§ Hall of fame artist Bernie Wrightson has had a bunch of recent health setbacks, and now what appears to be a cancerous brain tumor. However the prognosis is excellent and he hopes to make upcoming con appearances. Best wishes to Wrightson for a full recovery.
— Midtown Comics (@MidtownComics) March 9, 2015
§ This story about George Lucas stopping by Midtown Comics in NYC to pick up a few of the new Star Wars comics is pretty adorable. You’d think that somewhere in Lucas’s giant mail bin the comics may have been sent out as a courtesy, but Marvel is very stingy with comps. Equally adorable: Lucas also purchased a copy of Heavy Metal. We never really outgrow our 12 year old selves no matter how we try.
§ Say, what’s up with that “Museum of Narrative Art” that Lucas is planning to open?
§ Speaking of Marvel, they will soon be offering a line of small appliances with waffle makers, kettles and more. This is their first foray into this area of hosuewares. Disney’s Consumer Products division is running this show, but it does bring up a question I often ponder when looking at licensed superhero goods—which version to use? Animated characters are ideal for any product because they have been designed to a T and have rigid style guides. With Marvel and DC there are so many versions. While I see a lot of the current Bryan Hitch-y Marvel look on licensed items, just as often its the throwback John Romita-era version. The version shown on the above toaster mock-up is actually a Disneyfied style developed for some kids books they published. I think. What do you all think? Which Hulk on a toaster would you prefer?
On a more serious note, I’ve been hoping to purchase an immersion blender soon, so I hope Marvel makes one of those.
§ I keep forgetting to mention that the Baltimore Sun’s cartoonist KAL won this year’s Herblock Prize. That is a big prize and deserves more than this little notice.
§ Here’s a must read: Ward Sutton interviews Warren Bernard and Bill Kartalopoulos about the amazing exhibit of Alt-Weekly Comics that they curated whish is now on display at the Society of Illustrators. This is a groundbreaking, once in a lifetime show that deserves a lot of attention. Bill K:
The audience for alt-weeklies was broader than the self-selected countercultural audience for underground comix. Some of these papers even received negative letters about certain comics, and that’s kind of thrilling! On the internet, everyone can curate their own reading experience and every audience becomes self-selecting by default. That’s democratic and great, but there’s also something really stirring about an editor or an art director standing behind a contentious comic strip running in a paper that’s engaged in a dialogue with a local community. These papers had physical presence: in newspaper boxes, at coffee shops, etc. In retrospect, that physical dimension seems valuable. As culture moves increasingly online, it seems that only advertisers have retained the power to broadcast messages into our physical environments. And of course that move online has also disrupted the advertising-based economic model that allowed the alt-weeklies to play host to such a rich pool of talent. Unfortunately for artists, while online publication brings with it a potentially large audience, the economic model has not been as reliably functional.
§ Christies is having a sick comics art auction with Bilal, Edgar P. Jacobs (Above), Uderzo and more. You can probably spend a LOT of time clicking around on the above link.
§ MEANWHILE, Sotheby’s the other auction house, just held a sale of comics art that netted around $4 million. Paul Gravett discusses just what that means for anyone hoping to run a comic art museum. Unless you’re George Lucas.
§ I guess that Yebeos for Yanquis is a blog tumblr focusing on Spanish comics. And it kicks off with Twenty-Five Good Spanish Comics from the 2010s—a few of cartoonists spotlighted are known here—David Rubin, Max and Paco Roca—but most remain to be explored. The Spanish comic scene has blossomed quite a bit in the last decade or so, so more excitement. More comics!
§ Jackie Estrada has a nice look back at Friends of Lulu in the 90s at the Geek Girl Project.
§ Speaking of Estrada, her Comic Book People book has been funded but you have only 24 hours to get a copy. Go!
§ Webcomicker Jeph Jacques is best known for his comic Questionable Content. But he also has a Dadaist side, as revealed by his launching a site with the address walmart.horse. This move displeased Walmart, which filed a sternly word cease and desist, though the site contains only the above photo of a horse and a Walmart and not aisles and aisles of shopworn children’s rattles, vats of pickles and black polyester hoodies,
§ Headline of the day: “Incest and country dancing” cartoon causes outrage.”
§ A site called Memeburn got very excited about this comic set in Lagos, and it does look good.
We don’t often feature graphic novels on Memeburn, but we reckon this one deserves a special mention. It’s called EXO: The Legend of Wale Williams and one of the things that sets it apart is the fact that it’s set in a futuristic Nigeria. Created by Nigerian-born Roye Okupe, the graphic novel takes place in the year 2025 and follows Wale (Pronounced Wah-Leh) Williams as he returns to Nigeria after a five-year absence. Drawn back to the country by his father’s mysterious disappearance, Wiliams inherits a suit which grants him superhuman abilities.
§ Although the practice of selling Marvel’s digital download codes has traditionally been one that is not frowned on, Ebay has been removing these listings for some reason, and one man, hoping for justice, is trying to find out why.
§ A very interesting ComiConference was held at the Central Michigan University recently.
The third ever ComiConference on CMU’s campus brought several speakers to the Charles V. Park Library auditorium to speak to more than 300 guests. The speakers included Carol Tilley, Amanda Garrison, Gene Luen Yang, Lee Francis and Laura Jimenez. The event was organized by English professor Joseph Michael Sommers, with some assistance with the CMU Program Board. Sommers said the conference started three years ago as a way to showcase his students’ work. “It was more of an academic conference on comic books,” Sommers said. “The first year was just CMU students, the next year we opened it up to everyone. This year was more of a ‘ComiCon’ presentation where we had big hitters from academics come in and talk to students and faculty.”
§ I thought that internet culture had peaked, but now they’ve made a video of Earl Sinclair, the dad in the 90s sitcom Dinosaur, singing the Notorious B.I.G.’s Hypnotize and now I realize that life has many more wonders to offer, so we shall continue down this road, you and I.
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.