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.
I'm greatly embarrassed that after tracking details of his latest illness, including a minor rally, I somehow missed completely when word finally came that RK Laxman, the Indian cartoonist know for his "Common Man" character, died on Monday, January 26. He was 93 years old.
Laxman's comics were a significant part of popular culture in India during its post-colonial era in the same way that Walt Disney cartoons will always have that sense of World War 2 about them. I'll have more tomorrow.
Links, Statements And Notes As They Relate To The Charlie Hebdo Killings
This recurring column is a clearinghouse for various links and articles related to the killings in and around the Charlie Hebdo offices, and its violent aftermath in Paris a couple of days later. There will be links to material and the employment of images here or in the linked-to articles that may upset. Every link and every image used is intended to better facilitate this site's mission to inform.
* Facebook has apparently complied with a Turkish court ruling about the posting of a Hebdo Muhammed image. The article plays it as a kind of old-fashioned message-board argumentation "gotcha" moment, but I don't know that I see isolated incidents like as damning or indicative. Lot of shit needs to be figured out and individual instances might be all over the place for a while.
* here's a report about a man with ties to the two brothers that pepetrated the murders being arrested, which sounds reasonable, followed by a report of an eight-year-old being questioned, which sounds insane.
* this Turkish press article gives a brief outline of how free speech issues as played out in the reaction to the Hebdo killings have nationalistic ramifications.
* this poll is interesting, that there was a spike in Americans believing in the publication of such cartoons after the Hebdo incident. I wonder what it would be right now.
* this breaks my heart because it sounds like the image was posted in a way that fulfills the newspaper's mission to inform, which I strongly believe does sometimes steer a publication into problematic areas.
* finally, it's the kind of thing in which I have the least interest regarding the Hebdo killings, but probably the biggest thing going in terms of on-line debating about broader issues of politics and discourse tangentially-to-directly involved with the Hebdo killings is this Jonathan Chait essay. Those responding include Glenn Greenwald, Andrew Sullivan, Alex Pareene, Amanda Marcotte and Jessica Valenti. There may be more vitriol in all of those posts than reasoned discourse, but these are issues about which people feel strongly.
The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events
By Tom Spurgeon
* there were several pertinent announcements this week, and I fully expect there to be stuffed columns every week this year I don't get to five or six stories as their own posts.
* Short Run, the well-liked Seattle small press show that's moved around a bit in town and on the calendar, has announced its 2015 show for October 31 and the Seattle Center. That's great news in that as far as I know no one else is doing a show that weekend and I hope to attend. They're in the Fisher Pavilion this time around -- I don't remember where they were that first year -- and that's a nice space. The Center is adjacent to a nice part of that city. Also, Halloween in Seattle seems like an occasion for socializing that won't make those of us over 35 head to the hills. It's also interesting news that they're sticking to a one-day model when most shows with the intensity of their success go to a two-day format sooner rather than later. I love one-day shows and I wish there was more of them. Also, they apparently make decisions at retreats, which is hardcore.
* CR talked to Zack Soto, the co-organizer on Linework NW, about the questions raised by the split exhibitor strategy in terms of the special guests: Daniel Clowes, Lisa Hanawalt, Lisa Congdon and Jay Howell. Basically, whether we'd see all four guests both days, or if one or two might be only doing one day of the show.
"We'll be posting the full schedules once we have all the confirmations from exhibitors, but fyi we will be splitting the tabling times of the guests. Most will have some crossover panels on the opposite days though, so they will be around just not tabling. The plan is to have Howell & Hanawalt star on Saturday, with Congdon & Clowes taking over on Sunday."
* APE has announced for October 3-4, the same weekend as the festival I'm running, Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, which was announced last month. They're going to be in the San Jose Convention Center and it looks like they're shooting for about 300 exhibitors.