We apologize to linking to these at a time when no one reads the internet, but sometimes that’s how the cookie crumbles.
§ Two — TWO — competing takes on the greatest events in comics. One by Matt Wilson at Topless Robot:
Like it or not, the prevailing business model for Marvel and DC for the past decade-plus of comics has been to build up to crossover events, publish events and set up crossovers within the events they’re publishing. It’s a cycle that’ll continue as long as people to continue to buy them, which probably isn’t going to end any time soon.
and another by Alex Zalben at MTV Geek:
What makes something an “event” comic? Is it the sheer number of issues? The number of characters? The impact on the Universe? Sure, it’s those things, but it’s also a combination of those factors – and more than that, its lasting impact on the readers in the long run. Events like Atlantis Attacks over at Marvel, or Invasion at DC might be remembered fondly; but they’re not seminal works that changed the way comics are made. Okay, maybe some of the books on our list don’t quite fit that criteria, either… But trust us: these are the eleven biggest comic book events – ever:
Of some note — the lists contain much the same contents, but in some cases with positions reversed. We prefer Zalben’s choice of Crisis on Infinite Earths as #1 to Wilson’s Final Crisis pick — the Wolfman/Perez opus was the original continuity-correcting event, signifying once and for all that fan concerns would be the motivation behind corporate publishing decisions. Final Crisis was…aptly named. BUt, you know, some people like Nescafé and some like Taster’s Choice.
§ Thot for the day courtesy of J. Caleb Mozzocco
So what are the chances that the folks at DC designed the new, improbably revealing Star Sapphire costumes just in the hopes that cosplayers would wear them?: That was my first thought when I saw this picture. Okay, my second thought. Wait, I also wondered how it was staying on, so third thought.
Nice use of invisi-tape, female cosplayer!
§ The CBLDF website salutes Pam Noles who is justly known by insiders as one of the coolest people you’ll ever meet.
CBLDF: You’ve worked for rights organizations, professionally for ACLU, and as a volunteer for CBLDF. What is the importance of working for rights in the modern day? Noles: No higher power is going to just hand over fundamental rights — you have to claim them, defend them, and work to expand protections to populations historically deprived of them. If you don’t take a stand and do your part for the cause – however small – one day you’ll find your bubble of complacency popped when The Powers That Be come after a basic freedom you care about.
§ CBR interviews the great Richard Thompson, last of the great comic strip artists,
“Cul de Sac” grew indirectly out of the Almanac. A few times in the Almanac I’d drawn a toddler’s rountdtable with a bunch of mouthy little kids venting on issues of the day (which sounds like it could go grimly cute real easily). It was so much fun to write those roundtables and it came so naturally that when I was trying to populate a comic strip I turned to little kids again. When I thought about it I worried that little kids in the suburbs were pretty banal comic strip fodder, so I tried not to think about it. Putting adult words into kids’ mouths is a pretty common cheap trick too, and I don’t fool myself that the kids in “Cul de Sac” are particularly realistic. But I think their concerns are those that a child would have, and their fears and the small things things they notice are true to a child’s way of thinking. A friend said the strip describes how, to a child, life is often a pile of unfamiliar things that they need to sort and understand. I like that.
Even more dangerous though is the hidden war going on in the shadows by pirates and guerrillas. Internet piracy is not going away. If anything, it will become increasingly easier and in the minds of future generations, more acceptable. As digital readers become less expensive and easier to use more comic fans will look for a digital solution. These tech-savvy individuals will be hungry for content and looking for the easiest and cheapest way to get their fix of four-color funny books. If society (or Wikipedia) tells us anything it is that humans are basically lazy and willing to cut corners and/or break the law if it gets them what they want with the least amount of effort.
Right now, downloading pirated versions of your favorite comic books are easier than trying to get them legally. That is a fact and one I think too many in the industry are ignoring. Right now if you wanted to buy a digital copy of 95% of the comics that come out next Wednesday, you couldn’t. No publisher is offering day-and-date digital comics for even half of their monthly catalog. Publishers are reluctant to have day-and-date digital comics because they are afraid it will upset the apple cart. The first major publisher that goes day-and-date with all of their comics is sure to feel a backlash from both distributors and retailers. It is hard to blame them though. Who in their right mind is going to anger their best customers by exploring the wilderness of the digital domain? Retailers and distributors fear that once consumers can buy comics online, there is no reason for them not to. So publishers are trying to keep them happy while at the same time pushing back against the inevitable and irrevocable change to their business model. The problem is, the model is being changed whether they like it or not. The longer they wait the more comfortable their customers will become with not paying for their products.
§ FInally, an excellent two-part interview with Comics Alliance’s Andy Khouri at Lalawag in two parts. It covers a lot of thought provoking stuff about how the internet and comics internet work:
I’m also an active Tumblr user. It took me a long time to work out exactly what that platform and network were for, but I think it was a case of over-thinking. Tumblr is simply an easy way to share content — usually other people’s content — with your followers. It’s a platform of curation, and I think that’s valuable. Many of us don’t want to weigh down our own blogs and websites with random photographs,videos or other people’s things we just think are awesome since those items will detract from the primary function of our blogs – to promote ourselves and our work. But with Tumblr, you can add to your, ugh, “personal brand” with a new level of engagement: your taste. By dumping your disparate interests in photography, music video, etc. into one marvelously easy to navigate place, you create a kind of curation-of-cool-shit algorithm that has an uncanny way of attracting like-minded people. As such, I’ve found a whole new audience for my professional and personal work just by starting a Tumblr blog to share things that appeal to my tastes.
And part two
At ComicsAlliance, which is a blog, I take the extra step of synthesizing the facts and other relevant information — which I’ve not necessarily gathered myself, something inherent to most blogging — with my “voice” and creating something that I would find fascinating, entertaining, important or otherwise palatable if I were the reader. If I’d written that Muslim Batman piece as a straight news source, it would be a litany of publishing facts like dates, issue numbers and story summaries along with select quotes from the racists in question, with the readers left to make of it what they will. In the blogging context, I was able to take all that information and present it to the readers and make the authoritative, passionate and even humorous argument that those people were in fact racists deserving of scorn and mockery, and then live or die with my readers based on the strength of my words.
§ Finishing our week of admiration for the new Comics Journal, how do you like a piece looking at…Jim Starlin:
The hot-tempered Starlin quit Captain Marvel over an inker substitution, and began doing work for Friedrich’s just-launched Star*Reach Publications, which hewed to the business model of the undergrounds: artists retained ownership of their creations. But he quickly returned to Marvel to reimagine Adam Warlock, a Jesus-like being with yellow skin. Warlock was Starlin’s masterpiece, a superhero comic about a suicidal paranoid schizophrenic that also just happened to freight commentary about the vagaries of mass-produced, work-for-hire comics. He was, within a few years, involved in negotiating royalty rates for Marvel’s graphic novel line (he wrote and drew the first volume, for which he killed Captain Marvel); shortly after that, he helped to hammer out the terms of Marvel’s creator-owned Epic Comics line (he wrote and drew its first title, Dreadstar).
Although his work is far, far removed from today’s indie comics sensibilities, Starlin was absolutely one of the pioneers who helped make that world possible, in terms of pushing for more ownership and expanding on themes as much as the times allowed. It’s good to see that noted. Perhaps not coincidentally, Starlin also created one of the best comics events as noted by both lists above. Dude has chops.
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.