§ The CBLDF raised $82,000 in October — a bit short of their goal but still pretty good.
§ When R. Crumb canceled a trip to Australia for a panel appearance, he agreed to do an interview with moderator Gary Groth instead. The result is an epic chat between the two, which includes ruminations on politics, culture, and just about everything else. There are a few comick-y types things, but mostly it’s about life, with a distinctly autumnal feel to it. Perhaps the best part is where Crumb describes how he just can’t sell out — one attempt, which paid $200,000 for a dot-com, ended up with Crumb having to return $150,000 of it and so a series of increasingly annoying commissions. Rare is the cartoonist who has lived off his or her talent on such stringent terms, and it’s among the reasons Crumb is such an icon.
That’s what happens when you have to deal with people like that for the big money, [Groans.] awful, horrible. [Laughs.] Now, you know, I’ve had offers like from the CEO of Nike, Mark Parker. He’s offered to pay me a very large sum of money to do a very special painting for him, which he wants this and he wants that. I just won’t do it. I don’t need the money that bad. Hundreds of thousands offered me, big, big money, I won’t do it.
Well, you seem almost constitutionally incapable of doing that.
Well, part of it is that I’m just spoiled. I haven’t had to do it since I quit working for American Greetings, basically. We lived on welfare for four years, in the hippy times, but, you know, those were the hippy times, you didn’t need much money to get by.
So do you think that has to do with conscience, or is it selfishness, or where does that come from?
Where does what come from?
Your refusal or inability to do that kind of stuff.
Well, like I said, I haven’t had to, I didn’t have to, I wasn’t forced to. So why should I? My work got accepted on its own terms. Zap Comix and all that, they liked what I was doing just fine. Like I said earlier, I was willing to put out enough to make my stuff entertaining, I didn’t expect the audience to come to me; you have to go to the audience. You can be deep and profound and all that shit, but you’ve gotta still grab them, you’ve gotta entertain them somehow. Confuse them, fascinate them, shock them, something. If you get too arty-farty and expect people to figure out what it is you’re doing, forget it. They’ll walk away. Go look at something else.
§ Comic Book Daily talks to Canadian retailers and asks is the non-superhero market alive and well, and some people say no, some yes and no. Some problems are brought up — the last of a steady stream of top-notch works — but Brahm Wiseman of Sequentially Yours Heroes in London, ON, has a more long term outlook:
When talking about the DC relaunch with various media sources over the last couple of months, I would always remind them of the other, and in my mind, more important books that were coming out at the same time like Craig Thompson’s Habibi and Seth’s Great Northern Brotherhood of Canadian Cartoonists. I know from my experiences that a book like Habibi will make me a lot more sales and repeat customers over the next decade than a top-selling issue like Justice League #1 ever will. Other retailers may complain that the length of time between new independent books can be long, but quality should not be rushed. A great comic is an evergreen product: it can be sold for years to come. Many superhero comics are disposable entertainment: good only for short term sales, but worthless to us months later when they are replaced with new superhero fluff.
If non-superhero books are not finding readers, it is fair to blame some retailers for not supporting them. In this month’s issue of Previews, Eric Powell wrote a plea to those retailers who are not carrying the Goon to please give it a try. I could not believe there are comic stores out there who did not carry the Goon. These stores are simply losing sales and new kinds of customers. Maybe these comic stores should call themselves superhero stores.
§ Is Marvel sneakily rebooting itself? Jim Mroczkowski looks at the recent list of #1s and wonders.
§ The Secret Acres crew reports on recent shows:
There were two Acres showings in the meanwhile, and we should give you a summary of those. Edie Fake completely killed it at the New York Art Book Fair, selling out of his prints, minis and Gaylord Phoenix in rather large numbers. That place was packed for four days straight, both indoors and outdoors, and stocked with astoundingly beautiful books and people (and some porn). We loved it. We’re considering turning this into a full Secret Acres extravaganza next year. It’s not a true comics show, but you know we can get artsy when we need to. While Edie was holding court at NYABF, Mike Dawson was off at APE. The Alternative Press Expo is usually a pretty soft show for us, but Mike and Troop 142 did very well (despite Mike’s appearance on that terrible Comix Claptrap panel). Mike, however, had rather a hard time of things, as you can read about here and listen to on the Ink Panthers Show! here (WARNING: the “Mattress Professionals” episode of Ink Panthers is a classic). You don’t have to take our word for it that APE is a softy, since the SF Weekly agrees. We might go back. We probably will not.
Secret Acres will be at the upcoming MIX show in Minneapolis.
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.