§ Nice Art: More Jack Kirby! His later in life “Street Code” an autobiographical piece, is little known but reprinted in Mark Evanier’s Kirby — King of Comics. Matthias Wivel looks at it for TCJ:
It ends abruptly with a sharply brooding self-portrait of the artist as a young man. He stares directly at the viewer with the glare of someone beyond his years, disgusted by the way of life he and his peers are forced to adopt. Kirby thus offers us a key to the art that led him out of this misery and with which he here brings that former reality to life. He aspires toward the arch-American narrative of social transcendence, ubiquitous not least in popular culture – and at the time he drew this story expressed most potently in New York’s still youthfully burgeoning hip hop culture.
§ Brandon Graham and Shannon Lentz have quietly launched Coredoor, a “platform for us. our peers and friends to talk about storytelling, comic books and being humans.” A Players Tribune for the comics then? Not a bad idea. One hopes this will be the home of Graham’s crazy art posts now.
§ In Japan, comics piracy is still considered a serious crime, and to prove it, five people have been arrested after scanning pages of One Piece and Tokyo Ghoul and posting them early on the internet on a “natabare” (pirate) site. The sweep took down two of the biggest pirate sites out there, and the arrests were the first for this crime:
The suspects are: 30-year-old male self-employed worker from Okinawa, Yo Uehara, who had two accomplices including 23-year-old female freelance writer from Tottori, and 31-year-old male web designer from Akita, Ryoji Hottai, who acted in collusion with his 33-year-old female partner.
According to the police investigation, Uehara got copies of Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump and Weekly Young Jump at a so-called illegal “hayauri (flying-get)” store before the magazines’ official release day (Monday for Shonen Jump, Thursday for Young Jump), then scanned the pages of the two manga to post on his netabare site between July 2016 and July 2017. Meanwhile, Hottai reposted the One Piece manga images taken from Uehara’s site onto his own netabare site.
To add insult to injury, these “big two netabare sites” get more traffic than Shueisha’s official site.
The culprits have confessed and Hottai admits he did it for the money – which can be substantial: he’s believed to have made around $2.8 million off the site since 2014. But with the big reward comes big risk: posting copyrighted material in Japan can lead to a 10 year prison sentence and a 10 million yen fine.
The Japanese publishing world is still grappling with the realities of digital comics and digital piracy, but the arrests of the Blackbeard and Captain Kidd of the manga piracy world must have been satisfying if nothing else.
§ Funko has opened a flagship store, and Rob Salkowitz has been off to visit it:
The Funko store isn’t just an outlet for merchandise; it’s a complete immersive experience featuring, among other things, the ice planet of Hoth, a scale replica of Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, a Disney castle, a New York street scene teeming with Marvel superheroes, Godzilla, and a fully functional Batcave complete with bat-poles and life-sized Batmobile. Shoppers can not only find a wide assortment of Funko POP! figures of every description, but also apparel, bags and backpacks and other branded accessories.
§ The New Yorker profiles Instagram cartoonist Arianna Margulis:
Last summer, reposted images of a girl-about-town, drawn in Sharpie, began proliferating on Instagram. Invariably, the girl is wide-eyed and frantic—because of an unreturned text, a hankering for vodka, or an imminent bad choice. (“Me debating who I should go home with,” reads the caption of one cartoon, an ex-boyfriend in one thought bubble, a slice of pizza in another.) The drawings appear daily on the Instagram account But Like Maybe, a “Cathy” for our device-driven times. One imagines its creator, Arianna Margulis, sipping a pink drink on a flamingo floaty—this summer, she posted an image with her character doing just that. Ah, the good life of a young artist, a hundred and forty-five thousand Instagram followers and counting.
§ Atlas Comics in Chicago has reopened after four years as a mail order business only; but the product mix has changed:
Previously located in Norridge, Atlas Comics’ new location is at 5251 North Harlem Avenue. With the new store, Atlas will be re-orienting itself away from back issues and more into graphic novels and non-comics products.
“We were always known as the place for vintage back issues. And we’ll still have a deep inventory of classic comics. But the industry is changing, and Atlas needs to do the same thing. That means providing a larger selection of graphic novels in a variety of genres from all over the world, and casting a wider net over the pop-culture landscape. And it means more toys and gaming, too,” said owner John Stangeland.
§ When the names of important comics reviewers are tossed around, I don’t often see Paste’s Hillary Brown mentioned, but she’s very good, as this review of Palookaville 23 shows. The wrap-up of Seth’s epic “Clyde Fans” after 20 years is one of the big comics events of the year:
The result is a mind-trip. You’re constantly trying to read in a linear fashion even as your brain and your eyes are aware of other ways in which to look at the page and process its information. It’s as though your eyes are shifting between looking at objects close up and far away, like the experience of trying to get a Magic Eye picture to appear. Your brain is whirring. You might even miss bits of the text and have to go back and read them. You can also consider whether or how the text might influence the panel structure selected. Seth keeps you busy.
§ Cartooner Miriam Libicki has been named writer-in-residence at a Vancouver library:
A library in British Columbia is colouring outside the lines with its writer-in-residence program and showing people that literature can be more than words on a page. Cartoonist Miriam Libicki is the Vancouver Public Library’s writer-in-residence for 2017, marking the first time the library has named a graphic novelist to the role since the program began in 2005. Comics have captivated Libicki since childhood, but she didn’t think she could create them herself until after she left the Israeli army and went to art school in Vancouver.
§ Brooklyn Vegan’s run down of activities at NYCC includes concerts, Mark Hamill, Buffy, rap battles and other eclectic and fun things. No comics content, but it does show NYCC moving in the direction of a cultural festival.
§ I guess a Sheena: Queen Of The Jungle Reboot is coming because Wonder Woman. Pro tip: make this an engaging film about a hero everyone cares about, not a movie about a woman in a leopard print bikini if you want worldwide success.
Millennium Films is looking for the next Gal Gadot. With the success of female superhero feature Wonder Woman having smashed box office records, another female heroine is running headlong with sword in hand to the big screen. Sheena: Queen of the Jungle, the fictional American comic book jungle girl, is now poised to return after 33 years, courtesy of Millennium Films. And what better timing? Wonder Woman proved that a female hero can pull in four-quads; it has taken in a total of $813.2M worldwide.
§ A red hot rumour that John Cena was going to play Shazam was pinging around the nets, but it was debunked. So we still don’t know who is going to play Shazam, and that is worrying.
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.