§ Mark Evanier reports that original Airboy artist Fred Kida, a nominee for this year’s Eisner Hall of Fame, has passed away at 93.
The Kickstarter for Seth Kushner’s SCHMUCK: A Graphic Novel is in its last days with about $2500 to go. With art by Joseph Remnant, Nick Bertozzi, Gregory Benton, Dean Haspiel and many more illustrating stories of awkward young adulthood, this books should be published. There’s some good stuff here. One of the rewards is the award winning photographer Kushner giving you a photography lesson for $250. AND a copy of the book. Check it out.
§ CBR’s chart cruncher John Mayo weighs in on these controversial times with his own analysis including this moebius strip about selling non Big Two comics:
There is a bit of a chicken and the egg situation going on here. The smaller publishers are in fewer stores, causing them to sell less, which in turn causes them to be in fewer stores because they sell less. In many cases, sales will go up on a title if retailers and readers would just give it a chance. The problem is, there is no major incentive for retailers to put a title on the rack in the hopes it will sell. When ordering in the single digit number of units, it is very risky for a retailer to take a chance on a title. The best way to remove that risk for a retailer is to tell you retailer about the comics you are planning on buying during the preorder phase. If you seem something you want to buy in Previews, help your retailer out and tell them. Some people dislike the preorder nature of the comic book industry, and there are many valid reasons for this. However, the reality is, the current marketplace is preorder-driven, and those preorders determine what does and does not get published in the future.
Yep Comics 101 right there.
§ It is not an Indie Comics CAF until the Secret Acres crew weighs in, even if they ARE on the steering committee. It is instructive to read the grumblings about the show from two years ago and the positive reviews now. See, things can be fixed! If you wanna read my report, it’s here.
§ MUST READ!!! Ryan Holmberg offers some groundbreaking research as he examines how the work of american cartoonists Rose O’Neill and Grace Drayton influenced manga artist Matsumoto Katsuji, who essentially invented the kawaii (cute) look.
The recent show, a retrospective of illustrator and manga author Matsumoto Katsuji (1904-86), was filled with the kind of frilly, sentimental shōjo stuff that usually makes me gag. But there was at the center of the show a ray of sharp, clarifying light that has changed my understanding of the development of manga in that transitional era of the 1930s, when the medium went from adult pastime and occasional kids plaything to big-time commercial entertainment. In that spotlight stood one work in particular: Matsumoto’s The Mysterious Clover (Nazo no kuroobaa), an 16-page, magazine-format (7 x 10 in.), premium insert furoku for the April 1934 issue of the monthly Shōjo no tomo (A Girl’s Friend), an iconic magazine in the history of shōjo culture.
§ Mairghread Scott and Sarah Stone talk about the new comic for the fan created female Transformer Windblade. I don’t get how robots have gender or whatever, but Scott and Stone do, luckily.
§ As you MAY have heard last night’s Agents of SHIELD finally revealed that the producers were right and they WERE building towards something all along. I stand corrected. In this case…tieing in with Captain America: Winter Soldier. Corey Blake examines this Marvel Cinematic Crossover
Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out less than a week ago, and the plot of last night’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. weaved in and around that movie’s story, which significantly altered the course of the show’s storylines and will continue to do so for the remainder of the season. Structurally, it was almost like reading the Infinity War crossover issues of Silver Sable and the Wild Pack. All that was missing was editor’s notes directing viewers to “*See Captain America: The Winter Soldier, in theaters now! -Ed.,” Pop-Up Video style. For those immersed and aware enough (and able to afford movie tickets), this is a really fun experience. It really feels like #ItsAllConnected, as the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Facebook and Twitter accounts have been telling us. It’s exciting, unprecedented, and feels very much like reading a classic Marvel event.
This seems to have significantly excited the base so we can only say well played. However since the next Marvel movie is Guardians in August, hopefully more will happen on AoS before then.
§ There were a minor kerfuffle last week about a review of Walt Kelly that sort of excused the contemporary racist caricatures of his work. Luckily Brian Kremins wrote a much better piece that puts Kelly’s work into an even broader social context, including Bridgeport, CT, a grim industrial swath located in the generally affluent suburbs of Connecticut. I can say that because I lived near Bridgeport until I was 10. While Kelly did create some stories that make us very uncomfortable now, he also had a complicated history, as befits a great artist. It is a very sad thing that almost every great cartoonist of the first half of the 20th century used racist imagery; and even sadder that they lived in a society where this imagery was tolerated and condoned. Papering over everything now would be fun, but we’re not living in a post racial society yet, so the time for papering is not yet. And yes, Walt Kelly is still one of the great cartoonists.
§ Disney’s Infinity game—a mix of sandbox video gaming and collectible figurines that includes many Disney and Pixar characters—will be adding Marvel characters, it seems, as suggested by the unsubtle video above that show’s Captain America’s Shield whizzing by Captain Jack, Sully, the Incredibles and so on. Also, the end of the trailer states “Bring on the super heroes.” Disney’s characters have always existed in some multi universal crossover state—think Disney World!—so this is only sensible. Woodgod vs Charles Muntz, I’m calling it.
§ A review and comments on Mimi Pond’s graphic novel ‘Over Easy’ in the Los Angeles Times
§ What did comics fanzines looked like in 1980? This link will tell you. Spoiler: they were not as immediately attractive as Tumblr.
§ The Asbury Park Comic con is this weekend, and local boy made good Brendan Leach is profiled with the classic headline Comic books not kid stuff for aspiring graphic novelist:
He found himself mining his childhood memories to bring to life the scenes set in Asbury Park. He recalled snapshots of seeing the rock band Weezer at The Stone Pony and huddling on the beach with friends to listen to the muffled echoes of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band practicing inside the Convention Center. Maintaining a realistic look to Asbury Park in “Iron Bound” was no small task. So when his memory failed him, Leach utilized Google Maps to get a bird’s-eye view on the town. He didn’t just want you to see the boardwalk, he wanted you to feel the sunwarmed beams burning your bare feet.
§ If you enjoyed Spurge’s interview with Zack Soto, here’s a companion piece, Rob McMonigal interviewingLineworks co-director François Vigneault:
Panel Patter: What were some of the challenges in putting together a small press show in such a short time, and how did you handle them?
Vigneault: There are many, many challenges, but luckily we had some strong experience between us that allowed us to pull it together. For my part, I previously ran the San Francisco Zine Fest for six years, so I had a good idea of the difficulties that awaited us. I would say the biggest thing is just juggling all the various balls at once. If you put too much focus on any one thing you soon realize you have neglected some other, essential part. We also had some nasty surprises with last minute cancellations; you’ve always got to have a back-up plan for those contingencies!
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.