§ Nice Art: Laura Park Has been greeting 2016 with some wonderful cartooning. Laura Park is always wonderful.
§ Comics piracy is a fact of life, and the harder you fight it, the worse it seems to get sometimes. In Japan, publishers have been slow to make legal digital copies of manga available, and in this vacuum piracy has thriven, leading to even more anxiety. One particular creator, Gujira, who works in the erotic manga field had a twitter melt down over it the other day, Anime News Network reports. While he tried to ignore it and hope it would go away, when he found out that 25,000 copies of his work had been downloaded, he became distraught:
“I completely lost my will to draw manga. I probably won’t do it anymore.” He thinks that while CG collections and dōjinshi are personal efforts, manga books are the result of team effort, and feels that pirating them is correspondingly worse. “Uploaders, apologize to everyone involved with this and compensate them fully, and if you’re good-looking, we’ll make you our ass slaves.”
Ignoring the heinous threat of sexual slavery here, Gujira also took more savory steps, like sending cease and desist letters.
— ろくでなし子 (@6d745) October 27, 2013
§ TCAF has announced its first guests for 2016 and they are
If you are wondering who Rokudenashiko is, she’s the vagina kayak artist, and yes, I like saying vagina kayak. She looks so happy in her vagina kayak.
§ Four cartoonsits have been selected to appear at the National Book Festival in the fall.
§ Zina Hutton looks back on one of the most famed Lois Lane stories and finds it hasn’t aged well:
Writer Robert Kanigher is definitely at fault for his original comic idea and the way that he developed the original comic, but let’s be clear: DC’s modern-day editorial staff is just as complicit. They okayed the republishing of this comic without any commentary about how the original comic was a misguided white savior narrative that focused more on Lois Lane being “black for a day” than on any actual critique of racism or a racist society. In a world where right now, film and television creators are more comfortable with the idea of centering white people (and whiteness) in narratives about race-based oppression while race-based oppression in the ‘real world’ climbs, the idea that “I Am Curious (Black)!” can be presented as a purely innocent and iconic book is a worrying one.
§ On a happier note, Ta-Nehisi Coates is giving us regular updates on his Black Panther writing process:
I also had to create some sort of working theory about Wakanda, and to the extent to which I came to one it is this: Wakanda is a contradiction. It is the most advanced nation on Earth, existing under one of the most primitive forms of governance on Earth. In the present telling, Wakanda’s technological superiority goes back centuries. Presumably it’s population is extremely well educated, and yet that population willingly accedes to rule by blood. T’Challa descends from an unbroken line of kings, all who’ve taken up the mantle of the Black Panther. But if you’ve ever studied monarchy, it becomes immediately apparent that the aptitude, or even the desire, to govern isn’t genetic.
§ I don’t always link to the regular “Five for Friday” feature at Comics Reporter, but this week’s subject was comics that people would like to see reprinted, and although you probably think all the good comics have been reprinted, there are surprisingly many that haven’t.
§ The Escapist offers 8 Great Classic Webcomics that replicate the pacing of newspaper strips. And you will find all the warhorses there live PvP, Penny Arcade, SMBC, etc.
§ CNBC looks at the business model behind smaller comics publishers including Dynamite, IDW and Boom! who have all worked very hard to survive against the odds.
Indie comic book success is something of a rarity, as no publisher has achieved sustainability at that scale since a batch of Marvel’s most popular artists struck out to form the creator-owned Image Comics. That took place at the height of the comic book bubble in 1992. The phenomenon that spelled doom for many small publishers was known as the rule of eight, said Jackson Miller. “Anyone that got past eight titles died,” he said. “There isn’t a surviving company that started in that period that published more than eight titles until you get to IDW and Dynamite” in 2005.
§ Here’s a nice profile of Alison Bechdel and Beth Malone, the actress who plays Grown Up Alison in Broadway’s “Fun Home” The two have not spent much time together IRL but are doing an event in Aspen
“Sometimes I feel like it happened to me,” says Malone. “I’m playing this character, but I’m not this character. I use the first-person identity because I’ve gotten underneath it so much.” There are parallels between Bechdel and Malone: Both were the only female sibling raised in a family of brothers; both had parents with expectations for that female role; and both are lesbians who came out to their families and shook those said-assumptions of what their lives should be.
§ The Nigerian comics industry is profiled in this upbeat piece:
In 2013, Martins, a slim 37-year-old with a freckled nose and goatee beard, published his first issue about Guardian Prime, a hero wearing a supersuit colored forest green and snow white — the colors of the Nigerian flag. Since then, readership has swelled from 100 an issue to over 28,000. Despite the 30-plus page comic books being free and only available as a digital download, Martins is able to generate enough money through advertising and spin-off projects, including educational booklets on malaria featuring his characters, to keep the business running. “People had this idea that African comics had to be with people in traditional clothes, but I don’t agree with that,” Martins said. “Let them have Nigerian names, saving people in Nigeria, but let’s put them in spandex.”
§ NPR profiles internet hero Ariell R. Johnson of Amalgam Comics:
I think the fact that I am a black woman opening up a comic book store, so I’m existing in this space that generally you don’t see people that look like me well-represented. For me to, in a way, be in the forefront — you know, this is my store and I’m choosing what we have in there and making it a place where we are being proactively representative of other people. It’s not something that’s an afterthought. [It’s not like someone who says,] “Oh yeah we should probably have a Black History Month display or something like that.” We are actively thinking, how can we be more diverse? How can we show different kinds of people in this genre?
§ According to this report,Warsmann may accept the Grand Prix at Angoulême after all, even though he is old and cranky. That would save a lot of face all around.
§ Lots of rumors about Star Wars Land, the new area of Disney land that just broke ground. A site called Making Star Wars has some juicy rumors:
• Poe Dameron’s black X-wing fighter will greet guests at the 3rd entrance to Star Wars Land, although an Episode VIII feature to the fighter might make it different from what we know about it from The Force Awakens.
• Characters and creatures from Star Wars: Episode VIII will be featured in the park.
• The Falcon will be real, life sized, not scaled down at all, and sitting on top of a launch pad.
• The Falcon will be opening and closing its main door and aliens/ troopers will be walking around asking people if they’ve seen anyone leave the ship.
• There will be two major attractions, one larger than “Toon Town” itself.
• Don’t worry about not being able to go inside the Falcon. One of the major attractions will take care of that for you as you fly in the cockpit of the freighter itself.
• The word is the Imagineers loved the Rogue One: A Star Wars Story script, but if that will come into play is still hazy.
• Initial word was the second major attraction would feature Rogue One content, but now that appears to be somewhat unlikely.
Here’s a more thorough round-up of what is known, and a map of the new area which is quite large and will result in the shut down of some Frontierland attractions, including Big Thunder Trail. I know we all want to wander around the Falcon, but every time an attraction closes at Disneyland, there is much mourning. Many people, myself included, still remember The People Mover with a grief usually reserved for the original Penn Station.
Anyway, here’s a video of what construction looks like so far.
§ Speaking of Disney, Floyd Norman has been reminiscing about the man Walt himself:
It all began when Walt and his top storyman, Bill Peet clashed over the treatment of the new movie, “The Jungle Book.” Subsequently, Peet walked off the film and a new story team took his place. By caprice, I was one of the new storymen selected for the assignment and that meant meeting with the boss himself. It may seem a contradiction, but Walt Disney was the toughest and easiest boss one could work for. Incredibly focused, Walt Disney knew what each new product should be. Whether it was a new movie, theme park attraction or magazine ad, Walt always knew how the public would respond. Of course, he did this without any reliance on demographicsurveys and focus groups. Disney Legend, Ward Kimball related how Walt always kept the artists focused on connecting with the audience. “Anytime we went too crazy,” Kimball explained, “Walt would respond with, “I don’t get it.” That meant we had lost our connection with the audience and Disney seemed keenly aware of that. If Walt thought an idea would fail, he was usually right. Story meetings with the Old Maestro could be stressful but at least the meeting would end with a decision. The master story editor would either love or hate what you presented to him. Some story guys agonized over such pointed criticism while I considered it a blessing. Knowing where you stand is far better than remaining in the dark. Walt Disney was always clear in letting you know whether you had succeeded or failed.
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.