§ By now you’ve probably forgotten everything about this year’s crop of mostly bland Super Bowl ads, but the whole Marvel/Coca-Cola thing has kicked off with a spot where Ant-Man and the Hulk fight over a can of Coke, because that’s what people do. I understand that the spot was partially storyboarded by artist Sean Chen, who provided a peak at his work, above.
§ The weekend big link was this piece from the Guardian rounding up the Modern Era of comics, the era where Kelly Sue DeConnick, Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie and Fiona Staples are the stars. And I like this era just fine. Gillen and McKelvie explain a bit about the making of Wicked and Divine‚whose first volume has sold some 100,000 copies, a book that reminds me of the salad days of Vertigo. And indeed, Gillen nails it:
Why are independent comics booming now?
Gillen: One reason is that people who grew up reading Sandman or Watchmen are now in positions of power. They can influence people’s thinking about comics. The manga boom of the early 00s brought a lot of women into comics and, of course, the movies helped. But it takes a long time.
For WicDev they “sat down and designed a cult from the ground up. I feel a little guilty about it, to be honest.”
§ And Cosmopolitan of all places, listed 14 Graphic Novels and Comics Every 20-Something Woman Should Read, and it’s sound with everything from Persepolis to Love and Rockets.
§ Comic-Con is often described as “Mardi Gras for nerds” but the real Mardi Gras just wrapped up in New Orleans, and as these photos show, pop culture has definitely influenced the biggest party of all. But nothing can top the real thing.
§ This really was nothing to do with comics, but while I was checking the above link I found this story about a 58-year-old man who died of a heart attack while participating in “The Krispy Kreme Challenge in Raleigh. In this race, people must complete a five-mile circuit of Krispy Kreme’s and eat a dozen donuts along the way. Seems like a hell of a way to go.
§ At The Atlantic writer Asher Elbein digs in to all the problems with Superman, which, when you add up everything from Nicolas Cage to deadbeat dad Superman Returns to neck snapping current movie Superman to middling sales for the comics, can look like a lot of problems:
In fact, it’s hard to escape the impression that Superman’s own company finds him a bit embarrassing. As the comics writer Chris Sims points out in his review of the anniversary compilation Superman: A Celebration of 75 Years, DC’s company line on Superman seems to be that he’s “a depressed sad sack who never wins.” The company ditched his iconic red trunks in 2011 and placed him instead in the blue, armor-like suit he currently wears on film. In response to fan complaints that Superman was “too powerful” and thus boring, it constantly adjusted his level of strength. Broader attempts to reconcile the character with its new approach have been filled with false starts and cold feet: Many of the innovative Superman runs of the past decade, including Joe Casey’s short-lived attempt to position the character as a pacifist, were either quickly rolled back or derailed by editorial interference. Promising new approaches, including a radical late ’90s pitch by the modern comics superstars Grant Morrison, Mark Millar, and Mark Waid, likewise went unexplored.
§ Sue at DCWKA alerts us to a superheroine merch on sale at Zullily! HURRY HURRY.
Online Merchant Zulilly is having a sale on all things DC and Marvel Women and you can check it out using my referral link. There are some items for all ages and things that I haven’t seen in stores. In fact I wearing the super comfy Wonder Woman slipper boots I bought last year from them. There’s tons of kids stuff including bathing suits and t-shirts and there is stuff for adults as well. Including this Spider Gwen shirt on sale for $17.99
§ It seems Hasbro and Mattel are talking about merging again. Mostly due to Mattel’s recent sales troubles. This conjures all kind of anti-trust images to me but should make Toy Fair interesting:
It’s not a done deal, but Hasbro has supposedly approached Mattel about the idea. It would be a tricky deal not least because it would draw the attention of antitrust regulators about a potential monopoly. A deal might hinge on the companies selling a few toy lines to competitors. It might also make some of their licensees unhappy. For example, Hasbro has a deal with Disney that includes Marvel, while Mattel has an exclusive deal with DC that includes their DC Super Hero Girls line. It’s difficult to see Marvel’s notorious CEO, Isaac Perlmutter, a former toy executive himself, happy that DC might take time and money away from his toy lines.
§ I was not aware that Linus from Peanuts was named after a real person, let alone a fellow cartoonist pal of Charles Schulz. . That man, Linus Maurer, has died at age 90.
Maurer, who entertained Index-Tribune readers twice a week for more than 25 years with his hand-drawn editorial page cartoons, most of them hand-delivered to the newsroom, died Jan. 29 in Sonoma. His cause of death was not clear, but he had struggled with Parkinson’s disease and heart trouble late in life. About 65 years ago, Maurer and Schulz worked together at Art Instruction Schools Inc. in Minneapolis, when “Peanuts” was getting started. Schulz told the story in a book celebrating “Peanuts’” 50th anniversary.
§ I didn’t really pay any attention to that Big Bang Theory/Saga dust-up, but the Outhousers went HAM on it. First off, what a badly written joke! “He’s really looked” is such a weak punchline. But then, how is this show still so popular. The show is in its 9th season, and the entire premise — smart people who like pop culture are awkward nerds who are scared of girls and human interaction — has been entirely invalidated since the show began. I mean I get that Chuck Lorre has a deal with the devil and millions of people are so checked out of life that just changing the channel on their TV is a huge emotionally taxing task, but oy.
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.