Comics A.M. | Rick Perry at odds with newspaper over cartoon

by  in Comic News Comment
Comics A.M. | Rick Perry at odds with newspaper over cartoon

Editorial cartoons | Michael Cavna interviews Sacramento Bee editorial cartoonist Jack Ohman about Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s demand that the newspaper apologize for an April 25 cartoon in which the politician is depicted boasting that “Business is booming in Texas!” beneath a banner that reads, “Low Tax! Low Regs!,” juxtaposed with an image of the deadly fertilizer-plant explosion in West, Texas. “It was with extreme disgust and disappointment I viewed your recent cartoon,” Perry wrote in a letter to the editor. “While I will always welcome healthy policy debate, I won’t stand for someone mocking the tragic deaths of my fellow Texans and our fellow Americans.” Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has reportedly called for Ohman to be fired.

“Gov. Perry was being criticized in Texas and elsewhere for the Texas regulatory climate,” Ohman told Cavna, “and he found a way to change the conversation in the media cycle. I have never seen anything like this in my 35-year career. Not just in reaction to my work, but to anyone else’s.”  The cartoonist explained on his blog that he wasn’t mocking the deaths of 14 people, but rather wondering whether the tragedy could’ve been prevented by more inspections and better zoning regulations: “The Texas chemical plant had not been inspected by the state of Texas since 2006. That’s seven years ago. You may have read in the news that Gov. Perry, during his business recruiting trips to California and Illinois, generally described his state as free from high taxes and burdensome regulation. One of the burdensome regulations he neglected to mention was the fact that his state hadn’t really gotten around to checking out that fertilizer plant. Many Texas cities have little or no zoning, resulting in homes being permitted next to sparely inspected businesses that store explosive chemicals.”

Sacramento Bee Editorial Page Editor Stuart Leavenworth responded publicly to Perry’s letter, while the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists has accused the governor of attempting to intimidate a journalist, saying, “attacking the cartoonist is the kind of reaction we’d expect from a leader in North Korea, not one from Texas.” [The Washington Post, The Daily Cartoonist]

Legal | Chun Han Wong has more details on the case of Leslie Chew, the Singapore cartoonist who was arrested last week on charges of sedition stemming from a cartoon he published on Facebook. The cartoon criticized the government’s treatment of the Malay minority; Chew was arrested based on a complaint from a member of the public that his cartoons were “racially insensitive.” [The Wall Street Journal]

Awards | The 17th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prize has been awarded to Yasuhisu Hara’s historical manga Kingdom. Writer Scott Green notes the trend toward historical manga taking the prize in recent years. [Crunchyroll]

Creators | Here’s a report on a panel held Saturday at Politics and Prose in Washington, D.C., moderated by Michael Cavna, in which Eleanor Davis, Nathan Hale, Andrés Vera Martínez and Mark Siegel discuss children’s and young-adult graphic novels as a road to reading, as well as their own experiences as comics creators. [Comicsgirl on Tumblr]

Creators | Archie Comics writer Ian Flynn and Executive Director of Editorial Paul Kaminski discuss the upcoming Mega Man/Sonic the Hedgehog crossover. [GameInformer]

Creators | Jeff Lemire talks about Animal Man #20 and the evolution of Buddy Baker. [Hero Complex]

Creators | Reporter Igor Studnekov sits in on Mail Order Ninja creator Josh Elder’s comics workshop at a local school. [Niles Herald-Spectator]

Creators | Tom the Dancing Bug cartoonist Ruben Bolling talks about the video he put together for Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which features a montage of works by different cartoonists, and why he thinks it is so powerful. [Comic Riffs]

Publishing | Ross Richie, founder and CEO of BOOM! Studios, talks about surprising Stan Lee, how he chose the name BOOM!, and the one property he wished BOOM! could be publishing right now (it might surprise you!). [Pop Cults]