§ Vaneta Rogers quizzed a bunch of comics retailers about Secret Wars and describes them as wary but hopeful:
“Customers are curious, but as usual, Marvel is being very vague about the whole thing,” said John Robinson, owner of the nine Illinois locations of Graham Crackers Comics. “And I have no answers for [customers] as to any of the specifics on how this is going to be handled.” “On the surface, I think it sounds absolutely awful!” laughed Mike Wellman, co-owner of the Comic Bug in Manhattan Beach, California. But the retailer added, “I tend to lean more positive on these massive events and I’m sure there are some things that Marvel isn’t telling us. Their batting average is pretty high when it comes to these things and I fully trust them to make something awesome.”
As usual, everybody says they hate events, but everybody orders them anyway, and that’s why they keep doing events. A lot of comparisons to the New 52, which was a titanic sales hit, and it’s hard to imagine that Marvel won’t get a lot of attention for whatever it is they’re doing as well. However, sometimes a long memory is no friend:
“Without specifics on how they’ll be handling it, it can go either way obviously,” Robinson said. “Handled well with a clear path and understanding for the customers, then this can be great. Handled like Secret Wars II, then it can be a disaster with unnecessary tie-ins, and event that ends up doing nothing. Marvels ‘soft-reboots’ have only hurt the industry, in my opinion, over the last 10 years.
Secret Wars II, for the uninitiated, came out in 1985. I know Ralph Macchio was around then, and apparently he’ll be involved in the new Secret Wars in some capacity, but otherwise it’s a whole new ballgame.
§ Meanwhile Steve Morris has some predictions for what will happen, and I like Steve’s version of the future.
§ UPDATE.: Laxman has now passed away. RK Laxman is a very famous cartoonist in his native India. He’s 95 years old and has been in ill health for quite a while, and
is now in very critical condition. He’s best known for a comic strip called The Common Man which ran from 1951 until he become to ill to continue it. You can see some of his cartoons here. It’s hard to get a sense of Laxman’s cultural place, but newspaper give daily updates on his health.
Headline of the day from the Spanish language San Diego Red: ¿Comic-Con International abandonará San Diego?
§ Wizard World Portland was this weekend and D.M. Anderson took many pictures, some of them of cartoonists. Meanwhile, KOIN’s Tyler Dunn had to sit down from time to time from being overhwlemed:
An experience I won’t soon forget, that’s how I would best sum up my time at Wizard World Comic Con. It was my first time at the Portland convention — or any like it, for that matter. I spent all of Sunday there, along with thousands of excited fans ready to celebrate their favorite pop culture icons. My goal was simple: do as much as possible, turn down nothing, get the most out of my time in the hopes that (for those thinking about going next year) I might gather some helpful tips.
§ Another headline of the day: How’d A Cartoonist Sell His First Drawing? It Only Took 610 Tries
§ Todd McFarlane came out on FB and said he would never draw Marvel or Dc corporate characters again, not because of dislike but because of duty:
No… …the reason I don’t and won’t draw for them is that one of the many titles I have, at my various business interests, is that of President of Image Comics. And I take that responsibility very seriously. Image Comics is the THIRD largest comic company in North America, and as such we are in direct competition with both Marvel and DC Comics. As President of Image, I personally think it would be a conflict of interest for me to do work for a direct competitor. And in fact in some states being the President/CEO of a company forbids you to work for a direct competitor (The president of Microsoft won’t/can’t do freelance work for Apple Inc.) So, for me this isn’t any different. In 1992, a handful of us decided to form Image Comics, and ever since then I have not worked at either Marvel or DC Comics, and as long as there is an Image Comics, I will continue to give all of my comic book efforts towards the company I helped form.
§ Here is a sad story about cartoonist Jim Wheelock’s comics being stolen from a storage unit in Vermont.
It looks like my entire collection of several thousand comic books from the 1950s – 1990s is gone. These were in about twenty white “long boxes” about three feet long and 12 inches by 10 inches or so. The boxes had distinctive handwritten labels by me with titles (Spider-Man, Thor, etc). This includes a collection of underground comics from the ’60s, including Zap Comics and others. There were also comics in shorter and odd-shaped boxes, including at least one reading “Published Work” (I’m an artist and illustrator). This includes multiple copies of the horror trade paperback, Taboo. Most of the comics were in clear plastic bags, and the boxes were lined with plastic trash bags. Some were also labelled by artist’s names (Joe Kubert, Alex Toth and others). The books largely did not have backboards. Some were packed several to a bag, and some were not in bags, As I say, the boxes would be identifiable by me. The books probably also have a distinctive “barn” odor, making them less valuable, and possibly harder to sell. I had some of my own artwork in portfolios. It’s unclear if any of that is missing. Much of it would have my signature on it. Also some film lobby cards and posters.
§ BTW, Wheelock is the artist of a graphic novel called Inferno Los Angeles, which is really quite a thing. Check it out.
§ Finally, even in the world filled with cruelty, horrors and intolerance, the story of how Hershey has halted importation of superior Fritish chocolate inspires outrage and disgust. Basically, Hershey successfully sued a company that imported Brit choccies, and you will no longer be able to buy an Aero or Lion bar at a specialty retailer. The infuriating thing is that it’s because Hershey basically admits its chocolate is shit:
What many Britons and British-chocolate lovers are most incensed about is the difference in taste between chocolate made in Britain and chocolate made in the United States.
Chocolate in Britain has a higher fat content; the first ingredient listed on a British Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (plain milk chocolate) is milk. In an American-made Cadbury’s bar, the first ingredient is sugar.
American Cadbury bars also include PGPR and soy lecithin, both emulsifiers that reduce the viscosity of chocolate, giving it a longer shelf life. British Cadbury bars used vegetable fats and different emulsifiers.
An informal blind taste test comparing Cadbury Dairy Milk bars — muddled by this reporter’s garlicky lunch — suggested that Ms. Perry had reason to be upset.
The British Dairy Milk was slightly fudgier, allowing for a creamier taste and texture. The American Dairy Milk bar left a less pleasing coating and somewhat of a stale aftertaste.
Having just finished the last crumbs of a cache of UK Cadbury’s brought home from the holidays, I can attest to the superior smoothness, full flavor and finish of the British versions. There is no comparison. Thanks a lot, America.
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.