Comics Lowdown: Judge Dredd co-creator Carlos Ezquerra passes away

Mark Waid sued, and gets a new job! Vertigo prepares for NYCC! Plus Ryan Ferrier, Jason Lutes, John McCrea and more!

Passings: Carlos Ezquerra, 2000 AD artist and co-creator of Judge Dredd, has passed away, the Guardian and the Hollywood Reporter both reported this week. The 70-year-old artist was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2010, and the disease returned this year.

“It is difficult to put this into words, but we have lost someone who was the heart and soul of 2000AD. It is no exaggeration to call Carlos Ezquerra one of the greatest comic book artists of all time, and his name deserves to be uttered alongside Kirby, Ditko, Miller, Moebius and Eisner,” reads a statement issued by 2000AD. “Yet this doesn’t really do justice to someone whose work was loved by millions and has had an influence far beyond the comic book page. From Judge Dredd to Strontium Dog, from Rat Pack to Major Eazy, Carlos has left us with a legacy of stunning and distinctive work that was and always will be 2000 AD. He has been one of the pillars, producing the same dynamic, enthralling and arresting art we always loved him for. We thought we had many more adventures to come from the master, so we are devastated to discover we were wrong.”

Passings: At The Comics Journal, Daniel Best shares an extensive obituary on his friend Norm Breyfogle, artist of Batman, Detective and other titles, who passed away last week.

Passings: Editor Karen Berger remembers comics writer and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, and discusses his final comics project.

Legal: Richard Meyer, who runs the Diversity & Comics YouTube channel, has filed a civil suit against comic book writer/editor Mark Waid on Sept. 19 with the United States District Court in Austin. The suit claims “tortious interference with contract and defamation.”

According to Bleeding Cool:

This stems from events which took place in May 2018, when Antarctic Press announced they were to publish Meyer and Jon Malin‘s upcoming graphic novel Jawbreakers, originally planned for publication in August. Bleeding Cool reported then that Mark Waid phoned them up to discuss the matter. The publisher then announced they would not be publishing the comic, subsequently stating in part “It’s now bigger than we could have handled”. Meyer claimed that Waid had bullied them into their decision, though the publisher issued statements saying that hadn’t happened.

Meyer then crowdfunded Jawbreaker on IndieGoGo, raising almost $400,000 to publish it himself.

Publishers: Speaking of Mark Waid, the French comics publisher Humanoids is celebrating its 20th anniversary in America this year, and they’ve announced two new hires this week in the lead up to New York Comic Con. Artist John Cassaday has joined the company as chief creative officer, while Waid has been named director of creative development. In addition, the publisher is teasing something called H1.

“So what are we cooking up with these two incredible creators?” Humanoids Senior Editor Fabrice Sapolsky teased. “Fans will have to wait until New York Comic Comic Con to find out, but suffice it to say that the comic book industry has never before seen anything like what we have planned with Cassaday, Waid and a jaw-dropping lineup of comic book creators.”

People: Valiant Entertainment has promoted Editor Karl Bollers to senior editor.

People: Congratulations to letterer extraordinaire Richard Starkings, who married his girlfriend Lori Anne Perkins.

Interviews and Profiles

Interview: The New York Times profiles Jarrett J. Krosoczka before the publication of his new graphic novel, Hey, Kiddo. The autobiographical story, published by Scholastic, is about how he was raised by his grandparents as his mother battled a heroin addiction.

Roundtable: In the build-up to the New York Comic Con, The Beat’s Alexander Lu hosts a roundtable with the creators of the new “socially conscious” era of Vertigo titles, including Ben Blacker, Tina Horn and Rob Sheridan.

Local Hero: Ryan Ferrier discusses his new graphic novel with artist Roger Langridge, Criminy, with Calgary’s the YYScene.

Podcast: David Harper talks to Hitman artist John McCrea about his new book from Image Comics, Dead Rabbit, with writer Gerry Duggan.

Interview: The Guardian profiles Jason Lutes, who recently wrapped up his two-decade stint creating the masterful Berlin. “It was quite a commitment to make at the age of 28,” Lutes said about the beginning of the project. “At that point, admittedly, I only thought it would take me 14 years to do. But even so, I don’t recognise the person who did that strange thing.”

Local Hero: Flintside talks to Jonathan Diener about Hope: A Comic for Flint, a charity anthology by local Flint, Michigan creators. Proceeds benefit The Compass, a program that helps adults with developmental disabilities in the Flint area.

Podcast: Strip Search: The Comic Strip Podcast chats with Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb about their work in comics as well as Paroline’s role as co-director of the Massachusetts Independent Comics Expo.

Reviews, Roundups and Commentary

Small Press: Chris Mautner discusses two comics by transgender creators he picked up at the Small Press Expo, Flocks by L. Nichols and Little Stranger by Edie Fake.

War no more: Michael Dooley remembers the time when Blazing Combat, a comic about war, was banned by the U.S. Army.

Manga: Manga Therapy looks at victim-blaming and responsibility in the context of Tokyo Ghoul.

Just how old are comics?: A 2,000-year-old Roman-era tomb has been found in Jordan that features “nearly 260 figures featured in narrative scenes, with many speaking via comic-style speech bubbles.”

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