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The lowest lake on Earth is one of the biggest tourist attractions in West Asia; more than four million people rely on the groundwater resources in its catchment basin

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Sinkholes and surface springs in Samar (Western Dead Sea), the Jordan flank of the Dead Sea is visible in the background. (Credit: Dr. Christian Siebert/UFZ)

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Posted by Arturo

As part of our plan to boost peoples’ signals during San Diego Comic-Con, we plan to run at least one or two mini-profiles a day, starting with a look at two popular cartoonists.

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Keith Knight

Where You Can Find Him: Booth K-15 in the Small Press section.
Where You Can Find Him Online: His personal site; his Patreon site.
What’s The Story?: Knight, a longtime SDCC exhibitor — his first con was in 1993 — who has hosted panels at the event in past years, is here promoting Knight Takes Queen, the second collection of stories from his daily Knight Life strip.

“This was a long time coming,” Knight said of the collection. “I’ve got probably 1,000 strips that I can put into books. I’m psyched to get it out, because people have been asking for it. It basically takes it through the time when my wife was pregnant with my first child until just after his birth.”

How has the convention landscape changed during the years he’s taken part in the con?: “It’s certainly is a big change from when I started coming in ’93. In ’93 it was just all 53-year-old white men. But it really started to diversify thoughout the 2000s, and hit this kind of crazy crescendo. Instead of it becoming sort of a weird side thing, and now it’s really mainstream. Honestly, the crowd can be more diverse than the comics itself, which is kind of interesting. But attempts are being made; Captain America’s black again, and Thor’s gonna be a woman. What’s interesting to me is, this is the first time I’ve seen a lot of discussion of sexual harassment of women in cosplay outfits or just being here at Comic-Con was brought up. I’m glad that kind of stuff is on the table, because it’s all been simmering under the surface.”

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C. Spike Trotman

Where You Can Find Her: Booth 1330 with Black Label Comics
Where You Can Find Her Online: Iron Circus Comics website.
What’s The Story?: Trotman is promoting The Sleep Of Reason, a 26-story horror anthology featuring 34 different creators she says will have “no predictable endings” and none of the usual kinds of “scary” antagonists.

“I kind of got tired of things that feature supernatural creatures masquerading as horror,” she explains. “I personally don’t find things featuring zombies, werewolves, and vampires scary anymore because everybody already knows the rules. If a zombie shows up in a story, you know what you have to do to get rid of it. If a werewolf shows up, you know the rules it’s operating under. To me, the essence of fear is not understanding and being helpless in a situation. That’s why I don’t have things like zombies and vampires in The Sleep of Reason, because if I did have them, you would know how to take care of them.”

On the expanding audience for anthologies: “I think there has kind of been a mushrooms after the rain effect when it comes to anthologies. A lot of young creators, I’ve found, are putting together anthologies amongst themselves to kind of get their work out there, because the strength of the anthology, in my opinion, is [that] people will buy it for a creator they know is in there and they already like. But as a result, they’re exposed to maybe 10 or 15 other creators that they had no idea existed, and have great potential of becoming a fan of those creators. And I think people understand that, especially on the creators’ side, they understand that. So when they put together these projects, they’re kind of drawing from one another’s audiences and readerships with the hope that there can be kind of a swapping of fans — or at least growing their own fanbase by tapping into another person’s fanbase.”

The post The SDCC Files: Keith Knight and C. Spike Trotman appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

In Search of a Tranquil Ramadan

Thursday, 24 July 2014 07:00 pm
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Posted by Yasmeen Nizamy

Dreaming of the ultimate spirituality and serenity this Ramadan, my plan was to quit my 9-5 job a couple of days before Ramadan started. I’ve always had this fantasy that taking a vacation for the whole Ramadan gives you more space for spirituality and religious rituals. Think of days full of Quran recitation, Zikr, Terawih [Read More...]

Only 100 Cross River gorillas left in Nigeria

Thursday, 24 July 2014 04:47 pm
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Revised regional action plan launched for the conservation of the species, listed by IUCN as critically endangered

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Nyango is the only know Cross River gorilla in captivity. She lives in the Limbe Wildlife Center in Cameroon (Image courtesy Wildlife Conservation Society)

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Findings say data error could have led to belief that Antarctic ice cover was increasing even as Arctic ice cover was shrinking because of global warming

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Posted by Arturo

By Arturo R. García

As a supplement to our two-part San Diego Comic-Con preview, enjoy this look at some of the creators of color who’ll be at the convention — some in panels, some on the floor, but all should be on your radar after the weekend.

Erika Alexander and Tony Puryear

Where You Can Find Them: The Writer’s Journey, Breaking into Comics and Hollywood Scriptwriting at 3 p.m. on Thursday, Room 32AB. Alexander will be part of Michael Davis’ Black Panel at 10 a.m. on Friday in Room 5AB. Both Alexander and Puryear will be signing for Dark Horse Comics at Booth 2615 on Friday from 3 to 4 p.m.
Where You Can Find Them Online: Concrete Park website and Twitter feed.
What’s The Story?: Racializens probably don’t need an introduction to Alexander, a TV veteran (The Cosby Show, Living Single) who also shared the story behind her decidedly more diverse Mad Men idea, Mad Men: Uptown Saturday Night, with us last April. Meanwhile, Puryear is the screenwriter behind the Arnold Schwarzenegger film Eraser and is coming off an appearance in the documentary Brave New Souls: Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Writers of the 21st Century. The duo is at the con this year promoting Concrete Road, their dystopian sci-fi story. The first arc was selected to be part of last year’s edition of the Best American Comics anthology, with a new Park mini-series debuting on Oct. 5, and a hardcover collecting their featured work in Dark Horse Presents scheduled for an October release.

Cathy Camper

Where You Can Find Her: Technically, you can’t; Camper will not be at the convention in person. But her publisher, Chronicle Books, will be handing out advanced readers’ copies of Lowriders In Space, her collaboration with artist Raul III and editor Ginee Seo, at booth 1506. The 112-page graphic novel will be formally released on Nov. 4.
Where You Can Find Her Online: Lowriders In Space Facebook page
In Her Words: “I wrote Lowriders in Space because as an Arab-American, I was fed up with the inability of mainstream comics and books to represent the diversity of kids I serve today as a kid’s librarian, kids who like me, don’t see themselves in books,” Camper told Racialicious via email. “Raul III told me, ‘This is the book I wanted to read as a child,’ and he was passionate to create it for the same reasons I was.”

Dani Dixon

Where You Can Find Her: Insights for Independent Creators at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Room 32AB.
Where You Can Find Her Online: Her personal site; her Twitter feed.
What’s the story?: Dixon has created two comics series: 13 (about a world where every 13-year-old child has superpowers — but only for one year) and the Midwestern manga story M.I.S.//ing, through her own publishing house, Tumble Creek Press.

Ulises Farinas

Where You Can Find Him: Signing autographs for IDW Publishing at Booth 2643 Thursday at noon.
Where You Can Find Him Online: His personal site; Farinas is also a contributor for The Idol Box, focusing on race and pop culture
What’s the story?: Farinas is the artist for IDW’s Judge Dredd: Mega-City 2, in which the antihero is reassigned to mete out justice in a metropolis that spans the entire U.S. West Coast. Farinas’ ultra-detailed style won him critical praise from both IGN (“the absolute best thing about this comic is the artwork”) and Comic Book Therapy (“Farinas’ style fits this madcap story perfectly”). Farinas’ work has also been featured in Comics Alliance, Complex, the New York Times and Wired.

Jonathan Gayles

Where You Can Find Him: Screening of White Scripts and Black Supermen: Black Masculinities In Comic-Books, Friday at 7:40 p.m. in Hall 2 at the Marriott Marquis & Marina, 333 W Harbor Dr. (down the street from the convention, literally).
Where You Can Find Him Online: and Facebook page; his Twitter feed.
What’s the story?: Gayles’ examination of the comics industry’s depiction of Black men, ranging from Black Panther to Luke Cage to the Milestone Universe, has made its way through the festival circuit since premiering four years ago, but this will be its first screening at SDCC.

Sloane Leong

Where You Can Find Her: Color Design in Comics at 5 p.m. on Thursday, Room 32AB and Image Comics’ “I is for Innovation” panel on Sunday at 2 p.m., Room 7AB
Where You Can Find Her Online: Her personal site; her Twitter feed.
What’s the story?: Leong enters the convention on the heels of the unveiling of From Under Mountains, a fantasy series scheduled to be released next year, featuring her art alongside writing by co-creators Marian Churchland and Claire Gibson. The story is set in the fictional kingdom of Akhara, and will feature a cast of characters almost entirely comprised of people of color.

“For one it feels like a strange betrayal not to include people like myself in the stories I’m telling and it also feels irresponsible not to challenge our culture’s status quo of all white everything,” Leong told Comics Alliance. “A lot of artists I feel don’t want to broach this issue in their work because they feel their work will be ‘othered’ and ignored and I feel like that too, but at the same time I feel encouraged by that. Someone could make amazing work and still not say anything of any consequence about the world they live and thats fine but for me that’s not really an option.”

Ajuan Mance

Where You Can Find Her: Currently scheduling a signing; see her Twitter feed for more information. Also, look for the afropick/barcode 8-Rock logo at the free tables in the Sails Pavillion.
Where You Can Find Her Online: Her personal site.
What’s the story?: Mance is currently promoting 1001 Black Men, an online sketchbook chronicling her encounters with Black men around the Bay Area, where she works. The gentleman pictured here, for instance, is No. 741:

I passed this guy a few weeks ago, at the San Francisco Public Library. I’d gone over to pick up the three pieces of art I’d shown as part of The Black Woman is God exhibit, curated by Karen Seneferu. It was the second incarnation of an exhibit that was at the African American Art and Culture Complex last summer. Like me he was heading toward the African American Center at the library and I watched with a little bit of envy as he disappeared into the stacks near the exhibit area.

Mance is also a zine creator, with her works including A Blues for Black Santa, Black Satyr, and The Little Book of Big Black Bears.

Eric Dean Seaton

Where You Can Find Him: Table P-13 in the Small Press Pavillion
Where You Can Find Him Online: Legend of the Mantamaji website and Facebook page; his Twitter feed.
What’s The Story?: Seaton, a veteran television director — he’s helmed 160 episodes of more than 32 different series — is promoting Legend of the Mantamaji, an urban fantasy set to be released this October. The story centers on attorney Elijah Alexander, who comes to find out he’s the last of the Mantamaji, a group of protectors with roots dating back 3,000 years. It’s also notable that the book will feature lettering by Deron Bennett, who was nominated for an Eisner Award two years ago for his work on titles like Jim Henson’s Dark Crystal, Jim Henson’s Tale of Sand and Helldorado, among others.

Strawberry Scented Burnout

Where You Can Find Them: See below
Where You Can Find Them Online:

UN issues seven licences for deep sea mining

Thursday, 24 July 2014 10:13 am
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Licences have been awarded to mining companies from India, the UK, Germany, Brazil, Singapore and Russia

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A shot of a deep sea diving team exploring the minerals and mining capacity of the ocean floor. (Credit: Gnews, by courtesy of flickr)

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