§ Nice Art: I was super excited to see Beat pal Karla Pachecho getting a plum Marvel gig with the new Spider-Woman book. She’s done some other Marvel writing, but perhaps she is best known for Inspector Pancakes, a comedy book with illustrations by Maren Marmulla. I can’t explain Inspector Pancakes, you can only experience Inspector Pancakes.
We formed what I selfishly consider to be the most formidable editorial tandem in TCJ history. Yes, I’m biased, but in a quick time we truly felt like world-beaters, and it felt like we perfectly complimented each other’s skillsets. We had each other’s back. Tom was the better conceptual thinker, steering the magazine in new directions and hiring new voices that reflected the changing times in our industry and artform, whereas I was more detail-oriented, the dogged reporter, filling up upwards of 30 to 40 pages an issue chasing down whatever scoops, controversies, and conspiracies that popped up. Tom was the key architect behind many important Journal interviews and features, none bigger than the classic “100 Best Comics of the Century” issue from 1999. We had the most fun collaborating on the mag’s “¡Viva La Comics!” section every month, which was basically the two of us trying to make each other laugh.
Those were indeed some glory days.
§ David Harper looks back on Wednesday Comics, the all-star oversized newspaper tabloid comics section brainstormed in spectacular fashion by Mark Chiarello. Most of the story is behind a paywall, but it’s a good one.
It was Wednesday Comics, a 2009 anthology title at DC Comics. Published in broadsheet, newspaper format to simulate the experience of reading the Sunday funnies of the past, it was a risky move, and one that never became a giant hit or even an awards season giant. But those that did read it recognize it for what it is: one of the most interesting and iconic works of this century, and one that stands tall amongst the legendary efforts its brilliant ringleader edited. This is the story of how a mad idea became something real and magnificent, thanks to the efforts of a particularly driven man and the exceptional creators he recruited.
Wednesday Comics was part of a wilder and wackier time for “Big Two” comics – I used to love to run a photo of my podcast partner Kate reading an issue since it dwarfed her.
§ Meanwhile SyFy’s Mike Avila reigns down curses on the menace of Variant covers:
Publishers — not just DC and Marvel but Archie, Image, IDW, and others — use variants as a way to soak the customer and juice sales numbers. It’s not a new phenomenon by any means. It’s been going on for several years, as the comics industry seems bound and determined to repeat the same mistakes that nearly destroyed it in the 1990s. It’s disheartening, as sometimes seems as if the comics business is trying to bury itself. Retailer variants, store-exclusive variants, and convention exclusives are just some of the variants offered these days. Nearly all of them are meant to squeeze the consumer out of an extra buck while creating an artificial ‘collector’s item.’ DC Comics released 80 different covers for Detective Comics #1000, all gorgeous and about 77 of them completely unnecessary. Marvel did cover variants for its mega-successful House of X/Powers of X limited series, and both of the Big 2 regularly have Cover A and B variants for new books. In fact, Marvel’s brand new 2099, Deadpool and Annihilation Scourge titles, dropping in stores November 20, all have multiple covers available. It never ends.
§ We Need Diverse Editors by Kacen Callendar is a call for the publishing industry, but it stands for every creative endeavor. Not everyone has the same reaction to material, and isn’t it better to have different views of the world? No matter how sympathetic or woke we want to be, sometimes it’s not our story to tell.
Working in a corporate job as an editor, the greatest difficulty was convincing white coworkers and supervisors that books I wanted to acquire featuring characters with brown skin were worthy. “I didn’t connect with the character”; “The plot didn’t have enough tension”; “I didn’t find the story relatable”: often times, these are phrases said by white readers who can’t connect with a character of color because they haven’t been asked to in the way that so many people of color are regularly asked to connect with white characters. Many speculative books feature stories of slavery and discrimination and oppression but no people of color. Our stories and settings are taken because they are deemed exciting—the stories of underdogs rising from the ashes—but our society teaches us that brown skin isn’t worth a featured role. People of color aren’t often afforded the opportunity to tell our stories with main characters that look like us.
§ Speaking of which, Marcus Jamin. La Voz de M.A.Y.O.: Tata Rambo, which tells the story of a Lantix/Yaqui labor organizer, is getting a lot of attention this month, including this PW profile by Rich SChivener.:
I never felt vulnerable because I was sharing a very personal story about my family. It was important for me to paint a realistic picture of Ramon and not just celebrate his achievements, but also acknowledge that he wasn’t perfect. That was scary because my family wasn’t really comfortable with that. I worship Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and I didn’t know that he cheated on his wife. Everybody has something they’re ashamed of, or something that they don’t want everyone to know about. So it was important for me to be like, “hey, this is what he did.” I think it’s a conversation that we have to have.
§ Comics jobs! D+Q is hiring a marketing assistant – do you want to join the hippest team on the indie circuit?
Drawn & Quarterly’s marketing department is looking for a full-time assistant to coordinate events / tours / festivals and aid in the promotion of D+Q books. Position will work with department in all logistics: setting up tours, pitching stores, booking travel, creating itineraries, and the promotion of events / tours / books via social media and journalists.
More in the link.
§ A comics shop has opened! In Buffalo, NY! Flippin’ Comics & Pop Culture Gallery. When I see these stories come up in my feed sometimes i must be a detective to see where the store is located, but this time the name of the town is in the source! This place sounds nice:
Veith wants to showcase the works of local and international artists, his illustrator friends, and underground artists. He will carry graphic novels, collectibles, and original works of art. “I want the shop to be a flagship for the network of artists that I’ve been part of,” he explained. “I also want to feature the content creation aspect. This will give artists some legitimacy outside of the internet. I feel that there is a loss when there is no connection to the physical world. A lot of the artist that I will be featuring are making some great headway with their work – they are doing pieces for big names in the industry. I’m part of the Comedy Content Collective, and there are some big names attached to that group. Currently, I’m working on a piece for comedian Ari Shaffir. One of my friends is doing content work for comedian and actor Andrew Santino. I believe that the gallery aspect will help to get more artists featured and recognized.”
§ Didn’t see this one coming. There is a stage adaptation of James Sturm’s The Golem’s Mighty Swing taking place at the Winnipeg Jewish Theater – but it’s a Puppet play as directed by Marcus Jamin! The review is a bit of a pan, but this one is more favorable. but let’s face it making a puppet show about a barnstorming Jewish baseball team is quite a task.
§ Rolling Stone has a big interview with Star War producer Kathleen Kennedy and every sentence has gotten its own news story on some sites, cuz its chock a block full of stuff. Like the fact that Kevin Feige came to Star Wars (which backs up some other stories I’d heard about Feige/Marvel, but that is a tale for another time) and that they don’t really know what will happen to Star Wars after Rise of Skywalker. But also, lest we forget, these Star Wars movies are new stories! Not based on comics!
Every one of these movies is a particularly hard nut to crack. There’s no source material. We don’t have comic books. We don’t have 800-page novels. We don’t have anything other than passionate storytellers who get together and talk about what the next iteration might be. We go through a really normal development process that everybody else does. You start by talking to filmmakers who you think exhibit the sensibilities that you’re looking for. And I would argue that the list is very small — people who really do have the sensibilities about these kind of movies, and then the experience and the ability to handle how enormous a job these movies are. So we try to be as thoughtful as we possibly can about making those choices. I would also argue that sometimes people get involved in the normal development process, and then they realize, “Oh, my God, this is so much more than I ever imagined.” So it’s pretty common that when you’re working on movies, you’re not making choices and decisions that necessarily work out exactly the way you want from the get-go. It’s been an evolving process with lots of people and lots of opinions, and then you try to shape something into what it eventually becomes.
She also addresses the heated fan wars over Star Wars:
I love that we have these amazingly passionate fans who care so much. And I know sometimes they may think we don’t listen, but we do, and I thought it was fantastic that people got that engaged. It just showed me and everybody else how much they care. And that’s important for all of us that are doing this. We really look at them as the custodians of this story as much as [we are]. We look at it as kind of a partnership.
BravoCon attendees appear to be majority white, majority female, and majority over 30, at least to my white, female, over-30 eyes. Some are dressed in Bravolebrity drag, in sequins, faux fur, and an entire National Geographic issue’s worth of animal prints; others model Bravo-themed merch, official and otherwise. I count two pregnant women in “Future Bravo Fan” tees, with arrows pointing down to their bellies. At a single Below Deck event, three strangers wear “June, June, Hannah” shirts of completely different designs. A fan at the Real Housewives of New York panel with an injured arm decorated her sling with a sign that reads, “I’ll Tell You How I’m Doing — Not Well, Bitch.”
It may be that the fan-fest is the central communal event of our times – a chance to level up in the fame department and capture it on your own social feed.