Stuff we’ve been bookmarking:

§ You know you’ve arrived when internet blowhards start yapping about you. In this case, a right-wing blogger protests the new Franco-Algerian-Muslim Batman of France.

This follows similar protests over the casting of dark-skinned Idris Elba as Heimdall in the Thor movie, with white supremacists calling for a boycott, if by boycott you mean a move that got them more press than they could possibly have hoped for. They wouldn’t do it if it didn’t work. Elba has been philosophical since concerns were first raised earlier this year: “Thor has a hammer that flies to him when he clicks his fingers. That’s OK, but the color of my skin is wrong?”

§ Laura Hudson chats with Fantagraphics’ Eric Reynolds about their digital plans, a notable move since you rarely see companies as slow to adapt to digital as Fanta talking about their non-moves. They do have their reasons:

We place a lot of value on the aesthetics of book packaging and design on top of the actual content, and digital delivery is never going to fully replicate that fetishistic love of a well-printed and packaged book. So I still have some concerns about the aesthetic experience of reading our books on a screen. I realize that digital comics are here to stay at this point, even as they continue to evolve, and so I know it’s something we have to address but I don’t simply want to do it for the sake of it, for whatever financial windfall there may be. I want the material to be as well-served as it is in book form, if that’s possible. It’s only been in the past year that I’ve seen that potential approach reality.

§ While we just blog, Fleen’s Gary Tyrrell is an actual HERO.

§ Tom Spurgeon’s annual holiday interview series is the comics internet’s holiday version of nice hot cider after a trip to the skating pond. Two thus far stand out: an interview with Zunar , the Malaysian cartoonist who has been fighting for his freedom all year due to his politically unpopular cartoons.

And, in a less life or death matter, CBR’s Kiel Phegley who speaks truth on a variety of industry issues, such as his analysis of the DC-related decisions being faced at Warners:

What do you want to do with them: exploit their assets for more cell phone apps and movies, or reorganize them in a way that will make them #1 with a consumer base who likes to wrap paper products in little plastic baggies?

Yep, that’s about the size of it.


  1. Idris Elba as Heimdall is dumb, politically correct casting. But it’s a big, dumb fantasy movie so who cares? The guy is a great actor, I’d rather see him in a juicy earthbound part. Having a black Norse god is kind of goofy (would they have done the reverse with American Indian or African deities?), but this is a collaboration between Hollywood and Marvel. Is anyone surprised that it turns out to be a shrine to political correctness?

    I just hope there’s some good ‘splosions.

  2. You know what really pisses me off? When I go to see “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” at some high school, and those jerks have cast a human in the role of Snoopy.

    “Bring on the soup dish, bring on the cup, bring on the soul-crushing forces of political correctness!”

  3. @Tom: I guess you haven’t been reading the outrage being posted on those right-wing beagle blogs? Such barking hate, I tell you.

  4. Jerry Smith: ‘Thor’ has nothing to do with the Norse religion, it’s just a fantasy based on mythology. I don’t recall Thor meeting Ironman in the Völuspá. Saying that an African American actor can’t play the part of a fantasy character doesn’t make any sense. It’s just a dumb thing to say.

  5. JM: We basically agree. I never said he couldn’t play the part. I admire him as an actor. I said it was goofy, and I think it is.

    I wouldn’t say Marvel’s Thor has “nothing” to do with the Norse religion. I admit the details are vastly different, but Thor is a guy who carries a magic hammer in both mythologies. Perhaps we could say “loosely based?”

    Speaking of political correctness, Idris Elba is not an African-American actor. He’s British.

  6. Regarding the whole human-playing-Snoopy thing, Fred Chao (of Johnny Hiro fame) once wrote a play where a human actor plays a dog and the audience doesn’t realize until later that the character is actually a mentally ill man who believes he’s a dog. Of course, the audience goes along with him being a real dog since they’re so accustomed to Snoopy.


  7. I feel it only fare to point out that just because there are racists right wingers, it does not mean that right wing equals racist. One part of a party does not speak for them all, and if you want to think they do, then you’re only adding fuel to the partisan fire. I’m tired of smoldering in it, myself.

    “Speaking of political correctness, Idris Elba is not an African-American actor. He’s British.”

    Good call.

  8. You know…I was going to ignore Phegley’s crack until I read what he said in context. That being…

    “Someone comes in one day and says, “Hey… we’ve got a creative unit over here pumping out some weird, anachronistic product. It’s consistently if unspectacularly profitable –always coming in #2 to the decades-long leader in its market. It has a few hundred thousand die hard fans who were rolling to Comic-Con in droves before we ever decided to market there.”

    And this….

    “In a way, DC Comics is lucky that so much of the successful exploitation of its assets in bigger media has been attributed to KEEPING THE CORE FANS HAPPY.”

    Wow, you’re right. He is speaking truth. In spite of the above, slightly snaky comment that The Beat chose to cherry pick out of context because it sounded like good fan boy bashing, natch. I also found this interesting….

    “The direct market certainly seemed to wither ever so slightly while manga continued to spiral through its first “post-craze” crash. Although I think the former may be more an effect of the long tail of the recession….”

    Well…some truth is spoken, even though he had to qualify it with “I think” to please the “print comics are dead” crowd who I imagine read right past that universal truth. What? Record high unemployment affecting sales? Naaaah! It’s much more fun to say “the direct market is dead” isn’t it? But he acquits himself nicely with the comics are dead crowd with phrasing like…”print comics respectably limped..” and “while digital comics grew quite a bit in a lot of ways that I’m not sure people have a real grasp on”

    Yeah…not even to those selling digital comics apparently…”even when you factor in the abstract idea of digital sales”

    That is about the size of it. What is the monetary value of a “bit” again?

    People would do well to remember that the “majority” of “core fans” that keep DC at #2 and Marvel at #1 are the ones bagging their “physical” product and not those reading it on their I-Phones, especially given the price difference between the former and the latter (the latter being at times “free“). But their minimal contribution is always welcomed by those of us who actually keep the companies afloat by purchasing hard copies and who wish for a long life for comics in all forms.

  9. “This follows similar protests over the casting of dark-skinned Idris Elba as Heimdall in the Thor movie, with white supremacists calling for a boycott”

    Just like those asian supremacists did when Last Airbender came out, right?

    Specifically for the author of this post, your wording is why I replied. If only you could have inserted “a group of” before “white supremacists”, I wouldn’t have commented. Certain things could be seen as having been implied by what you wrote.

    Idris Elba is a fine actor, and I have no problem with him in this part. If he was playing Thor, that’s a slightly different story, but even then if he can do a good job in the part, let him do it.