Quick Hits | Whatever happened to ‘Tales from the Quarantine’?

Plus: A ‘Doonesbury’ controversy (maybe?), Image launches a retailer award, and a Seattle comic shop’s staff unionizes.

Crowdfunding | Broken Frontier has a lengthy article up where they talk with many of the creators involved with Tales from the Quarantine, a project spearheaded by Frazer Brown of Red Cabin Comics that was funded in the early days of the pandemic and was meant to raise money for the Hero Initiative and other charities. The anthology was supposed to feature comics by a long list of creators, including Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Rachael Stott, Charlie Adlard, Jim Zub and Max Dunbar, among others. Almost four years after being funded, the anthology has yet to materialize in print, with many angry backers wanting to know what happened and creators left with little answers themselves.

“It was a damaging situation for our individual reputations,” said one of the anthology’s contributors, Lucy Sullivan. “The way the project was marketed suggested we were all complicit in its concept and production rather than, the reality, that we all gave our time and expertise for free in aid of charity. The only recourse was to publicly state this. Of course that put me on the blocked list, off the contributors’ emails and potentially amongst those threatened with police investigation. It was really quite stressful.”

Visit Broken Frontier to read more.

Comic strips | A former Iowa State Representative went to social media to question why this Sunday’s Doonesbury strip didn’t appear in any Gannett papers over the weekend. The strip in question featured a Florida teacher sharing facts about the Civil War, while one student questions if it is still legal for her to do so — a very real issue in the state.

But did Gannett actually remove the strip because of the content, as Cracked.com suggests? The Daily Cartoonist says another factor may be in play here — Gannett previously announced plans to limit the comic strips offered to their papers to a set 34, and Doonesbury isn’t on the list.

Gannett owns about 400 newspapers in the United States, including USA Today and local papers in 44 states. Garry Trudeau’s Doonesbury has attracted more than its fair share of criticism and controversy over the years, but this may not be one of those cases.

Publishers | Abrams has announced plans to launch a new imprint, Abrams Fanfare, which will publish graphic novels aimed at early, middle-grade and young adult readers. SVP and publisher Andrew Smith and associate publisher Maggie Lehrman will run the new imprint.

“Abrams has been publishing graphic novels for over 15 years as part of the Amulet imprint, which is our home for fiction and nonfiction early chapter books, middle grade, and YA,” Smith told Publisher’s Weekly. “Abrams Fanfare will now be our dedicated home and imprint for comics for kids and teens, so all of the graphic novels that had been part of Amulet backlist—and we have close to 200 titles on our graphic novel backlist—will be moving to Fanfare and forming the foundation for the new imprint.”

Abrams Fanfare will become the home for El Deafo by Cece Bell, Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales, Jason Shiga’s Adventuregame books and new projects by Larry Hama, Mariko Tamaki, Tom Angleberger, Mike Maihack and more. They will also partner with Mattel and Marvel for new books.

Publishers | Image Comics has announced a new comics retailer awards program, called the Image Select Retailer Award. It’s meant to recognize retailers “that are going above and beyond to serve their customers, expand readership and grow a healthier marketplace.” Fans are invited to nominate their favorite stores via an online form. The first winner will be announced at the Lunar Distribution retailer event at Emerald City Comic Con in Seattle on March 1. They plan to give out the award quarterly.

Passings | Enric Badia Romero, the Spanish comic strip artist who worked on Modesty Blaise and Axa, has passed away at the age of 94.

Retailers | The Capitol Hill Seattle Blog has an interesting story about how the workers at Phoenix Comics, a retailer in the city, have formed a union.

“We already like working here and we wanted it to stay affordable for us to work here,” one of the shop’s six employees said. “I think that even when you have a really small staff, the desire to join the union shows that your staff are invested in the business, because if we weren’t invested and we wanted to make more money, we would go somewhere else.”

Store owner Nick Nazar told the outlet that he was “flattered and a little scared” when approached by employees about this, but he took the time to educate himself on what it would mean for the store.

“I think in this day and age with unions so front and center in large corporate entities…I think that’s just important as a social thing. We need unions to better protect the rights of workers,” Nazar said. “I think we all kind of move forward together with a better idea as to what the future holds, which is honestly something I look forward to out of this.”

Interviews | Kazu Kibuishi speaks with the Orange County Register about the end of his long-running Amulet series and his near-death experience that delayed its release.

Interviews | Comic Book Yeti talks with Jordan Hart and David Ebeltoft about The Cabinet, the new Image Comics series they co-write that debuted last Wednesday.

Interview | CityNews Everywhere in Toronto interviews writer Ed Brisson about The Displaced, the new BOOM! Studios miniseries that features the disappearance of Oshawa, Ontario, Canada as a major plot point.

Interviews | The South Seattle Emerald talks with Tessa Hulls about her graphic memoir Feeding Ghosts.

Criticism | Sam Thielman has a new column at the New York Times focused on graphic novels; in the first one, he talks about new releases by Nate Powell, Frank Johnson, Nino Bulling and more.

Awards | The American Library Association has released their annual lists of the best graphic novels for adults and for children.

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