§ Must read! The Boston Globe interviews Rick Keene, whose job it is to clean up old comics for those expensive archive editions.
His ingenuity at the computer has made it possible to bring back stories once “considered ‘lost,’ ” said John Clark, editor-in-chief for Gemstone Publishing’s Disney comic books, which Keene also restores. The comics, originally printed on newspaper letterpresses, “were smudgy and out of register, so any attempts to make them reprintable were cost-prohibitive,” Clark wrote in an e-mail. Keene estimates he has restored 11,000 DC pages and 800 Disney pages. They often come in faded and tattered. Occasionally, he has to recreate dialogue or make an educated guess, say, as to whether the missing wrist in a torn panel had been wearing a watch.
“I don’t think different planes of reality can be accessed in a comic, but I have had epiphanies from comics, just as from film and literature. Jim Woodring, Daniel Clowes, and Gilbert Hernandez have all changed my mind about reality through their comics.”
§ One-man cage match interview! This interview with Jim Shooter reads very much like what it is: a talk with a man who was once the most powerful guy in comics looking back at an attempt to be just another cog in the machine, specifically, a run on LEGION OF SUPERHEROES that didn’t go too well, as Shooter and DC did not see eye to eye:
“I think it had more to do with their being pissed at me for complaining too much and too loudly – to DC people only, not to the media – about various glitches and screw-ups than anything else. DC has incentives for licensing of new characters. Super Lad could, potentially be the new Superxxx, and very licensable. Why reward a pain in the ass like me with extra money? They actually fired me at one point for complaining too enthusiastically about a really aggravating snafu. I groveled enough to get my gig back – I have child support to pay – but they took Super Lad away. Then they canceled the book.”
But then, as the lights dim and the liquid in the bottle of whiskey gets lower, Shooter looks himself in the eye:
“But let’s focus on the real culprit – me. I guess what it really all comes down to is that my work wasn’t good enough to overcome all the small problems further down the line. If you’re out at first base, it doesn’t matter if you slide in at second.”
§ Likewise, Johanna Draper Carlson interviews always candid Alex de Campi, and gets a lot of dirt on Tokyopop:
Here it is: Tokyopop always felt like it was flailing around with no sense of purpose or long-term strategy, and they would spin out these silly jelly-at-the-wall ideas on a regular basis rather than just knuckle down and focus on great stories, well-marketed. When they launched Manga Readers or whatever that little format was called, they were all “we will get this in the YA section of bookstores!” Um, did they? Did they heck. They also didn’t follow up with any marketing outside the comics world. I remember speaking to one of their marketing people and going, hey, have we tried to get this reviewed in some newspapers’ kids book sections? Can you show me what reviews you’ve managed to get for the book? And they were completely flummoxed. They ummed and ahhed and then asked me if I wanted a free pass to Bristol Comic Con in the UK as if it were a big deal.
§ Percy Carey continues his interviews at Complex magazine with Steve Niles:
Percy Carey: Can you tell the readers about your graphic novel The Lost Ones with Zune? And what inspired you to create the character Dr. Revolt? Steve Niles: I was hired by a pal of mine to create a book that would reflect the “spirit” of Zune. No product pushing, so I was in. I tried to create a story that four artists could each take a role in, sort of like a relay race. I love what the artists did. It’s one of the more unusual books I’ve done, and not horror, which is a nice change of pace for me.
§ Tucker Stone confesses a shameful secret:
But if you take a magnifying glass—which, since it’s my ego-fulfilling fantasy, you would never get the chance to do—then you’re going to notice one glaring statement on my character as, not just a human being, but an Arrogant Comic Book Pundit. With the power of that magnifying glass (or monocle, if you’re so inclined, Mr. Foyle) you’re going to notice that there’s a trade paperback that doesn’t look like any of the others, and that’s because it looks like my copy has gone through a tire-fire before being shoved down the pants of a marathon runner at the first mile marker. It’s a comic that has been, for lack of a better or more accurate term, made sweet love to. It’s a comic that’s been read, re-read, loaned out, and then read again. On top of that, it’s not even in the Comics Journal “Best 100 Comics of the Century.” Even worse: it’s a super-hero comic.