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1. 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
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2. 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
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3. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 11/17/14—New people are reading comics, but what’s their deal?

§ MUST READ!!! Brigid Alverson has a write up of last October’s Cv2 Conference. and boils down the many statistics that were presented that day about new readers from retailers, publishers and convention organizers. It’s a LOT of information but fascinating stuff.

§ The Outhousers Christian Hoffer was at ICAF this weekend, and it was a hotbed of sedition and intrigue new comics organizations, including a scholars groups and yet another new CAF, this one in Columbus, OH:

BREAKING: Jeff Smith (of Bone fame) has announced a new major comics festival called Cartoon Crossroads Columbus (CXC), which will be held in the city of Columbus, OH starting in 2016. A soft “beta” launch event will be held in 2015. Organizers have compared the planned event to the Toronto Comics Art Festival. Full news story to follow.

Details to come, but the era of the CAF is in its full flowering.

§ The Outhouse once again has a succinct write up of several stories regarding race in comics. The LA Times has a substantial look at diversity in comics, and got some comments from writer Christopher Priest on the new Sam Wilson is Captain America, which he thought was a stunt.

Adding that he’d be “delighted” to be wrong about the Cap change being a stunt, Priest laid out what his former employer is facing: “Marvel’s challenge is to deliver something so affirming and positive that the work overcomes that cynicism. I assure you, Black America will be watching: Does this have real depth, or is it just surfacey costume-switching?”

And he had some other advice for Marvel: “Hire some actual black people.”

OUCH.

Tom Brevoort responded in the weekly CBR debriefing, and said., yes it’s a stunt…but isn’t everything?

In terms of it being a temporary thing and not being a stunt, everything we do is storytelling. Everything we do, on a certain level, is a stunt. [Laughs] It’s all stories. Is it likely that at some point Steve Rogers will be Captain America again? The tide of history tells us that’s probably the case, but that didn’t make it any less of a stunt when Bucky was Captain America. And the people that loved Bucky in that role weren’t any less served because of the fact that, at some point, the day might come when the original guy would pick the shield up again. To me, it’s not about having that office forever, it’s about what you do when you’re the guy. In just a few years, we’re going to have another election, and it’s a certainty that Barack Obama will not be President. Somebody else will. And who that somebody else is, at this point, is completely speculative, but that doesn’t change the impact or meaning that that guy in that job had for people.

 

WakandaMap custom 2a50f250e44c8d39be67b18497aeaa7f31bb172c s400 c85 Kibbles n Bits 11/17/14—New people are reading comics, but whats their deal?

§ Why do we care about these stunts and commercial, movie driven comics? Because once in a while, it does matter. Along related lines, NPR looks at the Black Panther, and why the character has such resonance:

Depictions of Wakanda have varied over the years, but the country is consistently described as a technological mecca built on a foundation of magic and metal. Disease and poverty are eclipsed by scientific innovation and economic prosperity. Put simply, Wakanda is the perfect example of Afrofuturistic science fiction.

 

§ Editor Ellie Pyle is leaving Marvel (to go to Vertigo, it’s been reported) but she got a whole Women of Marvel podcast to say goodbye. I thought when you went to another company they just shoved you out the door, so this is very cool.

§ Bill Roseman is also leaving East Cosat Marvel to take over as Creative Director of Marvel Games

§ Tim Beyers has a an all new Marvel Movie Report up at his site The Full Bleed, which shows how profitable all the MCU films have been, YOu will not be surprised to find out that The Avengers was the most proftable, but can you can what was the LEAST profitable? Hint, it had giant scary poodles in it.

drifter 02 Kibbles n Bits 11/17/14—New people are reading comics, but whats their deal?

§ Chris Arrant talks to Ivan Brandon, and it must be said that DRIFTER, Brandon’s new book with art by Nic Klein is absolutely spectacular.

I tend not to think as much about genre in and of itself … which is to say, I love a lot of genres but I don’t really care about the established tropes except where they’re completely essential. When I get attracted to an idea my brain will often take a weird route to trying to bond with it. Likewise, when trying to get inside a character’s head I’m looking for really basic human connections that are hopefully recognizable to anyone regardless of where or when they grew up. The more I read about Vikings, the more they felt to me like gangsters. For Drifter the part of the future we’re envisioning carries a lot of similarities with frontier expansion. So it’s all organic to the way my brain works.

aviatrixart thumb Kibbles n Bits 11/17/14—New people are reading comics, but whats their deal? § And Tom Spurgeon interviews Eric Haven whose UR is coming out from AdHouse.

But after seeing what I made on the first issue (precisely $100, still by far the most money I’ve ever made for a comic book) I realized there was no hope for me to make a living at it. So I went back to the day job and continued to draw comics on evenings and weekends and holidays. It was depressing to think I couldn’t make a living as a comic artist. But I also feel that it worked out for the best: I could draw whatever I want at my own pace, not being tied to a strict deadline or a regular title. I did one more issue of Angryman before quitting that and focusing on creating mini-comics.

 

§ Marvel’s comic characters make more from licensing than DC’s ICv2 reports.

4 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 11/17/14—New people are reading comics, but what’s their deal?, last added: 11/18/2014
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4. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 11/14/14: Comics tried to break the internet once, and here’s what happened.

Look, The Beat had a bad day yesterday and made lots and lots of mistakes. Tonight we’re getting a full five hours of sleep and things should be much better. Okay? Sorry about all that, but it happens. Our “hire a copy editor” fund is to the right in the box marked “Patreon.”

Also, it is going to snow soon, so send hot cocoa.

wenworth1 Kibbles n Bits 11/14/14: Comics tried to break the internet once, and heres what happened.

Photo of Wentworth Miller as Captain Cold via Geoff Johns’ Instagram

§ The Wrap looks at all the LGBT actors being hired for superhero roles, like Ezra Miller in that far off Flash movie, Ellen Page in the X-Men movies and Wentworth Millar as Captain Cold:

“I’d like to believe the industry is more LGBT-friendly,” openly gay actor Wentworth Miller, who stars as villain Captain Cold on CW’s “The Flash, told TheWrap, “I see LGBT characters on TV and I can think of actors who are out and paying the rent. Again, mostly on TV. Most out actors I can name are either exclusively or primarily associated with television. I don’t know why that is, why I can’t think of more out movie actors. It feels like change might be coming more slowly on the feature side.”

§ Do you remember the first time that comics tried to break the internet? Brian Cronin does. It did not involve photoshop nor an oiled up butt, but it did involve a superhero believed dead!!!

§ First Seconds’s blog questions some of its authors on self publishing vs publishing. Self-publishing involves many trips to the post office so be forewarned.

§ Dr Naif al-Muawa describes the time he had to go to the police station and defend himself on charges of being a heretic:

“Leading up to it, there’s been a whole series of death threats.” Mutawa chatted with Al-Monitor on the margins of the World Innovation Summit on Education (WISE) last week in Doha, where he was on the opening panel. He’s facing a lawsuit by a self-proclaimed defender of the Sunni faith as well as a recent fatwa from the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, both of whom have attacked “THE 99″ for allegedly disparaging Islam — even though both the Saudi and Kuwaiti governments gave their blessing for the project years ago. “I went there with my lawyer and when I was asked the question at the police station, I just burst out laughing,” Mutawa told Al-Monitor. “It’s just so ludicrous what’s happening. I’m the one who’s giving Islam a bad name? I’ve been giving Islam a good name for over 10 years.” “It’s very schizophrenic,” he added. “They keep honoring me from here, and then they sue me from here — it’s like they don’t know what to do with me.”

Chrononauts 01 Kibbles n Bits 11/14/14: Comics tried to break the internet once, and heres what happened.

§ Comics news I missed in yesterday’s meltdown — a new comic from the Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy team called Chrononauts. It is very very pretty and will look great when they turn it into a movie as they do with all Mark Millar projects.

Described by Millar as “Apollo 13 meets The Time Machine,” Chrononauts aims for big sci-fi fun that will appeal to fans of last summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy. “‘Man’s first step into the past’ was really the starting point for this, planting an American flag in the soil the day before even Columbus arrives,” Millar says. “But of course it all goes horribly wrong and so we have these two guys stranded in the time-stream, trying to get home, but at the same time at this incredible advantage the people around them don’t have.” It’s a deliberate step away from the grounded and more serious sci-fi fare of recent memory, an escapist time travel adventure in the vein of Doctor Who. “It’s essentially a buddy story about two best friends who can jump around between 16th-century Persia, the American Civil War or New York in the ’20s,” Millar says.

§ Comics event in Riga, Latvia, courtesy of kuš!

tumblr mrrhnlFtlX1re3fhqo1 1280 1000x607 Kibbles n Bits 11/14/14: Comics tried to break the internet once, and heres what happened.

§ I was cleaning out some links and was reminded that Meathaus has a blog, mostly posting really cool art, like this from Christine Bian. In case you weren’t around 15 years ago, Meathaus ws a comics/art anthology that featured early works by Brandon Graham, Tomer Hanuka, Farel Dalrymple and James Jean among others. No big whoop.

§ The Batman tv show DVD is out and I have a copy. That is the only thing I wanted for my birthday so I’m super happy. Mark Evanier has a few comments including photographic evidence of him Adam Ward was made to look dumpy via the positioning of his Bat logo.

§ Evanier’s piece led me to this well researched and somewhat definitive piece on how the show finally got released after decades of legal wrangling and neglect.

The wait is over. Next week, Batman hits retail in all its kitsch-laden glory just in time for the holidays. After decades of rumors, corporate wrangling, and the foresight of an actor who recorded his commentary early in case he dropped dead before the collection materialized, the series finally escapes legal purgatory. But don’t give much credit to corporate lawyers. Instead, it’s due to a tireless, clever campaign by a small band of fans that started when Stacks started digging into the show’s archived paper trail. “That’s when one fat guy in Florida shook the whole thing up,” he says.

Indeed in reading the story about the conflict—which pitted Warner and Fox against one another with the scattered heirs of producer William Dozier in the mix—one is struck by just HOW LITTLE CORPORATIONS WANTED THIS TO HAPPEN. If it hadn’t been for dogged fans and the vision of Eric Ellenbogen at Classic Media this might never have happened at all, and Warner and Fox execs were mostly engaged in a war of “I don’t want the other guy to have the money!!!”. Ellenbogen, who was briefly a high level mucky muck at Marvel, is a preatty smart executive when you look at all the deals he’s made. But see the next post for more on that..

Among the fun facts in the piece: Mark Hamill had Fox make him a special VHS copy of the entire series; and Adam West recorded audio commentary years ago before there was even a DVD in case he passed away before it was finally put on the media storage of the moment. West is 86 and we’re very glad he lived to see this, even if his uniform was dumpy.

§ A look behind another nerd lore classic: James Dallas Egbert III, a troubled teen whose dissapearance in a bunch of tunnels in 1979 sparked protests against D&D. Police believed that Egbert had wandered into the tunnels as some kind of role playing thing (The term LARPing may not have been invenetd then) casting a lot of shade on the then-underground game. The truth, however, was much sadder.

§ Finally, Ellen Pao, a Silicon Valley whistle blower who filed a lawsuit for harassment which laid open a lot of the tech industries sexism, is now acting CEO of Reddit. Good luck with that!

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5. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 11/13/14: CM Punk and Noelle Stevenson are writing Lady Thor, but can they lift her hammer?

Thor Annual 1 Cover Kibbles n Bits 11/13/14: CM Punk and Noelle Stevenson are writing Lady Thor, but can they lift her hammer?

§ Marvel is putting out a Thor Annual and they pulled out all the stops to get the wackiest mix of creators ever. Wrestler CM Punk will write one story, that Chew’s Rob Guillory will draw; Lumberjanes’ Noelle Stevenson is writing another, with Marguerite Sauvage on art. And regular dude Jason Aaron is writing yet a third tale, with Tim Truman drawing it.

Punk, a long time comics fan, has been absent from the wrestling scene since he walked away from the WWE so he’s had lots of free time to learn how to write a comics script. In the ultimate perk for any writer, he even got a Marvel.com story with the hallowed title Welcome to Marvel, CM Punk – Hope You Survive the Experience. Wow that is a lot to live up to. Punk reveals he got the gig by pestering editors at cons, just the way most folks do.

Stevenson is well on her way to being a huge star, and this is her first Marvel work. Smart move, Marvel. The cover, above is by Rafael Albuquerque.

§ Best title of the day: Top Ten Comfort Comics For Fall by Megan Byrd.

640 Kibbles n Bits 11/13/14: CM Punk and Noelle Stevenson are writing Lady Thor, but can they lift her hammer?
§ The AV Club has a preview of that Gilbert Hernandez Wonder Woman story in Sensation Comics #14. The story saw print before it went digital which is…I missed the memo explaining that.

B1i4ZGTCMAAO3IW.jpg large Kibbles n Bits 11/13/14: CM Punk and Noelle Stevenson are writing Lady Thor, but can they lift her hammer?

§ I have hitherto neglected to link to this comic which was presented on Boing Boing called Lichtenstein’s Theft and the Artists Left Behind contrasting the modest means which artist Russ Heath lives under with the immense price a painting by Roy Lichtenstein based on his work has fetched. But I got a chance to remedy that when Albert Ching wrote more about the story and its origin, Turns out it was actually drawn two years ago for a Hero Initiative publication.

Hero Initiative President Jim McLauchlin reached ROBOT 6 to clear the air on a couple of elements of the “Bottle of Wine” coverage. First, the comic strip (colored and lettered by Darwyn Cooke) was initially published in May 2012, in IDW’s Hero Comics 2012. (In fact, ROBOT 6 ran the comic that month.) Also, the Lichtenstein work cited in the comic, 1963’s “Whaam!,” was actually based on a panel by Irv Novick in 1962’s All-American Men of War #89, published by DC Comics — Lichtenstein lifted from Heath in 1962’s “Blam,” with a panel also from All-American Men of War #89. Same issue, different artists.


As several folks have p[ointed out, the real message of the strip is that that drawing comics has not traditionally been a great line of work for those who want hefty retirement funds. I’ve said it many times—supporting the Hero Initiative is one of the most important things you can do in comics.

§ Thought Bubble, the much loved indie focused show in Leeds, UK, is this weekend. Steve Morris is spotlighting some of the comics and cartoonists of the show.

§ Zainab Akhtar spotlights Daryl Seitchik’s Missy, a striking mini comics about a young girl.

The rehabilitation was sparked by Daryl Seitchik’s Missy comics- a diary comic of a Daryl persona (I’m not sure to what extent this may be auto-biography) starting as a young girl and jumping forward in years as she grows. I like the ‘straight’ superficial reading of the Missy comics -especially Missy 1 when Daryl is still a kid- as this sharp young girl observing people, the way they behave, relationships, and working through her thoughts and feelings, as much as I like digging into it a bit deeper.


Missy was definitely one of the buzz books at CAB. You can read it online here.

§ Joyce Brabner and Mark Zingarelli have a new graphic novel out called Second Avenue Caper: When Goodfellas, Divas, and Dealers Plotted Against the Plague Here is a review.

§ And now, turning to SHOWBIZ, some stills from Constantine give us a first look at Emmett J. Scanlan who will play Jim Corrigan also known as the Spectre. Look, all I wanna know is DOES HE HAVE WHITE LEGS? The episode will air on 11/21, and also stars Doctor Midnite. It is a voodoo themed episode.

§ I always get a kick out of these celebrity interviews where they reveal what comics they read or read (past tense.) In this case is Joaquin Phoenix, who doesn’t really explain why he didn’t go for Doctor Strange, but reveals a very famliar reading pattern:

“There’s some great Batman stuff and classic Frank Miller Dark Knight stuff and Arkham Asylum. But I was always a big Wolverine guy. I love Wolverine—big [frick]ing great dramatic character. They’re all conflicted, and they’re really interesting.”


Everyone loves Frank Miller.

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6. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 11/12/14: Howard Chaykin said three things. The second came between the first and the third.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits has been away for a while because tasks. It was decided in a Beat executive meeting that I would bring it back only if I could do Upworthy style headlines. So now is the time to send in those link suggestions, people! The more uplifting the better.

§ Many people commented on this transcript of a panel with Howard Chaykin at a sparsely attended convention. Chaykin is most recently the creator of Black Kiss 2 and the artist on Satelite Sam, written by Matt Fraction. He also draw the very first Star Wars comic for Marvel, but was famously on an awful deadline and scribbled—but ARTFULLY—in a few places. Anyone who has ever spent much quality time with Mr. Chaykin knows that this panel is but a sampling of his tasty stylings.

The discussion then made the first of many detours when an insistent fan in the front row raised his hand and attempted to ask a question about Spider-Man. Chaykin immediately cut him off, saying he hadn’t read any Spider-Man comics in at least 20 years. “Anything after Ditko is not really Spider-Man, it’s somebody pretending to be Spider-Man,” he said. The fan kept his hand up for another five minutes to no avail, eventually leaving.

Although Saunders attempted to guide the panel through Chaykin’s career highlights chronologically, the creator frequently digressed, tackling whatever topic came to mind. On the subject of European graphic novels and their influence on his work, Chaykin was blunt. “The writing in those things was just as shitty as ours, but it was in French, so we didn’t know.”

Looking back on his stint drawing Marvel’s “Star Wars” series in the 1970s, Chaykin called it “the worst work I ever did in my life. I’d like to think if I knew it was going to be a bigger deal, I would have done a better job.” Chaykin mentioned that he had been approached by Marvel to work on the company’s upcoming “Star Wars” comics, but declined the offer.

Ladies and gentleman, Howard Chaykin!

§ Jim McLauchlin has a mild piece called Here’s Everything Wrong with ‘Comics Journalism’:

Professionalism tends to help any industry. Dentistry is now better with Novocain than it was in the days of bloody pliers and a shot of whiskey. With that in mind, here’s a quick guide to everything that’s wrong with “comics journalism,” with some hopefully helpful suggestions on how to make things a little better.

I have already taken his precepts to heart and have started by learning how to properly spell “McLauchlin.”

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§ Today we’re recording a More to Come podcast for PW Comics World, and our proposed topic was catching up on all the comics-inspired TV shows this fall. That meant I had to watch back to back episodes of Gotham, Agents of SHIELD and Constantine. Which was…a lot of sinister industrialists and strong female characters. And in answer to your question, definitely Matt Ryan. Listen to the podcast to hear more of my thoughts.

§ This Gene Luen Yang about his daughter, Wonder Woman and Raina Telgemeier is worth a read.

§ I also had this link in my queue: Twenty Years Ago Today: Marvel Buys Malibu Comics both for being an interesting snapshot of where the industry once was, and also as a contrast to what is, all things considered, a pretty stable landscape right now. Oh there are a few companies on shaky ground, some slow payers, and some change to come, but when I started this site it seems like I was writing about some company going out of business every other month, and that hasn’t happened in a while.

§ Speaking of perspective, here’s a little piece on the recent Geek Girl Con

On the organization’s “About” page, the creators reference a panel at the 2010 San Diego Comic-Con, “Geek Girls Exist”, as a primary motivator for the invention of their event. This panel is a rhetorical variation on the now archetypal “Women in Comics” session that has become common place at conventions, both big and small.

It’s hard to believe that only four years ago, people had to be persuaded of the existence of geek girls. Oh lawdie how things change!

§ And speaking of the ladies, here a nice summation of some of the women who have won cartooning awards this year.

art models7 Kibbles n Bits 11/12/14: Howard Chaykin said three things. The second came between the first and the third.

§ A man in prison sued to keep his copy of Art Model 7 which contains naked people which makes it porn even though it isn’t actually porn. However, maybe Milo Manara has seen this book too?

§ This is old, but Brian Cremins wrote a very good essay about “The Curse of the Werewolf”.

§ The great Juanjo Guarnido has directed an animated video for Freak Kitchen’s song “Freak of the Weak”. And it’s gawjus.

§ I had bookmarked this story about America’s slow internet and this one about high speed internet access because streaming is now such an important element of all entertainment. I recently got a high speed modem upgrade and it’s great when it isn’t getting knocked off line by some freak electrical current, which happens every other day or so. Also, BTW, Net Neutrality, yo. Although with streaming becoming so important, you can bet that removing net neutrality will be a priority of the job creators.

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§ The Oatmeal has a cartoon about Net Neutrality spinning out of some comments by Rand Paul. I’m sure you’ve seen it but here’s a link in case you were in a coma.

§ There is this cosplay ripoff artist going around. The Mary Sue has his mug shot.

§ The Mary Sue also presented this How to Get Into Reading Comics piece, which is a pretty decent primer.

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7. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 10/20/14: Gary Groth is a Stranger Genius

§ Congrats to Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth for winning the Stranger’s Genius Award for Literature. Many would say Gary is strange, many a genius so it all cosmically came together. The Stranger is Seattle’s resident culture paper, and each year it gives out its Genius Awards. Groth prevailed over Ms. Marvel’s G. Willow Wilson and poet Shin Yu Pai.

§ Retailer Brian Hibbs is fretting over the standard attrition that Big Two events are subject to

As this market has shown again and again over the decades, consumer interest in “events” is a fickle thing. Sooner or later every publisher hits a few foul balls, or the public gets tired of oversaturation, or the story just doesn’t work, or whichever of the myriad of reasons… and the retailer is the one left holding the bag. It used to be that when, say, “Secret Wars II” turned out to be a pile of lox, we weren’t that over-extended with orders in the pipeline — 2-3 issues out, sure, but that’s very different from “order forty-six different comics and tie-ins before you’ve had any real amount of time to judge how the first one did.”

People have been saying events are done for as long as there have been events. This also applies to variant covers. Normally I would just say it was ever thus and move on, but this is a changing industry. Where are we going? Damned if I know.

§ Zainab Akhtar and Steve Morris both went to the Lakes Festival this weekend, and they both blogged about it. I understand The Lakes is held in a small picturesque town and the goal is to make it a sort of Angouleme type fest were comics take over the town. I sounds adorable, but read on. Steve had A Quick Nip Round The Lakes Comic Art Festival and noted the many comics themed displays around the town:

Having captured several strongpoints across the city centre, the Festival had not only won a battle of occupation – but one of propaganda. Everywhere you walk (not that there are MANY places to walk in Kendal, which is a teeny tiny nice little place) the shops had transformed themselves

 

Zainab had a more mixed time:

Foremostly, my whole experience was coloured by people’s reaction toward me. Kendal, and the Lake District by large, is a very white, very middle class region. We saw -I think- maybe 6 people of colour in the time we were there (yes, I counted), and the festival, being located in the town center, on a Saturday with bright, dry weather- was busy, as was the surrounding area. I got stared at a LOT, and if you’re visibly ethnic minority, you will instantly understand the hostile, open up-and-down hard stares of which I speak although some people prefer a eye-contact off. We went into a fish and chip shop for lunch at one point, and people turned their chairs around to simply gawp/glower. As far as I could tell, it seemed to be the headscarf and being overtly Muslim, because the few poc I did briefly pass didn’t seem to be under the same scrutiny, but I could easily be wrong about that. It was deeply unpleasant.

The comics part of the visit was welcoming and tolerant, she notes, but she doesn’t plan to go back either.

§ Grant Morrison was interviewed for Interview magazine and said many Grant Morrison like things.

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§ R. Orion Martin has a look at another facet of the vast and unknowable world of comcis culture with a history of Lianhuanhua: China’s Pulp Comics. You probably didn’t know that China had a comics culture but of course, they do.

In 1985, there were 8.1 billion pulp comics (lianhuanhua) printed in mainland China. Most lianhuanhua were black and white paperbacks with a single illustration and a few lines of text on each page. They looked similar to the Big Little Books published in the United States from the 1930s to 1950s, but they were published in quantities that make the US comics market look tiny. Brian Hibbs analyzed the 2012 BookScan report and found that there were about 9.5 million comics sold in the US throughout the year. In the mid-80s, some lianhuanhua titles had single printing runs of more than 1 million copies. We usually don’t think of China as having a rich tradition of making comics, and discussions of Chinese comics focus on manhua, the Chinese comics that were inspired by Japanese manga. While it’s true that most of the comics being produced now are manhua, this was not the case for much of the 20th century. From their beginnings in the 1920s until their popularity bottomed out in the 1990s, lianhuanhua were some of the most widely read literature in the country.

§ Speaking of world comics, someone sent me this link, which is in Turkish, but Google Translate tells me it’s about the Turkish comics festival being held in December.

§ Okay cleaning up the last bits of New York Comic-Con here. You can not get a more overview-like overview of ay event than those written by Augie DeBlieck. Here’s a profile of Lance Fensterman. And a survey of expensive things you could have bought at the con. And here are photos from the Multiveristy/Image party. BTW in case yu didn’t figure it out, the parties a this year’s NYCC were as packed, vibrant and friend filled as other years. So much so that it’s taken me week to be able to sit upright again.

Mashable looked at some of the issues surrounding cosplay and harassment:

Partly, the issue is the characters themselves. Many of the revealing costumes are based off characters who were originally designed, at least in part, to be sexually provocative, for example, princesses, superheroes in spandex and sexualized anime school girls. As a result, many onlookers view them as the sexy characters they emulate rather than individuals wearing costumes, who should be treated with respect. But most real-life cosplayers are more concerned with the authenticity of the costume than sexual attention.

Hm. I’m not sure that de-sexualizing cosplay is any better than the reverse. It’s pretty obvious that many cosplayers (of all genders) are sexy and they know it. That doesn’t mean they should be touched, catcalled or made fun of, of course. I’m sure someone else has written way more wisely than myself about this, so I’ll leave it at that for now.

§ Matt D Wilson looks at how Southern Bastards captures its southern setting.

But, you might say, there are lots of crime comics out there. Heck, Jason Aaron, the writer of Southern Bastards, has penned a good many himself. Scalped and his Punisher run, to name a couple. Southern Bastards is something really special, though, because of the way Aaron and artist Jason Latour embrace its setting so deeply and wholeheartedly. Specifically, the book takes place in Craw County, Alabama, but it also serves as a deep dive into the culture of the South as a whole. There are aspects of the story that could only occur in a the setting of a small, Southern town. The creators, both Southerners themselves, do an amazing job of presenting a story that could be compelling to anyone but hit exactly the right notes for people who have lived in or near places like Craw County.

§ This gallery of Comics Journal covers brought back many memories.

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§ Finally, James Jean does the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and you can buy the toys. Nuff said.

 

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8. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 10/2/14: Film Festival!

Cartoonists doing thing, blabbing about it.

§ Reminder — we’re doing our 31 Days of Halloween countdown of spooky art, comics and animation. Send us your links!

§ Congratulations to Noelle Stevenson on finishing Nimona, her webcomic which will be published by Harper Collins in May of 2015. Reminder: the link is a spoiler so beware!

§ Simon Hanselmann continues his press tour with a revealing interview in The A.V. Club.

§ I wanted to do a more in depth analysis of this piece enumerating the Top 100 Events in the United States 2014; Comic-Con in San Diego is listed as the top entertainment event, beating out Sundance. The Academy Awards are the #1 awards event and SXSW is the #1 music festival. (Does CMJ even exist any more?) But then I ran out of time.

§ Steve Morris reprints an excellent list of how to submit writing samples to comics publishers—in many cases you can’t. Breaking in as a writer is still an uphill battle.

§ David Hine writes for the Huffington Post on his comics adaptation of Victor Hugo’s The Man Who Laughs.:

The Man Who Laughs is not an easy read. It was written late in Victor Hugo’s career when he was living in exile on Guernsey, and his contemporaries dismissed it as an inferior work. It’s certainly a pretty turgid read, crammed with long-winded exposition and with a non-linear timeline that annoyingly gives away all the best plot twists too soon. I felt like scrawling “Spoiler Alert!” in the margins when I wasn’t skipping the endless inventories of titles, ranks and possessions of the English aristocracy. But while I was often infuriated by the book’s structure I found myself gripped by the underlying story. Here was a truly enthralling tale of love and humanity, of ordinary people struggling to survive in an unjust and unequal society. At it’s core is the story of a young man who is kidnapped, mutilated and sold to travelling entertainers, yet who retains his integrity and his dignity through the love of his adoptive ‘family’, the eccentric philosopher Ursus, his pet wolf Homo and the beautiful blind girl, Dea.

§ The Boston Globe reviews Michael Cho’s Shoplifter:

In order for a graphic novel to be memorable, it must fulfill both parts of its genre label: The graphics must be arresting enough to justify their presence on the page, and the words must be well-composed. Michael Cho’s “Shoplifter’’ is that rare thing, a graphic novel debut in which text and illustrations fit together like two halves of the same mind; as a result, the taut story told here makes an impact and manages to show distinctiveness while doing so.

§ Also in Boston, a cartoonist claimed making a watermelon joke in a comic strip about President Obama wasn’t racist; many disagreed.  Eyeroll. SMH.

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§ Gilbert Hernandez has a wide ranging chat with CBR about his two graphic novels out this fall, Bumperhead and Loverboys.

This year you’ve made “Bumperhead” and “Loverboys” plus a new “Love and Rockets” plus a reprint of “Fatima.” Is this your new normal pace?

It’s something that I can do. It’s work and it’s tiring. I don’t plan on doing so many graphic novels at once, let’s put it that way. It’s just the way that things are scheduled with the publishers. After I finish a book, I can’t just go back to the same publisher and do another one. I jump to another and start a new project. I have to be ahead all the time, producing material. That’s why it ended up coming out at the same time. “Loverboys” might be the quickest long story that I’ve ever done. The time that I put into it was pretty brief, just a couple months. None of it’s rushed. I put the same care into it that I put into everything. But I can imagine a day when I go, “Hey, I can’t put out two new graphic novels a year anymore.” [Laughs]

Disclosure: Gilbert Hernandez is tied as my favorite cartoonist ever, so I’m just gonna keep plugging his stuff until they make me stop. Bumperhead is easily one of his best works ever and serves as a perfect entre to his work without having to plunge into the deep end of Palomar’s tangled generations. I have no idea what Loverboys Kibbles n Bits 10/2/14: Film Festival! is about but the cover looks like primo Beto, and what more would you ask for?

§ Is Stan Lee The Watcher?

§ And NOW a Beat VIDEO FILM FESTIVAL!

Cartoonist Cat Staggs and her partner are featured in the Target video about building a nursery for a new baby.

 

This ad for a bankish thing features a woman who hangs out in a comics shop. The Mary Sue was excited by this example of normalization.

Ed Piskor (Hip Hop Family tree) returns to his family home, which is in tatters, after 19 years in this video for Pittsburgh Magazine. Sorry about the game last night, Pittsburghers. You can’t go home again and here’s more proof.

Beat Pal Christopher Moonlight made this half hour film at the San Diego Comic Con in 2012 about Hollywood encroachment. Among those seen, David Mack, Camilla d’Errico and Batton Lash. Learn more about this film at the FB page.

Professor X';s habit of grasping his temples in pain could give the impression of being a whiny wimp, as this supercut displays.

Did you like our film festival? Send more video links and we’ll do it again! 

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9. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 9/16/14: a lot to chew on

I’ve been travelling for the last three weeks and there are even more kibbles and bits than usual piled up. Some of these are pretty old, but it would be so sad to let all those bookmarks I squirreled away go to waste. But first…

§ Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Tony Auth has died at age 72.

§ Cartoonist Liza Donnelly profiled at Forbes..

§ Headline of the day! Comic book convention comes to Ramada Inn

§ Headline of the day 2! Comic books enjoy a surge in popularity

§ Related! At Dragon Con, Beat contributior Kyle Pinion and a couple of others explained why

 

Why the comics industry is doing better than ever:

The panelists unanimously agreed that it’s a great time to be a comics seller.

“You just keep thinking it’s going to go die down,” said Tarney, speaking of what he described as the slow ascension of comics into the mainstream over the last three decades, “but then, bam! Arrow is huge and Walking Dead is huge, and you’re seeing more people into more things, and more people are exploring comics as a genre and as a form of media.”

Ludgood agreed, but pointed out that while comics have never actually left the cultural spotlight since the golden age of vintage superheroes, the current trend of adapting non-native characters into comic book form means more people wanting to buy the comic book versions of their favorite characters. (Think recent comic and manga adaptations and continuations of Twilight, The Last Airbender, Buffy, and other pop culture favorites.)

 

§ Michael Dooley takes a look at two recent books about cartoonists, the Monte Beachamp-edited Blab-like, Masterful Marks: Cartoonists Who Changed the World and Drew Friedman’s Heroes of the Comics.

§ One site that should be bookmarked is Women Write About Comics , which has lots of excellent writing including some from an academic or library viewpoint. Two pieces I enjoyed are Ivy Noelle Weir’s 741.5: So, You Want To Host A Comic-Con At Your Library a step by step guide to doing just that, fearful moments and all. And also Katherine Tanski‘s Comics Academe: How Do You Teach Comics? which goes into some details:

If the department, colleague, or student balks at a 224-page text (although McCloud’s text is also not particularly expensive, especially compared to textbooks generally speaking), the first chapter of McCloud’s Making Comics, which did its best to condense Understanding Comics into one chapter, is probably sufficient for teaching purposes. (Sidenote: There is really nothing worthwhile to be find in McCloud’s follow up text to Understanding Comics,Reinventing Comics, except as a historical footnote, since it’s mainly theorizing about the possibilities for comics with the advent of computers and the internet, which did, in fact, happen.) However, the reason I did, and still would today, advocate for using the full Understanding Comics as a supplementary textbook to whatever comic you want to assign is because, in my experience, students take comics more seriously as a medium if there is an entire book they have to buy in order to understand it. It quickly disabuses them of the notion that a comic is going to be easier to read than a novel.

 

§ Back before Sin City 2 tanked so bad , there were many assessment’s of Frank Miller’s comics output, including this look at the new The Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot , which actually was only by Geof Darrow.
daredevil 158 01 Kibbles n Bits 9/16/14: a lot to chew on

Grantland’s Alex Pappedemas looked at Miller’s entire oeuvre.

On the first page of Daredevil No. 158, the Black Widow wipes away blood from a split lip, preparing to enter a melee already in progress. A text box in the corner trumpets the arrival of “Lanky Frank Miller,” a “truly great new artist” poised to “explode upon the Marvel scene like a bombshell.” This was hyperbole even by the hucksterish standard set by Stan Lee. It also turned out to be true.

 

§ A little while back a copy of Action #1 sold for $3.2 million; the buyers were Metropolis Comics, who expect to make a profit on it someday.

“We feel very confidently this was a good price and that we will be able to sell this for a profit. We really believe in the strength of the comic book market and that it has a long way to go,” Zurzolo tells The Hollywood Reporter. While declining to say how high they would have taken the bidding, he adds, “All I can say is we were determined to buy it.”

 

§ I had bookmarked this piece on the Salt Lake City Comic Con which detailed them having trouble proving a local economic impact.

§ I’m glad Vaneta Rogers exists so she can pore over all the evidence about Blood Moon an upcoming DC event.

§ 29 years ago, semiotician Umberto Eco was excited about Krazy Kat and Peanuts, and you can still read his essay.

§ Oh, this one is old but it says so much: The Drab Palettes of Modern Superhero Movies.

I don’t mean to pick on one synergistic chunk of intellectual property. Based on the images released so far, 2016’s Batman vs. Superman will max out its hues at a vibrant brown. The collective monomania of these superhero movies is bizarre and sad—if you must make so many of the things, why not cast your eyes beyond a couple of decades-old Frank Miller comics?

 

§ Congrats to our good buddies at Green Brain Comics on moving to a nice new store.

§ Here’s a blog post by by the winner of the Women’s Costume at the Baltimore Comic Con costume contest. You don’t often see these winners mentioned, so I did!


§ People were amazed by this video of Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth with a broken pair of giant loppers that was found in a long abandoned closet…but there will be more Gary Groth videos to come.

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10. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 9/3/14: Lady with hawk breasts and a nation’s shame with Comic Sans

lost heroes cover

§ Dara Naraghi’s Indie Cover Spotlight is celebrating its 200th post today with a proto-nerdlebrity comics that features likeness of Mark Hamill, Julie Strain, Kevin Eastman, Walter Koenig, Bill Mumy, and more. It also has a woman with extra breasts in the shape of hawks heads.

Dig back in the achieves of this feature for some of that 80s goodness like the time that Bill Willingham drew….and very well. Oh comics, will you ever cease to amaze me?

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§ Wanna catch up with the tangled tale of Cassandra Cain? CHris Sims is your man.

§ A great career spanning interview with Society of Illustrators director Anelle Miller with a lot of information on her tim win the fashion industry:

FR: When did you transition out of Estee Lauder?

Anelle Miller:  I transitioned out in 2005, about 9 years ago.  I wanted to again make a change. I wasn’t sure about what I wanted to do. I needed to be more creative and surround myself with creativity. I started two companies on my own.  One company did creative marketing for nonprofits. I was still consulting with Estee Lauder working on the archives for Origins and then started another company called Original Women that focused on female artisans around the world. I did that for two years and then I got a call from a headhunter who wanted to know what I was doing and where I was. She mentioned there was a top position at the Society of Illustrators and of course, I was beside myself, because I had been coming here to draw for 30 years.

§ Fan Expo, the 3rd biggest convention on the continent, wrapped this weekend but one smaller comics website complains that they are clamping down on press passes: now they don’t even give out Saturday press passes.

I don’t believe Fan Expo needs or really wants any press coverage: they have 100,000 or more email addresses of people who attend their show. A built-in captive audience they can sell to whom they know like the product they offer. One free pass means one body in the show who didn’t pay and is taking a spot in a packed convention centre that could have been occupied by a paying customer. Our site’s audience is interested in hearing about what back issues were available, how they were priced and what that means for the coming year. No cosplay, no toys, no video games. Just comics. End rant.

§ The Sydney Morning Herald, one of Australia’s most respected news outlets, either a) punker everyone or b) brought shame upon their nation by using fated font Comic Sans in a from page fumetti, that , to be honest, looks like I did it. THe paper was unrepentant.

“As for the newspaper, the decision was made to match the surreal nature of the shocking revelations at the ICAC (Independent Commission Against Corruption) — and it was felt the font would best depict the comic-book feel we were trying to give to the front; as if to make a mockery of the appalling displays in the witness box from a former politician and a current parliamentarian. I am very pleased with the result, but that’s about it.” In a show of total disrespect to design guidelines and the year 2014, Goodsir then described the font as “underrated.”

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11. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 8/27/14: Hulk statue ahoy!

§ You will need to go through several sign-up tests to get to this Psychiatric Times article about the use of comics in psychiatric treatment, but inspired by the recent Comics and Medicine conference, the answer is “Yes.”

After hearing that I spent a few days at a comics and medicine conference, an ordinarily taciturn patient with autism spectrum disorder revealed that he enjoyed Japanese manga comics. It was unexpected to see him smile or show such enthusiasm, although I wondered if manga’s many sexually exploitative themes kindled his intrigue. Discussing comics in session seemed like a good way to open closed doors and circumvent his limited communications skills.

A transgendered patient seemed equally thrilled to tell me of her affection for artist/author Alison Bechdel. In one day, I felt confident that I had stumbled upon an unexplored but promising clinical tool. A few mental health–related graphic novels left in the waiting room can accomplish a lot, especially when dwindling appointment times leave less and less time for psychotherapy.

§ ONE MORE intervention link, I promise. Michael Cavna interviews co-founder Oni Hartstein :

ONI HARTSTEIN: I think the biggest lesson is that we all know each other much better than in the first year. The five-year point is when the staff really starts to gel with events, and that’s exactly what happened here. The quality of the event is higher than ever.

§ This piece entitled The Comic Book Industry Is On Fire, And It’s About More Than Just The Movies leads you through the many topics we’ve covered here over the last year or so (and links to a few pieces we’ve written) including more and better comics, more cons, more stores, more movies and so on but ends with suggesting actual comics to read. Curve ball!

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§ Huh well how do you like that: Marvel Has No Plans To Release Any Comics Based On ‘Big Hero 6′. This is the Disney animated movie based on Marvel Comics, but the subject matter has been thoroughly transformed. Straight out Disney kiddie comics are still a tough sell in the continental United States. And look at those characters. Who could possibly make comics about this gang!

§ After all the time we spent covering the amazing story of the Hulk Statue of the Northlake Library, we were stunned by this account of ANOTHER Hulk Statue in an Illinois backyard discovered by a news chopper inspecting flood damage.

Stunned.

What other Hulk secrets lie in the backyards of America? This could be an entire Marvel New Now Soon mini series. Hello Jonathan Hickman, this is right up your alley.

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12. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 8/26/14: He liked it! Hey Mikey!

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§ Dark Horse, having had great success with their Avatar the Last Airbender OGNs, is adding more GNs for kids:

Dark Horse announced plans to publish Rexodus, a sci-fi tale based on the notion that rather than becoming extinct, dinosaurs actually left the earth and resettled on another planet, created by Steelhouse Productions. Dark Horse also plans to republish Courageous Princess, an acclaimed fantasy graphic novel by Rod Espinosa originally published in 1999 by Antarctic Press; Veda: Assembly Required, the story of girl raised by robots, by Samuel Teer and Hyeondo Park; and The Return of the Gremlins, a new hardcover that collects the comics periodicals adapted from the Roald Dahl kids classic, written by Dark Horse publisher/founder Mike Richardson and drawn by Dean Yeagle.

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§ Ng Suat Tong is one of the hardest to please comics critics out there, but he seems to have enjoyed The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg, which is impressive.

In Greenberg’s opening story, “The Three Sisters of Summer Island”, the eponymous sisters find a baby boy “along the banks of the Sky Lake.” Unable to decide who should care for the baby, they consult a shaman who helps them divide the boy into three parts, each containing a different aspect of his soul. By displacing the more familiar tales of child rescue or abandonment (those of Moses and Sargon) and through its setting in the frozen north, the story manages to retain echoes of the legends concerning Sedna—the giantess and mistress of the seas and underworld of Inuit myth whose fingers when cleaved from her body became seals, walruses, and whales (in some versions, salmon or different species of seal).


I think I’ve used this metaphor before but if Greenberg’s debut GN had been a first novel by a prose writer she’d have gotten so much more attention. This evocative mythic world quest is one of the most impressive graphic novel debuts since…well, a long time. Maybe Dash Shaw, although he had many smaller books before Bottomless Bellybutton.

§ OH yeah and speaking of Dash Shaw and debut graphic novels (THIS IS WHY I MAKE THE BIG BUCKS, KIDS) here is Shaw reviewing Jules Feiffer’s “debut gn, Kill My Mother

The advance copy described this as Feiffer’s “first graphic novel.” Much like the term “graphic novel,” this is really just a marketing ploy. Feiffer has been marrying words and pictures into books all of his life… Isn’t Tantrum a graphic novel? However, this is the first time he’s attempted Eisnerian layouts in a long-form work. In all of his other comics, the words and panels are slightly, and very deliberately, separated for easy reading. The panels are either in isolated pages, like Tantrum, or a stream of panels with sentences above the characters heads (Explainers) or heavily illustrated prose (Man in the Ceiling.) It’s possible that this separation, or obvious distinctions between panels, has helped his work become so popular outside of the core comic book audience. In Kill My Mother, he goes the opposite direction, with nearly every third page having an explosion of Eisnerian panel arrangements. As a cartoonist, I love it that he threw himself outside of his usual mode and attempted this. But….[snip]


BUT WHAT? For the answer you must click the link!

§ Several people sent me this link to Derf’s reminiscence of Howard the Duck. Because Howard the Duck was my favorite comic until Love and Rockets came along, I am sympathetic:

Over the next couple years, Howard was one of Marvel’s biggest hits. He got the kind of media attention mere long-underwear comic books simply weren’t getting then. Imagine! An intelligent satire aimed at adults! Gerber mounted a Howard for President campaign in the 1976 election that got quite a bit of press. The button (above) drawn by Bernie Wrightson was a frequent sight pinned to lapels of twentysomethings   Howard was the first title aimed at an older audience. Previous efforts to tap a college-age audience, like Green Lantern/ Green Arrow or The Silver Surfer, had bombed. Howard the Duck, on the other hand, was, for a time, one of Marvel’s top sellers. The tide had turned. Five years later with the debut of video games the 11-year-old readers would vanish en masse and all that was left were older readers, but that’s another tale.


But here’s where it’s gets (q)wacky. In a link to this piece by Derf in a TCJ round-up, online gadfly Robert Stanely Martin refers to his piece on the history of Gerber, Marvel and Howard the Duck published at Hodded Utilitarian, and claims it contradicts Derf’s piece. If you’re interested in Gerber and a foundational tale of the struggle for creator ownership, Martin’s research is of note, however, TCJ’s Tim Hodler points out that the two accounts are virtually identical. So that is what happens when a) you read the comments b) you get into the tendentious world of online comics scholars.

§ LA Weekly’s Liz Ohanesian treks to the Jurassic Era of comic cons, LA’s Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention which is held at The Shrine a few times a year. Admission is $10, which is probably $5 more than it was when I went to it in the 80s.

In recent years, fan conventions have mushroomed into high-profile, weekend-long events where studios announce new releases, cosplayers are photographed like celebrities and lines are everywhere. There was no line to get inside the Shrine for Los Angeles Comic Book and Science Fiction Convention. By mid-afternoon, the longest wait here was to buy a caricature from Ren & Stimpy creator John Kricfalusi. If you wanted to buy something, you could easily get the attention of one of the dealers. There were no costumed con-goers, no impromptu photoshoots blocking the aisles. It was a convention without the frills that, for some, are part of the experience and, for others, are an annoyance.


It is breathtaking to think that this cardboard box show still survives virtually unchanged, like the coelacanth.

§ Speaking of cons, here’s a profile of the Dubai Comic Con with an emphasis on the number of female artists…which was more than half.

To many Westerners, Dubai is a conservative city in a conservative Arab state, which makes it an odd place for a convention of risqué Lycra-obsessed cosplayers and over-the-top entertainment. Even more bizarre: In a culture where ladies are told to cover up, Comic Con is attracting women in their droves. And they’re not just there to gawp—there were actually more women artists at Dubai Comic Con than male artists, which is in stark contrast to American Comic Con, which is often criticized for its lack of women.


§ Speaking of the diversification of comics, Andrew Wheeler surveys how Marvel and DC are doing in the wake of Ass-Gate:

Most of Marvel’s ten books have male writers and male primary artists; Storm, Spider-Woman, Thor, She-Hulk, Elektra, Black Widow, and X-Men. Only three of Marvel’s female-led books have female primary creators; Captain Marvel is written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, Ms. Marvel is written by G. Willow Wilson, and uniquely among all Marvel’s books, the regular team on Angela includes a female writer and a female artist in Marguerite Bennett and Stephanie Hans — but also a male writer and a male artist in Kieron Gillen and Phil Jimenez, as the book contains complimentary storylines split between the two teams. (In November, Bennett is also writing the Lady Deathstrike-focused Logan Legacy one-shot, while Katie Cook is both a writer and artist on Spider-Verse, and Corinna Bechko is a co-writer on Savage Hulk.)

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§ Zainab previews Inés Estrada’s ‘Laspos’

§ Ed Piskor’s hip hop cred is examined in the Daily Beast’s Bam! Pow! Bling!

§ This link was in my mail for eons but it is still worth reading: a profile of the closing of the comics shop Bigkatts:

I immediately realized that in many ways Bigkatts had a secret identity of its own. Located in a storage facility, the store wasn’t an eyesore like so many of the businesses on the busy streets of South Florida are. Instead, it was tucked away and looking like so many other storage spaces, its exterior came off as mundane. Then I walked inside and what I found was…wonder.

5 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 8/26/14: He liked it! Hey Mikey!, last added: 8/26/2014
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13. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 8/25/14: This I believe

§ Many people gave artist Karine Charlebois grief for daring to redraw Milo Manara, but did anyone actually read why she did it?

My point with this tumblr is not to put the men into sexy poses. No. I don’t have a problem with how the men are drawn, usually. What occurred to me is that men get their back up when women try to make the point through illustration that the posing is wrong due to how degrading it is. Instead of putting themselves in the women’s place, they can’t identify with the problem because they’re basically being shown gay men, which they don’t identify with. Attempts like this end up perceived more as a “how do you like THEM apples” by the men.

So I rethought my idea of redrawing a cover changing the women’s poses as kick ass, and the men’s as Harlequin Romance fodder. My attempt at getting sympathy and understanding would fall flat. Besides, I have no problem, as I stated before, with how men are drawn, for the most part. It’s the women I have a problem with. So how do you get the point across? How do you fix that problem? By bringing suggestions and solutions. I want this tumblr to prove that women CAN be posed in ways other than T&A and still be awesome. Better yet, awesomer.

So you see it isn’t a matter of Manara can’t draw, it is just suggesting that there is a less sexualized way. I understand the peril of these redraws, but I believe Charlebois is being accused of something she never claimed.

§ I did not mention previously that Boom! Studios now has a TV First look deal with Fox, as well as a movie one. Good times.

displacedpersons-ogn-afa50§ Derek McCulluch has a new GN out from Image called Displaced Persons—drawn by Anthony Peruzzo— and it has quite a long back story

CBR News: Derek, how are you explaining this novel to people?

Derek McCulloch: That’s a question I’ve been working on and failing miserably at for fifteen years. The best way I’ve approached it is to summarize each of the three stories individually, to say that it’s a Hammet inflected detective story from the 1930s, a drug-heist story from the 1960s and a domestic drama about real estate from the 1990s. It’s all of those things linked together by the slightest bit of time travel.

McCulluch mentioned that he pitched it to me when I was an editor and I rejected it, but he kindly doesn’t quote what I really said which was “I hate time travel stories.” And I do. Lost aside. Let those who like them edit them! Anyway looking forward to finally reading the finished product.

§ Johanna reviews “Thoughts from Iceland” a cute little travelog comic that I highly recommend reading if you ever go to Iceland.

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§ MTV has a gallery of the best butts from the VMAs last night. Big butts definitely in the zeitgeist right now. Above, J-Lo who kicked it off more than a decade ago and remains in scary good shape at age 45.

§ A phony Josh Trank twitter account was set up over the weekend, and fooled many people into thinking the FF reboot director relaly was revealing many things.

4 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 8/25/14: This I believe, last added: 8/26/2014
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14. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits: 8/22/14: Can’t we talk about something more pleasant

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§ Jules Feiffer’s astounding graphic novel Kill My Mother is coming out soon, and the press tour is rolling out — here’s an interview in the LA Times

“Never having known how to work in this style, suddenly in my 80s, I discover I can,” he says by phone from his home on Long Island, N.Y. “I was both shocked and appalled that I had assigned myself this 2½-year job of drudgery. It turned out to be fun, but at the time I thought, ‘This is impossible, what am I doing?’


Feiffer is also interview by Terry Gross for Fresh Air! SCORE!

There’s a preview of the book here and you’ll see what I mean about astonishing.

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§ Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba is a sometimes underrated graphic novel that exploresthe uncertainty of life via ending the story at various points. And the University of Tennessee has chosen it part of its freshman reading which helps new student get acclimated to campus life:

For freshman accounting major Cameron DeJean, reading “Daytripper” was a positive way to start off the school year.

“Each chapter was like a section of his life,” DeJean said, comparing his freshman year to a new section of his own life.

Additionally, DeJean found the graphic novel medium “easier to read” than traditional literature, as the illustrations helped form “mental images” which helped to understand the plot.


§ Author Diana Gabaldon is riding high due to the success of the saucy man-in-a-kilt love story Outlander. She’s appearing in Scotland soon but first she talks about her comics writing days with the BBC:

Another of the characters Gabaldon took on was the Scots accented Uncle Scrooge McDuck. She stopped writing comic book scripts when Disney decided to re-run older stories. Gabaldon said: “Marvel Comics had heard about me and asked if I would write for them. “While I absolutely believed in Donald Duck and Scrooge McDuck, I didn’t believe in Spider-Man, so I didn’t write for Marvel Comics.”


§ Lauren Davis reviews Michael DeForge for io9 but keeps reminding everyone that the story is not truebecause….DeForge’s work is so realistic? I dunno. Ayway it’s a good overview otherwise.

Canadian Royalty: Their Lifestyles and Fashions is a bit like Spotting Deer in that it describes something that is only slightly too weird to exist. DeForge describes the apparent cruelties that Canadian royals are subjected to from childhood and the dubious—sometimes horrifying—honors adults may receive upon their ascendancy. And there are brief dips into the history of individual royals and former royals that offer hints of an even larger picture.


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§ Remember Crunchyroll, the digital manga portal that started a last year? Started to combat piracy, Sean Gaffney looks at where its at now:

Kodansha still has the largest presence on the site, and are still adding new titles that may interest the North American reader, such as the new Onizuka spinoff/continuation. It’s still predominately Shonen Magazine and its subsidiaries, but there has been an effort to add some seinen as well, notably the Morning title Investor Z. (By the way, not all of the licensing is through Kodansha – a large number of the titles on the site seem to be licensed via ‘Cork’, including the Anno ones. Investor Z is one of those.) Most of their titles are ongoing concerns – updated weekly or monthly as their Japanese fellows are. I do note A Town Where You Live has finished, but Vols. 1-11 still seem to be absent from the site – going backwards is not Kodansha’s priority.


PS: everytime I read anything about this site I get the taste of umami and shrimp in my mouth.

§ With all the conventions popping up everywhere, and no rule book to guide rookies, this overview by David O’Connell on what shows need from an exhibitor’s perspective should be MUST READING:

If I want to sit in a room filled with tables and chairs and no customers I will spend my day in Furniture World in Plymouth. Publicity is the most important thing after LOCATION, DATE, TIME and is often forgotten. I’ve heard one organiser actually say publicity is the responsibility of the exhibitors. It is not.

At Ideal Con marketing and publicity will always be at the top of the Ideal Con organiser’s (ICO) to-do list. At the TOP. With its own budget. Its own team. Enough money at least for a BIG sign outside the venue, and maybe a couple of sandwich boards (LOCATION, DATE, TIME) around town.


MUCH MORE IN THE LINK. [h/t Comics Reporter]

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§ Sean T. Collins interviews Meghan Turbitt for The Comics Journal.

Everything I make, every particle of my being, is based on how I grew up. Everything I make will of course be influenced by that. But to be honest, the reason I made #foodporn is because I had a crush on an ugly guy who made pizza at my local pizza joint. He is not attractive. When he was making the pizza I was attracted to him, though? I didn’t understand it and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I thought the concept of him getting hotter and hotter as he made the pizza was just hilarious. Hence the premise of the book.


§Sometimes The Outhouse just makes me cry

In a poorly timed press conference this morning, DC Comics revealed that the variant cover gimmick theme for the month of December will be “Dick Pics.” DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan Didio stood proudly behind a podium in front of DC’s Burbank offices to announce the theme. “I know that everyone has been really excited by our monthly variant cover themes, such as Bombshells, Selfies, and 3DNado,” Didio boasted. “Well, prepare to have your minds blown in December as DC Comics brings you Dick Pic Variants!” Didio paused as the crowd grew quiet. Unphased, he continued. “For some reason, a lot of people have been talking about Dick pics online. We love Dick pics and want to pay our creators to send them to us.”

2 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits: 8/22/14: Can’t we talk about something more pleasant, last added: 8/23/2014
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15. KIbbles ‘n’ Bits 8/20/14: big old catch up

§ It seems a bunch of folks missed out on the Party Central main hotel for SPX. The Comics Reporter has info on the back up hotel. It’s true that one of the things that makes SPX so much fun is everyone being in one clubhouse but I think starting the day with a brisk 3/4 mile walk has its benefits as well.

§ Tim O’Neill talks to Jesse Jacobs, whose Safari Honeymoon is one o the more intriguing books of the year.

How and when did your interest in edenic landscapes originate?

I’ve always loved nature. My day job allows me to visit a number of small farms, and I have been inspired by some of the people I have been meeting. Permaculture techniques, which really take advantage of the natural systems that exist in nature, I find especially interesting. There exists an amazingly intricate system that provides so much, and there are people who are succeeding in tapping into that harmony without exploitation.


§ Anne Ishii interviews Annie Koyama, one of the nicest people in comics.

I understand it’s important to support starving artists, but why art books, or books in general?

Only because that’s what I love. I love to look at books, I love art, so that was a no brainer to me. It certainly wasn’t a conscious decision. It organically morphed into this. It was totally accidental. And, how do you choose the artist that you sponsor? It’s really simple. I go online and look at their work. If I like the work, I pursue the artist.


§ Brigid Alverson profiles The Distribution Engine, a new company bringing lots of cool UK comics to the US. More cool comics! Gotta catch em all.

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§ xkcd’s Randall Munroe is not only a Hugo Award winner, he’s soon to be published by a major publishing house. His “What If” columns with scientific looks at various hypotheticals, will be published next month, and here’s an excerpt:

The forests of New York 1,000 years ago would be full of chestnut trees. Before a blight passed through in the early twentieth century, the hardwood forests of eastern North America were about 25 percent chestnut. Now, only their stumps survive. You can still come across these stumps in New England forests today. They periodically sprout new shoots, only to see them wither as the blight takes hold. Someday, before too long, the last of the stumps will die.

Or you can read the whole column here.

§ Some grade school kids made a History of Buffalo Graphic Novel Kids do the darnedest things.

Post tells WBFO News his favorite part of participating in the summer program was when they began to color in their sketches and received a certificate from New York State Senator Tim Kennedy. He issued certificates of congratulations to the students who completed the project.

§ Marvel’s Star Wars editor Jordan D. White is profiled at Mancave (?):

MCD: When Marvel obtained the license back in the ’80s they were free to explore the expanded universe. Have there been any callbacks to that continuity?

JDW: Actually–let me take that back–there IS a big thing we have not announced yet that will be revealing stuff in comics first. It’s a big part of a character’s backstory that is important to them but that has not been shown before. We’re going to have the chance to reveal it in comics first. I can’t say what or where yet…but I will eventually.

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§ Here’s a look back at Deogratias by J.P. Stassen Kate Polak, one of First Second’s early offerings, about the Rwanda genocide. This was a moving book, and one that deserves to be remembered:

Deogratias, in contrast, is an intensely quiet graphic novel. The title character rarely speaks, and while we see the pre-genocide world partially through his memories, he never contextualizes them, or connects them to the silent, dirty man we see in the post-genocide era. The characters who speak in the pre-genocide era have relatively normal lives and normal concerns. The characters who speak in the post-genocide era carefully avoid any reference to the events of April-July 1994. What I find perhaps most important about Deogratias is the extent to which Stassen emphasizes the unreliability of images and the emotional responses they provoke in readers.

§ When is the next indie show? When is the table deadline? Con-Mon has the answer! Link via The Tiny Report.

§ Remember that whole Howard the Duck thing that happened a few weeks back? 13th Dimension interviews Frank Brunner, the co-creator of Howard. I’ll cut to the chase:

Did you get paid on the old movie?

Nope! All I got was the blame for it being a bomb when I moved to Hollywood!

How is Marvel treating you in regards to the resurgence and upcoming film?

I hear DC pays creators more respect than Marvel does. It seems ironic that the company that is breaking box-office records left and right, tends to ignore the people who actually did the work. So far, they have been pretty quiet. It’s enough to make you want to break out singing Dylan’s Blowin’ In the Wind.


§ I can never see the name Frank Brunner without remembering one of the most embarrassing incidents of my life. Being a HUUUUGE Howard the Duck fan, I was very thrilled back in the day, when Brunner paid a visit to my then boss Marv Wolfman back at the old Disney Comics offices. We were all sitting having a nice chat when Brunner suddenly pointed to my head with an alarmed expression. “Is that a bug in your hair?” he said. And then I started screaming reflexively, loudly and uncontrollably because having a bug in my hair is one of my phobias. It turned out I was wearing a scarf and there was a moth in it. I’m sure Brunner thought I was a total wackadoo after that.

§ I don’t quite get this story about some folks in Victoria, TX trying to get the city council to give them grant money for a comic-con, but it worked.

After the seven-person committee responsible for doling out hotel occupancy tax dollars recommended zilch to the convention, Anthony Pedone, executive director of Victoria TX Indie Film Fest, offered up $10,000 of his own $45,000 grant. The City Council voted 6-1 to give $9,726 to the convention and to take a portion from all recipients to give $10,000 to Warrior’s Weekend, which had also been turned down for funding. The money, known as HOT funds – short for hotel occupancy tax – comes from a tax hotel and motel guests pay on rented rooms. The state collects 6 percent, and the city collects 7 percent, which can only be used to promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry.


§ Finally in my newly revived RSS feed, I see Alan David Doane is blogging again, and a few weeks ago he brought up a rather interesting topic:now no one really cares now that Miracleman is being reprinted, and even the once notorious birth issue barely got a peep”

I’m amazed at how little the ongoing Miracleman reprints, set to lead up to new issues by Neil Gaiman, completing his unfinished run, are being talked about. This week’s re-release of one of the two most controversial issues in the series didn’t even merit a mention in the most prominent weekly new releases rundown on a site dedicated to reporting on comics. It’s a curious omission by a site that has been curiously silent about this title, given how rich a topic of discussion it has the potential to be, combining overall narrative excellence with creators right issues, and how Marvel is handling not only the reissuing of one of the most important superhero comics in history, but how they are handling such elements as Winter’s birth. There’s a slight buzzing in the back of my head that tells me Moore’s penultimate issue, in which the destruction of London is vividly, violently depicted (resulting in Miracleman #15 being the other hugely controversial issue in the run), might actually get talked about by major websites that purport to report on comics. If that’s the case — that the vagina issue is ignored while the BIG DEATH ISSUE is deemed worth talking about — man, comics as a culture is even more fucked than I already figured it is.

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§ I also rediscovered Alex Jay’s Stripper’s Guide which has a fine history of Gustave Verbeck, the guy behind the Upside Downs and many other very disturbing comic strips of the belle epoch. Every image in The Upside Downs of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo, to give it the proper title, could be turned upside down for a completely different image. Definitely one of the greatest feats in comics history. It lasted for two years!

§ Finally, congrats to Beat alum and Eisner nominee Zainab Akhtar on joining Comics Alliance. She is missed, but everyone’s gotta move on.

5 Comments on KIbbles ‘n’ Bits 8/20/14: big old catch up, last added: 8/21/2014
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16. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 8/11/14: Watterson pages sell for $74,040

Happy Monday, people. Hope you enjoyed that Supermoon.

§ I have several excellent candidates for the new indie chart analyst here, including some writers I wasn’t previously aware of, so I’ll be sifting through those this week. In the meantime, Chris Rice…paging Chris Rice…

§ I promise I will do a San Diego wrap-up piece even if no one cares about it. Hopefully tomorrow.

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§ Those three pages of “Pearls Before Swine” art that included work by Bill Watterson (along with creator Stephan Pastis) went up for auction on behalf of Team Cul de Sac at Heritage and the three strips sold for a total of $74.040 to three separate collectors who wish to remain anonymous. The money is going to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The strips were displayed at Heroescon a few months ago and they were very cool; I’m sure the folks who bought them are very pleased with their purchase.

§ Not a Buzzfeed piece! Not an Upworthy piece! Graphic novels: a misunderstood medium! It seems one woman in Massacusetts, Boston U. lecturer Laura Jimenez, thinks folks just don’t get how much information is in those graphic novels!

To create these pointers, she surveyed “expert” graphic novel readers, including “the guys who hang out in gaming shops and can talk about every issue of Aquaman,” she said in a recent BU News article. The strategies she developed from those conversations all involve ways of extracting information from the page that go beyond merely comprehending the words. Jimenez’s experienced readers would approach a novel by first skimming the whole thing to absorb its overall aesthetics. Then they’d turn back to the first page, where they would “study the background, setting, and time period”; then they’d consider the characters, and examine the colors to “determine the mood of the book.” Only then would they settle in to read it.

§ In all the excitement over those gazillion WB movie dates, folks seem to have forgotten that Guillermo del Toro is chugging along on his “Justice League Dark” project, and so far, no one has told him to stop! It’s not known if Constantine will show up, esp. with his own V show coming along, but according to Del Toro, the cast may include “Etrigan the Demon, Deadman, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Constantine, The Floronic Man, and many, many others.” If WB makes a movie with The Floronic Man in it, all will be forgiven.
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§ This piece by Dave Itzkoff for the NYT from last week about the creators of Rocket Racoon contains some VERY interesting information about Marvel’s “settlement” or whatever you want to call it, with Bill Mantlo, who, you will recall, is in a hospital due to brain trauma he suffered many years ago. His brother Mike explains that this agreement was not Marvel’s idea:

Michael Mantlo, whose brother created Rocket Raccoon with the artist and author Keith Giffen in 1976, said he was grateful that Marvel had arranged the “Guardians of the Galaxy” screening for Bill. But he did not know a movie was planned until comics fans contacted him on Facebook a few years ago.

Michael said he had then contacted Marvel executives and told them, “If you’re making a film with Rocket Raccoon, you need to talk to me about the use of that character.”

“The negotiation started at that point,” he said, “and we managed to secure a very nice contract for Bill.”


I’ve been hearing of late that lawyering up and making a good, discrete case for yourself is the way to get some of that equity, which for the movies, anyway, seems to be enough for a few nice dinners. On the other hand, someone at San Diego — I honestly forget who— told me about how a character they created was used in Arrow, and the check was two figures. Which is just how it worked out. YOu gotta know when to hold em, and know when to fold em.

1 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 8/11/14: Watterson pages sell for $74,040, last added: 8/11/2014
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17. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 8/4/14: Home is the hunter from the hill

It’s been a while, so I’ve got a pile…if you are even interested any more!

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§ Given all the recent violent incidents involving street performers dressed as cartoon characters, it was high time for the NY Times’ Kirk Semple to dig in to the life behind the masks. Turns out there are dozens, and they even lives in colonies….and cartoon characters don’t like superheroes and so on.

“Every day there is a new Spider-Man,” sighed a Moroccan Spider-Man who gave only his first name — El Houssine — because he did not want his family to know how he was making his living in the United States. “There are, like, 16 Spider-Men.”

Many of the performers live in working-class neighborhoods in New Jersey, a significant cluster of them in the city of Passaic.

“Next door there are five Elmos,” said Miguel Lezama, a 27-year-old Mexican, as he stood in the kitchen of a small apartment in Passaic that he shares with two other immigrants. He pointed in another direction: “On that side, a Cookie Monster and a Minnie. In front, a Winnie-the-Pooh and a Minnie. Up on Main Avenue, there are lots more.” He paused. “I live with a Cookie Monster.”

Of late, a few Spider-mans have gone rogue, prompting calls for licensing and other regulation of these costumed character, who hang around Times SQuare and pose for pictures in exchange for tips. Some of them can make a few hundred bucks a day, but it doesn’t sound like easy work.

§ The Comics Reporter interviews D&Q’s Tracy Hurren, who in addition to being a friendly face at conventions and a fine designer, has just overseen updating the D&Q website> she paints a chilling picture of the indie titans’ Montreal offices, however:

We have company lunches: we order vegetarian pulled pork sandwiches from the local dep and gossip and the interns walk away knowing too much. We’ve got a super strange cast of background characters that are constantly popping in — our super insists on naming his tools inappropriate things like “Mr. Nasty”; our DHL guy will only let Julia sign for packages because she’s so beautiful; we got too close with a mailman once and I think the last time we saw him he was lying on his back on the office floor; our tech guy Rick is too hard to explain, but he’s sarcastic and conservative and a real handful/hero and he seems to really like us all but I’m not sure why. Jade and Julia and I usually close up shop.

Sometimes Julia and I grab a beer after. It’s nice. Woody, Tom and Peg’s son, broke my favourite dinosaur toy last fall when they came over for a jam swap my roommate Kathleen — who is also our freelance copy editor — and I hosted and then he hid it so I wouldn’t notice but I just found it recently SO NOW I KNOW. Tom and I took French classes together last winter. We’d go for beers after. We both ended up dropping out but I dropped out first.


§ Cartoonist/health educator Whit Taylor reports on this year’s Comics and Medicine Conference and this might just be the best ever conference report. Taylor engages with both the events and the context of the meeting, especially as it relates to “applied comics”—educational comics on non fiction topics—which she discusses with CCS’s James Sturm:

I was concerned. “Look, I’m not trying to be a negative Nancy, but something’s bothering me,” I said. “What about the importance of artfulness? I feel like that’s a bit of a problem.”

Sturm did see this as a minor issue, but one that could be remedied by health comic creators better learning the language of comics. CCS was going to start offering a two-year MFA degree in Applied Cartooning. The curriculum would be geared towards those interested in creating comics for “fields outside of traditional publishing,” such as education and health care sectors.

“I see comics going down two tracks”, he said. “You know, I can’t compare my own projects to something that someone is doing for a public health campaign. That use is utilitarian. And that’s OK.”


§ Several people pointed out this essay by Kim O’Conner in which she takes the occasion of some Tom Spurgeon subtweeting as entrée into another discussion of why there aren’t more women writing high faulting’ comics criticism at places like TCJ. Since her post is at Hooded Utilitarian, it spawn a monstrous 180+ comment thread. Due to time constraints I did not read the entire thing. I was encouraged by Noah Berlatsky to post my own comment in order to give the opinion of “a fellow woman” because he felt that “Kim’d appreciate hearing other women’s thoughts” but I’d rather, to paraphrase Ben McCool, stick my hand into a faulty toaster. I’m not a big fan of subtweeting, but then who is? O’Conner gets off some real zingers, though. Of the most interest to me is the issue of why women don’t write more. Is it because they are put off by the generally hostile atmosphere BEFORE they write, or the generally hostile atmosphere AFTER they write? I just can’t decide.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but I was home schooled so I missed out on being bullied at school, and for better or worse this has given me a good portion of self confidence, and a strong belief in my ability to write and communicate. (Not that I don’t fuck it up half the time, I’m just saying I know I can write and I’ve never ever had one moment in my life when I didn’t think that.) I don’t think I’ve ever had anyone in a position of authority attempt to silence me, outside of corporate work situations, where my particular brand of self expression doesn’t go over too well. Maybe it’s just how I was raised to think, or when I started on the internet, but I always thought as soon as you wrote ANYTHING on the internet, people were going to argue about it! Tom Spurgeon and I were long ago members of Compuserve at the same time, and to be honest, the friendly discussions of where to eat in Burbank were just side dishes for the main events when someone would begin a flame war, which would often go on for days. And this was in a members-only highly moderated forum just for comics pros!

Online trolls are despicable, and they shouldn’t try to silence people, but if people are silenced by them, the trolls have won. Don’t let the trolls win!!! For whatever reason, guys online usually just turn the other cheek or offer their own burn; some women get upset and give up. We definitely need to stop that from happening, preferably by creating a WELCOMING, OPEN online society where these women know their writing is valued. And it is upon all REASONABLE people to work together to create that.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ve never had trouble finding good women to hire to write. It’s getting them to stick with it that is more difficult.
§ Oh yeah speaking of all that, here’s a breakdown of Eisner nominations by gender.

§ And here’s an old interview with DC’s art director Mark Chiarello, who is not interviewed very often but should be.

3 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 8/4/14: Home is the hunter from the hill, last added: 8/4/2014
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18. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/27/14: People said things, did things

§ Many thanks to David FairbanksMichael DeLaney, David Nieves and of course, Tireless Torsten Adair for their C2E2 coverage. Sounds like this show has come into its own at last.

§ There were a bajillion comics events this weekend and one of the more oblique was the Brooklyn Zine Fest ; Robyn Chapman has a complete report and says it was her most profitable show since Comic Arts Brooklyn, so in Brooklyn they like ziney comics. That is good.

§ Before the BZF I attended Brain Frame which is kind of a performance art showcase for cartoonists. Some of it was wacky, but some was pretty cool, and there were two giant paper mache feet. Brain Frame is generally located in Chicago and I suggest you check it out if you get a chance.

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§ Anne Ishii interviews cartoonist to watch Sophie Yanow about her book War of Streets and Houses (above) which is a startlingly concise examination of urban development, public protest and more.

§ CBR spoke with Fred Van Lente about stuff including his upcoming book How to Make Comics Like the Pros, co-written with Greg Pak:

We take readers from idea to scriptwriting process, pencils, inks, colors, letters, and then we talk about marketing. Greg obviously had a very successful Kickstarter campaign. Ryan and I have had a successful self-publishing company. We’re able to use our joint experience to guide folks from unpublished to published, and then perhaps after that, getting hired by one of the Big Two. We do some of the basic business and math stuff on how to run a self-published comics operation. To answer your question, I wish I had this information before I started doing this, in the ’90s. It would’ve saved me a lot of wasted money and frustration.

 

§ A spirited debate about Zen Pencils, and that #hate comic he ran a while ago.

§ I enjoyed The Eltingville Club #1 and his review of the book.

Dorkin’s The Eltingville Club #1 should be funny as he skewers fanboys left and right. From lousy comic shops who refuse to carry anything other than Marvel or DC comics to fans who enjoy the act of hating more than anything else, Dorkin viciously attacks the ugliness of fandom. Dorkin has absolutely no sympathy for his characters, only sadness, disappointment and a healthy amount of contempt. They think of themselves as “true fans,” the ones upholding the vigorous standards that any real art form requires. Instead, they’re the ones building up the walls around their precious love, protecting it from the “fake” fanboys and fangirls.  When one of them finally gets a job in a comic shop, for lousy pay and work, it’s the culmination of a little life as he’s reached the peak of existence, just like that high school quarterback who has no dreams beyond becoming the starter and winning the state championship.

 

§ In comic book FIGHT news, there was this, which you may have seen some people talking about on Twitter the last few days. Dan Nadel accused Scott McCloud and First Second of making shitty comic, and used an ableist term. I think First Second has had its share of clunkers over the years, but no way is This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki shitty. But, you know, something to talk about!

10 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/27/14: People said things, did things, last added: 4/29/2014
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19. KIbbles ‘n’ Bits 4/29/14: Trolling of the very finest kind

§ Alex Dueben catches up with Richard Thompsonas “The Complete Cul de Sac” is published:

What was it like seeing the exhibit at OSU?

I don’t think I saw the whole exhibit; there were too many people that I wanted to spend time with. What I saw of it was great but mostly I remember the crowd of familiar faces. My daughters booth told me their favorite parts of the exhibit. For my older daughter, it was seeing a bunch of people who where laughing at a cartoon on the wall. For my younger daughter, it was an original by Jack Kirby in the adjoining room.

§ The great insult wars between Marvel and DC have largely cooled off, but Joe Quesada got offsome awesome concern trolling by pointing out some flaws with Man Of Steel…like thinking Zod was the hero, as he told Kevin Smith in his podcast:

“He wanted to save his race, and Superman didn’t let him,” Quesada continued. “Zod, in this particular incarnation, struck me as not necessarily an evil man, but a man of … he had a particular … he had his orders, he had a mission. He was a zealot of sorts, but he was a zealot … again, correct me if I’m wrong  … but he didn’t say, ‘I want to rebuild Krypton,’ and then come back and destroy this little planet. ‘All I want is to rebuild this planet. And the only reason I’m blowing everything to bits here is because you’ve got what I want, and you’re not giving it to me. So please, give me my people, and I’ll leave.’”


Actually, a pretty good point by Quesada — Zod, although ultimately evil, clearly had noble intentions at one point, and that added a bit of complexity to the storyline. People like a complicated plto when it’s Batman, when it’s SUperman they don’t.

§ Michael Cavna profiles Herblock Prize winner Jen Sorensen:

Her award is notable partly because Sorensen is the first woman to win the prize in its decade-long history. But her career is also a barometer of another shifting wind: She is the relatively rare freelancer who scoops up so many industry honors while making a living not by seeking that scarce newspaper staff position, but by patching together a political-cartoon portfolio of webcomics, alt-weekly works, magazine gigs (Ms., The Progressive, the Nation) and even the occasional corporate assignment.

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§ Chris Sims was pretty annoyed by these heavily gendered Happy meal toys for Amazing Spider-Man 2 — boys got spiders and a mask; girls get pink wallets that say Spider-Man on them. And I found them icky too, but the DC Women Kicking Ass crew actually thought this was a POSITIVE step, since McDonald’s was at least marketing a superhero movie to girls. CHOICE YOUR SIDE. One thing that Sims wrote though:

There is, however, an argument in favor of the toys, one that I first heard with regards to the LEGO Friends set, a hot pink “girly” version of everyone’s favorite (pretty much gender-neutral) building blocks. It went like this: While the sets were clearly marketed as being “For Girls,” with an emphasis on cute puppies, hair salons, and friendship, the actual sets weren’t really targeting the kids. They were targeting the parents, encouraging them to pick something up for girls that would be a sort of gateway toy, for parents who wouldn’t have otherwise bought little girls sets that were based on Star Wars, superheroes or fire trucks. It’s an interesting argument, and it’s certainly true that toy commercials have conditioned kids to separate the stuff they like into the old blue-is-for-boys, pink-is-for-girls categories without even knowing it, and that girls as a market have been pretty traditionally underserved by superheroes. If the goal here is to give little girls a way to express their love of Spider-Man in a way that their stodgy parents won’t frown on, then that’s something we can get behind.


Yous are heavily, heavily gender stereotyped, but I have to say the new Legos for Girls definitely sell more than the gender neutral Legos did. Is it just socialization that allows girls to prefer cute little puppies and social situations? I don’t know, but those girl legos are adorable…

§ I totally did not watch the video of Diane Nelson playing pinball but luckily Kevin MElrose did.

§ Some Graphic Novel reviews by Paul Gravett.

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1 Comments on KIbbles ‘n’ Bits 4/29/14: Trolling of the very finest kind, last added: 4/29/2014
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20. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 5/2/2014: No More ADHD

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§ Old news, but unmentioned here. It seems Fox has cancelled its Saturday night ADHD animation block. But two animated shows will be coming back on Sunday night—which ones we don’t know yet. The fate of Axe Cop remains unclear — the creator was making sounds like it might be one of the two shows. We shall see. Cartoonist/multi-media artist Ben Jones was the creative director for the entire enterprise and had a show called Stone Quackers in development. Unknown where that is going either. I was never home to watch any of the ADHD line-up, but I know there were fans. Interesting comments on 2d animation and other creative concerns in the Cartoon Brew post above.

§ Colleen Doran went to Arkansas to chat about comics, and it was nice.

Doran followed the lecture with a question and answer session in Arkansas Hall on Friday afternoon before heading to Little Rock to appear at the Arkansas Literary Festival on Saturday. “Art students and comics fans are really fortunate to be here at Henderson,” Dr. Travis Langley, professor of psychology, said. “To be able to hear people like Colleen speak is really unique.”

§ Expect to see more Roz Chast profiles like this one in the Times as her new Graphic Novel makes the rounds.

It is almost shocking to meet Ms. Chast, whose cartoons so often feature a chronically frazzled woman of her own general appearance, and find no visible rays of anxiety emanating from her head. Other than not being an obvious bundle of neuroses, she is very much the way you might expect: wry, ruminative, able to take the smallest thing and find what is funny about it.

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§ Golden Age artist Barbara Hall Calhoun passed away at age 94. Hall drew Girl Commandos for Harvey. Like many women artists of the era, she retired to start a family but later on helped found the entire commune movement in Vertmont of the 60s and 70s. So, a busy life well lived.

§ Craig Yoe has a nice remembrance of Al Feldstein.

§ Spike Trotman has a revealing essay on the difficulties of publishing an erotic comic, including a publisher who had no problem with a book where a man’s penis got bitten off, but wouldn’t publish a scene of consensual oral sex. Priorities, people.

Have you ever tried to print comic book porno? Not a picnic. I know where to look, thanks to two years of experience and the aid of a freelance print production manager, but it still took two weeks and a dozen price quotes. I had to assemble a PDF of what I call “the black diamond pages,” or the most potentially objectionable content, to send around with the quote requests. I had to double and triple-check. “There is sex in this. There are sex organs in this. There is penetration in this. Is that okay? Are you sure? Very sure? Did you see the PDF?”

§ Aaaaand from the other side, Joey Esposito talks about the probelms finding a publisher for Captain Ultimate, his all-ages comic published digitally via Monkeybrain.

And therein lies our problem. We’re remarkably grateful that Monkeybrain took us in and is so committed to the cause of not only publishing great, innovative comics, but including all-ages books among them. Unfortunately, we’ve been turned down by print publishers we thought would be a great fit for Captain Ultimate. This could be because of the other books they publish, or maybe they like all-ages but hate capes/superheroes, or maybe because we’re unknowns. It’s even been suggested to us that we might be better off shopping our comic book outside of the comic book industry. Meaning, we might have better luck with our all-ages comic at a publisher that does traditional kids lit. But whatever the reason, it hasn’t been in the cards thus far.

§ Ming Doyle captures te joys and frustrations of being a woman anytime anywhere when asked if being a women cartoonists has benefits or drawbacks:

The short, practical answer: Most business is conducted entirely over email. Your editors may hire you, work with you for years, and if you don’t post selfies or attend conventions, they may never know what you look like. Even if they do know what you look like, editors care more about your quality of work, your timeliness and your professionalism, than any selfie. Be fearless, do the work, make connections online, and of course you can flourish! The long, twisted answer: Yes. We’re women, it’s inevitable that we’ll be judged, coveted, and derided purely on the basis of our looks, our age, our perceived sexual availability. These judgments crash against us at every turn in life. They’re inescapable, and yes, explicitly or implicitly, from men and from women, you will confront these judgments and many more during your professional career.

§ Some classic Johanna snark on DC’s creatorless solicitations for their Five Years Later September books:

Apparently, DC doesn’t care about the actual story inside the covers, just the fancy gimmick. This is cynical, uncaring marketing, and I regret that so many people will take part in it. Comics are magical for the stories they tell, created by actual people, not corporations. Buying comics because of one plastic picture… well, it’s been done many times before, but it doesn’t bode well.

§ Ok tech dude John Carmack is building a virtual reality comic book shop . Your guess is as good as mine.

1 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 5/2/2014: No More ADHD, last added: 5/2/2014
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21. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 5/15/14: Lots of women at ECCC; first Walking Dead Season Five teaser, etc etc etc

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§ Emerald City Comicon was a wonderful, diverse event. And a survey of attendees suggests that half the attendees identified themselves as female. It was a self selecting, non-scientific survey, but I doubt that anyone who was there would dispute that this feels quite accurate. The modern comic-con is a very diverse one, and it seems to me that women are flooding into all the “nerd” categories in unprecedented numbers.

§ It seems that attendance at the recent Ottawa Comiccon was up!

With the third edition being held at EY Centre from May 9 to 11, Ottawa Comiccon continued its ascent, attracting over 38,000 visitors – an increase of 8,000 over the 2013 edition.



§ Tokyo has banned comics featuring incest:

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is to ban sales to children of a manga series that depicts incestuous relationships, an official said Tuesday, the first time expanded rules on sexual content have been invoked. “Little Sisters Paradise! 2,” which was published last month by Kadokawa, will be classified as an “unhealthy publication” that must be kept out of children’s reach. The comic, a spinoff from an adult-orientated computer game with the same title, says on its cover: “More naughty days of a brother and five sisters.”


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§ The first photo from the next season of The Walking Dead was released and it shows a showing image of a haggard, bloody Rick Grimes. A big departure then. I’ll never forget my excitement at the episode in S4.2 when Rick put on a clean shirt. It was the highlight of the season.

§ SHOCKER. Comics critic Ng Suat Tong reviewed the new Ms. Marvel, and although he doesn’t like much, he actually liked Ms. Marvel.

In many ways Ms Marvel is a return to the more gentle pleasures of the comics of yore; dialing back the myth of a violent America propagated by TV shows like CSI, Criminal Minds, NCIS et al.—where murderous psychopaths reside on every corner and corpses are to be found on every other doorstep and school dormitory. Can a superhero comic subsists on stories culled from ordinary high school life? Well, the sales figures on future issues of the comic should tell the tale in due course.


§ Paste Magazine named The 100 Best Comic Book Characters of All Time, and the list is a bit odd since it leaves out comic strip characters, but I get the difference. They did not include Ma Hunkel, but on the BIG PLUS side, you can read the whole list in the above link and not go through an annoying slideshow! Internet win.

§ Danica Davison interviewed Janelle Asselin and Andy Khouri about the best way to remove stubborn red wine stains sexism in comics for MTV.

§ This is pretty alarming, but it appears that Godzilla is getting larger. I don’t know if it’s hormones in the milk, or CGI pixels being further apart, or buildings being smaller, but there it is.

§ Zainab Akhtar has a feature called “Comic Shelfie” and here she examines the horribly well organized shelves of Joe Keatinge. Just depressing. I hate organized people.

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§ Zainab also has been looking at graphic novel covers she likes, but finding fewer than she expected. I agree the Winshluss cover for Pinocchio is pretty sweet though.

I don’t have a great deal of ‘floppies’ (serialised comic issues)- the vast majority of my collections is collected editions and graphic novels, but still I was surprised- actually taken aback- by how few covers stood out once I began looking though them for a few to highlight here (perhaps I don’t own many well-designed books!). Sure, part of that is down to subjective choice and aesthetic preference -looking at the ones I’ve collated below, it would appear I have a tendency to favour pared back or pattern-focused visuals, but I do think a striking image or design transcends that personal leaning.

§ Bad newsL Andy Serkis is a bit of a jerk.

§ I don’t know who this fellow is or if we should pay attention to him, but he thinks Barnes & Noble is on the way O-U-T.

§ Awwwwww. Comics Unlimited, a comics shop in Evansville, UN is closing next month.
Owner Matthew Hawes says the biggest reason is the internet. He says when he opened the store in 1996, the internet wasn’t anything like it is today.

§ Yay! Emerald City Comics in Clearwater, FL, has expanded and is still going strong.

§ Buzzfeed has a piece by Saladin Ahmed called How Censors Killed The Weird, Experimental, Progressive Golden Age Of Comics which suggests that Pre-Code comics were more mold-breaking than generally thought. I agree they had a wider audience, and probably a wider subject matter on newsstands. There were still a lot of bland ones, though.

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§ Two links from the Hooded Utilitarian in one day! Well that’s what happens when you play catch up. Anyway, Adrielle Mitchell has been examining how comics use time, and in this final installment she looks at Luke Pearson’s Everything we Miss . I’m a huge fan of Pearson’s Hilda books, but Everything We Miss is, in my opinion, a minor classic as well.

§ This year’s Eisner judge talk about their judging process. Here’s James Romberger:

The two traditionally major comics publishers DC and Marvel unfortunately chose to represent themselves with largely redundant product, due to their reliance on well-worn, corporate-owned character/properties. However, I was impressed with Image, which produced a surprising variety of well-written, well-drawn, and well-colored creator-owned works in inexpensive collected editions, and with the high quality of the submissions from Fantagraphics, as well as with a slate of intriguing graphic novels from book-trade publishers.

As the artform matures, it becomes clear that the diversity that defines progressive human society is also present in comics’ creative and audience demographics, and our nominations reflect that fact. There is no Eisner category currently for the very vital and innovative minicomics, small-press books, and zines from alternative publishers, many of which are now excluded from Diamond’s distribution network, so they weren’t submitted by their publishers. I had brought a few items with me, as had others of the judges, and if they could be shown to fit an existing category, they were considered. Several of these made it into the final selection. I hope that next year a minicomic category will be added.

§ Here is an oldie, from a few weeks back which appears to be an attempt by Fox to ensure that the Bryan Singer mess wouldn’t affect X-Men Days of Future past by loudly exclaiming that it was tracking to make $125 million:

§ Another old one I had bookmarked: Wizard World discusses its ban of professional photography equipment which brings up the whole “no pictures!” things with the nerdlebrities.

§ Oh yeah I meant to spotlight Multiversity’s fine Five Year Anniversary series, like an interview with Warren Ellis:

WE: I mostly just needed to focus on the novel and other things. I don’t know if I particularly needed to recharge or something — I’m probably working harder than ever, these days — but it was time to take up some of the opportunities that heavy-deadline comics work prevented me from doing in the past. I have actually been writing comics slowly and steadily for about a year now — what’s happening at the moment is that you’re just finding out about things I’ve been working on for a very long time. Distance from comics gave me some… different thoughts, maybe, about the medium? Working in prose changes your perspective about things like how comics handles information, for example. But that’s a much longer conversation, and one that isn’t completely crystallised in my head yet. Not least because I’m currently writing a long novella for FSG with my other hand, and having to change gears between it and the comics work in front of me today (TREES #5).

…and the Best Five Writers of the Past Five Years and yeah there was some other stuff, too.

5 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 5/15/14: Lots of women at ECCC; first Walking Dead Season Five teaser, etc etc etc, last added: 5/15/2014
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22. Celebrate Torsten’s “Nerd Birthday” With His Crazy Party Favors!

Everyone has milestone events which they remember (or wish to forget).  Some are small memories, like a first kiss, while others can be momentous anniversaries marked each year.

May 25th is one such day for me.This Star Wars Day/International Towel Day marks thirty years of my actively reading, collecting, studying, proselytizing comics.  May 25, 1984, I walked into a grocery store, and was instantly seduced by a black-suited Spider-Man.It’s the day I became a nerd/geek.  Sure, there were things before which I geeked about, like most kids.  But comics…that set me on a crazy journey around the world, meeting some amazing people, sharing my passion with everyone who would listen!

But comics aren’t my only geek passion!

I’m a polymath, soaking up all sorts of crazy stuff!

Here are some of my crazy interestest, and some crazy links you might not have realized existed!  (Or blotted out in your youth to save on psychiatry bills!)

Comics

Geez…  so much is out there already… what can I find…?

Comics retailing!    The architects!  How to get there!

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LEGOs

The wiki.

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The Lego Millennium Falcon graphic novel!

(Take THAT, Ikea!)

Adam Reed Tucker, the genius behind the Lego Architecture series!

MAD Magazine

Why MAD doesn’t release these digitally…?

And here’s the unaired 1974 pilot…

Video Games

If you want to really delve into the history of videogames, read:

Supercade: A Visual History of the Videogame Age 1971-1984 By Van Burnham

Here’s a site for laserdisc arcade games, including one of early anime!

Reading

Go study and read everything by Ellen Raskin.  Had she not died at 56, she might have been the first author to win a Newbery and a Caldecott Medal.  She wrote, drew, and designed books, and all are worth a few hours escape.

Animation

Remember Saturday morning cartoons?  Remember when the networks would air a special the Friday night before, to introduce the new series?  Yeah, they were usually pretty cheesy… here are three samples…

Superman meeting Bugs Bunny and Yogi Bear, at a party thrown by Avery Schreiber and Jack Burns?

ALF playing detective?

Boss Hogg trying to swindle Scott Baio out of his discoteque?

Ah… to return to those innocent naive days when I hadn’t yet developed a critical eye.  (Yes, I thought the Star Wars Holiday Special was spectacular when it first aired.  Now, I think I can last five minutes before revealing the location of the  rebel base, Gilligan’s full name, and the lyrics to “Louie Louie”.)

If you’re really into pain, check out “Shirt Tails”, “Get Along Gang”, and/or “Care Bears”.

Cable Television

Weekend nights, USA would show “Night Flight”, an interesting mix of music videos, short films, and cult classics.  MTV might have been cool, but Night Flight was hep.  Here’s a memorial site.

And a playlist from YouTube:

Comedy

The comedy record to seek out: “Retail Comedy @ Wholesale Prices“!  Here’s a sample: “Mr. Wizard and Timmy”.  The entire album is comedy gold!

(Right, Don.)

Music

I’ve got a predilection for TV themes, especially the full versions which cut out stanzas so there would be more time for story and commercials.

I’ve made a series of posts over on Google Plus, with the tag #forgottentvlyrics.  Star Trek, Andy Griffith, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie…

Here’s one of my favorites, first heard during the end credits to the Buck Rogers movie!  If it was remixed, it would make a great graduation song!

That’s all for this year!  Hope you had a great time!  Thanks for stopping by!

 

5 Comments on Celebrate Torsten’s “Nerd Birthday” With His Crazy Party Favors!, last added: 5/28/2014
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23. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 6/5/14: cartoonists embroiled in scandal over affair

It’s been a while since I kibbled and bitted because…well I had one version of this that had like 50 links. I tweeted them instead.

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§ Cartoonists in the US are not celebrities, with one or two exceptions. They can leave the house without make-up, or go to the beach or do normal human cock-ups and TMZ will not give a flying donut. But if this story is to be believed, that is not quite the case in Taiwan, where cartoonist Wan Wan has been forced to have a press conference where she wore a mask because fans are mad that she had an affair. Known for her adorable drawings about typical life subjects, she has sold millions of books, appears on TV and in movies and has a devoted following throughout Asia. Thus when news broke that the married Wan Wan was canoodling with a fellow cartoonist not her husby, fans were dismayed:

Wan Wan and Huang, who is a fellow blogger and cartoonist, were seen dining together, enjoying each other’s company and kissing, before they took a night drive to a mountain park on the outskirts of Taipei, according to the report. Taiwan’s online communities were abuzz over the “Wan Wan affair” yesterday. Many netizens said they were shocked, especially because she is a newlywed. “Wan Wan should apologize to her husband, and not to us,” one wrote. “If this is true, then she should get a divorce. She has set a very bad example to others,” another posted. Some of her fans defended her, saying that it was Wan Wan’s private business, which was probably a misjudgement on her part, but that they would continue to support her.


I’m sure there’s a lot of sexism involved in Wan Wan’s fall from grace, but the moral lesson is clear: don’t become a celebrity if you want to enjoy a nice private night drive to a mountain park.

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§ NEPOTISM ALERT: Michael Gezsel is a friend of this blog and a collaborator with people close to The Beat. However, on the occasion of the re-release of the GN Tribes by Geszel and Inaki Miranda, he was interviewed by CBR and passed along some good advice looking back on some of the problems with the first edition of Tribes, including the hard-sell horizontal format:

First, you’ve got to be very realistic about the marketplace and you have to control costs. As far as the reality is, just be really shrewd and thrifty. Don’t think you’re going to reinvent the wheel or the rules. Be patient, too. It’s about being persistent and patient with people. You have to find out how the industry ticks. My main regret and a big lesson was not starting a comic series to be released issue-by-issue mostly to build readership and not fight the economic tides of the comic book industry. Tribes is a rich story world. There’s a ton of story there. The book was always conceived as part one of a three-part narrative. I should have made better choices to maximize reader engagement, i.e. to make it as easy as possible to experience the story in comics. That means the vertical standard format in 22-page issues — serializing the story rollout. And we could have had not quite 50 issues. Instead I created a big widescreen, 200-page (178 comic story pages) graphic novel that was released as a trade and that was murder to sell because retailers do not like to stack horizontals, especially trade paperback “horizontals” from unknown creators. I could not have made it harder on myself if my worst enemy had arranged my story publishing strategy or lack thereof. As a hardcover the new edition has a new shot. Inaki now has a Vertigo monthly (“Coffin Hill”) and that helps too. IDW does a great job with packaging and book production. A new cover helps. All that helps.

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§ The D&Q blog sums up the success of Mimi Pond’s GN Over Easy and reveals that she will be designing a set of dishware for Fishs Eddy. They previously did a set of mugs and what nots with Roz Chast that was also loverly. I WANT THAT TEA TRAY.

§ The Frisky suggests

5 Genre-Busting Comic Books For People Who Think They Hate Comic Books, none of which are horrible.

§ I enjoyed this negative review of the Comics Unmasked exhibit at the British Library, by James Heartfield, because instead of saying comics suck, it’s all about the comics that got left out, like the Beano and all that.

Unfortunately, the curators of the exhibition Comics Unmasked at the British Library have been overwhelmed by the Gothic vision, at the expense of every other contribution to the medium. And as creative as Moore’s gothic is, it is still a lot less interesting than the material that has been left out of the exhibition. It is an aesthetic for adolescent boys who think that unhappy and twisted stuff is correspondingly profound, while comedy is trivial and facile. The truth is often the other way round, where horror and gore are really just sentimentality, prurient and moralistic at the same time, while comedy allows marvellous slippages of meaning that are much more intelligent. These are the fanatics who renamed the comic book a ‘graphic novel’ to make it sound more grown-up.


Not having seen the show, I can’t say if this is a valid argument or not. The comments suggest that there is some Leo Baxendale on display. At any rate, it’s clear that curator Paul Gravett was going for an exhibit that covered the subversive side of Brit Comics. [ViaRobot 6.

§ I know we were all talking about cons and harassment the other day, and apparently there is a SF con called WisCon that bills itself as progressive and feminist, but it had all kinds of problems with people who had been banned for good reason being let back in. SF people back up their outrage with an intense number of links, quotes, callouts to other blogs, backtracks when new facts some to light, and so on, making keeping up a daunting task. If you want to dive it this seems to be a passable entry way.

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§ There is a comic book from Nigeria and it is called Akaraka: The Call Of Destiny. It’s about warring demigods and you can read it right at the link.

§ This Batman-centric comics site is looking for reviewers. They have a lot of guidelines though, so make sure you are (wo)man enough.

§ Marvel mad a Miracleman featurette. It’s kind of funny how now that this is finally out, no one really cares, isn’t it?

§ This is old but David Harper’s excellent The Life and Times of the Modern Comic Book Artist is a total must read for its look at lifestyles, quotes on rates and general much needed overview of how things are.

8 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 6/5/14: cartoonists embroiled in scandal over affair, last added: 6/8/2014
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24. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 6/12/14: There is this thing called the World Cup…

§ I guess I need to update this post.

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§ What makes this cartoon by Peter Arno perfect? Paul Karasik explains.

When the stars of the convention appeared, they found out that their hotel rooms hadn’t been paid for. They were forced to pay out of their own pockets. As the con progressed, it became apparent that the thousands of attendees needed would not appear. Vendors and venue realized that they were not going to be paid. Shamrock management contacted all the dealers in the hotel and told them that unless the remaining balance was collected by that evening, they would all be thrown out. They passed the hat to keep the doors open and hoped to sell enough to recoup their losses.

§ When did this crappy con happen? 1982. The story of a failed Houston comic-con and a successful new one, Comicpalooza as told by Jeff Rouner. Man, I love these looks back at old timey comics oddballs like Jerry Wilhite.

§ I had this bookmark in my tabs for ages: free Toon Books comics with audio in multiple languages. Help the kids read!

§ Remember John Carter? I know you do. Here’s Taylor Kitsch looking back and talking the never to be seen sequel.

§ CBR’s Brian Cronin watched every episode of The A Team to find out if Mr. T ever actually said ‘I Pity the Fool’. I will not spoil the answer.

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§ Jason Youngbluth dropped a line to say that the collected Weapon Brown is available and Tom Brevoort said nice things about it. The story involves a grown up, lethal character sort of like Charlie Brown.

§ Gail Simone will be selling limited edition scripts at this weekend’s Special Edition in NYC.

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§ Some people STILL DO NOT GET STARSHIP TROOPERS, nearly twenty years later. We’ll keep fighting and we’ll win.

3 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 6/12/14: There is this thing called the World Cup…, last added: 6/12/2014
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25. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 6/18/14: To canon or not to canon?

§ Multiversity has been killin’ it lately with a bunch of industry analyses and convention reports. Here’s David Harper on Creator-Owned and the Thin Line Between “To Be Continued” and “The End” whch spins out of a comment Brandon Montclare made right here at The Beat.

What that commenter fails to realize, and what Montclare only scrapes the edges of, is that comics exist within a delicate ecosystem. A title’s fate – especially when it is outside of Marvel or DC – can be determined before a single issue is even released, and beyond that initial launch, it takes the actions of readers, retailers and creators in various channels and forms to keep those books alive in an increasingly diverse and competitive market. Those three groups don’t just impact the fate of a book, though. Each group impacts one another in some obvious and some not so obvious ways, and those three work together to create the special alchemy that makes the wheels of the comic book industry turn.

§ New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff remembers Charles Barsotti who passed away on Monday.

§ Cleaning up the tabs, a few days ago Beat alum Marc-Oliver Frisch took on comics criticism with a piece called What We Talk About When We Talk About Crit, which, in my sleep deprived state, was a hard slog for me:

It may well be true that people view criticism “as an extension of the artistic experience,” as Tom Spurgeon suggests. It’s probably fair to say, too, that “criticism” tends to be seen as being synonymous with “reviews,” and those, in turn, as a service rendered to the entertainment seeker—plot summary, some light background info, thumbs-up/thumbs-down recommendation, mission accomplished. Consequently, the worst and most obnoxious thing a critic could possibly do is be a spoilsport, either by being ambivalent, or by revealing plot points people would rather find out themselves, or by suggesting their taste is superior to the taste of their readers. It’s no wonder critics aren’t terribly popular when, at best, they’re supposed to be glorified food tasters, efficient catalysts for a maximized entertainment and/or artistic experience, ideally with no delusions of being anything more than, at best, useful leeches.


 § Sort of along the same lines, Dan Nadel interviewed Hillary Chute, an academic who is best known for her books of interviews with comics creators, Graphic Women: Life Narrative and Contemporary Comics  this year’s Outside the Box: Interviews with Contemporary Cartoonists, and as the organizer of the famed G17 2012 cartoonists summit, Comics: Philosophy and Practice. Nadel stats off with some sharp questioning on whether Chute has been making a canon, and why she doesn’t include cartoonists such as Mat Brinkman, Ron Rege, CF and Ben Jones in her interview series, considering many of her actual subjects were interviewed or profiled in previous books about cartoonists. (For the record the cartoonists in her latest book are McCloud, Burns, Barry, Kominsky-Crumb, Clowes, Gloeckner, Sacco, Bechdel, Mouly, Tomine Spiegelman and Ware—a group certainly not encumbered by obscurity to be sure, but they are pretty much the best of the lot from the last 40 years or so, so they earned it.) Anyway, Chute replies:

I don’t think the Comics: Philosophy & Practice conference or Outside the Box ignores post-2000 developments in comics–almost every single person I cover in Outside the Box has published a really important recent work, like Charles Burns’s The Hive, Chris Ware’s Building Stories, Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home, Lynda Barry’s collage activity books, and Phoebe Gloeckner’s in-progress reportage on Mexico.  So it doesn’t seem backwards looking at all: these people are doing fascinating and game-changing work right now.


Setting aside that the cartoonists Nadel is championing are ones he used to publish when he ran Picturebox—being passionate about the creators you publish is a good thing—this harkens back to a matter I’ve touched on here several times: the lack of cartoonists of acknowledged or potential canonical stature since, hm, let’s say Fun Home. Whether this is because they aren’t as good, they don’t have strong enough bodies of work (maybe because they don’t need to publish regularly as everyone listed above did at one point) or the “canon” is locked up tight, I’m not sure. Or maybe Frisch is right and writing criticism is such a hopeless task that we just let the chickens run free in the barnyard now. And you know, I’m not in favor of “canon” either. But I’d join in on what Chute suggests Nadel’s agenda is: if there is a canon, the Hernandez Brothers need to be in it.

Nadel linked to the current, comic-focused issue of Art- Forum, where more of this argument turns into a catnip toy for kittenish commentators. A few have been posted. One such is disreputable sources: art and comics by Fabrice Stroun, director of Kunsthalle Bern, who argues that since going mainstream, comics just aren’t as edgy and cool:

OVER THE YEARS, Artforum has published reviews of all types—laudatory or excoriating, lyrical or polemical—but only one has taken the form of a comic. That singular piece, authored by Art Spiegelman, appeared in the December 1990 issue of the magazine. Spiegelman’s task was to assess the controversial exhibition “High and Low: Modern Art and Popular Culture,” which had gone on view the preceding October at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, and, while he was not nearly as incensed as some commentators by curators Kirk Varnedoe and Adam Gopnik’s mixture of MoMA masterpieces and pop-cultural detritus, he was by no means complimentary.


Given that this is Artforum, its natural that comics should be approached from the fine arts direction; I haven’t heard the notorious High and Low show referenced much in recent years, but it does hold a kind of Wertham-like stature in the history of comics acceptance, since it was a thorough beat down of the “low” part of the exhibit.

The other night I was chatting with someone in the academic world who told me that although comics are generally accepted in the pop culture sphere, in academia they are still fighting for their place. The cartoonists Chute covers can certainly all be used as rungs on the ladder to High Art; it will be a long time before a C.F. or a Nilson gets to join the club though. (BTW Chute does mention a bunch of younger cartoonists she likes in the piece; to see who click the link!)

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§ New nerd-friendly Nikki Finke has a piece on the odd place of storyboard artists in Hollywood—they’re stuck in the Art Direction union when they probably shouldn’t be. I mention this becuase so many storyboard atists are quasi-cartoonists, or even cartoonsits, like Gabriel Hardman, whose storyboard for Inception is above.

“We board artists are basically stuck (after being forced to integrate) inside a union which has nothing to do with who we are. That’s the gist. Our concerns are not theirs. And secondly, we are not who people think we are. We’re like a white elephant in the room whom nobody wants to address. ‘Hellllloooooo?… is there anybody out there?’ [Pan right to the powers that be as they nervously look the other way.]

There is a new Guardians of the Galaxy trailer with portentous, choir-infused music, sad childhoods and every assurance that this will be just like every other Marvel movie, after all.

11 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 6/18/14: To canon or not to canon?, last added: 6/20/2014
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