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Photographer/comics writer Seth Kushner has been very ill and battling for his life after he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia in the spring. A failed bone marrow transplant a few months ago left him with very few options but….well, just go read this. That’s all I have to say. And keep thinking good thoughts.
Also, also, he has a GoFundMe which I’m sure is still taking donations.
Kushner’s portraits of cartoonists are ubiquitous—you wouldn’t believe how many headshots of cartoon types you see on the web every day are Kushner’s work. They were part of the Leaping Tall Buildings: The Origins of American Comics book of profiles that came out a few years ago. Kushner is also a comics creator, with his book SCHMUCK.
Kushner and Dean Haspiel recently put up a photo comic called “Heyday'” which you should check out too. But mostly keep thinking good thoughts.
It’s the final Humble Bundle of the year and it’s $555 worth of Dynamite Comics for a pay what you want model. THIS IS A GOOD DEAL. It includes the much buzzed Shaft #1 by David Walker, Bilquis Evely, and Daniela Miwa, the best selling Bob’s Burgers, the Django/Zorro crossover and many other fine comics by Mark Waid, Darick Robertson, Garth Ennis, Gail Simone, Kevin Smith, Alex Ross, J. Michael Straczynski, David Mack, Howard Chaykin, Bill Willingham, Sean Phillips, Tim Seeley, Chuck Dixon, Andy Diggle, Duane Swierczynski, Joshua Hale Fialkov and many more. ALl for pay what you want—but you’ll want to pay at least $15 to get extra bonus books! In addition there are free comics being given away every day.
Humble Bundle jumped into the comics/ebook market this year after a very successful run with mostly video games. The publishing program has been equally successful with over $1 million raised this year. It’s not only a surprisingly effective revenue stream for publishers, but a big help for the charities benefited, including the CBLDF, Doctors without Borders and more. I’m told the biggest comics related Humble Bundle of all was the Doctor Who bundle—oddly the Humble Bundle wikipedia page doesn’t list comics proceeds, but The Beat managed to catch the numbers and it was more than half a million dollars. Not very humble, is it.
Here’s more info on the Dynamite bundle, which ends Christmas Eve at 2 pm.
Fans who choose to pay what they want for the Dynamite Bundle will receive 56 comics with a value of over $200 which includes Kevin Smith’s Green Hornet #1,Dead Irons #1-4, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson: Moon Called Vol. 1, Devilers #1-2, Hack/Slash/Eva: Monster’s Ball #1-4, Doodle Jump #1, Alice Cooper #1, Mark Waid’s The Green Hornet #1-3, Howard Chaykin’s American Flagg! #1-6, Red Sonja: She Devil with a Sword #0-6, Chaos! #2-3,Legenderry #4-5, Pathfinder Vol. 2: Of Tooth and Claw, Dark Shadows: Year One #1-6, Queen Sonja #1-2, The Warriors #1-4, and Ex-Con #1.
Fans who beat the average price will also receive 105 comics total with a combined value of over $380 including Living Corpse Omnibus, Doodle Jump #2, Dean Koontz: Frankenstein – Prodigal Son, Curse of the Wendigo, Monster War #1-4, Devilers #3-4, Twilight Zone #1-4, Uncanny #1, Alice Cooper #2, Mark Waid’s Green Hornet #4-6, Red Sonja Vol. 2, Pathfinder Vol. 2: Tooth and Claw, Kirby Genesis #0-8, Shaft #1, and Jim Butcher: Dresden War Cry #1-3.
Super fans who support Dynamite’s comics and creators by spending $15 or more will receive 143 comics total with a combined value of over $600 will receive all of the above, PLUS Zorro Vol. 1, The Complete Dracula, The Romita Legacy, The Boys: Definitive Edition Vol. 1, and The Heart of the Beast Graphic Novel 20th Anniversary Edition.
Customers who buy the bundle will receive the first three issues of Bob’s Burgers and can share the first issue with a friend, by utilizing Humble Bundle’s gifting promotion. Those who refer this bundle to a friend will be rewarded with a copy of the first issue of the Django/Zorro crossover. The gifting promotion is a great way to share a best-selling Dynamite title, while receiving a best-selling title for your own collection as a reward. Dynamite is the premiere comics publisher to launch such a program with Humble Bundle.
In addition, for those who wish to sample Dynamite’s diverse line, every day at 2:00pm EST throughout the promotion, a digital comic book will be made available as a free download to fans, kicking off with a free digital copy of Red Sonja #7 written by fan-favorite author Gail Simone (of Batgirl and Wonder Woman fame). That’s just for starters with additional titles to be unveiled mid-promotion.
“Humble Bundle allows us a venue to reward our existing fans, and also an entry level to bring in new readers,” said Dynamite Publisher and CEO Nick Barrucci. “We were truly humbled by the response to our first partnership earlier this year and really wanted to bring the biggest bundle possible for the grand finale of our 10th Anniversary celebration! We’ve now exceed the number of issues of our first bundle to over 3,500 pages of comics to read and enjoy from Dynamite’s best-selling and award-winning creators. This Humble Bundle event gives fans a lot of books to read over the holidays. It’s the perfect gift to treat yourself during the holidays while also supporting several great causes.”
As with all Humble Bundles, customers can choose how their purchase dollars are allocated, between the publisher and charity. The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle supports Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières, Make-A-Wish, as well as the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which defends first amendment rights of comic book professionals nationwide.To date Humble Bundle has raised over 49 million dollars for charities around the world. With Dynamite’s help last summer they were able to give over $100,000.00 during The Humble Dynamite 10th Anniversary Bundle in July.
The Humble Dynamite MEGA Holidays Bundle runs for two weeks and ends Wednesday, December 24, 2014 at 11 a.m. Pacific time. Fans should follow on Dynamite on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram for the latest updates as new offerings become available.
After black and small and cyber on the Holiday schedule comes #giving —#givingTuesday, the day on which charitable contributions are suggested. The CBLDF is offering a premium for contributions made today: a #GivingTuesday edition of Defend Comics, a 54-page all-star anthology featuring stories by Neil Gaiman and Jim Lee, Jason Aaron and Moritat, Andy Diggle and Ben Templesmith, Terry Moore, Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier, Evan Dorkin, Amy Chu and Shannon Wheeler, and many more. This special anthology will only be available today until 12:00 a.m. PT. The line-up includes:
• “100 Words” by Neil Gaiman and Jim Lee
• “The First Censor” by Jason Aaron and Moritat
• “Tales of Comic Book Censorship” by Sergio Aragones and Mark Evanier
• “This Isn’t A Senate Hearing…This is MADNESS” by Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey
• “Milk & Cheese in CBLDF-U” by Evan Dorkin
• “The First Amendment” by Larry Marder
• “Barren Ground” by Andy Diggle and Ben Templesmith
• “Tabbie Gets A Lesson in Censorship” by Amy Chu and Shannon Wheeler
• “Dramatic Reading” by Meryl Jaffe and Janet Lee
• “Being Normal” by Mark Waid and Jeff Lemire
• “Douchebag” by Terry Moore
• “What if Wertham Was Right” by Joshua Williamson and Ron Chan
• Plus pin-ups by Ben Templesmith, Frank Miller, and Jeff Smith!
In addition to making this offer, the CBLDF released the below PDF which shows how they worked in 2014. It was a busy year for the organization, which supports free speech and fights censorship throughout the industry. Luckily, there are no expensive legal proceedings underway for the CBLDF, however they were not idle:
We addressed more than two dozen challenges to comics and other books, including a national outbreak of summer reading bans. We defused several legal crises before they could rise to the level of prosecutions. We took a leadership role in Banned Books Week‘s 2014 comics focus. We also added to our expansive education mission, with several new publications, more than 40 public presentations, a new monthly podcast, our weekly newsletter, and daily news and resource content on cbldf.org. CBLDF does all of this work, and more, with a small dedicated staff.
In addition you can read their annual report here.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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, Graphic Novels
, Top News
, art spiegelman
, city of glass
, David Mazzucchelli
, paul auster
, paul karasik
, PEN America
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The US branch of the international literary organization PEN America is holding an auction of “Firest EDitions/Second Thoughts” tpo help support its mission of freedom of expression. The auction, to be held at Christies, includes first editions of various famed books annotated and signed by the origianl authors. Among the works p for bid on December 2nd, City of Glass: The Graphic Novel, in a special copy signed by original author Paul Auster and adapters Paul Karasik, David Mazzucchelli and Art Spiegelman.
The book is often considered a landmark of showing how the comics medium can transform even a celebrated literary work into a new and powerful mode of storytelling. A special panel spotlight on the book was held at CAB 2013.
And there’s video….
A few days ago we noted that comics veteran James Hudnall was going through a very rough patch, with the amputation of his foot due to a diabetic ulcer. We’ve been following along on his FB page and although his recovery has been good, he’s now in a pretty tough spot. The operation took place in Austin, TX where he’d just moved to take a job—which may or may not still exist. He’s also been forced to move out of the place he was staying because it is not suitable for a man in a wheelchair. As of this morning he has no place to live, and staying in a motel while he gets his stuff in order is expensive.
He set up a GoFundMe campaign back when he first took ill. I imagine if you have a moment, sending a few dollars his way now would be greatly appreciated.
This is an article after my own heart. Check it out: “If Trees Could Sing” http://www.nature.org/ourinitiatives/regions/northamerica/unitedstates/tennessee/if-trees-could-sing/index.htm?src=e.gpFiled under: Nature's design Tagged: benefits, conservation, nature, NatureConservancy, save, shade, trees
Hero Initiative is the comics charity we wish we didn’t have to have, as it aids creators in need with financial help. It’s a great cause and they’ll have a booth at New York Comic-Con at N104-106, with Denny O’Neil making his only appearance at the con on FRiday at the HI booth from 1:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. They’ll also have their collection of the Uncanny X-Men Project 100 at the booth—participating artists in attendance include Rafael Albuquerque, David Bullock, Jim Calafiore, Victor Castro, Mike Choi, Mark dos Santos, Tony Fleecs, Derek Fridolfs, Agnes Garbowska, Chris Giarrusso, Gabriel Hardman, Phil Jimenez, Bob Larkin, Pamela Lovas, David Mack, Mike McKone, Al Milgrom, Todd Nauck, Jerry Ordway, George Pérez, Tom Raney, Alex Saviuk, Valerio Schiti, Tim Seeley, and Bill Sienkiewicz.
Other artists whoare signing for Hero Initiative includeL Jay Anacleto, Reilly Brown, Jim Calafiore, Amanda Conner, Scott Kolins, Mike McKone, Bob McLeod, Carlo Pagulayan, Jimmy Palmiotti, Brandon Peterson, Brian Pulido, Norm Rapmund, Valerio Schiti, Steven Segovia, Gail Simone, Alex Sinclair, Joe Staton, Arthur Suydam, Phillip Tan, Fred van Lente, Jim Zub and Chrissie Zullo will be flying the Hero flag. Stop by their booths and do the right thing!
UPDATE: my intense schedule over the last month and lack of sleep helped me misread the time stamp on this… you actuall have nearly a WEEK TO GO! So it’s all good. AND a new comic is added every day!
The latest comics themed Humble Bundle is Valiant Comics themed and it has a
few hours to go so if you want to jump in, now’s the time. SIX DAYS to go. The bundle includes some 120 comics and charity proceeds on the pay-what-you-want model go to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), the Hero Initiative, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF). For a mere $15 you can get entirely caught up on Valiant’s excellent offerings here is the chance.
Humble BUndle doesn’t archives its campaigns, so as we sometimes do, we’ll note it for the record. Like other bundles, the Valiant effort has broken six figures, with $115,238.76 in total payments and 11,430 purchases.
I think I mention it every time I do this, but when Humble Bundle, best known for offering video games, got more involved in comics, it seemed like a great chance to raise money and do some outreach…and I’d say that’s been borne out. Thus far Image, IDW, Dynamite and Boom! have all run very successful campaigns. And another one may be launching later today so check back.
Photographer/cartoonist and friend of comics Seth Kushner is still battling leukemia, and currently awaiting a bone marrow transplant. He’s a tough fighter and a great guy and this shouldn’t be happening. But it is. A benefit for Kushner will be held tonight at Union Hall in Brooklyn. The evening will include a full line-up of performances, music and comix readings, all to raise money for Kushner’s health care costs.
August 26 at 7:30pm to 10:00pm
Union Hall – Brooklyn – 702 Union Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
If you cannot attend but would like to help Seth, you can donatehere
Akim Funk Buddha
Mike Cavallaro w/ Sticks & Stones
(+more acts TBA)
$15 Tickets & Info:
Produced by Jeff Newelt
Co-presented by HEEB Magazine
Onsite bone marrow registration by Delete Blood Cancer
HANG DAI Editions
As reported yesterday, the Ice Bucket Challenge fad is hitting comics and it’s spreading like wildfire. The viral fad involves having a bucket of ice dumped over you to create more awareness of ALS — Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis— a “progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord” and can cause total paralysis.
Those taking the challenge posted results to Facebook, which will not allow me to embed the videos because Facebook. But here’s a list of the latest to take the plunge:
Dean Haspiel, who did it sirtless, as I hardly need even mention.
Cryptozoic’s John Nee
Tess Fowler, whose nephew actually suffers from ALS.
Dynamite’s Nick Barrucci
ComicWow!’s Josh Geppi
Have you taken the challenge? Link it up in the comments! And please be careful. We don’t want any William Henry Harrison’s here.
So far, I’ve only found one — Billy Tucci! Tragically, Tucci did not call out other comics folks, so the charity meme has not yet spread to out part of the world. But let’s give Billy a hand for doing it!
In case you missed it, the ice bucket challenge is meant to draw attention to ALS, aka Lou Gehrig disease. When called out, you must either dump a bucket of ice over yourself or donate $100 to the ALS Foundation. Most celebs who have been doing this do both. You make a mideo of yours;f getting dumbed on, and call out someone to take the challenge next at the end of your video.
It’s a fun way to while away the summer—somehow I don’t think this would be as popular in November. People who have done it so far include Lady Gaga, Robert Downey Jr., Justin Bieber (he didn’t actually use ice), Steven Spielberg, Carrie Underwood, Gary Cohen and Keith Hernandez, the NY Mets, the NY Jets, and a bunch of nerdlebrities folks like Tom Hiddleston (very popular),
Chris Pratt, Nathan Fillion, James Gunn and Stephen Amell.
I found Dave Bautista’s by far the most impressive however.
When we look back at the summer of 2014, will it be as the time that famous people dumped ice on themselves? In these turmoil filled days, it’s nice to have something giving and fun and silly to talk about.
Meanwhile, comic folk, step up!
UPDATED: OK OK, I missed Brian Bendis:
Who calls out Fraction and Oeming.
And Frank Tieri,
although I can’t find his video,
who called out Scott Snyder:
I’m told Dynamite’s Nick Barrucci also took the challenge.
So NOW we’re getting somewhere!
In all the hubbub of the last few weeks I haven’t been able to write about the passing of Robert L. Washington III, a comics writer who was a key part of Milestone comics. He co-created Static and helped write Blood Syndicate and other comics for DC and Valiant. And then, things got slow. And Washington had troubles, years of them. And on June 7th at the age of 47, he died of multiple heart attacks.
Just before his death, he’d been helped out by the Hero Initiative, as shown in the above comic which he wrote for a Hero Initiative anthology. Washington had ben living marginally on part time jobs…and when he died, as you may have read, there wasn’t enough money left to bury him. Some folks have been collecting fund to give him a proper funeral; I’ve given and I would hope some of you reading this will follow that link and make a donation.
I remember Robert Washington. To be honest, he was pretty unforgettable, with a booming voice and an easy laugh. He also wore hats quite a bit, which always stood out. When Milestone was riding high, we were convention pals, of the casual sort you make, making jokes at BarCon, saying hello in artist alley. It was apparent to me that Washington was a “character”, like many of the people in creative businesses, but all the same, I didn’t expect him to die in a pauper’s grave.
Just a few weeks before his death, Ashley Soley-Cerro
interviewed Washington for CBR. It’s painful reading, for what was and what could have been.
What was a day in your life like when you had steady comic book work?
Phenomenal — I woke up when I wanted, did what I wanted, stopped by the office one week to drop off a script and a week later for the check. It was really great lifestyle. As long as you turn in the work, your lifestyle is completely your own. I will beat you up to get back to it. That was the early 90s until about 1998.
What was a typical day like before reaching out to the Hero Initiative?
Going on the Internet, which I could barely afford to — I don’t have a computer, so I use one at an Internet café. I’d collect cans for money for bus or train fare.
This is the part that we all need to write in big letters on our walls however:
Looking back at your career and life, what would you stress to young writers and artists?
Have a backup plan. That goes for everyone that wants to go into media. Being really talented isn’t enough. Do something that’ll bring you a regular income in any other industry, you can work your way back into media. The people I know in my situation have no fall-back
Sad news. Writer Roger Slifer is still in a coma following a hit and run accident two weeks ago. Jim Salicrup has been updating his condition on Facebook, and on Sunday posted this from a friend of Slifer’s:
Just now got back from visiting with Roger at the hospital. Wish there was something more to report, but 2 weeks in he’s still in critical but stable condition, and still completely non-communicative. He requires an anti-seizure medicine which as a side-effect can make him sleepy, so that may contribute to his lack of lucidity. On the bright side, the swelling has decreased dramatically and he once again looks like the Roger we know and love, though I’m sure he’d have something to say about the haircut they gave him.
I promise to continue keeping you all posted as his recovery continues and when there’s more to share.
Thanks again for all your love, care, concern, good wishes and prayers! Roger still needs them, and we believe they’re going to help him tremendously.
Meanwhile, the Hero Initiative is accepting donations for Slifer
to help with medical and financial assistance. You can PayPal some money to them at their site
. Network For Good
is also accepting donations.
This super sweet story about artist Karl Kesel and his wife adopting a baby and then selling his Silver Age comics collection to pay for medical bills
is a great way to end the week. The Kesels had been assigned a drug affected baby and this meant their child was born with a methadone addiction and has to be hospitalized for six weeks:
Isaac was born, sadly addicted to methadone, and had to go through withdrawal, which is a long and I’m sure not fun process. It took about six weeks for him to be weaned all the way off the methadone, and some of those weeks were very tough. He was very inconsolable; we couldn’t soothe him, clearly he was agitated. He was on a morphine treatment during that time period, but each day, they cut that back just a little bit more and so his body had to pick up the slack and clean himself out a little more. It took about six weeks, but now he’s just a kid. He’s a very happy kid and seems to have no major effects from the drugs. There might be some learning disabilities later on. The doctors have told us we might not really know until he enters school. We might find he has a little trouble with math, with reading or something like that. Right now, he seems to be very, very normal. We’re extremely happy. He brings a lot of joy into our life.
As mentioned above, Kesel is selling a stunning Silver Age comics collection to pay the medical bills. You can purchase something at Blastoff Comics. “I’m selling my past to gain a new future,” he told CBR, and the whole story is touching in the extreme.
As you may know, the metro Manila area has been hit by severe flooding of late, due to monsoon season, and hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced as a result. Local bookstore Fullybooked is organizing a fundraiser for the flood victims.
We’re soliciting donations from international comic book writers and artists to give what they can (signed books, original artwork, etc.). We’re planning on holding either a local auction or on ebay for these items, and the proceeds will all go to those in need. A great deal of people have already pledged their support.
Already on board, Craig Thompson, with a very rare piece:
— the original cover art to BLANKETS. How rare?
As all of you know, I never sell original artwork, so this a rare exception that any piece is available. 14′x17″ India ink on Bristol board. If I have a chance, I’ll personalize a note on the back to the donor. Please, look into bidding to help raise funds for this crucial cause. Thanks!
Wow, sounds like a once in a lifetime opportunity here.
The Philippines, as we have often noted here, have a unique comics background, and have produced some amazing cartooning talent over the years, so this comics-based grassroots support is very appropriate. Anyone interested in contributing should contact Fullybooked at email@example.com with the subject “AUCTION”.
By: Dianna Dilworth,
Blog: Galley Cat (Mediabistro)
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, Chuck Klosterman
, Deborah Baker
, Hurricane Sandy Red Hook
, Joseph O'Neill
, Kurt Andersen
, Meghan O'Rourke
, Philip Gourevitch
, Phillip Lopate
, Rivka Galchen
, Robert Sullivan
, Sam Lipsyte
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Authors and musicians are coming together for a benefit that will raise money to rebuild Red Hook, a water-front community in Brooklyn that was badly damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
Novelist/journalist Kurt Andersen will host the event, which is called “Defiance: A Literary Benefit to Rebuild Red Hook,” and will take place on November 14th at Littlefield at 7pm. Musicians Steve Earle and Stew will perform and novelists Joseph O’Neill, Sam Lipsyte, and Rivka Galchen will do readings, as will non-fiction writers Phillip Lopate, Chuck Klosterman, Philip Gourevitch, Meghan O’Rourke, Deborah Baker, and Robert Sullivan will also participate.
Tickets for the event cost $50, and can be purchased at this link. All proceeds from the event will be split between two charities who are helping to rebuild Red Hook post-Sandy — Red Hook Initiative and Restore Red Hook.
New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.
By: Heidi MacDonald
Blog: PW -The Beat
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, Top News
, Autobiographical Comics
, Billy Dogma
, Bob Fingerman
, Christopher Irving
, Dean Haspiel
, Ethan Young
, Housing Works
, Image Comics
, Laura Lee Gulledge
, Maximum Minimum Wage
, Page by Paige
, Trip City
, Will and Whit
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Autobiographical comics used to be a feature of zines and small private presses, but readers are increasingly able to follow their favorite genre of the comics medium in graphic novel editions from mainstream book publishers. There’s no doubt that the artistic appreciation for autobiography and semi-autobiographical works is on the rise, but amid commentary on layouts, designs, and narrative choices, it’s easy to lose touch with the personalities behind the works and the often difficult waters they navigate to create their comics. At Housing Works Bookstore and Café in Soho, part of the Housing Works charitable organization benefitting those affected by HIV/AIDS and homelessness, four cartoonists weighed in on their life in comics on March 5th in a panel hosted by comics scholar and author Christopher Irving (LEAPING TALL BUILDINGS, GraphicNYC). The event formed part of “Geek Week” at Housing Works, with copies of speakers’ books donated by publishers for sale to support the charitable organization.
Panelists included Dean Haspiel (BILLY DOGMA, CUBA: MY REVOLUTION), Bob Fingerman (MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE, FROM THE ASHES), Laura Lee Gulledge (PAGE BY PAIGE, WILL AND WHIT), and Ethan Young (TAILS) and featured projected slides of their artwork along with readings, commentary, and discussion. Haspiel read “Dumbo” from his STREETCODE series, a tale of extensive personal injury after being “busted” as a thief by an overzealous and perplexed local driver during a film-shoot in Brooklyn and Fingerman read from an unpublished script of issue #11 of his acclaimed MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE series (which will appear in the new deluxe edition coming from Image March 20th) about the trials and tribulations of negative reviews and the dubious creative credits of working for “porno mags”. Gulledge, too, presented previously unseen material from her upcoming (in March) new book WILL and WHIT dealing with the stresses and awkwardness of teen life pursuing artistic expression, while Young read from his series TAILS, featuring cultural and familial clashes over relationships, but also noted that a second printed volume of the previously online series TAILS will be coming soon from Hermes Press.
Each of the cartoonists presenting their work engaged the audience on an emotional level in different ways, showcasing the versatility that makes autobiographical comics so popular. Haspiel’s comic narrated the already inherently absurd scenario of playing a thug in a friend’s film being chased by a costumed superhero an the equally absurd but downright serious impact of being mistaken for a real thief and being mown down by a would-be vigilante on set. Haspiel’s “DUMBO” focused on the psychological shock and mental processes handling the bizarre, and all too physically real situation.
Fingerman’s script handled his experiences working for a “rag” magazine in semi-autobiographical fashion through his avatar “Rob”, with an ear for frank and surprising dialogue between Rob and former co-workers on the subject of a bad review of his comics issued by a replacement writer in Rob’s own former column on the magazine. Through Rob’s dialogue, the audience could hear the character’s increasing fixation and personal struggle with the affront, while other characters commented irreverently on his overblown reactions. The emotions of the situation were powerful, even while comedic in tone.
Gulledge’s selection from WILL and WHIT used limited but realistic dialogue between friends to tease out the tensions in young adult conversations, anxiety in public performances (in this case a puppet show) and the supportive, but complicated role of group friendships. While Haspiel and Fingerman handled subject matter that may have been unfamiliar to many readers, but connected on the level of universal reactions to antagonizing situations, Gulledge presented a universal situation and explored it through the lens of different personality types.
Young’s performance dealt with two major universal themes, family pressures and romantic relationships, but introduced the complicating factor of cultural divides as his character (also named Ethan) engaged in “blunt” conversations with his mother, translated from Cantonese into English, about whether dating a Chinese-American girlfriend was really the right thing for him. Each comics artist preserved a kernel of universal human experience in their works while bringing intricate detail of personal experience into the narrative to render it unique, compelling, and even more visceral. Experiencing the comics as performance, read by their creators, brought an added dimension of reality to the stories. Autobio comics readers often become fans of the “voice” of the cartoonist and feel that they almost know the author/artist personally, but this was a rare chance to hear the comic audibly and experience the comic visually with creator participation.
Christopher Irving took the opportunity to play readers advocate and encourage the panelists to explain how autobiography maps out the gray areas between art and life, asking what the relationship is, exactly, between these creators and their comic avatars. Gulledge explained that her characters are often “different variations” of sides of her personality, and in one of the most memorable phrases from the evening explained that portraying versions of herself in comics encourages her to take risks in expression, making her willing to “drop the baby” being thrown at her if necessary. The allusion was to a situation wherein street urchins might attempt to pick your pocket by throwing a doll at you, pretending it’s a real baby, in the hopes that you’ll be distracted enough to attempt to catch it. “Drop the baby” made for an excellent metaphor for autobiographical cartooning when the creator has to realize the difference between art and real life and take greater risks based on that truth.
Fingerman commented, to the audience’s amusement, that he would “gladly drop a baby”. His reasons for using an avatar named “Rob” rather than his own name, Bob, in MAXIMUM MINUMUM WAGE involved shying away from direct “narcissism” while keeping a certain “weight” of truth alongside the “latitude” for some fictionalization. Like Stephen Colbert’s concept of “truthiness”, he said, his comics get closer to the truth by allowing more freedom of expression than strict autobiography. He also added that after ten years of reflection on MAXIMUM MINIMUM WAGE and working on the new hardcover edition from Image , however, he’s “seriously thinking of coming back to the series and starting it up again”, which provoked a round of enthusiastic applause from the audience.
Haspiel’s own feelings about the difference between autobiographical and semi-autobiographical comics, two genres he has worked with extensively, pivot on his concern that autobiographical comics only allow the reader to act as “voyeur” in someone else’s life. Like Fingerman, Haspiel reflected on the fact that semi-autobiographical narratives enable the creator to zero-in on “emotional truths” that they might not be able to emphasize as fully when sticking purely to facts. His advice to autobiographical or semi-autobiographical cartoonists, generally, is to “get outside” and experience life, making sure you “show up to the party” that is life and take part in order to create compelling stories. Gulledge chimed in that she agreed with Haspiel and Fingerman, that even autobiographical comics are not about the cartoonists life in terms of their purpose, but are about “helping” the reader understand themselves by engaging with real-life situations.
[Image from STREETCODE's "Dumbo" by Haspiel]
Young explained that he feels that his life can, in some ways, seem stereotypical, including his Asian-American heritage, emphasis on city narratives, his real-life situation of quitting college, and even being “self-indulgent” in writing stories designed to “get even” with an ex-girlfriend. But having a relatable life is certainly not a hindrance in autobiographical comics, especially when you capture the “romance” you see in the ordinary. Young hopes to “capture” some truths from his life in a memorable way, such as “living really broke” and “being single in New York”, experiences many readers might share. The most problematic thing Young has faced, he said, about working in autobiographical comics, is that readers equate the Ethan of his comics with Ethan in real life and feel free to tell him that he’s an “asshole” on a regular basis. He’s also been questioned for bringing “fantastic elements” into his works despite their overtly “realistic” tone, and like Haspiel and Fingerman, Young thinks a “metaphorical” element helps him “comment on how interconnected we are with our creations”. It seemed part and parcel of artistic freedom to branch from autobiography into metaphor for several of the panelists.
The discussion between comics artists on the panel was often freeform and interactive during the event, and they chatted about the increasing role of images online, the freedom the internet offers in terms of self-publication, and the impact that it has had on autobiographical comic production. Haspiel commented on the ways that social media has become a form of autobiographical expression, leading him further down the road of embracing metaphor rather than strict biography in his work. Even Gulledge expressed her movement toward “boiling down” life experiences to get to what life is “really about” due to the comparison between unedited and immediate self-expression on social platforms. Haspiel also noted, however, that social media opens up publicity options for web-based work, as in the case of ACTIVATEcomix, which he founded in 2006, and his currently curated multimedia arts site TRIP CITY. The very same technology that raises questions about autobiography by presenting human experience in an unfiltered way can serve as the platform for promoting the more focused works of art that reflect on life’s truths. One of the final topics of the evening focused on advice for cartoonists about funding and publishing their autobiographical and semi-autobiographical works. Now, more than ever, Haspiel argued for the need to be “be part of a community”, whether seeking crowd-funding or readership.
It was clear from hearing the panelists in discussion that they do form their own community of creators supporting many of the same goals in comics, and that each of them has a specific commitment to their readership in creating their work. The fact that the event spotlighting “the cartoonist in comics” not only benefited the comics community by exploring the role of biography and providing insights into creative process, but also raised funds for a worthy local charity emphasized the reciprocal role of community in supporting artwork about the significant truths hidden in everyday life and improving “real life” for those in need. The event was live-streamed by Housing Works and may be available in video format soon.
Hannah Means-Shannon writes and blogs about comics for TRIP CITY and Sequart.org and is currently working on books about Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore for Sequart. She is @hannahmenzies on Twitter and hannahmenziesblog on WordPress.
When Marvel’s Lauren Sankovitch left Marvel to pursue West Coast job ops, we were all sad to be losing a fine comics editor. Happily she is still keeping a toe in the game, as this release from the CBLDF reveals that she’ll be editing this year’s Liberty Annual, a fund-raising anthology published by the fund each year. So yay for Lauren! We may hear her karaoke yet again!
Included in the CBLDF release is news of their expanded efforts with retailer members and a very successful fundraising drive at the recent ComicsPRO meeting. All good news, as the CBLDF does a fantastic job of keeping free speech issues at the forefront of comics.
Anatomy of a good deal: get digital versions of nine acclaimed Image graphic novels—including Saga, Chew, East of West, Walking Dead and more—pay what you want, AND send money to the Comic book Legal Defense Fund.
Win win win!
That’s the deal offered by Humble Bundle, a website that offers a pay-what-you-want model for top digital content, while helping charities. Consumers pay what they want and can to send money to charities or to publishers. They’ve already sold hundreds of thousands of video game bundles, as they are called, with more than 15 million bundles sold overall for more than $80 million, with more than $30 million going to various charities. While they made their name with video games, Humble Bundle has been getting more into e-books —this is their first comics bundle.
Humble Image Comics Bundle offers nine top Image books with a tiered pricing structure. Pay whatever yuo want (even a penny) for East of West Vol. 1, Lazarus Vol. 1, Morning Glories Vol. 1, and Fatale Vol. 1. By paying more than the average price (currently $9.35) you unlock Saga Vol. 1, Revival Vol. 1 and Chew Vol. 1. If you pay more than $15, you also get The Walking Dead Vol. 1 and 20. Nine graphic novels for $15? Good deal.
BUT THERE’S MORE! You can even choose how your payment is split up: between the comics creators and/or the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund.
PLUS the digital comics are DRM free and available in a variety of formats Android, Kindle HD, iPad or even the Nook HD.
As we mentioned, this is Humble Bundle’s first foray into comics, but it’s a great way to help charity AND for readers to sample books they may not have picked up otherwise, so hopefully it won’t be the last.
The deal ends Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. PDT. Thus far, more than 11,000 bundles have been sold for more than $100,000 — we’ll check back next week to see the grand total.
The first ever comics sale on pay-what-you-want portal Humble Bundle is wrapping up tomorrow, and it seems to have been a success, with 38,847 bundles of digital comics sold, making a little over $397,000. As we reported earlier, Humble Bundle operates on a pay what you want model, with the buyer choosing to give all the money to the creator or to a charity – in this case the CBLDF.
There’s still time to get in on this offer, which makes copies of Saga, REvival, Chew, East of West and more top Image books available for what has averaged out to $10.
We’re told more comics bundles are on their way from Humble Bundle, so stay tuned.
Humble Bundle is at it again, this time with a collection of Doctor Who comics, including seven books of collected comics, and a game. You can pay what you wish and a portion of the price will go to Doctors without Borders. Once again, all good. The first comics Humble Bundle, featuring Image Comics, did very well, as we reported yesterday. Details below:
Humble Bundle, the pay-what-you-want plus charity digital platform, and award-winning publisher IDW Publishing have teamed up to launch the Humble Doctor Who Comics Bundle today. Customers can pay what they want for up to 14 digital collections of Doctor Who comic books along with puzzle-RPG adventure Doctor Who: Legacy with unlocked bonus content for Android.
Customers can name their price for Doctor Who: Series 1, a three-volume series following the 10th Doctor (David Tennant), and Doctor Who: Series 2, a four-volume series featuring the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith). Each series contains 16 issues of Doctor Who comics. Also included is the critically praised mobile game, Doctor Who: Legacy for Android, which comes with 10 pre-unlocked Doctor characters.
If customers pay more than the average price, they will also receive four more volumes from Doctor Who: Series 3 featuring the 11th Doctor (Matt Smith). Paying $15 or more will unlock the three-volume seriesDoctor Who: Prisoners of Time, which features all 11 of the Doctors’ incarnations, as well as the 50th anniversary celebration issue and 2014 Hugo Award-nominee, The Girl Who Loved Doctor Who.
Customers’ purchase dollars can be divided between IDW Publishing and two vital charities: Doctors Without Borders, which delivers independent emergency medical care and relief to more than 70 countries around the world, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, a non-profit organization dedicated to the protection of the First Amendment rights of the comics art form and its community. Since Humble Bundle’s launch in 2010, $37 million has been raised for more than 20 different charities and non-profit organizations.
The Humble Doctor Who Comics Bundle ends on Tuesday, May 28, 2014 at 11:00 a.m. PDT.
Here’s an absolutely cool comics event that may help save lives.
Wednesday, May 28th the Hang Dai Studios gang of Dean Haspiel (The Fox, American Splendor), Christa Cassano (The Giant Effect) and Josh Neufeld (The Vagabonds) will be signing at JHU to celebrate Haspiel’s art in FF #5. But it’s also World Blood Cancer Day and in support of photographer/writer/Hang Dai member Seth Kushner, who is being treated for leukemia, they will also host a bone marrow drive. Getting a DNA sample involves a cheek swab, so if you’re up for it and eligible, come on down, see some cool cartoonists and do something for a good cause.
Delete Blood Cancer is going to be here, swabbing and informing folks on how being a donor works. (More on that below!) Even if we don’t find a match for Seth at our event, there are millions of others that could use your help and you as their match!
Come out, get some comics, meet some great people and help out in the name of one of our great, talented friends!
We want to make sure that helping a patient get healthy won’t impact your health. Please review the following list of conditions. If you’re not sure about a condition, feel free to call us: 212-209-6700.
You are eligible to register if you are:
between the ages of 18 and 55
in general good health
at least 4’10” and 110 lbs
below the max weight listed for your height on the chart below
You are not eligible if you have:
Hepatitis B or C
Kidney or liver disease
Chronic or severe neck or back problems
Epileptic or other seizure within past year
Diabetes that requires medication
Sleep apnea, breathing problems or severe asthma (daily inhalers are acceptable)
Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis or fibromyalgia
Or a history of:
strokes, including TIA
blood clotting or bleeding disorders
cancer, with the exclusion of melanoma, breast, bladder, cervical (stage O, in situ) and cured localized skin cancers such as basal cell or squamous cell
JHU Comic Books
32 East 32nd St, New York, New York 10016
We’re not going to keep doing weekly updates on comics Humble Bundles, but since this is a new way of promoting comics—digital bundles on a pay-what-you-want model to a mostly gaming audience—is seems worth checking in on the first couple. The first comics Related HUmble Bundle was with Image comics, and raised about $400,000. The second, featuring Doctor Who comics and Docor Who game, has raised even more with more than 42,000 bundles sold and $500K spent, with a portion going to Doctors without Borders and the CBLDF.
When fully unlocked, the Bundle includes over 80 comics and the Android-based puzzle game Doctor Who: Legacy, which includes a bunch of Doctors and costumes.
I’m told Humble Bundle is getting more involved in selling ebooks, so expect to see more of these bargains in the coming months.
And just a reminder tonight is a Bone Marrow Donor Drive and Hang Dai Studios Signing at JHU with all the above folks PLUS Fred van Lente and Joe Infurnari and doubtless other luminaries.
It’s a good cause. Come on down.
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Here’s a nice story from Comic-Con about more than 50 comics artists including Bernard Chang and Sanford Greene, teaming up with QANVAS by Quiznos, an art project that saw them drawing on Quisnos sub wrappers. The resulting art was auctioned off to benefit ArtReach, and some $10,000 was raised for art programs in San Diego schools. Win win win!