§ For everyone foaming at the mouth over the new DC costumes, here’s a reminder that Wonder Woman once wore biker shorts, people. In other words, changing clothes is like death in comics—it’s all temporary.
§ Greg Matiasevich at Multiversity has a very thorough round-up of thoughts and developments in the New Mexico mother who had Palomar pulled from a high school library after claiming it was child porn on the local TV station. Fantagraphics associate publisher Eric Reynolds is interviewed:
ER: I don’t much care whether Palomar is in one particular library or not, but I do care about one rogue parent bypassing appropriate channels to remove it, instead escalating via a media that was all too enthusiastic in egregiously mischaracterizing the content of the work, fueling community outrage with flat-out falsehoods. It’s unproductive for everyone involved.
As is the CBLDF’s Charles Brownstein — the CBLDF has joined with the Kids Right to Read Project to file a letter defending Palomar as the literary work that it has always been recognized as.
CB: It’s vitally important that libraries have formal policies for challenges and collection development, and that those policies are followed. Following these policies is all the more important in cases where media attacks are involved. Comics have a legitimate place in contemporary libraries and schools, but are more vulnerable to attack than other kinds of books both because images are easier to take out of context, and because there is still a diminishing, but lingering stigma that the medium is of low value. Good policies indicating how content is selected, and how challenges are heard are a powerful guiding force in situations where challenges occur, particularly when they are contentious or public.
As it stands now, a committee is reviewing the book this week, but it remains off the shelves. It is common for libraries to have procedures to challenges set up, as Brownstein alluded to above, so hopefully this one will come to a judicious conclusion.
§ The NY Times ran an obituary for Irwin Hasen and the portrait it paints of his later years is pretty good. I think he lived a pretty good life.
For the past 35 years, Mr. Hasen lived on East 79th Street in a rent-regulated apartment. Next to the entrance was a drawing of him standing with Dondi.
It was a bachelor pad with a wet bar, his shopworn drawing table and many photographs attesting to a life spent gallivanting with his artist crowd.
Instead of family pictures, the walls were covered with his sketches of the naked likenesses of former girlfriends, often in haremlike groups, with Mr. Hasen caricatured impishly serving them cocktails.
For decades before his death, Mr. Hasen would eat breakfast daily at the same Madison Avenue diner — he called it Cafe Hasen and called himself its staff artist — and drew “Dondi”-style sketches for the staff to post on the walls. His evening routine included a martini at a nearby Third Avenue bistro.
§ Here’s a French language story on the latest developments over the Angoulême comics festival, who runs it, who owns it and who owns the trademarks. As I understand it, this is a three way rumble between the city, the festival and the company that RUNS the festival. The latter entity, which is run by a fellow named Franck Bondoux, is asking for the trademarks to the fest, which has rubbed a lot of people the wrong way. Also Gilles Ciment, who formerly ran the festival from the comics side, left last year under clouded circumstances, which some blame Bondoux for.
I can’t begin to unwind this from my vantage point, but it all sounds very messy.
§ Last night I was watching The Shining for like the 10th time, and yet for the first time I noticed that Jack Nicholson really looks like Reid Fleming, the World’s Toughest Milkman. And that made me wonder “hey wasn’t there going to be a Reid Fleming movie or something?” and then voila! the trailer for a documentary about Reid Fleming and his creator, David Boswell, just popped up like that! I Thought I Told You To Shut Up!! was directed by Charlie Tyrelland features appearances by Matt Groening and Ad Asner among others. And it’s narrated by director Jonathan Demme.
Reid Fleming is one of the great 80s comics, with an unforgettable protagonist, unduplicable humor and a dense post-underground style that won’t quit. I understand that Boswell is a hero in Canadian comics circles, and he should be.
§ Here is a Storify that was kicked off by Sophia Foster-Dimino when she asked “Why does everyone hate auto-bio comics?” A lot of great cartoonists chime in. I’m one of those people who thought that bad auto-bio was a little too prevalent a while ago but that was 2005 and now the bar has been raised quite a bit by all the skillful younger cartoonists flooding the field.
§ Charming Jason Momoa tooks a swipe at Marvel in a very sly, subtle fashion: he wrote “fuck marvel” on a picture he was autographing. Like I said, sly and subtle.
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.