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§ Alex Behr has an excellent interview with Chris Ware at Salon where he talks about his daughter’s drawing ability, the bully that apologized to him etc. Just read the whole thing, dammit.
§ At Cartoon Brew, Amid Amidi notes that Stu Snyder, the Cartoon Network exec who tried to turn it into a live action network, has left not entirely willingly. Many people, thought this Live Action era of CN was a disaster, one only rescued by the Adventure Time juggernaut, so it will be interetsing to see where it goes now.
§ Tom Spurgeon chats withMK Brown whose new book of cartoons from Fantagraphics, Stranger than Life, (above) is a delight:
I’ve given up being practical long ago. No, the best work is when I respond to what I want to do, more than anything. Even now, when there’s no real market for them, I get ideas for single panels and I kind of try not to, in a way. [Spurgeon laughs] If they persist, I do a little sketch, and I’ve got them for later. What I will do with them I don’t know. Maybe another collection. Or I’ll include them in a new national humor magazine and website that seems to be cooking.
§ Yet ANOTHER profile of Jack Elrod the 89-year old cartoonist on Mark Trail. This time he delves seep into his storytelling secrets.
One reader wrote Elrod to ask how Mark Trail made a living, other than writing for a magazine, as he seemed to be prone to wandering all over the outdoors all the time. While Mark is constantly in trouble during his never-ending adventures, Andy the dog frequently comes to his rescue. When Andy got into trouble, Elrod says that’s when he got the most mail from readers.
One reader admonished the artist after he drew a story that featured river rafters who weren’t wearing life jackets. Elrod was sure to include life jackets for his characters in future stories.
§ The first Wizard World Sacramento Comic Con was this weekend and it drew huge, colorful crowds, we’re told.
The three-day event drew crowds from far and wide with a star-studded lineup that included actors Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”), William Shatner (“Star Trek”) and Norman Reedus (“The Walking Dead”), as well as producer and writer Stan Lee (“Spider-Man,” “Iron Man”) and a slew of other recognizable names and faces from the film and television universe. Fans formed lines outside the Sacramento Convention Center starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, some returning with half-full gift bags from Friday’s festivities and some itching to enter the convention for the first time.
§ I’ve had this link in my tabs for a while: KHURSTEN SANTOS
talks about josei manga—that is manga written for adult women, which has a strong heritage in Japan but hasn’t caught on here that much, perhaps, SAntos suggests, because teen readers enjoy the escapism of manga and don’t want to graduate to the ambivalent, sometimes tough world of adult issues and theme. There’s also the historical perspective:
It’s interesting how quick we are to dismiss the interest of housewives while people still continue to sing and dedicate issues of journals and books to Osamu Tezuka. I find this particularly frustrating when manga has so much to offer but sadly, that’s just how the world turns and sadly things like this stay outside of the radar.
§ I bet you thought the Michael George murder case was over. The former comics shop owner was tried twice for killing his wife in 1990, and convicted in 2011 after years of legal proceedings. But one little shard of the past may have just been revealed: a dusty bullet found behind a water heater in an unused room in the commercial space that was the murder scene back in ’90. Creepy, isn’t it? George’s defense attorney has been granted a motion to have the bullet tested for fingerprints and any other evidence, just in case it provides new light on the case..
§ Augie DeBlieck has some interesting commentary n Eric Stephenson’s ComicsPRO speech.
He went on to point out that the biggest problem with the Direct Market is its continued reliance on The Big Two, who now operate at the whim of their much larger corporate masters, putting the Direct Market in a bad position. In the world of computer programming, we refer to this as the bus factor: The bus factor is the total number of key developers who would need to be incapacitated (for example, by getting hit by a bus/truck) to send the project into such disarray that it would not be able to proceed.
§ What is Paul Levitz going to be doing as a Boom Studios board member? Vaneta Rogers went and asked him:
But I’ve been doing a lot of teaching, as you know, a fair amount of writing — the part of my brain that hasn’t been fully occupied is the part that’s used to solving business problems. So I’ve been looking, over the last couple of years, as my non-competes became looser, at what kind of opportunities there might be to use those skill sets. I’ve done a little bit of consulting work, but not directly related to comics. Once the contracts made it possible, I wanted to see if there was anything useful I could do that way in comics. I told a number of my friends, “I’m available if there’s a consulting project, or a board seat in your structure. I’m open to having conversations.” And the conversations with Ross led to doing a consulting project for them, and to the offer of the board seat.
§ You know the Federal Reserve as the mysterious organization that somehow controls our monetary supply. But they also make educational comic books! And you can read them online for free! One of them has had perhaps MILLIONS of copies distributed over the years (it is printed in batches of 250,000, just like our money.).
Of the five comics Steinberg wrote himself, three were updates of the Fed’s longest-running titles, while two, The Story of the Federal Reserve System and The Story of Monetary Policy were new additions to the Fed’s extensive comics catalog.
§ I guess there was a mini-kerfuffle the other day wherein Newsarama Editor Lucas Siegel complained anonymously about a comics company not wanting Newsie to cover their comics. Okay, whatever floats your boat. The Outhouse, as usual, has the best coverage.
Is that what it has come to?
§ Speaking of Newsarama, here’s a fine piece by Jim McLauchlin that looks at the monetary aspects of he convention boom, such as charging for autographs and the money to be made from sketches:
They’ve grown so much that artists can make way more money being artists at conventions than in the pages of a Marvel or DC book. Look no further than beloved longtime comic artist George Pérez.
“I can earn more in a single weekend of convetioneering than I would in an entire month drawing comics,” Pérez says. “And I get a pretty high rate drawing comics.”
§ I don’t always do Kickstarter listings but here’s a really good one: help Robin McConnell and Brandon Graham hit the road to record a series of live Inkstuds podcasts. They’ve made goal but are adding on a trip to New York to gab it up.
§ Here is a depressing piece about how just having a bestselling book doesn’t mean you’re going to have money to live on. All of my cartoonist friends on Facebook shared this link so you do the math there.
§ Retailer Duncan McGeary (he owns Pegasus Books in Bend, Oregon, formerly owned by Mike Richardson) is now an author, with the release of Led to the Slaughter: The Donner Party Werewolves. I’m pretty much fascinated by the tale of the Donner Party, and adding werewolves makes it just a wee bit scarier than what really happened.
§ Ulises Farinas has given up writing comics reviews and delivers an exit manifesto:
The reason i read other reviews, is because critical thinking should operate from a certain standpoint. We all gotta be speaking the same language, understanding how a story works, characterization, that kinda shit. And when i go and read other reviews, it quickly becomes clear that IT JUST DOESN’T HAPPEN. There are no ten commandments. There’s no one talking about story, why Batman is doing something Batman-ish. Just because we all understand the archetype doesn’t mean you get to get away with brooding for 172 pages cause THATS JUST HOW HE IS. Do you know how many superhero comics have basically just skipped any kind of character development? How many comics have basically abandoned any kind of narrative structure and called it ‘serialization’ and ‘decompression?’
I really enjoyed Ulises’s reviews because they were the kind of stuff people say late in the bar but never put in writing, and I guess there’s a reason for that. Anyway I guess he can get back to drawing his most excellent comics now.
§ Finally, Johnny Ryan illustrates a sad trip to Corey Feldman’s house for a horrible party.
§ Steve Bissette has begun writing a a history of WaP!, a pros-only newsletter from the 80s—spearheaded by Steven Grant and Frank Miller—that created quite a stir at the time. The history is tied up with much of the creator unrest of the era. The first chapter is much concerned with Dave Sim, Diamond and what would become Tundra Publishing, Kevin Eastman’s ambitious but disastrous publishing venture. Also mentioned, The Frying Pan, a pro APA that I was a member of during its run. Much of the history is convoluted and interconnected, but its definitely behind a lot of the thinking that went on among creators and self-publishers in an era when indie comics sold 30,000 copies with no sweat at all. It all reflects frustration with the comics industry’s inability to reach a wider audience and backsliding on creators rights that pretty much went into the hopper with the great crash of the 90s. Ancient history for many, but fascinating stuff.
§ New Yorker cartoonists Benjamin Schwartz and Liam Francis Walsh went to see the Harvey Kurtzman exhibit and made a comic about it.
§ Sean Kleefeld looks back on 2008, the year we “lost” Comic-Con.
§ Variety had a lengthy profile of new WB ceo Kevin Tsujihara which reveals he’s a nice guy who likes his family. Also what to do with the DC characters is a priority.
Among the priorities for the studio, which enjoys enviable market share in film and television, is finding fresh tentpole franchises now that the “Harry Potter” series has run its course; mining more content from the wealth of material in the DC Entertainment vault; and expanding WB’s activity in consumer products and international markets, in tandem with other Time Warner units, notably Turner Broadcasting.
§ You may have seen Peter Sanderson’s report on the Asbury Park Comicon’s panels, but here’s another excellent piece which surveys the cartoonists in attendance on the future of comics:
Artist Jay Lynch, an East Orange native, was part of the underground comics movement of the late 1960s. The irreverent, barrier-busting comics drawn by Lynch, Robert Crumb and others introduced sex, drugs and self-expression to the medium. Was it truly a movement? Or a bunch of unconnected artists who had the same idea at the same time? “Well,” Lynch said wryly, “I think it had to do with LSD.”
§ Don MacPhersonjumps into the digitla comics grey market:
I discovered a few months ago some folks sell these codes on eBay. The same is done by some people when it comes to digital copies of DVDs/Blu-Rays, so a similar development in the world of comics was a foreseeable development. The eBay practice isn’t something that seems to be curbed in any way, so I don’t know if it qualifies as a “grey market” for comics or not. There’s nothing overtly listed in the details outlined by Marvel that precludes the resale of the codes. The only real conditions mentioned on the page featuring the code are the following: “Digital copy requires purchase of a physical comic. Download code valid for one use only.” There’s no mention that the person who bought the comic is the only one who can use it, nor does Marvel state the code isn’t for resale.
§ Coming this summer, a debut novel called The Night Gwen Stacy Died by Sarah Bruni It’s described as “A debut novel and quirky love story about the adventures and mutual rescue of an Iowan girl and a mysterious stranger who begins to cast her in the image of Spider-Man’s first love.”
§ In case you missed David Brothers’ take on Alex Summers and “The M Word” here it is.
§ The Longbox Project aims to collect reminiscences of specific comics readers purchased as specific times in the past. I was going to say, whoo, I’ve had enugh of that, but the one I happened to click on mentioned Foodtown, and I was immediately swept back to the Foodtown in White House Station on Route 22 where I eagerly riffled through the shopworn racks in search of the new Master of Kung Fu. So yeah….Foodtown. Buying your comics in supermarkets. That was a time.
§ Scenes from a con:
A female fan asked why the DC 101 panel hadn’t highlighted any female-centric books and media. “Sometimes it feels like there’s a conspiracy like we don’t want any girls, but we actually love girls and would love girls to read the books, even the ‘Teen Wolf’ fans here,” Lobdell began, but was drowned out by shouts from an agitated group of “Teen Wolf” fans who had just enough of being mentioned by the writer. “If the point of this panel is to get new fans, why have you spent the entire panel alienating every single person waiting for the panel coming up?” a “Teen Wolf” fan in front yelled back at the two as the audience divided into boos and a smattering of applause. Cunningham and Lobdell both apologized for any hurt feelings for their “Teen Wolf” comments, telling the large “Teen Wolf” contingent it was not their intention to alienate them, though Lobdell was unable to resist jokingly ask the audience to show by raising their hands who felt alienated.
§ SPX is coming and cartoonist Sara McH. offers sensible advice for exhibiting, like how to tally your sales, keeping dinner groups manageable, and leaving the crappy stuff people gave you behind in the hotel room.
§ Professor Bendis will see you now: Brian Michael Bendis, who formerly taught a class on comics at Portland State University, will teach a new class at the University of Oregon:
During his time at PSU, Bendis sought to make the class workshop extensive, believing that that’s the best way to learn about writing. “I’m a big believer in workshops. It’s the only way you’re going to learn by doing it over and over again,” Bendis said.
“We’ll also show some Will Eisner documentaries and some hidden gems from Jack Kirby, pretty much the grandmasters who created this language. We’re going to look at the philosophical history of comics as well as doing plenty of workshop stuff.”
§ Hannah Gorfinkel has joined Dynamite Entertainment as Associate Editor. She was formerly at Zenescope.
§ Writer Jamie S. Rich is planning something for next weekend’s Rose City Comic Con and here’s the trailer.
§ That Salt Lake City Con the other day was very successful, but organizers may have let success go to their heads:
“Not only will we increase local participation by 50 to 100 percent, but based on analytics, we are going to be another San Diego Comic-Con,” Bryan Brandenburg, Salt Lake Comic Con VP of marketing, said on Monday.
That may seem like a tall order, given that San Diego is the unquestioned comic con flagship, but a post on Salt Lake Comic Con’s Facebook page says that between 70,000 and 80,000 people attended Saturday alone. To put that in perspective, the next-biggest stated attendance for a first-time show was New York City at 33,000 — over all three days — in 2006. Salt Lake Comic Con officials said an official three-day estimate is not yet available.
§ Speaking of SLCC, there was a panel on Brigham Young, Porter Rockwell, and other Mormons in comics.
§ By now you have probably seen the touching picture of disabled comics writer Bill Mantlo, posted by Greg Pak. Mantlo was a prolific comics scripter in the ’70s before he left comics to practice law and was struck by a hit and run vehicle, resulting in permanent brain damage. Among the characters created by Mantlo: Rocket Raccoon. Pak suggests that if you like the character you make a small donation to Mantlo’s ongoing care, which seems a fine and karmically powerful idea.
§ Headline of the week, or perhaps epoch: Superheroes can be gay, but not happy
§ On a happier note, here’s JH Williams III’s cover for Sandman: Overture #2.
§ Breaking! Ten Reasons Children Should Read Comic Books says this article with the usual rundown of benefits to imagination and reading. Comics offer an “Introduction to non-linear storytelling” as well.
§ Meanwhile, Comic book geeks have never had it so good. Okay then.
§ Frank Santoro was interviewed for the Tell Me Something I Don’t Know podcast at Boing Boing.
§ Lots of comics events are happening in the Washington DC area.
§ Retailer Mike Sterling points out there are a lot of comics now.
Comic fans only have so much to budget for their books, and every dollar that goes towards maintaining their run of Amazing or whatever at two or three copies a month are dollars not going toward maybe trying out something that isn’t a Spider-Man comic that month. It’s rack crowding and market flooding, and I don’t like it when Marvel is cranking out two or three issues per title per month, and I don’t like it when both Marvel and DC are cranking out a half-dozen titles or more for each of their franchises. We don’t need this many Batman books, or this many X-Men or Green Lantern or Avengers or Superman books, except we now have a marketplace that depends on devotion to the big franchises and doesn’t leave room in anyone’s budgets to try out or support something different.
Young screenwriter/comics writer Max Landis has mastered the art of making bold statements in Reddit AMAs
, claiming he wants to write a Wonder Woman pitch, among other things, even as he looks at a bridge while thumbing his lighter.
Of course, were a Wonder Woman project to go ahead, Landis may have to curb his ire toward the current state of DC Comics. Asked what he would erase from comics if he could, he answered, “The New 52″ (DC’s reboot of continuity from September 2011). When asked about any future comics plans from the publisher — he wrote a story that appeared in last year’s Action Comics Annual, his answer was, “I dunno, man. I was working on something with [comic artist] Jock, but … I dunno. DC is … DC.”
§ This is from a while ago, but cartoonist/gardener Ursula Vernon looks at the graying of SF fandom as witnessed at the recent WorldCon.
I will say right now that it was by-and-large an older white con. Tina came along as part of my entourage (She said she’d never been on an entourage before!) and at one point she turned to me and said “Wow. I feel like the youngest person in the room.” Tina’s in her fifties. I’m thirty-six. In fact, the topic came up practically every time we talked to somebody–”Wow. Anybody seen a teenager?” Teiran claimed to have, and said they were the only ones who bought anything. The furry contingent sat around the bar shaking our heads. At Anthrocon—and indeed, by standard demographic spread—we are solidly middle-aged. At this con, we felt terrifyingly young. Of all the cons I do (and I have done many, over the years) this was far and away the oldest skew of any of them.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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Heidi’s off at Congress, as per usual, meaning there’s just me here at Stately Beat Mansion right now. It would be very bad luck indeed to not have a roundup piece on a Friday the 13th, so here’s a selection of news, opinion pieces, artwork, and all kinds of other stuff. Here’s some of the things which’ve caught my eye over the last few days.
The last page of Paul Harrison-Davies webcomic Astrodog is up today, making this a perfect chance for you to jump in from the start.
Sarah McIntyre’s taking over the UK right now. Look! She’s been on the radio with Katie Melua, and everything!
Top Shelf are running their annual $3 sale, with a number of notable comics available at a deeply reduced price. Go take a look round, see if there’s anything you fancy!
Mark Kardwell interviews Milligan and McCarthy about… The Best of Milligan and McCarthy!
The Outhousers suggest 5.2 reasons why DC shouldn’t fire Dan DiDio.
On the other hand, retailer OK Comics pen an open letter to DC Comics regarding their Villains Month initiative, or rather DC’s messing up of said initiative.
Jason Sacks has a brilliant interview with Elaine Will, about a graphic novel I’d not heard of before – but which sounds utterly fascinating.
Ant Man, directed by Edgar Wright and written by Wright and Joe Cornish, has been placed for release in 2015.
Not comics, but you can sponsor David Brothers on a charity 5K run he’s doing on behalf of Prevention International. If you sponsor, you are guaranteed not to be cursed for the rest of this Friday 13th. Guaranteed!
Jeremy Whitley’s been on the promotional trail for the return of his series Princeless.
Marvel have released an app for iPhones and iPads and all those other fancy iThings which brings JARVIS onto your screen. Voiced by Paul Bettany, the app allows you to find secrets unlocked in the Iron Man 3 DVD, which is out sometime soon.
Self-promotion is all the rage nowadays, so here’s my pitch for the Perfect Wonder Woman Movie.
If you’ve never read Andy Oliver’s Small Press Column over at Broken Frontier, I’d recommend it!
Brian Cronin takes a look at the universally-agreed worst Avenger of all time Wonder Man, and specifically the awful outfits the character has worn over the years.
I believe we’ve mentioned before that Finnish prog-metal musician Tuomas Holopainen (think Toki from Dethklok only Finnish) is making a concept album devoted to Don Rosa’s classic The LIfe and Times of Scrooge McDuck, but now there is a VIDEO which stars Don Rosa.
There’s also a video of Holopainen talking about the album.
Rosa has also created the cover art for the album, above. We knew Don Rosa was a household name in Northern Europe, but we didn’t know that included Finnish Prog Metal households.
§ Although it isn’t Oscar eligible until next year (by which time everyone will have forgoten about it) Blue is the Warmest Color won Best Foreign Film at the Independent Spirit Awards. The film is based on Julie Maroh’s GN of the same title.
§ British cartoonists went to Malta and has a great time.
§ Minecraft, the insanely popular video game that only young people understand, has already teamed with Marvel for an Avengers Skin Pack but the two companies could be collaborating again.
§ Here is a very nuts and bolts, covering all the bases article about how a library in St. Peterburg, FL added a graphic novel section.
§ Comics are getting some attention in South Africa, or at least, merchandise.
“Over the last five years, the SA comic scene has just gone pow,” he says, “We’re starting to realise that comics aren’t just silly things for kids. I think it’s because of cinematic exposure – now all the biggest earning films are comic book films like The Avengers and so on, and the TV series like Agents of SHIELD and so on – we’re starting to get very exposed to comic book characters. And because of this exposure, so many people are going ‘oh, so comics are actually cool’. If you look in fashion, any average Pick ‘nPay or Mr Price will sell superhero shirts now.”
§ For nearly a decade we laughed at the antics and misfortunes of the Spider-Man musical, but the injury sustained by dancer Daniel Curry was pretty gruesome.
But on the night of Aug. 15, something went wrong. Mr. Curry, giving his first interview since that performance, said he felt the lift moving as usual as the “Spider-Man” score swelled. He couldn’t see, though that was normal, too, because he wore a blindfold, and the stage was dark. Then, in a split second, something solid pressed down against his right foot, then crushed it. His foot had become trapped between the lift and the stage.
Curry has lost most of his foot, and will probably never be able to dance again. He’s also suing the producers.
§ Here’s a big story from last week: Disney will film its upcoming Netflix series The Defenders in New York. They’ll also spend $200 million on it. This is exciting to me because it means at any random moment, I may stumble on the Defenders set.
§ Everyone linked to this great comic by Boulet — why should I be left out?
§ Apparently. Charlton Comics is coming back as a 44-page tribute, the Charlton Arrow.
§ A grim day at Stately Beat Manor: There is ANOTHER Heidi MacDonald...and she can DRAW.
§ Graphic Classics is still turning out themed comics anthologies, and their new one is Native American Classics: Graphic Classics Volume 24, for which they hired as many actual Native American creators as possible:
Let’s start out with Dylan Horrock’s drawing of Alan Moore. Because you can never have too much Alan Moore. Via Lulu Bonanza and Forbidden Planet
§ Acme Comics has opened a second store.
The 1,500-square-foot store features “geek culture” items ranging from clothing, original art prints and specialty items such as guitars and small tchotchkes featuring comic book heroes.
§ The Advocate profiles Julio’s Day by Gilbert Hernandez and its gay themes.
§ Two years later, Jason Snell revisits reading comics on tablets. Guess what — lots of people are soing it!
When the iPad was first released, I found it to be an excellent (albeit imperfect) comic-book reader. A few years of hardware and software iteration later, it’s a lot harder to spot imperfections. The only problem I have is that I’m now buying several comics a week on my iPad, with the credit card bill to prove it.
§ Something called Neurocomic will investigate brain functions.It comes with a video, above.
Artist Matteo Farinella is teaming up with neuroscientist Dr. Hana Ros to create a graphic novel called Neurocomic, which is aimed at teaching readers about how our minds really work. It’ll also feature giant squids and talking sea slugs, as well as famous neuroscientists.
§ Here’s the latest comprehensive update on Peter David’s condition. Although he’s still recovering from a stroe he suffered 10 weeks ago, he’s also bowling and taking Tai Chi classes. Here’san appreciation of his work.
§ Boing Boing’s monthly comics reviews.
§ Gene Luen Yang’s upcoming double header Graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion is previewed and he talks about comics and education:
Yang: “Boxers and Saints” is fiction, but I did a lot of historical research. The Boxer Rebellion occurred in the year 1900. Back then, the Chinese government was incredibly weak and couldn’t defend China’s borders. It allowed the Western powers to go in and establish concessions — small communities of Westerners that basically functioned like colonies — in all the major cities. The poor, illiterate teenagers of the Chinese countryside were embarrassed by this, so they came up with this elaborate ritual where they would call Chinese gods from the heavens to possess them and give them superpowers. Then they marched across the land killing foreign missionaries, foreign merchants, foreign soldiers, and Chinese Christians — their fellow countrymen who had embraced foreign religion. Because their martial arts reminded the Europeans of boxing, these teenagers became known as the Boxers.
§ A good long interview with Bill Willingham by Alex Dueben, with a lot of information on the upcoming Fablescon:
Just like every cop who’s ever existed has always planned the perfect crime–thinking, if I was that guy I wouldn’t have confessed because we had nothing on him and that type of thing–I think every comics creator has their own secret idea of, if I was to ever be silly enough to do my own convention here’s what I would do. To a certain extent FablesCon reflects my perfect imagined convention. Now putting on a convention I found out is so much more work than one would think. There are compromises to be made and there are budgets that have to be adhered to so it’s not exactly the perfect convention. In the perfect convention, everyone I invite says yes. Every person who shows up is delighted to get there and be there. We have an unlimited budget. Unfortunately that doesn’t actually exist in the real world.
“There was me, Amanda, and there was Amanda’s TED speech.”
§ One winter afternoon in the early ’50s, two of my father’s sisters came to our suburban Chicago home on a rare visit. One bore a gift for me, perhaps from her son, my older cousin Billy. It was either a Tales From The Crypt or a Vault of Horror comic and featured a putrefying skull floating in a vermilion pool on its lurid cover.
Thus begins a chilling tale by Justin Green.
§ Another look at that new Al Capp book, this one by Michael Dooley. This is going to be the book everyone is talking about isn’t it?
No doubt about it: Al Capp engaged in depraved behavior. Most disgraceful was his attempted rape of a number of women, from college co-eds to Grace Kelly. And, as the interview below suggests, there may be more. Capp also created Li’l Abner, once one of America’s most acclaimed comic strips. It began in 1934, the Depression era, and was centered around the fictional, dirt-poor Appalachian town inhabited mostly by innocent yokels and conniving scoundrels. At its best, it ridiculed the powerful and pompous in politics and culture with shrewd insight, rollicking humor, and a distinctly lush, elegant drawing style.
§ Todd Allen looks at the resale of digital download codes.
As the world of physical content attempts to come to grips with the digital economy, bundling — adding a digital download code to a physical item, like an UltraViolet code with a Blu-ray disc or a Comixology code with a Marvel comic book — is one of the ways traditional media has attempted to cope. A possibly unintended consequence of this bundling is the creation of a secondary market for these digital codes.
Planet Notion » Inky Fingers #5: Penguin
Comic books’ real-life supervillain: psychiatrist Fredric Wertham – Boing Boing
§ Wired talks to Shannon Wheeler and Jake Parker about Comixology’s new Submit program, where indie creators can submit their work to be carried on the app for a 50/50 revenue share.
GeekDad: For both of you, how does this compare to traditional print publishing of your comics? Jake, I know Missile Mouse was published by Scholastic’s Graphix imprint, but you decided to go the self-published route for Antler Boy. Did you prefer one experience over the other?
Parker: Self publishing has been an education. It made me fully appreciate everything a publisher does. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes that you have to do as a self publisher that I never messed with when I worked with a publisher. That said, I still enjoy that side of things. From promotion to preparing files for the printer everything gets my personal attention. I also like that it’s all on me. If it fails I have no one to blame and if it succeeds I get all the credit. Comparing the printing of Antler Boy versus the digital publishing of Antler Boy there’s a huge imbalance of the amount of work and money involved. Printing and shipping a few thousand books can mean an upfront cost of tens of thousands of dollars. For digital publication there’s zero cost outside of the time you put into it. I can finish drawing it one day and have it available for reading the next.
Wheeler: With print it’s a dice roll. I color the comics on the computer and then wait weeks to see how they look in print. There are multiple variables that affect the final book. Originally, I colored the cartoons to be printed in color in the newspaper so I used full saturation (I call it coloring with a sledge hammer). A solid red on newsprint prints dull. The paper itself has a slight tone that helps tie the page together. When I reprinted the cartoons in comic books I used better paper and the colors popped. Reprinting them digitally is closest to what I see when I’m coloring them. The detail is shocking. Great sometimes and horrifying other times. It’s definitely interesting.
They don’t really get into the business model, but I should note that some Beat commenters have been analyzing the contract here
§ Everyone knows ARCHER is savage and brilliant, but did you know it is influenced by underground comix? I’m not sure this piece draws the necessary line between the two, but it’s a nice history of the underground movement.
§ A Warren Ellis FAQ: How I Came Up With Spider Jerusalem. The answer will STUN you! (not really.)
§ Kings in Disguise by James Vance and Dan E. Burr is a much admired comics classic that came out more than 20 year’s ago; and a now a sequel is out On The Ropes. David L. Ulin reviews it for the LA Times.
§ This isn’t really comics, but author Brad Meltzer and this Chris Eliopoulos will team for Ordinary People Change The World a series of biographical picture books profiling American heroes. First up: Amelia Earhary and Abraham Lincoln. Although the books will be out in 2014, there’s a website where you can buy some merch and make charitable contributions.
§ This is a nice write-up of Emerald City Comic-Con.
§ Arthur Suydam did a variant cover for The Walking Dead which will only be available at the Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con
§ This fellow is Kickstarting a movie about the Justice League in hopes of showing Warner Bros. how its done. I don’t get how you can make these copyright busting fan filmsbut if this floats your boat go and support it.
§ Someone is also kickstarting Robert A. Heinlein’s Citizen of the Galaxy . That’s a page of the art by Steve Erwin.
§ But THIS Kickstarter rules all because it has a VOICE OVER BY BILL WATTERSON. I shit you not.
§ This comment by a cartoonist is the best explanation of why Seth MacFarlane’s Oscar boobs song was annoying I’ve yet seen.
§ I know you all saw this but Grant Morrison Was Right™: Astronaut poop will be used as a radiation shield.
§ Well THIS is obscure and mysterious. A mere 34 miles north of San Diego lies the California Center for the Arts, Escondido, a 1500-seat amphitheater, conference center and museum. Apparently they just nailed down a budget and want to ramp up their events including a comics exhibit to draw hipsters crowd during Comic-Con:
Center officials announced last fall that another new event they’re planning is a comic book exhibit this summer during San Diego’s Comic-Con. Courtright predicted this week that the exhibit would help the center attract a younger crowd focused more on popular culture than typical visitors. On the long-term goals, Teeuwissen said he hopes to transform the former site of the center’s children’s museum into a “black box” theater.
It’s a little far for a quick run, but, hey the more comics the merrier, right?
§ Speaking of conventions, Tom Spurgeon has a novella-length report on Emerald City Comic Con and his other journeyings. It’s a picaresque tale of comics shops and Brandon Graham.
§ Jess Nevins, Alan Moore annotator extraordinaire, has posted his annotations to League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Nemo; he invites feedback.
§ ICv2 notes that the shutdown of the Megaupload site—where many pirated movies and other files were hosted—has resulted in higher sales for movies and other forms of entertainment. Huh, well how do you figure that?.
§ Larry Hama, the man who turned G.I. Joe from a doll with a funny hand into an adventurer with a vital mythology via his work on the Marvel comics, recently wrote on Facebook:
Never got an invite to the premiere of GI Joe Retaliation, but I bet the caterers and accountants did.
§ Cambridge University’s student newspaper tackles a thorny issue:THE FUTURE OF COMICS IS IN THE PAST — but those people at Cambrige are smart, right? So they should be able to figure this one out:
Even the terminology surrounding this question is fiercely debated. Whereas most like to refer to works such as Maus as ‘graphic novels’, the term seems to be a hopeful attempt to disassociate the new breed of ‘intelligent’ comics from tales of superheroes, making a clear distinction between comic- book-pulp-fiction and high-art -visual-narratives. Publisher Dan Franklin of Jonathan Cape chooses not to make a distinction between comic books and graphic novels, although he admits that, “because the books we publish are at the more literary end of the spectrum I’m probably inclined to think of them as graphic novelists first.” Comic book theorist Scott McCloud – at the forefront of the new ‘academicising’ movement – prefers to call them ‘sequential narratives.’ However, this term is yet to catch on in popular usage. Practitioner Nick Hayes, a former student at Emmanuel College and author of acclaimed graphic novel The Rime of the Modern Mariner, is more relaxed about the matter: “people get all in a fluster about this. The most pretentious of the lot is Sequential Artist, but I think you may as well print up a T-shirt that proclaims your own self-esteem paranoia… I tend to change my job title to suit its audience.”
§ To celebrate Women’s HItory Month, CR is interviewing some great comics women of yore. In an interview with
Louise Simonson and Ann Nocenti the following delightful exchange occured::
Nocenti: I have no idea, actually, because I don’t know what everyone else made! [Laughter] But the thing is, I got back into comics because of stereotypes. I think there was some big controversy in some convention — I wasn’t in the industry because I was off doing other things — about how there were no women in comics, and then I got a call, “We need women in comics.” So if I got back into the industry because I’m a token female, I say great! I’m all in!
Simonson: Also, Annie, they call you up because I think they like a female face on videos and things like that. I always get people asking me to do video interviews! [Laughs] It’s pretty funny!
Nocenti: They put me on “Green Arrow,” and I have to admit, I just didn’t get Green Arrow. I struggled with him. He was a rich playboy in an armored suit who was young. I liked the old Green Arrow, the wise guy who was stealthy and a social crusader — Denny O’Neil’s Green Arrow. This was a different Green Arrow and I didn’t connect with him. Now, doing “Katana” and “Catwoman,” I have no idea if there was a meeting where someone said, “Lets give the girl writer the girl books,” but I instantly related to those characters! It’s fun to write girls.
Simonson: I hear you, and I agree!
The whole thing is well wroth reading, and more in the series of interview will be up later.
Hooray for Spring! Now bring on the lamb of March.
§ Is the graphic novel-to movie deal option really slowing? Not for these guys.
When Stephen Stern and his business partner, Joseph Giovannetti, launched Storyboard Graphic Novelsin 2011, they knew they were offering a unique service to the Hollywood community but they had no idea how quickly it would catch on. Within weeks, they had clients that included screenwriters, producers and directors who wanted their screenplays adapted into graphic novels. And their client list quickly extended outside of Tinseltown, to such locations as the UK and India.
“We knew we were providing a service that didn’t exist, but was much needed by creators who wanted to separate their screenplays from the thousands of projects that make the rounds in Hollywood every day,” Stern said. “Not only is a graphic novel a veritable storyboard for a movie hence our company namebut films based on comic-books and GNs are among the surest bets for studios.”
§ Sometimes the creators actually get a break. When Random House introduced new digital only lines of SF and other genre novels — Hydra, Alibi, Loveswept and Flirt— writer John Scalzi noted that the contracts were terrible
* No advance.
* The author is charged “set-up costs” for editing, artwork, sale, marketing, publicity — i.e., all the costs a publisher is has been expected to bear. The “good news” is that the author is not charged up front for these; they’re taken out of the backend. If the book is ever published in paper, costs are deducted for those, too.
* The contract asks for primary and subsidiary rights for the term of copyright.
Here’s the craaaaaazy thing: After some outcry, Random house actually changed the contracts
. Scalzi comments here.
Sidenote: the original contract that Scalzi decried isn’t totally dissimilar from what’s considered the best contract in comics at Image WITH THESE IMPORTANT DIFFERENCES: Image is not a billion dollar international conglomerate like Bertelsmann, Random House’s parent company. AND at Image there is no question that the creator owns copyright all the way down the line. Scalzi is dubious about the “profit-sharing” model Random house is offering—again somewhat analogous to the “creator participation” model common in comics:
3. The no-advance “profit-sharing” set-up still concerns me as a slippery slope for all sorts of reasons but if the advance-offering option is equitable and reasonable and every author is offered it as a matter of course and there is no discrimination between how the two classes of authors are generally treated and serviced by the imprint, then offering a second, riskier option does not strike me as wholly predatory, as the author can turn it down and still publish with the imprint if such is her choice.
I bring this up just to show how author expectations are way different in comics and traditional book publishing.
OTOH, as Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin proved yesterday, if you have enough of a fanbase you don’t need ay middlemen at all.
§ D&Q’s amazing fall list.
§ I love those guys at the Outhouse:DC Offices Host Wild Shindig After Young Justice Finale (SPOILERS)
Luckily, Johnston was able to think quickly. “I just yelled, ‘Oblivion for Cassandra Cain!’ and everyone went right back to celebrating the death of a beloved character, except Didio, who kept asking, ‘who?!’ It was a close one.”
§ Dara Naraghi speaks for many on the topic of the Veronica Mars Kickstarter
Are you kidding me? A major movie studio (Warner Bros.) basically asking their audience to fund their movie, to the tune of $2 million! Of course, fanboys/nerds/genre geeks (whatever you want to call them, and I do include myself in the group) being who they are, have gladly shelled over $3.5 million so far to fund a giant corporation’s movie. And there’s still 26 days to go, so who knows how many more millions they’ll fork over. OK, yes, I know it’s a democratic process and nobody is forcing these people to fund the project. They’re doing it because of their love of the property, and their desire to see more of it. I get that. But still, it feels very, very wrong to me. Crowd funding sites came about to help *CREATORS* fund their projects, not subsidize some multinational mega-corporation.
§ Indie book stores, like local comics shops, are not dying as quickly as expected:
While beloved bookstores still close down every year, sales at independent bookstores overall are rising, established independents are expanding, and new ones are popping up from Brooklyn to Big Stone Gap, Va. Bookstore owners credit the modest increases to everything from the shuttering of Borders to the rise of the “buy local” movement to a get-’er-done outlook among the indies that would shame Larry the Cable Guy. If they have to sell cheesecake or run a summer camp to survive, add it to the to-do list. “2012 was the year of the bookstore,” says Wendy Welch, co-owner of Tales of the Lonesome Pine in Virginia and author of the 2012 memoir “The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap.” In her memoir, she recounts how she and her husband, Jack Beck, created – sometimes despite themselves – a successful used-book store in a town that, by any business measure, is too small to support one.
§ Did you know St Patrick drove the lady comics creators out of Ireland?
§ Cartoonist Paul Conrad’s statue “Chain Reaction” is in the news again. The statue, which stands in front of the Santa Monica Civic Center, is much loved, but also unstable, as its fiberglass components have been deteriorating over the years. Now five former Santa Monica mayors have spoken out to save rather than move the statue:
Denny Zane, Michael Feinstein, Judy Abdo, Jim Conn, Paul Rosenstein and Nat Trives, whose careers collectively span more than three decades of Santa Monica politics, signed the letter to support efforts by the Conrad family to raise money to repair the sculpture which the City has said needs to be removed due to safety concerns. “We’re very appreciative,” said Dave Conrad, son of Paul Conrad. “It’s a huge vote of confidence from people who know how Santa Monica works and also know the history of Santa Monica and the valuable place in that history that Chain Reaction occupies.”
§ WNYC legend Leonard Lopate talks to comics legends Arnold Roth, Drew Friedman and Al Jaffee about Harvey Kurtzman. Go just to listen to the mellifluous tones of Al Jaffee. While you’re at it, listen to a look back at the Iraq War, one of the saddest darkest moments in US history. Never forget.
§ J. Caleb Mozzocco looks at the remains of Wildstorm in the New 52 with a focus on Stormwatch, and he has some sharp words for the overall art style:
What I found most interesting in this portion of the book is how many artists were involved with these designs: Hamner (Jenny, Adam, Apollo, Midnighter, Jack), Lee (J’onn), Sepulveda (Engineer, Projectionist) and even Joe Prado (Eminence of Blades). Crazy Jane, a character featured rather prominently in Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrolrun, was apparently also considered for inclusion in the cast, and even designed. They apparently did a lot of work and had a lot of talented folks behind these designs, but when it came time to actually draw the comic, the designs are almost always buried by coloring effects or weird storytelling choices (The Eminence of Blades, for example, spends most of the first six issues wearing a space suit, so he just looks like a generic astronaut holding some glowing blue swords).
§ Brigid Alverson and Jesso Post discuss Why Children Aren’t Reading Digital Comics (And What Might Make Them Start)
You mentioned on your blog that digital is just a small slice of the kids’ comics market. Why do you think that is?
I think that was actually a stat about children’s’ publishing in general, but it certainly applies to comics. Kids like to show off their books, trade them with friends, bring them to school in their backpacks, draw in the margins, and file them away on a bookshelf. I’ve personally moved almost all of my music and movie library to digital because I’m satisfied with the abstract idea of owning a file stored in the cloud, but kids have a more tactile relationship with the stuff in their bedrooms, including books. When I worked for Disney Adventures, a kids’ entertainment magazine, I was always surprised by how much our readers valued physical aspects of the magazine, like its small trim size and the paper quality.
§ I did not know what to expect when I saw a story entitled The Women of St. Louis Comic Con — but, of course, it was cosplayers:
The stereotype of comic book readers as overweight, nerdy men has been pounded into bits since Comic Book Guy made his debut on The Simpsons more than twenty years ago. That much was evident this past weekend at the first-ever Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con, held at America’s Center (701 Convention Plaza). Jon Gitchoff brings back these photos of the women of Wizard World St. Louis Comic Con for the Riverfront Times.
There are 76 photos and some are spectacular and some are sexy and some are carrying knives and swords.
But of them all, it was Robin who made me say, “Hey now, what is happening here?”
§ Elsewhere, there was a night of comic book burlesque:
§ But this guy seemed to have a great time at the show proper.
§ Did we forget to mention that Lisa HAnawaltwas was nominated for a James Beard Award?
“I was super-surprised — I never realized that the Beard Awards had a category for ‘Journalism/Humor,’ and I’m just thrilled to be nominated alongside some of the chefs I illustrated,” Hanawalt, an Ignatz Award winner who will appear at this year’s Small Press Expo, tells Comic Riffs. “Now I’m trying to figure out how to get a Tony award via comics. … ”
§ Area man baffled by notoriously baffling comic book.
We only had time to get partway through…
§ Ghostface Killah is doing one of those concept albums/comics/audios/thingamahoosits; it is called Twelve Reasons To Die.
This edition of the graphic novel was illustrated by Ronald Wimberly and written by Matthew Rosenberg and Patrick Kindlon, who say it was inspired by classic Spaghetti Western film scores. Those who’ve closely followed the audio narrative provided in “The Rise of the Ghostface Killah” and “The Sure Shot (Parts 1 and Part 2)” know it follows Tony Starks, who is a soldier for the 12 Delucas, a 1960s-era Italian crime family.
You had us at Ronald Wimberly.
There’s a trailer thinger and also a comic book cover.
§ Jason Thompson presentA Quick and Dirty History of Manga in the US — the ending is a bit of a downer. =(
§ Speaking of manga, we haven’t been checking in as much as we should on the autopsies for Jmanga, the online manga portal that clsoed up over night, but here’s Lori Henderson’s take
So what went wrong? I know this will be discussed for the next few days and weeks. We will probably never know for sure considering how tight-lipped Japanese companies can be about failures. One thing we know for sure from a tweet from the @Jmanga_official account, is that they ran out of money. Some will say scanlations were the cause, I’ll agree with that, up to a point. I don’t think it was the scanlations that killed it, but that a lot of people probably didn’t know about the site in the first place. There have been plenty of examples of people asking publishers to license things that are already licensed, or that they have been publishing themselves! Awareness of ways to obtain legal manga still seems to be low. It’s not too surprising when a search on Google for a manga will result in the first page being almost all scanlation sites, and no sign of the legal publisher until the 2nd or even 3rd page in. Studies show most people won’t go past the first page, so this really hurts discovery of the publishers.
§ Grady Hendrix looks at the impact of MAd’s movie parodies, aka “It’s Mort Drucker’s world; we just laugh at it.”
Prior to the Seventies and the advent of Monty Python, Mel Brooks’s film send-ups, and the team of Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker, MAD were the only people parodying Hollywood sanctimony on a regular basis. Jack Clayton’s glossy version of The Great Gatsby might have been a profitable vehicle for Robert Redford, and it might have won two Academy Awards, but MAD saw right through it. Calling it The Great Gasbag, they lambasted its lacquered artificiality (“Gasbag thought of everything!” Nick Carrawayseed remarks at a supposedly wild party. “He even had the dancing choreographed!!”), bemoaned its monotony (“Why…? Why?!?” screams Nick after Myrtle is run over by a car. “Why didn’t they FILM the only scene with any action in this entire movie?!”), and revealed that Gatsby’s mysterious absences were due to the fact that Robert Redford is having secret meetings with his agent, begging to get out of the picture before it ruins his box-office clout.
§ Congoer experiences acute first world problems”
I have run into this problem more times than I like to admit. Too often have I bought a print from an artist I’m a huge fan of just to find out later that the print’s dimensions are not common premade frame sizes. I end up having to wait several months for an Aaron Brother 60% off custom framing coupon just to be able to pay 3 times more for the frame than I did for the print. Yes, I’ll take the gallery glass and quadruple matting…might as well at this point. I can’t skimp when it comes to a picture of Howard the Duck playing cards with the Avengers.
§ Famed novelist Junot Diaz discuses Superman’s immigration status with Stephen Colbert.
§ Must Read: Tom Spurgeon catches up with First Second editor Calista Brill, whose essay on giving up on a comics career turned into a 10-alarm internet fire last week. Verbalizing these painful issues of a career in comics was something of a shock for many:
§ The 25 Comic Books You Need To Read Before You Die -- this piece should be called "The 25 Vertigo Comics you Need to Read Before Your Library Card Expires" but not a terrible list for what it is.
Freddy, Freddie, Winsor McKay, Rob Liefeld and everything in between.
From the highs of Matthew Inman to the lows of the cartoonist whose car got towed.
Reminder! Please keep the kibble flowing! send links and tips to comicsbeat at gmail dot com!
Tweet§ Via PW, Multimedia Authoring Platforms are all the rage! As described to PW by 10 companies offering a variety of platforms for producing multimedia-enhanced e-books of all kinds, digital publishing is about creating “enriched” e-books and mobile applications that, in the most basic terms, integrate text into a content ecosystem of audio, video, image, [...]
Some of the news that has been floating around this week.
§ Everyone is home safe and sound from the DC editorial retreat. Amazingly no one wandered off into the woods and didn't come back.
Rubert Grint to play a superhero, Orson Scott Card to play a supervillian.
Why does Japan love fax machines? Why does Russia love dash cams? Why does Warren Ellis love webcomics?
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Today an EXTRA LONG installment of Kibbles 'n' Bits that literally spans the world of comics and art. There is something for EVERYONE here -- please join us on our journey of clicks.
§ Spotlight on comics in India! The third Indian Comic-Con wrapped up a few weeks ago, and left a brand new comics industry in its wake!