Axel-In-Charge: Waid & Samnee on "Black Widow" and the Dawn of the All-New, All-Different Era
All this month, the creative team of High Moon has been celebrating its third anniversary of entertaining folks. Robot 666 is joining in the celebratory fun today by interviewing artist Steve Ellis. In this email info exchange we delve into the series moving away from ZUDA and growing its audiences through different digital platforms. While he was unable to go into details, I think fans of High Moon will be happy to learn there will some more Western horror in the High Moon creative team’s future.
If you’ve not read High Moon, at their blog the creators posted where to find High Moon: “The first three chapters of High Moon were collected last October by DC Comics. You can order the print collection through your local area comic book shop, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Borders.
The entire series is also available digitally through Comixology’ Comics or DC Comics apps for the iPhone and iPad Operating System. You can also download the issues from here – and read them on your computer or import them them into your ipad or iphone. The first issue is free — and every additional issue is just 99 cents!
And finally, for those of you savvy comic reading gamers our there — HIGH MOON is also available through the DIGITAL COMICS store on the Playstation Network for your PSP.”
Added bonus at the end of this interview, instead of answering a question, Ellis asks the readers a question.
Tim O’Shea: This month marks the third anniversary of High Moon. Looking back at the past three years, what have been some of the high points for you?
Steve Ellis: The first high point was meeting David at NYCC and starting the whole process of collaboration and building the working friendship that we’ve built. The rewards of working in comics come in different forms, but the collaborative process is one of the greatest parts of it.
And BOOM! goes the dynamite: Writer/editor Mark Waid has posted his keynote address from last weekend’s Harvey Awards on the CBR mothership. Arguably the most talked-about such speech since Frank Miller ripped up an issue of Wizard, Waid’s address tackled the thorny issues of copyright law, public domain, and digital piracy.
To hear Waid tell it in his intro to the CBR post, a combination of nervousness and not hitting certain points hard and often enough led some in the audience — including Sergio Aragonés, who confronted Waid about it — to believe Waid was attacking the very notion of creator ownership of art and defending illegal downloads. In reality, the speech was not nearly as radical, and a great deal more interesting. The most thought-provoking part of it, to my eyes, is the passage in which Waid argues that Internet culture, with the premium it places on distributing content people enjoy to as many other people as possible, has actually reinvigorated the notion that art has inherent value, in cultural terms if not financial ones:
And I’ll tell you why. It’s not because people “like stealing.” It’s because the greatest societal change in the last five years is that we are entering an era of sharing. Twitter and YouTube and Facebook–they’re all about sharing. Sharing links, sharing photographs, sending some video of some cat doing something stupid–that’s the era we’re entering. And whether or not you’re sharing things that technically aren’t yours to share, whether or not you’re angry because you see this as a “generation of entitlement,” that’s not the issue–the issue is, it’s happening, and the internet’s ability to reward sharing has reignited this concept that the public domain has cultural value.
Waid and his audience didn’t have the luxury you currently have, of being able to go through the speech at your leisure when you’re not reaching the end of a long convention day with a few vodkas under your belt. Take advantage, read the whole thing, and let us know what you think.
Saturday’s Harvey Awards ceremony got me thinking about the auspicious Best New Talent category. This year’s recipient is Rob Guillory for Chew, which is fairly apt given Guillory’s unique style and ability for this book to catch on the way many have failed.
But back to the award itself. In some industries, the idea of a Best New Talent award is the kiss of death for artists just breaking onto the scene — giving them too much attention too early in their career, akin to a child star trying to grow up in the entertainment industry. But as it turns out for the Harvey Awars’ Best New Talent, they’ve picked some winners. Here’s a list of the winners since the category’s inception in 1990:
Comics writer and BOOM! Studios Chief Creative Officer Mark Waid delivered the keynote address Saturday at the Harvey Awards ceremony at Baltimore Comic-Con, and from all accounts, it was a doozy. Heidi MacDonald live-tweeted the event and summed it up later in a post.
From her account, Waid’s speech was about the importance of having a public domain, and his point was that, originally, copyright existed to give creators an exclusive right to their work for a reasonable time and then release it to the public domain. “No one would argue that the world isn’t better by being able to see a Renoir for free,” MacDonald quoted Waid as saying, adding, “Now big corporations use copyright extended under the illusion it helps us all. Giving back to public domain helps culture, says Waid.” As for file sharing, Waid says, it’s “legit” to worry about it but “it isn’t going away. We can’t stop it and we’re entering the sharing era.” (All quotes drawn from MacDonald’s tweets.)
After the ceremony, MacDonald reported, Waid and cartoonist Sergio Aragones had some sort of heated discussion, although it ended in a hug. She caught up with Aragones after everyone was thrown out of the bar and did a quick interview:
Asterios Polyp, Chew, The Rocketeer: The Complete Adventures and The Walking Dead were among the titles winning multiple honors at the 2009 Harvey Awards, presented Saturday in conjunction with Baltimore Comic-Con.
The ceremony, hosted by PvP creator Scott Kurtz, also featured the presentation of The Hero Initiative’s first Dick Giordano Humanitarian of the Year Award to Tim Sale and Jerry Robinson, and The Hero Initiative Lifetime Achievement Award to Walter Simonson.
The complete list of Harvey Awards nominees can be found here. The winners are:
Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead (Image Comics)
Robert Crumb, Book of Genesis (W.W. Norton)
Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Hunter (IDW Publishing)
The 11th annual Baltimore Comic-Con opens Saturday morning, drawing an expected 15,000 attendees, and more than 150 guests, to the Baltimore Convention Center.
But none of those guests is a television or movie star, a professional wrestler, or a “model,” notes The Baltimore Sun. No, every one of them is actually involved in the creation of comics.
“It doesn’t make sense for our vendors to have these other people there to take up valuable space that would otherwise go to people who do make sense,” convention organizer Marc Nathan tells the newspaper. “… Having fringe sci-fi people, from shows that were popular back in 1972, doesn’t make that much sense to me. That’s not my show, that’s not what I want to do.”
The people you will find at the event include Laura Allred, Mike Allred, Sergio Aragones, Ivan Brandon, Tom Brevoort, Bernard Chang, Howard Chaykin, Ciff Chiang, Mark Chiarello, Frank Cho, Mike Choi, Kevin Colden, Amanda Conner, Ramona Fradon, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Ron Garney, Mike Gold, Michael Golden, Jimmy Gownley, Gabriel Hardman, Tony Harris, Dean Haspiel, Jonathan Hickman, Greg Horn, Adam Hughes, Jamal Igle, Klaus Janson, Georges Jeanty, Dave Johnson, J.G. Jones, Denis Kitchen, Barry Kitson, Scott Kurtz, Erik Larsen, Steve Lieber, the Luna Brothers, Ron Marz, Todd McFarlane, Carla Speed McNeil, Terry Moore, Sean Murphy, Steve Niles, Phil Noto, Denny O’Neil, Ryan Ottley, Jimmy Palmiotti, Jeff Parker, David Petersen, Paul Pope, Eric Powell, Chris Roberson, James Robinson, Don Rosa, Jim Rugg, Louise Simonson, Walter Simonson, Jim Starlin, Billy Tan, Ben Templesmith, Herb Trimpe, Timothy Truman, Mark Waid, Marv Wolfman, John Workman and Bernie Wrightson.
Exhibitors include Adhouse Books, BOOM! Studios, comiXology, IDW Publishing, Image Comics, Top Cow Productions and Top Shelf Comix.
In addition, the 2010 Harvey Awards will presented Saturday evening in a ceremony hosted by Scott Kurtz. Baltimore Comic-Con runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
The nominees have been announced for the 2009 Harvey Awards, which recognize outstanding work in comics and sequential art.
Named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman, the cartoonist and founding editor of MAD magazine, the awards are selected entirely by creators. Final ballots are due by Aug. 7. Winners will be announced Aug. 28 in Baltimore in conjunction with Baltimore Comic-Con. Scott Kurtz will again serve as master of ceremonies.
The nominees are:
• Jason Aaron, Scalped (Vertigo/DC Comics)
• Geoff Johns, Blackest Night (DC Comics)
• Robert Kirkman, The Walking Dead (Image Comics)
• Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid #3: The Last Straw (Amulet Books)
• Mark Waid, Irredeemable (BOOM! Studios)
• Robert Crumb, Book of Genesis (W.W. Norton)
• Guy Davis, B.P.R.D.: Black Goddess (Dark Horse)
• Brian Fies, Whatever Happened to the World of Tomorrow? (Abrams ComicArts)
• David Petersen, Mouse Guard: Winter 1152 (Archaia)
• Frank Quitely, Batman and Robin (DC Comics)
• J.H. Williams III, Detective Comics (DC Comics)
Two important notices regarding the top comics-industry awards:
• The deadline to submit nominations for the 2010 Harvey Awards is Friday. So, if you’re a comics creator, you have just two days to email your ballots, as snail mail is probably cutting it close at this point.
Named in honor of the late cartoonist and Mad magazine editor Harvey Kurtzman, the awards recognize outstanding work in comics.
The winners of the 2009 Harveys are:
Best writer: Grant Morrison, All-Star Superman (DC Comics)
Best artist: Gabriel Ba, The Umbrella Academy (Dark Horse)
Best cartoonist: Al Jaffee, Tall Tales (Abrams Books)
Best letterer: John Workman, Marvel 1985 (Marvel)
Best inker: Mark Morales, Thor (Marvel)
Awards | The debate over the 2009 Harvey Awards nominations marches on, with spirited discussion at The Beat (now drifting toward Best Single Issue or Story nominee NASCAR Heroes #5), and an open letter from Joe Keatinge pointing to industry apathy, not ballot-stuffing, as the problem with the process.
Tom Spurgeon, meanwhile, argues it’s time to let the Harveys fade away: “At this point, the Harveys neither provide a strong contrast with the Eisners nor do they do anything uniquely their own the way that the Ignatzes (a small press festival award), the Maisie Kukoc (a cash award for a mini-comics maker), even the Reubens (cartooning in all its aspects, newspaper-focused) do. You could probably save the Harvey Awards with an administrative overhaul and a lot of attention and time and maybe even money, but why? What are you saving exactly?” [The Harvey Awards]
Sales charts | The 27th volume of Tite Kubo’s Bleach in June ended Watchmen‘s 11-month reign atop the Nielsen BookScan graphic novels chart, which tracks bookstore sales. The Alan Moore-Dave Gibbons collection slipped to No. 2, joining the Final Crisis hardcover (No. 6) and the fourth volume of Buffy the Vampire Slayer (No. 18) as the only non-manga in the Top 20. [ICv2.com]
Awards | Discussion continues about the 2009 Harvey Award nominations, which contained more than a few surprises. Xaviar Xerexes looks at the positive — webcomics and works that began online are well-represented — as Johanna Draper Carlson considers how to fix a nomination process that many agree is broken. She also labels accusations of ballot-stuffing as “misguided”: “It’s not about stuffing — which generally implies a surfeit of questionable votes — it’s about a lack of participation giving those few professionals who do bother to submit nomination lists disproportionate power to affect the results.”
That brings us to events referred to online yesterday, most notably by cartoonist Evan Dorkin: Gemstone Publishing’s domination of the ballot in 2007 and 2008 when, by my quick count, the company’s books received 19 and 15 nominations, respectively. Travis Seitler, former art director for Gemstone’s Disney comics, popped up at The Beat to solve the mystery, such that it is: “For both 2007 and 2008, everyone at Gemstone Publishing was given pre-filled ballots (typically leaving one or two blank spaces for our own personal choices) to sign and send in. Nobody was required to submit the ballots (I didn’t either year; mostly because I was disgusted by the scheme), but I’m sure we still had two- or three-dozen nearly identical ballots sent for both of those years.” [The Harvey Awards]
Publishing | Ada Price looks at what effect Diamond Comic Distributors’ new order minimums have had on direct-market publishers and retailers. [PW Comics Week]
Within moments of the announcement this morning of the nominees for the 2009 Harvey Awards, Twitter was abuzz with congratulatory notes. Minutes after that, the criticisms began.
“Have 15 friends? You, too, can get a Harvey Award nomination,” wrote frequently outspoken cartoonist Evan Dorkin. “This year’s list is worse than ever, makes the Eisners look like the Nobels. … I mean, nothing personal to the nominees that don’t suck or didn’t get in their [sic] by ballot stuffing. But, come on — three Zuda comics noms? … Okay, let’s rephrase: Nothing against anyone. But imo the Harvey Awards are so obviously broken it’s not funny.”
Dorkin wasn’t alone in his questions and complaints. (Cartoonist Faith Erin Hicks summed up this morning’s Twitter traffic as “Equal number of tweets offering congrats to Harvey noms & discussion about the ballot stuffing.”)
Some of the questions center on the five nods for John Gallagher’s Buzzboy, whose presence in 2008 was a story in a Free Comic Book Day all-ages anthology and an issue of Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rules! sold at conventions and select stores.
“I am positive that many across the internet will offer up a collective ‘What Th–?’ about us getting the recognition we are getting,” Gallagher writes on his website, “and I join them in that — but i really do appreciate those that may have thrown their support our way.”
All-Star Superman, Buzzboy, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Nat Turner and DC’s Zuda Comics imprint made strong showings in the nominations for the 2009 Harvey Awards, announced this morning.
Named in honor of the late cartoonist and Mad magazine editor Harvey Kurtzman, the awards recognize outstanding work in comics. They will be presented Oct. 10 in Baltimore during Baltimore Comic-Con.
Jeff Kinney’s best-selling children’s series Diary of a Wimpy Kid led with six nominations: Best Writer, Best Cartoonist, Best Inker, Best Continuing or Limited Series, Best Graphic Album-Original and the Special Award for Humor in Comics.
DC’s All-Star Superman, which ended in October 2008, received five nominations, for Best Continuing Series, Best Writer (Grant Morrison), Best Artist (Frank Quitely), Best Inker (Jamie Grant) and Best Colorist (Jamie Grant). Sky Dog Comics’ all-ages Buzzboy earned five nods, for Best Writer (John Gallagher), Best Cartoonist (John Gallagher), Best Letterer (Thom Zahler), Best Inker (Rich Faber), Best Cover Artist (Frank Cho for Buzzboy: Sidekicks Rule! #3) and the Special Award for Humor in Comics (John Gallagher).
Comics and creators from Zuda online initiative, which debuted in 2007, garnered a combined seven nominations, including nods for Best New Series for High Moon, Night Owls and Supertron.
Kyler Baker’s historical graphic novel Nat Turner earned four nominations for Best Graphic Album-Previously Published, Best Single Issue or Story, Best Writer and Best Artist.
The full list of nominees for the 2009 Harvey Awards can be found after the break: