More Best of lists for the week:
§ Tech Times has an impressive list from comics folks picking their books of the year, among them Mimi Pond, Jeffrey Brown, Tom Spurgeon and many more. And so many good books, including Hellboy in Hell: Hounds of Pluto by Mike Mignola and Dave Stewart which is pictured above.
§ Slate unveils their best comics and graphic novels of 2015, among them books by Adrian Tomine, Kate Beaton, Jillian Tamaki.
§ Kirkus unveiled theirBest Middle-Grade Graphic Novels of 2015, as seen at The Huffington Post.
It’s safe to say that Killing and Dying is the late appearing Book of the Year contender. A.O. Scott has a gushing review here, for instance, comparing Tomine to Raymond Carver, Ann Beattie, Mary Gaitskill and O’ Henry. It should be noted that dissenting views have been posted at The Hooded Utilitarian by Ng Suat Tong and Kim O’Conner.
§ Award winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates is getting stuck in to writing Black Panther, and, like many fledgling comics writers before him, he’s learning the ropes::
I guess I should start by saying I’ve never done this before. I expect that there will be stumbles and screw-ups on my part. My nightmare basically involves this turning into some sort of stunt or vanity project. I did not take this on to look pretty, or add a line to my CV. I took it on for the same reason I take on new stories—to grow intellectually and artistically. In this case it’s another genre—fictional, serial story-telling—one a good distance away from journalism, memoir, and essays.
But he’s doing his homework, and getting excited by Brian Stelfreeze’s art for the series, seen in the sketches above.
1.) Read a ton of back issues and try to think about what I find interesting (Ramonda) and what I find less interessting (M’Baku.) 2.) Get a detailed outline done of all the issues I was contracted to write. 3.) Write those scripts early in order to give Brian, and my editors, a chance to tell me what I am doing wrong. 4.) Revise the outline regularly, as events (and finished scripts) dictate a need to change. That has been the plan. Having a plan doesn’t guarantee success. But not having a plan probably guarantees failure.
§ However the Black Panther’s first appearance on the cover of this week’s Entertainment weekly, accompanied by the caption “Meow!” struck many as a pretty tone deaf debut for a major, groundbreaking character, prompting CBR’s Albert Ching to write an unusually impassioned editorial:
Yes, one of the most historically significant characters in comic book history has been reduced to a joke — twice! — on the magazine cover where potentially millions of people (don’t forget the multitudes who will see this cover in our nation’s grocery stores and doctor’s offices) will see said character for the first time. It’s not fair to Boseman, an acclaimed actor set for the highest-profile role of a career that’s already included some rather major roles (playing Jackie Robinson in “42,” playing James Brown in “Get On Up”). It’s not fair to the comics fans to whom Black Panther means a great deal in terms of progress and representation. It’s not fair to comics in general, as it’s yet another reminder that for a large part of the population, the medium is and will remain something to not take seriously at all costs. (And do panthers even meow?)
§ Frank Santoro writes about the fixer upper he’s working on to create The Comics Workbook Rowhouse Residency which as I understand it will be a kind of
halfway houseworkshop space for cartoonists in residence. It’s a charming tale.
§ Dave Sim’s Glamourpuss is one of the oddest works ever by a major cartoonist, a sort of takeoff on fashion magazines leavened with…tributes to Alex Raymond. I didn’t get too far with it but Tom Whiteley hasread the whole things and broken it down:
Running for 26 issues and four years, from July 2008 to July 2012, written and drawn by Dave Sim, self-published by Aardvark-Vanaheim, Glamourpuss is a test. There is no compelling reason to pick up the next issue after reading any one issue. There’s little continuity between them. There are characters, but each exists in a perfect vacuum, unable to communicate across the page to their fellows. There’s a throughline of a kind, but so convoluted and filtered that it’s difficult work to follow it and work that doesn’t pay off. There’s humour, but always tempered with the reader’s expectation of the deadening reactionary idiocy to come. There’s accomplished, technically even beautiful, art. None of it is even close to enough to answer the question of why? The question that the reader presents himself with in every issue, on every page.
— Addictedtoseries.com (@AddictToSeries) December 3, 2015
§ America is working its way through Jessica Jones (we’re only up to episode 8) but Luke Cage is currently filming around NYC, and people are taking photos. Rosario Dawson, Alfre Woodard and Simone Missick as Misty Knight ave all been spotted. Misty Knight! The Luke Cage series on Netflix is expected to debut next summer/fall.
§ Writer Ron Marz got a shipment of a reprint of a book he wrote 20 years ago and took the time to revisit his younger self writing Thanos and other cosmical stuff.
Not long ago, the FedEx truck showed up in my driveway and dropped an envelope from Marvel on my front steps. Inside, one copy of the new “Thanos: Comic Powers” trade paperback. The book collects the “Cosmic Powers” six-issue miniseries I wrote in 1994, and three issues of “Secret Defenders” starring Thanos, also from 1994. Obviously, interest (and sales) in all things Thanos, thanks to his past and upcoming cinematic appearances, spurred this collection’s existence. I hadn’t looked at any of these issues, except for signing the covers at conventions, in years. So for once I didn’t simply toss the comp copy on the pile and get back to work. Instead, I sat down in the Stickley armchair in my office and perused the collection of stories I wrote more than two decades ago.
§ Finally, I’m green with envy over Kevin Melrose’s headline here: ‘Walking Dead’ Terminus map shower curtain is the end of the line for grime.
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.