The top comics-related news stories from May 16 to May 22, 2015:
1. Twenty-eight year old Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani was in court Tuesday; the verdict and possible sentences of more jail time and/or flogging are being delay one to three weeks from that trial date. In dispute is a cartoon critical of woman's right issue legislation having to do with birth control. She's already spent time in Evin Prison for daring to make the cartoon and spent more time in jail for complaining about her treatment the first time she was in jail. Involved is one of those noxious laws that partly to fully exempts sitting politicians from criticism.
2. A massive number of Charlie Hebdo-related news items continue to pop up, as Luz announces he won't be working for the magazine anymore and French police become involved with two men stalking a current staffer.
3. Zunar's sedition trial has been postponed until July. My hunch is that for the most part this is only ever bad news for the accused, as I assume they'd like to see this thing adjudicated and over with -- or at least moving forward to the next stage of appeal.
Losers Of The Week
Now and forever, the Malaysian authorities hassling Zunar.
Quote Of The Week
"I could get ahold of Barack Obama easier. Let's put it that way. I try, I try, I try, and I don’t know. It's just impossible." -- Geof Darrow, on seeking out contact with Frank Miller.
the comic image selected is from the brief but notable 1970s run of Seaboard/Atlas
Information here. That's a group whose communication needs are sort of ill-suited to the way industry media disseminates information, so you might consider it. I don't sign up for a lot of mailing lists but I will this one.
Judges for the nominating round were Edith Donnell (librarian), Dan Merrit (comic shop owner) and Brigid Alverson (journalist). The award will be given on June 20, in conjunction with the Kids Read Comics Festival in Ann Arbor on June 21-22.
Verdict Delayed For Iranian Cartoonist Atena Farghadani
According to several wire articles including this one, a verdict in the Atena Farghadani case will be delayed one week or more after a packed and intense hearing on Tuesday. The cartoonist continues to be detained. She's already served two stretches of jail time for a 2014 cartoon depicting anti-women's rights officials as having animal heads. This included a stretch in the notorious Evin Prison and some additional time for complaining about her treatment during her first time of being imprisoned for a cartoon.
The judge in the case has already been the subject of accusations of unfair treatment by the cartoonist. Several cartoonists in several countries have run afoul of laws that provide special dispensation to sitting politicians in terms of how they're depicted, a whole conception of the law that strikes me as wholly problematic in these times just about anywhere they're applied. Let me add my voice to the chorus of those hoping for the best outcome possible.
A Few More Significant Charlie Hebdo-Related Updates
* the thought that someone is following and taking photos of Riss seems fairly terrifying to me, although I realize there may be political objections to some of the characterization in the article. But seriously: it would be a little bit scary if it were like me and my brother following him around; this is worrisome. I've read a couple of complaints about police fecklessness contributing to the Charlie Hebdo murder, so careful monitoring seems a natural.
* after announcing that he would no longer draw Muhammed, Luz has now announced he'll quit Charlie Hebdo. Negotiating the spirits of his dead friends has been too much for him to bear, and I think I would find myself in a similar headspace were half of Fantagraphics murdered, say.
* not comics: this Neil Labute play withdrawn from a fundraising event sounds much less horrible than its first description. The idea of what subjects we engage in art and how we publish/perform those works is a fascinating one, and there's almost no strong conensus in any direction right now.
* finally, here's a follow-up on the Charlie Hebdo donations situation, which stresses the amount that will go to the victims' families. There had been some question as to whether or not any should be returned to the magazine struturally, and what was due whom given the ownership profile of the publication. That article suggests that they expect circulation to eventually settle at around 100,000.
Go, Read: Jeff Kinney Builds Many Folks' Dream Set-Up
It should be interesting over the next 15-20 years to see how those who do well in some form of cartoon- or comics-making spend that extra capital and whatever cultural oomph they may have. It looks like Jeff Kinney, the man behind the mega-successful hybrid book series The Wimpy Kid, is starting a small town bookstore and cafe. The last place I lived was a town where 80 percent of the downtown businesses were run by people who had cashed out elsewhere. (I know this to be true having once applied for a part-time position as a PR person for the Merchants Association.) Bookstores and classes and even comics shops are model that could benefit from that of investment, people spending their fortunes (even moderate ones) rather than hoping to make one.
I hope Kinney is as successful at this as he has been making those books.
Festivals Extra: CCA MFA In Comics Names Its Three Speakers For 2015 Comics In The City Series
The Comics In The City Guest Speaker Series, a run of three Friday events for July affiliated with San Francisco California College Of The Arts, has named its trio for 2015: Mike Mignola, Spike Trotman and Paul Madonna. That's a great line-up. There will be a fourth event series on the fourth Friday that moment featuring CCA graduates doing readings. It all sounds like fun.