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Continuing with our annual “Looking Forward, Looking Back” feature for our big fifth anniversary, we asked various comics folks what they liked in 2013, what they’re looking forward to in 2014, and what projects they have planned for the coming year. In this edition, hear from Steve Orlando, Chris Roberson, Nick Dragotta, John Arcudi, Janet K. Lee, Kathryn Immonen, Lauren Sankovitch, Scott Allie, Valerio Schiti and Natalie Nourigat.
Continuing with our annual “Looking Forward, Looking Back” feature for our big fifth anniversary, we asked various comics folks what they liked in 2013, what they’re looking forward to in 2014, and what projects they have planned for the coming year. In this edition, hear from Tim Seeley, Amy Reeder, Pat Aulisio, Andy Hirsch, David Gallaher, Amanda Meadows and Geoffrey Golden, Joey Weiser, Ian Brill, Philip Gelatt and Dave Dwonch!
Check out part one here, and don’t forget to come back Tuesday to read more!
It’s almost that time again — time for ROBOT 6′s annual takeover of the Comic Book Resources home page to celebrate our anniversary. With this year bringing our big fifth anniversary, we thought we’d get a head start with one of our annual features, “Looking Forward, Looking Back,” where we ask comics folks what they liked in 2013, what they’re looking forward to in 2014 and what projects they have planned for the coming year.
In this post, you’ll hear from Jimmy Palmiotti, Brandon Montclare, Joe Keatinge, Caanan Grall, Rafer Roberts, Josh Hechinger, Jim Gibbons, Scott Fogg, Evan “Doc” Shaner and Kyle Stevens from Kirby Krackle! Then come back later today and on Tuesday to read from more of your favorite creators.
“I know it may sound corny but I’m serious when I say this – Don’t give up. There will be lost opportunities and frustrations, regrets and anxieties. Do everything you can to focus on what you can control and keep your integrity intact. Do all you can with what you have. That’s what the year represents to me.”
–Jim Zub, writer of Skullkickers, Samurai Jack, Pathfinder, Legends of the Dark Knight, Makeshift Miracle and Shadowman, and almost-writer of Birds of Prey. In a post titled “A Great Year That Almost Wasn’t,” Jim discusses how losing the Birds of Prey gig at the beginning of 2013 affected his self-confidence, how he bounced back from it and ultimately landed on Samurai Jack.
MariNaomi’s first-person testimony of being sexually harassed onstage during a convention panel made the rounds of the comics blogsphere Thursday like lightning. Heidi MacDonald wrote about it at The Beat, and shortly afterward veteran writer Scott Lobdell outed himself as the person MariNaomi was talking about and publicly apologized. Usually when Heidi speaks on an issue like this, I don’t have much to add, but what struck me about the incident is that it’s a textbook case of something that happens to women all the time, and that many men, even those of good will, don’t always understand.
Sexual harassment is a difficult topic, and sometimes we tie ourselves up in knots trying to define and discuss it. But in MariNaomi’s account of the panel, it was very clear: Her harasser wasn’t just making some crude sexual jokes, he was ignoring what MariNaomi was saying and drawing attention away from it by focusing on her sexuality as a woman. He was denying everything about her except one aspect, her sexual attractiveness. That’s what sexual harassment is about.
It’s not necessarily about trying to pick up someone; that happens between consenting adults all the time. It’s not about dirty jokes, either. In context, with the right people, those can be fine.
It’s about not regarding women as full, complete people on an equal footing with men. It’s about not listening to what a woman has to say and focusing instead on her physical attributes. Pickup lines and dirty jokes are just the tools a sexual harasser uses to do the real job: belittling the other person.
As usual, Publishers Weekly is the first out of the gate with its best-of-the-year lists — if tradition holds, Amazon’s should come along within the next couple of weeks — even if they are a little incomplete (the children’s fiction category is coming “very soon”).
The five titles in the comics category are:
• March Book One, by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell (Top Shelf)
• Today Is the Last Day of the Rest of Your Life, by Ulli Lust (Fantagraphics)
• The Property, by Rutu Modan (Drawn & Quarterly)
• RASL, by Jeff Smith (Cartoon Books)
• Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang (First Second)
“There are some really good reasons to do work-for-hire. It’s a valuable way to build a reputation. It’s probably not wise to devote 100% of your time to it, but only you know what your priorities and appetites are, and no one else has a right to judge them. And, yes, every job has its drawbacks and moments where it’s better to be flexible than absolute. I truly, truly understand having to take work you don’t love, or work with folks you don’t love, in order to make the rent. And early on, there are things I put up with that I now regret, and there are opportunities I lost because I pushed back, and there are still things I do sometimes to be a get-along guy that aren’t always in my best interests. Everyone’s threshold is unique, and sometimes you let someone take undue advantage because the cupboards are bare or because you’re dealing with a friend who’ll get yelled at if you don’t toe the line. I get that. Circumstances are circumstances. But if you never listen to another word I say, and I talk a lot, please know this: the only one watching out for your future is you.”
– industry veteran Mark Waid, from a lengthy “Open Letter to Young Freelancers” that’s a must-read not only for comics creators — of any age, and at any stage in their careers — but also for freelancers in other fields, to say nothing of editors, publishers and consumers.
“It might, if what DC was doing was impacting on their sales at all — but it really isn’t. Doesn’t mean we’re going to change the way we go about our business or anything, but for all that there’s a lot of uproar on the internet about whatever decisions DC is making, their sales remain constant. Sends a very clear signal to folks in charge both over there and elsewhere that it really doesn’t matter who works on what series, or how well or poorly they’re treated. So as a whole, the readership will reap what it sows.”
– Tom Brevoort, Marvel’s senior vice president-executive editor, responding to a fan who wondered if, “with DC continuing on their weird way of interfering with creative teams and basically hating people does this kinda give you guys a new sense of that you’re on target for the quality of product and creative composure that needs to help make the industry thrive.”
The Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards celebrated its 25th anniversary this year at Comic-Con International in San Diego. For a quarter century, the most prestigious award in comics has been recognizing the best — or, depending upon your perspective, getting it wrong for two and a half decades. However you feel about the results, the Eisners are established as our most respected and classy way for the industry to recognize excellence and put its best foot forward to the larger world.
It didn’t seem like there was a lot of acknowledgement of the anniversary, so I thought I’d take the opportunity to dive into the archives, sift through way too many numbers and names, and present 25 fun facts, figures and random whatnots.
So here now are 25 fun facts about the Eisner Awards:
“If you’re an aggressive individual and you want to make this your field — and there is no school. You make your own school. You make your school. I say that you borrow arms and legs and heads and necks and posteriors from anybody you can. In comics, which is a peculiar field, every man — every artist — is the other artist’s teacher. There’s absolutely no school for it. People can teach you the mechanics of it, which is good. I can see a good reason for that. But drawing a good figure does not make you a good artist. I can name you 10 men, right off the bat, who draw better than I do. But I don’t think their work gets as much response as mine. I can’t think of a better man to draw Dick Tracy than Chester Gould, who certainly is no match for Leonardo Da Vinci. But Chester Gould told the story of Dick Tracy. He told the story of Dick Tracy the way it should have been told. No other guy could have done it. It’s not in the draftsmanship, it’s in the man.
Like I say, a tool is dead. A brush is a dead object. It’s in the man. If you want to do, you do it. If you think a man draws the type of hands that you want to draw, steal ‘em. Take those hands.
Jack Kirby, the legendary artist who, with Joe Simon, created the genre of romance comics before going on to co-found the Marvel Universe with the likes of Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Don Heck, would have turned 96 today.
If you’ve enjoyed stories about Captain America, the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, Challengers of the Unknown, Thor, Etrigan the Demon, Nick Fury, the X-Men, Klarion the Witch Boy, Black Panther, Ant-Man, the Wasp, the Incredible Hulk, Darkseid, the Red Skull, Kamandi or Mister Miracle — in comics, in film or on television — you should thank Kirby, who created all of those characters (and many, many others) either in collaboration with Simon or Lee, or on his own.
But most people reading this blog already know that. What you may not know is what’s being done today to celebrate Kirby’s birthday — and how you can help.
Writer Jeremy Holt sure got people talking—er, tweeting—on Wednesday when he tweeted “…I don’t believe in upfront pay when producing creator-owned comics. Corrodes the team.” Holt does believe in sharing revenues with the artist, but he is quite vehemently opposed to just paying the artists for their work. Here’s more:
From my experience, artists mostly interested in pay don’t truly care about the project.
It’s not that I refuse to pay artists. I can’t. If they want to work on spec, that’s their prerogative.
Paying collaborators have never yielded the results I want.
Last time I did I was left with an incomplete project after spending $2500 as the artist went MIA. Paychecks can’t be the goal.
Artists I’ve worked with that only want $$$ never spent the time to discuss/collaborate on the project.
They more often than not were juggling other paying gigs to make more $$, and our work suffered.
you’re a good dude, but if an artist getting paid is killing their interest in your work, maybe the problem’s with your work
Publishing | ICv2 has one of its periodic Big Interviews with DC Co-Publishers Dan DiDio and Jim Lee, this time covering how new readers are finding digital comics, how variant covers are working and graphic novel sales in bookstores, among other topics. Here’s Lee’s rather elliptical take on the flurry of recent changes in creative teams: “Without getting into the specifics, from the outside looking in, it might look like there’s a string of changes that point to one common theme, as you suggest. But from the inside looking out, you’ll see that each one has a different set of circumstances and conditions that ultimately led to the conflicts or the resignations or changes in creative personnel.” [ICv2]
Retailing | ICv2 also reports that Amazon and Overstock.com are having a price war on graphic novels, and readers are the beneficiaries. The website did a little shopping around and found a handful of graphic novels priced at up to 70 percent off full retail. [ICv2]
Hawkeye and Saga lead the ballot for the 2013 Harvey Awards, tying with nominations in seven categories, including best new series, best continuing series, best writer (for both Matt Fraction and Brian K. Vaughan) and best artist (for both David Aja and Fiona Staples).
ROBOT 6 was nominated for best biographic, historical or journalistic presentation, alongside Alter Ego Magazine, Jack Kirby Collector, Team Cul de Sac: Cartoonists Draw the Line at Parkinson’s and Marvel Comics: The Untold Story.
Named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman, the cartoonist and founding editor of MAD magazine, the awards are selected entirely by creators. Voting is open now through Aug. 19. The winners will be presented Sept. 7 during Baltimore Comic-Con.
The full list of nominees can be found below:
Zak Sally’s announcement that his latest Sammy the Mouse book is ready for purchase also includes some commentary about his experience with publishing the first book himself:
printing it was a nightmare. at the end of that process, i had to face the fact that the 5 months of frustration and banging my head against the wall of the “steep learning curve of being an offset printer” was all time taken away from the primary goal, which is MAKING the COMICS. and it was too much; both the time and the frustration.
This volume will be published by Uncivilized Books, which spares Sally the hassle of getting it printed while allowing him to sell it directly to consumers, which is the part he likes about self-publishing.
It’s a point that anyone considering funding their next book through Kickstarter would do well to consider. It has always seemed illogical to me to have every creator handling their own print run of 5,000 books individually — for one thing, not everyone is good at it, as Sally can attest. Beyond that, though, one of the most valuable functions a publisher can serve is streamlining the less creative parts of the process. Book production is a tricky business, and publishers have experienced people who know how to navigate the fairly technical process; a creator taking a book to the printer for the first time is likely to make mistakes and waste a lot of time. What’s more, an individual creator is never going to be able to negotiate a better price than a publisher who sends a continuous stream of business to the printer.