Comics Lowdown: Chinese government upset by Danish coronavirus cartoon

Plus: Changes at Kodansha, Cullen Bunn goes ‘Rogue’ and whatever happened to Lion Man?

Editorial Cartoons: A cartoon in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten, depicting the Chinese flag with the stars replaced by coronaviruses, has, predictably, angered the Chinese government. (Jyllands-Posten is the same paper whose cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad caused an uproar in 2005.) The Chinese Embassy in Copenhagen has demanded an apology, but Jyllands-Posten editor Jacob Nybroe has refused, and the Danish prime minister is backing him up.

The Biz: Restructuring at Kodansha USA means a promotion for Alvin Lu, previously the general manager of Kodansha Advance Media. Publishers Weekly reports that Kodansha’s subsidiaries, including its digital arm Kodansha Advanced Media and the manga and novel publisher Vertical Inc., will be folded into Kodansha USA. Lu will be the CEO, and Ivan Salazar, former public relations and events specialist at ComiXology, has been hired as senior marketing director.

Passings: Political cartoonist Ron Rogers has died at the age of 65. Rogers was born in Richmond, Virginia, and was a freelance cartoonist for The Richmond Afro-American and Planet from 1980 to 1988. He went on to work for a number of newspapers as both a cartoonist and a graphic designer, and he is believed to be the first black political cartoonist to work at a daily newspaper. He was a cartoonist for The Chronicle of Winston-Salem at the time of his death.

Yikes! IDW Publishing lost $5.2 million in fiscal 2019, according to a report at ICv2.

Kickstarter: Camilla Zhang of Kickstarter discusses plans for a recently announced Kickstarter comics anthology.

Local Hero: The Chicago Tribune profiles Art Baltazar, whose solo graphic novel Drew and Jot has just been published by BOOM! Studios. Baltazar is the co-creator, with Franco Aureliani, of the Tiny Titans, and he is also one of the owners of the three Aw Yeah Comics stores . Baltazar grew up on the South Side of Chicago and not only read comics as a child but doctored them if they didn’t meet his approval: “I remember on ‘Spider-Man,’ some artist wouldn’t draw enough webs on his face, so I’d put in new webs with pen or pencil,” he told the Trib.

Creators: Micheline Hess, Alitha Martinez, Joseph Illidge, N. Steven Harris, and Ade Williams talk about their careers and about paths to success in the comics world in general.

Creator Interview: I talked to Joel Christian Gill about his new graphic memoir, Fights, the story of growing up in an atmosphere of violence and sexual abuse, and how learned to go from being on fire with rage to controlling the burn and turning his life in the direction he wanted it to go.

Kyle Strahm variant cover to Rogue Planet #1

Oh, the Horror! Cullen Bunn dishes about his new space-horror series, Rogue Planet, at The Hollywood Reporter, and artist Andy MacDonald chimes in as well. Oni Press is publishing the series, which will launch in April and will follow the crew of a space salvage ship as they explore a mysterious off-the-beaten-track planet that may hold great treasure—or great danger.

Superheroes: Communications professor Blair Davis writes about the first black superhero, Lion Man, who debuted in All-Negro Comics #1 in 1947 and was never seen again, because of systemic racism in its most blatant form: Newsstands refused to carry the comic, and suppliers would not sell editor Orrin C. Evans the paper to print a second issue.

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