MUST READ: Art or money?


In advice to an aspiring cartoonist, ABA finalist Gene Luen Yang lays out the dichotomy of career paths: You have to decide whether self-expression is more important to you or making money from your art is more important to you. Whaaa-at? Is there no middle ground? They’re not mutually exclusive in the long run, but […]

Starlin: Marvel and I are now talking

One of the topics we’ve all had our eyes on here at Creator Watch 2012 is the Jim Starlin Situation. In brief, as you all know, Thanos was teased as a villain at the end of THE AVENGERS, and the announced Guardians of the Galaxy seems to be setting up some kind of cosmic menace for Marvel’s movie universe. And it just so happens that Thanos — and Gamora, who is a member of the GotG — were both created by Starlin as part of his run on Warlock.

In the case of Thanos, Starlin has posted evidence showing that he created the character prior to working at Marvel. And when asked about the character’s appearance in the third highest grossing movie of all time, it turned out that he had been in the dark about it. As if that wasn’t ominous enough, a Thanos miniseries to be written by Joe Keatinge was announced with great fanfare and then very hastily canceled, with no reason given, leaving room for all kinds of speculation that the character might be in some kind of ownership tussle.

INTERVIEW: Val Staples explains life as a freelance colourist

After reading Bon Alimagno’s excellent interview/evaluation with colorist Erick Arciniega on iFanboy, I decided that it was time for more of us to start jumping on the coloring bandwagon. Getting the right colorist on a comic can be crucial to the success of the book, and yet there’s really very little coverage of this side of the industry available. With that in mind I contacted colorist-whizz (and nicest man alive) Val Staples, whose recent credits include books like Swamp Thing, New Mutants, Deadpool and Hulk, to get a basic insight into his life as a colorist.

How to be a poor cartoonist from Brooklyn

Brooklyn is, despite the gentrification covering a huge swath of the entire borough, still home to a few people who don’t shop at Kitsuné; and most of these urban poor seem to be cartoonists, which Brooklyn also has a huge population. The local website Brokelyn catches up with a few of them for survival tips. Brendan Leach, Leslie Stein and Lisa Hanawalt, (whose book on farts for children is excerpted above) give their recipes for ketchup soup and other practical hints:

The Kirkman/Bendis debates revisited: who's winning now?

Revisiting the debate over whether the Image model is as viable as the company model for creators to make a living.

Kirkman, Millar, and Niles gab about the creator-owned world

CBR has a nice roundtable on creator-owned comics that rounds up Robert Kirkman, Mark Millar, and Steve Niles. Since they are all “strongly for” the piece doesn’t really ignite any banter, but it does allow many long, entertaining manifestos. For instance, how Millar terrorized Alan Moore when he was a teen.

Creators rights activists take note: The Great Thanos War is brewing

Marvel is going all cosmic in the movie world, and Thanos, a character created by Jim Starlin, is at the heart of it.

The evidence is unavoidable. First it was the Thanos cameo at the end of the Avengers—supposedly thrown in because director Joss Whedon was a fan of the character and a cosmic storyline is integral to keeping him on board for Avengers 2.

DC spotlights talent in new ad campaign

Creators, talent, architects, makers…maybe we should just call them the Bullpen.

The Big Two: Not the biggest opportunities in town any more as creators move on

I’ll make it short and sweet: creators have to create. Marvel and DC no longer allow them to do that, except within rigidly proscribed guidelines. And the Paolo Riveras of the world are going to have to move on. It might not be too long before the Big Two are just steppingstones to get your name out there for even bigger things.

Robert Washington's words from the grave: "Have a backup plan."

Just before his death a few days ago, former comics writer Robert L. Washington III gave an interview to CBR that makes for very sobering reading.

"Once creator ownership was on the table, the moviable properties were largely works that creators maintained ownership of."

Nat Gertler has made a chart, and even though his name is not Clarissa, it might just explain it all for you.

Haspiel asks "Where Have All The New Ideas Gone?"

Continuing the thread of inquiry that has been going on here at The Beat of late, Dean Haspiel has a nifty little slideshow for you.

Breaking news: Cartoonist finds way to make money!

Ruben Bolling, aka Ken Fisher, is much loved in most quarters for Tom the Dancing Bug, his long running, surgical strike weekly political comic. Of course, the field for weekly political comics is not exactly busting at the seams with dough. So recently Bolling came up with a new idea, called The Inner Hive which would offer a subscription model for goodies to readers:

To-do: Comics Portfolio Reviews On The Road

Like any good cartoonist and comics evangelist, a road trip cannot just be days of blasting Mates of State and stopping at roadside attractions like Corn Palace. No, no, on my trip from The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction, VT to Fantagraphics in Seattle, WA will be punctuated by a few stops to conduct portfolio reviews and drop off some Schulz Library tote bags at great comic book stores across America.

How helping the Jack Kirby Museum could be the best response

Creator/publisher Zak Sally weighs in on the Kirby Matter, and the actions he suggests are more proactive:

actually, over the course of writing this, i think i DO have an answer– not THE answer, but an idea anyway: it’s somewhat presumptive on my part, and it is NOT what “should” happen, but it falls under the category of “the least you could do”.

Chris Roberson's exit interview

The Comics Journal jumps right back in the fray with an exit interview with Chris Roberson, who uses the occasion to express thoughts Twitter cannot contain. According to Roberson, his distaste with BEFORE WATCHMEN was stated in podcasts, but no one picked it up until his tweets were posted. The whole thing is one big must-read, but here are some quite nice statements that no one can possibly take issue with in the comment section: