For the first time, two women comic writers will receive this year’s Bill Finger Award

Joye Hummel Murchison Kelly and Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk, two comic book pioneers who kicked off their careers in the 1940s, will receive the award during the Eisners ceremony at Comic-Con International.

Comic-Con International has announced the recipients of this year’s Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Writing, which goes to writers who have not been given due recognition for their work.

Joye Hummel Murchison Kelly and Dorothy Roubicek Woolfolk, two comic book pioneers active in the 1940s, will be the first women to receive the award.

“We’re really excited about this one,” committee chair Mark Evanier said in a statement. “The comic book industry employed too few women in its early decades. Back when this year’s honorees were active, their gender was horribly unrepresented among the creative talents that made the comics—and what few there were went totally unrecognized. The work of these two extraordinary ladies deserves to be acknowledged and celebrated.”

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DC’s Black Label imprint to offer out-of-continuity comics from ‘top talent’

DC Comics has announced Black Label, a new imprint aimed at giving creators the freedom to create out-of-continuity stories and future “perennially best-selling, critically acclaimed books.”

“Many of our perennially best-selling, critically acclaimed books were produced when we unleashed our top talent on standalone, often out-of-continuity projects featuring our most iconic characters, a prime example being Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns,” DC Entertainment co-publisher Jim Lee said in a statement about the new imprint. “Creating DC Black Label doubles down on our commitment to working with all-star talent and trusting them to tell epic, moving stories that only they can tell with the highest levels of creative freedom.”

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‘The Brave and the Bold’ returns next year from Liam Sharp

Batman and Wonder Woman will team up to solve the mystery of a dead Irish god in a six-issue miniseries.

DC Comics will resurrect The Brave and the Bold next year starring Batman and Wonder Woman, in a six-issue series by Liam Sharp. The duo will team up to solve the mystery of who killed an Irish god.

“The fact that they’ve pegged it to ‘The Brave and the Bold’ makes so much sense. It’s thrilling,” Sharp told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. “It kind of gave it even more gravitas and gave it a real reason for being. It just seemed like perfect timing. There’s an element of classicness to the whole concept as well. It just gives it more weight.”

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Comics Lowdown: Businessman wins against Marvel, DC Comics to use  the word ‘superhero’

Plus: assistant principal fired for Pepe the Frog book, new Madefire/DC Comics digital deal, and the hunt for H. G. Peter photos

When Graham Jules (pictured above) wrote his book, Business Zero to Superhero, he had no idea he would end up in a battle against the two largest comic publishers in the world. When his book was about to be published in 2014, he received a letter from Marvel and DC Comics claiming the word infringed on their jointly owned trademark since 1979. Jules, who also studies law, decided to represent himself in the case. A two-and-a-half year legal case ensued and this week, the two comic giants decided to drop the case for “commercial reasons.” The entrepreneur estimates that he spent a total of £200 and 200 hours in writing letters.

“This is an amazing result. It shows that even the little guy can achieve something with determination.”

It will not be surprising if his next book is about being a superhero of trademark cases.

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DC Collectibles reveals more Artist Alley statues

At Comic-Con this week, DC revealed new designs by Sho Murase, HaiNaNu “Nooligan” Saulque and Chris Uminga.

Back in May DC Collectibles announced a new line of “Artist Alley” vinyl statues that “merges indie design with the most iconic characters in the DC Universe.” During Comic-Con International this week, they revealed additional sculpts by the artists tapped for the first wave. The new figures revealed this week include Wonder Woman by Chris Uminga, Batman by HaiNaNu “Nooligan” Saulque, and Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn by Sho Murase.

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Comics Lowdown: Frank Miller sued for $1M by ex-business manager

Plus: Wonder Woman fights human trafficking, Jody Houser, Ben Hatke, and lots of SDCC news reporting

Frank Miller’s former business manager of 28 years has filed a lawsuit against the writer-director for over $1 million in damages for breach of contract.  Mark Lichtman claims he is entitled to 10 percent of Miller’s entertainment earnings of over $15 million from projects like Sin City300 and The Spirit, and was a key part of developing Miller’s career.

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Comics Lowdown: Manga pirates can’t go legit

Plus: ‘Check Please’ goes to First Second, ‘Infini-T’ Force goes to Udon, Jill Thompson, Red Planet and more.

A Pirate’s Life… Ain’t what it used to be. Cecilia D’Anastasio talks to several former scanlators (including NJT, who set up MangaHelpers back in the day) about their struggles to go legit, and she also talks to some legitimate translators about what they do. While scanlators defend what they do as providing a service by fans, for fans—no ugly profit involved—it’s also true that publishers may not want to license a series that is already being widely read on bootleg sites. Also, they are finding that publishers don’t want to hire them, and the pay isn’t enough to let them quit their day jobs. Because, as Kodansha Comics’ Ben Applegate observed, “Whenever there’s a large group of people giving away their labor for free, it’s going to depress pay for those who are trying to do things legitimately.”

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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: Trolling the trolls

A cartoonist gets his career back, manga and kids’ comics are booming, and a con veteran offers advice for first-timers

Trolling the Trolls: Your bizarre read for the day is Emma Grey Ellis’s account of the strange career of Ben Garrison, a libertarian political cartoonist who became a sort of real-life Pepe the Frog after alt-right trolls started altering his cartoons to include Nazi imagery and seeded the internet with fake stories:

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