§ Steven Grant found the year 2008 in comics “dreary”:
I won’t bother repeating my “best of 2008” list – you’ll have to check the Journal in a couple months for that – except to say it was two items long, and both were reprints. Worst of list? Why waste the time? There are two levels of “worst”: amateur work that either aspires to nothing, or whose reach exceeds its grasp, and professional work (and there’s no clean demarcation between amateur and professional anymore, given the propensity of publishers to gravitate toward warm bodies rather than talent) that’s incompetent or competent but listless. What’s the point in commemorating any of it?
Plenty of readers, however, needed no introduction to Ms. Bechdel. For more than 20 years she has been the creator of “Dykes to Watch Out For,” a weekly comic strip, printed mostly in college-town alternative newspapers, about the fractious lives and loves of an articulate group of lesbians in a city that resembles Minneapolis. The strip is sexy, sometimes in an R-rated way — imagine “Doonesbury” with regular references to sex toys — and it’s political, in a feisty, lefty, Greenpeace meets PETA meets MoveOn.org kind of way. Ms. Bechdel’s lesbians wanted to impeach the first George Bush.
§ England comes to grips with the Manga Threat in a long, well-written piece that interviews many creators on the UK manga scene:
“A couple of years ago, the comics scene here really felt stagnant,” says John Aggs, an established comic-book artist based in Brighton whose work is heavily influenced by manga. “You would go to events and there would be the artists and a few 30-year-old nerds. Now you go and there are thousands and thousands of manga kids, and scantily clad anime girls wielding giant plastic swords, and they’re all jumping up and down and screaming and buying stuff.”
The story mentions that the recent London’s Movie Comic Media Expo attracted 31,000 attendees, up from 20,000 in 2007, and credits manga fans with the rise.
§ A “today’s area woman story” is a sad one. A Hoboken woman mourns her stolen comics:
It’s no laughing matter though that 600 of her family’s comic books, valued at $80,000, were stolen last month from a basement in Hoboken. Along with the comics, packages of unopened Batman gum and baseball cards were taken.
It seems she had moved and couldn’t take the comics with her, so she left them in a communal basement storage area…and a year later…gone. A hoarder’s worst nightmare.
Clink on the link just for the picture, which we’re too kindhearted to reproduce here.
§ EW has named Family Guy creator and multibillionaire Seth MacFarlane the smartest person in entertainment.
§ Today’s NY Times totally spoils the ending of SECRET INVASION. We mean it! TOTAL SPOILER. Just like this…in black and white:
The Marvel comics mini-series “Secret Invasion” concludes Thursday with a twist ending: The world has lost faith in Iron Man, who was unable to prevent an infiltration by shape-changing aliens, and turns to Norman Osborn, the Spider-Man villain known as the Green Goblin, who delivers the final blow to the extraterrestrial threat. The events put Osborn and a cabal of nefarious allies in charge of the Marvel universe. The “Secret Invasion” series has been a best-seller for Marvel; its first issue sold more than 270,000 copies. So what will its author, Brian Michael Bendis, do for a follow-up? “What we really need to do is spend some time with the characters and deal with the aftermath of all that’s happened,” he said in an interview. “We need to dig deep down and see what they’re made of.”
Can they do that?
They just did!