We really don’t link to our comics coverage over at PW Comics World as much as we should, so we are here to remedy that, especially when an issue as jammed as this month’s comes out. Some highlights:
Take a critically acclaimed nonfiction comics writer, a veteran comics figure acting as a combination producer, editor and publicist, a young publisher eager to make a name for himself and an illustrator looking to do the same and what do you have? The winning recipe for publishing Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland, an original graphic novel to be released in May, written by the late Harvey Pekar, illustrated by Joe Remnant and published by Zip Comics in collaboration with Top Shelf Comix. The book, which will have a 10,000 copy first printing, is noteworthy as the first posthumous work to be released by the late Harvey Pekar, as well as for the book’s unusual path to publication.
§ If you thought that the Eisner judges didn’t read enough comics, well Brigid Alverson’s account of her happy times as a judge will show that’s just not true:
This year, though, I was on the other side of the firing line—I was an Eisner judge. I spent an amazing weekend in San Diego with five other judges, with nothing to do the whole time but read comics and argue about them. If that's your idea of heaven, well, pull up a cloud and let me tell you about it.
• Casey Burchby interviews Daniel Clowes about his new art exhibit and so on. Darn it all, Dan Clowes is a nice guy.
PWCW: Did you have any hesitation about the very idea of taking your work out of its original context and putting it up on a wall? DC: For years, that really didn’t make sense to me, because the work wasn’t created to be seen on a wall. The final artwork is the book. But I collect original artwork. It has a meaning to me that goes beyond the printed page. It’s the only [kind of] artwork you can see on a wall that you may already have a personal relationship with. If you read the story that that artwork comes from, you have a connection to it in a way you don’t have with a painting or something that’s only intended to be seen in that context. That made it interesting to me. There’s something about that final piece as an artifact of the printed work that gives it a certain value and magic. My goal with both [the exhibition and the book] is to get people interested in the work and then to read the books. If that is achieved, then both of these will have been a success.
§ Burchby AGAIN with a preview of that Flannery O’Connor cartoon book:
The forgotten visual output of the master of Southern Gothic fiction—and one of the country’s greatest writers of short stories—is being collected for the first time in a new volume from Fantagraphics, Flannery O’Connor: The Cartoons, edited by Kelly Gerald. As Gerald told us, O’Connor’s cartoons—which were mostly made using linoleum cuts—reveal much about her developing satirical sense and conception of storytelling, tools that were later put to vivid use in her writing. The cartoons themselves retain a remarkable edge, especially for such youthful, playful work. Gerald is a Mississippi native who dedicated her doctoral work at Auburn University to O’Connor’s cartoons.
• Matt White AGAIN with a preview of this weekend’s Wildcat Comic Con at Penn State:
“It’s TED Talks meets Comic Con meets Book Expo.” That’s how show organizer John Shableski describes the Wildcat Comic Con, a two-day celebration of comics in the classroom to be held this weekend, April 13-14, at the Pennsylvania College of Technology (the technical wing of Penn State) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Shableski, a former sales manager for independent retail, schools and libraries at Diamond Comics Distributor and a longtime advocate for graphic novels in publishing, conceived and organized the convention hoping to bring professional and aspiring creators, educators (from K through 12 to post-grad), librarians and comic fans together to share the benefits of applying the comics medium to education.
Todd Allen on The Mighty Crusaders Return as Digital-Only Comic
Calvin Reid on Middle East Film And Comic Con Set for April 20 and 21
Brigid Again with PW Comics World Talks with Makoto Tateno
AND a profile of Newbury Comics, where comics sales are only 2% of their business:
As digital book sales continue to gain traction, the comparison between bookstores and record stores has gotten closer. Coupled with the comparisons comes an implicit warning that bookstores could share the fate of Tower, Virgin, and HMV—record stores that are all gone. While the number of independent record stores has fallen dramatically to just a couple hundred, some are more than holding their own. To find out how one indie is doing it—and also beating the odds on maintaining a profitable regional chain, PW contacted Newbury Comics, headquartered in Boston, Mass. The indie chain, founded by two MIT students in 1978 with $2,000 and a comic book collection, is coming off the third most profitable year in its 34-year history, is debt-free, and has $11 million in the bank. That’s not because music sales have suddenly grown—annual CD sales are down close to 75%, to $10 million, from a peak of $40 million, according to CEO and cofounder Mike Dreese. “We keep morphing,” he says. “It’s always morph or die.”
SUPER PLUS—have you ever listened to our PODCAST, More To Come, wherein Calvin, Kate Fitzsimons and myself dish about the week in comics events?
If you HAVE…will you review us? Please? So we can get rated! Thankee.
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.