INTERVIEW: "Batgirl and the Birds of Prey" Hunt Rebirth's Oracle
All this week at Robot 6 we’re interviewing some of the many contributors to First Second’s new anthology, Nursery Rhyme Comics. Today Brigid Alverson talks to the editor, Chris Duffy.
Chris Duffy is the former editor of Nickelodeon Magazine‘s comics section and the current editor of SpongeBob Comics. I was interested in hearing the inside story of Nursery Rhyme Comics—how he rounded up this diverse array of talent and what sort of marching orders he gave them—and Chris obliged with some interesting insights into the making of Nursery Rhyme Comics.
Brigid Alverson: You have some really big names contributing to this book. Were you the one who recruited them, and if so, how did you get them to participate?
Chris Duffy: Almost everyone we asked wanted to be a part of the book. That’s the good news with a collection with a great, clear concept like this book has. Everyone wants in! The challenge was paring down our list to 50 cartoonists (harder than you might think) and just making all those phone calls and emails. I did most of the contacting, though Mark Siegel and Calista Brill broke the ice with a lot of creators who they knew well. I should mention that the idea began with former First Second publisher Lauren Wohl.
Crime | About 50 protestors were arrested in Tunisia for an attempted arson attack on the offices of Nessma TV after it screened Persepolis, the animated adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s celebrated autobiographical graphic novel. The protesters claimed the animated movie offends Islam. All political parties in Tunisia, including the country’s main Islamic party Al-Nahada, have condemned the attack and expressed their solidarity for freedom of the press. [Variety]
Digital comics | Warren Ellis looks at the current options and sees webcomics as a broadcast, out there for free and bringing in new readers through notifications, links and solidarity, whereas digital comics services like comiXology (or even Marvel’s subscription) service are closed systems, more like a shop with comics on the shelves. That makes a difference in building an audience and also in the pacing of the comics, because webcomics can better accommodate the more decompressed storytelling that Ellis prefers. Lots of interesting nuggets among the ramblings. [Warren Ellis]
Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading? This week it is our distinct pleasure to welcome our very special guest Bully, the little stuffed bull, who blogs about all sorts of comics with the help of his friend, John DiBello.
To see what Bully and the rest of the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click on the link below.
A group of comic creators have gotten together to create a comic book specifically for the kids in Joplin, who lost their homes after the devastating tornado destroyed around 8,000 buildings in the Missouri town.
Carmen Morais, a former editor for Nickelodeon Magazine, has recruited several cartoonists, designers and editors to help create the comic, titled Comic Express. Contributors, who are donating their time to the project, include Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), Johnny Ryan (Prison Pit), Raina Telgemeier (Smile), Mark Martin (Gnatrat) and many more. They’re using the site Indie GoGo to raise funds; the site works much like Kickstarter, where you contribute money and receive rewards based on the amount. Donations of $20 or more will receive the comic book, plus other goodies as the amount increases.
Although they’ve reached their goal to pay for the printing, you can still donate money and receive rewards; any money they raise over their target amount will go to the Joplin Public Schools’ Adopt-a-Classroom Fund to replace classroom supplies.
If you’re lucky enough to be near Chelsea, Michigan, this weekend, you definitely should check out Kids Read Comics. It’s not so much a convention as a takeover of the whole downtown: The show is centered in the Chelsea Public Library, but 16 nearby shops and restaurants will also be hosting exhibits and activities, including storytelling and costume workshops, lunch with the artists, and a scavenger hunt for kids and teens, and professional development workshops for the grownups.
The organizers have assembled a stellar guest list that includes Dave Roman (Astronaut Academy), Raina Telegmeier (Smile), Rob Worley (Scratch 9), Thom Zahler (Love and Capes), John Ostrander (writer of the Star Wars comics and creator of DC’s Oracle), and Barbara Slate (You Can Do a Graphic Novel). And the show itself has an impressive pedigree: The organizers are Dan Mishkin, one of the creators of Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld; Jerzy Drozd, a creator, educator, and founder of the great kids’ comics site Sugary Serials; Dan Merritt, owner of Green Brain Comics; and librarian Edith Burney. With a series of activies spread out in time and space, this sounds like a refreshing alternative to being stuffed into an airless convention center for ten hours at a time.
With a cheerful crowd, a pleasant venue, and plenty of exciting creators and books, this year’s MoCCA seems to have been deemed a success. Both Christopher Mautner and I were there, and we decided that rather than write two separate blog posts, we would have a dialogue in which we contrast our impressions of the show. If you’re looking for a more comprehensive report on the show, check out the MoCCA report by our CBR colleague Alex Dueben as well as Tim Callahan’s writeup of his visit.
Chris: I’ll start: Was this your first time at a small-press comics show? I know you’ve gone to NYCC and several manga/anime related shows before, but I didn’t know if you’d been to something like MoCCA before? What was your general impression?
Brigid: This was my first time at MoCCA and my first time at a small-press comicsshow like this, although I have been to art shows with a similar feel.
First of all, I loved the locale. I actually used to live a few blocks away, so it was a bit of a homecoming for me to walk through Madison Square Park in the sunshine. The building itself had a nice, open, loft-like feel with plenty of rough edges—it felt artsy.
The show itself seemed like a giant, really good, Artists Alley. (I kept getting this feeling of deja vu because there were so many people I had just seen at C2E2.) The show definitely felt crowded, but never overwhelming. I made a pretty good circuit of the floor, but I felt like I missed as much as I saw, and I could easily have spent twice as much time there as I did.
Dave Roman is on a roll these days. First the prestige publisher First Second picks up his Astronaut Elementary and turns it into a beautiful, shiny graphic novel (retitled Astronaut Academy), and now Houghton Mifflin is going to do the same with his goofy webcomic Teen Boat (co-created with John Green).
“The angst of being a teen… the thrill of being a boat!” Did someone just toss the words “teen” and “boat” to Dave and John and dare them to make something out of them? Well, they did, and it’s damn funny, too. Heidi has the press release on the new book, which includes the seldom-seen phrase “featured everywhere from MTV to Boating World Magazine,” at The Beat. The book is due out in Spring 2011.
Teen Boat won the Ignatz Award for best debut in 2004, so this has been a long time coming. You can still enjoy the online version for free, but the book will be in color and include 33 new pages of story.
David Peterson was signing copies of his Mouse Guard hardbacks—and giving away the floppies for free, as promotional attractions. The Mouse Guard anthology series launches in May, with single issues out each month through August, followed by a hardcover colection.