§ What’s Andi Watson been up to? Forbidden Planet’s blog spotlights his new Gum Girl book. Looks adorable.

§ Tim O’Shea talks with Brian Churilla whose intriguing-sounding comic THE SECRET HISTORY OF D.B. COOPER just came out.

§ This food-fueled roundtable with Marvel’s main talent scout C.B. Cebulski has gotten a lot of press, because Cebulski talks about all the things no one ever talks about, like why artists can’t draw monthly books, and changing artists and all the other realities of the comics biz in 2012. A sampling:

CEBULSKI This guy I was just talking to, and he’s more of an exception, but he spends about three days on a cover piece. And I don’t know what his page rate is, but say it was \$300. For a cover image you get plus 50%. So he’ll make \$450 off that cover. He spends three days on it. So that’s \$150 a day. But he turned around and sold that cover for \$5000. So the time he put into it more than made up for the money he was losing by spending the time on it. And so some of these big guys like David Finch, Steve McNiven, any page that they produce, they can sell for easily over \$1000.

§ Artist Kaare Andrews rebuts this:

Let me repeat this, the utter truth is that more time you spend on a page, the LESS money you make.

Let’s use C.B.’s own math to clarify.  Let’s pretend I’m making \$300 a page (a top rate).  Then selling that page for \$1000 (walk artist alley and you’ll see most pages sell for \$150-200).  If I take a week to draw three pages and then sell them all for \$1000 a pop (not a real number but let’s pretend), you are making \$3900 a week.  If you are drawing two pages a day, at \$300 each, and still selling them for \$1000 a pop, you are making \$13000 a week.  A fan isn’t going to pay more for a page because you spent two days drawing a detailed cityscape.  They are going to buy a page that has the hero they love doing something that’s important.  Sure, splash pages are worth more but a splash page you spent a week on isn’t going to be worth any more than a splash page you spent an afternoon on.  And two thirds of all pages will never sell, because they don’t have heroes they love, doing important things.

§ The Billy Ireland library blog is going strong! And they have found the secret of comics: The Gag Master!

Here’s how it works folks: the largest pink disc gives you drawings of 50 CHARACTERS who are sure to be ripe for shenanigans, such as: Bathing Beauty, Witch Doctor, Nagging Wife (did Bill Hoest use this?), Drunk, Plumber, Chinese Laundryman (yeah, we know), Mailman, etc. The second-to-largest wheel in blue contains 25 drawings of PLACES for these characters to interact, such as: Airport, Orchestra Pit, Barber Shop, Courtroom, Department Store, Small Island, etc. Lastly, the small yellow center wheel contains 25 different BASICS OF HUMOR, including: Failure To Accept Custom, Animals Doing Human Things, Loss of Dignity (hilarious!), Curiosity, Absent Mindedness, Doing Things The Hard Way, and so on.

§ At Metabunker, it emerges that Thomas Thorhaugedid not like KRAMERS ERGOT #8.

There are fine contributions in the book, but as a whole it is a sad disappointment, which above all suggests a crisis in American art comics. Porn and kitsch are the recurrent themes — not surprisingly a rather dry well to draw from — and the whole shebang is capped off by an historical seventies reprint of “Wicked Wanda,” a camp, soft porn indulgence by Frederic Mullally og Ron Embleton. Not exactly the most promising of artistic statements. As an ensemble piece, Kramers Ergot 8 is tiring, uninspired and, most notably, decadent. If one compares with the shock and awe of holding Kramers Ergot 4 in one’s hands for the first time back in 2003, it is just a terribly depressing showing. That seductive, infectious, almost electrical feeling is long gone.

You can’t go home again.

§ Bryan Lee O’Malley reveals a secret about Scott Pilgrim.

EVERYONE ALWAYS ASKS “WHAT’S THE ONE THING ABOUT THE MOVIE YOU WOULD HAVE CHANGED?” i just thought of an answer-

§ David Brothers defends elements of the art of Frank Miller. SHOCK.

§ People keep sending me links to this Gundam Wing Rap Album. Okay.

§ CO2’s Gerry Giovinco looks at some of this history of comics printing. Hint: it involves signatures.

§ Alex Dueben interviews artist Denys Cowan about DOMINIQUE LAVEAU, the new Vertigo book he’s drawing, with talk about his work in animation and return to comics.

Are comics your first artistic love? That’s really what it is. It’s the girl that brought me to the party, and you always leave with the girl you came in with. Comics have always been my best and my first love. It’s not a cliche for me. After the BET experiences — and before that, I was producing “Boondocks” and producing “Static Shock” — there was a lot of stuff that had nothing to do with art, which was always my first love. I never wanted to lose that ability to do comics and to draw and to create. It was a natural thing to get back into it. There are a number of reasons. Peace of mind is what got me back into comics. Peace of mind and maybe a desire for poverty. [Laughs] There’s not a lot of money in comics, but it’s very fulfilling.

Is there ALWAYS a quote about how comics don’t pay much in every cartooner interview?

§ Finally, FAMILY HYPE ALERT: CHOKER #6 by Ben McCool and Ben Templesmith is out this week.

Here are the two Bens on the Staten Island Ferry in a snowstorm when the first issue came out, two years ago. Done and dusted.

1 COMMENT

1. Yeah, Kramers 8 was a bit of a well intentioned miss step, but comparing ANY comic to Kramers Ergot 4 is simply unfair.
We won’t see anything that groundbreaking or electric until the next generation.
It was a brilliant young man’s masterpiece, and nobody stays a brilliant young man.

2. In that interview with Cebulski he says:

“The comic shops get their shipments on Tuesday so they can sort them out and have the store ready on Wednesday when they open. Someone is passing them off to their friends who are scanning htem and then putting them online for free.”

Wasn’t it just revealed that a large portion of the pirated scans online are coming from employees of Marvel and/or their printer? I’m not sure what the point of blaming retailers for piracy is in this case?

3. Eh, I personally feel C.B. Cebulski is one of the big problems with the “new talent” showing up at Marvel (in my limited and humble opinion.) Simply not my taste, and his choices always seem manga influenced, obviously due to his comics history. – mini rant.

4. wtf? Why does Cebulski just blame “friends of retailers” for scanning and making comics available online? Did he just miss the columns where David Brothers and Uzumeri found and helped disable Marvel’s security leak, or not care, or was this conversation from like a month or more ago?

Seriously, i can’t believe they get zero credit on this score, although i can believe the editors would rather sit around eating and espousing unsubstantiated opinions when there are actual objects of proof to be found.