Happy 50th Birthday, Grant Morrison


Thanks for blowing our minds all these years.
Grant Morrison


Frank Miller is tweeting and posting art

While some wondered if @frankmillerink was the real deal, today he banished all doubt by posting a new cover for THE BIG FAT KILL.

In his next tweet he hinted:

ps. DINOSAUR is coming next week.

Frank Miller rides again!

For now, the iPad rolls over and goes to sleep

Ipad Echo
Whether you’re basking in the afterglow or fretting unfulfilled, the tumultuous excitement of the iPad announcement has come…and gone. The reactions seem evenly mixed between the rapture and the crapture, with tech site grumbles loud and clear. Annalee Newitz at io9 has a well thought out complaint:

The iPad promises to be just as revolutionary as its predecessors, for one reason. It embodies, as much as possible, the mythical convergence device that technophiles have been craving for almost two decades. The convergence device, which people began to discuss seriously in the 1990s, would be a unified gadget where you could consume many kinds of media, especially TV and the web, with the same gadget.

In the end, she argues, the iPad is more of a dedicated device, as opposed to the amazing Tricorder: lacking multitasking, like a TV, it tunes into one function at a time. In that regard it is certainly not the be-all and end-all.

The mood is more hopeful among Big Media types, probably because they are fucking desperate for a white knight at this point. They want someone –anyone — to rescue themselves from the black hole they have gotten into.

Hope that paywalls — increasingly erected by such newspapers as the WSJ, with the NY Times following suit eventually — would be a solution were firmly dashed by the horrifying results of the Newsday experiment. The “fourth” daily in the New York Area, Newsday is known as the daily paper of Long Island. After putting their content behind a paywall for three months, the total number of paid subscribers at $5 a pop?

[Read more…]

The ideaspace loves MONKEYS

Do Marvel and DC really copy each other? It’s been noted that they seem to have a lot of ideas in common these days — Cap and Bats having similar seeming deaths and resurrections, similar zombie focused events followed by the dawning of new “lighty brighty” movements — Brightest Day and the Heroic Age. But is it really so? Over at Newsarama,
Troy Brownfield investigates the phenomenon in a piece called “From Blackest Night to Necrosha: Dispelling The Copycat Myth”, so you know he doesn’t quite buy i:

It happens every few months. A new storyline or new direction gets announced, and some fans will inevitably say something to the effect of, “Hey! Company M copied that from Company D!” or vice versa. Granted, there are probably going to be times at any level of entertainment when one story or real-life event inspires another. Several, even. However, there’s a certain point surrounding these kinds of assessments that fails to take one basic fact into account: it takes a loooong time from conception to execution before any issue of any comic hits the stands. We’re going to take a look at the notion of the Copycat Myth, including speaking with creators regarding their take on the idea.

Brownfield’s argument is that it takes so long to create a comic book – or God knows, an event — that such things can’t quickly be set in motion. Which makes sense as far as it goes. But then how do you explain this:
Heroic Age
and this:

Jla 44 Cvr Solicit Jpeg
So you’re telling me that the new Avengers featuring Gorilla Man and the JLA featuring Congorilla is sheer coincidence? YOU expect me to believe that comic book writers love giant apes? Come on now. Next, you’ll be telling me they like Dr. Who.

Robot 6 had some good thoughts on the Heroic Age image by the way.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 1/29/2010

The announcement of BOOM!’s Samuel L. Jackson-penned comic, COLD SPACE, prompts Don MacPherson to point out that celebri-comics have a spotty track record:

Rapper and Transformers star Tyrese Gibson was noted for his public lament over a lack of retailer support for his Mayhem comic from Image last year. Stephen Baldwin barely made a splash with his The Remnant. The first issue of Clerks 2 and Men in Black 2 actress Rosario Dawson’s comic book, Occult Crimes Taskforce from Image, barely made a blip, and neither did Bad Planet, from Thomas Jane of HBO’s Hung. Nick Simmons’s Incarnate from Radical Publishing isn’t exactly lighting the sales charts on fire either, and his dad hasn’t moved many copies of his non-KISS comics when they were offered by IDW Publishing.

Of the five comic-book titles I mentioned in the previous paragraph, I had to do web searches to find/remember the names of three of them.

MacPherson points out that there are exceptions– Kevin Smith and Gerard Way, f’r instance. And that said, the above cover by Jeffrey Spokes is very sharp.

§ Bart Beaty’s Angoulême adventures continue.

§ Chris Mautner looks at Scholastic’s 2010 plans

§ Daniel Craig is taking over the lead role in COWBOYS AND ALIENS.

§ Charlie Jane Anders looks at The Worst Superhero Film Of All Time

§ Wired points out yet another example of a poorly named comic.

§ AND….we all know that AVATAR ripped off DANCES WITH WOLVES, POCAHONTAS, and FERNGULLY, but did it also rip off an obscure British comic?

Fox 4

§ This is more news, but CO2 comics, the new outfit launched by Gerry Giovinco and Co. is reliving the ’80s in style with a web-reprint of THE WORLD OF GINGER FOX by Mike Baron and Mitch O’Connell.

The World of Ginger Fox by Mike Baron and Mitch O’Connell, originally published by Comico in 1986 as a 64-page graphic novel, is nothing short of stylish eye candy derived from the exciting nineteen eighties’ era of high hair, shoulder pads, and excesses of wealth. Ginger Fox is presented anew beginning this week on the web pages of CO2 Comics produced by former Comico publishers Bill Cucinotta and Gerry Giovinco. The tale of romance, adventure and intrigue, set in the Hollywood of the mid-eighties featuring the smart, sexy and savvy Ginger Fox and a cast of strippers, martial artists, hit men, drug addicts, gat-toting bodyguards and celebrity cameos will be released in weekly installments and is available without fee or subscription as are all comics currently available at www.co2comics.com.

Movin’ on up

WOW. Thanks for all the support in the comments, on Twitter and via email on the announced move. I was truly overwhelmed and touched and having the support of so many amazing people — and loyal readers — means the world to me. It really makes all the work worth in.

Understandably, I hope, I’m going to be a little busy with the migration and figuring a lot of things out (been “learning” CSS on the fly, after a fashion) at least for the next few days. The new site should roll out pretty quickly, although it’s going to keep evolving. So The Beat will be a little quiet for a while…although if one particular story we’ve heard brewing is true, we’re going to need to jump into action pretty damned fast! And on that tantalizing note…

EXCLUSIVE: The Beat to leave Publishers Weekly

It’s been a great 3 1/2 (!) year run here at Publishers Weekly, but all good things must end, and in the very near future, The Beat will be moving to its own website: www.comicsbeat.com. PREPARE TO BOOKMARK!

The move is a combination of many things, but mainly the fact that PW is focusing on its B-to-B business plan, and The Beat, for better or worse, is really a consumer site. With PW’s move to a new web platform and impending ownership change at some point, it just didn’t make as much sense to continue to partner up.

I want to stress that the move is completely amicable, and everyone here at PW — Brian Kenney, Cevin Bryerman, Ron Shank, Dan Blank, and departed folks such as Sara Nelson and David Nudo — have always been incredibly supportive and appreciative of my efforts here. And of course Calvin Reid is the best boss/partner in crime anyone could ever ask for and has helped me out in innumerable ways and, I’m sure, will continue to do so. The current team has been incredibly helpful with the move, and they have my deepest thanks and appreciation. And I will be continuing in my non-Beat PW work, such as editing PW Comics Week and the graphic novel review section.

The move will be taking place over the next few weeks, but it’s been brewing for a while, leading to some distraction for your humble blogger, meaning I haven’t been as on top of some big stories as I should have been. The good news is that with a new site, The Beat will have more resources and flexibility than ever, and hopefully will be moving full steam ahead in the weird world of the future, or at least be iPad compliant.

We’ll have more ad placements in the new home, so anyone interested should shoot me a line. The Beat is also looking at some interesting partnerships which will also roll out in due time.

I started The Beat at Comicon.com in June 2004, meaning that at 5 1/2 years, I have probably been blogging every day about comics for longer than anyone else out there. (Dirk started before me, but he took a long break to edit the Journal.) When I started, the blogosphere was still a youngling at Jedi school, and I was making things up as I went along. As I watch the explosion of nerdcentric blogs (see previous item) it’s fascinating to track their evolution. The one-person shop pioneered by Dirk, Tom and myself has given way to corporate sponsored teams in the Gawker mold, or mini online magazines as I like to think of them. As more and more outlets emerge, link blogging becomes huger and huger, and original content becomes even more time consuming — and yet even more important. Blogging has evolved in so many ways, from mere curation to the trusted source to driving the media narrative of politics and social change.

The Beat will continue to evolve with all of this. Where exactly it will end up, I’m not exactly certain. But I will enjoy the journey, and hope you do, too.

Geeks prefer to read about themselves on the Internet

The proliferation of nerd-centric blogs on the internet continues.

GeekWeek launched not ago, a sort of Huffington Post for topics ranging from nerd news to music to sports. It’s spearheaded by Jeff Katz of American Originals with many other contributors.

Mediaite, Dan Abram’s media site has just launched Geekosystem, another geek-o-centric blog with such pieces as 30 Gloriously Geeky Actors and Directors on its Power Grid ranking system.

Even as geek literacy expands on the net, Geek Monthly magazine a quaint paper-based system of providing text and photographs has closed, leaving some contributors unpaid. iPad, save us!

RIP J.D. Salinger

The great author and recluse J.D Salinger has died at age 91. Author of The Catcher in the Rye, Franny and Zooey and Nine Stories, he was revered by would-be Zen Buddhists everywhere.

The iPad is here….now what?

Ipad Handson 3A
Are we living in the Jetsons or a Cormac McCarthy novel? Will the iPad take us to a world where readers pay for content…or is it yet another false prophet leading the way to a bleak wasteland with poor 3G coverage?

To no one’s surprise, reaction pieces seem to be the main subject of the internet today. Specifically:

Kiel Phegley caught up with a lot of comics folks.

CBR News reached out to many players from across the downloadable comics sphere for early reactions to the news of the iPad and found many responses as to what the next step for publishers and content providers will be. Although one thing was generally agreed upon, fans can expect everyone to get into the mobile comics business after today.

Vaneta Rogers has a similar piece.
[Read more…]

News and notes

§ The Angoulême comics festival — the greatest comics event in the world — is kicking off — English-speaking guests include Joe Sacco, Ivan Brunetti and Dash Shaw — and Bart Beaty has a preview of all the events which will have you jumping on the next plane to attend. His rundown gives some idea of the way in which comics completely take over the town, a refined state that San Diego is nowhere near achieving.

§ And yet we totally missed the news that Philadelphia is turning into Persepolis.

§ Zac Efron feels the road to manhood is via starring in a Brian Bendis story as he signs a deal to star in FIRE, adapted from the BMB graphic novel which he wrote and drew.

§ A lot of people have been alarmed by a lettering error in BATMAN & ROBIN #7. It is sad that time pressures make for such sloppy editing, but in looking at the panel in question, the artists drew the characters in the wrong order anyway. Where were the correct balloons going to go?

RIP: Howard Zinn

1207061862 1363
Leftist author, teacher and activist Howard Zinn passed away yesterday at age 87. His bestseller, A People’s History of the United States, was a ground level view of American history that focused on the lives of workers and dissidents while criticizing the usual heroes such as presidents. Although this would normally little concern a comics blog, toward the end of his life, Zinn adapted his work to a graphic novel with somewhat mixed results. But this Boston.com slideshow presents some excerpts of artist Mike Konopacki‘s version of events.

Our Previews picks

The best stuff we found in this month’s Previews:

Splash.Popshoponline.Com 2010-1-28 1:44

from Antarctic Press


From DC and Amanda Conner. KITTY!

It’s the iPad — updated with PRICE

Blow by blow at Engadget

Media is saved!


Here ya go!

Update: John Jackson Miller crunches numbers on subscriptions, which is how the iPad might have some impact on comics.

BONUS: It turns out MAD-TV made an ad for the iPad three years ago!

[Thanks to Mark for the link.]

Business news round-up: Borders, WCP, etc., etc.

§ National bookstore chain Borders is getting shakier and shakier, and yesterday’s news that CEO Ron Marshall was ankling the joint did nothing to cheer anyone up.

Borders, which has been under a cloud of speculation about its long-term financial stability, has struggled to improve sales in a difficult market for book retailing. It has posted disappointing results amid price pressure from big-box retailers like Wal-Mart and competition from online booksellers like Amazon.

The company announced that sales fell nearly 14 percent over the 11-week holiday period ended Jan. 16, compared with the period a year earlier. By comparison, Barnes & Noble, the country’s largest bookstore chain, said that holiday sales fell 5 percent during a nine-week period ended Jan. 2.

§ Financially troubled printing giant World Color Press has found a buyer, ICv2 reports.

Wisconsin-based Quad Graphics has acquired World Color Press, the Canadian corporation formerly known as Quebecor that is responsible for printing the majority of comics in North America along with magazines like Sports Illustrated and Rolling Stone. World Color Press stockholders will receive 40% of the combined company, which will be listed on a U.S. stock exchange (Quad Graphics is currently privately held). Under the deal, which is expected to close this summer, the combined company, which will have 30,000 employees, will be #2 in the industry behind R.R. Donnelley & Sons.

§ Manga publisher Go! Comi . which produced such things as Wendy Pini’s Masque of the Red Death, and Aimee Major’s Japan Ai is having some tough times.

Go! Comi is riding out a pretty tough storm in the publishing industry right now due to a combination of economic downturn and digital theft, both of which have had a devastating effect on even the biggest publishing companies.  A lot of small-to-medium publishers (we fit into medium, at this point) have had to scale back their operations, let employees go, double up workloads, and put many of their books on hiatus or cancel them entirely.  It would not be unreasonable to assume Go! has had to do some of these things itself, though I can’t get into specifics there.  :-X  

§ Old news but worth noting: Platinum Studios has secured another $5 million in capital — holding on for the movies finally paid off.

Awareness for Platinum Studios’ properties has increased significantly over the past year due in part to the upcoming film “Dead of Night,” an adaptation of the beloved Italian comic book “Dylan Dog,” which has sold over 56 million copies worldwide. In a poll conducted in December 2009 by MTV.com, “Dead of Night” ranked fifth amongst all comic book movies audiences were anticipating for 2010. The results came unexpectedly to MTV.com since the film was accidentally left off the list of nominees and all votes for the picture were write-in votes.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 1/27/10

Img 1835
§ The Bridgewater PBA Local 174 is having a benefit art auction, organized by police officer and sometime comics writer Chris White. The all-star contributing lineup includes EVERYONE from Erik Larsen to Travis Charest to David Petersen. Check out all the art here. Abovem Dick Tracy by Joe Staton. [Via]

§ Fantagraphics seeks a publicity and marketing intern.

§ Editing is hard: Marvel and DC make many, many changes in their announced creative teams.

[Read more…]