Stuff (& Possible Nonsense) #70
Our weekly roundup of all that’s interesting in comics….
The British Comic Awards has some good news and some bad news for us this year. The bad news first:
We are sad to announce that the full five categories of the British Comic Awards won’t be taking place this year due to a lack of funding and lack of time on behalf of Awards Manager, Adam Cadwell. It was a difficult decision to put the BCAs on hiatus this year but ultimately we’d rather reorganise and recruit more help for 2017 than run a hastily assembled and disappointing awards for 2016. Heartfelt apologies to all the creators and publishers who have produced amazing work this year who may have had their eye on a BCA.
So sadly, no BCAs this year. But understandable really. Having been involved in the early years of the BCAs I can tell you just how much work Adam had to put into them, all free of charge, meaning he wasn’t available to take on paying work. So good luck to him, and here’s hoping we’ll see the return of the BCAs for 2017.
Now, the good news… there will be a Young People’s Comic Award this year….
Entries are open for this year’s Young People’s Comic Award (YPCA), rewarding outstanding comics suitable for a young audience. The winner will be chosen by young people from dozens of reading groups across the country.
This award is run in association with the Thought Bubble Comic Arts Festival and Leeds Library and Information Service. The YPCA will be the only category of the British Comic Awards open this year. Whilst we couldn’t arrange the full BCAs this year (more on why later on) the team at Thought Bubble, Leeds Library and ourselves didn’t want the many, many young people who take part in the YPCA every year to go without their annual discovery of great new British comics.
More details at the BCA site. But be quick, submissions for the award are only open until 29th July.
From Paul Gravett: “The rise and rise of the graphic novel. Another landmark work getting serious recognition is Sonny Liew‘s The Art of Charlie Chan Hock Chye, just announced as winner of the Singapore Literature Prize 2016 for English Fiction. The US edition is out from Pantheon (with handy contextual notes at the back to brush up your Singapore history)“.
Owen Michael Johnson, that incredibly talented writer of Beast Wagon (amongst others) also happens to be the Direct Marketing Officer at Titan Comics. Or rather he was the Direct Marketing Officer at Titan Comics, as he’s leaving the post. So this means two things, good luck to Johnson in whatever he chooses to do next and also that there’s a job open for any of you interested! Apply here.
It’s that time of year when the comics world turns its focus on the enormous San Diego Comic Con – the con so famous it often is simply referred to as “Comic Con” and everyone know you mean San Diego. Of course huge swathes of publishers, the huge ones and the Indy publishers, will be there. Rebellion tell us they have Rob Williams, Jock and Lee Garbett signing in their booth (2806), as well as exclusive prints and more. The excellent Humanoids will be there too (booth 1632) and are bringing Jerry Frissen, Ladrönn, and Sylviane Corgiat and again will have some exclusive goodies only available from their booth at the con. In booth 1721 our chums from Fantagraphics will be holding court, and they too are bringing guests, including Daniel Clowes, Ed Luce and Trina Robbins and a number of Indy comics panels among other things.
Couple of interesting new title announcements from Dark Horse – first up they are translating Sybille Titeux and Amazing Ameziane’s graphic biography of the late Muhammad Ali, originally published in French and not seen in English before, telling the story of one of the most iconic sports and cultural icon of the 20th century, from his boyhood as Cassius Clay, a young and eager lad honing his boxing skills through to championship wins and his emergence as a civil rights figure under his new name. I’d imagine there will be a lot of interest in this, it’s the sort of title that will attract even those who don’t regularly read comics.
On a totally different tack from Dark Horse – but still just as welcome – new work from the frankly brilliant Jeff Lemire. I’ve loved Jeff’s work going right back to his Essex County tales from Top Shelf and I’m always happy to see more work from him. Working with David Rubin, Matt will be bringing us the first issue of Ether this autumn, which “follows the adventures of Boone Dias, a science-minded interdimensional explorer from Earth, as he tries to reconcile the existence of magic with his own scientific reality. Boone is a regular visitor to the Ether, a supernatural realm with magical residents. The Ether’s residents trust Boone to solve their toughest crimes by combining his background in science with the Ether’s magic.”
There’s a welcome return to the Embassy of Japan’s annual Manga Jiman competition, this year celebrating its tenth anniversary. Now something of an established landmark on the Brit comics calendar the competition has encouraged a lot of talent (including among young creators as there is a category for kids too). This year’s Manga Jiman has a theme of “Sights of Japan”, and as usual there are some wonderful prizes up for grabs and the chance to see your work celebrated in an exhibition. The closing date is October 24th, so get your thinking caps on! Check the website for the full entry details.
The Guardian profiles Egyptian comicker Ganzeer and his ongoing serialised webcomic series The Solar Grid. Following the authoritarian backlash which followed the promise of the Arab Spring the cartoonist has had to flee his native Egypt and the heavy-handed crackdown on any possible perceived dissent. The Solar Grid (being serialised for an absolute bargain price) does what a lot of the best science fiction does, it takes that SF setting and characters and explores the problems of today, from the corporate ravaging of the natural world to authoritarian power abuse. Snowden and other whistleblowers, to the bread and circuses (or outright deceptions) deployed to try and keep people from seeing the man behind the curtain pulling the levers, and in the Guardian piece he also relates elements of the story to his own life experiences. It makes for a fascinating idea with many connections to our present, very troubled world.
The excellent Bryan Lee O’Malley, creator of huge cult hit Scott Pilgrim and the enchanting Seconds, is working on a new trilogy, Worst World, each book projected to run to about 300 pages each. Set in modern-day Los Angeles the stories will feature twenty-something Aubrey and thirty-something Benny, being published by Ballantine Books in the US. (via Entertainment Weekly)
Drew Ford, who oversaw some excellent resurrections of long out of print comics material for Dover Publications, is now involved with a new imprint with IDW, It’s Alive. Focusing again on some classic but long out of print material, It’s Alive titles begin as Kickstarter projects, with the collective fundraiser being used to pay the creators an advance and to cover costs associated with rights and restoring the material for publication. Of course the backers on Kickstarter get first dibs with a special edition, then a few months later IDW publishes a general trade paperback edition of the material. The first book due off the blocks is Red Range: a Wild West Adventure by Joe Lansdale and Sam Glanzman (veteran comics artist Glanzman’s memoirs of life during the pacific war were published by Ford at Dover Publications, see here for our review), coming to Kickstarter backers around November, with an IDW edition due early January 2017. (via Publisher’s Weekly)