§ Nice Art: Maria’s Wolf’s cover for Marvel Voices Heritage, featuring Dani Moonstar, via Twitter.
§ Hope you all had a nice Halloween and had time to digest all the celebrity costume Instas – and even comic book celebrities got into the act. Of course, the overall winner was Steve Bescemi stepping outside his Park Slope brownstone in his “How do you do, fellow kids?” outfit. That was so cool! And yet, Jeremy Renner also dressed up as his character – Hawkeye – and somehow..that wasn’t very cool.
§ Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer, a memoir about eir coming out as non-binary is rapidly becoming one of the most banned and challenged books in the US – and was recently banned at a school board meeting in Fairfax County. Kobabe writes for the Washington Post about the importance of seeing queer representation in books – and how people are trying to stop this important work from being seen.
The story unfolded slowly over the next week. I learned that Fairfax County had become the center of a heated debate over transgender students’ rights, and the protests and counter-protests at the board meetings had already resulted in shouting, chanted prayers and an arrest. I learned from a Post article that one of the Fairfax parents “chose to target ‘Gender Queer’ and [Evison’s] ‘Lawn Boy,’ both of which happen to feature LGBTQ characters, because she saw media coverage of the texts after parent outcry in Texas. She then checked her children’s high school library and saw Fairfax was offering the books, too.” One of the charges thrown against the book was that it promoted pedophilia — based on a single panel depicting an erotic ancient Greek vase. Others simply called it pornography, a common accusation against work with themes of queer sexuality.
§ A new Wimpy Kid book is out, Big Shot, and Jeff Kinney spoke with PW:
Kinney said that the story draws on a few, well, autobiographical details. “There’s one little joke from the book, when Greg is riding the bench in soccer in kindergarten, and his mom says, ‘You know, the reason the coach isn’t playing you is because you’re his secret weapon, because he’s saving you for a big moment.’ So Greg is just waiting for that big moment,” Kinney says, with a chuckle. “Well, there are a lot of these little moments of degradation in youth sports that people don’t talk about out loud. And of course parents always try to sugarcoat things to make their kids feel better. So I wanted to kind of shine a light on that and give kids a language to talk about these things, and to be able to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.”
§ ICv2 is interviewing comics newsmaker, including AfterShock SVP of Sales and Marketing Steve Rotterdam:
We Live is our bestseller of all time.
Why is that?
I think it appealed to a broad range of readers because it is very Miyazaki‑esque in its style. It tells a post‑apocalyptic story. It’s a story of a little boy and his sister who are trying to make their to a beacon point to be saved from a global cataclysm. The character development, the artwork, and the storyline has just really, really caught on with folks. We exploit that when it happens. We made it our Free Comic Book Day book this past year. We were at the gold level for the first time. We were at every single shop. From the reports that we’ve heard (it’s all anecdotal because once you sell in, you don’t really get exactly what moves), it was one of the fastest‑moving free comic books out there. It’s really helped cement AfterShock as a viable brand that’s not in and out. This is not a fly‑by‑night kind of publisher. Nothing against any other publisher, but we’re here to stay.
§ The Comics Journal is starting to look at our comics foreparents, aka, people who flourished in the 90s. Here’s Tom Shapira on Ted McKeever, and his roman a clef, PEncil Head:
His star seemed to be on the rise again, or at least stable enough, in the ’10s: Image Comics’ Shadowline imprint re-published several of his earlier stories under the banner of the “Ted McKeever Library” (even if the nearly digest-sized reproductions did no favors for McKeever’s wild exuberance as a penciler). At the same time, he was publishing new series, also via Shadowline, all of which seemed unencumbered by censorship or corporate demands: Meta4 (2010-11) describes itself as such: “An astronaut awakens on Coney Island, lost and without memory, and is befriended by a wall of a woman dressed as Santa Claus.” Mondo (2012) was about a man becoming a ‘roided monster after an accident with chicken steroids. Miniature Jesus (2013) featured, indeed, a tiny statue of Jesus coming to life. Not the type of work you do if you are chasing the almighty dollar, especially in a period where Image’s biggest hit was Saga. Ted McKeever didn’t want to do Saga; Ted McKeever only wants to be Ted McKeever – unbound and unleashed.
§ And going back even a little further, Tasha Lowe-Newsome talks to Steve Lafler, a pioneer of mini-comics and being a total original. These days, Lafler makes a lot of music, it seems.
There are different degrees of getting stuff. There is stuff you are prepared for and stuff you see and don’t necessarily understand and then you just catalog it. Then it comes up later, and it suddenly makes sense. Kids file it away for later. With my son something like that is I think operational, which I think is kind of good, is that when I first started playing music in Oaxaca, I guess I was about 51, he would have been about seven or eight. It was this thing on Thursday nights called The Bodega Boys. It was ex-pats and Mexicanos too. Any number of people would get together. It was not a band it was a jam. We’d play four hours on average almost every Thursday night. And it was an insane amount of fun.
§ More nice art: Naoki Urasawa draws singer Tom Jones, who is unquestionably singing “What’s New Pussycat?” in this drawing, thus uniting all my interests in one image. (Link via the tireless Clark Burscough, who is to link blogging what Michael Phelps is to swimming.)
§ If you sit through movie credits all the way through in movie theaters – as I do even when there is not a post credits scene – you sometimes learn things. I went to see Dune in my local Imax, which is the only way it is meant to be seen (review: I loved every second of it). And lo! an Easter Egg. In director Denis Villenueve’s thank yous the name of esteemed comics scribe and Saga co-creator Brian K. Vaughan is seen. What the what now? Is Vaughan a big spice addict? Does he ride the worm? Was he just hanging around shooting the spit with Villanueve, Guillermo del Toro and Craig Mazin, as the listing suggests? Well, the answer may be more prosaic, when you recall that BKV has an overall deal with Legendary Entertainment, which produced Dune. Sorry, that’s what I got. I can’t replicate this investigative masterpiece.
§ Seemingly with the permission of author Amid Amidi, The Animation Obsessive newsletter has made Cartoon Modern: Style and Design in Fifties Animation downloadable.
Released in 2006, Cartoon Modern is the guide to the so-called “UPA style.” It’s full of art and production insights you can’t find anywhere else. The whole mid-century cartoon movement is here, from UPA to Mary Blair to Sleeping Beauty and beyond. On the back, you see a blurb from Craig McCracken of Powerpuff Girls fame.
§ Headline of the day: Marvel Producer Explains Why Eternals 2 & 3 Aren’t Guaranteed well, yes. The film is getting extremely mixed review so we’ll see if MCU fans are clamoring for more Eternals.
§ But meanwhile, the film’s large cast is dutifully out there talking it up, like Kit Harington here.
Nothing really, majorly surprises me after going through those eight seasons of “Thrones.” It was as big as anything gets by the end, as far as scale goes. But moving into Marvel, it is a different beast, in more subtle ways than you’d imagine. What I like about the differences for me about these two things is I get to have lightness of touch in this, which I think is really important. It’s what I really loved about the Marvel movies — those little moments of kind of lightness, comedy, in amongst everything. And I saw a few opportunities for that with this character. Having played a majorly central part of a different show who was not comedic or light in any way whatsoever, not being the center of attention in this show and playing something that’s a little lighter was kind of fun.
Fun. We’re all for it.