Final housekeeping of 2014: I keep trying to use WordPress’s new “lite editor interface” but it keeps posting things when I meant to save them as drafts which is why odd things popped up in the feed of late. BETA, people. The new editor does seem to be the way forward—it’s nice not to have to scroll through my huge and arbitrarily nested list of caategories— but the way forward is also a dirt road. I also discovered that the plug in Tumblr Crosspostr created more than 2000 duplicate posts on this site without me noticing. Takeaway: Do not use Tumblr Crosspostr.
§ Happy New Year, everyone!
Final Best of round up:
• A weird but endearing list from The Village Voice with some books I never heard of:
Vincenzo Ferriero and Ray Chou’s Skies of Fire (Mythopoeia, $5) focuses on Captain Helen Pierce, the only officer in the royal fleet of brass and wood dirigibles with the balls to chase bloodthirsty pirates into the Expanse, a realm of perpetual storm clouds and nihilistic gods. This steampunk epic is given believable visual heft by Pablo Peppino’s sweeping vistas and Bryan Valenza’s vintage coloring.
• At comics Alliance Steve Morris cared to say the unsayable:
Frank Quitely may be great at drawing people walking around backwards (or whatever was going on in Pax Americana) but The Society of Super-Heroes was the actual best issue of Multiversity this year.
• But I have to be honest, I think I liked Nick Gazin’s list at Vice the best as it veered unselfconsciously from Michael DeForge to Dick Briefer, and included other cartoonists’ favorites AND a sharp interview with Ed Piskor. ALSO, a reminder that Milo Manara can draw the crap out of anything, above.
The 50 Best Comic Book Covers of 2014 from Paste — I like all of these but the list could probably have been 100. That’s Deadpool’s Art of War, Cover Art by Scott Koblish above.
§ This article about how Fno one remember Avatar just five years later was a bit shocking.
Today is the fifth anniversary of the theatrical release of James Cameron’s 3D action spectacular. Avatar earned rave reviews, went on to become by-far the highest-grossing movie of all time, and won several Oscars. It absolutely almost immediately vanished from the popular zeitgeist leaving almost no pop culture impact to speak of. It did not inspire a passionate following, or a deluge of multimedia spin-offs that has kept the brand alive over the last five years. Few today will even admit to liking it, and its overall effect on the culture at large is basically non-existent. It came, it crushed all long-term box office records, and it vanished almost without a trace.
I guess when you’rea deep sea diving autuer who has time to make toys. I seem to remember this was the first part of a trilogy, but…would anyone want to return to…wherever it was set?
§ Several people in my feed linked to this piece called The Death of the Artist—and the Birth of the Creative Entrepreneur which does ties up many themes I’ve been mentioning on this site all year but…come on, weren’t folks like Mozart and Picasso entrepreneurs, too? All the tools and socials available mean there is less and less time to be creative, and more and more to promote oneself, but Mozart didn’t have indoor plumbing or a car, and that took up a lot of time, too.
§ Vulture’s Abraham iesman has a very flattering profile of Valiant Entertainment which compares it to Moneyball.
Today Kindt isn’t just a fan — he’s one of the company’s star writers. He’s participating in one of the strangest experiments in comics history: the resurrection of Valiant, a brand that had long been a failure and a punch line. It’s an experiment that involves message boards, mysterious auctions, time-traveling Visigoths, filthy cubicles, and Moneyball. The goal is to create a superhero universe that can challenge Marvel and DC’s supremacy. It’s an experiment that could very well fail. But right now, against all odds, it’s working.
the piece does acknowledge Valiants lack of diversity, which some people think is hurting it in the marketplace.
However, he thinks Valiant still has a big hurdle to overcome: “The only knock I have against them right now is the lack of diversity that is cropping up in their line, both in terms of characters and the creatives behind them.” He has a point: Few of its titles star women (and the ones that do are either team books or limited series), and its creative staff is overwhelmingly male. Even Kindt, who’s currently writing three Valiant series, thinks his company has catching up to do on diversity. He recalled going to his first Valiant writers’ retreat, which was “maybe six or seven guys, and the first thing we said was, ‘We need to get a woman in here, it’s ridiculous.’”
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.