§ Adrian Tomine is grilled at Gothamist:
Many of your characters are misanthropic misfits figuring out how to communicate with and care for other people, but ultimately there is an optimism that comes through, especially in Scenes, because it is about a happy couple going on to happy things. Do you believe in peoples’ ability to transcend their individual neuroses and connect? I think it’s too risky to make a broad statement in either direction. A lot of people have said this book caught them by surprise, that it’s coming from a completely different worldview than my other books. Both points of view have existed in my mind. I guess, in my life, I’ve just known people who— there’s no one path. I know a lot of people who have made amazing turnarounds and made a reversal of fortune and people who have stayed completely the same their entire lives. It’s unpredictable. I’m glad to be able to add this book to the pile of stuff I’ve put out into the world. It does represent a realistic facet of some people’s life, certainly of mine.
§ At Suicide Girls, Elaine Lee talks STARSTRUCK:
We’ve been told “Starstruck was ahead of its time,” which usually just means “no money for creators!” There were actually some comics fans who were furious that we had a non-linear story, as no one in American comics was doing that at the time. And we had an “ensemble cast” of characters, many of them female, rather than one main guy. These days, with popular TV shows like Lost and Heroes, people are used to non-linear stories. Remember, when Starstruck first came out, there was no Buffy the Vampire Slayer, no Xena Warrior Princess, no Power Puff Girls. Few fantasy/sci-fi/horror movies with strong female leads, like Underworld or the Resident Evil series. People thought we had some political agenda, because we had a lot of female characters. Now it’s not unusual.
BURNS: So then you moved in with a guy who had an enormous comic collection, right? STEIN: That was when I was in Chicago. After I graduated high school I moved out of my mom’s house a couple days later with a couple guys in this really really bad neighborhood in Chicago. And I couldn’t really leave the house, actually. I really couldn’t. One of the guys I lived with had a huge trunk of comics, and he had tons and tons of alternative comics in there, and I went crazy and went through all of them and was really excited by them. I would try to draw some of them. So that’s how I learned a lot about R. Crumb and Dan Clowes and, you know a bunch of underground alternative comics artists.
§ What’s a Transmedia, anyway? Zak Kadison of Backlight explains that is often involves a graphic novel:
As with all of Blacklight’s projects, the company, which has four full-time employees, also conceived graphic novels and games for “The Runner.”
Instead of making a book that’s the same as the movie – or a videogame that slavishly follows the story of the movie — each medium propels its own story.
“You’re able to do things in a videogame that you can’t necessarily do in a movie,” Kadison said. “A good example is ‘Grand Theft Auto.’ You’re rewarded for being a really bad guy. Can you think of any version of any movie and be authentic to ‘Grand Theft Auto?’”
She then described a typical surfing session: “I’ll be on Facebook and see a status update of song lyrics, and I’ll Google them and find the band name, that I will subsequently Wikipedia and discover that the lead singer is interesting and briefly look at his Twitter and try his music on Grooveshark” — a music search engine and streaming service — “while looking at pictures of him on Tumblr” — the multimedia microblogging platform — “that will lead me to a meme I’ve never heard of that I’ll explore until I find hilarious photos I will subsequently share with friends of mine on Facebook.” Gabriela, who sometimes dresses in the futuristic Victoriana known as steampunk, also loves Webcomics, a site for graphic novels and comic books, and Neopets, a game that lets players care for virtual pets.
She indeed sleeps with her laptop in her bed, “partly so I can have my iTunes play my Sleep playlist.” Even on the Sabbath, when she refrains from Internet use for religious reasons, she talks and thinks about the Internet. She told me she considers surfing the Web not so much a regimen but “a state of being” that, like a meditative state, took her years to achieve.
Hm. She is well trained to blog.
§ Best story title ever? Crunch! Thump! Zap! Bam! Pow! — Wow!. And what’s it about? Cosmic Comics in Las Vegas and owners Jim Brocius and Brian Fudge, above, who say things are going GREAT.
“This was our best January, and I think this will be our best February,” Brocius said, gazing around the store at stacks of comics interspersed with superhero T-shirts and action-figure arrays.
The sales boost comes just as the shop occupies a new address. Captain America, the Green Lantern, the X-Men and the Walking Dead all had to be packed up and moved from the former Cosmic Comics’ location on East Tropicana Avenue to its new home, at 3830 E. Flamingo Road, Suite F-2.
§ MEANWHILE, in Toronto, the venerable Silver Snail is moving from the Queen West strip to the Annex:
Zotti says the financial situation at Silver Snail is much different than with Pages Books and Magazines, another Queen West literary icon, which closed its doors in 2009 because of a massive rent hike. (Pages now operates as an online business, event series, and pop-up shop.) Van Leeuwen, who is retiring, owns the Silver Snail building, “but before he made the decision to sell, we were thinking of leaving Queen Street,” says Zotti.
Ideally, Silver Snail will relocate to the Annex, suggests Zotti. The student-heavy neighbourhood is home to old friend Bakka Phoenix, as well as The Beguiling, another comics shop that carries more alternative and small-press comics and graphic novels.
§ Artist James Romberger investigates what makes Sammy Harkham‘s art tick:
The condensed but ultracoherent narrative style of The New Yorker Story carries through into the main story, Blood of a Virgin. Harkham has a talent for dialogue and he draws believable continuity and nuanced expressions. His storytelling is clear and his page designs, panel framings and lettering incorporations are elegantly composed. His hand is light and his line is still cartoony in that it increasingly evokes the direct but fragile emotionality of Charles Schulz, but now it also recalls the vigorous simplicity of Roy Crane’s Wash Tubbs.
§ Ng Suat Tong celebrates acquiring an actual page of KRAZY KAT, the lucky bastard.
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.