News briefs

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§ Spike is 2/3rds of the way to pre-selling enough copies to print TEMPLAR, AZ.

Oh MAN, did I have a busy weekend. Sorry I didn’t update three times last week, guys, but I was just overwhelmed. And there’s still a lot more to tell you guys about. I’ve been getting some great stuff in the mail, and The Pre-Order Project is over 2/3rds of the way to the goal, and popular demand is going to get a new t-shirt designed if you guys aren’t careful. But I’ll get into all that later.


§Marvel writer Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa is really a playwright at heart, and one of his plays is opening in Pittsburgh to no little interest:

The world premiere of a revised version of Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s thriller The Muckle Man bows in previews Jan. 25, at City Theatre in Pittsburgh.

Aguirre-Sacasa, the rising playwright whose Based on a Totally True Story was seen at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2006, has been in residence at City Theatre during rehearsals of The Muckle Man in January. The play, about a giant squid, a mysterious man from the sea and a family in crisis, had its world premiere in August 2001 in a staging by the Source Theatre Company in Washington, DC.


A play about a giant squid? We’re sold! More here.

§Channel Frederator has announced the winners in the First Annual Channel Frederator Awards, presented to the best user-uploaded humor videos, including cartoons.

§ Sponge Bob Square Pants has received the rare distinction of being popular in Japan:

Square and loud, SpongeBob wasn’t supposed to have much chance for success in Japan, a nation famous for its love of more cuddly characters like Hello Kitty and Pikachu. But the perky, bucktoothed American cartoon is proving the skeptics wrong. “SpongeBob SquarePants” attracts nearly 1.9 million Japanese households to his TV show daily and is raking in a growing share of the US$5 billion (€3.8 billion) in annual retail sales for Nickelodeon, the Viacom Inc. unit behind the show. And he’s doing it by capturing the hearts of Japan’s young women — not children, his most loyal fans in the U.S.


§ Stop the press! And You Thought Comics Were Just For Kids! Wait, the article includes some interesting demographic info on Virgin Comics, source unknown:

–Virgin Comics retains an 86% male, 14% female readership, with a median age of 23 and age concentration from 16 to 29, with a median household income of $50.69k.


§Hippie-era sexism reviewed, via the works of R. Crumb:

Dealing with gender roles was equally as difficult. While young men of the movement loved the sexual equality part (more women saying yes meant more sex all around), they balked at allowing women what they considered male freedoms. It was only a short decade after the restrictive ‘50s, when women were expected to have dinner on the table and a nightcap in their perfectly-manicured hands before Father came home from work. The perfect woman of the ‘60s counterculture, an image propagated in literature and art, was a hippie chick who had a good time, took care of her man, and didn’t complain when he dumped her for the open road: the “old lady”. As John Denver’s popular lyrics went, “Kiss me and smile for me / tell me that you’ll wait for me.” Although women were peers in theory, in reality they continued to handle the same homemaking chores their mothers had done: taking care of children, tending the garden, and cooking the food.


§ The Utne Reader sums up comics in one handy page of links.

  1. I think there’s two very important considerations to be made about that Crumb article: Crumb is not really exemplary of anyone other than Crumb (and saints be praised for that both ways), as he’s said on more than one occasion that despite being adopted as a hippy poster child he didn’t care for the scene too much; and no offense to the writer, but I don’t think she gets that the biggest butt (ahem) of Crumb’s jokes is Crumb himself. Yes, he’s misogynistic and racist, but by putting as much of that as he can into his work he demonstrates acute awareness of these failings that your more PC storytellers would like to pretend they don’t have. Could you imagine the Michael Richards-like uproar today if a well-regarded cartoonist did a strip with the sell-line, “Hey Mom, can we have Nigger Hearts® for lunch?”? If he didn’t already live in France he’d have to flee there.

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