Quick Hits | Medar de la Cruz wins the Pulitzer for the Illustrated Reporting and Commentary category

Plus: Cartoonist sue Google over AI, Civics for All Comics Group celebrates 2 million comics, Mark Evanier on who created Wolverine and more!

Medar de la Cruz has won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in the Illustrated Reporting and Commentary category. The Brooklyn-based illustrator won for the illustrated story “The Diary of a Rikers Island Library Worker,” which appeared in the New Yorker last May. De la Cruz is an artist who also works in New York City jails as a library assistant for the Brooklyn Public Library. Phones and cameras aren’t allowed inside Rikers Island, so his drawings are based on his memories of the prison.

The other finalists in the category this year included Claire Healy, Nicole Dungca and Ren Galeno for “Searching for Maura,” which appeared in the Washington Post; “Is My Toddler A Stochastic Parrot?” by Angie Wang, which appeared in the New Yorker; and Clay Bennett of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, for a “portfolio of deceptively gentle, mostly wordless cartoons full of juxtapositions that ably communicate complex, sophisticated messages.” You can see some of them here. Bennett also recently received a National Headliner Award, which recognizes journalism in a multitude of categories, in the Editorial Cartoon category.

This is the third year now where the Pulitzers have given awards in the Illustrated Reporting and Commentary category. It replaced the Editorial Cartoons category in 2022.

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Comics Lowdown: Cartoonists entitled to freedom of expression in India

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Legal: The high court in Madras, India, has ruled that political cartoonists are entitled to freedom of expression, stating that since it is their job to sway public opinion, often by making fun of public figures, they should not be vulnerable to lawsuits:

Upholding cartoonists’ unbridled freedom of expression, Justice Swaminathan stated that the “art of the cartoonist is often not reasoned or even-handed, but slashing and one-sided.”

He went on to quote extensively from US Supreme Court Justice William Rhenquist’s celebrated judgement in Hustler Magazine Inc v Falwell (1988): “The political cartoon is a weapon of attack, of scorn, ridicule and satire; it is least effective when it tries to pat some politician on the back. It is usually welcome as a bee sting, and it is always controversial in some quarters.”

The judge and several other commentators made numerous references to American cartoons, including the New Yorker cover depicting Donald Trump naked.

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Comics Lowdown: IDW adapts ‘The Force Awakens,’ Ringos slated for BCC

Plus: Jack Kirby and William Messner-Loebs to receive the Bill Finger Award, why millennials like webcomics and more.

IDW announced its all-ages Star Wars Adventures comic series a few months ago, but they sprang a surprise this week: In August, they will publish an 80-page graphic novel adaptation of the movie Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The graphic novel, which is also intended for younger readers, is part of Disney’s Journey to Star Wars: The Last Jedi publishing program, which is designed to gin up excitement for the eighth movie, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, which will be out in December. The writer of the adaptation is Alessandro Ferrari, and the art is provided by “a group of Disney artists intended to bridge the gap between Star Wars and traditional Disney animation, making it more attractive for younger audiences.” You’d think people with that sort of ability would merit an actual name credit, but I guess not. This same anonymous group has done other Star Wars graphic novel adaptations that were published by Disney Lucasfilm Press, and in fact, Bleeding Cool notes that this graphic novel was announced in an article about them almost a year ago. That means the big news is really the publisher—it looks like IDW, will launch Star Wars Adventures in September, is becoming the chief publisher of Star Wars comics for young readers.

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Comic industry pays tribute to David Bowie

News of David Bowie’s passing brought an outpouring of tributes from many who were creatively influenced and admire the pop future legend, including those in the comic industry. Bowie’s eccentric life attracted a diversity of comic industry pros who celebrated his life in their own way.

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