Comics Lowdown | Eisner judges announced

Also: Batman manga coming to Japan, Ohio legislators complain about anime text, and a chat with the creator of the ‘Sickos’ meme

Eisner Awards: The judges for the 2021 Eisner Awards have been announced: Retailer Marco Davanzo, who is the executive director of ComicsPRO); Shelley Fruchey, a member of the Comic-Con Board of Directors; Pamela Jackson, Popular Culture Librarian and Comic Arts Curator in Special Collections and University Archives at San Diego State Universit; Keithan Jones, founder and owner of the independent publisher KID Comics; Alonso Nuñez, executive director, and lead instructor of Little Fish Comic Book Studio in San Diego; and independent comics scholar Jim Thompson.

Manga: DC Comics is partnering with Kodansha’s Morning magazine (in Japan) to publish two manga series. Batman Justice Buster, by Eiichi Shimizu and Tomohiro Shimoguchi, will launch on December 24. Shimizu and Shimoguchi are the creative team on the Ultraman manga licensed by Viz, and they are also the creators of Linebarrels of Iron. Next up is Wanope Joker (Joker: One-Man Operation), which will debut on January 7.

Ahmed Kabir Kishore

Legal: Three UN human rights experts have asked the government of Bangladesh to immediately free cartoonist Ahmed Kabir Kishore and drop the charges against him. Kishore is diabetic and needs insulin; his health is deteriorating, and his condition makes him more susceptible to COVID-19. Kishore lampooned the government’s response to the pandemic in a series of cartoons, titled “Life in the Time of Corona,” which he posted online. He was arrested in May on charges of spreading misinformation, and although he has had five court hearings, he has been denied bail and no trial date has been set. The UN experts stated that criticizing the government is an element of freedom of expression and should not be a criminal offense.

Politics: Two Ohio state representatives sent a letter to Kent State University asking them not to assign “pornographic” materials to underage students after a complaint regarding Susan Napier’s Anime from Akira to Howl’s Moving Castle. The parents of a high school student who was taking a class at Kent State objected to the book, although it wasn’t clear what exactly triggered the complaint. After the university defended the book and its policies, Rep. Reggie Stolzfus threatened its funding, saying he was going to buy copies for other members of the state legislature and adding, “We’re gonna look through this book, and we’re gonna decide if this university is worthy of giving 150 million dollars of taxpayer dollars to it every year.”

Interviews

Exploring the Memiverse: Nitish Pahwa interviews Ward Sutton, the creator of the “Sickos” meme.

Hometown Hero: Harry Bliss, who grew up in Henrietta, NY (a suburb of Rochester), talks to the local paper about his collaboration with Steve Martin on A Wealth of Pigeons, their new book. Bliss does both single-panel gag cartoons and sequential comics, and the interview includes a cool discussion of the difference between the two.

Hometown Hero II: Joshua Kemble talks about his first s0lo graphic novel, a two-part memoir of his struggles with his faith and mental health.

The Biz

Upcoming titles from A Wave Blue World

Alternate Route: I talked to Tyler and Wendy Chin-Tanner, the founders of A Wave Blue World, about their approach and their new distribution model: They publish a deluxe first issue, then the entire graphic novel, with no other issues in print (although you can read the comics an issue at a time digitally).

Kickstarting Komix: At The Guardian, David Barnett takes a look at the expansion of Kickstarter as a comics platform and why traditional publishers are getting into the act; the article includes interviews with Alex de Campi and Duncan Jones, who successfully funded Madi on Kickstarter, and Spike Trotman, who says it has been instrumental to the growth of Iron Circus Comics. Over at Publishers Weekly, Calvin Reid also looks at Kickstarter and comics and notes that Oriana Leckert is the new director of publishing and comics outreach.

Chainsaw Man Lives: Reports of the demise of the manga series Chainsaw Man are premature: While the serialization will wrap up in Shueisha’s print mag Weekly Shonen Jump, the “second part” will run on the Shonen Jump+ digital platform.

Comics INKR: Kodansha Comics has expanded the number of manga series it is offering on the digital platform INKR to include Attack on Titan, Your Lie in April, and other popular titles, with more on the way. ICYMI, INKR is a legit version of the pirate site Manga Rock, which closed down in April.

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