§ Nice Art: Jason draws The Batman. Via Ink hard: The Bat-Man

§ Well, it’s been a fun week. I went to the dentist for the first time in four years and that was the highlight. OK, there were other highlights. I got into a social media kerfuffle this week and I was supremely touched that some folks reached out to see if I was okay. A few I hadn’t heard from in a while. Just a few notes from friends more than makes up for people acting out in public. And yes, I am okay. The abuse I got heaped with was so ludicrous it seemed like a parody at times and I just had to laugh at most of it. 

Sadly, this is how people interact now. A steady diet of negative emotions is turning everything darker and darker. These are bad times and in the future people will look back and ask how we got through it. 

Despite that, I’m optimistic about some things. I’m an optimist about comics. I’m an optimist about this industry…there are good smart people out there doing good things. 

Also, the yearly reminder: The Beat is not going away! We’re here for the long haul! I’m told that CBR is cutting back even more radically on their comics coverage, so just by doing the same thing we rise in the rankings. 

Also, next year is the 20th anniversary of The Beat! INCREDIBLE, I know. From Gerard Butler to Marvel Strike Force, what a ride it’s been. We have a LOT of super duper special stuff planned for next year, and it’s going to be our BEST YEAR YET. 

I recently rediscovered this Boilerplate for All Future Comics Articles from 2005 by Edward Chamption. Yes, a few things have changed since then but it’s scary how many have not! 

§ On that note, it’s definitely the slllloooowwww time of the year for links and news so just closing some tabs I had open:


§ BEST BOOKS are rolling out every where. And there wasn’t a huge breakout  everyone love this book in ‘23 like Ducks was in ‘22 but comics are there in smatterings.

• The New York Times announced  100 Notable Books of 2023. A GUEST IN THE HOUSE by Emily Carroll, MONICA by Daniel Clowes were the only two comic books deemed notable enough, but they are good.

• The Guardian rolled out its best Graphic Novels of 2023, a strong list that included Monica and Darrin Bell’s The Talk among others.

• Rachel Cooke had her VERY OWN best comics list also at the Guardian. 

Rob Kirby’s Marry Me a Little, a charming outing about a gay wedding, was on Oprah’s list of Best Books for ‘23! Nice one.

Nerdist’s Best Comics – including outings from Marvel and DC

Washington Post’s Best Comics list – Monica, Roaming, Family Style, jeepers, there were some good books in ‘23!

More to come on this as the year winds down, down, down.

§ Oh a new bestseller list to peruse! Hot Sheet Bestseller List Archives – Hot Sheet is a newsletter covering the book industry and the lists are from Bookstat, and covers “hidden gems” ebook, and self published books. A few comics on that first list.

§ Spoiler, I will be on an upcoming podcast talking about this, but James Tynion’s comments about comics marketing seem pretty relevant for where we’re at right now. 

It is a massive concern because right now we’re in a moment where it doesn’t feel like either of the Big Two let you…There isn’t the same kind of star making happening at the Big Two right now where creators are being given a chance to really shine and elevate themselves with a marketing apparatus of a big company that’s centering them and their vision and all of this stuff in a way that was very common back in the 2000s and 2010s where it was all very personality focused. It was about all these big personalities and there was a benefit to it. It was like which of the big personalities did you see most of yourself in and then what books do they like and all of that stuff. Communities would sort of would spring up around that.

§ More career talk, Antony Johnston looks back at peaking and finding out….it wasn’t a peak at all. 

Joking aside, this tweet reminded me of that final issue of WASTELAND, and made me realise there’s a lesson here that I hope people can benefit from, especially those who may be at a point in their career where they’re wrestling with self-doubt. WASTELAND ran for sixty issues, published over nine years. So sixteen years since issue #1 means that when this tweet was written, it had been almost as long since the series finished as the whole thing took to produce. That in itself is a sobering thought, considering the trials and tribulations we went through bringing that book into the world. For those nine years of publication, WASTELAND consumed my life. I did other things, of course – it was never a big earner, certainly not enough to make a living! – but I knew I’d never write another series that long or ambitious, so it was always a high priority for me. I regularly had carve-outs written into other contracts to ensure I’d be able to devote sufficient time to continue writing the series. Such obsessive focus had an unfortunate side-effect. When the final issue of WASTELAND was released in 2015, and I knew my work on it was over, I entertained very serious thoughts that perhaps my career was too. I was 43 years old and had never really had a breakout hit, but was nevertheless already regarded in the comics industry as part of the old guard. I felt like I was still trying to get started, but was too much of a veteran to reinvent myself. Should I just give up? Stop writing altogether? What was the point?

Kim.Juniper.KOREANSSPEAKINENGLISH.1.SELF.042022_Page_02 copy.png

§ CCS alum and cartoonist Juniper Kim ‘23 has won a prestigious Fulbright Grant. She has an upcoming project as well:

The project’s current title is Gyopo’s Ballad. Juniper describes the work-in-progress as a “fictional graphic novel describing a Korean-born American-raised woman’s experience living in Korea for the first time since her emigration as a toddler. Sang,  who is researching the Korean folk music revival, arrives in Seoul eager to reconnect with her roots; however, she also struggles to feel at home in her ‘home country’ and define herself somewhere in between being Korean and being American.”

§ A heartwarming tale about Keith Anderson of Keith’s Komix in Shaumburg, helping out a pal. 

§ A little late, but Shaenon Garrity’s survey of Webtoons and Webcomics Keep Scrolling into Print is a wide ranging look at how webcomics continue to come t print. 

“As someone who did superhero comics for 35 years of my career, it’s wonderful to be on the creator-owned side,” says Bobbie Chase, executive editor of Webtoon Unscrolled, referring to the fact that the Webtoon platform allows the writers and cartoonists behind series to retain their intellectual property. The phenomenon of webtoons has, she adds, driven new voices to publish with “first-time creators producing smash hits out of the gate.” Webtoon’s readership skews young and female. Almost half of the site’s creators are women, and many of the top series are by female or nonbinary creators. Chase notes that while romance comics rose to the top in the early years of the original Korean platform, the English-language version of Webtoon boasts a broader mix of genres, including fantasy, science fiction, and horror. (For more on the enduring popularity of romance comics, see “Readers Swoon for Webtoons,”). Because Webtoon comics are creator owned, authors and artists are free to sign with other publishers, as well. Rachel Smythe’s mythological fantasy romance Lore Olympus, one of the biggest English-language properties on Webtoon, was first published by Del Rey at Penguin Random House. PRH recently made the bestselling series the flagship title of its new Inklore imprint.

§ A look at the Food of LA Comic Con ’23

I was able to get on the floor early for last weekend’s Los Angeles Comic Con, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the Voodoo Ranger Beer Garden. In addition to the Voodoo Ranger IPA beer truck, Stop Bye Cafe, Wings N Waffles, Oaxaca On Wheels, Love Bird Fried Chicken, Tokyo Style, Flaming Grain, Rice Balls Of Fire, and a few other fantastic gut trucks were all parked in a large semicircle with tables, chairs, and shade umbrellas in the center.

§ Pictures of comics folks riding camels have been filling my timeline as the Storm the Block convention arrives in Abu Dhabi. It’s part of a larger program for newish publisher  Sandstorm, Rob Salkowitz reports. 

The first batch of titles slated for release in the first half of 2024 features a range of genres and styles, from the Arab-futurism of “Solarblader” (by Abedin, with artist Ozgur Yildirim) to a manga-style slice of life story by Zainab Al Remethi (drawn by Karla Diaz) called “Life of a Shoujo Weeb,” to Al-Shaibani’s fantasy-adventure “Baroot” (drawn by Ibrahem Swaid, edited by Marz). Sandstorm is part of a $6 billion ongoing investment in creative industries by the UAE government (whose royal family also includes plenty of comics fans, Abedin said), but it’s not only about getting some new comics and graphic novels out into the world. “We see a lot of opportunities in content creation and IP development,” said Abedin. “We want to find and build the next generation of creators. The next X-Men, Spider-Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles could come from our region. Why not?”

§ There is a website that reports deal’s from Publisher’s Lunch’s deals report and doesn’t credit the source. But it is true that Maria Fröhlich sold her upcoming middle-grade graphic novel, Lyra And The Lighthouse for a “good deal” so that means it sold for six figures. It seems there is still money in comics. The book is about a lighthouse and ghosts so good times for all. 


§ There’s an Archies movie out? Yes, it’s on Netflix and it has been reimagined through  an Anglo-Indian community in the 60s!

“The Archies” gang is back! This time in Riverdale, India. Prepare for a dose of nostalgia as you put on your rollerblades and glide through the town with your favorite group of teenagers. “Set in ’60s India in a fictional town called Riverdale, ‘The Archies’ is a coming-of-age film following the lives of the town’s favorite teenagers − Archie, Betty, Veronica, Jughead, Reggie, Ethel and Dilton,” says Netflix. “The Archies” explores friendship, freedom, love, heartbreak and rebellion, as per Netflix. Directed by award-winning filmmaker, Zoya Akhtar and co-produced and written by Reema Kagti, the film has been reimagined and presented through the lens of the unique Anglo-Indian community. “The setting may be a little different, but the milkshakes are just as tasty,” says Netflix about their new release.