First off, thanks to Nicholas Eskey for his WonderCon coverage this weekend. He did a smashing job covering some diverse panels, including Con Talk-Back — sounds like it was a great time.
§ On his mailing list, Warren Ellis had a bit more about his revamp of Project Superpowers, which will apparently be a single series:
Let me catch you up: a few days ago, Dynamite Comics announced that I’m going to do a short serial utilising the same 1940s public-domain characters that Alex Ross and Jim Krueger used for their PROJECT SUPERPOWERS series. My book will not be the same as their book. At all. More on this will be said soon. The idea crystallised while I was watching TOP OF THE LAKE, oddly.
I have actually been fascinated by those old characters for a great many years. Golden Age comics, as they’re called, are strange things. This is something I’ll get into with you at a later date, once the thing’s up and running, I think. There’s a haunted nature to many of them: like the pulps, some of them are a window for pure id to stream through.
Top of the Lake is a TV miniseries by Jane Campion and Gerard Lee about a female detective who investigates the disappearance of a 12-year-old girl who happens to be pregnant. Well then!
§ Washington DC’s Awesome Con attempted to set a record for most cosplayers this weekend but they fell more than 1000 people short. But it got them a lot of press and people had a good time.
Two follow-ups to last week’s extreme reaction to Janelle Asselin’s Teen Titans cover critique.
§ The writer of the new Titans bool, Will Pfeifer defended the new title, understandably, but was also appalled by the reaction.
I don’t agree with her opinion of the cover, but it’s appalling the reaction to her. As a writer, and I’m sure for Kenneth as an artist, we want people to respond to our work, even if we don’t agree with it. We want to put our work out there and have people react. But this kind of thing is insane! If you disagree with her, that’s fine. If you agree with her that’s fine too. But if you’re threatening her or just doing some crazy mean attack, grow up! That’s all I would say, grow up. Have a conversation, don’t threaten. It’s so out of my wheelhouse; I know it goes on, but I can barely believe this goes on!
§ David Harper puts the inappropriate reaction in a wider context of fan over-reaction”
Even when you leave the world of threats on industry professional’s lives and bodies, you hear about experiences like the one Noelle Stevenson had at a comic book retailer, where she was treated like a complete joke when she was just trying to buy comics from them. The lack of respect she received, simply because she was a woman, would be enough for most potential readers to drop their interest in buying comics in a heartbeat. And it’s not just women who have these experiences. My nephew, once an interested neophyte comic reader, was berated and mocked when he went into a shop simply because he had the audacity of wanting to buy a “Deadpool” comic. Nothing else. He just happened to want to buy a comic that the people who worked in the shop didn’t deem good enough, and they made sure he felt their disdain. He didn’t buy that “Deadpool” comic, or any comic that day.
§ In case you missed any of the very fine and thoughtful reactions to Asselin’s first piece, Jill Pantozzi has her own reaction and a good round-up of the strongest pieces. I know you didn’t miss these, but I wanted to get that out there.
§ Returning to the topic of actual comic books, R.C. Harvey is a long time comics critic and scholar whose main these is that comics should be a verbal/visual blend. He has a new piece up analyzing a bunch of newer “non fiction” comics and finds them very word heavy, such as the work in Super Zelda ( a proper page is shown above) and The Bohemians.
As the humble comic book has graduated from the denigrated throw-away periodical to the esteemed and culturally significant “graphic novel,” the shelves of the nation’s bookstores have been increasingly polluted with the works of ambitious well-meaning comics enthusiasts who don’t understand the medium and whose perversions of it not only threaten the form but indoctrinate an audience with false perceptions: readers of such lame endeavors will have a skewed understanding of what graphic novels are and what the cartooning arts are capable of.
While I agree with Harvey that Chester Brown’s Louis Reil is a far superior artistic work for many reasons, it’s also true that graphic novels are more popular than ever, and most lay readers aren’t that put off by the “over captionizing” that so many non fiction comics use. There are definitely some stinkers out there, though. Hopefully, as “applied cartooning” is studied more, there will be fewer stinkers.
§ Speaking of graphic novels, here’s Flacorwire with 25 Best Graphic Novels. You will have to click through slide-show style, and for those who couldn’t stay the course, this is a decent basic list. I liked that it included some more difficult books like Asterios Polyp, and also it reflects a wider minority experience with books like Yummy and Stuck Robber Baby. How excellent it is that there are so many good graphic novels to put on lists such as these.
§ Oh and FSU’s Joelle Garcia reviewed The Beat itself.
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.