Random House

Comics Publishers Come Out in Support of Dangerous Online Piracy Bill

Happy Holidays, everyone. Now stop using the internet. That appears to be the message from a number of comics publishers, however unintentional.

On Thursday, December 22, the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, chaired by Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX), released a list of supporters of H.R. 3261, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). This bill is an attempt by lawmakers to address intellectual property security concerns on the internet. However, it has been flagged by various organizations and individuals for going too far, giving broad power without due process, limiting free speech and discouraging technical innovation. Graphic Policy has a great summary of the bill’s weaknesses and how it relates to the comic book industry. Some are claiming it could cripple social sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Tumblr, along with thousands of harmless fan-sites and any other sites sharing their IP addresses.

Among the corporations and organizations listed as supporters of SOPA are the following comic book and graphic novel publishers:

Also included is the Association of American Publishers, which counts DC Comics, Disney Publishing and more among their members.

As we come out of the holidays, many of these organizations might have to start responding to a vocal outpouring of concern among customers and partners, and in some cases, threats of organized boycotts.

There has been considerable push back already, and from public pressure some organizations have dropped their support of SOPA. The Graphic Artists Guild has retracted their support, stating “We are concerned that the bill may have unintended consequences that may do more harm than good.” They also added that they “have not spent a dime on any lobbyist in Congress for this bill”. The largest domain name registrar GoDaddy faced massive threats of boycotts, and has also reversed their position. Time will tell if more will shift their support.

(via Graphic Policy)

Read It: A.D. New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld

A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge by Josh Neufeld (Click to buy at Barnes & Noble)

With Hurricane Irene still a fresh and costly memory for parts of the east coast, and Tropical Storm Lee recently hitting the Gulf Coast, it seems like a perfect time to revisit this excellent graphic novel by comics journalist Josh Neufeld, A.D.: New Orleans After the Deluge (published by Pantheon Books).

Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst storms this country has ever faced and much of the aftermath was felt in the city of New Orleans. Neufeld used comics to recount the experiences of five people who made it through the 2005 storm. The material was originally serialized in a slightly different form as a webcomic on SMITH Magazine‘s website in 2007 and 2008.

As you might expect, A.D. can be a tough read since it’s not exactly a feel-good romantic comedy. But Neufeld’s art style and use of colors, as well as his choices in when his narrative checks back in with each character, make it easier to take in. The book could’ve been much more brutal in depicting the nightmare that happened during and especially after Katrina. Instead it wisely focuses on the human experience, trying to neither sugar coat nor sensationalize.

While the hard cover appears to be out-of-print right now, the book is also recommended for high school and college courses. The publisher has a teacher’s guide available (thank you for the updated link, Josh). You can also find an excerpt of the teacher’s guide at GraphicNovelReporter.com.

For a glimpse at the making of the book, check out this segment from the discontinued Pulp Secret show: