I enjoyed this pretty standard local cartoonist profile of Kevin Necessary for a few reasons. The first is that the professional path you can put together from the piece for the 35-year-old cartoonist and journalist is pretty brutal, just a real wasteland in terms of jobs even for the enthusiastic and talented. I like that that wasn't whitewashed. Another is that the cartoonist is presented as providing a service to the community that isn't available from traditional sources any longer. We sometimes forget in comics that an entire region can lose a certain voice if there are no home editorial cartoonists of any kind. It's not that Necessary replaces a Jim Borgman, but it must be nicer than it isn't to have someone out there in the area doing cartoons like this. Yet another thing I liked about the piece is that it looks like his current job is working for broadcast media but in their digital iteration -- a common space that television and newspapers both wish to utilize. He's pretty up front about making his cartoons work when read on the phone, too, which is something I hadn't thought of before now but makes total sense.
Ferzat resides in Kuwait, following his 2011 experience of a brutal attack by pro-regime thugs directed at him stopping his editorial cartoons. In fact, I'm not sure I've seen a Ferzat cartoon made since that time. As a famous Syrian refugee, Ferzat seems a fine choice to speak out on the issue.
I'm very fond of cartoonist profile articles, and this one comes from an NPR series on early career breaks. A high-achieving, one-time golden child that ends up back at home after school is a profile that a few dozen people in the comics world share with Mr. Toro. I also love that making cartoons for The New Yorker still has some force as a cultural idea, even if it's only on the radio equivalent of that magazine's prime.
Katsuhiro Otomo Wins Grand Prix Award At Angouleme
Wire reports have lit up in the last 45 minutes with news that the cartoonist Katsuhiro Otomo has won the Grand Prix Award at this year's FIBD in Angouleme. That means he'll be president of next year's festival. That role means he'll be the focus of press attention and a shaper of the show itself with a likely personal retrospective and a likely additional show related to his work or an area/cartoonist about which he's passionate.
Otomo is the first person from the great world comics tradition in Japan to win the honor, which means it's incredibly overdue. I remember for a while under the old system thinking that Jiro Taniguchi might sneak in some year. With a more populist-oriented voting system rather than pure peer-review Otomo makes perfect sense. I think he's a great cartoonist and Akira is a great work, so I'm super-happy about this.
It also surprised the shit out of me, because I thought they voted during the weekend. It makes sense that you'd get the PR benefit of announcing as the show got underway, though.
The five cartoonists who were slain in the Charlie Hebdo killings received a special Grand Prix honor.
ComiXology Launches Sales Tied Into FIBD And Humanoids Deal
I don't usually pay a lot of attention to press releases, but I thought the one this morning from comiXology might worth noting for a few reasons. They're a significant company for North American comics, they're a significant company for European comics, and they're a North American company more intensely involved with European comics at Angouleme in a way that other publisher that are based in the US or Canada simply aren't. In fact, it was comiXology signing deals with European publishers that drove major attention to how that company was doing in what was once a much more volatile competition for digital comics services.
I'm also sort of interested in the digital aspect of festivals, which no one has nailed yet.
In addition to having feet on the ground -- again, a rarity over there -- comiXology will apparently offer a sale they claim is curated to be representative of the "international comics scene." They're also promising direct coverage via social media (I don't have any idea what that means, but I'll check it out), and within their release provided a shout out to the victims of the Charlie Hebdo killings.