January done…so soon? Only a few more months left for life as we know it!
§ Martha Cornog posts her annual list of 25 Graphic Novels for African American History Month. We think you will be amazed at how few of these books are ever mentioned on comics news websites, like, ABINA AND THE IMPORTANT MEN, the first graphic novel ever published by Oxford University Press.
While an increasing number of kids’ comics have been featuring ethnically diverse characters in stories set in the recent past, we note on this year’s list of forthcoming, recent, and backlist titles in celebration of African American History Month (February) several significant academic works that ground black comics in history and culture.
§ Tim O’Shea interviews Woodrow Phoenix about his very well received anthology NELSON:
We were determined to make this book accessible to people who had never read a comic before. People new to comics struggle with figuring out reading order and what to look at first. So the other key thing I did to help consistency was to go over everyone’s lettering and balloon placements, making sure that all the creators were using the same “visual grammar” even if their styles weren’t remotely similar. Lettering is often the most neglected part of comics but speech balloons are the way that people connect with your narrative. Bad lettering will confuse and annoy your readers and destroy your comic. So it’s crucial to do it systematically and logically; even moreso on a large project like this. I did a lot of tweaking.
§ Media theorist Douglas Rushkoff talks about his new graphic novel A.D.D.:
In some ways this is the same story I’ve been telling through every medium that’s at my disposal. This is a story I was telling, in one way or another, in 1999 with “The Merchants of Cool”, trying to show kids MTV is this feedback loop where there are marketers watching them for what to put on the screen, that then kids watch and then imitate and then get watched again by marketers so that there’s this cultural feedback loop where there’s no conscious execution of art or strategy. It’s just a machine. It has an almost centrifugal force that pushes kids out to the extremes of behaviour — this mid-riff Britney Spears person, the male, mindless mook of the MTV Spring Break. I started telling it way back then and through all this other books.
§ Io9 resurrects the 1989 event in which the Avengers held a male beauty pageant.
It’s true! In November 1989’s Avengers West Coast Annual #4, writer Mark Gruenwald and artist Amanda Connor produced a short story titled “Rate the Hunks!” In this tale, Avengers heroines The Wasp and She-Hulk unsparingly ranked their male colleagues according to comeliness.
§ Tumblr alert: a new blog celebrating positive moments for female comics characters.
§ Writer/artist Jeff Parker has finally won the juice battle in his family’s refrigerator.
§ Keith Knight has joined Daily Kos’s lineup of cartoonists.
§ Stock story alert: Alaskan comics retailer feelsComics get no respect — but they should
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.