§ Art moment: Howard Chaykin’s Star Wars poster that was given away to fans at comics conventions in 1976.
§ If you’re starting to think of things to do in 2016 like starting that Patreon campaign here are some tips for Crushing Your First Month that come from actual data.
§ When you see a story titled 11 shocking behind-the-scenes stories from the comics industry that is written by K. Thor Jenson you’re going to link to it without reading it, and then you read it and you’re like, wow he nailed it. Seriously, a very good piece.
Fred Pierce: What we’re putting out, I believe is as good as anything that’s in the industry. We’re on the phone constantly with retailers. On some level we’re a small comic book company. But we have to make a lot of noise in order to get through everything Marvel, DC & Image are doing. They all do great stuff, but how do we make sure that we’re one of the people that the direct market is thinking of? That’s a good part of the marketing and that’s a good part of… We believe that if you walk into most any comic book store you’ll see a Valiant poster, you’ll see a Valiant header, you’ll see book marks. All of these things are making sure that Valiant is uppermost on everyone’s mind.
§ Here’s is a great throwback post as Tony Isabella goes on a tirade about how awful the comics in Best American Comics are because they don’t include Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, etc. I do love, Tony, but this attitude is right out of the 80s playbook.
In the past when I’ve raised these issues, apologists for The Best American Comics have claimed they were unable to obtain rights to use mainstream material. It’s a lie revealed by the book’s “Notable Comics” listings, which include nary a mainstream story. No Usagi Yojimbo. No Lumberjanes. No Chew. No Ms. Marvel. No Daredevil. No Saga. No The Fade Out. No Fables. No Resident Alien. No any of the dozens of other mainstream comics that are better written and better drawn and more meaningful that 95% of what Kartalopoulos and Letham did include.
§ Wondering about the year in animation? The 40 Most Popular Cartoon Brew Posts of 2015 from Cartoon Brew
YEAR END STUFF
§ Zainab’s Comics&Cola: 2015 in comics: a reading guide
§ The great folks at kuš! look back.
2015 was the most active year of kuš! so far… We held 4 workshops, presented 6 exhibitions and attended 18 festivals in 12 different countries. Great memories!
§ DC Comics blogs is running a Ten Moments that Mattered things that is actually quite cool and I wish more companies would do it, however the posts are not tagged so you’ll have to poke around for all of them.
§ Comics Alliance has many best of and picks Outstanding Cartoonist of 2015 and #1 is an easy pick but the other four are pretty fresh.
§ And finally Abhay Khosla does what Abhay does with some sharp observations which may infuriate you but most important of all he alerts us to the existence of a TV show where Naomi Urasawa goes around align to cartoonists AND IT’S SUBTITLED.
§ Vox and the Hollywood Reporter pick comics to look forward to in 2016 and both pick Faith from Valiant, which people seem excited about because it has a diverse hero (and a strong creative team) But if you had any doubt that diversity is what it’s all about, look no further.
§ This perhaps deserves a longer thought piece, but JA Micheline has a piece called It’s Hard To Be A Girl: Self Image, or Selling Image? about being confused that an author wrote about the pleasant parts of being a girl, like shopping, instead of street harassment:
It’s hard to know what to think in a case like this—how do I weigh what I feel are the political responsibilities of representing women in media with this creator’s lived experience? It would be thoroughly unfeminist of me to slap the label ‘unfeminist’ on a woman’s perspective on her own life—especially when some of the anecdotes did resonate with me. Politics aside, I am a somewhat feminine woman who does like a bit of shopping, a bit of makeup, and nice clothes. I too have found myself with a bit of extra time, decided to paint my nails, and then lost track of time and ruined my nails while I’m rushing about. What Bach is depicting is definitely part of my reality—but I do wonder if it was a reality that needed to be described as, “it’s hard to be a girl.” These experiences are definitely real, but they’re ones that have, for so long, been used as the sole definition of what being a girl is.
I’m bemused by how Micheline, whose writing I generally admire, has such a hard time dealing with someone whose life experience might be different? We can wear cool kicks to the protest, right? After going back and forth with this for a while, Michiline concludes that “If I step back from themes and politics, I definitely see that It’s Hard To Be A Girl is meant to be a light, fun read. I see in it absolutely no intent to harm—if anything, I see intent of the opposite—and no attempt to speak for anyone’s experience but the creator’s. And in fact: there are women out there for whom this book could be great.”
§ The Comics Studies Society, an organization for comics researchers and scholars, has been granted non-profit status and has several other doings going on. You can subcribe to their newsletter at the site.
§ Mark Millar has chosen the winners of his talent contest:
The winners and the stories they will be working on are: writer Ricardo Mo and artist Ifesinachi Orjiekwe on Kick-Ass; writer Philip Huxler and artist Myron Macklin on Kingsman; writer Deniz Camp and artist Prancheta Banerjee on Starlight; writer Cliff Bumgardner and artist Steve Beach on American Jesus; writer Shawn Brill and artist Conor Hughes on Chrononauts; and writer Mark Abnett and artist Osgur Yildirim on Hit-Girl. The cover artist will be Satine Zillah. Millar said the level of talent was “staggering” and urged comic publishers to examine the work posted on his site by entrants to the competition.
I remember there being some worry over whether the winners would be paid decent wages, and Millar claims this will be the case:
Millar has pledged to pay all the artists and writers selected for the first annual what he says are starting rates for Marvel and DC new talent: $90 (£60) per page for writers and $200 per page for artists. Profits from sales will go to the Hero Initiative charity, which helps comic book creators in financial need with costs such as emergency medical services
Seems like this should be followed up on!
§ You’d have to be deep in the weeds of San Diego local politics to figure this one out, but apparently a developer is trying to offer some kind of shakedown to the city to sell them some land that could be used for a convention center expansion.
It informed the council of “an informal agreement we have reached with the mayor,” as follows: The two are giving the city until March 1 to revive an option to acquire — for $13.8 million — their leasehold on about six acres that stands between the convention center and San Diego Bay. After March 1, the company will pursue a big development, a “400-room or more hotel” on the site, as required by their lease with the port. Whether this is a gracious offer or a shakedown depends on your point of view. “I see the letter as a red flag,” said Alvarez. “This is a horrible, horrible deal for the city.”
It looks like San Diego could lose the Chargers this year, which would put even more pressure on the city to keep Comic-con. Also, I don’t understand how California can have three huge cities and yet not be able to support four football teams.
§ There is going to be a thing called Broadway Con that will be a fan fest for Broadway fans. Guests include the cast of Hamilton and Michael Cerveris.
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.