Robot 6

Comics A.M. | Cartoonist Bill White dies; superhero comics/film disparity

Bill White

Passings | Cartoonist and animator Bill White has died at the age of 51. According to his Lambiek page, White studied animation at the Kubert School and was a penciler and inker for a number of publishers, including DC Comics, Marvel, Archie, Disney and Harvey. His animation work included stints on Ren and Stimpy and Inspector Gadget. Infinite Hollywood has a nice remembrance. [The Daily Cartoonist]

Comics | Jim Beard looks at the apparent contradiction between the mass popularity of superhero movies and the relatively limited audience for the comics that spawned them; Mark Waid attributes this to a lack of comics shops, while Ethan Van Sciver thinks that most people simply have a hard time reading comics. Two local retailers weigh in as well, making this an interesting and well-rounded overview of the problem. [Toledo Free Press]

Scott Snyder

Creators | Sean Edgar has a nice in-depth interview with writer Scott Snyder about his new Superman gig, the artist he would most like to work with, and the comics he drew as a kid: “I had a cyborg character named Vengeance who was a complete rip-off of three other characters. I spelled it wrong by mistake; I remember on the cover I left out the ‘A.’ So someone told me and I was like, ‘yeah, that’s because he writes it in blood above that.’ He scribbles in the ‘A’ with a little arrow that points up to it, and that’s a cool signature.” [Paste]

Creators | Writer Joshua Hale Fialkov brings amazing depth to the character of Skeletor, the villain of the Masters of the Universe comics: “I could show him having an acid bomb thrown at his head, but that’s not what made him him. The fact that he got his face burned off is more than just the actual physical act of burning his face off. It has an emotional root. He’s stripping away who he was to become who he will be.” [USA Today]

Madder Red from "Bedlam"

Creators | Riley Rossmo talks about designing his new character Madder Red, star of Bedlam, his new Image Comics collaboration with Nick Spencer. [USA Today]

Creators | Jeffrey Brown talks about his favorite book as a child, Mark Alan Stamaty’s Small in the Saddle, and how as an adult, his then-girlfriend (now wife) found a copy of the book for him — and engineered a meeting with Stamaty. [Pop Candy]

Creators | Your local-artist profile of the day is of Florida artist Alex Cutri, who has been a colorist for Marvel and is currently working on his own comic Rebirth (via Kickstarter) and a giant mural. [Tampa Bay Online]

Creators | The city of Paradise Valley, Arizona, wants to honor the late cartoonist and local resident Bil Keane with a bronze statue of the characters from his long-running newspaper comic The Family Circus. [The Arizona Republic]

Retailing | Bismarck, North Dakota, will get a new comics shop next week when Action Jackson opens its doors. Owner Jackson Bird isn’t too worried about the storm disrupting his supply chain, as he is using his own collection of more than 70,000 comics as starter stock. [Bismarck Tribune]

Conventions | Paul Gravett looks ahead at what to expect at this year’s Comica Festival in London. [Paul Gravett]

Exhibits | Here’s a look at some of the works in the traveling exhibition “Comics, Manga & Co. – The New Culture of German Comics,” which has just come to rest in Dundee, Scotland. [Forbidden Planet]

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5 Comments

The Toledo Free Press article is interesting, but none of the people interviewed addressed the “elephant in the room.” Although superhero movies aren’t driving up comic book sales, I suspect that they are driving up comic book piracy.

I don’t think that it’s a problem of access like Waid says. There might not be enough comic shops, but they sell trades in bookstores, and you can get them from online retailers, which is the ultimate convenience.

Avengers and Dark Knight each alone have $100-$200 million in advertising on tv.

Comics do not.

That is why Mark Waid. That is why.

Advertising sells products. People do not want what they are not advertised.

The masses don’t buy comics because it’s not on their radar. Reading comic books isn’t “cool”. Most people still believe people who read comics are morons. (And if they’re referring to those who’ve been buying DC’s nu52 or any of Bendis’s Avengers books, well, I can’t disagree with them.)

I agree, it is the lack of advertising which is preventing more people from reading comics.
Even the films themselves do nothing to advertise the source material – there needs to be an ad aired before the next Iron Man, Thor, Cap etc films which says sometihng along the lines of “This film is based on (for example) Ed Brubaker’s Winter Soldier story. Buy the trade at your local comic/book store”.

I do agree with Waid there is a problem of access – there are plenty of magazines at the checkouts of every supermarket I walk into – where are the comics ? We now have (in Australia) some Simpsons, Futurama and other Bongo comics, along with some Disney comics/magazines in supermarkets, but nothing from the “Big 2″. I want to see three-year olds crying for their parents to buy them the Marvel Adventures or Tiny Titans comic they have seen in the magazine aisle !!

Give the kids half a chance, and they’ll read and love comics. I work in a private preK-8 school, where at least half of my weekly circulation is graphic novels. Very few Big 2 books, because I need to get kid-friendly titles. I have lots of books from TOON Books, Oni Press’s kids’ books, Papercutz, Top Shelf’s kids’ books, Graphix, Viz’s VizKids titles, and others – indie and trade book publishers. When I assign book reports in the library, most of the kids in grades 3-6 want to use graphic novels. Don’t get me wrong, the kids love the movies; many of the Halloween costumes were superheroes. But the kids love the comics I bring into the library.

At the school’s Trunk or Treat event a couple of weeks ago, I gave out some of the Halloween Comics Fest comics. One boy kept coming back, offering to trade his candy (and it was the good stuff!) for more comics. The kids won’t go into the direct market stores if their parents won’t take them, they won’t go into bookstores if their parents won’t take them. But if libraries can get more comics into their collections, the kids will find the comics. And they will read them, and love them. And maybe convince their parents to take them to the stores so they can buy them.

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