§ Nice Art: Daniel Warren Johnson shared a Batman Year 100 commission on the tweets.
Batman Year 100 commission all done! pic.twitter.com/qtVABvxQXD
— Daniel WarrenJohnson (@danielwarrenart) December 5, 2017
§ Terror: the fires in Ventura County and LA have threatened many people, including some comics folks, according to my FB feed. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected.
§ The Sixth annual Cartoonist Studio Prize is having a call for entries. The prize is presented by Slate in conjunction withe the Center for Cartoon Studies; this years judges include Slate’s Jacob Brogan, Cartoon Art Museum’s Andrew Farago and publisher/cartoonist Kevin Czap.
§ Golden Age Fiction house artist Fran Hopper died last week at the age of 95. She drew numerous features in Jungle Comics, PLanet Comics and Wings comics, including Gale Allen and the Girl Squadron, Mysta of the Moon, Jane Martin and much more.
§ Best ofs continue to roll out: The AV Club gang weighs in as does NPR. Strong showings thus far for My Favorite Thing is Monsters, Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do, Dominique Goblet, Gabrielle Bell and many surprises as well.
§ Bill Gates, once the world’s richest man, lists Five books everyone should read and here’s Thi Bui again!
The first book on Gates’ list is the autobiographical graphic novel The Best We Could Do, by Thi Bui. This read explores the complicated relationship between parents and their children, as Bui learns through personal experience how challenging it is to raise a child. Anyone who has experience navigating a complex relationship with their parents will be able to relate to this book.
§ Reason looks at the battle for the soul of Pepe the Frog, including creator Matt Furie’s legal moves to get control of the frog from the alt-right.
§ Here’s a very long and detailed process piece from designer John Lind on the “oversized art” edition of Frank Miller’s Sin City.
§ A widely disseminated piece attempts to figure out why superheroes on tv are so darn popular, with the pundit class taking a stab at it:
“All of it, on some level, is escapism,” explains Brett Rogers, classics professor at the University of Puget Sound. “If I’m watching ‘Jessica Jones’ for an hour, I’m not dealing with some real thing in my life. But the flip side is that comic-book-inspired shows can be spaces for thinking through some serious questions: ‘Jessica Jones’ is an opportunity to explore sexual violence and post-traumatic stress disorder.
“The comic book industry famously has had to fight the stigma of being for just for children and idiots,” he says. But as gifted “kids and idiots” like Joss Whedon and Kevin Smith came of age and made waves by nurturing a comics ethos across multiple media including TV, comics gained new gravitas, respect and urgency.
Hm, I think they need to keep stabbing.
§ If there’s one thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been missing so far it’s death. Quicksilver arrived on loan from Fox and had to bite the dust, Agent Coulson went to Tahiti but mainly everyone comes out pretty fine, maybe minus an eye or a limb or some other trivial, easily exo-skeletoned loss. But the non-death streak may change with Avengers 4, with Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man on the most endangered list. It seems he’s entered a very dangerous phase called “his contract is over.”
It’s not just that Iron Man looks like he’s in grave danger (and takes a pretty hard punch to the face). Rumours of Robert Downey Jr.’s exit from the Marvel Comics Universe have been swirling for a while now. The actor hinted at his retirement as far back as 2013. Even more damning, he just said this past Summer, “I just want to hang up my jersey before it’s embarrassing.” Even Avengers director Joe Russo said in a 2016 interview with Forbes that the Marvel universe could go on for another phase or two before we “need to see” Iron Man again.
Oh yeah. There’s gonna be a tearful death scene
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.