A Kickstarter campaign for the strips that serve as the precursor to ‘Bone’ will launch in October.
Prior to the release of Bone as a comic book — and it eventually becoming a worldwide phenomenon — Jeff Smith had a college comic strip called Thorn. It introduced several of the characters who would eventually evolve into the ones we know and love in the Bone series, including Thorn and Phone Bone. In fact, Smith would reference many of those early strips directly in the early issues of Bone.
Thorn has never been collected in its entirety, but that will change when Cartoon Books launches a Kickstarter later this year for Thorn: The Complete College Strips.
“Talking Jeff into this book wasn’t easy, but fans have been asking us for years,” said Cartoon Books Publisher Vijaya Iyer, Smith’s partner.
Also: news on Dina Norlund, Cartoonist Cooperative, the Minicomic Awards and more.
With the comic strip Dilbert being dropped by both newspapers and its distributor after its creator’s racist remarks on YouTube, many newspapers have a gap to fill on their comics page. The Washington Post will fill their Dilbert-sized hole with Heart of the City by Steenz, and Women Write About Comics caught up with the cartoonist at the Emerald City Comic Con to talk about the change.
“I think it’s a big deal because of two reasons,” Steenz told WWAC. “Reason number one is that I’m Black, and he hates Black people. [laughs] No, but it’s a nice way to just stick it to him, you know? But it’s also a big deal because we still rarely see a new influx of creators and syndicated comic strips, and I would like to see more of that. Obviously, legacy comics are there for a reason. Everyone’s going to want to keep reading Zits, everyone’s going to keep reading, you know, Jump Start, because those creators are still around and they want to keep making those comics. But I also want to see some new things. You should be able to get a newspaper and find someone new and not just have the old standards.”
In related news, the Associated Press spoke with several cartoonists about Scott Adams and his remarks, including Candorville creator Darin Bell, who is running a response to Adams in his comic strip this week.
“… we will never support any commentary rooted in discrimination or hate.”
Following a racist rant by Scott Adams on YouTube last week, comic strip publisher/syndicator Andrews McMeel Universal has said they will sever their relationship with the Dilbert creator. “The process of this termination will extend to all areas of our business with Adams and the Dilbert comic strip,” they said.
The statement, which was signed by both Chairman Hugh Andrews and CEO and President Andy Sareyan, said that while the company values free speech, “we will never support any commentary rooted in discrimination or hate.”
The 50-year-old strip ends its run with a look into the future.
Tom Batiuk ended 50 years of Funky Winkerbean today with a strip guest-drawn by former Superman and Fantastic Four writer/artist John Byrne.
Byrne, who not only has drawn the strip before but has also appeared as a character in it, actually drew the past five strips, as Batiuk wrapped up his story with another of his patented time jumps. This time he jumped to a future where a robot bookstore keeper sold two books to the granddaughter of “Nanna Summer” — Westview, by Summer Moore, and Lisa’s Story: The Other Shoe, written by Les Moore.
Family Circus, Macanuda, Broom Hilda and many more featured the Peanuts in their strips on Nov. 26.
Yesterday Charles Schulz, the legendary creator of Peanuts who passed away in 2000, would have turned 100 years old. And to celebrate this milestone, cartoonists and artists paid tribute to Schulz and his most famous creations in the panels of their own comic strips and on social media.
“Schulz is the only cartoonist ever to receive this honor—a fitting tribute for a man who devoted his entire life to cartooning,” The Schulz Museum posted.
Described as a “sci-fi/time travel romp,” the new strip has only had three installments thus far, but already has introduced a world overseen by a group called the Time Keepers.
“In the wake of what many call ‘The Great Schism,’ (though the remaining Keepers themselves refer to it as ‘The Giant Eff-Up’) the Keepers are all but gone, leaving the time stream vulnerable to an assault that could destroy the universe as we know it,” the description reads. “But one keeper survives – an aging human man named Kent Gordin, stranded in the 21st century. As the life he’s known falls apart, Gordin holds on to one sliver of hope – a child, an alien from a distant world, shunted to Earth to escape a militaristic, fascist regime that threatened to destroy her family.”
Last year was the best year ever for comic sales, according to a new report. Plus: News on Oni/Lion Forge, Substack, Zestworld, Henry Barajas, Kieron Gillen and more.
Comics sales | Milton Griepp of ICV2.com and John Jackson Miller of Comichron.com have released their annual assessment of the comics and graphic novel market for last year, noting that sales grew 62% in 2021 over the prior year in the U.S. and Canada to approximately $2.075 billion. They were also up 70% when compared to pre-pandemic 2019.
“Publishers made more selling comics content than in any year in the history of the business, even when adjusted for inflation,” Miller said of the 2021 estimates. “The biggest year in the modern era, 1993, saw sales of around $1.6 billion in 2021 dollars — and the pricier product mix puts 2021 ahead of what the colossal circulations of the early 1950s brought in, also adjusted for inflation.”
The National Cartoonist Society has announced the nominees for the 2021 Cartoonist of the Year, commonly known as The Reuben Award, as well as the many divisional awards they give out each year.
Keith Knight, Edward Sorel, Bill Griffith, Hilary B. Price and Mark Tatulli are all up for the Reuben the year, with several of them being nominated in years past. Last year Curtis creator Ray Billingsley won the award.
The divisional awards cover everything from comics and graphic novels to comic strips, editorial cartoons and even greeting cards. They also nominate the cartoonist or artist, vs. the work or the entire creative team. I’ve included the nominations that are relevant to the world of comics below, but you can see the full list on the NCS website.
The National Cartoonist Society has trickled out the nominees for this year’s Reuben Award and the accompanying NCS Divisional Awards over the last few months, as they prepare for the big awards ceremony in October.
The divisional awards include categories that cover comic books, webcomics, political cartoons and more. I’ve included the nominations that are relevant to the world of comics, but you can find the complete nominations lists here and here.
Plus: Lost Charles Schulz comics emerge, new graphic novel from Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford, and more!
The New York Times profiles cartoonist Corinne Rey, who was working in the offices of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on January 7, 2015, the day that two masked gunmen massacred the staff; Rey, who uses the pseudonym Coco, was just leaving the offices of Charlie Hebdo when two masked gunmen arrived and forced her to unlock the door. Her new graphic novel, To Draw Again, recently published in France, depicts that moment and its aftermath. Rey is now the resident cartoonist at the newspaper Libération, the first woman to hold that post.
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.
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: