Lots of stuff so let’s get to it!
§ Sometime Beat contributor Laura Sneddon looks at 2013 in Comics and even though this list is mostly front of the Diamond catalog, there’s a lot to be excited about.
§ I kept meaning to link to this excellent interview with Chuck Forsman by Rob Clough. Forsman is not only a formidable cartoonist, but his Oily Comics mini-comics line is one of the most impressive micro-publishers out there, especially for having a business model:
So I can give some very rough numbers. I think my gross is probably somewhere between $1200-$1500 per month. Take out about $500 for printing, shipping, and royalties, and I think I am left with 700 to 1000 dollars. This seems high to me as I say this. And to be honest I am a little embarrassed. It just seems weird to be making any money off of mini comics. But I have to remind myself of how much work I am putting in. If I wasn’t doing this I would be working a job making the same amount of money and Oily wouldn’t exist. This money basically helps me eat and put gas in the car. Oh, and go to the movies. Melissa and I are young and live as cheaply as we can. I feel really blessed at my current status and I do my best never to take it for granted.
I pay the artists in copies of the comics that they can sell for themselves and a 10% royalty on every copy I sell of their book. When I started I was paying a quarter to the artists, but I quickly figured out that wouldn’t work in the long run. Ten percent is pretty comparable to what most publishers pay their authors in royalties. It’s pretty funny that even at such a small scale I found that number to work. I wish I could pay them more. What publisher doesn’t want that, though? I think most of them are pretty surprised that I am paying them anything. It’s not a ton of money, but it is something. I hope to figure out a way to pay them more in the future.
§ At IGN, of all places, Benjamin Bailey has one of those “blaring alarm clock at 5 am” posts entitledWhat Comics Can Learn From the Music Industry, which is basically, accept digital as your lord and savior:
The only problem is that the comic industry has not yet accepted the fact that the game has changed. They are treating the digital marketplace like an extension of the local comic book store. Comic publishers are used to selling single issues for 3 or 4 dollars. They get away with this because we comic book readers are like bloated, cave dwelling dragons, but instead of gold we crave comics. We collect them. We put them in shiny plastic sleeves and file them away in numerical order. Digital destroys those ideas. The collectible nature of comics is null and void in the digital landscape. Which means the comic industry needs to learn very quickly how to serve its readers twenty pages of digital content for less money than the print version.
§ With the recent blowing the dust off the tarp covering Toykopop, Brigid Alverson looks back at Six Tokyopop OEL manga worth a second look with books by Becky Cloonan, Jen Lee Quick and Chuck Austen. Did we really live through this time?
§ Alverson trifecta with Digital Comics Retailing: Could This Be Done Better? which rounds up a couple of recent digital think pieces (including one by our own Torsten) to suggest better ways of doing digital things.
§ New comics show alert: The Lakes International Comic Art Festival in the UK, which wil be held 18-20 October 2013 in Kendal in Cumbria. More info in this article. The show is the brainchild of a woman named Julie Tait, but the founders include creators Bryan and Mary Talbot and Sean Phillips. Where do they find the time??? Anyway it aims to be “the Angouleme for the UK. We hear Cumbria is lovely in October, so where’s out ticket.
§ An interview with Lilli Carré .
I originally printed this little comic as a small letterpress accordion book, which I printed in the same two colors, black and red. I was looking at a lot of examples of fine press printing at the time, like William Morris’ super-ornate and overwhelming borders. I was thinking about different ways borders give comics unique storytelling possibilities in how they break up time and space and act as an integral part of the comics form. Anyway, I was looking at these over-the-top ornate borders used in past fine press printing, and made a little story in which the character within the borders discussed how they defined his space, and eventually becomes swallowed by them. He is in red to distinguish him from the black border that surrounds him. I thought it also served as a good introduction to the rest of the book as well, so I placed it as the first little intro story.
§ Actress Brooke Shields once played Wonder Woman in a school play. The school was Princeton.
§ Here is a headline that should get Steve Morris very very excited: ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girl’ review. Actually, it’s not about an X-man, it’s about a recent play which looks at the trope of the “Manic Pixie Dream Girl.” And the review says some crazy ass things:
As told in graphic-novel artist Tallman’s flashback within a flashback, “Manic” is the story of his getting dumped by his lover-muse Jackie (a tough Liz Anderson) – whose new Realtor lover Rick (Lucas Hatton) is about to get Tallman evicted – and his artistic and romantic rebirth with the titular pixie, Lilly (Lyndsy Kail). As seen by Tallman, Jackie and Rick are comic-book villains, their “adulthood” means corporate exploitation and the mysteriously mute, girlishly naive and fragile Lilly is a refuge and an inspiration. As seen by his best friend (a dry, droll Michael Barrett Austin), who explains the film cliche of the title, the truth is more complicated – brought home by Kail’s vulnerable performance and by Anderson and Hatton in other roles (his earnest bartender is priceless). May’s terse, comic, graphic-novel dialogue and Tracy’s crisp, concentrated production sugar-coat and obscure some of the story’s creepier aspects, until it’s almost over. If second thoughts pop up as soon as “Manic” ends, it’s been a fun ride.
What the heck is “terse, comic, graphic-novel dialogue”? Is it like “nerd perks”? I never heard of such a thing! The idea!
§ Finally, Putting Us In Our Place, Dept. when comics artists walk the red carpet, the photos don’t appear for three months.
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.