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Results 1 - 25 of 64,108
1. Q & A with ... me

       In Punctum Vilis Kasims has a Q & A with ... me -- Pretī citai literatūrai (yes, it's in Latvian).

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2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland artifacts: [slideshow]

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is a children's story that has captivated the world since its publication in the 1860s. The book is celebrated each year on 4th July, which is also known as "Alice's Day", because this is the date that Charles Dodgson (known under the pen name of Lewis Carroll) took 10-year-old Alice Liddell and her sisters on a boating trip in Oxford, and told the story that later evolved into the book that is much-loved across the world.

The post Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland artifacts: [slideshow] appeared first on OUPblog.

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3. The history of American women [quiz]

Over the past several decades, few fields of American history have grown as dramatically as women’s history. Today, courses in women’s history are standard in most colleges and universities, and historians regularly produce scholarship on women and gender. In 1981, historian Gerda Lerner provocatively challenged, “always ask what did the women do while the men were doing what the textbook tells us was important."

The post The history of American women [quiz] appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Publishing in ... Nigeria

       In The Sun Solomon Ojehonmon writes at length about the dismal publishing situation in Nigeria, in Death of the last publishing house in Nigeria: Matters arising.
       While it seems premature to worry about every last publisher in Nigeria dying off -- indeed, there seem to be some promising efforts underway -- Ojehonmon's fundamental complaint, about a failed industry, rings true.
       He also argues that publishers themselves are to blame, because they bought into the concept of 'African Literature' and ignored the writers and stories of more obvious and immediate interest to a local readership (making this piece a nice companion-piece to Taiye Selasi's, mentioned above).
       He laments:

So our once popular fables on witchcraft, sorcery and other African myths went out of the window as well as African thrillers, mysteries, action adventures, science fictions and romances.

What we have, instead, are depressing books on politics, poverty, civil war, prostitution, adultery, disease, colonial era and slave trade. Nepotism, favoritism, accusations, counter-accusations, back-stabbings, lies and hatred now dominate the pages of our novels. I once submitted a book for consideration to an English publishing house. The editor replied that my novel is so un-African it cannot be accepted for publication, querying the absence of bloodshed, disease, noise, dirt, dust, poverty etc.
       While he goes overboard with some of his claims, it certainly can't hurt to nudge the powers that be -- publishers, especially -- to rethink some of their approaches. Of course other fundamental problems, especially of infrastructure (the printing and distribution/selling of books, in particular) also have to be addressed.

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5. City University London triumph at OUP BPP Moot 2015

Congratulations to City University's Charlotte Bellamy and Raphael Gray, who gave an exceptionally polished and professional performance and won the Oxford University Press (OUP) and BPP National Mooting Competition 2014-2015 on 25 June 2015. His Honour Judge Charles Gratwicke of Chelmsford Crown Court presided over the final and praised the hard work and depth of knowledge the students demonstrated. Indeed, it was the the closest final in years.

The post City University London triumph at OUP BPP Moot 2015 appeared first on OUPblog.

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6. What marriage (equality) means

Like many, I’m still digesting the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision—not just its text, but its personal and social significance. When I wrote Debating Same-Sex Marriage with Maggie Gallagher (Oxford University Press, 2012), only a handful of states permitted same-sex couples to marry. In the three years since, that handful grew to dozens; last Friday’s decision grows it to all 50. One striking thing about the decision itself is the importance of the definitional question: What is marriage?

One striking thing about the decision itself is the importance of the definitional question: What is marriage?

If the state prohibits same-sex couples from marrying, does it thereby interfere with their liberty, as the majority argues, or does it simply decline to grant them certain benefits? If the latter, is it treating them unequally—and thus violating the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment—by privileging certain citizens without sufficient reason for the distinction? The answer depends on what marriage is. If marriage by definition requires (at least) one man and one woman, then same-sex “marriage” is impossible by definition, and one does not treat people unfairly by denying them something impossible.

The post What marriage (equality) means appeared first on OUPblog.

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7. Happy Fourth of july!

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Image by Ward Sutton

Happy fourth to all! I’m taking it easy on the pre San Diego news to run errands, upgrade my laptop and do all those real world things I’ve been putting off, but the maelstrom of pre Comic-Con news starts again tomorrow! In the meantime have a safe and happy holiday from all of us here at The Beat.

6 Comments on Happy Fourth of july!, last added: 7/5/2015
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8. Thomas-Mann-Preis

       The (€25,000) Thomas-Mann-Preis has been around for ages (well, in one form or another -- it's actually apparently only been the 'Thomas-Mann-Preis' one year (2008) and is currently officially the: 'Thomas Mann Preis der Hansestadt Lübeck und der Bayerischen Akademie der Schönen Künste') and boasts an impressive set of previous winners.
       They did well again this year -- surprisingly selecting an author who doesn't write in German, Lars Gustafsson; see, for example, the report in Die Welt. New Directions published quite a few of his works -- fiction and poetry -- but seem to have given up on him; too bad, there's a lot still unavailable in English, and he really is very good.

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9. Marvel’s Black Panther: We Know Who Is Definitely Not Directing

By Victor Van Scoit

ava-duvernay-katrina

We may know Marvel’s movie slate well into 2018, but there’s still some unknowns when it comes to their directors. While fans are waiting for confirmation on exactly who those directors will be, any information to minimize rumors can help quell the frenzy. Sometimes it’s just as significant to know exactly who that director won’t be.

Ava DuVernay (Selma) confirmed in an interview with Essence today that she will not be directing Marvel’s Black Panther. Apparently Ava did meet with Marvel executives to discuss the opportunity, so there was merit to the earlier rumors of her directing the property to feature actor Chadwick Boseman (Get On Up).

“I’m not signing on to direct Black Panther,” she added. “I think I’ll just say we had different ideas about what the story would be. Marvel has a certain way of doing things and I think they’re fantastic and a lot of people love what they do. I loved that they reached out to me.”

“I loved meeting Chadwick and writers and all the Marvel execs,” said DuVernay. “In the end, it comes down to story and perspective. And we just didn’t see eye to eye. Better for me to realize that now than cite creative differences later.”

Seems like positive feelings on the part of Ava DuVernay regarding the experience. Kudos to her for peering far down the road and avoiding  a situation where Marvel needs to push their continuity agenda vs the director’s vision. That difference of ideas isn’t a new thing, what with Joss Whedon’s recent comments regarding Avengers: Age of Ultron, and directors exiting previous projects (Patty Jenkins on Thor 2, Edgar Wright on Ant-Man).  The MCU’s ever expanding continuity may end up creating more of these differences in vision, and influencing other directing prospects when it comes to not only Black Panther, but other MCU opportunities.

Abraham Riesman’s article over at Vulture, The Secret History of Ultimate Marvel, the Experiment That Changed Superheros Foreverprovides a little morsel that’s food for thought. Marvel’s Ultimate line of comics influenced the MCU we know today, but it had its own continuity issues as it grew in popularity.

If a new reader tried to digest an issue of an Ultimate comic in 2011, she’d run into the exact problem Ultimate Marvel was designed to combat: confusing continuity. Wait, why was Mr. Fantastic evil? What had happened four years ago in Ultimatum? Remind me how Dr. Doom died? As [Jonathan] Hickman put it: “I think maybe the lesson might be that continuity eventually swallows everything.” (Incidentally, now that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is 11 movies deep, this is becoming a concern for Marvel Studios. It remains to be seen how Marvel’s movie producers might learn from the pitfalls of the Ultimate world.)

As for Ava DuVernay she still wishes Marvel all the best. Let’s hope that Marvel is also able to get the best (director).

“I love the character of Black Panther, the nation of Wakanda and all that that could be visually. I wish them well and will be first in line to see it.”

 

2 Comments on Marvel’s Black Panther: We Know Who Is Definitely Not Directing, last added: 7/4/2015
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10. 'African' writing

       In The Guardian Taiye Selasi (author of Ghana Must Go) writes at some length, arguing that we should stop pigeonholing African writers (whereby she apparently means -- as almost always happens in discussions of 'African' writers and literature -- only Sub-Saharan Africa ...).
       A wide-ranging and interesting discussion, including some examples of the terrible domestic situations as far as any publishing and book-distribution/selling infrastructure goes:

I am often asked why Ghana Must Go, a story about a Ghanaian-Nigerian family, was not published in Ghana or Nigeria. The answer is: we tried. Ghana, where my parents live, has no credible local publisher. To launch the novel in Accra, as I was determined to do, we had to go it alone. After an attempt to form a partnership with a bookshop failed (not wanting to pay the customs fees, they abandoned the shipment of books at the port), we organised two public events. After the book sold out, my mother ordered more directly from Penguin and sold them from her clinic.

I know of what Nwaubani speaks when she writes: "Any Nigerian in Anchorage who so wishes can acquire my novel. But here in my country [my] book is available only at a few bookstores."
       The identity-politics/issues are, of course, more complicated -- and hardly limited to 'African' authors: writers from all regions of the world face many of the same questions and similar criticism.
       As she argues, however:
We need more stories about more subjects, more readers in more countries. Not fewer.

It is precisely because there are so few novels by African writers in global circulation that we ask those novels to do too much. No one novelist can bear the burden of representing a continent and no one novel should have to.
       And I'd certainly agree that:
African books for global eyes must be written by a broader range of Africans, including those writing in non-European languages.
       One marvelous resource to find at least some more names is the African Books Collective, which distributes books by many African publishers (currently 149), making them fairly easily obtainable anywhere (and offering titles you won't find at your local Barnes & Noble).
       See also the index of African literature under review at the complete review.

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11. Alice down the microscope

Tomorrow Oxford will celebrate Alice’s Day, with mass lobster quadrilles, artwork and performances, croquet, talks, and teapot cocktails, and exhibitions of photographic and scientific equipment. The diverse ways in which Alice and her wonderland are remembered and recast reveal how both heroine and story continue to speak to many different kinds of audience, 150 years since Lewis Carroll’s book was first published.

The post Alice down the microscope appeared first on OUPblog.

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12. Airboy #2 criticized by GLAAD for transphobic storyline

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When creators James Robinson and Greg Hinkle showed me a copy of the first issue of Airboy back at NYCC last year, my jaw dropped. A fourth-wall breaking 8 1/2 storyline about two creators bringing back a Golden Age hero while engaging in all sorts of drug taking, alcohol abusing and balls-out (and shown) sexual experimentation…yep something to cause comment. While the first issue got some buzz going, the second issue, which went on sale this week, has unfortunately ignited a firestorm over a storyline that many have condemned as transphobic.

In the issue, Robinson and Hinkle (who are the stars of the comic) are out on a bender and take Airboy to a bar populated by many trans women. Robinson’s character uses the t-word many times, and then Robinson and Airboy go into bathroom stalls for oral sex with the trans women. Robinson has no regrets for drunken bathroom sex, but the old timey, naive Airboy is angered and confused when he finds out that that lady was no lady.

If this all sounds like typical bro-comedy…it is. And it’s also old and tired. And gross and possibly dangerous. Emma Houxbois was the first to criticize the storyline at the LGBTQ site The Rainbow Hub and was the first of many to call out the disconnect between Image’s rainbow twitter icon and ongoing public call for diversity and this transphobic storyline:

I mean, really. Image Comics has a rainbow background on their Twitter account right now. The day before they’re set to release a comic where one of their writers himself is drawn mercilessly and repeatedly using a transmisogynist slur, degrading trans women by portraying us both as sex objects and a carnival sideshow to be gawked at, and then topping it off by completely ungendering us. To what end? To use us as a symbol of the fall of western civilization to drive Airboy into a furious rage? To give Robinson the world weary asshole street cred he’s so desperate to peddle as an excuse for not having anything interesting to say? There’s no voice, no agency, no humanity to any of the trans women in this comic. Just an open mouth to fuck or a penis to gawk at. Robinson and Hinkle have clearly proven themselves to be worth about as much of my time as a pair of used condoms floating in a toilet. It’s a distraction to target and shame hacks like them who stoop to this level for a cheap thrill


The outrage spread from there. If your’e telling yourself this is just another tempest in a teapot, I think (the much missedfrom these pages) Laura Sneddon has a must read post that addresses many of the defenses of the issue, starting with the one that Robinson and Hinkle are portrayed in anything but a favorable light in the book:

First up, the characters of James and Greg are portrayed as complete assholes. A pair of idiots who stumble from one drug to the next with their dicks hanging out, literally.

In many works of fiction, asshole characters requires asshole behaviour. But in the case of Airboy this is not merely asshole behaviour, instead it is harmful behaviour. Trans folk are one of the most oppressed communities in our society today – and not only do they have to deal with hateful behaviour from cis people, but also from their LGB allies.

Not only do they have to deal with hate but the very real threat of violence and murder. I made the error of thinking that asshole characters excuse asshole behaviour and but that simply does not apply to transmisogynistic slurs/tropes. I  apologise for my wilful idiocy, and thank those that called me out. I don’t ever want to recommend something hurtful! Comics that hurt people, that perpetuate damaging tropes, should not be acceptable in this day and age. Thinking that it’s part of the characterisation or context presumes that everyone reading the comic is cis or that folk who are reminded of the fear they feel daily should just get over it. That slur is still all too commonly used (recently by John Barrowman for example) and nobody should have to deal with that in a comic.


If you have any doubts that this story is truly offensive and dangerous, even GLAAD took time to explain why and denounce it:

This trope is particularly dangerous, as trans women are often violently assaulted by men who feel they’ve been “deceived.” In the past six months, nine transgender women have been murdered in the United States.

Robinson’s previous work on Starman and Earth 2 has included multi-dimensional gay male characters. In fact, both received GLAAD Media Award nominations for Outstanding Comic Book. Not to mention that Image Comics is currently publishing at least two books with interesting trans characters: Wicked + Divine by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie, and Trees by Warren Ellis and Jason Howard.

It is disappointing that Robinson would create such a transphobic scene when he’s been an ally on gay issues. And even more disappointing that Image Comics would damage its own reputation for publishing strong trans characters by allowing this scene to appear in this issue.

“It’s shocking in 2015 that a publisher would allow this type of transphobic scene to be associated with its brand,” said Nick Adams, GLAAD’s Director of Programs, Transgender Media. “Robinson and Hinkle repeat the outdated, stereotypical attitudes toward transgender women that the rest of America is quickly leaving behind.”


The Mary Sue has TWO articles about Airboy up, including one by trans writer Marcy Cook that explains why this is dangerous:

Defending this comic as cool or a great story is an act of willful blindness, the constant abuse that trans people receive from media and from society is killing us. With a 41% suicide rate this is the literal truth. I’m sick of being a punching bag, of having to explain why things are bad all the time, of trotting out that suicide statistic. And I’m utterly sick of cisgender guys saying ‘Oh this isn’t bad, I don’t see what the fuss is about.’ You can go to Twitter now and see leading comic creators saying exactly that. This lack of empathy and an attitude of ‘I’m alright so you should be’ is wrong. It’s really sad to see it coming from comic professionals.

And Nick Hanover at Loser City decries the tired nature of the tropes:

Removing quality from the equation altogether, is Airboy’s “boys will be boys” story something that is in danger of disappearing from culture? Judd Apatow’s empire of films by and for man children behaving badly doesn’t seem to be hurting for sales, and Two and a Half Men remains one of the most successful television series in history. You don’t have to look very hard to find works like Airboy, but you would have to look much harder to find a comic or, hell, a work in any medium that treats trans culture fairly.


I reached out to Robinson for comment and he has yet to reply, however, he is working on one:

MEANWHILE, the most radical reaction of all came from another Beat comrade, Brett Schenker, who organized an action at Graphic Policy called for the book to bepulled from the shelves because of the transphobic elements that reinforce prejudice:

This is not a call for censorship. James Robinson and Greg Hinkle have a right to create whatever they’d like, and we have as much of a right to show our disdain for that. Speech doesn’t mean protection from consequences. Image has the right to exercise their speech and pull the comic, and actually show they believe in the words and beliefs they claim they uphold.


The Rainbow Hub also tweeted about the dangers:

So that’s where we’re at right now. Do I believe that Airboy #2 presents a tired, unnecessary storyline? I sure do. The idea of the old out of touch guy who has sex with a trans woman and then freaks out is right out of the aging sitcom playbook. This may have been a storyline that people once thought was edgy, but we’re in the midst of a huge consciousness raising about trans people, gender fluidity, and in general the non binary nature of sexual roles. Greater social acceptance for trans people is definitely a civil rights movement that’s growing quickly.

And it comes in the face of very troubling statistics for both murder and suicide of trans women, especially women of color. I am very sad to say that I am personally acquainted with this terrible toll. So the “recall” of Airboy #2 could be something like a recall for a faulty airbag…ignorance can kill in this case.

All that said, as a baby boomer, my hackles go up at any call for the removal of public art. We don’t know if violent media causes violence, but the media does reinforce dangerous beliefs and prejudice and these ideas need to be identified and called out. I personally don’t think Airboy #2 is hate speech —it’s more planned self loathing than anything—and Robinson’s character is actually fond of the woman he had sex with:
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So there is a bit more nuance than the previous stories might indicate and suggest the intent was not as harmful as the execution….but, once again, this does not outweigh the unfortunate transphobic elements of the story and the dangerous nature of these tropes.

And you know what, most importantly of all, as a cis woman, my opinion on this doesn’t really matter. It’s not my call to make. And the people who do matter have spoken.

After the Graphic Policy piece went up, people on twitter were using the words boycott, pull and ban interchangeably. They all mean different things, peeps. I PERSONALLY don’t support censorship of non hate speech, but if people want to boycott this book or Image Comics, they should. And we should all promote more education about trans issues and more talking about the POSITIVE treatment of trans people in comics. And more being kind to each other in general.

I’ll update this post when Robinson’s statement is released.

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13. The Rape of Sukreni review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Balinese author Anak Agung Pandji Tisna's 1936 novel, The Rape of Sukreni, yet another in Lontar's Modern Library of Indonesia series.

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14. Philosopher of the month: Jacques Derrida

This July, the OUP Philosophy team will be honoring Jacques Derrida as their Philosopher of the Month. Jackie (Jacques) Élie Derrida (15 July 1930 – 9 October 2004) was a French philosopher born to an Algerian Jewish family in El-Biar, Algeria. Derrida is widely known as the founder of the Deconstructionist movement. At the age of 22, Derrida began studying philosophy in Paris at the École Normale Supérieure where phenomenology and Edmund Husserl were influential elements in his training.

The post Philosopher of the month: Jacques Derrida appeared first on OUPblog.

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15. SDCC ’15: Art of Comic-Con, Sergio Aragones, and Announcement from Mayor Faulconer

Covers of Souvenir Guides arranged into an artpiece

Covers of Souvenir Guides arranged into an artpiece

By Nick Eskey

It’s one week and counting until the geek fest known as San Diego Comic-Con, a celebration of popular culture in television, comics, movies, cartoons and more, begins. Once known as “San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con” which took place in the basement of U.S. Grant Hotel’s basement, the then three-day event has become the juggernaut that we all know today.

Goals and Ethics

Much of Comic-Con is self-contained within the convention center. In recent years however, festivities related and unrelated to the C.C.I. have spread outward into downtown. There will be many offsite parties and exhibits coinciding with everything.

The Art of Comic-Con is right now on display at the Downtown San Diego Library. Situated on the 9th floor, it encompasses artwork spanning the life of the convention. The room is a history of artistry that have either been used for Comic-Con, or featured in their accompanying souvenir guides. Upon entering the space, a collage of artwork used for the Comic-Con guides covers a wall and spills to the floor. As the convention grew, so did the scope of the guides. It gives a glimpse into how things have changed for the convention. Simpler artwork and font begin to evolve, becoming edgier and commanding attention.

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Logos throughout the years

The exhibit officially kicked off on June 20th with a reception featuring legendary cartoonist Sergio Aragones. In his usual fashion, he was more than willing to sign for autographs and pose for pictures.

Sergio Aragones, looking friendly as always

Sergio Aragones, looking friendly as always

Going clockwise, more art is displayed. A timeline shows how the logos changed through the years, featuring much of the whimsical toucan. Posters used for hyping big movies and shows that were coming out that particular year are on display, flanking the logo used for Comic-Con today made in Lego bricks. At the end of the opposite wall, a giant mural made in 2009 by Sergio himself to celebrate 40 years of the convention commands the space. And to the right of that, framed in glass is some of the original artwork used for the convention guides. One of my absolute favorites is Dave McKean’s rendition of Morpheus (“Sandman”) used for 2013.

Dave McKean's Sandman cover for 2013's Souvenir Book

Dave McKean’s Sandman cover for 2013’s Souvenir Book

In the center of the room however is probably the most exciting stuff. In class cabinets, over 60 artists are featured; the likes of Sergio Aragones, William Rotsler, Joyce Farmer, and more have their work on display. Work celebrating the rise and existence of Comic-Con. After all, San Diego Comic-Con came into being with the purpose of celebrating the artistry of those that entertain us with their work.

Art of Comic-Con

Looking at glass

Artists on display

Yesterday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer used this room as a platform for an announcement. He stated that Comic-Con’s stay has been extended into 2018. Not only that, the mayor assured that there are plans to expand the convention center.
It only makes sense that he’ll do what he can to keep the convention here. It brings millions of direct and indirect money to the city, and with the possibility that the Chargers football team will be relocating, we want to keep it here even more.

Art on display

Next week as many will be engaged at the convention, we should all keep our ears peeled. It’ll be very likely that the details of Comic-Con’s future and the conventions development will be talked about more in depth. When it comes down to it though, it’s not the money or the tourism that we care about, is it? As fans of various genres, we want to keep the convention here so we may continue to celebrate our love of geekdom as one community.

So if you have the time, I highly encourage you to check out The Art of Comic-Con, if at least to remind yourself what it’s all really about.

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0 Comments on SDCC ’15: Art of Comic-Con, Sergio Aragones, and Announcement from Mayor Faulconer as of 7/3/2015 12:26:00 PM
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16. James Robinson releases statement on Airboy #2 to GLAAD

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As anticipated, writer James Robinson has made a statement to GLAAD  about the controversy over the issue of Airboy #2, which we reported on earlier today. And as also expected, he knows that he fucked up.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this affects reprint volumes of AIRBOY. When Batgirl has a similar controversy, the trade reprint was changed to reflect a more enlightened view.

Here’s Robinson’s statement:

 

I thought long and hard before writing this response, with the time it’s taken me to do so I fear having been misinterpreted as indifference on my part to the ire this sequence has caused for some.  Often public figures just issue a quick apology, a snippet of contrition, in the hope that the light of scorn will then shine away from them.  But those apologies often feel inauthentic or meaningless, and I didn’t want to do that.

It was with much regret that I learned how I had angered and offended members of the transgender community with a sequence I wrote in the second issue of the Airboy mini-series I am currently doing.  As anyone who has read the first issue will know, this series is a semi-autobiographical piece of meta-fiction that shows me at a self-destructive and unhappy time in my life before I sobered up and entered a better place in both my work and the world as a whole.  To illustrate this, I portray myself and my artist Greg Hinkle as two blithe idiots pin-balling through a succession of stupid and self-destructive actions, doing and saying stupid and thoughtless things.  I intentionally portray myself in the worst light possible and as the worst kind of person.

Stepping outside of myself and the work, I can see how, while my intention when writing the scene was never to defame or harm the trans community, I did indeed fuck up and for that I sincerely apologize.

In my intention to create an ugly version of me and my world, I have inadvertently hurt and demeaned a community that the real non-fictionalized version of myself truly respects and admires.

It’s a sad and terrible fact that the transgender community is one that is often misunderstood and mocked.  And that honestly, truly, breaks my heart.  It is a beautiful community full of shining souls, which in a different work on a different day I would proudly show in all its variety and wonder.  Honestly, that is the truth.  Anyone who actually knows me, knows my feelings on such matters, and anyone who doesn’t will just have to take my word for it.

And yet here I am, in my eagerness to create a scenario that mocks my own moral worthlessness, I do no better than the worst kind of person, blindly marking the transgender community with the same sullying brush I chose to paint myself — instead of giving it the dignity and respect it deserves and is so very often denied.

This is a work of deliberately ugly satirical fiction.  One part of me believes a creator has the right to tell the story he feels the need to tell.  There’s a part of me that feels that it’s acceptable for a work of fiction to hurt or offend.  That at the very least the work elicits feelings.

Then there’s the other part of me — the major part, I might add — that is truly saddened that the transgender community, comprising men and women who carry the burden of an ever-hostile society, should have me adding to their load.

There is minor solace — very minor — in the fact that I note the discourse I’m seeing on-line about this, is at least allowing an exchange of views that I think is open, healthy and ultimately a good thing. I hope comic book fans and creators will think more critically about the way trans characters are portrayed.

I consider myself an ally to the LGBT community and I promise to work harder in the future to ensure that any trans stories or characters in my work are portrayed in a thoughtful and accepting way.

I know this response won’t satisfy everyone, but it comes from the heart.  I love all people.  I wanted this statement to convey my complete feelings on the matter.

 

15 Comments on James Robinson releases statement on Airboy #2 to GLAAD, last added: 7/5/2015
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17. Quintessentially American ?

       A fun exercise at the Literary Hub, where:

In a deeply unscientific survey of nearly 50 writers, editors, publishers, critics, and translators, representing 30 countries, we asked them to name three quintessentially American books, and tell us about their choices.
       The results are up at Quintessential American Fiction, According to the Rest of the World.
       Quite an interesting group of people they asked, and while there's lots of predictable stuff there are some interesting choices, too. Always interesting to see how foreigners see a national literature.

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18. The meanings behind the anthems of Fourth of July

On the Fourth of July, Americans will celebrate Independence Day at picnics, concerts, fireworks displays, and gatherings of many kinds, and they almost always sing. “America the Beautiful” will be popular, and so will “Our County, ’Tis of Thee” and of course the national anthem, “Star-Spangled Banner” (despite its notoriously unsingable tune). The words are so familiar that, really, no one pays attention to their meaning. But read them closely and be surprised how the lyrics describe the meaning of America in three very different ways.

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19. Image Announces Over TWENTY New Titles at Annual Expo— Kirkman, Albuquerque, Simone, Rucka, O’Malley & More!

It’s a good day for Image fans.

Today, the publisher took over the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco and announced a huge number of titles.  Reboots of old favorites, deluxe hardcover editions, and brand new series abound!  See below for the full list of announcements.


 

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INVINCIBLE: REBOOT

THE WALKING DEAD editor and Skybound Entertainment’s Editorial Director Sean Mackiewicz announced the forthcoming reboot of Kirkman’s long-running superhero series, INVINCIBLE.

In this new direction for INVINCIBLE, Mark suddenly finds himself without powers. Back home… but aware of everything he’s lived through. What does he change, who can he save… and how will he deal with his father now that he knows what’s coming?

The INVINCIBLE reboot will begin with issue #124 and is set to launch on October 21 and will retain the same creative team with THE WALKING DEAD writer Robert Kirkman and art by Ryan Ottley, Cliff Rathburn, and Jean-Francois Beaulieu.


 

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CODENAME BABOUSHKA: THE CONCLAVE OF DEATH

What if the sexy Russian Bond girl was actually the hero?

Written by Antony Johnston (THE FUSE, The Coldest City, Daredevil) with art by Shari Chankhamma (SHELTERED, The Sisters’ Luck), and letters by Simon Bowland, CODENAME BABOUSHKA is an action-packed modern pulp spy thriller. Full of high-stakes thrills in exotic locations, CODENAME BABOUSHKA follows a kick-ass female hero in the style of James Bond and Modesty Blaise!

Codename Baboushka has everything you’d expect from me: a kick-ass female hero, bags of tension, and deep, dark secrets that everyone’s trying to figure out,” said Johnston. “But it’s also way more high-octane than anything I’ve done before, with guns, fists, and explosions everywhere!”

The enigmatic Contessa is a wealthy socialite, the last heiress to a noble Russian line—and secretly a deadly assassin! Blackmailed by the US government to carry out dirty jobs even the CIA can’t sanction, she’s got nothing to lose… and everything to fight for!

CODENAME BABOUSHKA #1 hits this October 2015.


 

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CAMP MIDNIGHT

From Man of Action’s Steven T. Seagle and The New Yorker artist Jason Adam Katzenstein comes CAMP MIDNIGHT, an original 256-page graphic novel set to hit stores in early October 2015, just in time for Halloween reading.

Reluctant camper Skye is accidentally sent to the wrong camp for the summer. Not wanting to please her “step monster,” Skye is dead-set on not fitting in. Luckily, that won’t be a problem, as everyone at Camp Midnight—with the exception of fellow camper and fast-friend Mia—seems to be a full-fledged monster.

Camp Midnight is a brilliant graphic novel debut for cartoonist Jason Adam Katzenstein, and it’s the perfect book for readers who loved Raina Telgemeier’s Smile, but wished it had more bowls of gooey eyeballs during the dinner scenes,” said Seagle.

Can Skye keep her identity as a human secret until she catches the bus for home? Is all of this a figment of her overactive imagination? And what about Skye’s major crush on a boy who is far, really far, from her usual type? Find out in CAMP MIDNIGHT.


 

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BLUE MONDAY: THIEVES LIKE US

BLUE MONDAY: THIEVES LIKE US makes its triumphant return with an all-new series from Eisner and Harvey Award-nominated cartoonist Chynna Clugston Flores. Bleu, Clover, Victor, Alan, and the entire gang from Fresburger, California are back! Winter has thawed into spring, the whole world is thinking about sex, and it’s all Bleu’s fault! Or at least, it seems that way.

Maybe Bleu should just suck it up and try to get some experience in these matters so that she can finally woo her history teacher, Mr. Bishop, once and for all. What schemes will she cook up to achieve her outrageous goal? And what the heck is going on between Clover and Victor? And Alan and Erin?! Is that really a thing now? Find out in this new series of teenage calamities and catastrophes that’s repeatedly been likened to “Archie Comics on crack.”

BLUE MONDAY: GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS

For the first time ever, Chynna Clugston Flores’ entire original catalog of BLUE MONDAY comics are collected together in one, massive volume from Image Comics in BLUE MONDAY: GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS. Experience the Pepsi-fueled misadventures of Bleu L. Finnegan, comics’ favorite blue-haired, Buster Keaton-obsessed, Adam Ant-worshipping teenager from the very beginning.

GERMFREE ADOLESCENTS collects in order all of the previously-published miniseries and one-shot comics, along with all of the rare short stories of the critically-acclaimed comedy that has often been compared to the comics work of Rumiko Takahashi and the John Hughes/Molly Ringwald film collaborations of the 1980s. This collection also includes tons of behind-the-scenes material you won’t want to miss.


SCOOTER GIRL

Chynna Clugston Flores also announced an all-new series, SCOOTER GIRL, a love letter to southern California mod and scooter culture. SCOOTER GIRL is Chynna Clugston Flores’ screwball romantic comedy classic. Ashton Archer has it all. He’s the biggest man on his high school campus, he’s got a huge family fortune waiting for him, and his closet and garage are full of the coolest accoutrements available, from flashy suits to swank shoes to a slick Vespa scooter.

It appears that nothing can go wrong for this hard-hearted hottie—that is, until the confident and fashionable Margaret Sheldon motors by on her Lambretta. At that moment, Ashton’s life takes a turn for the worse. Everyone at school suddenly hates him, his father declares bankruptcy, and his scooter gets run over by a truck. Even high-tailing it out of town does him no good, because wherever he goes, Margaret follows. How can he get out of the black curse this woman has placed on his life? By getting her to fall in love with him, or else!

“I am extremely excited to be announcing that Blue Monday and Scooter Girl are back to print with Image Comics,” said Clugston Flores. “These series are near and dear to my heart, I’m hoping that not only new readers will embrace them, but that original fans will be pleased to see these sharp new collections as well as brand new Blue Monday material. There’s a lot in store, a lot of laughs, and a hell of a lot of fun to be had!”


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THROWAWAYS

Throwaway (n.):
Cold War slang for a deniable asset, a disposable assassin meant to die alongside their target.

1973. Project MK-ULTRA shuts down for good, its goal of creating brainwashed assassins and psychic spies unrealized. That’s the story the world believes for thirty years, until Dean Logan, son of a successful ULTRA test subject, narrowly escapes a team of enhanced operatives sent to kidnap him back into the fold. On the run—not just from the dirtiest secret the CIA ever funded—but his own out of control psychic abilities, Dean is saved by Abby Palmer, a former Army Ranger taken by ULTRA in Afghanistan and reprogrammed to be an unstoppable, disposable killer.

Except Abby survived her expiration date, and now she’s turned her deadly skillset toward one goal: destroying the ULTRA program and dragging its masterminds into the light. Teaming up to take them down, Dean and Abby quickly discover ULTRA’s leadership has gone rogue, and the program’s charismatic head doctor has her own plans—for Dean and Abby, for ULTRA, and for the United States itself.

Looking into a future of superpowered assassins, telepathic intelligence agents, and far-reaching, government-toppling conspiracies, THROWAWAYS written by Caitlin Kittredge with art by Steve Sanders is the spy thriller as you’ve never seen it before.


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SUNSET PARK

Something’s up in Sunset Park, and it ain’t just the rent. Are Brooklyn’s gentrifiers more than just economic vampires? A cartoonist draws a macabre story from a collection of notes, journals, movies and other ephemera he finds boxed, abandoned in the studio he’s recently rented along the latest frontline in gentrification’s relentless march over Brooklyn in SUNSET PARK.

Among the boxed items are what could be a copy of an old Warhol vampire film and what looks to be a journal belonging to Jean Michel Basquiat. SUNSET PARK is an all-new, limited series by Ron Wimberly coming from Image Comics.


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SLAVE PUNK

Ron Wimberly teased a second forthcoming project with Image Comics, SLAVE PUNK: WHITE COAL. SLAVE PUNK tells the story of how a genius slave defied the powerful King Cotton and ignited the Civil War in an attempt to end slavery.


CRY HAVOC

Image Comics announced CRY HAVOC, a new series written by Simon Spurrier (X-Men Legacy, Marvel Zombies, The Spire), with art by Ryan Kelly (Lucifer, Northlanders, Three), and featuring colors by Lee Loughridge and Matt Wilson, letters by Simon Bowland, and design by Emma Price. CRY HAVOC is a journey into war-torn Afghanistan in the company of monsters, a London street-musician savaged by a ghostly hound, and a terrified prisoner tangled in a folkloric insurrection.

“Beneath all its snark, fanged horror-beasts, deadly firefights and exploding billy-goats, Cry Havoc is the intimate tale of one woman struggling to keep her life from falling apart,” said Spurrier. “To depict it all I’ve been lucky enough to partner with Ryan, who’s genuinely one of the greatest storytellers our medium has—not to mention a next-level monster-wrangler. Add to that some narrative mold breaking by our roster of superstar colorists and Cry Havoc is snarling to be set loose.”

CRY HAVOC features three parallel and interwoven story threads in the life of Lou Canton: an extraordinary woman being consumed by chaos with three different colorists lending their artistic takes in order to define the separate phases of the story.

Best described as Jarhead via Pan’s Labyrinth, CRY HAVOC is a modern mix of myth, military, and monstrosity.


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BLACK MAGICK

Bestselling writer Greg Rucka and artist Nicola Scott team up to conjure an all-new ongoing series in BLACK MAGICK, set to launch just in time for Halloween.

“I’m calling it witch-noir, because it’s not quite crime and it’s not wholly about the supernatural, but the two are somehow dancing together,” said Rucka. “And with Nicola’s art, it’s turned into a beautiful dance, indeed. I’ve been waiting six years to share Rowan’s story with the world, waiting even longer to get to work with Nicola on something creator-owned. This is that chance, and we’re both seizing it!”

BLACK MAGICK follows Rowan Black, robbery/homicide detective in the city of Portsmouth, and the latest in a line of traditional witches who can trace their lineage—and memories—back to before the library of Alexandria burned. Rowan has carefully built a wall between her professional life and her faith, but now that barrier is cracking.

If magick is the power to impose one’s own will on reality, where does that leave the rest of us?


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CROSSWIND

CROSSWIND is the cutting edge story of a suave, sharp hitman from Chicago and a seemingly unremarkable housewife from Seattle, and how they accidentally end up switching lives. It’s a suspense fantasy full of sex, violence, and the blackest of humor. Written with sardonic wit by Gail Simone and stunningly realized by Cat Staggs, CROSSWIND will be one of the most talked about books of the year.

Simone assured fans: “This is the comic that might make Dr. Wertham come back from the dead to try to ban comics again.”


THE GODDAMNED

SOUTHERN BASTARDS writer Jason Aaron, artist R.M. Guerra of Scalped, and colorist Giulia Brusco turn their attention to… The Bible in THE GODDAMNED.

Before the great flood, the world is filled with violence and wickedness. In just a couple thousand years, humanity has gone from paradise to depravity and ruin. God is beginning to seriously regret having ever created man in the first place.

Welcome to the world of THE GODDAMNED, an all-new, ongoing series to launch from Image Comics in November 2015. Set just before the Biblical flood, in a world so out of control with violence and depravity, God is just about to pull the plug. “It’s part caveman adventure story, part stark and brutal western,” said Aaron. “And did I mention there are dinosaurs? Imagine if Quentin Tarantino was hired to direct the movie version of the book of Genesis. That’s pretty much what we’re aiming for.”


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THE OTHER SIDE: Deluxe Edition

Jason Aaron and Cameron Stewart also announced that a new, deluxe edition of THE OTHER SIDE would be coming to Image Comics.


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HEARTLESS

Legendary comics writer Warren Ellis teams up with artist Tula Lotay again for a modern folktale about love, revenge, and the deadly grip of the supernatural in, HEARTLESS.

A female musician returns to northern England, where her family owned a little cottage in the middle of a forest. She wrote her first album there, and she’s “going back to the countryside,” as musicians used to, to write her next one. But the forest doesn’t want her there. She’s returning to face her demons—one in particular—and put herself back together, but the forest remembers what she did, and the devil wants his due.

Ellis said of the new project: “I wrote this for Tula, and it’s full of all the stuff we love: the spooky stories, the landscape, the folklore, and the things that haunt us.”


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HUCK

Bestselling writer Mark Millar (Kingsman: The Secret Service, Kick-Ass, WANTED) will team up with artist Rafael Albuquerque (American Vampire) for an all-new project to be titled, HUCK.

Millar said of the project: “All the best old comics were about people you didn’t expect becoming empowered. Peter Parker wasn’t a classic hero. He was a lonely teenager. Matt Murdock was blind. Tony Stark had a heart condition. Doctor Donald Blake couldn’t walk without a stick. So we wanted to do something incredibly sweet about a small-town guy with learning difficulties who could do all these amazing things. He’s the purest, most decent character you’ve ever seen in a comic book. A big guy who just wants to help people and does it in secret so nobody even knows he even exists. It’s the ultimate feel good comic. A Frank Capra superhero story I guess about a small town and a close-knit community and an amazing guy they just all want to shelter from the outside world. He’s Captain America meets Forrest Gump. He’s just a nice guy in a very classic mould.

“Working with Rafael has been amazing. I’ve always been a fan, but you really only fully appreciate an artist when you see what he does with one of your scripts. I think this is one of the most beautifully drawn comics I’ve ever had my name on and it’s been such a pleasure. I finished the whole project in early summer and I’m starting the second arc soon. We’ve got three of these stories planned, each one six issues long, and we’re just having a good time. I think you stumble on something special every once in a while as a creator and my gut tells me we’ve got a project like that here.”


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PRIVATE EYE: The Deluxe Hardcover

Nominated for three Eisner Awards, PanelSyndicate.com’s digital comics sensation THE PRIVATE EYE by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin with colors by Muntsa Vincente is finally coming to print in a gorgeous deluxe hardcover edition. The book will hit stores this November 2015.

“Readers and retailers have been begging us for a physical version of this story ever since we first announced our hard-boiled parable about the future of privacy in America,” said Vaughan. “So when the time came, Marcos and I knew that we had to go with Image Comics, the most creator-friendly publisher of print comics ever.”

Set in an inevitable future where everyone has a secret identity, THE PRIVATE EYE is an eerily prescient sci-fi mystery about an unlicensed private investigator who stumbles onto the most important case of his life.


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SNOTGIRL

New York Times bestselling writer Bryan Lee O’Malley teams up with artist Leslie Hung, colorist Mickey Quinn, and letterer/designer Maré Odomo for SNOTGIRL, a dark comedy set in the world of fashion bloggers.

Snotgirl is funny and f*cked up,” O’Malley warned. “It’s full of fascinating characters you’ll love to hate. Leslie’s art is lush and beautiful.”

Lottie is a huge success—she’s blog famous! Her online persona is flawless and fun, but her real life is filled with woes. She has terrible allergies, she just got dumped, and her blogger friends don’t understand her. Things turn around when Lottie instantly clicks with Caroline, a new girl on the scene… but can she turn chemistry into friendship, or will she ruin everything?

Hung added: “This is my first ongoing series, so I’m really excited. Snotgirl is going to be the best comic ever, if we don’t die making it!”


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VIRGIL OGN

Betrayed, beaten, and banished by his own, an outed cop fights his way across Jamaica for revenge.

UNDERTOW and Midnighter writer Steve Orlando and Murder Book artist JD Faith present a brand new, “queersploitation” graphic novel on the streets of Jamaica in, VIRGIL, in stores this September 2015.

This is a Foxy Brown-style revenge action with a new face and new fists. Holding his gun and his badge, Virgil thought he was safe in the police force, hiding who he is. But when his own brothers on the force out him in the papers, it doesn’t bring him down. It sets him free!

Now, he’s out for revenge. And he’s not leaving town without his man, and some blood on his hands.

From the foreword: “Steve Orlando and J.D. Faith have taken the conventions of the revenge thriller, mixed them in with elements of queersploitation, and managed to deliver a graphic novel that is entertaining, relevant, and politicized.” —David Walker, writer of Shaft, Cyborg


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HADRIAN’S WALL

From the creative team behind the critically-acclaimed series C.O.W.L.—Kyle Higgins, Alec Siegel, and Rod Reis—comes a new psychological thriller in HADRIAN’S WALL, where the secrets of everyone involved are as dark as the space that surrounds them. The series is set to launch from Image Comics this November 2015.

In 1983, tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union culminated with nuclear detonations in New York City and Moscow. In the decades following, the two superpowers found peace through a partnership focused on building the first colony in space. But now, seventy years later, a new Cold War simmers… between Earth and that very Colony.

“With C.O.W.L., Image afforded us the tremendous opportunity to launch a creator-owned series focusing on dark, complex, morally ambiguous characters in a time of great change,” said Higgins. “We’re thrilled to continue that trend with Hadrian’s Wall, and even more thrilled to continue our partnership with Image.”

When a crewmember dies aboard one of Earth’s survey ships, HADRIAN’S WALL, investigator Simon Moore looks to determine whether foul play is involved. However, once on board, it doesn’t take Simon long to realize that few things are what they seem… including the identities of the crew and the real reason HADRIAN’S WALL is on the edges of Colony Space. With every crewmember a suspect, and tensions between Earth and the Colony mounting, the fate of both worlds may come down to one man and a ship.


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AXCEND

Creator and writer/artist Shane Davis alongside inker Michelle Delecki and colorist Morry Hollowell bring AXCEND to Image Comics this October 2015.

“In Axcend, teenager, Eric Morn’s life revolves around gaming,” said Davis. “He quickly finds himself locked against a vicious player only to realize the game, Axcend, has carried over into the real world with apocalyptic consequences.”

What happens when a video game decides to come to our reality to play? When there are no extra lives, and Armageddon looms on the horizon, when your life revolves around gaming like teenager Eric Morn, you Press Start.


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FASTER THAN LIGHT

Written and drawn by Brian Haberlin, Shadowline/Image Comics is pleased to introduce readers to an all-new, interactive storytelling experience in FASTER THAN LIGHT, launching this September 2015.

In the very near future we discover the secret of faster-than-light travel. Suddenly the universe is wide open to us, but are we ready for it? With all the idealism of the original Star Trek and the grit and immediacy of Gravity, the story of humanity’s first thrilling and terrifying adventures to the stars takes flight!

Every issue features Anomaly’s free cutting edge Augmented Reality app, which makes it look like interactive holograms are coming out of the book!


EXPIRED

Written by Jimmie Robinson (THE EMPTY) with art by Richard Pace, Shadowline/Image Comics also announced an all-new, five-issue supernatural crime series, EXPIRED.

In EXPIRED, a homeless war vet ends up helping a ghost who is connected to an old coin-operated parking meter. He can only see and communicate with her as long as he feeds the meter.  He has to solve the murder before the city replaces the meter with a modern version — and before the killer finds him, but who’s going to believe a homeless guy who looks like he’s talking to himself?


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THE ONE%

Critically-acclaimed writer/artist/director Kaare Kyle Andrews (Spider-Man: Reign, Iron Fist: The Living Weapon) targets THE ONE% with his very first creator-owned comic.

In THE ONE%, they own more than half the world, and Renato Jones is going to even the score… one percent at a time.

“Creator-owned comics have always been part of the plan,” said Andrews. “I can’t believe I’ve waited so long to make the leap. I am hungry, I am angry, and I am throwing everything I have into this series. A dark neo-noir tribute to focus all of my rage and revenge.”


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RINGSIDE

RINGSIDE is an ongoing drama written by Joe Keatinge (SHUTTER, TECH JACKET), with art by Nick Barber, colors by Simon Gough, and letters by Ariana Maher set around the world of professional wrestling and coming from Image Comics this November. The series explores the artistry of performers rotating as cogs in the corporate machinery of an industry built to sell myth to the masses.

“Ever since I was a kid I’ve been caught up in the mythology professional wrestling sells us, that these larger-than-life men and women are unstoppable titans locked in a never-ending, action-packed drama,” said Keatinge. “However, in time you learn that they’re just as human as anyone else, that they’re very much putting their lives on the line to entertain us, that they’re just as much part of a corporate machine built for profit as anyone else. Ringside‘s a book about taking apart that machine and seeing how the industry functions and the lives it affects from a rotating set of angles including the wrestlers themselves, the creatives they work with, the suits in charge and the fans cheering them all on.”

RINGSIDE starts with three perspectives: a retired veteran forced to fight his greatest battle in the real world, a rookie struggling to get his first shot and a writer frustrated over lack of control.

But they’re just the beginning.

The real violence is outside the ring.

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20. Five things to know about Al Qaeda and Bin Laden

Despite Bin Laden's death in 2011, the extremist group Al Qaeda has since survived and, some argue, continued to thrive. The effort and resources Bin Laden invested into Al Qaeda fortified its foundation, making it difficult, if not impossible, to disband or weaken the group after his death. But how did the terrorist group come to be what it is today?

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21. Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis

       They've started the 39th Tage der deutschsprachigen Literatur ('Days of German literature'), the annual festival around the Ingeborg-Bachmann-Preis, where authors read their texts out loud in competition (all broadcast on TV (and now, of course, also livestreamed)).
       They used to have good English-language information -- and even translations of the texts -- but they can't afford to do that any longer. Still, as you can see from the list of previous winners, a lot of soon-famous authors have passed this way: Wolfgang Hilbig, who you'll be hearing a lot more about this year, with the first English translations of his work (two books, no less) won in 1989, and other authors whose works have appeared in English in the past few years inculde Sibylle Lewitscharoff (1998), Inka Parei (2003), Uwe Tellkamp (2004), and Tilman Rammstedt (2008); 2011 winner Maja Haderlap's Angel of Oblivion is due out from Archipelago next year (see their publicity page).
       So probably worth paying some attention to.

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22. Sustainability If

Environmental sustainability includes an ‘if’. The ‘if’ is implied, but invariably left unstated. Sustainability means ‘ability to endure across time’. When used as a matter of physical limitation, no ‘if’ is implied or needed.

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23. First Batman: Arkham Knight DLC Detailed

WB Games have confirmed what will be the first piece of downloadable content for their blockbuster Batman: Arkham Knight. If you’ve already 100% completed the game and are hovering around aimlessly waiting to activate the Knightfall protocol, fret not; season pass holders will be able to play a prequel Batgirl story at no additional cost on July 14. Batgirl: A Matter of Family will be a story of the Barbra Gordon version of the character before the events of Arkham Asylum.

original

Taking place in a new location and just as with Arkham Knight’s story, parts of this prequel DLC will see Batgirl tandem brawl alongside Robin and include a new hacking mechanic. Don’t worry about getting a one-round sized DLC like the Harley Quinn launch pack; the Batgirl DLC will include several side quests.

If you want an idea of what the DLC’s story may be about then look no further than the main game itself. When inside the clock tower, and a few other parts of Gotham, several newspapers can be found with a headline that reads “Batgirl Saves Police Commissioner”.

It should also be noted the DLC is credited to WB Montreal and not Arkham Knight developer, Rocksteady. If you recall, WB Montreal were the studio behind the Arkham Origins game.

Season pass holders will be able to download the new pack for free on July 14. A week later on July 21 the content will be available as standalone for $6.99. Currently the only platforms listed are PS4 and Xbox One.

What Batgirl skins would you like to see in the game?

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24. DIY democracy: Festivals, parks, and fun

Wimbledon has started, the barbeques have been dusted off, the sun is shining, and all our newly elected MPs will soon be leaving Westminster for the summer recess. Domestic politics, to some extent, winds down for July and August but the nation never seems to collapse. Indeed, the summer months offer a quite different focus on, for example, a frenzy of festivals and picnics in the park. But could this more relaxed approach to life teach us something about how we ‘do’ politics? Is politics really taking place at festivals and in the parks? Can politics really be fun?

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25. TOLJA! Tokyopop is back with publishing plans

DIG055414-1-84058.jpg

As I noted a few weeks back, Tokyopop, the company that came in changed comics and then crashed and burned, suspending publication for the most part back in 2011, is coming back as announced on a panel at Anime Expo with plans to begin publishing again in 2016″ announced by founder Stu Levy.

The company is seeking to license “hidden gems that are not yet noticed” from small or independent publishers.

In addition, Tokyopop plans to publish art books and collectors editions, and will consider light novels.


The company’s once-ambitious media plans continue with 20 properties—including Knockouts and Riding Shotgun— in development and a series of vidoes on the Tokyopop YouTube channel. Other plans include an anime review series on YouTube, “Pop Comics” a sharing app for iOS and Android for community sharing of comics.

This move was met with a mix of curiosity and hostility online which you can see developing in this ANN comment thread. While some former fans hoped for Tokyopop to finish series that were left hanging in 2011, others recalled the past sins of the company and vowed never to give Levy another penny.

If you’re wondering about the sins—which I covered in detail over the years—a tweet from Darryl Ayo sums it up:

One of the more interesting things about Tokyopop’s new plans is that when users upload their own comics to the “Pop Comics” app “Users keep the copyright and 100% creative control of their uploaded works.” according to ANN. This was not always the case with Tokyopop, and much of the animus towards the company stems from their publishing history of signing up a lot of original creations by very young creators and refusing to give them the rights back, despite being long OOP (although the rights CAN be purchased back.) Among those creators: Brandon Graham, Becky Cloonan, Felipe Smith, Amy Reeder, Svetlana Chmakova, Rivkah la Fille….yeah kinda a pretty good lineup of people. Most of them don’t even like talking about their Tokyopop experiences any more but a few do:

You can read our past coverage of the company as it happened here. And Brigid Alverson has her own summation post right here. But I’d like to list a few contemporaneous accounts for those who want to revisit history via blog posts.

Tokyopop: Hey, dude, totally bad contract!
Tokyopop: the other side
Yet more on Tokyopop
Tokyopop letter to creators
Yet MORE Tokyopop stuff
Platinum and Tokyopop drama continues
Mystery solved: why would anyone sign that Tokyopop Manga Pilot Program contract?
Pavia updates Tokyopop
More on KING CITY’s move
Tokyopop follow-up: Is Stuart Levy the Charlie Sheen of comics?
Tokyopop updates: Who owns what
Must read: Chuck Austen’s advice to Tokyopop creators: ‘Move on’
Can creators really get their books back from Tokyopop?
Plus, Becky Cloonan on never being able to finish her East Coast Rising book.
The first blog post of 2011, or How Cannonball Joe Quelled the Suffocating Death

There’s lot more if you Google around (god people were so loose lipped back in the day! In this day of FB and Twitter no one says anything!). This is not to say that Tokyopop might not come back with a new resolve and a business plan that’s 2015-ready. But at the very least some acknowledgement of past mistakes and a pledge to do things differently would be a great way to get a fresh start.

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