§ Nice art! Joe Quinones.
look! look! it's SO PRETTY pic.twitter.com/83OSOxShft
— Chip Zdarsky (@zdarsky) December 13, 2017
§ Nice art! Arielle Jovellanos
particular standouts. ✨ pic.twitter.com/oNu8EgnlFa
— Arielle Jovellanos ✨ (@joviellety) November 28, 2017
§ Nice Art: I *think* you can read Sophie Goldstein’s review of Last Days of an Immortal by Fabien Vehlmann & Gwen De Bonneval on her Patreon page. This French graphic novel didn’t get much attention when Archaia put it out several years ago, but it’s soooooo good, a multi-layered slyly retro SF tale jammed with ideas. I was thrilled to find another fan!
This little-known graphic novel is my favorite science fiction comic and, quite possibly, my favorite graphic novel—it at least breaks into the top five. Fabien Vehlmann, may be more familiar to readers as the writer of Beautiful Darkness, published by Drawn & Quarterly and illustrated by husband & wife team Kerascoët. That book, whose effects are very accurately summarized by its title, is firmly rooted in fantasy whereas Last Days of an Immortal is science-fiction through-and-through.
§ Caleb Orecchio rediscovers Raw/New Yorker great Françoise Mouly’s secret past as a Marvel Colorist! Also, dont’ you miss green trunk Submariner? I do.
§ The great Gilbert Hernandez reread Catcher in the Rye and drew his review for the NY Times.
§ Also in the Times, Manohla Dargis reviews a couple of books about comics, including Hilary Chute’s Why Comics?
§ Broken Frontier is rolling out its annual awards and the nominees are a varied, refreshing list.
§ Valerie Complex on the need for more WOC film reviewers.
§ Rosie Knight talks to Tillie Walden, and although you’ve read many interviews with her before everyone manages to sound fresh and interesting.
§ Christopher Priest returns to Black Panther with a 12-page story in the 2018 Black Panther Annual – his Marvel KNights run was one of the seminal takes on the character.
Priest returns in February 21’s Black Panther Annual #1 with a 12-page story about Everett K. Ross, whom the writer has framed as the actual star of his 1998-2003 run – and who is now played on film by Martin Freeman. Priest’s new story will be drawn by Mike Perkins, and if you remember Priest’s Black Panther we can assure you that his new story is just as humorous. Newsarama spoke with Priest about this return – 15 years since he signed off on Black Panther – and the larger picture of the franchise and, of course, the film
§ Charles Burns talks to Abe Reisman about the jaw dropping artist edition of Black Hole:
The impetus behind it was pretty much I’ve got a flat file that’s still filled with my originals, and I look at it periodically. There’s something about just the size, and the scale, and the look that I still enjoy. I got in touch with Eric Reynolds at Fantagraphics, because I realized they were doing a similar size-scaled book of Jaime Hernandez’s work. I just asked if they were interest
§ Connor Willumsen in conversation with Dash Shaw – that’s pretty much ground zero for the “male cartoonists whose work is esoteric and distancing but profoundly affecting” school of comics:
Dash Shaw: Before we got cut off, I had asked you how this story started and you said you built it out of sequences. You had an idea for this movie scene and you had an idea for a scene at the beach, and you wanted to do something longer, and you just had a lot of sketches that you constructed into a bigger book. Is that right?
Connor Willumsen: Yeah. I had been developing notes and pages and drawings for a long time knowing I would eventually be producing some type of substantial book with Koyama. I was not sure when conditions would allow me to actually start the book, or what would be an appropriate method for developing that kind of book in a finite amount of time, how it would look, anything. What I ended up with was a large box of disparate notes, written scenes, or entire drawn sequences, which were all over the place and maybe unrelated. I also made the cover before any finished pages. I was searching for something that I could hang everything onto and would hold my attention for the duration of its making.
§ PopCultHQ has a list of 2017/18 conventions that has more than 600 entries. It’s a good starting list for anyone looking to plan their year.
§ New show alert! The High School of Art and Design, where many renowned cartoonists of the past went to school – including Art Spiegelman, who famously designed a stained glass window for their cafeteria – is having its own comic-con, to be called Fanfaire.
§ We’ve had many stories about bad cons recently, but there are also many good cons! For instance, in Maryland, the Inaugural Ocean City Comic Con drew a big crowd
Despite less than ideal weather conditions, the inaugural Ocean City Comic Con attracted a healthy contingent of festooned participants to the Grand Hotel and Spa on 21st Street last Saturday. The event was produced by Salisbury-based PLB Comics, whose co-founder, Mathew Shockley, expressed amazement that more than 2,000 people attended. “This far exceeded what we thought we were going to end up with,” he said. “We’re excited and overjoyed to see so much support for an event like this in this area.”
§ The fourth annual Salinas Valley Comic Con was also a hit, developing its own identity:
“This year we wanted to start asserting what the SVCC should be known for.” They’ve decided on a proprietary blend of unique artist voices, Latino and minority representation, family-friendly and positive messages. Chunky Girl Comics and the Walt Disney Family Museum are doing drawing workshops of female superheroes that counteract male-fantasy depictions. Latino Comics Expo, a consortium of creatives who reflect Latino culture, are returning. San Jose State University professor Thomas Esmeralda and CSU Monterey Bay professor Sam Robinson are repping the academic side of comics.
§ And in Brazil, the Comic Con Experience may have drawn as many as 220,000 people. The events success has also bucked a big economic downturn in Brazil:
For organizers, the size and the volume of business here is evidence this industry is somewhat immune to the economic crisis. However, one of the event founders took note that sellers have adapted their business approach since people have less to spend. “Diversification for sure, lower priced products, new marketing strategies, smarter product design and aiming to a different public, not only hardcore fans so you can find geek products in pretty much every Brazilian major store nowadays,” said Comic Con Experience Co-Founder Ivan Costa.
§ Guardians of the Galaxy 2 had to be the most disappointing superhero movie of the year; a total, shapeless snoozer, with a lot of problematic elements. But Sarah Barrett points out that its take on toxic masculinity is sharp.
Toxic masculinity is basically the concept that socializing men and boys to be a certain “masculine” way is not only harmful to them, but is also misogynistic at its core. When a man is criticised for failing to live up to (often impossible or even abusive) standards of “maleness,” it’s femininity which is under fire. The inevitable result is that women are degraded and undervalued, while men suppress their emotions to the detriment of everyone. Much of GOTG2’s take on the issue revolves around Yondu, Peter’s surrogate father-slash-accidental one-time protector. But also—and I totally love this—a large portion of the film’s take also revolves around a white, straight, able-bodied man who is quite literally called “Ego.” Damn, he’s horrifying.
§ Here’s a comic book movie that has flown under the radar: Birdboy, a well reviewed animated film from Spain, based on a graphic novel by Alberto Vázquez called Psiconautas.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.