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.
Continue reading “Quick Hits | Graphic novels face scrutiny in Texas schools”
The two cartoonists talk about their latest project — a collection of comics, games, puzzles and more about being stranded on a desert island.
Jon Adams and Ellis Rosen are cartoonists and illustrators who separately have contributed to The New Yorker, MAD, McSweeney’s and many other outlets. Together they’ve teamed up to edit the new book Send Help!: A Collection of Marooned Cartoons.
More than just a collection of comics, it includes a forward by Emma Allen, an afterward by Bob Mankoff, along with biographies of people famously stranded on desert islands, games and puzzles, along with cartoons by artists familiar to comics readers including legends like Rob Chast and Mort Gerberg, and many others like Ivan Brunetti, Liza Donnelly, Liana Finck, Emily Flake, Matt Furie, S Gross, Pia Guerra and Ian Boothby, Miriam Latin, Peter Kuper, Terry LaBan, Hartley Lin, Michael Marlin, Hilary Price and Shannon Wheeler.
Adams and Rosen answered a few question about their hilarious and bizarre book, which is out now, and that after more than a year of pandemic lockdown feels very timely and very timeless.
Continue reading “Smash Pages Q&A: Jon Adams + Ellis Rosen on ‘Send Help!’”
Alex Dueben reflects on the career and legacy of Al Jaffee, ‘one of the great living cartoonists.’
Last week saw the release of MAD Magazine #14, a special issue which marked the retirement of Al Jaffee.
For a long time, Jaffee has been one of the great living cartoonists. He’s the recipient of many awards, including the Reuben Award and the Eisner Award. His career stretches back to 1942, and in that time, Jaffee has worked for Esquire and Playboy, and he was a longtime artist, writer and editor at Timely, where he worked on Patsy Walker and created comics like Ziggy Pig and Silly Seal. He contributed to Harvey Kurtzman’s acclaimed but short-lived publications Trump and Humbug. From 1957-1963, Jaffee made the syndicated strip Tall Tales, a collection of which was published by Abrams in 2008.
He is, however, best known as one of the people synonymous with MAD Magazine.
Continue reading “Al Jaffee’s MAD retirement”
Plus: News on Al Jaffe, Uncivilized Books, awards and more.
With police brutality once again in the public eye, many fans on social media have called out Disney/Marvel to put their litigious muscles to work and prevent cops from using the Punisher logo — a popular emblem with some members of law enforcement, despite the fact that Frank Castle is a criminal and a killer.
First, you can find some history of both the character and its popularity with police here. That piece’s writer, Brian Cronin, is not only a contributor to CBR, but also a lawyer, and he offers his thoughts on why he doesn’t think Disney would have much success in an article titled “There’s Not Much Marvel Can Do About Cops Using Punisher’s Logo.” Cronin writes:
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Can Disney stop cops from using the Punisher symbol?”
Marvel returns to comic shops this week, as some DC books are delayed.
Another week brings more comics back to comic shops, as this week Marvel will have new print comics in comic shops for the first time in weeks. A couple DC books, however, look like they’re delayed this week, including Flash and Aquaman. Stores getting their books from DC’s other distributors have been asked to not put them on sale yet, according to the report from Newsarama.
If you’re looking for some recommendations on what you should get, here are some thoughts from the Smash Pages crew. You can check the Comic List page to see what’s arriving in your local shop, and the comiXology new releases page for what’s available digitally.
Continue reading “Can’t Wait for Comics | Going ‘MAD’ on a ‘Rogue Planet’”
As MAD Magazine closes its doors, we flash back to 2013, when Peter Kuper had just taken over ‘Spy vs, Spy.’
The internet is reverberating this week with the sad news of the changes coming for MAD Magazine. I’m one of the mourners; when I was growing up, we always had MAD in the house, and I’m one of those people who got more pop culture knowledge from the movie and TV satires than from actual movies and TV.
When I saw the news, I remembered an interview I did with Peter Kuper and then MAD editor John Ficarra back in 2013, when Kuper took over the venerable Spy vs. Spy feature. As sometimes happens, the interview slid to the bottom of the pile and never got published. Until now.
Continue reading “MAD Memories: Talking ‘Spy vs. Spy’ with Peter Kuper & John Ficarra”
Mad will cease to be available on newsstands, with new material only available in the year-end specials.
After 67 years of publishing, MAD Magazine will cease to be available on newsstands, with new material only available in the year-end specials.
The last surviving title of the EC Comics line and the most culturally significant American satire magazine, MAD, will undergo a major transformation as newsstand distribution ceases. It will only be available to the direct market and subscribers, will reprint old content from their 67-year library and only create new material for the year-end specials.
Continue reading “MAD Magazine to stop newsstand distribution after 67 years”
After posting a controversial interview, Bleeding Cool gets a new editor in chief! Plus Steve Ellis, Alex Ross, MAD Magazine and more!
Comics writer and novelist Chuck Wendig says he has been fired from Marvel “because of the negativity and vulgarity that my tweets bring. Seriously, that’s what Mark [Paniccia], the editor said. It was too much politics, too much vulgarity, too much negativity on my part.” Wendig had just been announced as the writer of Shadow of Vader, with artist Greg Smallwood, and said he had another as-yet-unannounced Star Wars comic in the works.
In addition to various Star Wars comics, Wendig also wrote Star Wars: Aftermath, a novel that included LGBT characters and was one of the first books published after Lucasfilm ended the “expanded universe” Star Wars books. After it was published, Wendig said he received “TONS” of harassment online — “harassment that has gone on for years, harassment that has required me to contact local police and warn them of SWATting attempts, harassment across all corners of the Internet, here, FB, Reddit, YouTube. Some of it was bot stuff, obviously, or sock puppets, but some of it was pretty creepy, and very personal.”
This story has been reported on widely, with stories from Deadline, io9, the Verge, Vulture and more. Update: Wendig has a post answering many of the questions he’s received since he went public with this news.
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Chuck Wendig says Marvel fired him because of negative tweets”
Also: Moto Hagio returns to the Poe saga, Tini Howard and Gilbert Hernandez talk ‘Assassinistas,’ and Annie Koyama looks back at her first decade as a comics publisher
Someone has defaced a mural of the Malaysian cartoonist Zunar—but the artist who created the mural is OK with that. “I don’t see it as ruined but as a response, and it does not matter to me who is responding,” said Bibichun, the artist. “It’s in the public domain and it’s for members of the public to consume in their own way.” The mural depicted Zunar with his mouth covered by the flag of UMNO, the dominant political party of Malaysia (and therefore a frequent target of Zunar’s cartoon). Recently, an unknown man painted the flag black. “The piece was a response to the suppression of Zunar’s exhibition at the Penang Literary Festival last year,” said Bibichun. “I’m surprised it took Umno supporters such a long time to respond.” Zunar recently canceled a planned exhibit of his work out of concern that it, too, would be attacked.
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Artist OK with defacement of Zunar mural”
The former creative director for Bongo will assume the role as MAD moves to the west coast; current Executive Editor John Ficarra will stay on until the end of the year through the transition.
Just the other day we were wondering about the future of MAD Magazine, and today we know: Bill Morrison has been named incoming executive editor of the long-running humor magazine. Per the press release from DC Comics, longtime and current Executive Editor John Ficarra, along with other key members of the MAD team, will continue to publish the magazine from MAD’s New York offices through the year’s end.
Morrison will report to Hank Kanalz, SVP, Editorial Strategy & Administration and begin to take on the day-to-day operations of the magazine, hire and direct a MAD editorial and creative team for both MAD magazine and MAD books, as well as manage the development and implementation of the annual publishing schedule.
“Joining up with the crew at MAD is thrilling, exciting and an incredible responsibility,” said Morrison. “I don’t know anyone who loves and respects MAD as much as I do. I’ll definitely have my work cut out for me, but I’m dedicated to upholding the high standards of absurd and irreverent humor that the public has come to expect from MAD. I’ve been asked if I will continue to include artist Al Jaffee in the magazine; as soon as I find out who he is, I’ll let everyone know.”
Continue reading “Bill Morrison named executive editor of MAD Magazine”
Plus: New superhero universe Catalyst Prime, comics to fight fake news, Jillian Tamaki, Rico Renzi’s color palette, and more!
What’s up with MAD Magazine? Mark Evanier lays out a brief history of MAD, which has been part of DC Comics for a long time (it’s complicated!), and updates us on its current status, which is… not good. Like pretty much all print magazines, MAD has been struggling for a while, although Evanier thinks editor John Ficarra has been doing a bang-up job. When the rest of DC packed up and moved to Burbank, California, a while ago, the MAD staff stayed, but they are moving out of their New York office at the end of this year, and DC has not been forthcoming with any news about what will happen next, beyond the fact that the magazine is moving to Burbank and only one staffer, a production artist, will be going with it. The February 2018 issue will be the last one produced by the Usual Gang of Idiots. DC has not made any announcements about what happens next, but Evanier suggests following the blog of artist Tom Richmond, one of the most frequent contributors to the magazine, for updates.
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: The future of MAD Magazine”
Plus news and updates on Don Martin, Todd McFarlane, Tom Spurgeon and more.
Webcomics creator Sophie Labelle reported on Facebook yesterday that her webcomic about a transgender girl, Assigned Male, had been hacked and the page was down:
Continue reading “Comics Lowdown: Sophie Labelle’s webcomic hacked”