§ Nice Art: Up and comer Rosemary Valero-O’Connell offers a peek at Black Sun Rising, “a big personal project I’ve had in the works for the last year! I finished a chunk of it for my undergrad senior thesis, and am currently working on the logistics of what the future holds for the rest of it, but I wanted to share the tip of the iceberg with all of y’all!” Iceberg, dead ahead!
§ A couple of good links on how to moderate panels. Cecil Castellucci offers How to Panel Like a Lit Champ!
I’ve been moderating and paneling for a long time and been doing a lot of panels these past few months and have a few thoughts about what makes a great panel. I thought I would follow up Mette’s excellent A Good Moderator post from a month ago with a How to Panel like a Lit Champ! post. These are just some things that I’ve learned along the years and try to strive for when I’m on a panel or when I’m moderating one and I thought I would pass these tips on to you. Enjoy!
And here A Good Panel Moderator . . . by Mette Ivie Harrison. They cover the basics like read the authors work, have some questions written down, take notes, keep a watch handy. They cover this, but my own personal tips:
— Do make sure everyone has a say. If a panelist has been a bit reticent try to ask a leading question to get them into the conversation.
— Make a slideshow, even if its rudimentary. Having visual examples of the work people are talking about really helps liven up a panel.
— Don’t be a blabbermouth. I love to talk, but they didn’t come to hear me.
— Listen closely! Follow-up questions are great.
— I try to make a panel 40 minutes of prepared questions and 20 minutes of audience Q&A.
§ The Guardian offers a brief but thorough introduction to Love and Rockets. This is a daunting comic to get into, to be sure, but I think it’s worth it:
Although the magazine was filled with one-off and semi-regular strips, the heart of Love and Rockets is two ongoing series: Jaime’s Locas and Gilbert’s Heartbreak Soup. The latter is an epic story of life in the fictional Mexican town of Palomar – soap-operatic telenovela meets the magical realism of Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. And that’s barely even beginning to do it justice. Locas is even harder to describe. It morphed from the tale of Maggie, a young “prosolar mechanic”, replete with rocket ships and dinosaurs, into the slice-of-life story of young people in a California town called Hoppers, with the odd lady wrestler and pneumatic superhero thrown in.
§ We already covered Gerard Way’s intro to the Young Animal quasi-Vertigo line he’s heading up for DC, but I have to say, this chatty Tumblr post is a fresh contemporary way to intro the line, and Way’s earnest and enthusiastic comments provide a good gateway for excitement. So, nice marketing, gang!
§ David Harper looks at the recent proliferation of sites that make it fall-off-a-log easy to read free pirated comics. Nots of numbers and charts, as you’d expect, and also a frank examination of how these impact sales…Harper contends they don’t necessary hurt sales but represent POTENTIAL sales.
It’s a tough nut to crack, especially considering these kinds of illegal activities aren’t going anywhere. While I wised up over the years, there’s still an enormous market for this kind of thing. It’s a part of life for all forms of entertainment, and it assuredly can and does impact the success and life cycle of many beloved creations. That’s the case whether you make movies, TV shows, music, books or comics. But in the comic industry, where many smaller books and creators are riding the razor’s edge between success and failure, this can be a killer. These sites impact comics in the long tail, and that’s where books often need the most help. After all, number one is an easy sell compared to number eleven. Sites like these can contribute to titles ending prematurely, writers and artists struggling to make ends meet, retailers being left with excess stock and publishers facing tough times. How much it does is uncertain, but it can’t help.
Harper points out that piracy goes away when easy, safe alternatives are available. I’m not sure there is a financial model that makes “Netflix of Comics” really viable, though. Recording artists are always complaining about the crappy royalties Spotify pays (this sentence written while listening to Tipsy on Spotify, BTW) and they have a more robust economic model to begin with. Download rates suggest that there are more people who want to read comics than want to pay to read comics; perhaps this is an audience that can be reached by some method.
§ Disney is canceling Disney Infinity, its console game that included characters from its many branches.
Disney is putting an end to their Disney Infinity toy-game line and discontinuing their “self-published console games business,” the company said today. After June, Infinity will stop getting new updates. Disney is also shutting down Avalanche Software, the Utah-based studio responsible for Infinity. As a result, around 300 people will lose their jobs. “This was a difficult decision that we did not take lightly given the quality of Disney Infinity and its many passionate fans,” Disney said in a statement. There will be two new Disney Infinity releases in May and June before the series ends for good: one based on Alice Through The Looking Glass, and a second from Finding Dory.
I never played this game but I’m sure this upset a lot of people.
§ Jennifer De Guzman leads a roundtable on The State of Asian Representation in Comics with Amy Chu, Sarah Kuhn, and Jonathan Tsuei. I won’t excerpt this, just read it all, as it’s important.
§ Locke and Key is getting another shot at a TV show after a deals with Fox and Universal dwindled away. Fox actually made a pilot but didn’t pick it up. IDW Entertainment is developing it on their own with a script by creator Joe Hill.
§ And that excellent Andre The Giant graphic novel from Lion Forge is getting film development:
Lion Forge Comics and producers Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell have partnered to develop a feature film about the life of iconic pro wrestler Andre “The Giant” Roussimoff. The project is based on the authorized graphic novel biography published last year, “Andre the Giant: Closer to Heaven.” Roussimoff’s daughter Robin Christensen-Roussimoff will consult on the film and assigned the exclusive rights for the biography to the producers. “Andre the Giant rode the wave of the rise of wrestling in America, while suffering from the painful health condition of gigantism – there’s an Elephant Man story here,” Steindorff said.
BUT WHO WIL PLAY ANDRE???
§ Here is the headline I have longed to quote for a long time. Comics Recommendations for the Golden Girls by Emly Wenstrum:
The Golden Girls may have been a few decades older than the typical sit-com stars. They may have been retired. They may have been “over the hill.” But in the ways that counted, they were far ahead of their time.
Also, they were pretty badass.
Which is why I’m confident these fine ladies would thoroughly enjoy a good comic book. And hey, they’re a pretty open-minded bunch. I think they’d be willing to give them a shot.
Actually, there’s a pretty good chance that Rose, Dorothy and Blanche read comics growing up, since there were plenty of comics for girls during their early years. At the very least they read comic strips. I’m not entirely sure Dorothy would have gone for Asterios Polyp, though.
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.