Comics A.M. | Ben Hatke's 'Little Robot' wins children's literature award

Awards | The Center for Children's Books at the University of Illinois has chosen Ben Hatke's Little Robot as the winner of this year's Gryphon Award for Children's Literature. The award honors children's books that bridge the gap between being read to and reading on one's own. "Hatke’s graphic novel is both cleverly crafted and utterly irresistible," said Assistant Professor Deborah Stevenson, the head of CCB and chair of the committee. "Our young heroine is an admirable adventurer and capable wielder of a tool belt, and the little robot she finds, repairs, and befriends is an endearing pet/sidekick. The balance between wordless sequences and simple speech-balloon dialogue (plus the robot’s sound effects) will reassure tentative readers and encourage them to decode narrative from both visual and textual clues." [University of Illinois]

Conventions | Comic-Con International has announced its third wave of special guests for this year's event: Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, Jeff Smith and Noel Stevenson. [Toucan]

Creators | Julia Wertz's Greenpoint, Brooklyn, apartment is filled with collections of unusual objects she has picked up on her forays as an urban explorer. They're not just for fun, though: Some serve a utilitarian purpose, such as the old lab flasks she uses to hold spices, while others serve as reference material for her comics on the hidden history of New York and its neighborhoods. And some are just cool, including a case of tiny objects, featuring a camera and an Etch-a-Sketch that really work. [Curbed]

Creators | Vancouver artist Kelly Brack is making a comic, The ScanBC Files, based on the ScanBC Twitter account, which picks up local police calls such as "Vancouver PD attending to a lane for a report of male that has a pigeon tied to a brick and trying to stab the bird with a needle." [VanCityBuzz]

Creators | Brian Andersen talks about his comic Stripling Warrior, which features a gay superhero who is called to be "the hand of God on Earth": "Basically, I wanted to mine the religious lore and mythology of the Mormon Church to empower a homosexual hero — to show that a gay character is every bit as worthy in the eyes of God as any heterosexual one." [The Huffington Post]

Creators | Ken Perry fights fires on his day job and makes comics (and metal sculpture) on his days off. "My wife [Ana] said to me the other day, 'You come home covered in soot and sometimes you’re out in the backyard beating on a piece of metal [for a sculpture] and then I hear you on the phone talking about color theory. Who are you?'" he said. The Fall River, Massachusetts, firefighter has just finished his fourth comic, Wretched Things, which will be published digitally on comiXology. Perry has a bachelor of fine arts degree but learned how to make comics through an online workshop, Comics Experience's Creator Workshop. [Providence Journal]

Graphic novels | Greg M. Schwartz looks at Reckless Life, a graphic novel about the musical career of Guns N' Roses. [Pop Matters]

Comic strips | Paul Tumey examines the 1930s newspaper comic White Boy, which has been collected in its entirety for the first time by Sunday Press. He describes it as "the first comic in America to portray Indians in a sympathetic, human light." [The Comics Journal]

Exhibits | The Jewish Museum Milwaukee is hosting an exhibit of the work of Jewish cartoonist Arthur Szyk, whose comics chronicled the persecution of Jews in Europe before and during World War II and advocated U.S. involvement in the war. His drawings were featured in many of the mass-circulation magazines of the time, including Time and Esquire. [The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle]

Museums | Maurice Sendak wanted his home town of Ridgefield, Connecticut, to be a home for a museum of his work, but promoters of the project are running into a number of obstacles. [The New York Times]

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