§ Steve Bissette has begun writing a a history of WaP!, a pros-only newsletter from the ’80s—spearheaded by Steven Grant and Frank Miller—that created quite a stir at the time. The history is tied up with much of the creator unrest of the era. The first chapter is much concerned with Dave Sim, Diamond and what would become Tundra Publishing, Kevin Eastman’s ambitious but disastrous publishing venture. Also mentioned, The Frying Pan, a pro APA that I was a member of during its run. Much of the history is convoluted and interconnected, but it’s definitely behind a lot of the thinking that went on among creators and self-publishers in an era when indie comics sold 30,000 copies with no sweat at all. It all reflects frustration with the comics industry’s inability to reach a wider audience and backsliding on creators rights that pretty much went into the hopper with the great crash of the ’90s. Ancient history for many, but fascinating stuff.
§ New Yorker cartoonists Benjamin Schwartz and Liam Francis Walsh went to see the Harvey Kurtzman exhibit and made a comic about it.
§ Sean Kleefeld looks back on 2008, the year we “lost” Comic-Con.
§ Variety had a lengthy profile of new WB CEO Kevin Tsujihara, which reveals he’s a nice guy who likes his family. Also what to do with the DC characters is a priority.
Among the priorities for the studio, which enjoys enviable market share in film and television, is finding fresh tentpole franchises now that the “Harry Potter” series has run its course; mining more content from the wealth of material in the DC Entertainment vault; and expanding WB’s activity in consumer products and international markets, in tandem with other Time Warner units, notably Turner Broadcasting.
Artist Jay Lynch, an East Orange native, was part of the underground comics movement of the late 1960s. The irreverent, barrier-busting comics drawn by Lynch, Robert Crumb and others introduced sex, drugs and self-expression to the medium. Was it truly a movement? Or a bunch of unconnected artists who had the same idea at the same time? “Well,” Lynch said wryly, “I think it had to do with LSD.”
§ Don MacPhersonjumps into the digital comics grey market:
I discovered a few months ago some folks sell these codes on eBay. The same is done by some people when it comes to digital copies of DVDs/Blu-Rays, so a similar development in the world of comics was a foreseeable development. The eBay practice isn’t something that seems to be curbed in any way, so I don’t know if it qualifies as a “grey market” for comics or not. There’s nothing overtly listed in the details outlined by Marvel that precludes the resale of the codes. The only real conditions mentioned on the page featuring the code are the following: “Digital copy requires purchase of a physical comic. Download code valid for one use only.” There’s no mention that the person who bought the comic is the only one who can use it, nor does Marvel state the code isn’t for resale.
§ Coming this summer, a debut novel called The Night Gwen Stacy Died by Sarah Bruni It’s described as “A debut novel and quirky love story about the adventures and mutual rescue of an Iowan girl and a mysterious stranger who begins to cast her in the image of Spider-Man’s first love.”
§ In case you missed David Brothers’ take on Alex Summers and “The M Word” here it is.
§ The Longbox Project aims to collect reminiscences of specific comics readers purchased as specific times in the past. I was going to say, whoo, I’ve had enugh of that, but the one I happened to click on mentioned Foodtown, and I was immediately swept back to the Foodtown in White House Station on Route 22 where I eagerly riffled through the shopworn racks in search of the new Master of Kung Fu. So yeah….Foodtown. Buying your comics in supermarkets. That was a time.
A female fan asked why the DC 101 panel hadn’t highlighted any female-centric books and media. “Sometimes it feels like there’s a conspiracy like we don’t want any girls, but we actually love girls and would love girls to read the books, even the ‘Teen Wolf’ fans here,” Lobdell began, but was drowned out by shouts from an agitated group of “Teen Wolf” fans who had just enough of being mentioned by the writer. “If the point of this panel is to get new fans, why have you spent the entire panel alienating every single person waiting for the panel coming up?” a “Teen Wolf” fan in front yelled back at the two as the audience divided into boos and a smattering of applause. Cunningham and Lobdell both apologized for any hurt feelings for their “Teen Wolf” comments, telling the large “Teen Wolf” contingent it was not their intention to alienate them, though Lobdell was unable to resist jokingly ask the audience to show by raising their hands who felt alienated.
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.