Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 12/11/14: Krazy Kat vs Little Nemo

§ Actually, Julian Darius wrote the headline used in this KnB title, but it’s the essential comics match up of all times, right? Also, Winsor McCay wasn’t a very good letterer. IN case you’re wondering where I stand, I love them both, but I’ve always been a Krazy Kat girl—there was just more substance to it.

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§ Speaking of great early 20th century comic strips, here’s a write up of Peter Maresca’s recent talk on this topic, which I really wanted to go to, but couldn’t, luckily…here’s a write up by Monica Johnson.

§ In Malaysia, they are introducing the ‘Kampung Boy Award’ to recognize local talent.

Malaysian Cartoonist Club executive council member Ahmad Hilmy Abdullah said the idea to introduce the award was mooted by Malaysian cartoonist icon Datuk Mohammad Nor Khalid or Lat, together with other cartoonists in the country. He said with the involvement of many cartoonists and animators in the country’s arts industry now, it was time for such an award to be introduced.

§ This Janelle Asselin interview with Archie Comics Publicity VP Alex Segura is a must read, just because Alex is one of the nicest guys in comics and one of the very, very best at his job. HOW DOES HE DO IT?

CA: What sort of responsibilities are at the top of the list for someone in your career?

AS: You have to be a good communicator, writer and people person. I’ve met people who are very organized, detail-oriented and know a lot about comics, but they can’t have a conversation. That’s fine, but you’re probably not going to be a publicist. Like I said before, you can have all the contacts in the world, but if you don’t know how to talk to them – as honestly as possible – then it’s pointless. Writing skills are key – you have to be able to craft convincing text, whether it’s an email to a reporter, a pitch letter with a review copy or a presentation to your internal staff – you have to know how to string sentences together that are clear, easy to understand and that have a point of view. We’re on a 24-hour news cycle now. I know that’s a tired term, but it’s true. If that email you send to a reporter is long-winded, doesn’t get to the crux of your pitch right away or is confusing, you’ve lost that moment and you may have lost that reporter. Also, if you make a mistake, own up to it. We’re all people, we all have bad days – I think being human in a situation where your job is all about interacting with people inside and outside your office is really important. I’m not perfect at this, but I try to be as understanding as possible. You have to be a social creature. You have to know how to have a conversation with a complete stranger without too many awkward pauses. You should be a good listener, because publicity isn’t just about telling, it’s a conversation. You should go into a pitch knowing that the detailed thing you’re offering isn’t going to come out exactly the way you planned it because it’s going through the filter of someone else. But, knowing that, you should let the people who are also waiting on the story from your side know the chance of this.

 

§ Graeme McMillan is back at Newsarama? Here he takes down Tim Burton and Grant Morrison for recent pooh-poohing of things they did themselves in the past:

In its way, it’s oddly disheartening to see both men — who, to different degrees, owe much success to the very things they’re campaigning against — make these comments. Part of it is the uncomfortable feeling of gratefulness that ensues, sure, as well as that awkward sense that maybe all creators eventually become curmudgeonly and begrudge that which they’re no longer a part of (See also: Alan Moore, Frank Miller). But even moreso, there’s the fact that, really..? Both men are wrong.

 

§ Future Wonder Woman director Michelle McLaren is interviewed at Vultere and let’s slip that Wonder Woman hasn’t actually been green lit yet. Ok.

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§ Zainab Akhtar looks at The Speed Abater by the great Cristolphe Blain:

I have two favourite books set on ships (it’s a rather specific thing)-  Ian Edginton and D’Israeli’s Leviathan, and this. Both manage to convey the monumental size of the engines, the scale of pipes and machines, the heat and grime, the noise, the knots of metal, the atmosphere. Much like spacecraft in sci-fi films like Alien, the ship here is a character in itself, and these are the innards; the belly of the beast which set the tone of what’s to come as the men become lost and confused, delving further into their psyches. Blain’s gone hatching happy in this panel: it’s the first time the men are seeing below deck and the combination of impressive grandeur and realistic depiction is on point- all twisty, bronze pipes, looming space, steam and shade.

I also have a soft spot for comic books set at sea where people slowly go nuts or have horrible, horrible things happen to them, including both of these. Among the others: Mattotti’s Fires, Drew Weing’s Set to Sea (just rereleased), Sammy Harkham’s Poor Sailor, and Tony Millionaire’s Maakies much of the time. There’s also Chris Wright’s Blacklung, which I didn’t enjoy as much because his character designs seemed inexpressive to me. I know that’s part of his style, but it just didn’t work for me.

§ BEST OFS! •Hugh Armitage at Digital Spy has a pretty good list.
The Vancouver Sun
Abraham Riesman at Vulture

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• And Sean T. Collins who has the most PARTICULAR list I’ve read. That’s a panel from Koch’s Configurations above.

Sex Fantasy, Sophia Foster-Dimino
911 Police State, Mr. Freibert
Baby Bjornstrand, Renee French
Palm Ash, Julia Gfrörer
Configurations, Aidan Koch

§ And for those ready to move on to 2015 (and who isn’t?) the Comics Reporter’s Five For Friday has a bunch of lists of stuff coming out next year people are looking forward to.

§ First second twofer! Gina Gagliano addresses Should You Quit Your Day Job When You Get a Book Deal? and also I interviewed senior Editor Callista Brill for Publisher’s Weekly More to Comic podcast. She talks about the making of The Wrenchies, Andrew the Giant, and Jay Hosler’s upcoming Last of the Sandwalkers, which is all about beetles.

§ I would imagine many folks would be interested in Tips for getting ‘Staff Pick’ on Kickstarter.

§ Cosplay from the The 36 best cosplay from Mumbai Comic Con 2014. Spoiler: it’s good.

§ Peter Jackson is quoted saying he never read a comic book in his life so he can’t direct a comic book movie. Except he’s supposed to direct the next Tintin, isn’t he? I haven’t seen much talk about that in the Hobbit pr tour. Also, I think it is safe to say that Jackson has read Tintin, so…something is amiss.

§ I guess this could be construed as concern trolling, but Bleeding Cool’s makeover is actually a text only “makeunder” that goes back to the good old days of Geocities. YUCK. I mention this so I can quote the Outhouse headline: North Korean Hackers Strike Again, Deface Bleeding Cool’s Website. In protest, I made the image on the Beat’s front page BIGGER.

§ I tend to take the Good E-reader site with a grain of salt but here’s ae-Reader Industry Year in Review

§ TWO from Bob Temuka. A long interview with Dylan Horrocks and a review of the beautiful disgust of Charles Burns: X’ed Out, The Hive and Sugar Skull. The finish of Burns’ “Nitnit trilogy” as I like to call it, was one of the most perfect and amazing books of the year.

§ Finally, Norwegian cartoonist Jason reviews Lethal Weapon.

31 Days of Halloween: Scream Nancy

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This is frightening on so many levels. Jason is doing Nancy horror mash-ups., as reported by Mike Baehr. You can see more here, including Nancy CK and Nancy Lynch.

Working for the Man: MoCCA 2012

BY JEN VAUGHNFantagraphics Books isn’t necessarily THE MAN of the comics world but since I’ve only ever self-published my own comics, MoCCA 2012 was my first two days on the job as a staff member of the independent comics publisher. There are more than a few differences between the two experiences. Read on!

Fantagraphics’ Kristy Valenti speaks with Kim Deitch before his signing

1- The Work, as in amount of time spent working the table is constant. Seeing as there is a bit more marketing, publicity and established artists’ work on the table we rarely had to describe the content of the books. Jacq Cohen, Kristy Valenti and me (along with former intern Sophie Yanow) manned the four tables full of books and artists signings. Kristy and Jacq barely left the tables to eat and I’m pretty sure that bottle of lemonade under the table was not . . . lemonade.

2- The Digs where we stayed were MoCCA-recommended because they were smack-dab in the middle of Manhattan, right next to the Armory making for an easier walk each morning and night. The hotel room was tiny but the expansive lobby (pictured above) was an homage to both Breakfast at Tiffany’s and those plastic hamster balls. Originally built in 1903 and called the Martha Washington, this former women’s residence-turned-hotel was the perfect place for the woman of Fantagraphics to rest their heads. No long train rides in from Brooklyn this time!

Daniel Johnston and Fantagraphics’ Jacq Cohen

3- Cross-promotion of artists turned out to be one of the joys. Some Fantagraphics artists spoke on panels (like the ever-charming Shannon Wheeler) so an attendee would grab his Oil & Water book but then toddle off in search of a signature at the Boom! Studios table where Wheeler was selling his Too Much Coffee Man. Likewise, folk artist/musician Daniel Johnston was too busy pouring over our new Nancy book to be bothered to remember what time his book signing was until Boom! editor Adam Staffaroni herded him in the right direction.

Nicolas Mahler signs not only his Fantagraphics book called Angelman but also previous publications bought from the Top Shelf table.

4- Table set-up and take down turned out to be an all-day affair itself. Taking a total of 9 hours we three worked together at set-up on Friday, inventory on Saturday morning, tear down on Sunday and money counting. MoCCA had all but wrapped up save for us and Abrams‘ Charlie Kochman and marketing fiend, Nancy Lambert, waiting to see the movers grab our boxes of books. Typically, a self-publishing cartoonist throws everything in one suitcase (because you SOLD and traded a lot by the end of the show) or even donates a lot, so the trek home is easy.

5 – The creeps were definitely NOT out perusing at our tables compared to the self-publishing toonies. Maybe they know they can get a ton of one-on-one time when you are shilling your own books because of the natural ebb-and-flow of the room. One year, I was mistaken multiple times for Jess Fink (despite the fact she is 100 pounds slimmer, a foot taller and probably doesn’t wear glasses). Those guys really wanted to talk about Chester 5000 in an upsetting way. The only one I noticed hit heavily on NYC cartoonist, Marion Vitus, but she possesses all the grace and glory we often lack in a crowd setting. Everyone I interacted with at the Fantagraphics table was passionate about the books, talking about the artists and future publications!

Clockwise from the top: New Yorker cartoonist Liza Donnelly, future Fantagraphics creator Charles Forsman, cartoonist Denis St. John, Heidi MacDonald, cartoonist David Mazzucchelli

6 – The after hours were less party-filled than usual and more business-y dinner. At a fine Italian restaurant called Stuzzi, I ate too much food flanked by Nicolas Mahler and THE Jason. Hans Rickheit and Fredrik Stromberg also joined Kristy, Jacq and me. After a long (should I say European-style?) dinner, we headed to the Official After-party that had already ended but continued to the Burp Castle where Boom! Studios had also decided to roost along with My Friend Dahmer cartoonist Derf Backderf and MTV Geek‘s Bradley Hatfield. Excellent, excellent beers were had by all even though the bartender ‘shushed’ everyone every five minutes. Perfect to hear the soft voices of Jason and Mahler.

Jason, Fredrik Stromberg and Hans Rickheit

7 – The books, zines and minis I picked up are few in number but all I could manage while working AND with an impending move to Seattle. So many new, old, returning cartoonists spread their wares out for all to enjoy! The sheer joy of creation, the infinite pleasure of reading a book and sharing with the ones we love. Whether you attend a con as a consumer, work for a company or hope to sell your own work, some things will never change.

Still not enough room to take a picture of all the zines and books!

Jen Vaughn thanks New York for another fine mess you’ve gotten her into.

Picture by Boss &  Bacon Chief Heidi.

Nice art: Jason paints Hellboy

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The possibilities are endless.

Jason reviews Paul Newman movies

The great Norwegian cartoonist Jason recently got a boxed set of Paul Newman movies and has been reviewing them — for instance, THE DROWNING POOL:

The sequel to Harper, made nine years later. Paul Newman is hired by an old flame, Joanne Woodward, who is being blackmailed. Also starring Melanie Griffith as jailbait, directed by Stuart Rosenberg.

I can understand why the private detective genre seems pretty dead. Unless you put in a car chase or something, and still keeping things realistic, there is not that much action to be had. Kiss Kiss Bang Bang was very good, but what else has there been? Brick and The Big Lebowski, but neither of those were straight detective stories. The Drowning Pool is not a bad film, but a bit slow, in a 70s way. There always seems to be a chauffeur in these stories, and as usual, they are never up to any good.


For those who wonder how the laconic Jason puts together his stories — which flawlessly merge the constant ache of acute loneliness and romantic longing with the plots from classic potboiler movies and books and anthropomorphic animal comics — these terse observations provide a valuable clue to his thinking.

On his blog he also occasionally posts old art like this this illo from the late ’90s:

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