§ Nice Art: continuing our recent run of concept art, Batman Beyond designs by Evan “Doc” Shaner. Other artists just go batty over everything this guy draws…and so do we.

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§ Shelfdust‘s retrospective on Watchmen written entirely by female critics – including many a Beat contributor – has made it to 12!

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§ Remember when writer Ryan North (Squirrel Girl) got stuck in a slippery skate bowl with his dog?

Susana Polo at Polygon has the play by play of what happened next, but it involved folks on Twitter sending advice for how he could climb out and get his pooch, Chompsky, to safety. North was equipped only with an umbrella and “a pocket computer.” North eventually managed to climb out and then haul the dog after him, but I expect that Jason Shiga will be making a comic out of this any day now.

§ Cartoonist Daryl Cagle has a three part reminiscence of his time as president of the National Cartoonist Society and it’s kind of inside baseball, but lots of details on banquets and awards and stuff. 

Twenty years ago the membership of the NCS included nearly twice as many professional cartoonist members as it does now, and popular newspaper comic strips were the NCS’s strength. The group was rancorous and my years in the hot seat were toasty. We had a crisis at the start when our management company demanded that we triple their fees; they were doing a terrible job so I fired them and I went about finding a new firm, arguing with our board members who wanted to stay with the old management company and pay the higher fees. Finding a new management company for our unusual group was a big chore, because of the unusual nature of our group compared to more conventional professional organizations.

§ Waititi Watch: Director Taika Waititi was spotted by paper lunching with Ryan Gosling and CBR did all the speculation so you wouldn’t have to. 

No official announcements have been made regarding Gosling, and one luncheon doesn’t exactly prove that he is in talks to join the MCU. While Waititi is currently attached to Thor: Love and Thunder, the director is currently developing his next project: a smaller film titled Next Goal Wins — a Football-related film. It is just as likely that Waititi and Gosling met to discuss this project.

Maybe Waititi was just enjoying lunch with a very handsome man, did you ever think about that, huh?

§ I missed this interview with Marvel TV’s Jeph Loeb last week, but it serves as a reminder of that OTHER Marvel production office, the one that is kind of scrambling around as all the good toys get taken away. Loeb is a master of not saying much, so line reading is sometimes needed.

DEADLINE: On the flip-side, under the same corporate umbrella, there’s going to be all these Disney+ shows, Scarlet Witch and Vision, Winter Soldier and Falcon, there’s a number of them, do you feel that there is a potential of too much Marvel?

LOEB: Well, first of all, I have to make something very clear, which is those are shows that are created and run and the responsibility of the motion picture studio. Secondly, Marvel Television will be doing shows with Disney+, we just haven’t announced what we’re going to do there.

Loeb teases that maybe Legion will come back, maybe Ghost Rider is coming, and the Howard the Duck cartoon, but then he kinda got lost in the weeds:

The truth of the matter is, we were on this thing where we said, oh wait, the bumper fell off the car, but the car’s still going, but we couldn’t discuss any of that. So, in the end, however history’s going to remember the story, all that’s important to us is that we had an opportunity to change television by putting together four heroes, who then joined together in a group, and people have talked about it like this is unprecedented. Now, we’re going to do it again with the animated series, and then we’re going to do it again with the fear-based series. It’s now become, for us, our model. We would rather try to find ways of putting together a group of characters so that when a platform meets with us to talk about what we want to do, we’re trying to create a family on that platform.

2020 mood board: Families on platforms

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§ George R.R. Martin was interviewed by the Guardian and while he didn’t talk about the things he shouldn’t have talked about, he was clear that now that the Game of Thrones TV show left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and no one wants to think about it any more, he can just go about being GRRM again.

He agrees, however, that the end of the series has relieved a great deal of pressure. “There were a couple of years where, if I could have finished the book, I could have stayed ahead of the show for another couple of years, and the stress was enormous,” he says. “I don’t think it was very good for me, because the very thing that should have speeded me up actually slowed me down. Every day I sat down to write and even if I had a good day – and a good day for me is three or four pages – I’d feel terrible because I’d be thinking: ‘My God, I have to finish the book. I’ve only written four pages when I should have written 40.’ But having the show finish is freeing, because I’m at my own pace now. I have good days and I have bad days and the stress is far less, although it’s still there… I’m sure that when I finish A Dream of Spring you’ll have to tether me to the Earth.”

BTW, that big deal for showrunners Benioff and Weiss at Netflix? That $250 million deal? I think they proved they were competant showrunners on an incredibly complex and far ranging shoot, but all the ideas that captured people’s attention – the deaths and the suffering and the shocks – were 100% Martin. It’ll be interesting to see where that deal goes, but Tinseltown is taking a wait and see attitude.

Sources say the Thrones pair is writing a treatment for a Star Wars trilogy and is committed to penning at least one of the films (the original deal was to write all three). It’s unclear if the duo, who also have another feature for Fox/Disney carved out, will do more than just write for Star Wars. Still, a person familiar with the Netflix deal says the streamer was briefed on their Star Wars schedule and isn’t worried: “It’s not going to be 10 years [until] Netflix sees their first output,” adding that Benioff and Weiss “have a lot of ambition.” “Certain people command [nine figures,] and we’ve made those deals,” says Universal TV president Pearlena Igbokwe, who inked multitasking producer Mike Schur (The Good Place) to a five-year pact valued at $125 million. “[Benioff and Weiss] is not a deal that I went after.”

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