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1. 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.

he youzhi 650x573 Kibbles n Bits 10/20/14: Gary Groth is a Stranger Genius

§ 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.

TMNT JAMES JEAN 627x630 Kibbles n Bits 10/20/14: Gary Groth is a Stranger Genius

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


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2. 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.

ulju Kibbles n Bits 10/2/14: Film Festival!

§ 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?


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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3. 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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4. 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?


§ 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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5. 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!


§ 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.


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

§ 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.

§ 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.)


§ 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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7. 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.


§ 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.

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8. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits: 8/22/14: Can’t we talk about something more pleasant


§ 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.


§ 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.

§ 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]


§ 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.”

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9. 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.

§ 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.


§ 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.


§ 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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10. 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.


§ 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.

§ 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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11. 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!


§ 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.

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12. 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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13. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 6/12/14: There is this thing called the World Cup…

§ I guess I need to update this post.


§ 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.


§ 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.


§ 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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14. 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.


§ 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.


§ 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.


§ 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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15. 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!)


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

Comics retailing!    The architects!  How to get there!



The wiki.


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!


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.


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:


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.)


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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16. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 5/15/14: Lots of women at ECCC; first Walking Dead Season Five teaser, etc etc etc


§ 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.”


§ 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.


§ 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.

§ 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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17. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 5/2/2014: No More ADHD


§ 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.


§ 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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18. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/8/14: RIP Jeff Pert

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§ Maine cartoonist Jeff Pert died suddenly at age 53. Pert was known for his local humor, and his cartoon books were a staple of Maine gift shops. Casablanca Comics Rick Lowell remembered him:

“His work is so recognizable. I’ve traveled the East Coast down to Florida, walk into gift shops and see his work everywhere,” said Lowell. “He has a niche for the type of cartoons he was doing.” Lowell carried Pert’s book, “Cartoons From Maine: How’s the Water, Bob?” published by Down East Books, and said it was a top seller last year. At Pert’s book signing, the line was out the door. “He was overwhelmed by how many people showed up,” Lowell recalled.

§ Marc Tyler Nobleman has interviewed Nancy Wykoff, granddaughter of William Moulton Marston, the creator of Wonder Woman. Although Wykoff never met her grandfather, you have to imagine there were a few family stories.

He died when my dad was 13 so most of the stories came from my grandmother. Stories say that he modeled Wonder Woman after Elizabeth Marston but my grandmother, Olive Richard, claims that Wonder Woman was designed after her. If you ever see a picture of the two ladies, you would see that indeed Wonder Woman was designed after my grandmother.

Bill Marston had four children with two different women. All the children, three boys and one girl, have Marston as their last name. My grandmother Olive met Bill when she was 19. Bill came home to his wife, Elizabeth Marston, and asked if Olive could come live with them. Elizabeth agreed. Olive was the homemaker and Elizabeth was an attorney for Met Life.

§ Jim Starlin’s Dreadstar has been optioned for a film by Benderspink and Ford Gilmore’s Illuminati Entertainment. Dreadstar is a rousing space opera, and I can imagine it making quite a colorful film.


§ For some reason, I bookmarked this Charles Burns cover for a digital reissue of Shadows of Carcosa: Tales of Cosmic Horror by Lovecraft, Chambers, Machen, Poe, and Other Masters of the Weird Probably because I love Charles Burns and he would draw a damn fine Carcosa.

§ There was another little con kerfuffle over a badge and questionable imagery, but this time organizers owner up to it in proper fashion.

§ CAF time is in full swing with the first Lineworks NW show taking up the mantle in Portland. Tom Spurgeon interviewed co-organizer Zack Soto but really this could be “model cartoonist interview 2014″ as Soto talks about retail, cartooning, social media and all the other things we juggle. Also worth noting, although indie shows haven’t had many harassment reports, Lineworks has a policy in place and its zero tolerance as it should be.

§ Via Fantagraphics, how much do you know about Donald Duck´s Family Tree? Even looking at the famed Duck genealogy chart by Don Rosa, my answer is…not much.

§ I had forgotten that Miley Cyrus teamed up with John K to provide the animated backgrounds for her show but when you think about it, the current Miley looks a lot like a John K character, so props to Miley!

§ That Dubai Comic Con was banging again.

Crowds made huge lines at the entry gates to purchase tickets. “I had to wait 45 minutes to get into the exhibition halls at 1pm. The convention is open till 10pm and I can’t even imagine what the crowds in the evening are going to be like,” said one visitor. More crowds are expected to visit the halls, according to organisers.

§ Yesterday’s big battle was the news that the two Kevins, Tsujihara and Feige, are going has to head on May 6, 2014 when Captain America 3 will open against Batman-Superman (Wonder Woman if you squint.) Cap, of course, is coming off the biggest April opening ever and another massive triumph for Team Marvel. WHO IS STRONGER AT THE BOX OFFICE? I must admit when I read the cast list for Batman Superman—Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Gal Godot, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane—I thought “That is definitely the cast of a Warner Bros. movie.”

1 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/8/14: RIP Jeff Pert, last added: 4/8/2014
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19. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/10/14: Check out the SCHMUCK Kickstarter!

§ Mark Evanier reports that original Airboy artist Fred Kida, a nominee for this year’s Eisner Hall of Fame, has passed away at 93.

The Kickstarter for Seth Kushner’s SCHMUCK: A Graphic Novel is in its last days with about $2500 to go. With art by Joseph Remnant, Nick Bertozzi, Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel and many more illustrating stories of awkward young adulthood, this books should be published. There’s some good stuff here. One of the rewards is the award winning photographer Kushner giving you a photography lesson for $250. AND a copy of the book. Check it out.

§ CBR’s chart cruncher John Mayo weighs in on these controversial times with his own analysis including this moebius strip about selling non Big Two comics:

There is a bit of a chicken and the egg situation going on here. The smaller publishers are in fewer stores, causing them to sell less, which in turn causes them to be in fewer stores because they sell less. In many cases, sales will go up on a title if retailers and readers would just give it a chance. The problem is, there is no major incentive for retailers to put a title on the rack in the hopes it will sell. When ordering in the single digit number of units, it is very risky for a retailer to take a chance on a title. The best way to remove that risk for a retailer is to tell you retailer about the comics you are planning on buying during the preorder phase. If you seem something you want to buy in Previews, help your retailer out and tell them. Some people dislike the preorder nature of the comic book industry, and there are many valid reasons for this. However, the reality is, the current marketplace is preorder-driven, and those preorders determine what does and does not get published in the future.

Yep Comics 101 right there.

§ It is not an Indie Comics CAF until the Secret Acres crew weighs in, even if they ARE on the steering committee. It is instructive to read the grumblings about the show from two years ago and the positive reviews now. See, things can be fixed! If you wanna read my report, it’s here.


§ MUST READ!!! Ryan Holmberg offers some groundbreaking research as he examines how the work of american cartoonists Rose O’Neill and Grace Drayton influenced manga artist Matsumoto Katsuji, who essentially invented the kawaii (cute) look.

The recent show, a retrospective of illustrator and manga author Matsumoto Katsuji (1904-86), was filled with the kind of frilly, sentimental shōjo stuff that usually makes me gag. But there was at the center of the show a ray of sharp, clarifying light that has changed my understanding of the development of manga in that transitional era of the 1930s, when the medium went from adult pastime and occasional kids plaything to big-time commercial entertainment. In that spotlight stood one work in particular: Matsumoto’s The Mysterious Clover (Nazo no kuroobaa), an 16-page, magazine-format (7 x 10 in.), premium insert furoku for the April 1934 issue of the monthly Shōjo no tomo (A Girl’s Friend), an iconic magazine in the history of shōjo culture.

§ Mairghread Scott and Sarah Stone talk about the new comic for the fan created female Transformer Windblade. I don’t get how robots have gender or whatever, but Scott and Stone do, luckily.

§ As you MAY have heard last night’s Agents of SHIELD finally revealed that the producers were right and they WERE building towards something all along. I stand corrected. In this case…tieing in with Captain America: Winter Soldier. Corey Blake examines this Marvel Cinematic Crossover

Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out less than a week ago, and the plot of last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. weaved in and around that movie’s story, which significantly altered the course of the show’s storylines and will continue to do so for the remainder of the season. Structurally, it was almost like reading the Infinity War crossover issues of Silver Sable and the Wild Pack. All that was missing was editor’s notes directing viewers to “*See Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in theaters now! -Ed.,” Pop-Up Video style. For those immersed and aware enough (and able to afford movie tickets), this is a really fun experience. It really feels like #ItsAllConnected, as the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Facebook and Twitter accounts have been telling us. It’s exciting, unprecedented, and feels very much like reading a classic Marvel event.

This seems to have significantly excited the base so we can only say well played. However since the next Marvel movie is Guardians in August, hopefully more will happen on AoS before then.

§ There were a minor kerfuffle last week about a review of Walt Kelly that sort of excused the contemporary racist caricatures of his work. Luckily Brian Kremins wrote a much better piece that puts Kelly’s work into an even broader social context, including Bridgeport, CT, a grim industrial swath located in the generally affluent suburbs of Connecticut. I can say that because I lived near Bridgeport until I was 10. While Kelly did create some stories that make us very uncomfortable now, he also had a complicated history, as befits a great artist. It is a very sad thing that almost every great cartoonist of the first half of the 20th century used racist imagery; and even sadder that they lived in a society where this imagery was tolerated and condoned. Papering over everything now would be fun, but we’re not living in a post racial society yet, so the time for papering is not yet. And yes, Walt Kelly is still one of the great cartoonists.

§ Disney’s Infinity game—a mix of sandbox video gaming and collectible figurines that includes many Disney and Pixar characters—will be adding Marvel characters, it seems, as suggested by the unsubtle video above that show’s Captain America’s Shield whizzing by Captain Jack, Sully, the Incredibles and so on. Also, the end of the trailer states “Bring on the super heroes.” Disney’s characters have always existed in some multi universal crossover state—think Disney World!—so this is only sensible. Woodgod vs Charles Muntz, I’m calling it.

§ A review and comments on Mimi Pond’s graphic novel ‘Over Easy’ in the Los Angeles Times

§ What did comics fanzines looked like in 1980? This link will tell you. Spoiler: they were not as immediately attractive as Tumblr.

§ The Asbury Park Comic con is this weekend, and local boy made good Brendan Leach is profiled with the classic headline Comic books not kid stuff for aspiring graphic novelist:

He found himself mining his childhood memories to bring to life the scenes set in Asbury Park. He recalled snapshots of seeing the rock band Weezer at The Stone Pony and huddling on the beach with friends to listen to the muffled echoes of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band practicing inside the Convention Center. Maintaining a realistic look to Asbury Park in “Iron Bound” was no small task. So when his memory failed him, Leach utilized Google Maps to get a bird’s-eye view on the town. He didn’t just want you to see the boardwalk, he wanted you to feel the sunwarmed beams burning your bare feet.

§ If you enjoyed Spurge’s interview with Zack Soto, here’s a companion piece, Rob McMonigal interviewingLineworks co-director François Vigneault:

Panel Patter: What were some of the challenges in putting together a small press show in such a short time, and how did you handle them?

Vigneault:  There are many, many challenges, but luckily we had some strong experience between us that allowed us to pull it together. For my part, I previously ran the San Francisco Zine Fest for six years, so I had a good idea of the difficulties that awaited us. I would say the biggest thing is just juggling all the various balls at once. If you put too much focus on any one thing you soon realize you have neglected some other, essential part. We also had some nasty surprises with last minute cancellations; you’ve always got to have a back-up plan for those contingencies!

2 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/10/14: Check out the SCHMUCK Kickstarter!, last added: 4/11/2014
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20. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/14-18 2014: Megahex cover revealed

I was working on a long article this week so this all piled up, but I know it’s the weekend and everyone has nothing to do but read all the stuff they missed earlier, right?


§ The final cover to Simon Hanselmann‘s Megahex has been revealed. The book comes out this fall, collecting the popular webcomic, and a lot of people I know will be talking about this.


§ Eric Colossal’s Rutabaga the Adventure Chef will be published by Amulet Books, in a two book deal. The first books comes out in March, 2015. The webcomic concerns the fantasy adventures of a chef who goes questing for exotic ingredients. There will be recipes in the print version.

§ Speaking of fun fantasies, Game of Thrones show runner David Benioff and HBO are auctioning off a set visit during Season Five filming. I haven’t read the books so I don’t know if this will involves another grisly wedding, wandering around icy fjords or just watching someone get a vital appendage chopped off, but whatever happens it will be amazing! Go place your bid here. The current top bid is $9,500 so be prepared to spend. A Lannister always pays via Paypal. The proceeds benefit the Epic Theatre Ensemble.

§ Corinne Mucha’s break up comic Get Over It! is previewed here. Been there.

§ The feature I was working on involved libraries, so this expose of library school amused me.

You’re probably wondering at this point how you’re going to fit in. Simple! Have you seen Doctor Who? You should probably have a favorite Doctor (NINE FOREVER.) You’ve read Harry Potter and maybe dabbled in fandom? And you love Tina Fey. You must love Tina Fey. To really stand out you should probably have at least one “thing.” It’ll have to be really weird to stand out in library school though. Maybe cyborg hockey player RPS? Oh wait, that’s taken. Maybe just think on it for a while. Whatever you do, don’t talk about the rock wall at your gym constantly. Nobody likes that guy.


§ I joked about the Camden Comic Con, but it was “a Pleasant Surprise” and I am very happy to hear that. CO2 Comics’ Gerry Giovinco has a nice report.

For a small, first-time convention organized in just two short months, so many things were done right that it is just amazing, beginning with and highlighted by the hospitality of the staff and Rutgers University. They found a way to make everyone feel appreciated which is, in and of itself, a rarity anywhere in today’s society. They even provided a delicious,complimentary lunch  to all vendors, dealers and guests! Who can not be happy when you are being fed?


§ Tom Devlin has a photo report on MoCCA and stained glass windows.

§ And Maura McHugh went to MCM Dublin, which appears to be one of those “emerging markets.”

If anything MCM Ireland Comic Con has proved that the potential audience is bigger than previously realised. It’s not so much a case of ‘if you build it, they will come,’ as ‘if you let them know the event is going on, they will come.’ MCM had the media connections and marketing budget that many of the Irish conventions don’t possess, and even though it rolled out its poster campaign in Dublin a little late, it still collared the attention of a large audience impatient for this kind of event.

§ Speaking of conventions, First Second’s Gina Gagaliano has another Comics Etiquette 101 on why pitching your great American graphic novel in the middle of a comicon is unlikely to end in a sale. Everyone is busy and distracted and buying a book is serious business. BUT wise words at the end:

So — if we see you at a convention and we tell you that we like your work and that you should stay in touch, that’s not us giving you the brush-off.

That’s us telling you to stay in touch with us — the first step towards an author/publisher relationship.

§ Mimi Pond’s Over Easy has been getting lots of press and it even made Buzzfeed with a piece called 14 Observations About Working At A Restaurant From Mimi Pond’s Graphic Memoir.

§ Here’s a project where they are redrawing ROM, the Marvel Publisher, Bill Mantlo-written, Sal Buscema drawn comic about a robot that will never ever be reprinted because no one has the rights any more. Well, someone does but they don’t want to reprint it.

§ Laura Hudson interviews Matt Fraction because he got sex comics right. Indeed he did!

§ Here is an old one. Sean Michael Robinson on an aborted graphic novel project that he had to scrap after four years. Among the problems: the characters weren’t well designed and the art style was too introcate. Definitely something an aspiring creator should ponder before launching a big project. Sam Alden’s Eighth Grade is another

§ Here is an old news item I completely biffed, the Kirby family taking their case regarding ownership of various Marvel characters to the Supreme Court. Although this sounds unlikely, Beat legal expert Jeff Trexler actually caleld this—and some of the issues raised in the filing—back in his thorough analysis of the case for TCJ. A very sim chance, to be sure, but perhaps…one last chance.

The Marvel v. Kirby appeal could offer an attractive case for justices on both sides of the ideological fence to resolve the question of judicial takings in a mutually acceptable way. On the one hand, it is a documentable case of judges unilaterally depriving freelancers and their heirs of substantial property rights, including both the original copyright and the right to terminate the earlier transfer. In this case it’s all intellectual property, but as the court indicates in Stop the Beach Renourishment, property rights are property rights, no matter how intangible.

3 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/14-18 2014: Megahex cover revealed, last added: 4/18/2014
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21. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/21/2014: That old verbal visual blend

First off, thanks to Nicholas Eskey for his WonderCon coverage this weekend. He did a smashing job covering some diverse panels, including Con Talk-Back — sounds like it was a great time.

§ On his mailing list, Warren Ellis had a bit more about his revamp of Project Superpowers, which will apparently be a single series:

Let me catch you up: a few days ago, Dynamite Comics announced that I’m going to do a short serial utilising the same 1940s public-domain characters that Alex Ross and Jim Krueger used for their PROJECT SUPERPOWERS series. My book will not be the same as their book. At all. More on this will be said soon. The idea crystallised while I was watching TOP OF THE LAKE, oddly.

I have actually been fascinated by those old characters for a great many years. Golden Age comics, as they’re called, are strange things. This is something I’ll get into with you at a later date, once the thing’s up and running, I think. There’s a haunted nature to many of them: like the pulps, some of them are a window for pure id to stream through.

Top of the Lake is a TV miniseries by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee about a female detective who investigates the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl who happens to be pregnant. Well then!

§ Washington DC’s Awesome Con attempted to set a record for most cosplayers this weekend but they fell more than 1000 people short. But it got them a lot of press and people had a good time.

Two follow-ups to last week’s extreme reaction to Janelle Asselin’s Teen Titans cover critique.

§ The writer of the new Titans bool, Will Pfeifer defended the new title, understandably, but was also appalled by the reaction.

I don’t agree with her opinion of the cover, but it’s appalling the reaction to her. As a writer, and I’m sure for Kenneth as an artist, we want people to respond to our work, even if we don’t agree with it. We want to put our work out there and have people react. But this kind of thing is insane! If you disagree with her, that’s fine. If you agree with her that’s fine too. But if you’re threatening her or just doing some crazy mean attack, grow up! That’s all I would say, grow up. Have a conversation, don’t threaten. It’s so out of my wheelhouse; I know it goes on, but I can barely believe this goes on!

§ David Harper puts the inappropriate reaction in a wider context of fan over-reaction”

Even when you leave the world of threats on industry professional’s lives and bodies, you hear about experiences like the one Noelle Stevenson had at a comic book retailer, where she was treated like a complete joke when she was just trying to buy comics from them. The lack of respect she received, simply because she was a woman, would be enough for most potential readers to drop their interest in buying comics in a heartbeat. And it’s not just women who have these experiences. My nephew, once an interested neophyte comic reader, was berated and mocked when he went into a shop simply because he had the audacity of wanting to buy a “Deadpool” comic. Nothing else. He just happened to want to buy a comic that the people who worked in the shop didn’t deem good enough, and they made sure he felt their disdain. He didn’t buy that “Deadpool” comic, or any comic that day.

§ In case you missed any of the very fine and thoughtful reactions to Asselin’s first piece, Jill Pantozzi has her own reaction and a good round-up of the strongest pieces. I know you didn’t miss these, but I wanted to get that out there.


§ Returning to the topic of actual comic books, R.C. Harvey is a long time comics critic and scholar whose main these is that comics should be a verbal/visual blend. He has a new piece up analyzing a bunch of newer “non fiction” comics and finds them very word heavy, such as the work in Super Zelda ( a proper page is shown above) and The Bohemians.

As the humble comic book has graduated from the denigrated throw-away periodical to the esteemed and culturally significant “graphic novel,” the shelves of the nation’s bookstores have been increasingly polluted with the works of ambitious well-meaning comics enthusiasts who don’t understand the medium and whose perversions of it not only threaten the form but indoctrinate an audience with false perceptions: readers of such lame endeavors will have a skewed understanding of what graphic novels are and what the cartooning arts are capable of.

While I agree with Harvey that Chester Brown’s Louis Reil is a far superior artistic work for many reasons, it’s also true that graphic novels are more popular than ever, and most lay readers aren’t that put off by the “over captionizing” that so many non fiction comics use. There are definitely some stinkers out there, though. Hopefully, as “applied cartooning” is studied more, there will be fewer stinkers.

§ Speaking of graphic novels, here’s Flacorwire with 25 Best Graphic Novels. You will have to click through slide-show style, and for those who couldn’t stay the course, this is a decent basic list. I liked that it included some more difficult books like Asterios Polyp, and also it reflects a wider minority experience with books like Yummy and Stuck Robber Baby. How excellent it is that there are so many good graphic novels to put on lists such as these.

§ Oh and FSU’s Joelle Garcia reviewed The Beat itself.

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22. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/22/14 – shocking facts that will leave you limp!

§ Big big ups to Shannon O’Leary and Pam Auditore for their WonderCon coverage! You guys are THE BEST.

§ Here is that big piece was was working on last week, How to Throw a Comic Con at Your Library for Publishers Weekly. It’
s behind the paywall right now—I”ll remind you when it comes out. I talk to Dan Merritt of Kids Read Comics, the folks behind the Chesterfield Comic Con, the Clearwater Comic Con and other library events. I even caught up with how things are with the Northlake Library Hulk.

§ Here is a cautionary tale about how CG Hub, a portfolio site shut down suddenly taking ALL its content with it. I know that Deviant Art and FB are stable places, but I can’t say it enough: own your own shit, people. there are so many free portals for uploading your own content, there is no reason not to. Websites are very ephemeral things.

§ Why aren’t there more women working in superhero comics? This interview with Janelle Asselin lays out the facts very well. I know this is a super long quote, but all of this is well worth considering any time there is an outcry. Not that the factors Asselin lays out can’t be mitigated, but they need to be acknowledged:

When you’re an editor, especially an editor on monthly comic books where the company you work for owns all the characters in what it publishes, you have a different set of responsibilities than an editor who works on a less structured schedule or with creator-owned properties. The people you hire to work on books have to either be intensely reliable or immensely talented (preferably both, really). Hiring new talent is always a risk. If this person you’re trying out doesn’t hit deadlines or isn’t as skilled as you thought they were based on samples, well, that’s your fault in the eyes of the company.

So when you need a fill-in to help a schedule out or you are testing out new talent on a short story, the ideal is to find people who have already proven their reliability and talent in some way. So far, this still seems like an equal playing field, right? Then consider the fact that you have approximately 30 minutes to try to look for someone before you are given a list of people who are already proven at your company but who are looking for work because they lost their regular monthly book or haven’t had a regular gig in a while. Then add in the fact that historically your company has hired men so the creators being recommended to you are almost always male. And then add in the fact that FAR, FAR fewer women are putting their work in front of editors or pursuing these editors for work (I got one email from a woman looking for work in 3 years. I got at least one a day from male creators).

Finally, add in the fact that too often, pushing for female creators over male gets you a side-eye from the powers that be. In that moment, it’s just easier to hire a dude than spend hours you don’t have digging around on the Internet for someone who might be appropriate for the job. I’m not saying it’s right. I’m just saying it’s easier.

§ Another interview with Zack Soto which wraps up Lineworks NW and other stuff:

CB: There was Stumptown, but there was only Stumptown once a year. It seems like it should be more. I guess between Portland and Seattle there should be more.

Soto: Well if there is Short Run in November in this area, and then we are doing ours in April this year – and I think we’ll probably continue in the Spring/cusp of Summer or something like that next year. In between the two shows, you have pretty good coverage of the year for regional arts comics. You know what I wish?  That the Portland Comics Show, like the dealer shows that used to happen? I wish those would come back. Because now I think that people would actually appreciate those because otherwise they’re paying forty dollars to go to Wizard Con, and do the same thing.

§ The New Yorker writes up the Comixology-Amazon deal. NOthing we didn’t know but funny to see it in New Yorker-eese.

§ Must read: Here is an interview with Nat Gertler, founder of 24 Hour Comics Day on the occasion of its 10th Anniversary. Fascinating to see a simple idea become an institution. Did you know Fiona Staples participated one year?

What impressions still stick with you 10 years later from that first event?

I got to a visit a few of the event sites during the event, heading in during the wee hours, and I was amazed at the sheer joy of the participants. I had done a 24-hour comic myself — felt I had to before I could ask Scott to let me publish the book — and let me tell you, at 2 or 3 a.m., things seemed pretty bleak. And it wasn’t just me, if you read 24 -our comics done before the first 24 Hour Comics Day, they tend to get pretty bleak, as tired people working alone face the strong chance that they would fail in what they trying, and realizing how much work still lay ahead. But when you have a bunch of people taking that same challenge side by side, there is a shared energy, a party atmosphere going on, and overall the comics done at these events tend to be much more upbeat than those done by folks working alone. Perhaps its a shared insanity, but really, that joy was striking.

§ Remember that retailer survey I was pimping not too long ago? it’s taken on a life of its own.

§ Nice profile of the state of the Center for Cartoon Studies.

“At the time, graphic novels and cartoonists were certainly becoming more widespread and known for their work — there was a lot of interest and celebration around [them],” Center for Cartoon Studies president Michelle Ollie said. “So I think the timing certainly was good for the school. The awareness and interest and appreciation was just starting to build.” Since then, cartooning has continued to develop into a respected artistic field.

§ Emma Stone totally schooled Andrew Garfield. Squabbling like an old married couple about Spider-man’s costume. Oh, kids.

4 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/22/14 – shocking facts that will leave you limp!, last added: 4/23/2014
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23. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/24/14 – Don’t scan my testicles

§ Beware the timeslot! It seems that the aborted single season of Beware The Batman will finish but new episodes will be shawn at 3 am. Talk about a vote of confidence. Of course there is DVR for those who aren’t night owls. Why did this show flop so badly?

§ There is a newish (two years) comics company called OSSM Comics that I got a few PR pieces about. They publish actionish comics. It is owned by Omar Spahi and Siike Donnely is also involved.

§ PW Talked to Roz Chast about her great new book, Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant.

§ PW also talked to G. Willow Wilson about the new Ms. Marvel.


§ Here is an interesting piece about how 1951 comic from WITCHES’ TALES was bowdlerized and the original version is seen for the first time (swell sort of) since 1951. The post-Wertham version consisted of less cleavage and bigger American flags.

§ Author Solutions and Golden Apple Comics have teamed up to offer self-publishing and marketing services for graphic novel authors.

§ In this week’s outrage there was this extremely stupid t-shirt at WonderCon that insulted both fangirls and coffee. And pro-fangirl and coffee t-shirts have been made in response. Because..people like coffee. The above link covers the response of the t-shirt maker who is one Facebook, who said that “we hate fanboys too and blah blah.” Really, Rebecca Pahle’s piece above is a smart round-up of the kerfuffle, which included a spirited and excellent piece by Greg Rucka about his daughter. I looked at the FB page from the t-shirt maker in question and one thing I noticed — he’s a young guy. I mean maybe he looks young for his age but I’d guess early 20s. And people that age do stupid stuff. Sorry, kids. I think it’s worth remembering that a lot of the current problem stems from dumbass kids. It doesn’t make it any better but it is important to know the source of the shade.

§ I liked this Compendium of Comic Maps

§ I am sad to report that whether or not Almost Human has been renewed is STILL NOT KNOWN. This show will forever have a place in my heart for the scene where Kennex begs Dorian “Don’t scan my testicles.” HAS NO ONE MADE A GIF OF THIS YET? Yes they did! Anyway I’m sure no news is bad news, and this show is doomed. In the meantime, here is a fine run down of Karl Urban’s many geek roles.

2 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 4/24/14 – Don’t scan my testicles, last added: 4/24/2014
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24. 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.

§ 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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25. 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.


§ 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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