Category Archives: Politics

Concrete Park Creators Make Their Mark at DNC

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The award-winning creative team behind the graphic novel series Concrete Park (Dark Horse), Tony Puryear and Erika Alexander will be in Philly to show their support to Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention this week. Puryear will be continuing his work with art as protest group Comixcast while Alexander will actually be speaking on Tuesday, July 25 at the DNC.

“As a Black artist, I make a comic, “Concrete Park”, featuring people of color in the future. Lately, there are days when I worry we won’t make it there. This is why I was so honored to be invited to be  part of Comixcast 2016.” – Tony Puryear

Comixcast is a diverse group of progressive comics creators, artists and activists joining together with the stated goal of stopping Donald Trump. Helmed by veteran political comics writer Joyce Brabner, their efforts began last week in Cleveland during the RNC, where there were plenty of police and security teams, but apparently, few protestors. Puryear will share his unique perspective with commentary from the convention floor at the Wells Fargo Center from July 25th through July 28th. Using their pens, brushes, cameras and words, Puryear, along with other Comixcasters, including Tim Fielder (Dieselfunk), will contribute to a live feed of political comics, cartoons, photos, YouTube videos and commentary.

Follow Tony on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and his website to stay updated on his DNC converage!

tony puryear, hillary clinton, dnc, graphic policy

2008 Hillary Clinton Campaign poster created by Puryear

Puryear is no stranger to the Clintons’ political spotlight. His iconic poster for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign is in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. His wife, the actress Erika Alexander, another Hillary supporter, is scheduled to speak in prime time at the DNC on Tuesday, July 26.

“This is a historic moment for America. It’s awesome. I am honored to have been asked by Hillary to introduce Ryan Moore. It’s a bonus to do so in my adopted hometown of Philadelphia.” – Erika Alexander

Best known to TV viewers as “Maxine Shaw” from FOX’s classic sitcom Living Single, Alexander grew up in Philadelphia, was discovered and began her show-biz career there. On Tuesday night, in an emotional homecoming, she takes the national stage before a packed Wells Fargo Center audience.

Alexander will introduce Ryan Moore. Ryan, originally from South Sioux City, NE, has Spondyloepiphyseal Dysplasia Dwarfism and has known Hillary Clinton since 1994, when his family came to Washington, DC for an event to advocate for health care reform. Brian Moore, Ryan’s father, lost his job when his employer was unwilling to cover treatment for Ryan’s health condition. Ryan has stayed in contact with Hillary ever since.

About Tony Puryear

In 1996, Puryear became the first African-American screenwriter to write a $100 million-dollar summer blockbuster with his script for the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Eraser. He has written films for Oliver Stone, Mel Gibson, Jerry Bruckheimer and Will Smith. He co-created and co-writes (with Erika Alexander) Concrete Park, 2016 Glyph Award Winner and a Best American Comic, 2013. He also draws the book. Together they have taught comics and graphic novel-making from Los Angeles to Central America to Harvard. He recently contributed illustrations for Dark Horse Books’ new adult coloring book Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color from best-selling author Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club).

About Erika Alexander

The role of “Cousin Pam” was created for Erika Alexander on The Cosby Show in 1990 and she went on to a star as fan favorite “Maxine Shaw” in the hit series Living Single in 1993, winning two NAACP awards for Best Actress in a Comedy. She recurs on the ABC Tim Allen comedy, Last Man Standing as Carol Larrabee “The Black Sarah Palin,” on Freeform’s 2017 sci-fi drama Beyond and on Oprah Winfrey’s and Ava Duvernay’s new drama, Queen Sugar, debuting on OWN, September 2016. She also co-stars in Jordan Peele’s horror movie, Get Out. Erika is the co-creator and co-writer of the critically acclaimed, award-winning graphic novel, Concrete Park, a Best American Comic 2013, and a 2016 Glyph Award winner, published by Dark Horse Comics.Alexander is an advocate for women and children and a national surrogate for Hillary Clinton 2007-2016.

MAD Magazine Dumps on Trump with New E-Book

In the midst of the Republican National Convention this week, MAD Magazine has released a new e-book, MAD Dumps on Trump.

The e-book is a collection of MAD’s best satire on Donald Trump throughout the years and the cover is from MAD’s year end issue, which highlighted MAD’s “20 Dumbest People, Things and Events of 2015,” illustrated by award-winning artist, Mark Fredrickson.

The e-book is available now via the MAD website, and is free to read online. There is also an exclusive subscriber version that includes bonus material with famous MAD spoofs on Hillary Clinton.

MAD also recently released a poster with their last issue’s cover featuring Donald Trump and the slogan “Make America Dumb Again.”

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SDCC 2016: The Convention Gets Its First Ever Ever Justice Rally: 7/21

pop culture hero coalitionBack by popular demand — and in light of recent events — Pop Culture Hero Coalition is holding the first-ever Pop Culture Justice Rally to end bullying, racism, misogyny and other forms of hate. Rally Speakers include Representative John Lewis’ Policy Advisor Andrew Aydin and co-author of the graphic novel trilogy, March.

SuperheroIRL! Pop Culture Hero Coalition’s Rally to End Bullying

Thursday, 7/21/166:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., Room: 24ABC

Celebs and key press will speak from 6:30 – 7 pm. At 7 pm, experts in psychology and human rights activism will have a panel discussing strategies to use pop culture to navigate harassment, both online and IRL. Join in this topical, powerful discussion on how stories from comics, film and T.V. can mobilize us to overcome hate — and become heroes in our everyday lives.

Panelists include Adam Bouska and Jeff Parshley (Founders, NOH8 Campaign), Agent Carter Co-Executive Producer Jose Molina (Castle, Firefly), Janina Scarlet, Ph.D. (Author, Superhero Therapy, Little Brown & Co., 2016), United Nations Association President Bettina Hausmann, Kate Langrall Folb (Director: USC Hollywood, Health & Society); panel features award-winning author and Coalition Co-Founder Carrie Goldman (Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear; #WheresRey), and Coalition Founder Chase Masterson (Star Trek, The Flash).

EW Senior Writer Anthony Breznican, Legion of Leia Founder Jenna Busch, and The Arkham Sessions’ Dr. Andrea Letamendi will speak at the rally.

Pop Culture Hero is the first-ever 501(c)(3) organization that uses the phenomenal popularity of TV, film, comics and games for real-life heroism over bullying, racism, misogyny, cyber-bullying, LGBT-bullying, and other forms of hate. The Coalition works in schools, comic-cons, and communities.

The groundbreaking Coalition was founded in 2013; Partners include the United Nations Association, the NOH8 Campaign, the Anti-Defamation League, and the International Bullying Prevention Association.

Hillary Clinton Joins Valiant’s Faith in Faith #5

In advance of San Diego Comic-Con 2016, Valiant has announced that Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee for President of the United States, will join forces with Faith “Zephyr” Herbert on November 2nd in Faith #5 – a history-making, 48-page election special teaming the leading female hero in comics today with the first female nominee from a major political party for a special tale written by comics legend Louise Simonson with art by Faith’s own Pere Perez!

On November 2nd, just days before Election Day 2016, legendary writer Louise Simonson and Harvey Award-nominated artist Pere Perez present history in the making with a presidential milestone like no other! Faith Herbert, star of the highest selling independent superhero debut of 2016, is a shining beacon of optimism in a challenging world. Her day job as a blogger and journalist is about to bring Faith face to face with Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton…but it’s her daring alter ego as Los Angeles’ leading superhero that will have to save the day when a new threat emerges to imperil a pivotal moment that has all of America watching!

Plus, also coming in the oversized, 48-page Faith #5 election special: Faith’s adventures continue with an all-new lead story by the ongoing creative team of writer Jody Houser and new series artists Meghan Hetrick and Marguerite Sauvage, as well an exclusive prelude to Harbinger Renegades #1 – featuring the long-awaited return of Faith’s beloved superteam – by writer Rafer Roberts and Eisner Award-winning artist Colleen Doran!

With covers by Eisner Award-winning superstar Paolo Rivera, Harvey Award nominee Clayton Henry, new ongoing Faith interior artist Meghan Hetrick, and more, join an all-star cast of Valiant’s greatest talents on November 2nd for a landmark comics event!

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Artist Tony Puryear Is Here To Make Comics, Stop Trump and Chew Bubblegum and He’s All Out of Bubblegum

Award-winning graphic novelist Tony Puryear announced today that he will be part of Comixcast 2016. A diverse group of comics creators, and activists voicing their opposition to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The artists will join tens of thousands of like-minded protesters in Cleveland at Ground Zero at the Republican National Convention. Using their pens, brushes and cameras they will contribute to a live feed of political comics, YouTube videos and commentary.

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Political cartoon by Tony Puryear

Comixcast.com is a platform for live-streaming video and political cartoons with the urgency and immediacy of breaking news. Puryear joins Joyce Brabner, a pioneer in comics journalism and widow of Cleveland indie comics legend Harvey Pekar (American Splendor) , and their intentions are as clear as the campaign’s slogan: “Here To Make Comics, Here To Stop Trump”. Puryear is no stranger to political activism through art, his iconic poster for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign is in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC.

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Poster designed by Puryear for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 Campaign

“I grew up in a Movement family, (Civil Rights Movement, Anti-War Movement, you-name-it-movement) dating back to the 60s, and street activism was what we did. Now, as a multimedia artist, as a cartoonist, I have a voice, and in this crucial time for our country, I have to speak out against Trump and his politics of fear, hate and division. I have to be out in the street in Cleveland, and I have to share what I’ll witness there.”

Adding his voice to an already loud week of protest Puryear hopes to make s difference. “As a Black artist, I make a comic, “Concrete Park”, featuring people of color in the future. Lately, there are days when I worry we won’t make it there. This is why I was so honored to be a part of Comixcast 2016.”

Puryear will join such respected comics artists as Mark Zingarelli (Second Avenue Caper), Seth Tobocman (World War 3 Illustrated), Marguerite Dabaie (The Hookah Girl and Other True Stories) as well as Tim Fielder (Matty’s Rocket) for Comixcast 2016.

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About Tony Puryear

In 1996, Puryear became the first African-American screenwriter to write a $100 million-dollar summer blockbuster with his script for the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Eraser. He has written films for Oliver Stone, Mel Gibson, Jerry Bruckheimer and Will Smith.

Tony Puryear directed classic hip-hop videos for legendary old-school acts like EPMD, K-Solo and LL Cool J. He co-created and co-writes (with Erika Alexander) Concrete Park, 2016 Glyph Award Winner and a Best American Comic, 2013. He also draws the book. Together they have taught comics and graphic novel-making from Los Angeles to Central America to Harvard. He recently contributed illustrations for Dark Horse Books’ new adult coloring book Bait: Off-Color Stories for You to Color from best-selling author Chuck Palahniuk (Fight Club).

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Tony Puryear’s, political, personal and travel writing as well as his cartoons, can be found on his blog, Tony Puryear Out In The World.

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Tony Puryear Out In the World

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Lack of Disclosure Strikes Video Games as Warner Bros. Settles with the FTC

FTC-logoI’ve written pretty extensively about the need for proper disclosure and transparency in the world of geek blogging. Transparency is one of the things this site was founded on and it’s something I take seriously. We probably over disclose in the other end. But, better to be honest and forthcoming than be caught later on. There are pretty clear guidelines the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has laid out as to what blogs/online personalities need to disclose when receiving goods or payments for endorsements, testimonials, and reviews.

It was announced Monday that the FTC has settled with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment over their promotion for the video game Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor. hey failed to adequately disclose that the company paid influencers. This added up to thousands of dollars to post positive gameplay videos on YouTube and other social media. The game has a score in the mid 80s on Metacritic. The game was released in 2014 and altogether the promotion was viewed about 5.5 million times.

Shadow_of_Mordor_cover_artWarner Bros. through Plaid Social Labs hired the “online influencers” to create gameplay video and post it on YouTube as well as promote it on Twitter and Facebook. Named in the announcement was YouTube personality PewDiePie. It should be noted that his video currently says “this video was sponsored by Warner Brother” in the info section but was not verbally said in the video I watched. However, that specific set-up is specifically mentioned in the FTC’s release. The disclosure was hard to find, if present at all, for the videos on YouTube, Facebook, or elsewhere. Some reviewers only disclosed they received early access and in at least one instance Warner Bros. approved the video itself.

Warner Bros. paid anywhere from hundreds to tens of thousands of dollars on top of a free advance release copy of the game and told influencers to promote it. They then used those paid promotions to further promote their game without disclosing they were indeed paid promotion.

Warner Bros. is now barred from failing to make sure disclosures in the future and can’t “misrepresent that sponsored content.” They must also educate influencers about sponsorship disclosures, monitor sponsored influencers for compliance, and if need be terminate or withhold payment for non-compliance.

The decision by the FTC is open for public comment for 30 days, through August 10, 2016. At that time the Commission will decide whether to make the proposed consent order final. Those who want to submit comments can do so here.

This is the second time within a year that video games have caught the eye of the FTC. Last year Machinima was busted for similar issues and not disclosing payments to promote the Xbox One.

Justin Trudeau, the Latest Comic Political Celebrity

chapterhouse comics summer specialLast week, Chaptherhouse Comics announced that Prime-Minister Justin Trudeau would be appearing on the cover of Chapterhouse Comics Summer Special for Canada Day. Prime-Minister Trudeau has also written a letter on “behalf of the good Captain [Canuck] that will be featured” in the comic.

Trudeau is also featured on the comic in a portrait style drawing by Captain Canuck creator Richard Comely.

To celebrate the occasion, Captain Canuck will appear live at ‘Canada Day 2016at  Queen’s Park’ at 10am, 111 Wellesley Street West in Toronto (south side of Queen’s Park Circle) with bundles of the Summer Special in tow.

The 64-page Chapterhouse Comics Summer Special will be available at comic book stores nation-wide on Canada Day or on their website.

Not afraid to see a good idea and do their own version (and get the credit), Marvel has announced today that Trudeau will grace the cover of Civil War II: Choosing Sides which will be on shelves August 31.

Civil War II Choosing Sides #5That cover is done by Ramon Perez and features the Prime-Minister in the boxing ring surrounded by members of Canada’s superhero team Alpha Flight. Ironically, in the current Marvel continuity, Alpha Flight’s name (and its members) has been co-opted to be a line of defense from galactic threats.

Trudeau’s father Pierre Trudeau was featured in comics himself, such as Uncanny X-Men in 1979.

The idea to use Justin came from Edmonton-born artist Chip Zdarsky who is writing an Alpha Flight story in the comic. In it, the members of Alpha Flight debate about the use of an Inhuman named Ulysses who can see the future with a high degree of accuracy and can help prevent crime/attacks (a take on Philip K. Dick’s Minority Report). The group sees some ethical issues and seek out Trudeau for advice.

The Marvel cover features the Prime-Minister in a boxing ring which plays off his infamous charity match in which he fought Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau in 2012.

Justin Trudeau is an admitted geek and been spotted at comic conventions.

Sunday Roundtable: Would You Vote for Loki?

VOTELOKI_CovSundays are known for folks gathering around tables on television and pontificating about some of the hottest topics out there, offering their expertise. We bring that tradition to Graphic Policy as the team gathers to debate in our Sunday Roundtable.

On tap this week?

With it being election season, and the comic out, would you vote for Loki?

Logan: I’d vote for Loki if the Young Avengers are on his cabinet.

Brett: Who would be in which position?

Logan: Ms. America would definitely be the Secretary of Transportation punching walls through dimension, Prodigy would be the Attorney General b/c he has the legal minds of Jennifer Walters and Matt Murdock from his mutant power, Noh Varr would be Secretary o…See More

Brett: For some reason Wiccan feels right for Secretary of Energy, not sure why. And Hulkling for Vice President? That way we’ll never know if the President isn’t around, Hulkling could morph and look like Loki.

Alex: And it’d be just Loki’s style to have two of him in the same place at once.

Madison: I’d also totally vote Prodigy for Prez if Loki was out of the picture.

Logan: Yes! As long as I get to be First Gentleman!

Alex: I’d vote Loki just to see what kinda shit would hit the fan, honestly. And then become incredibly disappointed when he turns out to be a decent leader.

Brett: What happens to US/Asgardian relations if he’s President?

Alex: President Loki would henceforth send Wolverine as an ambassador to Asgard for the US because he’s both Canadian and dead.

Meghan: He can’t be worse than Trump, I guess.

Also, does this mean we’d get T-Swift as FLOTUS?

He wears green robes
I wear normal clothes
He’s Asgardian…See More

Alex: That’s going to be in my head all day, now.

Brett: Ok, with that earworm we’re wrapping it up. What about you readers? Would you vote for Loki? Sound off in the comments below!

Sana Amanat Takes Part in the United State of Women Summit

This week The White House convened the “United State of Women” summit which brought women together from across the spectrum to discuss what has been achieved, and how to take action moving forward. The summit covers key gender equality issues and topics such as Economic Empowerment, Health & Wellness, Education, Violence Against Women, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, and Leadership & Civic Engagement.

Taking part was Sana Amanat, Marvel‘s Director, Content and Character Development and one of the people behind the creation of Khamla Khan, Ms. Marvel. Amanat took part in the Entertainment in Supporting Diversity in STEM panel.

For her panel, Amanat was joined by Luvvie Ajayi, Gloria Steinem, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh (Founder & Editor-In-Chief, Muslim Girl), Shonda Rhimes (Content Creator, ShondaLand), Judith Williams (Global Head of Diversity, Dropbox), Robert Liodice (CEO, National Association of Advertisers), and Glen Mazzara (TV Writer, Co-Chair Writers Guild of America Diversity Advisory Group).

Northwest’s Hard to Swallow for Apple. Readers Get a Free Version.

Hard to Swallow UncensoredTwo weeks ago, Northwest Press submitted their new book Hard to Swallow to Apple’s iBooks with the goal of having a day-and-date release to coincide with the paperback edition that will be in comic book stores this month.

Apple rejected the book, just like they have Northwest Press’ past two releases aimed at adults. The reason is the comics having “prohibited explicit or objectionable content.”

The publisher has now decided to offer a censored version of the book for free, to shine a spotlight on what it sees as Apple’s ongoing campaign against sex in art.

In the days before the iPad debuted, Apple repeatedly rejected comic books and apps with gay content—some of which were very tame and included no nudity—and was accused of following a double standard when compared to heterosexual content. Apple co-founder Steve Jobs famously defended the platform’s restrictions on sexual content by saying Apple provided his customers “freedom from porn.”

Charles “Zan” Christensen, Northwest Press’ publisher and board member of the nonprofit LGBT comics advocacy organization Prism Comics, took them to task publicly for this in an online article.

in 2011, when the iBooks store was opened up to comics content from indie publishers, Northwest Press submitted its very first release, Jon Macy’s Teleny and Camille (which at that time was the most explicitly sexual book they had published). Apple accepted it, and accepted every subsequent release for about two years.

In Fall of 2013, Apple changed its submission process; they added a new “Explicit Content?” checkbox to their iTunes Producer software, which is used to submit titles to iBooks. The first book Northwest Press submitted to Apple since that change was Al-Qaeda’s Super Secret Weapon, a gay, erotic, political satire of the War on Terror. This book contained far less sexual content than Teleny, so the publisher was perplexed when the book was rejected. Despite following up and protesting the rejection, Apple’s decision stood.

This happened again when Jon Macy finished the final chapter of his fantasy epic Fearful Hunter, and Northwest Press submitted the collected edition to iBooks. Apple rejected it. Lets make that clear. Apple had already approved the first three issues. But, when those issues were collected, they were rejected.

Now that Hard to Swallow has been rejected as well, the publisher feels that Apple will continue to reject any graphic novel that includes sexual content.

Christensen emphasizes that this is not censorship, per se.

Apple is not the US government, and they can make their own decisions about what to include or not. But the waters are muddied by the fact that Apple’s devices behave a lot more like a distribution platform than a standalone bookstore, with independent publishers using iPhones and iPads as a means to distribute their work. When Apple blocks material on content grounds—blocking it from being sold in any app installed on a customer’s device, by the way—they are effectively banning the book from being sold on any of Apple’s over a billion active devices.

Hard to Swallow CensoredTo make a point about what Apple’s behavior, Northwest Press has created a special version of Hard to Swallow, which readers can download for free. They refer to it as the “apple version”, because all of the sexual content and nudity has been censored with pictures of apples.

The publisher has included an introduction to the special edition, penned by Christensen, as well as several Internet links: one is to an iBooks feedback form where the publisher urges individuals to share their feelings about content restrictions—”respectfully but firmly”—with Apple. The second is a link to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, who work to protect comic book creators from censorship and legal threats. The third is a link to Northwest Press’ entire catalog on comiXology, including the two previous books which Apple has rejected.

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