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This Beat is Def: Fantagraphics to publish Piskor’s Hip Hop Family Tree

Hip Hop Family Tree

Wizzywig creator Ed Piskor‘s latest work, Hip Hop Family Tree, has been running on BoingBoing for some time now, laying out the history of hip hop music and starring the likes of Doug E. Fresh, Kurtis Blow, Spyder-D, The Sugarhill Gang, Grand Master Flash and other luminaries from the music’s past. Fantagraphics announced yesterday that they’ll publish a print collection of the work sometime next year.

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Comics A.M. | Media scrutinize Marvel CEO’s role at Disney

Isaac Perlmutter, in his only known public photo

Publishing | Matthew Garrahan’s profile of reclusive Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter is somewhat sharper than the Los Angeles Times story linked last week, as it includes accusations that the 69-year-old billionaire threatened an employee, made a racially insensitive remark, and maneuvered Disney Consumer Products chairman Andy Mooney and three other executives (all African-American women who reportedly referred to themselves as “The Help”) out of their jobs. Nikki Finke follows up at Deadline with details of Disney and Marvel’s attempts at damage control, as well as the news that Disney has settled with the three former execs. [Financial Times]

Retailing | Comics shop veteran Amanda Emmert, executive director of the retailers’ association ComicsPRO and owner of Muse Comics in Colorado Springs, talks about retailing, the health of the industry, and the popular perception of comics shops as men’s clubs: “I have new customers who walk in and tell me how strange it is for a woman to work in a comic book store or a gaming store. Their experience comes more from watching The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory, as you pointed out, than from seeing a great number of stores, though. I am very lucky to work for ComicsPRO; I get to work with hundreds of stores around the country, a large percentage of which are owned or operated by women.” [Colorado Springs Gazette]

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Comics A.M. | ‘Digital doesn’t cannibalize the industry’; geezer noir

Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture

Digital comics | Rob Salkowitz, who’s making the rounds to promote his new book Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture, has the best summary yet of the digital comics phenomenon: “Digital doesn’t cannibalize the industry; it grows it by encouraging fandom.” (Robot 6 contributor J. Caleb Mozzocco reviewed Salkowitz’s book this week.) [Flip the Media]

Creators | Christos Gage may have created a new genre, “geezer noir,” with his graphic novel Sunset, the tale of an old soldier and former hitman who sets off after his old boss when he fears his ex-wife and child are in peril: “‘He’s got this craggy face and you see his life written in the lines of his face, and black and white makes that so much more powerful,’ the writer says. He credits artist Jorge Lucas for giving him all the facial expressions that stand in for a lot of talking: ‘He was never going to have interior monologues. I don’t think he overanalyzes what he does all that much.’” [USA Today]

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Comics journalism overload [Updated]

First of all, we need to think up some new terms to distinguish journalism done via comics — as practiced by, say, Joe Sacco — from journalism about comics. Suggestions gleefully accepted!

Whatever we call it, sequential-art reporting is definitely coming into its own, and we have the links to prove it. For starters, here’s a video of the Comics and Journalism in a New Era panel at Comic-Con International, moderated by Publishers Weekly comics editor Calvin Reid and featuring a stellar lineup of Susie Cagle (who has been involved in as well as reporting reported* on Occupy Oakland), Andy Warner, Stan Mack, Ed Piskor, Dan Carino and Chris Butcher.

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Comics A.M. | Is a battle over Thanos building? Tim Marchman redux


Creators | Following the appearance of the Infinity Gauntlet in Thor and the cameo by Thanos in The Avengers, Marvel appears poised to expand the cosmic elements of its cinematic universe with The Guardians of the Galaxy. While some fans eagerly await a movie announcement next week at Comic-Con International, Thanos creator Jim Starlin (who had to buy his own tickets to Thor and The Avengers) may be laying the groundwork for a legal challenge: Heidi MacDonald points out that Starlin has posted an early drawing of the Mad Titan on his Facebook page, writing, “This is probably one of the first concept drawings of Thanos I ever did, long before I started working at Marvel. Jack Kirby’s Metron is clearly the more dominant influence in this character’s look. Not Darkseid. Both D and T started off much smaller than they eventually became. This was one of the drawings I had in my portfolio when I was hired by Marvel. It was later inked by Rich Buckler.” [The Beat]

Comics | Tim Marchman, author of that much-discussed Wall Street Journal article, is at it again, this time interviewing Watchmen editor Len Wein about his work on Before Watchmen, and including the interventions of DC Comics Publicity Manager Pamela Mullin as part of the story. Between the embargo on the comic and Mullin doing her job, it sounds like the most interesting parts of the interview never made it into the final product. [The Daily Beast]

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Comics A.M. | Natural Selection creator passes away; is Tokyopop back?

Natural Selection

Passings | Dr. Scott Henson, who retired from a career as a neurosurgeon and became a cartoonist, has died at the age of 52. Henson, who treated Superman actor Christopher Reeve after his fall, took up the pen after his health problems forced him to leave the medical field and created the panel cartoon Natural Selection under the pen name Russ Wallace. The cartoon was picked up by Creators Syndicate and syndicated nationwide. [The Charleston Gazette]

Publishing | Deb Aoki provides a thorough analysis of Tokyopop’s Anime Expo panel, in which the once-shuttered manga publisher announced a new title and hinted at more. [About.com]

Creators | Paul Levitz discusses Worlds’ Finest, his buddy comic featuring Power Girl and Huntress: “There’s always been a certain level of humor and cool confidence in a light way associated with Power Girl that’s been fun, and the Huntress has always been the more determined of the women in the DC Universe — a woman with a sense of mission and a crossbow ready to take your eye out. [USA Today]

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What Are You Reading? with Ed Piskor

G.I. Joe #60

This week our special guest is Ed Piskor, creator of Wizzywig and Brain Rot, and artist on the Harvey Pekar-written graphic novels Macedonia and The Beats.

To see what Ed and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.

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Robot 6 Preview | Ed Piskor’s Wizzywig


Courtesy of the fine folks at Top Shelf Productions, we are pleased to bring you a preview of Ed Piskor’s latest graphic novel, Wizzywig.

Wizzywig is the story of Kevin “Boingthump” Phenicle, a precocious child who grows up to be one of the most notorious computer hackers in America. An orphan raised by his grandmother, Kevin is a lonely, socially awkward child who, apart from his sole friend Winston, can only count on his skills with computers and breaking into the “Ma Bell” telephone system for solace and entertainment. As he grows older his pranks get more daring, more dangerous and attract the attention of the federal government, which in turn finds him a fugitive on the run. Culled from true stories of real-life hackers, Wizzywig follows not just Kevin’s development from computer geek to wanted man, but also follows the story of the Internet and personal computing itself, and how it changed from handheld, landline phones and 14K modems to social networks and instantaneous communication.

Wizzywig comes out in stores in July. Check out the preview as well as a short promotional video about the book, below.

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Comics A.M. | Angoulême begins; judges come to cartoonist’s rescue


Conventions | Wim Lockefeer lines up the exhibits he’s looking forward to at the 39th Angoulême International Comics Festival, which begins today in Angoulême, France. [The Forbidden Planet International Blog Log]

Legal | Cartoonist Albert Lekgaba was sketching the proceedings of the Botswana Court of Appeal when security officers asked to step out of the courtroom, confiscated his work, and told him he could not draw in court, “especially if the judges were present.” When the judges learned of this, however, they informed the court registrar that sketching is indeed allowed, and they ordered that Lekgaba be readmitted to the courtroom and his sketches returned to him. [The Botswana Gazette]

Passings | California newspaper cartoonist John Lara has died at age 56. [Coastline Pilot]

Creators | Heidi MacDonald sums up a number of recent posts on piracy and the creative life in one mega-post, and a lively discussion follows in the comments section. [The Beat]

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Start Reading Now | Brain Rot

You know what’s the only thing better than being BoingBoinged? Being on BoingBoing every day. That’s the happy position Ed Piskor is in; his new comic Brain Rot debuted there on Tuesday. Unlike his Boingthump! and Deleterious Pedigree, Brain Rot is in color, but it still manages to look like one of my old Zap Comix, an illusion that Piskor helps along by framing using a yellowed-newsprint background and mimicking the colors and textures of old-tyme four-color printing. God only knows that this is about—there’s only one page up at the moment—but Piskor usually takes us on a pretty wild ride.

If you have a minute, check out his Steve Jobs comic, a single page done in the same style as Brain Rot.

Comics A.M. | Alibi witnesses testify in Michael George trial


Legal | Defense testimony began in the Michael George trial  Monday after the judge denied a motion by the defense to order an acquittal. George’s daughter Tracie testified that she remembers her father sleeping on the couch in his mother’s house the night in 1990 when his first wife Barbara was shot and killed in their Clinton Township, Michigan, comic store. Another defense witness, Douglas Kenyon, told the jury he saw a “suspicious person” in the store that evening and that Barbara George, who waited on him, seemed nervous. [Detroit Free Press]

Conventions | Last weekend’s Alternative Press Expo inspired Deb Aoki to offer a burst of suggestions on Twitter as to how it could be made better. Heidi MacDonald collected the tweets into a single post, and the commenters add some worthwhile points (including not scheduling it opposite the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival, which attracts much of the same audience and is free). [Deb Aoki's Twitter, The Beat]

Awards | Ian Culbard’s adaptation of H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness won the British Fantasy Award for best comic/graphic novel, presented Saturday by the British Fantasy Society. [The British Fantasy Society]

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Wizzywig wraps up online; book to follow

As we noted last year, Ed Piskor has been reworking his comic Wizzywig, the story of a phone hacker and his escalating career of techno-pranks. He wrapped it up this week, and the comic is complete on his site, so now is a good time to grab a cup of coffee and read the whole thing. Piskor has a nice, clean style, and he has completely redrawn this comic from its earlier, three-volume incarnation, tightening it up considerably along the way and updating it to include references to Wikileaks. There’s a print edition in the works from Top Shelf, due out next year, and that should be worth saving your pennies for.

Make mine MoCCA: Creators and small press

Of course, the really great thing about this weekend’s MoCCA Festival is the huge flock of individual creators who go there to show off their work. Here’s the full list, and here are a few of the highlights that jumped out at me. Feel free to point out the good stuff I missed in the comments section.

Cathy Leamy will be at the Boston Comics Roundtable table with her brand-new diary comic What’s the Word?, a collection of her diary comics from Metrokitty.

Neil Kleid will happily sign copies of his comics, mini-comics, and graphic novels (The Big Kahn, Brownsville), and anything else he has work in (including the Fraggle Rock anthology), but if you really want to make his day, bring him an obscure soda.

Stephanie Yue, who illustrates the Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye graphic novels (not just adorable, but funny for both adults and kids) will be there, as will her editor Carol Burrell, who draws SPQR Blues under the nickname Klio.

Rica Takashima will have a special doujinshi just for MoCCA. Rica is a yuri (lesbian) manga creator and the author of the much-acclaimed Rica ‘tte Kanji?, which Shaenon Garrity described, approvingly, as “as cute as a blender full of kittens.”

If your tastes tend more toward the retro-bizzare, check out Coin Op Studio, which will be debuting the charmingly titled Coin Op No. 3: Municipal Parking and Waterfall at the show.

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Start reading now: New, improved Wizzywig

A panel from the first page of Wizzywig

A panel from the first page of Wizzywig

Drawn in an underground-comix style reminiscent of the old Zap Comix, Wizzywig tells the story of Kevin Phenicle, who begins as a phone phreak and is pulled deeper and deeper into the world of hacking. Piskor, who collaborated with Harvey Pekar on American Splendor: Our Movie Year and The Beats: A Graphic History, has already published the first two volumes of Wizzywig, and they are both available for free download from his website as well as for sale in better comics stores everywhere. What he’s putting up as a webcomic is a new and improved version. One page is up so far, and he plans to update on Wednesdays and Sundays; for more background, take a look at Shaun Manning’s CBR interviews with Piskor about volumes 2 and 3. (Via Comics Worth Reading.)

Your video of the day: Ed Piskor profile

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has a nice video profile on the Wizzywig creator. (via)

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