§ Mark Evanier ponders the moment everyone panel moderator must face: opening the floor to questions.

An open mike at a public event has increasingly become a magnet for people who should not be allowed near open mikes at public events. Audiences have begun to dread that portion of the program and to regard it as the signal that the event they came to see has come to an end. Thereafter, they can either leave (many do at that point) or sit there and cringe as control passes from the person they wanted to hear and goes to some stranger who, but for this opportunity, would never be speaking in front of a real audience and/or to someone of importance.

§ Dallas Middaugh follows up on Brian Wood’s comments on how to break into comics:

* Publish something, anything: “Just get something into print. Then you’re proven. The next editor you approach sees that someone has already banked on you,” Wood says. If no one will hire you, print up your own copies of a book to give away as samples. “Not only does your work look the best in a printed form, it shows you can follow through on a project.”

So true! There are so many people out there who want to just submit a story idea and see if we’ll take it. It’s like fishing by throwing worms in the water; you have to have a decent fishing pole to get any kind of response back.

 Wp-Content Uploads 2008 03 Piq-Cover-Small§ Chris Butcher lays the smack down on PiQ the manga/anime magazine follow-up to NEWTYPE USA:

I think it’s important to point out that in the first issue of PiQ, the magazine calls its readership the following names: nerds, dorks, geeks, freaks, maniacs, and pervos.

They seem to mean these little bon mots with affection, but it does tell you quite clearly what the editorial staff thinks of its readership. Of course, the new magazine from ADV (nascent anime and manga publisher) is meant to replace Newtype USA, their former chronicle of otaku culture with a name and content licensed from the original Japanese Newtype magazine, and so some recognition that it is the hardcore fan who may be used to such derisive terms may simply be a way to ingratiate itself to the new readership. But it’s going to take a lot more than saying that we’re all nerds together and adopting the tagline “Entertainment for the rest of us” to convince me that they have anything to say, let alone that we’re all alike…

§ Val D’Orazio talks to Bob Almond about the Inkwell Awards a new set of kudos aimed at the inking world:

OS: What made you come up with the idea for the Inkwell Awards?
BA: I started noticing a diminishing recognition of ink artists in general about five years ago, when they were dropped from some of the solicitation credits in Previews. There were other dropped credits that concerned me — on the covers of trade paperbacks, on other types of reprinted comic art, etc. And later when I was writing my column ‘Ink Blots’ for Sketch Magazine, an effort I began to bring more info to the public about the craft of inking, I had an idea for a column topic — what if there were comic awards just for appreciating the work of the misunderstood inkers?

Johnnyhiro§ Heavy Ink interviews JOHNNY HIRO’s Fred Chao

HI: What led you to Johnny Hiro as your first published work?
FC: I had tried to make some other comics. Unfortunately, the scope of the stories I wanted to tell were much too large for me to complete. I’ve always had to work, so there was never enough time for me to write and draw a 200-pager. I had submitted spec pages to some publishers, and almost all the indie publishers were interested, telling me to send it to them when I was finished. I was young and naive and hoping for some kind of advance to buy me the free time to complete it.

[Via Boing Boing]

§ John Jakala counts the shelves devoted toi “graphic novels’ in local bookstores and finds that more shelves are being — but mostly for MANGA! :

So based on anecdotal observation, I can easily believe that graphic novels continue to be a huge growth category for bookstores. But my experience also leads me to conclude that it’s mainly manga that’s driving that growth, which makes superhero-focused articles like this one odd to me. Why spend so much ink wondering whether Marvel or DC is beating the other in bookstore sales when Viz and Tokyopop are creaming them both? (My guess is it’s because superhero fans who grow up to write for publications like this one can’t resist framing their articles as though they were superhero slugfests: “Who’d Win? Marvel or DC?!?” In which case, my other complaint is that “Marvel smashes DC in comics battle” would have been a much better headline, especially with the new Hulk movie on the horizon.)

§ Jesse Karp interviews James Sturm

BKL: In Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow and The Golem’s Mighty Swing, you produced suspenseful and exciting baseball sequences. What would you tell a student of cartooning who wanted to create the same effect?

STURM: Try to capture the feel and rhythm of the game and pay attention to its subtleties. Of course, it helps if you like baseball. But I would also recommend looking at Japanese baseball manga. American baseball comics have been pretty bad, always halting and truncated. The Japanese get it right; they let baseball unfold at a leisurely pace.

§ Help Craig Hamilton buy his house.

§ Non-comics interview of the day. Matt Stone on what makes SOUTH PARK so great:

AVC: A lot of the humor in South Park feels disgusted and frustrated with the world, like you’re basically asking “Why are people such idiots?” Are you actually emotionally involved in the issues you address with the show?

MS: Sometimes. But it’s cool, because we get to express our frustration through a little fat kid screaming at the top of his lungs. So it can be taken semi-seriously. We get to enjoy that same distance that the Jon Stewarts of the world get to too. They demand that they be taken seriously, and as soon as someone takes them seriously, they crack a joke. I love the fact that Trey and I have gotten awards for being topical and satirical, but at the end of the day, we are just making jokes. If you ask me how to really solve the health-care crisis, I have fuckin’ no idea, and I don’t want to be a part of it. But I can make a little fat kid yell some emotional truth about it. That’s what we’ve figured out over the years. If you’re gonna make it a TV show, you would never do the actual politics of something, but you would do the emotions behind the politics. Who cares if it’s a right-or-wrong policy—here’s how it makes me feel. You’re not gonna get into a policy discussion with Cartman and Mr. Hankey and Jesus and shit.


  1. I don’t think that the answer to open mike is to do away with it altogether, because there are good, insightful questions that are asked by audience members, that a moderator might not think to ask, or know to ask.

    The answer is to screen the questions. During the panel people who want to have a question asked write it down and hand it to an aide who weeds the questions and asks them towards the end of the panel, or weeds the questions and brings them up to the moderator to ask.

    The kooks and the “it’s all about meeeee” people never get a crack at the mike.

    Granted, not every legit question gets asked, but it’s better than everybody clenching their teeth or groaning in frustration.

  2. I’m writing a little missive to Mark Evanier to ask which cons he’s attending. Lately, audience members have been babbling, at shows like Philcon — but it’s a nice balance to the inane prattling of the “professionals” sitting on the panel. A panel begins with a certain topic, then drifts into unrelated realms as the “pros” begin cackling and joking, and then trying to one-up each other. Most panels these days sound like some goofy morning talk show, where everyone is just “hanging out” with the audience.

    I think the best approach is to just dump the panels altogether, unless it’s an interview with a guest … no more “topic” panels.

  3. I know that the panels I went to last year in Baltimore (which were admittedly Big Two related) were full of cringe worthy question askers.

    And most people probably could have predicted what they would about:

    Why did you kill Character X?
    Why do you hate Character X?

    and so forth and so on

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