§ Old news, but unmentioned here. It seems Fox has cancelled its Saturday night ADHD animation block. But two animated shows will be coming back on Sunday night—which ones we don’t know yet. The fate of Axe Cop remains unclear — the creator was making sounds like it might be one of the two shows. We shall see. Cartoonist/multi-media artist Ben Jones was the creative director for the entire enterprise and had a show called Stone Quackers in development. Unknown where that is going either. I was never home to watch any of the ADHD line-up, but I know there were fans. Interesting comments on 2d animation and other creative concerns in the Cartoon Brew post above.
§ Colleen Doran went to Arkansas to chat about comics, and it was nice.
Doran followed the lecture with a question and answer session in Arkansas Hall on Friday afternoon before heading to Little Rock to appear at the Arkansas Literary Festival on Saturday. “Art students and comics fans are really fortunate to be here at Henderson,” Dr. Travis Langley, professor of psychology, said. “To be able to hear people like Colleen speak is really unique.”
§ Expect to see more Roz Chast profiles like this one in the Times as her new Graphic Novel makes the rounds.
It is almost shocking to meet Ms. Chast, whose cartoons so often feature a chronically frazzled woman of her own general appearance, and find no visible rays of anxiety emanating from her head. Other than not being an obvious bundle of neuroses, she is very much the way you might expect: wry, ruminative, able to take the smallest thing and find what is funny about it.
§ Golden Age artist Barbara Hall Calhoun passed away at age 94. Hall drew Girl Commandos for Harvey. Like many women artists of the era, she retired to start a family but later on helped found the entire commune movement in Vertmont of the 60s and 70s. So, a busy life well lived.
§ Spike Trotman has a revealing essay on the difficulties of publishing an erotic comic, including a publisher who had no problem with a book where a man’s penis got bitten off, but wouldn’t publish a scene of consensual oral sex. Priorities, people.
Have you ever tried to print comic book porno? Not a picnic. I know where to look, thanks to two years of experience and the aid of a freelance print production manager, but it still took two weeks and a dozen price quotes. I had to assemble a PDF of what I call “the black diamond pages,” or the most potentially objectionable content, to send around with the quote requests. I had to double and triple-check. “There is sex in this. There are sex organs in this. There is penetration in this. Is that okay? Are you sure? Very sure? Did you see the PDF?”
§ Aaaaand from the other side, Joey Esposito talks about the probelms finding a publisher for Captain Ultimate, his all-ages comic published digitally via Monkeybrain.
And therein lies our problem. We’re remarkably grateful that Monkeybrain took us in and is so committed to the cause of not only publishing great, innovative comics, but including all-ages books among them. Unfortunately, we’ve been turned down by print publishers we thought would be a great fit for Captain Ultimate. This could be because of the other books they publish, or maybe they like all-ages but hate capes/superheroes, or maybe because we’re unknowns. It’s even been suggested to us that we might be better off shopping our comic book outside of the comic book industry. Meaning, we might have better luck with our all-ages comic at a publisher that does traditional kids lit. But whatever the reason, it hasn’t been in the cards thus far.
§ Ming Doyle captures te joys and frustrations of being a woman anytime anywhere when asked if being a women cartoonists has benefits or drawbacks:
The short, practical answer: Most business is conducted entirely over email. Your editors may hire you, work with you for years, and if you don’t post selfies or attend conventions, they may never know what you look like. Even if they do know what you look like, editors care more about your quality of work, your timeliness and your professionalism, than any selfie. Be fearless, do the work, make connections online, and of course you can flourish! The long, twisted answer: Yes. We’re women, it’s inevitable that we’ll be judged, coveted, and derided purely on the basis of our looks, our age, our perceived sexual availability. These judgments crash against us at every turn in life. They’re inescapable, and yes, explicitly or implicitly, from men and from women, you will confront these judgments and many more during your professional career.
§ Some classic Johanna snark on DC’s creatorless solicitations for their Five Years Later September books:
Apparently, DC doesn’t care about the actual story inside the covers, just the fancy gimmick. This is cynical, uncaring marketing, and I regret that so many people will take part in it. Comics are magical for the stories they tell, created by actual people, not corporations. Buying comics because of one plastic picture… well, it’s been done many times before, but it doesn’t bode well.
§ Ok tech dude John Carmack is building a virtual reality comic book shop . Your guess is as good as mine.
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.