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Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 12/14/21: Many ways home

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Nice Photo: Via the George Pérez Appreciation Group on Facebook, this photo of Jack Kirby presenting Pérez with a Kirby Award for Crisis on Infinite Earths.

§ Pérez also talks with Newsarama’s Chris Arrant abouthis fans, his legendary career, and his terminal illness. Something in this is guaranteed to make some tears well up, but there is also a lot of wisdom in it.

I remember the words of the late Michael Turner. We had a conversation where he asked me a question about something, and I replied ‘Hey, we’re comic artists, not rocket scientists.’ Without missing a beat, he reminded me about the people we inspire. He inspired me to look at what I’ve done and be proud of that; to be grateful for what I got to do. If you’re doing what you want to do in life, being creative, that’s a lot to be grateful for. How many people get to do that? The advice I give to my peers is to never take these gifts for granted. Realizing how much enjoyment others get out of your work – some you’ll see, some you’ll never see. There’s so much to be thankful for.

§ Spider-Man: No Way Home looks to be a hit! Surprise! It’s already set a Pandemic era advance ticket record, and now 100% on Rotten Tomatoes (for the moment, it’s a great fan experience but a flawed film).

Meanwhile, Matthew Belloni’s Hollywood newsletter “What I’m Hearing” has been looking at the business end of the spectacularly successful MCU films, and Kevin Feige’s run there. It’s subscription-only but the latest one has some interesting details about how agents and actors feel about the MCU. In short, they are for it! even without backend profit points. Also, Feige was displeased that Disney studio head Bob Chapek took a hardline with Scarlett Johansson in her contract dispute and remains Team Scarlett. All in all, it sounds like a pretty healthy relationship for talent — and why not? A role in the MCU means you are enshrined in the pop culture history and can sign autographs forever.

There’s also a bit about the most important moment for the MCU, which I’ll quote because it’s relevant to things we’ve been covering here for a while:

…if you ask people inside Marvel, many will cite a much quieter 2015 event. That’s when Marvel president Kevin Feige engineered a daring escape from under chairman Ike Perlmutter. Perlmutter was a cheap, impulsive, rude, and short-sighted Trump crony who would annoy the crap out of everyone (including Disney’s then-C.E.O., Bob Iger) with angry early-morning phone calls from New York or Florida. By 2015, Feige all but threatened to walk if Iger didn’t move Marvel’s films (and later television) under Alan Horn’s studio unit. Iger did, and the result wasn’t just better, more diverse creative output, including Black Panther and Captain Marvel, two films Perlmutter had actively blocked. Feige was also free to refashion the Marvel culture in his own image: Low-key but hyper-competitive; creative-driven yet centralized around his own personal vision for Marvel; fan-first while taking more risks—well, “risks” under the limitations of the Marvel banner. No producer or executive in the modern era has known his audience better than Feige. 

§ Here is a must read: Rob Salkowitz interviews Webtoon’s North American CEO Ken Kim. It’s a wide-ranging talk with a lot of buzzwords and PR speak but also…Webtoon is a huge platform with the Gen Zers, and there a lot to be learned from their success.

We’re at a moment when people realize the incredible diversity of content and creators in the world of digital comics.  And as the global leader in digital comics, we’ve seen continued growth in recent years, including in the U.S. market, where we now have an incredible 14+ million monthly active users domestically.  In 2020, we celebrated our sixth year in the U.S. market, with 10 million users — that means we’ve grown by 40% since 2020.  Globally, we now have 72+ million monthly active users, with the U.S. market representing nearly 20% of all users. It’s important to remember that we’re building the future of comics.  In the U.S. more than 70% of our readership is Gen Z.  That’s an entire new generation that reads comics on their phones!

One more quote, re the DC and Archie team-ups:

Reader responses to our DC and Archie series have been amazing.  Batman: Wayne Family Adventures currently has 715,200 subscribers and a 9.72 rating from readers.  Our first Archie series, Big Ethel Energy, is also doing very well, with 266,600 subscribers and an 8.52 rating.  We expected a lot of excitement from our audiences before we launched these new series, but it’s been so rewarding to see all the comments now that they’re live, especially from fans of the original DC and Archie comics.  Personally, I’m also a lifelong fan of both DC and Archie, so these partnerships have been a true passion project for me, and I’m so happy to see that our readers are enjoying these new stories. But these are just starting points for us.  We’re helping some of the most established franchises in comics reach a new generation of fans.  We want to do a lot more of this work, and our Supercasting partnerships will continue to deliver exciting new content for readers.  We’re going to have original content from HYBE artists like BTS with 7 Fates: CHAKHO launching in January.

More channels, more comics…more readers?

§ A dealer assesses which shows were successful for him in 2021 on Facebook. It’s an interesting list. I predict that — Omicron willing — live events are going to come roaring back in 2022. People are ready to leave the house.

§ Speaking of cons, David Harper went to ECCC (subscription required) and had the same experience most people do at their first show back:

If the financial side of things was a mixed bag, the vibes were not. Every person – every person – I talked to was thrilled to be there. It was like the world’s most exhausting spa, with everyone delighting in and being rejuvenated by seeing old friends and new faces for the first time in years. This translated across the entire convention too. People were elated, bringing their best selves out in an effort to make these unusual circumstances work. It was like everyone wanted to make sure ECCC went off without a hitch so the party could keep on going at future events, both in Seattle and beyond.

§ And finally for our convention update, if you couldn’t make your way through my 3000 word SDCC Special Edition report, Beth Accomando  has a more concise report, which, honestly, was a lot like my reaction.

Going two years without an in-person Comic-Con was sad. Being a lifelong geek there are few places where I feel truly at home and amongst my own tribe. Comic-Con has always been one of those places so even though we had an online version (which I also loved because of the ability to attend as many panels as I wanted) I missed seeing fellow geeks as well as artists and creators. It’s at Comic-Con where people get where that “plate of shrimp” reference is from or can complete the quote “no matter where you go” with the correct “there you are.” So being able to meet in-person even at a scaled down event was welcome and also felt like the right way to transition back to a live event.

§ The Best Ofs are coming, and we’ll have a full roundup here in a day or so, but the Good Read Choice Awards winners were announced and Lore Olympus added to its haul, finishing at #1 as voted by readers.

§ Perhaps the most obscure comic book movie in a while is coming out for Valentine’s Day in theaters and on Peacock. It’s called Marry Me and stars Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. And it’s based on a webcomic called Marry Me by Bobby Crosby and Remy “Eisu” Mokhtar. It was originally published by Keenspot. According to the logline:

A world-famous pop star, frustrated with her love life, marries a random fan holding a MARRY ME sign at one of her concerts.

Hollywood is always looking for ideas!

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