§ Must Read: Tom Spurgeon catches up with First Second editor Calista Brill, whose essay on giving up on a comics career turned into a 10-alarm internet fire last week. Verbalizing these painful issues of a career in comics was something of a shock for many:
Obviously there's been a lot of conversation about this topic over the last few days. Some of it has been sort of painful. I think probably it's a net win, just because personally I think it's something people ought to talk about. Now there's a lot of people out there who have been unhappy with this piece because from their point of view comics is not something you do for money. And art is not a commercial endeavor. That's fine. I have no quarrel with that. The piece that I wrote was directly addressing decisions you have to make when comics is something you do for money. Or if it's something you'd like to do for money.
I think it's a painful conversation for a lot of people. That's probably something that I'm less conscious of than I should be because the part of the comics world that I occupy on a daily basis is a business. We're a business primarily driven by our love of the form, and our passion for beautiful comics, but we're answerable to our bottom line. Conversely, a big part of what First Second is about, one of our loftiest goals, is we would like to create an environment where people can support themselves with comics. We don't succeed always, but it's something we try for. It's a conversation we have with our cartoonists when they're interested in having it, which is not always. I'm always happy to have it when it comes up.
§ Why Luke Cage is bad for you: Dr. Jonathan Gayles, director of the documentary White Scripts And Black Supermen: Black Masculinities In American Comic Booksis interviewed at HuffPo:
Yolo: What sickened you about Luke Cage specifically? What black male stereotypes did you think that he reflected?
Gayles: I always thought of Luke Cage as this powerful and invincible hero. Revisiting him as an adult, it became clear that he is powerful only in the most limited sense. He is a street-level hoodlum. His powers come not from some divine supernatural intervention but from a prison experiment. He is a hero for hire. His primary “jurisdiction” is Harlem — a Harlem that is represented only in the most negative notions of urban decay and dysfunction. He struggles to pay the rent. He dodges bill collectors. His best friend is named after D.W. Griffith, director of the infamous white supremacist propaganda film, Birth of a Nation (seriously). As with many of the heroes that are at the center of the film, his super heroic status is undermined by these kinds of (literary) devices.
§ Graeme McMillan pleads to rehabilitate the word “fanboy”.
§Is Judge Dredd gay? Just asking. Ultra-butch motorcycle cop who never hangs around the ladies.
Actually, 2000AD is teasing a story where Dredd kisses a lad. We’re guessing this will turn out to be some kind of imaginary story, but we’ll find out for sure on Wednesday when the story comes out.
§ In an interview on the Comic-Con blog, Maggie Thompson reminisces about the early days of fandom and cons:
Maggie: The first comics convention [I attended] was the John Benson Convention in New York City in 1966. Chris Steinbrenner, who worked for WOR in New York City, ran the films, so we saw the Flash Gordon serial. Stan Lee couldn’t be there. Don was on a panel with Leonard Darvin, debating the Comics Code, and there were four women in attendance. There was me, Lee Hoffman, an award-winning professional writer of western fiction, Pat Lupoff, wife of Dick Lupoff—who was in fact a guest a couple years ago at Comic-Con—and Flo Steinberg from Marvel. We were the four.
§ Dave Roman has a list of entry level manga that should be made available every time someone asks for a list of entry-level manga.
§ Warren Ellis picks (Some Of) My Favourite TRANSMETROPOLITAN Covers
§ Sean T. Collins interviews Heather Benjamin, whose very disturbing sexual-oriented comics, called Sad Sex, are once seen, never unseen. Link is VERY NSFW.
It’s definitely a weird emotional process for me to go through, and I feel almost like, cleansed of whatever fucked up thing was totally bothering me by the time I’m done hashing it out. At least for a little while. “I masturbate thinking about your boyfriend” was totally just a huge issue that I was dealing with at the time, ’cause I kept masturbating thinking about somebody’s boyfriend and didn’t know what to do about it, so I drew that and spent forever screwing with the markmaking in the hair, and by the end of it, photocopying it a zillion times and giving it out to people, having hashed it out and then basically admitted it to everyone in a roundabout way, I felt better about it. I guess that’s just my take on the traditional autobio sex cartoon, maybe I’m just a wimp cause I didn’t make the girl in the drawing look like me.
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.