Comics Lowdown: ‘XIII’ creator William Vance passes away

Plus: Police investigate Mangamura, the world’s largest comics collection and more.

Passings: The Belgian artist William Vance, creator of the French-language series XIII, has died at the age of 82 from Parkinson’s disease. Born William van Cutsem in Belgium in 1935, Vance served a year in the military and then studied for four years at the Académie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. He began working for Tintin magazine (not the eponymous series, as stated in one obituary) in 1962, drawing four-page stories, and then launched the his first series, Howard Flynn (written by Yves Duval). He also was the artist for Bruno Brazil, and then he took over as the artist of Bob Morane, a series that had been started by Dino Attanasio. In 1984, he and Jean van Hamme launched XIII, a complex series partially inspired by Robert Ludlum’s Bourne character. Vance illustrated 18 volumes of XIII, which sold over 14 million volumes and was adapted into a television series. In 2010 he announced his retirement due to Parkinson’s disease.

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: ‘XIII’ creator William Vance passes away”

Smash Pages Q&A: Hazel Newlevant on ‘Sugar Town’ and more

The comics creator and editor discusses her own projects, including her next graphic novel, working at Lion Forge and more.

Hazel Newlevant has been making a big impression in comics in just a few years. She received a Xeric grant for Ci Vediamo and a Queer Press Grant for If This Be Sin, and last year received an Ignatz Award for her minicomic Tender-Hearted. Newlevant is also an editor at Lion Forge Comics, and has edited the anthology Chainmail Bikini and co-edited the recent Comics for Choice with Whit Taylor and O.K. Fox

Sugar Town, which was published late last year, is her longest single work to date and her best. The book is an emotional and thoughtful look at falling in love and exploring the emotional work of polyamory. It felt like a breakthrough for the creator in a number of ways. Newlevant and I have spoken before, and I reached out to talk with her about the fact that she’s had a very busy 2017, the ways she used color in Sugar Town, and her upcoming graphic novel No Ivy League.

Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Hazel Newlevant on ‘Sugar Town’ and more”

Comics Lowdown: Looking at the big picture

Comics retailers discuss the comics market, Lion Forge profiled and more.

The Biz, Part I: It’s generally agreed that 2017 was a lackluster year (at best) for comics retailers. Publisher’s Weekly’s Shannon O’Leary went to the source, asking retailers in the direct market and bookstores with a large graphic novel section to discuss what’s going wrong—and right—in the comics market. There’s lots to chew on here, with commentary about Marvel, Image, and the structural issues in the direct market.

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Looking at the big picture”

Comics Lowdown: The Diversity issue

Black comics festivals, indy publishers, and the history of women in comics.

Festivals: West Coast: It’s Martin Luther King Day, and this past weekend brought festivals celebrating black comics to both sides of the country. In San Francisco, Nanette Asimov writes about the Black Comix Arts Festival, which runs through today, and interviews creators Tony Medina and John Jennings as well as an attendee.

Festivals: East Coast: At the New York Times, George Gene Gustines turns his focus to the Black Comics Festival, which took place this past weekend at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in New York City, and he interviews David Heredia, the creator of the animated video series Heroes of Color and a guest at the festival.

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: The Diversity issue”

Lion Forge donates $25,000 to support Gulf Coast retailers

Publisher offers support through the Book Industry Charitable Foundation to help comic retailers affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Comics publisher Lion Forge has donated $25,000 to the Book Industry Charitable Foundation to support comic retailers affected by Hurricane Harvey, which devastated the Gulf Coast region of Texas and Louisiana late last month.

Lion Forge founder and owner David Steward II and Chief Creative Officer Carl Reed made the announcement via video, which was posted to their social media accounts:

Continue reading “Lion Forge donates $25,000 to support Gulf Coast retailers”

Comics Lowdown: Diversity reigns at Lion Forge

Also: Who is the writer of Death Note? Victoria Jamieson, drawing and depression, big list o’ cons this weekend and more!

Diversity in All Things, Including Diversity: Lion Forge senior editor Joe Illidge talks about Catalyst Prime, his company’s new superhero universe that emphasizes diversity in its characters and creators:

“We don’t always want to do straight lines, because in a weird way that segregates talent,” Illidge said. “That only says, well if you’re black, you can only write black characters or if you’re a woman you can only write a female character. We want to show that we can expand beyond that.”

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Diversity reigns at Lion Forge”

Comics Lowdown: Stan Lee immortalized at the TCL Chinese Theatre

Plus: Batton Lash vs. Cancer, Donny Cates signs with Marvel, DC Girl Power, Texas Latino Comic Con and more!

Hollywood cannot seem to get enough of Stan Lee. Over the weekend, Lee became a Disney Legend and yesterday, the comic icon had his hands and feet immortalized in cement in front of the TCL Chinese theater.

“I can’t tell you what this means to me. I’m thrilled,” he said. “And if I’m half as good as everybody said I am, I’m far too good to be wasting time with ordinary people. But I seem to be spending my life with ordinary people, who are the best people in the world.”

Meanwhile, Variety continued the love affair and took a look back on the life of Stan Lee.
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Stan Lee immortalized at the TCL Chinese Theatre”

Comics Lowdown: Comic-Con to Stay in San Diego

Plus: Udon to publish Daigo manga, another comics shop is robbed, a comics professor quits his job

It’s official: Comic-Con International will remain in San Diego for now, resisting the blandishments of other cities such as Los Angeles and Anaheim, which have been trying to woo it away. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced on June 30 that the city has signed a three-year deal with Comic-Con that will last through 2021; the current contract ends after next year’s show. Faulconer made a pitch for expanding the convention center, something that has been talked about for years now; the City Council recently refused his request to put a special tax on the November ballot to fund an expansion. Con-goers get a bit of a break in this new contract, though: The last contract held all hotel rooms to their 2016 prices for the duration, and the new one only allows a 4% increase over the 2018 price over the subsequent three years.

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Comic-Con to Stay in San Diego”

Comics Lowdown: Retailer killed in Kansas City robbery

Get today’s comics news and updates in new feature here at Smash Pages.

Top News

• James Cavanaugh, the owner of Clint’s Comics in Kansas City, Missouri, was killed while attempting to stop a robbery at his store on May 12. According to the Kansas City Star, Cavanaugh was chasing a man who had just stolen about 10 or 15 comics from the shop, according to witnesses. He reached the thief’s car and pulled a gun; somehow the passenger side door opened and when the thief drove away, the door hit Cavanaugh, knocking him to the ground and critically injuring him. Police are still searching for the thief, who was described as a bald, 40-ish white man with glasses; the store posted a photo of the car on Facebook.

Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Retailer killed in Kansas City robbery”