“Slow news day,” everyone keeps saying of our comics world*. Is it true? Or is it just that Twitter died? I went scrounging around and found some tidings. Feel free to send me more tidings, or you can hit me up as @comixace everywhere fine social media can be found.

reimena yee comics devices

§ OMG THIS IS SO COOL. Cartoonist Reimena Yee (The Carpet Merchant of Konstantiniyya, My Aunt is a Monster) has released The Creator’s Guide to Comics Devices. We don’t mean iPhone vs Android; we don’t mean pen vs brush. We mean “An online library and meronomy of visual-narrative devices that are used in the medium of comics and other sequential art.”

reimena yee comics devices graphic

We’re talking rhythm, flow, tracking, pop-outs…visual storytelling devices that make comics awesome! Wow!  Yee writes:

Curated and edited by cartoonist Reimena Yee, the library was developed to provide language for creators, readers and other colleagues in the ecosystem to speak about comics on its own terms.

Comics are a unique narrative medium with its own formalistic and visual-linguistic qualities that are not found elsewhere. It is also a chimaeric, multimodal medium: it is not film, not verse, not visual art, not rhetoric, but it can contain many of the devices of those mediums as well as its own native ones.

However, because of the relative lack of essays by comics practitioners and critics compared to those from other mediums, the lack of recognition of comics as a literary and art form worth studying or supporting until recent times, and the inherent transient nature of comics, a veil of wishy-washiness obscures practitioner and audience alike, and obstructs the acceptance of comics as an already established, mature artistic medium outside of its bubble.

There’s a bit more about it at The Mary Sue, which notes that while Understanding Comics  is a classic it will be 30 years old (!) next year, and a new inspection of comics storytelling devices is a valuable resource in these times of so many new delivery methods, styles and genres. What a cool undertaking! 

alex lu joins prh

§ Alex Lu has joined Random House Children’s Book as an editor at Random House Graphic, where he will make comics. “I’m THRILLED to announce that I’m officially an Editor at @RHKidsGraphic! This job is a dream come true, and I’m looking forward to helping so many talented creators bring their dreams to life too!!!” he Xed. 

Alex was formerly an editor at First Second, and managing editor here at The Beat, but he may have achieved his final form. For now! Congrats to Alex, who is one of the best people we know.

§ Image is hiring a VP of Book Market Sales; whether this is a new position or replacing someone isn’t quite clear so we’re not going to speculate here. That said, the job is very, very important and pays $140,000 a year.

Image Comics is looking to fill a full-time VP of Book Market Sales position (primarily remote, with occasional in-person planning meetings). VP of Book Market Sales role description: The VP of Book Market Sales oversees and is the liaison for the company’s worldwide English language book market sales channel (which serves such retailers as Amazon, B&N, Books-a-Million, Indigo, Target, Waterstones, etc.) and works closely with, and is the main point-of-contact to, our book distributor, Simon & Schuster. This role will report directly to the Publisher and is a supervisory role responsible for managing the Book & Library Sales Manager.

I see that 40 people have applied thus far; will you be #41?

action philosophers hooked on classics

§ It seems that Rocketship is putting out a new three volume, full color edition of ACTION PHILOSOPHERS by Fred van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey with colors by Adam Guzowski.  The project was Kickstarted earlier this year and now it’s available for all.

This is an updated and corrected version of  the (dare I say) classic look at the history of philosophy from van Lente and Dunlavey, a book which is not only hilarious but is a comics Cliff Notes so you can sound like you know your Spinoza from your Schopenhauer. Dunlavey tweeted:

§ Here’s an old link I had sitting in a tab for a month: Marvel & DC are ‘breaking’ comics creators, but some are fighting back, by Rosie Knight, an update on activities spinning out of the #ComicsBrokeMe movement a few months back, including the Cartoonists Coop organization:

Zach Hazard Vaupen’s answer to this urgency, as it was for Jerry Robinson and Neal Adams decades earlier, is solidarity. Vaupen, along with Sloane Leong, Nero Villagallos O’Reilly, Reimena Yee, Joan Zahra Dark, and Aaron Losty, founded the Cartoonists Cooperative in 2023. The organization’s aim is “to form a type of union that gives us some power in changing this industry to be more friendly to the people actually making the comics,” Vaupen says. “We want to be able to influence the way that publishers interact with their artists and maybe even act like we actually matter in the equation of comics! With the co-op, we’re at least making sure that creators don’t have to look out for themselves for the foreseeable future — we’re looking out for each other.”

This is a very detailed look at the history and possible futures of attempts to create better working conditions for comics makers and it’s well worth a read.

§ I saw an interesting headline on CBR. Was it written by Brian Cronin? Yep! I called it! National Science Foundation Studies Whether Comics Are Better For Teaching STEM

Dr. Landherr will create a series of comics for a core introductory chemical engineering class that will be taught not only at Northeastern, but also at five other partner institutions, all using the comics as part of the class, and the study will determine whether the grades in the classes that use the comics are better than the classes that do not use the comics.

Dr. Landherr noted, “I’m really trying to develop a much larger scale analysis. It’s really fun to make these (comics), but no one wants to do the analysis. There’s tons and tons of actual STEM comics that are out there, but no one’s actually really digging into where the potential is (and) what are the best approaches. … There’s a lot of questions that remain unanswered. I get to have the fun of making the comics, but I also get to actually have some potential long-term impact as well.”

the power of comics and graphic novels

§ On Linkedin, of all places, educator Randy Duncan noted that

The 3rd edition of The Power of Comics & Graphic Novels: Culture, Form and Context is now available pretty much everywhere one can buy books online (and at some of the brick-and-mortar stores). I liked the 2nd edition, but I think this one is a major improvement – totally reorganized, heavily revised, and with more images to support the analysis.

In addition to single images, we were able to include a number of short, complete stories. We refer to these images throughout the book, but they are particularly useful in the Form section as we use them to illustrate various theories of encapsulation, composition, and layout.

I have the first edition (2009) of The Power of Comics, by Duncan, Matthew J. Smith and Paul Levitz, published by Bloomsbury, and I had some nits to pick (because that’s what I do) but it was a pretty comprehensive survey of comics history and the new additions sound excellent. The hardback is an expensive textbook, but paperback and digital editions are available.

§ Okay now let’s get back to “comics devices”. This intriguing post popped up un my feed entitled “Comic Book App With Marvel API and React” from a programmer name of Aleks Popovic and it started out with a promising goal:

Nowadays if I want to read a comic book I have no idea where to even begin. There are so many different characters, storylines and multiverses which may or may not be connected. Which got me thinking – what if I had a searchable comic book library where I could enter a character’s name and I would get all of their comic books from which I can pick and choose what to read?

Well everyone needs that, right? So how do you do it?

If you don’t use yarn you can find detailed scaffolding instructions on Vite’s Getting Started page.

For this project we are going to use two additional packages – sass for writing Sass, and md5 for hashing one of the parameters for our API request. To install them run:

Uh oh. I’m out. Popovic notes that Marvel has an API (Application Programming Interface, but honestly, if you didn’t know that already you don’t need to know about this) but DC doesn’t. Marvel’s API is right here, and I’m sure smarter people than I are doing something cool with it right now.

*Perhaps because the news of the world is so appalling