2011 is almost exactly half over.
§ Chief among all notices, it should be proclaimed that Eddie Campbell is blogging again. The FROM HELL/ALEC artist is a prolific engaging raconteur of the web and his return is a marvelous thing — now someone make a mirror site in case he loses it like he did last time.
In one recent post, Campbell uses Google Translate to attempt to figure out a Spanish flame war about the nature of the graphic novel between Beat pals Pepo and Alvaro Pons that has spiraled out of control:
Jose Torralba (The Spaniard of my title) on May 31st 2010 wrote his review of the book at Zona Negativa (the aptly named Negative Zone) and declared war upon it. The comments piled up to a count of 27,000 words. A week later The Watcher, in a post titled “One more time: A vueltas con la novela gráfica,” having also reviewed the book and been excited by it, took back his earlier judgement and said “like it or not, in the last few years there has developed a different kind of comic from the ones we are accustomed to.” He got no comments to his first statement; this time he got 60. And at the end of it, everybody shuffled over to Pepo Perez’ blog for another 88. Pepo blogged like a man possessed. He posted seventy times that month, usually on the subject of la novela gráfica, and if he wasn’t posting himself, he was arguing with Torralba in somebody else’s blog comments. It was like an old fashioned pamphlet war.
§ Key man Eric Reynolds is interviewed at The Daily Cross Hatch; in this segment he talks about Mome:
Part of my motivation was the fact that everybody was so focused and increasingly focused on long-form work, that I sometimes worry that it’s almost to the detriment to the art form, because almost ever cartoonist that you can name who started doing comic books and personal anthologies of short pieces, whether it’s Chris Ware or Dan Clowes or Jim Woodring—you name it. All of the really A-list guys really paid their dues doing short pieces for years and years, and now it seems like everybody graduates from SCAD or CCS, and is embarking on a 300 page opus. There’s nothing wrong with that, per se, but I just can’t help but wonder what kind of effect it’s having, not only on the medium, but cartoonists in general. That’s a tall order, to do a 300-page graphic novel when you’re still relatively young and still finding your voice and still finding your visual style. To sustain something like that over the course of a few years while you’re creating it, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, but for some cartoonists, it could be a little stultifying.
§ Alex Dueben interviews Dave McKean about CELLULOID, his new erotic graphic novel:
Anything relating sex to violence, even play violence, I wouldn’t go near. Personally, I just think they’re totally opposite impulses. And there was all kinds of other things I just really didn’t want to go near. The list of don’ts was probably a lot bigger than do’s. I think there’s something to be said for breaking all taboos and just letting it all hang out and doing whatever you want. The Marquis de Sadean way of writing. And there’s something else to be said for taking personally responsibility for what you do and I think I’ll probably err on the latter. Maybe in a future book I might not, but for this one I definitely had a list of things that I felt queasy about. I wanted to try and do something that was beautiful and tickles the mind and is enticing and an awful lot of pornography is really pretty off-putting and gynecological.
I’m most drawn to unsolved cases and most of my books deal with those for which there’s still a major level of controversy. The lack of resolution provides a sense of mystery and drives the narrative forward. For those stories in which we already know the culprit (like the H H Holmes and John Wilkes Booth), the goal is more of a character study: how and why was the crime committed? I also like those cases that contain a great amount of visual interest. For this reason I choose to concentrate upon the crime itself and the investigation. The trial isn’t nearly as interesting, since it’s all talk and most of the relevant information is already known by that time.
§ Future alert: E-readers are outselling tablets by a considerable margin:
A new study from the Pew Research Institute points out that the share of adults in the U.S. who own an e-Reader device doubled from 6% to 12% in the six months since November 2010, with growth for tablet users far slower, going from 5% in November 2010 to 8% in April/May 2011. The study also showed that 3% of Americans own both a tablet and an e-Reader, presumably because they can’t help themselves from buying devices even if their functionality is duplicated.
In the comments, some suggest that the difference in price between a Kindle and iPad is part of the reason.
§ Graeme McMIllan catches that The Twelve maxiseries by J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston, is actually nearing completion:
Famously “on hold” with four issues of its twelve issue run left to go since 2009, the conclusion of The Twelve has been often-promised by both creators J. Michael Straczynski and Chris Weston and various Marvel personnel. As of April, Weston was apparently inking the second last issue, so it’s possible that “almost ready” might translate not only into “not just an empty promise” but “potential solicitation before the end of the year.” I wonder if it’ll continue as #9-12 of the original series, or end up as #1-4 of a brand-new series…? (Also, with The Twelve out the way, what are the odds that we may one day see a continuation of newuniversal? Apparently, not so good, sadly.)
§ Jenna Busch writes on the topic of exclusionary vs inclusionary geeks:
In our geek world, we’ve largely been on the exclusionary side. One could argue that part of it is how most geeks were treated back in the day. This comic/game/book series is our thing! One upping each other in our knowledge/skills/etc. was how we felt good about ourselves. And really, it’s no different than people who get into a band early and hate on those people who only like that one hit song they had or jump on the bandwagon late. I still feel very protective of my early love of Bon Jovi, for instance.
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.