Comics Lowdown | A look back at this weekend’s big comics events

Check out the news from both DC FanDome and NCS Fest, both of which had sessions you can still watch online.

This past weekend was filled with comics events of all shapes and sizes, from DC FanDome — which was about way more than comics, but they still had a strong presence — to the annual NCS Fest, which again went virtual and incorporated content from both the National Cartoonists Society and the Lakes International Comic Arts Festival in the UK.

In case you missed any of it, here’s the lowdown …

DC FanDome

This year’s FanDome was much shorter than last year’s, as DC opted for one day of livestreaming content rather than two. And it was better for it. The production was very tight, and I haven’t seen any issues raised about connection issues or the sorts of problems that can plague events like this.

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Ray Billingsley wins the Reuben Award

The creator of the comic strip ‘Curtis’ is the first African-American cartoonist to win the Reuben Award.

Ray Billingsley, creator of the long-running comic strip Curtis, has won the 2021 Reuben Award. He’s the first Black man to win the award since it was first established in the 1940s.

“This has been a huge step for me, and also a momentous step for the NCS because I’m the first Black guy to win the prestigious Reuben Award, and for that I’m very grateful,” Billingsley said in his acceptance speech. “This has been a very long journey, and I have literally lived my life on a deadline.”

Billingsley started his career drawing for KIDS Magazine when he was 12. After college and an internship with Disney, he went on to work on the nationally syndicated strip Lookin’ Fine, which ran from 1980 to 1982. He has also worked in animation, advertising and for various magazines and greeting card companies. Curtis launched in 1988 at King Feature Syndicate and is still published today. You can read it on the Comic Kingdom website.

You can watch the announcement of Billingsley’s win below, which includes his acceptance speech:

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Walt Simonson, Jared Cullum win 2021 NCS Divisional Awards

French cartoonist Boulet received the Sergio Aragones International Award for Excellence in Comic Art.

This weekend is NCS Fest, the annual event hosted by the National Cartoonists Society that includes, among other activities, the NCS Divisional Awards and the annual presentation of the Reuben Award.

This year’s event is being streamed online, and the NCS has interspersed some of the awards presentations throughout the stream. Yesterday Hellboy artist Duncan Fegredo presented the award for best comic book, which went to Walt Simonson’s Ragnarok: The Breaking of Helheim. The comic is published by IDW, which also publishes the other two nominees in the category, Usagi Yojimbo and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Jennika.

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