Previously On Comics: Hits and Misses

Comics news was like a fireworks show this week: Right around the time your vision cleared from the first whizbang, a new tidbit popped up to distract you. Another jailed artist gained his freedom, DC dropped some big announcements, Marvel tried to keep up, Dark Horse attempted to hide its anti-LGBT policies behind a digital sale for Pride Month, and yet another comics pro lost his mind at his colleagues. So, just another week in comics, really.

On Tuesday, Turkish police released caricaturist Nuri Kurtcebe, who had been sentenced to 14 months in prison for “insulting” President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in drawings from 2015. Kurtcebe appealed the sentence to a higher court, but the court rejected the appeal, which led to Kurtcebe’s arrest on June 4th. A tribunal agreed to release Kurtcebe on probation on June 5th. Kurtcebe is the third artist sentenced in 2018 for insulting Erdogan.

DC Vertigo

Back stateside, DC Comics announced its upcoming relaunch of the DC Vertigo imprint with seven comics created by a diverse slate of writers and artists. Border Town (writer Eric M Esquivel and artist Ramon Villalobos) debuts in September, followed by Hex Wives (writer Ben Blacker and artist Mrika Andolfo) in October, American Carnage (writer Bryan Hill and artist Leandro Fernandez) in November, and Goddess Mode (writer Zoe Quinn and artist Robbi Rodriguez) in December. High Level (writer Rob Sheridan and artist Barnaby Bagenda), Safe Sex (writer Tina Horn and artist Mike Dowling), and Second Coming (writer Mark Russell and artist Richard Pace) hit shelves in 2019.

In contrast, Marvel Comics brought Cloak & Dagger back to the comic world, nicely timed to coincide with the premiere of its new show on Freeform. Writer Dennis Hopeless and artist David Messina team up to bring Tyrone and Tandy back together. However, it’s frustrating Marvel Comics elected to give a project focused on a young Black man and white woman to two white male creators in the face of DC embracing a host of new creative teams.

Comics invaded the fashion world as Marvel and Vans teamed up to create the new VANS X MARVEL line. Their efforts include a much-anticipated pair of high-top Captain Marvel sneakers. Unfortunately, the shoes only go up to a women’s US 11.5, leaving women with larger feet and a lot of men out in the cold. According to VANS Europe, this was likely an intentional decision because the shoes are based on an “Awesome Female” character. That’s problematic, what with the implications women with larger feet are outside the standard (which hits transwomen particularly hard) and men won’t be interested in merchandise associated with a female character at all. Hopefully the feedback directed at Vans will lead to an expanded sizing line.

On June 9th, Dark Horse announced a Pride Month digital sale that includes titles such as ElfQuest, The Legend of Korra, and Secret Loves of Geeks. Unfortunately, while Dark Horse might be interested in selling comics to members of the community, their policies and practices do not appear to support the community, going so far as to specifically exclude all health care coverage related to dysphoria and transitioning from their self-insured policy. As a bonus kick in the teeth, this is the publisher that ran “Hate Crime,” a story by Andrew Vachss about a man who murdered at least 11 gay men, in Dark Horse Presents Issue #25, released just over a month after the Pulse Nightclub shooting.

WWAC's aging computer in the trash can.

Because no week in comics seems to be complete without a (usually white male) creator losing his mind at women in the industry, on June 4th, Brandon Graham posted what he referred to as a “diss track” comic in response to mounting public criticisms of his abusive behavior toward many people, particularly transwomen, in comics. In the now-deleted comic, Graham questioned why the allegations made against him were public, instead of using big names he apparently respects enough to listen to, including Kelly Sue DeConnick and Annie Koyama. Showing an astonishing lack of understanding, Graham also referenced both Louis CK and Nabakov. The comic included an intentionally misgendered Mags Visaggio, depicted Taneka Stotts as a troll, and drew Carta Monir as a popsicle with a pubic hair on it. (Graham also misattributed someone else’s quote to WWAC while drawing the site as a computer in a garbage can.)

In the face of a swift and often ridiculing backlash, Graham deleted the comic and posted an (also now-deleted) “apology” comic. In response, Stotts emailed Image Comics, Graham’s current publisher, and posted her email on Twitter, asking for a response holding Graham accountable for his actions. Annie Koyama posted that she isn’t Graham’s friend and was appalled by the “diss track” comic. Overall, Graham’s attempt at creating hip-hop-style beef within comics fell flat.

A few quick hits:

  • In continuing Universal FanCon news, attendees are still waiting for refunds, even as co-founder Jamie Broadnax has rebranded Black Girl Nerds and put out a call for patrons on the site’s Patreon. Meanwhile, Austin Abrams and Robert Butler, who incorporated Universal FanCon, have vanished from public view, facing minimal repercussions.
  • Collector Stephen A Geppi donated 3,000 items, including comics and comics memorabilia, to the Library of Congress. Parts of the donation will be on display to the public at the LoC during the summer.
  • DC’s Identity Crisis #1 celebrated its 14th anniversary on June 9th with a tea party thrown by assistant editor Valerie D’Orazio, who had a few insights into the comic’s creative process.
  • Eisner voting ends on June 15th, so make your opinion known if you’re a comics pro.
  • Iron Circus Comics’s most recent anthology Kickstarter, FTL, Y’All, was fully funded in less than 12 hours!
  • Thursday saw Marvel Television’s Jeph Loeb engage with fans in an AMA over on Reddit.
Laura Stump

Laura Stump

I'm a constantly sleep-deprived writer who mostly prefers the company of cats to people, although cats (curse their lack of opposable thumbs!) can’t fetch beer from the fridge the way people can.