§ It seems a bunch of folks missed out on the
Party Central main hotel for SPX. The Comics Reporter has info on the back up hotel. It’s true that one of the things that makes SPX so much fun is everyone being in one clubhouse but I think starting the day with a brisk 3/4 mile walk has its benefits as well.
§ Tim O’Neill talks to Jesse Jacobs, whose Safari Honeymoon is one o the more intriguing books of the year.
How and when did your interest in edenic landscapes originate?
I’ve always loved nature. My day job allows me to visit a number of small farms, and I have been inspired by some of the people I have been meeting. Permaculture techniques, which really take advantage of the natural systems that exist in nature, I find especially interesting. There exists an amazingly intricate system that provides so much, and there are people who are succeeding in tapping into that harmony without exploitation.
§ Anne Ishii interviews Annie Koyama, one of the nicest people in comics.
I understand it’s important to support starving artists, but why art books, or books in general?
Only because that’s what I love. I love to look at books, I love art, so that was a no brainer to me. It certainly wasn’t a conscious decision. It organically morphed into this. It was totally accidental. And, how do you choose the artist that you sponsor? It’s really simple. I go online and look at their work. If I like the work, I pursue the artist.
§ Brigid Alverson profiles The Distribution Engine, a new company bringing lots of cool UK comics to the US. More cool comics! Gotta catch em all.
§ xkcd’s Randall Munroe is not only a Hugo Award winner, he’s soon to be published by a major publishing house. His “What If” columns with scientific looks at various hypotheticals, will be published next month, and here’s an excerpt:
The forests of New York 1,000 years ago would be full of chestnut trees. Before a blight passed through in the early twentieth century, the hardwood forests of eastern North America were about 25 percent chestnut. Now, only their stumps survive. You can still come across these stumps in New England forests today. They periodically sprout new shoots, only to see them wither as the blight takes hold. Someday, before too long, the last of the stumps will die.
Or you can read the whole column here.
§ Some grade school kids made a History of Buffalo Graphic Novel Kids do the darnedest things.
Post tells WBFO News his favorite part of participating in the summer program was when they began to color in their sketches and received a certificate from New York State Senator Tim Kennedy. He issued certificates of congratulations to the students who completed the project.
§ Marvel’s Star Wars editor Jordan D. White is profiled at Mancave (?):
MCD: When Marvel obtained the license back in the ’80s they were free to explore the expanded universe. Have there been any callbacks to that continuity?
JDW: Actually–let me take that back–there IS a big thing we have not announced yet that will be revealing stuff in comics first. It’s a big part of a character’s backstory that is important to them but that has not been shown before. We’re going to have the chance to reveal it in comics first. I can’t say what or where yet…but I will eventually.
§ Here’s a look back at Deogratias by J.P. Stassen Kate Polak, one of First Second’s early offerings, about the Rwanda genocide. This was a moving book, and one that deserves to be remembered:
Deogratias, in contrast, is an intensely quiet graphic novel. The title character rarely speaks, and while we see the pre-genocide world partially through his memories, he never contextualizes them, or connects them to the silent, dirty man we see in the post-genocide era. The characters who speak in the pre-genocide era have relatively normal lives and normal concerns. The characters who speak in the post-genocide era carefully avoid any reference to the events of April-July 1994. What I find perhaps most important about Deogratias is the extent to which Stassen emphasizes the unreliability of images and the emotional responses they provoke in readers.
§ Remember that whole Howard the Duck thing that happened a few weeks back? 13th Dimension interviews Frank Brunner, the co-creator of Howard. I’ll cut to the chase:
Did you get paid on the old movie?
Nope! All I got was the blame for it being a bomb when I moved to Hollywood!
How is Marvel treating you in regards to the resurgence and upcoming film?
I hear DC pays creators more respect than Marvel does. It seems ironic that the company that is breaking box-office records left and right, tends to ignore the people who actually did the work. So far, they have been pretty quiet. It’s enough to make you want to break out singing Dylan’s Blowin’ In the Wind.
§ I can never see the name Frank Brunner without remembering one of the most embarrassing incidents of my life. Being a HUUUUGE Howard the Duck fan, I was very thrilled back in the day, when Brunner paid a visit to my then boss Marv Wolfman back at the old Disney Comics offices. We were all sitting having a nice chat when Brunner suddenly pointed to my head with an alarmed expression. “Is that a bug in your hair?” he said. And then I started screaming reflexively, loudly and uncontrollably because having a bug in my hair is one of my phobias. It turned out I was wearing a scarf and there was a moth in it. I’m sure Brunner thought I was a total wackadoo after that.
§ I don’t quite get this story about some folks in Victoria, TX trying to get the city council to give them grant money for a comic-con, but it worked.
After the seven-person committee responsible for doling out hotel occupancy tax dollars recommended zilch to the convention, Anthony Pedone, executive director of Victoria TX Indie Film Fest, offered up $10,000 of his own $45,000 grant. The City Council voted 6-1 to give $9,726 to the convention and to take a portion from all recipients to give $10,000 to Warrior’s Weekend, which had also been turned down for funding. The money, known as HOT funds – short for hotel occupancy tax – comes from a tax hotel and motel guests pay on rented rooms. The state collects 6 percent, and the city collects 7 percent, which can only be used to promote tourism and the convention and hotel industry.
§ Finally in my newly revived RSS feed, I see Alan David Doane is blogging again, and a few weeks ago he brought up a rather interesting topic:now no one really cares now that Miracleman is being reprinted, and even the once notorious birth issue barely got a peep”
I’m amazed at how little the ongoing Miracleman reprints, set to lead up to new issues by Neil Gaiman, completing his unfinished run, are being talked about. This week’s re-release of one of the two most controversial issues in the series didn’t even merit a mention in the most prominent weekly new releases rundown on a site dedicated to reporting on comics. It’s a curious omission by a site that has been curiously silent about this title, given how rich a topic of discussion it has the potential to be, combining overall narrative excellence with creators right issues, and how Marvel is handling not only the reissuing of one of the most important superhero comics in history, but how they are handling such elements as Winter’s birth. There’s a slight buzzing in the back of my head that tells me Moore’s penultimate issue, in which the destruction of London is vividly, violently depicted (resulting in Miracleman #15 being the other hugely controversial issue in the run), might actually get talked about by major websites that purport to report on comics. If that’s the case — that the vagina issue is ignored while the BIG DEATH ISSUE is deemed worth talking about — man, comics as a culture is even more fucked than I already figured it is.
§ I also rediscovered Alex Jay’s Stripper’s Guide which has a fine history of Gustave Verbeck, the guy behind the Upside Downs and many other very disturbing comic strips of the belle epoch. Every image in The Upside Downs of Little Lady Lovekins and Old Man Muffaroo, to give it the proper title, could be turned upside down for a completely different image. Definitely one of the greatest feats in comics history. It lasted for two years!
§ Finally, congrats to Beat alum and Eisner nominee Zainab Akhtar on joining Comics Alliance. She is missed, but everyone’s gotta move on.
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.