§ Nice Art: Katie Skelly tweeted this entirely awesome version of the NY Post’s “Bimbo Summit” front page, capturing the moment which took place on November 29th, 2006, the incredible evening that Paris Hilton, Britney Spears and Lindsey Lohan were photographed together in a car. It was truly the epitome of the aughts.
§ A year of free comics! Vault Comics has made 42 first issues free to read, according to publisher Damian Wassel:
ABSOLUTELY NO ONE: …
DAMIAN: You can read 42 comics from @thevaultcomics for FREE right now. (Alright, you definitely can't read 42 comics at once unless you're Adrian Veidt, but you know what I'm saying.)https://t.co/mvYCZlC0NU
— Damian Wassel (@DamianWassel) April 18, 2021
Free sampling works — go to it!
§ Oh NFTS. They are a brutal scam on the environment, and despite many people telling me that they are a way to help artists, I haven’t seen much evidence of that. But then José Delbo, an 87-year-old artist gets to make a lot of money off the grift, and you want to think this is the feel good story.
José Delbo’s days of drawing superheroes for Marvel and DC Comics ended decades ago, and when COVID-19 shut down comic conventions last year, the 87-year-old got cut off from the fans who bought his artwork too. Like many older Americans, he seemed isolated and lonely in his Miami apartment, his family says, as he sheltered from the pandemic. Then his grandson introduced him to a new technology called NFTs, which some artists have been using to sell their digital works online.
According to this LA Times piece, Delbo has made $2 million in crypto off of a Wonder Woman art collaboration with the art team known as Hackatao. “I have been able to take my art to a whole new place,” Delbo said on Twitter. He also tweeted:
At an age when many seniors are struggling to find the TV remote, Delbo is all in on gas-free minting on his social media. Or maybe…he gave the keys to his Twitter to someone else? The main point of this piece is that Marvel and DC are increasingly taking over the market for NFTs using their IP, and Delbo has turned to his own characters for current NFTs. Storm clouds a’brewing — although whether this fad will die out before Marvel and DC really have to do anything is the big question.
At any rate, Delbo continues to put out art “prints” for the NFT market, and for a few grand you can own one too, and show visitors the digital file you own, just like a woman quoted in the article.
§ NeoText has a great piece looking back at Rick Veitch and the Censoring of Swamp Thing, a notorious moment from back in the day. Hit the link for the whole story!
Without forewarning, retailers saw orders for forthcoming Swamp Thing books canceled by the publisher, leaving the title on hiatus for upwards of three months. Word spread that Veitch’s early story pitch for #88 found approval with editor Karen Berger; however, DC President and Editor-in-Chief Jennette Kahn, Executive Editor Dick Giordano and the powers-that-be at Warner Entertainment balked at the script and demanded the story be pulled. Veitch abruptly left the book and severed his professional ties with DC Comics. An uproar in fandom and mainstream media alike followed. Word on the wire was Veitch had penned a blasphemous and heretical story revealing an encounter between Swamp Thing and Jesus.
§ I had a lot to say about this James Tynion IV interview elsewhere, but you should absolutely check it out.
§ The blog All Dressed Up With Nowhere To Go talks about fashion in a homebound pandemic, but an interview with Dean Haspiel explains why he wears a certain shirt, and I think we can all relate and be glad he is wearing a shirt.
And the worn T-shirt he wore was a very special one, he assured me, from a Wizard World Comic Con conference, and one of the few T-shirts he has with writing on it. “When I wear it, it’s like having a dog, a conversation starter. All the people who love comics talk to you.” Also, instead of jeans or Dickies he wore black semi-stylish pants! Most special is the ring he showed me, an M with a devil tail, something he carries in his pocket at all times, a memento from his brother Mike who died sixteen years ago. He told me that he hadn’t really thought about how these kinds of objects you wear or keep with you on your body hold stories until our All Dressed date.
§ Anthony Bresnican knocks it out of the park again with a profile of Peter Ramsey, the Oscar-winning co-director of Into the Spider-Verse, and the first Black man to win an Oscar for directing an animated film. The story of Ramsey’s career from aspiring artist to storyboard artist to director is worth the read all by itself, but one of the anecdotes is priceless:
Being the nexus point between a filmmaker and his creative team became Ramsey’s film school, and he recalls Coppola providing vital encouragement even when he had doubts about his own dream. “There was one story I’ll never forget,” Ramsey said. “One day, some Sony execs came in and I started packing my stuff and he was like, ‘It’s okay. You can stay, you can stay.’ They sat down and had a meeting right there in the room. I was drawing, like a little mouse in the corner. There was budget stuff going on, and I was like, Wow, he still has to deal with this? It’s crazy that they just don’t give him whatever he wants, because he’s a God.”
“So the meeting broke up and I’m sitting there drawing, trying to pretend like I wasn’t eavesdropping. Francis puts his hand on my shoulder and goes, ‘I wanted you to be able to see what these meetings are like and hang out.’ And then he goes, ‘As a young director, you’ve got to know how things work with the studio.’ I swear to God, I think a tear probably came out, because I was like, Oh my God, he takes me seriously.”
Oh, one more key quote about the impossible pressures we put on people when they become “pioneers,” this time from Ava DuVernay:
Selma and A Wrinkle in Time filmmaker Ava DuVernay, a friend and fellow proponent of inclusion and diversity in Hollywood, said this is the peril of being a trailblazer in an industry that has traditionally undervalued Black creativity. “It’s an exorbitant and unhealthy expectation when you’re in this ‘firsts’ category,” she told Vanity Fair. “It’s quite a bittersweet category.” Being the first Black anything, she said, “very rarely comes with freedom. In some places it’s ornamental, it’s ceremonial, it’s done with caution, or it’s done halfway. And now that person is the first—and is expected to fly.”
§ The Streaming Wars are heating up — or rather they have never cooled down, but here’s a nice overview of how Franchise Fever Drives Streaming Wars (accompanied by a spectacular Nathan Fox art piece!):
For years, rumors persisted that Lucasfilm was developing movies based on “Star Wars” characters Boba Fett and Obi-Wan Kenobi. But by 2018, after disappointing box office returns for other stand-alone “Star Wars” films like “Solo,” both projects stalled. Today, limited series built around both characters are in the works at Disney Plus, with the actors who played them in the prequel films on board to star.
What a difference a few years makes. Where gilded properties like “Star Wars” and the many characters of the Marvel universe were once stratified as the stuff of movies only, the explosion of content platforms has erased the lanes that used to so specifically define something as “film” or “TV.”
Excitement over weekly releases of Disney+ shows has made appointment viewing a thing again after the binging binge.
§ But with big IP comes big fights over IP! ‘Predator’ Screenwriters Suing Disney to Recapture Rights, THR reports. A lot of legal maneuvers here, but the Predator script is up for its 35-year copyright renewal and screenwriters Jim and John Thomas have attempted to file a termination notice for the script. Meanwhile, Disney is suing them right back. And for fans of legal battles, attorney Marc Toberoff (for the Thomases) and Daniel Petrocelli (for Disney/20th Century) are once again squaring off, after their epic battle over the Superman rights over a decade ago.
§ And Tarnished IP: it has been 10 years since Game of Thrones debuted. And nothing would be the same. James Whitbrook looks back at Revisiting Intimate Season 1:
This Sunday marks 10 years since Game of Thrones changed the television landscape as we know it—kickstarting a decade of imitators, influencing the way genre stories were told as prestige drama, and, for most of that decade, expanding itself into a pop-cultural behemoth. Revisiting its first season is like stepping into a strange world, one smaller and yet somehow just as complex. Regardless of how you felt about the way Game of Thrones ultimately ended, there’s always something of a challenge in revisiting a story’s past when burdened with the context of what that story will become. It feels strange, for example, to see the relatively grounded reality Thrones began its fantasy story in. Glimpses of an icebound zombie or the tiniest of dragons on Daenerys’ shoulder were monumental evolutions of its world. By the show’s end, we had seen whole armies of ice zombies, massive dragons burning cities to ash, and even a combination of both for good measure. Stranger still to see characters in their thematic infancy, knowing where they’ll end up—growing from these places to titanic movers and shakers of not just their families, but the entire world.