Friday, November 17, 2017

Open Letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Release Artist and Writer Ramón Esono Ebalé

Open Letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Release Artist and Writer Ramón Esono Ebalé


The AAEC has joined with 18 other organizations in calling for the immediate release of cartoonist Ramón Esono Ebalé, currently held against his will by the government of Equatorial Guinea.

 November 15, 2017

An Open Letter to the President of Equatorial Guinea: Release Artist and Writer Ramón Esono Ebalé

Mr. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea
Palacio Presidencial
Avenida de la Libertad
Malabo, Guinea Ecuatorial

Your Excellency,

We write to express our deep concern in response to the unjust arrest and subsequent detention without charge of Ramón Esono Ebalé in Malabo on 16th September 2017, and to urge you to release him immediately.

Mr. Ebalé and two of his friends were stopped by police, handcuffed, and had their mobile phones seized while getting into Mr. Ebalé's sister's car after leaving a restaurant in Malabo. Police then interrogated Mr. Ebalé about his drawings of, and blog posts about members of the Equatoguinean leadership, and told him – in front of his two friends – that he needed to make a statement explaining those drawings and blog posts. It was confirmed by police that only Mr. Ebalé was the target of the arrest, and not his two friends.

Mr Ebalé has learned that he faces potential charges of counterfeiting and money laundering; offences that were apparently never mentioned to him or his friends when they were arrested.   Mr. Ebalé's prolonged detention without charge gives rise to serious concerns that these allegations are no more than a pretext to justify the ongoing arbitrary deprivation of liberty he is being subjected to.

Mr. Ebalé's extended detention at Black Beach prison without charge appears to be a clear violation of Equatorial Guinean law, which requires charges to be filed within 72 hours of an arrest. A judge has not mandated preventative detention in his case, which under exceptional circumstances would allow the police to hold him without charge for longer, nor does there appear to be a basis for such an order.

Mr. Ebalé, a renowned cartoonist who has been living abroad since 2011, has now spent 60 days in prison. His arrest in Equatorial Guinea—where he returned to renew his passport—has received global attention with calls for his release from fellow journalists, artists, activists, and human rights and press freedom organizations.

As Equatorial Guinea prepares to join the UN Security Council in January 2018, the world is watching the case of Mr. Ebalé closely. We hope that as your country takes this prominent position on the world stage, your government respects all human rights, including the right to freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In this vein, we call on your Excellency, and the judicial authorities in Equatorial Guinea to respect the rights of all artists, human rights defenders, activists, and, more generally, all individuals in Equatorial Guinea who wish to exercise their right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association without fear of being harassed or prosecuted.

To this end, we urge you to order Mr. Ebalé's immediate and unconditional release from prison.

Thank you for your consideration.

Yours Sincerely,

Amnesty International
API Madrid
Arterial Network
Association of American Editorial Cartoonists
Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Member of the House of Lords, President of JUSTICE
Cartoonist Rights Network International
Committee to Protect Journalists
EG Justice
International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), within the framework of the Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders
Human Rights Watch
Index on Censorship
PEN International
Reporters Without Borders
The Doughty Street International Media Defense Panel
Transparency International
UNCAC Coalition
World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), within the framework of the Observatory for the
Protection of Human Rights Defenders

NPR's Monkey See on Poorly Drawn Lines and Justice League

Cartoonist Reza Farazmand Walks Us Through Some Of His 'Comics For A Strange World'

Rotten tomatoes thrown at Rotten Tomatoes over Justice League

Rotten Tomatoes under fire for timing of 'Justice League' review [in print as Delaying blockbuster's rating, review site draws its own jeers].

Washington Post November 17, 2017, p. A13
online at

Book Review: Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture

reviewed by Mike Rhode

Comic Shop: The Retail Mavericks Who Gave Us a New Geek Culture

by Dan Gearino, Ohio University Press' Swallow Press, 2017. $26.95
Despite the title, Comic Shop focuses at least as much, if not more, on the growth of the Direct Market distribution network that gave rise to independent comic shops and sustains them today. Gearino is a journalist and has written an accessible popular history that relies largely on interviews, much like Slugfest, which we recently reviewed and which works well as a complement to this book.
Gearino focuses on his local comic shop, Laughing Ogre, perhaps slightly too much at times, but it's understandable that he chose a long-lasting, respected store as one of the pillars of his book. He returns to the store's history time and again, while recounting a chronological history of the transfer from comic books as a mass media product sold everywhere on newsstands to one that requires a visit to a specialty shop.

From the 1920s through the 1970s, comic books were sold in newsstands, mom and pop shops and anywhere a distributor could place a rack. Personally, for me, the 7-11 was the main site. The books were dumped on the store which was expected to rack them, and return them for credit when they didn't sell. The comics had a profit for the store in the pennies, so little attention was paid to them. At many times, the books weren't delivered or racked, but a refund was requested anyway, leading to fraudulent losses for the publishers, or misleading sales figures.

In 1973, Phil Seuling, an early creator of Comic Cons, made a deal with DC Comics to buy books for them at a larger discount but on an nonreturnable basis, and get them shipped directly from the printer. Seuling's new company was Sea Gate Distributors. It was soon joined by many competitors who split the United States up between them. As in most businesses, the early wide-open days with multiple distributors and thousands of comic book shops saw financial peaks and troughs as well as widespread consolidations and bankruptcies. Gearino also weaves through the rise of independent comic books such as Elfquest, Bone, Cerebus and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and talks about the importance of a retailer hand-selling these types of comics. Today, one distributor remains standing - Baltimore's Diamond Comics, and we're currently seeing a lot of independent books, small publishers and tactics such as variant covers that usually precede a bust in the market.

Gearino did a good job in doing interviews for his research on the book, but is lighter on using archival and printed sources. His focus on Laughing Ogre's small chain occasionally slows the book down, but I think proved to be a good choice to center the story. An odd choice was made to add in profiles of various stores at the end of the book - not quite an appendix, but not quite part of the book either. I think those could have perhaps been integrated in more seamlessly, although when he invites guest commentary in the main text, it is set off at the end of the chapter and is rather jarring. On a local note, Joel Pollack of Big Planet Comics has a two-page profile in the stores section.

This won't be the definitive study of the rise of the Direct Market and specialty comic book stores, but it's a good early step and a fine choice for the casually-interested reader. I enjoyed it and would recommend it.

Dec 5: Cullen Murphy, Prince Valiant writer at Politics and Prose

Cullen Murphy | Cartoon County

Cullen Murphy, editor at large at Vanity Fair and the author of books including God's Jury, grew up in the middle of a thriving community of illustrators and cartoonists in southwestern Connecticut. His father, John Cullen Murphy (1919-2004), who had been a student of Norman Rockwell's, drew the popular comic strips Prince Valiant and Big Ben Bolt. Their neighbors were the artists responsible for classic comics ranging from Beetle Bailey to Hi and Lois to Family Circus. Murphy's memoir pays tribute to these many creative individuals and warmly evokes the spirit of a bygone era.

This event is free to attend with no reservation required. Seating is available on a first come, first served basis.

The Post on Justice League, Dahmer, The Star, and Annie

What 'Justice League' got wrong about Superman [in print as Super wrong: This isn't why we need the Man of Steel].

Express November 17 2017, p 35
online at

'Justice League': Not as dark as 'Batman v Superman,' but still a gloomy outing [in print as Nothing comic about these superheroes]

Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 26, 30
online at

'My Friend Dahmer': Portrait of the serial killer as a young man [in print as A portrait of a killer as a young man].

Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 30

'The Star': Mixing the profound and the silly, this Nativity-themed animation is a hit-and-miss affair [in print as Nativity-themed animal cartoon is hit-and-miss].

Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 29
online at

What's on tap for children on Washington-area stages this season [in print as An 'Annie' for a diverse America].

Washington Post November 17 2017, p. Weekend 20
online at

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Fabulize Magazine interviews Roye Okupe

We Need To Support Black Superheroes Throughout The African Diaspora, Too

Fabulize Magazine, Contributor is a print and digital platform for the blerd womanist that appreciates art, beauty, culture & style. #MySuperheroesAreBlack

Collecting Independent Comics and Cartoon Art at the Library of Congress

Collecting Independent Comics and Cartoon Art

by Megan Halsband,

This is a guest post by Megan Halsband, a reference librarian in the Serial and Government Publications Division. It was first published in "Comics! An American History," the September–October issue of LCM, the Library of Congress Magazine. The issue is available in its entirety online.

City Paper on Justice League

Justice League Learns All the Wrong Lessons From Batman v. Superman's Failures

Zack Snyder's film often feels like the sum of the DC Extended Universe's worst qualities.

Nov 15, 2017

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Flugennock's Latest'n'Greatest: "The Latest Russiagate 'Smoking Gun' "

DC's anarchist cartoonist Mike Flugennock's latest cartoon -

"The Latest Russiagate 'Smoking Gun'"

And so, yet another wannabe neo-McCarthyite "journalist" is busted faking it at a major US media outlet. I can't pretend I'm not enjoying this.

This was inspired by an article that appeared this week in Sputnik News which totally shreds the hell out of a sloppy-ass hit piece in The Atlantic by Julia Ioffe about a meeting between Julian Assange and Donald Trump Jr. which was trumpeted as some kind of "smoking gun" that would validate the last year and a half's worth of neo-McCarthyite conspiracist freakery.

Drip, drip, drip -- muthafuckaaahhhs.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Comics Riffs on superhero tv

Superhero actresses are using their power to take on Hollywood sexual harassment

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 13 2017
in print as The CW stars speak out on harrassment, Express, November 14: 24

'The Punisher' failed at the box office. Netflix finally gets it right.

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog November 13 2017
in print as At last, 'The Punisher' gets live-action justice,
Express, November 14: 24

Monday, November 13, 2017

Book Review - Slugfest: Inside the Epic, 50-year Battle between Marvel and DC

reviewed by Mike Rhode

There are a lot of comic book studies and histories coming out these days, as movies based on them have become a multi-billion dollar business and the academic world has accepted them as a legitimate field of study. I would estimate 40-50 prose books about comic books are published per year now, and there's at least five academic journals covering the field. 

Slugfest is aimed at a popular audience who have some basic knowledge about the fact that there are two major publishers of superheros comics, and are curious about the history of how they interacted over the years. Tucker is a journalist from New York City and writes a breezy story running from the 1930s up until the present. He frames the story as an ongoing "war" (his term) between the companies, beginning in earnest in the 1960s as "DC represented Eisenhower's America, Marvel John F. Kennedy's." (p. xix) He concludes his introduction by stating, "This is the story of the fifty-year battle between the two companies - some of it driven by DC's desire to copy Marvel, some of it driven by Marvel's desire to copy DC, and some of it - the most fun stuff, let's be honest - driven by pure gamesmanship and spite." (p. xx) If that sounds appealing, you'll probably enjoy the rest of the book. I did.

Tucker cuts his take on the companies relationship into logical breaks. DC is the older company, having published Superman first in 1938, and the first chapter is "DC Becomes the Industry's Eight-Hundred-Pound Gorilla" and covers about a twenty-five year period. For the second chapter, "Mighty Marvel Comes Out Swinging," Marvel returns to its roots as a player in superhero comics, after chasing trends including romance, funny animals, westerns and science fiction from post-World War II until late 1961, when the Fantastic Four were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.

Having laid the groundwork, Tucker writes about the initial competition on the newsstand, when DC controlled Marvel's distribution, through ongoing poaching of talent and storylines, event-driven sales such as The Death of Superman, both companies being absorbed into bigger corporations, revolving editor-in-chief seats during tough times, and the battle for television and movie dominance, ending in 2016 with sales at both companies markedly depressed.

He does this largely through the use of interviews rather than primary sources or archival research. The advanced copy I received has incomplete notes (and no index), but he seems to largely have worked from published interviews given to a wide variety of media outlets over the years. Thus, this is a very dialogue-driven book, and one that's intensely personal - there's no reviews of corporate annual reports studied for absolute bottom line earnings. As a result, one should probably think twice about accepting as absolute truth a story or interpretation presented by Tucker, but you can certainly enjoy hearing the story.

I enjoyed this book much more than a lot of what I've read about superhero comics in the past few years. I may very well purchase a replacement hardcover to keep on my shelves. It's a fast read, and if you're curious about the history of the companies, this is a good place to start learning about fifty years of superhero publishing.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

How do you deal with a problem like Apu?

He loved 'The Simpsons.' But Hari Kondabolu has a problem with Apu. [in print as Apu and cultural inappropriation].

Washington Post November 12 2017, P. E1, 18.
online at

Roz Chast, "Going To Town" recorded at Politics and Prose

Roz Chast, "Going To Town"

Chast's distinctive cartoons have been a feature of The New Yorker since 1978, and have been collected in The Party, After You Left, and Theories of Everything. Her graphic memoir, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?, touched both hearts and funny bones with its frank depiction of aging. In her new work, Chast, a quintessential New Yorker despite now living in Connecticut, gives a tour of the Big Apple that's unlike any other. From the range of attire to ways of negotiating crowds, from stories she's lived to those she's overheard, Chast captures the city's dazzling sights, sounds, and spontaneity.

Now: Comics Q&A and Signing with Tom King!] First in line! You gonna be here this afternoon?

Fantom Comics posted in Comics Q&A and Signing with Tom King!.
Fantom Comics
November 12 at 10:38am
First in line! You gonna be here this afternoon?
First in line! You gonna be here this 

Cartoonists Draw Blood at Recreative Spaces

I was fortunate to get a glimpse of the Cartoonists Draw Blood exhibit yesterday at Recreative Spaces, before doing a Splotch Monster-making workshop. I'm so happy to be a part of this exhibit and project, and want to give a big shout out to Eric Gordon, Carolyn Belefski, Troy-Jeffrey Allen and the Recreative Spaces crew and fellow DC artist friends for making this happen. If you're in the Mount Rainier, MD/DC area the evening of Saturday, December 2, stop by for our official book signing event!     -Steve

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

KAL wins DC's Berryman award

Kevin Kallaugher Wins Cartooning Award

Kevin Kallaugher, cartoonist for The Baltimore Sun and The Economist, will receive the 2017 Clifford K. and James T. Berryman Award for Editorial Cartoons.

Catching up with graphic artist Marty Baumann

by Mike Rhode

We're checking in with Arlington's Marty Baumann again on the publication of Toybox Time Machine, his new book from IDW, . We've featured his work in passing a couple of times in the past, and it's been six years since I interviewed him for the Washington City Paper (which sadly is currently for sale in case anyone reading this can afford to buy a newspaper). He's answered my usual questions again, but in new ways, as well as discussing his recent work so I'm running the whole interview here. Honestly, both Marty and I forgot about that interview (an occupational hazard when you know people personally and socially. I've seen him at the Baltimore Comic Con in September and at a flea market last weekend when he bought some Kirby and Kubert comic books). I highly recommend his new book; Marty is one of the cleverest illustrators I know -- as this interview shows.

Marty has provided the following biographic information:

Marty Baumann is an illustrator, graphic artist and production designer. He has contributed to some of the most popular, Oscar-winning animated films of all time.

Marty has worked as an artist at Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios as an illustrator, graphic artist and production designer on such films as “Toy Story 3,” “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia,” “Cars 2,” “Planes,” “Wreck-It Ralph 2” and many others. He also helped develop theme park installations, toy packaging and Pixar corporate branding.

Marty has rendered illustrations and developed characters for toy manufacturers, magazines and newspapers, illustrated children’s books, created logos, info-graphics, broadcast promotions and presentation art for Hasbro, Universal Studios, National Geographic, Scholastic Books, Nickelodeon and many others.

Recent projects include his role as concept artist for the new “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” and the visual development of Sir Paul McCartney’s feature film, “High in the Clouds.”
Marty's dog Summer

Marty has been a rhythm and blues singer/guitarist for more than 40 years. He’s shared the stage with Hound Dog Taylor’s Houserockers, Danny Gatton, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Jr. Walker and the All Stars, Fenton Robinson, John Hammond, Johnny Winter and others. Marty’s sold-out CD “Let’s Buzz Awhile” features 13 original blues tunes.

He encourages everyone to adopt at least one dog.

What type of comic work or cartooning do you do?

As far as personal projects: My influences are primarily of mid-century vintage; the logos, designs, signage and draftsmanship, often combining limited color palettes, stylized figures and crazy type treatments. They communicate fun and excitement in a way we don't see today. I tried hard to emulate that aesthetic in my book, "Toybox Time Machine."

As far as film work goes: Logos, title card design, billboards and signage, magazine covers, posters and general production design and just about anything you see in the background or applied to the body of a character.

How do you do it? Traditional pen and ink, computer or a combination?

I do some pencil roughs, scan them and use primarily Illustrator and a bit of Photoshop. If I'm doing a commission or a personal piece for someone I might print what I've done digitally and finish it with touches of ink.

When (within a decade is fine) and where were you born?

I was born in Maryland the same year "Invasion of the Saucer Men" hit theaters. Is that specific enough?

What is your training and/or education in cartooning?

Jack Kirby comics. He's one of my heroes. It might not show in my style but I started drawing because of him. I've had no formal training.

Who are your influences?

The first books I actually recall buying were Joe Kubert's Sgt. Rock comics. Starting in grade school it was Kirby. Then a friend said, "If you like Kirby, get a load of Steranko -- and I got a load. Then I discovered Ditko, Toth, Meskin. As time went on I became aware of the great magazine, paperback and movie poster illustrators -- James Bingham, Robert McGinnis, James Bama. And then the groundbreaking design work of the UPA cartoons and the logo and title designs of Saul Bass and Paul Julian. Not to mention the great children's book artists, a particular favorite being the great Mel Crawford -- who also worked in comics and fine art.

If you could, what in your career would you do-over or change?

Nearly everything! I tell aspiring artists to look at my career path and do the opposite. I wish I'd taken art classes, studied life drawing, studied painting, tried oils, charcoal, etc. I fell under the sway of rhythm and blues and began playing in clubs as a teenager. I was trying to focus on two creative areas. Maybe I should have focused on just one -- but I couldn't! In the end I think they complimented one another.

What work are you best-known for?

I didn't know that I was KNOWN! So I'd have to say my Disney/Pixar work.

What work are you most proud of?

I'll cite this example: I did a TON of work on "Zootopia." My wife and I saw it in a theater packed with kids and they LOVED it. I was kinda proud that I helped in some small way to make those kids happy.

How did you come up with the idea of Toybox Time Machine?

Well, after having one children's book idea after another rejected, I decided to draw whatever the heck I wanted. I love old toys. I have a small collection of old favorites. And I think my real artistic strengths are design, typography and color. I tried to channel the artistic influences mentioned previously and I never had more fun working on a project.

What's the process of conceptualizing and then drawing a toy that never existed?

My wife and I go to lots of estate sales. I buy the stuff nobody else wants: stacks of old magazines, postcards, travel literature. I snap pictures of anything with nifty retro packaging. It seems that in the 1940s and 50s every advertiser employed an illustrator in lieu of using a photo. With inspiration like this the ideas flow.

How did IDW come to publish this?

At the risk of sounding like a name-dropper, Jim Steranko has been something of a mentor since I was a teenager. (When he critiques your work, you KNOW you've been critiqued, and HOW!) He mentioned to IDW that they might want to look at my work, and, as Bogart would say, it was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

What's your favorite non-existent toy?

That's the one question I'm going to side-step -- because I just don't know! The sci-fi and monster related toys would be near the top of the list. And I love cowboys!

How did you end up working for Pixar?

I had always loved what Pixar was doing. That retro sensibility seemed to be present in everything they turned out. Quite by accident I discovered that they were looking for a Graphic Artist and I sent them some stuff. They called me a couple weeks later, flew me out there, apparently liked me, and within a few weeks, we were living in San Francisco! I know that makes it sound easy, but let me be clear, I paid my dues for years working for newspapers, magazines, ad agencies, toy companies...

How has the experience been?

It's been great -- and also tough. Every artist working there was better than me! So I really had to up my game.

What have you worked on for them?

"Big Hero 6," "Zootopia," "Toy Story 3," "Cars 2," so many shorts that I can't remember them all -- "Hawaiian Vacation," "Small Fry," "Partysaurus Rex". I also worked on installation pieces for Disney resorts and contributed to the development of Cars Land at Disneyland.

What would you like to do or work on in the future?

Well, I worked on the visual development of a film with Paul McCartney. It would be cool to work with Ringo one day!

What do you do when you're in a rut or have writer's block?

Writer's block? Let me see. I, um, er -- sorry…gimme a minute...I just can't think of anything to write at the moment…

When did you start collecting comics?

Maybe 1961 or 1962, when I first discovered Sgt. Rock and the Kirby monster books. I wouldn't call it "collecting" in the modern sense of the word, i.e. as if a comic book were a precious object to be preserved for posterity to accrue in value. I traded them, rolled them up and stuck 'em in my back pocket to read again later, and sat down with pencil and paper and tried to copy them. I read my favorite ones until the covers came off. Isn't that how they were meant to be used? Then -- a familiar story -- my mom threw a ton of them away.

What do you focus on? Who are your favorite comic book artists?

I guess my big four are Kirby, Kubert, Toth and Steranko. But there are so many -- the great Jack Davis, Ditko, Mort Meskin, Fred Kida, Wally Wood, and the incredibly underrated and versatile Bob Fujitani. The "Hangman" stories he did for MLJ in the mid-1940s are some of my favorites. I love the books Hillman put out in the 40s, ("Air Fighters," "Clue") and the stuff ME (Magazine Enterprises) published in the late 40s and early 50s ("Jet," "The Avenger"). I've often been asked what, in my opinion, are the best comics of all time. Without hesitation I say choose any issue of Fantastic Four from numbers 30-90. Any one of them is better than anything produced since.

How large is your collection?

It's quite modest. I'm no big-time collector. I buy comics I think I can learn from. I have dealers who save their coverless, moldy, brittle, flaking old books for me because they know I love the obscurities, learning the forgotten history of comics and discovering great cartoonists who have been unjustly overlooked. Mike Roy is a favorite, and Tony DiPrieta, and John Cassone, and Mike Suchorsky, etc. etc.

What do you think will be the future of your field?

Do you mean animation or comics-related material? In either case I don't know. What used to be marginal pop-culture interests are big, BIG business now and it's all too complicated for me to understand.

How was your Baltimore Comic Con experience this year? How often have you attended it?

I always have a great time at Baltimore. I was at the very first one! I believe I've been a guest at all of them except for those that I missed when I lived in the Bay Area.

Do you have a website or blog? 

What's your favorite thing about DC?

That I don't have to commute there.

Least favorite?

The times I DO have had to commute there.

What monument or museum do you like?

Without a doubt Arlington Cemetery. Not only do we have relatives buried there, but it's brimming with history and trivia. For instance: My wife's uncle is buried just a few tombstones away from Lee Marvin -- who is buried right next to Joe Louis! Dashiell Hammett is resting there, and cartoonist Bill Mauldin.

How about a favorite local restaurant?

Caribbean Grill in Arlington, hands down.

Podcast with Julie Segal Walters and Brian Biggs

My friend Brian Biggs, the former cartoonist, has a new book out, and his coauthor lives in DC.

Julie Segal Walters and Brian Biggs: All The Wonders, Episode 401

In All, All The Wonders Podcast, Podcasts by Matthew Winner

This Is Not a Normal Animal Book

Julie Segal-Walters (@J_S_Dub) and Brian Biggs (@mrbiggsdotcom), author and illustrator of This is Not a Normal Animal Book, stop by the podcast to talk about creating a metafiction book over animal classifications, incorporating the voices of a parent and a precocious child, and asking "what the heck is going on here?"

Episode Notes

Julie Segal-Walters' home page
Brian Biggs' home page
This is Not a Normal Animal Book Teachers Guide (Grades PreK-2) (Grades 3-6)
Story Storm (formerly PiBoIdMo – Picture Book Idea Month)

Comic Riffs talks to Sex Criminals cartoonists

How a comic about getting superpowers from sex became an unlikely hit

By David Betancourt

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog October 4 2017

and I think we missed this article from earlier in the year -

After 25 years with Image Comics, Todd McFarlane and 'Spawn' are still going strong

Washington Post Comic Riffs blog May 17 2017

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

PR: Man at Arms & Maid Cafe Reservations - Anime USA 2017 Newsletter

Anime USA is right around the corner, and I haven't been putting up too much information on it, so here's their latest newsletter.

Anime USA 2017 Newsletter, Volume 14: Man at Arms and Maid Cafe Reservations
View this email in your browser
Join Us at Anime USA 2017 - Click Here
Anime USA 2017 Educational Guest

Man at Arms

Announcing the stars of the hit TV & Youtube series MAN AT ARMS! These bladesmiths, armourers & craftsmen bring to life fantasy arms & armor from your favorite video games, anime & pop culture!

Matt Stagmer – Host – BladesmithMatthew Stagmer
 Matt Stagmer has been   making swords for 19 years   and is the lead blade grinder   at Baltimore Knife and Sword.   In the summer of 2014 he     began hosting the hit web   series: 
MAN AT ARMS: REFORGED. Teamed with other talented craftsmen, he brings to life the most requested fantasy arms and armor from your favorite video games, anime, and other pop culture genres. In 2017 he became the host of the TV show MAN AT ARMS : The Art of War, starring alongside Danny Trejo, to make history's most devastating weapons.

Ilya AlekseyevIlya Alekseyev
Ilya Alekseyev was born in Troitsk, Russia. Since an early age, he developed a liking for the art and craftsmanship of bladed weapons. He brings his background in Art History, Asian Studies, and Philosophy to his craft. Ilya is currently an Armourer and product designer working with Baltimore Knife and Sword. Among the skills that he brings to the Man at Arms project are his expertise in armor, Damascus steel, bloomery steel, and engraving.

Bill Collison Bill Collison
 Bill Collison has been working   with Baltimore Knife and   sword for the past 20 years   grinding blades. His   craftsman background started   in armor making and progressed into casting, mold making and heat treating. His knowledge with sheet metal work has made it easy to transition into prop armor and costuming. He has been working with the Freelancers as their jousting armorer for 17 years and has a background in Martial Arts and the SCA. Bill is a contributing smith on both the MAN AT ARMS television and Youtube series.


Anime USA 2017 Special Event

Maid Cafe Reservations

Over the past few years, we've noticed that the lines for the ultra-popular My Cup of Tea Maid Café have been getting progressively longer. And why shouldn't they? Our hard-working maids go above and beyond to give their Masters and Princesses the best experience they can! We hate to turn away anyone looking to enjoy our Maid Café, and this year, we've come up with a way for you to guarantee a seat, skip the lines and get some really neat perks in the process: Introducing MoePass+!

MoePass+ works like a flexible reservation system. At both the Maid Café Meet & Greet on Thursday evening, or at the café itself starting Friday morning, you can purchase a MoePass+ and select a time period you'd like to come back and be seated at the Café. The passes cost $5.00 for just about any party size, and come with the following benefits:

– The pass is good for a full hour, so if you choose a 1:00PM time slot, you can arrive any time up until 1:59PM, go right to the MoePass+ line, and you'll be seated next! This way, if there's a panel you want to finish up, or if you're stuck in an autograph line, you don't have to worry about losing your spot.

– Once you're seated, and you turn your pass over to your maid, you'll get one free picture and game (a $8.00 value).

There are only 4 MoePass+ spots available for every 30 minute window, so if you're really eager to get a good spot at the café this year, make sure to show up to the Maid Café Meet & Greet on Thursday night!

If you can't make it on Thursday, just head to the Café at any time, and a hostess will gladly take care of your reservation.

Anime USA is Recruiting Public Safety Staff

You Can Be a Part of the

ANIME USA 2017 Team!

Anime USA is recruiting Public Safety Staff for our convention from 8 Dec to 10 Dec at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park hotel in Washington, DC. Duties will include, but not be limited to:
  1. Patrolling (monitoring convention areas & all hallways to enforce convention rules)
  2. Badge check (posting outside function rooms or entrances to hallways to ensure only Anime USA attendees enter)
  3. Enforcing signs designating no cameras, no bags or large coats, no audio recording, etc, where applicable
  4. Line wrangling (making sure attendees waiting to enter functions are standing and entering the function in an orderly manner)
  5. Wristband Check (for adult only functions, assuring only attendees who are over eighteen with a valid wristband and Anime USA badge are admitted).
**Those that have staffed public safety, security, or have experience in other such departments at other conventions should list what conventions they worked at, and what ranks they held**

***This position requires excellent customer service skills.  Positive customer interactions are required***

Please send an email to Public Safety at for more information about the position or to apply to be on our 2017 staff.


Regular: $66
Child: $33
Silver: $91
Sponsor: $150
Join Anime USA
Anime USA's host hotel is the Washington Marriott Wardman Park.

Rooms are $167 a night plus tax.

There will be a non-refundable $50 deposit for each room.
Reserve a Room


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