§ Nice Art: Jon Moisan tweeted this list of “seven things guaranteed to sell a comic if shown on the cover” attributed to former DC publisher Carmine Infantino, and no, it’s not apocryphal.

The origin of the list this time was Tom Brevoort’s newsletter, which is comic book history solid gold. Brevoort wrote that this secret of comics success originated with DC’s Irwin Donenfeld, who would look at covers and chart which ones sold the best. These seven elements rose to the fore.

So from these analyses, Irwin came up with a list of seven elements that would increase the sell-through of the books they appeared on—and in general, they seemed to work, at least while comics were largely an impulse buy item. Irwin shared this information with his DC editors as well as Carmine Infantino, who became the head cover designer and who eventually succeeded Irwin in running DC after he was let go. But while Carmine did continue to use Irwin’s list of tricks, he wasn’t the one who came up with it. And before anybody asks, yes, somebody eventually did do a cover that contained all seven elements. That cover was commissioned by editor Mark Waid for SECRET ORIGINS #40 and illustrated by Bill Wray. And as far as I can tell, it didn’t sell any better or worse than any of the issues surrounding it.


Infantino was a living stereotype of the cigar-chomping Madmen-era exec:

RIP Carmine Infantino, 1925-2013 – His Wonder Woman Legacy | TIM HANLEY

And supposedly he really loved monkeys and gorillas.


§ Publishers Weekly has its semi annual Graphic Novel Announcements issue, with lists of upcoming books in adult, middle grade, YA and manga catagories. there is also an interview with Dan Clowes. And a cover by Jillian Tamaki! Seriously tons of great books upcoming.

§ But don’t get too excited. Comics have many issues to solve. Cartoonist Chris Kindred has the best write up yet on #ComicsBrokeMe for The Daily Beast.

Cartoonists have to be hard workers out of pure necessity. Projects rarely pay enough to sustain their needs unless they take on several at a time, which has become an industry norm. Even discounting the rare instance of untimely death, countless others have sustained conditions like permanent nerve damage, tendonitis, intense sleep deprivation, and back injury to deliver their books on time, according to Sookdeo.

“It was no secret that Ian was constantly overworked. He was always on a deadline, [and] was under tremendous pressure in order to make ends meet,” says illustrator Katy Farina (Baby-Sitters Little Sister). “The sheer output from his hand was nearly unconscionable. I believe his senseless loss is the intended result of an industry built on the constant devaluation of its labor and complete disregard for its workers.”

§ Mattie Lubchansky is interviewed about their new graphic novel Boys Weekend at Bustle:

So Lubchansky channeled their own lived experience into a book that could shed light on this “unmooring time” in their life and friendships. But even though Boys Weekend is inspired by real experiences, it doesn’t put much stock in realism. As a cartoonist by trade — and a lover of sci-fi and speculative fiction — Lubchansky decided to heighten their story into a trans horror graphic novel about a bachelor party set in a “hedonistic wonderland.”

“Directly after coming out, I wasn’t even out to most of my friends or even a lot of my family yet, I went on a bachelor weekend with my old college friends [where] I was my friend’s best man,” they say of the inspiration for Boys Weekend. “I got the germ of the idea there, but a lot is different. They’re nice people who I like — not murderous freaks.”

§ Every once in a while I remember that Michael Eisner owns Bazooka Bubble Gum, and I chuckle. Eisner was the head of Disney back in the 90s, an era replete with bountiful IP and licensing, but somehow the ex-ec ended up with Bazooka Joe as his flagship property. Eisner also owned Topps Trading Cards, but sold it to Fanatics last year. (Eisner’s production company did fund Bojack Horseman so it’s not all blowing bubbles.) But now the Bazooka gum brand is on the block, with a sale price of $700 million.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the renowned sweets manufacturer is being put up for sale by Eisner and his private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. which acquired it 15 years ago. The company, which currently sells around 40 million units of chewing gum and candy per year, was founded in New York in 1938 under the name Topps Chewing Gum. It began selling Bazooka bubble gum after World War II. Eisner purchased the company through his investment firm Tornante together with Madison Dearborn in a deal estimated at $385 million in 2007. Eisner founded Tornante in 2005 after leaving Disney.

Even in this time of total chaos in the media, surely someone will want to take a crack at putting Bazooka Joe back on top as a licensing superstar. (h/t The Daily Cartoonist)

§ Speaking of total chaos in the media, the ongoing WGA strike and potential SAG strike, has struck a blow to SDCC, and everything seems topsy turvy.  Salkowitz looks at the bird’s eye view of how these issues in Hollywood will affect comics:

Part of this exhaustion is due to the fact that just about all the comic franchises are beating the same “multiverse” mule, trying to squeeze the same notes of nostalgia out of callbacks to legacy versions of characters and stunt casting. I wrote about this last year (see “The Methods and Madness of Multiverses”), warning that overcomplicated cosmology was a recipe for fan burnout, and it looks like the old cosmic treadmill may have finally blown a fuse.

Life after superheroes? It’s way too soon to write the obituary for the superhero movie era, but it definitely seems that possibility is more likely now than it has been for a while. Does that mean the end of comic book movies? Not necessarily.

§ Vanity Fair’s chief movie critic Richard Lawson also looked at the potential demise of superhero movies, and, surprisingly said it’s not over quite yet. We just need better movies:

 Holding Spider-Verse and The Flash up as comparisons is instructive. Recently, I did a double feature, catching a matinee of Spider-Verse and then sitting down for one of the first public screenings of The Flash. On back-to-back viewings, it’s evident that one film represents the future of things, the other a tired and best-forgotten past. The films are troublingly similar in theme. Both concern multiple dimensions of existence, either naturally lying next to one another in unending layers (as in Spider-Verse) or caused by time-travel meddling (The Flash). There are stretches of expositional dialogue in both films that almost match verbatim, save for a different term here and there. The general common idea is that while various universes or dimensions or whatever you want to call them can differ wildly, there are a few shared constants, unchangeable throughout time and space. (Regrettably, Spider-Verse uses the word “canon” to drive home this concept.)

§ The WGA strike calls attention to the fact that animation writers often aren’t cvered by the WGA, a situation controlled by producers:

Michael Jamin, a co-executive producer of animated series including King of the Hill and Brickleberry as well as live-action series such as Tacoma FD and Lopez, highlighted the topic in a recent video (see it below). “By some strange loophole, animated shows are either covered by the Animation Guild or the WGA, and strangely, it’s the studios that get to decide which one, not the writers themselves,” he said. “It seems to be me as that should be illegal, it seems like labor should decide which union they want to belong to, not the employer.” 

Animation writers are covered by The Animation Guild, but that’s part of IATSE, not the WGA. It’s a situation that many have been trying to change for years….but no fix is in sight.

§ San Diego Comic-Con may not quite be the same without Marvel and HBO, but people are still going – and Popverse looked at how much it would cost:

San Diego Comic-Con is right around the corner, and as we prepare to head to the Southern California destination du jour, we got to thinking: just how much does it actually cost to attend the convention? For our collective Popverse shame, we all get press or pro passes to the show, but if we were to show up as fans, how much would that set us back? So, we looked into it. And this is what we found.

Their total bill of $2000 or so is about right. Yikes.

§ There is a new Walking Dead show coming up called “Daryl Dixon” and it stars the character Daryl Dixon, played by Norman Reedus. The first trailer was released and it feature Daryl wandering around France looking like he needs a bath.

§ Going back to that Tom Brevoort newsletter, he also spilled the beans on a long lost project that fueld many a dream of the ultimate team-up, years ago: a reboot of Killraven by Robert Kirkman and Rob Liefeld! 

There was a KILLRAVEN project plotted by Robert Kirkman and penciled by Rob Liefeld that was started more than a decade ago—I forget whose auspices it started under, but it wasn’t mine. This was a complete reimagining of KILLRAVEN that was set in the future of the Marvel Universe and which used a number of familiar characters along the way. But at some point, it petered out—again, I’m not entirely certain of the circumstances. I can tell you that all of the existing materials ended up in my files eventually, and that every once in a while somebody potentially looks to reactivate it.

“Petered out.” So tragic.

§ It was Alex Toth’s birthday the other day. Toth is one of the greatest cartoonists ever from an artistic standpoint – but he was also a little hard to work with and never really had a signature book that you could look at as his masterpiece. He did design Space Ghost though. Anyway, Billy Hynes cleaned up 500 pages of Toth comics and put them up for free on Dropbox then Google Drive, so you can see what a total master of the page and inky wash he was.

This is the stuff. I picked three pages just at random.


As talented as he was, Toth was also difficult, as we mentioned, and once he pitched a Wildcat reboot to Jenette Kahn and as gorgeous as it was, it did not land for some reason.


Which comic book series that never was would you rather read? Alex Toth’s Wildcat? or Kirkman & Liefeld’s Killraven? Let us know in the comments! 


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