Comics Lowdown | BOOM! asks for CBLDF’s FCBD anthology to be destroyed

Plus: News on 2019 comics sales, Joe Sacco, Cavan Scott, Grant Morrison, Mexican horror comics and more.

Following the controversy that has come to light recently about the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and its former executive director, BOOM! Studios has asked for a Free Comic Book Day anthology they organized for the CBLDF to be destroyed, according to a report by Newsarama’s Chris Arrant.

A CBLDF Free Comic Book Day anthology has been assembled by numerous publishers over the years, and then published by the CBLDF for the annual event. This year’s event, of course, was cancelled in May due to the pandemic, but the comics are still being distributed to comic shops to be given out from July through September.

“In light of recent events surrounding the CBLDF, Boom! Studios asked that this year’s planned FCBD issue from the CBLDF not be distributed,” BOOM! told Newsarama. “Unfortunately, the issue was shipped out to retailers early in error (without being billed). We’ve requested the CBLDF and Diamond to ask retailers to destroy the copies they received, and a destruction notice should be sent to retailers shortly.”

CBLDF president Christina Merkler told the outlet that they respect BOOM!’s wishes and will leave it up to retailers whether they want to distribute the free comic.

Creators: Two recent mainstream media articles dove into the recent sexual misconduct allegations against comics creators. The first, from The Daily Beast and written by Asher Elbein, is a very thorough look at all the allegations against various creators that have come out since June, some of the fallout and then a deep dive into some historical context around these issues in the comics industry specifically:

Economic exploitation creates the conditions for sexual exploitation to flourish, and the comics industry as it currently exists cannot address the one without tackling the other. Sexual harassment, in all its various forms, is not simply a social problem; it is theft—of a victim’s time, dignity, of their ability to create work in peace and pursue financial or social opportunities. Moreover, it is theft of a creator’s ability to pursue a livelihood in their chosen field. Harassers don’t simply prey on those made vulnerable by precarity: they actively make the spaces and institutions they inhabit more precarious, and keep workers disorganized and afraid to the company’s financial benefit. Think of it, if you like, as grooming on a grand scale: the cultivation of a workforce that can be trusted to go along with sexual and economic exploitation—to grin through clenched teeth, to say nothing out of fear—and drive out those who can’t. 

Writing for The Guardian, Sam Thielman looked at the case against Warren Ellis, noting that:

more than 60 women have come together to launch the website So Many of Us, to document their concurrent relationships with Ellis and encourage others to come forward. They allege that Ellis has pursued sexual relationships with a staggering number of his female fans, all the while deceiving them about the number of relationships he was in; based on the account of these women, it appears he was maintaining at least 19 relationships simultaneously at one point in 2009.

Comics sales: A special report from Comichron’s John Jackson Miller and ICv2’s Milton Griepp says that comics and graphic novel sales topped $1.2 billion in the United States and Canada in 2019, an 11% increase over 2018. The graphic novel category, in particular kids graphic novels, saw huge gains.

“The massive shift to graphic novels as the preferred format for comics continued in 2019,” Griepp said, “bringing sales in the book channel above the comic store channel in North America for the first time in the history of the medium.”

Publishing: Variety reports that Universal Content Productions, which produces The Umbrella Academy series on Netflix, will launch its own line of comics. UCP Graphic will kick off with a new series written by Grant Morrison and Alex Child. BOOM! Studios will publish the series, Proctor Valley Road, which tells the story of “a group of teenage girls suspected in the disappearance of several teen boys in a 1964 California beach town.”

Creators + Interviews

Interviews: Tripwire talks to writer Cavan Scott about Shadow Service, his upcoming Vault Comics series with Corin Howell.

“It’s an idea that has been rolling around my head for years, a cocktail of my various obsessions from monster movies to James Bond to noir,” Scott told Tripwire. “At its heart is a supernatural secret service known as MI666 which I’ve been writing on and off for years in short stories, some of which have seen publication but most have not. I could never find the right lynchpin for it all, but everything came together when I came up with Gina Meyer, a young witch who has been using her magic for good on the streets of London as a private detective. She’s became the heart of the book, really crystallising everything that I wanted it be. The series follows her story as she’s recruited by MI666 and thrown into a team of agents each coping with a curse of their own.”

Interviews: At The Comics Journal, Ian Thomas talks to Fantastic Four: Grand Design creator Tom Scioli about his life, career, early works, Jack Kirby and more.

Profiles: The CBC profiles Joe Sacco following the release of his latest graphic novel, Paying The Land. “As a westerner, I think of land as property — as something to be built on, bought, subdivided, whatever,” Sacco said. “The book sort of helped me decolonize part of myself.”

Profiles: Sara Century spoke with former Gay Comix editor Andy Mangels for SyFy.com about the comics’ progression and how it changed over the years.

Commentary and reviews

Reviews: Writing for SOLRAD, Latonya Pennington reviews Niobe: She Is Life, by Amandla Stenberg, Sebastian A. Jones and Ashley A. Woods, calling it “a visceral, gorgeous coming of age fantasy comic.”

Commentary: Zachary Jenkins at the Xavier Files thoroughly looks at how Marvel’s post-pandemic shutdown has “had a disproportionate impact on women and people of color.” He looks back at Marvel’s planned output for 2020 before the pandemic struck and compares it to their revised plans since Diamond began distributing comics again. “The core thing to establish here is that Marvel has a diversity problem within its pool of freelance writers, regardless of outside factors such as the pandemic,” he wrote.

Commentary: Silvia Moreno-Garcia at Tor.com offers an interesting history of Mexican horror comics.

Commentary: The comics commentary site Shelfdust has been running a series on Black creators throughout the history of comics. The latest entry, by Wendy Browne, looks at Creepy #43 by Managing Editor Billy Graham.

Reviews: Jamie Lovett looks at the latest Buffy the Vampire Slayer spinoff series from BOOM! Studios, Willow, by Mariko Tamaki and Natacha Bustos.

Commentary: At Comics Bookcase, Zack Quaintance asked several comics critics to help create the Extra Eisners Reading List, which is “made up of comics and creators who did not score [Eisner Award] nominations but are very much deserving of attention nonetheless.”

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