Friday, November 17, 2017

Open Letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Release Artist and Writer Ramón Esono Ebalé

Open Letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Release Artist and Writer Ramón Esono Ebalé

Ramón-Esono-Ebalé-pen-name-Jamón-y-Queso-equatorial-guinea

The AAEC has joined with 18 other organizations in calling for the immediate release of cartoonist Ramón Esono Ebalé, currently held against his will by the government of Equatorial Guinea.

 November 15, 2017

http://news.editorialcartoonists.com/aaec/2017/11/open-letter-to-the-president-of-equatorial-guinea-release-artist-and-writer-ram%C3%B3n-esono-ebal%C3%A9.html

An Open Letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Release Artist and Writer Ramón Esono Ebalé

Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Palacio Presidencial
Avenida de la Libertad
Malabo, Guinea Ecuatorial

Your Excellency,

We write to express our deep concern in response to the unjust arrest and subsequent detention without charge of Ramón Esono Ebalé in Malabo on 16th September 2017, and to urge you to release him immediately.

Mr. Ebalé and two of his friends were stopped by police, handcuffed, and had their mobile phones seized while getting into Mr. Ebalé's sister's car after leaving a restaurant in Malabo. Police then interrogated Mr. Ebalé about his drawings of, and blog posts about members of the Equatoguinean leadership, and told him – in front of his two friends – that he needed to make a statement explaining those drawings and blog posts. It was confirmed by police that only Mr. Ebalé was the target of the arrest, and not his two friends.

Mr Ebalé has learned that he faces potential charges of counterfeiting and money laundering; offences that were apparently never mentioned to him or his friends when they were arrested.   Mr. Ebalé's prolonged detention without charge gives rise to serious concerns that these allegations are no more than a pretext to justify the ongoing arbitrary deprivation of liberty he is being subjected to.

Mr. Ebalé's extended detention at Black Beach prison without charge appears to be a clear violation of Equatorial Guinean law, which requires charges to be filed within 72 hours of an arrest. A judge has not mandated preventative detention in his case, which under exceptional circumstances would allow the police to hold him without charge for longer, nor does there appear to be a basis for such an order.

Mr. Ebalé, a renowned cartoonist who has been living abroad since 2011, has now spent 60 days in prison. His arrest in Equatorial Guinea—where he returned to renew his passport—has received global attention with calls for his release from fellow journalists, artists, activists, and human rights and press freedom organizations.

As Equatorial Guinea prepares to join the UN Security Council in January 2018, the world is watching the case of Mr. Ebalé closely. We hope that as your country takes this prominent position on the world stage, your government respects all human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In this vein, we call on your Excellency, and the judicial authorities in Equatorial Guinea to respect the rights of all artists, human rights defenders, activists, and, more generally, all individuals in Equatorial Guinea who wish to exercise their right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association without fear of being harassed or prosecuted.

To this end, we urge you to order Mr. Ebalé's immediate and unconditional release from prison.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours Sincerely,

Amnesty International
API Madrid
Arterial Network
Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Member of the House of Lords, President of JUSTICE
Cartoonist Rights Network International
Committee to Protect Journalists
EG Justice
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Freemuse
Human Rights Watch
Index on Censorship
PEN International
Reporters Without Borders
The Doughty Street International Media Defense Panel
Transparency International
UNCAC Coalition
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the
Protection of Human Rights Defenders

NPR's Monkey See on Poorly Drawn Lines and Justice League

Cartoonist Reza Farazmand Walks Us Through Some Of His 'Comics For A Strange World'

Rotten tomatoes thrown at Rotten Tomatoes over Justice League

Rotten Tomatoes under fire for timing of 'Justice League' review [in print as Delaying blockbuster's rating, review site draws its own jeers].

Washington Post November 17, 2017, p. A13
online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/rotten-tomatoes-under-fire-for-timing-of-justice-league-review/2017/11/16/45531a3a-cb22-11e7-b244-2d22ac912500_story.html

Book Review: Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture


reviewed by Mike Rhode

Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture

by Dan Gearino, Ohio University Press' Swallow Press, 2017. $26.95
Despite the title, Comic Shop focuses at least as much, if not more, on the growth of the Direct Market distribution network that gave rise to independent comic shops and sustains them today. Gearino is a journalist and has written an accessible popular history that relies largely on interviews, much like Slugfest, which we recently reviewed and which works well as a complement to this book.
Gearino focuses on his local comic shop, Laughing Ogre, perhaps slightly too much at times, but it's understandable that he chose a long-lasting, respected store as one of the pillars of his book. He returns to the store's history time and again, while recounting a chronological history of the transfer from comic books as a mass media product sold everywhere on newsstands to one that requires a visit to a specialty shop.

From the 1920s through the 1970s, comic books were sold in newsstands, mom and pop shops and anywhere a distributor could place a rack. Personally, for me, the 7-11 was the main site. The books were dumped on the store which was expected to rack them, and return them for credit when they didn't sell. The comics had a profit for the store in the pennies, so little attention was paid to them. At many times, the books weren't delivered or racked, but a refund was requested anyway, leading to fraudulent losses for the publishers, or misleading sales figures.

In 1973, Phil Seuling, an early creator of Comic Cons, made a deal with DC Comics to buy books for them at a larger discount but on an nonreturnable basis, and get them shipped directly from the printer. Seuling's new company was Sea Gate Distributors. It was soon joined by many competitors who split the United States up between them. As in most businesses, the early wide-open days with multiple distributors and thousands of comic book shops saw financial peaks and troughs as well as widespread consolidations and bankruptcies. Gearino also weaves through the rise of independent comic books such as Elfquest, Bone, Cerebus and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and talks about the importance of a retailer hand-selling these types of comics. Today, one distributor remains standing - Baltimore's Diamond Comics, and we're currently seeing a lot of independent books, small publishers and tactics such as variant covers that usually precede a bust in the market.

Gearino did a good job in doing interviews for his research on the book, but is lighter on using archival and printed sources. His focus on Laughing Ogre's small chain occasionally slows the book down, but I think proved to be a good choice to center the story. An odd choice was made to add in profiles of various stores at the end of the book - not quite an appendix, but not quite part of the book either. I think those could have perhaps been integrated in more seamlessly, although when he invites guest commentary in the main text, it is set off at the end of the chapter and is rather jarring. On a local note, Joel Pollack of Big Planet Comics has a two-page profile in the stores section.

This won't be the definitive study of the rise of the Direct Market and specialty comic book stores, but it's a good early step and a fine choice for the casually-interested reader. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.



Dec 5: Cullen Murphy, Prince Valiant writer at Politics and Prose


Cullen Murphy | Cartoon County


Details
Cullen Murphy, editor at large at Vanity Fair and the author of books including God's Jury, grew up in the middle of a thriving community of illustrators and cartoonists in southwestern Connecticut. His father, John Cullen Murphy (1919-2004), who had been a student of Norman Rockwell's, drew the popular comic strips Prince Valiant and Big Ben Bolt. Their neighbors were the artists responsible for classic comics ranging from Beetle Bailey to Hi and Lois to Family Circus. Murphy's memoir pays tribute to these many creative individuals and warmly evokes the spirit of a bygone era.

This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.

The Post on Justice League, Dahmer, The Star, and Annie

What 'Justice League' got wrong about Superman [in print as Super wrong: This isn't why we need the Man of Steel].

Express November 17 2017, p 35
online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/express/wp/2017/11/17/what-justice-league-got-wrong-about-superman/

'Justice League': Not as dark as 'Batman v Superman,' but still a gloomy outing [in print as Nothing comic about these superheroes]

Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 26, 30
online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/justice-league-not-as-dark-as-batman-v-superman-but-still-gloomy/2017/11/15/9581ab46-c4bc-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html


'My Friend Dahmer': Portrait of the serial killer as a young man [in print as A portrait of a killer as a young man].


Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 30
https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/my-friend-dahmer-portrait-of-the-serial-killer-as-a-young-man/2017/11/16/ea927dfe-c976-11e7-b0cf-7689a9f2d84e_story.html

'The Star': Mixing the profound and the silly, this Nativity-themed animation is a hit-and-miss affair [in print as Nativity-themed animal cartoon is hit-and-miss].


Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 29
online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/movies/the-star-mixing-the-profound-and-the-silly-this-nativity-themed-animation-is-a-hit-and-miss-affair/2017/11/16/80aa13d8-c4bd-11e7-afe9-4f60b5a6c4a0_story.html

What's on tap for children on Washington-area stages this season [in print as An 'Annie' for a diverse America].


Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 20
online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/goingoutguide/theater-dance/whats-on-tap-for-children-on-washington-area-stages-this-season/2017/11/15/e5c6e07a-c571-11e7-84bc-5e285c7f4512_story.html

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fabulize Magazine interviews Roye Okupe

We Need To Support Black Superheroes Throughout The African Diaspora, Too

Fabulize Magazine, Contributor
Fabulizemag.com is a print and digital platform for the blerd womanist that appreciates art, beauty, culture & style. #MySuperheroesAreBlack
11/15/2017
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtyujyAyNjw

Collecting Independent Comics and Cartoon Art at the Library of Congress

Collecting Independent Comics and Cartoon Art

by Megan Halsband,

This is a guest post by Megan Halsband, a reference librarian in the Serial and Government Publications Division. It was first published in "Comics! An American History," the September–October issue of LCM, the Library of Congress Magazine. The issue is available in its entirety online.

City Paper on Justice League

Justice League Learns All the Wrong Lessons From Batman v. Superman's Failures

Zack Snyder's film often feels like the sum of the DC Extended Universe's worst qualities.

Nov 15, 2017
https://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/arts/film-tv/blog/20983007/justice-league-reviewed

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "The Latest Russiagate 'Smoking Gun' "


DC's anarchist cartoonist Mike Flugennock's latest cartoon -


"The Latest Russiagate 'Smoking Gun'"
http://sinkers.org/stage/?p=2335

And so, yet another wannabe neo-McCarthyite "journalist" is busted faking it at a major US media outlet. I can't pretend I'm not enjoying this.

This was inspired by an article that appeared this week in Sputnik News which totally shreds the hell out of a sloppy-ass hit piece in The Atlantic by Julia Ioffe about a meeting between Julian Assange and Donald Trump Jr. which was trumpeted as some kind of "smoking gun" that would validate the last year and a half's worth of neo-McCarthyite conspiracist freakery.

Drip, drip, drip -- muthafuckaaahhhs.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Comics Riffs on superhero tv

Superhero actresses are using their power to take on Hollywood sexual harassment

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 13 2017
in print as The CW stars speak out on harrassment, Express, November 14: 24
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2017/11/13/superhero-actresses-are-using-their-power-to-take-on-hollywood-sexual-harassment/

'The Punisher' failed at the box office. Netflix finally gets it right.

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 13 2017
in print as At last, 'The Punisher' gets live-action justice,
Express, November 14: 24
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/comic-riffs/wp/2017/11/13/after-many-failed-attempts-at-the-box-office-netflix-finally-gets-the-punisher-right/

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review - Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-year Battle between Marvel and DC

reviewed by Mike Rhode

There are a lot of comic book studies and histories coming out these days, as movies based on them have become a multi-billion dollar business and the academic world has accepted them as a legitimate field of study. I would estimate 40-50 prose books about comic books are published per year now, and there's at least five academic journals covering the field. 

Slugfest is aimed at a popular audience who have some basic knowledge about the fact that there are two major publishers of superheros comics, and are curious about the history of how they interacted over the years. Tucker is a journalist from New York City and writes a breezy story running from the 1930s up until the present. He frames the story as an ongoing "war" (his term) between the companies, beginning in earnest in the 1960s as "DC represented Eisenhower's America, Marvel ...like John F. Kennedy's." (p. xix) He concludes his introduction by stating, "This is the story of the fifty-year battle between the two companies - some of it driven by DC's desire to copy Marvel, some of it driven by Marvel's desire to copy DC, and some of it - the most fun stuff, let's be honest - driven by pure gamesmanship and spite." (p. xx) If that sounds appealing, you'll probably enjoy the rest of the book. I did.

Tucker cuts his take on the companies relationship into logical breaks. DC is the older company, having published Superman first in 1938, and the first chapter is "DC Becomes the Industry's Eight-Hundred-Pound Gorilla" and covers about a twenty-five year period. For the second chapter, "Mighty Marvel Comes Out Swinging," Marvel returns to its roots as a player in superhero comics, after chasing trends including romance, funny animals, westerns and science fiction from post-World War II until late 1961, when the Fantastic Four were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Having laid the groundwork, Tucker writes about the initial competition on the newsstand, when DC controlled Marvel's distribution, through ongoing poaching of talent and storylines, event-driven sales such as The Death of Superman, both companies being absorbed into bigger corporations, revolving editor-in-chief seats during tough times, and the battle for television and movie dominance, ending in 2016 with sales at both companies markedly depressed.

He does this largely through the use of interviews rather than primary sources or archival research. The advanced copy I received has incomplete notes (and no index), but he seems to largely have worked from published interviews given to a wide variety of media outlets over the years. Thus, this is a very dialogue-driven book, and one that's intensely personal - there's no reviews of corporate annual reports studied for absolute bottom line earnings. As a result, one should probably think twice about accepting as absolute truth a story or interpretation presented by Tucker, but you can certainly enjoy hearing the story.

I enjoyed this book much more than a lot of what I've read about superhero comics in the past few years. I may very well purchase a replacement hardcover to keep on my shelves. It's a fast read, and if you're curious about the history of the companies, this is a good place to start learning about fifty years of superhero publishing.




Sunday, November 12, 2017

How do you deal with a problem like Apu?

He loved 'The Simpsons.' But Hari Kondabolu has a problem with Apu. [in print as Apu and cultural inappropriation].

Washington Post November 12 2017, P. E1, 18.
online at https://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/tv/he-loved-the-simpsons-but-hari-kondabolu-has-a-problem-with-apu/2017/11/08/b37c2426-bdac-11e7-8444-a0d4f04b89eb_story.html

Roz Chast, "Going To Town" recorded at Politics and Prose

Roz Chast, "Going To Town"

Chast's distinctive cartoons have been a feature of The New Yorker since 1978, and have been collected in The Party, After You Left, and Theories of Everything. Her graphic memoir, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, touched both hearts and funny bones with its frank depiction of aging. In her new work, Chast, a quintessential New Yorker despite now living in Connecticut, gives a tour of the Big Apple that's unlike any other. From the range of attire to ways of negotiating crowds, from stories she's lived to those she's overheard, Chast captures the city's dazzling sights, sounds, and spontaneity.

Now: Comics Q&A and Signing with Tom King!] First in line! You gonna be here this afternoon?



 
   
   
 
Fantom Comics posted in Comics Q&A and Signing with Tom King!.
 
   
Fantom Comics
November 12 at 10:38am
 
First in line! You gonna be here this afternoon?
First in line! You gonna be here this 

Cartoonists Draw Blood at Recreative Spaces


I was fortunate to get a glimpse of the Cartoonists Draw Blood exhibit yesterday at Recreative Spaces, before doing a Splotch Monster-making workshop. I'm so happy to be a part of this exhibit and project, and want to give a big shout out to Eric Gordon, Carolyn Belefski, Troy-Jeffrey Allen and the Recreative Spaces crew and fellow DC artist friends for making this happen. If you're in the Mount Rainier, MD/DC area the evening of Saturday, December 2, stop by for our official book signing event!     -Steve