§ Webcomic of the day: “Your lack Friend” by Ben Passmore. Just read it. It’s an excerpt of a longer work that will be sold at MICE in Boston, Ripexpo in Providence and NOCAZ Fest in New Orleans, and available online from .Radiator Comics.
§ This kept coming into my inbox: a Spidey Zine by Hannah Blumenreich. Download for free or make a donation.
§ Headline of the day:George R.R. Martin Asks Stephen King How The F–k He Writes So Fast
I think, ‘Oh, I’ve had a really good six months – I’ve written three chapters!’ and you’ve finished three books in that time,” Martin joked. King offered a legitimate answer. “Here’s the thing: There are books and there are books,” he offered, saying that he writes for three to four hours a day with the goal of writing six pages. “So if the manuscript is, say, 360 pages long, that’s basically two months’ work – but that’s assuming it goes well.” Martin was somewhat baffled, asking, “You don’t ever have a day when you sit down there and it’s like constipation – you write a sentence and you hate the sentence, and you check your email and you wonder if you had any talent after all and maybe you should have been a plumber? Don’t you have days like that?”
Apparently, King does not have days like that, as his ever expanding shelf of books he wrote attests.
§ On a similar note, I attended a screening of Neil Gaiman: Dream Dangerously, the latest documentary by the Respect Films Gang (She Makes Comics, The Image Revolution) on Friday. Director Patrick Meaney and director of photography Jordan Rennert preciously made movies about Grant Morrison and Warren Ellis, so they’ve completed the trifecta. I’m a regular talking head in their movies, and appear in the Gaiman doc for about 30 seconds, so consider this commentary rather than a review. Dream Dangerously talks a lot about the subject of the above King/Martin conversation as in how to write, why to write and the perils of writing. The film follows Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” signing tour, Gaiman’s final signing tour, on its UK leg. He estimates he signed for well over 100,000 people and the movie definitely shows the wear and tear, but also sheer happiness of fans who get to meet their favorite writer. It definitely has a lot to say about the creative process in general and Gaiman’s own history. It debuts on Vimeo on Demand on July 8th.
As I tweeted after the movie, they had to cut out a lot, including Gaiman, Jonathan Ross and John Barrowman goofing off about kissing at Comic-Con a few years back; I think this “extra scene” alone would create a tizzy, don’t you?
§ The summer American Library Association meeting was held this weekend and there was a panel for Valhalla, the library/bookstore auxiliary of the very important Valkyries organization:
But the community of women, the safe space, is another big factor for membership. Weir shared some of her experience dealing with the wider comic community after presentations she’s given. “Still, I’ve had a guy come up to me at the end and quizzing me on what I know or correcting me,” she said. “Even if you have never been judged or gatekept, the risk is still there, and it’s not in Valhalla.” The panelists encouraged their audience to keep talking about this issue, despite their frustrations. Peres said, “Because these conversations are happening, we’re moving in the right direction.” Moving on, the panelists gave more specific advice to librarians wanting to partner with retailers. “Be the person who goes to them,” Weir said. She suggested stressing the importance of getting comics into the hands of kids and offering an incentive, and she pointed out that if kids get hooked on a volume from the library then they may start buying single issues at the comic store.
§ IDW is raising $4 Million, ICv2 reports, via an internal stock sale:
IDW Media Holdings, parent of IDW Publishing, IDW Games, and related entities is raising $4 million in a private placement to existing shareholders, the company announced. The money raised will be used to fund IDW Entertainment, a division formed in 2013 to produce TV programming based on IDW properties (see “IDW Launches TV Development Division”), and for general working capital purposes, according to the announcement.
§ My annual report on the San Diego Comic-Con for PW with a preview. Big news: the Top Shelf and Slave Labor booths will be gone from “indie comics alley” so some new faces. Also a big new booth for DC:
DC Comics has long had one of the biggest booths at the show, but this time it’s debuting an even more impressive exhibit by adding a second level to its space and a larger stage for events. The new space will provide the backdrop for a major celebration of Wonder Woman, on the character’s 75th anniversary—her famous invisible plane will, paradoxically, be on display—and promotions for Young Animal, a new line of more-adult-themed comics headed by musician and comics writer Gerard Way. With DC’s parent company, Warner Bros., launching more and more films based on DC characters, this year’s DC booth will showcase the integration of the studio and DC Entertainment, its publishing division, says copublisher Dan DiDio. The entire cast of Suicide Squad, a big Warner Bros. summer film (opening in August), will appear at the booth, including the film’s stars, Will Smith and Margot Robbie, who portrays fan-favorite Harley Quinn.
§ An excellent review of Julia Gfrorer’s work by Claire Napier:
..Gfrorer celebrates weakness as levelling. Her work grants vulnerability as a given for all people, and phallic genitalia, in ways that are usually reserved for women, and (weakness word!) “pussies.” Her regular endangerment of a penis and testicles, of men’s bodily confidence, and ultimately of a man’s conception of “his manhood,” is made wholesome, not vindictive, by its meta-thematic comparison to vaginas and womanhood. She makes them like us. She reveals that they are like us.
§ I found this interview with Fantagraphics publisher Gary Groth full of interesting viewpoints:
Is your audience expanding?
I can’t say there’s empirical evidence that it’s expanding. Book publishing is difficult because you can never predict—it just so happens that in the past few years we’ve published better-selling books. And yet, it feels like comic books are all over popular culture. The comics they make movies out of—Deadpool, Batman, Superman—don’t sell. I think the companies that publish them, Marvel and DC, only publish them in order to keep the franchise going. You can’t cite any other medium that has that place in popular culture. You make a movie out of a novel, I mean, people still read the novel.
§ The NY Times George Gustines is interviewed on the Comixology podcast. Gustines is a very key figure in comics media and it’s good to hear him talk.
§ King Cat Comics minimalist John Porcellino writes about why he’s not going to shows for a while:
Otherwise, I woke up the Sunday of CAKE with more hearing problems. Not as bad as following DINK, when I went wholly deaf in my right ear, but bad enough that it got me thinking. As you surely know, I went though about a decade of very serious illness, during which time I became somewhat of a recluse. My health was not good enough to travel, except in the most emergency type situations. Finally circa 2007 or so, I finally began to feel well enough to get out on the road again. At first it was difficult, but then in 2009 I turned into a road dawg. I hit every show, festival, signing and event I could reasonably or even not-so-reasonably attend. It felt great after 10 years of solitude to get out into the world, meet people again, visit new places, etc. But I’m now beginning to feel like the energy and health I’d saved up in those ten years has dissipated again. Like it’s time for me to pull back once more. I’ve canceled my table at SPX 2016, my one remaining long-distance show of the year. The Jenny Zervakis Strange Growths book, which we’d hoped to debut at SPX, will now debut at CAKE 2017. I’ll still attend the remaining few very-local shows left (Madison Print and Resist and Milwaukee Zine Fest, both in the fall), but otherwise I’m staying put.
§ I keep meaning to write about Ted McKeever quitting comics, but I have a lot to say about it, so in the meantime, just go read his farewell. § Finally, it’s been a shitty week for a lot of people, but the this story will make you feel better, and the headline explains why: An 18-Year-Old’s Painting Is Now In The Met, Because Dreams Do Come True
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.