Quick Hits | Free Comic Book Day founder prepares for the last event at the location where the event was born

Plus: The Comics Journal website has new editors! Frank Miller Presents and Abrams ComicArts strike a deal! Aurora Awards nominees announced! Plus news on Marjane Satrapi, Bubbles Con and a controversial ski town comic!

This Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, an opportunity for retailers to not only bring new customers into their stores, but also to get media coverage. You can do a quick search of Google News to see all the local coverage the event has been getting, but this story in particular jumped out at me because it involves Joe Field, who came up with the idea of Free Comic Book Day back in 2001.

Field’s store, Flying Colors Comics and Other Cool Stuff in Concord, California, has been a staple of the community for decades, but will have to move to a new location early next year after their lease expires — making this Saturday the last FCBD at their current shop.

“We’re very hopeful and now actually pretty excited by what the future of Flying Colors could be,” Field told the San Jose Mercury News. “There are a lot of unknowns — like how many of our faithful customers will want to create a new habit of going to a different spot to support us? How many new customers can we cultivate moving to a different spot? How strong will the market for comics and graphic novels be over the next bunch of years? Can we afford to do this when we are already technically past the standard retirement date?”

Despite those questions, Field says they hope that “we continue to build community and continue to spread happiness through our comic book business. That’s when everything will be a success.”

Passings | Paul Auster, author of City of Glass, passed away on Tuesday at the age of 77. Paul Karasik and David Mazzucchelli, with some help from Art Spiegelman, turned City of Glass into a critically praised graphic novel in 1994.

Passings | Writing for The Comics Journal, John Micek offers an obituary for political cartoonist Don Wright, who passed away in March.

People | Congratulations to Chris Mautner and Sally Madden, the new editors of TCJ.com. The duo replace the departing Tucker Stone and Joe McCulloch. Madden is the co-host of Thick Lines, a comics podcast she does with fellow cartoonist Katie Skelly, while Mautner is a longtime contributor to The Comics Journal — as well as one of my former colleagues from Blog@Newsarama and Robot 6.

Controversy | Cartoonist Ryan Stolp, creator of the comic strip Lift Lines for the Jackson Hole ski community, talks with Wyoming Public Radio about a recent strip that brought outrage from the local community. In the strip, he revealed a lifehack for locals to get free parking at the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort. Once the strip was published, the group that runs the parking lot shut down the hack.

“I kind of felt like I stepped on a landmine that I didn’t know was there,” Stolp said.

Publishing | Frank Miller Presents and Abrams ComicArts have struck a deal whereby Abrams will publish collected editions of FMP’s recent comic book releases Pandora and Ronin Rising. They’ll be released in two formats — a collector’s edition and a manga edition, through Abrams’s new Kana manga imprint.

Publishing | Jamila Rowser, founder of Black Josei Press, has announced plans to put the publishing venture on hiatus at the end of the year as she deals with ongoing health issues.

“I’m not sure when we’ll come back, or if we will come back. But I do know that right now, I don’t have the health, time, or money to keep the press running,” she said. She adds that she doesn’t intend to stop making comics herself. Rowser is th co-creator of Wash Day Diaries, which won the L.A. Times Book Prize in 2023.

Collections | Comic collector Gary Prebula has donated more than 75,000 comics and graphic novels to the Penn State libraries. The donation nearly triple the university’s Comics and Graphic Novels Collection.

Awards | Marjane Satrapi, the creator of Persepolis, has received Spain’s prestigious Princess of Asturias communications and humanities prize. The $54,000 award is one of eight prizes covering the arts, science and other areas handed out annually by a foundation named for Spanish Crown Princess Leonor. Previous recipients include novelist Umberto Eco and Japanese video game designer Shigeru Miyamoto.

Awards | The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association has announced the nominees for the 2024 Aurora Awards, which recognize science fiction and fantasy literary works produced by Canadians. It includes a comics/graphic novels category, and the nominees for it are:

  • Atana and the Firebird, Vivian Zhou, HarperCollins
  • A Call to Cthulhu, Norm Konyu, Titan Nova
  • Carson of Venus, Ronn Sutton (artist), Martin Powell (writer), and Maggie Lopez (colourist), webcomic
  • Cosmic Detective, Jeff Lemire and Matt Kindt, art by David Rubin, Image Comics
  • It Never Rains, Kari Maaren, webcomic
  • The Secret of the Ravens, written and illustrated by Joanna Cacao, with lettering by Kyla Aiko, Clarion Books
  • Wychwood, Ally Rom Colthoff, webcomic

Winners will be announced Aug. 11.

Events | Brian Baynes talks to Style Weekly about his comics fanzine, Bubbles Zine, which is sold in comic shops around the world. He also discusses this weekend’s Bubbles Con, which takes place Friday and Saturday at the Richmond (Virginia) Public Library’s Main Library and will feature appearances by Dash Shaw, C.F., Gabrielle Bell and more.

Events | The website Exclaim lists five “must sees” for this year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival. TCAF is set to run May 11-12.

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