Comics Lowdown | Alex Segura leaves Archie for Oni-Lion Forge

Plus: the comics industry loses two inspirational creators.

Alex Segura has left Archie Comics to become senior vice president of sales and marketing for the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Group. Segura has been with Archie for a total of about 10 years now, most recently as co-president, and worked for DC Comics before that. He’s also a mystery author and comics writer, on projects like The Dusk, The Black Ghost and Archie Meets the B-52s.

“While it’s been an amazing honor and privilege to call Riverdale my professional and creative home for over a decade, when Oni-Lion Forge approached me with this opportunity, I couldn’t say no,” Segura said in a statement to Publisher’s Weekly. “Getting the chance to help amplify the ever-expanding, talented, and diverse voices at Oni is a great fit.”

Promotions: Following the news of Segura leaving, Archie Comics issued a press release today noting two promotions: Jamie L. Rotante (above, left) has been promoted to senior director of editorial, while Ron Cacace (above, right) has been promoted to director of publicity and social media.

Passings: The comics community lost two inspirational, compassionate creators last week. Jesse Hamm, a writer and artist who worked on the Good as Lily graphic novel, Hawkeye, Batman ’66, Plants vs. Zombies and Flash Gordon: Kings Cross, passed away on May 12, according to his wife, comics creator Anna Sahrling-Hamm. Hamm was a member of the Portland-based comics collective Helioscope, which also released a statement after his death:

We are heartbroken to say goodbye to our beloved friend and colleague Jesse Hamm, who died yesterday morning. Jesse was a cartoonist, an illustrator, an essayist, a mentor, and an educator. He was funny, brilliant, and generous and we miss him terribly.

Hamm ran a separate Twitter feed where he offered advice to aspiring creators. He collected a lot of that advice and made it available on Gumroad as well.

Passings: Patrick Dean, a comics creator and founder of the FLUKE minicomics festival, passed away on May 12 as well. Dean was diagnosed with ALS in 2018 and was receiving inpatient hospice care before he died.

Dean’s comics appeared in Athens’ Flagpole Magazine for a decade and have been published in Legal Action Comics, Typhon, The Comic Eye, Vice Magazine, and The Oxford American Magazine. Most recently, Birdcage Bottom Books published his graphic novel, Eddie’s Week.

Although his disease left Dean immobilized and unable to speak, he still managed to make comics using eye gaze technology. You can see some of his cartoons on Instagram. You can also see many of his previous comics on his blog. Eleanor Davis started a GoFundMe for Dean while he was hospitalized; it’s still up and receiving donations, which will go to his wife and childrne to help pay for his medical expenses.

“We love you, Patrick Dean. You were a light and a joy,” Davis wrote in an update on the GoFundMe page. “You were one of the things that made this hard life good. We will miss you forever.”

Creators: Underground cartoonist “Hurricane Nancy” Burton has donated 65 pieces of original underground comix art to The Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.

Smash Pages’ Alex Dueben, who is editing a monograph about Burton set to be published by Fantagraphics, helped connect Burton with the museum’s associate curator, Caitlin McGurk, after Burton expressed a desire for the material to be preserved.

“I was over the moon to be connected with one of the pioneers of women’s underground comix – it is such an honor to us to be chosen as the home for preserving this important work,” McGurk said. “Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies courses as well as anyone interested in exploring the feminist history of comics will find this collection to be a treasure. It is imperative that we continue to document and preserve the history of women working in this and all eras of cartooning, and this collection is an invaluable part of those efforts.”

Banned in Texas: Writer Carmen Maria Machado has written an open letter to the officials of the Leander (Texas) School District, who removed a number of books, including graphic novels, from their so-called “book club” lists because of complaints from parents.

As we understand it, six books (including graphic novels) have been chosen for removal after parents’ complaints: The Lottery, Kiss Number 8, Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me, The Handmaid’s Tale, Y: The Last Man, and V for Vendetta. A further three books have been “paused” as the district engages in its book review process: Speak, The Nowhere Girls, and My Friend Dahmer. A further 13 books have been challenged for review and reconsideration: I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter, None of the Above, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian, Out of Darkness, The Poet X, How I Resist, American Born Chinese, Eleanor & Park, What We Saw, The Power, Red at the Bone, Beneath a Meth Moon: An Elegy, and In The Dream House.

Students were given a list of 15 books appropriate for their grade level and allowed to choose one to read, so these books were not required reading in any classes. School officials have promised to develop a policy to prohibit staff from purchasing “inappropriate literature for the assigned ages,” according to the Austin American-Statesman, but they refused to specify what “inappropriate” meant. Some parents and professionals fear that the parental pressure will fall heaviest on books with LGBTQ themes, and as one parent said, “They’re not just protecting their child — because they can already do that — they are trying to take the choice away from my child.”

Looking Into the Future with One Eye: Aminder Dhaliwal talks about her new graphic novel, Cyclopedia Exotica, and about the joys and travails of her career as an animator and a comics creator. Cyclopedia Exotica, a collection of short comics first posted on Instagram, takes a wry look at the lives of people who are a visible minority, Cyclops, and their experiences with prejudice, fetishization and exploitation (including surgery to give them a second eye).

Legal: Xavier Marabout, a French cartoonist who created mash-ups of Tintin with the landscapes of artist Edward Hopper, has won in court after being sued by Tintin creator Hergé’s heirs. The court deemed the artwork parodies.

“I am fully validated in my artistic approach, which is, with the intention of humur, to merge universes of my own culture,” he said. “The art of parody was invented at the same time as democracy, 2,000 years ago by Ancient Greece. In French law, it is fully linked to freedom of expression and the limits of copyright.”

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