Kibbles ‘n’ Bts 2/13/14: Spoiler Spoilers

§ By now if you are at all interested in Batman you have seen This and the above intro of Bluebird by Dustin Nguyen. If you’re NOT into Batman suffice to say that Batman will be going into a year long weekly series called BATMAN ETERNAL in which the role of the outwardly-tough but secretly-vulnerable youthful companions to Batman who will eventually get killed or maimed will be played by young women.

PLUS, one good thing about the New 52 universe is that Stephanie Brown was no longer tortured to death with a drill! Progress!

§ Speaking of Batman, The Comics Journal online has a new writer named Greg Hunter who engages in a takedown review of Batman: Death of the Family, which for most people is one of the few bright spots in the editorial driven era of comics. That’s what we need the Comics Journal for! The kid is back.

(Art by Terry Dodson.)

§ Along the same lines, Vanessa Gabriel finds Marvel’s all-lady X-Men book wanting,

You know what I hate even more? Crossovers that don’t layer well into the existing story of a book. At least make it so your story continues along its path. Then, reading other titles in the crossover gives you a broader, more complete story. Don’t make it so you have to read a bunch of different books to barely understand the one story in your comic that will be abandoned as soon as the event is through. Anyway, Battle of the Atom monopolized two issues of X-Men. I endured it. Erika didn’t make it to the other side and she dropped the book.

§ Multiversity’s David Harper has another solid piece on tips for looking at the art when reviewing comics, with help from three of the best, Declan Shalvey, Sean Gordon Murphy and Gabriel Hardman. I must admit here are a lot of common traps here that we all fall into from time to time:

- In the ghetto: While we are often guilty of this ourselves, art analysis does not belong at the end of every review. We don’t need to create a second-to-last paragraph ghetto for art review just because we don’t know what to do with it. Mix it up, lead with your art section, put it in the middle, or better yet, weave it into your discussion about the story and issue itself. As we said above, they are one and the same.


§ There were some solid observations in the comments to my comments on Harpers previous piece, on the devaluation of the comics book artist, and I had a few brief Twitter discussions about it as well. I know this has been going on for a while, but I’ve had my head stuck in the indie/GN wold where Cartoonists—those who write AND draw comics—rule to roost. It’s a much simpler world most of the time, and often a better world.

§ Here’s another great process piece, Steve Lieber on world building with comics art.

§ Sunderland is a city in England that is probably only known to a) extreme Anglophiles b) EPL fans and c) readers of Bryan Talbot’s Alice in Sunderland. Well, anyway Sunderland is getting a comic-con! Show runners are starting small, with hopes for around 1,600 people to attend. The show will be held. August 9 and 10 at Sunderland Software Centre in Tavistock Place. I’m guessing that’s near the High Street.

§ Klaus Janson is working at DC again for the first time in a decade, inking the John/ JRJr Superman, and here is a nice interview where he dishes on stuff.


§ And here’s an interview with Jed McGowan the guy who made that awesome Voyager comic a while ago. More comics of this type are on the way.

§ Ng Suat Tong has his annual list of Best Online Comics Criticism 2013—there are some real gems in there and also some dense twaddle, but you’ll need to follow all the links and decide for yourself which is which.

§ The LA Comic Book And Science Fiction Convention has been running monthly for…30 years or so? Here’s a brief profile. The show has declined a bit from the days when Arnold and Vin Diesel were guests to, the third Ewok to the left headling but it’s still going!

§ I liked this LSU college paper interview with former LSU student JG Jones because a) it is nice to see a “comics alumnus” story and b) who does’t like “Gentleman” JG Jones?

§ Comics are saved! David Hockney likes Joe Sacco.

§ I spent hours with this Upworthy Generator, and the good stuff starts at 0:30. Make sure to stick around till 1:34.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 1/24/14: Warren Ellis’s mystery project


§ Warren Ellis has trashed another laptop, prior to moving to LA SOMEWHERE for six months to work on a mystery project. I repeat, Warren Ellis is moving to LA for six months. If you had asked me to pick “Sentences I will never type on The Beat” that would have been one of them. While he’s there he’ll take part in the above event. Good luck to Warren on whatever this project is! CORRECTION: I read “six months” and “LA” and made an incorrect assumption. So my prediction was correct after all. Apologies to Warren for being an idiot.

§ Not even Rick Grimes could kill this controversy: Will Brooker on the whole Alan Moore Kerfuffle and his part in it.

§ Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton, Canada is profiled:

When the store moved to its current location, across from the Grant MacEwan campus on 104th Avenue, Bardyla inherited a space that was in part a former auto shop, complete with exposed concrete and garage door at the back. So now Happy Harbor uses that open area to host events, from fundraisers to card tournaments to barbecues. For a recent live animal drawing class, one of Bardyla’s customers, a farmer, brought one of his horses, which Bardyla promptly rode around the store. “When you know you’re going to be doing a lot of oddball things, make sure your fixtures are flexible,” he says, manoeuvring some rolling shelves back into place. “Slap wheels on everything. That’s the best piece of advice I can give people.”

§ Monkeybrain and Dark Horse writers AdamP. Knave and DJ Kirkbride get a profile and interview on CBR from The Beat’s own Steve Morris

§ Mainer writer Jeff Kline gets some press for his comics Indestructible and a signing this weekend:

And that’s the basic premise behind “Indestructible,” a new comic book series written by Cape Elizabeth resident Jeff Kline. Kline is veteran TV producer whose credits included animated superhero shows like “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe.” In the series, which was launched in December, superheroes are celebrities who have cadres of agents and lawyers getting them merchandising deals. When a slacker is mistaken for a superhero, and gets a taste of the superhero-celebrity lifestyle, he decides to do whatever it takes to keep living that life.


§ Matt D. Wilson ponders whether todays supposed “short runs by writers” are really a bad thing…or even a thing, really.

§ Declan Shalvey and Stephen Mooney discuss their careers and Irish things with one another:

Declan Shalvey: Stephen, you and I have known each other a long time. We first met at one of the Bristol shows, right? Maybe 2005? It was my second comic convention ever I think, and I remember being very, very jealous of how talented and successful you were. From my perspective at least. You were working on Freak Show at the time, right?

Stephen Mooney: Yep, I think you’re right. I remember our initial meeting; you were the one with the shaved head of a convict, the mouth of a sailor and the heart of fool’s gold.



§ Speaking of Irish cartoonists, congrats to Will Sliney on working for his beloved footie team, Everton. That is like winning the cartooner’s World Cup.

UPDATE: Ape Entertainment is still alive and planning

ape entertainmentYesterday, we reported on the inactivity at Ape Entertainment, and wondered if the company was still around. Well, COO Brent Erwin responded to an inquiry to explain that they are just in reorg mode, but have a digital project coming out at the end of the month and more stuff in the works. Read on:

As Mark Twain said “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated”.  As you know our business partner David Hedgecock left Ape very late last year to pursue an opportunity as a Managing Editor at IDW, we wished him well and hope nothing but success for him.  At the time of David’s departure my other partner and I decided to take the opportunity to reorganize and stream line Ape which we are still in the process of doing. 
We recently worked with Diamond to cancel outstanding orders on product that was beyond its normal shipping window.  We didn’t want old orders hanging out there for retailers to have to deal with. We do plan to resolicit certain books at a later date, it just doesn’t make sense to announce that until we know exactly when we will. We have a lot of great product ready to launch.
We are currently planning the release of our “Fruit Ninja” comic app at the end of January for Chinese New Year along with other digital initiatives.  We have also been in talks with Hollywood about a few of our properties so we have been keeping very busy.
Lastly I can tell you that we (the industry) are seeing growth in the print market as proven by the retail stores which I am an investor in that you mentioned in your post.  The day to day operations of the stores are in the hands of Ron Killingsworth partner and General Manager.

The 2013 Comics Industry Person of the Year is Kim Thompson

This marks the fourth year we’ve run the Comics Industry Person of the Year Poll, and the results were very straightforward, as you’ll see. The guidelines for voting are as follows: “This can be the most important person, someone who had the biggest impact, an innovator, someone who set the pace, or had a banner year creatively.” The winner’s impact this year was bittersweet, but still something to celebrate.

Past winners also had a lot of support, indicating that the most important comics figures of the past few years are continuing to make their presence felt.

In case you’re wondering, the previous winners were Eric Stephenson (2012), Kate Beaton, Dan Didio and Jim Lee (2011), and Robert Kirkman (2010)

With no further ado, here’s how the voting went this year:
[Read more…]

The Beat’s Annual Year End Survey, 2014 Edition, Part 5 — let’s look at the big picture

Okay this wraps up our annual tradition of surveying all levels of the comics industry for their thoughts on the state of the union. We still have the Comics Industry Person of the Year to announce in a little bit. A few hemes definitely arose from the answers this year: DC’s movie to the west coast, crowdfunding, digital…those are the big stories as we head into a new year.

Previous parts: Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4 [Read more…]

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 1/6/14: Have a great Epiphany, everyone!


§ January 6th is the Christian feast known as Epiphany, also the 12th Day of Christmas, so the holidays are over AND you get to wish people a great Epiphany. It never gets old. Above painting by Abraham Bloemaert.

§ Congrats to Janelle Asselin on joining The Mary Sue as their weekend blogger. Here’s her post on Marvel publishing Star Wars [Read more…]

The Beat’s Annual Year End Survey, 2014 Edition, Part 4

Here’s part four or our annual comics status report, with contributions from publishers, cartoonist, writers and execs. As usual, lots of news tidbits and previews in the upcoming projects here.

Previous parts: Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Be back here tomorrow for the big wind-up!

Ted Adams, publisher, IDW,,

2014 Projects:

Our 2014 publishing schedule is our best ever. Highlights include: [Read more…]

The Beat’s Annual Year End Survey, 2014 Edition, Part 3 — more thoughts on DC moving west

Yep it’s more picks and prognostications, with a few tasty previews thrown in.

Ted McKeever, cartoonist

A new Golden Age format, B&W, 6-issue series from Shadowline/Image, coming out around June/July of 2014. The basic premise of The Superannuated Man is a contemplation on growing old in an unspecified future where animals have evolved and become the dominant force in the world, and one man’s existential application for purpose.

I’ve touched on a lot of personal subjects in the past. Delved into some dark places as well. So I felt it was time I lightened up the tone a bit with this “science-fictiony” series. And there’s nothing more funny, in my opinion, than getting old. 

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? That there really wasn’t any. I mean, compared to other years, 2013 was mostly like passing gas. A lot of noise that turned out to be nothing but stink.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I’ll let you know in December.

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What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? That some channel somewhere in my vicinity will get the broadcast rights to start airing reruns of Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp.

Lee Nordling, writer, packager

2014 Projects The Bramble received the 2013 Moonbeam Gold Medal for picture books (ages 4 – 8). I wrote it, Bruce Zick was the artist, and it’s the first book of sequential art to win this Moonbeam category award. Also, I just set up a three-book series with Lerner’s Graphic Universe, beginning with “BirdCatDog,” which will be published Fall 2014, with others following Spring and Fall of 2015.

There’s more on the horizon, but we don’t expect it to happen till sometime in January, and stuff is never real until it’s real.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? DC Comics goes to Hollywood, as if it wasn’t already there, at least in spirit.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I’m sure there will be something involving comics characters on the big screen, but DC Comics adapting to life on the Left Coast will probably be the continuing adventure we all follow.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Two things, “The Rules of Summer” by Shaun Tan, and the end of “The Hobbit” trilogy, so I can look forward to having extended editions for all of them, except the first, which was extended quite enough in the theatrical version. Then I can watch all of them in order, followed by the extended editions of “The Lord of the Rings.” It won’t be quite 24 hours of viewing, but I’m pretty sure I’ll want a nap after I’m done…or maybe I’ll just start rereading the books.

Kwanza Johnson, editor

2014 Projects:  Nothing… this year. ;-)

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? That is tough– what is important in comics is so subjective. I suppose it was the inevitable announcement that DCE is moving the entire company to Burbank, CA. It is going to change the lives of a lot of people who have to make a very tough choice that I myself made while working there (Do not go. Find another job. Do not believe the hype.). The move is going to change a 75 year old dynamic.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hank Kanalz will be named Editor-in-Chief of DC Comics. He’s obviously being groomed for that spot. I can’t imagine that even if Bob Harras did move this won’t still happen.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? More Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That show is so much fun. A few former Zuda folk are animators on that show, and goodness it must be so much more rewarding than working in comics.

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Charles Soule, writer, busy man (photo by Seth Kushner)

2014 Projects: Letter 44 (creator-owned sci-fi ongoing from Oni); Swamp Thing, Superman / Wonder Woman, Red Lanterns (DC); Inhuman, She-Hulk, Thunderbolts (Marvel).

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? I wish it weren’t, but I feel like the one thing that’s gotten everyone talking is the discussion of harassment in comics. The minute stories started to come out, it seemed like everyone weighed in, for better or worse. I’m glad people are talking about it, but I also think it’s an incredibly complex issue that (shockingly), probably can’t be solved via passionate Tweets. Hopefully, though, increased awareness will help, and people won’t have to talk about this stuff at all in 2014. (Well, let’s not be unrealistic – maybe 2015.)

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I suspect it will be DC Comics’ move to Los Angeles.  It’s going to have a drastic effect on the mainstream comics landscape (at least behind the scenes).  Hopefully everyone involved will find a good solution, but I bet it will be interesting times (in the Chinese parable sense) well into 2015.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? My guilty pleasures these days are mostly dumb movies that I sneak into alone, watch, and sneak out of, no one the wiser. Along those lines, I’d say I’m quite looking forward to the 300 sequel, Expendables 3, and of course, eternally, forever… the next installment of the idiotic but marvelous Resident Evil series.

Curt Pires, writer

8f8fea87d7675eb1b675d47b6f159d18.jpeg2014 Projects: I am doing a creator owned book called POP with Jason Copland over at DH in 2014. Finishing Theremin up with Dalton Rose. That will be collected in print in 2014 as well. Think I’d like to do a book at Image as well — I’ll make that happen.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013?  Devonte Hynes putting out “Cupid Deluxe”. Sky Ferreira releasing “Night Time, My Time” . Image going Drm free. Douglas Ruskoff releasing the stellar “Present Shock”.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Not sure, excited to find out.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? I don’t really believe in guilty pleasures — I like what I like. Really looking forward to Lars Von Trier’s NYMPHOMANIAC , which I suppose would be considered taboo by more conservative crowds.

amychu2.jpgAmy Chu, writer

2014 Projects: The third installment of the Girls Night Out anthology – That’s the Way Love Goes, a top secret project with the amazing Janet K. Lee, and a not all ages Red Riding Hood story with Charles P Wilson III for ComixTribe’s Scamthology.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? I geek out over numbers, so the SAGA story is absolutely fascinating to me. Not only is it BY FAR the best selling title at some stores, the sales number just keep RISING instead of declining. That just flies in the face of retailer wisdom. Issue #16 sold an estimated 50% more than #1, and outsold over 90% of the titles reported by Diamond. Even better, some retailers tell me it’s driven by NEW readers, mostly WOMEN. Editors and publishers, take note!

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I think we’re going to see a revolution in comics content for 2014. There’s going to be a lot more creative risks taken for several reasons. It’s easier than ever to self publish either through Comixology or crowdfunding platforms, so established talent can take greater risks with their own pet projects. Small publishers have experimented with the $1 pricing with great success so I’m guessing we’re going to see even more titles coming out. And also with the consolidation over at DC, it will be the last hurrah for some in editorial who might want to go out with a bang, not a whimper. The end result should be great for the readers, IMHO.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Working through my video game Pile of Shame (Arkham Origins, Skyrim), and maxing out my Marvel Unlimited subscription.

Christian Beranek, writer

2014 Projects: Kelci Crawford and I will be increasing production on Validation and I’ll also be debuting a new webcomic with Tony DiGerolamo and Julia Brito called Millennials, which will run over at The Webcomic Factory. In addition, I’ll be continuing my work with Doug Lefler on promoting his wonderful digital comics app Scrollon.

I’ll be attending C2E2 in April pitching some new comics and also trying to drum up some work. Publishers and editors look out! I’ll also be at Phoenix Comicon in June, my first guest appearance at a convention in well over a year and a half.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Co-existence. Print comics are thriving and so are digital! 

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Co-existence. 2013 brought to light how far the industry still has to go in welcoming female creators and readers. Hopefully in 2014 we can do better.


What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Writing a superhero comic.

Sue aka DCWKA, pundit

2014 Projects: I want to give a shoutout to my Girls Love Superheroes site – spread the word; send more pictures

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? For me it was the rise of digital (and by that it really means Comixology) and proof that it will shift the demographics of comics. The LCS will continue to thrive but the world of instant gratification via tablet is bringing in new readers. and yes I mean female readers. Now if we can just dump the DRM and have the digital price point differ from the print.

Image as the innovator when it comes to non cape comics was also big – the most interesting and best comics monthlies I read this year were mostly out of Image.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? For me I think it is the energy going at Marvel. The bench is pretty deep over there and they are already picking up some of DC’s talent due to the move to LA. I’m excited to see the new set of female-led books.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Wonder Woman by Grant Morrison and Yannick Paquette. Will it be pleasure … or pain? Still looking forward to reading it.

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Joe Harris, writer

2014 Projects: Great Pacific from Image Comics and The X-Files: Season 10 for IDW.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? The expanding roster of talent coming to, or back home to, creator-owned comics.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? The triumph of lesser-known comics properties in the realm of film and television.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014?
The absolute thrashing the Republican party is gong to take in the midterm elections. It takes a certain, special kind of arrogance to think government shutdowns, debt ceiling-hostage taking, repeated show votes on defunding or repealing one thing or another which all in congress know is never going to happen, and failure to move on issues important to the American people like reasonable gun safety legislation, immigration reform, etc. won’t cost you. I’ll have the popcorn at the ready.


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Jimmy Broxton, cartoonist

2014 Projects: Hugh Howey’s Wool the Graphic Novel, with Hugh Howey, Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti. Published by Jet City Comics from Amazon.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? DC announcing the closing of the NY offices with a planned relocation to CA.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? DC actually relocating to CA.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014?Nicolas Winding Refn’s Barbarella reboot (if it actually happens)

Zainab Akhtar, writer

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Kim Thompson passing away/Fantagraphics Kickstarter

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hmm. Just a host of very good books from younger cartoonists which will hopefully bring newer audiences to their work; I’ve been compiling a streamlined snapshot for the year’s most anticipated releases for The Beat, and we have books from Emily Carroll, Eleanor Davis, Corrine Mucha, Bastien Vivies, Jamie Coe, Sam Alden, the Tamaki cousins and a whole lot more.

Matt Pizzolo (writer Godkiller, organizer Occupy Comics, co-founder Black Mask Studios)
2014 Projects:   The Liberator/Earth Crisis comic book/album crossover is the comic I’ve wished would exist since 1993, so I’m very excited about it. I will also be laboring on the launch of Black Mask’s first weekly comic series Godkiller by the incredibly talented Anna Muckcracker Wieszczyk and her lackwitted writer me. The rest of my workload is currently hidden away in a crate next to the Ark of the Covenant, to be revealed soon.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013?
“Are Comics Just For Middle-Aged Dudes?” It would appear the tearing up of Kelly Sue DeConnick & Emma Rios’ Pretty Deadly was the rip-heard-’round-the-comicverse, igniting a much-needed critique of dude-bro-dude culture in comics. Tess Fowler, MariNaomi, Mariah Huehner, Anne Scherbina, Brandon Graham, and more deserve a lot of respect for putting themselves at risk to add specificity and force a serious discourse that has broadened since then in a really constructive & important way. It’s a critical conversation for the future of comics, and it’s not just creators, staffers, & cosplayers who are finding a toxic environment but even readers. I was on two different SDCC panels recently where young women in the audience asked questions and were met with condescension in one case and ridicule in another… we on the panel and some in the audience tried to encourage the questioner and shut up the loudmouth, but we were pretty ineffective. It’s far, far from the norm, but it’s pervasive nonetheless and if we’re more aware of it we’ll be more effective at dealing with it when it occurs. 

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hopefully the emergence of new creative voices who will reset expectations of what comics can be and who th




ey can be for.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? I’m gonna convince Patrick Meaney to let me watch the raw footage of “The Image Revolution” documentary so I can enjoy all the behind-the-scenes drama that didn’t make it into the final movie.

Kate Kotler, writer

2014 Projects: Cooking a geek baby. Writing a guest column for GeekMom.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Ed Kramer pleading guilty to child molestation (brings closure to an awful story, allows one of the bigger and more positive conventions in the country to move forward.)

Brian Wood being named by Tess Fowler as the comics pro who harassed her; the subsequent reporting on the whole topic.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hopefully something a lot more positive.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? The announcement of a Wonder Woman feature film. (Wishful thinking.) Sherlock Series 3… being able to have a drink at Bar-Con post extraction of alien growing in my womb.

Jim Starlin, cartoonist

2014 Projects: Thanos:The Infinity Revelation- A 100-page OGN for Marvel. Writer/penciler

Savage Hulk four-issue story arc: Writer/penciler

Thanos Annual: 30-page story. Writer.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Multiple announcements of comics being made into movies and TV series.

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? The success or failure of those movies.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? Time in South Africa and away from the drawing board.

Steve Niles, writer

2014 Projects: This year will see the conclusion of Frankenstein Alive Alive & Chin Music and I have a new slate of creator-owned projects. At the top of that list is THHE OCTOBER FACTION with Damien Worm. It’s all of my favorite things rolled into one.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? To me the rise of the indies and comic sales going up. Best news I’ve heard. The rise of the indie book has been amazing to watch. Personally, having the entire comic industry pitch in and help me and my family when we were flooded was the biggest story. I may get down on the industry sometimes but when comic people decide to do something they can move mountains. I am forever thankful for the help. 

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Hopefully more comic readers and more indie books. My dream has always been to see comic stores that have genres like bookstores and we are one step closer with great non-superhero sci- books books like Saga and Black Science and crime from Brubaker and Rucka.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? New Planet of the Apes movie. I need my ape movies.

Rich Johnson, publisher

 2014 Projects: The first two original graphic novels from InkLit are available in stores — Starling by Sage Stossel and Unforgotten by Tohby Riddle. Also look for the first original graphic novel Cemetery Girl by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden with art by Don Kramer to be released in January 2014. 

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? DC Comics moving to the west coast. Some of why I think this was the biggest story is part nostalgia. As a former employee of the company and a fan of the medium the move represents the en of an era, even though the actual end may have already occurred. The business of comics started in New York and has lived there for decades and it’s always sad when someone moves away. I have always felt that comics and DC belonged in the city. When I worked there it seemed somehow right that I am my co-workers slogged through snowy streets of Gotham to bring stories of Batman to the world. It seemed appropriate that the 9/11 anthology came from a company based in New York at a time when we all needed to have super-heroes in our lives. It was a natural that the nation’s biggest humor magazine MAD was New York born and seemed to have the city’s sense of humor. They have deep roots here.
But we live in a different world, the concept of transmedia has taken root; storytelling across many platforms is what is driving many businesses. And in some ways DC Comics moving is makes sense on a historical level. From the beginning DC lead the way and even created a template for using their characters across multiple platforms; everything from radio dramas, to film, television, and novels. DC was transmedia before the 1950s and before the term was coined. While the idea of transmedia is not new to them I think the fear is that the publishing arm of what now is a media company will be diminished.  I hope not. The publishing arm should serve as a place where creativity is let loose. It has been place where people like Frank Miller, Neil Gaiman, Grant Morrison, Brian K. Vaughn, Alex Ross and countless others were able to play with the toys and create some amazing things. I hope that dedication to publishing and to allowing talent to experiment travels with them.
What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? I think the expansion of kid’s comics will play an important role for the future of the industry. It’s vital that the industry builds future and life-long readers for the medium. Even in this era if transmedia the source material is still vital. It’s vital as a creative playground for talent to try and test new ideas and stories – a place to take chances. It’s also essential in establishing that vital, visceral connection that happens between reader and book. It is where you build “the fan”.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? I want to finally dive into the series The Wire. I have heard so much about it, but I’ve never seen it. I am also looking forward to the beginning of the end of Mad Men. And as a long time Michael Connelly I am eager to see the just announced series Bosch.

Eric Reynolds, associate publisher, Fantagraphics

2014 Projects: Barnaby by Crockett Johnson, Unlovable by Esther Watson, Megahex by Simon Hanselmann, Arsene Schrawuen by Olivier Schrauwen, Buddy Buys a Dump by Peter Bagge, The Love Bunglers by Jaime Hernandez, The Complete Eightball by Daniel Clowes, Bumf by Joe Sacco, Twelve Gems by Lane Milburn, etc. 

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? The death of my friend and boss, the great Kim Thompson. 

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? Probably something demoralizing. 

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014?I’m frankly just happy to move on from 2013. 

The Beat’s Annual Year End Survey, 2014 Edition, Part 2

Here’s the second part of our annual look at what’s happened and what happening next for comics. Thanks to everyone for all the time and thought they put into their answers. Part 1 can be found here.

Rick Lowell, retailer, show runner

2014 Projects: MeCAF (Maine Comics Arts Festival), May 18, 2014, Portland, ME

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? DC Comics leaving the New York City offices

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? The continued re-organization of DC Comics, and the decline in print sales for the big two (Marvel/ DC) while indy publishers pick up the market share.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? I am expecting to see more creators leave Marvel and DC for Image based upon the many successes they have had over the last year or two.

[Read more…]

The Beat’s Annual Year End Survey, 2014 Edition, Part 1 – Kickstarter, harassment, digital and more

Yep it’s the return of an annual Beat tradition that goes back nearly a decade, as comic folk from every level of the industry — creators, reporters, retailers, publshers—talk about the issues of the year past and look at the issues of the year to come. There are always a lot of thoughtful answers in this survey, but this year a LOT of very important and thought-provoking topics are looked at from crowdfunding to harassment.

And as always, there are previews and news scattered in the 2014 projects. So settle in and enjoy—there is so much more to come.

Dylan Horrocks, cartoonist

2014 Projects:  The Magic Pen.

What was the biggest story in comics in 2013? Here in New Zealand, the biggest story was Adrian Kinnaird’s book FROM EARTH’S END: THE BEST OF NEW ZEALAND COMICS, published by Random House (NZ) last month. nearly 450 pages of the history and current landscape of NZ’s comics scene. Turns out we had a thriving comics industry in the 1940s-50s that died out partly due to censorship. Plus: stories (or excerpts) from 35 contemporary NZ cartoonists, chapters on the influence of comics on NZ art, writing and film-making – and more! Here’s the book: and here’s Adrian’s blog:

What will be the biggest story in comics in 2014? No idea, but it sure as hell won’t be supehero movies. Maybe crowdfunding? Already seems to have made a huge impact, but the recent Fantagraphics Kickstarter drive suggest to me it will only become more significant to comics publishing.

What guilty pleasure (of any kind) are you looking forward to in 2014? It will almost certainly involve food. And definitely *won’t* involve superhero movies.
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Japan launches worldwide assault via its own anime channel


The Japanese government is taking matters into its own hands by spending 15.5 billion yen ($14.7 million) to launch its own TV network with an eye to foreign distribution. The rollout includes Thailand, Indonesia and Cambodia, but hope to spread to North America, Europe and Africa. The channel will host a variety of programs, including anime, dramas, music programs, and travel programs. It’s all part of an ongoing program to spread Japanese culture, which pirate scanlation sites have been doing the heavy lifting on for a while. It’s also part of a move to improve Japan’s reputation abroad.

In 2002 the Japanese government launched its intellectual property policy outline, with a goal of becoming “a nation built on intellectual property.” Included in that plan was to transmit Japanese culture to the foreign countries, but the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has noted that so far any support for this has been sporadic because “there has been no leadership in the government.”

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits, 12/20/13: How to enter a bouncy house

Thanks for all the great emails yesterday, people. They are much appreciated.

§ MUST READ: More on Neil Cohn’s experiments in how comics are read. He actually put electrodes on people’s brains to figure this out.

Cohn says any language has a “holy triumvirate” of elements: expressive form, grammar, and meaning. Comics, he argues, meet all three requirements. Their expressive form is the visual strip. Their grammatical structure consists of a basic vocabulary (such as stink lines or speech bubbles) and a syntax (a hierarchical panel structure). And, when done right, the images have a semantic relationship–a clear message.

Damn straight. (Seriously, this is very important research!!!)

§ Sales analyst John Mayo asks Are Event Title Sales Cooling? but I wasn’t sure of the answer. However he provides lots of charts that you can study for your own edification.

§ Best of’s: Uproxx suggests The Fifteen Best Comic Books Of 2013 while Rob Bricken avers2013 Was an Absurdly Great Year for Comics. Agreed.

§ Did I already link to Dan Kois’s comics-containing Best novels and children’s books of 2013? Not sure any more.


§ Zainab digs into James Stokoe’s Godzilla, which is indeed a mighty comic:

A couple of disclaimers before we start: 1) It is impossible to put into words the unfettered wonderment that James Stokoe’s art begets. Hence every time I use an inadequate superlative, bear in mind that it is sadly incapable of fulfilling its basic function and multiply any effect it may have by at least 4- yes, let’ go with 4. 2) This piece is spoilery, if you haven’t read the book yet. There’s not a huge ‘this way or that way’ in terms of plot, but events do go in particular directions, and knowing that in advance may affect your enjoyment of the story.

§ Hm. An analysis of beefcake in the movies:

Beefcake is a bone the movie industry throws to straight and bisexual women, to make the sausage-fest blockbusters something that they can sit through. And a lot of straight men enjoy seeing ripped guys showing off their physiques; it’s projection fantasy if not sexual fantasy, filling the same niche as the steroid-body boom of the 1980s (Stallone, Schwarzenegger, Van Damme, etc.), and entertainment like mixed martial arts and professional wrestling.

§ After linking to A Christmas Carol yesterday, I browsed his list of the First Classics Illustrated line. Everyone remembers Sienkiewicz’s Moby Dick, but what about Rick Geary’s Wuthering Heights? That was a pretty swell line.

§ So people are sad that they won’t be able to promote themselves via Facebook unless they pay any more. That’s the problem with all these amazing free tools we’ve been taking for granted….they can just go away.

§ Finally, it is customary to enter a bouncy house through the vinyl-ga.

Help Bob Kahan Keep A Roof Over his Head

Bob Kahan is a comics industry veteran and good person that I’ve shared many a laugh with over the years. Like many good people, he’s hit a rough patch, and needs help to keep his apartment. As a New Yorker myself I know how grim and ruthless the housing situation is now and don’t want to see a friend—and his furry companions—out on the street. Consider a donation here. A lot of people are having rough spots at this time, so please be as generous as you can to those less fortunate .

RIP Peter O’Toole


The late actor was the subject of a pretty good graphic novel called, Hellraisers by Robert Sellers and JAKe (SIC), and adapted from Sellers’ prose work of the same name, which featured adventures of excessive drinking from O’Toole, Oliver Reed, Richard Burton and Richard Harris.



Industry veterans Harris and Kennedy launch Magnetic Press with a bunch of new titles


People just can’t stay away from publishing comics. The merriment is infectious! And a new publisher is aiming to create “stories that stick.”

Two former comics industry veterans—former VP of Publishing for Boom Studios, Wes Harris, and former Publisher of Archaia Entertainment, Mike Kennedy—have caught the fever and teamed up to co-found Magnetic Press, which will roll out titles in 2014 including Dave Dorman’s WASTED LANDS, JD Morvan and Bengal’s NAJA and MEKA, F. Ruiz Velasco’s CULEBRA and LEGION OF BLOOD, Caio Oliveira’s SUPER-EGO, PROPHET HILL, and VIVID, Francisco Paronzini’s HUGOBROYLER, and Lucas Marangon’s THINKING OUT LOUD. 

The new imprint will specialize in premium graphic novels, and aims to be “a compassionate home for innovative creators and projects that have been underrepresented in the current comic and graphic novel marketplace.”

“The most exciting aspect of any creative field is the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from amazing talent,” says Kennedy in a statement. “There’s an electrifying amount of talent out there, from around the world, all deserving wider attention, and we are thrilled to create a publishing program that’s built from the ground up to support them in their effort to pursue what they are so passionate about doing.”

“I love the idea of books as an expression of who you are – what you choose to read, to display on your coffee table, and what that says about you,” said Harris in his own statement. “From the very start, from the talent we work with to the titles we select to the way the book feels in your hands, our top priority is creating a memorable reading experience and a book that you’re proud to have on your shelf.“

Kennedy and Harris have a world of experience between them. Kennedy worked as Publisher at Archaia Entertainment, and was formerly both Creative Director and Senior Producer in the video game industry, at such companies as Electronic Arts, Namco, and Microsoft. CEO Wes Harris is the former VP of Publishing for Boom Studios, and has held senior roles at top entertainment companies such as Viz Media, White Wolf Publishing, and Meteor Entertainment.


While Magnetic is just rolling out news of its launch, we’ll have a longer interview with both founders very soon.

Pitchfork will soon have a magazine and it will have comics


While we were going over the imminent death/rasping attempts to breath of the print medium yesterday, a bold new print venture has sailed right past our Doppler radar rig: PItchfork, the opinionated but infuriatingly often correct music website has launched a print magazine, called The Pitchfork Review. Issues will be thick and handsome and quarterly, with profits made through subscrptions (A year is $50) and a corporate sponsorship, Converse in the first issue. And there will be a comics section, and in a tweet today, contributors were unveiled:

(For those not used to handle. Red Ink Radio is Sophie Goldsman.) Hornshemeier, discusses his piece here—it’s about being in bands for 10+ years—and the above art is the first panel.

So a new print magazine that (we assume) pays cartoonists! How retro can you get?