Category Archives: Conventions

Atlas Brew Works and Awesome Con Debut 2019 Beer Collaboration

AwesomeCon-mockup-can
Photo credit: Atlas Brew Works

Ivy City brewery Atlas Brew Works is partnering with Washington DC’s Comic Con Awesome Condebuting Hop Bot, a limited-release pale ale canned exclusively for the convention and available for purchase at local restaurants on Monday, April 22, and the brewery’s Tap Room starting Friday, April 26, while supplies last.

The seventh annual Awesome Con returns to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from Friday, April 26, to Sunday, April 28. Before then, guests can visit outstanding area restaurants and bars, including The Capital Burger, City Tap Penn Quarter, Espita Mezcaleria, Iron Horse Tap Room, Jackpot, Lost & Found, Morris American Bar, Moxy Washington, DC Downtown, and Penn Social.

Hop Bot is generously hopped with funky Citra and juicy Mosaic hops. Atlas adds wheat malt to the grain bill of the pale ale to give the beer a robust body and silky mouth feel that perfectly complements the floral and citrus flavors from two of the brewery’s favorite hops. The blend was derived to play off the iconic robot face that has become emblematic of Awesome Con since it began in 2012 and will be used on the cans and tap handles at participating locations.

Future Con Returns to Awesome Con Highlighting the Science in Science Fiction

The Smithsonian magazine Future Con returns as part of the region’s premier comic and pop culture convention, Awesome ConFriday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. Scientists and entertainers will come together at the themed pavilion and on stage to connect science and technology with science fiction and fantasy. Future Conpresents three days of special programming that will include tech demos, meet-and-greet opportunities with prolific thought leaders and the opportunity to dive into the stimulating and fantastical overlaps between real-world science and the science of the future. Attendees of all ages will be able to engage at panel Q&As and discussions as well as hands-on tech demos and workshops, all focused on fostering awareness and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Awesome Con, now in its seventh year, is thrilled to welcome a range of leaders and experts from organizations that represent scientific advancement and education across numerous industries. Representatives from the National Science Foundation, National Geographic, NASA Goddard Space and Flight Center, APS Physics, Nova Labs, Central Intelligence Agency, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science will lead programs and workshops throughout the weekend.

Among highlights of this year’s Future Con programming, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine will join commercial space leaders for a discussion of exciting new developments at NASA and in the growing space industry.

Image Credit: NASA

Guests can explore space with Dr. Erin Macdonald, who will guide a panel dubbed Astronomy 101, blazing through the science of planets, the solar system and stars. Looking to dive a little deeper? Dr. Macdonald will explore the science of gravitational waves, the collision of black holes and a neutron star merger with fun stories and a conversation about what these discoveries mean as we move forward.

Image Credit: Dr. Erin Macdonald

The Central Intelligence Agency will demystify the Agency in several sessions that showcase intelligence work. Guests will work through actual operations officer tests, hear about the U-2 and A-12 spy planes and Area 51, the testing site that made them famous, and will learn how eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes contributed to one of the most audacious CIA missions of the Cold War. And, in the grand tradition of Madam Pince in Harry Potter, Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Dr. Barbara Gordon in Batman, the curious can learn what it is like to be a librarian working in espionage and why some heroes wear cardigans.

Image Credit: Central Intelligence Agency
Image Credit: Central Intelligence Agency

As true crime gains a mainstream following in the US, Future Con will explore technological advancements in criminal investigation, and the fight against the same technology being used in sinister ways. U.S. intelligence experts focused on digital and physical 3D modeling will demonstrate tools used on national security missions, including imagery and geospatial information used to visualize human activities that occur on the surface of the Earth.

Future Con will also explore the possible realities that exist in popular comics as well. Two panels will highlight the science of Voltron: Legendary Defender, and Aquaman. Attendees will learn about wormholes, crystals, the future of flight, life in the extremes of the deep ocean, and bio-inspired technologies that could one day allow humans to take on superhero abilities.

Future Con takes place Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28 inside this year’s Awesome Con, and no separate ticket is needed to attend Future Con events—admission to Awesome Con includes access to Future Con’s speakers, exhibits, and events.

Awesome Con Reveals its Programming Schedule

Awesome Con, Washington DC’s Comic Con powered by Third Eye Comics, has announced three days of programming complete with panels, workshops, celebrity appearances, and more, taking over the Walter E. Washington Convention Center from April 26-28.

Family-friendly pavilion Awesome Con Jr presented by the Toy Association returns with even more events planned to educate and entertain kids of all ages and parents alike. Smithsonian is partnering with Awesome Con once again to present Future Con, a science pavilion showcasing the intersection between science and science fiction with live demonstrations and experts discussing everything from space exploration to spy technology, and more. Back for the third year is Pride Alley presented in partnership with Geeks OUT and Washington Blade, shining a spotlight on LGBTQ creators and fans in an even more robust section of Artist Alley and presenting special programs addressing diversity in pop culture.

Highlights from Awesome Con 2019 include:

Celebrity & Comic Guests

Hear from some of the biggest influencers from the world of pop culture and comic books at panels, screenings, Q&As, and more. Main Stage events include:

  • Weird Al Q&A (2:30PM – April 26 – Main Stage)
  • Karate Kid Q&A (4:15PM – April 26—Main Stage)
  • The Office Q&A (6:00PM – April 26 – Main Stage)
  • Riverdale Q&A (11:45AM – April 27 – Main Stage)
  • Princess Bride Q&A (2:00PM – April 27 – Main Stage)
  • Star Trek: Next Generation Q&A (3:45PM – April 27 – Main Stage)
  • Matt Smith Q&A (11:45AM – April 28 – Main Stage) 
  • Weird Science Q&A (2:00PM – April 28 – Main Stage)

Future Con

  • Exploring the Future of Crime (11:00AM – April 27 – Room 150) – Technological advances have benefited our world in immeasurable ways—but there is an ominous flip side. Criminals are often the earliest, and most innovative, adopters of technology, and modern times have led to modern crimes. From big data to artificial intelligence and genetics to robotics, today’s criminals are at the forefront of the tsunami of technological threats coming our way. In this session, Marc Goodman, author of the New York Times best-selling book Future Crimes, rips opens his database of hundreds of real cases to give the audience front-row access to these impending perils. While many of the stories Goodman will tell sound like science fiction, they are indeed fully rooted in startling scientific facts. This discussion will raise raises tough questions about the expanding role of technology in our lives and propose a path forward to ensure we all benefit from humanity’s technological advances rather than become imperiled by them.
  • The Science of Voltron: Legendary Defender (5:00PM – April 26 – Room 144) – Come along, Paladins! The Voltron: Legendary Defender series has come to a close, so it’s time to explore some of the best science in the series. We’ll learn about wormholes, crystals, gluon fields, and much more while we discuss how much the series got right (and a few things they got wrong). Kids of all ages are welcome!
  • Science of Aquaman (7:00PM – April 26 – Room 144) – This panel will discuss the actual science behind Aquaman’s powers. He can communicate with marine life, is adapted to live and thrive in harsh underwater environments and has superhuman strength. All these abilities, including being able to “talk to fish,” as Batman would say, are rooted in science. Come learn about the incredible adaptations that allow life to thrive in the extremes of the deep ocean, the methods scientists use to study the undersea landscape, and the bio-inspired technologies being developed that could allow a human to effectively take on the abilities of Aquaman.
  • Germ Warfare: A Very Graphic History (12:00PM – April 27 – Room 146) – Join world-renowned author Max Brooks (World War Z) for a conversation about his newly-released graphic novel on the dangers posed by biological agents. Members of the Blue Ribbon Study Panel on Biodefense will also be present to discuss the novel and its message about the threat of biological attacks and naturally occurring outbreaks in the 21st century.
  • Astronomy 101 Through Science Fiction (5:00pm – April 27 – Room 144) – Welcome to Astronomy 101! Always wanted to learn astronomy? Science Fiction fan? Dr Erin Macdonald will take us through the first semester of astronomy with hardly any math and a whole lot of science fiction references. We’ll blaze through the science of planets, the solar system, and stars at warp speed; come ready to learn!
  • Intelligence Super Models: 3D Modeling in the Intelligence Community (8:00pm – April 27 – Room 144) – Join U.S. Intelligence Community experts on digital and physical 3D modeling who will demonstrate and discuss their experiences impacting national security missions. 3D modelers will exhibit a variety of capabilities utilized by NGA and CIA across the 3D disciplines, including leveraging imagery and geospatial information to visualize human activities that occur on the Earth.
  • The Story and Science of Gravitational Waves (2:00pm – April 28 – Room 144) – In 2015 our quest to study and explore the universe took a giant leap forward with the discovery of gravitational waves. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration has detected ripples in spacetime from the collision of black holes as well as a neutron star merger that showed up in every spectrum possible. Dr Erin Macdonald (a former member of LIGO) will discuss the history behind the detection, share some fun stories, and what these discoveries mean for astrophysics going forward.

Awesome Con Jr

  • Monster Battle Time KO! (3:45PM – April 28 – Awesome Con Jr Stage) – Three teams of artists go head-to-head in the biggest Monster Battle Time of the season! This year there are three teams of stellar cartoonists to design your monsters and battle for ultimate artistic glory! Free comics to all attendees.
  • Dreamworks Screening (4:00PM – April 26 – Awesome Con Jr. Stage) – Dreamworks will surprise guests with a special feature screening.
  • Kids Costume Parade (12:00PM – April 27 | 12:00PM – April 28 – Awesome Con Jr Stage) – Awesome Con is excited to announce the Kids Costume Parade! Registration is limited to the first 30 kids (and their parents).
  • National Wildlife Federation Animal Show with Naturalist David Mizejewski (1:30PM – April 27 – Awesome Con Jr Stage) – An educational presentation of exotic animals from all over the world with a message about conservation.

Pride Alley

  • Fabulous Fictional Females (1:30PM – April 26 – Room 152) –  featuring a diverse panel of female writers, artists, and editors discussing the ‘Strong Female Character’ trope, breaking down what goes into telling a great story and sharing our professional experiences in the realms of comics, literature, and theater.
  • Gender in SFF Fiction: Women & Nonbinary Authors (2:30PM – April 26 – Room 152) – From the elusive Strong Female Protagonist to LGBTQ representation, and what an individual author’s responsibility is, this panel will explore what it means to be a female or nonbinary author in the male-dominated genre of sci-fi and fantasy fiction.
  • Diversity Amongst the Stars (4:30PM – April 26 – Room 144) –A celebration of the diverse characters we love and a discussion about how the galaxy has changed over the last few years and where we still hope it may go.
  • Strengthening Geek Culture (4:30PM – April 26 – Room 152) —A spotlight on queer creators and fans, Strengthening Geek Culture will unite the LGBTQ and allied creators attending Awesome Con through a panel celebrating the diversity and creativity of queer geekdom and LGBTQ contributions to pop culture. 
  • Exploring Gay & Lesbian Comic Creators (5:30PM – April 26 – Room 144) – This panel will explore some of the creators and their contributions to producing gay and lesbian comics and how they have influenced the mainstream comic industry to this day. Some of the creators that will be explored are Howard Cruse (Stuck Rubber Baby), Trina Robbins (Wimmen’s Comix), Alison Bechdel (Fun House), and Joe Phils (Joe Boys) to name a few.
  • Resistance, Feminism, & Fandom (6:30PM – April 26 – Room 144) – Science fiction is often a form of social commentary, and engaging with sci-fi fandom means voicing that commentary via social media. As women, people of color, and other LGBT+ participants who are quite visible in fandom during this charged era in American politics, we want to discuss our experiences speaking out on various social platforms even when it may not be the popular thing to do.
  • We ARE Gaymers! Be Proud! (11:30 AM – April 27 – Room 152) A discussion surrounding the collective identity of gamers, outside negative feedback, and how the community can response
  • Pro Wrestling Connection for Marginalized Fans (1:30PM — April 27 – Room 152) Centering women, non-binary, & LGBTQ+ voices in wrestling fandom-these fans have crucial perspectives to share. If you’ve never felt comfortable at a wrestling panel before, this one’s for you.
  • Crossplay 101 (2:30PM – April 27 – Room 152) – An introductory lecture about what crossplay is and educating how to crossplay safely.
  • Representation Matters, So Make It Good (4:30PM – April 27 – Room 152) Stories matter. More diverse media representation is incredibly important, but not all representation is created equal. The result of years of narrative research, this panel lays out a comprehensive and easy to follow guide to creating healthy and compelling queer characters and stories, with examples and suggestions across media and genres. 
  • The BLERD Panel (5:30PM – April 27 – Room 152) – Picking up where we left off last year, the BLERD Panel will give the black nerd state of the union with comedy, connection, and community!
  • Cositivity (12:30PM – April 28 – Room 152) – This panel is designed to be a safe space for cosplayers to discuss their experiences with cosplay. Mediated by the panelists, we will be sharing our experiences as well as opening the floor for others to discuss theirs.

Additional Programming Highlights:

  • Voice-a-Palooza (6:30Pm – April 26 – Room 146) – VIDEO GAME VOICE ACTORS BEHAVING BADLY. Join professional voice actors as they reinterpret movie scripts, poetry, songs and more in their character voices, read the craziest phrases that YOU provide in their character voices, and create an entirely new video game from YOUR suggestions. A Classic and a MUST NOT MISS.
  • Awesome Con Short Film Fest — Grabbing some popcorn, all your friends, and a seat, as Joe Carabeo (Award winning Director, Astray Productions President, Project Resolution Producer) brings the Awesome Con Short Film Festival to you! There will also be an exclusive filmmakers Q&A after the screenings afterwards moderated by TV host Molly Nevola.
    • Sci Fi / Action / Horror (2:00PM – April 26 – Room 101)
    • Awesome Con Short Film Fest – Comedy & Drama (12:00PM – April 27 – Room 101)
    • Awesome Con Short Film Fest – Documentaries & More (12:00PM – April 28 – Room 101
  • Helping Kids Understand the World Through Nonfiction, Fact-Based Fiction, and Real Science (1:00PM – April 28 – Room 150) – National Geographic Kids Editors talk about writing exciting non-fiction for kids, how to infuse your story with a good dose of real science, and how to keep ’em coming back for more of the good stuff: facts.
  • Very Secret, Very Cool, But Not Aliens: The U-2, the A-12, and Area 51 (5:00PM – April 26 – Room 140) – CIA historians will present the development, deployment, and capabilities of the CIA’s most famous spy planes, as well as the testing site the helped make famous.  Come learn about the U-2, the A-12 (and the vastly inferior SR-71), and Area 51.  Also, join a discussion of studies conducted by Gerald Haines about UFO sightings and the correlation with the operations conducted by these aircraft.
  • DC Celebrates 80 Years of Batman Comics (5:00pm – April 27 – Room 150) – Eighty years after his debut, Batman continues to be one of the most popular and iconic Super Heroes of all time. Meet some of the key players in the Dark Knight’s world who create and bring you the best Batman comics stories ever. Buckle up for an incredible ride in the Batmobile and hear what these creators have to say about one of your all-time favorite DC Super Heroes!
  • Some Heroes Wear Cardigans: Librarians at CIA (1:00PM – April 27 – Room 140) – Madam Pince in Harry Potter. Giles in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Dr. Barbara Gordon in Batman. Librarians and libraries have been depicted in pop culture a variety of ways throughout the years, but are often portrayed as sidekicks. The librarians at CIA think differently. Come hear them talk about what it’s like to be a librarian working in espionage and discuss why they think some heroes wear cardigans.

Emergence of the Comic Strip in the 19th Century, April 9 at the Library of Congress

Library of Congress

Swann Foundation Fellow Joshua Abraham Kopin will give an illustrated lecture at the Library of Congress discussing the cultural and technological contexts surrounding the rise of the comic strip in late nineteenth century America.  

Kopin will present “Comics in Nineteenth Century Time and Space” at noon on Tuesday, April 9, West Dining Room on the sixth floor of the Library’s James Madison Building, 101 Independence Avenue  S.E., Washington, D.C. The lecture is free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed. 

To better understand comics of the present, it is necessary to better understand its nineteenth-century form. As it split off from caricature and cartoon, the late nineteenth-century comic strip joined many new technologies of time and space. These changes included advances in printing, early attempts to capture motion in film, and early sound recording, all developments that were rapidly accelerating society and culture. As part of this cultural environment, the comic strip thus represents an insight into the period’s changing temporal and spatial theories of knowledge. 

By reframing the comic strip in terms of the cultural and technological history of the nineteenth-century United States, Kopin contends that the art form is a uniquely nineteenth-century object that has retained many of the artifacts of its development as it has evolved. The talk will focus on one particular example from R.F. Outcault’s Hogan’s Alley,placing this 19th century comic strip in a technological lineage, aligned with caricature, cinema, color printing and the gramophone, among others.

Joshua Kopin is a PhD candidate in American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He has works published or forthcoming in American Literature and Inks, as well as an entry in the upcoming Keywords for Comics Studies volume. He is a member at large on the board of the International Comic Arts Forum and the president of the Graduate Student Caucus of the Comic Studies Society.

This presentation, sponsored by the Swann Foundation and the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division, is part of the foundation’s continuing activities to support the study, interpretation, preservation and appreciation of original works of humorous and satiric art by graphic artists from around the world.

The 2019 Glyph Awards Nominees Have Been Announced

The nominees for the 2019 Glyph Awards have been announced. The Glyph Awards “recognize the best in comics made by, for, and about people of color from the preceding calendar year.” The awards were started in 2005 by comics journalist Rich Watson.

The winners will be announced at the East Coast Black Age of Comics Convention (ECBACC) which takes place May 18 at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA.

Below are this year’s nominees and congrats to all.

STORY OF THE YEAR

  • BAAAAD MUTHAZ #2; Bill Campbell, writer, David Brame & Damian Duffy , artist
  • IS’NANA THE WERE-SPIDER: THE HORNET’S WEB; Greg Anderson Elysée, writer, Daryl Toh, artist
  • MALIKA – WARRIOR QUEEN PART TWO; Roye Okupe, writer, Chima Kalu & Raphael Kazeem, artists
  • NOBLE; Brandon Thomas, writer, Roger Robinson & Manuel Garcia (interior) / Khary Randolph (cover), artists
  • UNDER THE SUN; Austine Osas, writer, Yusuf Shittuh, artist
  • WINDMAKER – BIRTH OF A KING; Roye Okupe, writer, Sunkanmi Akinboye & Tarella Pablo, artists

BEST WRITER

  • Keef Cross, writer; DAYBLACK # 7
  • Greg Anderson Elysée, writer; IS’NANA THE WERE-SPIDER: THE HORNET’S WEB
  • Greg Anderson Elysée, writer; THE GENTLEMAN: DARKNESS OF THE VOID #1
  • Ayize Jama-Everett, writer; BOX OF BONES #1
  • Robert Jeffrey II, writer; WHERE THERE’S A WILL…
  • Roye Okupe, writer; WINDMAKER – BIRTH OF A KING
  • Brandon Thomas, writer; NOBLE
  • Jerome Walford, writer; NOWHERE MAN: JACK – FORGET ME NOT, BOOK ONE

BEST ARTIST

  • Jiba Molei Anderson, artist; THE HORSEMEN: LUMUMBA FUNK
  • Keef Cross, artist; DAYBLACK # 7
  • F. Charles Goubile, artist; CORSAIRS
  • John Jennings (interior) & Stacey Robinson (cover), artists; BOX OF BONES #1
  • James Mason, artist; SANKOFA GUARD
  • Roger Robinson, Manuel Garcia (interior) / Khary Randolph (cover), artists; NOBLE

BEST COVER

  • BOX OF BONES #1; Ayize Jama-Everett, writer, Stacey Robinson, artist
  • CORSAIRS; Daniel McNeal, writer, F. Charles Goubile, artist
  • ENDIGO SOCIETY: THE GOLDEN AGE; Norwick Robinson, writer, Mikhail Sebastian, artist
  • ERU; Amadioha & HeroGeneration, writers, HeroGeneration & Tatashe, artists
  • IS’NANA THE WERE-SPIDER: THE HORNET’S WEB; Greg Anderson Elysée, writer, Daryl Toh, artist
  • NOBLE; Brandon Thomas, writer, Khary Randolph , artist
  • NOWHERE MAN: JACK – FORGET ME NOT, BOOK ONE; Jerome Walford, writer and artist
  • SANKOFA GUARD; James Mason, writer, James Mason, artist
  • WINDMAKER – BIRTH OF A KING; Roye Okupe, writer, Sunkanmi Akinboye & Tarella Pablo, artist

BEST MALE CHARACTER

  • Eru; ERU; Amadioha & HeroGeneration, writers, HeroGeneration & Tatashe, artists
  • Is’nana the Were-Spider; IS’NANA THE WERE-SPIDER: THE HORNET’S WEB; Greg Anderson Elysée, writer, Daryl Toh, artist
  • Kendall; CORSAIRS; Daniel McNeal, writer, F. Charles Goubile, artist
  • David Powell (Noble); NOBLE; Brandon Thomas, writer, Roger Robinson & Manuel Garcia (interior) / Khary Randolph (cover), artists
  • WindMaker; WINDMAKER – BIRTH OF A KING; Roye Okupe, writer, Sunkanmi Akinboye & Tarella Pablo, artists

BEST FEMALE CHARACTER

  • Astrid Allen-Powell; NOBLE; Brandon Thomas, writer, Roger Robinson & Manuel Garcia (interior) / Khary Randolph (cover), artists
  • Gina Baptiste; IS’NANA THE WERE-SPIDER: THE HORNET’S WEB; Greg Anderson Elysée, writer, Daryl Toh, artist
  • Afro Desia; BAAAAD MUTHAZ #2; Bill Campbell, writer, David Brame & Damian Duffy , artists
  • Dr. Michelle Lee/BLACKSTARR; BLACKSTARR: BIRTH OF A SUPERNOVA PART 1; Charlene R. Jones, writer, Corey Thomas, artist
  • Odyssey Na’Dika; ENDIGO SOCIETY: THE GOLDEN AGE; Norwick Robinson, writer, Mikhail Sebastian, artist
  • Lady Sankofa; SANKOFA GUARD; James Mason, writer, James Mason, artist
  • Espere St. Lamné; THE GENTLEMAN: DARKNESS OF THE VOID #1; Greg Anderson Elysée, writer, Massiliano Veltri, artist
  • Whit; GHOST STORIES; Whit Taylor, writer and artist

RISING STAR AWARD

  • Bryce Bullock, writer, Demitrius Bullock, artist; DADDY LONG LEGS AND THE INCHWORM ISSUE #2
  • Bill Campbell, writer, David Brame & Damian Duffy , artists; BAAAAD MUTHAZ #2
  • Dmitri Jackson, writer and artist; BLACKWAX BOULEVARD
  • Ayize Jama-Everett, writer, John Jennings (interior) & Stacey Robinson (cover), artists; BOX OF BONES #1
  • Charlene R. Jones, writer, Corey Thomas, artist; BLACKSTARR: BIRTH OF A SUPERNOVA PART 1
  • Austine Osas, writer, Yusuf Shittuh, artist; UNDER THE SUN
  • Marcus H. Roberts, writer, Maku Tellez, artist; THE PROTECTOR
  • Whit Taylor, writer and artist; GHOST STORIES

BEST COMIC STRIP OR WEBCOMIC

  • ANTS; Julian Lytle, writer, Julian Lytle, artist
  • BLACKWAX BOULEVARD; Dmitri Jackson, writer and artist
  • PEN & INK #1; Dee Parson (under the psuedonames Penny and Inkara Ewart), writer and artist
  • UNDER THE SUN; Austine Osas, writer, Yusuf Shittuh, artist
  • WEAPON OF THE PEOPLE: DECODED; Muhammad Rasheed, writer, Muhammad Rasheed, artist

BEST REPRINT PUBLICATION

  • BLACKWAX BOULEVARD: FIVE YEARS, WHAT A SURPRISE (2012-2017); Frotoon Press
  • FIGHT OF THE CENTURY; Rexco Comics
  • FORCE VOLUME 1: THE WRIGHT TIME; Action Lab Entertainment
  • MALIKA – WARRIOR QUEEN PART ONE; YouNeek Studios

FAN AWARD FOR BEST WORK

  • DAYBLACK # 7; Keef Cross, writer and artist
  • ENDIGO SOCIETY: THE GOLDEN AGE; Norwick Robinson, writer, Mikhail Sebastian, artist
  • ERU; Amadioha & HeroGeneration, writers, HeroGeneration & Tatashe, artists
  • THE HORSEMEN: LUMUMBA FUNK; Jiba Molei Anderson, writer and artist
  • NOWHERE MAN: JACK – FORGET ME NOT, BOOK ONE; Jerome Walford, writer and artist
  • WHERE THERE’S A WILL…; Robert Jeffrey II, writer, Max Raynor, artist

The Ringo Awards 2019 Nominations are Now Open

Ringo Awards

The Mike Wieringo Comic Book Industry Awards is an annual celebration of the creativity, skill, and fun of comics. The awards return for their third year on Saturday, October 19, 2019 as part of the fan- and pro-favorite convention, The Baltimore Comic-Con.

Unlike other professional industry awards, the Ringo Awards include fan participation in the nomination process along with an esteemed jury of comics professionals. 

More than 20 categories will be celebrated with top honors being given at the awards ceremony in October.


Fan and Pro Nominations

Fan and pro-jury voting are tallied independently, and the combined nomination ballot is compiled by the Ringo Awards Committee. The top two fan choices become nominees, and the jury’s selections fill the remaining three slots for five total nominees per category. Ties may result in more than five nominees in a single category. Nominees will be listed on the ballot alphabetically. Nomination ballot voting will be open to the public (fans and pros) starting April 5, 2019 and will close June 20, 2019.


Final Ballot Voting

After processing by the Ringo Awards Committee and Jury, the Final Ballot are targeted to be available to comic creative professionals for voting on August 21, 2019 and will be due by September 18, 2019 for final tallying. Presentation of the winners will occur at the Baltimore Comic-Con on the evening of Saturday, October 19, 2019.


Nomination Eligibility

Eligibility for creators and creative works is determined by publication in the preceding calendar year – print publication date takes precedence over electronic publication date. For electronic works, the date of publication is time-stamped with most publications and at least 3 episodes/installments of continuing works must have appeared during the eligibility period.


Updated Rule for Fan Favorites

In Fan-Only Favorites, they have updated the rules as follows: All winners of these categories will be selected by open voting. A winner in a given year’s Fan Favorite category is not eligible to be nominated in that category the following year. These categories include: Favorite Hero, Favorite Villain, Favorite New Series, Favorite New Talent, and Favorite Publisher.


Fan and Pro Nomination Categories

* Best Cartoonist (Writer/Artist)
* Best Writer
* Best Artist or Penciller
* Best Inker
* Best Letterer
* Best Colorist
* Best Cover Artist
* Best Series
* Best Single Issue or Story
* Best Original Graphic Novel
* Best Anthology
* Best Humor Comic
* Best Comic Strip or Panel
* Best Webcomic
* Best Non-fiction Comic Work* Best Kids Comic or Graphic Novel* Best Presentation in Design
Jury-Only Nomination (with four bonus perennial jurors)

* The Mike Wieringo Spirit Award
Fan-Only Favorite Categories

* Favorite Hero
* Favorite Villain
* Favorite New Series
* Favorite New Talent
* Favorite Publisher
Hero Initiative Award (selected by the Hero Initiative)

* The Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award
* The Dick Giordano Humanitarian Award

Publisher Submissions

Publishers wishing to submit works for review by the Ringo Jurors can submit up to five submissions per “Fan and Pro Nomination” and “Jury-Only Nomination” category that they feel are worthy of consideration. To participate in this process, publishers are asked to have a single representative send an email to contact@ringoawards.com for information on how to send in your submission.

C2E2 2019: Interview with Punk Mambo Writer Cullen Bunn

Cullen Bunn is one of the most prolific comic book writers of the past decade. He has worked on Dark Horse’s Eisner nominated horror comic Harrow County, The Sixth Gun for Oni Press, comics like Sinestro and Earth 2 World’s End for DC, and worked extensively on titles starring Deadpool, the X-Men, and Venom for Marvel. Now, he turns his attention to Valiant where he will be writing the first solo series for Victoria Greaves-Trott aka Punk Mambo, a British voodoo priestess created by Peter Milligan and Roberto de la Torre as a supporting character in their relaunch of Shadowman.

Due to sickness, I wasn’t able to chat with Bunn in person at C2E2 about Punk Mambo, but was able to interview him via email.

Graphic Policy: Punk Mambo has had a lot of guest appearances in Valiant books since 2013, but apart from a one-shot, she’s never had a series of her own.  Why is now the perfect time for her to have one, and how will the solo series explore her character?

Cullen Bunn: Valiant is launching several new titles, offering readers something fresh and exciting with new characters and new settings and new adventures. Punk Mambo is a character a lot of readers might be unfamiliar with. She is a great gateway to Valiant’s supernatural world. I’m hoping this new initiative will bring in readers unfamiliar with the character, and maybe even unfamiliar with Valiant as a whole. I’ve talked to many people, who know little or nothing about Punk Mambo, but who are interested in finding out more now that there is a spotlight on her!

GP: Punk Mambo is one of several new #1’s for Valiant. How will you make this series accessible to new readers?

CB: I have written this series in such a way that you need not know anything about this character in order to enjoy the book. In a lot of ways, I’m treating this like her first appearance. Yes, if you are familiar with the character, you’ll get something different out of the book than if it is your first encounter with Punk, but first time readers will not be lost at all. Punk narrates this book so she brings the reader right along with her. And she’s encountering new threats, new enemies, and new allies; most of whom are appearing for the first time in this book.

GP: Punk Mambo is set in Haiti instead of New Orleans or London. What does this new setting bring to the series?

CB: I have written a lot about New Orleans of late, and I love the city as a setting for this kind of story, but I thought it would be fun to bring Punk Mambo to an area where we haven’t seen her. That gives us fertile ground to tell a new tale and keep the characters (and the readers) on their toes. This is a corner of the Valiant Universe we haven’t really seen, and it fits so perfectly with Punk’s ties to voodoo.

Or it doesn’t.

Part of what I wanted to do here is show that Punk Mambo doesn’t really fit into the typical voodoo paradigms. We get to play her against aspects of traditional voodoo culture, and I love that sort of thing. 

GP: How did you write to Adam Gorham’s specific strengths as an artist in Punk Mambo?

CB: Punk Mambo needed to feel action-packed and fun and a little dirty. Adam manages to bring that aesthetic to every panel of every page. The action is kinetic and frenzied. The horror beats are scary as Hell. I’m so lucky to be working with him on this book. 

GP: Even though it’s technically a superhero universe, Valiant has always had a strong supernatural corner. What will you add to that corner in Punk Mambo?

CB: With this story, I want to establish Punk Mambo as a kind of roaming paranormal investigator. Only, she doesn’t just investigate paranormal threats. She kicks their teeth in. I also wanted to expand the “pantheon” of voodoo spirits and gods. Finally, I’m introducing a couple of new villains to the Valiant Universe. These villains will be firmly rooted in the supernatural.

GP: Punk Mambo has an interesting relationship between her and her various Loas. How will you develop these relationships in her own series?

CB: The relationship with the Loa—and with voodoo as a whole—will be a key part of this series. You’ll see both sides of this… partnership. Punk Mambo has been using the Loa for some time now, and she never really stops to consider how the Loa feel about that. 

GP: You have a strong background in horror comics, and Punk Mambo seems to have some horror elements. What are some tricks you use as a writer to make a comic frightening and/or unsettling?

CB: It’s important in a horror comic to make the reader worry about the characters. There are real threats facing Punk Mambo, and if I’ve done my job, you’ll care about her and worry if she’ll survive or not. In a book like this, no one is safe so don’t assume that having a character’s name in the title means that character will make it to the end.

GP: A lot of your recent works (Dark Ark, Blossoms 666, Punk Mambo) have touched on religious elements or rituals. What do you find fascinating about faith and belief, and why do you continue to incorporate them in your stories?

CB: I’ve always been fascinated by faith and by ceremony and by the rules associated with religion. All these different characters allow me to approach those things from different angles, to pull at the frayed edges from different directions, and to explore my own questions without really smashing the reader over the head with them. My hope is that readers will come away with their own questions and their own answers. With Punk Mambo, I really wanted to look into the rules of faith and how someone who doesn’t follow any rules might still be faithful.

Punk Mambo #1 is set to be released on April 24.

Follow Cullen Bunn on Twitter.

C2E2 2019: Interview with Writer Ryan Cady

On Sunday at C2E2, I had the opportunity to talk with writer Ryan Cady about his work on the Image/Top Cow sci-fi series Infinite Dark with artist Andrea Mutti as well as his upcoming Z2 graphic novel, Genesis 1 about Internet music star Poppy that he is co-writing with Poppy and Titanic Sinclair. Previously, Cady has done work for Marvel (Old Man Logan), DC (New Talent Showcase), Lion Forge (Rolled and Told), and Archie (Big Moose) as well as co-writing the Magdalena relaunch for Top Cow with Tini Howard.

Graphic Policy: You were a part of the DC Talent Development Workshop. How did that impact your work on Infinite Dark?

Ryan Cady: I developed Infinite Dark before the workshop and started scripting halfway through the workshop. When I started Infinite Dark, it was much more isolated story, and Scott Snyder, in the workshop, was good about getting us to examine higher stakes. From the beginning, Infinite Dark was going to be an end of the universe/last people on Earth story.

The initial pitch was more inward, character focused and weird Grant Morrison-y stuff. Not that’s a bad thing. I love that stuff and could do it well. After working with Scott and the DC projects in the class and focusing on the balance between character and action, I really decided to start ramping things up. And, obviously, something like [the workshop] makes you a better writer. It’s 10 weeks of doing scripts, getting them reviewed by not just Scott Snyder, but a bunch of really talented peers and examining your own work really critically. It forces you to think “What do I suck at? How do I need to get better?”

GP: From the first page of Infinite Dark, it’s all about staring into the abyss. How do you get into the zone to write about characters who gaze into literal nothingness?

RC: When I was really developing Infinite Dark in earnest, I was in the midst of a really bad depression. I kind of had the basic ideas there, but when I sat down to write the project, I was really miserable. At that point, it felt like a bleak work. (This was before the DC Workshop.)

When it came time to script, I focused a lot on staring into [nothingness] and overcoming it and survival as a virtue. In the script, I tried to tiptoe between those two. About how coming out of this I feel stronger and what it means to survive the worst year of your life versus diving back into those feelings a little bit if I wanna get grim. Sometimes, to write the darkest parts of the book, I have to dive back into those bad, weird feelings because it’s my first creator owned story.

GP: Infinite Dark has a big monster in the book called the Entity that I really enjoyed. What was your inspiration for them?

RC: In the very original pitch for the book, the Entity was something that claims to be God. I’m not an atheist, but I really thought the “No, fuck you, God” idea would be a cool take. God, in the original pitch, was like “I seem like a monster, but it’s because I need to create a new universe, and you guys are getting in the way.” [The protagonist] Deva was going to shoot God. That was the very Grant Morrison part of it. God was going to be like “I made you guys. You’re the best thing I ever made, but I’m making a new thing.” And Deva was gonna be like “No, you made us to survive.” and shoot God.

That was early days. It’s changed a lot since then. The initial idea was always the shadows. A thing you can’t understand, not even a Lovecraftian thing from beyond, but something that doesn’t interact with physics like we do.

GP: My favorite character in Infinite Dark was Smith, the A.I. I love him so much. In a lot of these kind of sci-fi stories, the A.I. is always evil. Why did you decide to make Smith more of a humanist and an ally to humanity?

RC: Thank you for that reading. I’m always antsy if it’s going to make it in or not. I play with [the humanism] a lot in the next volume without spoiling anything. Because that’s such a trope, I believe we as people are always like “The next thing is going to usurp us.” It’s tied into the whole killing God thing. This thing we made is going to hate us for a reason, maybe, because we think we’re putting our worst selves in it.

But my whole thing with Smith is that I don’t know if I believe in that trope. [Some] people (Granted a lot of people who work in tech and in Silicon Valley are awful and scary technocrats.) make stuff earnestly with the idea you would make a life with the idea of “This is designed to love all the good things about humanity.” Smith’s creators are like “We believe in all these things.” I wanted to emphasize that and double play on “The A.I. is so evil.”, but not at all.

My favorite thing that I’ve written for the whole series is Smith’s speech in issue 3. I’m glad people liked it, and it landed. When I wrote this, I turned to my girlfriend and said, “I never say this, but I’m really proud of what I wrote here.” This is great, but the rest of the issue sucks.

GP: Yeah, that speech is awesome. Lots of text, but it’s definitely one of things I’ll remember about Infinite Dark.

So, the antagonists of Infinite Dark are the technolinguists. How did you come up with this cool, sci-fi concept?

RC: The idea came up because I’m not good with computers. Also, it makes sense if you’re setting a story fifty years from now to extrapolate what we have. Infinite Dark takes place 10,000 years from now so computing is going to be something that’s so fundamentally different. There’s the idea of people who can interact with this future’s version of code on an informational language level. Linguistically, they interact with computers.

I made them bad guys because really early on, there was a notion that the Entity could interact with them because the techno-language they speak is similar to the fundamental building blocks of reality. You know that theory that the universe is just a VR simulation? In Infinite Dark, they have simulations they go into sometimes, and we wanted to play with that. If we end up having more issues then these eight, I might go into that even deeper.

GP: Yeah, I Googled “technolinguists”, and I guess they’re not a thing yet.

RC: They’re antagonists, but they might not be bad guys.

GP: Your book’s definitely in a moral grey area.

RC: I like to play with that when I can. Except Smith. He’s just good.

GP: Could you tease the upcoming arc of Infinite Dark?

RC: The next volume of four issues starts in April, and without spoiling anything if you haven’t read the first volume, weeks have passed in issue five. But it’s not gonna feel like “Bam, bam, things are happening again.” It’s a lot of aftermath and cleanup stuff. But, also, oops, an act of saving everybody doesn’t necessarily save everybody. There’s still so many things that can go horribly wrong.

It’s very character conflict focused. All these people have survived the end of the universe twice, and yet, that alone is not enough to have them cooperate and get along because we have such fundamentally different ideas about what it means to do the right thing. How do these people faced with impossible choices, who have survived so much, reconcile that? I talk a lot philosophically in the book about survival being a virtue, but this arc is about what the next “good is. If we survive, how do we move past that.

GP: Like the whole “survive and thrive” Pinterest board idea.

RC: Yeah, we’ve reached “survive” on our Pinterest board. How do we “thrive” without it becoming worse or inequality or dooming ourselves again?

GP: I had a couple questions about the Poppy graphic novel Genesis 1. With these musician graphic novel projects, I’m really curious about how much input Poppy had on the graphic novel and what that collaborative process was like. She has all those YouTube followers.

RC: I’ve never met Poppy because she’s a robot, probably. I’m sure she’s very nice and only has our best interests at heart. And her church is not a cult. I’ve been given absolute freedom, and I speak in total earnestness. This is 100% me and mine. I’m nobody’s mouthpiece. This is my version of her story, and I believe it 100% and am not part of a cult.

GP: A lot of Poppy’s ideas are about how she’s beyond humanity and is very post-human. Why is her origin story being told in an older medium like comics?

RC: Even though it’s an older medium, comics is still really dynamic. It’s not limited to what you can get across on one side in a YouTube video. It’s not limited by time. I talked to an editor who brilliantly said, “In comics more than any medium, you can do a good job of controlling the flow of time.”

Also, there’s a weird element of apocrypha to it. Is this Poppy’s origin story? It’s this comic, and we play on this in the story. If this is really Poppy’s gospel and her origin, why would it be in this graphic novel? Why would it be told in this way, and how would that be obtained? Is the story true? Is the story stolen? It’s about to get too religious in here. We’re playing a lot with a sense of time and futurism, and how that blends with the occult and weird hacker people.

Infinite Dark #5 is set to be released on April 10, 2019 from Image/Top Cow Comics. Genesis One will be released in summer 2019 from Z2 Comics.

Follow Ryan Cady on Twitter.

Kid Koala and JonJon Rock TCAF 2019 with Floor Kids Jam!

The Toronto Comic Arts Festival has announced that it will welcome the incredible creative team of Kid Koala and JonJon to the 2019 Festival as they present Floor Kids Jam, an Art X Music X Games interactive event featuring their new game Floor Kids! The event takes place as part of The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, during its programming at The Marriott Bloor Yorkville, Conference Level (one block from Toronto Reference Library), on Saturday May 11 and Sunday May 12, from 11am-5pm each day. Admission to the event is free, on a first-come, first-served basis.

Kid Koala is the ground breaking Canadian Scratch DJ, music producer, composer, and award winning graphic novelist(!) who has contributed to Gorillaz and Deltron3030, toured with Arcade Fire and A Tribe Called Quest, contributed to the scores of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. The World’ and ‘Baby Driver’, and created the graphic novels Space Cadet and Nufonia Must Fall. JonJon (aka Jonathan Ng) is the award-winning, multi-disciplinary animation filmmaker who created the award-winning film Requiem for Romance, and is best known for his NFB film Asthma Tech. Together this incredible duo has teamed to create the original, hand-drawn animated B-boy/B-Girl Freestyle Battle Video Game FLOOR KIDS! Now they’re taking the show on the road for a two-day exhibition of the game featuring Floor Kids Arcade consoles, behind the scenes looks at the creation of Floor Kidsand even Mini Scratch DJ and Animation workshops with Kid Koala and JonJon!

This event is part of Comics X Games, TCAF’s ongoing collaboration with the Hand Eye Society to explore the crossovers between comics, video games, and new narrative experiments. Look for more Comics X Games announcements soon.

In addition to the Floor Kids Jam: Art X Music X Games, Kid Koala is also bringing his Music to Draw To live event to TCAF! On Sunday, May 12th, from 2pm-5pm, join Kid Koala and friends for a a chill afternoon of quiet-time records and creativity! Kid Koala will play a 3 hour all vinyl set of his favourite ‘drawing tracks’ in a very special environment–the 5th Floor ‘Red Room’ of The Masonic Temple Concert Hall, 888 Yonge Street. Bring something quiet to do… Draw, Write, Finish that Screenplay, Knit that Scarf, Cofe that video game. Join Kid Koala and a room full of creative quiet types and get some work done!

C2E2 2019: Interview with Cecil Castellucci

Cecil Castellucci

Cecil Castellucci is a talented novelist, comic book writer, and musician, who won a Joe Shuster Award for her work on 2007’s The Plain Janes. Recently, she has written the comics Shade the Changing Girl and Shade the Changing Woman for DC Comics’ Young Animal imprint. At C2E2, I had the opportunity to chat with Castellucci at the DC Comics booth about her new series, Female Furies, that brings the Me Too Movement to Jack Kirby’s Fourth World.

Graphic Policy: I’m a big fan of your Young Animal work, like Shade the Changing Girl and Shade the Changing Woman. Why should fans of Shade check out Female Furies?

Cecil Castellucci: With Shade, I was looking at what [Steve] Ditko did and what [Peter] Milligan did, and I was trying to honor and echo some of things they did. But then me and Marley [Zarcone] would stake our own claim to that universe. I feel like with Female Furies, I’m looking at Kirby and his magnificent work and looking at the Female Furies and trying to put it through a different lens.

Shade the Changing Girl is dealing with a lot of the things that original Shade did and Milligan’s Shade did, but where Milligan explored a lot of darkness and cruelty, I staked a claim to heart. It complements it. I feel the same way with Female Furies. I think that Tom King did an amazing job with Mister Miracle, and it’s just got a tenderness to it. It’s very domestic drama and asked, “What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a father?” Those are wonderful things. I’m taking those same characters. Just like he took one lens on it that was different than Kirby, I’m taking a completely different lens from the same characters and showing a different point of view. One thing I love about these characters is that they’re so flexible and can withstand being put through their paces in a different way.

GP: Speaking of these characters, I came into Female Furies expecting for it to focus on Big Barda because she’s a popular, big name character. But you decided to focus on Aurelie. Why did you decide to do that?

CC: One thing I knew going in was that I was going to do the Me Too movement on Apokolips. And a feminist awakening on Apokolips. When I read the whole Fourth World omnibus, it really struck me how women and the Furies were talked about. They’re on the side all the time. They never really go to battle. They’re on the fringes. They’re badasses, but they’re on the side.

So, I wanted to bring their story forward. But, also, the way in those original texts that their bodies are talked about and the way that Granny Goodness is in charge of the children when she’s an equal too. I wanted to look at that and focus on that. When I read Kirby’s Mister Miracle, I discovered the character of Aurelie, who is Barda’s inciting incident. She is Barda’s origin story. When I read that issue, I was like “This is a way in to tell this story” because it’s part of the original thing, but it’s expanding who Aurelie is and how she got to Himon’s place. And the dancing. I really tried to stitch that in.

GP: Why is the Fourth World such a good setting about gender inequality in the world?

CC: I want to go back and say that even though I’m focusing on Aurelie, I still think that my Female Furies is the story of Granny and Big Barda. It’s just the way we’re gonna get there.

First of all, I think that the Fourth World is operatic. It is enormous with highs and lows and drama and betrayal. And Apokolips is also a hell planet. So, when you’re talking about really hard things with bad guys, you can go harsher than what you would do if it was reality or Earth based and dial up the tension of the horribleness of systemic misogyny, of sexual harassment and abuse in that way.

I think that it made it a great landscape to explore the current issues. Sometimes, it’s hard for us when we’re living in a moment in time to look at that moment in time. When it’s in outer space on hell planet, I don’t want to say it’s easier because it’s not. But it is.

GP: Yes, Female Furies is a tough read.

CC: It’s tough to write too.

GP: In Female Furies #2, you had this big character beat where Big Barda is a victim blamer. Why did you decide to make her a victim blamer?

CC: Because I think what happens sometimes is that it’s so impossible for people to believe that something has happened. I think that it’s human tendency to keep the status quo because if you actually awaken to what’s really happening, too many things have to change, and it’s very difficult. Your whole world has to change. Not just society, but your whole personal world.

I think it’s easier for people, and Barda falls victim to that because it’s quite common. You look at women who are raped or domestically abused, or men. They’re usually blamed for what happened. It’s a cycle. I wanted to mirror that to make us look at ourselves, and how we deal with people when they’re telling us the truth. That’s why there’s that thing, “Believe women.” When someone tells you something has happened, it costs them so much to speak. We still have that lesson to learn over and over.

GP: Especially in issue 2, the visuals of the sexual assaults are very explicit. How do you do these kind of scenes without being overly gratuitous like some previous comics put out about this topic?

CC: I have to give a shout out to Adriana Melo. I think that Adriana does such an amazing job of handling those brutal moments with a tenderness and a care toward what’s happening to the characters. I think a lot of that has to do with our collaboration and her masterful way of doing that. I think that’s one of the hard things. Nothing that I or Adriana put in there is gratuitous. I’m not doing it willy nilly. It’s not to be titillating in any way. It’s to talk about harsh circumstances.

Also, they’re all terrible people. They’re villains. Even the people being abused are terrible people. It’s tough to write. It’s not an easy thing.

GP: Granny Goodness is the first protagonist you focus on in Female Furies. In previous stories, she’s been this caricature of evil like when Ed Asner voiced her in the DC cartoons. How do you make her sympathetic?

CC: The Female Furies have always been a part of Kirby’s Fourth World, and they’ve been on the fringe or on the side. You know that they’re all complex. When you take a sliver of the story, and you say, “I’m gonna tell this story of an awakening.” Then, you have more time to explore of how people got there.

I think that you can’t have someone like Granny Goodness without knowing that she came from somewhere. The way that she is is because she learned she had to be like that. I was really interested in figuring out how to crack that. Who is she, and how did she become such a terrible person?

GP: Your take on Darkseid is so unique. I’m used to him being a total nihilist. How do you make him go from being all about “Anti-Life” to a sexual assaulting CEO?

CC: First of all, I think that a lot of men in power express their power in many different ways, and to me, that seemed very natural. It also seemed to me that he would have a very particular relationship with Granny because she is the only woman. I think that he know that she’s probably just as powerful if not more powerful than he is. He needs to keep her under his thumb.

I looked to the history of man and womankind and sort of plucked from there. I think it’s obvious that Darkseid would have those kind of power moves.

GP: It reminds me a lot of Zeus in Greek mythology.

CC: Absolutely. You wouldn’t be like “Zeus doesn’t do it”. He did it a million ways. That’s also how he kept power. I think that Darkseid is a very smart man, and he knows how to manipulate people.


Female Furies #3 goes on sale, April 3, 2019.

Follow Cecil Castellucci on Twitter

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