§ Zack Davisson, the late Shigeru Mizuki’s English language translator, has an obituary that gives the great man’s oeuvre more context:
His influence on pop culture is so ubiquitous as to be invisible. His immensely popular Kitaro series introduced the world of entertainment to yokai and their realms of spirits, gods, and monsters. If you’ve ever seen a kid throw down a Pokémon or Digimon card, or watched films like My Neighbor Totoro or Spirited Away, then you have seen the hand of Mizuki. Those giant monster versus giant robot battles of Pacific Rim, Godzilla, and Neon Genesis Evangelion? It happened first in the pages of Kitaro. And his influence wasn’t limited to toys and cartoons. In an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Takashi Murakami—perhaps Japan’s foremost modern artist and creator of the Superflat Manifesto—said that reading Mizuki’s work as a child “formed the basis for the rest of [my] life.”
§ BEST BOOK WATCH! NPR
2015 in Review: Best Graphic Novel from Multiversity Comics…I think they have other categories as well. Poke around.
Paste Magazine has 25 picks, one of the more diverse lists I’ve seen. The #1 pick isn’t one I’ve seen ranked that high, but I think it’s a sleeper.
Comics Alliance is running a SLEW of polls on all kinds of best things. Go over there and spend some time musing.
§ I saw many people linking to this article where D&Q publisher Peggy Burns talks about things to do in Montreal….but I did not realize it was for the website of The Beat’s much beloved Billy Bishop Airport!!!
BILLY: Do you think there’s a “Montreal style” when it comes to artists here?
PEGGY BURNS: I do not. I think that the language of comics in Montreal is more sophisticated than it is in other cities such as Toronto or Chicago because of the French influence. You can get someone like Diane Obomsawin, a Quebecois cartoonist whose comics are all about coming out as a lesbian and drawn with animals. Or you can get Pascal Girard, who is from Quebec City, and his comics are totally influenced by American comedy. There’s just such a wide range.
§ Io9 is still around, and runnings galleries of amazing Frank Frazetta art, some of which contains nudity so don’t fire it up at work!
§ Albert Ching has some reservations about Iron Fist being played by an Asian-American:
Yes, we need more Asian-Americans in live-action superhero fare and pop culture in general. Yes, we need more non-white male lead characters in superhero fare. But making the first Asian lead of a Marvel or DC Comics-based project a character primarily identified for proficiency in martial arts would be a move that could potentially further stereotypes and restrict progress for Asians on screen.
In the end, he would rather have SOME Asian-American representation, even if its a bit of a trope.
§ Pigeon Press Gallery has begin to sell artwork by people like Ivan Brunetti and Julie Doucet. Tis the season of Giving!
§ Yesterday I wrote a little piece about about every website on earth (including those to be fair) has gotten traffic over a statement of less than 20 words, offered without any context, by Frank Miller about the Elektra character I normally love Teresa Justino, but this piece on the 20 words at the Mary Sue is every thing I hate about the internet, going on and on about what a cranky old coot Frank Miller is and how it’s a crime that he hasn’t seen Daredevil and yadda yadda, and even suggesting that maybe Millar objects to the casting of a non-Greek actress in the part, and Miller has disdain and MORE…just from 20 words.
And I certainly hope that his immediate cynicism about this version of the character doesn’t have to do with casting. Although, considering that all he has to go by to form an opinion are photos, the thought did cross my mind. Yes, Elodie Yung is French of Cambodian decent and Elektra is Greek. In this interconnected global community in 2015, it should not be difficult to imagine the jillion circumstances in which someone who looks like Yung could be of Greek decent. Point being, this comment was cantankerous, even for Miller. The only reason why I bring it up, though, is that often fans look to their favorite creators to follow their lead when responding to things having to do with their stories – ie: we feel more comfortable about adaptations when a production has the “blessing” of the creator, or the creator is somehow involved. Miller having this blanket disdain for adaptations of characters he’s written/created isn’t helpful, and it could potentially color a fan’s experience with the show before they even watch it. Not cool, Miller. Not cool.
As I pointed out in my own piece, Miller has been adamant for 25 years that Elektra is dead, and his 20 words don’t even convey “disdain” — just a statement that the character he created is the one he is most comfortable with. The comment section is even worse. I know Miller IS a cranky old coot and has made a lot of wild statements in the past, but this isn’t one of them.
§ This list of Top 10 uncanny graphic novels by Ian Williams mentions Jim Woodring, Charles Burns and Renee French to it is SPOT ON.
§ Finally, Cartoon Brew has a little bit about how ‘The Good Dinosaur’ is underperforming with a mere projected box office take of $400 million and could even be Pixar’s first “flop.” I know that sounds unlikely but since it cost $350 million to make the break even point is $500 million. Nobody’s perfect!
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.