§ Legendary artist Jules Feiffer is collaborating with composer Andrew Lippa on a musical for Disney. It’s based on Feiffer’s The Man in the Ceiling, about a boy cartoonist who dreams of becoming a successful artist.
“A.D.” has also been cathartic for me personally. As a New York City resident and a helpless observer of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and their aftermath, it was extremely empowering to be able to do something — no matter how small — to assist victims of Hurricane Katrina. And working directly on “A.D.” for the last two years, and seeing the amazing response it has received from the people of New Orleans, has really helped me deal with the residual scars of 9/11.
§ The New York Times profiles 72-year-old producer Lawrence Gordon, whose mysterious activities are at the center of the WATCHMEN lawsuit:
Even though he has not so far been named as a defendant in the suit, Warner insists that Mr. Gordon is ultimately responsible for the validity of his claimed rights to the project. If Warner does not prevail in court, or chooses to settle, the producer could be pressed to cover any losses.
Crusty and charming by turns, Mr. Gordon, a Mississippi native, is no stranger to Hollywood roughhouse. In a 1983 go-round, for example, he secured a temporary restraining order against Paramount when its executives tried to throw him off the lot. Only a year after his spectacular success with “48 Hrs.,” studio executives had changed the locks and shut off the phones at his producer’s office in a tiff, according to news reports at the time, over his dealings with competitors.
The Comic Book Guy, known to his friends and customers as Rick Vitone, owner of Variety Comics near Chicago’s Lincoln Square, has many powers: eagle eyes, a razor-sharp tongue, a contagious smirk, and the ability to instantly recall the special interests of dozens of customers, old and new.
But his greatest claim to fame is his longevity. In the unforgiving world of retail comics, Variety has outlasted a handful of original Chicago shops and a bevy of shiny newcomers to claim the title of oldest surviving comic book store in Chicago.
§ Albert T. Ferrer asks, Are Video Games Bad for Comics?
Translating the vision from the pages of a comic book to another medium has been proven to be a difficult task for those adapting the material, and a hit-or-miss experience for those anticipating the adaptation. The potential for great games is there, but it has almost never been executed well.
Fans who have grown up with these characters naturally become very particular about the way their favorite comic book heroes are interpreted through various media, and video games are no exception. From the perspective of disgruntled comics fans and game players who have seen more than their fair share of comic-gaming gone awry, there is a clear distinction between the few successful games that have reached the market and the obvious duds.
And now, not one, not two, but THREE “Comics are taking over the world!” links for the day.
“There’s far more mainstream acceptance of comic books today than there was a year or two ago,” says Alexander Zalben, producer of Comic Book Club, a comics-centric talk show on YouTube. “It’s getting to be like bands–this pride in saying, ‘I liked it before it was big.’ ”
The dark side to the trend, says Zalben, is the rise of wannabe celebrity geeks. “All actors and actresses go on talk shows and say they were total geeks in high school,” notes Zalben. “They may have felt that way, but they probably weren’t.”
§ Verified! Comics are being exhibited at the ultra posh Harrod’s department store in London, thanks to Rich Johnston.
Okay, I think we can all officially declare the culture wars over now that Harrods, the world famous department store in London, is currently hosting an exhibition of original comic book artwork from series like Watchmen, Judge Dredd, All Star Superman and 2000AD. When geek culture finds its place in a store historically frequented by royalty, that’s probably enough proof that we have taken over the world. And who do we have to thank for this momentous occasion? An online gossip-monger, apparently.
§ Finally, up in Calgary, Ian McGillis makes it official as can be: Graphic literature is here to stay:
Even at this advanced date, reviews of graphic literature are apt to slip into a faintly apologetic tone. Praise is common but often qualified, as if it’s assumed that true literary depth comes in spite of the form instead of growing naturally from it.
Well, can we all just get over that? No less a figure than Chip Kidd has observed that “graphic novels have taken over the conversation about American literature,” and a similar trend is happening worldwide. The field, in which Montreal’s Drawn & Quarterly is arguably among the world’s top two or three publishers, is experiencing a renaissance that shows no sign of fading. Three of D&Q’s new titles, coincidentally all drawing on international themes, can serve as perfect examples.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.