CXC plans some in-person events for 2021, announces the Tom Spurgeon Award

This year’s Cartoon Crossroads Columbus will be a hybrid event, with some events hosted online and some in-person.

Cartoon Crossroads Columbus has announced that this year they plan to return to hosting live crowds, as this year’s event, scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 3, will feature both in-person and online events.

Like most comics festivals and conventions, CXC went all virtual for its 2020 show due to the COVID-19 pandemic. CXC said some events this year will be online only, including the CXC Expo, and several of the in-person events will be broadcast online. They plan to follow the city of Columbus’s health guidelines and the recommendations of its programming sponsors when determining any necessary precautions. More details on programming and locations are forthcoming.

“Every Fall the art community in Columbus comes together for CXC, and once again we’ve put together an incredible guest list of creators,” said Bone creator Jeff Smith, CXC’s co-founder and artistic director. “Whether in person or online, we have events and activities planned for anyone who likes cartoons. Which is everyone!”

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Diamond announces date for Free Comic Book Day 2021

Mark your calendar for Aug. 14 and cross your fingers.

Diamond Comics Distributors has announced that Free Comic Book Day will return in 2021 on Aug. 14. While FCBD has traditionally been held in May in the past, the release notes that it’s being moved to August “in the hopes that much of the uncertainty and disruption related to COVID-19 will have passed.”

The 2021 event will be the 20th time local comic shops will host Free Comic Book Day. The idea was conceived by Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics & Other Cool Stuff in Concord, California.

“I am so happy to be making this announcement today and so proud of our work with retailers and vendors these last 20 years to bring more awareness to the comic books we all love,” said Steve Geppi, President, Chairman & CEO of Geppi Family Enterprises. “In the past two decades, fans have experienced some truly remarkable Free Comic Book Day events because of the commitment of our partners to create an incredible celebration of comics. It’s such an energizing day and we look forward to making our 20th anniversary celebration the best one yet!”

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DC splits ‘FanDome’ event in two

Much of the planned content has moved to Sept. 12.

DC’s upcoming FanDome virtual event will now take place over two separate days, the publisher announced.

The bigger panels for upcoming movies and other properties, which are billed as “Hall of Heroes” panels, will take place this Saturday as planned. They will encompass eight hours of content and include the Wonder Woman 1984 movie panel, the Jim Lee portfolio review and the video game announcement that Montreal Games has planned, among others. Each panel will be replayed three times during the 24-hour period.

All of the other content, which will be “100 hours of on-demand content,” will now take place Sept. 12.

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Free Comic Book Day postponed

The annual event will occur later in the summer.

Diamond Comic Distributors has announced that, due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Free Comic Book Day will be postponed “to a later date in the summer.” FCBD 2020 was originally scheduled for May 2.

“The severity and timing of the impact of the COVID-19 virus can’t be predicted with any certainty, but the safety of our retailer partners and comic book fans is too important to risk. As always, we appreciate your enthusiasm for and support of the comic industry’s best event and look forward to celebrating with you later in the Summer,” said Diamond Founder and CEO, Steve Geppi.

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Comics Lowdown: MoCCA postponed due to coronavirus

Plus: News about WonderCon, Jim Lee, Webtoon, Dark Horse and more!

Events: New York’s MoCCA Arts Festival, originally scheduled for April 4-5, is the latest event to be postponed due to the novel coronavirus, which has now been declared a pandemic.

“While New York is not officially calling for events of large gatherings to be canceled, many have been and we do not know what the next few weeks will entail. We recognize the amount of work and finances our exhibitors put into their tables and are trying to minimize the burden on them,” The Society of Illustrators, who puts on MoCCA every year, said in a statement.

They added, “In the meantime, we have made the decision to move forward and continue to judge the Awards of Excellence. In addition to the cash prize and Wacom tablets for Gold and Silver medalists, the Society will feature the award winners in an exhibition at the onsite Gallery we build at MoCCA Fest.”

A new date for the two-day festival has not been announced. It joins the Emerald City Comic Con, South by Southwest, E3, the London Book Fair and countless other events that have been impacted by COVID-19.

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Smash Pages Q&A: Sophie Labelle

The creator of ‘Assigned Male’ discusses the long-running webcomic, her upcoming tour and more.

Sophie Labelle has been making the webcomic Assigned Male for years online and in collections like Nice Gender! Did your mom pick it out for you? and Dating Tips for Trans and Queer Weirdos. Labelle described the comic as “a bunch of very sarcastic and sassy trans and queer teenagers.” Which is true.

The adventures of Ciel, Stephie, Frank, Eirikur and others are funny and relatable, but they’re also thoughtful and poignant. Labelle has been making three and four panel comics for so long that she clearly understands the rhythm and style of them, but doesn’t necessarily deliver a punchline at the end of every strip. Sometimes she wants to make a dramatic point, other times she wants she to shock us. There are strips that have punched me in the gut and there are strips that have made me laugh out loud in public.

Labelle is touring the United States this fall and she has a novel coming out next year, and we spoke recently over e-mail about the strip, how she works and community.

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Dispatches from the Graphic Medicine Conference: Day 1

Brigid Alverson reports from the scene of the 2018 Graphic Medicine Conference in Vermont, which is focused on graphic novels that describe the experience of illness and of being a patient.

I’m up in White River Junction, Vermont, home of the Center for Cartoon Studies and, for this weekend only, the Graphic Medicine Conference. Actually, the conference has two venues—it starts at CCS and moves to the Dartmouth medical school on Saturday.

Stephen Bissette giving the opening address at the Graphic Medicine Conference

The term “graphic medicine” may conjure up an image of a comic about healthy eating or the wonderful world of the circulatory system, but graphic medicine in this case has a more literary bent. It’s part of the field called medical humanities and focuses not on educational comics but on graphic novels that describe the experience of illness and of being a patient, embracing titles as disparate as Jennifer Hayden’s The Story Of My Tits, Ellen Forney’s Marbles and Roz Chast’s Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? (I wrote a short primer on the topic for School Library Journal recently.)

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Smash Pages Q&A: Gabe Fowler on Funhouse: An Interactive Book Fair

The proprietor of Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn discusses the upcoming event, scheduled for March 24-25.

Gabe Fowler is not a cartoonist, but he is a one of the people who makes the comics world run. He’s the proprietor of Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn, one of the great comic stores in New York, and which Fowler has made a hub of comics activity. He’s one of the organizers of Comic Arts Brooklyn, the annual comics show, and he also publishes Smoke Signal, a quarterly comics anthology, and published Resist!, the two comics edited by Francoise Mouly and Nadja Spiegelman last year.

Fowler is one of the organizers of Funhouse: An Interactive Book Fair, which will take place in Manhattan on March 24-25. The event isn’t just another comics show and isn’t quite a workshop, but rather something else, and I reached out to Fowler to ask about what the event will be and trying to make a different kind of show.

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Cullen Bunn teases ‘Metro,’ a new ‘very dark’ urban fantasy comic

Bunn joins Brian Quinn and Walt Flanagan on the new title, which will debut with a sneak preview at Comic-Con International.

Cullen Bunn, writer of X-Men Blue, The Sixth Gunn and Regression, among other titles, announced he is working on “a new comic book experience” called Metro with TV’s Brian Quinn (Impractical Jokers) and artist Walt Flanagan (Batman: The Widening Gyre).

Designer Anton Kromoff, inker Philip R. Williams Jr., colorist Wayne Jansen and letterer Marie Enger round out the creative team.

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Valiant hits the road with the Vans Warped Tour

The comics publisher will set up a booth at select stops, where attendees can buy merchandise and get a free comic.

This summer Valiant Entertainment is joining American Authors, Goldfinger, The Ataris, The Dickies, Bowling for Soup, Gwar, Eternal Boy and a host of other bands for the Vans Warped Tour, which kicks off June 16 in Seattle. In addition to using Valiant’s characters in its promotional pieces and merchandise (and its website) as part of its “super hero” theme, the Warped Tour will also include a Valiant Entertainment booth at several of its stops. And with the booth come merchandise and free comics.

Via press release, Valiant shared a look at the merch they’ll have at the show, including T-shirts, bandanas and stickers featuring their characters. In addition, they’ll offer an as-yet-unrevealed free comic for attendees, which will debut at the tour stops.

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