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Comics A.M. | New York City considers restricting costumed characters

by  in Comic News Comment

Legal | New York City Council is once again considering legislation that would restrict Times Square’s infamous costumed characters to specific zones. The council’s transportation committee will take up the bill this morning, just days after after a man in a Spider-Man costume was charged with assault following an alleged fight with a tourist over a tip. “Come to New York, duke it out with a superhero!” said Councilmember Daniel Garodnick, one of the bill’s sponsors. “Is that really what we want to be known for?” [Fox 5]

Passings | Gag cartoonist Larry Katzman, creator of the Nurse Nellie character, passed away March 26 age 93. A member of the National Cartoonists Society, Katzman was awarded the organization’s Silver T-Square in 1972 and its Gold Key/NCS Hall of Fame Award in 2005. The Nurse Nellie cartoons were also honored with an international award, the Palma d’Oro. Katzman wasn’t exclusively a cartoonist; he also ran his family’s business, which made vaporizers and other home health appliances under the brand names Kaz, Vicks and Honeywell. [National Cartoonists Society]

Awards | This year’s Prism Comics Queer Press Grant was awarded to two recipients, Catherine Esguerra for Eighty Days and Elizabeth Beier for I Like Your Headband. The announcement was made at WonderCon at a panel celebrating the 10th anniversary of the grant. [Comics Alliance]


Awards | Once again, the readers of the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shinbun have voted for the manga, anime and novels they think foreign readers would find most appealing. This year’s Sugoi (Amazing) Awards for manga go to One-Punch Man, Tokyo Ghoul, the volleyball manga Haikyu!!, the yaoi manga Twittering Birds Never Fly, and Everyday Life with Monster Girls (Monster Musume). All are currently being published in English, except for Haikyu!!, which will launch in July. [RocketNews 24]

Politics | A comic book has become a flashpoint of controversy in the presidential race in the Philippines. Supporters of candidate Manuel “Mar” Roxas II created a comic depicting his heroic actions during typhoon Yolanda, but his critics say the comic distorts the events and he was actually a weak leader during that time. Titled Sa Gitna ng Unos (In the middle of a storm) the comic also portrayed Roxas as a selfless public servant who’s willing to put the country’s well-being above his own ambition — and claimed that his critics are concerned that his presidency would threaten their illegal activities. “I thank our supporters for creating the comics and for shedding light on the events during that time. Comics is part of our culture and is part of a regular or conventional campaign,” Roxas said, adding that criticism of the comic could only come from those who opposed him: “To those who reacted negatively, they are most likely allies of my rivals. Maybe they saw that it was effective so they reacted in a negative way.” [The Philippine Star]

Creators | When Joel Christian Gill was making paintings, someone told him he was trying to tell a story and failing. So he started telling stories, drawing on African-American history for his material. The result is his graphic novel Strange Fruit, a collection of short stories. “My goal is to make as many stories as I can about obscure black history until this is no longer obscure black history,” said Gill. “We tend to separate ourselves out in these disparate groups. When [foreigners] look at us from the outside, they see American. What is it that connects us? It’s our shared history, our shared culture and our shared stories.” [The Collegian]

Creators | Kat Fajardo talks about her minicomic Gringa, her memoir of growing up Latina and coming to terms with two different cultures: “Whenever I was with my American friends, I felt pressured into acting more like them, hiding any signs of being Latina. I think once I became an adult, I grew really tired of that mindset and began to see the correlation between my unhappiness at the time and not being true to myself.” [The Huffington Post]

Creators | Michael Maslin talks about his biography of the late New Yorker cartoonist Peter Arno and discusses three of Arno’s cartoons in detail. [The Wall Street Journal]

Collectors | Comics collectors from the Pottsville, Pennsylvania, area talk about how their love of comics led them to collecting, and some retailers weigh in as well. [Republican Herald]

Retailing | A new comic shop, Mama Says Comics Rock, has opened in Brooklyn’s Cobble Hill neighborhood, designed as a direct successor to the recently closed Bergen Street Comics. [Brooklyn Paper]

Retailing | Another newly opened store, Black Medicine Comics in Des Moines, Iowa, focuses on vintage and hard-to-find comics; the store evolved from owner Ronnie Free’s online business. [Des Moines Register]