Weekender: Zunar, Koyama Press, and Jess Fink’s Sexy Robot
What a week! I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to sit back and read some comics. The weekend is finally here, and the world can relax and rest once more — but the comics industry has been busy too, you know, and the last seven days have seen a flurry of comics-based news and announcements fly past at high speed.
ComicsAlliance has got your back, though: when it comes to comics, we never slow down, so here’s a look back and just what’s been going on. New comics, new stories, new podcasts, new art being made — it’s all part of the ComicsAlliance Weekender!
Zulkiflee Anwar Ul-Haque, the man otherwise known as political cartoonist ‘Zunar’, has won the 2016 Cartooning for Peace Award, held in Kuala Lumpur. The award has been given out since 2012 as part of World Press Freedom Day, and this year the focus was on perhaps the most prominent cartoonists of the last twelve months. Zunar has used his work to press against the Sedition Act in Malaysia, which prohibits discourse deemed to be seditious. At the ceremony this week he received his award from Kofi Annan, and stated, “Fear and intimidation are the potent tools being used by the regime to scare the people. I believe, strokes of art can lead the people to cross the line of fear.”
The Creators for Creators initiative, which was announced last month at Image Expo, went live this week. Founded by a number of creators including C. Spike Trotman, Nick Dragotta, Fiona Staples, Robert Kirkman, and more, the initiative will award a grant of $30,000 to a single creator or creative team that produces the work of most interest to the founders. Anybody over the age of 18 can submit work to the project, under the caveat that they can’t have had previous third-party publication experience. If you’ve self-published or been part of an anthology, you can take part. If you’ve had work published by someone else, this isn’t the grant for you. Full details can be found on the website.
That’s not all, though --- the Will Eisner Scholarship grant also opened for submissions recently, which in turn offers a $5,000 grant for the winner. This one is aimed at young cartoonists, with only undergraduates able to be nominated, so they can use the money to help fund their senior year of education. Nominations close… agh! Today!
Painter Shirley Bellwood, best known for her work on the UK comics serial Misty, passed away earlier this year at the age of 84. In this piece looking at her career, John Freeman notes that her work will be used for the cover of the first forthcoming Misty collection later this year, published by 2000 AD.
A few awards went out this week in the world of manga, including the 20th Tezuka Osamu Cultural Prize. Surprisingly, this Wednesday’s announcement saw a tie for the prize --- Hanagami Sharaku by Kei Ichinoseki and Yotsuba&! by Kiyohiko Azuma were both recognised as winners of the Grand Prize. Yuki Andō won the New Creator Prize for Machida-kun no Sekai, and the Kyoto International Manga Museum was recognized for a decade of contribution to manga culture.
The cycle continues on, however --- there are even more awards still waiting to be given out, including the International Manga Award. The goal of this one is to promote manga, well, internationally, and the award is revving up for the tenth anniversary come 2017. Nominations are now open --- if you want to be considered, submit your application!
It’s quite an interactive Weekender this Friday, because here are a bunch of different 2016 events that are opening their doors to people this month. For one thing, NYCC is asking for panel submissions now, while MICE 2016 has also opened up applications for this year’s event, held as ever (well! The name wouldn’t make much sense otherwise) in good ol’ Massachusetts.
TCAF has released the panels for its 2016 Word Balloon Academy on May 13th, focusing on comics creation. Just get a look at the line-up for the “What is Money?” panel!
In non-convention news, The Billy Ireland Museum in Columbus has revealed its summer and autumn exhibitions for 2016, including Little Nemo!!
NEW AND UPCOMING COMICS
Fink! The latest project from Jess Fink has headed straight to Kickstarter, as she seeks to bring a second volume of her webcomic Chester 5000 to print. You may recall that the first volume came through Top Shelf a few years back --- this continuation of the webcomic takes the series into new territory, heading back in time to look at the first meetings of Priscilla, a Victorian woman, and a robot built by her husband, the eponymous Chester. The project has sailed over the funding target, but there’s still time to push it further.
Knisley! This week the cartoonist solely known as... Lucy Knisley decided to announce her own new project via the form known solely as… comics. Well, yes. Kid Gloves is due to be released in 2018 by FirstSecond, the comics publisher with more faith that we won’t suddenly face an apocalypse than any other in the business. 2018! But it’ll be worth the wait, no doubt --- if her introduction is any evidence, this should be a funny, insightful piece as she opens up on female sexuality, and motherhood.
Ladybugs! I was shown the first volume of comics from The Los Angeles Women’s Comics Creators League by artist Joie Brown, and this looks like a really fun project. An anthology of stories by female creators, 17 women will be involved in the launch of their first issue on May 11th. They’re launching it online at the same time, so keep an eye on their Gumtree page if you’d like to take a look at what they’ve been up to.
Two pieces in the Weekender in two weeks, but that speaks to the strength of ComicsBulletin right now, which has really stepped up the pace over the last few weeks. I could have picked any number of pieces to link to on this here ol’ linkblog, but the one that caught my attention is this from Ray Sonne. She talks about how representation in comics directly affected and aided her in various ways, looking at The Authority in particular.
Comics&Cola is gone, but Zainab Akhtar returns for a profile of Annie Koyama and Koyama Press over at, surprisingly, The Fader. As you might expect from that combination of subject and profiler, this is a hugely impressive and immersive read.
I want to share a review every Friday on Weekender, so let’s turn next to MultiversityComics, and Mike Romeo’s look at Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu. It’s a fun review, picking at elements of the book and finding new little twists and turns in each panel. It makes the book look like a million dollars --- and well worth reading!
We’ll end the week with this heartening piece from Megan Cavitt, who writes eloquently about Marbles: Mania, Depression, Michaelangelo, and Me, by Ellen Forney. Writing for Panels, Cavitt gets very personal about her own concerns about reading the book, as somebody who herself struggles with mental illness. However, reading through her look at the book, you not only grow to admire her as a reviewer, but also the book itself, and the comics medium as a whole. Cavitt says that comics are a medium uniquely suited to deal with, depict, and discuss mental illness, and she’s absolutely right. A tremendous piece.
Have a great weekend, everybody!