The sad news up first: co-creator of beloved children's book series The Berenstain Bears Jan Berenstain passed away this week at the age of 88. I remember reading and loving these books as a kid, both during library hours at school and at the doctor's office when I was going for many appointments. I do believe several of mine are now in my mother's classroom.
In other children's books news, Mormons have baptized Anne Frank. I really can't even begin with how awful that is. Frank is the young girl whose diary gave the world the most intimate and terrifying glimpse into the horrors of World War II. Frank died in a concentration camp, but her memory (and faith) should not be tainted by others. Disgusting.
In other crazy religious book news, the group One Millions Mom (the same group that recently went after JC Penny's for choosing lesbian Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson and believed to be connected to a SPLC-certified hate group) has started a petition after Toys R Us for carrying the Archie Comics issues featuring Kevin Keller, the new gay character recently added to Riverdale High School alongside classic characters Archie, Veronica, Betty, and Jughead. Many people within the comic book industry have sided with Archie Comics, who has publicly stated that Kevin is here to stay, and Jon Goldwater, co-CEO of Archie, has even declared Kevin 'the most important new character in Archie history'. Good for them! I loved the X-Men as a kid for the simple fact it was the diverse entertainment I couldn't find anywhere else. Plain and simple. Unfortunately, the Kevin Keller marriage issue (set in the future) sold out before I could get it! Here's hoping for a second printing.
And lastly, in a mix of strange but true news: the internet funding giant Kickstarter is expected to pass on more money to artists in 2012 than the National Endowments for the Arts, according to ComicsAlliance. While this idea doesn't shock me, it is a little scary. We can bailout gigantic businesses that add little to our world but can't found artists whose works might remain for centuries? Just a thought. I guess that means that Kickstarter (although it too isn't without some issues of its own) is a good place to go to support artistic endeavors you believe should be produced.