§ Nice Art: Victoria “Rollergirl” Jamieson has a comics strip entitled Back-to-School Blues in the NY Times that many may relate to.
§ Here’s an excellent twitter thread by Julia Gfrörer that offers succinct career advice:
I gave this advice to my friend last night, and now I'm giving it to you: you've got to just make the thing, and wait 'til after it's finished to worry about what it means and who will read it.
— Julia Gfrörer (@thorazos) August 23, 2018
§ And Jay Edidin penned short essay on the importance of helping those on the way in comics:
I work hard, and I’m very good at what I do. In some ways I’m pretty self-made. But I have also been lucky enough to have more successful and experienced friends and mentors who shared their resources and platforms with me; and who taught me to do the same. Those hands up and open doors have made a universe of difference. And the most important lesson I’ve gotten from them is that creative economy is–or should be–positive sum. The more people we make room for, the more room we make, and the stronger we become.
Whatever its many flaws, folks in the comics industry are by and large a fairly giving group with their time and advice.
§ Alex Dueben interviewed Ariel Bordeaux about her Hourly Comics:
You drew comics for Hourly Comics Day this year. Had you done this before?
No. Not at all. My friend and mentee Anna Sellheim, who I got to know when she chose me as her advisor at the Center for Cartoon Studies, was doing Hourly Comics Day. In one of her strips she mentioned me and wished that I would do more comics and texted it to me. I happened to be home with my son who was sick and I felt weirdly motivated by that. Okay, I’ll accept the challenge. [laughs] It was already noon by the time I got the text and she said, just write down a bunch of notes and draw the comics later, so I did them all later that night and the next day.
§ The LA times reports that Marvel is on the hunt for a Best Picture Oscar nomination for Black Panther, something no superhero movie has ever achieved. Kevin Feige is in on it and experts think it has a very good shot, although its clouded by the new “Most Popular Movie” category.
The title became a prime “get” for awards consultants. Disney ended up hiring veteran Oscar strategist Cynthia Swartz to orchestrate a campaign, with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige backing the move with a significant awards season budget, a commitment Marvel has never before made.
Since then, the motion picture academy has complicated matters, adding a new Oscar for best popular film earlier this month.The academy has yet to reveal any details about the criteria for the category, but, safe to say, it appears designed to reward blockbusters like “Black Panther,” which became the third highest grossing movie ever in the U.S. and brought in $1.35 billion worldwide. If the bonus popular film category ends up being awarded in 2019, “Black Panther” could find itself nominated for two types of best picture Oscars — or none at all.
“Right now, I think [academy Chief Executive] Dawn Hudson would crawl in a hole if ‘Black Panther’ gets snubbed for best picture and winds up landing in the popular film category,” notes one Oscar consultant. “The funny thing is that Dawn would be way more disappointed than anyone at Marvel.”
People, get real, if you do not nominate this film, something is very very wrong. If nothing else, a Black Panther nod would help wash away the trauma of Suicide Squad having won more Oscars than David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock combined.
§ Here’s a write up of the Queer Folks Write About Comics panel from Flame Con – including how to be a critic and still have friends…or not.
CK and Mey provided the poles of the range of responses to this question, with CK saying he tells creators “don’t ever be my friend,” while Mey replied that she does the “exact opposite”—that friendships and creativity go together in her social and professional circles. Later she added that she considers herself “a fan, not a critic.” WWAC contributors CP Hoffman and Jameson Hampton approached the situation philosophically. “I’ve solved this problem by not having any friends,” boasted CP, who proposed and organized this panel to begin with. “At the end of the day I am the enemy,” they said to a roomful of friends. Jamey commented that the community aspect of the comics scene means that for them, “we’re all in this together.” Jamey later added that negative reviews require emotional labor on the part of the reviewer, and that since they are a volunteer contributor, they decide to “do what’s best for me and my health.”
§ And Chris Barsanti went to Autoptic in Minneapolis:
Organized by the Autoptic Foundation—a volunteer organization focused on promoting independent creator owned artwork—Autoptic 2018 attracted about 1,300 fans according to Autoptic board member Robert James Algeo, who also runs the indie comic house In Absentia Press. Autoptic featured about 125 exhibitors who were chosen this year by an outside panel of jurors. The show emphasizes comics but also features a wide variety of zines and small press print materials.
§ This post is way low on art so here’s a Batman Year One commission by Daniel Warren Johnson. Everyone loves him, right? More at Felix Art.
§ TV producer and sometime comics writer Javier Grillo-Marxuach wrote a stinging essay for THR about all the excuses for not bringing more diverse voices into writing rooms:
I have, by now, heard every crypto-racist, misogynist, ableist and homophobic showrunner excuse to avoid bringing those who do not resemble them into their writers rooms. These include the perennial (“I can’t find anyone who can write my show”), the semi-credible (“I don’t have the budget”), the “political” (“I owe that job to my assistant/son/girlfriend as a favor”) and the self-serving (“My show is so special that I can only hire truly experienced writers”). Once, I even heard a showrunner refuse to hire a gay writer because he only wanted “solid citizens.”
These excuses continue to flourish and amount to a persistent buzz reinforcing a depressingly pervasive message: Minorities need not apply. To this fetid panoply of bullshit, our age of both earnest attempts at, and frequent lip service to, inclusion has added a gaggle of victim-blaming showrunner shibboleths like “the studio/network is making me hire minorities,” “I can’t promote last season’s diversity hire because he/she will cost me money I need on the screen” and the egregious (yet actually said by a showrunner) “we won’t be picking up your option because we need ‘fresh’ diversity.”
§ The Big Bang Theory is finally ending, after 12 seasons of stale set-ups, lame jokes, and annoying generalizations. I’ll be the first to shovel dirt on its coffin for its enshrinement of the “nerd lifestyle,” which in reality far outstripped the show over those 12 years.
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.