Roiling tensions! Some sad, some silly.
§ In the sad territory, here’s news that 86-year-old Asterix co-creator Albert Uderzo is suing his daughter and son-in-law. He claims they have used “psychological violence” in an attempt at “getting their hands” on his comics legacy. Uderzo cut the two loose as his managers in 2007, and its been strife ever since. Sylvie Uderzo claims others are taking advantage of the elder Uderzo, while Uderzo says “The sole purpose of these acts is to undermine our psychological integrity and to hasten our debility, in order to get their hands on our legacy, which they covet.” Sad sad sad.
§ FIIIIGHT. A few weeks ago pugnacious political cartoonist Ted Rall began running his cartoons on The Daily Kos, a very liberal news website. However, he says he was told by the site that his ape-like depiction of President Obama was “intolerable.” (Rall has been critical of Obama in the past for not being progressive enough.) Rall expanded on his thoughts in an interview at The Daily Wrap:
“My Obama has only been seen in several thousand comic strips in hundreds of newspapers, so I guess the two thousandth is the charm,” Rall joked. “They’ve unmasked my careful campaign of racism.” Rall objected to what he termed a “seventh grade history lesson” on racism inherent in Daily Kos’ message and said he felt that the site was suffering from political correctness run amok. “It’s not a left thing,” Rall said. “It’s a squishy liberal thing and it’s not an accusation that should be tossed around lightly. It can really tarnish you and it’s fucking unfair.”
Rall’s long-time friend Ruben Bolling stepped in and pointed out that Rall draws pretty much everyone the same way. It’s a powerful argument because Rall, by his own admission, has a cartooning style that is quite…basic.
Things got more heated when Noah Berlatsky wrote for the Atlantic on the matter, and then Rall called for Berlatsky to be fired. See more of the slugfest in the comments at the Atlantic, if you have absolutely nothing else to do with your life.
§ On the silly side, cartoonist Donna Barstow has been trying to get Google to scrub negative comments on her work, and some people find this more risible than Barstow’s comics.
§ Kathleen David has the only statement about Ed Kramer she will make, but it’s a fascinating one:
I have been to DragonCon since about the third one I think. I have been the tech director of DragonCon back in the 90s. I still go to Dragon Con. I have lots of friends involved in Dragon Con. I have known Pat Henry for just about as long as I have known Ed. So Dragon Con is close and dear to my heart. When I heard that Ed was accused of child molestation, I had a hard time believing it. I knew Ed. I couldn’t see it. But that is the way of sociopaths that they can make themselves look innocent and normal in the eyes of everyone else. But as the years went on and various things came out, I came to the conclusion that I was as bamboozled as everyone else who thought that they knew him. The more he fought going to trial, the more I realized what I though I knew about him was false.
§ Esteemed novelist Jonathan Lethem (The Fortress of Solitude, Dissident Gardens, Omega the Unknown) has (written a book about the Roddy Piper film THEY LIVE! If you want to know what to get me for Christmas, there you go.
§ The Irish comics scene is viewed throughthe career of Will Sliney.
§ With his stint on Firestorm long in the rearview mirror, wrier Joe Harris reveals The Lost Firestorm “Year Two” Story Notes with an impressive flow chart.
§ Rigorous comics critic Domingos Isabelinho is blogging again, and here’s an appreciation of Al Columbia’s Pim & Francie, a book which should always be appreciated.
§ Alan David Doane has also revived his blogging efforts.
§ In a tweet, Tim Callahan revealed he would be dropping his column When Worlds Collide, hopefully to keep on with his own blogging. The column will end at the year’s end. In the meantime, here’s appreciation of Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s little remembered Elektra Lives Again:
So why doesn’t Miller talk about it much at all, and why is it not placed higher in the Miller pantheon by readers? Possibly because of the story, which is a melancholy tone poem of loss and suffering, and probably because Miller doesn’t want to talk about Elektra anymore and so he doesn’t. That’s just a guess, but there’s certainly something important in the betrayal Miller must have felt when he was promised that Elektra wouldn’t be used in the Marvel universe except when Miller was ready to return to the character, and then the news that Marvel was going to use Elektra regardless of what some of the editors may have promised in previous years. “Elektra Lives Again,” possibly meant as a cathartic epilogue for a character Miller birthed into the world instead became a tombstone in a neighborhood tainted with memories of broken promises and fractured relationships.
It IS a very pretty book.
§ The Annie Awards noms are up, and Cartoon Brew has some commentary:
The Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement will be presented to Katsuhiro Otomo, Steven Spielberg and Phil Tippett. The celebrification of that award over the last decade has unfortunately distorted the meaning of lifetime achievement. Many of the well known names who receive it nowadays are still mid-career, or in the case of Spielberg, aren’t even involved in the day-to-day production of animation. Meanwhile, animation legends who are truly deserving of the lifetime achievement honor are consistently ignored. It’s hard to take any award seriously that honors Spielberg for his animation work, yet overlooks Don Lusk, who was an animator on nearly all the classic Disney features, worked in animation for 60 years, and just turned 100.
§ USA Today blogger Whitney Matheson has some thoughts on PictureBox shutting down:
While it may seem like we’re in a comics renaissance right now with comic-book-fueled stories gracing the big and small screens and graphic novels on bestseller lists, it’s important to remember that many independent publishers are still struggling. PictureBox will be missed for its creative content and daring spirit, which only increased my love of the medium.
I think that’s a good way to look at it. And it’s important to remember that Dan Nadel shut down PictureBox for his own personal reasons, not because it was in dire financial straits. I see comics folk struggling on every level in many ways, but it hasn’t slowed down the Golden Age.
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.