§ Nice Art: Mike Mignola made a drawing. What does it mean?
Done just for fun but maybe the start of something. We will see– pic.twitter.com/qM1op07lnt
— Mike Mignola (@artofmmignola) November 9, 2021
§ This year’s Lynd Ward Prize for Graphic Novels was won by Sarah Mirk for Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s Most Infamous Prison (affiliate link.) The prize will be presented virtually on the 16th with a visual presentation and discussion of Mirk’s latest work.
§ The NY Times writes up House of Slay a comics projects that features five Asian fashion folks and art by Kevin Wada and Soo Lee, and story by Jeremy Holt. The project kicked off with a super splashy party!
They include the designers Prabal Gurung and Phillip Lim, plus Laura Kim of Oscar de la Renta. Also the influencer Tina Leung and Ezra J. William, a restaurateur and socialite. Friends who met through their work but found themselves drawn more closely together by the Asian hate crimes that proliferated during the coronavirus pandemic, the quintet formed a casual support group — they nicknamed themselves the Slaysians — that grew into a broader movement on social media. Now it has become the base of a pop culture fable meant to reach anyone who feels like an outsider, whether they care about fashion or not. Together the animated gang fights an evil overlord whose power grows with every episode of racial discrimination. Love and understanding must prevail to create a world safe for all.
The comics is published by Einhorn Epic Productions, and will be serialized later this week on Tapas.
§ More media, more comics, NPR recently published Micro-Face: A Planet Money Comic Book by Alex Segura, Jamal Igle, Jerry Ordway, Taylor Esposito, and Ellie Wright. It’s a little hard to explain but basically Planet Money found a public domain character and made a comic about him to explore the comics making process.
Planet Money went searching through thousands of public domain characters and fell in love with the 1940s sonic avenger Micro-Face. He was everything a podcast could have hoped for: super-sensitive hearing, photoelectric vision, and the kicker — a microphone strapped to his face. Everyone owns the old version of Micro-Face. But today, for the first time, Planet Money is announcing a new version that we can truly (and legally) call our own. Sam Salazar is a talented young business radio reporter — yes there will be economics learning — who is chasing the story of a lifetime. In the process, he discovers his grandfather had a secret life as a Golden Age superhero. Join Sam as he uncovers his family history, digs into a complicated business plot about private equity and takes up the mantle of his grandfather, the original Micro-Face.
§ My pal sometimes comics maker Matt Maxwell was almost instantly suspended from Twitter for tweeting a Simpsons quote to a friend. Meanwhile all that other shit goes on, unchecked. Crazy.
But it is a stark reminder that all these places and platforms we’ve convinced ourselves that we need to stay in contact with one another and are providing a constant stream of content for are in fact not our own. That there’s really not a lot of recourse if something goes awry. These are their platforms that we’ve made important. They’re not ours.
And yeah, if I had made direct physical threats to randos on Twitter, I’d expect to be shown the door. This is just ridiculous and dumb. Particularly given what goes on over Twitter on an hourly basis in terms of people, oh, I don’t know, spreading lies about the past election in order to diminish confidence in their political enemies. Or those who spread misinformation about the vaccines for a virus that hasn’t gone away and has killed… half a million Americans? Actual harm being perpetrated.
§ SKTCHD took a stab at naming The Most Interesting People in Comics, Right Now. (Sub required.) I think you can guess at least one person on the list, but they are all pretty interesting
And because this is such a fluid, potentially defining moment in comics history, I wanted to really try and examine who some of the most interesting people – not just creators, but retailers, people at publishers, or whomever – in comics are right now. Ones to watch, if you will. I’ll admit, though, I had a list in my head from the jump. But I’m only one person up here in Alaska. What the heck do I know? So over the past few weeks, I reached out to some folks I know in comics – again, creators, retailers, people from publishers, journalists, whomever – to get perspective outside of my own on whose efforts are catching their eye right now. And then I factored that in to this exercise.
§ A very interesting comics person, to me at least, is Conor Stechschulte, whose Generous Bosom just wrapped up with issue #4 – after Ultrasound, an indie movie based on the comic, premiered earlier this year. Solrad caught up with him for a recent interview. All four issues are now available but – news item! – the collected edition is coming out next year from Fantagraphics.
As for Generous Bosom, looking at it through the frame of identity and memory, I think the other idea/question in the equation would be desire: Why do we want certain things? How do we decide to do what we do? How do we explain what we’ve done once we’ve done it? I think a lot about how the narratives that define our identities are formed retroactively and so what happens when someone else starts making you do things you didn’t necessarily want to do? What happens to one’s identity? Also, all of these ideas are self-conscious ways of talking about making stories generally: What constitutes a ‘character?’ How much or how little information is needed for them to be convincing? How do you explain why someone has done something?
§ Comics are still on the rise in India, as periodic articles remind us. Digital comics too.
Speaking to AA, Gulshan Rai, the owner of India’s famous comic publisher Diamond Comics, said over the years the sale of print editions has gone down as children now seek to read on mobile devices. “Though print sales have gone down, digital ones have increased. The positive thing about the digital is that now comics are reaching faraway places. We have so far uploaded our 2,000 comics online, and we plan to increase it to over 10,000,” Rai said. Rai noted that while digital gadgets currently dominate the market, print media will never die. “I think it will return,” he said.
§ Also from Solrad, a report on this year’s Lagos Comic Con.
In recent times, the number of attendees has skyrocketed from the original 300 in 2012 to approximately 4,000 people this year! This, of course, brings with it its share of new challenges organizing Lagos Comic Con. So much goes into the process of turning big ideas into reality. Elegba told me money has been the major challenge so far. “We always have to go cap in hand each year to ask for money.” He went on, “We are, however, currently restructuring the event so that the event can actually pay for itself. I must say it gets easier with each passing year as vendors don’t need convincing anymore about the large crowd that comes each year.”
The year 2021 was great for YA comics. Surely Books (an imprint of Abrams) started a new line of graphic novels curated by Eisner Award-winning author Mariko Tamaki that is “dedicated to expanding the presence of LGBTQIA creators and content in the comics world.” DC’s Young Adult imprint has really taken off over the last few years. And overall, we’ve been blessed with a great year of comics and graphic novels from new and ongoing creators. There’s been no shortage of great YA comics in 2021, that’s for sure.
§ NFTS seem to be sticking around because people just have too much money sitting around. Even Todd McFarlane and Steve Aoki have launched their very own marketplace.
Spawn creator Todd McFarlane and musician Steve Aoki are teaming up to launch OddKey, a new NFT marketplace they say will put artists in control of their digital work and allow fans to resell NFTs for little cost. Though financial terms for artists using the marketplace were not revealed, McFarlane likened it to Image Comics, the publisher he co-founded in 1992 that allowed creators to retain the rights to their work and the majority of the profits. McFarlane will be offering NFTs via the marketplace himself, marking a shift for the artist, who has not been keen on auctioning his work despite demand that, for instance, saw a cover from his Amazing Spider-Man No. 328 sell for $657,250 in 2012. This will mark his first time selling original digital art this century.
§ Meanwhile back where every penny counts, comics event MICE and Radiator Comics have teamed to distribute the self-published comics that won MICE Mini-Grants! The entire selection of winning comics selected by MICE Organizers & Grand Prize Judge, Joel Christian Gill, can be viewed right here
§ Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings lands on Disney+ this Friday, and here’s an excellent piece by Madeleine Chan called Shang-Chi Isn’t Watershed Representation, It’s a Stepping Stone giving some very balanced perspective on the film.
But while the film generally depicted Chinese culture and identity with more care than Hollywood has seen in the past, because of its subtle lean into tired tropes it was far from perfect. The film shouldn’t be declared as the Ultimate Asian Representation. That doesn’t mean it serves no purpose though. Rather, we’re taking steps in the right direction. Slight spoilers for Shang-Chi ahead. As a second-generation, mixed Chinese-Canadian with a weak connection to Chinese culture, I shrugged off the Orientalist ideals that seemed trope-ish. I thought that my experience of being so used to hearing Mandarin Chinese only from villains’ mouths or seeing red and gold and traditional Chinese characters as superficial aesthetics in film was clouding my experience. However, others from the Chinese diaspora saw right through the haze.
§ If you’re looking for a write-up of how Dune the new movie and Dune the old book compare, Max Read has you covered.
Many years ago, when Game of Thrones was on TV, I’d write weekly “annotated” summaries of the show, listing scenes, characters, and references that deserved special comment, whether because there was more information to be applied from the books, or because they made me laugh or cry or hoot and holler at the screen. Game of Thrones may have ended, but my pathological pedantry has not. Behold: Dune, annotated.
§ People Magazine has named Paul Rudd as the Sexiest Man Alive for the year, and of course he is, but a lot of people thought it would be Chris Evans this year. The sweater just wasn’t a match for Rudd’s ageless charm, though. Scouring a complete list of Sexiest Men is hard work, but previous superheroish winners include fellow Avenger Chris Hemsworth, last year’s winner Michael B. Jordan, Ryan Reynolds, Idris Elba, the Rock, Hugh Jackman and (voice over only) Bradley Cooper. Chris Evans, your time will come.