Sorry there haven’t been any kibbles ‘n’ bits this week. It’s just been too cold at Stately Beat Manor, and that’s the truth. All we want to do is pile on the blankets and chug hot cocoa. But we’ve been storing things up and now there are so many we must break this into sections.
§ Retailer William Insignares of Blockbuster Comics in Brandon, FL was saddened when he found a flood has ruined some of his valuable comics, including a copy of Crisis on Infinite Earths signed by the late Dick Giordano. But he’s determined that the comics live on as something beautiful:
His plan is to now preserve these valuable comics for all to see. “I thought, why not take these valuable pages, beautiful comic art and preserve it forever,” he said. William teamed with his own Avengers from Seriously Fun LLC to redecorate starting with the front door. “What we are going to do is take some of the comic books and fuse them to the front door using a proprietary modge-podge method we use, that way they can be immortalized for life,” said David Noll, co-owner of Seriously Fun, LLC.
§ Meanwhile, in San Francisco, the Borderlands SF book store, which announced plans to close because of California’s new minimum wage law, has come up with a sponsorship plan to keep the store open.
Starting immediately we will be offering paid sponsorships of the store. Each sponsorship will cost $100 for the year and will need to be renewed every year. If we get 300 sponsors before March 31st, we will stay open for the remainder of 2015.
§ Not quite retailing, but the Outhouse looks at the ever increasing cost of comics books with many solicited titles for May going for $4.99
When we last met in this column, I discussed the possibility of giving it up. Five dollar comics routinely top the sales charts, and the most recent round of Big Two solicitations paint an even bleaker picture. Marvel’s solicits list eleven comics at $4.99, with two more at $5.99 and one at $7.99. Of course, as predicted, as $4.99 becomes an accepted “regular” price for comics, we start seeing more “special” comics at six dollars and up. DC, for their part, lists most of their books at $3.99 in their recent solicitations. This is disturbing because DC’s books, prior to the Convergence event, were overwhelmingly priced at $2.99. Will that price point return after Convergence ends and DC soft-relaunches their universe? Or will they use the opportunity to catch up with Marvel in the $3.99/$4.99 pricing bucket? Just this week, we see eight five dollar comics on the stands, and that’s without any from Marvel. Dynamite even has an eight dollar Red Sonja 100th issue spectacular on the stands this week.
§ Often jailed Malaysian cartoonist Zunar will speak before a UN human rights conference in Geneva conference and plans to vilify the current regime:
Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque or ‘Zunar’ as he is popularly known, has been invited as a speaker at the forum to touch on human rights in Malaysia as well as the welfare of cartoonists following the bloody Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris last month. “I will explain in detail… some people think Malaysia is a democratic country but I want to tell and expose how the government uses a law to intimidate and how they use the judiciary to detain a political prisoner,” he said in reference to jailed Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
§ Iranian cartoonist Maya Neyestani was jailed over a cartoon which some in his native country took offense to. he talks to The Comics Journal about this and his new book on the subject:
What is the role of cartoonists in Iran? Do people pay a lot of attention to comics and cartoons?
You know that editorial cartoons depends on the media, and the media in Iran are strictly controlled and censored therefore it is not easy to find a place to present your work as a cartoonist. Also there is no tradition of comic books in Iran for some reasons: it is a risky job for publishers to invest on comics. Books need to get kind of license or permission from ministry of culture to be published and they might be rejected due to their sexual or political or social point of view. As a comic artist you need to spend a huge time for a book and get almost nothing financially. Anyway, people like cartoons if they can access them.
§ Here’s an article someone sent me about comics in Poland, which gives a nice capsule history of their comics tradition. Seriously check this out — some beautiful panels in there. More comics and cartoonists to discover!
The first Polish comics date back to the early 20th century, when the country regained its independence. As a free press started to develop, newspapers included image boxes with text in verse underneath. They were called image films, or stories in images, and were often copies of foreign comics. The comics’ main audience was the uneducated inhabitants of big cities. They dealt with many different topics: social and political affairs or customs, always with a touch of humour. The best known titles are: Ogniem i mieczem, czyli przygody szalonego Grzesia (With Fire and Sword, or the Adventures of Mad Grzes), Przygody bezrobotnego Frącka (The Adventures of Jobless Frącek). The best comics of the period can be found in the Dawny komiks polski album series (edited by comics historian, Dr. Adam Ruska from the National Library of Poland).
That’s a panel from Janusz Christa and Henryk Jerzy Chmielewski’s Kajtek and Koko in Space above.
§ Any piece called The Carl Barks / Osamu Tezuka Connection is right up my alley—two of my personal favorite cartoonists, who separately came up with a similar style based on Disney animation. The piece is byDuy Tano but it’s in support of Peter Schilling Jr.’s Carl Bark’s Ducks is a monograph coming out from Uncivilized. SOLD.
§ When I glanced at this piece on Axel Alonso talking about various Marvel/hip-hop crossovers I thought the first quote was from Alonso and became alarmed. Luckily it was not.
“I grew up reading comics with my dad—my stepdad, but I don’t use that word—he let me just have his comic collection. So this is a very big deal for me, man,” Killer Mike told Rolling Stone. “I look forward to when this shit drops, taking him up and driving him to the comics store in North Dekalb, just to let him get out and not even tell him that it’s going down. I know he’s gonna be so proud he could fuckin’ cry, bruh.”
We just received word that two of our new graphic novels have received Society of Illustrator awards in the Long-Form category! Olivier Schrauwen’s surreal look back, forward and beyond Arsene Schrauwen was awarded the gold medal while and Jaime Hernandez’s The Love Bunglers, the apex of the love affair of Maggie and Ray, has received the silver medal!
THINGS THAT HAPPENED
§ June Thomas reports on a recent Matt Groening and Lynda Barry summit.
JIMMY PALMIOTTI AND AMANDA CONNER
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.