Angouleme Grand Prix Regroups for 2017 in Wake of 2016 Controversies

Festivals | Heidi Macdonald reports on the latest news from Angouleme, and the signs are hopeful for next year. The 2016 festival was a disaster for many reasons, from the all-male slate of Grand Prix nominees (which was ultimately jettisoned, amid much recrimination) to the embarrassing "joke" awards, which were presented with no forewarning, leading a number of creators to believe they had actually won the prizes, only to receive the crushing news a few minutes later that they hadn't. This year's festival will be under new management, with a new artistic director, Stephane Beaujean, and this year's nominating committee includes three men and three women. Check the comments for more background on why the festival was so terrible last year. [The Beat]

Conventions | The Victoria, Texas, City Council finalized its budget without reinstating $2,770 in Hotel Occupancy Tax funds that were cut from the allocation to the Victoria Comic Con after one of the founders criticized the council's past allocation of funds. In a Facebook post that has since been removed, VCC co-founder Megan Booth stated that the funds in past years had not been distributed according to the statute. At last night's meeting, Mayor Paul Polasek explained that the criteria for handing out funds had been changed to make the process more objective. Several members of the public spoke in favor of restoring the funds. "Everybody has their right to their own opinion as well as y'all up on the council, it seems like she got penalized or punished for voicing it. Now it's almost on the border line of intimidation," said con supporter Brian Vandale. [Victoria Advocate]

Festivals | There are two major festivals on the East Coast this weekend, SPX in Bethesda, Maryland, and the Brooklyn Book Festival, which features a strong slate of graphic novel content. Check out the BBF Comics Tumblr for schedules and details of the latter. [BBF Tumblr]

Creators | In a great creator-on-creator interview, Noah Van Sciver talks to Tom Gauld, whose latest graphic novel, "Mooncop," has just been released. [The Comics Journal]

Creators | Tana Ford, the artist for Marvel's "Silk," talks about her work process, her comics influences, and what she listens to while she works. [Comicosity]

Creators | Writer Kyle Higgins explains why he has moved from work-for-hire gigs on superhero comics to creator-owned work: "Work-for-hire stuff — Batman, Nightwing, Power Rangers, etc. — can be incredibly fun, but sometimes creatively limiting. You don’t own the characters, right? But at the same time, there’s years and years of material to draw on, and the characters and their relationships are pretty well-defined. So, as a writer, you’re not starting from scratch." So Higgins started from scratch and came up with "Hadrian's Wall," a murder mystery set on a spaceship. [LA Weekly]

Comics Culture | Columbus, Ohio, the home to "Bone" creator Jeff Smith, the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum, and the Cartoon Crossroads Columbus convention, has become a real comics town, and various movers and shakers discuss why. [The Columbus Dispatch]

Education | Here's one of those periodic stories about a teacher using comics in the classroom; this one is about a middle school STEM teacher who draws her own. [The Lakewood Observer]

Museums | John F. Kelly, a "true comics geek," is taking the reins of Pittsburgh's ToonSeum, following in the footsteps of founder Joe Wos, who stepped down in 2014. Kelly writes for The Comics Journal, and he also wrote several issues of the "Dexter's Lab" comic. He moved to Pittsburgh in 2011 and has been active with the ToonSeum since then; his previous posts include doing PR for the National Basketball Association and Catholic Charities of the Archdioceses of New York and Columbia University. It was ToonSeum president (and a cartoonist himself) Rob Rogers who testified to Kelly's comics geek cred, adding, "John understands our mission, and he understands the challenges we face as a nonprofit arts organization in Pittsburgh." [Pittsburgh Post-Gazette]

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