Quick Hits | Rachel Pollack hospitalized

Rest in peace, Lily Renée. Plus news on IDW Media, censorship in Missouri, Paul Allor and more.

Creators | Former Doom Patrol writer Rachel Pollack has been hospitalized and is currently in the ICU, according to a GoFundMe page started by Patricia Nolan. The page is seeking financial help for Pollack’s health care. “If she is able to go home, she will need 24-hour care. Up to now, we haven’t needed your help. It is time now,” the message reads. Pollack, who is also a novelist and Tarot expert, in addition to writing comics, most recently worked on the Comixology Originals title The Never Ending Party.

Passings | Lily Renée, who worked as a penciller and inker on titles for Fiction House and St. Johns Publications back in the 1940s and 1950s, has passed away at the age of 101. Trina Robbins reported the news on Facebook after hearing from Renée’s son Rick. “She died peacefully at home, as was her wish, yesterday after living a full life of more than 101 years. There is a time for all of us and her death comes on the heels of the birth of her third great grandchild earlier this year,” he said in his message.

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Quick Hits | Graphic novels face scrutiny in Texas schools

Plus: Todd McFarlane wants ‘Batman/Spawn’ to be the biggest comic of the century! ‘Still Alive’ wins another award! And a look at Alan Moore’s funny funnybooks!

Book challenges | A police officer employed by Katy ISD, a suburb of Houston, Texas, removed a copy of the graphic novel Flamer by Mike Curato from high school shelves after a woman filed a criminal complaint alleging the district was providing “harmful” material to minors. The removal occurred last month, when school wasn’t in session, and was later returned to shelves after police concluded “the claim was unsubstantiated.”

The book had previously been challenged, reviewed and approved for high schools by a committee after earlier challenges by parents — although it was removed from junior high shelves at the time. The woman also threatened to report the district to the Texas Rangers if they didn’t remove the book.

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Quick Hits | Behind the scenes at Oni Press

Plus: News on Ron Zimmerman, Paul Coker Jr., Frederik L. Schodt, Ed Brubaker and more.

Publishers | Although it might be hard to believe that there’s anyone left at the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Company to speak anonymously at this point, Popverse has an interview up with one such staffer, who gives more details on what’s been going on behind the scenes — and offers some context about that not-at-all-thought-out statement that was released on social media. The statement, the anonymous source says, came from parent company Polarity. “They thought it was so good. They did not listen to anyone who told them it was not, and then we reaped the whirlwind of their failure, like pretty much every week this month.”

This unsurprising account by the anonymous staffer follows several rounds of layoffs and departures from the Oni-Lion Forge Publishing Company. Associate publisher Michelle Nguyen left the company voluntarily, following the layoffs of James Lucas Jones, Charlie Chu, Alex Segura, Amanda Meadows, Jasmini Amiri and Henry Barajas in July.

Publishers | Both The Beat and Popverse have reported that webcomics platform Tapas Media has laid off several staff in what’s being described as both a consolidation with sister companies Radish and Wuxiaworld, as well as a shift toward more user-generated content. Bleeding Cool reports that Tapas Media Chief Creative Officer Michele Wells is one of the people impacted by the layoffs. All three companies are owned by Kakao Entertainment, which acquired them in 2021.

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Quick Hits | Hotel strike impacts Comic-Con events

Plus: Rick Veitch, Noah Van Sciver, Jeff Smith, Coagula and the infamous Hall H line!

Conventions | Both Voice of San Diego and ICv2 report on the workers’ strike at the Hilton Bayfront Hotel in San Diego, which is adjacent to the convention center where Comic-Con International is held every year and where many CCI events and panels are held. According to Voice of San Diego, workers and management have been negotiating for months, but could not come to an agreement.

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Quick Hits | Rest in peace, Kazuki Takahashi

Former Wizard/DC employee Pat McCallum passes away. Plus news on Asaf Hanuka, Luke Healy, Molly Knox Ostertag, Gene Luen Yang and more.

Passings | Manga artist Kazuki Takahashi, who created Yu-Gi-Oh and worked on the Secret Reverse manga for Viz and Marvel, has passed away. The creator, whose real first name was Kazuo, was found dead after an apparent snorkeling trip in Okinawa Prefecture, according to the Japan Times.

Passings | Former Wizard Magazine Editor-In-Chief and co-founder Pat McCallum has passed away. In addition to his work on the long-running comics magazine and price guide in the 1990s and 2000s, he was an Executive Editor for DC Comics from 2011 to 2019.

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Quick Hits | Remembering Tim Sale

Plus: News on Comixology, Mark Russell, Michael Allred, Tillie Walden, TCAF, Jerry Craft and Ric Flair!

Passings | Via Tim Sale’s Twitter account comes word that the 66-year-old artist died of kidney failure.

“He was sick for years and was even in the hospital since May 24. He was a private person and never wanted to worry all of you, but his death was neither preventable or unexpected. Tim was a wonderful man and simply didn’t want to cause any unnecessary stress to his friends and fans,” the statement says.

Many have posted remembrances of the Long Halloween artist since his death last week. At The Comics Journal, Joseph McCabe posts an in-depth obituary. Augie De Blieck looks back at several of Sale’s comics, including Batman: The Long Halloween. And artist Elsa Charretier shares a post on Substack titled “I wouldn’t be drawing comics if not for Tim Sale.”

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Quick Hits | Spider-Man joins the Comic-Con Museum Character Hall of Fame

Plus: News on Danica Novgorodoff, Lucy Knisley, ‘Gender Queer’ and more.

Events | The Comic-Con Museum has announced the latest character to be inducted into their Character Hall of Fame. Spider-Man will join Batman, Pac-Man and Wonder Woman. The induction ceremony will take place on July 20 during Comic-Con International. The museum will also host a Spider-Man exhibit, “Beyond Amazing,” starting on July 1, which will showcase art, costumes and interactive experiences featuring everyone’s favorite web-slinger.

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Quick Hits | Danica Novgorodoff receives the Yoto Kate Greenaway medal

Plus: ‘Duckman’ creator Everett Peck passes away, and news on ‘The Dark Knight Returns,’ Grant Morrison and more.

Awards | Danica Novgorodoff has received the Yoto Kate Greenaway medal — “the UK’s longest running and best-loved book awards for children and young people” — for her graphic novel adaptation of Jason Reynolds’ novel Long Way Down. According to the press release, it’s the first time since 1973 that a graphic novel has received the prize. The book features hundreds of “stunning” watercolors depicting the decision that 15-year-old Will must make when his brother is shot.

Long Way Down is a book that asks us to empathise with a character who is planning to harm another person, and endanger his own life, out of grief and revenge,” Novgorodoff said in a statement. “He’s in a complicated, difficult situation, and he needs to make a very hard decision. Through the illustrations, I wanted to show this emotional torment, to make his internal feelings come alive on the page. The book doesn’t preach, but it asks readers, ‘What do you feel, and what would you do?'”

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Quick Hits | Marvel signs with Penguin Random House for book distribution

Plus: news on ‘Berserk,’ CXC, ‘Lumberjackula’ and more.

Publishers | Marvel and Penguin Random House have announced an expansion to their current partnership — Penguin Random House will take over Marvel’s distribution into bookstores starting next April. Currently Penguin Random House distributes Marvel’s comics into direct market comic shops, which they’ve been doing since March of last year.

The agreement covers “Marvel’s newly published and backlist collected editions and graphic novels to bookstores and major retailers across the Book Market.” Marvel currently uses Hachette Book Group for its book channel distribution.

Manga | Hakusensha’s Young Animal editing department and Kouji Mori have announced plans to continue the manga Berserk after the death of Kentarou Miura last May. In a statement on the Hakusensha website, they said they planned to finish the current arc that was running in Young Animal magazine, with plans to follow it with a new arc. Mori and Miura were close friends, and in his statement Mori said Miura had revealed the whole story of Berserk to him.

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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 bee reported.

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Quick Hits | Comixology removes in-app purchases from Android app

Plus: People moves at AWA Studios and Image, Joshua Williamson, Al Madrigal and more.

Digital Comics | Similar to a move they made on iOS devices about eight years ago, Comixology has announced that they have removed the ability to purchase comics from their Android app. The email to users said that the change was made to “remain in compliance with updated Google Play Store policies,” which, as The Beat points out, are intended to close loopholes that allowed companies to sell items in their Android apps without paying fees to the Google Play Store. The move follows those made by two other Amazon entities, Audible and Kindle Books, earlier this year.

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Quick Hits | ‘Gender Queer’ remains at the center of Virginia controversy

The American Booksellers for Free Expression responds as politicians continue trying to ban ‘Gender Queer.’ Also: comiXology’s app is ‘annoying,’ the first graphic novel to win the Jhalak Prize and more.

Censorship | The American Booksellers for Free Expression “strongly condemns” a recent decision by a judge in Virginia that the graphic novel Gender Queer and the book A Court of Mist and Fury might be “obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors.” Two politicians in Virginia are attempting to restrict access to the book by minors not only in libraries, but also in bookstores like Barnes & Noble.

Activism | In Washington State, students at Walla Walla High School responded to attempts to ban certain books like Gender Queer from the school library by forming a Banned Book Club. There plan is to read one “banned” book per month, and a local bookstore is giving them a discount on the books they choose.

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