§ You have a few hours left to support THE YOUNG PROTECTORS Vol 1 by Alex Woolfson and artist Adam DeKraker. It’s a gay-themed superhero comic strip and it’s already up past $100K and well funded but you may wish to get a copy while you can.
§ The Scottish are claiming they made the world’s oldest comic book:
The Glasgow Looking Glass published in 1825 is thought to predate all other known modern comics.
It will take centre stage at the International Graphic Novel and International Bande Dessinee Society (IBDS) Joint Conference 2013 at Glasgow University this week.
The comic, which later became known as The Northern Looking Glass, casts a satirical eye over 19th century Scottish society, poking fun at the fashions and politics of the era. It is regarded as a predecessor of Punch and other popular satirical comics of the Victorian age.
There’s more on this publication here. Based on the excerpts, I’m not sure it was actually a comic book, but it is surely one of those proto-comics like cave paintings and hieroglyphics and the Bayeux Tapestry. Plus, it did contain fight scenes:
§ Speaking of fight scenes, DC has announced a big old omnibus for the complete Villain Month comics. due out in time for the holidays. It’s similar to previous Omnibi for the New 52 #1s nd last year’s Zero Hour event. How do these things sell? Anyone know?
§ There’s a new book out called Shattering Conventions: Commerce, Cosplay and Conflict on the Expo Floor, by Bob Calhoun, in which the author goes to Comic-con, and as many other “cons” of many kinds as he can, including a tea party rally and a plastic surgeon’s convention —which he can’t get into. I have a copy sitting here to read when I have a moment (!) but it’s a great topic for a book. Consider this item a plug, since Mr. Calhoun will be part of the Beat’s press team this year and we look forward to his thoughts on this year’s big show.
§ Speaking of Comic-Con, SanDiego.com helpfully sent out a press release about hotels with room availabilities during the con, meaning they are probably already gone. But you never know…keep hitting refresh. Heidi’s big con tip: As long as you are somewhere near the trolley line you’re pretty much good to go for fun and frolic.
§ Here is a link I have had in my browser open for a while. Nancy Collins has been quite vocal and unstinting in her calls for a boycott of Dragon*Con over the conventions continued relationship with founder Ed Kramer who is an accused—but not convicted—child molester. Collins claims that the current show runner, co founder Pat Henry has been supporting Kramer more recently than he claims. One peice of evidence is these court papers from 2008 which refer to a case in which (as far as I can make out) Kramer sued his attorney for malpractice over yet another earlier court case over his release from prison due to ill health after his initial 2000 arrest on the molestation charges. The case itself is part of Kramer’s endless series of lawsuits and legal complaints over everything and anything, but they show that at some point soon after his arrest registered nurse Sherry Henry, Pat Henry’s wife and a former DragonCon treasurer, testified on Kramer’s behalf as to his ill health. This appears to have taken place bout a decade ago so doesn’t constitute current support for Kramer, as best I can make out.
If you want to dig into the strange story of Ed Kramer’s there’s also this 2002 story from Creative Loafing, at which time a lot of people were still showing support for him:
Some are outraged over what they see as a modern-day witch-hunt against a self-made man who can appear strange and even a bit creepy at first glance. Short, stocky, with a face wreathed in thick, dark hair that suggests fur, Kramer resembles a dwarf as imagined by J.R.R. Tolkien, the perfect scapegoat for those who choose their villains through typecasting. “Ed’s lost his job, his income, his health, his good reputation and his freedom,” says friend David Robinson. “He’s lost more than anyone I’ve ever known. My gut instinct is that Ed’s a victim.” Others, however, are incensed by the notion that a suspected pedophile was allowed for years to operate unchallenged in their midst by virtue of the fact that he was the gatekeeper to one of the largest sci-fi confabs in North America — and not shy about throwing his weight around.
The article also has Henry defending Kramer:
While Kramer is still a major Dragon*Con shareholder, no dividends were issued last year on the private stock, says Henry, adding that his longtime associate no longer has any other official connection to the event he ran like a ringmaster for 14 years.
But if Kramer is exonerated — and Henry believes he will be (“We’re talking about a guy I’ve been to strip clubs with.”) — the door is wide open for him to return to the realm of Dragon*Con. Because, in no small way, Kramer’s own vindication seems intertwined with that of the fantasy convention itself.
Fo more recent Kramer activities, here’s a piece from Atlanta Magazine on Kramer’s endless jailhouse complaints since he was re-incarcerated earlier this year:
As soon as he was back in the Gwinnett jail, Kramer began filing formal complaints, many of which involve claims that he’s being denied the right to practice his brand of Orthodox Judaism. His requests for turkey sandwiches, religious candles and his own typewriter have all been rejected—but not before being reviewed by a deputy, a process that can often consume several man-hours of research time.
Not content with working through the jail’s grievance system, Kramer also has filed a lawsuit against the jail over many of the same issues. From the AJC:
“He appears to be a whiner of some magnitude, but that’s just my opinion,” said Sheriff Butch Conway. “It’s got to the point it’s harassment with my staff.”
Gwinnett County District Attorney Danny Porter said Kramer appears to be manipulating the system.
“We’re obligated by federal law and our own liability coverage that we have to follow up on every complaint, and he knows that,” Porter said. “There’s no question that it can be used for harassment.”
While Kramer has yet to be tried in a court of law—and he seems to have an amazing ability to keep it that way—and must be innocent until proven guilty, he’s definitely a creepy pest at this point.
§ Another tab I had open way too long, is this piece on Julie Maroh’s Blue is the Warmest Color a French graphic novel which formed the basis for the Cannes grand prize winning film. While Maroh was supportive of the film, she feels it’s controversial lesbian sex scenes are borderline pornographic and don’t truly reflect the lesbian experience. Also, director Abdellatif Kechiche didn’t exactly go out of his way to make the author of the book his film was based on welcome:
There may be a personal reason she reacted so negatively to the film: In her communiqué, she said Mr. Kechiche never invited her to the set or responded to several e-mails, and she sarcastically criticized him for failing to acknowledge her contribution when he won the prize. “I deeply wish to thank all those who appeared surprised, shocked, disgusted with the fact that Kechiche had no words for me when he received his Palme,” she wrote.
It seems this is one way the US comics industry is ahead of the French one: here, you want the creator of the work up on stage at the Comic-Con panel telling everyone how happy they are with all the changes. That doesn’t apply if the creator is Alan Moore obviously. Maroh has since stopped commenting to the press about the mater.
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.