§ Okay, okay: Joe Casey clears up that whole Butcher Baker controversy we told you about last week. It seems there WILL be a collection, and the series really was meant to stop at issue 8 (which just appeared after a long gap.) It was Casey’s plan to give readers a jolt by leading them to believe this was going to go on a while and then KA-BLAM!
Yeah, it was always meant to be eight issues and done. It’s one story. Actually, I kinda felt like readers might’ve been keying into the fact that it might not be an ongoing, infinite series simply because, even at issue #5 or #6, I still wasn’t giving them any kind of temporary closure moments, as you tend to do on a monthly book. You’ll build in those minor end points every two, three or four issues. It’s part of the accepted macro-structure of a series that’s meant to deliver “continuing adventures” or however you might want to frame it. “Butcher Baker,” in its execution from month to month, was much more novelistic in its shape.
But it all comes down to the way stories are delivered. When you’ve got an audience that’s as savvy as most audiences have become, it’s tough to shake them out of their complacency and really take them on a ride. Even movie audiences are now “trained” to have an inherent sense of a movie’s shape. They know it’s going to be roughly two hours long, a lot of them even have a sense of the Hollywood three act structure, so most of the fun of being told a story is already significantly affected by all of that “pre-knowledge.” Well, I wanted to see if I could mitigate some of that. Shit, I hope it worked…
§ Gary Tyrrell reviews Hope Larson’s A WRINKLE IN TIME adaptation. When I first heard about this I wasn’t sure what to expect but it is a BEAUTIFUL book:
Larson follows the story closely enough that long-buried details of story came rushing back to me, but added nuances that wouldn’t have worked in the original. For example, the anachronistically formal way that many of the characters have of speaking (particularly Charles Wallace, but even the straightforward Calvin is capable of dropping lines like By what countries is Peru bounded?) serves to place the story in a timeless time instead of tying it explicitly to a particular year or decade. Along those lines, I will wager that it was a deliberate choice on Larson’s part to not show cars, phones, or other physical objects that would lead the reader to a too-specific determination of when the story takes place — it takes place in its own time and returns five minutes before it left.
§ And speaking of great comics, Ron Clough reviews Joe Lambert’s ANNIE SULLIVAN AND THE TRIALS OF HELEN KELLER, part of Hyperion’s comics biography line. This could have been a total dud line, like those “Astro Boy Meets Anne Frank” books, but Disney’s team-up with the Center for Cartoon Studies has yielded a really gorgeous line of books. Hopefully the line has been a success for Disney and they’ll keep on doing them.
The story of Keller and Sullivan is one that’s been greatly celebrated in a variety of media, from books to stage to film. It’s a compelling story, given the narrative of the young and partly blind teacher finding a way to teach Keller how to communicate and bring her out of darkness. What’s interesting is that Lambert delves into the story behind the story, which includes Sullivan’s former teacher at the Perkins Institution for the Blind exaggerating Keller’s accomplishments in part to raise money for the school. Lambert goes out of his way to strip his narrative of romanticism without sacrificing an ounce of its true emotional power. At the same time, he makes every page a visual feast without showboating or adding extraneous flourishes.
§ The NY Times quizzes Amanda Cohen on her new cookbook/graphic novel, which sports art by Ryan Dunleavy.
How did you arrive at the decision to do a cookbook this way, as a graphic novel?
A. I never really wanted to write a cookbook. I just felt like there are so many cookbooks out there and so many are done well. I wasn’t sure if I had something to add, and I didn’t want to do Vegetarian Cooking 101; that book was already out there. About a year into the restaurant, people started coming in and saying, “You should write a cookbook.” And I kept saying, “No, what we’re not ready.” And then finally, my husband and I were talking about ways to do it, because it was getting embarrassing, and he suggested we do it as a graphic novel. It was just this moment where I actually saw the cookbook, for the first time.
§ Andrew McMeel’s AMP! line of kids’ graphic novels is adding an original series by Mark Tatulli:
The Chronicles of Desmond will be published in October 2013. The first book centers around 11-year-old Desmond Pucket, whose interest in monsters and grossness gets him in trouble with the school’s disciplinarian officer, Mr. Needles, and his bullying sister. Tatulli is already the creator of two syndicated strips, Lio, about a young boy who must deal with fantastic foes, and Heart of the City, about a girl being raised by a single mom; the former has already been collected at AMP!.
§ People are always complaining that Marvel and DC do nothing to provide comics tie-ins to their blockbuster movies any more! Well DC did SO do a DARK KNIGHT RISES comics tie-in. But you can only view it if you have a Nokia phone. Which some people think is possibly not the widest audience. BUT you can still go to this Nokia-driven interactive map of Gotham to see where all the terribly logical happening occurred.
§ Also, HOW COME THEY BROKE INTO BLACK GATE PRISON AND NOT ARKHAM ASYLUM?????
§ Caption, an indie-comics festival, was held in Oxford this weekend. According to this piece, it drew 100 people, which sounds very intimate. But Al Davison attended, and that counts for a dozen men right there.
§ Russ Burlingame rounds up Marvel’s pre-NOW! new series.
§ Mark Evanier notes the passing of actor William Windomwho starred in one of the best and most obscure TV shows about a cartoonist ever:
Actor William Windom has died at the age of 88. Mr. Windom amassed a pretty impressive list of credits during his career but to some of us, he was first and foremost the star of My World and Welcome To It, a short-lived 1969 situation comedy on NBC that spun off of (some said, bastardized) the writings of James Thurber. Critics thought it was terrific, my friends and I thought it was terrific…and America watched something else at that hour. If you hear of anyone ever putting ’em out on DVD, let me know.
§ If you would like to know a LOT more about Dr. Who comics, the Mindless Onesare standing by.
§ Image publisher Eric Stephenson threw his blogging pants into a dumpster and walked away. Which is sad, because he was really rousing the rabble with a series of very smart, blunt posts about the opportunities offered by Image. Hopefully he’ll continue being outspoken in another arena.
§ DreamWorks has been searching for a new studio distribution deal, and now they have it, for the next five years, anyway, with Fox. Fox already has an animation wing, but now they will be making many more cartoons. And DreamWorks has many, many more characters to make cartoons about, so you can see how this is all coming together. This leaves DreamWorks’ former home, Paramount, without a strong animation wing, although Viacom (Paramount’s parent company) also owns Nickelodeon. Animated movies have been incredibly reliable box office performers, so no one wants to be left out of the toon race.
§ Ladies making comics and then enjoying a nice glass of wine, as via D&Q:
And over the weekend, Mimi Pond (right) sent this great photo of her and Miriam Katin (left) drinking wine by a drawing table in NYC, where Mimi has been hard at work on Over Easy, her graphic novel for D+Q, and Miriam has been finishing up Letting It Go, her 2013 D+Q graphic novel.
§ Finally, we’re not sure we approve of parents watching their children cry and then holding the results up for millions to view on YouTube, but the takeaway from this is that THE ODD LIFE OF TIMOTHY GREEN may well not be the “feel good” movie of the summer. Instead, it’s the “cry good” film of August.
§ Has a Disney film ever left you crying hysterically in the back seat of the car? Sounds off in the comments!
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.