— Paul Martin Smith (@paulsmithdraws) July 9, 2018
§ Nice Art: Paul Smith salutes Steve Ditko.
§ Thom Trainor, who ran Dragon•Con’s comics side, has passed away and the con remembers him:
While those fictional heroes might have super-human powers or deductive reasoning beyond the norm, our hero, Thom Trainor, possessed much greater powers. As all heroes should be, ours was truly the good guy. Whether he was giving spare change to someone in the grocery store line, keeping a homeless man’s important items safe, or freeing a dog from a hot car, Thom loved to help people as well as animals (especially dogs). Anyone that knew Thom understood how much he loved dogs, but none more than his beloved pup Velvet. Velvet was everything to him. There was nothing more important in his life. Thom also loved a good story, especially when he was the one telling it. Whether made up, true, or a little of both, he captivated those lucky enough to sit in on one of his yarns. Thom had the unique ability to make complete strangers burst into laughter. His quick wit and charm warmed peoples’ hearts and brought smiles to those in his presence. He also did the world’s best Norm McDonald impersonation, sometimes not even realizing that he had slipped into his “Norm” persona until someone pointed it out.
§ Chase Magnett offers The 10 Best Comics of 2018 So Far and some surprises there.
§ Two lengthy must read interviews with two outspoken creators. First the always quotable Evan Dorkin, who is always casting a critical eye on his older work:
I find strips harder to do now because I don’t like to just pick out a topic and have them hit each other over the head. I do more drawing. If you look at any of my collections that Dark Horse is putting out, you see some really, really shitty work I did at the beginning. And then it’s basically the history of the cartoonist trying to get better towards the end. I was telling a kid at Heroes Con, I was showing him the opening pages of Dork and Milk & Cheese, and Eltingville, and was like, “Look at these!” I couldn’t even do eyeballs inside glasses. I didn’t connect lines here. My lettering was horrible. It’s not really a self-deprecation like it used to be, it was “Look what you can do even when you stink.” I was in my 20s when I did all that stuff and now you see people on the internet every day who kick your ass, you know? And they’re like 15 years old and they’re doing beautiful work in a variety of styles. There’s the most amazing artwork out there, suddenly. And I try to make my peace with my artwork. It doesn’t always work, but I made my peace with my old work.
§ And Iron ManAnt-Man artist, Valaint co-founder Bob Layton, who has a lot to say about Ant-Man and current comics sales:
All this other stuff, Iron Man sells what, 20,000 copies a month or something? You think they’re even making a profit off that? And the price keeps going up. Now we’re competing with Netflix. When comics hit $7, they’re dead, because it’s just cheaper to get a Netflix subscription and watch all the Marvel stuff in the cinematic universe. So as I said, 10 years ago I saw the writing on the wall. And not that I don’t love comics — I do… [Layton takes a moment to sign something for a fan] So yeah, I saw as a businessman–having owned two companies — it’s an unsustainable business model. This industry hasn’t changed in 75 years. We’re still putting out this pamphlet that you have to encase in plastic so it doesn’t rot. And when I do the ‘how the comics industry works’ lecture I was talking about, I always end on an up note. I talk about the European and French model. Have you been to a comic shop in France?
While a lot of this is Cranky Veteran Creator talk it’s also…pretty dead on. It’s the kind of thing people were always saying 20 eyrs ago and yet the situation with floppies hasn’t much improved.
§ Mimi Pond on Za Zsa Gabor, who was a Kardashian long before there was Instagram, which makes her totally HARDCORE.
§ It seems that Lauren Weinstein’s Normel Person comic is coming back at a site called Popula, which has yet to launch. it formerly ran at the Village Voice, when the Village Voice was cool.
§ The link is down right now, but hopefully Women Write About Comics survey Hiring Creators: Independent Publishers Have A Chat will be readinable as it explains how various indie folks find creators to publish.
§ Speaking of indie artists, a scientific experiment purported to find that artist may be hardwired not to care about money. The study involved a small group (24 people) and looking at brain activity when people were offered free money.
Each participant wore a set of goggles that showed a series of squares in different colors. When the green square appeared, they could select it with a button and receive money (up to €30). They were also asked to select other “target” colors, but those did not result in any monetary reward. At the same time, researchers scanned participants’ brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). They found that artists showed significantly reduced activation in the ventral striatum, part of the brain’s reward system, when they selected the money-making green squares compared to non-artists.
Artists showed more brain activity when they DIDN’T get money though. This seems a bit of crackpot science and yet it would explain sooo much
§ Paul Karasik writes of finding a giant mural by cartoonist Charles Addams.
§ I had this link bookmarked but forgot to write about it: The largest Anime Cons of 2017, Anime Expo is number 1 with just north of 100,000 people. The list seems veery well researched and has numbers going back to 2003 when Otakon has just 17,000 attendees. I wish someone would make this chart for regular comic cons.
§ While I was picture hunting I found 91 Rare Pictures of Stan Lee and man, in the 60s you would hardly recognize the guy.
￼§ SDCC: DC is giving away free ice cream. How long will YOU stand in line?
§ Some amazing visionary recreated the cover to Avengers #1 with the actors who play the characters,
§ A new press tour – Ant-Man and the Wasp , and a new series of Kevin Feige quotes! This chat at Birth.Movies.Death. sees to have the most quotes. Among the shockers: Thanos did kill half the critters in the snappening. PLus Tom Holland leaked the title of Spider-Man; Far From Home on PURPOSE. And Marvel has lans for futrue movies. Earth shattering news.
§ I am totally gonna watch The Boys.
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.