§ Nice Art: Brian Bolland’s variant for Detective #1000 will cost you £37.99 (US$50) – only 1500 made!
Pre-Order Limited Edition Detective Comics #1000 (Forbidden Planet 40th Anniversary Bolland Variant Set) Only 1500 produced From: Detective Comics Universe:
DC Authors: Brian Michael Bendis, and Jerry E Smith Artists: Jim Lee, and Alex Maleev Published by: DC Comics\
§ The announced closing of St. Mark Comics set off waves of nostalgia from EVERYONE who ever set foot in a NYC comics shop it seems. I’ll save my own elegiac thoughts for the newsletter going out today (you have signed up, right?) but local website EV Grieve caught up with owner Mitch Cutler, and to be honest his reasons for closing are just about what you’d expect, having been running the shop since he was a teenager:
“There are a number of things that contributed to [the closing]. I have been working 90 hours a week for 36 years, and I no longer have the wherewithal to fight them — all of these various reasons,” Cutler said. “It is challenging to have a storefront business in New York City for a number of reasons … it is challenging to keep and maintain a retail storefront and there are enough impediments now that — like I said, I’m exhausted and can’t fight them anymore.”
For now, he expects the shop to remain open through February. “Something could change, but that is our expectation,” he said. He hasn’t given too much thought about post-St. Mark’s Comics life and the future. “I suppose after I’ve slept for two weeks I will begin to consider what that is.”
And Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York came out of its own hiatus for a brief eulogy for a once vibrant street:
What remains? The Grassroots Tavern, shuttered last year after 42 years, sits empty. Trash & Vaudeville was kicked off the street. So was St. Mark’s Bookshop–and then again. Kim’s Video got the boot. A lot of record shops were lost. Dojo’s is long gone. The comic book shop was one of the last of its kind, a dusty, idiosyncratic leftover from the old street, when it was still part and production of the counterculture. But there is little counterculture left in the broken East Village. A century of rebelliousness down the drain.
I noted with some amusement that both these sites use Blogger, a platform of the Aughts from the golden age of Blogging, so that’s kind of elegiac in its own way.
St. Marks Comics had a rich history on media, with mentions in both Friends – Phoebe mugged Ross in front of it as kids – and Sex and the City – a potential mate was found undesirable when it was revealed he worked there AND lived with his parents.
OK, these weren’t the most flattering references.
§ The New York Times ran a report from Angoulême entitled In France, Comic Books Are Serious Business – I guess this is the modern take on “Pow! Zap! Comics aren’t for kids!” Frankly, I’m amazed to see the Times give it coverage but that s truly a sign that the event is widening its appeal beyond the French comics industry, glorious as it is.
Angoulême is a cornerstone of the comics industry in France and Belgium, but some in the field say the exuberant headlines conceal a more complex picture. A common refrain is that the huge increase in titles has meant that, while there’s more money in the industry, there are also a greater number of authors grasping for a share of it.
Benoît Peeters, an author of comic books who has also written a biography of the philosopher Jacques Derrida, said in an interview that despite the increase in overall readership, “the sales of each book, except for those like Asterix and manga, are going down.”
Peeters founded an organization called The General State of Comics to lobby publishers and the French government to defend the interests of comic book artists.
He said that publishers were hedging their bets by signing up for too many books, with smaller titles often receiving inadequate support as a result. “I think the publishers need to make some choices,” he said. “When they choose a book they have to defend it and promote it.”
The Times translated the Fauve d’Or as “Golden Wildcat” which, i never heard that but ok.
I would like to note that The Beat is the ONLY English language comics site with daily reports from the show, thanks to our own homme de lettres Jeremy Melloul. As reported by both Jeremy and the Times, the Rights Tent was TWICE the size of last year, which was, itself much busier in 2018 than when I was there in 2014 – and it was busy with business non stop. So I expect to see more and more international crossovers of French, Japanese and US comics – a healthy sign.
§ Vault Comics has been having some cash flow issues of late, but they’ve been upfront about it, and they keep on going, now with a Public Design Submission for their first YA title, which sounds a bit blech, but Steve Foxe says maybe not:
Before angry tweets start flooding in, we know public art contests held by giant corporations are usually just ways for companies to profit off of the unpaid labor of talented creative professionals. Thankfully, this contest involves templates and is open to even those of us who struggle to color within the lines.
Late last year, upstart publisher Vault Comics announced Myriad, an imprint dedicated to Young Adult and middle-grade comics and graphic novels. One of the first announced titles was Bonding, co-created by writer Matthew Erman (Long Lost) and artist Emily Pearson (The Wilds). Aimed at a YA audience, Bonding is about two young people who fall in love…and just happen to live in a world in which humans are made to “bond” with strange alien-like parasites that hang onto their chests like leeches or sea slugs. A person’s health, emotions, preferences and tastes can be reflected in the way their parasite looks—a significantly slimier way of “wearing your heart on your sleeve.”
§ Steve Morris profiles new Oni editor in chief Sarah Gaydos.
One of the people she worked with as part of her tenure was artist Rachael Stott, who found some of her first published work drawing the Trek crew for the company – which has held her in good stead as she’s subsequently moved from Star Trek laterally towards Doctor Who, where she currently draws The Thirteenth Doctor’s series over at Titan. Describing the experience, Stott told me that Gaydos was:
“not only one of the best editors I’ve worked with, but she’s also one of the best human beings I’ve met. It says a lot that when she gets fantastic news like this, it feels like all of comics comes out to congratulate her. She’s one of those folks who’s so amazing at what she does that she makes it seem effortless, and she inspires that cool professionalism in everyone around her.”
§ Not comics. Priscilla Page writes about BLADE RUNNER 2049 which really was a very good movie with many layers of nuance and meaning, much of it far below the surface. Heck, maybe it’s a great movie. It definitely improves the more you watch it. I mean nothing could top the original but this was a haunting, thought provoking follow-up and Roger Deakins. I will never stop talking about Roger Deakins. I’m pretty hepped up about this Denis Villenueve Dune remake.
Dr. Stelline is perhaps Blade Runner 2049’s only remarkable character. No one shines like Rutger Hauer’s magnetic Roy Batty, and no one should. Roy Batty was Blade Runner’s Byronic hero, like Satan in Paradise Lost – and in saving Deckard’s life, he became a Christ figure. But K is Kafka’s Joseph K, navigating alienation, disorientation, anxiety, and banality in an absurd, bureaucratic, deadening universe. K is a replicant engineered to obey, “happy scraping the shit because [he’s] never seen a miracle,” but he becomes an “it” who aspires to be a “he” when he starts to believe he’s the miracle. K wishes he had a name, a mother. K hopes that he was born and not made, because then he might have a soul. Joshi tells him: “You’ve been getting on fine without one.”