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Results 1 - 25 of 61,723
1. Literary prizes in ... India

       In The Hindu Jaya Bhattacharji Rose considers whether: 'Indian literary prizes set literary standards', in The prize is right ?
       Neat to hear, at least, that:

An award for a translated book has a simultaneous impact in two languages says Mini Krishnan, editor-translations, OUP. "A classic case is Bama's Karukku translated by Lakshmi Holmstrom. That Crossword Prize in 2001 changed Bama's life. I think there must be over 100 MPhils on the book and many Tamil Dalit works were picked up for translation in English after that. ... When a translation wins a prize, the sales of the original also picks up."
       (See the Oxford University Press publicity page for the recent second edition of Karukku, or get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.)
       Too bad, then, that there aren't more literary prizes in India that reward or even just consider translations -- disappointingly, The Hindu's own Literary Prize excludes them ..... Read the rest of this post

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2. Icelandic Booksellers' Prize 2014

       They actually announced the winners of the Icelandic Booksellers' Prize over a month ago but I missed that -- but they just handed out the prizes a few days ago -- see, for example, the Iceland Review report --, so that's good enough a reason and occasion to make note of them now.
       Öræfi, by Ófeigur Sigurðsson, took the novel prize; see the Forlagið publicity page.

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3. Carl Djerassi (1923-2015)

       Carl Djerassi has passed away; see, for example, The New York Times' obituary.
       Best-known for his impressive work as a scientist, he also tried to write fiction (and drama) dealing with a variety of scientific issues -- a different kind of science-fiction. I read quite a bit of it, and while little that he produced was really memorable, most of it was at least fairly entertaining and decently thought-provoking -- certainly good stuff for the scientifically interested kids.
       Check out, for example, The Bourbaki Gambit (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk) or Cantor's Dilemma (get your copy at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk).

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4. Universal Bureau of Copyrights review

       The most recent addition to the complete review is my review of Bertrand Laverdure's unusual little novel, Universal Bureau of Copyrights.

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5. Magic Underway at Universal Studios

The Harry Potter Celebration at the WIzarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando is well underway! Inside the Magic has uploaded many pictures from the events thus far, and conducted a small interview with Michael Gambon, James and Oliver Phelps, and Evanna Lynch. The pictures of the opening events can be seen here; Inside the Magic reports:

We had a chance to chat with the Potter foursome in a Q&A that followed that introduction, located inside Diagon Alley’s Leaky Cauldron restaurant. While Lynch and the Phelps twins have made many appearances at Universal Orlando throughout the construction of both sides of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, this was Gambon’s first return since the original opened in 2010 and his first visit to Diagon Alley. From his initial first impressions immediately after stepping inside the Leaky Cauldron to his hilarious take on why he won’t be riding Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts while he’s here, Gambon definitely was the highlight of the interview session. He noted that Dumbledore didn’t exactly spend a lot of time hanging around Diagon Alley, so it was unusual for him to be there. And, he added, without his beard and robe he doesn’t entirely resemble his character, but being at Universal makes him miss the ensemble, wishing he had it with him to dress up. But Evanna Lynch isn’t quite so happy this trip, as she said she recently went vegan and is now unable to enjoy the delicious Butterbeer ice cream. These film stars will appear in presentations and autograph sessions throughout the weekend event.

The Harry Potter Film twitter feed is regularly tweeting key moments throughout the events. Some answers from the Film Actors Q&A can be read on their twitter, here.

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6. Rose Byrne to reprise role of Moira MacTaggert for X-Men: Apocalypse

X Men07 1000x667 Rose Byrne to reprise role of Moira MacTaggert for X Men: Apocalypse

In an interview with EW, X-Men: Apocalypse writer Simon Kinberg confirmed Rose Bryne will be returning for the X-Men: First Class sequel to reprise her role as Moira MacTaggert.

“We ended First Class with Charles having wiped portions of her memory of her experience with the X-Men. They are, essentially, strangers to her when she meets them,” he told EW.

Byrne will join returning co-stars Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy. She will also join recently-introduced Oscar Isaac, who will be playing a central villain, and Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan and Alexandra Shipp, who will be playing younger versions of Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Storm, respectively.

The sequel is set in the 1980s, which means the time period will jump forward by about 20 years – Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are said not to be reprising their roles, and we’re guessing the rest of the cast will have just aged very gracefully?

X-Men: Apocalypse releases May 27, 2016

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7. Catching up with Sara Levine, Multimedia Producer

Another week, another great staff member to get to know. When you think of the world of publishing, the work of videos, podcasts, photography, and animated GIFs doesn’t immediately come to mind. But here at Oxford University Press we have Sara Levine, who joined the Social Media team as a Multimedia Producer just last year.

When did you start working at OUP?

I started working at OUP this past August, three months after completing my Master’s degree at Georgetown University’s Communication, Culture and Technology Program.

How did you get started in multimedia production?

I’ve been drawing comics and making short videos since I was a kid. My first big hit was in high school. I wrote, directed, filmed, and edited a parody of Wuthering Heights called “Withering Estates.” I played Heathcliff. No, it’s not on YouTube.

What is your typical day like at OUP?

My workdays at OUP vary depending on the projects that I’m currently working on. I’m usually filming, animating, drawing, recording audio, editing footage, or multi-tasking any of the above.

sara-as-heathcliff
“Sara as Heathcliff.” Drawing by Sara Levine.

What will you be doing once you’ve completed this Q&A?

After I complete this Q&A I’m going to continue making illustrations for an animated short I’m producing for the Oxford Dictionaries YouTube channel.

What gear or software are you obsessed with right now?

I learn something new about Adobe After Effects every time I use it. The unlimited amount of techniques and shortcuts in After Effects seems daunting at first, but I really enjoy exploring everything it can do.

What are you reading right now?

I just started reading Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. I have a bad habit of reading books too quickly (developed over years of tearing through Harry Potter books on their release dates), so I’m trying to pace myself with this one.

batwoman
“Batwoman.” Drawing by Sara Levine.

What’s your favorite book?

Instead of one favorite book, I’m going to list five of my favorite comics:

  • Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III
  • The Long Journey by Boulet
  • Pancakes by Kat Leyh
  • Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Which book-to-movie adaptation did you actually like?

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed teen movies that are modern adaptations of older works. Films like Clueless, She’s the Man, O, Easy A, and 10 Things I Hate About You are very clever and sometimes overlooked because of their target demographic.

sara-backpack
“Sara’s backpack.” Drawing by Sara Levine.

What is in your backpack right now?

A Maruman Mnemosyne sketchbook, a Wacom Intuos 2 tablet, Orlando, a manual for the Canon C100, a pencil case, a red umbrella, a disposable rain poncho, a pear, and a small bag of gluten-free pretzels.

Most obscure talent or hobby?

I’m not sure how obscure this is, but I played the French horn for about eight years. The experience gave me very powerful lungs and some great French horn jokes.

What do you do for fun?

I make more multimedia, of course! You can find my doodles, comics, .gifs, and videos under the handle “morphmaker” on Twitter, Tumblr, Vimeo, and Deviantart. I also run a podcast with my sister. It’s called Sara & Allison Talk TV. We discuss television shows and web series that feature central female characters and include elements of fantasy, action, and science fiction.

The post Catching up with Sara Levine, Multimedia Producer appeared first on OUPblog.

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8. College Arts Association 2015 Annual Meeting Conference Guide

The Oxford University Press staff is happy that the College Arts Association 2015 Annual Conference (11-14 February 2015) will be held in our backyard: New York City! So we gathered together to discuss what we’re interested in seeing at this year’s conference, as well as some suggestions for those visiting our city.

Alodie Larson, Editorial:
I look forward to CAA. I love having the opportunity to meet authors, see old friends, and get together with the outstanding group of scholars who make up the Editorial Board for Grove Art. The years that New York hosts CAA are low-key for me, as I don’t need to travel. 

I recommend heading to MoMA to hold meetings over coffee and snacks in their cafes. If you need a break from the din of the conference and/or architectural inspiration, slip over to Cram and Goodhue’s beautiful St. Thomas Church 5th Avenue for a moment of quiet reflection.

Joy Mizan, Marketing:
This will be my first time attending CAA with OUP. I’m excited to help set up our booth and display our latest books and online products in Art, but I’m really excited to meet our authors, board members, and academics to learn more about their interest in Art. (It’s always great to meet in person after only interacting over email or the phone.)

Need a place to eat? There’s a great food cart called Platters right outside the hotel, so I definitely suggest attendees try it out while in NYC. It opens at 7:00 p.m. though!

Sarah Pirovitz, Editorial:
I’m thrilled to be attending CAA this year as an acquiring editor for monographs and trade titles. I look forward to hearing about interesting new projects and connecting with scholars and friends in the field.

Mohamed Sesay, Marketing:
I’m delighted to attend my first CAA conference with Oxford University Press. This conference will be a great opportunity to meet authors in person, and to get to know some of our Art consumers.

If you’re looking for a great place to eat in New York City I suggest Landmarc in Columbus Circle. The restaurant has great food and it’s right next to Central Park.

Here are just a few of the sessions that caught our eyes:

  • The Trends in Art Book Publishing, on 10 February at 6:00 p.m. in the New York Public Library, Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium (Yes, we work in publishing!)
  • Original Copies: Art and the Practice of Copying, on 11 February at 9:30 a.m. in the Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Sutton Parlor South
  • Building a Multiracial American Past (Association for Critical Race Art History), on 11 February at 12:30 p.m. in the Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Sutton Parlor Center
  • Making Sense of Digital Images Workshop, on 11 February at 2:30 p.m.
  • CAA Convocation and Awards Presentation, including Dave Hickey’s Keynote Address, on 11 February at 5:30 p.m. in the Hilton New York, 3rd Floor, East Ballroom
  • Chelsea Gallery District Walking Tour, on 12 February at 12:00 p.m.
  • Presenting a Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for the Visual Arts (CAA Committee on Intellectual Property), on 13 February at 12:30 p.m.
  • New York 1880: Art, Architecture, and the Establishment of a Cultural Capital on 13 February at 2:30 p.m. in the Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Beekman Parlor
  • Art Lovers and Literaturewallahs: Communities of Image and Text in South and Southeast Asia (American Council for Southern Asian Art), on 14 February at 9:30 am in the Hilton New York, 3rd Floor, Rendezvous Trianon
  • The Encyclopedia of Aesthetics, 2nd Edition (Oxford University Press – that’s us!) on 14 February at 12:30 p.m. in the Hilton New York, 2nd Floor, Sutton Parlor Center

Of course, we hope to see you at Oxford University Press booth 1215. We’ll be offering the chance to:

  • Check out which books we’re featuring.
  • Browse and buy our new and bestselling titles on display at a 20% conference discount.
  • Get free trial access to our suite of online products.
  • Pick up sample copies of our latest art journals.
  • Enter our raffle for free OUP books.
  • Meet all of us!

And don’t forget to learn more about the conference on the official website, or follow along on social media with the #CAA2015 hashtag.

Featured Image: Reflection / Kolonihavehus by Tom Fruin and CoreAct @ DUMBO Arts Festival, Brooklyn Bridge Park, NYC by Axel Taferner. CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

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9. Essential considerations for leadership in policing (and beyond)

There are problems with defining the term ‘leadership’. Leadership often gets confused with the management function because, generally, managers are expected to exhibit some leadership qualities. In essence, leaders are instruments of change, responsible for laying plans both for the moment and for the medium and long-term futures. Managers are more concerned with executing plans on a daily basis, achieving objectives and producing results.

Top police leaders have a responsibility for deciding, implementing, monitoring, and completing the strategic plans necessary to meet the needs and demands of the public they serve. Their plans are then cascaded down through the police structure to those responsible for implementing them. Local commanders may also create their own plans to meet regional demands. The planner’s job is never finished: there is always a need to adapt and change existing measures to meet fresh circumstances.

Planning is a relatively mechanical process. However, the management of change is notoriously difficult. Some welcome change and the opportunities it brings; others do not because it upsets their equilibrium or places them at some perceived disadvantage. Mechanisms for promoting plans and dealing with concerns need to be put in place. Factual feedback and suggestions for improvement should be welcomed as they can greatly improve end results. When people contribute to plans they are more likely to support them because they have some ownership in them.

Those responsible for implementing top-level and local plans may do so conscientiously but arrangements rarely run smoothly and require the application of initiative and problem solving skills. Sergeants, inspectors, and other team leaders – and even constables acting alone – should be encouraged to help resolve difficulties as they arise. Further, change is ever present and can’t always be driven from the top. It’s important that police leaders and constables at operational and administrative levels should be stimulated to identify and bring about necessary changes – no matter how small – in their own spheres of operation, thus contributing to a vibrant leadership culture.

The application of first-class leadership skills is important: quality is greatly influenced by the styles leaders adopt and the ways in which they nurture individual talent. Leadership may not be the first thing recruits think of when joining the police. Nonetheless, constables are expected to show leadership on a daily basis in a variety of different, often testing situations.

“Leaders are instruments of change, responsible for laying plans both for the moment and for the medium and long-term futures.”

Reflecting on my own career, I was originally exposed to an autocratic, overbearing organisation where rank dominated. However, the force did become much more sophisticated in its outlook as time progressed. As a sergeant, inspector, and chief inspector, my style was a mixture of autocratic and democratic, with a natural leaning towards democratic. Later, in the superintendent rank, I fully embraced the laissez-faire style, making full use of all three approaches. For example, at one time when standards were declining in the workplace I was autocratic in demanding that they should be re-asserted. When desired standards were achieved, I adopted a democratic style to discuss the way forward with my colleagues. When all was going well again, I became laissez-faire, allowing individuals to operate with only a light touch. The option to change style was never lost but the laissez-faire approach produced the best ever results I had enjoyed in the police.

Although I used these three styles, the labels they carry are limiting and do not reveal the whole picture. Real-life approaches are more nuanced and more imaginative than rigidly applying a particular leadership formula. Sometimes more than one style can be used at the same time: it is possible to be autocratic with a person who requires close supervision and laissez-faire with someone who is conscientious and over-performing. Today, leadership style is centred upon diversity, taking into account the unique richness of talent that each individual has to offer.

Individual effort and team work are critical to the fulfillment of police plans. To value and get the best out of officers and support staff, leaders need to do three things. First, they must ensure that there is no place for discrimination of any form in the police service. Discrimination can stunt personal and corporate growth and cause demotivation and even sickness. Second, they should seek to balance the work to be done with each individual’s motivators. Dueling workplace requirements with personal needs is likely to encourage people to willingly give of their best. Motivators vary from person to person although there are many common factors including opportunities for more challenging work and increased responsibility. Finally, leaders must keep individual skills at the highest possible level, including satisfying the needs of people with leadership potential. Formal training is useful but perhaps even more effective is the creation of an on-the-job, incremental coaching programme and mentoring system.

Police leaders need to create plans and persuade those they lead to both adopt them and see them through to a satisfactory conclusion. If plans are to succeed, change must be sensitively managed and leaders at all levels should be encouraged to use their initiative in overcoming implementation problems. Outside of the planning process, those self-same leaders should deal with all manner of problems that beset them on a daily basis so as to create a vibrant leadership culture. Plans are more liable to succeed if officers and support staff feel motivated and maintain the necessary competence to complete tasks.

Headline image: Sir Robert Peel, by Ingy The Wingy. CC-BY-ND-2.0 via Flickr.

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10. TT Games Announce 2015 Lego Lineup Including Avengers

By Davey Nieves

Screen Shot 2015 01 30 at 11.30.31 PM 291x300 TT Games Announce 2015 Lego Lineup Including Avengers

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, TT Games and The LEGO Group announced Thursday their 2015 slate of LEGO videogames, including LEGO Jurassic World, LEGO Marvel’s Avengers, plus new handheld and mobile titles. Here’s the full rundown straight from Warner Bros Interactive.

The upcoming LEGO videogame titles are:

f4mrhlgajxtlgctoybrj 300x125 TT Games Announce 2015 Lego Lineup Including Avengers

LEGO Jurassic World™
Following the epic storylines of Jurassic Park, The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Jurassic Park III, as well as the highly anticipated Jurassic World, LEGO Jurassic World is the first videogame where players will be able to relive and experience all four Jurassic films. The game will be available in June for the Xbox One, all-in-one games and entertainment system, the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems, PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system, the Wii U™ system from Nintendo, Nintendo 3DS™ hand-held system, and Windows PC.

LEGO Marvel’s Avengers
Avengers Assemble! Experience the first console videogame featuring characters and storylines from the blockbuster film Marvel’s The Avengers and the much anticipated sequel Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, and more. Play as the most powerful Super Heroes in their quest to save humanity. The game will be available in fall 2015 for the Xbox One, all-in-one games and entertainment system, the Xbox 360 games and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation®4 and PlayStation®3 computer entertainment systems, PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system, the Wii U system from Nintendo, Nintendo 3DS hand-held system, and Windows PC.

LEGO Ninjago™: Shadow of Ronin™
The popular LEGO Ninjago franchise gets its most expansive adventure to date in LEGO Ninjago: Shadow of Ronin. The latest LEGO handheld game delivers an untold story of the LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu TV show. Using their Spinjitzu abilities, players can unleash their Ninja’s elemental power to smash their way through enemies and solve puzzles. Developed by TT Fusion, a subsidiary of TT Games, the game comes to the Nintendo 3DS handheld system and the PlayStation®Vita handheld entertainment system on March 24, 2015.

The LEGO Movie Videogame
The LEGO Movie Videogame for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch follows Emmet, an average, rule-following citizen, who is mistakenly identified as the key to saving the world. In the game, players guide Emmet as he is drafted into a fellowship of strangers on an epic quest to stop an evil tyrant, a journey for which Emmet is hopelessly and hilariously underprepared. With a delightful mix of over 90 characters from the feature film, including Batman, Superman and the Green Ninja, The LEGO Movie Videogame leads gamers on a journey through fantastical worlds in 45 exciting levels. Developed by TT Games, the mobile game is now available on the App Store.

LEGO Batman™: Beyond Gotham
In LEGO Batman: Beyond Gotham for mobile devices, the Caped Crusader joins forces with the Super Heroes of the DC Comics universe and blasts off to outer space to stop the evil Brainiac from destroying Earth. Players will unlock and play as their favorite DC Comics characters, including members of the Justice League and the Legion of Doom, and explore iconic locations such as the Hall of Justice, the Batcave and the Justice League Watchtower. Developed by TT Games, the mobile game will be available this summer.

 

Lego Jurassic World is scheduled for a June release in step with the film’s release while Lego Avengers could be the company’s November release. It appears that while the first Lego Marvel game focused more the entire comics universe, this new game will be more in tune with the Marvel MCU. It’s Lego so you can expect brick destruction and cuteness. We’ll have more on the game as news comes out leading to E3 in June.

What Lego games are you looking forward to in 2015?

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11. January issue of Asymptote

       Just in time for the weekend -- though really stretching it, as far as the issue date goes -- the January issue of Asymptote is now available online: wall-to-wall international literature goodness, from fiction/non/poetry translations to reviews and Q & As.
       See for yourself -- just make sure you actually have time to explore for a while: there's a great deal of worthwhile material here.

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12. 'Emerging Voices'

       The Financial Times tries to pay some attention to 'Emerging Vocies' with a couple of pieces, including Literature has liberated Africa's authors by Maya Jaggi and Arab writers begin to make their mark by Hannah Murphy.
       Well-meaning, no doubt, but ..... Read the rest of this post

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13. Alina Bronsky on writing in German

       At PEN Atlas Broken Glass Park-author Alina Bronsky writes about belonging to: "the subset of authors who write books in a language that is not their native tongue", in You speak such good German.
       This is neither a new nor very uncommon phenomenon -- though in recent years English has, of course, been by far the most popular secondary language that writers have turned to. But quite a few have adopted German too (many from eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, but also from other languages -- e.g. Tawada Yoko (e.g. The Naked Eye) -- while French also continues to be a popular second choice.

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14. Chinese literary philately

       At China Daily they have a slideshow (yeah, sorry ..) of examples of how Stamps celebrate masterpieces of Chinese literature -- some pretty nice pieces.
       And, of course, anything honoring/highlighting classics like Dream of the Red Chamber (i.e. The Story of the Stone) is worth a mention ..... Read the rest of this post

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15. Robbie Coltrane Hospitalized for flu–Missing the Harry Potter Celebration

According to Time Magazine. Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) was hospitalized with flu symptoms in Florida. He was rushed to a Floridian hospital as soon as his transAtlantic flight from England touched ground. Robbie Coltrane’s rep says that he will be back up and about in no time, though it is almost certain that he will be unable to attend the Harry Potter Celebration in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

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16. Sony picks up Lemire & Nguyen’s Descender after a “competitive bidding war”

descender cover Sony picks up Lemire & Nguyens Descender after a competitive bidding war
People in Hollywood are STILL liking indie comics. Descender, one of the mighty Image armada by Jeff Lemire and Dsutin Nguyen, has just been picked up by Sony after what THR called “a competitive bidding war.” That could be only four figures…but probably much more figures. The book comes out in March. I’m running out the door so here’s the PR:

Sony Pictures Entertainment announced today that it acquired the feature film rights to Descender, the forthcoming comic book series from New York Times bestselling author Jeff Lemire and New York Times bestselling comic artist Dustin Nguyen. Josh Bratman will produce the film with Lemire and Nguyen attached to executive produce. The first issue of the eagerly awaited series will be published by Image Comics on March 4, 2015.  

“It was a competitive situation for Descender, and we are thrilled that it ended with Sony Pictures acquiring the series,” said Lemire and Nguyen. “We know that their film translation will do justice to the original comics, and we are thrilled with their belief in the franchise potential.”

A sprawling, science-fiction space opera full of mystery and adventure, Descender is a rip-roaring, heart-felt cosmic odyssey about a little boy looking for home in a universe that hates and fears him. The incredibly lifelike artificial boy, TIM-21, may hold the secrets deep in his machine DNA to the origin of robots that have decimated entire planets. As a result, he is the most-wanted robot in the universe. Before long the entire galaxy is looking for TIM-21 and his rag-tag group of unlikely companions, as they make their way from one exotic planet to the next with new foes advancing on them at every turn.

Lemire is the creator of the acclaimed graphic novels Sweet Tooth, Essex County, The Underwater Welder and Trillum. His upcoming projects include the original graphic novel Roughneck from Simon and Schuster, as well as Black Hammer with Dean Ormston for Dark Horse Comics, Plutona with Emi Lenox and A.D. with Scott Snyder. In 2008 and in 2013, Lemire won the Schuster Award for Best Canadian Cartoonist. He received The Doug Wright Award for Best Emerging Talent and the American Library Association’s prestigious Alex Award, recognizing books for adults with specific teen appeal. Lemire has been nominated for 8 Eisner awards, 7 Harvey Awards and 8 Shuster Awards.  He has also written such titles as Green Arrow, Animal Man and Hawkeye for DC and Marvel Comics.

Nguyen is best known for his work on American Vampire along with numerous Batman titles including: Batman Eternal, Batman: Streets of Gotham, Detective Comics, and most recently, Batman: Li’l Gotham, which has spawned its own line of toys, of which Nguyen is the designer.

Lemire and Nguyen are represented by Angela Cheng Caplan of Cheng Caplan Company, Inc. and represented legally by Allison Binder of Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson & Binder.

Michael De Luca and Rachel O’Connor will oversee the project for the studio.  

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17. Nice Art: Clowes’ cover for The Complete Eightball is revealed

daniel clowes body image 1422612789 Nice Art: Clowes cover for The Complete Eightball is revealed

Let’s leave off this week with a glorious image. Eightball ran for 18 issues from 1989 to 1997 and was the medium for such classics as “Art School Confidential”, “Live a Velvet Glove Cast in Iron,” “Ghost World” Dan Pussey and more more more. Traversing the gulf from rough humor comics of the 80s to the intimate details of the 90s, it’s an essential for the smallest comics shelf possible. The book drops in June and Vice talks to The Man

“We came out of an era that was just moribund in comics.” Clowes says over the phone from his home in California. “The original guys who’d revitalised Marvel in the 60s had faded, and they were replaced by guys imitating them, who were then replaced by guys imitating them, it was this fourth generation of boring, awful comics. At the same time all the head shops, all the drug paraphernalia shops were being closed down – and they were where underground comics by the likes of Robert Crumb would be sold, so that was disappearing as well. There was nothing, it felt dead. But there was a whole generation of us who’d grown up on Mad magazine and National Lampoon and the comedy of Monty Python and Richard Pryor, and we wanted to do good comics. All of a sudden these people started to appear all over the country, trying to do something different, it was a miracle that we got an audience. We were a very, very small offshoot of the comics industry – it didn’t feel like we were taking over anything…”


daniel clowes body image 1422612809 Nice Art: Clowes cover for The Complete Eightball is revealed

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18. Game of Thrones trailer: Bowie and Blood and Beards, oh my

Game of Thrones fans –  your official season five trailer is here! Can we talk about that choice of music? The use of a “Heroes” cover here is basically perfect.

HBO published the official version of the trailer, previously only seen in the nation-wide IMAX showing, after a bootleg version made its way around the internet. The show’s fifth season premieres on April 12, on the heels of the current IMAX event, which put the show in the history books as the first TV series to be broadcast in IMAX format.

As a fan of the book series, I have concerns about the show’s fifth season based on the source material – the fourth book was the most difficult for me to digest – but between the depictions of Littlefinger, Tryion, Daenerys, and Cersei, there’s enough here to draw my attention.

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19. Rotten fish and Belfast confetti

Winston Churchill’s Victory broadcast of 13 May 1945, in which he claimed that but for Northern Ireland’s “loyalty and friendship” the British people “should have been confronted with slavery or death,” is perhaps the most emphatic assertion that the Second World War entrenched partition from the southern state and strengthened the political bond between Britain and Northern Ireland.

Two years earlier, however, in private correspondence with US President Roosevelt, Churchill had written disparagingly of the young men of Belfast, who unlike their counterparts in Britain were not subject to conscription, loafing around “with their hands in their pockets,” hindering recruitment and the vital work of the shipyards.

Churchill’s role as a unifying figure, galvanising the war effort through wireless broadcasts and morale-boosting public appearances, is much celebrated in accounts of the British Home Front. The further away from London and the South East of England that one travels, however, the more questions should be asked of this simplistic narrative. Due to Churchill’s actions as Liberal Home Secretary during the 1910 confrontations between miners and police in South Wales, for example, he was far less popular in Wales, and indeed in Scotland, than in England during the war. But in Northern Ireland, too, Churchill was a controversial figure at this time. The roots of this controversy are to be found in events that took place more than a quarter of a century before, in 1912.

Then First Lord of the Admiralty, Churchill was booed on arrival in Belfast that February, before his car was attacked and his effigy brandished by a mob of loyalist demonstrators. Later at Belfast Celtic Football Ground he was cheered by a crowd of five thousand nationalists as he spoke in favour of Home Rule for Ireland. Churchill was not sympathetic to the Irish nationalist cause but believed that Home Rule would strengthen the Empire and the bond between Britain and Ireland; he also saw this alliance as vital to the defence of the United Kingdom.

Churchill Side Image
Winston Churchill As Prime Minister 1940-1945 by Cecil Beaton, Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

Loyalists were outraged. Angry dockers hurled rotten fish at Churchill and his wife Clementine as they left the city; historian and novelist Hugh Shearman reported that their car was diverted to avoid thousands of shipyard workers who had lined the route with pockets filled with “Queen’s Island confetti,” local slang for rivet heads. (Harland and Wolff were at this time Belfast’s largest employer, and indeed one of the largest shipbuilding firms in the world; at the time of the Churchills’ visit the Titanic was being fitted out.)

Two years later in March 1914 Churchill made a further speech in Bradford in England, calling for a peaceful solution to the escalating situation in Ulster and arguing that the law in Ireland should be applied equally to nationalists and unionists without preference. Three decades later, this speech was widely reprinted and quoted in several socialist and nationalist publications in Northern Ireland, embarrassing the unionist establishment by highlighting their erstwhile hostility to the most prominent icon of the British war effort. Churchill’s ignominious retreat from Belfast in 1912 was also raised by pamphleteers and politicians who sought to exploit a perceived hypocrisy in the unionist government’s professed support for the British war effort as it sought to suppress dissent within the province. One socialist pamphlet attacked unionists by arguing that “The Party which denied freedom of speech to a member of the British Government before it became the Government of Northern Ireland is not likely to worry overmuch about free speech for its political opponents after it became the Government.”

And in London in 1940 Victor Gollancz’s Left Book Club published a polemic by the Dublin-born republican activist Jim Phelan, startlingly entitled Churchill Can Unite Ireland. In this Phelan expressed hopes that Churchill’s personality itself could effect positive change in Ireland. He saw Churchill as a figure who could challenge what Phelan called “punctilio,” the adherence to deferential attitudes that kept vested interests in control of the British establishment. Phelan identified a cultural shift in Britain following Churchill’s replacement of Chamberlain as Prime Minister, characterised by a move towards plain speaking: he argued that for the first time since the revolutionary year of 1848 “people are saying and writing what they mean.”

Jim Phelan’s ideas in Churchill Can Unite Ireland were often fanciful, but they alert us to the curious patterns of debate that can be found away from more familiar British narratives of the Second World War. Here a proud Irish republican could assert his faith in a British Prime Minister with a questionable record in Ireland as capable of delivering Irish unity.

Despite publically professed loyalty to the British war effort, unionist mistrust of the London government in London endured over the course of the war, partly due to Churchill’s perceived willingness to deal with Irish Taoiseach Éamon de Valera. Phelan’s book concluded with the words: “Liberty does not grow on trees; it must be fought for. Not ‘now or never’. Now.” Eerily these lines presaged the infamous telegram from Churchill to de Valera following the bombing of Pearl Harbor the following year in 1941, which, it is implied, offered Irish unity in return for the southern state’s entry into the war on the side of Allies, and read in part “Now is your chance. Now or never. A Nation once again.”

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20. Fluorescent proteins and medicine

Fluorescent proteins are changing the world. Page through any modern scientific journal and it’s impossible to miss the vibrant images of fluorescent proteins. Bright, colorful photographs not only liven-up scholarly journals, but they also serve as invaluable tools to track HIV, to design chickens that are resistant to bird flu and to confirm the existence of cancerous stem cells. Each day, fluorescent proteins initially extracted from jellyfish and other marine organisms illuminate the inner workings of diseases, increasing our knowledge of them and providing new avenues in the search for their cures.

It is important to realize that these incredibly useful and now very common tools might not have been found if it were not for decades of basic research funded by the US government — research that would probably not be funded by most current funding agencies as the research would be deemed too fundamental in nature and not applied enough to qualify for funding. This fundamental research that formed the basis for all the fluorescent protein based technologies, such as super-resolution microscopy and even optogenetics, was performed by Osamu Shimomura.

Aequorea victoria emitting fluorescent light. Image credit: This photo has been used courtesy of Steven Haddock.
Aequorea victoria emitting fluorescent light. Image credit: This photo has been used courtesy of Steven Haddock.

While a research scientist at Princeton University and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Shimomura spent more than 40 years trying to understand the chemistry responsible for the emission of the green light in A. victoria, and in the process, he caught more than a million jellyfish. Every summer for more than twenty years, Shimomura and his family would make the 3,000-mile drive from Princeton, New Jersey, to the University of Washington’s Friday Harbor laboratory, where they would spend the summer days catching crystal jellyfish from the side of the pier. For 20 well-funded years at Princeton and an additional 20 years at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Shimomura spent his days, and sometimes his nights, unraveling the mysteries of the jellyfish’s glow.

The crystal jellyfish was the first organism known to use one protein to make light, aequorin, and another to change the color of this light, GFP. There was no precedence in the scientific literature for this type of bioluminescence, and so Shimomura had to break new ground. Additionally it was laborious and painstaking work to isolate even the smallest quantities of GFP. Fortunately Shimomura had both funding and a purist’s fascination with bioluminescence to unlock the secrets of GFP.

Although he was the first to discover GFP and isolate it, he was not interested in the applications of this protein. Doug Prascher, Martin Chalfie and Roger Tsien were responsible for ensuring that the green fluorescent protein from crystal jellyfish, Aequorea victoria, has been used in millions of experiments all around the world. They took the next step, but without Shimomura’s first essential step there may have been no flourescent future.

Featured image: Aequorea victoria by Mnolf (Photo taken in the Monterey Bay Aquarium, CA, USA). CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

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21. Judicial resistance? War crime trials after World War I

There was a great change in peace settlements after World War I. Not only were the Central Powers supposed to pay reparations, cede territory, and submit to new rules concerning the citizenship of their former subjects, but they were also required to deliver nationals accused of violations of the laws and customs of war (or violations of the laws of humanity, in the case of the Ottoman Empire) to the Allies to stand trial.

This was the first time in European history that victor powers imposed such a demand following an international war. This was also the first time that regulations specified by the Geneva and Hague Conventions were enforced after a war ended. Previously, states used their own military tribunals to enforce the laws and customs of war (as well as regulations concerning espionage), but they typically granted amnesty for foreigners after a peace treaty was signed.

The Allies intended to create special combined military tribunals to prosecute individuals whose violations had affected persons from multiple countries. They demanded post-war trials for many reasons. Legal representatives to the Paris Peace Conference believed that “might makes right” should not supplant international law; therefore, the rules governing the treatment of civilians and prisoners-of-war must be enforced. They declared the war had created a modern sensibility that demanded legal innovations, such as prosecuting heads of state and holding officers responsible for the actions of subordinates. British and French leaders wanted to mollify domestic feelings of injury as well as propel an interpretation that the war had been a fight for “justice over barbarism,” rather than a colossal blood-letting. They also sought to use trials to exert pressure on post-war governments to pursue territorial and financial objectives.

The German, Ottoman, and Bulgarian governments resisted extradition demands and foreign trials, yet staged their own prosecutions. Each fulfilled a variety of goals by doing so. The Weimar government in Germany was initially forced to sign the Versailles Treaty with its extradition demands, then negotiated to hold its own trials before its Supreme Court in Leipzig because the German military, plus right-wing political parties, refused the extradition of German officers. The Weimar government, led by the Social Democratic party, needed the military’s support to suppress communist revolutions. The Leipzig trials, held 1921-27, only covered a small number of cases, serving to deflect responsibility for the most serious German violations, such as the massacre of approximately 6,500 civilians in Belgium and deportation of civilians to work in Germany. The limited scope of the trials did not purge the German military as the Allies had hoped. Yet the trials presented an opportunity for German prosecutors to take international charges and frame them in German law. Although the Allies were disturbed by the small number of convictions, this was the first time that a European country had agreed to try its own after a major war.

General Stenger. Public domain via the French National Archive. http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b53063910x.r=Stenger.langEN
General Stenger. Public domain via the French National Archive.

The Ottoman imperial government first destroyed the archives of the “Special Organization,” a secret group of Turkish nationalists who deported Greeks from the Aegean region in 1914 and planned and executed the massacre of Armenians in 1915. But in late 1918, a new Ottoman imperial government formed a commission to investigate parliamentary deputies and former government ministers from the Turkish nationalist party, the Committee of Union and Progress, which had planned the attacks. It also sought to prosecute Committee members who had been responsible for the Ottoman Empire’s entrance into the war. The government then held a series of military trials of its own accord in 1919 to prosecute actual perpetrators of the massacres, as well as purge the government of Committee members, as these were opponents of the imperial system. It also wanted to quash the British government’s efforts to prosecute Turks with British military tribunals. Yet after the British occupied Istanbul, the nationalist movement under Mustafa Kemal retaliated by arresting British officers. Ultimately, the Kemalists gained control of the country, ended all Turkish military prosecutions for the massacres, and nullified guilty verdicts.

Like the German and Ottoman situations, Bulgaria began a rocky governmental and social transformation after the war. The initial post-war government signed an armistice with the Allies to avoid the occupation of the capital, Sofia. It then passed a law granting amnesty for persons accused of violating the laws and customs of war. However, a new government came to power in 1919, representing a coalition of the Agrarian Union, a pro-peasant party, and right-wing parties. The government arrested former ministers and generals and prosecuted them with special civilian courts in order to purge them; they were blamed for Bulgaria’s entrance into the war. Some were prosecuted because they lead groups of refugees from Macedonia in a terrorist organization, the Internal Macedonian Revolutionary Organization. Suppressing Macedonian terrorism was an important condition for Bulgaria to improve its relationship with its neighbor, the Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes. In 1923, however, Aleksandar Stambuliski, the leader of the Agrarian Union, was assassinated in a military coup, leading to new problems in Bulgaria.

We could ask a counter-factual question: What if the Allies had managed to hold mixed military tribunals for war-time violations instead of allowing the defeated states to stage their own trials? If an Allied tribunal for Germany was run fairly and political posturing was suppressed, it might have established important legal precedents, such as establishing individual criminal liability for violations of the laws of war and the responsibility of officers and political leaders for ordering violations. On the other hand, guilty verdicts might have given Germany’s nationalist parties new heroes in their quest to overturn the Versailles order.

An Allied tribunal for the Armenian massacres would have established the concept that a sovereign government’s ministers and police apparatus could be held criminally responsible under international law for actions undertaken against their fellow nationals. It might also have created a new historical source about this highly contested episode in Ottoman and Turkish history. Yet it is speculative whether the Allies would have been able to compel the post-war Turkish government to pay reparations to Armenian survivors and return stolen property.

Finally, an Allied tribunal for alleged Bulgarian war criminals, if constructed impartially, might have resolved the intense feelings of recrimination that several of the Balkan nations harbored toward each other after World War I. It might also have helped the Agrarian Union survive against its military and terrorist enemies. However, a trial concentrating only on Bulgarian crimes would not have dealt with crimes committed by Serbian, Greek, and Bulgarian forces and paramilitaries during the Balkan Wars of 1912-13, so a selective tribunal after World War I may not have healed all wounds.

 

Image Credit: Château de Versailles Hall of Mirrors Ceiling. Photo by Dennis JarvisCC BY-SA 2.0 via Flickr.

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22. Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

1 3 LAUREAT2015 CH2 Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

The 42nd Angoulême International Comics Festival is well underway, wrapping up the second day of exhibits as you read this, and the year is dominated, of course, by the Charlie Hebdo killings. Matthias Wivel is offering on the scene reports, and security is very high for the festival this year the checkpoints and bomb sniffing dogs.

BIZARRO WORLD A rain-drenched Angoulême has been preparing for the annual influx of people from all over the world for weeks, scrambling to take the necessary precautions against possible terrorism. Bomb-sniffing dogs around the Noveau Monde comics tent and body searches with portable metal detectors, backing up visitors at every entrance is the new reality at Angoulême.

Angou2015 CH memorial 2015 01 29 650x866 Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?
The Charlie Hebdo massacre looms large everywhere, even as people are trying to carry on as usual. The Lewis Trondheim-designed festival mascot appears on the cover of the official program brandishing the ubiquitous JE SUIS CHARLIE sign, while absent festival president Bill Watterson’s delightful official poster, hanging in shop windows around town, reminds one of a (seemingly) more innocent time in comics.

Charlie Hebdo itself has been given a special prize, and the names of those slain loom over the entrance to the festival, a shown in the photo above by Wivel.
comixology angouleme Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

• Comixology is back at FIBD and has a big All Access Angouleme program going on via TwitterTumblr,Facebook, and Google+ channels.

ComiXology, the revolutionary cloud-based digital comics platform, celebrates this year’sAngoulême International Comics Festival with a sale spotlighting comics, bandes dessinées (BD), graphic novels and manga from all over the world from January 29th through February 1st. ComiXology will also be covering the show through their social media channels under the “All Access Angoulême” moniker – giving fans around the world a way to experience the festival. The AngoulêmeInternational Comics Festival takes place in Angoulême, France and runs from January 29th to February 1st.

 

They also have an Angoulême sale going on and just announced a deal to carry Humanoids comics. Both sections reward browsing.
Prixjeunesse Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

• LES ROYAUMES DU NORD by Stéphane Melchior and Clément Oubrerie (Aya), an adaptation of Phllip Pullman’s The Golden Compass won the YA prize. I already like it better than the movie.
A65380 Meanwhile in Angoulême: Charlie Hebdo gets special prize; Comixology coverage and just how big is it?

• Local resident Jessica Abel has a few tweets of note:


AND she has a new book, Trish Trash! Finally!


And her eating guide in case you haven’t figured out how to buy a crepe.

§ The Sodastream controversy continues, with an open letter signed by 110 cartoonists and allies protesting the sponsorship by the Israeli company that has factories on the West Bank. Festival director Franck Bondoux has responded:

“We are no longer in the same situation as last year,” remarked Bondoux, whom we reached last night. “SodaStream announced in 2014 that the factory under discussion will be moved. This means that the problem is in process of being resolved and has been understood.” The executive director of the festival further believes that the letter “moves into a broader proposal with terminology that goes much farther in its call for a boycott.” “We have moved from a discussion where one speaks of a specific problem to a total generality.” “This is an incitement to a stronger, more militant form of resistance.” Bondoux refuses to “judge” or “comment” if only to say “that in the current situation [reference to Charlie Hebdo and Kosher supermarket attacks], I’m not certain whether this is a time to welcome such proposals.”

But the petition organizers Ethan Heitner (NYC) and Dror Warschawski (Paris) have also responded:

On the eve of the 42nd International Comics Festival in Angoulême, the open letter we have sent to the festival director has more than 110 signatories, including 14 cartoonists having been awarded prizes at Angoulême and 7 Grand Prix laureates.

Additional signatures are still coming in from illustrators outraged by the contempt that Mr Bondoux displays towards them.  Several of them had initially not thought it necessary to sign this letter, feeling that the one sent last year had served as a warning, at a time when Mr Bondoux could plead naivety.  This year, with the facts out in the open, they cannot accept that the art of comics be used to whitewash the crimes of colonization and complicity in war crimes, be it in Angoulême or elsewhere.

Last year Mr Bondoux challenged the truth of the information we had provided and claimed that the Sodastream factory was not situated in territory militarily occupied by Israel since 1967.  This year, without blushing, he declared to the press that “the Sodastream firm announced in 2014 that the factory would be relocated.  The problem is being resolved.” (Sud Ouest newspaper, 23 January 2013).  Firstly, as of now the factory has not been relocated, and Sodastream is still a sponsor of the Angoulême festival.  Secondly, the “problem” is not being resolved and it is now 67 years that the Palestinians have been waiting for a solution.  Finally, cartoonists cannot accept that their art form be exploited by a firm that will, in addition, profit from the expulsion of Palestinian Bedouins in order to install its new factory on their land, and thus participate in the ethnic cleansing policy carried out by the State of Israel.

Mr Bondoux adds that “In the light of current events, I am not sure that such excessive remarks are appropriate”.  We suggest that Mr Bondoux discuss it with Willem, a Charlie Hebdo survivor, Grand Prix laureate in 2013, president of the Angoulême Jury in 2014, and a signatory of the letter.  We also suggest that he speak with the artists to whom his own festival has awarded prizes, and especially with other Grand Prix laureates (Baru, Jean-Claude Mézières, José Muñoz, François Schuiten, Tardi, Lewis Trondheim…).  It is they, rather than Mr Bondoux, who make this festival what it is.  Their voices must be heard, and the Sodastream firm must be driven out of the Angouleme festival.

 

• According to the Matthais Wivel account, China is very much involved as a sponsor in this year’s festival, so you can see cultural clashes of this kind will continue.

• It wouldn’t be an Angoulême without some kind of particularly Gallic controversy, although this year the Hebdo situation has swept most of that aside. Before the fest there was a huge controversy about Bondoux, who actually works for a firm contracted by the festival to put it on, taking aggressive steps to trademark the name of the festival, an event that got everyone’s dander up and forced the Angouleme minister of culture to make a public show of his outrage. Locals tell me that there is a three way battle over the festival between L’Association (no relation to the publisher) which puts it on, 9e Art+, the contractor, and the local government. While this tussle has been put on hold due to the greater events sweeping over the French cartooning community, it hasn’t been solved.

• Finally, this comes from the NY Post of French comics coverage, so add some salt, but along with the above controversy, there have been claims that FIBD (Festival Festival international de la bande dessinée d’Angoulême) has inflated it’s attendance figures and does not draw the 200,000 that is claimed. Quelle horreur! A lot of the evidence seems to be based on whether 40,000 is a typo for 400,000, which is flimsy, but there have been other claims about this perviously. Speaking for myself, after actually going I’d guess that 200,000 people don’t all show up every day, but there are more than 50,000 people every day, too. Also, in the rough Google translation, it seems that, SDCC-style, scrutiny is being given to the costs versus the amount spent by attendees, with a study by the local tourism board showing major expenditures: the festival costs € 4.3 million, € 1.9 million of it public money, but brings in € 1.1 million for restaurants and € 0.72 million for hotels, with visitors spending some € 1.42 million (About US$1.6 million.) That actually amounts to….$18 per attendee, so the French may also be a living embodiment of the Single Can of Tuna Theory*.

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23. Treating comic con guests right: one creator’s suggestions

IMG 9471 Treating comic con guests right: one creators suggestions
[People lining up at last year’s SPX.]

Sean Gordon Murphy, a creator no stranger to speaking his mind, has offered a Creators Rights at Conventions , which includes lots of positive stories, but also some rules that suggest some not to great experiences. The rules are pretty common sense: creators as guests shouldn’t be expected to work for free and hectic schedules, and travel assistance should be offered, along with adequate hotels and some downtime to socialize with friends. Simple, yes. And definitely guidelines to be added to the playbook of any nascent con-runners, of whom there seem to be more and more. I’m not privy to any recent horror stories, but I’d suggest to any one putting on any kind of Comic-Con that what’s sauce for the Shatner is sauce for the comics guest. Comics guests usually don’t have riders for jelly beans and that kind of thing, but they shouldn’t be left entirely adrift at the airport either.

I think the free work thing is more complex, at least as far as foreign shows go. In Europe, it’s expected that guests will sketch for two or three hours at a stretch, and not little doodles, but detailed beautiful sketches. It’s a practice that has begun to wear on some creators, especially when the drawings go right up on ebay. At least one French show has officially changed its policy.

At any rate, it’s good to get these ideas out there, just in case anyone didn’t know any better. Although in that case, they shouldn’t be putting on a big event with multiple moving parts.

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24. Bendis on working for Marvel

powers001 cov 654x1024 Bendis on working for Marvel
On his Tumblr, Brian Micheal Bendis was asked about why he’s stayed with Marvel when so many others have gone 100% creator owned.

Seems like most of the guys from your generation (Fraction, Brubaker, Millar) made a name doing their own stuff, built up a name at one of the big 2, then left to do their own stuff but with a bigger following. What makes you stay on at Marvel? Do you think you always had different goals from the start?


and he pointed out some very good reasons to stay:

Everyone to their own path. 

but it’s weird that I keep being labeled, by some, as just marvel dude because I do produce as much if not more creator owned work as everybody else doing creator owned work. in fact with the powers TV show just a few weeks away I am as involved in the benefits of creator owned then just about anybody on the planet aside from Robert Kirkman. it just so happens that Marvel is also my home for creator owned work and have been publishing powers for over a decade

 but why Marvel? I absolutely love it. I feel an immense honor being  one of the caretakers of these characters that mean so much to so many. my kids are little and all of their friends love the guardians or the avengers and the thrill they feel when they find out I’m somewhat involved is very inspiring.  I am afforded a great deal of freedom to express myself in characters that mean the world to so many.

 so I get the best of both worlds.  why wouldn’t I do both?


You know, there’s nothing wrong with sticking with a job you love, especially when you have a “TV” show coming out that will potentially rewards the fruits of creator-owned labor over many years. Bendis has had one of the most successful careers in comics history, ad having choices is what helped make it so.

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25. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/30/15: Chew on this!

A week’s worth of reading:

§ Has Manga Become a Niche Category? Johanna Draper Carlson examines some opinions on this, and quotes comments by Vertical’s Ed Chavez that I missed:

The fact that shonen continues to be the only category that is consistently strong, and that moe has kinda catching up to shojo for second is interesting. Knowing that seinen still lacks, even though vocal fans ask for it, kinda tells me that readers either grow out of manga or only stick with a specific type of it… Essentially pigeonholing it (turning it into a niche). Having talked to some comic/media critics I think it is becoming harder for them to get into manga also. Will kids still consume the stuff? Sure. I mean, most manga pubs are seeing growth while stores are cutting manga shelves. But unlike the 00’s, where a shojo boom introduced a whole new demographic to manga, there hasn’t been a culture shifting movement recently to break manga out of this current position it has settled into.


I think Manga has become a “mature” business as they say, but it’s still chugging along, if not at the heights of the 00s. On the other hand, even in Japan where sales have long been in decline, there was a 1% uptick last year. Not exactly enough to make people knock over cars with joy, but at least it isn’t a decline:

According to the recent report by Research Institute for Publications, which is operated by AJPEA (All Japan Magazine and Book Publisher’s and Editor’s Association), the manga sales in Japan for year 2014 was 1% up from the previous year. The modest growth was supported by new top sellers including Haruichi Furudate’s Haikyu!! and Io Sakisaka’s Ao Haru Ride, both had very successful TV anime or live-action film adaptations last year, in addition to the continuously popular series like Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece and Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan.


Manga is hanging in there in the US, but it has competition from actual American comics. If you look at Bookscan’s top 20 from ICv2 for November 2014 you see six manga in the list. The list from November 2013 has eight, a number more typical of what I’m used to seeing. OTOH in actual numbers, a lot of things we thing of as successful are niche.

§ Whit Taylor talks to Chuck Forsman about Revenger his new action comic:

Charles: I think the inspiration for Revenger is a combination of things. First are the comics that I read when I first started reading them at 10 or 11 years old. This was during X-Men’s heyday with Claremont and Jim Lee and the launch of Image Comics. The second are movies. I got back into watching John Carpenter movies like Escape from New York and Assault on Precinct 13. And even new movies like The Guest which came out a few months ago. The Guest actually made me scrap the first completed version of Revenger #1 and I started over almost from scratch. That movie reminded me that what I wanted to do was something much leaner without any fat. My original version of Revenger had a much larger world. I was worrying too much about the made-up world politics and trying to make an interesting mystery with the story. Sometimes after experiencing someone else’s work that connects with you it makes what you want much clearer.

§ Darling sleeper quizzes Sean Ford and Leslie Stein.

corto Kibbles n Bits 1/30/15: Chew on this!

§ Zainab Akhtar reviews the new US edition of Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese and falls under his languid spell:

His name are the very first words of the text and Pratt goes on to declare him a ‘man of destiny,’ but more than any other quality, here he imbues cool. The closes iconography I’m reminded of is the coiled looseness of heroes in westerns- the hint of swagger but an assumed relaxed pose: quietness, cockiness, and surety all hinted at simultaneously. Take a look at the composition and body language here: head and torso positioned centrally in the panel, feet up, cigarette in hand, cap and hair shielding his eyes. He’s watchful perhaps lost in thought. The immediate next panel is a close-up side profile, and the narration is semi-admiring, semi-mocking him as he lights up ‘as if he were performing for an invisible audience.’  In fact for the whole first page he doesn’t say anything -until he’s interrupted by a drunken brawl-, an interaction that involves the reader just looking at Corto, feeling the atmosphere, the presence of the man,  serving to set him up as this strong and silent type, in the know, someone cool, someone to be admired, someone to beware of.

letter pp detail 3 Kibbles n Bits 1/30/15: Chew on this!

§ This fellow, Indian artist Hetain Patel, has made a sculpture of Spider-man covered with words.

img 2674 Kibbles n Bits 1/30/15: Chew on this!

§ Ng Suat Tong has Best Online Comics Criticism 2014 and declares it a bad year for onlien comics criticism. There are some cracking good pieces there, however, including many I missed first time out. Click through! Also this:

Apart from the perennial issues of racism and sexism in superhero comics (or maybe in general?) there weren’t many critical controversies in 2014. I can’t say that this failure to engage with fellow critics and their ideas is a positive sign of health; especially if this reticence is symptomatic of intellectual torpor or a lack of breath in comics thinking.


But I think that will kick off an entire post at some point.

§ And speaking of the perennial issues of racism and sexism, Marvel Has A Serious Problem Merchandising Its Female Characters

But when you look at the merchandise for those properties, it feels like they barely exist. Despite being introduced in Iron Man 2, it would take until The Avengers for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow to get an action figure: even then, she was shortpacked in the third wave of figures that came out months after the movie hit, with the prime first wave spots going to Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk. It took until The Winter Soldier last year for Widow to show up in both Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Infinite 6-inch line and Funko’s wildly popular range of Marvel Pop Vinyls for the first time, a whopping four years after the character first appeared. Fast forward to Age of Ultron today and she’s once again seemingly missing — she doesn’t show up at all in the new action figure playsets. She’s not in the first set of Pop Vinyls, and neither is Scarlet Witch, another prominent female member of the cast. She appears in one of the six new Lego sets for the film (Cap’s in three, Iron Man is in four). She doesn’t appear in the team shots on the boxes of merchandise (to be fair, neither does Hawkeye. Poor Hawkeye.). Hell, the first action figure we’ve seen for her for AoU specifically is Diamond Select’s, and even then, that was revealed in a way that still, almost hilariously, managed to avoid showing an actual figure of the character.


§ Finally, as part of a piece on second acts for publisher personnel, Calvin Reid catches up with Joan Hilty.

Hilty, who is also a member of 5E, teamed with Pete Friedrich, a cartoonist and designer, in 2011 to launch Pageturner, a packaging house that develops “comics projects outside of the comics industry.” Pageturner develops projects with and for a variety of institutions, among them the ACLU, which created a comics series about the Bill of Rights. “Now we’re getting lots of interest from nonprofits and arts organizations,” she said. Pageturner has worked on projects with Chronicle Books and TBS/Turner Networks. As a freelance contractor, Hilty has worked with comics publishers like Boom! and Dark Horse Comics, and with Forbes magazine, which published the Zen of Steve Jobs in 2011, a webcomic and print graphic biography of Jobs that examines his 30-year pupil-teacher relationship with a Zen Buddhist monk.


§ Finally, after 15 yearsAndrew Sullivan has announced he’s giving up blogging. (He did it once before.) I could only nod my head in agreement at his reasons—he wants to spend time with actual humans and the toll of always being on call impacted his health. Now tat Sully’s done, the rest of us can quit with our heads held high!

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