Previously, in Comics: Help Me, Comics is Dyyyyyyyiiiiiiing!

Although this week could not escape a touch of ignominy, positive news abounded in the comicsphere. It traveled around the globe before crash-landing in Arizona, leaving a host of announcements in its wake.

(Content warning: There are links to and discussion of sexual assault, emotional abuse, and mental abuse in this week’s news under the heading “Dark Side of Comics.”)

The Growing World of Comics

In this week’s testament to just how poorly comics is doing, Scholastic ordered up 5 MILLION copies in the first run of Dav Pilkey’s newest DOG MAN graphic novel, Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild. The sixth in Pilkey’s series, Brawl of the Wild follows Lord of the Fleas, debuted at #1 on multiple best-seller lists and had an initial run of 3 million copies. Pilkey’s graphic novels, both Captain Underpants and Dog Man, are major sellers for Scholastic, selling incredibly well in elementary schools and to libraries across the country.Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild cover; Dog Man and Cat Kid standing on the edge of a bluff, staring in the distance

Broken Pencil profiled the zine scene in South Africa as part of their Global Zine report. The country’s zines and zine community have blossomed over the past decade, with creators coming together from a variety of disciplines. Photographer Illana Wellman, who goes by Lani Spice, turned to zines and has even tabled zines in art galleries, while Nicola van Straaten is one of the editors of ANY BODY ZINE, produced by and for a dance company. Although there aren’t stores dedicated to zines in South Africa yet, zine festivals and fairs have begun popping up all across the country.

Publisher’s Weekly released their selections for spring 2019 comics and graphic novels. The list includes only one offering from the Big Two (Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman), instead focusing on offerings from smaller presses, including Oni, Fantagraphics, Arsenal Pulp, Koyama, and Pegasus. Readers can find fiction and nonfiction offerings, from veterans and new creators alike.

Comics Awards

Comic-Con announced the judges for the 2019 Eisner Awards. Each of the six brings experience in comics to the plate as editors, professors, library collection curators, comics store owners, and more. The lineup includes Chris Arrant, Jared Gardner, Traci Glass, Jenn Haines, Steven Howearth, and Jimmie Robinson. The judges will select nominees in April, then industry professionals will vote, and the winners will be announced during San Diego Comic Con in July 2019.

Comics’ Dark Side

On Sunday, December 9th, toy creator and artist Cynthia Naugle published a blog post detailing allegations of rape and mental and emotional abuse against “X,” whom she described as working in the comics industry. Naugle later tweeted that she had sent the contents of the post to X in a letter two days prior, after which X deleted his social media accounts. In the days that followed, The Outhousers confirmed “X” is actually Border Town writer Eric M Esquivel. On Wednesday, Border Town colorist Tamra Bonvillain and artist Ramon Villalobos each announced they would be leaving the title as a result, and, on Friday, DC officially cancelled the series.

Huffington Post published an essay by comics writer Tres Dean about his sexual assault by an as-yet-unidentified older woman in the comics industry. Dean’s account details the additional challenges male victims of sexual assault and rape face in countering heavy social indoctrination simply to admit to themselves that they have been victimized. It’s a reminder of the importance of the #MeToo movement for all victims of sexual harassment, assault, and abuse.

Small Comics News Bites:

G. Willow Wilson is handing the reins of Ms. Marvel to writer Saladin Ahmed, and she published a fond farewell to Kamala on Friday.

Jackie Ormes may be gone, but her influence on comics will never be forgotten, thanks to Traci Todd’s upcoming biographical picture book, illustrated by Shannon Wright and published by Scholastic.

Artist/writer Sanya Anwar’s first written comic for DC takes John Constantine to Hong Kong in the “New Talent Showcase 2018.”

Kate Beaton buried the lede on her pregnancy announcement (!!!!) by distracting from her adorable cartoon with news her dad safely came out the other side of open heart surgery.

SYFY WIRE got the exclusive on Flame Con 2019 this week: The LGBTQ con will be held at the Times Square Sheraton, running from August 17th through the 19th. Tickets will be available through Eventbrite beginning January 8th.

Following the August news he had been named the defendant in a sexual harassment lawsuit, Greg Goldstein stepped down as IDW President, replaced by Chris Ryall, who takes the reins as President, Publisher, and Chief Creative Officer.

Now-former Valiant Executive Editor Joe Illidge announced his departure from the publisher this week, penning an open letter to the comics industry about his decision to turn to freelance editing.

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.