§ This page of “unfinished” Jack Kirby art from Simon & Kirby’s Stuntman has been making the rounds and why not…it’s a master class in everything. Stripped of the heavy black inks we’re most familiar with in Kirby’s published art, the pure composition, action and grace comes to the fore. The page reminds me of nothing so much as the art of Jaime Hernandez, who, although he spots black like no one’s business, can also draw a scene that will break your heart with a single line weight. A look at a page from Whoa Nellie his unjustly neglected lady wrestling saga, shows the similarities in how the action is framed:.


Indeed, one could almost distill Jaime’s entire style from the Kirby page…which makes one wonder, did the teenaged Hernandez somehow have access to these unpublished Kirby pages, and seeing them, become imprinted forever? That seems unlikely. More likely, Hernandez’s keen power of observation – unsurpassed in comics history – simply stripped away the embellishment of Kirby’s printed work to its pure essence and filtered it through to his own work. Jaime has said many times that some of his biggest influences were Kirby and Bob “Little Archie” Bolling, and you can see Bolling in the way Hernandez frames his female characters.


As important as Bolling’s influence was, I prefer to see, from Kirby to Jaime, the unbroken thread of pure comics gold ore.

[Via Tucker Stone]

§ Speaking of Tucker Stone, he has been blogging all week at TCJ.com, and it was pitiless and bracing.

§ I guess the biggest thing of the week was Kat Rosenfield’s story “The Toxic Drama on YA Twitter” which broke down the criticism, dragging, shaming, harassing and confusion over books that people have read, books that people haven’t read, and books that people don’t think should be read. So it’s not just comics then! Such a relief.

I’ll tell you some days I start the day happy, and then I look at Twitter and suddenly the world is total shit and no one has toilet paper. And Twitter, the company, makes it that way on purpose.

There was more dragging shaming and harassing over Rosenfield’s piece on Twitter. Here’s two representation threads, one by esteemed essayist Roxane Gay, a thread that quickly becomes a parody of what you thought it would be, and one by writer Sarah Hannah Gomez, who also wrote about the use of sensitivity readers in an article that’s has a lot of common sense (surprise!) in it.



There you go – two takes! Case closed!

§ The other big story of the week was Newsarama’s George Marston acting like a journalist and interviewing people and getting someone – Jonathan Hickman! –  on the record to confirm that the Fantastic Four comic is not being published at Marvel because the Fox movies are such shite.

The concrete “whys” of the Richards family’s absence have been a matter of speculation since they left the Marvel Universe in Secret Wars, but as it turns out, the actual reason for their disappearance from Marvel’s publishing line may be exactly what some conspiracy minded fans have said all along – 20th Century Fox’s ownership of the franchise’s film rights – but maybe not for the reasons they may expect.

“I think it’s pretty common knowledge at this point that Marvel isn’t publishing Fantastic Four because of their disagreement with Fox,” Hickman explained. “While it bums me out, I completely understand because, well, it isn’t like they’re not acting out of cause. Fox needs to do a better job there.”

Hickman’s reasoning seems to imply that Marvel did indeed drop the FF because of the Fox films – not necessarily for financial reasons, but because the most recent reboot was both critically and financially unsuccessful, and failed to reflect well on Marvel’s comic books. Marvel still publishes an entire line of X-Men comic books, for example, despite Fox also controlling that franchise’s film rights. Barber spelled it out more directly, saying “Not to be blunt, but three f—ing terrible movies don’t help anything.”


§ Jessica Abel talks about self publishing in a profile by Rob Salkowitz:

Despite generally positive experiences with editors and publishers throughout her career, Abel decided to self-publish Growing Gills for two main reasons: speed and control. She says she wanted to get the book to market in time for her next video seminar and workgroup. It is intended to be a resource for students and to raise the profile of her coaching and consulting practice. That meant managing the writing, editing, design, marketing, and promotion processes on a demanding six-month timeline—a scenario that gave her ample opportunity to practice what she was preaching in terms of time management and focus. “I’ve been doing creative work for 25 years and been teaching creative focus for 15. I don’t need anyone’s stamp of approval.” “I was good at the writing,” Abel says. “I hit my landmarks and deadlines.” Indeed, she notes, writing a prose book was a relief compared to the time-consuming effort required to draw, ink, letter, and color a work of graphic literature.

§ Zainab Akhtar reviewed Jillian Tamaki’s Boundless for Paste:

At its core, Jillian Tamaki’s Boundless is a series of short stories examining concepts of connection—the ever-constant search for purpose. What makes the book feel simultaneously so contemporary and yet time-capsule specific is the pervasive lens through which this theme is explored: a chronicling of modern interactions with technology and culture, often with a focus on how the former has impacted the latter. In the age of tech, connection comes from consuming; relationships with culture define relationships with people, and define the individual self.

You know, I believe Tamaki has also dipped into the secret vein of comics gold.

§ Also, Paste gives us a list of 5 Fascinating Documentaries on Cartoonists and Cartooning and the stills from almost everyone involves a person sitting at a drawing board. This is a pretty boring life, folks. I do agree, Crumb is the devastating gold standard, even if you don’t like his politics.

§ Sarah Horrocks looks back at RanXerox, a still powerful Italian comic of the 80s:

Part of the thing with Ranx is a lot of the stuff that you see that should be shocking, is so camped in the extreme world it inhabits.  So you largely just accept it.  The shock here lays back off the beat and you kind of just absorb it.  The transgressions in Ranx are like “hey wouldn’t it look cool if these 13 year old girls shot up, wore interesting clothes, fucked who they wanted to fuck, and beat up whoever they could?”  And then at the center of this is this nihilistic murder machine Ranx who kills and mutilates with such ease and abandon, that the weight of the sex and violence can only be comic.  

§ I’ll be at Boston Comic Con this Saturday, wandering around. It’s the first year for the show under Informa, and if nothing else, they – or someone associated with the show – got the local CBS station’s website to host a series of videos called The Secret Worlds of Boston Comic Con that were sponsored by New England Chevy Dealers. Slick. (That link also via Tucker.)

§ Here’s an article from a while ago by Deb Aoki about how now MANGA publishers are choosing Anime Expo over San Diego:

But while many manga publishers had large, flashy booths in the Los Angeles Convention Center exhibit hall, several companies (with the exception of Viz Media and Dark Horse) had a much smaller presence in SDCC, including Yen Press, which opted out of having a Comic-Con booth after many years of exhibiting. Several publishers, including Digital Manga, Fakku, TokyoPop, NetComics, webtoons publisher Lezhin and ebook site BookWalker only exhibited at Anime Expo. “For a lot of us, Anime Expo was two weeks before San Diego Comic-Con, and it’s rapidly becoming almost as big as Comic-Con,” said JuYoun Lee, deputy publisher and editor-in-chief of Yen Press. “Anime Expo has more of a focus on manga than Comic-Con, so that’s why we made most of our new title announcements and promotions there.” “It also costs us less to attend Anime Expo, and less for fans to attend that show too” said Erik Ko, chief of operations at Udon Entertainment. “It’s a totally different vibe.”

I love San Diego, even if i never wrote a con report, but its place as an actual “publishing news” show needs some boosting.

§ Oh boy its! 5 Graphic Novels Perfect for Newcomers to the Genre – and not the five you’re thinking!

§ When you see a story called “A haunted village, a horrid curse: A graphic novel set in rural TN for those seeking a scare,”  you think “Yeah, Tennessee is scary” but SWERVE, TN stands for Tamil Nadu in India!

Yali Dream Creations’ upcoming publication The Village is a “social horror” set in rural Tamil Nadu. When Asvin Srivatsangam, founder of YDC, and Shamik Dasgupta, who wrote The Village, began brainstorming for the comic, they hit upon two disconnected but disastrous events in India in the last few decades- the Bhopal gas leak of 1982 and the 2004 Tsunami.

Embed from Getty Images

§ Karl Urban is in “talks” to be in Judge Dredd again, this time as a TV show. Karl Urban is ALWAYS in “talks” to play Judge Dredd again.

Don’t get too excited just yet though, Dredd fans – Urban is quick to clarify that it’s just talks, and his return to being the Law is dependant on if he feels the new show is going to do Dredd justice. According to Kingsley, doing the property due dilligence again is a priority for everyone involved in Mega-City One, as evident by the reported two-year wait for the series’ debut.

§ Finally, congrats to sometime Beat contributor Elana Levin, who has joined Netroots Nation.


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