§ Nice art: David Aja’s variant cover for Miracleman: The Silver Age #3
§ Image Publisher Eric Stephenson did the interview rounds this week for the return of Nowhere Men and the one at AV Club has perhaps the most inside Image info, like this on how pitches are accepted:
AVC: When you’re pitched a new series, what’s the first thing you look for in a successful pitch? What characterizes a strong pitch for you?
ES: It’s funny; pitches tend to distinguish themselves as good or bad very quickly. I think probably anyone who receives submissions, whether it’s for novels or magazine articles or film, TV, comics, whatever—I don’t think it takes long to tell if something is good or bad. And the unfortunate reality, at least for comics, I don’t know how this applies to other stuff, is very few unsolicited pitches—by which I mean the stuff that I get in the mail—are very good.
In terms of established creators, though, I think the main thing that I look at is how different something is. And that’s not to say that just being different on its own is enough to put together a successful pitch, but when I get something like Bitch Planet, that’s obviously going to be a lot more interesting than if someone comes to me and says, okay, here’s my version of this character that’s already been done by another publisher. And there is some of that. There are always pitches that come to us that are like, “Okay, well I’ve been doing this book at X, Y, or Z publisher, and here’s a different take on that.” And that isn’t always so interesting.
§ Peter Bagge has a comic at Vice on Musical Urban Legends: Purple Sightings featuring one of the great living stars.
Biff! Bam! Pow! Comics are for everyone and there’s never been a better time to pick one up – whether you’re a dedicated fan or just getting acquainted with this buzzing genre. As part one of this feature shows, 2016 is shaping up to be a strong year for comics. It is also a strong year for the anthology format: alternative comics compendium Kramer’s Ergot is making a return, Grant Morrison is editing iconic European magazine Heavy Metal, and an ambitious Attack on Titan anthology that hopes to make further strides in the English-language market. That’s in addition to literary heavyweights Margaret Atwood and Ta-Nehisi Coates getting in on the action: the former with Angel Catbird, a superhero saga illustrated by Johnny Christmas, the latter taking up writing duties for Marvel’s Black Panther series.
§ I’m a little late on this but you may still be able to get a ticket for ‘King Kirby’ the play about the great cartoonist by Crystall Skillman and Fred van Lente now being mounted in Seattle. It closes on the 23rd.
§ Rob Salkowitz also look atJack Kirby and his legacy in a longer piece at Forbes. If you don’t know why everyone loves Jack Kirby this should explain it.
§ The Tumblr How To Be A Con Artist is linked on our resource page but it’s regularly updated with all kinds of information on how to exhibit at cons. Worth checking out before con season really gets rolling.
§ Speaking of cons, there seems to be a whole new genre of essays about parents going to cons with their kids. Here’s one by Navdeep Singh Dhillon who got dragged to NYCC by his cosplay loving daughter:
Ever since we brought home stacks of comics during Free Comic Book Day in New York a year ago, she has been in love with the medium. So, New York Comic-Con was a logical place for her to want to go. And she immediately loved the idea of cosplay, which I found terrifying: going out in public, navigating through crowds, dressed up in some dopey outfit. (The outfit that in the solitude of your home is fantastic immediately gets transformed to dopey when exposed to public view.) I might be able to bust out a sewing needle to re-attach a button, but a costume worthy of Comic-Con? No way. I’m not the Papa who flawlessly chisels entire costumes out of metal. I’m the Papa who goes to the dollar store and hopes for the best. But it wasn’t about the convention, or the comics, or the characters, or even the cosplay: she saw it as something we could do together. A Papa-Daughter thing.
Some adorable pictures in the link.
§ Brian Chippendale’s Puke Force tour is discussed.
§ I get the items for this column from various sources, including Google News Alerts, and sometimes I see one that, although smaller in the larger scale of things, still breaks your heart:
Due to low enrollment, the Hoffman Estates Commission for Disabled Citizens has canceled its Marvel Comics-themed party for special-needs children and their siblings scheduled for Friday, Jan. 22.
§ The Smithsonian is starting a new graphic novel series in February for middle grade readers that seems set firmly on the educational comics shelf:
Smithsonian Books is publishing a graphic novel series called Secret Smithsonian Adventures in which four middle schoolers visiting the Smithsonian discover that someone is tampering with history, so they must use their history and science knowledge to thwart these evil plots. Each book in the series will tie in with a different Smithsonian museum or gallery and its subject area.
This first volume, available Feb. 23, is The Wrong Wrights. Dominique, Eric, Josephine and Ajay are excited about a field trip to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, but when they get there, they find a very different museum than the one they were expecting. Not only is it much smaller, it is also filled with balloons, blimps, and dirigibles. Where is the Spirit of St. Louis? Where is the Apollo 11 command module? Where is the Wright Brothers’ 1903 flyer? With the help of a museum “fabrications specialist,” they travel through time to try and restore the Wright brothers to their well-earned place in history. Along the way they also learn about aerodynamics and other aviation principles from a wise-cracking computer named Smitty.
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.