As we quietly put the white shoes and plastic martini glasses into one of those vacuum-sealed plastic bag thingies, some are facing the fall with renewed vigor and marketing campaigns, “gearing up” as it were. Let’s take a look, shall we? And reminder: PLEASE SEND US COOL LINKS AND NEWS TIPS AND SO ON. We do use them all the time. That email—comicsbeat at gmail dot com.
§ MUST READ: Cartoonist Sam Henderson looks at the growing world of comics slideshows and how it afford cartoonists a new outlet:
Almost everyone else I have talked to about this confesses to being shy in “real life” and claims that performing allows the Mr. Hyde in them to come out. Slide readings are like stand-up comedy without the need to memorize material, or even stand up. Tom Hart has taught at the School of Visual Arts and now at his own school, SAW. Teaching is somewhat of a performance in itself. He used to host a semi-annual event at the KGB bar in New York. “I’m a jealous theater-wannabe, so this is my way of being in the theater, of putting on plays, acting and directing,” he says. “I like the shared experience, and the way performing transforms a story.”
To which we’d add; the slideshow is becoming the “rock concert” of the GN “album.” We’ve been to many comics readings and never had a bad time. There are various superstar readers—Kate Beaton, Michael Kupperman, R. Sikoryak, Emily Flake—but in general the entertaining hybrid of funny words, drawings and voices creates a live experience that is genuinely unique.
§ The comics site Comics Bronze Age has returned after a two-year hiatus, but with a reduced schedule for the same reasons it was ceased to begin with—editor Andrew Wahl’s busy schedule.
The realities of my new life – job demands, single parenting, etc. – dictate a less aggressive publishing schedule for CBA. I’ll be posting a new review every Monday and Friday; as in the past, these selections will offer a fairly random cross section of offerings from Marvel, DC and the era’s other, smaller publishers. On Wednesdays, I’ll be joined by Gentleman Tom Kiefer, an friend and academic from Nebraska whom I’ve been talking comics with for the past several years. Relatively new to the Bronze Age, Tom will be diving into Essentialsand Showcase Presents volumes to offer a series of sequential reviews.
§ Scholars Derek Royal and Andy Kunka have launched the Comics Alternative podcast which covers…alternative comics. If the name doesn’t grab you perhaps the episode list will:
Episode 6 – Artist Spotlight on Jeff Lemire
Episode 5 – A Review of God and Science and Tales Designed to Thrizzle
Episode 4 – An Interview with Jonathan Hickman
Episode 3 – The August Previews Catalog
Episode 2 – Review of The Score and Saga
Episode 1 – An Alternative Comics Manifesto
§ Webcomic Overlook’s El Santo googles “webcomic” and analyzes the results.
§ Ryan Haupt is one of several comics folks who moved recently, and he contemplates various schemes for organizing his comics in his new crib:
New place is a townhouse, the way we’ve arranged the furniture is that I have one bookshelf downstairs in the main living room space and two bookshelves upstairs in my office that will also double as a guest room if anyone ever wants to stop by (please call first, thanks). The bookshelf right next to my desk will probably not be comics exclusive, but I still need a general plan in mind before I start unloading books.
§ The Hooded Utilitarian is five years old, and founder Noah Berlatsky celebrates by looking at the worst comics of all time:
Anniversaries are usually supposed to be a time of congratulations and good cheer. So why, you may wonder, have I chosen to poison a happy event with bitterness and contumely? Why be a divider and not a uniter? Why hate?
There are a bunch of reasons that I’ve chosen this celebration for this occasion. The first, and perhaps the most important, is that once it occurred to me, I had to go through with it. After all, what’s the point of having a blog if you censor your cranky, or (for that matter) your ill-advised ideas? Besides, lots of folks think of HU (rightly or wrongly) as a place of spiteful animadversion and mean-spirited contrarianism. It would be wrong to disappoint.
Indeed, Hooded Utilitarian is one of the most exasperating comics sites in existence—a standard of smart commentary and insight often undone by an outrageous need to get links. As always, I’ll continue to praise the good and ignore the bad.
§ Video streaming site screwed the pooch and —even worse—outraged Neil Gaiman fans by cutting off a livestream of the Hugo Awards ceremony due to an overzealous bot that thought legitimate media clips were piracy. Ustream CEO has explained and apologized and gently suggested getting a paid account to avoid such occurrences.
PEMMICAN: Old links we had hanging around forever but wanted to clear out.
§ There’s talk of rebooting the Rocketeer movie franchise. We hadn’t really thought of Disney’s Marvel success spilling over onto other old comic book properties kicking around at Disney. OTOH, we liked that movie when it was called Captain America.
§ The late comedienne Phylis Diller once crossed over with Batman.
§ We forgot to mention that Skybound editor Sina Grace is among those moving on to devote more time to his cartooning career.
§ It is a little ironic that a piece on body diversity in comics only had talks with male comics artists. They’ve gone back and talked to some female comics artists as well, but it’s even better to be included the first time around. (Both pieces were very interesting, however.)
§ Many people linked to this critical look at Wizard World Chicago
Far too many of my friends extended smiles coldly bookended with sighs of exasperation. Our neighbor from Mid-Ohio Con, the always amazing Eliza Frye, was forced to move her table three times. Three times! Which meant this show, which she flew in for, was a wash at best. Our close personal friend and arch nemesis, Dan “Beardo Comics” Dougherty, was one of the unlucky ones shoehorned near the photo op booth. He “made table” (as we in-the-know like to say) but didn’t quite reach his personal goal. Given that he makes comics for a living? This means less living for Dan. On one hand, I’m glad my arch nemesis failed. On the other hand? He’s an awesome creator who got the shaft by Wizard.
Despite all the grousing about Wizard World’s present business model, they do seem to be effectivve gatherings for costuming and autograph seeking and even buying stuff. And also making “Call Me Maybe” videos.
Yes, Bruce Campbell sang “Call Me Maybe.” Maybe Wizard World does need to be eradicated from the face of the earth.
§ 9th wonder of the world? 50,000-Piece Lego Rivendell constructed by a Dutch teenager. The Gizmodo poster is amazed at the builder’s youth, suggesting to me that he never actually met an obsessed teenager.
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.