Home Columns Kibbles 'n' Bits Kibbles ‘n’ Bits – 5/14/10

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits – 5/14/10


§ David Brothers rounds up the last five years of disgruntled creator exit interviews. and there are some classics:

The past couple years has seen a rise in those fires. A number of creators have left the Big Two, meaning Marvel Comics and DC Comics, under less than friendly circumstances. These creators also felt comfortable enough in their career to fire shots back publicly at the company that they felt wronged them. While the two companies have never released a statement about the dismissals and accusations, having several angry ex-freelancers talking about their practices in public likely indicates something going on behind the scenes.

§ Apparently, Rush Limbaugh has seen his Bluewater comics biography, and discovered it misnamed his cat, and as Rich Johnston reports, it was also the occasion of a confessional of sorts on his radio show:

RUSH: I’ve never read comic books, in fact. I just never have. You know, I was stunned. I mean, I’ve heard of Spider-Man and all that stuff but I’ve never read them. I didn’t know Iron Man was a comic book. They make these movies. (interruption) The staff is worried here that I’m somehow doing harm to myself by admitting truthful aspects. What is so horrible about not having…? (interruption) Well, I’m sorry, Snerdley. Sorry, Snerdley. (interruption) Snerdley’s telling me that Marvel comic books are a way of life for American boys. See, that’s… (interruption) X-Men. I never knew the X-Men was a comic book. When I saw the first X-Men movies, I thought, “Wow, somebody’s got a creative imagination.” I never knew X-Men was a comic book.

The idea that an unfamiliarity with comic books could somehow sully the reputation of a reformed drug addict shows just how far we’ve come since the Wertham days.

§ Scott McCloud is the latest person to wonder why Zuda’s interface is so crap

The reason I’m frustrated is because I actually LIKE the basic design of Zuda. The screen-fitting, full screen option is so natural. Such a great way to lose yourself in a story.
But with every page, the interface intrudes and rips you back out.

Which draws a frank response from Zuda overloard Ron Perazza:

One of the primary drivers behind using Flash when we designed the core site (3 years ago) was because we felt “full screen” was the ideal reading experience – no ads, no site even. All comic. Flash made that possible in the most elegant way at that time. As time goes on things change, new technologies develop, you learn from how your users behave and actually use the site and which features they don’t use.

§ Today’sDan Clowes interview is from Mother Jones and might help explain the farting cow on the cover of this week’s New Yorker:

MJ: Recently, you, Ware, Tomine, and Ivan Brunetti created four covers that formed a hidden image when you put them together.

DC: That was such a pain in the ass! Now that it’s all done, I’m glad we did it. The only editorial comment I’ve ever gotten was on that cover where I used the word “priapic.” David Remnick said, “There’s no penis jokes on our covers. That will never happen.” I folded immediately, but Francoise was like, “No, that’s the perfect word; it’s essential.” We fought for it and Remnick was like, “Okay, I give up.” So I got the first penis joke on The New Yorker. It opens the floodgates…

  1. Reading the news that Rush Limbaugh has no clue when it comes to comic books filled me with a smug sense of satisfaction on this otherwise dreary news filled Friday.

    Thank you Heidi!

  2. The Zuda interface has been shit from day one. Nobody likes it. It wasn’t current with browsing patterns when it debuted three years ago. It’s nothing short of a stupid gimmick and it’s always been that.

    It’s sad that Ron is prohibited from admitting that he knows this. It makes everyone look really stupid to pretend that the clunky flash interface is cutting edge or serves any purpose other than impressing dumb-asses in a conference room.

  3. “It makes everyone look really stupid to pretend that the clunky flash interface is cutting edge or serves any purpose other than impressing dumb-asses in a conference room.”

    Wow, that’s an incredibly true statement!

  4. Um, To point a fact, The cat in question of the Rush Limbaugh book is not, I repeat NOT Limbaugh’s Cat. The cat belongs to the Narrator of the story and his name is Banjo (The cat by the way, not the narrator). The caller who question Rush, seem to not bother to read the comic either.

    I know this because I read the comic, It also helps that I lettered it as well.

  5. The Zuda interface is absolutely awful. There are probably comics there that I would read if they weren’t presented in that format. I don’t go to Zuda. I don’t read the comics there (except for that one that Aaron Alexovich and Drew Rausch are doing because I like those guys, and even just reading those eight screens and voting was a huge pain in the ass) and the reason I don’t is solely, 100% the Zuda interface. It’s the worst, the absolute worst. It slows down my computer and half the time I have to click on something about 80 times before it finally works. Whoever was responsible for Zuda’s design deserves to be fired and never work with computers again.

    The Zuda programmers need to take a look at sigikki.com and take some notes. Really, anything would be better than Zuda.


    I just wanted to drop a line and say I wrote the comic book on the life of Rush and I heard with excitement his discussion on the comic. I know he did not read it, and frankly the caller who called in to discuss it, did not read it either.

    As you know, the format for the “Political Power” comics is for the writers to write themselves in a “Rod Serling” like way. I wrote myself into the story and I have a cat named Banjo which I wrote into it.

    Had the caller read the comic they would have seen the “I am Don and this is Banjo and I am the narrator of this.”

    However, I was thrilled to hear Rush discuss the comic (good or ill). I still love his show and I am still a fan and will be long after this.

    And nice to see Wilson Ramos on this board!!

    Don Smith

  7. Mario, Yes I’ve gotten paid for the work I do. Been working in the industry for over 15 years now. I’ve done everything from Coloring, inking, pencils, lettering to writing. I have worked for all the major comic book and manga companies and a few small press guys. I’ve seen a ton of good and bad things happing in the industry. But Blue water has always treated me well, I’ve been lettering books for them for almost 2 years now and it’s been more steady and sometimes more reliable then some of the “Big Guys”

  8. You know, ending the story by calling Rush a “reformed drug addict” is a bit petty and snide – and really misleading. You might as well have ended it with a snorting sound like you were using cocaine like one radio talk show host infamously did to defame Rush. You don’t like him or think he’s a Big Bully? Fine. But the idea that this comic was made aware to over 20 million people – some of whom will likely seek it out – should be considered a positive for the industry – just like big-selling bio comics starring Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton should be considered a positive. Everyone is always talking about how the comics industry should try to get new readers. Snide comments that indicate an insular point of view, a group think mentality do unnecessarily impede that. Did you not consider that at least a FEW of Rush Limbaugh’s fans might come across this story on a Google search or something? If you wanted to write an opinion piece on why you don’t like Rush Limbaugh, that would be one thing. But to end this type of story with a cheap shot says, basically, that you are writing for those who share your point of view – and really don’t consider/care that you may be unnecessarily pissing off those who feel otherwise – and that person may be ready to buy this book and see for the first time what comics have to offer. Seems pretty unnecessary and juvenile to me.

  9. Uh, Jerome, this was a biographical comic. Limbaugh admitted on his own radio program that he had an addiction to pain medication, which are drugs, and then entered rehab for that addiction. That makes him reformed. It isn’t a slur, it’s a fact of his life history, which is exactly what belongs in a biography. I’m sorry that you don’t like people talking about it, but that’s really your problem.

  10. Uh, Dan. I know it’s a bio comic. I’m just finishing my third one up for Bluewater. My one on Al Franken is due out this month! And I’m a fan of the Rush biography! But if have the ability to improve your reading comprehension skills instead of delivering such witty, open-minded lines like “that’s really your problem”, you would see I wasn’t criticizing the biography at all. i was criticizing the line, which I thought was a cheap shot – and ALSO HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE BIO YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! The majority of the article dealt with Rush’s cluelessness about comics characters. Which was kind of funny. The line in question really had nothing to do with that and was, as I stated, not even a comment in context of an actual review of the book or something related to the actual bio comic. As I said, I simply feel this kind of gratuitous nonsense does not help the industry grow. It’s a “playing to the (supposed) crowd” mindset. I wish as much energy was put into publicizing the fact that the Michelle Obama comic sold over 100,000 copies and that the ones featuring Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton and many others had very healthy sales as well, to the point of requiring multiple printings. I want to see this industry gain new readers. Appealing to new ones with things like the Rush bio comic are a great way to do that. Instead, many would rather experience “smug satisfaction” by taking cheap shots at those with which they disagree. Oh well. I’ll continue to try attracting new readers to comics and you can continue trying to sound like a tough guy on the internet. One of those is a productive use of time.

  11. I’m sorry,…but, I can’t take it. Screw Rush Limbaugh! I’m glad that the guy who wrote it is a fan of his show, because it would be a stone cold drag to think that somebody only did it for the money. I personally can’t stand Limbaugh and find that most people who take him seriously are not people who I would want to be in the same room with, let alone the same industry or audience with. You can’t really get upset with someone for blurting out the truth about the subject of a bio comic, because it might harm the industry or the market place or whatever the heck it is you’re trying to make a point about harming, here. And nobody deserves it more than Rush Frigging Limbaugh who in my humble opinion is a snake that will either out right lie or bend the truth to keep his minions ears bent. Calling him a reformed drug addict is too good for that guy.

  12. Steven,
    “are not people who I would want to be in the same room with, let alone the same industry or audience with”
    Yeah, God forbid you be in a room of people who actually disagree with you on things. So much easier to just talk to people who agree with you all the time, and contantly nod their heads in agreement, I guess. It’s ridiculously intolerant, close-minded thinking like this that has contributed to the decline of this industry – and civil discourse in this country in general. I mean, how do you expect anybody with half a brain to take you seriously when you go on an incoherent rant like that?
    Look, many say the same things about Al Franken. I disagree with him, vehemently on many things. I expected it to be harder than usual to be balanced in writing about him. But I did my job and reseached him and actually LEARNED about him. Some things I found I actually like and/or admire about him. The ultimate example of this for me is a scene that, due to space, was not able to make it into this bio comic. It was a YouTube video of him “Confronting” Tea Partiers. Boy, the “bomb thrower” Franken and the “riotous, loudmouthed” Tea Partiers. Boy, both sides of the political aisle were probably expecting to see explosions on a frequent and large scale.
    But guess what? Franken calmly explained what he was trying to do with Health Care Reform and the Tea Partiers soberly and intelligently articulated THEIR concerns. I don’t remember seeing this on the news – and it certainly hasn’t had the shelf life of, say, Bill O’Reilly bowing up at Barney Frank or Keith Olbermann’s infamous rant about Scott Brown. But both Franken and the Tea Partiers came off looking much better than the caricatures they are frequently presented as by those who oppose them.
    It would be nice if more people, with all the information now available to them 24/7, truly sought to educate themselves and appreciate others’ points of view. That’s what these bio comics are trying to play a small role in.
    I find it ironic that an alarming number of those who claim to support “diversity” when it comes to race and creed have absolutely no interest in diversity of OPINION!

  13. First and foremost, I didn’t say anything about being in a room full, or audience full, or industry full of people that I disagree with,…unless, of course, they disagree with me about Limbaugh. I said, a room full, or audience full, or industry full of people who take Limbaugh seriously.
    I think it’s humorous that you believe that me voicing my opinion about a guy who regularly spews hate and misinformation over the radio is the type of thing that has contributed to the decline of civil dicourse in this country in general and the decline of the comics industry, specifically. Y’know what I think contributes to the decline of the comics industry,…bio-comics about Rush Limbaugh. Pandering,…I think, pandering wrapped up to look like educational material,…I think that’s the sort of thing that’s bad for the comics industry and bad for radio. Some subjects don’t deserve civil discourse, anyway. Limbaugh, is one of those.
    To be honest, uh, Jerome, I don’t actually expect anybody with half a brain to take me seriously. Thanks for stepping up to the plate.

  14. I’d be curious to see how many copies of this are sold.

    We heard BIG THINGS when the Oprah and Ellen book got mentioned.

    What increase in numbers did Bluewater see from the exposure?

    20 million Rush Limbaugh fans is no laughing matter. But did the mention on his show increase the sales at all?

    Does anyone have hard numbers?

  15. It won’t be long now before all our beloved comic book conventions will be invaded by Fox News charlatans and tea party hooligans running around the dealer’s rooms back and forth screaming at everyone calling out Superman as nothing more but a bleedin’ socialist and a backpeddling marxist.

    I only hope that Bluewater releases an biography of Rachel Maddow or Randi Rhoades to be able to shield me from the disingenuous redneck rhetoric in time.



  16. Jerome: It’s no secret that I’m not a big Rush Limbaugh fan, as I am not a fan of hypocritical, hate spewing demagogues. But I was making a satirical comment about the fact that — based on the way Rich (or whoever) typed up the transcript — it sounded like Limbaugh’s staff thought HE SHOULDN’T REVEAL HE DIDN”T READ COMICS BECAUSE IT WOULD MAKE HIM LOOK STUPID. I admit, I did grasp at the most obvious joke possible about Limbaugh, as opposed to all his other misleading comments over the years about women, African Americans, Haiti, environmentalism, AIDS or anything else, really. But rest assured, had it been Al Franken who was doing the same thing, I would surely have mentioned Stuart Smalley.

  17. I too grow tired of the smug self-involved comments by the commentators and writers of comic books who trot out the same mindlessly tired smears of all those who disagree. Rush Limbaugh has an enormous fan base and says many things with which I disagree. But, if I were reviewing a comic book about him, I would give a serious review of the comic rather than taking the brain dead approach. 46% of America did not vote for Barack Obama, and even more would not today. Perhaps an ailing industry would set its petty biases aside long enough to (at least) respect millions of potential fans that it currently alienates.

  18. Poor, weary soul,…who perpetuates exactly what they rail against by referring to people’s opinions,…or comments,…that they don’t necessarily agree with,…as being “brain dead.” Who spouts opinions as if they were facts and can, apparently see into the future and determine who might or might not be elected President Of The United States if an election were held today. Your burden must be great.
    Percentages are fun to throw around, though. Let’s see, according to my lefty, ultra liberal, socialist sources: Voters in the 18 to 24 age group broke 68 percent for Obama to 30 percent for John McCain, according to CNN’s exit polling. Those in the 25 to 29 age bracket went 69 percent to 29 percent in Obama’s favor.
    The only age group where McCain prevailed was 65 and over, and that by just a 10-percentage-point margin, 54 percent to 44 percent, the exit polls showed.
    And minorities went heavily into the Obama camp. Blacks, 96 percent Obama to 3 percent McCain; Latinos, 67 percent Obama to 30 percent McCain; and Asians, 63 percent Obama to 34 percent McCain.
    I believe it may be that 65 and over group that Bluewater is aiming at with this particular comic. Now that’s a fact that I just made up,…but, what the hell? If I say it enough,…aw,…you know what I mean.

  19. Heidi, thanks for the added comment in response to Jerome. You summed up my feelings on the subject, and did it better than I would have.

    Personally, I’ve harbored a feeling that Rush doesn’t believe everything he says. He’s found a niche, and exploited it to the fullest.

  20. Steven,

    I am sorry that I referred to the “drug addict” comment as “brain dead.” I forgot that it was a comment by a liberal, which makes it instantly enlightened. Sheer genius! Such wit! My apologies.

    And I guess it does make business sense to consistently smear a third of the young voter population and completely ignore anyone over 29.

    For now, we still live thankfully in a country with relatively free speech. So, the comic industry can join its colleagues in the mainstream print media by singing only one political tune.

    And it can join them in the ash heap of history soon thereafter.

    Thankfully, Hollywood (of all things) recognizes the benefits of not sneering at half the population. So, we can count on movies like the Dark Knight and Iron Man to keep our heroes alive.

  21. Howard, take a step back here. I make fun of an awful lot of things here, and an awful lot of people. It’s a snarky blog! but surely the Rush Limbaugh defenders in this thread are the most defensive defenders of all! I think Limbaugh is plenty successful at what he does and obviously commands the respect of a lot of people — it’s not like not reading comic books is going to ruin has career.

    So come on, man up.

  22. Howard, Only because you addressed me specifically will I say that, your sarcasm leads me to believe that you don’t have a clue what I’m saying. Which, is fine, because, ultimately it isn’t that important. Whereas, I don’t want to be a bad guest here at The Beats comments section and take up more than my share of the oxygen and I don’t see the point of perpetuating this, mostly because I’m pretty sure I know how this dialogue will end up,…I just want you to be aware that I don’t have a clue what you’re saying, either.
    In the whole of this thread I don’t see anybody smearing any portion of the young voter population or completely ignoring anyone over the age of 29. The accusation that all of, so called, mainstream print media “sings” only one political tune, is a perception,…not a fact and it is MY perception that Hollywood actually DOES sneer at better than half of the population. But, that’s just my perception and doesn’t necessarily make it true.
    And to my way of thinking, both, The Dark Knight and Ironman are movies about ethically confliced, megalomaniacal, fascistic, vigilantes and I couldn’t possibly begin to explain to you here, what I believe the popularity of these films has to say about the culture. But, given my obvious screaming, ultra-lefty, liberal leanings, I’m sure you can infer something screwy.
    So,…just by way of addressing your comment,…I’m not “getting” what you mean.

  23. I don’t like Zuda’s interface and haven’t since day one. I also don’t bother to read comics published by Zuda — and I read a lot of online comics.

    And Ron Perrazza’s ‘response’ to Scott McCloud was not ‘frank’ at all is it addressed none of his criticisms.

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