§ Nice art: Well actually Why Art?, a new book from the great Eleanor Davis coming out from Fantagraphics next year:
What is “Art”? It’s widely accepted that art serves an important function in society. But the concept falls under such an absurdly large umbrella and can manifest in so many different ways. Art can be self indulgent, goofy, serious, altruistic, evil, or expressive, or any number of other things. But how can it truly make lasting, positive change? In Why Art?, acclaimed graphic novelist Eleanor Davis (How To Be Happy) unpacks some of these concepts in ways both critical and positive, in an attempt to illuminate the highest possible potential an artwork might hope to achieve. A work of art unto itself, Davis leavens her exploration with a sense of humor and a thirst for challenging preconceptions of art worthy of Magritte, instantly drawing the reader in as a willing accomplice in her quest.
That’s NOT the final cover, but it is nice art.
§ Have you heard about this Mastodon thing? It’s a Twitter alternative that’s starting to have content, like this thread from Steve Lieber on art books for comics students:
I’m incredibly excited that this book is coming out after its long gestation. It’s been through quite a few changes. When this all began, about three years ago, I met Bobbie Chase and she talked with me about pitching some ideas. She mentioned this one idea that involved cosplay, and I thought that sounded really intriguing. As I began to work on it, it morphed into a university and the focus shifted to watching students discover and grow their powers. As for who those students were, that was another change—originally, my mandate was to use mostly obscure and new characters. That changed, obviously!
§ A lot of people are asking: How much is the very first Superman comic book worth? because a copy of Action #1, the very first Superman comic, is being auctioned off next month and is expected to go for about $1.2 million. But the market is not strong, some say!
But with comic sales down 20 percent this year from last year, some are skeptical of the price. While superhero movies are more popular than ever, author Dan Gearino told Marketplace, the superhero movie fans aren’t always interested in buying comic books. Gearino said, “If just 10, 15 percent of the people who watched the “Captain America” movie were regular buyers of the ‘Captain America’ comic book, the comic book would be selling a lot better than it is.”
§ At the Weslayen Argus, they found Vol. 7 of Saga Earth-Shatteringly Beautiful
§ CBR looks at the closure of the MMORG Marvel Heroes, which came suddenly and devastatingly for some:
Marvel Heroes Omega, Gazillion Entertainment’s free-to-play Marvel Comics-themed massively-multiplayer online game in the same vein as Diablo, finally shut down yesterday after two wild weeks that saw the company unexpectedly change the date of the game’s closure (service was first slated to end on Dec. 31), lay off a good chunk of its staff the day before Thanksgiving and finally evaporate into the ether with little more than a Twitter post as a grave marker. The implosion of Marvel Heroes also took Gazillion with it, leaving many players who had just spent real money on in-game cosmetics and items unable to secure a refund. That’s saying nothing of the numerous developers who suddenly, and perhaps at the worst possible time of the year, lost their jobs. Suffice to say, there’s a lot of bitter feelings swirling around the Marvel Heroes title, which is shame because the game was one of the few pieces of non-comics media in which the full potential of Marvel’s roster could be felt.
§ This interview with former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter is making the rounds; it displays a marvelous crotchety old man looking back vibe:
Shooter: Yeah. When I came in at Marvel–I had been trained by Mort Weisinger at DC, not only about the business, the editorial part, but also the business of the business. And what I realized is everything gets a lot better if you sell a lot of comics. One of the first things I did was get the books on time. We had books that were six months late–six months. I’ll give you an example. In January 1978, my first month, we were supposed to ship 45 colored comics–we shipped 26. What does that tell you? It took me until April to ship the correct number of comics. By the end of that year, we were on time and we stayed on time for 10 years. If a book was supposed to come out in July, it came out in July. Once the books are on time, once you get that under control, you can worry about what’s going to make them better or how you get better people.
Mort Weisinger! The accompanying photo shows Shooter looking healthier than I’ve seen him in a while. Controversial in his day, at least Shooter never wrote as a pretend Japanese man.
PS: did you ever think this would be the go to joke for writing about Marvel’s editor in chief.
§ Paste Magazine has offered The 2017 Gift Guide for Comic Lovers.
§ Showbiz korner: Say what you will about director James Cameron, he is really, really really fixated on that underwater stuff:
Kate Winslet has a role in one of the Avatar sequels, which you’ve said partly take place underwater. Can you tell me about it?She does, and she’s very excited about it. She blazed through for a couple of days of rehearsals and saw the world that we had created, and how we do the work, and she’s very excited. She plays a character who’s part of the Sea People, the reef people. The one thing she did do is demand that she do all her own water work. I said, “All right, that’s fine, we’ll have to teach you how to free dive.” The other actors are up to three- and four-minute breath holds. We’ve already been doing underwater capture. We did a scene last week with six teenagers, well, actually five teenagers and one 7-year-old underwater holding their breath for a couple minutes and acting, actually doing a dialogue scene under water because they speak kind of a sign language.
Hopefully no will nearly drown this time, as Cameron nearly did while making The Abyss.
The crowd seemed to have doubled overnight at the Comic Con Arabia event at Riyadh’s International Exhibition Center on Friday — no doubt drawn by the big-name stars.
On the second day of Comic Con Arabia, more and more Saudi male and female cosplays were seen among the crowds wearing their superhero-themed costumes, taking pictures, and enjoying an event that could not have been imagined a couple of years ago.
§ And finally, one of life’s greatest mysteries solved: Five Things You Didn’t Know About Zenescope Entertainment
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.