Comics Lowdown | Texas school district bans ‘The Breakaways’

Plus: Scout Comics launches Latinx imprint, Marvel’s legal battles, New York Comic Con and more!

Cathy G. Johnson’s The Breakaways joins the list of banned graphic novels making headlines over the past few weeks after Spring Branch Independent School District in Texas banned it from school libraries.

Spring Branch Independent School District, which serves part of Houston, told the Houston Chronicle that the graphic novel was removed from schools because it was “not age appropriate nor was it appropriate for its intended educational use.” A committee decided to ban it after receiving a letter from a parent.

The graphic novel is about a diverse 8th-grade soccer team that includes a trans character.

“The book includes kids of all sorts of identities to reflect the world that is around us,” creator Cathy G. Johnson told the Chronicle. “There is a transgender student who comes out in the book. He is just one of many characters who make up my book, as well as one of the identities that make up the world.”

The ban came shortly after the nearby Katy, Texas school district cancelled a scheduled appearance by New Kid creator Jerry Craft “over claims of critical race theory and Marxism,” as the Chronicle put it.

Your long-read of the day: Writing for The Comics Journal, Michael Dean delves into the legal battles between Marvel and the estates of Steve Ditko, Gene Colan, Don Heck and Don Rico, as well as Larry Lieber.

Somewhat related, Graeme McMillan talks to several creators about the thank you credits that appear at the end of most superhero movies these days, and the lack of communication from publishers/studios to the creators mentioned in them.

“DC never officially contacted me to say I was being thanked in The Suicide Squad movie, and certainly never told me why I was being thanked,” Karl Kesel, co-creator of King Shark, said. “I don’t think I knew for certain my name was mentioned until someone saw an advanced screening/cut of the movie and let me know I was thanked in it.”

New York Comic Con

The New York Comic Con returned this past weekend to the Javits Center, one of the first major comic conventions to return to an in-person show. Johanna Draper Carlson wrote up a con report for The Beat, which had reporters there to cover panels.

A few panels of note: Brian K. Vaughn spoke about the return of Saga, while James Tynion IV hosted a panel of academics to talk about The Conspiracy Theories of The Department of Truth. Polygon covered the Will Eisner panel, and NASA was even on hand to announce their new graphic novel, titled First Woman: NASA’s Promise to Humanity. You can read it online.

Finally, on the news front, Scout Comics and Mucho Mas Media announced plans to launch Chispa Comics, a new Latinx imprint. Their first title, Attack at Acapulco: A Black Demon Tale, was available at the show. It’s by Sebastian Martinez-Kadlecik and Bruno Oliveira. They also announced new titles by Alex Segura, Chantel Acevedo, Richard Ortiz, Aaron Duran, Giulie Speziani and more.

Below the Fold

Canada’s postal service, the Canada Post, has announced a series of stamps celebrating political cartoonists, including Brian Gable, Serge Chapleau, Terry Mosher and more.

Iowa City’s Little Village Magazine has a spotlight article on Lauren Haldeman, where she discusses her Instagram COVID comics and living in Iowa City.

“I had never really seen a town like this before,” Haldeman said, “where you can walk most anywhere and get your groceries or a coffee or most things on foot. Where people made their own T-shirts and brewed beer and dug garden plots and just did a lot of making, instead of buying. And Iowa City is weird, you know? And I was a weirdo. I felt at home.”

New Jersey Monthly spotlights Ms. Marvel co-creator G. Willow Wilson, who talks to them about growing up in Jersey, reading comics as a kid, her critics and of course Kamala Khan.

And let’s end today with this one from Tegan O’Neil, who tells you pretty much everything you’d ever need to know about Marvel’s Uncanny Avengers.

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