§ Nice Art: I saw some art from Argentine cartoonist Enrique Alcatena floating around and that dude is good. Please, won’t someone launch Enkidu Comics?
§ Emma Allen, the new, youthful cartoon editor for the New Yorker, has been the object of much curiosity, as many wonder if millennials are able to experience humor, but this extensive profile may satisfy that curiosity.
While Mankoff focused on cartoons, Allen has a fuller plate, overseeing Cartoons, Daily Cartoons online, Shouts & Murmurs, Daily Shouts online, and humor videos and podcasts. She and the magazine’s associate cartoon editor, Colin Stokes, also star in a video series, “Cartoons, Etc.,” in which they engage with a rotating cast of guest cartoonists “so that fans can put a face to the squiggle signature,” Allen explains. They also have plans to introduce Daily Comics, or “multi-panel, longer-form funny things” to the website’s comic ecosystem. “Some part of my brain self-protectively has made me forget what it was like the first couple months,” Allen says when I ask how she’s acclimated to wearing this rather Herculean number of hats. “After the initial blitz, it’s been more of a regular job that I can come in and do, and go home and not collapse in a heap or cry or drink a bottle of scotch.”
Allen has already hired Jessica Campbell to make funnies and has many ideas for expansion. I need to re-up my lapsed sub STAT.
§ Here is something very rare and special: a piece that is enthusiastic about a comic! The comic is Zander Cannon’s Kaijumax, which is about a prison for giant monsters. “One of the best examinations of race in comics is a bonkers comic about a prison for giant monsters” says Salon.
Despite or perhaps because of its absurd premise — giant Japanese-style monsters on an island prison — “Kaijumax” does more to humanize real-life convicts than any recent piece of popular culture. Improbably, this absurd series is one of the most socially relevant and psychologically rich comics on the shelf. Cannon’s inspiration for the series was Ultraman: a bonkers Japanese TV show from the 1960s in which the titular hero fought a different massive beast each week. Cannon took this insane series in a logical direction: What would society do with the likes of Megalon and Mothra? Cannon’s answer was a twist on the idea of a monster island, which he transformed into a gargantuan version of HBO’s Oz: a prison that’s a little like Gotham’s Arkham Asylum but with Godzilla instead of the Joker.
§ Jonathan Hennessey is the author of Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of an American Founding Father, The Comic Book History of Beer and the upcoming Comic Book History of Video Games. While tooling around, I stumbled upon Why I Write Graphic Nonfiction: Teaching History Through Comics, a nice primer on showing history through comics:
Let’s return to Jacobson and Colon’s The 9/11 Report timeline. In its faithful representation of the events of that day, some planes meet their fatal, murderous impacts sooner than others. On the comics page, this leaves stretches of dark emptiness—stretches of dark emptiness that flank the continuing accounts of the flights still airborne.
What does this device accomplish? For one thing, it brings in color as an added tool with which to express art and information. (Text alone almost always lacks this, of course).
The graphical void of black ink that follows each crashed plane chillingly represents the finality of death, the inexplicable absence of a further reality. One can imagine this trope imparts a wisp of what it might have been like to be an air traffic controller that morning, watching radar scope blips disappear without an explanation.
§ Another Friday think piece! Film School Rejects offers A Century of Female Fandom, which points out that women have always been in fandom, and shows that some of the same complaints we hear today go all the way back to early movie fandom in 1910:
As described by Diana Anselmo-Sequeira in her article “Screen-Struck: The Invention of the Movie Girl Fan,” “when the ‘movie fan’ construct entered the popular imagination in the 1910s, American journalists and press agents depicted it as a young female figure.”
In fact, the biggest change from the 1910s criticisms of female fandom and the 2010s criticisms of female fandom is that while, in the 1910s, these criticisms were geared towards movie fans (whom they assumed to be single adolescent women) nowadays we have added the variable of the male media fan who is, as I will explore more later, treated quite differently from his female counterpart (still generally assumed to be single and adolescent). The stereotype – whether it be by the name of “screen-struck girl” circa 1917 or “fangirl” circa now – has, beyond the name, changed very little. As a study by sociologist Neta Yodovich argues, the legitimacy claimed by fandom in the past decade or so has mostly benefited male fans: “fans – or more specifically, women fans – still experience stigma and suffer from common stereotypes that fandom scholars have described in the past.” So, let’s take a few minutes to go through some stereotypes that haven’t changed at all in the past century.
Publishing news and notes:
§ Gizmodo previews the fall season for comics.
§ Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura has had a hand in many a comic book movie, including Constantine, Red 1 and 2, and Stardust (Also Transformers.) And now he’s publishing a graphic novel, apparently keen to use this economical method of developing IP:
di Bonaventura Pictures has developed an original graphic novel called Guntown, which will serve as the foundation for a multi-platform world expansion. Written by Bob Quinn and Andy Shapiro, the book is available this week and tackles the national epidemic of gun violence in a not too distant future where anyone in the U.S. who wishes to possess or is caught carrying a firearm of any kind is relocated to the National Firearm Zone, which is a massive walled city in the deserts of New Mexico. Once you enter the NFZ you and your family can leave leave. The story of Guntown follows two childhood best friends who battle a rising threat within the walls of the NFZ, with an adventure revealing “secrets of a dark past” and putting their friendship to the test.
§ Tragically, the Black Eyed Peas are also getting into the comics game,with a book that’s coming out through Marvel. They were at Comic-Con to promote it, but I managed to avoid thinking about it until now. It’s called Master of the Sun, and will.i.am has the lowdown:
“This novel is the same,” he continues. “It was like, ‘Alright, what are we going to do now, guys?’ We say ‘Black Eyed Peas till infinity,’ and we say we’re so 3008, but how are we actually going to get to 3008? Are we just going to be this group who’s always [about], ‘Let’s do a show now’ or ‘When’s the record coming out?’ — and that’s the content we’re supposed to make? I’m hypnotized every time there’s a Game of Thrones, Westworld or Stranger Things. I [started thinking about] who built those worlds and went, ‘Our imaginations are deep too. We could create [more]. Why are we only thinking in [terms of] three-minute [songs] and a video? Why is that the only way we create?’ So, we pushed ourselves and went, ‘Let’s build a world that’s not about us.’”
A marvelous sentiment.
§ DragonCon, Long Beach Comic Con and Fan Expo Canada are all taking place this weekend; and so is San Francisco Comic Con, which is being held at the Moscone Center, SF’s biggest venue for cons. This is interesting because WonderCon has been exiled from the Bay Area for years, and one has to wonder if it’s ever coming back? The SFCC has the usual Doctor Whos and Star Trek and a hobbit and cosplayers and cartoonists here and there as well.
§ As comic con culture rises around the world, you have probably been asking yourself, “Is there a comic con on the Isle of Wight?” and we can now answer definitively in the affirmative. It’s called The Isle of Wight Comic Con! And they are excited about the show, to be held in November on the small isle off the south of England:
The event has been well supported by the local community and our sponsors have helped kick-start the funding of the event. The Isle of Wight Comic Con is being run on a not-for-profit basis which means we can put everything back in to the convention to really give it an inaugural boost. What is the Isle of Wight Comic Con? A modern day comic con is a celebration of pop culture. Traditionally focused on comic books, some have grown to include elements of films, TV, gaming and general entertainment. In the past 20 years and more so in recent years, a larger aspect of these events has been focused on cosplay with a large percentage of ticket-holders costuming as a character from the ‘world’ of their liking.
The Isle of Wight Comic Con takes all these elements, mashes them up and gives you as much as possible within the capacity and venue limits. 2017 is the inaugural Isle of Wight Comic Con! 2017 is the FIRST Isle of Wight Comic Con and although the organisers originally intended the event to be more of an exclusive affair, the interest and support has been outstanding. Thus, we’ve received additional funding to bring in bigger named guests and to ensure the success of the convention for many years to come. That a first event has received this much interest and support is testament to the wonderful activeness of Islanders and island businesses – we love a good event and we tend to overly support those events to make them bigger as years progress.
§ A sprightly Aussie lad named Brenton Thwaites has been cast as Dick Grayson/Robin in the upcoming Teen Titans tv show. I had literally forgotten that there was going to be a Teen Titan TV show.
Titans is being conceived by ArrowVerse boss Greg Berlanti, DC Comics’ chief creative officer Geoff Johns and Fringe writer-producer Akiva Goldsman for DC’s forthcoming streaming content service. Announcing Thwaites’ casting in Titans, Geoff Johns said: “Dick Grayson is one of the most important and iconic heroes in the DC universe, and it wasn’t easy to find him but we have. “Brenton has the emotional depth, heart, danger and physical presence of Batman’s former protege and the Titans future leader. We’re extremely lucky he’s chosen to bring his talents to this project and this character.”
Thwaites was previously best known for not dating Taylor Swift–unlike poor Tom Hiddleston–so he’s got that going for him.
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.