Comics Lowdown: Police reopen 30-year-old case of murdered cartoonist

Also: Dave Gibbons talks about writing, Dyer and Dorkin discuss ‘Calla Cthulhu,’ and ‘Criminy’ finds a publisher.

Sketch of what the gunman who shot al-Ali might look like now
Cold Case Files: Thirty years after the murder of Palestinian cartoonist Naji al-Ali, London police have appealed to the public for any information they may have on the case. Ali was shot in the back of the neck on July 22, 1989, near the London office of the Kuwaiti publication Al-Qabas, and he died on August 29 of the same year. Police released descriptions of the two suspects and a sketch of what the shooter might look like today.

“We have previously reviewed this case and followed a number of lines of enquiry which have not resulted in us identifying these two men,” Cmdr. Dean Haydon, head of the Metropolitan Police Counter Terrorism Command, said in a statement. “However, a lot can change in 30 years — allegiances shift and people who were not willing to speak at the time of the murder may now be prepared to come forward with crucial information.”

Ali’s cartoons were published in Arabic-language newspapers worldwide, and like many political cartoonists, he had a number of targets and had received many death threats. Arab-comics expert Jonathan Guyer says he was extremely influential and his work is still widely read: “He’s the only cartoonist whose work I’ve seen in Muslim Brotherhood newspapers and also in a famous communist bar in Beirut.”

Anyone with information on the killing should contact the London police.

A Bear in Springtime: It’s not even fall yet, but Oni Press just revealed their spring 2018 graphic novel lineup, which will include The Altered History of Willow Sparks, Sci-Fu (the story of a Brooklyn MC who accidentally summons alien invaders), and My Boyfriend Is a Bear.

Update: Remember when we wrote that Roger Langridge and Ryan Ferrier’s comic Criminy didn’t have a publisher (yet)? Well, now it does: Langridge posted on his blog that it has “found a home with a major US comic book publisher.” No news yet on who that is, as they are still hammering out the details.

Comics Creator in the Library: Graphic novelist Miriam Libicki, the creator of Jobnik!, is the new writer in residence at the Vancouver public library. This is the first time the library has chosen a graphic novelist as its writer in residence. Libicki began drawing graphic novels as an art student in Vancouver, and that led her to create Jobnik!, an account of her experiences in the Israeli army. She will use her residency to complete her second graphic novel, an account of the lives of people who left the Soviet Union as it was collapsing.

A panel from Metaphrog’s ‘The Little Mermaid’

Money for Metaphrog: The Scottish creative duo known as Metaphrog announced on their blog that Creative Scotland has awarded them a £32,000 grant so they can work on their next graphic novel, a fairy tale adaptation to be published in the U.S. by Papercutz (which has already published their fairy tale adaptations The Little Mermaid and The Red Shoes).

Interviews and Profiles

Calla Cthulhu

Little Cthulhu: Sarah Dyer and Evan Dorkin, the co-writers of the teen-action graphic novel Calla Cthulhu, talk about adapting the story from its original vertical-scroll format on Stela, how they developed the story, and what the future may hold for the niece of the King in Yellow.

Watchmen co-creator Dave Gibbons talks about his early love of American comics—even the ads—and his move from artist to writer:

I rather enjoy writing. Maybe because I’ve done so much drawing that I’m more attracted to the writing than the drawing. The other part of it is I find it hard to write and draw my own stuff because I love the collaborative element of comics. In the future, I’m more likely to write stuff than to draw it but you know…who knows.

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