BEST BETS: "Jessica Jones," "Big Trouble/Escape from New York" & More October 2016 Highlights
Political cartoons | The Washington Post has removed a political cartoon from its website following a complaint by Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. Drawn by Ann Telnaes, the cartoon depicted the Texas senator in a Santa suit playing an organ grinder, and his daughters as monkeys on leashes. Cruz and his family appeared in an offbeat campaign ad released over the weekend in Iowa in which he and his wife read their daughters books with titles like “How Obamacare Stole Christmas” and “The Grinch Who Lost Her Emails.” Telnaes insisted that by allowing his daughters to appear on television, he had made them “fair game,” saying, “Ted Cruz has put his children in a political ad — don’t start screaming when editorial cartoonists draw them as well.”
When Marvel sends Logan to meet his maker in September, it will do so in grand style — grand ’90s style — with a “Weapon Etched Holo Foil” cover for each of the four issues in the Death of Wolverine miniseries. If nothing else, you have to give the publisher credit for “Weapon Etched.” (Get it?)
“When Steve McNiven first turned in his cover to Death of Wolverine #1, we knew we had something special in our hands,” Executive Editor Mike Marts said in a statement. “A cover for the ages. What better way to celebrate this special cover than by giving it the special treatment. Just the other day I saw the process involved in creating this amazing cover — it’s really beautiful. It’s a fantastic way to enhance and showcase this spectacular cover that Steve has drawn.”
Remember when comic books had only one cover each, and they didn’t glow in the dark or feature moving images? When the cover was just a good-looking illustration that made you curious about the story inside? And it was by the artist who actually drew that story?
Yeah, me neither.
Like it or not, we live in the age of specialized covers, whether in the form of variants or, for lack of a better (and less-derisive) term, gimmicks. I’ve mostly made peace with that, but the near-simultaneous announcements of Valiant bringing back chromium covers and DC doing a second round of lenticular covers recently stirred it all up again.
I know I’m being kind of silly about it. I mean, who cares? If people want them, they should have them. Obviously they help to increase sales, otherwise publishers wouldn’t go through the trouble. But is there more to it?
The thing is that variant covers have never been more prevalent. People used to make fun of publishers like Avatar Press, which would flood each release with boatloads of different covers for the same story. It turns out the company was ahead of its time. That’s not always a good thing, of course. Variant covers can cause confusion with new or more casual readers who may not remember the issue number they last bought but can recall what was on the cover.
Let me start with a confession: I have never understood why comics covers are so different from the interiors. In every other part of publishing, editors try to make their covers broadcast the contents inside, but with comics it’s somehow OK to have the interior done by one artist and the cover by another, often with wildly varying styles.
Writer Jeremy Whitley and artist Emily Martin take on that issue head-on with the cover of Issue 2 of the second arc of Princeless. Written for children (but witty enough for adults), Princeless is the story of a princess who refuses to go along with the standard paradigm of being locked in a tower and waiting for a knight to come along and slay her dragon so he can marry her.
Whitley and Martin apparently aren’t going along with the standard paradigm, either. Their cover challenges a couple of comics conventions, both making the characters extra-sexy and having a cover image that has nothing to do with the story inside. In a recent post, blogger Rob McMonigal applauded them for making a statement but questioned whether a children’s comic is the appropriate place to do it. After all, the statement is really about direct market comic books, and children aren’t a big part of that audience.
Retailing | Retailers are “cautiously ecstatic,” ICv2 reports, ecstatic because comics sales have increased in the direct market every month for the past 12 months, and cautious because this “return to floppies” comes after years of a seesawing market and they know things can change at any time. The article contains links to the news and analysis site’s lists of the top graphic novel properties in a number of categories, including superheroes, manga, and kids’ comics. [ICv2]
Creators | The Sri Lankan political cartoonist Prageeth Eknelygoda has been missing for 1,000 days as of Tuesdayy, and his wife is convinced the government has something to do with that. [The Daily Cartoonist]
Creators | This article about T. Casey Brennan, who wrote for Creepy, Eerie and Vampirella, takes a number of weird turns, not least when Brennan claims to have shot JFK — and when he shows up in the comments section to dispute everything in the article. Brennan’s life seems to have taken a turn after he was injured in an automobile accident, and he now is homeless and but apparently happy. [The Washtenaw Voice]