The Beat is back, baby! We hope you endured the past couple of weeks without your kibbles, and we’re still wading through hundreds of emails, so you might want to hit us up again. Here’s some good stuff you probably saw already.
§ Nice art: Before closing up shop, Comics & Cola was offering the above print by James Stokoe on a pay what you want model. But I guess the deadline was yesterday. Sorry.
§ Sales charts! John Jackson Miller has compiled a A 25-year track of comics publisher market shares
By popular demand, I have added a landing page on Comichron encapsulating the larger publisher market shares as far back as they are known, which is to 1991. You can click to see the annual market shares across time, which will be the permanent home of this material — but I’ll be recapping it all below.
The “distributor wars” period of the early 90s is not indexed since reliable figures are not available, but the existing numbers are an interesting chart of the ebb and flow of market share.
§ Here’s the Apple iBooks Category Bestsellers for GNs and other genres. Spoilers: Batman, Walking Dead, Raina Telgemeier.
§ A new comics shop has opened in Cobble Hill called Mama Says Comics Rock, in the sort of same neighborhood as departed Rocketship and Bergen Street Comics. It will have a strong local focus:
The Brooklyn natives and recent college graduates opened Mama Says Comics Rock at Court and Degraw streets in mid-March — only a few blocks from the old site of another beloved local comic shop, Rocketship, which closed in 2010. Like its inspiration, the store carries a mix of big-name Lycra-clad heroes and obscure indie titles that will please fans across the spectrum, Schreger says. In addition to comics and graphic novels from well-known publishing juggernauts such as Marvel and DC, they plan to showcase a different independent artist each month, and will also be the exclusive purveyor of Gowanus publisher So What? Press — which put out a comic about an evil monster lurking in the murky depths of the Gowanus Canal.
I have to admit, the name of this store is not its selling point for me, but the neighborhood has a lot of families with kids, all potential comics purchasers.
Matthew Wilson: I was blown away by Dean’s work on UXF. I’d never seen anything like it. I think the new boundaries in coloring at the moment, for me at least, have to do with how the tools we use to color are now capable of producing any look you can imagine. In particular, I’m very interested in making digital colors look as if they are done with traditional media. Dean White is a great example of this. His work is extremely painterly, and if you weren’t aware of computer coloring you might think he did it all with real paints and real brushes. I’d also mention Matt Hollingsworth, Elizabeth Breitweiser, and Dave Stewart’s recent works. They are all able to get a textural, natural look to their colors that don’t look like they were made with a computer. I love seeing the artist’s hand in the work, and I love that our digital tools have evolved to the point where that’s possible. I’m also very interested in “less is more” with my own colors. I was always drawn to the Impressionists when studying art history. The idea of the artist suggesting reality and letting the viewer’s eye fill in the details always fascinated me. So I’d say those two things, looking handmade and being economical with the colors I use, are the boundaries that I’m most interested in seeing pushed at the moment.
§ Also from TCJ, your notes and Easter eggs for Patience, compiled by Clowesologist Ken Parille.
§ Nick Gazin reviews some comics.
§ The NYT does its Ta-Nehisi Coates/Black Panther piece. Apparently this book will not be tied in to “events” which may be good for newish readers.
§ Gene Luen Yang has an ongoing column at Panels, and the latest is about How Do Artists Keep Characters Consistent?
Eventually, I borrowed a trick from my friends in the animation industry. Almost every animated movie is created by a team of animators, and every animator on a team has a unique drawing style. In order to keep a movie consistent, a team will produce model sheets – sheets that show a character’s entire figure and a few of his or her most common facial expressions. The animators keep these model sheets taped up by their desks and refer to them while they work. I now do model sheets for myself. I keep these taped up by my desk while I work in an effort to keep my characters consistent.
Sam’s second piece inspires through the stories of innovative women trailblazers from history while still maintaining her trademark voice and humor. Whether you want to know about suffragists, awesome historical lady ninjas, or the other butt kicking, trailblazing smarties in between, Wonder Women will have something for you! Published by Quirk, and illustrated by Sophia Foster-Dimino, you can find Sam’s next book on October 18th of this year. Find your lab coats, pocket your ninja stars, don your adventure hats and be ready to learn about the women who paved the road for us all!
§ This awful click bait article shaming people who like superhero movies drew much of the intended outrage. And I just linked to it. Mission accomplished.
§ Katie Skelly’s much-loved Operation Margarine, about a girl motorcycle gang, is now sadly out of print from publisher AdHouse, and there are only two copies left on Amazon, but you can buy a pdf on Gumroad for a pay-what-you-want model. THIS IS A GOOD DEAL, people/
§ A footnote to Rebirth, Marguerite Bennett fired up a Patreon, which seems to reference the Wonder Woman gig she lost to Greg Rucka:
I recently lost a major project shortly after a rather expensive surgery, and as I struggle to rebuild my 2016, I was hoping to be able to interact directly with you all, without a publisher, and share some art, writing, behind the scenes stories, how-to’s, journal entries, nonfiction, analysis, and anything else that isn’t exactly in the superheroes-and-insect-lesbians forte of my mainstream publications. Mostly, I want to be able to branch out and offer you whatever art or helpful information you might have from me. I cannot possibly thank you enough for your readership as it is, and am deeply grateful and humbled by the interest and encouragement to begin a Patreon as I reconstruct my 2016.
She’s up to over $600 so a good start there.
§ Arthur Chu looks at Asian-Americans in the Marvel Cinematic/TV Universe and points out that Elektra’s background was racebent but Iron Fists’s wasn’t. Why?
So what gives? What are the differences between those two characters? Just off the top of my head: Elektra isn’t the hero of her own story, and Danny Rand is. Elektra isn’t really heroic at all, in fact, while Danny Rand is. Elektra, in all her portrayals, is an amoral killer who’s a foil for Matt Murdock’s morality, and in this particular portrayal she’s some sort of inherently evil demonic killing machine. Danny Rand, by contrast, is an ordinary likable guy in over his head trying to do his best—the kind of Everyman hero we’re used to seeing played by white guys named Chris.
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.