Webcomic Alert: End 2014 with a little “Optimisim” by Anders Nilsen

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Anders Nilsen sees the year out at Medium with a beautiful full color comic called On Optimisim: Why 2015 Won’t Suck. It’s a very direct and straightforward work from the often oblique (and marvelously so) Nilsen, but it has a few good words that we should all tam into account for 2015. Even though 2014 […]

The Beat’s Annual Comics Industry Survey, Part One: The Return of Siegel & Shuster and “Casey”

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Yep, it’s our annual survey of the comics landscape, from the mainstream to the indies and everything in between. Each year we send out surveys to as wide a swath of comics pros around the world as we can muster…among the answers you’ll find lots of news of 2015 projects, predictions of the year ahead…and right off the bat some startling news from Jeff Trexler about a possible legal bombshell in 2015…and the return of Casey from James Sturm’s epochal comic strip “The Sponsor.” Hold on to your hats and let’s get going.

Play-Doh’s frosting shooting penis and other dubious toys

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So Play Doh made a thing called the Sweet Shoppe Cake Mountain Playset that allowed you to mold inedible Play-Doh into the shape of luscious cakes. It all seemed like innocent fun.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 12/31/14: Almost done

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Final housekeeping of 2014: I keep trying to use WordPress’s new “lite editor interface” but it keeps posting things when I meant to save them as drafts which is why odd things popped up in the feed of late. BETA, people. The new editor does seem to be the way forward—it’s nice not to have […]

NBC announces Constantine return date and time-slot

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  When NBC’s take on DC/Vertigo’s chain-smoking anti-hero struggled in the ratings, the network halted production on Constantine after 13 episodes. Middling critical response and a terrible time-slot (Friday nights at 10 pm) didn’t help its cause, and the question became when/if NBC would ever air those remaining episodes after its mid-season finale capped out at […]

Michael Keaton reminisces about his time in the Batsuit

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Michael Keaton finally had his big comeback year in 2014. With Birdman, and his very meta portrayal of a washed-up superhero actor, Keaton now finds himself as a leading contender for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Recently, he sat down with EPIX, along with some of his fellow competition for the award: Benedict Cumberbatch […]

Hickman Relaunches The Manhattan Projects and Takes a Marvel Break

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By: Alexander Jones Jonathan Hickman is going through a pretty massive career change. First up, he’s relaunching The Manhattan Projects with a new number one and title change, with The Manhattan Projects: The Sun Beyond The Stars #1. Expect the new #1 on March 11, 2015, along with Nick Pitarra on art with Jordie Bellaire on colors. […]

Must buy: Economics of Digital Comics by Todd Allen

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Disclosure: Todd Allen is a long-time contributor to this site, so read the following as advanced log-rolling if you will.

That said, the book he kickstarted over the summer, Economics of Digital Comics is out. I have an early digital copy and this is really a book everyone in the comics business should read, especially people going into various digital models, from crowdfunding to subscription to pay what you want. Allen casts a cynical eye on most of this stuff, and runs numbers to show what works and what doesn’t. But he also looks at print costs, and the economies of other channels to give a strong overview of what we talk about when we talk about selling comics in 2014. The book has new interviews with digital players and statistics on what webcomics earn from advertising, how much it costs to print books, what the big players take out of various delivery methods and more. All footnoted. And an introduction by Mark Waid, who has become something of the spokesman for Generation Digital.

Nice art: Valiant Next variants designed by Tom Muller

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Valiant is letting out all the stops with the Valaint Next launch, and luckily most of the stops look pretty nifty. It’s a competitive field out there for well designed comics covers, but designer Tom Muller (Zero, Drifter) usually stands out. Here are the variants for the Valiant Next titles TIMEWALKER #1, IMPERIUM #1, DIVINITY […]

Larry Gonick is back with The Cartoon Guide to Algebra

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Long before graphic novels were “respectable” there was Larry Gonick, whose Cartoon History of the Universe books were respected and bestselling looks at history as told in a fanciful but well researched cartoon style. A former calculus calculus instructor at Harvard and a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT, his science bona fides have never been in doubt. And he’s back in January with a Cartoon Guide to Algebra. Is there a way to make the abstract more comprehensible with comics? We’ll soon find out.

Marvel and Netflix’s ‘Daredevil’ leaning towards ‘The Wire’ in its tone

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By Kyle Pinion With 2015 just a few days away, we’re on the verge of another big deluge of superhero cinema and television; from Agent Carter, the return of The Flash, Arrow, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. from their mid-season hiatuses to the Fantastic Four reboot, the big-screen debut of Ant-Man, and of course the giant, […]

Nice Art: The Animal Battles of Maryanna Hoggatt

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Portlandia artist Maryanna Hoggatt specializes in highly detailed statues of animal warriors that are pretty spectacular—fans of Tooth and Claw take note. The statue shown above is about 10″ high and made from Super Sculpey, apoxie sculpt, armature wire, acrylic, fabric, ink, wood base. Her site also includes illos of the animals depicted. You can see […]

Guest commentary: Who Stole Superman’s Undies?

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Guest post by T Campbell.

Can the soul of Western civilization be found in a pair of red briefs? Was our first great superhero at his strongest, his noblest, his superest, before modern interpretations stripped him of his underwear? Is there a connection?

A generation ago, when those red briefs were an inseparable part of Superman’s design, he was the most familiar superhero by a wide margin, leading the field in film adaptations,[1] headlining cartoon shows,[2] and even winning over famous media critics who were fiction writers in their own right. Even now, if you believe superheroes have anything to say to American culture or the human experience, you sort of have to start with him, because he’s the prototype.

Umberto Eco called him “the representative of all his similars” [3] and Harlan Ellison described him as one of “only five fictional creations known to every man, woman, and child on the planet.”[4] Born in the early hours of a visual, easily reproduced medium, he was popular enough to codify most of what being a superhero meant. The Oxford English Dictionary even mentions him by name in its definition of “superhero”:

Danielle Corsetto announces Girls with Slingshots is ending

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Long running—since 2004—and very popular webcomic Girls with Slingshots will be drawing to a close in the next few months, as announced in the strip and an essay. Creator Danielle Corsetto will be taking some time off to further her art education, but she doubts that it’s the last we’ve seen of the characters in […]

Rough calculations suggests 2% of millennials read comics

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Millennials, can’t live with ‘em, can’t get a vanilla soy macchiatto without ‘em. Among the many charges levied against these lazy, disengaged kids is that they ever grow up and read too many comic books. BUT IS THAT TRUE? Commentator Kevin Drum—who I normally adore—does some back of the envelope calculations and concludes that only 2% of millennials are comics readers. For the numerically inclines out there (translation: Torsten) here are his envelope calculations:

Broken Frontier Awards 2014 winners: women, Image dominate

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The comics news website Broken Frontier has announced the winners of its annual awards, as chosen by readers and industry professionals. Image Comics was a winner, as you might expect, but female creators won in 5 of the 13 categories, suggesting that the arrival of talented and noteworthy women in comics is a thing that is here and now and not some hoped for future event. The winners are as follows: