Seven Days | The week in comics

A look at the big news, and noteworthy posts, from the past week.

• Former Judge Dredd artist Ron Smith was cleared of all charges that he sexually abused a 13-year-old girl over a three-year period in the 1980s.

• Although the week began with upbeat reports from last weekend's MoCCA Festival, attention quickly turned to complaints from exhibitors and attendees about the lack of air conditioning, and a level of disorganization that led to a late opening on Saturday, poor promotion and the omission of several creators’ names from the official website.

• The author and illustrator of the Nate the Great children's book series counter-sued Cosmic Debris Etc., claiming the Emily the Strange franchise violates their copyright. Last month Cosmic Debris sued Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Marc Simont, and asked a judge to declare that Emily doesn’t infringe on the copyright to their 1978 book Nate the Great and the Long List, which introduced the goth girl Rosamond. Dark Horse Entertainment, which is producing an Emily the Strange movie, also is named as a defendant in the counter-suit.

• Comics and animation artist Dave Simons, perhaps best known for his work in the 1980s at Marvel, passed away after a long fight with cancer. He was 55.

• A couple in Singapore was sentenced to eight weeks in jail on charges of sedition for distributing anti-Muslim comics by Jack Chick.

• The firings continued at Wizard Entertainment, as art director Arlene So and controller Scott Klein were handed their walking papers. Tom Spurgeon, whose source has been accurate on all Wizard-related news, now reports credit manager Hassan Godwin has been let go, too.

• PictureBox Publisher Dan Nadel spoke with Robot 6's Chris Mautner about the company's move to raise money, through pre-orders, for Powr Mastrs, Vol. 3, and If n Oof.

• Comic-book torrent tracker Z-Cult FM announced it's shutting down, less than two years after it complied with demands from DC Comics and Marvel to remove links to pirated copies of copyrighted work.

• Author, designer and Batman enthusiast Chip Kidd revealed he's writing a full-length Batman story for DC Comics.

• Robot 6's Tim O'Shea talked with Nate Powell about Swallow Me Whole, his influences, and working on two graphic novels at once.

Trinity writer Kurt Busiek reflected on the year-long series, and JLA/Avengers, with columnist Tom Bondurant.

• In her weekly "Unbound" feature, Brigid Alverson examined the Eisner nominees for Best Digital Comic and wondered which ones really belong in that category.

• Carla Hoffman returned to Robot 6 with a look at a rebooted Star Trek, and what went wrong with Marvel's Ultimate Universe. Welcome back, Carla!

• Chris Mautner previewed Abrams Books' fall catalog.

• DC's Vertigo and Wildstorm imprints joined the blogosphere, with the latter confirming an October release for the final issue of Warren Ellis and John Cassaday's Planetary.

• Little Lulu received a makeover in Brazil.

• Rob Liefeld's Youngblood teased that it's joining the cavalcade of comics that feature President Obama.

Looking ahead

• Monday sees the unprecedented, and much-discussed, early release of Captain America #600, whose contents will either spark nationwide media coverage or leave fans asking, "Is that all?"

• It's also the voting deadline for the 2009 Eisner Awards.

HeroesCon and Wizard World Philadelphia kick off next Friday (though I haven't seen much discussion about the latter).

DC Comics Announces Scott Snyder's Next Batman Project

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