§ January 6th is the Christian feast known as Epiphany, also the 12th Day of Christmas, so the holidays are over AND you get to wish people a great Epiphany. It never gets old. Above painting by Abraham Bloemaert.
§ Congrats to Janelle Asselin on joining The Mary Sue as their weekend blogger. Here’s her post on Marvel publishing Star Wars
§ Chris Ware writes about his cover for last week’s New Yorker, which was a sequel of sorts to a previous New Yorker cover.
Steve Jobs, along with whatever else we’re crediting to him, should be granted the patent on converting the universal human gesture for trying to remember something from looking above one’s head to fumbling in one’s pants pocket. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that most pre-industrial composers could creditably reproduce an entire symphony after hearing it only once, not because they were autistic but simply because they had to. We’ve all heard Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos hundreds of times more than Bach ever did, and where our ancestors might have had only one or two images by which to remember their consumptive forebears, we have hours of footage of ours circling the luxury-cruise midnight buffet tables.
§ Meanwhile, R. Crumb offers his own capsule reviews of people from Kafka to The Beatles.
§ Tom Spurgeon interviews Comics and Cola’s (and once in a while Beat writer) Zainab Akhtar, who speaks very well, I think, for the new audience of people who are reading all kinds of comics:
On a semi-related aside, something I don’t understand is that if you have your own site and you’re producing all this material for free, for the love of comics, is why not focus on the comics you love? I’m probably missing something, but I’ve heard people say “Oh, I’d love to cover indie/small press comics. But nobody reads about it” — but then their blog/site isn’t monetized anyway? So you’re reproducing press releases from Marvel for, what, the clicks? Or the few pennies that brings in? I don’t get it. I understand that people want a readership, I want that too, I want a shit-ton of people to read what I write (kind of), which is why I share it on Twitter and Facebook or whatever, but the point isn’t to be popular for the sake of popularity, it’s to be popular for the thing that you do.
§ Steve Murray (aka Chip Zdarsky) compares DC and Marvel superhero movies and concludes, as so many have before him, that DC movies are more grim ‘n’ gritty.
Thor smiles; naturally, even. The new Superman smiles with sad eyes, like it’s a bone thrown to the audience to let them know that this isn’t just a flying Batman. Thor battles the bad guys with a sense of fun, even though, and here’s the interesting part, he’s a warrior who surely kills people. So, do I have a double standard here? Why is it OK for fictional alien do-gooder No. 1 to kill people and not the other guy? Well, it’s all in the execution, so to speak. Superman unleashed holy hell in a dark, painfully contrived, no-win scenario, culminating in a disturbing snapping of a person’s neck. Thor threw his super-hammer at a rock monster in a daylight battle, smashing it to pieces, and then delivering a fun quip. Did that rock monster have a rock family? A little rock monster at home, wondering where rock daddy is? I don’t know. Who cares? It was gleeful and ludicrous and unreal, like a comic book. Bloodless and bright.
§ An art thief is documented and fesses up:
Justin 13 Art & Comics I think you are absolutely correct in some instances and some pieces should absolutely come down, being way too close to what the original artists have done. Some that are from actual photos for example, i would consider but have been used many times by people to paint/draw the image. Truthfully, i hate using images as a crutch and have a ton of respect and love for the artists (dini,ross,lee,capullo,mcfarlane) and have planned on for a long time doing my own thing with the same classic characters. I still have a lot of original pieces where no reference was used and i am proud of them, but yes you are correct.
§ Here’s a list of The 10 Best Comicbook Writers of All-Time, that wisely includes cartoonists as writers. It’s hard to argue with most of the choices.
§ Cover to ANOTHER new book by Sam Alden, Wicked Chicken Queen, coming from Retrofit, via Robot 6.
§ I meant to link to this a long time ago, an EXCELLENT essay on Cartooning and Mental Health by Whit Taylor.
§ Michel Fiffe sums up his year in comics.
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.