§ Alert! Harvey Awards voting closes today!
§ Cary W. Coatney went to the opening of the Comic Book Apocalypse: The Graphic World of Jack Kirby art exhibit at Cal State Northridge, and posted a few photos.
§ My automatic spell checked changed Cary’s name to Cary W. Chutney. But I caught it in time.
§ Comics culture is growing in the Middle East, Al Jazeera reports. Not only are there more Arab characters in US comic books—Ms Marvel and Simon Baz being examples—but the indigenous comics scene is growing as well:
Social problems specific to the countries from which the comics originate are often placed dead-centre in the narratives. For instance, Deema Mohammed’s Qahera is a veiled crusader who not only battles sexism in Egypt, where an estimated 99 percent of women have faced sexual harassment, but also rails against Islamophobia.
And Joumana Medlej’s Malaak: Angel of Peace revolves around a superheroine who combats jinn – a type of spirit in Islamic cosmology – while trapped in an alternate reality of endless war, much like Lebanon during its long civil war.
While growing demand for comic books in the Middle East has been tied to Western icons and productions, homegrown comic culture has simultaneously been gaining appeal.
More facts: 50,000 people attended the most recent Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC) in Dubai; and Dubai-based Al Ahli Publishing has the license for a Marvel comics including Ironman, Spiderman, Hulk, Thor and The Avengers; and comics shops are on the rise.
§ Vice Comics’ reviewer Nick Gazin is back after a lengthy hiatus with his 100th review column
This is my 100th comics column for VICE and although this is a weekly column, the week since my 99th has lasted 11 months. I kept trying to think of a way to make the 100th column special and psyched myself out. Like Dean Haspiel always says “When you think, you stink.” Overthinking can ruin your productivity. Instead of trying to make the 100th column special, I just decided to get it done and get back to doing this column weekly again. Unless resentful cartoonists kill me, I’ll be back with this column again next week.
Among the resentful would be Scott McCloud, as Gazin does not much are for The Sculptor.
§ Brian Michael Bendis’s syllabus for his course on writing:
Story: Substance, Structure, Style and The Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee
Comics & Sequential Art by Will Eisner
On Writing by Stephen King
Words for Pictures by Brian Michael Bendis (yeah, i know)
Graphic Storytelling and Visual Narrative by Will Eisner
Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by Scott McCloud
§ MUST READ: Ariane Lange looks at Inside The Persistent Boys Club Of Animation—where once a woman could be fired for wearing a pantsuit at Disney now female animation students vastly outnumber male ones. BUT:
But exclusion is hardly a thing of the past: Women make up only 21% of working guild members in 2015, and out of the 584 members working as storyboarders, only 103 are women, according to the Animation Guild. One could point approvingly to animation schools as a harbinger of change — last fall, 71% of students in the California Institute of the Arts’ famed character animation program were female, the Los Angeles Times reported. However, that same school year in its Producers Show, which screens the “best” student work, more than two-thirds of the films shown were by male students, in a year when men made up less than one-third of students in the program. Furthermore, women outnumbered men in the program in 2012, 2013, and 2014 — and yet in each of those years, men still outnumbered women in the Producers Show.
and on and on it goes, with stories about overt discrimination right up until the NDA-shrouded Brenda Chapman Incident, in which the female writer/ directer who has shepherded Brave through Pixar—the first Female led Pixar film—was fired off the movie. (But she did get to pick up an Oscar.)
“To me, she could’ve behaved exactly the way any of the male directors behaved, but it would have been taken differently,” Coats said, declining to elaborate further. “Which is frustrating. Realizing that, it made me realize, There’s nobody. Without Brenda to look up to…there’s nobody I can look up to. … Imitating the guys isn’t gonna give me the same results as it gives them.” Coats left Pixar — and animation for the most part — mainly because of what happened to Chapman. “When she was removed from her project, I felt kind of lost,” she said. Because there were no other women directors to look up to, Coats couldn’t tell if the way Chapman was treated was an anomaly or part of a pattern (although hiring exclusively male directors is itself a pattern). “I can’t see why what happened to her wouldn’t happen to me,” Coats said. (A representative for Pixar, which is owned by Disney, declined to comment on this story and declined to answer questions about how many women work in creative positions at the studio now.)
§ Jim Rugg drew the Wizard World Pittsburgh exclusive cover for The Walking Dead.
§ And here’s a gallery of rejected X-men covers, including the above by Ethan van Sciver that was rejected because of the smoking.
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.