10 Steps to Make Your Creations Real

Douglass Neff instructing on what constitutes as attainable.

Douglass Neff instructing on what constitutes as attainable.

By: Nick Eskey

The thing about fandom is that on some level, we all wish we be a part of what we love: We want to write a hit novel because we love to read; we want to draw a comic book because we love to draw; we want to be a filmmaker because we love to watch movies. But making fantasy a reality is never as easy as the dreaming part. I can personally speak from experience, as that I’ve been trying to finish a manuscript for the last two years. Either there’s always something to keep me from meeting my writing goal, or some maybe an important chore I have to get done first. Sound familiar to you?

Douglass Neff, author of Epic Win! The Geek’s Guide to the Journey from Fan to Creator, treated convention goers to a workshop revolved around completing that certain artistic project we’ve been wanting to complete. Referred cutely as the “10 Magic Coins,” Douglass discussed ten steps of action aimed to facilitate the success of one’s prospective project.

1. “There is no magic.”

Simply put, no one will do the work for us. There are no short cuts we can take, no magic lamps to rub, no secret passage that will lead us to our end goal.

2. “Specific.”

You may know what you want to do, like write a book for example, but there has to be more than that. What type of book? Young adult? Children’s? Murder mystery? Is it going to be one book, or is it going to be a series of books? Douglass used Neil Gaiman’s adaption of Jack Kirby’s Eternals for instance. When Neil Gaiman announced that he was going to do it, he just didn’t leave it at that. He said he was going to do “six” books for the series. If you are planning a project, it should be fully fleshed as to make a clearer goal.

3. “Measurable.”

Though you may not be under any real deadline, you should set one. Having a due date makes the project more real, and gives a new layer of urgency. “I need to get it done by this date, so I should get to work on it.”

4. “Attainable.”

If you want any hope of your goal/project to be realized, the goal itself has to be realistic. Especially if attempting something for the first time, it would be best to make set the end goal to be definitely reachable. If the goal ultimately fails, don’t take it too hard. Failure is a chance to learn. Use what you learned to figure out why it failed, whether the goal was too lofty, or if perhaps the approach wasn’t effective.

5. “Get some help.”

Every great hero either has a sidekick, or has someone in their life that they can depend on to be in their corner. This is their support staff. “It’s too dangerous to go alone. Take this!” A good support team will be needed to stay on track. Your “coach” should be someone who will push you continuously towards your goal. Sometimes, they may even need to pull you along kicking and screaming. Your coach doesn’t care how it gets done, just that it does. Your “cheerleader” will be very important in their own right. When you are at your lowest, they will cheer you own and keep your spirits high. Lastly, your “score keeper” is the one that cares about the quality of your work. “Does that sentence need to be there, why is there a pink elephant dancing on a bar top in this scene, why did you give this woman a mustache?” They are the one that will be brutally honest to you and keep your feet on the ground. Douglass strictly advised that if a spouse fills any of these roles, they should only fill “one” of them. It would be a conflict of interest otherwise. Anyway, more than likely some of your support staff will butt heads with each other. It happens.

6. “One step at a time.”

Along with an ultimate goal, try to create smaller goals that act like waypoints for each step along the way. The process will then seem easier to manage.

7. “Play into your strengths.”

This step should really have a few smaller steps in it, because it covers a number of things. You may not be the best at drawing, but by the gods you are an excellent story teller. Focus on what you’re good at, for these things are what will carry you the farthest. Where you decide to do your work is also going to be a strength. Do you do your best work when alone, or sipping a large-iced-no-fat-soy-latte in a busy coffee shop? How will you do your work also will play a part. Some people are glued to their computers for writing, where others swear by old-fashioned typewriters for their projects. George R.R. Martin for instance writes all his books on an antique dos computer with no internet, or spell checker capabilities. It works for him.

8. “Do your homework.”

A goal requires research. Seems simple enough, but some aspects aren’t always that clear. If you’re trying to sell a script, make sure the people you want to present it to are interested in your genre, or if they are even excepting open submissions at the moment.

9. “Know your nemesis.”

Any proper super hero has that one, really super villain that always manages to be a persistent thorn in their side. Mind you, I’m not saying that you’ll have someone trying to tie your project to the railroad tracks. But there will be things that stand between you and success. Have a habit of searching the web mindlessly on your computer, or easily get tempted away by invites for drinks at the bar? Call out all the things that will impede you, and ensure they won’t get in your way.

10. “Never ever ever give up.”

Now this step is the most important. If you’ve made a real, obtainable goal, then it will eventually be reached. We all know it’s hard to see the trees from the forest, but don’t let the loss of momentum or the fear of failure hold you back. After all, how can you reach your goal when you stop reaching all together?

The Beat Podcasts! – SDCC ’14 Day 1: Eric Powell & Richard Starkings

logo-pod-more-to-come-1400.png Live from San Diego Comic Con, it’s More To Come! Publishers Weekly’s podcast of comics news, interviews and discussion with Calvin Reid, Kate Fitzsimons and The Beat’s own Heidi MacDonald.

In day one of our special San Diego Comic Con 2014 coverage, Heidi interviews Eric Powell – artist/writer creator of The Goon – about his latest miniseries, creating a long-running comic series and his progress on The Goon animated movie. Next, she interviews writer and Comicraft lettering mastermind Richard Starkings about his ongoing series Elephantmen and life as an Image Comics creator. Tune in tomorrow for more SDCC coverage from More To Come!

Listen to this episode in streaming here, download it direct here and catch up with our previous podcasts on the PublishersWeekly website, or subscribe to More To Come on iTunes

Bernie Wrightson is in hospital but doing well


He was just at HeroesCon, running around, smiling and putting this amazing work (done with Scott Hampton) in the auction (I know it doesn’t photograph well but it had everyone amazed), but according to social media, legendary horror artist Bernie Wrighton has been hospitalized following a series of small strokes. Steve Niles has been updating Wrightson’s condition and says he’s doing well. The initial report came from Wrightson’s wife, Liz.

Okay, y’all first: Bernie is in the hospital, having suffered a series of SMALL strokes. Tests are happening; surgery may be in the cards. His cognition and spirits are good, but convention appearances look unlikely for the next few weeks. Overall he is okay, as we got him to the hospital FAST. Send good thoughts and all that… -Liz

Good thoughts are indeed going out.

Cartoonist Anders Nilsen is taking on Amazon with two new projects

Anders Nilsen—Don’t Go Where I Can’t Follow, Big Questions, Rage of Poseidon—is surely one of the finest cartoonists of the last decade. Big Questions won lots of awards and helped further the cause of the graphic novel’s literary worth when it came out in 2011. The fold-out book Poseidon is an object d’art in addition to being a multi-leveled parable of humanity and divinity.

And now he’s taking on Amazon. In an email, he announced two new projects:

The first is that I just self-published a book called God and the Devil at War in the Garden (monologuist paper update IV) It’s 24 pages, 9″ x 12.25″, black and white, with a fold-out back cover. It has a story about the Devil that wasn’t quite ready for inclusion in Rage of Poseidon (it’s going to be in the German language edition of that book later this year). It’s in that format – the silhouettes. There’s also a short collaborative piece I did with a friend, novelist Kyle Beachy, and a piece about a vacant lot in my old neighborhood in Chicago. And there’s some drawings and things. It’s $15.

The first orders will also include a little 13 page minicomic about the other thing I’m writing you about. It’s called Conversation Gardeningand it’s both a comic and the beginning of a little experiment. It’ll be inserted into the binding of the big comic.

The mini and the experiment it launches were prompted by all the bullshit Amazon has been pulling lately. Maybe you’ve been following it.

This mini is perhaps the most metaphysical analysis of the Amazon Hegemony by an author released yet. I imagine the shelf of “Dialectic mini comics about the Amazon Hegemony” is slim, but Nilsen has it nailed.


But Nilsen has also issued a call to action for those who would join him:

I’m asking people who buy one of my books (any of my books, not just this new one) at an independent bookseller (or from my online store) to send me 1) the receipt, (a formality to show it’s not from Amazon) and 2) a question or idea written on a piece of paper. I will then make a drawing in response on the piece of paper and send it back to them. I’m planning to do 100. Signed and numbered.

I have a few other cartoonists lined up to be guest artists on the project, to be announced over the next several months as they have new books coming out. The first will be Zak Sally, with the release of Recidivist #4 later this Summer.

The idea is to start a series of symbolic ‘conversations’ – questions and responses – in order to a) create an incentive for readers to buy my work from people who actually care enough about art and literature to make selling it their livelihood and b) encourage people to see their cultural exchanges as real, human level relationships. I wanted to do something that would amount to a positive response – creating something new. A boycott or an anti-trust case or vaguely shaming people for shopping on Amazon are all fine, too, but they are negative responses that try to keep something from happening. I wanted to make something new happen.

Considering the tone of Nilsen’s body of work—where the frailty and uncertainty of emotional interaction become a quest for meaning in a barren landscape—this seems like an intensely personal and cool thing to do. So let’s go buy some Anders Nilsen books and strike a blow for personal interaction.


Kirby Case to SCOTUS more likely?

kirby captain victory

The family of Jack Kirby’s quest to regain some rights to the Marvel characters still has a chance to go all the way to the Supreme court, as THR’s sturdy legal expert Eriq Gardner reports. Gardner quotes some amicus (friend of the court, i.e. supporting document) briefs by experts as weighing in favor of it being heard:

It was authored by Bruce Lehman, former director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and the chief advisor to President Bill Clinton on intellectual property matters. He writes on behalf of himself, former U.S. register of copyrights Ralph Oman (who served as chief minority counsel of the Senate’s IP subcommittee during the consideration of the 1976 Copyright Act), the Artists Rights Society (whose past members included Jackson Pollock and Pablo Picasso), the International Intellectual Property Institute and others.

But before getting into what’s said in this brief (provided below), we’ll turn to another amici curiae brief (also below) that offers a better set-up to what exactly is disputed. This one comes from Mark Evanier, a comic book historian who once apprenticed for Kirby and has been an advisor to Marvel, DC Comics and Dark Horse Comics. He joins John Morrow, another Kirby historian, as well as the PEN Center USA, one of the most prestigious organizations of novelists, poets, playwrights and screenwriters.

Although the Kirby case has gotten much further along in its journey to the Supremes than most of us ever thought, observers still pint out that it has one element that makes it being heard unlikely: a lack of division among lower court rulings. Marvel/Disney has won at every level of the court system. And the business-friendly current make-up of the Supreme Court makes a Kirby victory kind of unlikely, no matter how many heavy hitters weigh in on the amicus briefs.

That said, Kirby was always an underdog. And the fact that the underlying elements of the case—the meaning of the ‘instance and expense’ test to prove whether work was work for hire/on staff or independent—have been prominent enough that the court has actually ASKED for brief is telling as well.

Looks like this is going to go all the way down to the wire. 

RIP: Charles Barsotti


Famed New Yorker cartoonist Charles Barsotti has passed away at age 80. He was 80. Barsotti had been suffering from brain cancer since last year, and he died quietly at home yesterday.

With his extreme simple line style, and talking and thinking dogs, Barsotti was most often compared to James Thurber, and his whimsical humor was firmly in that vein. Panhandlers, kings, harried businessmen…all the icons of New Yorker humor got memorable treatment in Barsotti’s work.

In 2007 a collection of his dog cartoons was published called They Moved my Bowl.


Bill Watterson will draw the Angoulême Festival poster and write more intros

billwattersonIf they were to produce a remake of Field of Dreams, suffice to say Bill Watterson would NOT be one of the characters.

The cartoonist, once so elusive that a whole book was written about trying to find him, , the Calvin and Hobbes cartoonsist is now on a veritable charm offensive. First there was the brilliant cross over with Stephan Pastis on Pearls Before Swine. Now there’s the official news that Watterson will draw the poster for the 2015 Angoulême comics festival — in January Watterson was elected president of the 2015 fest, a position which usually carries very active duties. Although it’s incredibly unlikely that he’ll attend in any way, he’s clearly happy with the honor.

Watterson has been far more public in the recent couple of years—he drew a painting for the Team Culde Sac benefit, drew the poster for the Stripped Documentary and has been interviewed in several places. There was also the retrospective of his art at OSU which he participated in.

There are signs we’ll be seeing even more of Watterson. In October IDW will publish a retrospective of the early satirical Puck Magazine, Puck: What Fools These Mortals Be, with an intro by Watterson. This project (which looks amazing) is even further afield than the previous Watterson sightings, so who knows where he might go next?

Derf ends THE CITY comic strip


On his blog yesterday, cartoonist Derf announced the end of his strip THE CITY after 24 years. It’s a miracle any alt-weekly cartoonist was still going, but Derf’s humorous look at Cleveland life had a good run, outlasting most of the papers that once carried it. He wrote:

I know some of you will lament this decision, and I thank you.

It was never my plan to produce The City this long. Nearly a quarter of a century? How the hell did THAT happen? But I’d be nothing without this cranky, quirky, little comic strip. Still stuck in a lame daily newspaper job, or, more likely, laid off and lamenting the end of my career. The City by itself is a minor blip in the comix landscape, but I look back with pride at a body of work that was consistently good, and, for a few periods, even exceptional. But it’s time to putThe City to rest. This strip means too much to me, and I owe it too much, to let it wheeze on as an afterthought.

BY his own admission, Derf is now better at graphic novels, such as his classic Dahmer, than he is webcomics. However, he’s still doing a biweekly strip called The Baron of Prospect Avenue. And next year, his graphic novel about trash collection will be out from Abrams.

Comics’ secret economy: animation hiring boom

While walking around TCAF a ton of conversations I overheard involved boarding, backgrounds and other animation type gigs. One publisher even wondered aloud what would happen if Adventure Time went off the air. And this Deadline story tells the story: LA-Area Animation Jobs At All-Time High. While there’s lots of film work, it’s also in TV:

Jobs in TV animation are also on the rise. “The work has really increased on the television side,” Hulett said. “There’s more storyboard work and design work, and it’s all driven by animation’s profitability. Animated television shows have been a great cash cow and profit stream for the conglomerates. They can make them for at a competitive price, and they have a long shelf life.” New media is also creating jobs for animation workers, he said, noting that DreamWorks is producing Internet content for Netflix. Hulett noted that the good times in animation are creating many good-paying jobs for other workers in the industry as well, including voice-over actors, editors, and sound technicians. “The growth here,” Hulett said, “is coming from all the preproduction work – the storyboards, layout, animation scripts, character design and key backgrounds.”

I can’t even keep count of how many indie cartoonists make a living doing animation work, but the number of them moving to LA is an indication, as is this Tumblr post which asks: WHY IS STEVEN UNIVERSE SUCH AN AMAZING SHOW?!



How many familiar names can YOU spot there? Chuck Austen!

TCAF panels in audio: Brubaker, Phillips, Robbins, Johnston, Beaton and more!

Jamie Coville has done his usual amazing job of recording panels from TCAF, including several from the librarian and educator conference, Trina Robbins talk on Nell Brinkley, and the Doug Wright Awards. He also has photos up here and here.

Toronto Comics Arts Festival (TCAF) 2014 (May 9 – 11) –  210 Photos

Note: Friday May 9th was Librarian & Educator day. For the general public TCAF was May 10-11th.


The Brinkley Girls, WWI and American Patriotism in Women’s Comics: A talk by Trina Robbins. (38:58, 35.6mb)
The Introduction is by Dr. Barbara Postema. Trina talked about Nell Brinkley with a big touch screen TV (which she liked). She also talked about Nell’s work, what it was saying, ran through some highlights
of some stories she told with her art and talked about her politics and humour, among other aspects. Trina then answered a variety of question about Nell, rediscovering her, why traditional comics history
don’t touch on female cartoonists and Nell’s original art.

Great Creator Visits! (50:05, 45.8mb)
Moderated by Scott Robins, this panel featured Lynn Johnston and Raina Telgemeier talking about their visits to schools and libraries. Lynn opened up about not liking to do schools where the kids are
forced to be there. She said they can be disruptive, a lot like she was at that age. She prefers events where those in attendance want to be there. Raina talked about having to deal with rowdy kids.
Lynn said she doesn’t like overly long introductions because they drain the energy of the room. They gave a list of don’t for events and among them were staff not aware of the event, no
advertising, not being able to sell their books after the show, no bathroom or coffee breaks between events and friends of the organizer wanting to dominate your time after the show. They also talked about
good creator visits they did. Both of them spoke about the struggle to make deadlines while doing visits, the age level they prefer talking to, doing visits on Skype and interviews via twitter. The
audience asked questions about their gay characters and what response they got from them. Lynn also talked about her decision to age the characters as the strip went on and how that affected merchandising.
Lynn said she really liked Rania’s book Smile and gave Rania a big public stamp of approval for her work as a cartoonist.

Collection Maintenance. (1:05:38, 60.1mb)
On the panel was Robin Brenner, Scott Robins and Max Dionisio. It was moderated by Lindsay Gibb. They started by talking about their libraries, what they carry and what moves really well. Each
gave which websites they follow for keeping up with comic news. The method in which they house their collection was discussed. They spoke about how they handle Manga and buying series (full series or the
first few volumes). They talked about weeding out books that just don’t circulate, something they all have to do. They discussed how to avoid pigeon holding their Libraries collection. Max talked about his
unique situation in an all-boys school in handling GLBT books. He finds them scattered around the library all the time so he knows they are being read, but they don’t get taken out because kids are afraid of
outing themselves or just getting teased/bullied when others see their name on the Library card. They also discussed how digital access to comics has affected their circulation.

Comics and Undergrads. (53:33, 49mb)
Moderated by Lindsay Gibb, the panellists where Marta Chudolinska, Dr. Dale Jacobs and Dr. Barbara Postema. They started off talking about how they got involved in comics and how it relates to their current
academic work. They discussed what they like about comics, specific books they use in their teachings, how wordless comics are good for education, assignments they use comics to teach, how much they use
their library for their lessons, if they got any pushback to their work and how some of the theory between comics and picture books have a lot of overlap. Barbara mentioned that sometimes wordless comics get
called picture books. Marta talked about how the Library she works for tries to provide access to things that is out of reach for many people due to cost or scarcity, like artists editions books and comics

2014 Book Talk: Kids. (34:36, 31.6mb)
Andrew Woodrow-Butcher spoke about some upcoming kids books that would be good for libraries. Among the books he mentioned were the new Amulet Vol 6, Cleopatra in Space, Salem Hyde, Star Wars Jedi Academy,
the Hilda series, Zita the Spacegirl, Jellaby (now back in print), A Cat Named Tim, Cat Dad King of the Goblins, new Amelia Rules books, The Dumbest Idea Ever, a new Battling Boy book, Anna and Froga,
Courtney Crumrin Vol 5, a new Lego book, A Regular Show book, a bigger, full colour reprinting of Dragon Ball Z, the Marvel Digests, itty bitty Hellboy and Aw Yeah Comics, Samurai Jack, Power Lunch, the
Sonic the Hedgehog and Megaman crossover book, Mermin, Dinosaurs, The Kings Dragon, Hidden, Gajin, Maddy Kettle, new Adventure Time books and WWE collections of their comics. Within the panel was Kazu
Kibuishi talking about Amulet and it’s evolution. Kazu also revealed his serious health problems prior to doing the book where he got so sick he went into a coma. John Martz talked about a Cat Named Tim and
Jim Zub talked about Samurai Jack going from a mini-series to ongoing.
Note: I cut out about 4 minutes from the audio where they do a door prize giveaway.

In Conversation: Kate Beaton and Lynn Johnston. (1:11:11, 65.1mb)
This was moderated by Raina Telgemeier. Chris Butcher started the evening off with small talk about TCAF and how they try to be inclusive of all genders and show a diversity of people from different
backgrounds. He mentioned this year they are getting international press coverage and have artists from 20 different countries this year, which he’s really happy about. He made a sly Rob Ford joke about
being sorry he named it the Toronto Comics Art Festival. Chris also thanked their sponsors of the show as well. Rania asked a variety of questions and they started with how the two of them got started in
comics. Lynn talked about her and Jim Davis (of Garfield fame) starting out at the same time. Throughout the show she talked about her previous jobs working in animation and a medical artist. Kate talked
about starting her web comic at a fortunate time when there was a lot less competition for people’s attention on the internet. The two talked about their role models and particularly female role models.
Kate said Lynn was one for her. Raina mentioned that Lynn was the first female and Canadian winner of the Reuben Award and asked her what that was like. Lynn said it was very stressful because at the time
some people wanted Jim Davis to win (and some didn’t) and she felt she was too young and hadn’t really done anything yet to deserve the award at the time. In particular she mentioned a lot of MAD artists
(like Mort Drucker) who hadn’t won the award yet and should have gotten it before her. She also told a funny story about how she handled other cartoonists when she was president of the Cartoonists Society.
The two talked about criticism from men. Family was a topic with how far you go, if they regret putting something out there and if they felt later that they overshared information. They talked about how fans
shared personal stories with them. This lead into Lynn talking about the outing of a gay character in For Better Or For Worse and the reaction she got from readers and newspapers. She thinks it was the best
story she did and the one she’s the most proud of. They talked about their efforts to help out young artists. Lynn mentioned how when she has something personally bad happen to her she’s thinks it will be
turned into a great story. Rania asked if they still love comics as much now as they did when starting out. Kate said she still does. Lynn talked about how her father loved the comics and comedy in general
and would read comics to her, point out the details in them, and would run films back and forth to show how it was all choreographed. Lynn also revealed she loves comedians and wanted to be one. Rania asked
what keeps them coming back to the drawing board. She also asked each of them what she is doing now. They also took some questions from the audience. Lynn said she really enjoyed working on the animated
For Better Or For Worse cartoon, said it was great working with all those people doing different things (music, artists, sound effects, etc..). She also revealed from working on the cartoon she drew her
strip with more detail as the animators needed detailed everything about her strip in order to make the cartoon. Kate talked about her growing up in small town and being like the only artist there.

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips Spotlight. (55:48, 51mb)
Heidi MacDonald moderated this panel. They started off with how the two ended up working together and in particular how Sleeper came about. Ed was very outspoken during the panel, saying he wished he had retained ownership of it. Sean talked about his art and where digital is used to create it. The two spoke about their process of working together today. They revealed they hadn’t seen each other in person in 5 years, but e-mailed each other daily. Ed said that he signed on to work with Marvel to publish through their Icon imprint. He also said the imprint was started for Bendis but they brought on David Mack’s book so it didn’t appear that way. He revealed that he got just got the rights back to Criminal a week ago and will be moving the series over to Image. He said that Icon was a imprint that was used as a favour to people who did their superhero books and didn’t want his career to be at the mercy of favours from other people. He also revealed that Dan Buckley had to justify Icon to the shareholders as Marvel doesn’t make much money from it. Ed said for a while he was paying creators out of pocket for a while on Criminal. Regarding his writing, Ed likes adding subtext in his stories so people get a lot out of it and it’s not a quick read. He wants people to get something new out of the story when it gets re-read. Ed expressed appreciation for something Sean does that he sees no other penciler do is actually write in where the lettering would go to ensure that there is room there for the word balloon. So many other artists don’t do that, which leaves not enough room for the dialogue and that leads to production issues. They also went over how Sean doesn’t do splash pages very often. Ed brought up the “Archie” story within Criminal and what he was reacting too when he wrote it. He revealed he’s been talking to Joe Hill about horror and wants to delve into that. Ed discussed the reason he does crime stories because when he was on the wrong side of the law in his youth, involved in shoplifting, doing and selling drugs to
other kids in his school and he likes the stories about the desperation of committing a crime and the twisted version of the American Dream. Ed revealed there is a new book coming about the 1940s+ Hollywood
with blacklists, the studio system and other issues. He said he had family that was working in Hollywood at the time and he wants to incorporate that information into the book.

Michael DeForge and Friends. (55:15, 50.5mb)
On the panel were Jillian Tamaki, Annie Koyama, Patrick Kyle, Michael DeForge and Ryan Sands. The creators (everybody but Annie) are involved in Youth
in Decline
. They revealed there is a Lose collection coming about that collects issues #2 to #5. Michael said #1 does not fit in with the rest of the stories so he’s not putting it into this
book. The group talked about how and what they choose to put online vs. what’s for print. They talked about collaborating with others and how they handle differences of opinion. Doing anthologies and their
growing popularity, Jillian also asked questions to Michael and kind of co-moderated the panel. Annie revealed she has seen creators online that she was interested in publishing, but there was no contact info
for the creator so she moved on. Michael was credited as being a good writer by Jillian and wondered if the change in his drawing style has affected how he writes stories. They talked about a new book that
is coming out, took questions from the audience, and talked quite a bit about the need for validation among their peers. They also talked about needing a trusted another set of eyes to look at their work and
give feedback prior to publication.

Trina Robbins Spotlight. (57:44, 52.8mb)
During this panel Trina went though some parts of Pretty in Ink, her final book about female comic artists. She went through some of the earliest comic artists, starting with the first comic strip drawn by a
female and ending with the Women Comix anthology and a photo of the 40th reunion of the Women Comix anthology. After that Johanna Draper Carlson interviewed her about why she did the new book. She had
revealed she was very unhappy with her last book due to all the typos. She was really unhappy with her editor on that book and was not shy in saying so. Gary Groth of Fantagraphics asked her to do
this book and she had a lot of new information and wanted to correct some bad information in her previous books. She said Gary worked with her to make sure there wasn’t a single typo in this book. The
audience also asked questions and she revealed that she would love to write Wonder Woman but DC would never hire her. She also felt that DC/Marvel female editors did not support female creators, but would
say they did in order to sell that there was no sexism in comics – in order to keep their jobs.

History/Nonfiction Comics. (58:33, 53.6mb)
This panel was moderated by Brigid Alverson. On the panel was Nick Bertozzi, Nick Abadzis, Diana Tamblyn, Nate Powell, Meags Fitzgerald and Tyrell Cannon. The group talked about why they choose to do
Nonfiction works, how doing it helps them as creators, how they deal with the facts getting in the way of telling a good story, the visual research and how important it is, if the subject is still alive and
do they reach out to them, if they worry about their audience reaction to the book, how they deal with direct quotes when it doesn’t work with the script.

Ed Brubaker: Writing Comics Noir. (55:22, 50.6mb)
Andrew Murray and Adam Hines from Guys with Pencils podcast moderated the panel. Ed talked about how he got involved with Noir as a child. He also talked
about his past, saying one story from Lowlife was actually autobiography. He revealed that his parents worked in the Navy and when he was young he lived in Guantanamo Bay for a couple of years. He explained
what Noir means to him and if he thought Noir characters had to be bad people. He discussed what TV shows he likes (or liked), mentioning the Sopranos and a Canadian show called Intelligence that he said was
cancelled because of politics, specifically citing Prime Minister Stephen Harper as being the reason. Ed said his uncle was a CIA operative that was outed in the 70s (presumably in Inside the Company:
CIA Diary book). The Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie came up and he said what it was like being an extra on it and being happy it was a good film. Ed mentioned that he spends half his time writing
TVs and movie screenplays, saying he wrote a remake of Maniac Cop. Regarding Criminal, they are now hiring cast for it. There were questions from the audience and he told us who inspires him today to be a
better writer.

Stuart Immonen and Sean Phillips in Conversation. (1:01:10, 56.0mb)
While the two talked there was a slide show of art going on in the background which sometimes came up in the conversation. They started off with some very early work and how they got published. Sean talked
about inking, painting covers, photo-referencing & design. Stuart talked about using 3D models; both said they looked at other peoples sketchbooks to keep with what younger artists are doing. They discussed
the tools they used to make art with, they showed some work outside of comics that Sean did and got into page/panel design. This brought out questions from Ed Brubaker who was in the audience,
asking about the grid design used in their books (which got some laughs from the audience). Stuart talked about doing digital comics in that the entire thing was designed to be read on a tablet or phone,
and the amount of re-thinking about the effects of reading comics this way that it took, both in terms of the size of the screen and the non-traditional gutter space. There were other creators in the audience
that also began talking about contributing to digital comics (the panel became a round table discussion for a couple of minutes), Sean talked about a job he had to turn down, Stuart talked about a small
Pirates of the Caribbean story that he did in a completely different style and how it lead to the work he did on Nextwave.

The Doug Wright Awards 2014 (May 10) – 26 Photos

The Doug Wright Awards 2014. (1:20:18, 73.5mb)
The ceremony went as follows:
Introduction of the nominee’s and sponsor appreciation by Brad Mackay.
Doug Wright’s youngest son Ken Wright spoke on behalf of the family.
Opening monologue by Scott Thompson.
Pigskin Peters Hat/Award: Emily Carroll for Out of Skin.
Jeet Heer explains why the jury chose Carol’s work.
Don McKellar (minus 1 tooth) read the nominee’s for the Spotlight Award.
Spotlight Award (AKA “The Nipper”): Steven Gilbert for The Journal of the Main Street Secret Lodge.
Nick Maandag explains why the Jury picked Gilbert’s book.
Michael Hirsh gave his history in recovering and preserving the archives of the Canadian Whites.
Induction of all 200+ creators of the Canadian Whites into the Giants of the North Hall of Fame.
The last two surviving cartoonists Gerry Lazare and Jack Tramblay were there and gave their acceptance speech. They were followed by Adrian Dingles youngest son Christpher.
Best Book:  Paul Joins the Scouts, Michel Rabagliati (Conundrum Press).
Closing by Brad Mackay.
Then Hope Nichols and Rachel Riley talk about the just published Nelvana of the North (created by Adrian Dingle) Collection.

Help Seth Kushner Find a Bone Marrow Donor


Photographer and comics writer (Schmuck) Seth Kushner is one of the really good guys and just a few weeks ago he was spotted at MoCCA FESt happily manning the Hang Dai Studios booth and talking about his successful Kickstarter campaign for SCHMUCK. Thus it came as a complete shock to his friends in the NYC comics community and his family when a few short days afterwards, after complaining of what felt like the flu for a few days, he was diagnosed with leukemia. Seth was immediately checked in to the hospital where he has been undergoing chemo therapy. His friend Hannah Means-Shannon has more on the situation.

While Seth has been fighting this with the spirit we all knew he would, it has been determined that he needs a bone-marrow transplant, and he is looking for a donor. His wife, Tara sent out the email below. Please join me in sending all the good wishes in the world to Seth, Tara and their son, Jackson, and if you can help in other ways here’s how to do it.

From Terra Kushner, wife of Seth Kushner:

Bone Marrow Donations for Seth Kushner

As you may know, Seth will need a bone marrow transplant. His transplant doctor is starting the process to search for potential donors through the National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP), which maintains a national registry of potential matching bone marrow donors. Many of you have inquired about how you can find out if you qualify to be a potential donor.

Basically what you do is register via online or phone & swab your cheek. Here are a couple organizations you can use.

Delete Blood Cancer – I personally went to this website, registered online from my iPhone, received a swap in the mail with 24 hours, mailed back the swab & was told it will show up in the register within 3 weeks. They claim to be the quickest.

National Donor Registry – this is the registry that is directly associated with the NMDP.

More specific details are laid out on the websites above. If you decide you want to be a donor, you can:

• register online (they will send you a kit through the mail to swab your cheek that you will mail back- prepaid postage included)

•go to an approved center to swab your cheek (locations listed on sites)

•organize a bone marrow donation drive or “swab” party.

As far as I can see, the basic criteria for potential donors are:

•lives in the US
•not in the US military
•haven’t already joined the registry
•willing to be a potential donor to anyone*

*Perhaps the most important point about volunteering through the national registry is that you cannot specifically sign up to donate to Seth. It is a big commitment to join the registry, and your efforts can be enormously rewarding, but the process is designed to find patients anywhere in the country or world who may benefit by being a match to you. Therefore it does not provide an option to specify who you wish to help.

I’ll keep you updated on the matching process as things move along.

Let’s pray that we quickly get a donor!


— with Seth Kushner.

A few notes on SVA’s Fresh Meat 2014


I meant to get this post up many days ago but it’s been that kinda week. Last Friday I went to SVA’s comics/zine fest Fresh Meat where seniors—and some undergrads—learn how to sit behind a table and smile while selling their print comics. It’s valuable training for would be cartoonists, and a sharp preview of what’s to come. There are always a few stars to be found but as I’ve been going to the event nearly every year, it sure has changed.


This year’s event was packed when I got there but mostly with youngsters, fellows art students or comics lovers, I’m not sure. The trend has been more and more towards women over the years but this time it was probably 75/25 female to male. The most accomplished students were probably Molly Ostertag (above) and Hazel Newlevant. Newlevant has gotten lots of attention here and elsewhere and Ostertag’s Strong Female Protagonist (Written by Brennan Lee Mulligan) already has a following.

Once long ago, an SVA class was mostly guys who wanted to draw Spider-Man or Batman but there were no superhero artists among the ones I saw. Then manga style ruled the day but there was no overt manga that I spotted, although a lot of manga-infused work. The work was really all over the place—personal, unfiltered and, yes, fresh. It’s the “modern” style that mixes American, European and Japanese influences all over the place. Jillian Tamaki, who teaches at SVA has a little portfolio of seniors here and you can see what I’m talking about firsthand. (I share her enthusiasm for Aatmaja Pandya.) I’m not sure what kind of career anyone has in mind but the publishers I heard mentioned most were First Second and Vertigo.

Most cartooning students everywhere are now women, according to my informal inquiries. I’m not sure what this says about the future of the medium or the cartooning profession…I don’t think anyone does. Is it just a trendy “thing”?

A few more images.

It’s a little hard to see, but her jacket has a panel from Normal Rockwell’s “Gossips” — she made it from a curtain but apparently YOU CAN BUY THIS CLOTH ONLINE. Holy shit. Mind. Blown.

The guys who were there either weren’t very prepared, or had a whole concept down, like these fellows.

Just some of the diverse participants. he woman on the left had a little comic about female murderers — I think that would so well in the Snapped environment.
And more of the crowd.

Supreme Court to decide whether to hear the Kirby case later this month


The Kirby vs Marvel battle is not quite over yet. According to Dominic Patten the Supreme Court will actually discuss whether to hear the case on May 15th. As you may recall, the case involves Jack Kirby’s heirs suing Marvel for rights to the characters he co-created during his long Marvel career. Although Marvel has prevailed at every step of the legal process, including many appeals, it has still got this far, perhaps due to the issues that Jeff Trexler discussed here, which suggested that an obscure legel facet of the case might be of interest to the Supremes. According to Patten, Marvel/Disney did not take the possibility of SCOTUS taking on the case very seriously:

Marvel and Disney are probably shocked that after their successive victories in lower courts this case is even been discussed in Conference. They certainly didn’t seem to take the initial petition very seriously. On April 24, the media giant’s attorney R. Bruce Rich filed a waiver (read it here) with the Supreme Court. The lawyer from NYC firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP said the respondents  “did not intend to file a response to the petition…unless one is requested by the Court.” Being that the Kirby estate’s petition was distributed among Chief Justice John Roberts and the other Justices 5 days later, Disney and Marvel might want to rethink that move or rather lack thereof now.

While it’s still a very long shot that this will be herd or that Marvel won’t win again…never say never.

The second comment on the Deadline story contains a long post that reads as if it came from the Kirby lawyer Marc Toberoff, but it does contain some interesting reminders:

2) Marvel has to date produced no documents signed by Jack Kirby prior to 1972. (See court documents.) Nor is Marvel likely to. In fact, Marvel is currently in the process of quietly approaching any and every creator responsible for any property that is being used in the films, TV, Netflix, wherever, in the order of priority, offering either buyouts or as little as they possibly can. Marvel does not want any brush fire to burn out of control as a result of one creator achieving success through the courts, and they know their biggest weakness is the lack of documentation throughout their company’s history.

I’ve been hearing whispers about this for a while, and Marvel’s lack of actual paperwork remains a ticking time bomb under the desk that even Alfred Hitchcock would find suspenseful.

MoCCA Award of Excellence Winners announced — and here’s where you can get them

Saturday night at a rockin party at the Socirty of Illustrators, the winners of the 2014 MoCCA Arts Festival Awards of Excellence were announced. Winners were all on sale at the festival and were selected by a jury consisting of Gregory Benton (a winner last year), D&Q’s Tracy Hurren, AdHouse publisher Chris Pitzer, designer Chip Kidd and James Sturm of the CCS.

Five winners were announced — all got handsome coin-like awards and a Wacom tablet.

David Plunkert for Heroical

Greg Kletsel for Exercise the Demon

Luke Healy for Of The Monstrous Pictures of Whales (which you can read online for free in this link)

Jess Ruliffson for Invisible Wounds

The Art of Alexandra Beguez for Narwhal

So as you can see, comics are just fine, as far as artistry goes. Poke around all the artists links above…you’ll spend a pleasant moning/afternoon.

There’s a movie about Bryan Talbot…and here’s the trailer

There is to be a documentary about Bryan Talbot, the creator of he Tale of One Bad Rat, Luther Arkwright, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes, Grandville and many more. I can’t think of a better storyteller among our contemporary cartoonists, so he seems like a great subject for a documentary. The trailer has folks like Andy Diggle, Neil Gaiman and Pat Mills talking so…add it to the list.

The film will be available for download and DVD on May 24th but I don’t know too much more about it. There’s a website here.


New Yorker cartoonists spotlighted in delightful 60 Minutes segment

Even in a world where major media coverage of comics personnel is a daily habit, this profile of The New Yorker’s cartoon process by Morley Safer is a delight. The occasion is the release of cartoon editor Robert Mankoff’s book How about Never—is Never good for you? whih is also excellent, but the taped segment includes folks like Sam Gross, Emily Flake, Roz Chast, Ben Schwartz and more tlaking about the process and at long last we get to SEE the legendary Wednesday cartoon meetings as they unfold — or at least as they would unfold with a 60 Mintues camera crew watching your every move. There’s a transcript in the above link:

We assembled a roundtable of veteran New Yorker regulars to talk about rejection. Ben Schwartz, who gave up being a doctor to draw cartoons. David Sipress, Roz Chast, and Charlie Hankin, the new kid on the block.

David Sipress: We all probably do probably 700 or 800 cartoons a year we hand in. And it’s, we’re lucky if we sell 30 cartoons a year. So that’s a lot of rejection.

Roz Chast: When I do a cartoon and I think, “This is, they’re gonna love this one. It’s a classic.”

David Sipress: That’s the one that gets rejected, right?

Roz Chast: That, right away that goes in the garbage.

Charlie Hankin: I was addicted to the rejection before I got addicted to the, you know, actually making the sales.

Morley Safer: Addicted to the rejection?

Charlie Hankin: Kind of. It makes you feel alive.

Mankoff comes off as something of a cartoon character himself, lean and mobile at age 69; and see the old and young New Yorker cartoonists profiled so lovingly and respectfully truly made my day.

The CBS site includes three supplemental videos on Mankoff, a close up of rejection, and 83-year-old Safer picking his favorite New Yorker cartoons, among them some old favorites you probably know by heart.