Comics Lowdown: Artist OK with defacement of Zunar mural

Also: Moto Hagio returns to the Poe saga, Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez talk ‘Assassinistas,’ and Annie Koyama looks back at her first decade as a comics publisher

Someone has defaced a mural of the Malaysian cartoonist Zunar—but the artist who created the mural is OK with that. “I don’t see it as ruined but as a response, and it does not matter to me who is responding,” said Bibichun, the artist. “It’s in the public domain and it’s for members of the public to consume in their own way.” The mural depicted Zunar with his mouth covered by the flag of UMNO, the dominant political party of Malaysia (and therefore a frequent target of Zunar’s cartoon). Recently, an unknown man painted the flag black. “The piece was a response to the suppression of Zunar’s exhibition at the Penang Literary Festival last year,” said Bibichun. “I’m surprised it took Umno supporters such a long time to respond.” Zunar recently canceled a planned exhibit of his work out of concern that it, too, would be attacked.

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Bill Morrison named executive editor of MAD Magazine

The former creative director for Bongo will assume the role as MAD moves to the west coast; current Executive Editor John Ficarra will stay on until the end of the year through the transition.

Just the other day we were wondering about the future of MAD Magazine, and today we know: Bill Morrison has been named incoming executive editor of the long-running humor magazine. Per the press release from DC Comics, longtime and current Executive Editor John Ficarra, along with other key members of the MAD team, will continue to publish the magazine from MAD’s New York offices through the year’s end.

Morrison will report to Hank Kanalz, SVP, Editorial Strategy & Administration and begin to take on the day-to-day operations of the magazine, hire and direct a MAD editorial and creative team for both MAD magazine and MAD books, as well as manage the development and implementation of the annual publishing schedule.

“Joining up with the crew at MAD is thrilling, exciting and an incredible responsibility,” said Morrison. “I don’t know anyone who loves and respects MAD as much as I do. I’ll definitely have my work cut out for me, but I’m dedicated to upholding the high standards of absurd and irreverent humor that the public has come to expect from MAD. I’ve been asked if I will continue to include artist Al Jaffee in the magazine; as soon as I find out who he is, I’ll let everyone know.”

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Comics Lowdown: The future of MAD Magazine

Plus: New superhero universe Catalyst Prime, comics to fight fake news, Jillian Tamaki, Rico Renzi’s color palette, and more!

What’s up with MAD Magazine? Mark Evanier lays out a brief history of MAD, which has been part of DC Comics for a long time (it’s complicated!), and updates us on its current status, which is… not good. Like pretty much all print magazines, MAD has been struggling for a while, although Evanier thinks editor John Ficarra has been doing a bang-up job. When the rest of DC packed up and moved to Burbank, California, a while ago, the MAD staff stayed, but they are moving out of their New York office at the end of this year, and DC has not been forthcoming with any news about what will happen next, beyond the fact that the magazine is moving to Burbank and only one staffer, a production artist, will be going with it. The February 2018 issue will be the last one produced by the Usual Gang of Idiots. DC has not made any announcements about what happens next, but Evanier suggests following the blog of artist Tom Richmond, one of the most frequent contributors to the magazine, for updates.

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Comics Lowdown: Sophie Labelle’s webcomic hacked

Plus news and updates on Don Martin, Todd McFarlane, Tom Spurgeon and more.

Webcomics creator Sophie Labelle reported on Facebook yesterday that her webcomic about a transgender girl, Assigned Male, had been hacked and the page was down:

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