ICv2 Digital Comics Conference announced for New York Comic-Con

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Everyone’s talking digital comics, and they’re going to get a thorough investigation in October as part of a one-day ICv2 Comics & Digital Conference, to be held Thursday, October 7, right before this year’s New York Comic-Con. In previous years, ICv2 has sponsored graphic novel conferences before NYCC and also put on a Transmedia conference before San Diego last year.

Please note, The Beat is an official sponsor of the event, and we’re proud to be involved with what looks to be an informative symposium on the biggest issue of the day. A new day has dawned, and no one wants to be left in the dark. More info here and official pr below:


ICv2 has announced the ICv2 Comics & Digital Conference at New York Comic Con, a half-day event where industry executives and thought leaders will discuss the impact of the rapidly growing digital channel on the comics and graphic novel medium. 
 
“This year, it seemed critical to offer an event to look at the fastest-growing part of the comics and graphic novel business—digital—to examine where it is, where it’s going, and what it’s going to do to print,” ICv2 President Milton Griepp said.  “Everyone in the industry, from creators to publishers to retailers and librarians, has an interest in this topic.” 
 
The Conference, to be held at the Javits Center on Thursday, October 7th, on the eve of New York Comic Con, will kick off with a preview of the 2010 ICv2 White Paper, looking at the comics and graphic novel business so far this year, including digital sales. 
 
“Digital Comics and Graphic Novels” will bring together a panel of digital comic and graphic novel companies to discuss the present and future of digital comics and graphic novels.
 
In “Print vs. Digital—War, Co-existence, or Collaboration,” publishers, retailers, and others talk about how the digital revolution will impact print sales.   
 
A fourth session will be announced soon.
 
Speakers will include the CEOs of all four major digital comic companies (Comixology, Graphic.ly, iVerse, and Panelfly), comic and graphic novel publishers, retailers, and more.
 
Affordable ticket prices give the Conference a high return on investment.
 
Transcontinental Printing returns as the event sponsor of the ICv2 Conference, joined by Publisher’s Weekly and Heidi MacDonald’s Beat. 

Transcontinental, in addition to sponsoring the event, will host its signature Transcontinental Printing Cocktail Party at 5 p.m., a time when attendees, speakers, and panelists can meet, mingle, network, and talk about the events of the day. 


 
For More Information
For more information about the conference, or to contact us to inquire about speaking or sponsorship opportunities, click here, or e-mail [email protected]  For general information about New York Comic Con, please contact Roger Bilheimer at [email protected] 

More information available here!

Diamond introduces street dates for Wednesday on-sale

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Following lengthy discussion and behind-the-scenes debate, Diamond has announced that street dates are available for all retailers now: comics will be shipped Tuesday for a Wednesday on-sale. Stores who don’t want to participate can stick with Wednesday delivery.

Larger stores have had the option of Tuesday delivery through Diamond for several years.

UPDATE: The idea of a $5 a week charge for “mystery shoppers” to police street dates is still under review.

We’ll have more on this story with industry reactions in today’s PW Comics Week. PR below.

Effective in January, 2011, Diamond retailers in North America and the UK will have the option of “day-early” delivery of weekly product shipments on Tuesdays for sale on Wednesdays.

Day-early delivery – which was outlined to retailers in the form of a Q&A following Diamond’s Retailer Summit in April — will take effect with shipments delivered on Tuesday, January 11, that have a scheduled on-sale date of Wednesday, January 12.

Please Note: The current industrywide Wednesday new release day will remain unchanged, and retailers who do not wish to use the new option may continue to receive their shipments on Wednesdays.

“Our decision to proceed with day-early, Tuesday-for-Wednesday delivery resulted from positive discussions with leading publishers and vendors, from retailer requests and feedback, and from retailer responses to our recent survey on the topic,” explained Diamond Vice President of Sales & Marketing Roger Fletcher.

In that survey, retailers were asked how they thought the day-early option would affect their business and the Direct Market. “Of more than 1,000 retailers who responded to the survey,” Fletcher said, “75% believe day-early delivery will benefit their business, while 72% believe it will benefit the entire Direct Market.”

The survey also asked retailers: “If given the choice between Monday delivery for Tuesday on-sale, and Tuesday delivery for Wednesday on-sale, what would be your preference?” Retailers could choose between the two options, or for “Either Monday for Tuesday or Tuesday for Wednesday.”
 
“The number of respondents who selected Tuesday delivery for Wednesday on-sale and the ‘Either’ option totaled 63%,” Fletcher said, “while those selecting the Monday-for-Tuesday alternative and the ‘Either’ option totaled 38%. This encouraging consensus has convinced us that moving forward with day-early delivery for Wednesday on-sale holds considerable advantages for vendors, retailers, and the industry.”

With the implementation of day-early delivery, Diamond will also initiate a “mystery shopper” program to ensure that participating retailers abide by the industrywide Wednesday release date for books received on Tuesday.

Fletcher urged retailers to “stay tuned” to Diamond Daily and Diamond Dateline for more details about registering for the day-early delivery option.

Additionally, Diamond has announced that — working in concert with vendors — Diamond will deliver product on its normal Wednesday schedule in December.  The first shipment of 2011 will arrive after the New Year’s holiday on Wednesday, January 5. Day-early shipping will commence the following week.

“During the holidays, our retailers and their customers depend upon Diamond to keep the newest and hottest product flowing into stores, and we’d like to thank our vendors for working with us to maintain our regular schedule,” Fletcher said. “We’d also like to thank our vendors and our customers for working with us to get 2011 off to a great start by making the day-early shipping option a reality. We look forward to a smooth transition to what we feel will be a highly beneficial and profitable service.”

True Blood Recap: Harsh Daylight Shines on an Unanchored Plot

Season 3/Episode 11: Fresh Blood

After a couple of basically strong episodes, the Fresh Blood just didn’t congeal this week.  The gestalt was off.  True Blood’s qi is out of whack, and, quite frankly, people, it didn’t leave me anxiously awaiting the finale.  Many of the scenes were good on their own but just as many felt awkward and immaterial, leaving the whole episode lacking in narrative center.  Take the opening scene: Bill’s blood bond to Sookie leads him to Fangtasia where he has a fun little run in with Pam.  Starting off with a fight scene between two distinct characters that rub each other the wrong way and don’t interact often was nice.  Particularly when Pam mocks Bill’s pretense of being in a normal, monogamous relationship with Sookie then outfoxes the stronger, older vampire by spraying silver flecked water in his eyes.

But underdog vamp Pam doesn’t maintain the upper hand for long. Wronged but feisty dancer Yvetta leads a heroic fangbanger revolt and unchains Sookie from the Fangtasia dungeon! When the two get upstairs to the bar, they manage to get the jump on Pam and chain her up in silver.  Bill’s been temporarily blinded by Pam’s innovative vampire mace but he’ll soon heal, so things are getting back on track for nobdy’s favorite unconventional couple.

Things are headed off the rails for Lafayette and Jesus though.  The next scene was there’s and it was where things also started going off the rails for the whole episode.  I’m happy Lafayette’s got a new boyfriend and that he gets to have a dysfunctional, supernaturally dangerous relationship like everyone else on this show, but this scene didn’t even feel like it was even a part of this season.  It felt like it was about what’s coming next season and I don’t really care about that at the expense of all the interesting things happening with the deposed King of Mississippi and the increasing pack of shifters.  Speaking of which, WTF happened to the Operation Werewolf Army and Alcide? I, for one, would be curious to know what they’re up to and, if we knew, it would circle back to what’s been presented as the central plot of the season.  Sure it’s intriguing to see Jesus in a super scary masquerade mask and wonder what that means about him and whether or not Lafayette can trust him or if it’s just a V “aftershock.” But is it relevant? IMHO? No.

At least Crystal and Jason are getting more relevant.  The Hot Shot denizens truly are a whole new dimension of trash.  Crystal tells Jason that in addition to being a werepanther, Felton, her fiancé, is her half brother.  This could be a dealbreaker for Jason.  In other Bon Temps couple gossip updates, Jessica and Hoyt are having hott post V feeding makeup sex.  Or they’re about to. First Jessica’s got something to tell him.  She fesses up to killing the trucker.  She drinks human blood and she’s not going to stop.  “This is what you think you love.” To this Hoyt says, “drink me,” and with that becomes a fangbanger. It’s not going to end well but it sure is sweet.

Something that looks like it won’t end well but sort of does is when Eric inexplicably meets Russell at an art museum. Russell knows he can kill Eric, Eric knows Russell can kill him.  They’re about to get to it but then Eric plays him politically again.  Russell really should just kill him but he’s intrigued by Eric’s offer to give him the power to day walk.  Russell’s skeptical but if Eric’s lyin’, he’s dyin’ so he figures why not check it out.  That could be difficult though. Pam calls to tell Eric that Sookie and Bill have escaped.  In fact, the two of them are driving away from Fangtasia, bickering away, as they speak.  About Eric, about everything, and I’m about done with their nonsense.  Their storyline is starting to wear thin and become less grounded by their characters.  From what we know of them, they shouldn’t be just bickering like a regular, solid couple –not after Bill hate-fucked Lorena and fed off and raped Sookie like a rabid animal.  It’s as if Bill’s emerged from their Mississippi travail without remorse, has put it all behind him and magically eschewed his identity crisis and became noble and good again. At least Sookie’s still not sure she can trust him.  She doesn’t know if people (or vampires, presumably) can change, even when they try.

Tara’s trying anyways.  Or maybe she’s back to feeling sorry for herself, crying over Eggs’ grave.  Arlene and Holly are going to try too. They’re making plans for an abortion ritual over at Merlotte’s when Sam shows up drunk, looking to get drunker and alienates his entire staff.  Holly and Arlene leave after he calls them bitches. Jason can’t leave Kitch, the star quarterback for the high school football team alone, even though he’s supposed to be looking for Sookie and Summer can’t leave well enough alone with Hoyt.  She shows up at Mrs. Thortonberry’s distraught after she “opened my heart to him and showed him my best underwear.”  It turns out her and Mama Thortonberry are in cahoots to get Hoyt away from Jessica, which is a side plot I can actually get behind.  Why can’t they all be like this?

Holly: Wiccan Abortion Provider

To be fair, I also like the Sam going off the hinges subplot too.  He fires Tommy and kicks him out of the rental, acts nasty to Terry and is such a dick, he can’t even get Tara to fill in.  But she’s not there to work. She’s there to confront Andy Bellefleur in a scene we saw in previews last week that basically amounted to nothing more than Tara saying she knows the truth and Andy saying he’s sorry. It seemed like the whole purpose of that set up was to put Tara in the bar for later developments.  There was no resolution about Eggs, nothing.  Just the painful truth that sometimes things just suck and there’s no one left to blame.

Sookie and Bill are driving as far away as possible from the painful truth. As they drive, they’re fantasizing about an unattainable future where he teaches 3rd grade and she’s a real estate agent.  What a shitty make believe they live in. If they pursue their made up dream jobs, they’ll have surly text messaging addicts to supervise and depreciated mcmansions to sell. That sounds a lot worse than anything else they’ve been through.  But maybe the worst is yet to come.  Just as Bill declares, “everything will be peaceful,” they squeal to a stop when Russell and Eric head them off in the middle of the road and Russell gracefully stops the car with his super 3000+ year old super vamp strength.

Not so graceful (and highly irrelevant) is the cut to the next scene where Arlene and Holly are doing their abort ritual.  Holly’s making a decoction that’s “like herbal tea,” requires some of Arlene’s blood and might not work.  “If the spirit’s meant to be born, it’ll be born,” she says. Why even bother then?  In another irrelevant (but kinda entertaining) scene, Jason’s asking himself why he ever bothered going to football practice in the first place when a cocky upstart jerk like Kitch was just gonna come along and get all doped up on untraceable-via-pee-test  V and break his record.  Again, interesting, but totally and completely irrelevant to what else is going on. Same with Lafayette, who’s still tripping on V aftershocks or maybe he’s under the spell of a different spirit – don’t know, and, at this point, don’t care (and this is Lafayette we’re talking about here).

Finally, it’s back to Fangtasia where the real storyline that’s been building to a crescendo all season is. But that turned out to be weird and confusing, as well as lacking in attention to detail.  It was nice how Fangtasia was all graf’d up and vandalized in light of the vampire hate movement sweeping the nation, but it stuck out (to me, at least) that Russell, with his near superhero like vampire powers, was unable to hear Eric plotting with Bill to try and overtake Russell and save Sookie.  Maybe it’s because Russell was prattling on all crazy-like about how he’ll rule the world when anarchy descends. Maybe his grief over Talbot has distracted him.  Or maybe I just want too much from this show.  As we reach the end of Season Three, maybe the truth is that True Blood’s more interested in being fun then it is in being cogent and well written. It’s just that when it’s good, it’s so good; so is it wrong that I’ve come to expect more than just fun?

I guess it’s to be expected that Sam and Tara wind up drinking and commiserating, then fucking.  Say what you will about Tara getting tortured too much this season, at least she’s getting a lot of play. In other expected moves, Tommy robs the Merlotte’s safe in retaliation against Sam, and Arlene’s Wiccan DNC appears to have been pretty bloody successful.  Terry’s inconsolable, while Arlene can barely conceal her glee.

Arlene pretends to be broken hearted over losing her serial killer fetus (Photo: HBO)

Crystal gets some glee too. Jason doesn’t want to break up after all. So what if she’s a werepanther brotherfucker? He loves her!  But, in a finale set up if there ever was one, she’s just gotta go back to Hot Shot to save the kids and her cousin Beauford who Jason saw eating raw dead game the last time he was out there.  Beauford’s “not right, but he never did nuthin.” Nuthin’ to deserve the DEA raid comin’ down anyway. Jason can come with her or not but she’s goin’.

Sookie’s staying put against her will.  Russell can’t believe she’s a fairy.  Eric says she’s a human/fairy hybrid (as if that logically explains everything).  If vampires ingest enough of her blood they can day walk without getting a sunburn. Sookie’s all, “Nothin’ in my blood is a supernatural sunscreen,” but Bill contradicts her.  At first, Russell’s not one to trust “the mendacious Mr. Compton.” While Sookie’s wondering why she ever had anything to do with any of them, even Bill, but he pleads with her that if they give them her blood, Russell may let her live.

Eric: An Undead Man with a Plan (Photo: HBO)

Arlene’s going to live.  And so is that strong little serial killer critter she’s STILL got in there.  She finds out the baby’s still on board after Terry takes her to the hospital.  I guess Holly’s Wiccan plan and decoction didn’t work.

Back at Fangtasia, Pam’s asking Eric what will happen if their plan doesn’t work – a plan that’s reaching sitcom levels of wackiness at this point. Like, how everyone’s in on it except the two main pawns in it – Sookie and Russell.  Anyways, Bill says they should chill and not, like, totally drain and kill Sookie if they want to keep a supply of fairy plasma around for day walking.  Russell says Eric should go first – to make sure it’s not a trick. But Eric gets all emo about it and starts stroking Sookie’s face. So Russell jumps in and starts chomping away. Then Eric joins in. Then they’re done.  Sookie bleeds as Eric walks out into the Sun. Bill begs to feed Sookie.  Russell and Pam are too in awe to be concerned with his human/fairy hybrid.  Russell feels like a child and cries bloody tears at the thought of ending “thousands of years of night.”  At Pam’s urging, Russell walks into the glorious, sublime Sun. 

Russell: Moved to tears by Eric's sham daywalking (Photo: HBO)

But when he gets to Eric, he sees he’s not fairing so well after all. In fact, he’s totally fried.  Then Eric handcuffs himself to Russell and says, “Be brave. We’ll die together.”  End scene.  Cut to black and I still don’t get this plan.  I guess that’s good, but I’m also not on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what’s going to happen which is not good. 

What did you people think?  Am I being too hard on True Blood?  Should I just enjoy it for what it is and not want it to be all I think it can be?  I just can’t help thinking about Alan Ball’s first TV baby, Six Feet Under, which was consistently impeccably written for the majority of its run. As I recall, it had a rough but interesting season along the way. I have a hunch True Blood’s Season Three might be remembered similarly.  It’s clear the writers are stirring up a witch’s brew of trouble for Season Four. However, they could’ve done that in the first few episodes of the next season (like they did, to the annoyance of many, me included, at the start of this season). If I can get a little irrelevant myself here (since lord knows True Blood’s done it enough to me this season), I watched Mad Men last night after True Blood wrapped and I couldn’t help wishing that the latter will take a cue from the former.  Mad Men knows how to set characters aside that aren’t intrinsic to the central story so the plot doesn’t get weighted down.  Then it brings them back later when they’re relevant and has a lot of fun revisiting or reintegrating them.  Maybe Matthew Weiner and Alan Ball should do lunch so Weiner can remind Ball how that’s done ‘cos that sure would make for a good serving of True Blood.  Be sure to sound off if you think I’m full of it.

Gabrielle Bell’s San Diego continues

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S gets very, very personal in this installment.

Nina Paley’s Mimi and Eunice webcomic

Acclaimed animator/cartoonist Nina Paley has sent around word of her new webcomic, Mimi and Eunice, and by sheer coincidence, the topic is the matter which we’ve been much discussing of late.

Paley is best known for her handmade animated film, SITA SINGS THE BLUES, which was made for next to nothing, hailed as a triumph everywhere, but held up from commercial distribution because of copyright issues in the music Paley used for the film. And as Paley writes on the website for the film:

I hereby give Sita Sings the Blues to you. Like all culture, it belongs to you already, but I am making it explicit with a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License. Please distribute, copy, share, archive, and show Sita Sings the Blues. From the shared culture it came, and back into the shared culture it goes.

You don’t need my permission to copy, share, publish, archive, show, sell, broadcast, or remix Sita Sings the Blues. Conventional wisdom urges me to demand payment for every use of the film, but then how would people without money get to see it? How widely would the film be disseminated if it were limited by permission and fees? Control offers a false sense of security. The only real security I have is trusting you, trusting culture, and trusting freedom.


Paley identifies herself as a full-time free culture activist. In keeping with this idea, Mimi and Eunice is fully embeddable (SO EASY TO POST)…and a quite charming way to approach current politics. Paley had a previous comic strip, Fluff, which ran in newspapers for a few years back in the day.

Here’s another strip for good measure.

How people read when they read comics in public

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It looks like the first ever Read Comics In Public Day was a big hit. Co-founder Brian Heater has a roundup of pictures and links and such. We’ve heard glowing reports of meet-ups around the globe. Proof that COMICS ARE A FORCE FOR THE GOOD OF ALL HUMANKIND!

FanExpo Canada draws huge crowd

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Sounds like CCI: San Diego isn’t the only comics show having some growing pains: There were HUGE lines and crowds at this weekend’s FanExpo in Toronto, according to the CBC:

Even though they had already purchased tickets for FanExpo, many people were told they would have to wait outside because the crowd was at full capacity inside the north building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

“I think they dropped the ball on how much size the convention centre uses this year,” Scott Campbell told CBC News.


Campbell, who was dressed as Cobra Commander, had suggestions for expansion and better utilization of the facility. Commenters on the story were harsh in their criticism, but it’s an internet message board, so use your own judgment:

I had no problem getting into the convention with my deluxe pass on all 3 days. The key is 1) get there early and line up before the advertised opening time and 2) once you are in, do not leave until you are done for the day. As for going out to get lunch, pack a lunch instead. Either make sandwiches or pick up some subway before you leave. A good cooler bag helps keep them fresh all day. And bring plenty of bottled water. That way you avoid having to pay $$ for con food. And you save a lot of $$$ that can be used at the vendors.

That said, the line to get in on all 3 days was ridiculous, and went around the corner as far as Lake ontario. All 3 days I got there early, and the line was at the Go Train overpass by then. But I was still able to get in. Also, the main problem I saw Saturday was them scheduling too many big panels in the same area near the same time, so there was a crush of people who were in 2 different lines and one mob coming out of Stan Lee that caused gridlock in that area, it took a good 30 minutes to get out of there. They need to space these things out over the 3 days better and avoid putting these big guests all in one place.

Also, they should have the concept of “Sold out” like San Diego does. They should not be allowed to get away with selling way more tickets than the venue can hold. Once it sells out, do what San Diego does and stop selling tickets!


Sounds like pop culture is just TOO popular in Toronto.

Artist Jill Thompson twittered some photos photos of the crowd on Saturday and it looks pretty huge.

So who else went? Was it a good time?

Nice Art: Gabriel Hardman con sketches

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Via Twitter

2010 Harvey Award winners

201008291131.jpgFrom Baltimore last night, the winners — ASTERIOS POLYP, David Mazzucchelli and The Rocketeer took home three, CHEW, and THE WALKING DEAD two each in various combinations. Despite ongoing controversy over the nominations, the winners were strong selections, very close to this year’s Eisner winners, at least on first glance.

BEST WRITER — Robert Kirkman, “THE WALKING DEAD”, Image Comics

BEST ARTIST — Robert Crumb, “BOOK OF GENESIS”, W.W. Norton

BEST CARTOONIST — Darwyn Cooke, “RICHARD STARK’S PARKER: THE HUNTER”, IDW

BEST LETTERER– David Mazzucchelli, “ASTERIOS POLYP”, Pantheon


BEST INKER — Klaus Janson, “AMAZING SPIDER-MAN”, Marvel Comics

BEST COLORIST — Laura Martin, “THE ROCKETEER: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES”, IDW

BEST COVER ARTIST — Mike Mignola, “HELLBOY: THE BRIDE OF HELL”, Dark Horse Comics

BEST NEW TALENT — Rob Guillory, “CHEW”, Image Comics

BEST NEW SERIES — CHEW, Image Comics

BEST CONTINUING OR LIMITED SERIES — “THE WALKING DEAD”, Image Comics

BEST ORIGINAL GRAPHIC PUBLICATION FOR YOUNGER READERS — “THE MUPPET SHOW COMIC BOOK”, BOOM! Studios

BEST ANTHOLOGY “WEDNESDAY COMICS”, DC Comics

BEST ORIGINAL GRAPHIC ALBUM — “ASTERIOS POLYP”, by David Mazzucchelli, Pantheon

BEST PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED GRAPHIC ALBUM — “MICE TEMPLAR VOLUME 1″, by Bryan J.L. Glass and Michael Avon Oeming, Image Comics

BEST SYNDICATED STRIP OR PANEL “MUTTS”, by Patrick McDonnell, King Features Syndicate

BEST DOMESTIC REPRINT PROJECT — “THE ROCKETEER: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES”, by Dave Stevens; edited by Scott Dunbier,

BEST AMERICAN EDITION OF FOREIGN MATERIAL — “THE ART OF OSAMU TEZUKA: GOD OF MANGA”, by Helen McCarthy, Abrams ComicArts

BEST ON-LINE COMICS WORK — “PVP”, by Scott Kurtz, http://www.pvponline.com

SPECIAL AWARD FOR HUMOR IN COMICS — Bryan Lee O’Malley, “SCOTT PILGRIM #5″, Oni Press

SPECIAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN PRESENTATION — “THE ROCKETEER: THE COMPLETE ADVENTURES”, by Dave Stevens, edited by Scott Dunbier, IDW

BEST BIOGRAPHICAL, HISTORICAL OR JOURNALISTIC PRESENTATION — “ART OF HARVEY KURTZMAN: THE MAD GENIUS OF COMICS”, by Denis Kitchen and Paul Buhle, Abrams ComicArts

BEST SINGLE ISSUE OR STORY — “ASTERIOS POLYP”, by David Mazzucchelli, Pantheon

Harvey Awards night turns into Waid/Aragones copyright/left free for all

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If you were following our live tweets of the Harveys last night, (and those from ComixMix and JahFurry) you saw portions of Mark Waid’s keynote speech transcribed. While claiming it was a “vodka-fueled rant,” Waid delivered a heartfelt, if off-the-cuff, talk on the importance of the idea and the supremacy of comics as a medium of ideas. He started off with remarks on the history of copyright, stating it was a means to allow ideas to go into the public domain where they could remain powerful. “No one would say we’d be better off if Shakespeare plays weren’t allowed to be read and performed in high schools,” he used as an example. While not advocating piracy, his main argument seemed to be that it’s already done, the genie is out of the bottle, and struggling to keep ideas protected isn’t as important as finding a way to profit from those ideas.

It was mostly pep talk, partly an entreaty “not to be afraid of the future when we can still affect it.” On that part, it was hard to find fault.

But at least one other attendee, namely Sergio Aragones, a cartoonist whose name is regularly preceded by the word “legendary,” took issue with Waid’s idea that ideas should be free. After the speech, according to witnesses, Aragones went over to Waid and the two had a heated exchange. While we heard several reports of various folks storming out and slamming doors, we also heard that after all was said and done, Aragones and Waid literally hugged and made up.

We had a chance to talk to Sergio later on — it was an off the cuff conversation in the middle of a rather chaotic night (the Hyatt bar was shut down early and everyone was in a tizzy). Paraphrasing here a bit, but Sergio was advocating more for the idea that the spread of free content has devalued content, making it harder for people to make a living at it. He said a couple of things that I tried to jot down, one that (I’m paraphrasing) “quality has to be considered again” and the one I tweeted “If you give everything away for free, you have ruined everything.”

This wasn’t a real hard and fast pronouncement, but rather a reflection, I think, of the devalued media world of content farms, user-generated content and “doing it for the exposure,” — anti-income-generating measures that leave many of the creative types I know scrambling for 20 different ways to make a living.

Which isn’t to say it’s bad. It just is. Aragones and Waid are both right. It’s part of a conversation I’ve been having with many people this weekend, and most people seem to think that we’re living in a world where IP is the only sure currency — the Waidian view, as it were. The Aragonesian Principle is more that you have to be aggressive about valuing your IP – and getting paid for SOMETHING.

Dirk Deppey and Lea Hernandez, among others, got into a late night discussion of the Aragones quote, which, given the out of left field context it was presented in, was more of a webcomics-centric argument. Deppey wrote:

I’d go so far as to say that, right now, giving it wawy and selling merchandise at the back end…..is the de facto method for self-supporting, self-published cartoonists in ANY medium.


….true as far as it goes. But we live in a world where popular, loved cartoonists can’t make a living just selling comics for people to read. It may be SOP for all creative people, but it’s infinitely more complex than Jack Kirby’s world: Make a good comic, get it seen by a movie company or ad agency or whatever and get them to pay you a lot of money to do something, go back and do another free comics, rinse and repeat.

More later.

Harvey Night BAR FAIL

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The rest of Harvey night was a little bit crazy. The night was set up for triumph — after the taxing San Diego party circuit, everyone was looking forward to just sitting down and catching up, in the much loved, laid back Baltimore atmosphere.

Unfortunately this goal was not shared by the freaked-out bartenders at the Hyatt bar, dealing with a Comic-Con crowd for the first time. With about 100 people descending post-Harveys into the already busy bar area, an already stressed out staff went into total freak out mode. One guy was basically having a nervous breakdown, trapped between Jim Shooter and Joe Jusko at opposite ends of the bar.

After a bit of this panic, the bar manager came in and looked around the scene with what can best be described as terror. It sounds odd for someone to be shocked that people were in a bar and wanted a beverage, but there you go. And it wasn’t a rowdy drunk crowd, at all. It was just a bunch of friends who wanted to sit back with an adult beverage and talk to pals.

However, the noise from the bar evidently was bothering some guests above, so at about midnight everything got shut down, sending all the Harvey folks and the rest into a late night wander around Baltimore.

Not the safest thing.

But I think everyone got home in one piece.

Live tweeting the Harveys

We’re at the Harvey Awards banquet with Ramona Fradon, Michael Golden, and many other stars. We’re live tweeting the winners at www.twitter.com/comixace. Please follow along.

Baltimore Comic-Con notes

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In a world gone mad, there are still a few things you can count on, and comics at Baltimore Comic-Con is one of them.

We got in last night for our annual dinner at the Rusty Scupper, this time with a bunch of Brooklyn compadres — why do we have to drive four hours to see people who live a few miles away? Oh well, it’s Con World.

One big note for this year’s show — a new headquarters hotel, the Hyatt Regency, as opposed to the Marriott. Show owner Marc Nathan explained that last year the Hyatt was their overrun hotel and it turned out that some of the execs at the hotel are big comics fans, and made a pitch to get the HQ hotel.

The new hotel seems adequate in all regards. And everyone proclaimed the first night of Bar Con a success (except for the early last call, of course) — it has space but an intimate feel and looks to be a good hangout.

One big topic of conversation — ongoing recovery from this year’s San Diego. One prominent comics figure confessed that she had literally no memory of the show from Tuesday night aside from scattered glimpses of headaches and faces, kind of like a Christopher Nolan movie. Another confessed to having had to take two vacations since San Diego. Maybe we’re just old, folks.

Also, congrats to Marc Nathan and wife Shelley, who just became parents for the first time 10 days before the show — little Reese made his debut at the bar Friday night and even in a world where all babies are cute, he is very, very cute.

More from the Harveys later!

…and this is AWESOME: Read Comics in Public Day!!!

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As we write, Read Comics in Public Day, celebrating the ninth art on The King’s birthday, is well underway. A Flickr pool has been set up and people around the world are participating, with meet-ups going on in Australia, London, New York, Boston, Alaska, San Diego, and beyond.

The brainchild of Brian Heater and Sarah Morean, the goal of the holiday is to publicly proclaim comics solidarity and post the results to the internet.

And don’t forget the one for Ladies!

More coverage via Whitney Matheson and Glen Weldon.

We’ll be out and about and posting our photos in a bit.

…but this is okay…

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Although the bus sped off before we could get a good picture, this ad for HSBC Bank had a pretty snappy blurb that went something like “Japanese adults buy more comic books than American children do” with a picture of a sumo wrestler reading a manga.

VERY TRUE.

Don’t let this happen to comics…

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Apparently some politician in Baltimore is using kids reading comic books as the result of a lack of teachers and money for education.

Perhaps she should be shown around the Baltimore Comic-Con to see what a fine, upstanding bunch of folks read comics.

Thank god she never saw Yaoi.