§ Nice art: Inkbrink #5 is an anthology of poetry comics available for preorder now. There are many contributors and you can see them all (and more art in this link.
Yet again our submission pool brought us more excellent work than we could hope to print, and as a result this will be our largest to date. Part of the book is a special section excerpting Jenny Zervakis’s upcoming book Strange Growths, which will be published jointly by John Porcellino of Spit And A Half and Tom Hart of the Sequential Artists Workshop.
§ Comics Workbook is a spin off of Frank Santoro’s cartooning school but the site is developing many resources including daily links and a Carol Kovinick-Hernandez photo archive. And here’s a great report on CAKE 2016.
§ Jeannette Roan provides a delightful interview with Jason Shiga, whose Demon is coming out in print very soon. Yeehaw!
Was there a moment in your life when you felt like you had indeed become a professional cartoonist?
When Art Night was at its full swing, that’s when I first started doing books for Sparkplug. I was working on Double Happiness, Fleep, Bookhunter, and Meanwhile. I was working at the Oakland library for most of this time as well. I’d say the summer of 2008 is when things started to change for me. That’s when I got my advance for Meanwhile. 2008 was an interesting year. I think it was around this time when Persepolis, American Born Chinese, and Fun Home all hit. A lot of traditional book publishers were just opening up comics imprints, so I think 2007, 2008 is the year that a lot of alternative cartoonists were scooped up and offered book deals, and I guess I was part of that. Abrams decided they wanted to release Meanwhile as a children’s book, so I quit my job at the library, which was very bittersweet because I had been working there for ten years. It wasn’t like, “Take this job and suck it!” I started as a library aide, and by the end of it I was working in computer services at the main branch. I just loved my co-workers, but it had always been a dream of mine to work full-time as a cartoonist, and that’s what I did.
§ The Tony Award winning Fun Home musical is ending its run in September after two years. It’s a good run for a difficult show about gayness, family dysfunction and suicide. It’s also a GREAT show. I’m sure this will live on in repertory theater, but seriously, see it while you can. And since you can’t get Hamilton tickets, you might as well.
§ Michael Cavna profiled Marvel’s Sana Amanat after her latest White House appearance:
MC: Shonda Rhimes, on your panel, said that “single white male” is the default setting among casting [people] in Hollywood. Does the same hold true in some comics-industry editorial offices?
SA: I think that yes, that used to be the standard. But I’m an example of Marvel going against that. When I was considering Marvel, I had expressed uncertainty about my abilities as a comics pro in a world of white, male-dominated creators and wasn’t sure if I could measure up. To that, Joe Quesada [then editor-in-chief, now chief creative officer] responded that Marvel needed a voice like mine to help tell different kinds of stories. They sought me out and encouraged me, and it is that kind of intention that makes up the folks behind the scenes here. Our editorial staff alone is already one-third female.
— Parks And Cons (@ParksAndCons) June 17, 2016
§ Nicholas Cage went to a comic-con in Las Vegas to attempt to recreate his comic book collection which he sold off years ago apparently. Dude needs to decide whether he will stay or go with the comics thing.
§ Here’s a report on the phenomenon of “Digital Fatigue” for ebooks. Luckily this fatigue did not set in before people could get their Apple e-books class action settlements:
In light of the April study results, Codex president Peter Hildick-Smith believes that the book industry’s experience with digital sales differs from that of music and video because of two factors. First, electronic devices are optional for reading books (unlike for listening to music or watching video), and the current range of e-book reading devices—including smartphones, tablets, and dedicated e-readers—has not delivered the quality long-form reading experience needed to supplant print, even with e-books’ major price and convenience advantages. Second, Hildick-Smith said, a new consumer phenomenon, “digital fatigue,” is beginning to emerge. Device Limitations The reading devices that first ignited the e-book category—dedicated e-readers such as Nook and Kindle—still remain the most important factor affecting e-book reading and sales. Though only 34% of book buyer households own e-book readers, they are still the dominant factor in e-book consumption, having been used for an average of 55% of the total time spent reading the most recent e-book read by respondents. Dedicated e-reader owners also purchased 59% of e-book units bought by respondents in the month. In contrast, tablets, owned by 66% of book-buying households, were used for only 28% of e-book reading time, while smartphones, with the highest penetration among book buyers (73%), accounted for only 12% of e-book reading time.
§ But don’t get too excited about books in print! Here’s a piece that imagines a world without Barnes & Noble, which could be happening in the future:
There’s more than a little irony to the impending collapse of Barnes & Noble. The mega-retailer that drove many small, independent booksellers out of business is now being done in by the rise of Amazon. But while many book lovers may be tempted to gloat, the death of Barnes & Noble would be catastrophic—not just for publishing houses and the writers they publish, but for American culture as a whole. If Barnes & Noble were to shut its doors, Amazon, independent bookstores, and big-box retailers like Target and Walmart would pick up some of the slack. But not all of it. Part of the reason is that book sales are driven by “showrooming,” the idea that most people don’t buy a book, either in print or electronically, unless they’ve seen it somewhere else—on a friend’s shelf, say, or in a bookstore. Even on the brink of closing, Barnes & Noble still accounts for as much as 30 percent of all sales for some publishing houses.
§ The Licensing show is also going on in Vegas and here’s a succinct report:
Dead celebrities outnumbered the living. Muhammad Ali’s image was already on one booth’s banner between those of Marilyn Monroe and Elvis. Other entrepreneurs were looking to wring some more money out of the likenesses of Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney Jr., James Dean and John Belushi, Frida Kahlo and Josephine Baker. If you wanted to get even closer to a deceased star, Pulse Evolution, the company behind the Michael Jackson hologram that performed at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards, was on-site to help you create your own “hyper-realistic digital human.” There was even a booth touting “The Three Little Stooges,” preteen versions of Moe, Larry and Curly, that ominously promised it was “coming soon.”
§ For our kind, the big news was new movie logos! I’m enjoined from reproducing any of the photos because apparently these are all proprietary now.
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.