§ Nice Art: Joe Jusko’s Wally Wood influenced Rocket Raccoon his new Marvel Masterpieces trading card set.
§ Just to wrap up the meeting of the retailer organization ComicsPRO from a few weeks ago, changes to the board were announced. Patrick Brower of Challengers Comics + Conversation and Jenn Haines, of the Dragon (Ontario, Canada) have joined the board while long time board members Carr D’Angelo, of Earth-2 Comics (CA) and Eric Kirsammer, of Chicago Comics and Quimbys (IL) stepped down. Both have been very active guiding members, and each spoke movingly about what being in the organization had meant to them at the meeting.
Peter Dolan of Main Street Comics (NY) remains president. Other board members includeVP Jamye Foster, Southern Fried Comics (MS) treasurer Ralph Mathieu, Alternate Reality Comics (NV) and recording secretary: Chris Brady, 4 Color Fantasies (CA)
These are all smart, forward looking retailers.
§ ICv2 chatted with VIZ’s Kevin Hamric (and part two here.) about the current manga market and things sound peachy, with One Punch Man and Tokyo Ghoul selling tons of copies, and anime finding a place in streaming services.
How was the manga market in 2015 from your perspective?
Absolutely wonderful, the best it’s been in years since the huge decline and pre-Borders [shutdown] days. Were there any differences in growth between channels? How did the comics stores compare to the book stores, for example? Both were up roughly the same percentage. Bookstores may be a little more just because of Barnes & Noble and Amazon. We were very happy to see that the direct market increased. Looking at the library channel, that increased as well as did the mass merchandisers.
§ Here’s a long article in French about the three way war for the Angoulême comics festival, suggesting that the town, the festival and the organizer (Franck Bondoux’s company) need to sit down to couples therapy to get things functional again. I won’t attempt to summarize the Google translate version, but it is worth noting that in the past attemps were made to move the show to Grenoble and Paris with poor results.
§ The Thought Bubble festival has announced a first round of guests, including Mike Mignola, Lisa Hanawalt and Claire Wendling.
§ Vertigo, DC’s long running imprint, now has a podcast called The Vertigo Lounge Podcast.
§ Acrion Lab’s Princelessis now available via Scholastic, which usually means a huge print run.
“One of the largest problems I’ve heard from librarians and teachers when it comes to getting Princeless is availability,” says Whitley. This includes his own mother who is a middle school teacher who constantly pushes the importance of Princeless in her school such that the book frequently sells out at book fairs. Teaming up with Scholastic will hopefully solve this availability problem. Although, Whitley admits, the introduction of Princeless to Scholastic’s roster wasn’t his undertaking. That was the result of poking from the publisher, Action Lab, and several months of discussion. Scholastic had already sought out the company to add Vamplets to its list of books available for distribution to schools and libraries. Adding Princeless simply makes sense for a distributor of great kids’ books and comics. For now, only volume one is available, collecting the first four issues, the Prince Charm School story, and a short crossover with Jim Zub’s Skull Kicker, but the hope is to incorporate the entire Princeless catalogue, including Raven: The Pirate Princess, which is aimed at a slightly older audience.
§ Anders Nilsen on Alvin Buenaventura.
§ This comics by Darrin Bell, Hollywood has a much bigger problem than #OscarsSoWhite is a must read.
§ And #blackcomicsmonth may be over but here’s an interview with its mastermind, the tireless Vixen:
What was your goal when you decided to launch #BlackComicsMonth?
There were tons of people on Twitter asking about whether black superheroes were a thing. I figured that if they didn’t know about the characters, they probably didn’t know about the creators. So I decided to create a site that highlighted black creators. As time’s went on, I realized that 28 days wasn’t going to be enough. So, I’ve transitioned into the idea that every month should be black comics month. If I see creators posting their work, I’ll retweet it, quote it, and always keep the Twitter account moving. Lately, though, I’ve started doing more panels at conventions like NYC: Special Edition Comic Con and New York Comic Con.
§ A comics shop opening in Detroit, Vault of Midnight, the third location for the Ann Arbor based chain.
§ Crowd funding watch:
— BLACK by Kwanza Osajyefo was funded to the tune of $91,973. Congrats to all involved!
— Hope Nicholson has launched a fund to bring back Fashion In Action by John K Snyder III
Fashion In Action was a 1980s comic series by John K Snyder III for Eclipse that featured a team of celebrity protection agents in the far future. The series had a few unusual trademarks that set it above other comics in its time, the female characters were all unique in style, appearance, and personalities, and the visual appearance of the comic had a strong influence from designer couture, rather than superhero fashion (you will notice no vacuum-sucked costumes in these comics!)
Working with John, I’m creating a Kickstarter to reprint the original run, in order to preserve and promote this book and this period of history, when independent comics were really at a strong point. The campaign will also work to promote knowledge of fashion influence in comics, with essays in the book by Martha Thomases (Dakota North) about 1980s fashion, John Ostrander (Suicide Squad) on independent comics in the 1980s, and Trina Robbins (Wonder Woman) on the history of paper dolls. Well-known artists experienced in the worlds of fashion influences and comics will be contributing artwork to raise knowledge of the campaign, and John himself along with restoring the comics will be contributing over 20 pieces of original art created specifically for the campaign that highlight fashion, pop culture, comics, and feminism.
— David Willis’ Dumbing of Age webcomic has just launched a Kickstarter for print and it’s quite a ways along after a day:
What is Dumbing of Age? It’s a webcomic you can find on the Internet, and it’s about freshmen entering college. It stars Joyce, a fundamentalist Christian who was previously homeschooled, and her unlikely new friend Dorothy, an atheist who wants to be President. They’re surrounded by a varied cast of fully-realized characters, such as Billie, the alcoholic ex-cheerleader with a Resident Assistant problem(?), and Amber, the Internet shut-in who solves her rage issues by dressing up like a superhero and fighting crime. Oh, right, and Joyce’s childhood best friend, that unflappable smartass Becky, is suddenly visiting. Weird!
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.