§ Well, we’ve lost Zsa Zsa. She was 99 so…she had her innings. 2016 keeps kicking our ass and here’s a particularly gruesome party game: there are still two weeks to go in 2016. Who else can we lose that would just demoralize us the most? DO NOT REALLY ANSWER THIS.
§ REMINDER! Submissions for the Dwayne McDuffie Diversity Award are open until the 31st! Do not miss out!
§ MUST READ. In the wake of the “Ghost Ship” fire that killed 36 in an affordable living space that was unsafe and illegal, cartoonist/musician Brian Chippendale recalls Fort Thunder, one of the greatest illegal loft/art space of all times in The Paradox of Life Affirming Death Traps, but points out that safety is a part of living:
Fort Thunder was an unmonitored space, but it was not devoid of safety. We had a working sprinkler system. You’ll be hard pressed to find a warehouse in Providence that does not. We had fire extinguishers stashed throughout. We had a fire escape and a huge push bar front door that opened out into a wide staircase to the ground level, both exits accessible from the concert zone. We were on the second floor and there were multiple windows that could all be opened. It would have hurt like hell to jump, but you could have done it. We were conscious of hazards and the escapes on some basic level.
Still, Providence is different than the Fruitvale district of Oakland. Our huge front door had a broken lock for months and only a few strangers wandered in in the middle of the night. We only had one or two thefts during our run and even then it was nothing of much value. In Oakland, people grate and board up their windows out of necessity to keep the steady flow of unwanted visitors out of their space, not with the intention to trap people inside. Perhaps the inability to just open a window suggests that the dire economic issues outside of the Ghost Ship played a larger role in the fire’s narrative than the financial situation of the people inside.
I remember attending my first “rave” in the 90s…a giant warehouse with only one tiny exit door and candles in paper bags as decor. Can you say, hasty retreat?
§ A couple of comics shops have just opened up. Maybe there is hope for this industry after all.
§ Metropolis Comics has opened in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania:
The first thing you notice when you walk into Metropolis Comics in Lewisburg and look around are the splashes of bright colors that dot the open, brightly lit store. “It was a house until we renovated it,” said co-owner Laura Payne, who runs the shop with her son Albert Payne. She recently moved back to the area to open the shop with Albert. “I’ve been living in London for the past 22 years,” Laura said. “Albert saw this property and thought it would be a good possibility for a shop like this, and the rest is history.”
Two brothers have gone into business pursuing their dreams, one hero and heroine at a time. A new comic store has opened just in time for the holidays, thanks to Sam Fitch and his brother, Josh Colwell. After two months of prepping and planning, the pair opened the doors of Apokolips Comics to offer a wide selection of new and back issue comic books, antique toys from Empire Vintage Toys, Magic the Gathering cards and a variety of other goods. Fitch said it has been a dream of his for quite some time that has finally come true due to hard work and perseverance. When he was 19, he wanted to open his own shop after his favorite shop, the Card Connection, closed. However, Fitch then realized how much went into opening and running a business, so he put it on the shelf for awhile.
§ When you see this headlineBeyond comic books: How Comic Con became a celebration of pop culture you think is about San Diego, right?
PSYCHE! IT’s about the Delhi Comic Con, which really captured the imagination of attendees:
Alto Comic Con 2016 can be underlined as a success in terms of the gratifying jollities it offered to true fans and admirers who needed a good weekend out amongst colorful cartoons and gifts. Upon being enquired, Jatin Varma was kind enough to share his ideas for the next Comic Con. “The first thing on the list is more space”, Varma tells Guardian 20 . The founder believes that the number of people participating has seen a rise and to engage such a wide audience calls for a larger space. “Secondly, I want to incorporate the mass, indulge them, engage them, so we might have a proper gaming championship for the numbers that show up next year, “ he adds.
§ Eddie Campbell reviews the new Herriman biography
The sweet and poetic genius of George Herriman has been extolled, described, explained and “doped out centrifugally, centripedally and in the fourth dimension,” to lift some of George’s own words from an unrelated situation. The continuous exposure of the last five decades has in no way dimmed my own certainty that he was the finest and most near perfect of our pantheon of cartoonists. The poetic world of Krazy Kat and Ignatz Mouse remains as beautiful and haunting to me today as it was when I first peeped into it one day in 1970 (I’m recalling the three Sunday samples in the Penguin Book of Comics By Perry and Aldridge). Is there anything remaining to be uncovered? Is there any corner into which we have not already turned the beam of our searchlight? It turns out there is.
Campbell is working on his own account of the early says of comic strips; given his thorough research process and unorthodox conclusions, this is one to look forward to!
§ A nice profile of Julia Kaye, whose Up and Out strip explores
She’s the creator of Up and Out, a collection of absurdist comic strips, and recently has been working on an animated show with Disney TVA. Along with her full-time work, Julia has also been working on a personal side-project, illustrating her early experiences as a transgender woman. The illustrations cover Julia’s personal milestones from the early days of her transition journey, as well as moments of self-doubt, insecurity, and questioning.
§ And a nice profile of Nigar Nazar, perhaps the first female professional cartoonist from Pakistan:
Nigar Nazar is a bright, shining star in the man’s world of cartoon strips and animation in Pakistan. A talented artist she owns an art studio Gogi Studios, based on her most popular character Gogi. In her early days she experimented with comic strips and animation, and today she offers workshops on live cartooning in educational institutions. Nazar’s works have specifically highlighted the issues of women’s rights, domestic and religious violence, environment, anti-corruption and religious tolerance. Her comic books deal with a range of issues from extremism to girls’ education. She uses her art as a platform for educating and creating awareness for the grassroot level of Pakistan.
You can read her comics at her website.
§ A giant Avengers store has opened in Vegas!
The largest Marvel Avengers retail store is open to the public and they want viewers to join in. Sheryl Capil, the marketing manager for Marvel Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N., stopped by with more information about the store for viewers. Capil says the store — 7,500 square feet in size — offers gifts for all ages, including everything from toys to purses and apparel.
§ It seems that the graphic novel scene in Berlin has really picked up:
The key reason drawing artists and musicians to Berlin apply too to graphic novelists — the cost of living is lower than in most other European capitals. But Berlin’s tormented history — from the excesses of the Weimar era to Nazism to the stark division between democracy and communism — also serves as a gripping backdrop for any novel. It is no accident therefore that graphic novels produced here are less in it for a chuckle than aimed at making a political statement.
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.