SVA launches INK digital anthology

Just a few days ago we mentioned how digital comics magazines for the tablet are the next frontier, and here’s another new one, INK.

INK’s pedigree is pretty good: It’s produced by the students and faculty of the School of Visual Arts in New York, a hotbed of cartooning talent and innovation. The first issue can be read for FREE and downloaded for iPad or read on the web.

INK, a free digital magazine devoted exclusively to comics and designed for the iPad, has launched. Published by the School of Visual Arts (SVA), INK transforms the experience of reading a comic with a custom-built app and exclusive content by aspiring and renowned comics artists. INK is also an open invitation to all sequential storytellers to make something new, to strive for something beyond what is already known, to add to the conversation.

“I am pleased and proud that the students in SVA’s BFA Cartooning Department continue to point the way forward for their chosen field,” says SVA President David Rhodes.

INK is intended to nurture the development of emerging comics artists, break ground within the worlds of comics, education, and publishing, and to set a standard for how the next generation of storytellers will approach publishing and distribution. Every installment of INK features a selection of work by aspiring and renowned comics artists, including work by SVA students and alumni, along with written contributions by faculty members such as Nick Bertozzi, Joey Cavalieri, and Klaus Janson.



Persepolis showing creates uproar in Tunisia

Comics and related cartoons continue to cause problems in the Middle East. Tunisia, the country widely credited with setting off the “Arab Spring” in a relatively peaceful fashion earlier this year, is in an uproar after Marjane Satrapi’s animated film was shown last month and immediately set off a huge controversy for a scene which shows God — which, as you may have realized by now, is forbidden by some branches of Islam.

Nessma, the station which ran the film, is being sued for showing it — and the trial erupted in angry confrontations yesterday:

Critics accused station owner of Nabil Karoui of trying to inflame a tense pre-election environment in Tunisia and several suits were filed against him.

Karoui is accused of “attacks against sacred values and morals and disturbing the public order.”

In addition to the demonstrations, many of which had to be confronted by tear gas, Karoui’s home was attacked by a mob wielding petrol bombs.

“I am very sad when I see that the people that burned my house are free while I am here because I broadcast a film which was authorized,” he told journalists outside the courtroom.

Disney's very female-friendly take on Marvel


One of the major — if not THE major — reasons that Disney purchased Marvel two years ago for $4 billion was that the House of Ideas supplied a ready-made audience of material aimed at boys under 18 — the one quadrant Disney has always had the toughest time reaching. Disney does princesses and Pooh great, but they had to create a whole cable network that could be specifically branded for boys — Disney XD, which already airs various Marvel cartoons.

So this look at just how Disney has used the Marvel universe by Mike Gold is quite interesting as he points out that Marvel TV shows in development at Disney include the Hulk, AKA Jessica Jones (ALIAS), Cloak and Dagger, and a possible Miley Cyrus vehicle based on Mockingbird:

Step back a pace and take a look at what’s going on here.

Most of these shows are built around female superheroes. As headliners, such characters are anathema to motion picture studios. But Disney is betting heavy, heavy bucks that the distaff side will draw a sufficient audience to warrant the investment.

That’s pretty cool – and very risky. Women heroes haven’t fared much better on the small screen: Nikita was renewed by the skin of her teeth, The Bionic Woman revival flamed out, as did Charlie’s Angels redux. David E. Kelley’s Wonder Woman didn’t make it past the pilot stage. Yet Disney is developing no less than three Marvel shows built around women.

Although Marvel’s movie slate is totally boytastic, it does seem that the small screen offerings are fitting into the Closer/Medium/Damages/Prime suspect vibe: women solving crimes and kicking butt. The small screen has long been much friendlier to female protagonists and Disney/Marvel can’t help but have noticed that.

It also fits into some theories from the time of the sale that felt that Disney would revert to type and make even Marvel’s world of superheroes way more girl-friendly than you ever thought it could be. X-23, where you be?

News and notes from all over

§ Retailer Brian Hibbs updates several ongoing matters in his new column, including New 52 sales:

And, given that “Action” #1’s first week sales, compared to “Action” (v1) #904, were something like 650%, I’m absolutely enthusiastic here — books that had “old DCU” equivalents are, for the most part, multiples of what they were previously.

Naturally, books that are workmanlike, or poorly received/reviewed, are selling what they were (or, in one case, at least, already worse), but that was always going to be the case. But the books that actually have a distinct POV or a passion that can be communicated? On those I’m seeing considerably shallower drops between #2 & #3 — several with only 3-5% drops (which can translate into a single copy on some).


§ A whole genre of Japanese comics no one has heard of:

In the late 1940s and ’50s, there was a mixed genre of picture narrative in Japanese youth magazines that, as far as I know, does not have its own name. It usually appeared under the rubric of “emonogatari” (pronounced “eh-mono-gatari”), the equal parts image and text “picture stories” that had been popular since Yamakawa Sōji’s work for Shōnen Club during the war, and particularly after his hit Shōnen King (Shōnen Ōja) in 1947. Like that title, many early emonogatari were conceived as print versions of kamishibai, in which rectangular image and expository text were coupled like the picture cards and oral narration of that theatrical art form.

Are there “emonogatari” fanboys and zines and nostalgia conventions?


§ Everyone has been linking to this great interview with Annie Koyama of Koyama Press, which reveals her inspiring backstory.

I wanted to leave advertising and had planned to take a year off to travel but fell ill and wasn’t able to travel or work for a long time. Later I was terminally diagnosed with brain aneurysms but opted for a risky surgery that was successful. I still have another aneurysm but choose to mostly ignore it.

During my non-working years, I built up a nest egg by playing the stock market. After I survived the surgery I wanted to do something other than film so I started funding projects with local emerging artists and that led quite accidentally to the making of the first book.

I did a few more projects that involved zines and little comics and enjoyed that, so I devoted all my time and resources to starting a company that publishes and helps emerging artists.

She also notes some books debuting at BCGF in a couple of weeks:

Next up is Maurice Vellekoop’s “The World of Gloria Badcock”, Matthew Forsythe’s “Comics Class” and Jeremy Kai’s photography book of his underground explorations. All will debut in the U.S. at the Brooklyn Comics & Graphics Festival.

§ Here’s an interview with On the Media’s Brooke Gladstone on her “understanding media” GN:

Nrama: What do you feel is the real great advantage of the medium of comics – what are some things you can do there that you can’t do anywhere else?

Gladstone: Well, first of all, it forces an economy upon you. When you do it, it makes you boil down. You can’t temporize, you can’t thumb-suck for a few chapters, you can’t shilly-shally. You have to know what it is you want to say, and you have to say it precisely. It forced a preciseness onto my writing, a part of which has definitely transferred back to comics from the radio. Many people have said that my writing is so much more direct, and so much more evocative, because there’s so much more precision in it now from the writing of this book.

§ iFanboy’s Conor Kilpatrick totally speculates on what Marvel books may be below the Mendoza line for cancellation:

• Thunderbolts – 23,712
• X-Factor – 23,569
• Avengers Academy – 23,412
• S.H.I.E.L.D., Vol. 2 – 21,060
• Daken: Dark Wolverine – 19,472
• Generation Hope – 18,424
• Deadpool MAX – 15,865
I’m not saying any of these specific books will be canceled, or that any more Marvel books will be canceled at all. But if any more books are canceled in the days ahead, the above are probably the most likely candidates. It’s important to keep in mind that there are all kinds of reasons to cancel a comic book series, but sales is usually the primary reason.

§ Not long ago critic Nadim Damluji delivered a pretty convincing smackdown on the Orientalist tropes in Craig Thompson’sHABIBI. Now he’s back with an interview with Thompson who proves refreshingly blunt in addressing any and all criticisms, even if some of his responses are a bit glib:

CT: I wanted to sexualize Dodola, because I wanted the reader to experience her through the lustful gaze of all men, and primarily the gaze of Zam. Hopefully the lust of Zam is transmitted in those drawings, and maybe at times the reader identifies with it or other times feels disgusted by it or ashamed by it, which mirrors the experience Zam was having. Throughout the book even the Orientalism is a commentary on exoticization. Which isn’t just about any specific culture or ethnicity, but a stereotype of what men do in general or what a lot of people do in romantic relationships. I’m examining American guilt and I’m examining male guilt. In male guilt there is so much of this energy of objectification and idolatry and eroticization. When I think of those French paintings I don’t see the “White Man’s Burden” of the French needing to save the beautiful Arabic women from their oppressors, I see the opposite: French men swarming in a perverted sort of way and trying to make fantasy reproductions of what those ladies look like under their hijab. I don’t think it paints the colonists in a positive manner, it makes them seem like these creepy little voyeurs.

Also, Thompson — rather shockingly — falls back on the “It’s just comics, folks” line:

I do feel reverent and respectful to elements of Islamic faith, but through the whole book there is a sense of play and self-awareness around the fact it’s still just a comic book.

Still, props to both Damluji and Thompson for engaging with actual criticism.

§ Only the other day we were lauding the great art talent on Marvel’s DAREDEVIL; now here’s an interview with the writer, Mark Waid, conducted by Tucker Stone.

From my point of view, this seems like the first time in 15 years that somebody has given me the keys to the car and said “do what you wanna do”, and I have, and it’s succeeded. Generally, I do what I think is best to reinvent a franchise and write for the non-hardcore audience, and the nerd rage is off the charts. I wrote a Legion of Super-Heroes book that you didn’t have to have a degree in Legion-ology to read and understand…and? Mistake! Superman Birthright, a Superman take that’s not like John Byrne’s? Cue the rage. My short-lived return to Flash, breaking with what’s been done before? Bear trap. So I’m pleasantly surprised to report that for the first time in a long long time that…I’m zigging when I should be zagging and people are keeping up with me rather than just being mad.

§ This one is just Inside Baseball for San Diego Kremlinologists, but the struggling SD Union Tribune newspaper has just been purchased by Doug Manchester, the Trump-esque owner of the Manchester Grand Hyatt. This is significant in a few ways. The locally controversial Manchester is a Prop 8 supporter whose hotel was boycotted by gay rights supporters for a few years. He’s also not a big fan of Comic-Con, reportedly, so it might be interesting to see if the paper — which has been very supportive of the show in recent years — changes its coverage at all. It also is part of the whole Byzantine politics of the San Diego waterfront:

In San Diego, Manchester is known as a developer of waterfront hotel properties that have complex financial underpinnings and controversial design features.

Last week, for example, the California Coastal Commission rejected Manchester’s proposal to build hotels along the San Diego waterfront as part of a plan by the Navy to develop its property.

Among other criticisms was the concern that the hotel project would block waterfront views and turn it into a private asset rather than a public one. The same criticism was heard from the commission when Manchester proposed a hotel in Oceanside, a project later scuttled.