Comics Lowdown: IDW adapts ‘The Force Awakens,’ Ringos slated for BCC

Plus: Jack Kirby and William Messner-Loebs to receive the Bill Finger Award, why millennials like webcomics and more.

IDW announced its all-ages Star Wars Adventures comic series a few months ago, but they sprang a surprise this week: In August, they will publish an 80-page graphic novel adaptation of the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The graphic novel, which is also intended for younger readers, is part of Disney’s Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi publishing program, which is designed to gin up excitement for the eighth movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will be out in December. The writer of the adaptation is Alessandro Ferrari, and the art is provided by “a group of Disney artists intended to bridge the gap between Star Wars and traditional Disney animation, making it more attractive for younger audiences.” You’d think people with that sort of ability would merit an actual name credit, but I guess not. This same anonymous group has done other Star Wars graphic novel adaptations that were published by Disney Lucasfilm Press, and in fact, Bleeding Cool notes that this graphic novel was announced in an article about them almost a year ago. That means the big news is really the publisher—it looks like IDW, will launch Star Wars Adventures in September, is becoming the chief publisher of Star Wars comics for young readers.

Bill Finger Award: In case you missed it, two important awards announcements were made recently: The Bill Finger Award for Excellence in Writing, which goes to writers who have not been given due recognition for their work (in the opinion of the judges) will be given to Jack Kirby and William Messner-Loebs. While Kirby is well known as an artist, committee chair Mark Evanier says, his contributions as a writer have not been given their due, and in fact his name has been proposed many times in the past; the committee decided to give it to him this year because it is the centennial of his birth, Evanier says, and his family will be at Comic-Con to accept the award.

Enter the Ringos: There’s a new award in town (“town” being Baltimore): The Baltimore Comic Con, which has hosted the Harvey Awards for the past decade, will launch a new set of awards this year, the Mike Weiringo Comic Book Industry Awards, to be known henceforth as the Ringos. Johanna Draper Carlson points out that these awards will be significant only if they can draw new readers to a property, and she also notes that there still has been no news about the Harveys, which were bought by ReedPOP.

Interviews and Profiles

Those Pesky Kids: At Good Comics for Kids, J. Caleb Mozzocco interviews Hope Larson and Rebecca Mock, the writer and artist, respectively, of Compass South and Knife’s Edge, a pair of graphic novels about orphan twins making their way through 19th-century America.

Manhwa Mandate: Comics creator Hellen Jo talks about translating the Korean graphic novel Uncomfortably Happily, which was just published by Drawn and Quarterly.

Reviews, Roundups, and Commentary

Toons with ‘Tudes: The Paste Magazine gang reads the DC/Looney Tunes crossovers, which include such unlikely pairings as Jonah Hex and Yosemite Sam, and Wonder Woman fighting the Tasmanian Devil.

Alienated Youth: Elliott Dunstan looks at why webcomics are so popular right now and gives millennials full credit: They’re broke, they don’t trust big corporations, and they want to read diverse comics from diverse creators. Webcomics also allow creators full rein without the constraints of commercial publication; as Dunstan says,

Instead of the marketing logic that gets things like Teen Titans and Young Justice cancelled for appealing too much to girls, the popularity of webcomics is pretty easy to gage: if people like it, they’ll let you know.

Conventions and Festivals

Keep It Clean, Folks: Denver Comic Con, which is expected to draw over 100,000 attendees next weekend, has announced a ban on prop weapons and revealing costumes. The new weapons policy was put in place because organizers were concerned about confusion between real and prop weapons should a real shooting occur. The new cosplay rules are pretty strict:

In an attempt to remain family-friendly and avoid sexual harassment (mostly of women, by men) the Denver Comic Con is also emphasizing a “Keep it PG” policy in cosplay. Regardless of gender identification, exhibitors and guests are encouraged to wear sports bra-like coverage on top with leotard-type coverage on bottom (i.e., no butt cheeks), with no thongs or “plumber’s butt” and no bare chests, singlets or Vampirella-type costumes.

“So this would extend to a man coming into the con in a mostly bare-chested Martian Manhunter cosplay, just as easily as a woman in a Vampirella cosplay,” wrote Jason Jansky, a representative from DStreet PR, in response to whether the rules targeted women more than men.

The Biz

Retailing: Comics Plus has moved to a new, larger location in Macon, Georgia, and the local news takes a look at the new digs.

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