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pollenfinal_001.jpg§ Nice art: “Working Through It” a short webcomic about working in the pandemic by Maddi Gonzalez. 

§ ICv2 reports on San Diego Comics, a shop that is closing at the end of the month:

San Diego Comics will be closing at the end of the May, owner Bob Bellman told his customers on Facebook this weekend.  “Because of the COVID-19 virus, Diamond will not be distributing any new books until May 20th,” he wrote.  “I can’t hold out that long.”

I guess we’ll be seeing this by dribs and drabs by the hundreds. Buckle up.

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§ What is the future of Lunar Distribution, the new comics distributor arm of DCBS? Newsarama caught up with Christina Merkler, and the future seems uncertain.

Nrama: Has any publisher/vendor besides DC signed up to distribute through Lunar yet? Have any inquired?

Merkler: We have had a few smaller publishers inquire, but we have not signed anyone else.

Nrama: Do you have any plans to consider adding other publishers at this time?

Merkler: We have had several inquiries and we plan to follow up with them in the next week or so. We are still adding to our infrastructure and processes and do not want to take on more until those are complete and we have our systems running smoothly.

§ Daniel Clowes remembers his close friend, the late cartoonist Richard Sala – with many more memories in the comments.

Richard was a very complicated guy, totally unlike anyone I’ve ever met. He could be gregarious and charming, always energetic and animated in conversation, but also crippled by terrible anxiety and profoundly agoraphobic. Over the years, it got harder and harder to get him out of the house. I basically forced him to meet me for lunch every Friday, and we did that right up until the COVID quarantine, but toward the end, that was the extent of his social life (except for the vast hours he spent online — a true lifeline). He would always show up five minutes late, furious about traffic, wearing a thick, black work shirt and his famous bucket hat, which curiously covered a full head of thick hair. He would close his eyes tight while ordering, as though trying to solve a complicated math equation, and then chop his ham and eggs into weird goulash, which he never finished.

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§ Every once in a while I link to a story here on The Beat because it is so good I don’t want you to miss it  and Matt O’Keefe’s history of the “infinite comic” is one such piece. The “moving panel” storytelling format was batted about endlessly in the last decade but it never really found success outside of unique geniuses like Balak. O’Keefe talks to Mark Waid, Alex de Campi and other pioneers. This format won’t go away, but it hasn’t evolved into a real language yet.

When they first debuted, some critics likened infinite comics to motion comics. However, unlike motion comics, infinite comics hold on to what makes comics unique from every other visual medium: the unique control the reader has over its pacing. And, while infinite comics only show one image at a time, the format still feels like sequential storytelling because of how elements are added and removed from each screen.

§ And speaking of digital, Smash Pages quizzes Chip Mosher about Comixology Originals and more:

What do you look for in a pitch? What sorts of projects do you think fit in best with the overall Originals line, in terms of genre, format, etc.?

Whenever a creator asks me that, the thing I reply with is, “What project are you most passionate about?” ComiXology Originals is an internal start up, and we have been able to scale up by working with creators who can package their own work and deliver issues, collections and trades complete and ready to be read. Each creator we contract with is, in reality, the publisher. So not only are we looking for the stories that creators are passionate about telling, since they have to do all the legwork putting the books together, they need to have that passion to drive them through the process.

§ To do today! The Strand Book Store presents  – register in the link!

The Asian American Experience Through A Superhero Lens

Wednesday May 13 07:00PM-08:00PM

Celebrate Asian American Pacific Heritage Month with best-selling authors Melissa de la Cruz (Gotham High), Sarah Kuhn (Shadow of the Batgirl), and artist Victoria Ying (Diana: Princess of the Amazons)! Moderated by Gene Luen Yang (Superman Smashes the Klan), this all-star cast will chat about Asian representation in comics.

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§ And in today’s very long articles for people with no place to go, Kyle Buchanan delivers Mad Max: Fury Road: The Oral History of a Modern Action Classic – but honestly this needs to be a WHOLE BOOK or a movie about a movie, Burden of Dreams style. We kept it together for five months…but the shoot was much longer.

KEOUGH There were night shoots that were brutal, and there was so much dust that your face would be covered with three inches of sand by the end of the day. We kept it together pretty well, I think, for the first five months.

KRAVITZ By the end, we wanted to go home so badly. It had been nine months, and not nine months where you’re in a city and you hang out in your trailer. It was nine months of the environment you’re seeing in the movie, with nothing around. You really do start to lose your mind a little bit.

The best part is Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron opening up a bit about their legendary dislike of one another on the set:

THERON In retrospect, I didn’t have enough empathy to really, truly understand what he must have felt like to step into Mel Gibson’s shoes. That is frightening! And I think because of my own fear, we were putting up walls to protect ourselves instead of saying to each other, “This is scary for you, and it’s scary for me, too. Let’s be nice to each other.” In a weird way, we were functioning like our characters: Everything was about survival

HARDY I would agree. I think in hindsight, I was in over my head in many ways. The pressure on both of us was overwhelming at times. What she needed was a better, perhaps more experienced, partner in me. That’s something that can’t be faked. I’d like to think that now that I’m older and uglier, I could rise to that occasion.

To be fair, being stuck in a truck cab for months with someone would be hard. Anyway, now they all know that the pain produced one of the greatest action films….hell, one of the greatest films of the last 25 years, and one which seems more relevant with each passing day.

§ Our other long read is this long feature on Robert Pattinson, which includes horrific cooking ideas, bizarre photos and rambling answers…well, we’re all a little punchy to be sure. I wish I could reproduce one of Pattinson’s selfies – surely Pattinson wouldn’t sue the Beat? – but rules are rules.

Anyway, here’s the stuff were most concerned with – is he staying jacked while Batman is on plague hiatus?

The film studio hired a trainer who left Pattinson with a Bosu ball, a single weight, and a sincere plea to use both, but right now, he says, he’s ignoring her. “I think if you’re working out all the time, you’re part of the problem,” he says, sighing. By “you” he means other actors. “You set a precedent. No one was doing this in the ’70s. Even James Dean—he wasn’t exactly ripped.” He says that back when he was the star of the Twilight franchise, “the one time they told me to take my shirt off, I think they told me to put it back on again.” But Batman is Batman. Pattinson called another actor on the film, Zoë Kravitz, the other day, and she said she was exercising five days a week during their exile from set. Pattinson, well: “Literally, I’m just barely doing anything,” he says, sighing again.

Uh oh. He also talks about playing Batman, oddly enough.

I think sometimes the downsides—which I’ve definitely thought about—the downsides kind of seem like upsides. I kind of like the fact that not only are there very, very, very well-done versions of the character which seem pretty definitive, but I was thinking that there are multiple definitive playings of the character. I was watching the making of Batman & Robin the other day. And even then, George Clooney was saying that he was worried about the fact that it’s sort of been done, that a lot of the ground you should cover with the character has been already covered. …And then there’s Christian Bale, and Ben Affleck’s one. And then I was thinking, it’s fun when more and more ground has been covered. Like, where is the gap? You’ve seen this sort of lighter version, you’ve seen a kind of jaded version, a kind of more animalistic version. And the puzzle of it becomes quite satisfying, to think: Where’s my opening? And also, do I have anything inside me which would work if I could do it? And then also, it’s a legacy part, right? I like that. There’s so few things in life where people passionately care about it before it’s even happened. You can almost feel that pushback of anticipation, and so it kind of energizes you a little bit. It’s different from when you’re doing a part and there’s a possibility that no one will even see it. Right? In some ways it’s, I don’t know… It makes you a little kind of spicy. [laughs]

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