatures. It felt like such a magical world! In this story I wanted to combine aquatic fantasy elements with the feelings I get from the tiny seaside villages in my home country of New Zealand,” O’Neill said. “Marine conservation has always been extremely important here, and I wanted to explore the point of view of a child living in a world where the actions—or inactions—of her guardians already have had environmental consequences, and she must find her own strength in order to protect what’s important to her.”

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Steven T. Seagle addresses nakedness in new essay collection

Seagle and 19 emerging global cartoonists will “take drawn storytelling into the world of the ‘graphic essay'” with a new collection titled ‘Get Naked.’

Image Comics will publish It’s a Bird writer Steven T. Seagle’s Get Naked, a collection of essays featuring illustrations by a host of artists.

“For most of my life I had massive reservations about getting naked,” Seagle said. “But the more I traveled the world, and found myself in uncomfortable situations, the more it became obvious that the American anxiety of ‘I’m not taking my clothes off in front of anyone else unless it’s to have sex with them’ is unique—and not in a good way—to the US. I started looking into the history of nakedness and thinking about why we’re so uncomfortable with bodies in this country—with me as a lens for that. Comedic essays seemed like the right way to chronicle what I realized, and graphic essays felt like a great new kind of visual challenge for challenging subject matter—nakedness—both physical and emotional.”

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Comics Lowdown: ‘One Punch Man’ tops GN chart

Plus: Another view of Marvel’s Northrop Grumman Comic, Palmiotti and Conner say goodbye to Harley Quinn, and was New York Comic Con too big?

Top Graphic Novels: Viz takes half the slots in the September BookScan top 20 chart, which measures sales of graphic novels in the book channel: Vol. 12 of One Punch Man was the top seller, followed by the all-in-one edition of Death Note (a 12-volume omnibus—yes, it’s a brick). Perennial best-sellers Fun Home, March, and Watchmen all make the chart, as does Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight: Master Race, vol. 3 of Tom King’s Batman: Rebirth, and Avatar’s limited edition of Alan Moore and Jacen Burrows’s Providence: Act 3. Interestingly, there is not a single Image title on the list.

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Image to publish Tee Franklin’s ‘Bingo Love’

The successful Kickstarter project will hit stores just in time for Valentine’s Day.

At this week’s New York Comic Con, Image Comics announced plans to publish Bingo Love, an original graphic novel by Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge and Joy San that was successfully Kickstarted earlier this year. The story centers on the love between two black women and explores how coming out at an older age can affect their families’ lives.

“As a woman who was married once upon a time, I understand how it is to come out as a Queer woman to my family,” said Franklin. “Bingo Love was important for me to create for the youth, the LGBTQ youth needs to understand that happily-ever-after’s aren’t only for straight people. If Disney’s Carl and Ellie can grow old together, so can Mari and Hazel.”

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Dark Horse to bring Nintendo’s ‘ARMS’ to comics

Crazy fighting game gets a graphic novel next fall.

Dark Horse Comics will turn ARMS, a fighting game for the Nintendo Switch, into graphic novels beginning next fall, the publisher announced via press release.

If you aren’t familiar with ARMS, it’s a pretty funky game featuring fighters with long, stretchy, Slinky-like arms. Using the Switch’s motion controllers, a player can guide the arms to their target in midflight, among other moves. The game is filled with characters like Spring Man, Helix, Ribbon Girl and Lola Pop, mnay of whom will no doubt have their stories explored more fully in a graphic novel.

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First Second announces new ‘Maker Comics’ series

Robyn Chapman will edit the line that taps into “DIY energy.”

Graphic novel publisher First Second announced today a new series of “DIY”-type books called Maker Comics.

“Comics is THE medium for visual instruction—there is no better way to offer step-by-step directions for complex tasks,” their Tumbler post reads. “For perfect examples, look no farther than the safety brochure on your next flight or the instructions that come with your IKEA furniture. With Maker Comics, we pair visual instruction with narrative. Each volume has its own characters and story. And seamlessly woven into that story are instructions for five to ten fun projects that readers can complete themselves.”

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