§ Congrats to Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth for winning the Stranger’s Genius Award for Literature. Many would say Gary is strange, many a genius so it all cosmically came together. The Stranger is Seattle’s resident culture paper, and each year it gives out its Genius Awards. Groth prevailed over Ms. Marvel’s G. Willow Wilson and poet Shin Yu Pai.
§ Retailer Brian Hibbs is fretting over the standard attrition that Big Two events are subject to
As this market has shown again and again over the decades, consumer interest in “events” is a fickle thing. Sooner or later every publisher hits a few foul balls, or the public gets tired of oversaturation, or the story just doesn’t work, or whichever of the myriad of reasons… and the retailer is the one left holding the bag. It used to be that when, say, “Secret Wars II” turned out to be a pile of lox, we weren’t that over-extended with orders in the pipeline — 2-3 issues out, sure, but that’s very different from “order forty-six different comics and tie-ins before you’ve had any real amount of time to judge how the first one did.”
People have been saying events are done for as long as there have been events. This also applies to variant covers. Normally I would just say it was ever thus and move on, but this is a changing industry. Where are we going? Damned if I know.
§ Zainab Akhtar and Steve Morris both went to the Lakes Festival this weekend, and they both blogged about it. I understand The Lakes is held in a small picturesque town and the goal is to make it a sort of Angouleme type fest were comics take over the town. I sounds adorable, but read on. Steve had A Quick Nip Round The Lakes Comic Art Festival and noted the many comics themed displays around the town:
Having captured several strongpoints across the city centre, the Festival had not only won a battle of occupation – but one of propaganda. Everywhere you walk (not that there are MANY places to walk in Kendal, which is a teeny tiny nice little place) the shops had transformed themselves
Zainab had a more mixed time:
Foremostly, my whole experience was coloured by people’s reaction toward me. Kendal, and the Lake District by large, is a very white, very middle class region. We saw -I think- maybe 6 people of colour in the time we were there (yes, I counted), and the festival, being located in the town center, on a Saturday with bright, dry weather- was busy, as was the surrounding area. I got stared at a LOT, and if you’re visibly ethnic minority, you will instantly understand the hostile, open up-and-down hard stares of which I speak although some people prefer a eye-contact off. We went into a fish and chip shop for lunch at one point, and people turned their chairs around to simply gawp/glower. As far as I could tell, it seemed to be the headscarf and being overtly Muslim, because the few poc I did briefly pass didn’t seem to be under the same scrutiny, but I could easily be wrong about that. It was deeply unpleasant.
The comics part of the visit was welcoming and tolerant, she notes, but she doesn’t plan to go back either.
§ Grant Morrison was interviewed for Interview magazine and said many Grant Morrison like things.
§ R. Orion Martin has a look at another facet of the vast and unknowable world of comcis culture with a history of Lianhuanhua: China’s Pulp Comics. You probably didn’t know that China had a comics culture but of course, they do.
In 1985, there were 8.1 billion pulp comics (lianhuanhua) printed in mainland China. Most lianhuanhua were black and white paperbacks with a single illustration and a few lines of text on each page. They looked similar to the Big Little Books published in the United States from the 1930s to 1950s, but they were published in quantities that make the US comics market look tiny. Brian Hibbs analyzed the 2012 BookScan report and found that there were about 9.5 million comics sold in the US throughout the year. In the mid-80s, some lianhuanhua titles had single printing runs of more than 1 million copies. We usually don’t think of China as having a rich tradition of making comics, and discussions of Chinese comics focus on manhua, the Chinese comics that were inspired by Japanese manga. While it’s true that most of the comics being produced now are manhua, this was not the case for much of the 20th century. From their beginnings in the 1920s until their popularity bottomed out in the 1990s, lianhuanhua were some of the most widely read literature in the country.
§ Speaking of world comics, someone sent me this link, which is in Turkish, but Google Translate tells me it’s about the Turkish comics festival being held in December.
§ Okay cleaning up the last bits of New York Comic-Con here. You can not get a more overview-like overview of ay event than those written by Augie DeBlieck. Here’s a profile of Lance Fensterman. And a survey of expensive things you could have bought at the con. And here are photos from the Multiveristy/Image party. BTW in case yu didn’t figure it out, the parties a this year’s NYCC were as packed, vibrant and friend filled as other years. So much so that it’s taken me week to be able to sit upright again.
Mashable looked at some of the issues surrounding cosplay and harassment:
Partly, the issue is the characters themselves. Many of the revealing costumes are based off characters who were originally designed, at least in part, to be sexually provocative, for example, princesses, superheroes in spandex and sexualized anime school girls. As a result, many onlookers view them as the sexy characters they emulate rather than individuals wearing costumes, who should be treated with respect. But most real-life cosplayers are more concerned with the authenticity of the costume than sexual attention.
Hm. I’m not sure that de-sexualizing cosplay is any better than the reverse. It’s pretty obvious that many cosplayers (of all genders) are sexy and they know it. That doesn’t mean they should be touched, catcalled or made fun of, of course. I’m sure someone else has written way more wisely than myself about this, so I’ll leave it at that for now.
§ Matt D Wilson looks at how Southern Bastards captures its southern setting.
But, you might say, there are lots of crime comics out there. Heck, Jason Aaron, the writer of Southern Bastards, has penned a good many himself. Scalped and his Punisher run, to name a couple. Southern Bastards is something really special, though, because of the way Aaron and artist Jason Latour embrace its setting so deeply and wholeheartedly. Specifically, the book takes place in Craw County, Alabama, but it also serves as a deep dive into the culture of the South as a whole. There are aspects of the story that could only occur in a the setting of a small, Southern town. The creators, both Southerners themselves, do an amazing job of presenting a story that could be compelling to anyone but hit exactly the right notes for people who have lived in or near places like Craw County.
§ This gallery of Comics Journal covers brought back many memories.
§ Finally, James Jean does the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and you can buy the toys. Nuff said.
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.