The Beat’s Annual Year-End Survey, 2010 edition — Part Four

It’s the biggest year-end survey ever! We’re going to keep going until it’s all done though. People from EVERY walk of the comics industry sounds off on what they hope for in the new year, and along the way there’s lots of news, and a few previews, too. Previous installments: one, two and three.
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Kurt4Sdcc-1Kurt Busiek, writer

2010 projects: Astro City (Variant cover above), Marvels: Eye of the Camera

What was the biggest story in comics in 2009? Paul Levitz stepping down as DC’s President and Publisher.  The last guy in charge to have roots going back before the rise of the Direct Market.  Paul’s always been a careful, deliberate manager of DC’s fortunes, and whoever winds up at his desk, it’ll mean big changes, one way or the other, for DC and for the comics industry.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2010? Comics and the recession.  Do they continue to skate above it, or do they stumble?

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2010? Can’t wait for the THIRTEEN (GOING ON 18) collection from Drawn & Quarterly.  John Stanley teen goodness!  And Im’ hoping for another WALT & SKEEZIX volume.  But I don’t feel guilty about either one…

When I think of comics in the 00s I think of: The rise of the ongoing company-wide storyline.  Not just a crossover, but a years-long narrative that surges through the major companies’ shared universe lines, exciting a lot of readers and chasing others away.  There’s a lot of talk of “event fatigue” these days, but it still seems to be working…for now.
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GIRL COMICS #2 Cover

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Posted exclusively at Comics Alliance, it’s by Jill Thompson, and as far as we’re concerned, it’s another winner. Click the link for more thoughts by editor Jeanine Schaefer and Laura Hudson at the — kinda amazing — level of controversy the original GIRL COMICS announcement er, engendered:

“I think the name is polarizing for two reasons,” said Schaefer. “One, because in order to talk about women in comics you more often than not have to make one gender the ‘other,’ and inevitably someone feels misrepresented. Two, because ‘girl’ is a bomb of a word that for many women has been wielded against them to cause a lot of damage both mentally and professionally, and people seem to be unsure if this is another case of the weaponized word or not.”

Comics stuff at CES

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Is that an iceberg dead ahead? NO, it’s an E-READER, and they are coming right at ya, especially at the Consumer Electronics Show, currently underway in Las Vegas. At Steve Ballmer’s keynote last night, Microsoft unveiled its Slate device, which was cute and touchable, but not the fold over Courier everyone has been lusting after.
As part of the presentation, there was a flash of Graphic.ly, which recently announced funding , and was shown off as a a storefront for downloadable comics.

During Microsoft’s keynote at CES 2010 this evening, Steve Ballmer showed off a very cool mobile and web application called Graphic.ly, a platform that aims to be the ultimate digital content delivery system for the publishing world. Graphic.ly’s first target is comic book fans. With Graphic.ly, comic book fans can not only access the content they want from multiple devices — including mobile phones and the desktop — they can also interact with other fans and with the comic creators.


So LongBox has some competition? Graphic.ly is not available for Macs, so we’ll have to pass on that for now.

Studio coffee run: Behold Scott Pilgrim and his flaming sword, Marvel updates, COWBOYS & ALIENS

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Universal has released the first actual stills from SCOTT PILGRIM, although one has been floating around for a bit. The general reaction around the web has been shock and awe. Splash Page has the kind of in-depth analysis usually reserved for 3rd down conversions in the Super Bowl.

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§ In less thrilling news, looks like SPIDEY 4 is really in a boondoggle of a delay, as crew members have been advised to look for other work. As we reported yesterday, the film has been delayed over script concerns voiced by director Sam Raimi.

§ Having proven he’s convincing as both a capitalist with a heart of fissionable materials and a Victorian English OCD victim, Robert Downey Jr. will next attempt to show he can twirl a lariat as the loooong promised COWBOYS & ALIENS movie has a July start date. Directed by Iron Man co-conspirator Jon Favreau, the film is being considered for the hot new 3D treatment according to Kim LeMasters at The Daily Beast. Rich Johnston has the history of the COWBOYS & ALIENS comic book.

§ KICK-ASS will be the opening night film for the SXSW film festival. Yep, looks like comic book movies are red hot in ’10.

Usagi Yojimbo Plush is ADORABLE

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If you are looking to put some cute into your life, you need not seek much farther than the Usagi Yojimbo Plush Figure that Dark Horse is offering. The ode-to-adorable was designed with extensive input from creatr Stan Sakai, and here we offer — exclusively! — some of his designs for the toy. To make one of them your own, you need only part with $24.99 — cheep!

4-Usagi Plush Color

5-Usagi Plush Faces

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Take a look at Scott McCloud’s next book!

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Scott McCloud has posted all 466 pages of breakdowns for his new graphic novel . But they are so small they won’t give anything away.

Just for fun, here’s a distant screenshot of all 466 pages of my rough draft layouts for my upcoming graphic novel (working title The Sculptor). This is as close as I can bring you right now, but as work goes on in the coming months, I promise to show some actual art.

San Diego convention report update

Quite a few people announced today or yesterday that one-day Saturday tickets at the San Diego Comic-con had sold out. It actually sold out on December 18th when we made the screen shot below:
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We haven’t been publicizing the availability of single day tickets here, both to avoid ay kind of rush, and because of our own pool to see who comes closest to guessing when the show sells out entirely. As of today, Friday is looking to go very very soon.
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Despite the increasingly crowded confines of the SD convention center for Comic-Con, a planned expansion is still up in the air, and there will be fewer conventions overall in SD in 2010, as the crap economy takes a toll. All of you San Diego scholars will want to read the whole article (and the bitchy comments), but the main takeaway is that nerd con is still not considered a top revenue source for the county:

San Diego, the forecast noted, continues to be a beneficiary of the strong medical and health care sectors, which this year will be the source of 16 conventions. Two of those, the Society for Neuroscience and the American Society of Anesthesiologists, are among the 25 largest medical meetings in the nation, according to the report.

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Steven Grant joins web-quitting club

Steven Grant“Why are so few of us left active, healthy, and without personality disorders?”

We’re losing another good one, as Steven Grant has announced that he is quitting his Permanent Damage column at CBR:

Well, it’s time to go. As several who solved last week’s Ultimate Comics Cover Challenge suspected, this is the final Permanent Damage. Partly due to time. Between Master Of The Obvious and Permanent Damage, I’ve been doing this over ten years now. That’s a longer stretch than I’ve ever done on anything, professionally anyway. I’m tired, I have way too much other work bearing down on me, and I’ve run out of things to say. Maybe if comics were a field on fire I might have more things to say, and might again. What we’ve got right now, if you scrape away all the pretty lights and look at the underbelly, is pretty much the same as it ever was. Not that I’m disgruntled, I’m not, I’m having a good time, but I’ve got nothing new to say about it. Every column I’d be likely to write this year can easily be capsulized in a quote from Douglas Adams:

Don’t panic.


Grant’s archives will remain available, a repository of observations on many subjects–politics, films, comics — that were trenchant without being merely cynical, and supplanted snark with observation. Grant is contributing comics reviews to TCJ.com, and working on various screenplays, comics and other projects so he’s far from gone.

Long Beach Comic Con announces one day show

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The Long Beach Comic Con, which ran a successful first time 3-day show last October, has announced a one-day show for Saturday February 20 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Aspen Entertainment and Top Cow have been announced as companies exhibiting, along with several dealers.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits – 1/7/10

§ Brian Heater begins a four-part interview with Frank Santoro, who always has something fresh to say:

But the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival was small enough—and I don’t mean in terms of it being curated, because that’s not what happened—it just was a small show, and it sold out fast. I thought that was an interesting take, because it was Williamsburg. There was a diverse enough crowd that it was an interesting cross-section, from my experiences, and that’s New York. So, yeah, you’ve got that embarrassment of riches, for sure, but I still didn’t see a lot of people that I would see at a Comic Con event, and that makes sense, because it was an alternative festival, but there were still some major names there. It was weird. New York’s funny that way. And I like it.


§ Sean was right. I totally geeked out over Matt Maxwell’s history of comics message boards, websites and blogs!!!

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§ If you are not one of the millions of people haunted by terrifying flashbacks to GHOST RIDER, THE WEATHER MAN, or NATIONAL TREASURE, you will find the blog Nic Cage as Everyone funny. (Found via Comics Alliance.)

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