§ Former Fantagraphics and DC art director Dale Crain passed away in this time of sorrow, and Gary Groth has a nice remembrance of him. I worked with Dale at DC; he was a true raconteur and a great designer who worked on a ton of very influential projects. He is missed.
§ I really don’t even know what to say about the epochal news yesterday that the Snyder Cut is coming to HBO Max next year. The last time I wrote about it, back in November, the entire online push seemed to be in on a scheme to drum up even more fan support. However, the handwriting was on the wall, as everything I guessed then was accurate:
So this, then is the legendary “Snyder Cut” that many have spoken of. Was this what Jason Momoa saw and judged to be “ssssiiicccckkkkkk”???? That we may never know, as based on Buchanon’s guest list this was high level filmmaker stuff and not something the cast would be privy to.
As we reported yesterday, this rough was surely in no finished shape. Buchanon reports that it would take 8 figures to bring the footage to a completed state.
But with all the sudden heat around the topic, including tweets from the cast, could this be a trial balloon for something ATT/WB is planning to roll out for HBO Max?
Setting aside all the wackadoo fan fervor surrounding The Snyder Cut, it’s interesting to speculate on whether this campaign was originally Snyder’s idea or really a marketing stunt from WB all along. I would tend to think the former on some level, as there seemed to be no love within WB for the entire Snyder-verse of DCEU films. It seems the dribs and drabs of hints that there was a different version were somewhat organic from the Snyder camp, but it seems that the November push involving tweets from the cast came after the WB had reached out to Snyder to see if this thing could happen.
Suffice to say that no matter how hated the Snyder-verse was within WB, with a big old streaming service to sell, all content is king.
It’s also worth noting that the “original” Snyder cut, as widely reported, was a 2 1/2 hour rough cut without score and VFX that was shown for some execs and insiders — a version that so worried studio heads that Snyder would soon be removed from the film. It seems the HBO Max version won’t be this one, but an even more reimagined version.
Needless to say, this has led to some Snyder Cut truthers insisting a $20-30 million miniseries still isn’t what they want. #ReleaseTheREALSnyderCut seems to be a parody hashtag for now but don’t say you weren’t warned.
§ David Harper and I had the same impulse to write about convention agents for comics creators — outfits like Essential Sequential and Comic Sketch Art — after seeing their vast presence at NYCC 2019. But only Harper actually wrote the article! He calls them “creator collectives,” but “agents” seems to be a better term for me — for a percentage of the cut, they do business on behalf of creators. Or call them booking agents. Renee Witterstaetter’s EvaInk outfit has been doing this for decades. Harper started work on his article before Comic Cons became part of the Before Time, but updates it with the latest info.
While I’m not a constant con goer, I have started to see a change in the makeup of those presences and even in the alignment of Artist Alley floors themselves. That’s for one main reason: creator collectives, or larger groupings of creators under one management team, are taking over. These groups unify collections of primarily artists and sometimes writers into specific sections where there’s a certain level of standardization and management that takes hold, from the looks of the creator’s setup to management of product sales. At larger conventions in particular, these groups have started to swallow up huge portions of available real estate, leading to a slight shift in how fans experience the floor and interact with creators. Is that a good thing? Is it a bad thing? It really depends on who you ask, but in my view, it has certainly become an increasingly capital T Thing at the very least over the past decade or so. And with every significant trend comes a story, as well as pros and cons for everyone involved. That’s what we’ll be exploring today, as well as how that landscape has shifted in a time where conventions have effectively ceased to exist because of the pandemic.
The agents/collective runners are vague about the future following the current situation — in a time with no cons, they are taking a huge hit but doing virtual events and sales. I think I say this every day, but the effects of the cessation of the con economy for the near future are an aspect of this pandemic that no one has really begun to address yet.
Harper’s article is paywalled but you should really just subscribe. As an enticement, in the comments, a fan notes that getting an autograph from [redacted superstar] at SDCC turned out to be “a letdown” due to the large lines and levels of handlers — a comment one usually hears about “nerdlebrities” but that is increasingly applied to “mere” cartoonists. Coupled with the increasing practice of comics creators charging for autographs (usually after 3 freebies), you see that the e-CON-omy maybe was headed to a different place anyway.
§ Cosplay is another aspect of the e-CON-omy that has taken a huge hit. Io9 talks to cosplayers, including Yaya Han, about how they are coping.
Alabama-based cosplayer Martha Howard, also known as “Little Red Fox Cosplay,” said she had about 20 events scheduled through October. Now, many of them are gone. “[When the pandemic started] I started looking at my calendar and seeing, you know, what exactly I had coming up and what I was likely to lose. I kind of knew pretty much from when we start seeing things out of Seattle that it was going to hit us,” Howard said. “Conventions are large groups of people. There’s no way that those things—if this was something that was as serious as what it was looking like—there was no way they were gonna go on.”
§ In a normal world the news that scientists had discovered a parallel universe where time runs backwards would be bigger news than even the Snyder Cut! The Multiverse is real! Julius Schwartz was right! But old poopy head CNET has to point out that scientists did NOT discover a parallel universe where time runs backwards. Shorter version: Neutrinos do the darnedest things!
§ The Cartoonist Kayfabe gang talked to Mark Millar and I’m sure it was very entertaining.
§ Adobe suggested Eight Great Graphic Novels — and not the ones you usually hear about.
§ A radio interview with the always engaging Steenz.
A year ago, Jones asked his 350,000 Twitter followers to recommend the best comics artists to bring his vision to life. Having assembled a roster of possible candidates, Jones needed someone who could help him adapt his movie into a comic. That led him to “my Sherpa, my Yoda, my guru”, the comic writer and novelist Alex de Campi. Sign up for Bookmarks: discover new books in our weekly email Read more It was De Campi’s idea to have more than one artist illustrate what turned out to be a 260-page graphic novel, splitting it between the talent that Jones had been wowed by on Twitter. “I’ve got a lot of work and made a lot of great connections via social media but this is by far the best,” she says. “It wasn’t so much a vote thing or an internet popularity contest, but I think a few big industry friends weighed in privately to Duncan to say ‘she’s all right’ when I responded to his callout.” It took De Campi two months to adapt the script, sending it to Jones in 10-page batches. “Duncan over in LA would review the pages and tweak things and we pretty much had a constant back and forth about the script as we went,” De Campi says. “The adaptation happened very fast, because the faster I had a script ready, the more time artists had to draw.”
§ FINALLY an interview with writer Kelly Thompson — conducted by Alex Dueben, of course.
As far back as I can remember I was interested in not just writing, but in publishing. Like as a kid I wouldn’t just write a story, I would write it and make it into a book with a die-cut construction paper cover and an illustration inside. I was always also interested in art, but from pretty early on I knew I didn’t have the patience or interest to be a painter or something like that. But in my teens when I discovered/re-discovered comics I fell in love with that merging of art and words. I knew I’d found “my thing” and there was no going back. I was in.
§ First Second is planning another virtual comics festival, Comics Relief.
Are you a total comics nerd? Join us for Comics Relief: June 2020 taking place on Saturday, June 6th from 12 – 4pm ET (9am – 1pm PT). This free virtual festival will cover some of First Second’s most innovative comics, from Maker Comics to The Adventure Zone. Don’t miss the chance to hear from some of your favorite graphic novel creators from the comfort of your home!
§ More deaths: Charles Lippincott has passed at age 80. Lippincott worked for Lucasfilm and was a trailblazer for bringing studio film previews to cons — and also a very nice man.
In 1976, ahead of the film’s release, Lippincott brought Star Wars to San Diego Comic-Con, then a niche convention that would become the go-to arena for movie studios to show off their blockbusters. “Prior to Star Wars, movies didn’t get announced at comic conventions, nor were comic books done in advance of a movie’s release,” Lippincott reflected in 2015. “Our first presentation had that very same Hollywood glamor that transformed Comic-Con from the tiny acorn it was into such a huge, crowd-bashing, sold-out event. A glamor, I might add, that even comic book folks are seduced by, as evidenced by the number of times comic book folk like to recount their brief touches with that Hollywood glow.” Lippincott also pushed for 20th Century Fox to trademark each Star Wars character, which allowed the franchise to become a merchandising cash cow.