§ Nice Art: Brazilian artist Butcher Billy has made comics like covers for this season of Black Mirror, and the public has deemed them good. I haven’t watched Season 4 yet so don’t spoil it by explaining these to me!
§ Guillermo del Toro signaled that he is king of the nerd world by celebrating his Best Director Golden Globes win for The Shape of Water in style:
After the globes- celebration pic.twitter.com/wqKVVu7ivA
— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) January 8, 2018
§ It’s only the first week of the year but convention season is on! The year in exhibit halls kicked off with Wizard World New Orleans.
Despite coming at a time when everyone is moaning about the holiday bills, reports indicate that the show had a healthy attendence…however sales for vendors were middling, at best, perhaps because of those credit cards bills. But Jason Momoa had a good time and that’s all that’s important.
Nerdlebrities were flown to the event in a private jet! This led to an Intsagram bonanza.
The local news was on hand, and they were surprised to find former OJ pal Kato Kaelin fronting the house:
I’d read that he was the celebrity master of ceremonies of this year’s Wizard World New Orleans Comic Con, which is going on at the Morial Convention Center through Sunday (Jan. 7). But I didn’t expect to find him cutting up with the audience the minute I stepped into the hall. Yet there he was, a couple of decades older than my mental image, hair chiseled short, masterfully teasing the science fiction fans.
Now an actor and talk-show host by profession, Kaelin is brilliant at bantering: quick, funny and wicked but never the slightest bit mean or dismissive. He charged through the Comic Con crowd Friday, ambushing the unaware, posing quiz show-style trivia question.
§ A few best ofs, etc that straggled in over the line.
– Rob McMonigal’s Favorite Anthologies of 2017. There’s actually several more best ofs at Panel Patter so just go poke around.
– The Portland Mercury suggests Short-Form Comics You Will Love
§ Brian Cronin examines the print and film history of Negasonic Teenage Warhead who will be back to be indifferent in Deadpool 2.
§ And Johanna Draper Carlson wonders Whatever happened to that Rose of Versailles reprint we were all waiting for.
§ Rosie Knight has a long talk with Aleš Kot about their new book Days of Hate, which comes out next week and also marks the return of artist Daniel Zezelj.
A 12-issue limited series, Days of Hate is a comic that feels painfully prescient and almost too timely, but for Kot it’s a story that’s been a long time coming. Spending a large chunk of their formative years in the Czech Republic before, during, and after the Velvet Revolution, Kot’s life has been directly impacted by one-party politics. “I experienced how systems, ideas, and people interact in some pretty deep varieties early on, and it left a mark. I grew up in a family previously profoundly affected by WWII, be it the Germans, the collaborating villagers, the victims, or the Soviets killing Ukrainian prisoners of war behind the village I spent the first few years of my life in. Desolate bunkers and tanks encircled the place, and that was totally normal to me for a very long time. I had to deal with raw, largely unprocessed pain and trauma of my genetic family and my original region for all of my life,” Kot shared.
§ In other comic con news, surely the Permian Basin Comic Con has the best name of any comic con.
§ As the year begins, news of comic store closing have been in the news a bit. This new report from a local San Diego news station focuses on the closing of Villainous Lair in Normal Heights, coloring in the irony of a comic shop closing in “SDCC’s back yard.”
“There’s more shops opening, that has spread the customer base out,” he said as one possible cause. Though, he notes that several other stores have closed in recent months too. “It’s a thing happening now. We’re all closing at the same time.” The internet may be partially to blame, but Mitchell believes a bigger factor has to do with how mainstream comic book characters have become, stripping comic book stores of their unique place in the market. “You can go to Walmart or Target to pick up some of these games,” he said. “That used to be just us.”
However, Ace Comic Con is coming to Glendale, AZ this weekend, and they say there’s a comic book industry revival:
On a warm Saturday night in October, comic book fans traveled to Drawn to Comics in Glendale where local comic book artists promoted their work at the shop’s annual Halloween Comicfest. Young children in costumes darted around the adults. Young women waited in line to buy their comic books. It’s a scene some comic book industry experts say they wouldn’t have predicted years ago, when the audience consisted of mostly older men. “It’s an industry that has struggled for many, many decades to stay viable because the comic book reading audience is really incredibly small,” said Shawna Kidman, an assistant professor for the Department of Communications at the University of San Diego.
§ But to really find out the answer to what’s happening with the comics industry, you need to go to Roger Schlueter, the “Answer Man” at the Belleville News-Democrat. The Answer Man knows all!
Q: There has been an onslaught of superhero movies based on comic books. Which character is the most popular in the U.S.? Which magazine sells the best? Which characters have been around the longest? Have the movies improved sales? Are they censored or banned in other countries? How big is the industry? What age group buys the most? W.C., OF EDWARDSVILLE
A: No matter how you slice it, it is a simply Marvel-ous time for comic book lovers, the folks at Fantasy Books in Belleville tell me.
The Answer Man has spoken. Any questions?
Part of the fun in watching this socially relevant, sci-fi hybrid comes from seeing Williams zap boys half his age, sending them tumbling down stairwells, slamming into walls and, in one case, crashing through a car windshield from midair. Costume designer Laura Jean Johnson has given Williams an imposing costume of black rubber, with twin white lightning rods breaking across his massive chest. The overall effect completes his transformation from earnest, conservatively dressed high-school do-gooder to rule-breaking, buff badass.
§ Headline of the day: This dentist-turned-cartoonist uses humour to talk about wildlife conservation.
§ They don’t like Star Wars in China: Star Wars: The Last Jedi opened in second place for the week. But before you go blaming the mansplaining take down, it seems that they just don’t like Star Wars.
It is alsoworth noting that The Force Awakens and Rogue One also opened in China to what was considered disappointing box office numbers. In fact, the Star Wars franchise as a whole has struggled to win over Chinese audiences at the box office, with the first six films of the saga failing to receive theatrical releases in the country until years later and only in some cases.
However we at The Beat do like this newly released still of the throne room 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.