What is JacketFlap

  • JacketFlap connects you to the work of more than 200,000 authors, illustrators, publishers and other creators of books for Children and Young Adults. The site is updated daily with information about every book, author, illustrator, and publisher in the children's / young adult book industry. Members include published authors and illustrators, librarians, agents, editors, publicists, booksellers, publishers and fans.
    Join now (it's free).

Sort Blog Posts

Sort Posts by:

  • in
    from   

Suggest a Blog

Enter a Blog's Feed URL below and click Submit:

Most Commented Posts

In the past 7 days

Recent Posts

(from the News category)

Recent Comments

JacketFlap Sponsors

Spread the word about books.
Put this Widget on your blog!
  • Powered by JacketFlap.com

Are you a book Publisher?
Learn about Widgets now!

Advertise on JacketFlap

MyJacketFlap Blogs

  • Login or Register for free to create your own customized page of blog posts from your favorite blogs. You can also add blogs by clicking the "Add to MyJacketFlap" links next to the blog name in each post.

Blog Posts by Date

Click days in this calendar to see posts by day or month
<<November 2014>>
SuMoTuWeThFrSa
      01
02030405060708
09101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
30      
new posts in all blogs
Viewing: Blog Posts from the News category, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 60,719
26. The Washington Post’s Top 10 graphic novels of 2014

SISTERS PB Cover FINAL The Washington Posts Top 10 graphic novels of 2014

LISTS! Michael Cavna—who will be full time at Comics Riffs next year, hoorah—has his top ten, most of which I expect to see over and over as the best lists roll out:

BUMPERHEAD
By Gilbert Hernandez (Drawn & Quarterly)

CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT?
By Roz Chast (Bloomsbury)

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK GRAPHIC NOVEL: VOLS. 1 AND 2
By Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell (Harper Collins)

THE HARLEM HELLFIGHTERS
By Max Brooks and illustrator Caanan White (Broadway Books)

HIP HOP FAMILY TREE: BOOK 2 (1981-1983)
By Ed Piskor (Fantagraphics)

HOW TO BE HAPPY
By Eleanor Davis (Fantagraphics)

SAGA: DELUXE EDITION, VOL. 1
By Brian K. Vaughan and illustrator Fiona Staples (Image Comics)

THE SHADOW HERO
By Gene Luen Yang and illustrator Sonny Liew (First Second)

SISTERS
By Raina Telgemeier (Graphix)

THIS ONE SUMMER
By Mariko and Jillian Tamaki (First Second)

1 Comments on The Washington Post’s Top 10 graphic novels of 2014, last added: 11/21/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
27. Consortium distributing more graphic novel publishers

Wendy FEAT Consortium distributing more graphic novel publishersOver at PW I reported on Consortium starting to distribute Alternative Comics and Secret Acres to bookstores. They currently distribute Uncivilized, Toon Books, Nobrow and Koyama Press, as well as publishers such as Fulcrum and Enchanted Lion who put out a lot of graphic novel material. (And a lot of other distinguished small press publishers as well.)

I understand that Consortium has been very important for publishers like Uncivilized and Koyama—and that Consortium is pretty aggressive about bringing new comics publishers into their fold. At CAB I also heard a bunch of griping about Diamond—mostly shipping dates catalog listing and so on. Small things, and Diamond is pretty much the rock of the industry, but if people are getting better service elsewhere they are likely to move.

One thing about the publishers picked up by Consortium—they may be small presses that publish a lot of indie cartoonists, but many of their books aren’t necessarily limited in audience to hardcore indie comics readers. For instance, Wendy, shown above, is a popular webcomic and a devastating take on socialite culture. Sam Henderson’s books are just funny gags, Nobrow puts out a ton of books that are just great to look at, Uncivilized books are smart and accessible, Edie Fake’s work has gotten acclaim many places, Toon Books are award winning crowd pleasers and so on. Getting better distribution seems to be a very important move for all these publishers and I expect we’ll hear more about this in 2015

Robyn Chapman has some thoughts about this and what it means to micro presses here.

2 Comments on Consortium distributing more graphic novel publishers, last added: 11/21/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
28. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 11/21/14: A serious matter

§ Rat Queens artist and co-creator Roc Upchurch was arrested last month on charges of assault and battery against his wife, who posted an account on a blog and then removed it.  It’s a sad familiar tale, but hasn’t gotten that much attention among comics folk. Sometimes we just don’t know what to do when one of our own transgresses. Women Write About Comics’ Megan Purdy also received information about the assult and the arrest  and offers some very important perspective:

Many have suggested that the arrest is a private matter, and that his ex-wife’s more extensive allegations have the potential to ruin Upchurch’s career. But domestic violence is not a private matter — it’s a criminal one — and rare is the man’s career that has been ruined by it. Upchurch stands to lose little from our merely speaking about an arrest that hasn’t been further pursued. Rat Queens, remember, is a creator-owned book published by Image, and it has been hailed as a breath of fresh air, a genuinely and breezily feminist comic, around which Kurt Wiebe and Upchurch have been a vibrant and supportive community. That community is unlikely to suddenly disappear in the wake of this news. Some readers may stand to lose more, though, should we shy from reporting the matter honestly — they may lose whatever sense of safety and trust they have found among us.

We must not shy away from reporting unpleasant facts.

We must not cultivate a culture of silence and polite withdrawal.

As I said, there is often foot shuffling about these matters, but bringing them to light is often the surest way to begin recovery for all involved.

And now back to more trivial matters.

saga hc 5fb5b Kibbles n Bits 11/21/14: A serious matter

§ That big Saga hardcover with extras is just out and Brian K. Vaughan offers the potential problems with the breast-feeding cover: 

Anyway, Eric Stephenson was concerned that we might be limiting our audience with this kind of cover, and we had a lot of back and forth with him until he finally said, “You guys know I’m not your boss, right? You can do anything you want at Image, I just wanted you to be aware of the climate out there.” Which is one of the countless reasons why Image is the best publisher in the world. And to Eric’s credit, as soon as he saw Fiona’s gorgeous execution of our cover idea, his response was the same as mine: “However many of these we print, it’s not gonna be enough.”

Thankfully, retailers have been equally supportive, and we haven’t had a single complaint. Sounds like one national book chain is even going to feature the hardcover at the front of their stores for the holiday season, so we’re enormously grateful for everybody’s approval of horned babies and milk-engorged boobs.

 

§ Did you know that New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff stars in a video series called The Cartoon Lounge?  In the above episode Mankoff fiddles with his gizmos.

batlogos Kibbles n Bits 11/21/14: A serious matter

§ DC Comics is suing the Valencia football (soccer to Usains) club because their traditional “bat logo” has been altered in such a way as to resemble Batman’s.  Valencia has included a bat in the logo since 1919 so this is hardly a new thing. Another local team, Levante, also has a bat in their logo because apparently, Valencians are in love with bats:

The symbol of the bat has a long history with Valencia that dates back to the 13th century when the region was conquered by King James I of Aragon who added the image of the bat to his coat of arms as a symbol of good luck. Bats are common in the region of Valencia and the Balearic Islands and the coat of arms of the city of Valencia still features a bat.

 Kibbles n Bits 11/21/14: A serious matter

Perhaps DC should send Bruce Wayne to team up with these guys instead—it seems they are all on the same side.

§  A new Egyptian comic called Shakmagia or “ewlery Box” includes comics focusing on the problems with sexual harassment and volence in Egypt.  The link includes a history of Egyptians political cartoons which go back 100 years.

§ Cinemax’s pilot for Outcast,the Kirkman/Azaeta comics  has been cast. 

Rounding out the cast is an ensemble of season television and film actors, The Hollywood Reporter notes, many of whom who have starred in recent television hits. The cast include Patrick Fugit (Gone Girl), Philip Glenister (Big School), Reg E. Cathy (House of Cards), Julia Crockett (Law & Order: Criminal Intent), Wrenn Schmidt (Boardwalk Empire, and Kip Pardue (Ray Donovan).

 

§ Acclaimed cartoonist Kevin Huizenga has updated his activities. Haven’t really seen much from him of late which is sad, but Ganges will continue with a new issue out next spring. YAY.

§ Noah Berlatsky has his own book on Wonder Woman coming out next year, and some thoughts on the current Jill Lepore book: 

That issue is…the title, and in many ways the thesis of the book, are misleading. Lepore presents the Marston family history of polyamory, and therefore the connection between Wonder Woman creator William Marston and his lover Olive Byrne’s aunt Margaret Sanger, as unknown. If this was the first book you’d ever read about Marston and Wonder Woman, I think you’d come away with the impression that Lepore is the first one to reveal that Marston and his wife Elizabeth lived in a polyamorous relationship with another woman (Olive Byrne).

1 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 11/21/14: A serious matter, last added: 11/21/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
29. A brief history of the e-cigarette

Electronic cigarettes are growing in popularity around the world. With the announcement of vape as our Word of the Year, we have put together a timeline of the history of e-cigarettes.

1963
Herbert A. Gilbert patents a non-tobacco cigarette that heats a nicotine solution and produced steam, but it is never manufactured.

1979
Dr. Norman Jacobson, one of the pioneers of the word “vaping,” develops the Favor cigarette, a way to inhale nicotine with no smoke.

2003
Chinese pharmacist Hon Lik first develops an electronic alternative to traditional cigarettes.

2004
The first e-cigarettes, a Chinese invention, comes from the Ruyan company.

2007
E-cigarettes enter the US market.

February 2012
Nicotine and Tobacco Research publishes a study, entitled “Electronic Cigarettes: Effective Nicotine Delivery After Acute Administration,” which explores nicotine intake with different electronic cigarette devices.

June 2013
The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency will regulate e-cigarettes as medicines from 2016 when new European tobacco laws come into force.

December 2013
Nicotine and Tobacco Research publishes a study, entitled “Secondhand Exposure to Vapors From Electronic Cigarettes.” It reveals that “using an e-cigarette in indoor environments may involuntarily expose non-users to nicotine, but not to toxic tobacco-specific combustion products.”

Different types of electronic cigarettes by TBEC Review. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.
Different types of electronic cigarettes by TBEC Review. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

December 2013
World leading tobacco experts argue that a recently published World Health Organization (WHO)-commissioned review of evidence on e-cigarettes contains important errors, misinterpretations, and misrepresentations, putting policy-makers and the public in danger of foregoing the potential public health benefits of e-cigarettes.”

September 2013
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “issue a rule to regulate all tobacco products, including cigars, little cigars, e-cigarettes and others.”

15 January 2014
The Chicago City Council voted to regulate electronic cigarettes the same as traditional cigarettes,  which “prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in public places, requires stores selling them to keep them behind the counter, and prohibits their sale to minors.”

26 January 2014
The UK bans e-cigarettes for people under 18.

February 2014
The European Parliament approves regulations on e-cigarettes. “Beginning in mid-2016, advertising for e-cigarettes would be banned in the 28 nations of the European Union, as it already is for ordinary tobacco products. E-cigarettes would also be required to carry graphic health warnings and must be childproof. The amount of nicotine would be limited to 20 milligrams per milliliter, similar to ordinary cigarettes.”

March 2014
Journal of Psychiatric Research reports on e-cigarette use within different age groups and finds that “a notable proportion of adolescents and young adults who never smoked cigarettes had ever-used e-cigarettes. E-cigarette use was not consistently associated with attempting to quit tobacco among young adults. Adults most often reported e-cigarettes as a substitute for tobacco, although not always to quit. Reviewed studies showed a somewhat different pattern of e-cigarette use among young people (new e-cigarette users who had never used tobacco) versus adults (former or current tobacco users).”

14 April 2014
A US congressional report surveys the marketing tactics of e-cigarette companies, which directs sales towards youth, and calls on the FDA to set regulations for e-cigarette marketing.

24 April 2014
The FDA proposes regulations on e-cigarettes, which gives them authority over e-cigarettes and expands its’ authority over tobacco products. The AAP still urges the FDA to protect young people from the effects of e-cigarettes.

April 2014
A proposal from the FDA requires  e-cigarettes to “undergo an agency review,” which would ban e-cigarette sales to minors and require e-cigarettes to have warning labels.

April 2014
The AAP releases a statement on the dangers of e-cigarette poisoning in children.

4 May 2014
The AAP surveyed a random sample of adults, and according to the research presented, “the vast majority of young adults who have used the devices believe they are less harmful than regular cigarettes…”

12 May 2014
Tobacco Control BMJ releases a study on e-cigarette use and individuals with mental health conditions.

May 2014
A study for Nicotine and Tobacco Research finds that the vapors from e-cigarettes contain “toxic and carcinogenic carbonyl compounds,” and the amount of formaldehyde in the vapors is similar to the amount reported in tobacco smoke.

2 June 2014
A study titled “Exposure to Electronic Cigarette Television Advertisements Among Youth and Young Adults”, found that “exposure of young people ages 12 to 17 to e-cigarette ads on TV increased 256% from 2011 to 2013. Young adult (ages 18 to 24) exposure increased 321% over the same period.”

25 June 2014
The White House alters the wording of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tobacco regulations, allowing the online sale of e-cigarettes.

26 June 2014
The British Medical Association (BMA) calls to ban e-cigarette use in public. Doctors and medical students decide that e-cigarettes may lead to nicotine addiction.

July 2014
The BBC bans the use of e-cigarettes in all its offices and studios.

August 2014
A study from Nicotine and Tobacco Research states that “there is a risk of thirdhand exposure to nicotine from e-cigarettes,” although the exposure levels differ depending on the brand of the devices used.

August 2014
A study from Nicotine and Tobacco Research states that “in 2013, over a quarter million never-smoking youth had used e-cigarettes. E-cigarette use was associated with increased intentions to smoke cigarettes.”

24 August 2014
The American Heart Association (AHA) calls on the FDA for more research on e-cigarettes, to apply the same regulations on e-cigarettes as tobacco and nicotine products, and to create new regulations to prevent access, sale, and marketing to youth.

26 August 2014
A World Health Organization (WHO) report states that e-cigarettes need regulation to “impede e-cigarette promotion to non-smokers and young people; minimize potential health risks to e-cigarette users and nonusers; prohibit unproven health claims about e-cigarettes; and protect existing tobacco control efforts from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.”

The WHO reports that “governments should ban the use of electronic cigarettes in public places and outlaw tactics to lure young users.”

4 September 2014
The New England Journal of Medicine’s findings state that “like conventional cigarettes, electronic cigarettes may function as a ‘gateway drug’ that can prime the brain to be more receptive to harder drugs.”

October 2014
A study for Nicotine and Tobacco Research states that “over 75% of US adults reported uncertainty or disapproval of the use of e-cigarettes in smoke-free areas. Current cigarette smokers, adults aware or have ever used e-cigarettes were more supportive to exempting e-cigarettes from smoking restrictions.”

Headline image credit: Vaping an electronic cigarette by Jon Williams. CC BY 2.0 via Flickr.

The post A brief history of the e-cigarette appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on A brief history of the e-cigarette as of 11/21/2014 8:52:00 AM
Add a Comment
30. Ivan Pavlov in 22 surprising facts

An iconic figure of 20th century science and culture, Ivan Pavlov is best known as a founding figure of behaviorism who trained dogs to salivate at the sound of a bell and offered a scientific approach to psychology that ignored the “subjective” world of the psyche itself.

While researching Ivan Pavlov: A Russian Life in Science, I discovered that these and other elements of the common images of Pavlov are incorrect. The following 22 facts and observations are a small window onto the life of a man whose work, life and values were much more complex and interesting than the iconic figure with whom we are so familiar.

  1. Pavlov didn’t use a bell, and for his real scientific purposes, couldn’t. English-speakers think he did because of a mistranslation of the Russian word for zvonok (buzzer) and because the behaviorists interpreted Pavlov in their own image for people in the U.S. and much of the West.
  2. He didn’t use the term and concept “conditioned reflex,” either – rather, “conditional,” and it makes a big difference. For him, the conditional reflex was not just a phenomenon, but a tool for exploring the animal and human psyche – “our consciousness and its torments.”
  3. Unlike the behaviorists, Pavlov believed that dogs (like people) had identifiable personalities, emotions, and thoughts that scientific psychology should address. “Essentially, only one thing in life is of real interest to us,” he declared: “our psychical experience.”
  4. As a youth, he identified worriedly with Dostoevsky’s Ivan Karamazov – fearing that his devotion to rationality might strip him of human morality and feelings – but also believed that science (especially physiology) might teach humans to be more reasonable and humane.
    Daniel P. Todes - Pavlov 2
    Ivan Pavlov. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.
  5. Although one would expect that this investigator of reflexive reactions would think otherwise, he believed in free will.
  6. Pavlov was from a religious family and trained for the priesthood, but left seminary for science studies at St. Petersburg University. He pondered the relationship of science, religion, morality, and the human quest for certainty throughout his life. Although an atheist, he appreciated religion’s cultural value, protested its repression under the Bolsheviks, and supported financially the local church near his lab at Koltushi. (His wife was deeply religious and their apartment was full of icons.)
  7. Pavlov’s beloved mentor in college was fired as a result of student demonstrations against him as a Jew, a political conservative, and (most importantly) a hard grader. This was a great blow to Pavlov and left him on his own as he attempted to make a career.
  8. He first got a “real job” at age 41 – as a professor of pharmacology.
  9. He didn’t win his Nobel Prize (1904) for research on conditional reflexes, but rather for his studies of digestive physiology.
  10. He more than doubled the budget for his labs by bottling the gastric juice he drew from lab dogs and selling it as a remedy for dyspepsia. (A big hit, not just in Russia, but in France and Germany as well.
  11. Like Darwin, Pavlov believed that dogs had full-fledged thoughts, emotions and personalities. His lab dogs were given names that captured their personalities and were routinely described in lab notebooks as heroic or cowardly, smart or obtuse, weak or strong, good or bad workers, etc. Pavlov constantly interpreted his own biography and personality in terms of his experiments on dogs (and interpreted dogs according to what he thought he knew about himself and other people).
  12. He was famous for his explosive temper –“spontaneous morbid paroxysms,” as he put it. Students and coworkers all had their favorite stories about these vintage explosions. Afterwards, he would make his apologies and get on with his work.
  13. Pavlov was an art collector – with a massive collection of Russian realist art in his apartment. His best friends before 1917 were artists.
  14. To maintain a “balanced” organism, Pavlov spent three months every year at a dacha (summer home) where he avoided science entirely. A devotee of physical exercise, he spent these months gardening, bicycling, and playing gorodki (a Russian sport in which the players throw heavy wooden bats at formations of other heavy bats, trying to knock them down in as few throws as possible; Pavlov was a champion player even in his old age).
  15. He seriously contemplated leaving Russia after the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1917, but finally decided to stay. His Western colleagues helped him financially during the hungry years of civil war (1918 – 1921), but did not offer to support him as a scientist in the West: they thought that, at age 68, he was washed up – but the research on conditional reflexes that would make him an international icon continued full blast for another two decades.
  16. He corresponded with Communist leaders Nikolai Bukharin and Vyacheslav Molotov and was one of very few public critics of the Bolsheviks’ political repression, persecution of religion, and terror in the 1930s. He also praised the state for its great support of science and highly respected some of his Communist coworkers, who succeeded in changing his opinion about some important scientific issues.
  17. Publically always very confident, privately he suffered constantly from what he called his “Beast of Doubt” – his fear that the psyche would never yield its secrets to his research.
  18. Pavlov’s closest scientific collaborator for the last 20+ years of his life, Maria Petrova, was also his lover.
  19. During a trip to the U. S. in 1923 he was mugged and robbed of all his money in Grand Central Station, and wanted to go home “where it is safe,” but was convinced to stay and had a great visit.
  20. When the Communist state sent a political militant to purge his lab of political undesirables, Pavlov literally kicked him down the stairs and out of the building.
  21. When he died, Pavlov was working on two surprising manuscripts that he never completed: one on the relationship of science, Christianity, Communism, and the human search for morality and certainty; the other making an important change in his doctrine of conditional reflexes.
  22. According to Pavlov, the most terrible, frightening thing in life was uncertainty, unforeseen accidents (sluchainosti), against which people could turn to religion or – his choice – science.

How many of the above facts did you already know about the life of Ivan Pavlov?

Featured image: Pavlov, center, operates on a dog to create an isolated stomach or implant a permanent fistula. After the dog recovered, experiments began on an intact and relatively normal animal, which was a central feature of Pavlov’s scientific style. Courtesy of Wellcome Institute Library, London. Used with permission.

The post Ivan Pavlov in 22 surprising facts appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Ivan Pavlov in 22 surprising facts as of 11/21/2014 6:12:00 AM
Add a Comment
31. Understanding placebo effects: how rituals affect the brain and the body

In a typical prehistoric scene, say in 4000 BC, a wounded warrior is dragged to the shaman tent. The respected shaman takes a look at the wound and assures the warrior that he will be healed with the proper prayers and ritual dances. He then prepares a strong-smelling mixture of herbs and seeds, and as the whole tribe chants rhythmically around the campfire, he carefully applies it to the wound, all the while uttering incomprehensible sentences passed on to him by a venerable line of ancestral shamans.

Now let’s come to more recent times, say in 2010 AD. A wounded soldier is carried to the military hospital. The medical staff completes a physical examination. A CT scan to rule out internal lesions is carried out to the reassuring buzz of the most recent technology, and a respected clinician wearing a spotless white coat reassures the soldier that he will be healed with the proper drugs and physiotherapy.

Gillray_-_Treatment_with_tractors
A quack treating a patient with Perkins Patent Tractors by James Gillray, 1801. This remedy was used to illustrate the power of the placebo effect. James Gillray, 1801. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Across the divide of millennia, what do these two pictures have in common? The ritual of the medical and therapeutic act. Shamans of the past and clinicians of today share instinctual knowledge that the context surrounding a therapy is an important part of the therapy itself. Rituals have changed and adapted to the contemporary world, but they are still here. In spite of the huge time span across human history, contexts help both ancient and modern patients to develop trust and expectation that they will eventually regain their health.

Placebo effects work in this way too. Giving a placebo consists of essentially delivering a context without the substance. It is a wrapping devoid of content. Yet, the empty box itself acts subtly on the patient’s mind, just as an active drug would do, activating or silencing synapses, altering neurotransmitter content in specific brain areas, and modifying brain activity in ways that are today amenable to scientific inquiry. Placebos are not only the archetypal sugar pills but can be anything with the power to impact on the patient’s expectations. Placebos are made of words, symbols, rituals, meanings. What is important is not really the tool used, but the changes it triggers in neural activity, and how these changes ultimately affect psychological and bodily functions.

Within this framework, today we are witnessing an epochal transition in the medical paradigm, whereby general concepts, such as suggestibility and power of mind, can now be described in terms of a true biology of placebo effects and doctor-patient interaction. Thanks to modern scientific tools, important questions have been addressed and partially answered, such as psychological and emotional influences on symptoms, diseases, and responses to therapies.

The main concept that is emerging today is that placebos, words, therapeutic rituals and patients’ expectations modulate the same biochemical pathways that are affected by the drugs used in routine medical practice. As a matter of fact, this statement should be reversed. It would be more appropriate to say that drugs use the same biochemical pathways of rituals. In fact, rituals were born long before drugs.

Rituals heal but they can also kill. Nocebo effects are the evil twins of placebo effects, the negative consequence of negative rituals and contexts that induce distrust and hopelessness. These can be triggered by a variety of contexts in non-western societies, such as voodoo, and in western society, such as exaggerated health warnings in the media. A social contagion of negative expectations can spread across people very quickly, sometimes inducing worrisome mass phenomena.

Placebo effects are all of these things. The crucial point, and indeed the big revolution, is that today we can study these phenomena, once the domain of psychology, sociology and anthropology, with the tools of the modern biomedical paradigm. These biological tools involve cellular and molecular accuracy, with rituals and contexts interpreted in terms of specific brain regions and biochemical pathways, thus eliminating the old dichotomy between biology and psychology.

Heading image courtesy of Fabrizio Benedetti. Do not use without permission.

 

The post Understanding placebo effects: how rituals affect the brain and the body appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Understanding placebo effects: how rituals affect the brain and the body as of 11/21/2014 6:12:00 AM
Add a Comment
32. Should we let them play?

Ched Evans was convicted at Caernarfon Crown Court in April 2012 of raping a 19 year old woman, and sentenced to five years in prison. He was released from prison in October 2014. Shortly after his release Evans protested his innocence and suggested that his worst offence had been cheating on his fiancée. He also looked to restart his career as a professional soccer player in the third tier of the English league with his former club Sheffield United. What has ensued is a huge debate about whether the club should offer Evans a new contract. One side argues that Evans has served his time and should be allowed to continue his career, whereas the other claims that his role as a professional sportsman marks him out as a role model for his local community and the youngsters that support his team. A rape conviction they say is not compatible with the standards that society demands from its sports stars.

The debate in England over Evans is nothing new. In the US the National Football League (NFL) has had a personal conduct policy in place since 1997. This allows the NFL to take action against any player convicted of a domestic abuse offence including suspensions and fines. Similarly in Australian Rules Football (AFL) the governing body introduced its Respect and Responsibility programme in 2005 to educate players about violence against women. The problem in all these cases, indeed a difficulty for most branches of the sporting world, is that the big box office draws are highly paid male athletes operating out of dressing rooms that are hyper masculine and underpinned by an atmosphere of sexual aggression. As the star players are vital to the industry and ensure that box office receipts and television income remain high, the governing authorities of many male team sports have been slow to act decisively in cases where players have been charged or convicted of rape or domestic abuse. Since the start of the new millennium 48 NFL players have been found guilty of domestic abuse. In 88% of the cases the NFL either banned the player for a single game or else took no action. Similarly the AFL has been slow to take action against players. In the last two years players at the St Kilda Saints and North Melbourne clubs were charged with rape, and in both cases the clubs and the AFL stated that the players would remain available for selection and on full salaries prior to their trials.

ched
Ched Evans representing Wales in 2009. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

It is clear that the male sporting world has not taken the issue of violence against women seriously. Clubs and managers that demand a strong dressing room, where loyalty to the team is paramount and aggression is part of the game has create a masculine environment where women cannot be respected. In a sporting world where those players are then highly paid, cosseted by their management and agents, women have little function beyond their sexual availability.

The debate in the US around the case of NFL player Ray Rice, who was caught on camera punching his partner unconscious, and that of Ched Evans in England, have piled pressure on clubs and governing bodies to take the issues of sexual and domestic violence by players seriously. In the Ched Evans case the Sheffield born gold medal winning athlete, Jessica Ennis-Hill, stated that if Evans was offered a contract by the club she would ask that her name be removed from the stand that was named after her when she won her Olympic title in 2012. Ennis-Hill stated that ‘those in positions of influence should respect the role’s they play in young people’s lives and set a good example’. And herein lies the whole contradiction around the issue of male sports stars and their attitudes towards sexual and domestic violence.

Modern sport had its roots in Victorian Britain, and would spread around the world in various forms. No matter what type of sport emerged in any given setting across the globe the Victorian obsession that sport had an ethical ethos of fair play and gentlemanly conduct was hard wired into the meaning that society gave sport. As a result contemporary sport is supposed to be played in the right way in accordance with the rules, and athletes are supposed to conduct themselves in a certain way. To be an elite athlete is to be a role model and society expects athletes to display positive attributes on and off the field of play. But why should society expect that athletes, often from the lower end of the socio-economic spectrum and with poor educational attainment, to behave like some form of idealised Victorian gentleman? However, as the sports star is expected to be the model citizen, because the ethics of sport are so deeply embedded in the collective consciousness, their conduct does matter. It matters to many followers of sport, is of interest to the media, and is increasingly becoming important to sponsors as they assess the value of any team or athlete in terms that stretch beyond their success on the field of play.

This is why sports teams and governing bodies will have to start taking firm action against those found guilty of sexual and domestic violence. Guilty players will have to be banned from the game and lose their chance of earning their fortune. Not only will this send a clear message to players that violence against women in unacceptable, it will also shape the thinking of the generation of young boys who see their sporting heroes as role models. If, in the future, they see players who respect women, then male attitudes will improve across society. Those who govern the world of male professional sport have to realise that they administer not simply their games, but they are also responsible for the meaningful creation of men with positive values who can act, in the best ways, as role models.

Featured image credit: “Blades”, by Kopii90 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The post Should we let them play? appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Should we let them play? as of 11/21/2014 6:12:00 AM
Add a Comment
33. Lydia Davis reading Dag Solstad

       'Tis, sadly, already newspaper/magazine literary-silly-season -- meaning, astonishingly, things get even sillier than usual, with periodicals filling their pages (prematurely) with their 'best of the year'-selections -- see, for example, Publishers Weekly's Best Books of 2014, Kirkus Reviews' Best Fiction Books of 2014, and The Washington Post's The top 50 fiction books for 2014.
       Slightly more interesting than these are the contributors'/authors' favorites of the year that a variety of publications always publish -- the Times Literary Supplement's is always a favorite, The Guardian/The Observer always has a good line-up, The Spectator .....
       Among the first up this year: the New Statesman offers their: Books of the Year: NS friends and contributors choose their favourite reading of 2014.
       Worth it just for Can't and Won't-author Lydia Davis, who reveals:

One of the most interesting books for me this past year has been the latest "novel" by the much-laurelled Norwegian Dag Solstad.
       (As longtime readers know, I revere Shyness and Dignity-author Dag Solstad, the Scandinavian author -- along with, perhaps, Per Olov Enquist -- most deserving of the Nobel Prize, if they dare pick anyone from that region anytime soon.)
       Even more impressively:
Since the book, known familiarly over there as "Telemark novel" (its full title is long), does not exist in English, I have been struggling, happily, to make what I can of it in Norwegian
       Way to go Ms. Davis !
       (The book is -- suggested English title -- The Insoluble Epic Element in Telemark in the Years 1592-1896; see the Aschehoug Agency information page (and, hey, the opening words are, apparently: "Read slowly, one word at a time, if you want to understand what I am saying", which is presumably what Davis is doing). I'm hoping for imminent translation into English (though I'll settle for: in my lifetime -- and am tempted to seek out a Norwegian copy, to try to make my way through it Davis-style ...).)

Add a Comment
34. Coming to NY: New Literature from Europe festival

       This year's New Literature from Europe festival -- Crossing Borders: Europe Through the Lens of Time -- is on 5 and 6 December.
       As always, a nice little line-up (though the only title under review at the complete review so far is Viviane, by Julianne Deck).

       Flabbergasting, however: the site with the URL newlitfromeurope.org -- surely the one you'll be pointed to if you 'Google' (or whatever you do) for 'New Literature from Europe' -- only offers information about last year's festival, while the official site for this year's festival is apparently newlitfromeurope.wordpress.com. Why not update the old site (archiving the 2013 information there too, so it's nicely all together ...) ?

Add a Comment
35. Coming to NY: Russian Literature Week !

       It's Russian Literature Week ! 1 to 5 December.
       Some pretty interesting-sounding panels, definitely worth a look.

Add a Comment
36. Violence, and diverse forms of oppression

The theme of the American Society of Criminology meeting this November is “Criminology at the Intersections of Oppression.” The burden of violence and victimization remains markedly unequal. The prevalence rates, risk factors, and consequences of violence are not equally distributed across society. Rather, there are many groups that carry an unequal burden, including groups disadvantaged due to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual identity, place of residence, and other factors. Even more problematically, there is an abundance of evidence that there are marked disparities in service access and service quality across sociocultural and socioeconomic groups. Unfortunately, even today this still extends to instances of outright bias and maltreatment, as evidenced by ongoing problems with disproportionate minority contact, harsher sentencing, and barriers to services.

However, there is promising news, because advances in both research and practice are readily attainable. Regarding research, there are a number of steps that can be taken to improve our existing state of knowledge. To give just a few examples, we need much more research on hate crimes and bias motivations for violence. Hate crimes remain one of the most understudied forms of violence. We also need many more efforts to adapt violence prevention and intervention programs for diverse groups. The field has still made surprisingly few efforts to assess whether prevention and intervention programs are equally efficacious for different socioeconomic and sociocultural groups. Even after more than 3 decades of program evaluation, only a handful of such efforts exist. Program developers should pay more systematic attention to ensuring that materials that use diverse images and settings. However, it is also important to note that cultural adaptation means more than just superficial changes in name use or images.

Clasped Hands. Photo by Rhoda Baer. Public Domain via Wikimedia.
Clasped Hands. Photo by Rhoda Baer. Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Regarding practice, what is needed is more culturally appropriate approaches. In many cases, this means more flexible approaches and avoiding a “one size fits all” approach to services. Most providers, I believe, have good intentions and are trying to avoid biased interactions, but many of them lack the tools for more culturally appropriate services. One specific tool that can help is called the ‘VIGOR’, for Victim Inventory of Goals, Options, and Risks. It is a safety planning and risk management tool for victims of domestic violence. It is ideally suited for people from disadvantaged groups, because, unlike virtually all other existing safety plans, it has places for social and community issues, financial strain, institutional challenges, and other issues that affect people who experience multiple forms of disadvantage. The safety plan does not just focus on physical violence. The VIGOR has been tested with two highly diverse groups of low-income women, who rated it as better than all safety planning they had received.

The VIGOR also offers a model for how other interventions can be expanded and adapted to consider the intersections of oppression with victimization in an effort to be more responsive to all of the needs of those who have sustained violence. With greater attention to these issues, there is the potential to make a real impact and help reduce the burden of violence and victimization for all members of society.

Dr. Hamby attended an Author Meets Critics session at the ASC annual meeting yesterday morning. The session was chaired by Dr. Claire Renzetti, co-editor of the ‘Oxford Series of Interpersonal Violence’.

The post Violence, and diverse forms of oppression appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Violence, and diverse forms of oppression as of 11/21/2014 3:22:00 AM
Add a Comment
37. Call for Entries: second Society of Illustrators Comic and Cartoon Art Competition

SOI 2015CFE Call for Entries: second Society of Illustrators Comic and Cartoon Art Competition

Last year the Society of Illustrators inaugurated a comics art competition similar to the one for illustrators they’ve been running for many years. (Disclosure: I was a judge.)  The Comics and Cartoon Art Annual offered a printed guide to the best comics of the year in a succinct form. The competition is back in 2015, chaired by Steven Guarnaccia, with Co-Chair: R. Sikoryak. The above art is by Bendik Kaltenborn. I had a great time with my fellow judged and absorbing a great many new cartoonists and established one in a new guise. I’m sure this year will be an even better compeition. Entry guidelines are below. Last year’s winners are here. 


 
ABOUT THE COMIC AND CARTOON ART ANNUAL

The Society of Illustrators is proud to announce the second annual Comic and Cartoon Art Competition.
Open to artists worldwide, entries are considered by a jury of professionals, including renowned cartoonists, illustrators, publishers, and editors. The competition will result in an exhibition that will showcase the most outstanding works created in this genre throughout each year.

The original works will be exhibited in the MoCCA Gallery at the Society of Illustrators from June 16 through August 15th, 2015.

Opening Award Galas will be scheduled where Medals and Certificates will be presented to the artists whose works are judged best in each category.

All accepted entries will be reproduced in a full color catalog.

A selection of 40 works from each Exhibition will then tour colleges throughout the country in an educational traveling show, a tradition that we have had at the Society for over 30 years.

CATEGORIES

Long Form: A work that is longer than 40 pages. Includes graphic novels, comic books, etc. An anthology is eligible in this category if it is created by one person, and the individual stories form a cohesive whole. If stories should be judged independently, please submit an entry form per person.

Short Form: A work that is more than two pages but shorter than 40 pages. Includes stand-alone work, zines, comic books and work that has been published in anthologies. Work appearing in anthologies may be entered in this category if the individual story is shorter than 40 pages. If stories should be judged independently please submit an entry form per story.

Special Format: Work that is design-driven and created with special attention to production values, including limited edition, small press, hand-made and artist’s books.

Digital Media: Work that is native to a digital format. Includes web comics, online comic strips, and other digitally driven works. Up to 20 images accepted per entry.

Comic Strip: A short-form work published in newspapers, magazines, books, online, etc. featuring four or more panels. Must be one page or less.

Single Image: Work featuring a self-contained narrative image with or without caption. Includes gag cartoons, political cartoons, single-panel cartoons, etc.

——————————————————————————————————

HOW TO ENTER LONG FORM & SHORT FORM BOOK SUBMISSIONS

Eligibility: Any book that was created from January 2014 – January 2015. Both published or self-published are accepted. International entries are welcome. Each submission will receive consideration by every member of the jury for its category.

How to enter: Mail 6 copies of the publication to the Society of Illustrators: 128 East 63 Street, New York, NY, 10065. Attn: Comic and Cartoon Art Competition. Must include the official entry form with each copy.

DEADLINE: Monday, January 5, 2015.

Entry Fees For Book Submissions:
$30 per entry (includes all six copies) for non-members of the Society of Illustrators.
$20 per entry (includes all six copies) for members of the Society of Illustrators.
Include a check with the entry. Checks made out to Society of Illustrators.

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD ENTRY FORM

0 Comments on Call for Entries: second Society of Illustrators Comic and Cartoon Art Competition as of 11/20/2014 7:12:00 PM
Add a Comment
38. Speaking of Alan Moore, what’s up with Electricomics

cropped ElectricomicsLogoWide 516931 Speaking of Alan Moore, whats up with Electricomics

Last May, Alan Moore announced he would be involved with a new line of digital comics called Electricomics. Given that Alan Moore is to computers as Daryl Dixon is to soap, this seemed counter intuitive, but it turns out his daughter Leah was very much involved in it. A line of comics was announced:

Electricomics will be a 32-page showcase with four very different original titles:

Big Nemo – set in the 1930s, Alan Moore revisits Winsor McCay’s most popular hero

Cabaret Amygdala – modernist horror from writer Peter Hogan (Terra Obscura)

Red Horse – on the anniversary of the beginning of World War One, Garth Ennis (Preacher, The Boys) and Danish artist Peter Snejbjerg (World War X) take us back to the trenches

Sway – a slick new time travel science fiction story from Leah Moore and John Reppion (Sherlock Holmes – The Liverpool Demon, 2000 AD)


But what’s new since may? Electricomics had a panel at Thought Bubble and Asher Klassen has a detailed account, explaining that the project is not for profit but being funded by the Digital Research and Development Fund for the Arts, leaving the project free to just noodle around and find out what is possible, which sounds pretty exciting, especially when you factor in the involvement of Daniel Merlin Goodbrey, who is on the cutting edge of the “Future comics.”

Those of you picturing Alan Moore hunched over a computer workstation writing code with his beard nearly hiding the keyboard, stop it. Don’t be ridiculous; that’s what he has code demons for (No, seriously, a shed full of ‘em. It’s in the zine.). Mr. Moore may not be a wizard of the tech variety, but it seems his self-proclaimed alienation from modern forms of media has allowed to conceive this project relatively unpolluted by the endeavours that precede it. He doesn’t know Comixology, Madefire, or Manga Studio. He knows comics. That’s something that was made crystal clear through the course of this panel, the idea that, if you could distill from the form the Essence of Comics, then that would be the driving technology behind this project. That’s what a couple top theorists, legendary writers (did I mention Garth Ennis?), and hotshot programmers are doing with a bundle of government money: not an exercise in visual FX, motion graphic, music, flashinglight and pretty colours, but attempting to take the narrative structural and spatial freedom of a digital workspace and make it understandable and accessible to you through…an app.


With the convention season slowed down, I’ve begun to think about larger comics topics again, and “Future comics” is at the top of my list. As mentioned before, Madefire aside, this seems to have stalled out. Throwing think tank money at the question of what comics can do on the internet seems like a marvelous project and I’ll be eagerly awaiting more news.

0 Comments on Speaking of Alan Moore, what’s up with Electricomics as of 11/20/2014 7:12:00 PM
Add a Comment
39. And one more: Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency in development once again

Global Frequency 8 And one more: Warren Ellis Global Frequency in development once again

And here’s another second look at a comics property that already had a time at the dance—Global Frequency, already the subject of a failed project way back in the prehistory of 2005, is getting another look as a TV show, with Jerry Bruckheimer once again leading the way.

The comic book Global Frequency came out from Wildstorm during the days when it was edgy and daring.. (For those of you who came in late, Wildstorm was once an imprint of DC Comics that put out more wild and crazy adventure themed stuff. It was shut down a few years ago and its remaining properties were folded into Vertigo.)

Written by Warren Ellis and drawn by a bunch of artists including Garry Leach, Steve Dillon, David Lloyd and Gene Ha, it followed a high tech privately sourced elite crime solving organization—an idea that has kind of been done to death since then but it still works when done well. (Person of Interest?) A pilot was made starring Michelle Forbes and Josh Hopkins in 2005 but it went nowhere. But those were the days when comic books were just things printed on paper and not idea space thought peaches.

Now it’s back with Bruckheimer producing and Rockne S. O’Bannon writing a new pilot. O’Bannon is well known for creating Farscape, and he’s also working on Constantine, but don’t hold that against him.

As Deadline helpfully points tout, this is part of the EXPLOSION of WB TV projects based on comics, joining the on air Arrow, Gotham, Flash and Constantine, and the upcoming iZombie and Supergirl, which has a series commitment at CBS, and Lucifer, also at Fox.

Whoever is doing TV development at DC Comics—you rock.

2 Comments on And one more: Warren Ellis’ Global Frequency in development once again, last added: 11/21/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
40. Alan Moore’s Jack the Ripper Saga From Hell in development for TV

from hell Alan Moores Jack the Ripper Saga From Hell in development for TV

Now what was that I was just saying about non Marvel and DC properties getting a second look—or in the case of From Hell, a third look. The masterpiece by Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell that followed the saga of Jack the Ripper in fascinating detail was already made into a movie starring Johnny Depp. But now it’s back in development as a TV show:

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Don Murphy, who producer not only the From Hell film but the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen film, is producing, with Children of Men’s David Arata (Children Of Men) writing a script. And then:

When the current resurgence of event series started, Murphy thought that would be a great way to handle the material properly, giving the story time to play out and doing it justice. He reached out to Fox Group chairman Peter Rice who was an executive on the movie. Rice loved the idea and the project was set up at Fox TV Studios whose then-topper David Madden had worked with Murphy in the past. Arata was brought in as writer and the drama was sold to FX, with FX Prods. coming on board to co-produce with FtvS. Murphy is executive producing with Susan Montford, via their company Angry Films, along with Arata.


What’s the interesting part? It is the LOEG adaptation above all that set “the Original Writer” Alan Moore’s heart against any film or TV adaptations—Moore was forced to testify in a copyright infringement lawsuit, an event he found deeply repugnant. It is also safe to say that the amount of love lost between Murphy and Moore is such a negative quantity that it could form a gigantic black hole that could suck the entire universe right into it.

All of which is to say that expect Moore not to have anything to say about this and to get exceedingly cranky when asked.

BUT, you may recall that League of Extraordinary Gentleman was announced last year as a “put pilot”—meaning it would have to be made and shown or Fox would have to pay a sizable fee—and where is that? Not another peep heard.

All of that said, in case you need to be reminded, From Hell Alan Moores Jack the Ripper Saga From Hell in development for TV is a true masterpiece of comics, Moore’s phantasmagoric view of true life historical detail and artist Eddie Campbell’s deeply felt expressionist art combining with one of the greatest mysteries of all time to make an unforgettable story. If you haven’t read it, remedy that right now!

5 Comments on Alan Moore’s Jack the Ripper Saga From Hell in development for TV, last added: 11/21/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
41. Chris Pratt to maybe possibly star in Cowboy Ninja Viking

chris pratt 435x580 Chris Pratt to maybe possibly star in Cowboy Ninja Viking

© Disney

With 56 super franchise movies coming at ya in the next six years, The Beat has been keeping an eye on whether any of those zillions of non Marvel/DC comics options might be getting closer to the screen. And the answer is sort of yes. For instance Cowboy, Ninja Viking, written by AJ Lieberman and drawn (in spectacular fashion) by Riley Rossmo came out from Image in 2009, five years ago. It was published in the briefly-trendy Golden Age size and was one of the first books to introduce the now ubiquitous limited-palette/expressionist art style that you find in so many comics.

With a catchy title and high concept—intelligence operative is a multiple personality with Cowboy, Ninja and Viking and personas—an option was inevitable. But that’s as much as you usually hear about these projects.

1132860 cnv 06 cover Chris Pratt to maybe possibly star in Cowboy Ninja Viking

But now it’s roared back to life with the rumor that it-boy Chris Pratt, fresh off his dreamy, funny, Modern-Han-Solo role as Starlord, may be in talks to star in a Cowboy, Ninja, Viking movie:

A Cowboy Ninja Viking movie has been kicking around for a few years now.  Zombieland scribes Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese initially penned the adaptation for Disney, which deemed the resulting script “too edgy”.  Universal subsequently picked it up out of turnaround and a few years ago attached Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) to direct, though he’s no longer involved with the project.

[snip] Though a director is not yet set for the film, attaching Pratt as the lead will no doubt attract interest from a number of filmmakers.  Film 360 is producing the project, as is Mark Gordon, who is also producing the Aaron Sorkin-penned Steve Jobs biopic at Sony.

So there you go, a catchy title and a decent concept and this project won’t fade away.

I expect to see a lot of these floating around comic projects get their tires kicked over the next few months.

CowboyNinjaViking pg3 Chris Pratt to maybe possibly star in Cowboy Ninja Viking

2 Comments on Chris Pratt to maybe possibly star in Cowboy Ninja Viking, last added: 11/20/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
42. Starlin in back with THANOS: THE INFINITY RELATIVITY OGN in June

Thanos The Infinity Relativity OGN Starlin in back with THANOS: THE INFINITY RELATIVITY OGN in June

The post-Guardians partnership between Marvel and Jim Starlin continues with the second original graphic novel in a proposed trilogy about Thanos the purple skinned Mad Titan created by Starlin. THANOS: THE INFINITY RELATIVITY OGN comes out in June. While standalone graphic novels were once rare at Marvel they’ve gotten into the pool with the Starlin books, and some introductory books aimed at beginning (as in not experts in Marvel continuity) readers. The first book in the trilogy, Thanos: The Infinity Revelation, made the NY Times bestseller list, so it probably did all right.

Starlin created Thanos, who is expected to be the big villain in a number of Avengers movies, and his daughter Gamora, and has had a major hand in developing the mythology of the Infinity Gems which have been a running theme throughout the Marvel MCU for a while. And as the blurb shows, the book includes more of the whole Thanos/Guardians/Warlock mythology that Starlin developed:

Annihilus, lord of the Negative Zone has re-ascended to power, more dangerous and more deadly than ever before. When he and his Negative Zone armies make another, renewed assault on our universe in search of a source of infinite power, a fragile alliance of the universe’s most unlikely protectors will form to stop him.
 
Now the Guardians of the Galaxy, Gladiator the Majestor of the Shi’ar Empire, and Adam Warlock  and more must unite like never before! Only Adam Warlock’s complex cycle of death and rebirth has left him more confused than ever before. What is his purpose in the universe? Why is he here? With his Infinity Watch reunited alongside the Guardians of the Galaxy, between them they may hold the key to ending the threat of Annihilus once and for all – but to do so they’ll need to enlist the help of another.
 
Could it be that the fate of everything lies in the hands…of Thanos?


As with most Marvel books, this will include a bonus code for a digital edition with added augmented reality content.

0 Comments on Starlin in back with THANOS: THE INFINITY RELATIVITY OGN in June as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
43. John Schork leaves Oni

john schork John Schork leaves Oni

Oni publicity guy John Schork has left, as announced in a model of grown-upness via social media

Schork who has also worked at Dark Horse and IDW, joined Oni about a year ago as Director of Publicity. He was a pal on the convention circuit and it was always a pleasure working with him, so hopefully we’ll see him at the next stop.

Perhaps this will kick off a new round of publicity musical chairs? Also, DC is hiring.

1 Comments on John Schork leaves Oni, last added: 11/20/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment
44. Ten facts about cumbia, Colombia’s principal musical style

In celebration of tonight’s Latin Grammy Awards, I delved into Grove Music Online to learn more about distinct musical styles and traditions of Latin American countries. Colombia’s principal musical style is the cumbia, with its related genres porro and vallenato. In the traditional cumbia proper, couples dance in a circle around seated musicians, with the woman shuffling steps while the man moves in a more zigzag pattern around her. The cumbia usually takes place at night while women hold bundles of candles in colored handkerchiefs in their right hands. Although traditional cumbia is now primarily performed by folklore troupes at Carnivals and other festivals, cumbia has contributed significantly to the development of related musical styles. Below are ten interesting facts about the cumbia.

  1. The cumbia is accompanied by one of two ensembles: the conjunto de cumbia (also known as cumbiamba) and the conjunto de gaitas. The former consists of five instruments, while the latter includes two duct flutes, a llamador and a maraca.
  2. The conjunto de cumbia includes one melody instrument called the caña de millo (‘cane of millet’), locally known as the pito, which is a clarinet made of a tube open at both ends with four finger holes near one end and a reed cut from the tube itself at the other end.
  3. Other instruments include the gaita hembra (‘female flute’) and the gaita macho (‘male flute’). While the gaita hembra is used for the melody, the gaita macho provides heterophony in conjunction with a maraca.
  4. The bullerengue and the danza de negro are two other musical genres of the region, which have African characteristics. The bullerengue is an exhibition dance, filled with hip movement, performed by a single couple. Meanwhile, the danza de negro is a special Carnival dance performed by men who paint themselves blue, strip to the waist, dance in a crouched position with wooden swords, and demand money or rum from passerby.
  5. In the early 20th century, town brass bands began adapting the cumbia to a more cosmopolitan style. Between 1905 and 1910, musicians in numerous towns began these adaptations, which were strongly developed in the town of San Pelayo. Thus, the terms pelayera or papayeraare commonly used in reference to this type of ensemble.
  6. Vallenato, a genre related to traditional cumbia, also originated in the Colombian Atlantic region. Performed by an ensemble consisting of accordion, vocals, caja (a small double-headed drum) and guacharaca (a notched gourd scraper), vallenato is similar to cumbia in accenting beats 2 and 4, but places a stronger emphasis on the crotchet-quaver rhythmic cell.
  7. Another style of music related to cumbia is Música tropical, which developed from the dance band arrangements of Afro-Colombian styles during the 1930s and 40s. Música tropical is similar to the ballroom rumba popular throughout the Americas and Europe, although with it maintains a simpler rhythmic base and more florid melodic style.
  8. Música tropical also offered a response to the international vogue for Cuban Music, which was both Caribbean and uniquely Colombian at the same time. By the late 1950s, música tropical had found its way into the leading social clubs and ballrooms of the country.
  9. Throughout the 1960s, música tropical remained the national Colombian style. Recordings by groups like La Sonora Dinamita, Los Corraleros de Majagual and Los Graduados enjoyed a brief national popularity, but had a greater impact outside the country, spreading a simplified form of cumbia to Mexico, Central America, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Chile, where the style became very important.
  10. During the 1940s and 50s the musical pioneers Lucho Bermúdez and Pacho Galán composed and arranged big-band adaptations of cumbias, among other genres, popularizing the sound which became the new national music of Colombia.

Finally, watch a well-known cumbia — La pollera colera:

Headline image credit: Monumento a la cumbia, 2006. Public domain via Wikimedia Commons

The post Ten facts about cumbia, Colombia’s principal musical style appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Ten facts about cumbia, Colombia’s principal musical style as of 11/20/2014 5:54:00 AM
Add a Comment
45. Anxiety in non-human primates

Anxiety disorders adversely affect millions of people and account for substantial morbidity in the United States. Anxiety disrupts an individual’s ability to effectively engage and interact in social and non-social situations. The onset of anxiety disorders may begin at an early age or occur in response to life events. Thus, the effects of anxiety are broad ranging, affecting both family and work dynamics, and may limit an individual’s quality of life.

While there has been a great deal of research focused on anxious behavior and anxiety disorders in the past few decades, there is still much we do not know. In order to better understand anxiety disorders, and to develop novel options for those who are nonresponsive to current treatments, scientists need to investigate the biobehavioral mechanisms that underlie the expression of anxiety related behavior. Research with humans subjects is one strategy used to gain insight on how to effectively treat anxiety disorders. However, there are inherent difficulties with such studies, including complex life histories and differences in access to resources (such as health care), as well as ethical issues. Common physiology between humans and other animals allow for the development of animal models that allow scientists to examine the neurobiological underpinnings of anxiety disorders. The non-human primate (NHP) has been used in the study of anxiety due to the physiological, behavioral and neural commonalities we share.

One type of anxiety assessment in non-human primates relies on direct behavioral observations, either in the animal’s ‘home environment’ or in a situation in which the animal is mildly challenged to induce an anxious state. In these procedures, observers typically look for the presence of behaviors indicative of anxiety, including fear and displacement behaviors (normal behaviors that may occur at seemingly inappropriate times). For example, in certain stressful situations, macaques may pick at their hair, a behavior similar to hair twirling in humans. Importantly anxiolytic drugs that reduce the occurrence of these behaviors in humans have been shown to reduce these behaviors in non-human primates, suggesting a common biological mechanism.

One commonly used procedure to assess anxiety in non-human primates is the “Human Intruder Test” (HIT). This procedure was designed to evaluate an animal’s response to the “uncertainty” of the presence of an unfamiliar human. The species appropriate response when presented with this mild challenge is to remain still and vigilant; however, there is a range of responses, with some animals showing little response and others excessive freezing behavior. Variations of this procedure have used similar stimuli, including unfamiliar conspecifics and predatory threats (e.g., stuffed predator) to measure anxiety-related responses. Animals that exhibit heightened anxiety responses in the Human Intruder Test also show alterations in the same neurobiological systems affected in humans with anxiety disorders.

Barbary macaque. CC0 via Pixabay.
Barbary macaque. CC0 via Pixabay.

Another class of anxiety tests in non-human primates relies on measuring physiological response following the presentation of an unexpected auditory or motor stimulus. For example, anxious people are more likely than others to react to a brief, unexpected sound with an exaggerated heart rate. Researchers have adopted similar methodology to assess startle response for nonhuman primates using a wide range of stimuli and physiological parameters.

Other research has focused on the cognitive processes involved in the regulation of anxiety responses. These tests of “cognitive bias” are based on the idea that an individual’s tendency to attend to potentially noxious stimuli tell us something about how the individual processes or weighs the experience. Therefore, an individual’s “anxious” state can be by assessed from his or her judgment about or attention to stimuli with different potentials to evoke anxiety. Cognitive bias procedures have been adapted and successfully employed in humans and other animals with similar response strategies across species, making these tests valuable comparative tools in our understanding of anxious behavior behavior.

Our review presents non-human primate models used by scientists in an effort to understand the biobehavioral mechanisms that mediate anxiety. The cross-species approach of modeling human psychopathology aims to discover targets for treatment toward the goal of reducing human suffering caused by anxiety disorders. Additionally, the knowledge gained from our investigation of anxiety-like behavior inform captive care of non-human primates. The studies reviewed have refined our understanding of factors that may result in anxiety-like behavior and provide information on how to manage them. Modeling psychopathology in non-human primates is necessary and critical to our understanding and treatment of these disorders in humans and nonhuman primates.

The post Anxiety in non-human primates appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Anxiety in non-human primates as of 11/20/2014 5:54:00 AM
Add a Comment
46. World Philosophy Day reading list

World Philosophy Day was created by UNESCO in 2005 in order to “win recognition for and give strong impetus to philosophy and, in particular, to the teaching of philosophy in the world”. To celebrate World Philosophy Day, we have compiled a list of what we consider to be the most essential philosophy titles. We are also providing free access to several key journal articles and online products in philosophy so that you can explore this discipline in more depth. Happy reading!


Free: Why Science Hasn’t Disproved Free Will by Alfred R. Mele
9780199371624
Does free will exist? The question has fueled heated debates spanning from philosophy to psychology and religion. The answer has major implications, and the stakes are high. To put it in the simple terms that have come to dominate these debates, if we are free to make our own decisions, we are accountable for what we do, and if we aren’t free, we’re off the hook.

Philosophy Bites Again by David Edmonds and Nigel Warburton
This is really a conversation, and conversations are the best way to see philosophy in action. It offers engaging and thought-provoking conversations with leading philosophers on a selection of major philosophical issues that affect our lives. Their subjects include pleasure, pain, and humor; consciousness and the self; free will, responsibility, and punishment; the meaning of life and the afterlife.

Think: A Compelling Introduction to Philosophy by Simon Blackburn
Here at last is a coherent, unintimidating introduction to the challenging and fascinating landscape of Western philosophy. Written expressly for “anyone who believes there are big questions out there, but does not know how to approach them.”

What Does It All Mean? A Very Short Introduction to Philosophy by Thomas Nagel
In this cogent and accessible introduction to philosophy, the distinguished author of Mortal Questions and The View From Nowhere brings the central problems of philosophical inquiry to life, demonstrating why they have continued to fascinate and baffle thinkers across the centuries.

Riddles of Existence: A Guided Tour of Metaphysics by Earl Conee and Theodore Sider
Two leading philosophers explore the most fundamental questions there are, about what is, what is not, what must be, and what might be. It has an informal style that brings metaphysical questions to life and shows how stimulating it can be to think about them.
9780199603572

Killing in War by Jeff McMahan
This is a highly controversial challenge to the consensus about responsibility in war. Jeff McMahan argues compellingly that if the leaders are in the wrong, then the soldiers are in the wrong.

Reason in a Dark Time by Dale Jamieson
In this book, philosopher Dale Jamieson explains what climate change is, why we have failed to stop it, and why it still matters what we do. Centered in philosophy, the volume also treats the scientific, historical, economic, and political dimensions of climate change.

Poverty, Agency, and Human Rights edited by Diana Tietjens Meyers
Collects thirteen new essays that analyze how human agency relates to poverty and human rights respectively as well as how agency mediates issues concerning poverty and social and economic human rights. No other collection of philosophical papers focuses on the diverse ways poverty impacts the agency of the poor.
9780199338870
Aha! The Moments of Insight That Shape Our World by William B. Irvine
This book incorporates psychology, neurology, and evolutionary psychology to take apart what we can learn from a variety of significant “aha” moments that have had lasting effects. Unlike other books on intellectual breakthroughs that focus on specific areas such as the arts, Irvine’s addresses aha moments in a variety of areas including science and religion.

On What Matters: Volume One by Derek Parfit
Considered one of the most important works in the field since the 19th century, it is written in the uniquely lucid and compelling style for which Parfit is famous. This is an ambitious treatment of the main theories of ethics.

The Emergent Multiverse: Quantum Theory according to the Everett Interpretation by David Wallace
Quantum physics is the most successful scientific theory we have. But no one knows how to make sense of it. We need to bite the bullet – it’s common sense that must give way. The universe is much stranger than we can think.

The Best Things in Life: A Guide to What Really Matters by Thomas Hurka
An engaging, accessible survey of the different things that can make life worth living: pleasure, knowledge, achievement, virtue, love, and more. A book that considers what really matters in one’s life, and making decisions around those values.

9780192854216 What should I do?: Plato’s Crito’ in Philosophy: A Very Short Introduction by Edward Craig
Plato, born around 427 BC, is not the first important philosopher, with Vedas of India, the Buddha, and Confucius all pre-dating him. However, he is the first philosopher to have left us with a substantial body of complete works that are available to us today, which all take the form of dialogues. This chapter focuses on the dialogue called Crito in which Socrates asks ‘What should I do?’

A biography of John Locke in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
A philosopher regarded as one of the most influential of Enlightenment thinkers, John Locke was born on 29th August 1632 in Somerset, England. In the late 1650s he became interested in medicine, which led easily to natural philosophy after being introduced to these new ideas of mechanical philosophy by Robert Boyle. Discover what happened next in Locke’s life with this biography

‘Computing Machinery and Intelligence’ from Mind, published in 1950.14602113
In this seminal paper, celebrated mathematician and pioneer Alan Turing attempts to answer the question, ‘Can machines think?’, and thus introduces his theory of ‘the imitation game’(now known as the Turing test) to the world. Turing skilfully debunks theological and ethical arguments against computational intelligence: he acknowledges the limitations of a machine’s intellect, while boldly exposing those of man, ultimately laying the groundwork for the study of artificial intelligence – and the philosophy behind it.

‘Phenomenology as a Resource for Patients’ from The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, published in 2012
Patient support tools have drawn on a variety of disciplines, including psychotherapy, social psychology, and social care. One discipline that has not so far been used to support patients is philosophy. This paper proposes that a particular philosophical approach, phenomenology, could prove useful for patients, giving them tools to reflect on and expand their understanding of their illness.

Do you have any philosophy books that you think should be added to this reading list? Let us know in the comments below.

Headline image credit: Rays at Burning Man by foxgrrl. CC-BY-NC-SA-2.0 via Flickr.

The post World Philosophy Day reading list appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on World Philosophy Day reading list as of 11/20/2014 5:54:00 AM
Add a Comment
47. Shakespeare’s ‘Dark Bae’ sonnets

In continuation of our Word of the Year celebrations and the selection of bae for Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year shortlist, I’m presenting my annual butchering of Shakespeare (previous victims include MacBeth and Hamlet). Of the many terms of endearment the Bard used — from lambkin to mouse — babe was not among them. In the 16th century, babe (which Shakespeare used a great deal) referred to a baby rather than a loved one. So instead, let us see how Shakespeare would address his mistress if he courted her like Pharrell Williams.

Sonnet 130

My bae’s eyes are nothing like the sun,
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks,
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
I grant I never saw a goddess go:
My bae when she walks treads on the ground.
    And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
    As any she belied with false compare.

Sonnet 138

When my bae swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her though I know she lies,
That she might think me some untutored youth,
Unlearnèd in the world’s false subtleties.
Thus vainly thinking that she thinks me young,
Although she knows my days are past the best,
Simply I credit her false-speaking tongue.
On both sides thus is simple truth suppressed:
But wherefore says she not she is unjust?
And wherefore say not I that I am old?
O, love’s best habit is in seeming trust,
And age in love loves not to have years told.
    Therefore I lie with her, and she with me,
    And in our faults by lies we flattered be.

Sonnet 154

The little Love-god lying once asleep
Laid by his side his heart-inflaming brand,
Whilst many nymphs, that vowed chaste life to keep,
Came tripping by; but in her maiden hand
The fairest votary took up that fire,
Which many legions of true hearts had warmed,
And so the general of hot desire
Was, sleeping, by a virgin hand disarmed.
This brand she quenched in a cool well by,
Which from love’s fire took heat perpetual,
Growing a bath and healthful remedy
For men diseased; but I, my bae’s thrall,
    Came there for cure, and this by that I prove:
    Love’s fire heats water; water cools not love.

For the original sonnets, plus expert commentary and notes, visit Oxford Scholarly Editions Online: Sonnet 130, Sonnet 138, and Sonnet 154.

The post Shakespeare’s ‘Dark Bae’ sonnets appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Shakespeare’s ‘Dark Bae’ sonnets as of 11/20/2014 8:36:00 AM
Add a Comment
48. Bae in hip hop lyrics

Oxford Dictionaries included bae on its Word of the Year 2014 shortlist, so we invited several experts to comment on the growth of this word in music and language.

Today we’re here to talk about the word bae and the ways in which it’s used in hip hop lyrics. Bae is another way of saying babe or baby (though some say it can also function as an acronym for the phrase “before anyone else”). Here are some examples:

Childish Gambino’s “The Palisades”

In this song, Donald Glover sings “Now why can’t every day be like this…Hang with bae at the beach like this.” Judging from the rest of the lyrics and recent pictures of him with a young woman on the beach, I’d say he’s talking about a girlfriend in this case.

Jay-Z’s “30 Something”

In the chorus of this song, Jay-Z repeats the line, “bae boy, now I’m all grown up”. The overall song reads like an updated version of 1 Corinthians 13:11 (“When I was a child, I talked like a child…When I became a man, I put away childish things”). Here bae seems to be standing in for the word baby, as in baby boy.

Pharrell Williams’ “Come Get It Bae”

The video pretty much makes it crystal clear what the use is here: babe, referring to all the dancing ladies presumably.

Lil Wayne’s “Marvin’s Room (Sorry 4 the Wait)”

Bae shows up right at the end of the track, in the line “She call me ‘baby’ and I call her ‘bae’”. Here it’s clear that Lil Wayne’s bae is an alternate version of her baby.

Fifth Harmony’s “Bo$$”

Ok, I know this is actually pop, but I wanted to include it because it’s so catchy. The overall tone of the lyrics is classic girl power, including the line “I ain’t thirsty for no bae cuz I already know watchu tryna say”. Given the content of the rest of the lyrics, it seems like bae is being substituted for the sense in which babe can refer to boyfriend.

It will be interesting to see what kind of cultural capital bae will accrue in the coming years. Will it thrive, or go the way of flitter-mouse? For more on the many and varied terms of endearment the English language has offered through the ages, check out these unusual terms of endearment in the Oxford English Dictionary.

Headline image credit: Post-Sopa Blackout Party for Wikimedia Foundation staff by Victor Grigas (Victorgrigas). CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

The post Bae in hip hop lyrics appeared first on OUPblog.

0 Comments on Bae in hip hop lyrics as of 11/20/2014 8:36:00 AM
Add a Comment
49. Nobrow announces Spring catalog with Bosma, Hussenot, Lee and more

It’s that time of year when we start thinking about NEXT year, and publishers nveil their schedules. And few unveilings are as pretty as those from Nobrow—their books are routinely gorgeous and display a level of artistry few other publishers can match. ANd next year’s line-up (through August) are as gorgeous as you’d expect. Among the goodies: a full color expansion of Sam Bosma’s award winning Fantasy Basketball, and the print debut of Jen Lee, whose webcomics Thunderpaw we’ve long been fans of.  The latter is part of a relaunch of Nobrow’s 17X23 line of “pamphlets”—24 pages long and priced at $5.95. The line also includes two french full length graphic novels. Definitely some good reading to come.
9781907704758 Nobrow announces Spring catalog with Bosma, Hussenot, Lee and more
The Spectators, by Victor Hussenot 
April 2015, 128 pages, hardcover, full color
What if we are merely shadows of our choices? If our characters are defined by simple inflections of light and chance? What if, instead of actors, we are mere spectators? Awash in subtle color, gently carrying the narrative and allowing readers to envelop themselves in the lyricism of the work, this 128 page graphic novel by one of France’s hottest young cartoonists is a beautiful watercolor story that will demand as much attention as it will reward with its poetic and philosophical introspection of man.  Reminiscent of French New Wave cinema with its clipped dialog, gentle pacing and departure from a classic narrative structure, The Spectators is a gorgeous, forward-looking example of what comics has become and what the artform can share.
 9781907704802 Nobrow announces Spring catalog with Bosma, Hussenot, Lee and more
Fantasy Sports, by Sam Bosma
July 2015, 56 pages, hardcover, full color
 An oversized graphic novel expanding the Ignatz-award winning Fantasy Basketball to feature length and full color, Fantasy Sports tells the story of a young explorer and her musclebound friend on their trip treasure hunting in a mummy’s tomb. Brooklyn’s own Sam Bosma blends the flavor of 1960’s sports manga with the boldness of a Mike Mignola line, and the hilarity begins when their bandaged adversary demands a game of hoops! With riches in the wings (and eternal entombment as possible consequence), it all comes down to one intrepid young woman and her slam dunk skills in this YA adventure.
9781907704932 Nobrow announces Spring catalog with Bosma, Hussenot, Lee and more
750 Years in Paris, by Vincent Mahé
August 2015, 120 pages, hardcover, full color
War. Revolution. Architecture. Art. If you could stand still and just look for 750 years, what could you learn about the world? In August, it will be time to find out in this unique graphic novel that tells the story of one single Parisian building over the course of seven and a half centuries through all the upheavals of French history. Following his work in Nobrow 8: Hysteria, 750 Years in Paris finds Vincent Mahé grappling with the edges of communication that illustration allows in this hypnotic study of time and place.
9781907704970 Nobrow announces Spring catalog with Bosma, Hussenot, Lee and more
Vacancy, by Jen Lee
April 2015, 24 pages, saddle stitched, full color
Jen Lee (the cartooning powerhouse from an Idaho farmhouse responsible for the popular webcomic Thunderpaw) is coming to print for the relaunch of Nobrow’s 17X23 single issue comic line. Now with a new, much lower price ($5.95), the 17X23 line that launched the careers of Luke Pearson (Hildafolk) and Rob Hunter (The New Ghost) will see five new releases in 2015, starting with Vacancy—the story of a dog in a hoodie and glasses who might not be ready to live in the wild, no matter how much the post-apocalypse might need him to. A funny (and best of all, kind) take on Homeward Bound if all the animals were millennials and all the people were dead, Vacancy is the sort of comic that you’d hand to someone who just woke up from a coma—by they time they finished it, they’d be all caught up on what today’s culture gets right.
9781907704987 Nobrow announces Spring catalog with Bosma, Hussenot, Lee and more
The Hunter, by Joe Sparrow
May 2015, 24 pages, saddle stitched, full color
The Hunter, the second release in the 17X23 line sees Joe Sparrow taking a cue from Frozen and Super Nintendo with his 16 bit remix of a long, long time ago. In this acerbic fairy tale, one arrogant young hunter has grown tired of the simple bloodsport that occupies his friendless days. But when he hears of a mythical beast that sounds strangely like the animals he’s already conquered, mania takes hold. Can our (anti) hero survive with his arrogance intact? There will be (video game style) blood!
Golemchik Nobrow announces Spring catalog with Bosma, Hussenot, Lee and more
Golemchik, by William Exley
June 2015, 24 pages, saddle stitched, full color
Abandoned by his friends, one young boy goes searching for fun – and finds a golem on the hunt for the same, in this 17X23 comic by British cartoonist William Exley. But as the two go about living out their dreams of having the best summer ever, the boy realizes that golems don’t know how to take it easy! To save his town, he’ll have to get his new friend under control…or else everybody else in the neighborhood is going to do it for him!
9781907704864 Nobrow announces Spring catalog with Bosma, Hussenot, Lee and more
Lost Property, by Andy Poyiadgi
July 2015, 24 pages, saddle stitched, full color
From the pen of British cartoonist Andy Poyiadgi, Lost Property is the story of a young mailman named Gerald who comes across something pretty fantastic: a small shop, packed to the brim with everything in his life he has ever misplaced. From socks to yearbooks, this surreal repository of his life sends our confused friend into the maelstrom of memory, whisking him back through the crossroads that shaped his life. But what really matters, of course, is what he decides to do next!
Cyber Realm Nobrow announces Spring catalog with Bosma, Hussenot, Lee and more
Cyber Realm, by Wren McDonald
August 2015, 24 pages, saddle stitched, full color
Wren McDonald—another Brooklynite, this one by way of Florida—brings us the darkly hilarious story of a father’s revenge in a cybernetic world of horror. In a dismal future ruled by a tyrannical nerd who has taken all technology for himself, one man is making his way through the type of trials that usually face a Liam Neeson kind of guy. But instead of relying on a gravely voice and guns, our protagonist enlists the help of whatever old piece of robotics he can attach to his sweaty torso, in the hopes of an earth-shattering, revenge-earning brawl.

0 Comments on Nobrow announces Spring catalog with Bosma, Hussenot, Lee and more as of 1/1/1900
Add a Comment
50. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits Five 11/20/14: Five trends that will change the way you count on one hand

§ Roz Chast did not win the National Book Award—Evan Osnos won for Age of Ambition— But she’s still a winner in my book! There ceremony also saw Neil Gaiman presenting Ursula K. LeGuin with a lifetime achievement type award. LeGuin had things to say:

As she delved into the state of the publishing industry today, Le Guin’s speech was not without message. “Right now, I think we need writers who know the difference between the production of a market commodity and a practice of an art,” she said. Le Guin, too, referenced the Amazon issue, citing a “profiteer trying to punish publishers for disobedience.” She continued, “I have had a long career and a good one, in good company. Now, here, at the end of it, I really don’t want to watch American literature get sold down the river. We who live by writing and publishing want and should demand our fair share of the proceeds. But, the name of our beautiful reward is not profit. Its name is freedom.”

§ Rob Salkowitz recently summed up Five Trends In Digital Comics To Watch including Google maybe not being in the mix on digital comics yet. And also this blunt assessment that sort of points out the elephant in the room:

Dark Horse Digital needs… help

There is no polite way to say this: Dark Horse’s app was already falling behind in 2012. The company has left piles of money on the table by cutting itself off from the broader market and denying readers a decent digital experience.

On the upside, this situation has kept Dark Horse from getting entangled with Comixology, even at the level of core technology (Comixology tech powers most of the industry’s “white label” publisher apps, including DC and Marvel). Dark Horse would be well advised to get out of the app business and turn its digital distribution over to a competent partner. That presents a good opportunity for anyone ready.

§ I loved this post: Ines Estrada looks back on 2014 and it was pretty great from the micro press/small press/ indie side…at least artistically. I assume everyone is living on a single can of tuna a day as they share precious Risograph ink cartridges, but the comics look great.

ww0036cov Kibbles n Bits Five 11/20/14: Five trends that will change the way you count on one hand

§ Welp, that new Wonder Woman by the Meredith and David Finch team came out yesterday. Tim Hanley was underwhelmed. Tech Times felt it
“deliver[ed] some captivating mysteries” and Graphic Policy felt it “does what it needs to have done.” One thing is for sure, WW is back to having that whole “boobs and butt” look.

§ Speaking of BnB, J. Caleb Mozzocco comments on the return of 90s icon Jim Balent:

Here his art isn’t even recognizable (to me) as that of the same guy, but I guess it has been 20 years or so. I’m guessing it’s largely the coloring, which gives the figures a sickly, wax dummy-like appearance. The way Catwoman’s kicking though, that’s definitely a Balent pose. And, looking closely, they’ve definitely got Balent proportions…although, like I said, Harley’s breasts look remarkably realistic, at least in the way they get smooshed like real breasts when wearing a super-tight corset (Also, that’s a really nice background and, if you look closely, you’ll find a cat shape hidden in it, something Balent used to do with his covers for the Catwoman).

§ The 4th Letter Blog, mainly run by David Brothers, with help from Gavin Jasper, is closing up shop. Brothers now has a busy job with Image Comics, and it had fallen into silence, so it’s no surprise, but let’s give it the 21 kb salute…or whatever you ive when a website goes away. Brothers was a passionate advocate for Manga and for diversity and lots of other stuff. He’s taken his passion behind the scenes now and that’s good, but so few really strong “personality blogs” remain…their time has passed I guess.

§ - Andrice Arp interviewed Simon Hanselmann for Gridlords and it was highly amusing. Hanselmann totally has the comics rock star thing down pat.

§ A look at this years Best American Comics by Paul Morton is called Emancipation from Irony—and Scott McCloud did catch a certain zeitgeist, even if it is a bit normcore.

The Best American Comics 2014 reads as a sequel to McCloud’s theoretical studies. Previous guest editors instructed readers to thumb through the anthologies and choose work that interests them most just as they would browse the shelves in a comics shop. McCloud asks that you read his anthology in order, cover-to-cover, and that you treat it as a critical narrative. He divides his book into discrete sections, presenting a taxonomy of genres. The book is an argument on the state of comics in the second decade of the 21th century.

§ As a counterpoint to the above there’s the upcoming The Mammoth Book of Cult Comics Kibbles n Bits Five 11/20/14: Five trends that will change the way you count on one hand which collects a bunch of lost comics. I was particularly happy to see Gregory Benton’s Hummingbird and Jeff Nicholson’s Through The Habittrails resurrected here.

§ Peoples like to make lists. Here’s Paste Magazine’s 10 Great Comics for Adolescent Girls.

Gird Up Your Loins 2 Kibbles n Bits Five 11/20/14: Five trends that will change the way you count on one hand

§ Cartoonist Ted Slampyak drew Little Orphan Annie until it was cancelled, and his own Jazz Age Chronicles. He also draws occasional informational comic strips for The Art of Manliness, such as this truly essential one showing How to Gird Up Your Loins which tuns out to be a very practical and important thing.

§ Finally a followup to that Matt Thurber Letter to a Young Cartoonist that we were all talking about a few weeks ago in the form of a letter FROM a young cartoonist :

I am a 19 year old young cartoonist who lives in Malaysia. WHAT? MALAYSIA? If not for the two airplane incidents, I am quite sure the majority of the US population will not know where Malaysia is at all, let alone comic creators in Malaysia.

Which is interesting isn’t it? Here’s something to consider: would people like you, the comment reader, be able to notice Malaysian creators if not for the internet? Would people like you know who Hwei (lalage) is? Would people like you be able to know who I am (well, hello, I am here and I don’t mind work)? Let’s take this further: would people like you be able to read European comics, South American comics, Indian comics, Russian comics, Australian comics, Indonesian comics, African comics, even some AMERICAN comics, if not for the internet?

Would we even have this comic surge right now without the internet?

The reason why we even have a comic surge in the first place is because we’ve finally opened up doors for creators of different races, cultures, nationalities, identities, opinions, political parties, viewpoints, EVERYTHING to express themselves. And that’s good! Because this opens up the audience too!

To shift away from the internet is to reduce opportunities for young cartoonists like me. To reduce flavour in an increasingly globalised industry.

3 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits Five 11/20/14: Five trends that will change the way you count on one hand, last added: 11/21/2014
Display Comments Add a Comment

View Next 25 Posts