Wasn’t sure we’d still be here this morning, but as we wait for the end of the world, here are some stockpiled bookmarks to amuse and educate.
§ First off The Comics Reporter’s Holiday Interview Series has started, and its only flaw is that CR doesn’t support tags so we can’t just send you to a list of them all. Anyway, here today’s Ellen Forney, whose vastly entertaining memoir MARBLES about her battle with bipolar disorder is not as alarming as it sounds:
I feel like I’m providing a door. Not to say I feel I’ve disappeared in this. I think a lot of people are identifying with my story. The thing that’s been really satisfying is that it’s received more recognition than I expected, that everybody has their own interpretation of and take on it, that there are some universal qualities. It wasn’t just my story. And it was so important that this wasn’t just, “Hey, look at me! Ellen Forney! Look at my story. My nutty story.” I wanted it to be broader than that.
§ On the flip side Tuck S. Stone looks back at the year:
Popular creators being flung off books with which they’re strongly associated by the editors whose ephemeral whims they ultimately service– that’s always been a routine, if not humdrum feature of mainstream comics. “You Are All Anonymous, Replacable Cogs” is on the banner that industrial comics has up at office birthday parties. While only obnoxious internet trolls with emotional issues (like me) tell them they deserve to be anonymous cogs (they all do! I’m sad all the time!), this is still not news; this was on the brochure. Nevertheless, comics employees still somehow reacted with shock upon being reminded that they are entirely expendable: “I’ve been silently, professionally irritated at DC for some time now but this with @GailSimone sealed the deal. Now I’m disgusted,” tweeted Marjorie Liu.”It’s not as if @GailSimone wasn’t getting the numbers. She was in the middle of a critical and sales hit,” tweeted Paul Cornell. “This is so fucked up I have no proper words,” tweeted JH Williams III.
It is hoping that lacking words, JH Williams III expresses how “fucked up” things are through an overly complicated layout with lots of circles and wavy lines and panel-to-panel style-changes. There could be a frowny-smiley-face inside of a red circle. Very moving.
Liza: You have been drawing cartoons for the New Yorker for a long time. How has working for the magazine changed over the years?
Victoria: All I ever wanted to do was to be a New Yorker cartoonist. It was a place to me, almost more than a magazine, where there was a sense of wonder and a deep respect for curiosity and humanity. Even when I was a kid, I don’t know if it was the typeface or what, but it was like a life raft, salvation from family discord. I still feel it’s a miracle that I got to grow up to be a New Yorker cartoonist!
§ USA Today’s comics team of David Colton, John Geddes, and Brian Truitt lists their top 10.
§ Canada.com has Five graphic novel picks from 2012 and it’s a sign of what an amazing, amazing year for comics it was that these five books are uniformly excellent and yet don’t even appear on dozens of other lists:
The Moon Moth (First Second)
Goliath (Drawn and Quarterly)
The Hive (Pantheon)
Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes (Dark Horse)
King City (Tokyopop/Image)
§ An older but a goodie as The Scotsman also looks at the rise of the graphic novel, which has definitely reached critical mass in the UK. of course, they have Posy Simmonds and we don’t.
George Weber always was a plonker. The way Posy Simmonds drew him in her cartoon strip in the Guardian for a decade from 1977, that was the point. A senior lecturer in liberal studies at a north London polytechnic, he was the kind of man who would pick up a porn mag and ask his friend “Can you find me a better example of polysemic image discourse?”. Wife Wendy was as bad too: a writer of children’s books who patronised all the other parents in the neighbourhood, who lay into private education while employing a private tutor for her children, a brown rice-and-lentils former hippie whose daughter Belinda was in full-on rebellion against all that peace and love.
§ Speaking of comics in the UK, Hayley Campbell has a stern talking to over some whinging hand wringing over a few local kerfuffles that had me a bit baffled. Seriously people, just make good comics and get them out there and let the chips fall where they may.
§ CBR has been trying to do longer interviews and here’s one with Kaare Andrews who’s made the jump to hyphenate with artist/director—he’s working a remake of the horror film Cabin Fever currently—while sticking with comics:
That’s still a very appropriate question. Here’s the thing, in comic books the established characters have such a robust and solid core to them that not only can you push them into different places, I think you should. They’ll withstand it. They have the strength to bend one way and then bend the other. To go from Frank Miller to Bill Sienkiewicz to J. Scott Campbell to Bendis. They can withstand it because they have a core fanbase and a core history and a thorough exploration for decades. I think people really enjoy when you bend these characters in new ways that they haven’t quite seen before. A film like “Cabin Fever” is a pretty new property. There’s been one film and one sequel and it doesn’t have that core strength. While you still want to do your own take on things and still want to invest new energy, it’s not so recognizable that you can bend it in a different way and people will enjoy the bending.
“After ‘Reservoir Dogs,’ I had considered doing a ‘Luke Cage, Hero for Hire’ movie. [Producer] Ed Pressman owned the rights at that time, and we talked about it,” he told us. “I talked to Larry Fish [Laurence Fishburne] about being Luke Cage, and he really liked that idea. Then I ended up writing ‘Pulp Fiction.’ “
§ Comics folks weigh in with top ten of 2012 at Comics Bulletin.
§ More on that Diamond/Tezuka Productions deal.
What are the most active Tezuka properties from a product licensing perspective right now?
Fukuzawa: In Japan, Astro Boy should be 80%, Black Jack and Kimba should be 5% each, and other characters including Princess Knight, the Phoenix, Buddha, and Unico are 10%. Parker: Kimba the White Lion has had little merchandise available in the USA. The potential in our market may actually be stronger than the 5% share in Japan. We plan to focus mainly on Astro Boy, but will provide attention to Kimba the White Lion and Black Jack as well.
§ Sean T. Collins interviews Aidan Koch for The Comics Journal. It hasn’t been widely noted, but bad abstract, experimental comics are the new bad autobiographical comics…luckily Koch’s work is the GOOD kind of abstract, experimental comic that makes others want to do it:
Sure. But to be honest, I don’t feel like I’m really trying to tell stories. I don’t care if people don’t totally “get” what’s going on. I don’t care much about composing some kind of epic narrative. To me, that would really take most of the fun out. The idea of slaving away at something that’s already completed on a mental level, that I am basically transcribing … seems very tedious. I have pages full of notes on subjects and themes and dialogue and scenes that I can start from or sometimes I just start from a found image or photo that is compelling. Of course, I spend many hours working on pages that go nowhere, but it’s more engaging to me. There’s a Michelangelo Antonioni quote that when I first read it, I was blown away because it is exactly how I approach comics: “I never discuss the plots of my films. I never release a synopsis before I begin shooting. How could I? Until the film is edited, I have no idea myself what it will be about, and perhaps not even then. Perhaps the film will only be a mood, or a statement about a style of life. Perhaps it has no plot at all … Things suggest themselves on location and we improvise.”
§ J. Caleb Mozzocco offers How my beard would rank among the company of Thorin Oakenshield.
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.