§ This column has been absent for the usual reasons, a big deadline on an outside project, travel and the fact that running this site now takes up about half my day. But I’ve been hoarding away links like a squirrel under the acorn tree. Unfortunately no one is going to care about much besides government drama, but if you need a break there is sure to be something here to entertain and enlighten you.
§ Nice Art: At the MTV Movie Awards Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keene from Logan are the fiercest movie duo evah.Embed from Getty Images
§ Two time Eisner nominee Zainab Akhtar has been updating Comics & Cola again, with material first published in her Patreon Newsletter. Lots of reviews, news and tidbits, all for the most discerning comics readers. Seriously, it’s only $1! What are you waiting for?
§ The MNT Newsletter is also available on Patreon, It’s the work of Steve Morris, Megan Purdy and Christian Hoffer and it’s also excellent. Also only $1. Seriously now! Is this the way forward for comics journamalism? The MNT crew announced on Twitter that they are looking to bring on another partner and expand so the empire grows…
§ Cartoonist Jay Disbrow has passed away at age 91. HE had a very busy career as a ahorror artist, as this Lambiek entry shows, going all the way back to the Iger shop in the 1950s. However, for me he will be best known for the astonishing fact that a Jay Disbrow comic was the very first one ever published by Fantagraphics, namely The Flames of Gyro, a book so obscure that I could only find this tiny illo of the cover. The second book published by Fanta was Love and Rockets, so a bit of a shift there. I haven’t read the relevant passages in We Told You So, but comic legend has it that when Fantagraphics made one of its moves, they had a bonfire of copies of The Flames of Gyro from the warehouse.
Not to disparage Disbrow, there. He has a solid, imaginative style that stands out among the era’s journeymen. Joe McCulloch has more on all this in a column from 2013.
§ Speaking of McCulloch, Katie Skelly took over his weekly comics column for this week and the result has a lot to do with fashion icon Rei Kawakubo, and the comics analogies must be seen! More of this.
§ Former New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff has a new job editing cartoons at Esquire, which is surprising because it suggests that he didn’t leave the New Yorker altogether voluntarily. But he’ll be busy with his new gig:
According to Hearst, Mankoff will be responsible for “reviving the decades-long tradition of cartoons in Esquire, which numbers more than 13,000 cartoons and dates back to the 1930s when they were published regularly until the early 1970s.” He will edit humor stories, pitch ideas, draft cartoons and recruit a new generation of humorists to Esquire and Esquire.com. He will also find ways for the magazine to make its original cartoons available for prints and licensing. “Bob is one of the funniest, most creative people I know,” said Esquire editor in chief Jay Fielden. “What he’s going to do is invent an entirely new look and sensibility in cartooning by upping the aesthetics and embracing a wide set of fresh voices. ‘La La Land’ proved an old form can become a new sensation. That’s the ambition here.”
If nothing else, Esquire may become an outlet for cartoonist to sell cartoons for money, a rare thing these days. Also rare, reading a print magazine.
§ Todd McFarlane made a little video saying he’d finished a script for a new Spawn movie. He’s been threatening a new Spawn movie for a long time but this time he has a script and even showed a page although it didn’t have any scary Spawn stuff on it. The script is too long but he’s already had 14 interested parties. “The script is done; no more talk,” he promises.
Will there ever be another Spawn movie? The franchise seems pretty ice cold right now, but ya never know. McFarlane hopes to have more to say at San Diego.
§ While I was on deadline the potential WGA strike was averted, which is wonderful because it would have messed up everything. With streaming going full blast, Hollywood just couldn’t have afforded a work stoppage and it sounds like the writer’s got a decentish deal. Also had there been a strike, comis would have been flooded with film and tv writers “on break” and that would have been awkward.
§ Also, they finally made it official that Pitch got cancelled so those 10 episode about Ginny Baker the first female major league pitcher will be all there is. I loved this show, but then I would. It is certainly the best baseball tv show of all times, better than Bay City Blues or Ball Four. It really should have been an HBO show, not a network show. Oh well.
§ Actor Josh McDermitt, who plays Eugene on The Walking Dead, quit social media after receiving death threats and a lot of abuse over his character’s (spoiler) change in fortune on the show. In his farewell post he wrote:
“Don’t send me death threats, because I will…I’m gonna report all that s–t to the cops. I’m just sick of it. You can hate Eugene, I don’t care. I’ll argue that you’re wrong, but you can think whatever you want. But when you start saying you hope I die, I don’t know if you’re talking about Josh or Eugene. I gotta report that s–t,” he said on Facebook Live.
“So just don’t be an a–hole. And then…stop complaining. Let’s just stop complaining about everything on the internet. OK. Seriously. Go spend time with your family or friends or loved ones. Just get off the internet. Is there anything else? Other than I love you? I do. I love you guys.”
The abuse was pretty gross but it didn’t lead to endless op-eds, probably because the victim was a well-off white male actor. It does suggest to me that some of the offensive trolls on social media are motivated just by the fact they’re shitty people and not picking on any particular group, although god knows, women and POCs get a lot more abuse on social media just for existing. Social media is wonderful, isn’t it?
§ Sarah Glidden has a newsletter and she made the latest one in the form of a comic and it’s so cool. You may be able to see it in this link.
§ Here’s a brief interview with the always busy Spike Trotman, which reveals she not only can run her own publishing empire, but make her own kim chi for lunch. I feel so inadequate now.
Greg: You’re a successful publisher of your own work, anthologies, and you’ve even branched out to begin publishing books by other creators, including the award-winning TJ and Amal. So tell us: what did you have for lunch today? Spike: (Laughs) Actually I have it right here! I made scallion pork sung scallion pancakes–pork sung if you don’t know is dried sweetened and shredded pork that’s usually used as a rice topping–I mixed it in with the scallion pancake and fried it. I’m having with that some rice with furukake which is Japanese-style rice seasoning. That, topped with kimchi–which is homemade, thank you–and the accompanying vegetable is just a dressed simple tossed salad.
§ Viz VP – Publishing Leyla Aker gave her periodic ICv2 interview, and Pokémon was hot again!
It definitely did expand the channels that we were in. The mass retailers started taking the titles. Some mass retailers that we’d never worked with before were interested in taking the Pokemon volumes. Some of that has translated to sales of other titles, and some of it hasn’t. When you’re talking about moving into mass market channels, the property needs to be of a certain size. It’s not like they’re going to go back and take a small indie manga after that. It definitely expanded our channels. We’re still writing that.
§ I totally missed this PW profile of Alex Segura, mostly known for his work at Archie but also a mystery author!
Segura said he also loved reading crime novels as a kid and later “as a hobby, and a respite” from his duties in publicity, and he eventually tried his hand at writing them. His books, he said, are inspired by the works of such crime novelists as Lawrence Block, Dennis Lehane, Laura Lippman, and George Pelecanos,—“writers who create imperfect characters in a strong setting.”
“I started trying to write about a private eye based in Miami, and I just pecked away at the story in my spare time,” Segura said. “I also started going to crime conventions, like BoucherCon,” the annual crime and mystery convention. He met Pinter during one of those BoucherCon visits. “I wrote one novel and then another, and it became its own thing,” he added.
§ Here’s an interview about the Creators for Creators grant that Image founded and if it sounds a lot like the old Xeric Grant, well…
Nick Dragotta: When I was coming up in comics there was a grant called the Xeric started by Peter Laird of “The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” I can remember trying to get one back in the late ’90s. I didn’t receive one, but the 15 or so submission pages I drew for the Xeric Grant led to my first comic job at Marvel. It was a very useful experience, and that opportunity led to another. Cut to 2015, Image was still in the Bay Area where I live, and David and I would occasionally hang out, grab lunch. Our conversations would stray into the business of comics and how it could be improved, it just started formulating from there. We really just jumped in. We wrote a letter to our peers, and with Eric Stephenson’s blessing, sent it out. The idea was to set up a nonprofit that would be funded and run by creators. No one owns it, a volunteer entity that helps promote new and original works.
§ I have a huge backlog of convention news. I could just run a website about conventions and the drama therein. From the Fyre Festival to the con that got cancelled by the shady hotel to autographs with dogs to the show runner who killed a man in self defense.
§ Anyway, After the Fyre Festival, Rob Salkowitz looked at the possibility that “comic” cons will begin having mega expensive packages as well, but maybe with better sandwiches.
Knox cites the inflated pricetags for Coachella (starting at $600 but with packages available that cost as much as $8,500) and Bonaroo ($1650 for VIP tickets, but only sold in blocks of two, with premium experiences as high as $7,000). Have you priced out a trip to SxSW lately? And let’s not even talk about what it costs to take a family of four to a regular-season major league sporting event, much less a playoff game. It’s all enough to make the cost of a four-day badge to one of North America’s big comic or gaming festivals seem like a bargain, even with hotels and airfare. There’s a reason why SDCC, NYCC, PAX and other fan events sell out in a matter of seconds and scrambles like last week’s “Hoteloween” – the annual stress-fest to book a hotel for SDCC – are now traditions. That’s what happens when demand exceeds supply. It’s a signal to the market that prices are too low.
§ Speaking of Hoteloween, I didn’t give a blow by blow account this year, but it was a bit of a trail of tears, with ressie notifications going out in two batches a week apart. And those who got NOTHING, NOTHING I tell you, haven’t even gotten that OnPeak Dear John letter yet.
Don’t worry about the Beat, a backup plan was put into motion, but this year’s random lottery seems to have been a RANDOMIZED random lottery as when you got into the queue and when you posted your finished list seem to have had little to do with what you got. The Unofficial SDCC BLog has all the tweet sleuthing here. And here’s the annual editorial: How Do You Solve A Problem Like Hotelpocalypse? While there is no solution – 120,00 people for 12,000 downtown hotel rooms – Kerry Dixon mused over the possibility of live picking of rooms, while rejecting that as unfeasible – although that’s how we USED to do it, hence the tradition of being first in line and frantically picking hotels, although it doens’t matter any more. She also suggests this rather intriguing idea:
There’s really no reason why the randomization needs to happen on the front end, though. Why not simply open the form up for a period of time – say, somewhere between 2-24 hours – and state up front that it doesn’t matter what time you fill out the form, because it’s all going to be randomized on the back end later. There would no longer be a need for a waiting room to funnel people through, because it wouldn’t matter if you refresh at 9AM on the dot, so thousands of attendees wouldn’t be overloading the form all at once. Instead, while it’s certainly stressful waiting to see what hotel you got — it takes some of the tension out of the process.
I think this would ultimately be even more frustrating since it takes away the ILLUSION of being first in line. There really is no solution except a dozen more hotels or the con getting really crappy. And I don’t se either of those happening.
§ In case you’re thinking AirBnB, don’t. I checked and whole apts go for about $1000 a night. Which might be good if you have a big group but if I tried to arrange that I would just die.
§ This link cataloging David Mazzucchelli’s various Short Stories in Various Anthologies, 1991–2013 has been making the rounds. Mazzucchelli seems to be about as interested in reprinting these as he is in doing interviews – I asked him about an interview for a friend at MoCCA and he looked like I’d just asked if he’d like to run with the bulls in Pamplona wearing cement overshoes – so this list will just stoke your over priced back issue haunting.
COMMENTARY, REVIEWS, ETC.
§ Some wag burned Secret Empire for Free Comic Book Day, because internet famous.
happy free comic book day!!! pic.twitter.com/AohvWvA263
— calvin (@tenderslices) May 6, 2017
§ I’ve only seen the first episode of American Gods but I was wondering how it would land considering that it was written at the turn of the century, when a white author having a POC main character was seen as a step forward, whereas now we have a bit more nuanced approach to such things. Black Girl Nerd’s Jonita Davis looked at American Gods and the Realities of Race and gives some insights on this.
§ With Guardians of the Galaxy coming out, Eisner nominee Michael Cavna examines one of Hollywood’s greatest mysteries: Were Disney’s dying words really ‘Kurt Russell’? I won’t spoil the answer but it may surprise you.
§ Also Via James Gunn Groot’s Five Favorite Films and if you can guess what Groot says as commentary, it will totally NOT surprise you. Cute idea though, and the films are quite a mix.
§ At WWAC, Claire Napier undertook a compact investigation of Marvel chairman and Trump adviser Ike Perlmutter, and has many questions.
Even considering this donation an act of true, individual generosity, why is Perlmutter speaking privately to Trump about veterans issues, and not the prevention of the loss of healthcare to so many Americans being fought for and, on the fourth of May, won by the Republicans of the Trump administration? His own status as a veteran is accepted, though hard to verify for myself owing to a combination of his strict personal privacy and his service being with the Israeli Army. It’s widely supposed that he participated in 1967’s Six Day War and emigrated to America that same year, aged twenty-four. Having been an ex-military veteran for fifty years now Perlmutter surely has a lot of experience hours racked up, but one must wonder if the experience of an individual with rare gall and hustle who grew into a billionaire over the second half of the last century can be analogous to the concerns of the average veteran in 2017.
Why indeed. Why.
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.