Legal | Jonathon M. Wall, who pleaded guilty April 5 to a charge of impersonating a federal agent last fall in an attempt to get into the VIP room at Salt Lake Comic Con, has a new defense team — after the judge in the case threw out his plea and offered to help him find new counsel. U.S. District Judge Jill Parrish vacated Wall’s plea, saying she was concerned Wall didn’t understand the full implications of having a federal felony on his record. Wall had told her he was pleading guilty because prosecutors offered him a “slap on the wrist” if he did so. An employee at Hill Air Force Base, Wall showed his work ID convention security but claimed to be a federal agent who needed access to the VIP area because he was pursuing a fugitive. In addition to helping Wall find a new lawyer, Parrish recommended he be transferred to a newly established diversion program. [Standard Examiner]
Political cartoons | Iranian cartoonist Atena Farghadani could be out of prison as early as next month. Farghadani was originally sentenced to 12 years in prison on an array of charges stemming from a cartoon she drew critiquing the Iranian government’s stance on birth control and depicting various politicians with the heads of animals. An Iranian appeals court has acquitted her of charges of undermining national security and suspended her three-year sentence for insulting the Supreme Leader of Iran for four years. The court also changed the penalty for insulting the president, members of Parliament and her prison guards from nine months in prison to a monetary fine. It upheld her conviction for “propaganda against the regime” and affirmed her 18-month sentence. Farghadani’s lawyer says those 18 months will be up in May, so that’s when he expects her to be released. The good news comes a day after Iranian authorities admitted they forced her to undergo virginity and pregnancy tests, which the UN says are a “violation of the right to dignity, the right not to be subjected to ill-treatment and constitute a particularly gross form of discrimination and of custodial violence.” The UN report also says that Farghadani has also been tortured, sexually harassed, and put in solitary confinement while in prison. [Cartoonists Rights Network International]
Awards | The shortlist has been announced for the 2016 Dwayne McDuffie Awards, which honor children’s graphic novels that embody the four qualities of “Quality, Timelessness, Originality and Diversity.” [Kids Read Comics]
Creators | With a new Captain America film on the way, Mark Peters presents a brief outline of the life and importance of the character’s co-creator, Jack Kirby. [The Boston Globe]
Creators | Zachary Clemente discusses his two self-published comics, Remnants, with art by Kelsi Ricks, and Immolation, with art by Ricardo Lopez Ortiz. In addition to the creative process, Clemente talks nuts and bolts: “I aim to become a writer that people want to work with or publish, and to do that I need to build up some good credit. I guess that’s a way of saying that these books aren’t just foundational, they’re investments in myself, my collaborators I work with, and this larger story I want to make. I’ve been very fortunate to work in a field that pays pretty well so I’m able to self-publish about two short comics a year. I negotiate a rate for the work with the artists at the outset, pay for the printing, then provide them with copies to sell at shows or through online stores gratis. I wish I could produce more but this is the best way I can figure out how to promote myself as a writer while proving myself to be a worthwhile collaborator.” [Women Write About Comics]
Manga | Toppū GP, the new motorcycle manga by Oh My Goddess creator Kousuke Fujishima, will be published simultaneously in English and Japanese. The monthly series will launch on May 25 in Kodansha’s Monthly Afternoon magazine, and the English version will be published online. According to the announcement, the manga will feature “obsessively accurate depictions” of cars, motorcycles and motorcycle gear, and Fujishima has the “full cooperation” of a number of Japanese manufacturers. [Anime News Network]
Exhibits | Here’s a look at the exhibit of Naoki Urasawa’s work, “A Life in Drawings,” which recently concluded at the Setagaya Literary Museum; the exhibit included sketches and original pages from his manga arranged so that the viewer could experience the story in different ways. [Spoon & Tamago]
Exhibits | James Bacon takes a stroll through the Great British Graphic Novel exhibit at the Cartoon Museum in London. [Forbidden Planet]
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