§ Nice Art: Famed punk artist/cartoonist Gary Panter has a new book coming out im February! It’s called Crashpad, and it’s described as a fine art monograph based on an installation he created about his first trip to a head shop. Anyway, Crashpad is
An art object itself, it will be reproduced as both a deluxe, oversized hardcover reproducing Panter’s pages at full size on heavy art paper, as full-color facsimiles of the originals. In addition, Crashpad will be printed as an old-fashioned and stapled black-and-white (with color covers) underground comic book, on newsprint, approximately 6″ x 9″, inserted into a sleeve within the hardcover so it can be removed and enjoyed on its own.
Whatever it is, it’ll look great. Panter shared a photo of the little bound-in comic on his FB page and it looks even wilder! Order a copy here.
§ The Beat has been slowed of late by some problems under the hood, but they have been solved now, thanks to the tireless work of our tech team. And now it’s a holiday, so things are still slowed up. But anyway, in no particular order:
§ DC Comics got very clever with their tweets. I’m glad we can laugh now.
§ Sharp-eyed letterer Pat Brosseau spotted a comics-based anachronism in The Queen’s Gambit, now the most watched show on Netflix.
I was watching The Queen’s Gambit last night on Netflix, fantastic show by the way, and of course I noticed this spinner rack immediately. This scene is supposed to take place in 1963 but I see Avengers, Deathstoke and Spider-man comics from the 80s and 90s there! pic.twitter.com/e7riTIVEBV
— Pat Brosseau (@droog811) November 21, 2020
§ I was sorting through some books during my downtime last week and noticed that there were a lot more comics from Korea — “manhwa” as they are called — in the piles. And The Los Angeles Review of Books has also noticed this Manhwa boomlet, and offers a nice concise account of their US publishing history.
Manhwa have been around for a while, with elements of manhwa making their way into Western comics and animation since the 1970s. Sanho Kim, considered the first manhwa artist in the United States, brought his manhwa art style to his work with Marvel Comics, where he was a penciller and inker for Monsters Unleashed (1973) and Deadly Hands of Kung Fu (1974). Animation studios — think Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and your other Hanna-Barbera favorites — relied heavily on outsourcing their work to Korean artists to keep up with production demands.
§ Everything has been hard for the last 9 months, including publishing, but indie publishing has been even harder. Solrad interviewed AdHouse Books’ publisher Chris Pitzer about how a small indie comics publisher keeps going:
What do you think the world of small press comics looks like when this pandemic is all said and done? What role do you think small presses like yours have in the aftermath of all of this?
Well, the Virtual Con is an interesting phenomenon. I appreciate the hard work that goes into it, and there have been some gems, like the Billy Ireland Tour. In regards to after the pandemic, I feel like we’ll all be slowly tip-toeing into festivals. HANDSHAKES ARE GONE! There was one part of a festival year that I tried hugs instead of handshakes. Didn’t really work out. In regards to roles, I guess the same as always? Trying to put the best work out we can and help creators gain some exposure.
§ Comics Bookcase has a great list of Comics by Indigenous Creators compiled by Ariel Baska. There are some real gems on this list, as well as a lot of very informative reading.
§ The Center for Cartoon Studies has announed Scholarships for BIPOC cartoonists for their winter workshops. The link to apply is in the link, but deadline is December 1, so hurry!
§ Back in the early, carefree days of the pandemic, we wrote about the bold new bookselling service, Bookshop, an alternative to Amazon and a way for many publishers to sell their books online. Well it’s still around and still growing.
Initially starting with 250 bookshops, more than 900 stores have now signed up in the US. “We went from selling $50,000 (£38,000) worth of books in all of February, to selling $50,000 a day in March, then $150,000 a day in April,” said Hunter. By June, Bookshop sold $1m worth of books in a day. The platform has now raised more than $7.5m (£5.7m) for independent bookshops across the US. “We were four employees plus me, working at home, getting up as early as we could and going to bed as late as we could, trying to make it all work. It was a real white-knuckle ride,” said Hunter. “But it was extremely gratifying because the whole time we were getting messages from stores saying, ‘Thank God you came along, you’ve paid our rent, you’ve paid our health insurance this year.’ If you’re going to have to work in insane circumstances and with huge amounts of stress, it’s good to be doing it in something you feel good about.”
§ Oh, speaking of selling comics, here’s a Twitter thread from Irish comics shop Big Bang Comics about best practices for indie creators trying to get comics shops to order their comics. Spoiler: a cleanly written, informative email with all facts easily found is key. That also applies to comic book websites.
§ Speaking of comics book websites, I saw this headline Future State: Superman writer says the Man of Steel “shows us who we’re supposed to be” and wondered why the name of the writer was not in the headline? Well, I guess Phillip Kennedy Johnson isn’t a household name…yet.
Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson (DC’s The Last God, Marvel Zombies) has been tasked with creating two distinct futures for Clark Kent in two different titles – one (the lead feature of the two-issue Superman: Worlds of War anthology with art by Mike Janin) in which he’s left Earth and Metropolis in the hands of Jonathan Kent to fight in the gladiatorial pits of Mongul for unknown reasons and another (the Superman: House of El one-shot with art by Scott Godlewski) set in a far more distant future in which Clark is the seeming patriarch of new generations of Kryptonian heroes including some of his own descendants.
§ I’m not here to mock my competitors — we’re all in this together — but I saw this headline on another site: 10 Comicalizations Better Than Their Movie which I guess is about…comics adaptations that are better than the movie adaptations. Included on the list are such things as The Wizard of Oz and The Lord of the Rings. No, the Wizard of Oz comics are not better than the movie.
§ Polygon looks at Horse Girl canon: The horse movies, books & toys that give a meme meaning. Fiction about youngsters and the horses they love are indeed a time-honored tradition; interesting to see it cataloged in terms of contemporary fandoms.
And then there are horses, and their fans: the Horse Girls. The Horse Girl, with her equestrian posters, her unicorn folders, and her dog-eared copy of Black Beauty or Saddle Club or maybe The Black Stallion. Is she a little old to be obsessed with animals? Shouldn’t she be moving on to … I don’t know, makeup or boys? When is this Horse Girl going to turn into a Normal Woman already?! Defying the somewhat reductive, if serviceable, label, Horse Girls come in all genders. What bonds these kids is a longing for the Romantic Ideal of the equine. This Platonic horse represents a refusal to be tamed, an inherent beauty, and a superhuman strength; and anyone who proves themselves worthy of a horse’s trust takes on those traits by proxy. It’s a power fantasy that strains against the reins of a culture that tells young people that they can be strong and independent — or they can be beautiful. Now choose.
But the list did not include any comics! So I humbly submit the work of Lisa Hanawalt:
§ While we were lollygagging around, Grant Morrison revealed that they are non-binary – something that wasn’t too hard to figure out, given their work. Here’s a nice little piece explaining why this is important, but considering that Morrison is, like, one of the three greatest comics writers of the last 50 years, do you think they would ever have gotten a chance to get there if they hadn’t presented as a straight(ish) white man all this time?
§ Over at WWAC, Andrea Ayres takes a look at the Orwellian message behind DC FanDome:
On August 22 and September 12 we experienced the majesty of DC FanDome, an event billed as a ‘first-of-its-kind virtual experience for DC superfans’. Sorry, no regular fans allowed! This is for the true believers. This is all about the power of the fan, or is it just a way to invoke a false sense of ownership by stoking our personal identification with comics while real ownership rests squarely and solely in the hands of giant multinational cooperation? You be the judge!
Originally planned as a 24-hour event, DC FanDome was instead spread out over two days. The “Hall of Heroes” ran as scheduled on August 22 with “Explore the Multiverse” moving to September 12. FanDome happened under the auspices of DC having laid off one-third of its editorial staff. Jim Lee’s now-infamous interview with The Hollywood Reporter shouldn’t have come as a surprise. Oh, you mean DC Comics views its future largely as a device for creating franchise opportunities and iterating on current intellectual property? This isn’t new; Lee simply said the quiet part out loud.
§ While tooling around looking up something else, I saw this shocking headline: ‘Star Wars’: George Lucas admits prequel trilogy could have been better if it had been more of a “teen love story”
Lucas told Empire Magazine just weeks after “The Phantom Menace” debuted that the prequel trilogy would have been more marketable if he had made it a teen love story. “I kept it as it was originally intended,” he said. “You can’t play too much to the marketplace. It’s the same thing with the fans. The fans’ expectations had gotten way high and they wanted a film that was going to change their lives and be the Second Coming. You know, I can’t do that, it’s just a movie. And I can’t say, now I gotta market it to a whole different audience. I tell the story.” “I knew if I’d made Anakin 15 instead of nine, then it would have been more marketable,” he continued. “If I’d made the Queen 18 instead of 14, then it would have been more marketable.”
Given that the romance “elements” of Attack of the Clones were by far the MOST excruciating in the entire 9/11 films, this would not have made it better. Also “more marketable”???? Just ponder that for a while.
That said, over on Comic Beat Insider, Joe, Avery Jimmy and I ranked all the Star Wars Holiday Specials, even though there have only been two. Perhaps it will shock you to know that three out of four of us preferred the original Holiday Special to the recent Lego one. The passing of time makes many painful things bearable.