Plus: Graphic novel sales soar, a look at comics NFTs and more!
Bullish on Manga: Graphic novel sales were up by 4 million units in the first quarter of 2021, compared to the first quarter of 2020, according to news released by NPD BookScan and reported by ICv2. Sales of all print books, including graphic novels, increased by 29% to the highest sales numbers recorded in the first quarter since NPD started keeping track in 2004. The top driver for graphic novel sales was manga, which increased by 80% from the first quarter of 2020.
Watch Out for that Tree! The Tarzan syndicated newspaper strip will end its 92-year run in June, reports The Daily Cartoonist, killed off by two factors: The low number of subscribers, and the fact that the strips, which are reruns from the 1950s (daily) and 1980s (Sundays) are, well, not exactly in tune with today’s readers. That’s not the end of the line for the Lord of the Jungle, though: Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., is transitioning Tarzan to a subscription webcomic, with new strips picking up where the old ones left off. (That subscription is a pretty good deal, as it includes a number of other webcomics based on Burroughs’ work.) In addition, Dark Horse will publish collected editions of both the new strip and Roy Thomas’s Tarzan of the Apes: A Classic Adaptation.
A photo shoot to promote Karl Krumpholz’s new book was punctuated by a surprise attack.
A planned photo shoot went sideways fast for Denver cartoonist Karl Krumpholz.
Krumpholz’s graphic novel Queen City, a chronicle of changing streets and neighborhoods of Denver, is out this month from Tinto Press. The Denver Post did a feature article on Krumpholz, and the photo shoot for the piece was set for mid-afternoon on East Colfax Avenue, one of the venues he depicts for the book. Before he and photographer AAron Ontiveroz could start the shoot, though, a passerby attacked them both with a homemade weapon.
Krumpholz and the photographer escaped unscathed, but since everything is material to a creator, he made a comic about it:
Plus: ‘Brzrkr’ orders, ‘Immortal Hulk’ #43, Stan Lee, John Porcellino and more!
Underground cartoonist S. Clay Wilson, creator of the Checkered Demon, Captain Pissgums and his Pervert Pirates, and numerous other transgressive characters, all of whom he wedged into his signature hyper-detailed panels, has died at the age of 79. Wilson grew up in Nebraska and eventually moved to San Francisco, where he was a contributor to Zap Comics and an integral part of the underground comix scene. He suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2008 and the condition worsened in 2010.
Plus: Angoulême comics awards, Adam Ellis accuses filmmakers of plagiarism, and a look at the world of back-issue collectors and dealers
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which was canceled last year due to the pandemic, will return in May as a virtual event. The past year has been a difficult one; in June, TCAF co-founder and artistic director Christopher Butcher stepped down for both professional and personal reasons. This year’s festival will be online only, and it’s being run in partnership with the zine festival Canzine and the Toronto Hand Eye Society.
Plus: Egyptian cartoonist arrested; columnist proposes banning MAGA wear at conventions.
Library Talk: The American Library Association’s Midwinter meeting just ended, and the big event, as always, is the Youth Media Awards—this is when the Newbery and Caldecott medals, and a host of other awards, are announced. For over 10 years, graphic novels have won some of these awards; last year, Jerry Craft’s Class Act won the Newbery Medal, the first graphic novel to be so honored. This year’s awards:
Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang, with color by Lark Pien, was a Printz Honor Book (runner-up for the Printz Award for excellence in literature for young adults);
When Stars are Scattered, by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, illustrated by Victoria Jamieson, color by Iman Geddy, was a Schneider Family Book Award honor book (for “books that embody an artistic expression of the disability experience”);
Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf and Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh were among the ten winners of the Alex Award for adult books that appeal to teen audiences;
Catherine’s War, by Julia Billet, illustrated by Claire Fauvel, and translated from French by Ivanka Hahnenberger, was an honor book for the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for translated books.
On Twitter, librarian Matthew Noe took a tour of the virtual booths of all the comics publishers at the show, with a word or two about each one. If you are interested in learning more about comics publishing and who does what, this is a great place to start!
In an unprecedented week in American history, comics were all over the place.
After seeing a rioter in Captain America gear during the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Neal Kirby, the son of Jack Kirby, has condemned the use of his father’s character by the far right. “Captain America is the absolute antithesis of Donald Trump,” he wrote, later adding “My father, Jack Kirby, and Joe Simon, the creators of Captain America and WWII veterans, would be absolutely sickened by these images.”
The problem with the Punisher: The Punisher’s elongated skull logo (and specifically, the version used in the 2004 film) has become an icon for white nationalists, Proud Boys and Blue Lives Matter enthusiasts. At Inverse, Eric Francisco offers a brief history of the alt-right’s use of the skull and Disney’s failure to assert its IP rights. At CBR, Cass Clarke summarizes the thoughts of Gerry Conway, who created the character. At SyFY Wire, Mike Avila calls on Marvel to retire the logo and “give the Punisher a makeover.” He also reached out to former Punisher writer Garth Ennis, who had this to say:
Ryan Estrada talks about being a globetrotting cartoonist, and his wife Kim Hyun-Sook discusses the real story behind ‘Banned Book Club.’
2020 was quite a year for Ryan Estrada: Iron Circus published two of his graphic novels: Banned Book Club (co-written with his wife, Kim Hyun Sook, with art by Ko Hyung-Ju), which was published in both Korea and North America, and the middle-grade graphic novel Student Ambassador, co-created with artist Axur Eneas.
Banned Book Club received rave reviews, including starred reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. It was also a Junior Library Guild selection and made numerous best-of-the-year lists, including NPR, The Beat and YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens. Student Ambassador‘s debut was a little quieter, but it’s a very clever, insightful graphic novel and one of my own choices for best of the year.
I interviewed Estrada and Kim via e-mail (they live in Korea) about Banned Book Club, Student Ambassador and the comics life in general.
As we move into the new year, here is a look at some of the creators and editors who passed away in 2020.
We continue our series that looks back at the biggest news trends of 2020. Watch for more posts all this week.
In a year of losses, the passing of so many talented creators and editors hit especially hard. Here is a look at some of the comics people who passed away in 2020.
Political cartoonist Ron Rogers died on January 20 at the age of 65. When he became the editorial cartoonist at the South Bend Tribune in the 2000s, he was generally regarded as the first Black editorial cartoonist at a daily newspaper. He was also the staff cartoonist for the Augusta Chronicle. Born in Richmond, Virginia, in 1954, Rogers started his cartooning career as a freelancer for The Richmond Afro-American and Planet in 1980.
The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a bumpy year for the comics industry.
Today we kick off a series that looks back at the biggest news trends of 2020, starting with the COVID-19 pandemic and how it impacted the world of comics. Watch for more posts all this week.
COVID-19 was already on the radar when I attended C2E2 on the last weekend of February 2020, but it was still just a vague shadow in the distance. There were only a handful of cases in the U.S., but we knew more were coming. Some folks Tweeted that they wouldn’t be hugging or even shaking hands, but most people went ahead anyway, happy to see old friends after a long winter apart. The folks at McCormick Place put in extra hand sanitizer stations. And since China was already coming out the other side of their epidemic, I spoke to a couple of publishers about how the brief shutdown over there had affected their schedules. Like many of the 95,000 attendees, I roomed with friends I hadn’t seen in months, had lunch and dinner with more friends, attended panels in rooms that held 200 or more, and walked around the crowded convention floor.
Plus: Court rules Dr. Seuss/Star Trek mash-up book not protected by fair use, ‘Batman’ #1 auction and more!
Legal: Comics creator Richard Meyer has dropped his lawsuit against Mark Waid, according to Waid’s legal defense GoFundMe page. The suit began in 2018 after Meyer announced that Antarctic Press would publish his comic Jawbreaker. The publisher reversed that decision after a phone call from Waid, however, and Meyer successfully crowdfunded the comic instead. He also sued Waid for “tortious interference with contract and defamation.”
Also: Batman manga coming to Japan, Ohio legislators complain about anime text, and a chat with the creator of the ‘Sickos’ meme
Eisner Awards: The judges for the 2021 Eisner Awards have been announced: Retailer Marco Davanzo, who is the executive director of ComicsPRO); Shelley Fruchey, a member of the Comic-Con Board of Directors; Pamela Jackson, Popular Culture Librarian and Comic Arts Curator in Special Collections and University Archives at San Diego State Universit; Keithan Jones, founder and owner of the independent publisher KID Comics; Alonso Nuñez, executive director, and lead instructor of Little Fish Comic Book Studio in San Diego; and independent comics scholar Jim Thompson.
Plus: New graphic novels by the Mayor of Montreal and rapper Rico Nasty
Auction Watch: An unpublished Alan Moore script is being auctioned off on eBay. The 35-page script was written circa 1997 for a Wildstorm one-shot, Gen13 Annual: The Coming of the Collector!, which was never completed or published.
Scott Dunbier, who is auctioning off the script, acquired it when he was an editor at Wildstorm. Proceeds from the auction, which has Moore’s blessing, will benefit inker Bob Wiacek, who is suffering from vision problems that prevent him from working.