Comics Lowdown | Texas school reverses ‘New Kid’ ban

Plus: Penguin Classics to publish Marvel classics, Joe Ollmann’s ‘Fictional Father’ nominated for Governor General’s award, and more!

Cover of New Kid by Jerry Craft

School administrators in Katy, Texas, have returned Jerry Craft’s New Kid to library shelves and rescheduled a video visit from the creator, according to NBC News. The district pulled the book and canceled the visit after a parent started a petition claiming that New Kid espoused critical race theory. The district told NBC that it had “determined the appropriateness” of the book, which was the first graphic novel to be awarded the Newbery Medal. In a statement last week, Craft said his intention was simply to portray children of color in a realistic setting: “Books aimed at kids like me seemed to deal only with history or misery. That’s why it has always been important to me to show kids of color as just regular kids, and to create iconic African American characters like Jordan Banks from ‘New Kid.’ I hope that readers of all ages will see the kindness and understanding that my characters exhibit and emulate those feelings in their day-to-day lives.” However, parent Bonnie Anderson, who started the petition, disagreed, saying, “The books don’t come out and say we want white children to feel like oppressors, but that is absolutely what they will do.”

Display of covers of Penguin Classics editions of The Amazing Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain America

Comics’ journey to respectability continues this week with the news that the Penguin Classics are adding Marvel comics to their shelf ‘o books. The first three title are The Amazing Spider-Man, Black Panther and Captain America. Each book includes the character’s origin story and one or two important early stories, as well as a foreword from a YA prose writer and a scholarly introduction by a comics academic. Want more details? I went beyond the press release and did a writeup at ICv2.

Cover of Joe Ollmann's Fictional Father, showing a drawing of a frowning man, in blue, applying a smile to his face with black ink.

Awards: Congratulations to Joe Ollmann, whose Fictional Father has been nominated for Canada’s Governor General’s Award. Fictional Father, published by Drawn & Quarterly, is the first graphic novel to be nominated in the Adult Fiction category.

Sales Report: At ICv2, I posted the list of the top selling adult and kids’ graphic novels in the bookstore channel (as reported by BookScan) and mused a bit on their meaning.

Manga Update: Seven Seas announced two new manga licenses and one light novel yesterday; Anime News Network has the details.


Lots of comics news dropped yesterday. Here’s a quick roundup in case you missed any:

  • DC Announces Justice League vs. Legion of Superheroes [Smash Pages]
  • Batman: The Knight – New miniseries by Chip Zdarsky and Carmine Di Giandomenico [Smash Pages]
  • Comic-Con Special Edition announces its first slate of guests [The Beat]
  • New middle-grade graphic novels coming from Scholastic’s Graphix imprint: Captain America: The Ghost Army and Amy Kim Kibuishi’s The Rema Chronicles [ICv2]
  • Aftershock announced a new graphic novel in its middle-grade Seismic imprint: Fearbook Club by writer Richard Ashley Hamilton, artist Marco Matrone, and letterer Dave Sharpe.[Aftershock Comics]
  • Also coming up from Aftershock: Dark Red: Where Roads Lead, a one-shot by Tim Seeley and Corin Howell [Aftershock Comics]
  • Valiant announced its first Kickstarter, to fund its first original graphic novel, Eternal Warrior: Scorched Earth [Valiant Entertainment]

Below the Fold

Today’s Longread: Brian Nicholson’s report on the Philly Comics Expo for The Comics Journal includes lots of art and interviews with creators; reading it is like being at a comics festival without getting sore feet.

Herblock cartoon of Barry Goldwater telling a poor family "If you had any initiative, you'd go out and inherit a department store."

Recommended Reading: Happy birthday Herblock! Bill Knight pens an appreciation of the editorial cartoonist, who was born 112 years ago Wednesday but would be right at home in today’s political tempests – and would have plenty to say about them, too. But would he be able to get a staff job today? The Daily Cartoonist rounds up some links and commentary on the past and present of editorial cartooning, with a birthday nod to Herblock himself.

Con Report: Andrew Smith files his report on New York Comic Con, with news on both comics and entertainment.

Retailing: Ed Katschke, owner of Toledo, Ohio, comic shop Monarch Comics, discusses the realities of retailing in these times, including weathering last year’s shutdown and dealing with this year’s distribution and supply chain issues. Loyal customers chime in with their own take on why they keep coming

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