Comics Lowdown: Rio mayor arrives too late to seize ‘Avengers’ comic

Plus: Lynda Barry, ‘Cathy,’ Brian Hibbs and more.

Censorship: The Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcello Crivella, sent a team of law enforcement agents to the International Book Fair in his city to confiscate any and all copies of Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, on the grounds that it shows a same-sex kiss. The mayor was concerned that it was “sexual content for minors” and would lead the children of Rio de Janeiro astray, but the joke was on him: The comic had sold out by the time his officers got there. The festival organizers took him to court and won an injunction against any further seizures or attempts to pull the festival’s permit, but the ruling was partly overturned the next day. “We will always continue to defend the family,” said the mayor, an Evangelical preacher, who apparently found a drawing of a kiss to be a more pressing matter than the fact that 40% of Brazilian children live in poverty.

Late-breaking addendum: Despite Crivello’s admonition that “Books like this need to be wrapped in black sealed plastic with a content warning displayed on the outside,” the daily newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo put the image on its front page.

Passings: Cathy Guisewhite, creator of the comic strip Cathy, pays tribute to Universal editorial director Lee Salem, who not only took a chance on young and innovative creators but also supported them when their comics incurred the wrath of some members of the public.

Creator Profile: Heidi MacDonald talks to Lynda Barry about her work, her life and her philosophy of teaching, which is distilled in her upcoming book Making Comics (due out in November from Drawn and Quarterly). Barry is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but she’s taking a sabbatical to work on a new project: “It’s kind of a chimera,” she says. “It has too many words to be a comic and too many pictures to be a novel. I don’t even know what to call the thing.”

Creators: Kevin McCloskey draws a short comic about how a young fan taught him something new—and how she and the exploding ants ended up in his new book, Ants Don’t Wear Pants.

Awards: Comics biz maven Rob Salkowitz takes a hard look at the current comics awards programs and offers some suggestions as to what they could do better.

Retailing: Brian Hibbs, comics market commentator and owner of the comic shop Comix Experience, discusses why weekly comics suck and why it’s not a great thing to have a monthly comic “rushed back to print,” as so many press releases breathlessly boast. As always, Brian freely discusses the calculations he has to make when ordering comics, and how they can backfire, which makes his columns great reading for comics market enthusiasts.

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