Quick Hits | ‘Gender Queer’ remains at the center of Virginia controversy

The American Booksellers for Free Expression responds as politicians continue trying to ban ‘Gender Queer.’ Also: comiXology’s app is ‘annoying,’ the first graphic novel to win the Jhalak Prize and more.

Censorship | The American Booksellers for Free Expression “strongly condemns” a recent decision by a judge in Virginia that the graphic novel Gender Queer and the book A Court of Mist and Fury might be “obscene for unrestricted viewing by minors.” Two politicians in Virginia are attempting to restrict access to the book by minors not only in libraries, but also in bookstores like Barnes & Noble.

Activism | In Washington State, students at Walla Walla High School responded to attempts to ban certain books like Gender Queer from the school library by forming a Banned Book Club. There plan is to read one “banned” book per month, and a local bookstore is giving them a discount on the books they choose.

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What Are You Reading? | A whole lotta Moon Knight

See what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately, from Noah Van Sciver, Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, Si Spurrier and more.

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our look at what the Smash Pages crew has been checking off their “to read” list lately. Today’s reviews include a whole lot of Moon Knight, plus Amazing Spider-Man, Brubaker and Phillips’ Reckless and much more.

Let us know what you’ve been reading lately in the comments or on social media.

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A tale of two Sleepers

A recent graphic novel published by Simon & Schuster is in the spotlight for using the same title as a DC/Wildstorm comic.

Variety is reporting that Warner Bros. is considering legal action against the creators of a recent graphic novel called Sleeper.

Jed Mercurio, the showrunner for a British TV show called Line of Duty, co-wrote Sleeper with Prasanna Puwanarajah, an actor he’s worked with before. Coke Navarro drew the project. The problem, of course, is that the title “Sleeper” is already taken — Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips used it back in the 2000s for a series about the Wildstorm hero Grifter that was published by DC Comics.

“Somehow no one in the entire comics industry had heard about this book of his until it was already at the printer,” Brubaker said about Mercurio’s graphic novel in his email newsletter. “Needless to say, WB owns the copyright and trademark to Sleeper as a series of graphic novels (and TV and film, I believe) and obviously they were more than concerned. So from what I understand there are a lot of legal things happening with them and the other publisher right now.”

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Brubaker + Phillips get ‘Reckless’ in December

The first of three original graphic novels from the ‘Criminal’ creators arrives this year, followed by the second next April.

Image Comics has announced the first of three new graphic novels from Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips, the creators of the critically acclaimed Criminal and Pulp.

Reckless stars Ethan Reckless, a private eye whose past as student radical comes back to bite him in 1980s Los Angeles.

Reckless comes from my love of pulp heroes and private eyes,” said Brubaker. “When I’m craving escapism, I pick up a Jack Reacher book… or a Lew Archer, or a Claire DeWitt, or a Travis McGee, or an Easy Rawlings, or a Parker… and I get taken away by these characters and their worlds.

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What Are You Reading? | ‘Pulp,’ ‘Amazing Spider-Man,’ ‘Hedra’ and more

See what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately.

Welcome to What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what the Smash Pages crew has been reading lately — including comics from the past, present and future.

Let us know what you read this week in the comments or on social media.

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Brubaker + Phillips prepare for next awards season with ‘Pulp’

The new graphic novel is due from Image Comics next May.

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have consistently turned out critically acclaimed, award-winning comics and graphic novels for what seems like decades now, from their work on Fatale and Criminal to this year’s big Eisner winner, My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies.

It looks like that trend could continue in 2020, as Image today announced Pulp, a new Western graphic novel by the duo.

“When Sean and I decided to do something completely new for our next original graphic novel, he planted the idea of a Western in my head… And I found myself drawn to the era where that genre first hit big—the pulp magazines and the Great Depression,” said Brubaker. “I thought about all these writers telling fictionalized versions of the vanishing days of the Wild West, as their own world was going through one of its darkest hours… And suddenly I realized I had the makings of a really great pulp story, but one set in the real world. A story that I really wanted to tell.”

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Smash Pages Q&A: Amanda Deibert

Deibert to adapt cult classic Lesbian mystery into graphic novel

Work for a Million is a cult classic novel by Eve Zaremba. The 1986 novel was one of a series of mysteries starring the openly lesbian private eye Helen Keremos. Bedside Press is running a kickstarter to reprint the novel and publish an original graphic novel adaptation written by Amanda Deibert and drawn by Selena Goulding.

Amanda Deibert has written a number of comics including Wonder Woman ’77 and Teen Titans Go!, she’s contributed to the anthologies Womanthology and Secret Loves of Geeks, and wrote the webcomic Hot Mess. As a TV and film writer she’s worked on OWN Tonight, 24 Hours of Reality, SyFy Presents Live from Comic-Con, Take Part Live, The Morning After, and other shows, and she was kind enough to take a few minutes to talk about the project.

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‘Criminal’ returns as a monthly series

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ award-winning series continues in January.

Since debuting in 2006, Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have created four separate volumes of Criminal through two publishers, multiple awards and countless glowing reviews. Now the duo returns in January with an ongoing Criminal title.

Criminal was where Sean and I really established our brand as a team, and while writing My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies (which takes place in the Criminal world), it just suddenly felt like the perfect time to bring it back to the monthly comic shelves. But this time I wanted it to be different—not just serialized graphic novels, but also single-issue stories and even the odd two-issue story sometimes,” said Brubaker. “I love the elasticity that Criminal allows me—because this world we’ve created gives me a place to tell any kind of crime story and to focus on different characters, both old and new—and I want to really embrace the monthly comics format, and try to create a series where readers will never know what’s coming next from issue to issue.”

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