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§ Nice Art; Todd Galusha is drawing some kind of dinosaur-shark book for Oni Press. I don’t know what it is but it is nice.

§ The 650 Cent Plague blog has the best meta list of best of comics lists I’ve seen. My Favorite Thing is Monsters is in the lead, followed by My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness.

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§ A new Radisson ede hotel in Glasgow has turned to native son Frank Quitely, aka Vince Deighan to design wallpaper for the rooms. Each and every room has Frank Quitely designs on it.

THERE’S a party going on in a room in the new Radisson Red hotel in Glasgow. In fact, there’s a party going on in every room in the hotel. Quite a feat as it hasn’t even officially opened yet. But there’s no reason to worry about the noise. Because the party is not happening inside the hotel walls. It’s happening on the walls. When the first purpose-built Radisson Red hotel in Europe opens at Finnieston Quay in April each of the 174 rooms will have wallpaper designed by legendary Glasgow comic artist Frank Quitely.

Hopefully it is not this art, because I don’t think that would be restful.

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I’m sure it’s very calming and…

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Whoa.

PS: Remember when everyone was so excited about Pax Americana? Whatever happened to Grant Morrison? I guess he’s Happy now.

§ A few days ago Erik Larsen had a series of tweets about how if you’re good you’ll get work in comics; it’s a meritocracy, stupid, he insisted. Chase Magnett has the extended pushback against this common idea:

The comics direct market lacks diversity. Whether we choose to discuss only the largest direct market publishers (i.e. Marvel, DC, Image) or all of those that comprise the majority of direct market sales, there is a massive gap between the population that reads comics and those that create comics. Race, gender, orientation, disability, and so many other key factors of human existence remain vastly underrepresented by a creative workforce that is predominantly white, male, straight, and abled.
Some publishers are making active strides toward rectifying this problem while others are failing miserably. However, a belief in meritocracy insists there simply is no problem. Those who deserve jobs already have jobs. Those who do not have jobs do not deserve them. It is certainly a reassuring belief for those with power in comics. It insists that they obtained their status entirely based on talent.

Furthermore, there is no need for them to be concerned with analyzing or altering the system that made them who they are. Meritocracy insists that those with the most never need to engage in self-reflection or engage in the hard work of social justice. While it is unsurprising that a former publisher of Image Comics would want to hold this belief, it does not make it any more true. Understanding whether a comics meritocracy exists requires a comparison between the ideal and the real.

I will say comics IS a meritocracy… if you are a white man making comics! Editors are always looking for warm bodies who are good, fast and/or a hell of a guy, and stories of male artists being hired from portfolio reviews or mailing stuff in are legion. Or if you’re Joe Kubert or Paul Levitz who just showed up as a teenager and hung around and eventually you ran the place.

For those who are not white men, the road is much harder. You will be questioned constantly about whether you’re as good as a white man. White men will assume you are not as good, and this doubt will create tons of self doubt and maybe make you not be able to create at all. And thus it will be proved that white men are the best after all.

The one exception to this is Asian male artists. Comics never seem to have had a problem hiring Asian males to draw books – look at the Filipino Invasion of the 70s. Why this is I have no idea.

I’d like to say that NOW things are better, or getting better, mostly because gatekeepers have all but disappeared. Keep trying!

§ Speaking of white men making comics, Michael Cavna looks at the book Cartoon County by Cullen Murphy, son of Prince Valiant artist John Cullen Murphy. It’s a nostalgic look back at the cartooning community in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

But more broadly, the author’s beautifully filigreed work is a love letter to both a place – the then-affordable Connecticut suburbs where scores of cartoonists and commercial artists all lived, door to door and nib to nib – as well as to a time, the “high summer” of the American midcentury, when syndicated comics held a central place in pop culture.These 100 or so men who lived in or near Fairfield County, who self-deprecatingly called themselves the Connecticut School, created or contributed to such popular comics as “Popeye” and “Blondie” and “Little Orphan Annie,” “Beetle Bailey” and the spinoff “Hi and Lois,” “Nancy” and “Barnaby” and “B.C.” and “Steve Canyon,” when not contributing to MAD and Sports Illustrated or the New Yorker.

Having spent the first 8 years or so of my life in Fairfield County, I can attest to the bucolic, white and inky atmosphere of the place.

§ Gizmodo is listing The 100 Biggest, Most Important Pop Culture Moments Of The Last 10 Years and…wow, some of these are just silly. But they’re only up to #80. A lot of comics stuff scattered about in there.

§ Black Panther mania is spreading! And here’s a look at the costumes in the film:

Ruth Carter has created costumes for some epic films, Amistad, Malcolm X and Selma among them, but nothing prepared her for the size and scope of Black Panther. For the super-stylish superhero film opening Feb. 12, she imagined a new African diaspora with 700 costumes fusing futurism, indigenous dress and high fashion, using research that spanned from the Rose Bowl Flea Market to textile dealers in Accra, Ghana.

 

§ Also, Black Lightning is getting a great response. I guess that 2018 will be the year that proves black superheroes can be popular, like 2017 proved Wonder Woman could be popular. And someday they will not have “Black” in their name. Any hoo here’s the AV Club review:

Crackling with conflict and potential, Black Lightning swoops in to save the midwinter TV season, reinvigorating the superhero genre along the way. The series, from Mara Brock Akil and Salim Akil, is the latest of The CW’s costumed vigilante offerings, though it exists (for now) outside of the Arrowverse. But that’s fine—great, even—because the Akils have delivered one of the most fully realized visions of a superhero we’ve seen onscreen to date.

 

§ Conventions: This story about the Paradise City Con in Miami has a spectacularly bad headline – Thousands of self-proclaimed comic-book nerds gather in Miami, and no one gets killed – and some bad quotes. I guess they were trying to be funny. i say leave it to the pros.

No sale to the reporter, but with 12,500 self-proclaimed dorks prowling the halls of the Miami Airport Convention Center and the Doubletree Hilton hotel next door on Sunday, waving their wallets like magic amulets, Morris and Scalise still had a good chance to score. “What’s unique about our events is that they aren’t just about comic books,” said Sandy Martin, vice president of Supercon, the Fort Lauderdale-based company that operates Paradise City and three similar events around the country. “We’re really passionate about putting all the geek interests under one roof. Comics, cartoons, anime, costume play, fantasy, science fiction, wrestling. You don’t always think of all those things getting along.”
So unique! I’ve never attended an event that wasn’t just about comic books!

§ Brenda Noizeux advises us all in regards to Keeping the “Comics” in Comic Con for 2018, a list of basic sensible advice for showrunners, attendees and professional. Tape it to your refrigerator.

§ It must be said, fans are getting a lot more creative with photo ops, and this is very cool for all concerned.

§ A nice von story about how the Albuquerque Comic Con offered special programs for autistic children.

The eighth Annual Albuquerque Comic Con at the Albuquerque Convention Center kicked off a three-day event Friday, which included the Sensitivity Opening, which accommodated Taylor and other kids living with autism. The Sensitivity Opening was intended to give these children an opportunity to experience the fun of superheroes and comic book characters without being overwhelmed by crowds. Jim Burleson, owner and promoter of Albuquerque Comic Con, said this is the first year the convention admitted children with autism for free on the first day of the event. There was no age limit for those with autism to attend. Patrons were allowed in with no charge on an honor system by saying they were there for the sensitivity presentation.

 

§ Brian Cronin is back with The Juiciest Behind-The-Scenes Scandals In Superhero TV History. Most of these were pretty mild, but the secret origins of both She-Hulk and Spider-Woman are worth remembering.

§ Tragic: Chris Hemsworth Confirms Marvel Contract Is Up; Not Ruling Out Thor 4
Hemsworth’s work on Avengers 4 was his last contracted work…but he’s still friendly with Kevin Feige so keep dreaming!

4 COMMENTS

  1. “Also, Black Lightning is getting a great response. I guess that 2018 will be the year that proves black superheroes can be popular, like 2017 proved Wonder Woman could be popular. And someday they will not have “Black” in their name.”

    That’s a bit unfair. Cyborg was in SUPER FRIENDS and TEEN TITANS (and still in TTG!); Static had his own show. Blade has had both movies and a television series; Mister Terrific is on ARROW; there’s Wally on FLASH. And that’s just off the top of my head. But I get your point.

  2. I think the difference here is that the black superheroes are the leads. Out of the ones listed only Static was the lead of his tv show, which was animated and over a decade ago.

  3. “The 650 Cent Plague blog has the best meta list of best of comics lists I’ve seen.”

    Thank you for your kind words, Heidi. I learned about most best-of lists through The Beat, so thanks for that too.

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