§ A Frank pinball machine????? Have we died and gone to heaven?
§ Do you know who is possibly the top selling graphic novel author of the past decade? Click this link to find out!
§ Economy watch: A lecture with a famous cartoonist has been canceled due to low sales.
Every interview with Eddie Campbell is epic, and this one is super epic, as he discusses craft, storytelling and background on many of his books. Instapaper it!
How to Be an Artist could have been done as a complete fiction quite literally, except it would have taken five times as long to do. Referring to real artists living and dead really wasn’t what it was supposed to be about. That was just an extra sheen. Fictitiously I wanted to create a sense of a lot of names and styles, and some of these would appear once and never be heard of again, some would recur, and others would become significant players in the drama, while others yet again would be established as a category of ‘old masters’ that could be referred to almost in the prayers of the protagonist (King, Herriman, Caniff). In fact there is a sense that Drake, in my epilogue, is the last of these old masters to pass away (even though he isn’t literally – Feiffer is still alive – but my point is that the reader should think of it as fiction).
Segura: Coming in, one of the first things I wanted to do was take the platforms we have – namely our site, Facebook and Twitter – and amp them up. Fans respond well when you’re engaged and you’re not just spouting the company line. Within weeks, we saw a marked increase in followers, “likes” and traffic. So, that was step one – and will be ongoing. Fans want companies to be interactive and of the moment, not just reformatted links or the same message blasted through different outlets. It’s a process, though. So, as we continue to engage, we’ll do some new things, like contests and more interactive projects. But it has to be done thoughtfully and not just to do it.
§ Mark Siegel, editor in chief at First Second, the Macmillan graphic novel imprint, goes the ICv2 route and reveals many things, like the fact that 200K copies of Gene Yang’s AMERICAN BORN CHINESE have sold, and how the general storms in the book publishing business have affected his line.
It was interesting. Against all odds,  was a good year for us. We had a few really nice surprises: Walker Bean took off in Fall, our Adventures in Cartooning Activity Book also did well for us. In a year where everybody around us was hunkering down, we had some nice things to show for it. Coming out of 2009 and into 2010, there was a spirit of bracing for the storm, and definitely we saw some of that. It was an encouraging place to come out of. We came through 2010 well ahead of our budget forecasts, which is always nice. [snip]Well, it’s a little weird. My sense is that McMillan as a whole, kind of like the industry, doesn’t want Borders to go under. But Borders has not actually done great things for First Second. They were a little behind the curve to begin with when we launched. It’s been a little hit or miss. Every once in a while I thought a title would get a nice showing at Borders, but it’s not been something that we counted on.
That’s just on the young end of the list. Then, if I jump to the other end, we have things like historical fiction. We have Lewis and Clark, which is the first of Nick Bertozzi’s explorers and that’s his life-long passion. He’s been researching explorers. I think the next one is Ernest Shackleton. It just an incredible story, incredibly well told, incredibly smartly written and he really gets into the depression aspect and the psychological underpinnings of the Lewis and Clark story in a way where people will sit up and take notice even in the academic world.
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.