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6526. Heroes In Action – Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti-Islamic Ads

by Zachary Clemente

10934042 348076775385575 7477015537591114790 n Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic AdsWhen not out fighting fiendish villains, teaming up (adorably) with Wolverine, or being late to class – Kamala Khan AKA Ms. Marvel has found an entirely new spotlight by having her image used on top of anti-Islamic bus ads in San Francisco. These ads, found on Muni busses, were purchased earlier this month by right-wing extremist American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and an anonymous graffiti artist has stepped in to address the hatred with some heroics. The ads make parallels between Islam with Nazism, utilizing a photo of Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, an anti-Zionism Muslim leader, and demand end to aiding Islamic countries.

This is especially poetic as Kamala is a Pakistani-American teenager and Muslim superhero, I might add. Her deeds were posted by Street Cred and have spread far and wide, befitting any hero’s work. While many may cry foul that the unknown artist’s actions are oppressing free speech, in actuality, this is a fantastic representation of public discourse in action and a poignant means of engaging such an issue in light of how many of the reactions to the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris ended up: scattered, veering, and hasty.

10830754 348076875385565 8805719012231739861 o 1000x747 Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic AdsWhat’s just as impressive is the level-headed response Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson had to offer on the subject:

You can find Kamala’s Adventures monthly in Ms. Marvel. I thoroughly suggest reading the first collected trade, No Normal, available in digital and in print.

background2 Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic Ads

Art by Jaime McKelvie

 

4 Comments on Heroes In Action – Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti-Islamic Ads, last added: 1/31/2015
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6527. Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!)

Fandom-inspired fashion certainly isn’t going anywhere; gone are the days of unisex, potato-sack tees as companies like WeLoveFine, Hot Topic and other retailers capitalize on the craze. The latest launch from Hot Topic is one of the most fandom-specific ones I’ve seen. It actually all revolves around a single character: Harley Quinn. And we have some to give away!

Some of these offerings are basically straight-up cosplay fodder, like the Harley suspender leggings and dress:

10278175 HarleenLeggings hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!) 10277465 HarleenDress hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!)

Others aim at slightly more subtle/everyday approach, like an argyle cardigan or mesh-sleeve top:

10280926 HarleenCardigan hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!) 10232899 DCHarleenMeshTop hi 222x300 Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!)

The collaboration from Warner Bros. Consumer Products and Hot Topic, dubbed Harleen, is available now at a fairly reasonable price point (mostly the $20 – $30 range).

Also, if you’re one of those quizzie types, they’ve launched an app to hook you up with your ideal comics-related companion. While I’m not 100% convinced that the Joker is the right man for me, it’s only a few questions long and comes with a coupon for the gear at the end.

PLUS: Giveaway! You can win a Joker and Harley Quinn Mesh Girls Pullover Top! To enter, tweet “I have mad love for Harley Quinn, @hottopic and @comicsbeat” Prize supplied by Hot Topic, and winner selected in a random drawing. The contest will end Monday, February 2 at noon est. Tweet away!

1 Comments on Harley Quinn inspires new Hot Topic clothing collection (+giveaway!), last added: 1/30/2015
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6528. 10 New Writers Sign On to Write For Chipotle Cups And Bags

chipotlebagsChipotle Mexican Grill has recruited ten new writers to contribute pieces for its “Cultivating Thought” line.

Jonathan Safran Foer returns to serve as both curator and editor. The participants include Neil Gaiman, Aziz Ansari, Augusten Burroughs, Walter Isaacson, Amy Tan, Paulo Coelho, Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Barbara Kingsolver, Julia Alverez and Jeffrey Eugenides. The company’s cups and bags will feature short stories and illustrations.

Gaiman announced on his Facebook page that his piece focuses on “refugees and the fragility of the world.” Here’s an excerpt: “There are now fifty million refugees in the world today, more than at any time since the end of the Second World War. And at some point, for each one of those people, the world shifted. Their world, solid and predictable, erupted or dissolved into chaos or danger or pain. They realized that they had to run. You have two minutes to pack. You can only take what you can carry easily.” Follow this link to learn more. (via The Hollywood Reporter)

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6529. FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

Salt lake scity ccc FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

It isn’t primarily a comic-con, but Salt Lake City Comic Con’s FanX starts today, a three day show with a focus on nerdlebrities: Glen and Beth will be there; Walter White Jr will be there; Jamie Lannister will be there, Judge Doom, Doctor Who and even Princess Leia! A few comics guests as well, including Neal Adams. And a LOT of SF authors—Utah is actually the nerdiest state, and there’s a lot of support for this kind of material.

unnamed4 FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

Past SLC Comic Con events have had huge crowds and some logistical programs. I’m not sure if this is new for FanX, but they have instituted RFID bracelets and tapping in and out, as they do at New York Comic-Con.

If nothing else, FanX has pretty snappy instructional graphics.

Which reminds me, the trademark lawsuit over the use of the term “Comic-Con” files by the San Diego Comic-Con folks is ongoing—CCI settled with the Newspaper Agency Corp., which promoted the SLC shows, and they can no longer produce anything that looks “confusingly similar” to the CCI trademarks. The rest of the suit, against the SLC show running group, is still on. Maybe The Beat’s resident legal expert Jeff Trexler can weigh in on this one at some point?

At any rate, none of this legal stuff should affect the con goers, who will doubtless have a swell time.

0 Comments on FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today as of 1/30/2015 6:48:00 AM
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6530. Sunrise

0 Small Dog's House Cover-01

I love rendering weather scenes. This is just one of many images of mine that incorporates a specific weather or time-of-day. You can probably tell that the clouds were pure delight to create. I find silhouettes to be important for any scene. The negative spaces and shapes formed with the silhouette can either help or hinder the visual communication.

      

Related Stories

 

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6531. Slam Bam Comic Jam at the Art Academy

Cover for Star Crossed by me for a comic collaboration with Steve Bryant
A Month-long Comic Arts Exhibition and Extravaganza
Features Artists from Kabuki, Star Wars, and The Walking Dead
 
WHO: Exhibition Artists: David Michael Beck, Allison Craig, Brian Hagen, Russell Ihrig, David Mack, Tony Moore, Joe Slucher, and Christina Wald.
 

PRESENTERS: Mike Fleisch, Anthony Moorman, Joe Slucher, and Christina Wald.
WHAT: Art Academy of Cincinnati’s Inaugural “Slam Bam Comic Jam” Exhibition & Extravaganza
WHEN: January 30 – February 27, 2015


Opening Reception: Final Friday, January 30, 5-8 pm Live Screen-Printing of Limited-Run T-Shirts (Only 50 Shirts Available, $10 each), Music,
Comic Merchandise Tables, and Costume Contest for fans of Wookiees and Walkers

Closing Reception:
Final Friday, February 27, 5-8 pm Making It Documentary and Q&A with film director Anthony Moorman
Complete Schedule of Events will be posted on the Art Academy’s website.


https://www.facebook.com/events/404716769677449/ 

http://www.artacademy.edu/new-site-2013/wordpress-news/?tribe_events=slam-bam-comic-jam



Catbat will also be premiering!



0 Comments on Slam Bam Comic Jam at the Art Academy as of 1/29/2015 11:47:00 AM
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6532. A Sketch for Today

A sketch for today. May all of you out there creating, whatever form you choose, have a lovely day.

2015_01_29_sketch1

The post A Sketch for Today appeared first on Lita Judge.

0 Comments on A Sketch for Today as of 1/29/2015 11:07:00 AM
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6533. Black Tower Overseas Licensing?

Posting no. 82 for January -happy Bob?

As 2015 is going to be my last fully active year in comics -though, like Bond, I never say "never again"- I need to make some money.  Seriously, if any overseas publisher is interested in publishing Black Tower books under licence then please get in touch -derails in the About section at the top of page.

Remember that BTCG books are black and white and I do NOT provide a translation service.

I've been asked a couple of times about an interview well, my usual objections I'm throwing aside for this year so....

That's it.  Now I need to go draw!

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6534. Claudette Free Comic Book Day with CBLDF

This May! Claudette and Friends will appear in CBLDF’s FREE COMIC BOOK DAY comic. Pick it up at your local comic book store for Free! CBLDF has been defending our right to read and write comics and even get occasionally flambéed by dragons for over 25 years. Also in the comic, are other creators we love: Andi Watson, Gene Yang, George O’Connor, Dan Parent, Larry Marder, Watson, Sonny Liew, O’Connor, Parent, and Marder. You can even DOWNLOAD a preview.

Defend Comics

Defend Comics


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6535. Shiny New Books

The new issue is up! You can find me there today, Reading for Other Worlds with, I hope, fun and interesting science fiction recommendations. Most of them are older so if you are looking for something besides Station Eleven or The Martian, check it out! And don’t forget to browse all the other fun bookish goodness while you’re at it.


Filed under: Books

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6536. The Art and Death of the Thank You

This is really more of a personal rant than a business post, but it's my blog so, hey, why not.

What happened to thank you notes? Is it just me or are they getting more and more rare, almost nonexistent?

I tend to really like the written or snail mailed thank you. Sometimes I take the effort to hand write a note, other times I use an app service like Postagram to mail a postcard thank you with a photo and personal message. It's rare that I'll write an email or social media thank you, but that does happen as well. Now I'm not saying I'm perfect. Sure there are times I've forgotten or neglected to send a thank you, but I think I get it done more often than not.

I don't expect anyone to be as nuts about thank you notes as me, but there are certain times I do, in no uncertain terms, expect a thank you. Recently I sent gifts for the following occasions and received no acknowledgment; a wedding, a baby shower, and birthday parties in which the gifts were shuttled to another room and opened after the guests left. In all of those cases I took the time and spent the money to choose a gift I thought the recipient would like. Don't I deserve a thank you?

Anyway, I think it's common courtesy to send a thank you of some sort, even if it's a message in my Facebook inbox, and I'm a little annoyed by those who don't make the effort, mostly in the case of the events I listed above. But maybe I'm just an old fuddy-duddy.

--jhf




0 Comments on The Art and Death of the Thank You as of 1/29/2015 10:56:00 AM
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6537. Lauren Oliver Writes a Vanishing Girls Short Story

Vanishing GirlsAuthor Lauren Oliver has written a short story set in the universe of her forthcoming young adult novel, Vanishing Girls.

EpicReads.com has posted part one of the piece which is called “The Search.” Part two will be unveiled on February 9th.

The release date for Oliver’s book has been scheduled for March 10th. Follow this link to reach an excerpt.

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6538. FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

Salt lake scity ccc FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

It isn’t primarily a comic-con, but Salt Lake City Comic Con’s FanX starts today, a three day show with a focus on nerdlebrities: Glen and Beth will be there; Walter White Jr will be there; Jamie Lannister will be there, Judge Doom, Doctor Who and even Princess Leia! A few comics guests as well, including Neal Adams. And a LOT of SF authors—Utah is actually the nerdiest state, and there’s a lot of support for this kind of material.

unnamed4 FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today

Past SLC Comic Con events have had huge crowds and some logistical programs. I’m not sure if this is new for FanX, but they have instituted RFID bracelets and tapping in and out, as they do at New York Comic-Con.

If nothing else, FanX has pretty snappy instructional graphics.

Which reminds me, the trademark lawsuit over the use of the term “Comic-Con” files by the San Diego Comic-Con folks is ongoing—CCI settled with the Newspaper Agency Corp., which promoted the SLC shows, and they can no longer produce anything that looks “confusingly similar” to the CCI trademarks. The rest of the suit, against the SLC show running group, is still on. Maybe The Beat’s resident legal expert Jeff Trexler can weigh in on this one at some point?

At any rate, none of this legal stuff should affect the con goers, who will doubtless have a swell time.

3 Comments on FanX kicks off in Salt Lake City today, last added: 1/30/2015
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6539. This Book Just Ate My Dog - a bookwrap




Unwrapping...




Authored and illustrated by Richard Byrne and appropriate for ages 3-6.



Let's totally toss away the wrap and peek inside...































Bella decides to take her dog out for a nice, peaceful stroll.  Together they saunter across the page but low and behold she makes it across but her dog mysteriously disappears into the gutter of the book.  Oh my. Bella is puzzled and confused.  How can that be?  How can she find her dog and get him back?  Along comes Bella's friend Ben and when he asks her what's up she tells him  "this book just at my dog." Story on......

It's Ben to the rescue, or so he thinks!  In his attempt to get to the source of the mystery, he too vaporizes into the gutter.  Oh my! Along come the first responders to try their luck and guess what?  Yep, in they go too.  Finally Bella, the last character standing, has had enough and, ... ooooh noooo!!! Gone!  

This clever, smart girl then realizes how hopeless she and her commrads are, so brilliantly she tosses a note to the reader to please help them out (literally). Will the readers take her seriously?  Can they possibility bring the characters back from the gutter safely?

This ingenious, interactive book makes the reader part of the story.  How fun is that?  Kids will love to be the super heroes and save the day!  The illustrations are kid-friendly and engaging.  "The Book Just Ate My Dog" is a wonderful twist on the phrase...the dog just ate my homework. Both young and old will get a kick out of this delightful tale.






Born in a hospital. Brought up in Brighton. Learnt to colour-in in Eastbourne. Worked in graphic design. Worked in Brighton, London, Manchester and Yorkshire Hills. Worked for myself. Met Philippa somewhere along the way. Had two children. Had the mid life crisis. Bought my first guitar. Got the urge to create a children’s book. Got an agent. Got a book deal. Got another book deal. Got to Chichester.
Got to go. Bye for now.

Reach me…



Read on and read always!

It's a wrap.

0 Comments on This Book Just Ate My Dog - a bookwrap as of 1/29/2015 10:17:00 AM
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6540. Writing And Not Thinking


I've written on writing in the moment before but I want to add something about my process here.

One thing that was important for me to learn is that writing fiction is juggling many things at once and not thinking about any of them while you’re in the act of writing. There are just so many areas of concern: voice, character, plot, setting, language, and on and on. If we think about them while we’re writing, there’s a good chance we’ll freeze up or go into a kind of stiff, forced writing, or maybe make the wrong choices. And the wrong choices can be deadly in a novel. The wrong choices can lead you to other wrong choices and then you’re halfway through the novel and you’re thinking, HOW THE F**K DID I GET HERE? WHAT AM I DOING HERE? THIS ISN’T MY BEAUTIFUL NOVEL. THESE AREN’T MY BEAUTIFUL CHARACTERS (and before you know it you’re in a Talking Heads song—sorry, off topic). 

So--you can't think--much--about writing while you're writing. You can think all around it, of course. When you're driving your car (this, of course, does raise safety concerns but we all must make sacrifices for our art), taking a shower, walking the dog (one of my favorites). I'm constantly turning over aspects of what I'm working on when I'm not actually working but the writing itself, in my opinion, should be as much in the moment of the story as possible.

So yes--writing in the moment is important for making the right choices and discovering connections between plot and character.

But the thinking that goes on around the writing process is important too.  Lately, I've been trying to order this thinking a bit more by writing it out. I'm not yet ready to call it an outline but it is brainstorming in a more orderly way.  I've always been a discovery writer so this is a bit new for me. More later on how this works for me--for now I just want to point out that I think that you can be a believer in discovery writing (finding your way by writing it out) AND mapping aspects of story and character in order to guide some of these discoveries.

0 Comments on Writing And Not Thinking as of 1/29/2015 11:55:00 AM
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6541. Michael Fassbender Lands Titular Role in Steve Jobs Biopic

Steve JobsUniversal has wrapped up the casting process for the Steve Jobs movie.

According to Deadline, Michael Fassbender will play the titular role. Prior to his hiring, the movie studio tried to convince Christian Bale to take on the part.

Other actors who have also signed on for this project include Seth Rogen as Steve Wozniak, Kate Winslet as Joanna Hoffman, and Jeff Daniels as John SculleyDanny Boyle will serve as the director. Aaron Sorkin has been tasked with adapting Walter Isaacson’s biography for the script.

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6542. Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

When Scholastic launched its Graphix imprint 10 years ago, graphic novels were a novelty, if you can pardon the expression, in the mainstream publishing world. And kids comics were an unknown quantity—comics shops didn’t want them and bookstores didn’t know what to do with them. In the first wave, there were many miscues and misunderstandings at many houses along the way. But Graphix wasn’t the one making them. Granted, starting out a line with Jeff Smith’s Bone is about as much a sure thing as possible—6.9 million copies in print and counting. But picking Raina Telgemeier to do a Babysitter’s Club relaunch and eventually Smile, and Kazu Kibuishi to publish his Amulet series weren’t as sure—but they sure paid off. Along the way Graphix has picked up multiple Eisner Award wins and nominations, a Stonewall Book Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor, an Edgar Allan Poe nomination, and 14 New York Times bestsellers. They’ve published many more top cartoonists such as Doug TenNapel, Greg Ruth, Mike Maihack and Jimmy Gownley. And there’s more to come.

To celebrate their tenth anniversary—Bone: Out From Boneville was published in 20o5—Scholastic has some cool stuff on tap. To kick things off they’re revealing two covers for the first time:

SpaceDumplins Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

Craig Thompson’s Space Dumplins comes out in August. It’s the first kids book by the acclaimed author of Blankets and Habibi, and his first one in full-color, with Dave Stewart adding hues.

SunnySideUp Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

And the sister/brother duo of  Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, best selling authors of Babymouse and Squish have a new one as well: Sunny Side Up (August 25, 2015; ages 8-12), which is a semi-autobiographical story, their first.

In addition, 12 Graphix artists have created new art that will be offered as prints throughout the year at events and online. The line-up: James Burks, Nathan Fox, Jimmy Gownley, Matthew Holm, Kazu Kibuishi, Mike Maihack, Dave Roman, Greg Ruth, Jeff Smith, Raina Telgemeier, Doug TenNapel, and Craig Thompson. Events include ALA Midwinter (Chicago, IL), Emerald City Comic Con (Seattle, WA), Texas Library Association (Austin, TX), BookExpo (New York City, NY), ALA Annual (San Francisco, CA), Comic-Con International (San Diego, California), Long Beach Comic Expo (Long Beach, CA), Salt Lake Comic Con (Salt Lake City, UT), and New York Comic Con (New York City, NY).

Finally, on February  24, Graphic will publish BONE #1: Out from Boneville, Tribute Edition, with a new illustrated poem from  Jeff Smith and new tribute art from sixteen top artists.

Along with the cover reveal, Graphic has announced some future projects:

  • Two more installments in the Amulet series
  • A new graphic novel, as yet untitled, by Kazu Kibuishi
  • Books 3 and 4 in Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space series
  • And from Raina Telgemeier, a nonfiction family story in the vein of  Smile and Sisters), a collection of short stories, and a fictional graphic novel.

It’s definitely worth giving Graphix and its founder, David Saylor, a tip of the cap. 10 years ago it was a gamble. Today it’s an institution.

 

4 Comments on Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm, last added: 1/30/2015
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6543. Thumbs down to THE MAYFLOWER by Mark Greenwood

In July of 2014, Holiday House released The Mayflower written by Mark Greenwood. Illustrated by his wife, Frane Lessac, some people think it is a contender for the Caldecott. I sure hope not, but America loves its birth narratives and many segments of America refuse to see it in a balanced or accurate light.

Greenwood and Lessac provide that same romantic story, as shown on these pages (source: https://wondersinthedark.wordpress.com/2014/11/27/caldecott-medal-contender-the-mayflower/). Here's Squanto:


And of course, that meal:



For further reading:



0 Comments on Thumbs down to THE MAYFLOWER by Mark Greenwood as of 1/29/2015 10:25:00 AM
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6544. Comment on Today’s the Day! It’s Multicultural Children’s Book Day! by Ann

Thanks for all you do for MCCBD! I loved being a part of it and feel it is so important!!!

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6545. Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

When Scholastic launched its Graphix imprint 10 years ago, graphic novels were a novelty, if you can pardon the expression, in the mainstream publishing world. And kids comics were an unknown quantity—comics shops didn’t want them and bookstores didn’t know what to do with them. In the first wave, there were many miscues and misunderstandings at many houses along the way. But Graphix wasn’t the one making them. Granted, starting out a line with Jeff Smith’s Bone is about as much a sure thing as possible—6.9 million copies in print and counting. But picking Raina Telgemeier to do a Babysitter’s Club relaunch and eventually Smile, and Kazu Kibuishi to publish his Amulet series weren’t as sure—but they sure paid off. Along the way Graphix has picked up multiple Eisner Award wins and nominations, a Stonewall Book Award, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor, an Edgar Allan Poe nomination, and 14 New York Times bestsellers. They’ve published many more top cartoonists such as Doug TenNapel, Greg Ruth, Mike Maihack and Jimmy Gownley. And there’s more to come.

To celebrate their tenth anniversary—Bone: Out From Boneville was published in 20o5—Scholastic has some cool stuff on tap. To kick things off they’re revealing two covers for the first time:

SpaceDumplins Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

Craig Thompson’s Space Dumplins comes out in August. It’s the first kids book by the acclaimed author of Blankets and Habibi, and his first one in full-color, with Dave Stewart adding hues.

SunnySideUp Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm

And the sister/brother duo of  Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm, best selling authors of Babymouse and Squish have a new one as well: Sunny Side Up (August 25, 2015; ages 8-12), which is a semi-autobiographical story, their first.

In addition, 12 Graphix artists have created new art that will be offered as prints throughout the year at events and online. The line-up: James Burks, Nathan Fox, Jimmy Gownley, Matthew Holm, Kazu Kibuishi, Mike Maihack, Dave Roman, Greg Ruth, Jeff Smith, Raina Telgemeier, Doug TenNapel, and Craig Thompson. Events include ALA Midwinter (Chicago, IL), Emerald City Comic Con (Seattle, WA), Texas Library Association (Austin, TX), BookExpo (New York City, NY), ALA Annual (San Francisco, CA), Comic-Con International (San Diego, California), Long Beach Comic Expo (Long Beach, CA), Salt Lake Comic Con (Salt Lake City, UT), and New York Comic Con (New York City, NY).

Finally, on February  24, Graphic will publish BONE #1: Out from Boneville, Tribute Edition, with a new illustrated poem from  Jeff Smith and new tribute art from sixteen top artists.

Along with the cover reveal, Graphic has announced some future projects:

  • Two more installments in the Amulet series
  • A new graphic novel, as yet untitled, by Kazu Kibuishi
  • Books 3 and 4 in Mike Maihack’s Cleopatra in Space series
  • And from Raina Telgemeier, a nonfiction family story in the vein of  Smile and Sisters), a collection of short stories, and a fictional graphic novel.

It’s definitely worth giving Graphix and its founder, David Saylor, a tip of the cap. 10 years ago it was a gamble. Today it’s an institution.

 

0 Comments on Graphix is 10 and reveals covers to new Craig Thompson and Jenni and Matthew Holm as of 1/30/2015 6:48:00 AM
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6546.

This moHalf Past Winter ~


Half Past Winter, by Ginger Nielson | Book Review

 | January 29, 2015 0 Comments
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Tenley Peck | The Children’s Book Review | January 29, 2015
Half Past Winter: Two Curious Cubs Set Out to Find Their First Snow By Ginger NielsonHalf Past Winter
Age Range: 4 - 6
Hardcover: 28 pages
Publisher: Virginia Nielson (2014)
ISBN: 978-0-9913093-0-6
What to expect: Bears and Adventure
Half Past Winter is an adorable tale of two bear cubs and their adventure to find winter’s first snow. They grow impatient in their den when no snow comes and decide to explore until they find snow. Their journey does find snow; however, they end up in the middle of a blizzard and become lost. This heartwarming story follows their adventure back home to their mother and cozy den. Little ones will love to follow the two cubs adventures and will giggle with what they find. The story is simple and succinctly told and is a great read for early readers.
The colorful and animated illustrations are outstanding and allow little ones to read the story through pictures. The illustrations are excellent interpretations of the narrative world and allow children an opportunity to begin to develop cognitive storytelling.
Half Past Winter Illustration
Illustration copyright © 2014 by Ginger Nielson: HALF PAST WINTER
This is an emotive story that draws empathy from the reader—especially when the cubs are lost and then reunited with their mother—making it a great choice to open up discussion on emotions and feelings about others. Half Past Winter is a superlative bedtime book for children ages 4 to 6.
Add this book to your collection: Half Past Winter
Book Trailer
About the Author
Ginger Nielson is a full time author/illustrator who lives at the top of a hill, near the edge of a forest, in semi-rural New England. There is a magic wand on her desk, a dragon in her basement, and several tiny elephants in her studio.
Half Past Winter, by Ginger Nielson, was reviewed by Tenley Peck. Follow along with our articles tagged with Kids Winter BooksKids Snow Books, or our Seasonal Books Category to discover more great titles just like this one.

0 Comments on as of 1/29/2015 12:15:00 PM
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6547. Sandra M. Gustafson on the State of the Union (2015)

President Obama Delivers State Of The Union Address

As with the past few years, we are fortunate enough to have scholar Sandra M. Gustafson contribute a post following Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union address, positing the stakes for Obama’s rhetorical position in light of recent events in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City (while pointing toward their more deeply embedded and disturbing legacies, respectively). Read Gustafson’s 2015 post in full after the jump below.

***

Lives that Matter: Reflections on the 2015 State of the Union Address

by Sandra M. Gustafson

 In his sixth State of the Union address, President Barack Obama summarized the major achievements of his administration to date–bringing the American economy back from the Great Recession, passing and implementing the Affordable Care Act, advancing civil rights, and winding down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, while shifting the emphasis of US foreign policy toward diplomacy and multilateralism – and presented a framework for new initiatives that he called “middle class economics,” including affordable child care, a higher minimum wage, and free community college. Commentators compared the president’s emphasis on the successes of his six years in office to an athlete taking a victory lap. Some considered that tone odd in light of Republican midterm victories, while others speculated about his aspirations to shape the 2016 presidential election.  More and more, the president’s rhetoric and public actions inform an effort to shape his legacy, both in terms of the direction of his party and with regard to his historical reputation. The 2015 State of the Union address was a prime example of the narrative emerging from the White House.

The announcement earlier on the day of the address that the president will visit Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Bloody Sunday and the movement to pass the Voting Rights Act was just one of many examples of how he has presented that legacy over the years: as an extension of the work of Martin Luther King, Jr. Community organizing, nonviolent protest, and political engagement are the central components of the route to social change that the president offered in The Audacity of Hope, his 2006 campaign autobiography. The need to nurture a commitment to progressive change anchored in an expanded electorate and an improved political system has been a regular theme of his time in office.

In the extended peroration that concluded this State of the Union address, the president alluded to his discussion of deliberative democracy in The Audacity of Hope. He called for “a better politics,” which he described as one where “we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears,” “where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues and values, and principles and facts,” and “where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up with a sense of purpose and possibility.” He also returned to his 2004 speech to the Democratic National Convention in Boston, quoting a now famous passage, “there wasn’t a liberal America or a conservative America; a black America or a white America—but a United States of America.”

The president’s biracial background and his preference for “both/and” ways of framing conflicts has put him at odds with critics such as Cornell West and Tavis Smiley, who have faulted him for not paying sufficient attention to the specific problems of black America. The approach that Obama took in his address to the police killings of unarmed black men in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City did not satisfy activists in the Black Lives Matter coalition, which issued a rebuttal to his address in the form of a State of the Black Union message. To the president’s claim that “The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong,” the activists responded emphatically, offering a direct rebuttal in the subtitle of their manifesto: “The Shadow of Crisis has NOT Passed.” Rejecting his assertions of economic growth and social progress, they assembled a list of counterclaims.

The president came closest to engaging the concerns of the activists when he addressed the issue of violence and policing. “We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York,” he noted, juxtaposing micronarratives of “a father who fears his son can’t walk home without being harassed” and “the wife who won’t rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift.” By focusing on the concerns of a father and a wife, rather than the young man and the police officer at risk, he expanded the possibilities for identification in a manner that echoes his emphasis on family. The “State of the Black Union” extends the notion of difference in an alternative direction and responds with a macronarrative couched in terms of structural violence: “Our schools are designed to funnel our children into prisons. Our police departments have declared war against our community. Black people are exploited, caged, and killed to profit both the state and big business. This is a true State of Emergency. There is no place for apathy in this crisis. The US government has consistently violated the inalienable rights our humanity affords.”

To the president’s language of the nation as a family, and to his statement that “I want our actions to tell every child in every neighborhood, your life matters, and we are committed to improving your life chances[,] as committed as we are to working on behalf of our own kids,” the manifesto responds by rejecting his image of national solidarity and his generalization of the “black lives matter” slogan. Instead it offers a ringing indictment: “This corrupt democracy was built on Indigenous genocide and chattel slavery. And continues to thrive on the brutal exploitation of people of color. We recognize that not even a Black President will pronounce our truths. We must continue the task of making America uncomfortable about institutional racism. Together, we will re-imagine what is possible and build a system that is designed for Blackness to thrive.”  After presenting a list of demands and declaring 2015 “the year of resistance,” the manifesto concludes with a nod to Obama’s 2008 speech on race, “A More Perfect Union”: “We the People, committed to the declaration that Black lives matter, will fight to end the structural oppression that prevents so many from realizing their dreams. We cannot, and will not stop until America recognizes the value of Black life.”

This call-and-response between the first African American president and a coalition of activists has two registers.  One register involves the relationship between part and whole (e pluribus unum). President Obama responds to demands that he devote more attention to the challenges facing Black America by emphasizing that he is the president of the entire nation. What is at stake, he suggests, is the ability of an African American to represent a heterogeneous society.

The other register of the exchange exemplifies a persistent tension over the place of radicalism in relation to the institutions of democracy in the United States.  The Black Lives Matter manifesto draws on critiques of American democracy in Black Nationalist, Black radical, and postcolonial thought. As I discuss in Imagining Deliberative Democracy in the Early American Republic, these critiques have roots reaching back before the Civil War, to abolitionist leaders such as David Walker and Maria Stewart, and even earlier to the Revolutionary War veteran and minister Lemuel Haynes. The recently released film Selma, which portrays the activism leading to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, highlights the tactics of Dr. King and his associates as they pressure President Johnson to take up the matter of voting. The film characterizes the radical politics of Malcolm X and the threat of violence as a means to enhance the appeal of King’s nonviolent approach, an argument that Malcolm himself made. It then includes a brief scene in which Malcolm meets with Coretta Scott King in a tentative rapprochement that occurred shortly before his assassination. This tripartite structure of the elected official, the moderate or nonviolent activist, and the radical activist willing to embrace violence has become a familiar paradigm of progressive social change.

Aspects of this paradigm inform Darryl Pinckney’s “In Ferguson.” Reporting on the violence that followed the grand jury’s failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson for Michael Brown’s killing, Pickney quotes the Reverend Osagyefo Sekou, one of the leaders of the Don’t Shoot coalition, on the limits of electoral politics. Voting is “an insider strategy,” Sekou says. “If it’s only the ballot box, then we’re finished.” Pickney also cites Hazel Erby, the only black member of the seven-member county council of Ferguson, who explained the overwhelmingly white police force as a result of low voter turnout. Pinckney summarizes: “The city manager of Ferguson and its city council appoint the chief of police, and therefore voting is critical, but the complicated structure of municipal government is one reason many people have been uninterested in local politics.” This type of local narrative has played a very minor role in the coverage.  It occupies a register between President Obama’s micronarratives focused on individuals and families, on the one hand, and the structural violence macronarrative of the Black Lives Matter manifesto on the other. This middle register is where specific local situations are addressed and grassroots change happens. It can also provide insight into broad structural problems that might otherwise be invisible.

The value of this middle register of the local narrative emerges in the light that Rachel Aviv shines on police violence in an exposé of the Albuquerque Police Department. In “Your Son is Deceased,” Aviv focuses on the ordeal of the middle class Torres family when Christopher Torres, a young man suffering from schizophrenia, is shot and killed by police in the backyard of the family home. Christopher’s parents, a lawyer and the director of human resources for the county, are refused information and kept from the scene of their son’s killing for hours. They learn what happened to Christopher only through news reports the following day. The parallels between the Torres and Brown cases are striking, as are the differences. Though the confrontation with the police that led to Torres’s death happened just outside his home, and though his parents knew and worked with city officials including the mayor, his death and the official response to it share haunting similarities with that of Brown. Aviv does not ignore the issue of race and ethnicity, mentioning the sometimes sharp conflicts in this borderlands region between Latino/as, Native Americans, and whites.  But in presenting her narrative, she highlights the local factors that foster the corruption that she finds to be endemic in the Albuquerque Police Department; she also foregrounds mental illness as a decisive element in a number of police killings–one that crosses racial and economic boundaries.

There is a scene in Selma, in which Dr. King invites his colleagues to explore the dimensions of the voter suppression problem. They begin listing the contributing factors—the literacy tests, the poll tax—and then one of the organizers mentions laws requiring that a sponsor who is a voter must vouch for someone who wishes to register. The sponsor must know the would-be voter and be able to testify to her or his character. In rural areas of the South, there might not be a registered black voter for a hundred miles, and so many potential voters could not find an acquaintance to sponsor them.  The organizers agree this should be their first target, since without a sponsor, a potential voter cannot even reach the downstream hurdles of the literacy test and the poll tax. This practice of requiring a sponsor was specifically forbidden in the Voting Rights Act. At present, there are attempts to revive a version of the voucher test.

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Selma as a whole, and this scene in particular, exemplifies many of the central features of democratic self-governance that Danielle Allen describes in Our Declaration: A Reading of the Declaration of Independence in Defense of Equality. Allen, a classicist and political theorist at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study, develops what she calls a “slow reading” of the Declaration of Independence in order to draw out the meaning of equality, which she relates to political processes focused on democratic deliberation and writing. From the language of the Declaration, Allen draws five interconnected facets of the ideal of equality.  Equality, she explains, involves freedom from domination, for both states and individuals. It also involves “recognizing and enabling the general human capacity for political judgment” coupled with “access to the tool of government.”  She finds equality to be produced through the Aristotelian “potluck method,” whereby individuals contribute their special forms of knowledge to foster social good, and through reciprocity or mutual responsiveness, which contributes to equality of agency. And she defines equality as “co-creation, where many people participate equally in creating a world together.”[i]

Selma illustrates all of these features of equality at work in the Civil Rights Movement, and the discussion of how to prioritize different aspects of voter suppression is a compelling dramatization of the “potluck method.” Following Allen, what is called for now is the sharing of special knowledge among individuals and communities affected by violent policing, including representatives of the police.  The December killings of New York City police officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos further heightened the polarization between police and protestors. President Obama offered one strategy for defusing that polarization in his State of the Union address when he presented scenarios designed to evoke reciprocity and mutual responsiveness.  Christopher Torres’s killing introduces an additional set of issues about the treatment of people with mental illness that complicates the image of a white supremacist state dominating black bodies—as does the fact that neither Liu nor Ramos was white.

What is needed now is a forum to produce and publicize a middle register of knowledge that addresses both local circumstances, such as the overly complicated government structure in Ferguson or the corruption in the Albuquerque Police Department, and more systemic problems such as the legacy of racism, a weak system of mental health care, and ready access to guns. Such a forum would exemplify the potluck method and embody the ideals of deliberative democracy as President Obama described them in The Audacity of Hope. Noting the diffuse operations of power in the government of the United States, he emphasized the importance of building a deliberative democracy where, “all citizens are required to engage in a process of testing their ideas against an external reality, persuading others of their point of view, and building shifting alliances of consent.” The present focus on police violence offers an opportunity to engage in such a democratic deliberation. The issues are emotional, and the stakes are high. But without the social sharing that Aristotle compared to a potluck meal, we will all remain hungry for solutions.

[i] In “Equality as Singularity:  Rethinking Literature and Democracy,” I relate Allen’s treatment of equality to the approach developed by French theorist Pierre Rosanvallon and consider both in relation to literature. The essay appears in a forthcoming special issue of New Literary History devoted to political theory.

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Sandra M. Gustafson is professor of English and American studies at the University of Notre Dame. She is writing a book on conflict and democracy in classic American fiction with funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

To read more about Imagining Deliberative Democracy in the Early American Republic, click here.

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6548. Heroes In Action – Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti-Islamic Ads

by Zachary Clemente

10934042 348076775385575 7477015537591114790 n Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic AdsWhen not out fighting fiendish villains, teaming up (adorably) with Wolverine, or being late to class – Kamala Khan AKA Ms. Marvel has found an entirely new spotlight by having her image used on top of anti-Islamic bus ads in San Francisco. These ads, found on Muni busses, were purchased earlier this month by right-wing extremist American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI) and an anonymous graffiti artist has stepped in to address the hatred with some heroics. The ads make parallels between Islam with Nazism, utilizing a photo of Adolf Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, an anti-Zionism Muslim leader, and demand end to aiding Islamic countries.

This is especially poetic as Kamala is a Pakistani-American teenager and Muslim superhero, I might add. Her deeds were posted by Street Cred and have spread far and wide, befitting any hero’s work. While many may cry foul that the unknown artist’s actions are oppressing free speech, in actuality, this is a fantastic representation of public discourse in action and a poignant means of engaging such an issue in light of how many of the reactions to the attack on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris ended up: scattered, veering, and hasty.

10830754 348076875385565 8805719012231739861 o 1000x747 Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic AdsWhat’s just as impressive is the level-headed response Ms. Marvel writer G. Willow Wilson had to offer on the subject:

You can find Kamala’s Adventures monthly in Ms. Marvel. I thoroughly suggest reading the first collected trade, No Normal, available in digital and in print.

background2 Heroes In Action   Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti Islamic Ads

Art by Jaime McKelvie

 

1 Comments on Heroes In Action – Kamala Khan Sabotages Anti-Islamic Ads, last added: 1/30/2015
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6549. Why Create a Gender Neutral Picture Book?

Maya Christina GonzalezMaya Christina Gonzalez is an awardGuest Blogger-winning author and illustrator. In this post, cross-posted from her website, Maya shares why she decided to make her new picture book, Call Me Tree/ Llámame árbol, completely gender neutral.

You may or may not notice something different about my new book, Call Me Tree. Nowhere in the story are boy/girl pronouns used. No ‘he’ or ‘she’ anywhere! I found it easy to write this way because that’s how I think of kids, as kids, not boy kids or girl kids.

I even requested that no ‘he’ or ‘she’ be used anywhere else in the book, like on the end pages or the back cover when talking about the story. I also asked the publisher to only refer to the main character as a child or kid when they talked about my book out in the world. Because I wanted Call Me Tree to be gender free!

Why? I’m glad you asked. Two reasons come to the top of my mind:

First, I know a lot of people. Some don’t feel that they fit into the boy or the girl box and of course, some do! By not using ‘he’ or ‘she,’ I could include everyone! This is very important to me. I want everyone to know that we all belong!

And second, I thought it would be a great opportunity to talk about the main character in Call Me Tree. Let’s call them ‘Tree.’ Tree is like a lot of people I know, including my own kids! Strong, curious, free! Now, if you were going to guess if Tree is a ‘he’ or a ‘she,’ which do you think?call-me-tree-maya-gonzalez

I’m going to guess you’d say ‘he’ first, maybe because Tree’s already been called ‘he’ by folks who have given Call Me Tree some really awesome reviews. Tree could be he, but maybe not! A lot of times we make guesses based on what we think is true, but sometimes that can leave people out.

Tree’s reminding us there are lots of different ways to be!

I just remembered another top reason.

People who don’t fit into the boy or the girl box get teased more than anybody. This is extra not cool to me. I happen to know all kids rock, so I want to make sure the ones that get picked on the most know they rock! Right?!

Call Me Tree/Llamamé árbol

So Call Me Tree is gender free! Because all trees belong!

Try it on for a day. Play with not being called ‘he’ or ‘she,’ but only Tree, tall and strong! Just for one day, or even one afternoon. Would anything feel different? Would you be different?

Let’s call it Tree Day.

Let’s all be free. Let’s all be trees!
Whatdya think?

Call me Tree!

Love,   mayatree

When sharing this book, you may want to include that it’s gender free as part of the conversation in your classroom, library or home if:

Download this post in PDF to share

  • you have a child, family or community member who does not fit into the boy or girl box they were assigned at birth
  • you want to expand the boxes to include more ways of being a girl or a boy
  • you want to be inclusive of everyone regardless of boxes because everyone belongs

Purchase a copy of Call Me Tree/ Llámame árbol

For more resources:
www.reflectionpress.com/our-books/gender-now-activity-bookschool-edition
www.welcomingschools.org/pages/resources-on-gender-identity-and-children
www.tolerance.org/gender-spectrum
www.genderspectrum.org
www.outproudfamilies.com

0 Comments on Why Create a Gender Neutral Picture Book? as of 1/29/2015 11:20:00 AM
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6550. A rubric!!

Hi everyone,

If you thought my last post about judging writing contests was helpful, check out what this amazing writer did with the information! She made a rubric!! :)

http://www.shannonrigney.com/2015/01/28/fun-with-rubrics/

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