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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Kibbles n Bits, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/27/15: Jason Shiga is lord

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§ MUST READ: Laura Hudson enters the world of Jason Shiga, who is probably one of the world’s greatest living cartoonists. If you don’t believe me, go read Demon, or Fleep. He’s surely one of the great visionary thinkers about the possibilities of comics storytelling, his comics unfolding like tesseracts in real time and space, with codes, traps, mysteries and more.

The first time Shiga blew my mind was with an interactive graphic novel called Hello World. The story is simple enough: You’re a little boy sent to the store by his mother with a grocery list of items and a suitcase to carry them home. But the moment you open the cover, it’s obvious this is unlike any comic you’ve ever seen before. Every page is sliced in half, separating the comic into two parts. The top half is where the story unfolds, while the bottom half displays the contents of your suitcase. The two sides are connected by an intricate system of page-turning: When you see a number inside a square, you flip to a page in the top half of the comic, advancing the story; when you see a number inside a circle, you flip to a page on the bottom, adding and removing items from your suitcase. That’s when you realize that this isn’t just a choose-your-own-adventure story: It’s a comic with a functional inventory system.


Much more in the pprofile, including Shiga’s post -Demon plans.

§ A very nice story by Margo Dabaie about a class she taught for aspiring cartoonists:

I loved hearing the stories they had in mind because they were always really ornate and involved (I definitely had to drop some gentle reminders that there’s only one page to work with!). It was clear the students were fans of comics and were excited to make work.

§ Another cool story about how comics worpshops are being used in the Mumbai district of Dharavi to educate and improve, as reported by Ryan Holberg.

Usually, World Comics India, wherever it goes, collaborates with local activist groups. A trained “comics tutor” will be sent to conduct a workshop, the composition of which, in terms of age and sex, differing widely according to locale. The tutor first gets workshop participants to speak about social and political issues important to their daily lives. The participants are then instructed in the basics of how to make short four panel comics, from step one of conceiving a story idea, to breaking the story down in panels, and finally inking the drawings. The finished comic is then photocopied and pasted onto walls. Other formats like eight-page booklets are also produced. The range of topics depends on the locality, and the nature of the collaborating NGO: from concerns with water shortages in states like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra, to illegal deforestation in Mizoram. Political corruption, male alcoholism, discrimination against women, and health problems due to bad sanitation have been treated in workshops in many states, giving you a sense of how extensive these problems are in India.

§ Speaking of improving, the once great state of Indiana has passed an odious law that allows discrimination, and it’s sad to think we live in an era where this is playing to the basest of bases. Anyway, the large gaming show Gen Con is threatening to leave the state because the law may allow attendees to be discriminated against:

The so-called “religious freedom” bill, passed in the Indiana House of Representatives Tuesday, would give business owners free rein to refuse to provide services to anyone if they claim doing so would go against their religion. That could mean a baker could refuse to make a cake for a gay couple’s wedding, for example. Gen Con CEO and owner Adrian Swartout sent a letter to Pence on Monday in which she said the state will stand to lose the $50 million the convention brings to the city of Indianapolis each year if the bill becomes law.

She wrote:   Legislation that could allow for refusal of service or discrimination against our attendees will have a direct negative impact on the state’s economy, and will factor into our decision-making on hosting the convention in the state of Indiana in future years. We ask that you please reconsider your support of SB 101.

 
Other, non nerd associated companies are also warning that they will stop investing in the state.
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§ President Obama won the internet this week by posing with the above Girl Scout troop who has arrived at the White House for a Science Fair dressed as superheroes. Perhaps emboldened by this, he talked about his interest in comics in a letter to supporters;


I grew up loving comic books. Back in the day, I was pretty into Conan the Barbarian and Spiderman. Anyone who reads comics can tell you, every main character has an origin story — the fateful and usually unexpected sequence of events that made them who they are.


We got our milk board!

§ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LM8sfznqoFk
Here is a video of Dan DiDio talking about Convergence which I understand imparts important information about this event. Perhaps someone can explain it to me.

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2. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/25/15: The $50 million swipe

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§ Many people in comics have a a deep abiding hatred of Roy Lichtenstein, who appropriated comics panels for paintings that are now worth millions of dollars. That antipathy will grow more as the above painting, taken from a panel by Ted Galindo, is being auctioned off with a value of $50 million. Scott Edelman has more, and the above image, which was created by David Barsalou, who has long been cataloging the Lichtenstein/comics connection. According to Sotheby’s

In its 53-year history, the painting has only ever had two owners. It was consigned from the collection of Chicago businessman and philanthropist Stefan Edlis. The Ring “encapsulates all of the major themes of the artist’s most acclaimed and sustained body of work,” according to a statement from Sotheby’s.

“Major themes.” Okay.

§ Chris Sims is taking a voluntary hiatus from Comics Alliance, as revealed in his War Rocket Ajex podcast.

Like I said, it’s not something that I went back and tried to hide, but it is something that I’ve tried to move away from as a writer and as a person. I got called out on it. I did it – that is not in question – and it was not OK. It was not OK then, it is not OK now. I never apologized for it then, because at the time, I felt like it was better to just let someone who was trying to disengage disengage. I have apologized now. I regret every part of it, and it was all me. There was a part of me that enjoys being a jerk. And a lot of the mistakes I’ve made in my life come from that. They come from a refusal to acknowledge that other people have feelings – in my personal life, and my professional life.

 

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§ The CBLDF continues it look back at women in comics with a profile of Lee Marrs:

Lee Marrs, who would become one of the first and most outspoken women creators of the underground comix movement, got her start working in the comics industry as a part-time assistant on the strips Little Orphan Annie and Hi & Lois. Although this was her beginning in the industry, her entrepreneurial drive ultimately led her to San Francisco in 1971 where she worked alongside other underground legends like Trina Robbins. Her passionate approach to comics and desire to create works that spoke to all kinds of women became a major inspiration for other women creators to get involved in the comics scene. In a time when mainstream comics were still being heavily regulated and censored by the Code, the fledgling underground scene was really the only place where creators could express themselves freely and produce the books that they wanted. Although it was still heavily perceived as the proverbial “boy-club,” this didn’t stop Marrs. Instead of trying to be exclusively included in their comix, Marrs made her own. The Further Fattening Adventures of Pudge, Girl Blimp was born and would run from 1973 to 1978—an incredible run for an independently created work.

Marrs has such a long and important career in comics and later animation. It’s a shame her work is so little known now.

§ Blossom did not like Frozen.

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§ Wonderful comics! Remember that stuff! Comics Alliance profiles Aatmaja Pandya, whose name I have been hearing for a long time as one of the most talented recent SVA grads. She had a new comic coming out for MoCCA. Check it out.

CA: What are some comics that have inspired you either growing up or as an adult?

AP: Growing up, it was manga and video games and cartoons that made me want to draw/tell stories. Stuff like Fullmetal Alchemist, The Legend of Zelda series, lots of anime. I feel like this is the case with a lot of younger people in the industry? I read Calvin & Hobbes and Tintin when I was a really little kid. Then I got really into webcomics as I got older – Bobwhite by Magnolia Porter, especially, was the comic that made me want to start making my own comics. Then in my late teens I started reading some of the graphic novel classics, like Maus and Persepolis and Blankets and Asterios Polyp, and finally had the realization that the “mainstream” comics world existed beyond superheroes. Recently, I’ve been looking at Ranma 1/2, Kuragehime, Studio Ghibli movies, and slowly re-reading the Earthsea books, which aren’t comics but are super inspiring.

§ Speaking of comics influences, Boom! Editor Shannon Watters, one of the driving forces behind the introduction pf the “Adventure Time/tumblr” style to “mainstream” comics publishing, talks about the #ComicsForward thing and touches on a lot of the new culture clash of comics buyers:

It’s kind of why I put it as Wednesday comics buyers. It really is a cultural thing. It’s less of a group of people; you can’t really say that everyWednesday comics buyer is a white male between the ages of 30 and whatever, you know? You can’t pigeonhole that, but what does set those people apart is they’ve learned the status quo of the direct market system. They are used to the ritual of going to a comics shop every week on Wednesdays and picking up books. Or going once a month and picking up their stack. I think that has been the most interesting thing, and Kelly Sue [DeConnick] has really done an incredible job with this, educating people who are not Wednesday comics buyers on the importance of preordering within the direct market system to support a book. I think that’s really where the education and honestly the separation is coming from. Not everybody knows how the direct market works and how publishing within the direct market works.

§ CBR is hiring an entry levelLos Angeles-Based Editorial Assistant

JOB DESCRIPTION: CBR is looking for a part-time Editorial Assistant. Duties will include: Data entry General office work, filing, organizing, trash take out General errands including shopping for supplies and more Familiarity with content management systems a plus. Basic knowledge of Photoshop also a plus. Previous journalism experience preferred Knowledge of comic book storylines, creators and culture a plus

 

§ There is a controversy going on over all the money that was donated to Charlie Hebdo after the January attack. The magazine is owned by several different entities, but the surviving cartoonists want to share in the revenue because it’s quite a bit of money: 30 million euros. Oh boy.

§ Remember Lost? Remember Mark Coale’s weekly recaps? And polar bears and smoke monsters? And endless theorizing? So long ago. Staff writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach has a long remembrance of the first few years. This one is hot beverage worthy.

If you are reading this, it might be because you asked me how it all began and I sent you here. Or it might be because — as still happens with depressing regularity — one of the show’s detractors, be that a critic, or, more vexingly, someone who has just created a show and wants to make sure the media realizes that they are above making the mistakes we made (all the while cribbing our best moves) has come out purporting yet again to have some sort “proof” that “the writers of Lost did not know what they were doing.” 

BAM.

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3. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/23/15: Comics are so wonderful

And so they are; as I mentioned last week, I am so tired of writing about controversies in comics, I just want to concentrate on THE COMICS for a few days…but in order to do that we must wrap up some controversy news. But then IT’S ALL COMICS.

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§ Wonderful comics! CBR is rolling out its Top 50 Female Comic Book Writers and Artists list as voted on by CBR readers. First, writers #21-25 and artists #21-25. Some surprises on the lists, but all good, and I look forward to the countdown. The next lists should be up by the time you read this. That’s Rumiko Takahashi above.

§ It is only a matter of time before another nerdlebrity dies at a comic con (I believe the Second Doctor, Patrick Troughton, was the first.) But that person won’t be Mini Me Verne Troyer, who collapsed after a seizure at the Heart of Texas Comic Con in Waco but is reported to be fine now.

Troughton was warned by his doctor not to exert himself, but he didn’t listen, and died of a heart attack while ordering breakfast. If you are told by your doctor not to exert yourself, do not go to a comic con because they are exhaisting.

§ All off Darling Sleeper’s cartoonist interviews listed on one page.

§ The late great comics editor and writer Archie Goodwin is being inducted in the Hall of Fame of his high school and here are some of the reasons he’s always known as the late great Archie Goodwin.

§ Alex Dueben directs us to two recent interviews:

Rhianna Pratchett on Tomb Raider, comics, video games and Doug TenNapel on Nnewts, VeggieTales, Armikrog.

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§ The Comic Con India award nominees have been announced. Above it the cover to one of the nominees.

§ Here’s a cute story from PW about a teenaged cartoonist who has gotten a lot of attention for a self published work: Christine Mari Inzer and her book Halfway Home.

All this began in the summer of 2013, when fifteen-year-old Christine Mari Inzer traveled alone to Japan to rekindle her interest in her mother’s culture—her mother is Japanese and her father is American—illustrating her travels along the way. Leaving her parents and siblings for eight weeks, Inzer stayed with her mother’s parents in Kashiwa, a small city outside of Tokyo. She also traveled to attractions like the Zen temple Ryōan-ji in Kyoto and the Asakusa district in Tokyo. The resulting graphic memoir shares moments of vulnerability, appreciation for family, culture shock, and adaptation, creating a humorous and contemplative travelogue beyond her years.

§ I forgot to link here to this excellent report on the London Super Comics Convention by Steve Morris.

§ Some of these links are oooooold, but I liked this story about football player Israel Idonije and his comic book company. Why do more football players than any other kind of professional athletes start comics book companies? I don’t have a good answer for that.

§ I also meant to link to this interview with the showrunner of the Indiana Comic Con—the last show had crowding issues but it isn’t going to happen again.

Q: In 2014, the convention ran into some unexpected hiccups. Would you care to talk about that?

I think the biggest and most commonly referenced issue we faced was the overcrowding. It was our first year in Indianapolis, which was sort of untested waters for our company. We did not anticipate the amount of people that would show up, and when everyone filed into the hallway there wasn’t much we could do but try our best to keep them organized.

§ After a year, Evan Dorkin has finished the final issue of The Eltingville Club. There’s a lot in the whole post about being a creator in mid career, making a living, stalled projects (Beasts of Burden, sniff sniff) and more so go read the whole thing.

§ OKAY Controversy Wrap-Up section:

§ The Outhouse continues its up to the minute coverage with a full report on Valerie D’Orazio’s plans to quit twitter after some truly gross threats. What is wrong with you people?

§ Marvel’s EIC Axel Alonso discussed the Sims/D’Orazio thing and the Ron Wimberly thing in his weekly address:

Alonso: In his Nib cartoon, Ron posed a question, “Is this racist?”, casting a shadow over his editor and, by extension, Marvel. Here’s what happened: The issue in question was “Wolverine and the X-Men” #10, a jam book that featured 8 different artists — 14, if you include colorists — one of whom was Ron Wimberly. The editor simply asked Ron to match the skin-tone that had been established for the character — Melita Garner, a Latina — on previous pages. She would have done the same if Ron had made Melita’s skin too light. To suggest that the editor or Marvel was uncomfortable with the character having dark or darker skin flies in the face of who we are and our history. Just last night, Sana Amanat, Marvel’s Director of Content & Character development appeared on Comedy Central’s “The Nightly Show” to speak about the growing diversity of our publishing efforts. We are the home to Storm, the Black Panther, Miles Morales [Ultimate Spider-Man], Sam Wilson [the All-New Captain America], Robbie Reyes [the All-New Ghost Rider] and Kamala Khan [Ms. Marvel], and our ethnically diverse staff of editors spans the color chart Ron cites in his Nib cartoon. I am Mexican-American, so that makes me #caa468.

§ ALSO, Joshua Rivera has my favorite wrap-up on the Betgirl cover.

§ Not comics: Google is not a charity, just FYI.

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4. KIbbles /n/ Bits 2/26/15: High Moon is back!

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§ High Moon, the werewolf/cowboy comic by David Gallaher and Steve Ellis is back. After running on DC’s Zuda webcomic site (remember that?) and seeing a print edition, four new pages will be posted every Monday, in a mobile responsive interface, and available on Tapastic and Comixology as well. Nerdist has a preview , and artist Ellis, who’s also drawing the Better Call Saul comics for AMC, did a Reddit ama yesterday. The story involves bounty hunter and Pinkerton agent Matthew Macgregor investigating the spooky goings on in a Texas town seeing hard times while trying to hide his own supernatural secret. This is a good looking comic!
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§ Broken Frontier examines Six UK Small Press Creators to Watch in 2015, namely Rozi Hathaway, Jess Milton, Danny Noble, Emma Raby, Alice Urbino and Adam Vian. I didn’t know any of these creators but now we know who to watch for!

§ Multiversity’s Small Press Spotlight month has wrapped.

§ The comic-Con experience is coming to every corner of this nation of ours. The second Camden Comic Con takes place March 7 at the Camden Rutgers campus:

Camden Comic Con, an annual convention that celebrates the art and culture of comic books, returns to Rutgers University-Camden for a second time on Saturday, Mar. 7.    This year’s event will feature nearly 100 vendors and a host of special guest comic creators, artists and writers, such as Dave Bullock, Bryan Glass, Shawn Martinborough and Mark McKenna.   Get ready to geek out on a full day of workshops and forums. There will be demos and workshops on comic art, lettering and character design, as well as special effects make-up.

….and there’s even a Fargo-Moorhead Comic Con for North Dakotan fans:

Graphic novel fans won’t have to wait months to get their fantasy fix as the Fargo-Moorhead Comic Con delivers this weekend. Illustration fans can check out vendors selling books, games, videos and more, like a costume contest for kids and adults. The fun runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., then again from 7 p.m. to midnight on Saturday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at Baymont Inn & Suites, 3333 13th Ave. S., Fargo.

§ Various tish and tosh over the superhero tedium evinced at the Oscars. While everyone was turning up their noses at the way superhero films have taken over Hollywood, even as NINE of the 20 acting nominees have played roles in superhero films. James Gunn, who has taken his place as the nerd auteur, was first to spring to the defense.

Whatever the case, the truth is, popular fare in any medium has always been snubbed by the self-appointed elite. I’ve already won more awards than I ever expected for Guardians. What bothers me slightly is that many people assume because you make big films that you put less love, care, and thought into them then people do who make independent films or who make what are considered more serious Hollywood films. I’ve made B-movies, independent films, children’s movies, horror films, and gigantic spectacles. I find there are plenty of people everywhere making movies for a buck or to feed their own vanity. And then there are people who do what they do because they love story-telling, they love cinema, and they want to add back to the world some of the same magic they’ve taken from the works of others. In all honesty, I do no find a strikingly different percentage of those with integrity and those without working within any of these fields of film.


Badass Digest also pointed out the hypocrisy:

It was destined to be an awards season heavy on superhero hate when Birdman became the front runner. After all, this movie starring some people who were bankable enough to get the film made because of their work in superhero movies was all about the idea that the bad side of Hollywood – the blockbuster side – was killing art. Or something. I’m not really sure what the movie was trying to say about that stuff, except that it’s bad. Superheroes are bad, and Birdman proves it by making one of its best scenes an action battle and another a flying sequence.


But Sujay Kumar at The Daily Beat ponders How Superhero Movies Lost Their Humanity while suggesting Sam Raimi’s 2004 Spider-Man 2 was the highpoint of the genre and it’s been callow thrills since then.

To be honest, SM2 WAS a highpoint, and since then the Marvel Studios formula which dominates the genre has evolved into a fairly generic stylistic mold, even while allowing for some genre departures like Guardians of the Galaxy and The Winter Soldier. Entertainment is entertainment, but Kumas has a point that I’ve often made here as well: Spider-Man 2 was about a young man trying to keep his girl, while superheroics kept intruding, while every current MCU movie is about saving the world/universe. It’s kind of refreshing to switch now and then to the Fox/Mark Millar formula that involves more personal angst.

At any rate, I think most of this anxiety stems from the 20-30 superhero movies coming at us from now until 2020. That is plenty of time for the spandex set to overstay their welcome.

§ In such a milieu, it is refreshing to leave them wanting more, and that’s just what happened with Agent Cater. After an 8-episode run that gained a very fervent following—and blew Agents of Shield out of the water for quality—the show’s future is uncertain. an who’d like to see more are urged to follow the instructions in this post. Myself, I’d rather see another quality 8 episodes mini season than water it down with universe saving.

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5. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/5/15: Area woman finds comics are not as she remembered

§ It would be easy to mock this Jen Teasdale-style column in the Norfolk Daily News where a woman goes to find some comics in her local bookstore but finds only superheroes and not Little Lulu, but I think there is a lesson in it. The tone is not the anger you sometimes find —”That’s not MY Aquaman!”—but rather curiosity.

My own collection of comics is now quite old, and it only contains a few superhero stories. When I was young, I wasn’t interested in those types of comics, and I admit that I’m not interested in them now.

In fact, I went searching to see if I could find newer editions of the comics I’d read as a child — Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck, Little Lulu, Richie Rich, Yosemite Sam, Rocky and Bullwinkle, the Roadrunner, the Pink Panther, Tweety and Sylvester, and my favorite, Uncle Scrooge. Sadly, I couldn’t find any of those in the drawer after drawer full of action comics I encountered.

The closest I came to finding comics like those I loved as a kid was a small selection of Archie comics. I bought a “Betty and Veronica” double digest book for a whopping 99 cents! Believe me, that’s a major deal when you compare it to the average price of $5.99 I saw on most of the comics.


This woman actually really likes comics. While manga isn’t to her taste, she remembers the pleasure she found in picking up what sounds like The Smithsonian Collection of Comic Strips—who wouldn’t?—and vows top hold on to her very old collection of comics and says “If anything, I’ll add to the collection whenever I can.” It is perhaps too much to expect that she might enjoy Powerpuff Girls or Adventure Time…or maybe Operation Margarine. The point is she is a comics fan, but when there were no comics for her tastes, she moved on. One of the benefits of having a strong and varied world of kids comics now is that as these readers age they will find a lot of material to choose from. Comics are for everyone.

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§ Speaking of Operation Margarine, the enjoyable girls on bikes romp by Katie Skelly, she’s done a pin-up for the collection of the apes on bikes romp The Humans.

§ 18 drawing tips from Moebius! BOOKMARK

§ Moebius’s collaborator on a Silver Surfer novel, Stan Lee is schooling us on superheroes at the Smithsonian. And it’s online and its free. Gather and learn, children.

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§ Olivier Schrauwen’s Mowgli book is out from Retrofit and it’s large and magnificent.

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§ Here’s a collection of Gold Key Star Trek comics covers that are pleasant to look at. According to the database the stories were written by a youthful Len Wein and the covers are by George Wilson, not a very familiar name to contemporary comics fans, but he was pretty boss. (Via Boing Boing)

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§ And speaking of Star Trek, apparently as a tribute to the late, great Leonard Nimoy, Canadian Trekkies are marking up their $5 bill to resembles Spock, a practice wich the government wishes to discourage.

Bank of Canada spokeswoman, Josianne Menard, has confirmed the stunt is not illegal, but she urges Spock fans to stop. She says in a statement, “It is not illegal to write or make other markings on bank notes… However, there are important reasons why it should not be done. Writing on a bank note may interfere with the security features and reduces its lifespan. Markings on a note may also prevent it from being accepted in a transaction. Furthermore, the Bank of Canada feels that writing and markings on bank notes are inappropriate as they are a symbol of our country and a source of national pride.”


The Spock-lie personage on the bill is Canada’s seventh prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Somehow I think we need Kate Beaton to make sense of this all.

§ I know you have probably fired up Evernote and made you own exhaustive analysis of the new Avengers trailer, but just in case you got stuck, here’s the Comicbook.com one.

§ Finally, by stock photos needs have been met at last.

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6. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/9/15: Secrets of the Manga Industry Revealed

§ Deb Aoki is the Charles Dickens of Storify, You may know her from that other one we mentioned recently, but she also put together an epic compilation on manga translation based on her being a judge at the Manga Translation Battle in Tokyo. ONce again, if you are interested in manga at all this is all a must read, but here’s themost interesting graphs for you sale chart freaks:

As you can see, manga magazine sales are down, while tankobon (collection) sales are pretty steady. But it’s a huge decline for serialized manga. Meanwhile, the US market is growing. But don’t get too cocky.

§ As for the Mahou Shounen Breakfast Club kerfuffle, a few more posts of interest have been made. Matt Thorn, a well known manga professor who lives in Japan, planted a flag with Why it bugs me that you call your comics “manga”, whihch discusses the high standards for being considered a “mangaka” and why he feels it should mostly be applies to actual Japanese cartoonists. The competition is fierce:

When our program began, the entrance exams for the “story manga” program were so competitive that we sometimes accepted less than one in twenty applicants. The students who get into the story manga program are good. They are quite good. They draw well. They have a good sense for page layout and pacing. Their characters “pop.” Do you know how many of these excellent students ever get published in a commercial manga magazine? Probably about one in twenty. And do you how many of those will go on to become true pros, getting their own serials and making a living doing only manga? Maybe one in twenty. Do the math.


To the surprise of no one, this rubbed some people the wrong way and a long, thoughtful discussion ensues in the comments. Without getting into any of those touchy appropriation issues, it’s a fact that manga has taken off worldwide over the last 20 years (European publishers in particularly are shocked by its popularity) and ti should come as no surprise that people will want to create more in the style of work that they enjoy. You can argue that the manga influence is a good thing or a bad thing, but it sure is a thing.

§ There’s also a super tumblr storify rounding up all the discussion about MSBC here.

§ Shockingly, Missouri Sentaor Claire McCaskill showed her support for MSBC:

§ Finally, here’s a piece on a US artist who went to Japan to work in the Japanese animation industry and ended up being paid $25 a week, and that’s not even the toughest part of the experience:

Thurlow, whose credits at Japanese studios include Nakamura-Productions and Pierrot Studios, has ended up in the hospital three times due to exhaustion and illness. Amazingly, he still thinks the experience has been worth it because the anime projects he’s worked on in Japan have been more creatively satisfying than American productions.

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§ It was International Woman’s day yesterday which sent us a feast of linkage and comics. The irreplaceable Zainab Akhtar presented 10 great cartoonists you need to know and presents 10 names as fresh as they are talented, including Seo Kim, Tiffany Ford, Hwei Lim and Bianca Barnarelli, above.

§ The Nib Celebrated with a bunch of cool comics under the banner Whatever We Please including

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“We Are Entitled To Wear Cowboy Boots To Our Own Revolution” by Ellen T. Crenshaw

and Sophie Goldstein’s fascinating Girl Talk which uses audio embed in word balloons to describe “vocal fry.” “Future comics alert! (Also didn’t Bette David pretty much fry long before it was fashionable and/or hated?)

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§ The New Indian Express suggests Five Feminist Webcomics You Need to Follow ncluding Lucy KNisley and Girls with Slingshots, but I was most intrigued by Aarthi Parthasarathy‘s Royal Existentials which is sort of a Dinosaur Comics for India that takes classic art and adds contemporary balloons.

§ Finally, the excellent cartoonist once known as Ross Campbell is now Sophie Campbell. Congrats!

§ While all this was going on, men in comics also managed to stay busy. The NY Times has a great profile of retailer Socko Jones of Comic Book Jones on Staten Island. Soko is a pal and the store is one of the best laid out we’ve ever been to.

“We encourage loitering,” Mr. Jones, 41, said, heading inside and sitting next to a rack of vintage Jimmy Olsen comics. “We let customers read our comics cover to cover.” He added, “I never understood that boys-only, dark-basement approach to running a comic store where if you don’t know what you’re talking about, it’s like you don’t belong.” Mr. Jones was born Michael Rivas, but everyone in his life calls him Socko, including his wife and even his mother, who works in the shop, basically keeping her son in line.

§ Dark Horse is promoting Fight Club 2 with a contest for people to do cleve things under the Project Mayhem banner. Hopefully this will not include peeing in people’s soup?

§ And You can stream the new Lightning Bolt album ‘Fantasy Empire’ featuring sometimes cartoonist Brian Chippendale.

§ Many people know of the Rose City Comic Con in Portland, but there’s also a Rose City Comic Con in Tyler, Texas? WTF??!?

§ And Martha and Alan Giroux of Phoenix, Az have successfully Kickstarted moving their store All About Comics to a new location.

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7. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/12/15: Comics art in museums, what’s up with that?

§ Hall of fame artist Bernie Wrightson has had a bunch of recent health setbacks, and now what appears to be a cancerous brain tumor. However the prognosis is excellent and he hopes to make upcoming con appearances. Best wishes to Wrightson for a full recovery.

§ This story about George Lucas stopping by Midtown Comics in NYC to pick up a few of the new Star Wars comics is pretty adorable. You’d think that somewhere in Lucas’s giant mail bin the comics may have been sent out as a courtesy, but Marvel is very stingy with comps. Equally adorable: Lucas also purchased a copy of Heavy Metal. We never really outgrow our 12 year old selves no matter how we try.

§ Say, what’s up with that “Museum of Narrative Art” that Lucas is planning to open?

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§ Speaking of Marvel, they will soon be offering a line of small appliances with waffle makers, kettles and more. This is their first foray into this area of hosuewares. Disney’s Consumer Products division is running this show, but it does bring up a question I often ponder when looking at licensed superhero goods—which version to use? Animated characters are ideal for any product because they have been designed to a T and have rigid style guides. With Marvel and DC there are so many versions. While I see a lot of the current Bryan Hitch-y Marvel look on licensed items, just as often its the throwback John Romita-era version. The version shown on the above toaster mock-up is actually a Disneyfied style developed for some kids books they published. I think. What do you all think? Which Hulk on a toaster would you prefer?

On a more serious note, I’ve been hoping to purchase an immersion blender soon, so I hope Marvel makes one of those.

§ I keep forgetting to mention that the Baltimore Sun’s cartoonist KAL won this year’s Herblock Prize. That is a big prize and deserves more than this little notice.

§ Here’s a must read: Ward Sutton interviews Warren Bernard and Bill Kartalopoulos about the amazing exhibit of Alt-Weekly Comics that they curated whish is now on display at the Society of Illustrators. This is a groundbreaking, once in a lifetime show that deserves a lot of attention. Bill K:

The audience for alt-weeklies was broader than the self-selected countercultural audience for underground comix. Some of these papers even received negative letters about certain comics, and that’s kind of thrilling! On the internet, everyone can curate their own reading experience and every audience becomes self-selecting by default. That’s democratic and great, but there’s also something really stirring about an editor or an art director standing behind a contentious comic strip running in a paper that’s engaged in a dialogue with a local community. These papers had physical presence: in newspaper boxes, at coffee shops, etc. In retrospect, that physical dimension seems valuable. As culture moves increasingly online, it seems that only advertisers have retained the power to broadcast messages into our physical environments. And of course that move online has also disrupted the advertising-based economic model that allowed the alt-weeklies to play host to such a rich pool of talent. Unfortunately for artists, while online publication brings with it a potentially large audience, the economic model has not been as reliably functional.

§ Christies is having a sick comics art auction with Bilal, Edgar P. Jacobs (Above), Uderzo and more. You can probably spend a LOT of time clicking around on the above link.

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§ MEANWHILE, Sotheby’s the other auction house, just held a sale of comics art that netted around $4 million. Paul Gravett discusses just what that means for anyone hoping to run a comic art museum. Unless you’re George Lucas.

§ Here is a nice interview with romance comics historian Jacque Nodell, conducted by Ginnis Tonik. Lots of insight here and more on Nodell’s blog Sequential Crush.

§ I guess that Yebeos for Yanquis is a blog tumblr focusing on Spanish comics. And it kicks off with Twenty-Five Good Spanish Comics from the 2010s—a few of cartoonists spotlighted are known here—David Rubin, Max and Paco Roca—but most remain to be explored. The Spanish comic scene has blossomed quite a bit in the last decade or so, so more excitement. More comics!

§ Jackie Estrada has a nice look back at Friends of Lulu in the 90s at the Geek Girl Project.

§ Speaking of Estrada, her Comic Book People book has been funded but you have only 24 hours to get a copy. Go!

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§ Webcomicker Jeph Jacques is best known for his comic Questionable Content. But he also has a Dadaist side, as revealed by his launching a site with the address walmart.horse. This move displeased Walmart, which filed a sternly word cease and desist, though the site contains only the above photo of a horse and a Walmart and not aisles and aisles of shopworn children’s rattles, vats of pickles and black polyester hoodies,

§ Headline of the day: “Incest and country dancing” cartoon causes outrage.”

§ A site called Memeburn got very excited about this comic set in Lagos, and it does look good.

We don’t often feature graphic novels on Memeburn, but we reckon this one deserves a special mention. It’s called EXO: The Legend of Wale Williams and one of the things that sets it apart is the fact that it’s set in a futuristic Nigeria. Created by Nigerian-born Roye Okupe, the graphic novel takes place in the year 2025 and follows Wale (Pronounced Wah-Leh) Williams as he returns to Nigeria after a five-year absence. Drawn back to the country by his father’s mysterious disappearance, Wiliams inherits a suit which grants him superhuman abilities.

§ Although the practice of selling Marvel’s digital download codes has traditionally been one that is not frowned on, Ebay has been removing these listings for some reason, and one man, hoping for justice, is trying to find out why.

§ A very interesting ComiConference was held at the Central Michigan University recently.

The third ever ComiConference on CMU’s campus brought several speakers to the Charles V. Park Library auditorium to speak to more than 300 guests. The speakers included Carol Tilley, Amanda Garrison, Gene Luen Yang, Lee Francis and Laura Jimenez. The event was organized by English professor Joseph Michael Sommers, with some assistance with the CMU Program Board. Sommers said the conference started three years ago as a way to showcase his students’ work. “It was more of an academic conference on comic books,” Sommers said. “The first year was just CMU students, the next year we opened it up to everyone. This year was more of a ‘ComiCon’ presentation where we had big hitters from academics come in and talk to students and faculty.”

§ I thought that internet culture had peaked, but now they’ve made a video of Earl Sinclair, the dad in the 90s sitcom Dinosaur, singing the Notorious B.I.G.’s Hypnotize and now I realize that life has many more wonders to offer, so we shall continue down this road, you and I.

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8. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/13/15: Breaking the $5 barrier

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§ Ryan Holmberg’s obituary for Tatsumi Yoshihiro is a must read, not only as a personal remembrance of the man and who he affected the author, but as a history of how one creator can influence an entire medium. Tatsumi is obviously a great cartoonist and an important cartoonist, but the road was bumpy, sometimes misunderstood and went off in different directions. However, it’s thrilling to read about its early development:

The gekiga style caught on like wildfire. Within a couple of years, most artists working in the mystery genre were using the term and a Tatsumi-inflected language. One publisher after another began emulating the detective anthologies Tatsumi contributed to, namely Shadow (Kage, founded in 1956) and The Street (1957). For a time, Tatsumi edited these and similar publications, thus shaping the manga scene not only as an artist but also as a mentor and curator. Shadow, no. 12 (1957), and The Street, no. 12 (1957), art for both covers by Tatsumi Yoshihiro. In 1959, Tatsumi and many of his peers moved to Tokyo to be closer to the big publishing houses. There, he helped formed the Gekiga Studio (Gekiga Kōbō), an artist-run publishing collective based on profit-sharing and editorial control, with a view ultimately to self-publishing. Amongst the many publications produced by the Gekiga Studio was the mystery and gangland anthology Skyscraper (Matenrō) from Togetsu Shobō. The organization was short-lived, disbanding after just six months, but its influence was great. It catalyzed the formation of some of the manga industry’s first formal production studios. Its publications established its contributors’ reputations in Tokyo, paving the way for the creation of their own (again short-lived) publishing houses and subsequently their move into the big time of mass print magazines.


Holmberg notes that Tatsumi’s earliest groundbreaking work is not available outside of its earliest publications, which were rental comics, and not easily archived. It would be fascinating to compare Tatsumi’s development in the late 50s to the earlier but sort of contemporary EC comics, a similar step forward for US comics. Of course the US development was mutilated into silence by the comic book hearings, It’s a common US comics parlor game to wonder how comics would have developed without the code. Gekiga was influential but still a small part of the vast manga factory system. Anyway read and ponder.

§ Area woman will not be attending Wizard World Raleigh.

§ Joe Quesada has started a tumblr and kicks it off with some nice Daredevil process stuff—it’s mostly to promote the upcoming Daredevil Netflix series, but I hope Quesada can update it now and then ongoing.

§ Copacetic Comics found some copies of Rubber Blanket #3 by David Mazzucchelli in the warehouse. Hurry up before they’re gone!

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§ Hello Kitty for HIM? YES. Japanese clothier Nendo has designed a line of men’s t-shirts featuring the iconic kitty, but the take is male like the Le Corbusier, take off. Because men love architecture.

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§ The Outhouse has reset its “Has DC Done Something Stupid” clock. One reason is those new costumes for the Big Three we showcased yesterday. Honestly, that’s just typical “we beginning, let’s change clothes!” stuff and after predictable outrage everyone will go back to their regular closet after a while.

Another reason is ire from normally good natured Walt Simonson over a disjointed reprint of his Orion stories.

However, I was dismayed when I began looking through the book and discovered that all of the backup stories for the issues, although included in the volume, have been separated from their lead stories and stripped of their context by putting them in the back of the Omnibus, in a separate section behind all the lead stories.  And they aren’t entirely in order in that section either.  

To say I was dismayed at these discoveries is probably too gentle a word, but what’s the point of going further? What’s done is done. It seems unlikely that there will be future collections of the same material. I feel it’s some of my best work, and I am very unhappy that the stories in this collection are never going to be read in the correct order by anyone except perhaps by extremely die hard fans of the work, or by people who simply go back and buy the original back issues.

The one bright note is that Dan Didio told me, after I spoke to him about the matter this afternoon, that if the book is reissued in paperback at some point down the road, he would do everything he could to see that all of the stories are printed in the correct order in that edition.


Simonson has published a “concordance” of sorts of the correct order.

That’s unfortunate, but sort of to be expected in all the moving tumult.

The final matter is the hints that DC will be raising the price of their comics to $4.99 at some point in the future. “Sending the trucks out with five bucks.” I know there is a lot of concern about profitability and all, and the last price rise was supposed to come with extra pages and all, but prices have been creeping up for a while across the board. $5 is not a cup of coffee. It’s a venti salted caramel with coconut milk and whipped cream. But when you get a venti salted caramel etc, it’s a treat, a special experience. Most regular periodical comics are very far from special experiences, but are most a tiny piece of the puzzle that will eventually get collected as part of a multi volume continuity experience. Not to sound snobby but I get all my periodical comics for free in one way or another but I often purchase smaller indie comics to support the creators. For $10 I can often get a small squarebound graphic novel of 40 pages or so with a complete, thoughtful story.

For instance, for a mere $5.99 you can purchase True Stories by Derf, a 40 page collection of his humorous strips for The City. Good value!

For $10 you can purchase Jeremiah by Cathy G. Johnson, a 160 page graphic novel about a young man growing up on a farm. It’s a beautifully realized piece about self-awareness, denial and other perennial themes. COMPLETE IN ONE VOLUME. 160 pages.

For $17.99 (less on Amazon) you can Buy Andre the Giant by Box Brown, a great biography of a fascinating historical figure.

And so on and so on. I haven’t even touched the digital side of things.

Anyway, $4.99 will be a tipping point for many readers. There are so many other options now, just in comics. I understand that economic factors play into this, some of them inevitable, but…yeah. Changing times .

5 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/13/15: Breaking the $5 barrier, last added: 3/14/2015
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9. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/16/15: Costumes aren’t forever

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§ For everyone foaming at the mouth over the new DC costumes, here’s a reminder that Wonder Woman once wore biker shorts, people. In other words, changing clothes is like death in comics—it’s all temporary.

§ Greg Matiasevich at Multiversity has a very thorough round-up of thoughts and developments in the New Mexico mother who had Palomar pulled from a high school library after claiming it was child porn on the local TV station. Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds is interviewed:

ER: I don’t much care whether Palomar is in one particular library or not, but I do care about one rogue parent bypassing appropriate channels to remove it, instead escalating via a media that was all too enthusiastic in egregiously mischaracterizing the content of the work, fueling community outrage with flat-out falsehoods. It’s unproductive for everyone involved.


As is the CBLDF’s Charles Brownstein — the CBLDF has joined with the Kids Right to Read Project to file a letter defending Palomar as the literary work that it has always been recognized as.

CB: It’s vitally important that libraries have formal policies for challenges and collection development, and that those policies are followed. Following these policies is all the more important in cases where media attacks are involved. Comics have a legitimate place in contemporary libraries and schools, but are more vulnerable to attack than other kinds of books both because images are easier to take out of context, and because there is still a diminishing, but lingering stigma that the medium is of low value. Good policies indicating how content is selected, and how challenges are heard are a powerful guiding force in situations where challenges occur, particularly when they are contentious or public.


As it stands now, a committee is reviewing the book this week, but it remains off the shelves. It is common for libraries to have procedures to challenges set up, as Brownstein alluded to above, so hopefully this one will come to a judicious conclusion.

§ The NY Times ran an obituary for Irwin Hasen and the portrait it paints of his later years is pretty good. I think he lived a pretty good life.

For the past 35 years, Mr. Hasen lived on East 79th Street in a rent-regulated apartment. Next to the entrance was a drawing of him standing with Dondi.
It was a bachelor pad with a wet bar, his shopworn drawing table and many photographs attesting to a life spent gallivanting with his artist crowd.
Instead of family pictures, the walls were covered with his sketches of the naked likenesses of former girlfriends, often in haremlike groups, with Mr. Hasen caricatured impishly serving them cocktails.
For decades before his death, Mr. Hasen would eat breakfast daily at the same Madison Avenue diner — he called it Cafe Hasen and called himself its staff artist — and drew “Dondi”-style sketches for the staff to post on the walls. His evening routine included a martini at a nearby Third Avenue bistro.


§ Here’s a French language story on the latest developments over the Angoulême comics festival, who runs it, who owns it and who owns the trademarks. As I understand it, this is a three way rumble between the city, the festival and the company that RUNS the festival. The latter entity, which is run by a fellow named Franck Bondoux, is asking for the trademarks to the fest, which has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Also Gilles Ciment, who formerly ran the festival from the comics side, left last year under clouded circumstances, which some blame Bondoux for.

I can’t begin to unwind this from my vantage point, but it all sounds very messy.


§ Last night I was watching The Shining for like the 10th time, and yet for the first time I noticed that Jack Nicholson really looks like Reid Fleming, the World’s Toughest Milkman. And that made me wonder “hey wasn’t there going to be a Reid Fleming movie or something?” and then voila! the trailer for a documentary about Reid Fleming and his creator, David Boswell, just popped up like that! I Thought I Told You To Shut Up!! was directed by Charlie Tyrelland features appearances by Matt Groening and Ad Asner among others. And it’s narrated by director Jonathan Demme.

Reid Fleming is one of the great 80s comics, with an unforgettable protagonist, unduplicable humor and a dense post-underground style that won’t quit. I understand that Boswell is a hero in Canadian comics circles, and he should be.

§ Here is a Storify that was kicked off by Sophia Foster-Dimino when she asked “Why does everyone hate auto-bio comics?” A lot of great cartoonists chime in. I’m one of those people who thought that bad auto-bio was a little too prevalent a while ago but that was 2005 and now the bar has been raised quite a bit by all the skillful younger cartoonists flooding the field.

§ Charming Jason Momoa tooks a swipe at Marvel in a very sly, subtle fashion: he wrote “fuck marvel” on a picture he was autographing. Like I said, sly and subtle.

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10. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/23/15: Save Tommy Castillo’s eyes

§ What it says. Artist Tommy Castillo, best known for his Batman work, is in danger of losing his sight:

Sammy Castillo here. As many of you may know, the World almost lost my husband, Tommy Castillo, in October of 2014. His ongoing battle with Diabetes took a horrible turn for the worse nearly killing him.  While on the outside and to everyone it may seem like Tommy is doing better, in fact, things aren’t progressing very well. Because of this recent down turn in his health, the Diabetes is now attacking Tommy’s eyesight -which is an artist’s worst fear.  To put it plainly, the diabetes is destroying the small blood vessels in the back of Tommy’s eyes causing them to bleed. Without surgery this will cause Tommy to go blind within a year- maybe less.  Each surgery is $ 4,000 per eye. The doctor told us that he will need AT LEAST two treatments in each eye plus perscriptions and recovery time.


You know the drill.

§ Cartoonists from Albertine to Dylan Horrocks to Jaime Hernandez to Trondheim have signed a petition asking the Angoulême comic festival to drop Sodastream as a sponsor. Sodastream is a drink company that has opened a bottling plant on the West Bank in Palestine (although it is set to close).

We, cartoonists, illustrators, writers, editors, distributors, translators, critics and workers in the comic book industry, alongside people of conscience from countries all over the world, re-affirm our February 2014 call for the Angoulême International Comics Festival to drop all ties with the Israeli company Sodastream. Furthermore, we urge the Angoulême Festival, and all festivals, conventions, and celebrations of comics and cartooning art in which we participate, to reject any partnership, funding, or co-operation with any Israeli company or institution that does not explicitly promote freedom and justice for Palestinians, as well as equal rights and equality for Israeli Jews and Palestinians, including the Israeli government and its local consulates, so long as Israel continues to deny Palestinians their rights.


There was a live protest at last year’s fest, and I expect there will be more about it this year. Zainab Akhtar has more context.

§ Egmont’s US branch is shutting down. Although a powerhouse publisher in Europe, including a lot of Disney licenses, their kids/YA line just never caught on in the US:

The U.S. division of Egmont, which published children’s titles in the elementary, middle grade and teen categories, was established in 2008. Now, the division’s spring 2015 list (distributed by Random House) will mark its last, and its office will close on January 31. Egmont USA’s six staffers’ final day in the office will be January 30. Rob McMenemy, CEO of Egmont Publishing International, said the U.S. business, ultimately, “does not fit” with the company’s strategy, as it has not been able to become a market leader in the States. He added that Egmont was “hoping to succeed with selling the business, unfortunately this has turned out not to be possible.”

§ Also from PW, Diamond Books was down a bit in 2014 due to losing Dark Horse, who moved over to Random House:

Diamond Book Distributors, the trade book distribution side of Diamond Comics Distributors, reports sales in 2014 were “slightly” down, blaming the decline on the loss of a major publisher client. Adjusting for that loss, sales were up in all channels with DBD citing continuing international growth and plans to focus on college bookstores in 2015. Dark Horse switched distribution from DBD to Random House Publisher Services at the beginning of 2014 and the loss was felt “across the board,” at the distributor said DBD v-p Kuo-Yu Liang. “We came close to making up the loss of Dark Horse,” he said. DBD distributes titles from about 50 publishers as well as pop culture merchandise. Despite the decline, Liang said the pop culture market was strong in 2014 and DBD’s core business, “is great. Graphic novels are growing, toys and other merchandise also did well.”


§ And Dreamworks Animation is shutting down one of its main studios, PDI/DreamWorks, and laying off 500 people. They’ll scale back to two films a year and undergo other belt tightening. You’ll recall that the studio has been trying to sell itself off, but several potential deals, including one with Hasbro, have gone bust. There are almost certainly some cartooning crossover folks who are caught up in this, and that will cause ripples as well. In the link above there are some offers from Pixar and Blizzard for potential employment. Good luck to everyone who is caught up in this very sad event.

§ Torsten covered the new “Is Comic-Con leaving San Diego???” drama quite well, but while I was digging around I recalled that the first time I wrote about the planned convention center expansion was 2010. Yikes. This is the Second Avenue Subway of the west. I get the feeling that the Chargers situation is more of a factor this time around—they have the oldest stadium in the NFL and it’s pretty decrepit, and they could also move to LA, although unlike Comic-Con, the Chargers threaten it directly and constantly. So the city of San Diego needs both a new stadium and more room for Mrs. Fields cookie kiosks. I suppose that Anaheim could make a great play for Comic-Con but as Mark Evanier points out, there are actually fewer hotel rooms in Anaheim in the summer than in San Diego.

The CCI folks seem to have been making wider use of the entire area around the convention center, and have stated that the expansion isn’t necessarily as essential right now. I suppose a move to Anaheim for a while would function in the same way a dog shakes off water…a lot of stuff would go flying away and normal functions could resume. But while it’s fun to imagine such things—or somewhat fun in the case of LA—the city of San Diego wants the con of San Diego IN San Diego, and I suspect a deal will be hammered out.

§ Meanwhile, here’s a nice round-up of the comics shops of Philadelphia, from foundational stores like Fat Jacks to nouveau comics outposts like Locust Moon.

Doctors Light Preview version Kibbles n Bits 1/23/15: Save Tommy Castillos eyes

§ George Elkind interviews Dash Shaw, one of the great modern formalists of comics, and Shaw gets right to it:

Sometime around 2010, I had a thought “comics are a collage medium — they’re collages that you can read.” Everything I’ve done since then has been extrapolating from that idea in different ways. With Doctors, I started with clips from different sources, mostly old romance comics. The first page I drew was the diver page. I clipped that diver from an old romance comic. I loved how stiff the drawing of the diver was. It was a dynamic, splash moment but it was so frozen. That’s the kind of drawings I like, like Pete Morisi and coloring book drawings. I’d alter old advertisements or general flat, clip-art like images, and add my own panels drawn in a baseline style, to connect, say, a drawing from an old romance comic of a couple on a bridge to, like, an Adidas ad for a pair of shoes.

§ Here’s a nice report by Jamal Flores on the Schomburg Center’s Third Annual Black Comic Book Festival .

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§ Really, Comicbook.com?

§ Matt Singer continues his history of comic book serials with Spy Smasher.

§ Chris (Starlord) Pratt is from Seattle and Chris (Captain America, Johnny Storm, Lucas Lee, Jensen, Casey) Evans is from Boston, so the two have made a generous and handsome bet over the Super Bowl.

Both football fans and friends, Evans and Pratt made very public and very charitable bet: If the Patriots win, Pratt will don a Patriots jersey and make an appearance at Christopher’s Haven, a non-profit organization that provides support housing for families whose children are receiving outpatient pediatric cancer treatments in Boston. If the Seahawks win, Evans will show up to Seattle Children’s Hospital as Captain America, brandishing a 12th Man flag.

the ultimate list of superhero lairs Kibbles n Bits 1/23/15: Save Tommy Castillos eyes

§ Infographics are a sneaky way to get people to pay attention to some utilitarian product, in this case blinds, but this one from Terry’s Blind on superhero lairs is really thoughtful and imaginative.

3 Comments on Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/23/15: Save Tommy Castillo’s eyes, last added: 1/27/2015
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11. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/26/15: What these retailers have to say about Secret Wars is staggering

§ Vaneta Rogers quizzed a bunch of comics retailers about Secret Wars and describes them as wary but hopeful:

“Customers are curious, but as usual, Marvel is being very vague about the whole thing,” said John Robinson, owner of the nine Illinois locations of Graham Crackers Comics. “And I have no answers for [customers] as to any of the specifics on how this is going to be handled.” “On the surface, I think it sounds absolutely awful!” laughed Mike Wellman, co-owner of the Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach, California. But the retailer added, “I tend to lean more positive on these massive events and I’m sure there are some things that Marvel isn’t telling us. Their batting average is pretty high when it comes to these things and I fully trust them to make something awesome.”


As usual, everybody says they hate events, but everybody orders them anyway, and that’s why they keep doing events. A lot of comparisons to the New 52, which was a titanic sales hit, and it’s hard to imagine that Marvel won’t get a lot of attention for whatever it is they’re doing as well. However, sometimes a long memory is no friend:

“Without specifics on how they’ll be handling it, it can go either way obviously,” Robinson said. “Handled well with a clear path and understanding for the customers, then this can be great. Handled like Secret Wars II, then it can be a disaster with unnecessary tie-ins, and event that ends up doing nothing. Marvels ‘soft-reboots’ have only hurt the industry, in my opinion, over the last 10 years.


Secret Wars II, for the uninitiated, came out in 1985. I know Ralph Macchio was around then, and apparently he’ll be involved in the new Secret Wars in some capacity, but otherwise it’s a whole new ballgame.
§ Meanwhile Steve Morris has some predictions for what will happen, and I like Steve’s version of the future.

§ RK Laxman is a very famous cartoonist in his native India. He’s 95 years old and has been in ill health for quite a while, and is now in very critical condition. He’s best known for a comic strip called The Common Man which ran from 1951 until he become to ill to continue it. You can see some of his cartoons here. It’s hard to get a sense of Laxman’s cultural place, but newspaper give daily updates on his health.

Headline of the day from the Spanish language San Diego Red: ¿Comic-Con International abandonará San Diego?

§ Wizard World Portland was this weekend and D.M. Anderson took many pictures, some of them of cartoonists. Meanwhile, KOIN’s Tyler Dunn had to sit down from time to time from being overhwlemed:

An experience I won’t soon forget, that’s how I would best sum up my time at Wizard World Comic Con. It was my first time at the Portland convention — or any like it, for that matter. I spent all of Sunday there, along with thousands of excited fans ready to celebrate their favorite pop culture icons. My goal was simple: do as much as possible, turn down nothing, get the most out of my time in the hopes that (for those thinking about going next year) I might gather some helpful tips.

§ Another headline of the day: How’d A Cartoonist Sell His First Drawing? It Only Took 610 Tries

§ Todd McFarlane came out on FB and said he would never draw Marvel or Dc corporate characters again, not because of dislike but because of duty:

No… …the reason I don’t and won’t draw for them is that one of the many titles I have, at my various business interests, is that of President of Image Comics. And I take that responsibility very seriously. Image Comics is the THIRD largest comic company in North America, and as such we are in direct competition with both Marvel and DC Comics. As President of Image, I personally think it would be a conflict of interest for me to do work for a direct competitor. And in fact in some states being the President/CEO of a company forbids you to work for a direct competitor (The president of Microsoft won’t/can’t do freelance work for Apple Inc.) So, for me this isn’t any different. In 1992, a handful of us decided to form Image Comics, and ever since then I have not worked at either Marvel or DC Comics, and as long as there is an Image Comics, I will continue to give all of my comic book efforts towards the company I helped form.

§ Here is a sad story about cartoonist Jim Wheelock’s comics being stolen from a storage unit in Vermont.

It looks like my entire collection of several thousand comic books from  the 1950s – 1990s is gone. These were in about twenty white “long boxes” about three feet long and 12 inches by 10 inches or so. The boxes had distinctive handwritten labels by me with titles (Spider-Man, Thor, etc). This includes a collection of underground comics from the ’60s, including Zap Comics and others. There were also comics in shorter and odd-shaped boxes, including at least one reading “Published Work” (I’m an artist and illustrator). This includes multiple copies of the horror trade paperback, Taboo. Most of the comics were in clear plastic bags, and the boxes were lined with plastic trash bags. Some were also labelled by artist’s names (Joe Kubert, Alex Toth and others). The books largely did not have backboards. Some were packed several to a bag, and some were not in bags, As I say, the boxes would be identifiable by me. The books probably also have a distinctive “barn”  odor, making them less valuable, and possibly harder to sell. I had some of my own artwork in portfolios. It’s unclear if any of that is missing. Much of it would have my signature on it. Also some film lobby cards and posters.

INFERNOshadow Kibbles n Bits 1/26/15: What these retailers have to say about Secret Wars is staggering

§ BTW, Wheelock is the artist of a graphic novel called Inferno Los Angeles, which is really quite a thing. Check it out.

32 Kibbles n Bits 1/26/15: What these retailers have to say about Secret Wars is staggering
§ Finally, even in the world filled with cruelty, horrors and intolerance, the story of how Hershey has halted importation of superior Fritish chocolate inspires outrage and disgust. Basically, Hershey successfully sued a company that imported Brit choccies, and you will no longer be able to buy an Aero or Lion bar at a specialty retailer. The infuriating thing is that it’s because Hershey basically admits its chocolate is shit:

What many Britons and British-chocolate lovers are most incensed about is the difference in taste between chocolate made in Britain and chocolate made in the United States.
Chocolate in Britain has a higher fat content; the first ingredient listed on a British Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (plain milk chocolate) is milk. In an American-made Cadbury’s bar, the first ingredient is sugar.
American Cadbury bars also include PGPR and soy lecithin, both emulsifiers that reduce the viscosity of chocolate, giving it a longer shelf life. British Cadbury bars used vegetable fats and different emulsifiers.
An informal blind taste test comparing Cadbury Dairy Milk bars — muddled by this reporter’s garlicky lunch — suggested that Ms. Perry had reason to be upset.
The British Dairy Milk was slightly fudgier, allowing for a creamier taste and texture. The American Dairy Milk bar left a less pleasing coating and somewhat of a stale aftertaste.


Having just finished the last crumbs of a cache of UK Cadbury’s brought home from the holidays, I can attest to the superior smoothness, full flavor and finish of the British versions. There is no comparison. Thanks a lot, America.

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12. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/30/15: Chew on this!

A week’s worth of reading:

§ Has Manga Become a Niche Category? Johanna Draper Carlson examines some opinions on this, and quotes comments by Vertical’s Ed Chavez that I missed:

The fact that shonen continues to be the only category that is consistently strong, and that moe has kinda catching up to shojo for second is interesting. Knowing that seinen still lacks, even though vocal fans ask for it, kinda tells me that readers either grow out of manga or only stick with a specific type of it… Essentially pigeonholing it (turning it into a niche). Having talked to some comic/media critics I think it is becoming harder for them to get into manga also. Will kids still consume the stuff? Sure. I mean, most manga pubs are seeing growth while stores are cutting manga shelves. But unlike the 00’s, where a shojo boom introduced a whole new demographic to manga, there hasn’t been a culture shifting movement recently to break manga out of this current position it has settled into.


I think Manga has become a “mature” business as they say, but it’s still chugging along, if not at the heights of the 00s. On the other hand, even in Japan where sales have long been in decline, there was a 1% uptick last year. Not exactly enough to make people knock over cars with joy, but at least it isn’t a decline:

According to the recent report by Research Institute for Publications, which is operated by AJPEA (All Japan Magazine and Book Publisher’s and Editor’s Association), the manga sales in Japan for year 2014 was 1% up from the previous year. The modest growth was supported by new top sellers including Haruichi Furudate’s Haikyu!! and Io Sakisaka’s Ao Haru Ride, both had very successful TV anime or live-action film adaptations last year, in addition to the continuously popular series like Eiichiro Oda’s One Piece and Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan.


Manga is hanging in there in the US, but it has competition from actual American comics. If you look at Bookscan’s top 20 from ICv2 for November 2014 you see six manga in the list. The list from November 2013 has eight, a number more typical of what I’m used to seeing. OTOH in actual numbers, a lot of things we thing of as successful are niche.

§ Whit Taylor talks to Chuck Forsman about Revenger his new action comic:

Charles: I think the inspiration for Revenger is a combination of things. First are the comics that I read when I first started reading them at 10 or 11 years old. This was during X-Men’s heyday with Claremont and Jim Lee and the launch of Image Comics. The second are movies. I got back into watching John Carpenter movies like Escape from New York and Assault on Precinct 13. And even new movies like The Guest which came out a few months ago. The Guest actually made me scrap the first completed version of Revenger #1 and I started over almost from scratch. That movie reminded me that what I wanted to do was something much leaner without any fat. My original version of Revenger had a much larger world. I was worrying too much about the made-up world politics and trying to make an interesting mystery with the story. Sometimes after experiencing someone else’s work that connects with you it makes what you want much clearer.

§ Darling sleeper quizzes Sean Ford and Leslie Stein.

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§ Zainab Akhtar reviews the new US edition of Hugo Pratt’s Corto Maltese and falls under his languid spell:

His name are the very first words of the text and Pratt goes on to declare him a ‘man of destiny,’ but more than any other quality, here he imbues cool. The closes iconography I’m reminded of is the coiled looseness of heroes in westerns- the hint of swagger but an assumed relaxed pose: quietness, cockiness, and surety all hinted at simultaneously. Take a look at the composition and body language here: head and torso positioned centrally in the panel, feet up, cigarette in hand, cap and hair shielding his eyes. He’s watchful perhaps lost in thought. The immediate next panel is a close-up side profile, and the narration is semi-admiring, semi-mocking him as he lights up ‘as if he were performing for an invisible audience.’  In fact for the whole first page he doesn’t say anything -until he’s interrupted by a drunken brawl-, an interaction that involves the reader just looking at Corto, feeling the atmosphere, the presence of the man,  serving to set him up as this strong and silent type, in the know, someone cool, someone to be admired, someone to beware of.

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§ This fellow, Indian artist Hetain Patel, has made a sculpture of Spider-man covered with words.

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§ Ng Suat Tong has Best Online Comics Criticism 2014 and declares it a bad year for onlien comics criticism. There are some cracking good pieces there, however, including many I missed first time out. Click through! Also this:

Apart from the perennial issues of racism and sexism in superhero comics (or maybe in general?) there weren’t many critical controversies in 2014. I can’t say that this failure to engage with fellow critics and their ideas is a positive sign of health; especially if this reticence is symptomatic of intellectual torpor or a lack of breath in comics thinking.


But I think that will kick off an entire post at some point.

§ And speaking of the perennial issues of racism and sexism, Marvel Has A Serious Problem Merchandising Its Female Characters

But when you look at the merchandise for those properties, it feels like they barely exist. Despite being introduced in Iron Man 2, it would take until The Avengers for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow to get an action figure: even then, she was shortpacked in the third wave of figures that came out months after the movie hit, with the prime first wave spots going to Iron Man, Captain America, Thor and The Hulk. It took until The Winter Soldier last year for Widow to show up in both Hasbro’s Marvel Legends Infinite 6-inch line and Funko’s wildly popular range of Marvel Pop Vinyls for the first time, a whopping four years after the character first appeared. Fast forward to Age of Ultron today and she’s once again seemingly missing — she doesn’t show up at all in the new action figure playsets. She’s not in the first set of Pop Vinyls, and neither is Scarlet Witch, another prominent female member of the cast. She appears in one of the six new Lego sets for the film (Cap’s in three, Iron Man is in four). She doesn’t appear in the team shots on the boxes of merchandise (to be fair, neither does Hawkeye. Poor Hawkeye.). Hell, the first action figure we’ve seen for her for AoU specifically is Diamond Select’s, and even then, that was revealed in a way that still, almost hilariously, managed to avoid showing an actual figure of the character.


§ Finally, as part of a piece on second acts for publisher personnel, Calvin Reid catches up with Joan Hilty.

Hilty, who is also a member of 5E, teamed with Pete Friedrich, a cartoonist and designer, in 2011 to launch Pageturner, a packaging house that develops “comics projects outside of the comics industry.” Pageturner develops projects with and for a variety of institutions, among them the ACLU, which created a comics series about the Bill of Rights. “Now we’re getting lots of interest from nonprofits and arts organizations,” she said. Pageturner has worked on projects with Chronicle Books and TBS/Turner Networks. As a freelance contractor, Hilty has worked with comics publishers like Boom! and Dark Horse Comics, and with Forbes magazine, which published the Zen of Steve Jobs in 2011, a webcomic and print graphic biography of Jobs that examines his 30-year pupil-teacher relationship with a Zen Buddhist monk.


§ Finally, after 15 yearsAndrew Sullivan has announced he’s giving up blogging. (He did it once before.) I could only nod my head in agreement at his reasons—he wants to spend time with actual humans and the toll of always being on call impacted his health. Now tat Sully’s done, the rest of us can quit with our heads held high!

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13. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/3/15: Cartoonist gets a new job and then she posts about it!

31RETIRING master675 Kibbles n Bits 2/3/15: Cartoonist gets a new job and then she posts about it!

Danielle S. Pemble for The New York Times

§ Norm Breyfogle suffered a stroke on December 17th, but he’s making great progress, as shown in this video; his fundraiser to help with his rehab is still underway and NOW he’s the poster child for medical bill crowdfunding, with this profile in the New York Times. It’s great to see Norm recovering and we send him all our best.

§ The New York Times also covered the Angouleme comics fest complete with a slideshow. Of course, the focus was on Charlie Hebdo, but…as someone who has been following comics media for more than a decade that is still pretty amazing.

§ Everyone was puzzled and angry about the new FF trailer, so they had to watch it over and over again to make sure of what was puzzling and angering them. And then it became Fox’s’ most watched trailer ever. Who’s laughing now, sucker?

§ Cartoonist Robyn Chapman is now employed as assistant editor at First Second, which is win win win for everyone. Congrats, Robyn!

§ Yam Rooks Rina Ayuyang has a very detailed run down of her 2014, with show reports and more. [Link via The Tiny Report]

§ And Zainab Akhtar runs down the 20 most anticipated comics and graphic novels for 2015; after a look it’s going to be a very good year.

§ I put together another list of Spring 2015 GNS for PW, but it’s still behind the paywall. I’ll alert the troops when it’s out.

§ SF book shop Borderlands Books is closing in March and the main cause is that California has raised the minimum wage to $12.25 an hour. That will increase the payroll 39% and operating costs 19%. It’s very sad that paying workers the very modest sum of $12.25 an hour will cause an unworkable business model, especially since SF is the second most expensive city to live in in the US, it seems to be a downward spiral. I wonder if this will also affect Californian comics shops?

§ FanX was held over the weekend in Salt Lake City, and it went fine, especially with capping tickets at 50,000—previous shows has some crowding, which was avoided this time:

Halfway through its third and final day, Salt Lake Comic Con announced it had sold out its FanX event and was closing on-site ticket sales.

Unlike previous comic con events, which drew as many as 120,000 attendees, ticket sales were capped at 50,000, with attendance measuring just above that, according to preliminary reports.

“I think we kept it just about the right size,” co-founder Bryan Brandenburg said. ” FanX officials ironed out logistical concerns from previous events, including the second Salt Lake Comic Con that was held just four months ago in September.

Wristbands with RFID chips kept lines flowing in and out of the Salt Palace while the limited ticket numbers ensured the previously crowded convention floor was comfortable to navigate. “I think we’ve learned a few lessons from last time,” Brandenburg said. “I think we kept it just the right size, and our customer support lines were more quiet than they’ve ever been, which is great.”

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§ Joe Illidge looks at the history of Storm.

A strong Black woman who survived through poverty and the loss of her parents as a child, discovered her extraordinary gifts and used them to help her people, travelled to America to help on a global scale, lost her powers, refused to become a victim and emerged as a woman strong enough to wrest leadership of the X-Men from a superpowered comrade, became the leader of a band of underground mutants by defeating the band’s leader in battle, returned home for self-exploration, regained her powers, and married King T’Challa, thereby becoming the Queen of Wakanda, one of the most technologically advanced nations on Marvel’s Earth.

§ Stolen Sharpie has a list of fine fest and small press-y things, but it is far from complete and missing a bunch of CAFs, but clip and save and pencil in. [Link via Panel Patter]

§ Zak Sally has not only released one of the most challenging comics of the last 12 months, but he’s joining Anders Nilsen in doing an end around on Amazon.

§ While I was checking that last bit, I also noticed that Zally has lost the URL LaMano21 which is the site for his publishing company, due to missing a renewal and a squatter moved in and now he’s in a fight to get it back. Which is a good reminder. FOR GOD’S SAKE SET YOUR DOMAINS TO AUTORENEW. Or at least make sure your GoDaddy* emails don’t go to spam. It’s very difficult to get a lapsed domain back and a little attention and it will never happen.

* Yes I know GoDaddy is comprised of sexist pigs but they also make renewing very easy.

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§ Finally, this Funnybook Babylon link has been making the rounds, but it is a sobering reminder of just how awful the 90s really were for comics, when Wizard Magazine was considered the hottest cool thing in the biz and ran things like panels of women and explained how hot and sexy they were. I mean yes, people didn’t have internets so they had to find wank material anywhere they could, but this was the best selling item in comics shops for several years.

Why Does Wizard Think This is Sexy? They’ve never seen a real porno magazine before, so the idea of one appearing in a comic book is mysterious and wonderful. This is a tangent, but it always bothers me when people in comic books act like their world actually looks like a comic book. People have distinguishing characteristics besides costumes and colors; if you put different people in (most) superhero outfits, no one would mistake Thor/Iron Man/Captain America/Bruce Banner for Hawkeye just because Mark Ruffalo or Chris Hemsworth put on Jeremy Renner’s costume. I think everyone could tell that it was Zoe Saldana as Gamora even though her skin color was altered, so color-corrected She-Hulk nudie photos would look like nudie photos of She-Hulk with caucasian skin. I haven’t seen anyone go “it’s cool if you post my leaked naked phone pics, so long as you Photoshop my skin to be green, that way no one will know it’s me.”

Thank god we’ve come so far since then.

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14. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/4/15: newsy notes from the mailbag

I went through the old mailbag and found some newsy bits I had previously missed.

§ IDW’s CEO/Publisher Ted Adams is joining the Board of Directors for Traveling Stories, a San Diego based non profit that builds libraries in poor cities around the world and provides story coaching at travelling story tents. Okay does it get better than that? you can find out more and how to help here.

“I’ve always been an avid reader, even when I was little. As a publisher, I’m excited to give kids in underprivileged areas around the world the same literary experience I was lucky enough to have,” Adams stated.

With this development, Adams has a platform for sharing his lifelong passion for reading on a global scale and further expanding IDW’s reach in the book-loving community.

If you want to join Adams in supporting Traveling Stories, visit www.travelingstories.org to sign up for updates about the organization and initiatives he is working on. You can also join him in becoming a Reading Warrior and donating $10 per month so Traveling Stories can continue to give children access to books. For a limited time, those who become a Reading Warrior will receive a free Traveling Stories t-shirt of their choice and a free IDW book.

 

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§ Michael Golden is creating limited edition variant covers for The Walking Dead #1 which are available at various Wizard Worlds. Here’s the latest, for Wizard World Comic Con Indianapolis, February 13-15. Everyone gets one FREE (While supplies last). VIP attendees will receive an additional black & white sketch version of the comic.

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§ Visionary Comics is running a kickstarter for a comic book called The Cackler. It’s amazing that no one came up with that name before. The world needs a Cackler. (And it’s already been funded.)

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§ Viz has announced a new Hello Kitty original graphic novel HELLO KITTY: IT’S ABOUT TIME, with art by Jacob Chabot, Ian McGinty, Jorge Monlongo, and Giovanni Castro, and special guest artist Erica Salcedo. “Past, present or future, Hello Kitty and her friends are having a blast!”

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§ Artist Paul Rivoche dropped us a line to let us know he won both the Gold and Silver medals in the  “Graphic Novels/Comic Books category of the Society of Illustrators of Los Angeles (SILA) Illustration West 53 competition. (All winners shown here.)

The Gold award is for the cover to my graphic novel collaboration with Amity Shlaes and Chuck Dixon, “The Forgotten Man Graphic Edition”, adapting her bestseller of the same name. The other, Silver award, is for my two-page comic contribution titled “Little Nemo In Planeland”, which I wrote and drew for “Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream”, published by Locust Moon Press.

 

 

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§ Toy Fair is coming!!! Oh boy. Dark Horse will debut a new bust of Criminal Macabre’s Cal McDonald there. It’s designed by William Paquet. Cal MacDonald was created by Steve Niles and he’s a hardboiled supernatural investigator type.

The bust measures a big 14 inches tall. Packaged in a full-color box, with a certificate of authenticity signed by both Niles and Paquet, this hand-painted, numbered piece is limited to only 375 copies. Available August 2015 for $149.99.

The prototype will be revealed at the Dark Horse booth, #4837, at Toy Fair 2015, held February 14–17 at Jacob Javits Center in New York City.

Additionally, Dark Horse will produce a special rare winged Cal McDonald variant bust.

 

§ A lot more Toy Fair news and previews can be found at the Idle Hands blog.

§ FROZEN…one of the most successful and beloved movies of all time, #5 on the ALL TIME WORLDWIDE BOF OFFICE LIST. And of course, there will be more Forozen, starting with with short “Frozen Fever,” in which Anna’s birthday is threatened by a COLD, which sends her powers into sneeze mode. Can Elsa and Kristoff makes sure it’s jjsut a big party? (Maybe they should call Hello Kitty.) Here’s some stills and a featurette. The short debuts on March 13th in front of Cinderella, and the gang is all back: Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad and directors Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee.

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§ Finally: ComicsPRO the annual retailer meeting is also coming, and Valiant came up with perhaps the best promotion evah: Ninjak boxcutters. Might be tought to fly with those, so be sure to put them in CHCKED BAGGAGE.

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15. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/5/15: Man hideously mutilates his face to look like hideous Marvel character the Red Skull

§ Ugh DISTURBING pictures in the link of a guy who cut off his nose and got horrible tattoos and implants  so he could look like a disfigured comic book character. People are strange.

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§ Viz is bringing out an attractive hardcover editions of Hirohiko Araki’s  JOJO’S BIZARRE ADVENTURE: PART 1 – PHANTOM BLOOD, a much liked and very strange manga.

In the series’ opening volume, young Jonathan Joestar’s (JoJo) life is changed forever when he meets his new adopted brother, Dio. For some reason, Dio has a smoldering grudge against him and derives pleasure from seeing him suffer. But every man has his limits, as Dio finds out, and thus begins a long and hateful relationship!

I got a review copy of this and I look forward to sitting down and reading it.

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§ It was hourly comic day last weekend and some people did draw comics all day, like Raina Telgemeier. 

 

§ And Sophia Foster-Dimino

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§ Meanwhile, Carolyn Belefski drew comics for the White House.

§ I saw this headline “Bastian talks ‘Nain Rouge’ during event at Green Brain Comics” and thought, what a new book by JEREMY BASTIAN the amazing creator of Rogue Pirate Girl, and got real excited, but then I read

“Royal Oak-native Bastian has become one of the foremost scholars on the the mythos of the legend since he started researching it for a book several years ago. He spoke in depth on the topic at a recent book signing at Green Brain Comics for his newly released graphic novel titled simply “Nain Rouge.” It was the first time working in the graphic medium for Bastian, who has also authored a trilogy of young adult books based on the legend.”

and I realized it was JOSEF Bastian, who made a graphic novel about a local cryptozoological legend. Two guys named Bastain in Michigan…crazy.

§ At Paste magazine, Mariko and Jillian Tamaki take their victory lap  after their historic honors in the Caldecott and Printz prizes

Paste: Right, in 2007. And this past fall you also picked up the first Governor General Award for Children’s Literature Illustration given to a graphic novel. What does it mean to you to be recognized for non-comic-exclusive awards?

Jillian Tamaki: I think that’s great. I think that by being recognized by, say, library associations — and it’s great to be recognized by comics people as well — I think it just means that a wider variety and range of people are reading comics, which I think is a good thing for creators and the medium itself.

Mariko Tamaki: I think that comics have been kind of emerging in stages. One way to say it is that it’s a fad and publishers are getting interested in graphic novels, but I think in the larger scheme that more readers are collectively understanding that there’s a variety of ways to absorb a story. And comics being included with other literary awards is sort of a nice recognition that comics are literary, and as much as they’re beautiful, that they also can tell complex stories, which a lot of comics before this have been able to do.

 

§ Another con with a dubious marketing campaign. 

§ Yesterday, Twitter’s CEO Dick Costolo came out and admitted ‘We suck at dealing with abuse’ displaying the kind of far sighted observational skills that earn you a $11.5 million a year in stock options.  In an internal memo that was leaked he wrote:

I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It’s absurd. There’s no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing. We’re going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.

The big question for me is whether this surpasses or merely equals Roger Goodell in the “What CEO can get the most po’foced over abuse he didn’t want to see for years.” I’d say far surpasses, because the Twitter abuse thing is so out of control beyond anything anyone with any sense of customer service, let alone human decency, would tolerate. I wonder how Costolo would feel if his daughter or mother got abuse such as Anita Sarkeesian documented, and is super common for people (male and female) who speak on certain topics on Twitter. I only get tweets like this very occasionally, but even one can be enough to take the wind out of your sails. So good for you, Dick Costolo, maybe twitter shouldn’t be a free for all for abusive ***holes.

 

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16. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/9/15: Let’s hear it for Ms. Marvel

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§ Last week marked the one year anniversary of Ms. Marvel #1 and…well it was quite a year. There’s been a tumblr celebration, which Brigid Alverson sums up, including some thoughtful essays on what the character means. The AV Club’s Oliver Sava also took a look:

It’s a been a year since Kamala “Ms. Marvel” Khan’s ongoing series debuted at Marvel Comics, and it’s safe to say that she’s made a huge impact on the current landscape of superhero comics. There’s been a considerable rise in superhero titles targeted to younger female readers—from DC’s Batgirl, Gotham Academy, and Supergirl to Marvel’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and the upcoming Spider-Gwen—and while Kamala can’t take all the credit, she’s certainly been leading the charge. Her introduction was heralded by lots of hype thanks to her status as the first Muslim character to headline a Marvel series, but Ms. Marvel has become one of the industry’s best titles because it’s an outstanding superhero comic created with confidence, intelligence, and a lot of style.


Art above by Jake Wyatt, the cover to Ms. Marvel #14.

§ It was a huge Friday for comics news, obvs. Steve Morris has a fine overview of the New 24 and the creators and characters involved. Chris Sims looks at The Three Weirdest Comics From DC’s Upcoming Lineup—Bat-Mite, Prez and Section Eight—while Tom Bondurant looks back at the New 52. Ah, the New 52.

Accordingly, it’s time to let “The New 52″ — the title, that is — fade into the mists of comics history. It started with a bang, and it was hardly perfect, but it altered the super-comics landscape in ways which are still being felt. For all its faults, the “New 52″ moniker represented a concerted, line-wide effort to reach out to readers of all kinds — a promise to comics fans everywhere, whether DC realizes it or not, that it would produce something for each of them.

A-Force is on the taxi news. Not bad. #marvel #aforce

A photo posted by @comixace on


§ While The View biffed Marvel’s planned A-Force rollout, while I was in a taxi on Friday night (no crawling over black ice for me) A-Force was on the news feed. The last time I saw that was when the lesbian Batwoman was announced in 2006. So Marvel did get some mileage out of it.

§ Speaking of A-Force I’m looking forward to the Singularity cosplay.

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§ Cartoonist A. Degan will be getting some attention soon with the release of Mighty Star in April, and he gets interviewed at Darling Sleeper:

Writing a comic that has words in it is a new technique for me. Though I don’t know if that’s anything novel for most readers of comics. This fall I put out a book from Sonatina called Junior Detective Files which I call a comic, but maybe makes more sense to call an “illustration book”. I was trying to tell a story, a very open-ended and dream-like story, through one page illustrations. It felt like a new thing for me, I was trying to push the limits on implied narrative, and I think it was successful. I’m thinking of trying to experiment with drawing comics with a brush soon. I used to paint in gouache and watercolor but found that it didn’t scan very well. But that was a while ago and I think scanner technology is better now.

§ Wizard World debuted in Madison, WI this weekend and Aaron Conklin has an entertaining diary that, like most of these con reports, mentions celebs and cosplay but not comics;

Frank qualifies as the Madison con’s most ubiquitous celebrity presence — or, if you’re feeling a little more cynical, its resident media whore. In addition to tonight’s event, Frank is part of a paid meet-and-greet event each of the event’s three days, and he spends a lot of his time tonight talking up his karate training classes and new reality show — that and showing off his tats. The vibe’s a little breezier for William Kircher, the New Zealand actor who plays the jam-loving dwarf Bifur in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy. The man wins major style points for gamely warbling a line or two from “Misty Mountain Song.”

But it’s something Ferrigno says toward the end of his stage time that rings truest: Without that cheesy-ass, low-budget TV version of The Hulk — and his menacing but campy performance in it — we might not have Mark Ruffalo playing a CGI-ified version of Marvel’s Jolly Green Giant today. And we definitely wouldn’t be gathering to celebrate a mainstream pop culture universe where the Hulk is just one of a thousand points of superhero, and sci-fi, light.

§ A Finnish graphic novel is being translated into Berber, a language spoken across much of Africa. Aɣeṛṛabu n ugafa (”The Yacht of the North”) is about mid-19th century Russo-English researchers exploring the Arctic Ocean. Will this be of interest to Berber-speakers?

”They were looking to publish a comic in Berber,” says Koskela. “The language group is quite young, so there isn’t much literature – and no graphic novels.” Koskela says the connection with the Algerian publisher was born through FILI, the Finnish Literature Exchange, which acts as a go-between for authors and translators. The publisher and Amarouche both felt that Koskela’s book was a good fit for the Berber language market.


Comics are everywhere.

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I love Emily Flake for The New Yorker.

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17. Kibbles ‘n’ Bis 2/12/15: What is an “indie comic” anyway?

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§ By chance, two websites have been devoting some time to overviews of…non Big Two Comics I guess you could call ‘em. Multiversity is running Small Press Month and offers A Brief History of Alternative Comics by Drew Bradley which offers a pretty good run down of the journey from Zap to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with stops for Arcade and The Comics Journal:

Naturally, this wasn’t a clean transition, and the term was applied retroactively to books after the shift had occurred. Like the undergrounds, alternative (or simply ‘alt’) comics were set apart from mainstream content by their target audience (20+ adults), their higher production quality, and their black and white art. Similarities aside, alt comics differed from undergrounds in two major ways. First, while underground comics had focused on shocks and rule breaking, alt comics made a concerted effort to have meaning and value. Second, and deriving directly from the first, was a greater acceptance of alt comics in the fast growing number of comic specialty shops, a place where underground never made much headway. When Phil Seuling and his Sea Gate Distribution turned those shops into the direct market as it’s known today, the alternatives had large industry access without large industry costs.


In another piece called Different Viewpoints, a discussion of just what is “alternative” is discussed with tiers and so on.

Meanwhile, at The Mary Sue, Jordan West digs in to Small, Mighty, and Super Weird; or, A Brief Guide to Indie Comics :

So is that what an “indie publisher” is? A small company that puts out weird stories?

Eh. Sort of. Terms like “indie” and “small press” have come to mean anything that’s not Marvel or DC, which doesn’t really mean anything. We already talked about the Creator Owned model and how that distinguishes independent publishers from the Big Two. That, plus the absence of any shared universe or continuity, gives creators greater leverage and more room to move. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but writers in general and comics writers in particular tend to be pretty weird people, so yeah, given enough leeway, they’ll put out some weird freaking stories.


A little broader picture there and much of the article is concerned with Image Comics, which is stretching indie a little. In fact they also mention Archie which is…just…no.

I have to admit, I have an “Indie Comics” category where I kind of lump a lot of things that should be together. A Zenescope is not the same thing as a Drawn & Quarterly. I also have one category called “art comics” and another called “literary comics” and that doesn’t make any sense either.

Today’s comics purchasers, and by extension retailers, are a lot less snobby about publishing labels, I think. Image is definitely the hottest publisher, but creators have bigger followings than labels do.

The day is long past when a Dark Horse or Dynamite is an “indie.” There are The Front of the Books Dark Horse, Dc, IDW, IMage and Marvel” and the “Next Five” as I like to call them, Boom, Dynamite, Oni, Valiant and Avatar. (These are not the next five on Diamond’s chart, because don’t forget Eaglemoss.) And oh yeah, Archie. And Viz. And Zenescope and Titan. These publishers all put out periodical comics and in general have editors who select the personnel for these books. (Oni is kind of not doing that any more, but then, they’ve sort of been in a mutable place for a while.)

Fantagraphics and D&Q and Koyama, AdHouse, Uncivilized, Secret Acres and so on all have a different publishing focus, based on graphic novels, and maybe occasionally the slim pamphlet from a cartoonist who works very slowly. (Optic Nerve and Palookaville, for instance.)

Anyway, someday I need to fix my categories. What is an “art comic” and what is a “literary comic”? Any clues, readers? Paging Frank Santoro.

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§ Speaking of Viz, I missed this exciting news that many more of their books are now available on Comixology, with 650 volumes added including
MAGI Vols. 1-10 
CASE CLOSED Vols. 1-53
BLACK BIRD Vols. 1-18
THE DRIFTING CLASSROOM Vols. 1-10
HAPPY MARRIAGE?! Vols. 1-10




ITSUWARIBITO Vols. 1-13

MIDNIGHT SECRETARY Vols. 1-7
Everyone will have their own pick from these but mine is, of course, Drifting Classroom by Kauo Umezu. Other Beat picks: Sexy Voice and Robo, Solanin, Sunny by Matsumoto, Children of the Seas…oh it’s all good. (I don’t know if these were available before but I’m just poking around.)

BUT STILL NO URASAWA because he hate digital, I guess. You suck, Urasawa. Not really.

§ Nathan Reese at Complex presents Race and Gender in Comic Books which is a sound overview of all the stuff happening of late, from Ms. Marvel to Milo Manara.

“There’s nothing inherently masculine about telling stories with pictures; there’s nothing inherently masculine about superheroes,” says DeConnick. “In the ’40s and ’50s, there was a book called Calling All Girls that had a circulation of half a million monthly readers. But in the ’50s our industry became hugely dominated by the superhero genres, and comics began to be identified not as a medium, but as a genre, which was one of the first steps to the paring down of the diversity of our readership.”

§ When Emerald City Comic Con teamed up with Reed Pop, Rose City Comic Con, formerly allied with ECCC, was left alone. But it seems its heart will go on, as showrunner Ron Brister says the last event drew 26,000 people:

Rose City is already reaping the benefits of its short-lived partnership. Comic book artists and vendors are now contacting them, booking spots as far out as 2016. As far as financials go, you don’t have to work hard to figure out that 26,000 by $20 a ticket equals a pretty decent profit.
Despite their newfound reputation and skyrocketing popularity, Rose City organizers are looking to keep a reserved approach to growth, Brister said.


§ Former Diamond vp of purchasing Bill Shanes has joined games company Cryptozoic as a VP, as has another Diamond alum, John Parker. That’s a strong line-up for any company.

§ I missed this interview with Jeanine Schaefer, departed Marvel editor, at DC Women Kicking Ass Schaefer left Marvel to move west with her husband, DC editor Mark Doyle, but she left her mark.

I think we’ve discussed the impact that digital can have on changing the demographics of comics – what’s the most interesting thing you saw as digital became a force in the comic business?

Ms. Marvel! Ms. Marvel is a JUGGERNAUT on the app. But I think that reflects the bigger story, which is that there’s an untapped market that’s dying to buy comics. Young women and girls especially are a large percentage of the digital comics market. But the internet has always been a haven for women to create and connect, and as social media and digital distribution becomes bigger, so do women’s voices.

§ Meanwhile, sad news in that the incomparable Zainab Akhtar is cutting back her posting to once a week. NOOOO! But she is writing some reviews fo the AV Club, such as this one on First Year Healthy:

First Year Healthy reads smoothly, its striking art cause for pause and contemplation, offering possibilities and interpretations to be gleaned. It may mean this, it could mean that; it probably means both, and something else besides. And that’s the beauty of DeForge.

§ Do you remember two years ago when a Chicago school decided to pull Persepolis from its curriculum because of a scene of torture? Well, a FOIA request has revealed the rest of the story.

The first e-mail was sent at 12:54 AM on Saturday, March 9, 2013, from Chandra James to Annette Gurley. James was the network chief for a group of elementary schools on the west side. And Gurley is the chief officer of Teaching and Learning, which oversees curricula. “I’ve attached a copy of 2 pages from the book ‘Persepolis’ that was sent to schools,” James wrote. “In my opinion it is not appropriate at all. Please let me know if I can pull the book from my schools.” Her e-mail included attachments to an image from Persepolis that showed a prison guard urinating on a prisoner, and parts in the book where the words “bastard” and “fucked” are used. At 10:13 AM on Saturday, Gurley responded: “By all means, pull them.”


Much more in the link.

§ The Malaysian cartoonist Zunar is in trouble again, after being arrested for a tweet which was critical of a court ruling that convicted the mainopposition political leader of sodomy.

Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque – better known as Zunar – was arrested on Tuesday night, hours after Mr Anwar was jailed for five years in a politically charged sodomy case. “Of course this is a form of intimidation, with the purpose that society does not question the authorities,” Fazlina Rosley, his wife, told AFP. “Zunar will not bow down to this intimidation. He will continue to criticise even if he remains in jail.”


Zunar has been fighting the good fight for free speech for a long time, but it seems Malaysia has a lot of problems with that old freedom thing, like how you convict sometime to 20 years in jail for “sodomy.”

In recent years, as young voters have defected to the opposition and the government’s power has slipped, prosecutors have filed a raft of cases against critics, including opposition figures, a professor and a cartoonist. In the coming months, the government plans to strengthen and update an archaic sedition law, one of the main tools used to stifle dissenting voices.

This was the second prosecution of Mr. Anwar on a charge of sodomy. He spent six years in prison after a conviction in a separate sodomy trial by a different accuser but was acquitted on appeal in 2004. He has always insisted that the charges were baseless and politically motivated. Human rights groups question whether a law against sodomy should exist at all.

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18. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/17/15: When pedants attack

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§ Yesterday feathers, panties and twitter feeds were ruffles by this piece in the Guardian entitled When did the comic-book universe become so banal? It was written by an art critic named Jonathan Jones , and while moaning about Scott McCloud and Chris Ware (the poor man’s Paul Klee) it finally came round to true greatness:

Joe Sacco’s drawings are sensitive and considered, rather than briskly stylish. His comics stand out for their passion and purpose. But the standard of true art in comics is surely Robert Crumb.


Groan.

This Jones chap also wrote recently that “photography is not true art”, so he’s just a troll, folks. One of those annoying, posh high culture trolls, but just a troll. He happened to wander into a bookstore (possibly while wearing a paisley shirt) and had a deadline and…the rest is history. Neil Gaiman got off the most authoritative version of this zinger:

Moving on.

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§PS: The Guardian is actually serializing a new work called “The Last Saturday” by this guy named Chris Ware. And it’s pretty neat (Although the interface is a little odd.) My advice to you is to take any time you spent being enraged by Jones and spending it reading the 21 installments of The lAst Saturday instead.

§ Luckily, there were other, actually interesting mainstream pieces on comics over the holiday weekend, such as this report on international publishing from the Taipei International Book Exposition:

Graphic novels allow artists to express their emotions more freely than traditional comics because at the time of their emergence, traditional comics in France had already settled into a certain format, Beaujean said during a graphic novel forum Friday at the Taipei International Book Exhibition.

Johann Ulrich, head of the German publisher Avant-Verlag, said graphic novels are also gaining more recognition in Germany, even though, like in Taiwan, they do not occupy as big a market share as in Japan or France. More German graphic novelists are having their works published, said Ulrich.

His publishing house, for example, publishes around 15 new works per year at present, compared with 10 two years ago, he told CNA.

§ And this Taddy Jamieson piexe from The Sotland Herald suggests that comics are an urban art form that colors how we view our cities:

I’ve been thinking about the comic strip’s urban roots this week after a visit to a small exhibition at the Anise Gallery in London (just around the corner from the Design Museum). Sequential City showcases the work of six small press and indie comic creators: Owen D. Pomery, Alison Sampson, Lando, Hannah Berry, John Riordan and Tim Bird. “Drawing allows us to make sense of the world and through Sequential City we can see how these artists view the modern metropolis,” the gallery argues.

§ Paste Magazine interviewed Gilbert and Jaime Hernandez:

Paste: You don’t really collaborate, but do you discuss the order of stories in Love and Rockets? Does it come together organically? Do you bounce ideas off one another, or do you work pretty much in isolation, apart from some kind of psychic brother link?

Gilbert Hernandez: Sometimes Jaime and I will have similar stories appearing together in Love and Rockets without us knowing it until it’s time to put the finished stories in order. In Love and Rockets #7, we both have a long adventure/fantasy story. Since mine was conceived first, mine goes first in the issue, but it’s usually a matter of what flows best and which stories complement the other. More than ever, these days we usually don’t know what the other is doing until we see the book put together.

Jaime Hernandez: Sometimes two of my stories that sit next to each other will need a large gap in between to help the flow of the drama, so I’ll need a longer Gilbert story to stick in there and vice versa. We work in isolation, but I like to know what Gilbert is up to both as a fan of his work and a person I share the book with.

§ In weekend convention news, the MCM Expo Group’s Midlands Comic Con was a hit:

He said: “From 2007 to 2013 it was just in the one hall. Last year we moved into part of the second hall and we have taken over it completely. “The support from Shropshire and the surrounding area has been amazing. There is a real appetite for it and people who come will come back next year and bring their friends.”


And a couple dressed as Super Mario took the occasion to become engaged at the con.

§ The first Wizard World Indianapolis was held and drew about 5000 people

§ Headline of the day: ‘It’s like Comic-Con… but for cat people’

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19. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/20/15: Retailer utilizes proprietary modge-podge method to turn ruined comics into door

Sorry there haven’t been any kibbles ‘n’ bits this week. It’s just been too cold at Stately Beat Manor, and that’s the truth. All we want to do is pile on the blankets and chug hot cocoa. But we’ve been storing things up and now there are so many we must break this into sections.

RETAILING

§ Retailer William Insignares of Blockbuster Comics in Brandon, FL was saddened when he found a flood has ruined some of his valuable comics, including a copy of Crisis on Infinite Earths signed by the late Dick Giordano. But he’s determined that the comics live on as something beautiful:

His plan is to now preserve these valuable comics for all to see. “I thought, why not take these valuable pages, beautiful comic art and preserve it forever,” he said. William teamed with his own Avengers from Seriously Fun LLC to redecorate starting with the front door. “What we are going to do is take some of the comic books and fuse them to the front door using a proprietary modge-podge method we use, that way they can be immortalized for life,” said David Noll, co-owner of Seriously Fun, LLC.

 

§ Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the Borderlands SF book store, which announced plans to close because of California’s new minimum wage law, has come up with a sponsorship plan to keep the store open.

Starting immediately we will be offering paid sponsorships of the store.  Each sponsorship will cost $100 for the year and will need to be renewed every year.  If we get 300 sponsors before March 31st, we will stay open for the remainder of 2015.

 

§ Not quite retailing, but the Outhouse looks at the ever increasing cost of comics books with many solicited titles for May going for $4.99

When we last met in this column, I discussed the possibility of giving it up. Five dollar comics routinely top the sales charts, and the most recent round of Big Two solicitations paint an even bleaker picture. Marvel’s solicits list eleven comics at $4.99, with two more at $5.99 and one at $7.99. Of course, as predicted, as $4.99 becomes an accepted “regular” price for comics, we start seeing more “special” comics at six dollars and up. DC, for their part, lists most of their books at $3.99 in their recent solicitations. This is disturbing because DC’s books, prior to the Convergence event, were overwhelmingly priced at $2.99. Will that price point return after Convergence ends and DC soft-relaunches their universe? Or will they use the opportunity to catch up with Marvel in the $3.99/$4.99 pricing bucket? Just this week, we see eight five dollar comics on the stands, and that’s without any from Marvel. Dynamite even has an eight dollar Red Sonja 100th issue spectacular on the stands this week.

 

WORLD COMICS

§ Often jailed Malaysian cartoonist Zunar will speak before a UN human rights conference in Geneva conference and plans to vilify the current regime:

Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque or ‘Zunar’ as he is popularly known, has been invited as a speaker at the forum to touch on human rights in Malaysia as well as the welfare of cartoonists following the bloody Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last month. “I will explain in detail… some people think Malaysia is a democratic country but I want to tell and expose how the government uses a law to intimidate and how they use the judiciary to detain a political prisoner,” he said in reference to jailed Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

 

§ Iranian cartoonist Maya Neyestani was jailed over a cartoon which some in his native country took offense to. he talks to The Comics Journal about this and his new book on the subject:

What is the role of cartoonists in Iran? Do people pay a lot of attention to comics and cartoons?

You know that editorial cartoons depends on the media, and the media in Iran are strictly controlled and censored therefore it is not easy to find a place to present your work as a cartoonist. Also there is no tradition of comic books in Iran for some reasons: it is a risky job for publishers to invest on comics. Books need to get kind of license or permission from ministry of culture to be published and they might be rejected due to their sexual or political or social point of view. As a comic artist you need to spend a huge time for a book and get almost nothing financially. Anyway, people like cartoons if they can access them.

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§ Here’s an article someone sent me about comics in Poland, which gives a nice capsule history of their comics tradition. Seriously check this out — some beautiful panels in there. More comics and cartoonists to discover!

The first Polish comics date back to the early 20th century, when the country regained its independence. As a free press started to develop, newspapers included image boxes with text in verse underneath. They were called image films, or stories in images, and were often copies of foreign comics. The comics’ main audience was the uneducated inhabitants of big cities. They dealt with many different topics: social and political affairs or customs, always with a touch of humour. The best known titles are: Ogniem i mieczem, czyli przygody szalonego Grzesia (With Fire and Sword, or the Adventures of Mad Grzes), Przygody bezrobotnego Frącka (The Adventures of Jobless Frącek). The best comics of the period can be found in the Dawny komiks polski  album series (edited by comics historian, Dr. Adam Ruska from the National Library of Poland).

That’s a panel from Janusz Christa and Henryk Jerzy Chmielewski’s Kajtek and Koko in Space above.

VIEWS

§ Any piece called The Carl Barks / Osamu Tezuka Connection is right up my alley—two of my personal favorite cartoonists, who separately came up with a similar style based on Disney animation. The piece is byDuy Tano but it’s in support of Peter Schilling Jr.’s Carl Bark’s Ducks is a monograph coming out from Uncivilized. SOLD.

§ When I glanced at this piece on Axel Alonso talking about various Marvel/hip-hop crossovers I thought the first quote was from Alonso and became alarmed. Luckily it was not.

“I grew up reading comics with my dad—my stepdad, but I don’t use that word—he let me just have his comic collection. So this is a very big deal for me, man,” Killer Mike told Rolling Stone. “I look forward to when this shit drops, taking him up and driving him to the comics store in North Dekalb, just to let him get out and not even tell him that it’s going down. I know he’s gonna be so proud he could fuckin’ cry, bruh.”

 

AWARDS

§ Jill Lepore’s history of Wonder Woman won the annual American History Book Prize.

§ And Olivier Schrauwen and Jaime Hernandez won medals from The Society of Illustrators.

We just received word that two of our new graphic novels have received Society of Illustrator awards in the Long-Form category! Olivier Schrauwen’s surreal look back, forward and beyond Arsene Schrauwen was awarded the gold medal while and Jaime Hernandez’s The Love Bunglers, the apex of the love affair of Maggie and Ray, has received the silver medal!

 

THINGS THAT HAPPENED

§ June Thomas reports on a recent Matt Groening and Lynda Barry summit.

JIMMY PALMIOTTI AND AMANDA CONNER

§ The duo are interviewed about Harley Quinn and will appear TONIGHT at the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota.

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20. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/23/15: Area Woman live draws the Oscars

§ Just to finish up the Oscars, which everyone has probably already forgotten —I had to look up what won Best Picture last year — DO YOU REMEMBER? Hint: it wasn’t Gravity — cartoonist Liza Donnelly live drew them on her twitter feed, and got a big write up in her local paper about it, and also did some nice drawings.

§ That said, Birdman winning is a real sign that Hollywood is in such a tizzy that the rules have changed. In the olden days, something like Unbreakable (with a less contentious director) would have been a lock. There were so many mixed messages about superhero films—Birdman’s win is definitely part of the resentment against “comic book movies” but about 70% of the presenters have one on their resume. Also, “Everything is Awesome” was awesome. Devo and Batman!

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§ Meanwhile, cartooner Amy Reeder got the New York Times how do you spend your day? treatment. Hint: Karaoke is involved as the above drawing by Reeder suggests.

§ And G. Willow Wilson was interviewed on NPR about the new A-Force book.

§ Speaking of Marvel, in his weekly fireside chat, Axel Alonso summed up the changing tastes of the readership in response to Albert Ching’s question:

Marvel’s May 2015 solicitations came out on Tuesday, and while there weren’t necessarily a ton of surprises — most of the big news was announced in the days and weeks before — when looking at them as a whole, it’s striking to me that with “Secret Wars” beginning, we’re seeing things that are staples of the Marvel lineup — “Avengers,” “New Avengers” — not around for a bit, along with fewer X-books. Basically, fewer of the things that are seen as “sure things” at Marvel, and in their places are new concepts, and different takes on revisited concepts. What’s the mindset at Marvel of the risk/reward of giving a rest to some of these tried and true concepts, and bringing out some different material — has Marvel become confident that’s a worthwhile risk to undertake?

Alonso: We have. And the proof that it’s worth undertaking is in the numbers. Who could have predicted the response to “Spider-Gwen?” We’ve sold upwards of 250K. And the numbers on Jeff Lemire and Ramon Perez’s “All-New Hawkeye” #1 and Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones’ “Howard the Duck” #1 are also ridiculous. I think all of this is a symptom of a changing market — the changing tastes and changing demographics of our readers. I also think it speaks to the confidence that retailers and fans have in the strength of our publishing line at this moment.

§ ComicBook.com named the five worst Superhero movies ever and Catwoman and Superman IV are locks, but what about the other three?

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§ I’ve already referred to the incident where 11-year-old girl Rowan Hansen complained about DC’s lack of female superheroes, and DC responded back in the affirmative. BUT THE PR DIDN”T END THERE! Hansen actually appeared on the Today Show to talk about her letter, and DC sent her a very swell portrait of her as a superhero by Dan Panosian. But Hansen is one media savvy kid. She knows that one big PR event isn’t a solution:

“I don’t want people to think, ‘Oh they responded to her, now it’s over,’” she explained. “I want people to keep trying to make this happen ‘cause it’s really important to me.”


Go Rowan!

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21. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 2/24/15: Small press show caught in Comic-Con tidal wave

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§ SPACE, the long running small press show located in Columbus, is moving to a new venue and time frame this year: July 18 &19, 2015 at the Northland Performing Arts Center. The date is the weekend after San Diego, which is not ideal, but SPACE had no choice, as organizer Bob Corby explains in an email:

The hotel which hosted the show for the past 5 years has closed its door. This was done without any notification and less than a week after they assured us we were all set for our original contracted date. We knew the hotel was having problems and were about to sign a contract with the Northland Performing Arts Center for 2016 when the closure occurred so we contacted them about a date this year. NPAC’s next open date was July 18 &19, 2015. With the support of the vast majority of our exhibitors we accepted the date. We are sorry for any inconvenience this causes anybody especially all our exhibitors and ticket holders. The exhibitors were contacted the day after we were aware of the situation. We are refunding money to any exhibitors or ticket holders if they cannot attend on the new dates. We really appreciate the overwhelming support we have received form exhibitors and other business contacts we have advertising deals with.

On the plus side the new venue has more space and will fit more exhibitors so we have opened up sale of exhibitor tables again. Info on the new venue is at http://www.npac614.com/index.asp.

The show is still in good financial shape and the transition should not be difficult thanks to Brain Kerr NPAC’s general manager. We also like to thank all the hotel employees who were very good to us for the past 5 years and are probably real victims in this closing. We wish them the best of luck in the future.

From here out only positive news as we look forward to a new era for SPACE!


While holding any comics related show in July is problematic, we’re guessing that the Comic-Con/SPACE crossover of attendees and exhibitors is very small.
§ Speaking of small presses, just about the most daring and exciting on around is Breakdown Press which consistently puts out some of the most forward looking comics available. Matt Colgeate talks with Tom Oldham, Simon Hacking, and Joe Kessler about art and business:
Do you have anyone handling your distribution?


S: We have very good relationships with quite a lot of stores here and in the states, that we’ve generated by emailing them and meeting them at shows, which is how we do our distribution at the  moment. We are in the process of organizing more sophisticated distribution networks.

T: The big offset books get printed and we send them out to our network of shops. We’re working on getting national and international distribution. But with the risograph books it’s different depending on the artist and the project.

S: There’s obviously an economy of scale, so we print significantly more of the offset books than the risograph books, which brings the unit cost down which means we can afford for the distributor to take a bigger chunk. Some of the risograph books – in fact most of them – we couldn’t distribute because it would be too much money considering all the discounts you have to give. It astonishes me how many small publishers you speak to that don’t operate under those assumptions.

§ The nominees for the Bram Stoker Awards® 2014 have been announced and here’s the comics category:
Superior Achievement in a Graphic Novel
Emily Carroll – Through the Woods (Margaret K. McElderry Books)
Joe Hill – Locke and Key, Vol. 6 (IDW Publishing)
Joe R. Lansdale and Daniele Serra – I Tell You It’s Love (Short, Scary Tales Publications)
Jonathan Maberry – Bad Blood (Dark Horse Books)
Paul Tobin – The Witcher (Dark Horse Books)





§ Comic-Con announcedtheir fourth wave of guests:
Michael Cho, Writer/artist, Shoplifter
Tom Grummett, Artist, Fantastic Four, X-Men Forever, Teen Titans
Chip Kidd, Designer/author, Peanuts: The Art of Charles M. Schulz, Batman: Death by Design
Jen Sorenson, Editorial cartoonist
Bernie Wrightson, Artist, Swamp Thing, Frankenstein




§ A few days ago we told you about Space Goat’s new line of comics ; now they’ve announced that industry veteran Dave Olbrich joining them as Senior Vice President – Publishing & Business Affairs. Olbrich’s resume includes helping found Malibu Comics and founding publisher of Image Comics.

“Shon and I have been talking extensively about the evolution of the comics market and the changes in the readership in recent years,” Olbrich said. “The audience for the kinds of comics Space Goat will publish is growing, and I’ll be working to streamline the ways we can reach readers and retailers.”

bleacher.jpg

§ Bleacher Creatures is putting out fuzzy DC characters. Huggable Harley. Here’s the complete line-up:
 
MAY (comic book line)
Batman
Harley Quinn
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
Nightwing
Deathstroke
 
JULY (film line)
Superman from Superman
Batman from Batman (1989 Theatrical Film)
Batman from The Dark Knight Trilogy
Superman from Man of Steel
Zod from Superman
Zod from Man of Steel
 
AUGUST (TV line)
The Arrow from Arrow
The Penguin from Gotham
The Flash from The Flash




















How Crazy Am I to Think I Know Where MH370 Is? — NYMag

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22. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/14/15: There are too many comic books!

§


Just a reminder coming on yesterday announcement of ECCC being acquired by ReedPOP, that Special Edition is coming back, the smaller artist focused NYC show. Date is TK.

§ Retailer Brian Hibbs wrote in the other day to chide me and another prominent comics writer for not linking to his latest column for CBR, entitled Too Much Competition. The column features dark warnings as well as a lot of charts. Hibbs’ central thesis is that there are just too many comics books, and the sheer volume is what is driving down sales.

We’ve at very least doubled, and maybe as much as quadrupled, the number of titles produced each month, so it shouldn’t be any major surprise that circulations have dropped by 50-75%. The real answer, most of the time, to “Why didn’t the market support [your favorite comic]?!?” is “There is too much competition!” I’ve been struggling with a way to really drive this message home, because this title growth has kind of been incremental over the life of the Direct Market and so is maybe less obvious than it could be. So, perhaps, the way to discuss it is in terms of consumer behavior, and the ordering mechanism.

Hibbs does the math, offering charts for all publishers that shows how many of their books in November had no order, which had a moderate number of copies ordered, which had a lot, and how subs do or don’t fit in. Hibbs makes a good case that there is too much dross out there—and despite this being a Golden Age of Comics, few would argue that we need a little trim. He also offers a clear explanation of something that every comics creator or publisher I have hung out with for more than 15 minutes has complained about for the last 25 years: that not ordering shelf copies of books means that no one will ever discover them on the shelf. The world of pre-ordering has been criticized here and elsewhere ad nauseum but it’s how things are done.  The economics don’t support a shelf copy, Hibbs says.

You’re going to see a lot of crazy low numbers, so I want to reiterate what I said earlier — retailers are committed to selling as many comics to as many people as possible. I know I am! There are, at least, fifteen publishers of which I try to stock one hundred percent of their new launches until the market shows me that it is futile. We have hundreds of customers coming in each and every month, and more than half the comics coming into my store can not sell three rack copies. That’s pretty sobering. Three copies is an important line because that’s the point where the math against having any unsold copies starts to work against you. Order four, don’t sell one, well, at 75% sell-through you, at least, haven’t lost money. Order three and only sell two? Then you’re probably, after costs, losing a few pennies. You don’t want to lose money on products in retail; that’s not your winning formula.

My little alarm bell went off a bit on this piece when Hibbs referenced Comico, which stopped publishing 25 years ago—NOTHING has the exact same business model as it did 25 years ago!—but it’s a sobering reminder for publishers that a lot of books aren’t ever going to cut it in Brian Hibbs stores, and looking at the numbers, they probably don’t make much money.

In the comments, people ask “Then why to these books get published?” and Hibbs suggest many reasons including market share. I’d also allow that other shops may have oddball customers who happen to like some of the books Hibbs can’t give way.  As long as we’re using the long ago past to reference the present, those who read Krause’s Comics & Games Retailer may recall the monthly retailer surveys that ran in every issue, and how one comic sold here another there. Sure there are Sagas and Harley Quinns that sell everywhere, but marginal titles depend on marginal audiences.

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§ A new Teen Boat book is coming from John Green And Dave Roman! Teen Boat! The Race for Boatlantis Kibbles n Bits 1/14/15: There are too many comic books!! Huzzah!

§ Josie Campbell has a fine historical piece here looking at how “Agent Carter”  deals with real world history and the role of women: 

“Agent Carter” is a superhero show about the postwar erasure of women from American culture — which is incredibly fitting, as after World War II the comics industry erased women on the page and behind the scenes. As a comics community, we need to address the fact that women in comics is not a new occurrence. Women have been here since day one, a fact that is often ignored because this postwar erasure of women from our culture worked so well.

I’d agree this aspect of the show is a pleasant surprise.

§ At ScreenCrush, Matt Singer offers The Complete History of Comic-Book Movies, which sounds like a lifetime project, but starts off with the Captain Marvel movie serial. More actual history! Nice.

This Bizarro World is a long way from the 1940s, when comic-book superheroes first transitioned to the big-screen as the subjects of serials. These series of episodic shorts were often cheaply made and sometimes shockingly unfaithful to their source material. Comics were ahead of their time, at least at the movie theater; too adventurous and imaginative to be accurately reproduced with the tools of the day. As technology improved, so did the comic-book movies, leading to a series of watershed films—‘Superman,’ ‘Batman,’ ‘X-Men’—that reshaped the entire industry. How did we get there? All superheroes have an origin story. So do comic-book movies. This column will attempt to find it, one film at a time.

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23. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/15/15: 87-year-old cartoonist crowdfunding 800 page graphic novel

20141207210323 beyond the beyond page 21 745x1028 Kibbles n Bits 1/15/15: 87 year old cartoonist crowdfunding 800 page graphic novel

§ Jack Katz, 87, creator of the oddball self published space fantasy epic The First Kingdom, and Golden Age artist, is indiegogoing a new project, called, encouragingly, Beyond the Beyond. It will run to some 800 pages, but he’s good for it. The tale is streamlined from an original 1000+ outline, but his agent told him he might not have time to finish it. Not much is revealed of the story, and the art shown is obscure, but…it is certain to be wild.

The First Kingdom is available from Titan.

§ This has been going around for a while, but just in case you missed it, Erika Moen and Matthew Nolan lay out the numbers and process, or Numberwang, if you will, for their Kickstarter for Oh Joy, Sex Toy. They grossed $69.000 but can you guess how much they netted? That’s Numberwang!

§ EW gave royal comics couple Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick the deluxe profile treatment, meaning it actually ran in print.

This comic-book power couple, Kelly Sue DeConnick and Matt Fraction, are camped out in zip-up pj’s among piles of books in the Portland, Ore., home their two children have just vacated for school. This sounds like a surprisingly prosaic (if cozy) morning for people whose minds are constantly flitting off to distant galaxies or warping through the time-space continuum and giving Death a daughter or gender-bending a classical hero. Stuff like that.

 

§ Turkish cartoonist MK Perker (Air) defends Charlie Hebdo.

§ Evan Narcisse gives us The 12 Best Comics Coming Out Right Now at io9 and it is a well written and very good list of comics periodical.

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§ The second of the two Wonder Woman books is now out, Noah Berketsky’s Wonder Woman: Bondage and Feminism in the Marston/Peters Comics, 1941-1948 (The first was Jill Lepore’s history of Marston and his world, which we covered here many times.) Berlatsky’s focus, as the title hints, is more on the kinky stuff that everyone has felt awkward about for years and years. He talks about it at CBR, including one issue which he broke down in depth.

I read all the issues of “Wonder Woman” and that was my favorite. I knew I wanted to talk about one comic closely at great length. I talk about several comics, but I really wanted to look at this one in particular. I think it’s so wonderful, but also because I am trying to make the argument that these comics are worth thinking about as art and have things to tell us — in this case about issues of sexual violence and sexuality. One of the things that Marston is trying to do — with [his assistant-turned-writer] Joye Murchison and Harry Peter — is talk about sexual violence to an audience that is composed mostly of kids. They’re talking to young girls and boys, so they’re talking about sexual violence but also trying to talk about the way that sexuality or sex can be fun and good. They want to show the evil of sexual violence while showing the value of sexual fantasy, which is a really tough thing to do!

§ Not comics: Steven Soderbergh is now making fan films.

§ Finally, The Comics Reporter has updated its photo for the coming event column, and I feel like that bald guy with the knapsack will never get his drink now.

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24. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/20/15: These links will force you to visit other web sites. Point made.

§ The March crew of Rep. John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell talk a little about why we need this message and these reminders now with EW’s Joshua Rivera.

Congressman Lewis is aware of this, and it’s his hope that people will take the time to reflect on what came before. “This book is a guide, we can use it,” says Lewis. “This is what people tried to do, this is what people did in the late ’50s and the ’60s to try to make things better.”

Lady Killer Cover1 Kibbles n Bits 1/20/15: These links will force you to visit other web sites. Point made.

§ Kelly Thompson previews some of the upcoming 2015 books that look good. It’s going to be a busy year!

§ A Funky Winkerbean/Dick Tracy comic strip crossover is HAPPENING. And Chris Sims is on it.
FYH.interior31 thumb 400x587 135063 Kibbles n Bits 1/20/15: These links will force you to visit other web sites. Point made.

§ Hilary Brown has an interview with Michael DeForge mostly about First Year Healthy, and some GAWJUS preview pages.

Paste: This project also continues your interest in rural settings. You didn’t grow up in the country, right? Where does your fascination with it come from? DeForge: I’ve only lived in cities. For First Year Healthy, it was important that the story be about reintegrating into a small community, and a rural town seemed like a good setting for that. I wanted to write about the ways a tight-knit community can be supportive, and the ways it can be suffocating. There’s also something very romantic and Canadian about rural settings, which has probably wormed its way into my work.

§ I know I shouldn’t link to something that was shared over a million times but Here’s What The Cast Of “Scooby Doo” Looks Like Now.

§ Mariah Huehner, one of a handful of people that I can go full Quenya with, is recapping The Silmarillion for The Mary Sue and she gets right on it with the story of Fëanor, the jerkiest elf of them all. I can’t wait until she gets to Thingol, who might have been the second jerkiest.

If you got the impression that, at worst, elves were just kind of aloof and mopey from LOTR, well, I’m here to tell you: they can be EPIC assholes, too. And one of the biggest jerk elves, one might even call him The High Elf King of Douchebagdom, is Fëanor.

§ Cartoonist Brian Fies (Mom’s Cancer) went to all-ages oriented show LumaCon I and liked it.

What it was was charming, and the most positive experience I’ve had at a comic con in a long time. Small, simple, low-key, unpretentious. One old comics hand told me it reminded him of the San Diego Comic-Con when it started in the ’70s. The whole thing fit into one large round room at a fairgrounds, with a raised platform for panels and speakers, an Artists’ Alley, a hands-on craft zone, LARPing (live-action role playing) outdoors, and a bake sale. I’ve never been to a convention with a bake sale before.

§ Speaking of con reports, this Blerds preview of last weekend’s two big diversity-themed shows was excellent, but I couldn’t find any actual reports on either the Black Comic Book Festival here in NYC or the Black Comix Arts Festival in SF. Did you go? Send links or reports!

However, here is a video of a panel on publishing from the BCBF, with moderator John Jennings (of SUNY Buffalo and creator of “Kid Code”), and panelists Zetta Elliott (“The Deep”), Alex Simmons (“BlackJack”), and Tim Fielder (“Matty’s Rocket”).

§ An unknown woman with very nice nails has made nearly $5 million by posting videos of her opening toy boxes on YouTube.

An unidentified individual or group responsible for uploading videos that simply show a woman opening Disney toys made an estimated $4.9 million last year, more than any other channel for 2014, according to OpenSlate, a video analytics platform that analyzes ad-supported content on YouTube. Almost nothing is known about the person or people behind the channel, DC Toys Collector (DC), which exclusively features a young woman in intricately painted nails removing the toys from their packaging and then assembling them. The account did not respond to a YouTube message.


Here is some nice rope to hang yourself now.

§ The AV Club’s Noel Murray look’s at Matt Groening’s Life In Hell, and compares it to the tradition established by Zap:

In 1977, shortly after Groening moved to Los Angeles, he started drawing little cartoons for his friends to illustrate how miserable he was in his new home, using nervous-looking rabbits as his characters. He titled the comics “Life In Hell,” and eventually started publishing a weekly strip under that name in the Los Angeles Reader (where he was also writing an offbeat, highly personal music-review column). Sometimes Groening used his space in the Reader to produce one huge single-panel cartoon. Sometimes he broke the space up into more conventional multi-panel strips, with dialogue and narratives. Often he just squeezed in art and text everywhere he could, dumping all of his ideas about culture and politics onto the page and treating Life In Hell like his weekly sketchbook.

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25. Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/21/15: These lovely new comics covers seemed to be just covers. But there were comics inside.

§ A new Abhay Khosla review, this time of The Names by Peter Milligan and Leandro Fernandez is always a Cadbury Milk Tray of unexpected flavors, and this one includes a brief but smooth swipe at The Vertigo Brown:

A quick note to Vertigo colorists: If you are working for Vertigo, there is a belief that both Vertigo and you get a gross, throbbing weiner-boner everytime you get to make a page all brown. People believe that because it’s 100% true, and the only possible explanation for why all Vertigo comics ever published have been so drenched in the color brown. Nothing else makes sense; no other solution to that equation. Please consider defying your brown-obsessed masters. Look into your hearts. You know what you see? If you see the color brown, something has gone horribly wrong. I’m not a doctor, but that probably means someone has shit into your heart and you have feces pumping through your arteries. At the very least, it just sounds unhealthy from a cardiac-perspective.

Why are Vertigo comics so brown? I’ve never been able to answer that question and I worked there, and all my books were brown, too.

§ Several attractive covers were floating around on my social media yesterday:

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Bill Sienkiewicz for Jupiter’s Circle, the sequel to Jupiter’s Children by Mark Millar and Wilfredo Torres.

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Goran Parlov also for Jupiter’s Circle.

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And a teaser image and cover for Invisible Republic #1 by Corinna Bechko and Gabriel Hardman with colors by Jordan Boyd.  It hits March 18. Lookin; good.
STK666078 Kibbles n Bits 1/21/15: These lovely new comics covers seemed to be just covers. But there were comics inside.
§ Jennifer Sorenson contributes a comic about Charlie Hebdo and all the rest. If you haven’t been following the comics section at Fusion.net you need to.

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§ Robert Kirby has the lowdown on New Minis from Kus!

Kuš! (pronounced “koosh”), the Latvian comics collective launched in 2007, released this new quartet of minicomics late 2014. Each Kuš! mini is a 24-page stand-alone story culled from their growing roster of international artists. Many stories feature elements of fantasy, science fiction, or magical realism, but even the ones that don’t exhibit fanciful or otherworldly qualites. The artists featured by Kuš! tend to dwell in the conceptual rather than the actual, using the art of cartooning in unique and sometimes challenging ways.

These books are so awesome. I’m not really into mail order but the Kus gang doesn’t often some to my hemisphere so…

§ A British politician totally ripped off the ‘V for Vendetta’ logo for a new nationalist party he’s trying to get off the ground. If you’re going to rip off some one rip off the best, but come on.

§ Matthew Meylikhov has announced he’s stepping down as EIC of Multiversity Comics. I always enjoyed my interactions with Matt so I’m going to miss him but send my best regards.

To some this may seem a bit of a shock. I told a few people about this before our public announcement, that I had made the decision to move on, and the most consistent response I got was, “How are you feeling?” I think people expect me to say that I am sad, which is perhaps inevitable; how could anyone not be in this situation? After all, when you spend over five years of your life working and developing something like this, it’s not exactly easy to just pack your bags and go. But I’m not sad, nor do I think should anyone else be. If I could, I’d make a video montage of all the fun memories and things I’ve gotten to do because of this site overlayed with “Eternal Flame” by the Bangles, because I have nothing but warm thoughts and fuzzy feelings for the site, its past with me and its future without me. I couldn’t be more proud of the site and everyone here, all the accomplishments and the adventures we’ve shared; from our various annual charity events at conventions, to late nights out until 3:00 AM or that time I got food poisoning at a White Castle while rooming with 5 other staffers during a con. This site and its staff encapsulate some of my favorite people and fondest adult memories.

 

§ Fashion retailer Poprageous is offering an outfit made from Benedict Cumberbatch images. The complete outfit sells for $125 but just the leggings—which are the essential fashion item of this time and place in the universal meta stream—are only $80. completely your red carpet look NOW. Bam! Benedict Cumberbatch leggings. BAM!

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