§ Nice art: Stephanie Han’s Fried Pie variant for Black Widow #1 on sale 3/2/16
§ I was joking about this the other day, but isn’t is time to bring back The Mystery Men? A comic book movie made LOOOONG before it was fashionable (1999), this charming movie featured a cult worthy cast including Ben Stiller, Janeane Garofalo, Hank Azaria, William H. Macy, Paul Reubens, Geoffrey Rush, Lena Olin and national treasure Tom Waits. In particular, Garafolo’s amazing turn as The Bowler haunts me still. And for those who wonder “What happened to the Kel part of Kenan and Kel,” well, there’s your answer. It’s time for a 16th anniversary reboot! Comic book movies and tv shows have gotten soooooo serrriiioouuusss, it’s time to inject some much needed absurdism back into the genre. As creator Bob Burden puts it on his website
Second string, mill town, blue-collar, super-hero roughnecks who have the highest casualty rates, the most lawsuits and more fun than any other super hero team out there!
These guys are 2016 ready!
§ THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK! Hard words to live by sometimes. My social feeds were filled yesterday with a report on how several MTV animation freelancers had protested over their lack of benefits. A notable story to be sure…when it happened in 2007. These “Zombie stories” happen quite a bit especially on Facebook. It’s always good to check the date.
§ I may have mentioned that John Porcellino, the poetic genius behind King Cat Comics, has a Patreon now, and it will enable him to get some needed dental work, but he also laid out some plans for the year in a recent blog post, including a new collection of comics by Jenny Zervakis:
KC #76 is already well on its way to publication (likely in February sometime), and that will give me plenty of room to get #77 out in the fall. Additionally, I’m finally going to be publishing my South Beloit Journal, a three month span of daily diary strips from 2011 (a few were excerpted in King-Cat 72).
Even bigger news is that this summer will see the release of Spit and a Half’s first book form publication, a 200+ page collection of Jenny Zervakis’ seminal Strange Growths comics. This is something I’ve wanted to do since 1997, and the time is finally here!
§ Another report on the Black Comic Book Festival, which definitely kickstarted the comics year in the NYC area.
§ Angoulême is starting any minute now as your read this, but director Franck Bondoux’s comments about there being no women cartoonists in history are STILL pissing people off. Here a bunch of female Canadian cartoonists including Julie Delporte, Julie Doucet and Lynn Johnston tee off.
Delporte sees inequality in Canada’s comic scene, too. She points to a recent study that shows female visual artists in Canada earn 35 per cent less income than their male counterparts (the overall income gap between men and women, according to the study, is 31 per cent). She also senses resistance within the upper echelons of the comic world. “To me, it seems as easy for a woman to do comics as for a man. But to be confident to be a publisher, it’s not easy,” she says. “It took me a long time to realize that I could learn how to print books and decide what’s good in comics.”
§ Paul Karasik is is on the scene in Angoulême teaching a catoooning class and also dug into the matter and found that their comics museum had work by several women. Maybe Bondoux should visit some day.
So we asked the Museum to cull a few examples of work by women cartoonists and went to examine history. We were met by Nelly Lavaure, who took us into the inner sanctum where she had laid out not merely a few examples, but dozens of works in every comics genre by extraordinary female cartoonists including:
Lilliane (et Fred) Funcken
Laureline Mattiussi (above)
§ Back in Canada, a report and photos from a Canadian comic book convention in 1974, Cosmicon.
In 1974, a pair of art students at Toronto’s York University, a hobbyist publisher, and an artist who was also a hardcore comics fan organized a comic book convention called Cosmicon. The event reflected the rising popularity of comic book culture at the time, and a shift in the subculture’s image from fodder for juvenile delinquents, to legit art form.
§ The other day I either read or was told that despite the high status of manga in Japan there isn’t a single museum-level institution devoted to the form. However, there IS a manga museum in Kyoto, and they are having what sounds like a really good exhibit. I believe my informant was incorrect.
An exhibition that explores the origin of comic culture in Japan is currently being held at the Kyoto International Manga Museum in Kyoto. The “Great Manga History Traces from Edo” exhibition offers everything from giga (comical woodblock prints) from the mid Edo period (1603-1867), to comic books from the early Showa era (1926-1989), providing a historical overview of today’s manga. The main attraction is the private collection of Isao Shimizu, curator of the Nihon Manga Shiryokan (The Archives of Japanese Cartoon History) and a historian specializing in manga and caricatures.
§ When you seen an article titled The Biggest Comic Book Rip-Offs you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get.
§ Panels offers 6 Comic Writer/Artists You Should Know
§ Children’s book publisher Lee & Low took a survey of the US publisher industry to get a look at its racial diversity and the results were quite dismal. The industry is about 79% white, and 88% cis-gendered. There was a LOT of discussion about this on Twitter.
§ Jen Sorenson ponders what if Flint’s water problem happened to rich people and concludes the response might have been different.
§ At the recent Canadian figure skating championships, skater Kevin Reynolds performed his short program to the theme from Cowboy Bebop’s Tank and dressed in a manner reminiscent of the main character Spike Spiegel. He fell on his triple axel (and had some pretty sloppy spins) but made his quadruple Salchow-triple toe loop and finished third, showing nerds are everywhere doing everything.
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.