While The Beatrix enjoys much needed rest, relaxation, and recharging up where America’s day begins, I’m keeping watch here at Stately Beat Manor on the Hudson, monitoring the RSS feeds of comics, cartoons, and cute kitten videos. (The latter gets automatically shifted into a revolving data cloud, so I ignore those automatically.)
So, what’s been happening online, which might have been missed or overlooked as people comment on Li’l Abner appearing in Action Comics?
Well, for starters, while I’ve been constantly reloading DCComics.com for the latest and, um, greatest? on the the New DCU 52, I only noticed there were blogs for DC and Vertigo. Yet, when I just now visited to grab that Action Comics #1 link, I noticed one for MAD! Apparently, they’ve been posting content since May 2, and it looks like there’s a dedicated website as well! (TheIdiotical.com redirects to http://mad.blog.dccomics.com/) Surprisingly, given the content of MAD, DC has allowed comments! Unfortunately for MAD, of eight postings so far, there are only three comments in total! Still, it’s good stuff, and they’ve even been posting some archived articles to commemorate (?) the passings of Dr. Jack Kervorkian and James Arness. Of course, the regular MAD site has lots of content as well, and unlike DC Comics, MAD continues with its numbering intact (511 issues and counting), because if they restarted with #1, they’d have to create new material!
Sadly, with the final list of the New DCU 52 (yes, I’m hoping that phrase gains traction, because “flashboot” and “DCnU” are rather uninspired… although “new ones” has a nice poetic quality to it) there has been much wailing and gnashing of teeth as fan favorites have been relegated to minor-league status. One title I’m almost certain no one has mentioned, or even missed, was Strange Sports Stories, mentioned on Wired.com (via Io9). Really not too far-fetched, when you consider the great Ali-Superman bout from a few years later. Or the “heroes vs. villains” baseball game, where Luthor invents a polarized bat which creates automatic walks. Perhaps Vertigo could relaunch this?
Perhaps Strange Sports Stories was inspired by the cartoons found on the backs of baseball cards? ESPN’s Page Two column reminisces about the biographical cartoons found on the back of Topps baseball cards from the 1970s. (Click on the links in the article for examples.)
Overseas, Romania will honor their 120-year history of comics by opening a special gallery on the fourth floor of the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Bucharest June 16th. There will be various exhibits, including one dedicated to web cartoonists. More PR here.
Closer to home, arch daily reports on plans for a new building for the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, to be located near Delancey and Norfolk near the Williamsburg Bridge. Apparently, they announced a competition in December, and the finalists were announced in January. Curiously, the white box mentioned last week was not one of the finalists. Looking at the finalists, it’s probably best that they went with something more … sedate.
Many of us “seasoned” comics collectors remember the days when teachers and librarians would consider comics with disdain and disapproval. Now, as comics-friendly professionals become teachers and librarians, they have become proponents of using comics and graphic novels to encourage kids to read. Publishers have begun to exploit this market, and one of most interesting is ABDO. They have been rebinding old issues of the Marvel Age superhero titles from the past decade, as well as Indiana Jones and Star Wars comics from Dark Horse. Recently, ABDO announced that in addition to offering e-book versions of these books, teaching guides would be available as well! Many comics fans can recall words learned from comics (mine is “gobbledygook” from MAD, Jim Shooter’s was “bouillabaisse” from Donald Duck). The study guides actually present vocabulary lists culled from the stories, which are quite impressive for fifth and sixth graders! (juggernaut, contingency, irascible, megalomaniac, catatonic…)
Just as Neil Gaiman used tulip mania as an example of speculation run amok for comics collectors, so has Jonathan Last used comics speculation to explain the recent real estate bubble. Of course, this is nothing new, as Charles Mackay noted back in 1841.
The Catholic Review reports that World Youth Day approaches once again, this year in Madrid, and Manga Hero, the only publisher of Roman Catholic manga, has produced 300,000 copies of a biography of Pope Benedict XVI to be distributed. They also publish other Biblical stories, including a series based on the kick-ass Jewish heroine Judith.
The BBC reports that the University of Dundee, located in Scotland, will offer the UK’s first Master’s Degree in Comics (Masters of Literature). Meanwhile… Kyoto Seika University, a private college in western Japan, is offering the nation’s first doctoral program in manga. The university started a Master’s program last year. The Kyoto International Manga Museum is also nearby.
The Silsbee Cheerleader controversy has cost her family $45,000 in legal fees owed to the school district, so Jason Ho of Bongo Comics has offered to sell sketches for $20 to help raise the funds. Comics Alliance has the specifics.
And from the Google News archives:
“Spider Man comic book combats teen-age pregnancy problem”
The comic can be read here.
I’ve been writing for The Beat since July of 2010.
I’ve been reading comics since 1974, collecting since 1984, and spreading the graphic novel gospel since 1994.
I’m a bookseller, a librarian, an amateur scholar, a cool uncle, and a comics evangelist.
Ask me anything!