§ Everyone else was previewing the top comics of 2019. You had me at Eleanor Davis!
§ At Vulture, Abraham Riesman talks to Nnedi Okorafor about Wakanda and she has the classic story of discovering comics through the newspaper because comics shops were just too awful.
How did you first get exposed to comics?
For me, the way I was introduced to comics was a little different. I never felt very welcome going into comic-book shops. You know in Westerns where they have that moment when a stranger walks in and the music stops and everyone looks and there’s a clear sense that this person is not from here and we don’t really want this person here? That was the feeling I got whenever I walked into comic-book shops. So even though I was interested in comics, I didn’t read them. The way that I was really introduced to comics was through the newspaper. Back when we had newspapers, I loved the daily comics. The black-and-white and then the color ones on Sundays. I was into silly little things growing up — “Garfield,” especially. “Garfield” was my favorite. I was really, really into “Garfield.” Honestly, I can recite facts. I know the day Garfield was born. It was June 19, which is my daughter’s birthday. I know the very first comic, I know all the iterations of Garfield. I can draw Garfield because I was obsessed.
§ And RJ Casey chats with the very funny Katie Fricas, who shares a lovely anecdote about the too little talked about Roberta Gregory.
How was that?
She invited me over to her house and showed me around. She took me up to her studio in her attic. It was cool! She showed me a bunch of her work. She opened up this dresser and just started pulling out Naughty Bits original pages. The tit-swinging was all there! [Laughter.] It was crazy. She’s so soft-spoken, but her work is the opposite. I was shocked by that. I’m still working on making my interview with her into a comic.
Did you grow up reading her comics?
She’s an influence on me, but I didn’t grow up on comics. I read a lot of books as a kid, but I only really read Archie comics when I was little. I had some Ed Emberley drawing books and stuff like that. I got into comics in college through Diane DiMassa’s Hothead Paisan and Roberta Gregory and Ariel Schrag. I liked ‘dyke-y,’ queer, confessional, angry feminist comics. That’s how I got into comics. Jennifer Camper put me in touch with Roberta. I was so excited to meet her. She’s legeary, in my opinion.
§ Speaking of Riesman, author of many many excellent pieces on comics such as the above Okorafor interview, in a very personal Facebook post he announced that he’s going part-time at Vulture to concentrate on writing his biography of Stan Lee. So less of him at Vulture, but he’ll still be doing things at Vulture. All good things, IMHO.
§ At WWAC, the manga Plus-Sized Elf turns out to be…not so hot, as Tia Kalla relates:
Manga in general is pretty bad about making beautiful women objects of lust, but Plus-Sized Elf takes it one denigrating step further. These women are not even allowed to be beautiful, but are told how their bodies aren’t good enough, and it’s all their fault. It’s all the worst stereotypes about fat (“fat”) people combined with all the pornish two-dimensionalism of a manga that doesn’t even have the courage to just be hentai. At least the hentai wouldn’t be clinging to a veneer of plausibility and plot, and would just admit straight out that they just want to fuck chubby girls. The (male, presumed straight) author didn’t even bother to do research on actual fat bodies and dieting, and just keeps regurgitating the same (often completely false) propaganda every fat person has ever heard from the day they start to look at least a little unacceptably shaped.
§ Finally, EW revealed photos of Chris Hemsworth and Tessa Thompson in the new Men in Black International and hearts were gladdened.
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.