Comics Lowdown: Tom King’s CIA service

Plus: ‘The Arrival’ selected for Hong Kong’s first ‘One City, One Book’ campaign, the obituary Marie Severin should have received, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Phoebe Gloeckner, Diamond Gem awards and more best-of-2018 lists!

Happy New Year from the Smash Pages staff! Coming back from the holiday break, let’s ring out the old and ring in the new with today’s collection of comic book news links.

Let’s start with a weird one: Last week Abhay Khosla, comics critic and past Superman writer, posted about his attempts to confirm with the CIA that Batman and Heroes in Crisis writer Tom King used to work for them. The topic of King’s former employer frequently comes up in interviews related to his Batman work (not to mention King’s Vertigo series The Sheriff of Babylon), and Khosla questioned whether any reporters who interviewed King about it had ever confirmed it. So Khosla sent the CIA a letter back in 2016 asking for confirmation, and the response he received from the agency was inconclusive.

This exchange occurred in 2016, and why Khosla decided to go public with it now isn’t clear. The point of Khosla’s post doesn’t seem to be to call out King as a liar (he starts his post by saying, “I don’t think this is really a story about Tom King”) but is more of a statement about entertainment journalism and fact-checking. He points out similar situations where a past DC writer, Micah Wright, lied about being in the armed services, as well as current Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski pretending to be Japanese early in his career.

The problem isn’t in asking the question — it’s posting about it without an answer or actually asking King about it. Like verifying facts, that’s also journalism 101. After the post went live, King was quick to respond on Twitter, showing proof that he was, indeed, in the CIA. Bleeding Cool, The Comics Reporter and Nick Hanover have more commentary on this.

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SPX, TCJ, OMG: A Hot Take

Brigid Alverson responds to a recent opinion piece on TCJ.com and shares her thoughts on comiXology/Amazon’s presence at this weekend’s Small Press Expo.

I know that contentious commentary is part of the The Comics Journal brand, but maybe it’s time to drop it. Especially because the latest article isn’t just mean-spirited, it’s straight-up wrong.

I am referring, of course, to RJ Casey’s recent post, ominously titled “A Plague Comes to SPX,” in which he warns that Amazon is poised to ruin comics.

I’m at SPX, and I went to the exhibitors’ reception last night, where, like everyone else, I got a copy of Hit Reblog, the book he disparages:

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The Comics Journal returns to print

Issue #303 will arrive in January, edited by RJ Casey and Kristy Valenti.

Fantagraphics has announced the return of The Comics Journal, the award-winning magazine founded in 1976 by Gary Groth that saw its last print edition in 2013. The magazine will return next year in a twice-yearly format, with new editors RJ Casey and Kristy Valenti.

“The Comics Journal had been a near-monolithic force in my life and I think its absence has been felt by more people than just me,” Casey said. “I’m beyond excited to bring new voices, new ideas, and a new enthusiasm to the Journal.”

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