§ Vixen of Vixen Varsity and Black Comics Month is raising money for rehab following an operation for injuries sustained in a car accident.
I’m Vixen of VixenVarsity and creator of #BlackComicsMonth , but you can call me Tee. I’m here not to push diversity in comics (this time), but I’m desperately trying to get to rehab after my hip and spine surgery on 11/12/15. Unfortunately, my car insurance thinks me getting surgery and rehab is a waste of time, so they….yanno what, let me start from the beginning.
With no real safety net for so many Americans, it comes down to people helping people…you know what to do.
§ Jim McLauchlin writes one of occasional investigatory pieces and this one is called Understanding The Internet Rage Machine and he talks to psychologists and comics professionals about why people get so darned ginned up about stupid lines paper.
Dr. Holly Parker thinks she has an answer. Parker is a Harvard psychology faculty lecturer and clinical psychologist at the Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital. Her new book, If We’re Together, Why do I Feel so Alone? hits stores in January 2017. Parker thinks that people who are looking to lash out feel they can do so from the safe space of “you can’t touch me.”
“Ultimately, people doing this are looking to be hurtful,” she says. “Logic doesn’t even enter their equation. The ideas just don’t match the facts. It’s more likely to occur in an online forum—everything from people just looking to inflame, to hurtful comments, to death threats — due to people’s ‘cloak of invisibility’ they feel they enjoy online.” Parker says the concept is known as “de-individuation.”
He also talks with Marvel’s Tom Brevoort who faces the anonymous, angry public on a regular basis via his Tumblr…what a brave man, and I am not being ironic.
Brevoort takes on the Rage Machine daily on his well-read Tumblr page, where people occasionally tell him how much the hate him, and even tell him, “if you were to die, I think comics would be better off.” And even with hate and death on display, Brevoort says you’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg. “The absolute horrible stuff—and there is some—never makes it to public view. It just gets deleted with the press of a button,” he says. “The stuff that does get answered is usually stuff that I find funny or legitimate.” And Brevoort does see people’s “cloaks of invisibility” at work.
In a follow-up piece McLauchlin contacted more journalists and other pros who had informally told stories of internet rage and find that they clammed up when asked about it. He also contacted some of he rages:
Firestarters on the Internet are easy to find. I contacted multiple message board and Twitter posters engaged in arguments with comic book creators, and asked them to speak me for this article to get their version of events on record. Not a single one agreed. Most never replied at all. You can fill in your own analogy about cockroaches running from the light here.
§ Here is an interesting piece about how Richard Scarry updated his books so they wouldn’t be so problematic, long before people even knew what problematic was.
While noting that Scarry’s work did get “kids asking questions,” DiLeo also said that parents of the 1970s thought the book was admirable, if problematic. This spurred the changes. “He was showing a very 50s type of life,” says DiLeo. “The moms were in dresses, and the construction workers were always men. In the early 70s people were stomping their feet and making a big to-do over this. Parents were saying, ‘How will we change the world if the lady cats are always in dresses?’” DiLeo was quick to point out that Scarry wasn’t a monster, or misogynist, but rather that his work was eventually revealed to be “behind the times.” The author genuinely responded to the criticism that his book used too many stereotypes and made changes to the book a number of times throughout the years, culminating in the 1991 edition. Scarry died in 1994, but in accepting criticism and changing his book taught an important lesson about how we interact with art.
§ Vice’s Nick Gazin went to CAB and interviewed show runner Gabe Fowler:
What do you think makes CAB unique from the other cons?
It has a homemade feeling from the beginning to the end, and every aspect is done with love. In that sense, it is closer to an old-school comic con than most things happening today, but it also has carefully selected new-school content. That balance just works. It feels more like a bunch of creative people exploring and celebrating each other’s work.
How many people apply to have a table at your fest, and how many do you allow to be a part of it?
I want this show to stay small so it can make an artistic statement rather than becoming a miasma of advertising. This year we had 386 applications for 72 tables, which forced us to omit many worthwhile artists, and it’s difficult, both emotionally and financially.
According to Gazin, he also got the rub from Daniel Clowes, who told him he was the “lone voice of sanity in comics journalism.”
The other night Junot Diaz chatted with Neil Gaiman about Sandman Overture another stuff. Gaiman said that the idea was that you could read Sandman and then read Overture and then re-read Sandman and many things would have a different meaning…which is a very cool idea. Towards the end of this video Amanda Palmer, Gaiman’s wife, got up and played “Enter Sandman” on the ukulele and kazoo and everyone present (the Beat included) sang Happy Birthday and Gaiman and Palmer’s young son Ash looked on, so that was weird and good.
§ Many people despise the Oatmeal but this strip was pretty cool. And Matthew Inman’s trolling HuffPo over hot linking was epic.
§ Last year’s Rhode Island Comic Con was bedeviled by horrible crowding and fire marshal issues. This year things went a bit better but it was still crowded. Because Rhode Island is a tiny state.
This year RICC drew an estimated 60,000 people over the course of three days, according to con officials (the exact number won’t be tallied for a few more days). That is a new record for a convention that has exceeded attendance expectations every year since it launched. And for the first time, the convention capped ticket sales every day, according to con officials. To help prevent the doors from ever being closed this year due to overcrowding, RICC expanded into the attached Dunkin Donuts Arena, putting many of the celebrity guests on the arena floor and more vendors there and in the hallways surrounding that floor and the concourse above. This meant that for much of the convention, the only way to get from the convention center to the arena and back was the skybridge that connects the two, as the facility and the con presumably wanted to control access and prevent people without badges using one building to get into another without paying. That led to intense congestion on that skybridge, with crowds taking as much as 20 minutes to negotiate that 60 or so feet.
Also, there is a place on earth called the Dunkin Donuts Arena. Let’s just think about that.
§ David Harper surveys various comics designers on how they make better comics:
Comics have an accepted look in the minds of readers, publishers and creators. That’s been the case for a while. And for some that isn’t a good thing. “I’ve been speaking about how the way comics look are stuck in that same loop for a while now,” said Tom Muller, the designer of Zero, Drifter and more. “It’s not a case of ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,’ but about evolving.” “Why should design be almost an afterthought in comics, when it’s front and center – even seen as a selling point – in so many other areas of entertainment and publishing?”
“You can do it all from home, nowadays it is all remote,” said Will Sliney, who makes the Amazing Spider-Man come to life in comic books and graphic novels. Information technology is central to his work and is also Wednesday’s theme during Science Week 2015 which continues until the weekend.
§ Cartoonist Keith Knight recently spoke about his work and race at the University of Delaware:
He said the reason why it has taken the race conversation so long to occur is because it is all about making white people comfortable. As soon as white people are comfortable, the conversation stops, which is not okay, Knight said. “I have literally had editors say to me, ‘We have a white liberal readership and we don’t want to offend them,’” Knight said. Knight’s presentation of his work in “They Shoot Black People, Don’t They?” aims to continue the conversation, even to the point of discomfort. Created from more than 20 years of Knight’s cartoons, it looks at police brutality in the United States. It is designed to provoke constructive civil dialogue among all people, Hoffman said.
§ The Outhouse recounts how an eighth grade class had a keener eye for news than many who do it professionally.
§ The Outhousers,who I love and adore, also address my recent piece on comics journalism with their own thoughts.
§ Finally, congrats Jay Rachel Edidin. Speed Racer truly is one of the greatest movies of all times.
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.