§ Kevin Czap reports on The Cleveland OH comics scene>
Despite a less-than-inspiring reputation, or maybe because of it, the past several years have seen a growing number of dedicated Clevelanders building a rich arts culture across all disciplines – design, music, the gallery scene, culinary arts. The comics scene in particular is at the very early stages of this same kind of growth. While there’s always been local comics activity, it’s tended to be fairly isolated. Now, however, we’re seeing concerted efforts to bring these cartoonists together, pooling our efforts to foster a thriving community. This was all put in motion by the establishment of the Genghis Con, a one-day expo focusing on underground and independent publishers, cartoonists and zinesters. The con was founded by Scott Rudge, owner of Astound! comics shop, and John G, the godfather of the Cleveland comics scene. Free to exhibitors and with a low door price for attendees, Genghis Con represents the current state of Cleveland comics. (November 26, 2011 will be the third annual! Come on out!)
§ Hayley Campbell pens An Open Letter to the Guy Waiting in the Corner of This Comic Book Shop for McSweeneys which is pure poetry.
Listen, I know you won’t speak to me but just come over here and let me bend your waxy ear for just a second. Don’t wait for my colleague to come back from lunch so you can ask him about that Green Lantern comic. I work here too. I know I’ve got two tits and Lord knows what else but I understand comics too. I can name the capabilities of each differently hued power ring. I’ve got my indigo ring on, I know compassion. Let me help you.
§ Ejen Chuang captures some impressive cosplay at Comikaze 2011
§ In light of Susie Cagle’s recent exploits, Gerry Giovinco reminds us that comics as political journalism have a long history stretching to the very roots of comics:
Thomas Nast who is considered to be the “Father of the American Cartoon” was instrumental in the downfall of New York’s powerful Tammany Hall leader, Boss Tweed who had defrauded the city of millions of dollars. Nast was so relentless in his comic attacks on Tweed in the 1870′s that he was offered bribes to stop. Ultimately, it was Nast’s comics that were used to identify Tweed as an escaped fugitive in Spain.
Giovinco didn’t mention it, but Goya’s Los Desastres de la Guerra prints are another proto comic that had a political bent.
§ Tom Spurgeon notes the passing of comics historian Les Daniels with some great quotes from his work:
“There was an important reason why these comics appeared in the forties and fifties — comics, that is, featuring not only animals, but animals like the Fox and the Crow, Uncle Scrooge and Gladstone Gander, who are preoccupied with money. The power and beauty of these images came less from their appeal to their pre-adolescent audience than from the fascination they held for their creators. The animals first of all provided a link with a vision of America that was rapidly disappearing: a world of small towns and barnyards that most of these men had known. Donald makes it clear in several stories that he ‘lives’ fictionally in Burbank, but he is obviously from much further East. Ducks live in Missouri and Kansas, not in southern California. The comics business was precarious — fantasy-ridden and fantasy-mongering — and for the men who created these strips (as so obviously for the great Disney himself), the animal images were echoes of the collective past they had left behind. At the same time, it is not surprising that men who were pressed for deadlines, who lived by their wits, who were misfits in other occupations, who had lived through the Depression, should embody their preoccupations with money and how to get it in the figures of irascible ducks and shifty crows.”
§ Chris Sims took a spin through the Marvel Retailer Resource Center:
As evidenced by the fact that I still have the occasional nightmare about missing order deadlines, I worked at a comic book store for six years. During that time, I became pretty familiar with the struggles and annoyances that retailers go through, and even though I haven’t been on that side of things for a while now, I’m still interested in the things that make it easier for the people running the shops to get comics into the hands of the customers.
§ Kevin Huizenga is interviewed by Chris Mautner and gives us a thrilling hint as to the next big event in Glenn Ganges’s story:
I don’t know. Maybe I’ll do a whole other book about waking up.
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.