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§ Nice Art: Flash Forward is a Comics Kingdom “event” that sees various comics artists drawing the Flash Gordon Sunday strips. So far we’ve seen folks like Pete Poplaski, Shan Horan and Roger Langridge take over with spectacular results. This Sunday it was Joanne Starer and Khary Randolph. So much fun!


§ Theatergoing being what it is, the Super Bowl featured only one movie trailer, M. Night Shyalaman’s unsurprisingly creepy Old, but did you know it is based on a graphic novel! Sandcastle is a French GN by Pierre Oscar Levy and Frederik Peeters, published in English in 2013 by SelfMadeHero, and the graphic novel is suddenly the #2,985 title on Amazon’s book listings, probably based on the trailer.

SPOILERS in the Amazon description:

It’s a perfect beach day, or so thought the family, young couple, a few tourists, and a refugee who all end up in the same secluded, idyllic cove filled with rock pools and sandy shore, encircled by green, densely vegetated cliffs.
But this utopia hides a dark secret.
First there is the dead body of a woman found floating in the crystal-clear water.
Then there is the odd fact that all the children are aging rapidly. Soon everybody is growing older―every half hour―and there doesn’t seem to be any way out of the cove. Levy’s dramatic storytelling works seamlessly with Peeters’s sinister art to create a profoundly disturbing and fantastical mystery.

(The cover is a little NSFW so we covered the offending body part.)

§ I guess there has never been a comic book about Tom Brady, but he is “ghastly, gut-wrenching, yet peerless greatness” as a friend put it in a text. I give up. He is The One.

§ In case you are wondering, in advance of the Netflix series, here is How to Read The Sandman and Where to Start (Hint: start with Volume 1.)

§ The ICN Awards are presented by Irish Comics News, and the winners are in that link, including the best creators in Irish comics. Yes, Garth Ennis is one.

§ Broken Frontier has a list of Six Small Press Creators to Watch in 2021 – including Alxndra Cook, Hannah Carwardine, Mereida Fajardo, Mollie Ray, Norm Konyu and Shane Melisse

When we announced our 2020 names for our annual ‘Six Small Press Creators to Watch‘ initiative we had no idea of what was awaiting us in the coming months and as a result last year’s ‘Six’ didn’t enjoy as many of the profile-raising moments their predecessors did. Their work this year will also be a priority for us at BF as we learn from the last 10 months and put mechanisms into place to ensure that we create the same kind of opportunities as in past years, regardless of a lack of physical events. In the meantime make sure you’re following them on social media. They are an incredibly talented group whose posts will enrich your feeds on a daily basis and you can find all their relevant links here. 

I confess to being unfamiliar with these creators — in fact, on our recent lists of upcoming graphic novels, there were dozens of names I didn’t recognize. While this is proof of how uninformed I am, it’s also proof of the gushing geyser of new talent coming to comics. But discovery is still hard — I think it’s a lot harder for a publisher to “break” a new talent without events to showcase them. Certainly that where I used to learn about new creators. Social media is a good way to catch up, and there is a lot of catching up to do.

§ Kind of along those lines, Rob Salkowitz looks at how Wattpad was recently purchased by Naver (the Korean parent company of Webtoon) and how The Fan-to-Pro Pipeline Is Changing and the Industry Is Still Playing Catchup

A couple of months ago, I posted a story here about a cartoonist that few in the industry had heard of attracting tens of millions of views on YouTube (see “Glimpsing a Future of Comics, 8 Minutes at a Time”).  Last week over at Publishers Weekly, I covered the story of how Tapas, a U.S.-based webtoon-style platform, reported a 5x jump in revenue and paid out $14 million to creators last year.  Now Wattpad, a digital reading platform that includes ebooks, podcasts and media, just got picked up by Webtoon’s parent company Naver for a cool $600 million. What do these three stories have in common?  All three platforms figured out how to turn user-generated content (UGC) into a money machine, sidestepping the traditional career path for creators trying to hone their skills and build an audience.

Part of the influx of new talent to comics is definitely from platforms that are far from the print pipeline.


§ The New York Times looks at the boom in Afrofuturism in comics:

“Afrofuturism isn’t new,” said Ytasha L. Womack, a cultural critic and the author of “Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture,” a primer and history of the movement and aesthetic. “But the plethora of comics and graphic novels that are available is certainly a new experience.” Graphic novels published in January included “After the Rain,” an adaptation of a short story by the Nigerian-American author Nnedi Okorafor, and “Infinitum,” a tale of African kings and space battles by the New York-based artist Tim Fielder.


§ Brightside has discovered 15 Times Disney Cheated and Used the Same Illustrations in Different Cartoons with side-by-side comparisons. The title is kind of misleading as to the process involved, but it looks like animators took rotoscoped footage and reused it. I don’t know how well known this recycling is, but certainly I’ve noticed the same delicate hand positions in many Disney movies of the period.


§ The ’90s were known for many things, and one of them was mascots; it was the golden age of mascots. One of the most horrifying was Izzy, the mascot for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, and here’s a story about Izzy’s creator, John Ryan,  who doesn’t even list the credit on his resume. The story is from 2016, but its chilling details are still relevant today.

Ryan: While we were still working with our team trying to face the next stage that we knew was coming they walked into the office and said, “We’ve got these drawings from . . . ” They never named who it was — clearly someone’s mouth-breathing nephew who had taken an art class. His drawings of Izzy, they thought, were more Disney-like, and that was the sort of stuff you were seeing in merchandise in ’94-’95. It was really ugly as sin, and that’s the stuff that people started to see as the character. When they walked in and basically proclaimed, “This is the direction we’re going in,” we realized they’re letting us off the hook. They’re probably the client from hell. This could overshadow any reputation that we had that was positive.