Events | Heidi MacDonald beats everyone else to the punch and files the definitive report on the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, which featured a flurry of graphic novel debuts and appearances by artists as diverse as Taiyo Matsumoto (Tekkonkinkreet) and Andrew Hussie (Homestuck). [Publishers Weekly]
Publishing | BOOM! Studios will publish a line of Robocop comics beginning in August. Dynamite Entertainment had the license previously, but company President Nick Barrucci said the rights reverted to the licensor, who granted them to BOOM! [ICv2]
Publishing | Brian Truitt takes a look at Valiant’s lineup for the second summer of its new life, and he talks to the creators about the relaunch and their plans for the future. [USA Today]
Retailing | Diamond Comic Distributors has announced it will return to Chicago April 24-26 for its annual Diamond Retailer Summit, held in conjunction with the April 26-28 Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo . The three-day event includes presentations from sponsoring publishers, focus groups, and retailer workshops and roundtables. [Diamond Summits]
Awards | Johanna Draper Carlson has resigned as a judge for the 2012 Glyph Comics Awards following a disagreement over which works are eligible for the annual honors. Carlson believed judges should be able to nominate comics (as is the case with the Eisners), but the organizers limited the pool to comics that were submitted to them, which resulted in a smaller group of nominees. [Comics Worth Reading]
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]
Comics | Auction prices for comics and original comics art have soared over the past few years, ever since a copy of Action Comics #1 broke the $1-million mark in 2010. Barry Sandoval of Heritage Auctions (admittedly, not a disinterested party) and Michael Zapcic of the comics shop Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash discuss why that happened—and why prices are likely to stay high. [Underwire]
Creators | Brian Michael Bendis looks back on his eight-year run on Marvel’s Avengers franchise. [Marvel.com]
Sales | The comic book market was up more than 19 percent in November when compared with the same period last year, with comics up 23 percent and graphic novels up 12 percent. So far this year the comics and graphics novel market is up 1.87 percent versus the first 11 months of 2010. If December cooperates, this could be the first up year for the market since 2008.
DC Comics was once again the top company in terms of market share. The company took six of the top 10 spots on Diamond’s Top 100 Comics list, with Justice League #3, Batman #3, Action Comics #3, Green Lantern #3 and Marvel’s Point One #1 making up the top five comics of the month. Batman: Noel took the No. 1 spot on the Top 100 Graphic Novels list. [The Comichron]
Publishing | IDW Publishing has promoted Chief Operating Officer Greg Goldstein to president, with a focus on new markets and acquisitions. He joined the company in 2008 from Upper Deck. [ICv2.com]
Canadian artist, illustrator and cartoonist Gary Taxali has an art show coming up at the Narwhal Gallery in Toronto. The good news for those of you who don’t live anywhere near that city is that almost the entire exhibit is up online for you to peruse. (via)
Yesterday was Beethoven’s birthday, and the Schulz Museum honored the occasion with a new online exhibit entitled Schulz’s Beethoven: Schroeder’s Muse. The site features an examination of both the famed composer’s music and how Schulz incorporated it into his strip, along with recollections from Jean Schulz and others, audio selections, sheet music, history and lots of comic strips. Here’s a snippet from the press release, which Mike Lynch was gracious enough to post online:
Schulz’s Beethoven, Schroeder’s Muse features 60 cartoons that include meticulously drawn music from Beethoven’s piano sonatas complemented with manuscripts, first editions, and artwork from the rich collections of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San José State University. Visitors to the on-line exhibition can listen to the music, travel to other websites to enrich their understanding of the strips, and explore cartoon and music history.
Sounds like a pretty good way to spend a Thursday afternoon to me.
The Ewing Gallery of Art and Architecture at the University of Tennessee has a new exhibit up entitled “MultipleXMultiple: A Survey of Contemporary Printmaking.” The interesting (and comics-related) thing about this show is they’re highlighting the work of Chris Ware by displaying every page from every issue of Acme Novelty Library so far on a wall. One of the student curators, Daniel Maw, has pictures of the installation on his blog, and talks about the idea behind the show over at Flog:
In order to showcase the epic nature of this comic we elected to purchase two copies, cut the bindings off each, collate the pages, and display all  pages in a grid on a 23 x 10 foot wall. It is quite impressive to take it all in at once as it demonstrates the tremendous amount of talent and work that went in to the creation of the book.
Not content with dominating the vast world merchandising, the Peanuts empire will now take on the competitive and ever-controversial ice sculpting arena, with a new exhibit that will open on Nov. 20 in Nashville, TN. Entitled ICE!, the exhibit will re-enact scenes from A Charlie Brown Christmas using 2 million pounds of ice carved by artisans from Harbin, China. No, I am not making any of this up.
The promo video is above. You can read the intro from the official press release, which I nicked from Daily Cartoonist, after the jump.
* Nina Stone can’t get worked up enough to hate on Power Girl: “I guess I just don’t see what is being oppressed here. Is there some strong feminine story that could be told if this character didn’t have large breasts? What is it I’m missing?”
* Is Storm a racist character? Discuss.
* Writing for Reason magazine, Brian Doherty examines Harold Gray’s classic comic strip Little Orphan Annie, with a particular eye to its political themes:
These first two volumes of the series, both of them pre–New Deal, are individualistic, but the anti-government mood is generally quietly suggestive, not obtrusive. The subtle politics are highly individualistic, promoting the virtues of the hard-working common man. The strip was suffused with Midwestern values (hard work and cheerfulness) and prejudices (pro-fisherman, anti-beard) and a very populist sense that it was who you were inside, not money or station, that mattered, and that “just plain folk—and plenty of ’em” were best.
In 1970, author William Burroughs and artist Malcolm Mc Neill joined forces to work on a graphic novel entitled Ah Pook Is Here. The book never turned out as expected, though, as Richard Metzger explains:
Originally conceived as a graphic novel in the pictographic format of the surviving Mayan codices, the project –eight years in the making– consisted of over 100 illustrations by Malcolm McNeill, 30 in full color and about 50 pages of text. “Ah Pook is Here” would have been prohibitively expensive to publish at the time. As Burroughs wrote “over the years of our collaboration Malcolm McNeill produced more than a hundred pages of artwork. However, owing partly to the expense of full color reproduction, and because the book falls into neither the category of the conventional illustrated book, nor that of a comix publication, there have been difficulties with the arrangements for the complete work. The book is in fact unique…”
Now, however, the illustrations have been rediscovered and are touring art galleries around the globe. The show is currently at the Track 16 Gallery in Los Angeles if you’re so inclined to see it. Apparently some of these images are more than 25 feet long, which makes you wonder how they were going to reporduce it in a book in the first place.
Look’s like today’s my day to post videos. Anyway, Thirteen’s SundayArts program has a nice piece on the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art and their current the Art of Watchmen exhibit, presented to you by curators Ellen S. Abramowitz and Peter Sanderson.
Fantagraphics promotions director and MOME anthology editor Eric Reynolds was in Minneapolis last week for the opening of the MOMEntum art show, which, as you may have guessed, features art work from the anthology. Reynolds helped curate the show, and he also gave a lecture about the history of the work and comics in general, which Sarah Morean of The Daily Cross Hatch has transcribed for your reading pleasure:
When I first started reading comics and cartooning it seemed like it wasn’t that hard to get published through anthologies, zines, etc. In 2004 when I first started to conceive of MOME in my head, and with Gary Groth at Fantagraphics, one of the reasons we started thinking about it is because there are virtually no regular comic anthologies on the market. Graphic novels were booming, but there wasn’t a place you could send a short script when you finished it, and anticipate having it published in a few months. You pretty much had to self-publish or web-publish. The best anthologies that were out there in 2004 were probably Kramer’s Ergot and also NON by Jordan Crane. They came out very infrequently though, maybe once every couple of years, while simultaneously pushing the boundary on what comics could be. But they weren’t the kind of thing you could send a strip in with the hopes of being published.
Reynolds also has a photo diary of his trip and the exhibit, which, if the picture above is to be believed, involves talking baby tour guides. Mome contributor Tom Kaczynski has an additional Flickr set worth checking out too. No baby tour guides there though.
This show is on display at the MCAD Concourse Gallery now through April 19th