Welcome to the end of another busy week in comics! Every time I thought I had finally covered everything this week, something new popped up, which meant more writing for me but more interesting tidbits to read for you. With that in mind, let’s get this show on the road.
Death of Russ Heath
Comics lost a legend on Friday with the passing of Russ Heath, who died of cancer at age 91. Heath, who broke into comics at Marvel predecessor Timely, was a staple in the comics industry for almost six decades. However, he might be most recently famous for the illustrations appropriated by Roy Lichtenstein in several paintings. Heath went so far as to create a comic, lettered and colored by Darwyn Cooke (who had his own posthumous moment in the comics spotlight this week), for Comics Alliance about the situation four years ago. Heath’s work garnered him multiple awards, including induction into the Eisner Hall of Fame in 2009. Thank you for helping to lay the groundwork in a fascinating industry and for every other brick you laid along the way, Mr. Heath.
Roz Chast, Cartoon Master
According to Gothamist, visitors to New York City will be able to view an exhibition of the works of New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast’s work from November 17th through December 15th at the School for Visual Arts (SVA) Chelsea Gallery. Chast is the recipient of SVA’s 30th annual Masters Series Award, joining the ranks of such visual adepts as Paula Scher, Louise Fili, and April Greiman.
New Resource for Comics Professionals
Toronto Comix Press editor Stephanie Cooke announced Creator Advisor, a new resource for comics creators. Need a writer, editor, or artist for your paid project? Cooke and Creator Advisor can help connect you.
As of today, I’m offering to help pair up creators on PAID comic book projects. If you’re interested in learning more, please read on in this thread.
— Stephanie Cooke on Hiatus(ish) (@hellocookie) August 21, 2018
Eve Ewing to Write Ironheart
On Monday, Darcel Rockett broke some Marvel news: Riri Williams is getting her own title, Ironheart, helmed by Chicago writer Eve Ewing and Filipino artist Kevin Libranda. The selection puts a second female superhero-fronted comic in the hands of not only a woman, but a Black woman, after Marvel tapped Nnedi Okorafor to write Shuri. In her interview with Rockett, Ewing offered a few tidbits about the very specific background she’s bringing to the table with Riri:
“[W]ho is she as a person? Specifically, what does it mean to be a teenage black girl from Chicago? Somebody who has lost family members to gun violence, somebody who understands the realities of the community is going to bring something very different to questions about justice and who the good guy is and who the bad guy is and what you do about that.”
Sports and Comics
Over the weekend, gymnast Jordan Chiles brought serious comics flair to the 2018 USA Gymnastics Championships with an incredible Wonder Woman leotard. Chiles even set her floor routine to the Wonder Woman theme song. Although she “only” came in 12th place overall, Chiles took the silver in the vault (behind Simone Biles, who swept every event because she might actually be a superhero) and the gold in nerdery.
Continuing the sports theme, Boom! Studios’ Fence won’t be ending with the wrap of its 12-issue limited series. Instead, writer CS Pacat and artist Johanna the Mad will continue the saga of rival fencing phenoms Nicholas Coste and Seiji Katayama as an original graphic novel series.
Accused Sexual Harasser Files Defamation Lawsuit
In legal news, according to The Comics Journal on Tuesday, Cody Pickrodt of small-press publisher Ray Ray Books filed a defamation suit against 11 individuals, requesting damages of $2.5 million. Pickrodt had previously been accused of rape, sexual harassment, making anti-Semitic remarks, and withholding royalty payments. The defendants in his suit include both his accusers and others who condemned Pickrodt online in support of his accusers.
Several industry professionals have questioned why the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has declined to represent the accused creators, given their previous penchant for diving into issues pertaining to artists and First Amendment issues. Their stance may be influenced by executive director Charles Brownstein, who, as Loser City co-founder and Comicosity contributor Nick Hanover pointed out, himself stands accused of sexual harassment.
I mean this with no disrespect to Neil, but most of us in the industry were NOT privy to the details about the discipline and rehabilitation. Women in the industry who worked w/the CBLDF on projects had no choice but to interact with Brownstein, having to be wary the whole time. https://t.co/eFDoqDFlYB
— Jennifer de Guzman Strikes Again (@Jennifer_deG) August 24, 2018
Comicsgate Never Ends
After years of ignoring attacks on trangender creators and female creators of color, multiple creators rallied around Marsha Cooke, widow of comics writer and artist Darwyn Cooke, against Comicsgate. Following a video claiming Darwyn would have been a member, Cooke denied her husband would have agreed with the movement.
Marsha Cooke is a badass. Comics needs more like her. https://t.co/9tuvNrATA7
— Bill Sienkiewicz (@sinKEVitch) August 22, 2018
Tom Tayor’s tweet in particular has been making the rounds, but because Taylor avoided naming the hate movement specifically and also laid the blame at comics criticism’s feet, Comicsgate has done what they do, turning the statement into their own anthem.
This is a worthwhile statement and I appreciate Tom saying this……but please don't think comicsgate was founded in comics criticism. It's a harassment campaign designed to drive people out of comics. Calling them by what they hide behind just legitimizes them more. https://t.co/G2nKdQC9LU
— Christina Harrington (@Coelacanthkiss) August 26, 2018
Think it’s actually pretty offensive when you think about it, seeing as a lot of people who have actually been doing the work and calling out Dee N Cee and comicsg4te are critics. But now creators who have let it grow on their watch are saying it’s an issue in our field. O K A Y.
— Rosie "Striking is Cool" Knight (@RosieMarx) August 26, 2018
In other Comicsgate news, Diversity & Comics mouthpiece Richard Meyer might be back on Twitter, but he has been banned from r/comicbooks.
Richard C Meyer just made a video complaining about how he was banned from our sub.
He was banned because we don't tolerate hate on our sub.
And #ComicsGate is a hate movement.
It is not welcome on our sub.
— Reddit Comic Books (@RedditComicBook) August 23, 2018
Imagine being too hostile for Reddit. Imagine.