Home Columns Kibbles 'n' Bits Random Universe, Random LInks, 9/30/09

Random Universe, Random LInks, 9/30/09


§ Vice Magazine does Where The Wild Things Are, and a modern legend is born. Above, Ben Jones. (Link Via STC.)

§ Rick Marshall gets Robert Kirkman to spill a bit on Frank Darabont’s planned WALKING DEAD TV series. :

MTV: How much will you be involved in shaping the series on AMC?

KIRKMAN: I’m going to be an executive producer on the show, so I’ll have my hands all over the thing. But it’s important to me that I’m only involved in the show as much my comic book career will allow. I’m excited that there is a television show, and I’m excited that Darabont is involved—and one of the big reasons for that is that I trust him. I don’t need to look over his shoulder.

Frank understands the material 100 percent. It’s always been shocking to me, doing Hollywood meetings over the years, just how easy it is for someone to come in to the meeting and say something like, “We want the zombies to have super powers.” Knowing that, I’m really excited about it, because from my discussions with Frank, he likes the right things about “Walking Dead.”

§ Robert Langdon Variety discovers that a sinister secret cabal is controlling what we watch and talk about in a searing expose they call “Internet influences film audiences”.

§ Brigid Alverson rounds up NYAF reports and news, including the absence of Yen Press — they were at a sales conference.

§ Retailer Steve Bennett faces The World That’s Coming Is Coming For You:

Oh, I can definitely see comic books being published in print form fifty years from now, in the same way pulp magazines are still being published, facsimile reprints and pastiches with print runs in the hundreds sold to a small but devoted fan base. And frankly the prospect doesn’t horrify me the way it probably should, maybe because it seems like somebody has been predicting the imminent demise of comic books since 1974. As a comic book guy of a certain age I’ve had plenty of time to prepare.

§ Is this is what’s meant by “Critical discourse”? Rich Johnston compares Mickey Mouse and Herogasm and find intertwined themes and allusions.

Possibly in deference to its review stablemate, Herogasm is a much more subdued than in previous episodes. There are no sex scenes at all, let alone orgies. This is a pause, possibly waiting for something to explode in the next issue. Mickey & Friends also has no sex scenes, though Donald does jump into Goofy’s pocket briefly in quite a suggestive fashion. There are C-bombs in both issues however, though in Mickey & Friends, that C stands for crystal. And what a lot of fuss this missing crystal causes!

§ This one is a few days old but it is worth repeating. Blogger Okazu finds that The New York Times does not treat manga seriously, or at least not as seriously as they treat such things as Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities, real estate prices in Turtle Bay, and one couple’s battle to find a greener way to wash baby bottles:

This first one is for an American GN:

WALKING DEAD, VOL. 1, by Robert Kirkman and Tony Moore. (Image Comics, $14.99.) The gripping story of the human survivors in a world overrun by zombies continues.

This one is for a manga:

YOTSUBA&!, VOL. 6, by Kiyohiko Azuma. (Yen Press, $10.99.) This series follows Yotsuba, a young girl learning about the world. In this chapter, she recycles, gets a bike and discovers sticky notes. Really.

Yotsuba&! has won awards around the world, and is a truly delightful book about a quirky kid and her worldview. Walking Dead is the millionth book about zombies. Really.

We’d like to endorse this notion. The NYT’s manga descriptions seem particularly glib and condescending. It’s not like there aren’t plenty of smart people who read manga — perhaps one of them should be employed for the task. God knows there are lots of unemployed journos out there!

§ Chris Butcher reminds is that it’s the last day to pre-order Key Moments from the History of Comics at Comics212.

§ SPX! People won’t shut up about it! Good quotes in the jump.

§ Sean T. Collins had a good time!
7) I loved the Ignatzes! I’d never gone before, and I have to say it felt nice to see an award show where a) so many people and books who would have been my choices for nominees for awards were in fact nominees, and b) so many of those nominees won! And instead of a giant half-empty room it was a small room filled with an SRO crowd, most of whom were drinking beer and all of whom were thrilled to be there and thrilled for the winners. I presented the award for Outstanding Series, which gave me an opportunity to vent a little bit about how Diamond’s decision to raise its order minimums disproportionately stuck it to these kinds of comics, which elicited some appreciative whoops from some people in the audience, which made me feel like a rabble-rouser. Best of all, Jordan Crane’s Uptight wound up winning that award–Jordan’s work played an indispensable role in making me a reader of alternative comics in general, and in a very real sense I wouldn’t have been up there presenting that award at all if it weren’t for his comics, so it was a huge personal thrill and privilege for me to be able to make that announcement. Congratulations, Jordan!

§ Chris Mautner had a good time!

5 I’m not sure there was any Book of the Show. Every year people try to suss out what the “big book” of SPX — the one that everyone’s buzzing about — is. apart from the Simpsons book, there didn’t seem to be too much of that kind of guessing this year, at least not that I could make out. People seemed to really dig Josh Cotter’s Driven By Lemons, though, which AdHouse was selling early copies of. Folks also seemed enthused by the latest issue of Cold Heat, and by Lisa Hanawalt’s new comic, I Want You. But there didn’t seem to really be any one title that broke through to the top of the pack and become the book everyone wanted or at least wanted to see, the way, say, Brian Chippendale’s Ninja did.

§ A fellow named Sammy thinks there were more “sci-fi” books at the show this year. Not sure we agree but, whatev:

The 15th Annual Small Press Expo was this past weekend in Bethesda, MD, and with Comics popularity in mainstream media at an all time high, it’s both refreshing and disappointing to see what the new generation of creators are bringing us. The show–usually dominated by autobiographical comics and other typically “indie” books–had more Sci-Fi and other genre based talent than ever, but there was still a lot of the same stuff i’ve seen every year.

People are starting to break away from the archetypes of what “indie” comics are and coming into their own, it’s inspiring to talk to someone like Frank Santoro and hear his actually radical ideas about where comics are going, and where they should be.


  1. Okazu’s point was crystal clear without her having to offer up her own glib and condescending description of The Walking Dead. So, solidarity, my manga-loving sister, but lay off Kirkman.

  2. I think that one of the more salient points in the comments to the Okazu open letter is that the NYT description seems is almost exactly the same as the publisher’s description of the book. Sure, they stuck a snarky “Really.” at the end there, but that doesn’t necessarily strike me as completely outside the tone of the publisher’s own book description.

    Yes, it’d be great if the NYT had someone more familiar with manga to write more substantive blurbs for their bestseller list.

    But wouldn’t it also be great if publishers would supply more substantive descriptions of their books–especially in places (cover copy, solicitations) that the NYT and others will likely source descriptions?

  3. The publisher’s synopsis for Volume Six of Yotsuba&!:

    Yotsuba recycles! Gets a bike! Learns about sticky notes! And drinks some super-yummy milk which she then decides she has to share with EVERYONE! But when she forgets to share with Fuuka, this spontaneous little milk lady takes her new bike and goes off on a heart-thumping little adventure of her own, much to her daddy’s chagrin. What trouble will Yotsuba get into next!?

    The tone is arguably appropriate for stories about the adventures of a five-year-old girl. I’ve never read manga, so I can’t say how the synopsis relates to the content. However, Deb Aoki covers some of the finer points about Yotsuba&!:

    With five volumes of Yotsuba&! previously published by ADV Manga, several questions arose: In addition to the long-in-limbo Volume 6, would Volumes 1 through 5 also be reprinted? Would Yen Press re-use ADV’s version or use new translations? The answers from Yen Press? All six volumes, from Volume 1 through 6 would have new translations, and would be released all at once.

    When I got my copies of Yotsuba&!, I pulled out my old ADV editions and compared them with the new Yen Press versions. I found some interesting differences between the two, so I decided to go straight to the source and ask JuYoun Lee, Senior Editor at Yen Press about Yotsuba&!, why “Danbo” isn’t “Cardbo” and her pick for the funniest scene in the series. Here’s what she had to say over e-mail:

  4. It doesn’t matter if “Walking Dead” is the BILLIONTH book about zombies as long as it’s good.

    “Gone with the Wind” is just another book about the Civil War. “The Godfather” is just another movie about the mafia. And so on.

    Grousing about one prejudice in exchange for another doesn’t make one the sharper observer of culture.

  5. My feelings upon reading the “piece” by Okazu.

    The Walking Dead is an insightful exploration of the human condition.

    YOTSUBA&! is the billionth manga.

    So by definition no one should care about YOTSUBA&!.

    Unless, maybe, perhaps, “YOTSUBA&!” is something more than just “a” manga, with one or more characteristics that might distinguish it from other manga and not make them all interchangeable?

    Of course, if we were to take the time and effort to more closely examine YOTSUBA&! before condemning it for being nothing more than just another manga, then PERHAPS we might extend The Walking Dead the same courtesy?

    Or we might if we had any critical thinking skills whatsoever.

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