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§ Nice art! As we reported earlier, Popula is a new online publication with a lot of comics content, including a sunDay Funnies page with Karen Sneider, Jon Lewis, Megan Kelso, Tom Hart and Steven Weissman. BOOK MARK!!! Above, a few panels from Hart.

§ Two of the best comics related profiles I’ve ever read were recently published, Alec Berry profiles David Brothers, currently of Viz, but formerly of his own influential blog, and Image. I’ll wager you a pancake breakfast that you’ll come away from it believing that Brothers is a seminal figure in today’s comics scene:

Being an editor is an opportunity for Brothers to have a hand in the creation of comics. Which is notable. The man spent nine years blogging about and covering them as an interest and industry, issuing criticisms and calls for correction from the crowded void, to arrive in some position of actual influence. The accomplishment follows a legacy of others like it, some of them actualized back when fanzines could propel young men to positions of prominence. Yet the actual destinations now vary. This isn’t a superhero house. It’s a manga and anime entertainment company. It’s the purveyor of a style and rhythm founded far outside the United States, and it attracts readership with different expectations. Editorship at Viz isn’t as direct in its powers as some other industry positions, but it’s the closest Brothers has been to the point at which the product coalesces on the printed page.

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§ And Rob Beschizza has a very very long profile of Wendy Pini that contextualizes the history of Elfquest in a way that I’d never considered before – especially in light of Pini’s family history and health issues over the years, and even her dressing as Red Sonja:

Sonja opened doors for her, but also closed them. Paul Levitz, longtime president of DC Comics, admitted in 2014 that Wendy’s Sonja cosplay still colored the business’s perception of her success, even after she had sold millions of books.
“It limited the level of respect you received by peers”, he told her.
“That was well over 30 years ago!” Wendy replied, stunned.
“Fanboys have long memories,” he said.

 

§ After sleeping for three days, I am semi back to normal, and although no one cares about Comic-Con any more, I DO and here are the best essays and reports I found in my fitful surfing:

§ The key must read post-mortem for this year’s con, with its much changed rules, is the Unofficial blog’s 5 Winners & 5 Losers from San Diego Comic-Con 2018 which has run downs on everything from Hall H lines – you would walk in most of the time – to the new exclusives lottery, which has been given a tentative thumbs up by most. But there is a need for a way to decline a slot when it collides with another event:

While I’m sure in theory, CCI decided that by allowing attendees to enter only for the items and time slots they were interested in, that would solve the need for a decline button at all – but that’s not really how Comic-Con works. You don’t have your schedule nailed down weeks in attendance – or, often, even a week in advance – so knowing exactly what time slots work for you so far out is difficult. The vast majority of the signings didn’t even list a time at all, and you simply had to show up that morning to claim your wristband and find out what time your actual signing was. For many exclusives and signings, that meant lots of no-shows. We’ve heard the Lucifer signing was only eight minutes long, because so many people didn’t turn up. LEGO was allowing individuals with Sunday tickets to purchase other items, presumably because they had leftover inventory that was never claimed. By adding a “decline” button, CCI could have re-allocated those “wins” to other people – and made someone else’s day instead of simply allowing it to go unclaimed.

As usual the comments are the best part:

— Fridays LEGO was terrible. They didn’t have scanners and had to do everything by paper. Time slot was from 10:00 to 12:00, Showed up at 11:15 and didn’t get the figure until 2:15. Was not satisfied with that system at all.

— Line cutting was the worst thing I saw. Joined the Hall H line around 7:45 am Saturday for the Warner Brothers panel. We ended up getting in! However, the line started moving fast in the chutes around 10 AM, and people just jumped over the ropes and cut in line. There was no one watching the lines. Just terrible for people who had been waiting hours. Some of the cutters got kicked out, but others just boldly stood their ground and people let them stay.

— If I have one regret for not including on this list, it’s Funimation, because, yes, you’re right, it was a mess. My understanding is that they just had a swarm of people at their booth and the fire marshall kept shutting it down. People would circle. They’d have to close down completely. People kept circling. Re-open, same thing would happen. So finally someone – possibly even CCI – said okay, we can’t handle this on the floor, let’s take it up to Sails for timed tickets over the next few days.

— PLEASE give more props to LAIKA Live…this was BY FAR the BEST off-site experience I have EVER had at SDCC.
The line staff were friendly (and full of goodies…I got a bottled water, a fan, and a cool crown to wear at various points during my wait), the tour guide was incredibly passionate/knowledgeable, the accessibility to one-of-a-kind props and puppets was truly once-in-a-lifetime (i.e. they trusted their fans to play it cool around some super delicate stuff), and I was so thrilled by the experience that I somehow left with more energy than when I arrived…which is no easy feat, considering I had been up and running around since 4AM and it was after 8PM by the time I got into the off-site!

I’ll have a bit more on this in my final final wrap-up, but you never please all 135,000 people.

§ If you say so: How Comic-Con International changed my life:

“Are those your sister’s underwear?” the 15-year-old laughed at the younger boy’s green briefs. He shoved him. “Are you wearing panties?” Suddenly, a battle-axe of a woman in Renaissance Faire garb barged over, her green corduroy skirt creating a snapping sound as the fabric whipped around her legs. Her hair was intricately braided with dried flowers and she wore an embroidered corset cinched so tightly that it pushed her ample chest up into the mightest jiggling bosom I’d ever seen. “Leave him alone!” she commanded, backing the older boy into the wall of the Convention and Performing Arts Center, where Comic-Con was held at the time. The 15-year-old now looked terrified. “What?” she yelled in a deep, powerful voice that shook the windows. “Not so tough now?” Without a word he dashed away, running down to C Street and into the blazing afternoon.

This is from Richard Andreoli, who just wrote a book called Battle at the Comic Expo.

§ More cons! Wizard World Comic Con hits downtown Boise:

William Shatner, Ron Perlman, David Krumholtz are among the top celebrities scheduled to greet the thousands of fans. “In all honesty, the gaming community doesn’t have very much stuff– it’s not like a football team. It’s not like we’re going to a football game. This is our football game,” said Wizard World Comic Con attendee Edward Nicholson.

§ And Stan Lee is lending his names to a con in Shanghai

Camsing International, which bought a majority stake in Pow! last year, said a “Stan Lee (Shanghai) Comic Universe” event will be held between Oct. 1 and Oct. 3 at the Shanghai World Expo Exhibition and Convention Center. It insisted that the confab, which it also described as a “Comic Con,” is authorized by Pow! [snip] The Shanghai event will include “regular theme-based activities, such as exclusive events, meetings, and signing sessions and cosplay, which are commonly seen in major comic cons,” Camsing said in a statement. “(It) will also enthrall comic fans with diversity of pop culture activities, from comic and electronic music festivals to e-sports featuring American comics.” Comic industry icon Burton Morris will be among the guests.

§ While SOME PEOPLE complain and complain about what they see as “forced diversity” at marvel these days, and I and everyone else with any knowledge of history keep pointing out, being socially progressive (for the times) has always been part of marvel. Peter Sanderson has a clear recap:

Marvel has long pioneered diversity. Keep in mind that Marvel Comics #1 in 1939 introduced an artificially created life form (the original Human Torch) and a biracial character (the Sub-Mariner, son of a surface human and an undersea Atlantean) who became two of Marvel/Timely’s leading Golden Age heroes. Each can be seen as symbolic of racial identity other than the majority. In the 1960s, Stan Lee and his collaborators were pioneers of introducing non-stereotypical black characters into comics. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby put Gabe Jones into the Howling Commandos and then into SHIELD. Lee and Kirby created the Black Panther, the first black superhero from a major comics company. Lee and John Romita, Sr. introduced Joe Robertson as J. Jonah Jameson’s second-in-command at the Daily Bugle. Lee and Gene Colan created the Falcon, Marvel’s first African-American superhero. Stan has long been an advocate of harmony between the races. Of course, the X-Men, created by Lee and Kirby, has always served as a series about race relations, with mutants symbolically representing any minority group that is the victim of prejudice. In the 1970s Marvel took further strides towards greater diversity. The “new” X-Men of the 1970s were intended by editor-in-chief Roy Thomas (presumably with Stan’s approval), writer Len Wein, and artist Dave Cockrum to be an international, multiracial team, including an African woman (Storm) and originally a Japanese man (Sunfire) and a Native American man (Thunderbird). The 1970s brought new Marvel series with heroes who were black (Luke Cage), Asian (Master of Kung Fu), and female (Ms. Marvel). Chris Claremont revolutionized the way that Marvel portrayed women with his strong female characters. Don McGregor (in Killraven) and Tony Isabella (in Captain America) introduced interracial romances at a time when they were still illegal in some states. And I wonder if the fact that the Hulk is green makes him too a symbol of someone persecuted for racial difference?

§ Speaking of Marvel history, Mark Seifert has begun a series called Marvel Declassified which aims to look at some contemporaneous reporting, I guess? In his second column he looks at the origin of Black Panther:

I also realized that in regards to Black Panther, there are several lesser-known theories about how that actually played out, but none of them quite work, in my opinion.  I dug into the Black Panther story for quite a long time — particularly the Coal Tiger part — and finally, it all dropped into place.  Except that it presumes a degree of political and world-event savvy that we usually don’t ascribe to Stan Leeand Jack Kirby as we think of them. I was discussing this with some comics history buffs recently, and there was significant skepticism that Jack and/or Stan would’ve even done the cursory research necessary to discover that, you know… there are no tigers in Africa.

While this piece has a lot of worthwhile info, this attitude towards Kirby and Lee is, to me, shockingly condescending. Kirby was extremely socially conscious, and even a cursory look at New Gods shows that he was widely read and incredibly thoughtful about his work. Lee may have been a showman but he was also maybe TOO aware of current events and trends. And also, it may shock people to know this, but folks in the 60s could be quite well educated and probably knew that there were TWO KINDS OF ELEPHANTS and lots of other stuff. Sheesh.

§ As for Marvel’s future, Erik Amaya ponders Five Big Questions About Marvel’s Future In The Disney/Fox Merger and while much of it boils down to “When are we gonna see Wolverine?” there is MUCH MORE to come on this topic.

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§ Here’s an interesting tidbit. As part of the dissolution of the Weinstein company, Frank Miller has regained the rights to SIN CITY:

Frank Miller has regained the rights to film and TV adaptations of Sin City, the noir comic book he created in 1991 and first adapted for the big screen in 2005. Miller now has the rights to develop a Sin City television show, as well as the film rights to 2005’s Sin City movie, through a new settlement. The move comes after the $289 million sale of the Weinstein Co. to Lantern Capital Partners, following Weinstein Co.’s bankruptcy in the wake of dozens of allegations surrounding co-founder Harvey Weinstein, who has since been charged with six counts of sexual assault and rape in Manhattan.

While I can’t imagine anyone would be very keen on a Sin City TV show these days, as it’s really out of ste with the times, all IP seems to be ripe for the developing these days. And damned if it stll doesn’t look amazing. Clive Owen!

§ Finally, Nick Drnaso’s graphic novel Sabrina getting a prestigious Man Booker Prize nomination, has led to many think pieces across the pond and here is one:

Why Sabrina? And why now? The second question is, perhaps, easier to answer than the first. It can’t be a coincidence that among the judges for the Booker prize in 2018 is Leanne Shapton, the Canadian artist who also happens to be the author of one of the most original graphic novels of the last decade: Important Artefacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion and Jewelry. (The book, which takes the form of an auction catalogue, charts a couple’s relationship from start to finish via photographs of their possessions and the captions that accompany them.) It may be, too, that the judges as a group, whether consciously or subconsciously, share the notion that the Booker should better reflect literary culture in its widest sense – or even just catch up where others have led the way. This isn’t, after all, the first time a graphic novel has been up for a literary prize. In 2012, Joff Winterhart’s Days of the Bagnold Summer was shortlisted in the novel category of the Costa prize; in the same year, Dotter of Her Father’s Eyes by Bryan and Mary Talbot, about James Joyce’s daughter, Lucia, went on to win the biography category.

 

9 COMMENTS

  1. “Each can be seen as symbolic of racial identity other than the majority.” If you do enough reaching to be your own proctologist.

    “Of course, the X-Men, created by Lee and Kirby, has always served as a series about race relations,” said nobody in 1964.

    “And I wonder if the fact that the Hulk is green makes him too a symbol of someone persecuted for racial difference?” No, it doesn’t – although I’m sure somebody will convict Stan of racism for calling him “Ol’ Greenskin”.

  2. As for “Marvel Declassified”, let’s just say it’s fully worthy of Bleeding Cool’s standards as a news source.

  3. It’s possible I’ve forgotten something that I wrote decades ago, but I’m fairly certain it was Steve Englehart who wrote the issues in which Peggy Carter and Gabe Jones became a couple. At the time, I never gave it a second thought. Perhaps because, before I moved to New York to work for Marvel, my second serious romantic relationship was with a black woman. In any case, the kudos should go to Steve.

  4. Heidi is correct that Lee and Kirby were very well attuned to what was happening in the real world in the ’60s (and the ’70s, as well). So were most fans in those days, even kids like me. We were watching Vietnam, Watergate and race riots on the evening news every night, so it was hard NOT to be aware.

    It was later fans and creators who just wanted a total fantasy world where reality never intruded.

  5. That multicultural vibrancy is a big part of what has made Marvel better than DC. The effect of the onerous Comics Code on the whiter-than-white DC characters and blander stories – versus Marvel, whose creative inception pushed and lead to more pushing and testing against the norms under the Code – is reasonably posited, and well documented and written about in histories about comics. Probably no bigger shaper of both comics-universes than this stuff.

  6. In late 1968, DC infamously scrapped (at the last minute) a Teen Titans story that would have introduced the company’s first black superhero. Publisher Carmine Infantino was reportedly afraid it wouldn’t get distributed in the South. That was a common excuse for avoiding possible controversy.

    By this point, the Black Panther had existed in the Marvel Universe for two years, and black supporting characters such as Gabe Jones and Joe Robertson had been introduced. The Falcon was on the way in 1969. DC’s superhero comics remained lily-white until 1970, when Green Lantern discovered that black people existed.

  7. There are a smattering of non-white characters in DC superhero books, though the only one designed for an ongoing series was the risible “Super Chief.” Most of the others were short-term support-characters, Depending on whether you consider “the Sea Devils” to be superheroes, they occasionally featured a group of foreign-based juvenile divers that included an African, an East Indian and a South American.

    Of course, in the war books Easy Company’s “Jackie Johnson” predates Gabe Jones.

    Not that any of these milestones would be significant to proponents of identity politics. They take the view that it only matters when a particular person of color authors a feature about an identical person of color, so to such politically correct persons, Gabe Jones and Jackie Johnson would be equally meaningless.

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