Last month, eleven members of the independent comics community and one publisher were served with a defamation lawsuit because of concerns they raised about a fellow creator’s alleged pattern of sexual misconduct.
Whit Taylor, Laura Knetzger, Josh O’Neill, Tom Kaczynski, Hazel Newlevant, Emma Louthan, Ben Passmore, Emi Gennis, Jordan Shiveley, Morgan Pielli, and Rob Clough, as well as the indie comics publisher Uncivilized Books, all need our help to defend themselves against these charges!
SPX has established the Defend The 11 legal aid fund to help these members of our creative community in their time of need. SPX is organizing this fund in consultation with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, which brings legal and fundraising experience to the effort.
Cases like this can be costly and drag out for years reaching hundreds of thousands of dollars in bills. An amount of $20,000 was initially pledged to help with the defense and give these creators immediate access to legal representation. Most of that money has already been spent on legal bills.
SPX announced its intent to establish a legal aid fund in a September 1, 2018 joint statement with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s new President, Christina Merkler. SPX’s annual comic arts festival takes place this weekend in Bethesda, Maryland. In addition to the GoFundMe campaign, those wishing to donate to the #Defendthe11 legal aid fund can do so in-person at the festival.
Lion Forge will publish Hazel Newlevant’s 200 page debut graphic memoir, No Ivy League in late 2018.
Hoping to make money to see an out-of-town concert, 17-year-old Hazel Newlevant takes a summer job clearing ivy from the forest in her home town of Portland, Oregon. Homeschooled, affluent, and sheltered, Hazel finds her job working side by side with at-risk teens a new world that she has no skill in navigating. She loves hip hop, but spending time with kids who are black and Latino is a new experience for her. As the weeks pass, Hazel’s once-comfortable homeschooled skin has become more ill fitting. Things come to a head when she finds herself the butt of a black peer’s sexual insult and, instead of trying to work it out, she reports him. The consequences of her actions play out not only for the boy but for Hazel herself, as she’s forced to confront the reality of white privilege. This uncomfortable and compelling memoir is an important story of a girl’s awakening to the racial insularity of her life, the power of white privilege, and the hidden story of segregation in Portland.
Hazel Newlevant is the creator of the graphic novellas If This Be Sin and Sugar Town, and publisher of the anthologies Comics for Choice and Chainmail Bikini: The Anthology of Women Gamers. Her work as a cartoonist has been honored with the Ignatz Award, Xeric Grant, and Prism Comics Queer Press Grant. Hazel also works as an associate editor at Lion Forge. Hazel is represented by Tanya McKinnon of McKinnon McIntyre.
Lion Forge has announced four new hires in its editorial department, including Desiree Rodriguez, Erika Kuster, Hazel Newlevant, and Jasmine Amiri. These four editors join the rapidly growing publisher in advance of New York Comic Con, where the company will unveil multiple new titles and series.
Desiree Rodriguez has been an entertainment and comics journalist for eight years writing for sites such as: The Tempest, The Feminist Wire, Women Write About Comics, and The Nerds of Color. Boricua extraordinaire, Desiree has written and curated various Latinx centric discussion pieces and movements to discuss and educate on the Latinx experience in comics.
Erika Kuster has over twelve years of experience in the publishing industry and was previously Managing Editor for Andrews McMeel Publishing. During her time at AMP, she helped transform the company from a print-only publisher to a fully integrated print and digital publishing house. She has also acted as a children’s book author, editor, production editor, and all-around metadata guru.
Hazel Newlevant is the editor and publisher of the anthologies Comics for Choice and Chainmail Bikini: The Anthology of Women Gamers and her work as a cartoonist has been honored with the Ignatz Award, Xeric Grant, and Prism Comics Queer Press Grant. In addition to her editorial role, Hazel is the author of the graphic novel memoir No Ivy League, which Lion Forge will publish in late 2018.
Jasmine Amiri is a Los Angeles-based editor whose credits include the Eisner and Harvey nominated Giant Days by John Allison, 2017 GLAAD Award Winner The Woods by James Tynion IV and Michael Dialynas, and the critically-acclaimed series Grass Kings by Matt Kindt and Tyler Jenkins among many others.
At the Alternative Press Expo, Prism Comics announced the recipient of the 2013 Queer Press Grant on October 13th during the Queer Cartoonists Panel moderated by Justin Hall. This year’s recipient is Hazel Newlevant for her works Dance the Blues and If This Be Sin. Prism Comics, which supports LGBT comics, creators and readers, established the Queer Press Grant in 2005 to encourage the publication of LGBT-themed comics. It is now the only grant today given to independent comic book creators.
Jon Macy, Prism’s QPG Chairperson said in a statement:
There were so many really talented creators applying for the grant that it was very hard to not love them all. Hazel’s work really hit the magic balance between art, writing, and having something to say.
Hazel Newlevant’s entry, Dance the Blues, and If This Be Sin, are a collection of powerful short stories that take us into “the rich heritage of queer women expressing themselves through blues music”. In Dance the Blues, contestants at a dance competition ignore gender roles and switch partners with ease. If This Be Sin, includes the history of a female jazz pianist who finds success performing in men’s clothes, but faces crushing reprisals in public life.
Prism Comics’ Queer Press Grant is awarded to assist comics creators in publishing comics with LGBT characters or themes. Entries are judged first and foremost by artistic merit, followed by concerns such as financial need, proposal presentation, and the project’s contribution to the LGBT community. They are reviewed by the Prism Board, past recipients of the Grant, and Prism’s Advisory Board.