Comics Lowdown | Court OKs contempt complaint against Indian cartoonist

Plus: Authors Guild objects to PRH-S&S deal, a look at the Eritrean comics scene and more!

Legal: The Indian Attorney General has given the go-ahead for contempt charges to be pressed against Rachita Taneja, creator of the webcomic Sanitary Panels, because of several Tweets that, the AG found, portray the Supreme Court of India as “biased towards the ruling party.” A law student, Aditya Kashyap, requested permission to begin contempt proceedings, citing three of Tanecha’s tweets, all of which are basically political cartoons.

Other Indian artists have spoken out publicly in support of Taneja, and on Dec. 2, Taneja tweeted “Thank you for the outpouring of love. I am filled with gratitude. It’s a rough time for a lot of people, and we’ll get through it by sticking together” along with a comic showing hearts pouring out of her computer:

Cartoon by Rachita Taneja showing hearts pouring out of her computer

The Biz: Both the Authors Guild and the American Booksellers Association have issued statements objecting to the purchase of Simon & Schuster by Bertelsmann, the parent company of Penguin Random House.

The ABA called the potential purchase “alarming” in an open letter:

The announcement today that Penguin Random House, the biggest of the “Big 5” publishers, is buying Simon & Schuster is alarming. As the dominant player in the publishing industry, PRH’s purchase of another “Big 5” publisher, further reducing the market to the “Big 4,” will mean too much power over authors and readers in the hands of a single corporation.

Eniac, by Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite, from Bad Idea

The Biz: New publisher Bad Idea says it has has signed 250 retailers for its launch. Bad Idea plans to publish comics series, distributing directly to retailers, and will not publish its comics digitally or as collected editions. Retailers are required to have special signage and a one-per-customer limit. Their launch title will be Eniac, by Matt Kindt and Doug Braithwaite.

Creators: Molly Knox Ostertag, creator of Strong Female Protagonist and the Witch Boy middle-grade trilogy, makes the Forbes 30 Under 30 Media list.

Creators: Garth Ennis explains how his new series, The Boys: Dear Becky, relates to the original series.

Hometown Hero: Westword profiles political cartoonist Ward Sutton, who just recently moved to Colorado.

Reviews and Commentary

The Big Picture: Michael Cavna looks back at the top five comics trends of 2020, which intertwined with real life even more than usual in this unusual year.

Best of the Year: NPR has posted their list of the Best Books of 2020, including a robust and varied selection of graphic novels.

Comics Culture: Abrahaley Hable gives an overview of the cartooning scene in Eritrea, along with his own opinion as to why it is so sparse: “Cartooning is a profession by itself. Once one is married to it, like a jealous wife, it won’t allow any rival.” Be that as it may, this article is a fascinating synopsis of the history and current state of cartooning there.

Recommended Reading: For those who like to pre-order, Paul Gravett rounds up 22 great graphic novels coming our way in February 2021. At School Library Journal, I complied a list of recent and upcoming Latinx graphic novels for kids and teens.

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