Quick Hits | Artist Ken Kelly passes away

Plus: News on Popeye’s new artist, Free Comic Book Day and more.

Passings | Fantasy artist Ken Kelly, whose art appeared on rock albums, book covers, magazines, video games and comics, passed away June 3 at the age of 76. Kelly was heavily in demand as a painter in the 1970s and painted the covers of two albums by the band KISS — Destroyer and Love Gun. Comic fans in the 1970s would know his work on covers for The Spirit, Vampirella and Creepy, and in the 1990s for some of the Star Wars titles when Dark Horse held the license. A cause of death has not been reported.

Creators | Comics writer Shawn Pryor, who work includes the upcoming graphic novel Fast Break, raised money to purchase graphic novels, manga and art books for the Winburn Middle School Library in Lexington, Kentucky. The fundraiser was in honor of the late Deon Williams, who Pryor met at Winburn while teaching kids about making comics, and his younger sister Skyler. Both siblings were killed in May, and their mother has been charged with murder. The fundraiser closed on June 4 after Pryor reached his goal.

Censorship | Writing for CNN, Eliott C. McLaughlin talks with several authors, including New Kid creator Jerry Craft, about attempts to censor their work. Craft’s New Kid was removed temporarily from a Texas school district after being labeled as “Marxist” for teaching Critical Race Theory.

“The fact that you’re banning my book is the reason I’m writing these books,” he told CNN. “If I didn’t grow up uncomfortable, I would never make these books in the first place because I wouldn’t have anything to base these stories on.”

Censorship | Emily O’Neal, co-chair of the Oregon Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee, speaks with OPB.org about the removal of the graphic novel version of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale from the shelves of North Medford High School after a parent complained about images of nudity, sexual assault and suicide.

Comic Strips | A new artist debuted this weekend on King Feature’s long-running Popeye comic strip. Randy Milholland, who has been making webcomics like Something Positive, Super Stupor and Rhymes with Witch for a couple decades now, has taken over the Popeye Sunday strips. Milholland took over the strip from Hy Eisman, the 95-year-old cartoonist who has been working on it since 1994. The Washington Post has more details.

Free Comic Book Day | Writing for the Beat, Ricardo Serrano Denis looks at how the yearly Free Comic Book Day event and the offerings made by major publishers have changed over the year, from accessible samplers of their best material aimed at new readers to preludes for less accessible event comics for existing ones.

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