Belgian comics artist Didier Comès (b.1958, Dieter Hermann Comès) died on March 7. Comès debuted the comic strip “Hermann” in 1969 in the newspaper Le Soir. He began publishing the story Ergün l’errant in 1973 in the French magazine Pilote and went on to create Silence, about a mute and deaf boy’s adventures in World War I. He received the Prix Saint-Miche twice.
Anime fan and publisher Toren Smith (b.1960) died on March 5. Smith organized the first major convention anime room at BayCon in California in 1986 and translated The Legend of Kamui, one of the first manga ever translated into English, in 1988. In 1991, he co-founded AnimeCon. In 1986, he founded Studio Proteus, which proceeded to translate manga into English.
DC has announced that it will put the Orson Scott Card penned digital Superman reboot on hold after illustrator Chris Sprouse resigned from the project. DC has come under attack for the project by fans who disagreed with Card’s publicly stated position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage. Sprouse has chosen to resign because he felt that the controversy “took away from the actual work, and that’s something [he] wasn’t comfortable with.”
Comics artist Scott Clark (b.1969) died the week of February 18. Clark entered the field in the 1990s and worked for WildStorm studio as a penciller on StormWatch. More recently, he worked as an artist on Justice League: Cry For Justice and Brightest Day. In the New 52 relaunch period, Clark has worked on Grifter and I, Vampire.
The original Batmobile designed by George Barris for the 1966 television show Batman sold at auction on January 19 for $4.2 million. The car, which was built on the chassis of the Lincoln Futura concept car, has been in Barris’s possession since it was created, although there are other copies of the car that have been sold. The name of the purchaser has not been disclosed.
The Utopiales Awards were presented in Nantes, France. The awards carry a prize of €3000 and are presented for works produced by Europeans and published in French in the year of eligibility.
- Utopiales European Award: Biting the Shield (Mordre le bouclier), by Justine Niogret (France)
- Utopiales European Youth Award: Blood Red Road (Saba ange de la mort), by Moira Young (UK)
- Grand Prix: Eega (Fly), by S. S. Rajamouli (India)
- SyFy Public Award & Special Mention: Iron Sky, by Timo Vuorensola (Finland)
- Special Mention : The Human Race, by Paul Hough (UK)
- Jury Award: “Apnoe,” by Harald Hund, Paul Horn (Austria)
- Audience Award: “The Elaborate End of Robert Ebb” (“La Mysterieuse disparition de Robert Ebb“), by Francois Xavier Goby, Matthieu Landour and Clement Bolla (France, UK)
- Special Mention : “Robots of Brixton,” by Tavares Kibwe (UK)
- Special Mention : “Error 0036,” by Raul Fernandez Rincón (Spain)
- Special Mention : “Tvillingen” (“The Twin”), by Gustav Danielsson (Sweden)
- Utopiales Comics Award: Daytripper, by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba
- Jury Special Award : Big Crunch, by Remi Gourrierec
- Tie: Thanks for Playing and 2012 Game
- Best Screenplay: Victor Bret for War Hero
A Federal Court ruled that Joe Shuster’s heirs do not have the right to reclaim copyright on Superman, a character co-created by Shuster and Jerry Siegel. The judge noted that a 1992 agreement to receive annual payments from DC Comics in exchange for all rights to the character made by Shuster’s sister superseded the Shuster heirs’ claim under “termination rights” in U.S. copyright law. In 2008, Siegel’s widow was able to successfully reclaim some of the copyright.
Comic artist Marcus Swayze (b.1913) died on October 14. Swayze began working for Fawcett Comics in 1941, where he worked on Captain Marvel (SHAZAM) and co-created Mary Marvel. His other titles included The Phantom Eagle and The Flyin’ Jenny. He remained there until 1953, when Fawcett folded its main comic line. He worked for Charlton for a short time after Fawcett sold its business to them. While serving during World War II, he was called upon to accompany Bing Crosby for two USO performances.
Comic book artist Joe Kubert (b.1926) died on August 12. Kubert began working in the comics in 1942. He began working for DC Comics and began an association with the character Hawkman in 1945. In the 1950s, he create the prehistoric character Tor, who he used at DC, Marvel, and Eclipse Comics. From 1967-1976, he worked at DC as Director of Publications. Kubert was inducted into the Harvey Awards’ Jack Kirby Hall of Fame in 1997 and Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 1998.