§ Nice Art: If you were wondering if Robert Hack – co-creator of the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina comic – drew the titles for the hit Netflix show, well, yes he did, Der, and he shared the seven new ones he did on the tweets:
— Robert Hack (@Robert_Hack) November 7, 2018
§ Since we’re celebrating Veteran’s Day today here’s the cover to a few Craig Yoe/IDW collection of war comics. Never forget.
The comics from Never Again and other arcane historical comic book sources are carefully restored and showcased in an important new book, The Unknown Anti-War Comics. An action-oriented medium, comics have long used wars – real and fictional – as narrative fodder, often with a strong message attached. Buried in the comics published during the Cold War were powerful combat, fantasy, and sci-fi stories that strongly condemned war and nuclear weapons, boldly calling for peace.
The Unknown Anti-War Comics features the art of Steve Ditko and leads off with two noteworthy introductions. The first introduction is a comic story created especially for the collection by Nate Powell, artist of the National Book Award-Winning March books about Civil Rights leader John Lewis. The second introduction is by Noel Paul Stookey, activist and singer/songwriter of Peter, Paul, and Mary fame.
§ Newsweek weighs in with a direct-market centric list of The Best Comic Books and Graphic Novels of 2018.
§ I may write more about Comic Arts Brooklyn later, but in case I don’t it was a lot of fun, I thought I would stay a couple of hours, but I stayed almost to the end. Lots of great comics and conversations. David Sandlin showed me his $7000 book of prints. (!) I’ll probably have more in tonight’s newsletter, which you DO subscribe to right?
§ I also meant to write something about Library Con, but read out of time, and I didn’t need to since WWAC’s Wendy Brown covered it ALL, even my groggy early morning session where I didn’t know how to talk. It was a really cool event, with so many publishers participating – even MARVEL.
Unlike a physical convention, this format allowed participants the opportunity to jump in and around the program, with everything archived for later viewing. (It also meant the majority of the panelists were seated comfortably in their homes or offices, with rows upon rows of beautiful books and graphic novels on their shelves behind them.) I popped in and out of LaValle’s session to visit with Ryan North where there was lots of love expressed for his work on Adventure Time and Squirrel Girl. One person asked why Squirrel Girl was marked “T” for “Teen,” despite the book’s all ages market value. North said that he’d asked the same question of Marvel and learned that Marvel actually rates “T” as “Tween.”
I think some of the sessions are still available in archived form.
BTW, librarians have a pretty low opinion of Marvel’s efforts in the library space. At this year’s ALA in New Orleans EVERY comics publisher but Marvel was there, and believe me, librarians were very salty about the lack of support. So it was encouraging to see them with a full slate of talks at Library Con, and Sana Amanat even showed up to chat. So some good effort there.
§ John Maher talked to Warren Ellis for TCJ and it’s a great interview. You rarely see Ellis engaging with the comics-y press, and it’s full of sound bites, especially interesting for someone who practically invented modern internet comics marketing.
How do you think comics have changed since the internet? How do you think comics writing, in particular, has changed since the rise of Twitter?
The rise of crowdfunding and micro-patronage, and before them the adoption of merchandising strategies, have provided tools for marvelous new voices to gain audiences and produce books. The internet created those opportunities.
But what I always tell people is that your inbound communications from the internet can be tuned. I never looked much at Comics Twitter. Why would I? When I’m in comics full-time, the last thing I want to do is look at people talking about comics. And when I’m not full-time in comics — writing and co-running a show, writing a novel, writing a film — these things have such a cognitive overhead that I just want to listen to ambient music podcasts and look at pretty pictures of Norway on Instagram.
Comics creators have traditionally been more accessible to their audience than people in other media, and Comics Twitter seems to continue and even expand on that. I don’t know that that’s done anybody any good. I go months without using Twitter – I have to switch it back on in a couple of weeks for the Castlevania Season 2 launch.
Oh I can’t resists one more:
What do you think comics can do in today’s media-saturated climate that no other form can?
Comics, at their best, have purity of intent. There is no visual narrative form that has so few people between the creators and the audience. Depending on how you’re publishing, there are few or no filters. In comics, for better or worse, what you get is what the creators intended to say to you. And you have to engage with the comics page, for it to work — you can’t just sit back and expect comics to just do it to you in the way that tv or film do.
§ A really great review of We3 by Chase Magnett at Shelfdust:
No matter how often we encounter entropy in the universe, human beings possess an irresistible urge to impose order on the chaos of our lives through the use of narrative. This is what gives narrative art—whether it is film, novels, comics, or any other storytelling medium—its power. They reflect the world the way we perceive it and presents us with both mirrors and windows to our own lives, allowing us to look outward and inward, often simultaneously. It is why I take the disconnected elements of reading We3 and a hundred other elements and build a narrative about what I believe.
§ A cool old link on manga’s Heisei Era, the 80s and 90s when manga and anime began to make their mark on the world stage:
Today, the late ’80s are seen as a golden age of anime and manga by older generations of critics and fans. In the 1970s and early ’80s, limited cult followings abroad had been drawn to television adaptations of Tezuka’s “Astro Boy,” Leiji Matsumoto’s “Star Blazers” (also known as “Space Battleship Yamato”), and Tatsunoko Production’s “Speed Racer” (“Mach Go Go Go”), “Battle of the Planets” (“Science Ninja Team Gatchaman”) and “Robotech” (“The Super Dimension Fortress Macross”). But 1988 alone saw the releases of Katsuhiro Otomo’s “Akira” (based on his own ongoing manga series of the same name, begun in 1982), and Studio Ghibli’s double-feature of Hayao Miyazaki’s “My Neighbor Totoro” and the late Isao Takahata’s “Grave of the Fireflies.”
§ Donny Cates got Dave Gibbons to do a Venom/Watchmen cover. Because that is the world now.
You guys!! Behold the greatest variant cover of ALL TIME. For VENOM #11…
Seriously! This is a real thing that you can own. Insane, right?? pic.twitter.com/GmqYQbsuX2
— DONNY CATES (@Doncates) November 6, 2018
§ And here’s An oral history of Gargoyles, Disney’s groundbreaking animated series, which is an accurate title. This show was so far ahead of its time – and yet of its time, as well
During its relatively brief life, though, Gargoyles truly broke new ground. Aside from the stark contrast in character design and color palette it had with its Disney Afternoon cohorts, the show boasted an astonishingly impressive cast. Jonathan Frakes, Keith David, Marina Sirtis, Ed Asner, and Frank Welker all voiced central characters. Supporting or guest-starring roles featured the likes of Clancy Brown, Jim Cummings, Michael Dorn, Matt Frewer, Kate Mulgrew, Nichelle Nichols, John Rhys-Davies, Brent Spiner, Paul Winfield, Avery Brooks, LeVar Burton, Hector Elizondo, Roddy McDowall, Tony Shalhoub, and John Forsythe. And so many more. With the characters of Elisa Maza and Demona, Gargoyles was also notable for featuring two strong female leads. Indeed, Elisa was one of the very few women of color to be featured on after-school television at all.
§ Tegan O’Neil is offering a free collection of her writing to promote her Patreon. There is some powerful stuff in here, about comics and more.
§ It was San Diego Comic-Con Badge-o-ween on Saturday, the day when Open Registration takes place and people who have never been try to get badges. It seems insanely early but I guess it takes sic months to plan the trip. The Mary Sue has a harrowing tweet round-up of the agony and the ecstasy, if you want to relive the experience.
Returned to my house in Malibu after evacuating. Heartbreaking time across California. Inspired as ever by the courage, spirit and sacrifice of firefighters. Thank you @LAFD. If you can, support these brave men and women at https://t.co/ei7c7F7cZx. pic.twitter.com/AcBcLtKmDU
— Gerard Butler (@GerardButler) November 11, 2018
§ Poor Gerard Butler. So many people have lost so much, the loss of life is frightening, and friends of mine are homeless at the moment, so I don’t mean to make too much of one celebrity losing their home, but it’s sad. It’s all heartbreaking. My thoughts are with the brave men and women fighting this blaze and the people still in danger.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.