‘Gender Queer’ tops the ALA’s ‘Most Challenged Books of 2021’ list

Half the books on 2021’s top 10 list were targeted for including LGBTQIA+ content.

In a year that saw the highest number of book challenges in libraries and schools since the ALA began compiling data on the topic, the graphic novel Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe topped the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books for 2021.

More than 700 book challenges — which are reported attempts by citizens and parents to have books removed from their public library or a school library — were recorded by the ALA, a record number since they began sharing data and making this list in 2000. This resulted in almost 1,600 individual book challenges or removals, as some challenges were against multiple titles.

“The 729 challenges tracked by ALA represent the highest number of attempted book bans since we began compiling these lists 20 years ago,” said ALA President Patricia “Patty” Wong. “We support individual parents’ choices concerning their child’s reading and believe that parents should not have those choices dictated by others. Young people need to have access to a variety of books from which they can learn about different perspectives. So, despite this organized effort to ban books, libraries remain ready to do what we always have: make knowledge and ideas available so people are free to choose what to read.”

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Smash Pages Q&A | Alex Segura’s ‘Secret Identity’

The comics writer, novelist and industry veteran discusses his newest book, which combines his love of mysteries with the comic book industry.

Alex Segura is known to comics readers for various comics projects ranging from The Dusk to The Black Ghost to Archie Meets the B-52’s to the upcoming The Awakened, but the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Oni-Lion Forge has another career as a novelist. Segura has written an acclaimed series of novels featuring journalist-turned-private eye Pete Fernandez, and his new novel Secret Identity bridges these two worlds.

A murder mystery set in 1970s New York, the novel centers around Carmen Valdez, an assistant at Triumph Comics who aspires to be a writer. After a co-worker is murdered, Valdez tries to understand what happened. Chapters of the novel are also interspersed with pages from the fictional The Lynx comic book, which Valdez co-wrote in the novel, but are drawn by real-life artist Sandy Jarrell.

The novel is a departure for Segura, less focused on plot but more about character and atmosphere, focused on evoking another era and a look inside the comics industry of that time. It’s his best and richest work to date, and we had a chance to talk recently about the novel, which is out this week.

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TKO goes Rogue with new prose imprint

New novels by Joshua Dysart with MK Perker and Alex Grecian with Andrea Mutti will debut in January.

TKO Studios has announced TKO Rogue, a new prose imprint that will release illustrated novels by authors and artists “from the literary and pop culture worlds.”

The first two books they plan to release are Brood X by Joshua Dysart with art by MK Perker, and One Eye Open by Alex Grecian and Andrea Mutti.

“The launch of TKO Rogue is the next step in the evolution of TKO Studios and bridges the vibrant worlds of novelized fiction and comics with works from a renowned pair of award- winning, bestselling authors and internationally recognized artists,” said Tze Chun, co-founder of TKO Studios, in a statement. “We invite readers to enjoy these new books and join us as we develop an exciting roster of original prose titles.”

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‘How to Create Comics the Marvel Way’ by Mark Waid coming next year

The guide will walk readers through the production process of creating a comic.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to create comics for Marvel, Mark Waid is going to show you how.

Simon & Schuster will publish How to Create Comics the Marvel Way next summer. The guide will walk readers through the comic book production process from pencil roughs, inking, coloring, as well as how comic book illustration has been revolutionized through advances in digital/desktop technology.

“Putting a book like this together is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and it’s thrilling,” Waid told Marvel.com. “My goal was to write the kind of how-to I wish I’d had when I first started out. No matter what discipline is calling to you — writing, art, coloring, lettering, or all of the above — you’ll come away from How to Create Comics the Marvel Way with the tools and guidance you’ll need to bring your favorite heroes and villains to life on the page.”

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Learn ‘How to Take Over the World’ from Ryan North

The comic book writer announces his new book, which features tips on supervillainy using known science.

When he’s not writing comics like The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Slaughterhouse-Five, Ryan North works in the realm of non-non-fiction, putting out handy guides like How to Invent Everything, a must-have manual for time travelers, and the just-announced How to Take Over the World.

This new book introduces readers to “the science of supervillainy” and could be your ticket to a new line career path.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Danny Fingeroth

The writer and editor discusses his unauthorized biography of ‘the most famous person in comics.’

Danny Fingeroth has been working in comics for decades. A longtime editor at Marvel, Byron Preiss and Visionary Media, Fingeroth wrote comics like Darkhawk, Dazzler, Venom: Deathtrap – The Vault and Deadly Foes of Spider-Man, and wrote nonfiction books including Superman on the Couch and Disguised as Clark Kent. He’s also known to a lot of convention goers as one of the people who runs a lot of panels — interviewing and celebrating the creators who helped to invent comics at dozens of labels across the country. At the end of 2019 he came out with his biggest book to date, A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee. 

The biography of the late Stan Lee is unauthorized but affectionate, and tries to capture the man that Fingeroth got to know later in his life with the young man who has been written about at length. After reading the book, I asked Fingeroth a few questions about the project and how it fits in with his other work, including serving as chair of Will Eisner Week.

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Cullen Bunn’s prose work collected in ‘A Passage in Black’

OmahaBound collects 27 ‘back-woods horror’ prose stories by Bunn, with illustrations by Tim Mayer.

When he’s not writing comics — and sometimes it’s hard to imagine that there’s a time when he’s not writing comics, based on all the projects he has going on — Cullen Bunn (The Sixth Gun, Harrow County) writes short stories, usually (and not surprisingly) in the horror genre. Now 27 of those stories are being collected by publisher OmahaBound.

A Passage in Black & Other Stories will include eight never-before published stories, along with 19 that were only released in the small press. Artist Tim Mayer will provide 23 illustrations for the collection, as well as the cover for the trade paperback version. Tyler Crook, Bunn’s collaborator on Harrow County, created the cover for the limited edition hardcover that will only be available on OmahaBound’s site. The publisher describes the stories as “back-woods horror, creepy and terrifying tales that only Cullen Bunn could tell.”

The collection is due out Oct. 6. Check out the two covers below.

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