Comics Lowdown | Geppi resumes duties as president of Diamond’s parent company

Plus: News on #BacktheComeback, TCAF, Heavy Metal, Thought Bubble and the first graphic novel to win the Wodehouse Prize and have a pig named after it.

Diamond Comics Distributor’s parent company has a new president, kind of. Stan Heidmann, the president/COO of Geppi Family Enterprises who took that role about a year ago, will depart the company as Steve Geppi resumes the role. Geppi has been serving as Chairman and CEO since Heidmann joined the company.

“Under my guidance, the executive leadership team will support a comprehensive strategic review to position the enterprise for future growth,” Geppi said in the message posted to the Diamond website. “I feel a tremendous responsibility to our employees and the industry, and I fully intend to set all Geppi Family Enterprise brands on a path for robust growth. I am confident we have the right leadership with talented teams in place and I see enormous opportunities for GFE.”

#BacktheComeback: Speaking of Diamond, they’ve announced the next part of their “BacktheComeback” campaign, namely the charity auction that will be hosted by Diamond International Galleries, one of several companies that falls under Geppi Family Enterprise. The auction begins July 4 and runs through July 18, and it will features “a wide range of items up for auction, generously donated by artists, publishers, game designers and friends of the industry,” including $50,000 worth of items from Geppi himself. If you’re interested in bidding you’ll want to register at the auction website.

Passings: Following the death of designer Milton Glaser, letterer/designer Todd Klein looks at the history of the “bullet” logo Glaser designed for DC in the 1970s and the many variants of it that followed.

People: Joseph Illidge has been named executive editor for Heavy Metal, a promotion from his previous position as co-managing editor of the company’s flagship magazine. The company has also brought in Kris Longo to fill the role of Chief Sales Officer.

Conventions: Chris Butcher, longtime artistic director of the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, has announced he is stepping down from his position with TCAF. Butcher co-founded the event in 2003 with Peter Birkemoe, owner of The Beguiling comic shop in Toronto.

“I had hoped to relinquish all of my responsibilities to TCAF, and to do so for two reasons—to address persistent health and wellness issues in my own life that I had neglected, and in the hopes that existing staff and potential staff and volunteers might be able to move up into the organization into leadership roles that I was abdicating,” he said in his statement. “I’d been doing so much for so long that I didn’t feel I could let go of, until I realized that letting go completely was the best thing that I could do for both the festival and myself.”

The move follows recent criticism the festival has received regarding racial diversity. The Beat has more on the criticism the festival has received, and you can read TCAF’s statement about it here.

Conventions: Thought Bubble, the annual comics festival held in England, joins the long list of events that have been cancelled for 2020. They plan to hold an online event in November.

Creators: Marvel’s Joe Quesada did a really great interview with writer Christopher Priest on his Morning Warm-up YouTube webcast.

Awards: Hot Comb by Ebony Flowers and published by Drawn and Quarterly has won the 2019 Believer Book Award, in the fiction category.

Awards: Penny Nichols by Greg Means and MK Reed, and published by Top Shelf, has won an Oregon Book Award.

Awards: Forward Reviews has announced the 2019 winners of the Forward Indies, an awards program that covers the independent book press. Winners in the graphic novel category include Fabien Nury and Sylvain Vallée’s Once Upon a Time in France (gold), Stonebreaker by Peter Wartman (silver), and BTTM FDRS by Ezra Claytan Daniels and Ben Passmore (bronze).

Awards: Matthew Dooley’s Flake has become the first graphic novel to win the Wodehouse Prize. The Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize is named for P G Wodehouse, a British writer known for his comedic writing. “Sponsored by Champagne Bollinger, the lucky winner of the prize can expect a jeroboam of Bollinger, as well as a set of the Everyman Wodehouse collection and – in true Wodehousian style – a local pig named after their winning novel.” That sounds awesome.

Awards: The shortlist for the 2020 Myriad First Graphic Novel Competition, which comes out of the UK, has been announced. The list includes:

  • Denise Dorrance, Polar Vortex
  • Ed Firth, Chillout
  • Veronika Muchitsch, Cyberman
  • Pete Shearn, Missing People
  • Pietro Soldi, Everything I Ever Knew Is on Earth
  • Anthony Smith & Tobias Taitt, Black
  • Myfanwy Tristram, Satin and Tat

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