Comics Lowdown: Comic Con case heads to court showdown

Plus: classic Archie returns, Tom King, Black Panther and more.

Battle of the Cons: The court case between Comic-Con International (which runs the San Diego comic con) and Salt Lake Comic Con over CCI’s claim that it owns the term “comic con” moves into a crucial stage this week with two days of depositions today and tomorrow, followed by a settlement hearing before a judge on Thursday. That hearing will determine whether it all ends there or the case will go to trial in October. CCI owns the trademark to “comic-con” with a hyphen but the case is murkier for the unhyphenated version; Salt Lake Comic Con was allowed to trademark its name last year.

A panel from World of Wakanda

On Friday, the trailer for Black Panther was released to an enthusiastic response. On Sunday, Marvel announced it had canceled the Black Panther spinoff title World of Wakanda. Conspiracy? No, poor sales, says Jason Johnson, who runs the numbers and provides a quick tutorial in how comics works. He also points out that the cancellation of Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey’s Black Panther and the Crew was a lot fishier—it was attributed to poor sales after just one issue, and one with fairly robust sales at that. The bottom line: If you want a property to continue, buy it:

The easiest solution to the disappointment of World of Wakanda is to simply buy the comic! Buy it for yourself, your cousin or a godchild who needs a new hobby. I bought the main Black Panther comic even though it took Coates a few months to adjust to modern comic-writing. Now I love the book. I bought World of Wakanda, even though it wasn’t my cup of tea, because I wanted to support black art. I bought Black Panther and the Crew because I really liked the storyline.

If every black person who watched the Black Panther trailer online or who downloaded “Legend Has It” by Run the Jewels after that trailer (still listening to it in my car) bought a Black Panther comic this week, there’d probably be another spinoff launched by this summer.

Interviews and Profiles

Back to Riverdale: Two years after Archie Comics changed its entire lineup to the “New Riverdale” style, with slightly more realistic characters and situations and well known comics pros doing multi-issue story arcs, they are bringing back the classic Archie look and feel with Your Pal Archie, which will be written and inked by Ty Templeton and penciled by prolific Archie artist and writer Dan Parent. Parent, who has continued to do original stories in the house style for the Archie digests, talks to CBR editor Albert Ching about the new series.

The Spy Who Loved Comics: Writer Tom King talks about his previous career in the CIA and how it influenced his work on Omega Men and The Sheriff of Babylon.

Secret Identities: An exhibit in Nova Scotia displays the work of Cape Breton cartoonist Josh Silburt, who hid his Communist sympathies while working as an editorial cartoonist in the 1930s and 1940s, until a coal miner’s strike pushed him over the edge. He invited a visiting Communist leader to dinner and was fired the next day. Silburt also faced discrimination because he was Jewish, according to his son Allan, and lied on a job application that he was Christian; his wife refused to play along, so they posed as a mixed marriage.

Pod-castic: R. Sikoryak guests on the Deconstructing Comics podcast to talk about his Masterpiece Comics, in which he draws classic stories in the styles of other cartoonists; his collection of illustrated Donald Trump quotes, The Unquotable Trump; and his graphic rendering of the iTunes user agreement, Terms and Conditions.

Comics and Graphic Novels

This Is Satire, Folks: The Onion posts an imaginary interview with former president Barack Obama about his planned eight-volume graphic novel that will tell the story of his presidency as only a graphic novel can:

The idea for Renegade, which is expected to span more than 1,200 pages when completed, reportedly emerged in the aftermath of the disastrous 2010 midterm elections, when a brooding Obama would stay up late in the darkened Oval Office, drafting hundreds of variations on his concept art to “nail the look” of minor details such as the sunlit sheen on an MQ-1 Predator drone or the exact shade of primary antagonist John Boehner’s blue eyes.

Comics for Kids—and Adults: I talked to IDW president and COO Greg Goldstein about their upcoming Star Wars Adventures comics as well as their other recently announced all ages comics—and why they are doing well with something that isn’t supposed to be successful in the direct market.

The First BD? Quebec is celebrating the 225th anniversary of its parliament, the first democratically elected legislature in Lower Canada, with a book that combines text and comics—a nod to the first French-language comic, which was a campaign leaflet for a candidate in 1792. A historian wrote the text and provided guidance for the four comics creators who brought to life four key moments in the history of the parliament.

Sparking Joy: Everdeen Mason takes a look at Marie Kondo’s self-help shoujo manga, The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up.

Two from Top Shelf: Top Shelf Productions announced two new graphic novels that are due out in September: Tara O’Connor’s Roots, a graphic memoir about tracking down her family’s roots in Ireland, and Chris Gooch’s Bottled, a fiction story with overtones of body horror about a woman trying to escape her hopeless existence—and the friend she drags along against her will.

Conventions and Festivals

Cosplayers at Marine City Comic Con

Comic Cons Without Borders: Attendance at the Marine City (Michigan) Comic Con was 1,500 this year, double last year’s number—in part because the organizers reached out across the border to nearby Sombra, Ontario, Canada.

“Ever since we moved to Marine City, I’ve looked across the river and thought this is a resource,” said Gary Kohs, owner of the Mariner Theatre and co-founder of International Marine City Comic Con. “When we have a project, I’ll meet with customs to work it out. Both sides have worked with us beautifully and we have a great association with Sombra.”

Down Under Anime Con: Meanwhile, 4,000 anime and manga fans flocked to the Madman Anime Festival in Brisbane, Australia, this past weekend, an impressive turnout for a first-time show. The festival featured anime voice actors and professional and amateur cosplayers, plus the Australian premiere of the latest Black Butler film.

The Biz

Job Board: Viz is looking for an editorial intern for the fall.

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