Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? This week we’re joined by music video director and comic book writer Alex de Campi, whose works include Smoke, Kat & Mouse, Valentine and the in-production Ashes.
To see at Alex and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Conventions | San Diego City Council has given final approval to the planned $520 million expansion of the San Diego Convention Center, viewed as necessary to keeping Comic-Con International in the city past 2015. The project still faces a legal challenge to a financing scheme involving a hotel-room surtax, as well as state regulatory approval, leading the city attorney to caution that the targeted 2017 completion date is just “a goal.” Whether Comic-Con organizers can be convinced to sign another three-year extension to their contract remains a big question. [NBC San Diego]
Conventions | Most of Heidi MacDonald’s article about New York Comic Con is behind a paywall at Publishers Weekly, but she pulls out some stats at The Beat: Ticket sales are up 190 percent over this time last year. As the capacity of the Javits Center is somewhere south of 110,000 people, this means the ReedPOP folks won’t sell any more tickets than last year, but they are selling out faster. Three-day and four-day passes are already gone, only Friday tickets remain, and ReedPOP vice president Lance Fensterman expects everything to be sold out by the time the show begins. [The Beat]
Graphic novels | A musical based on Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed 2006 graphic memoir Fun Home will open the fall season of the Public Lab series of the Public Theater in New York City. Featuring music by four-time Tony Award nominee Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Tony nominee Lisa Kron, the show is scheduled to run from Oct. 17 through Nov. 4 at the Shiva Theater. [The New York Times, The Public Theater]
Creators | Gilbert Hernandez guests on the comiXologist podcast to talk about Love and Rockets and what he has been reading lately. [comiXology]
Creators | Brian Wood and Ming Doyle talk about their new comic Mara, which will debut from Image Comics in December and features a volleyball player with superpowers in a world where sports and warfare are no longer so far apart. While Wood is not really a sports fan, he is fascinated by the portrayal of athletes in popular culture: “‘This is tied into the superhero thing, recognizing parallels between the two,’ Wood says. ‘I think there’s a lot to talk about there and part of me feels I’ll need more than one comic series to do it in. We’ll see.’” [USA Today]
Harvey Pekar’s Cleveland was probably the perfect last comic from the legendary writer. Published in April, a little less than two years after the writer’s death, it treated the setting of almost all of his works as the subject, and, intertwining biography with city history, it synthesized the the story of the man and the story of Cleveland into one. With beautiful art by Joseph Remnant, which evoked the best qualities of some of Pekar’s best contributors, it was a pretty perfect punctuation at the end of Pekar’s writing career.
And now here’s another comic.
Not the Israel My Parents Promised Me, written by Pekar with Philadelphia-based artist JT Waldman (Megillat Esther), is seemingly on a subject far less associated with Pekar than Cleveland, one that can be incredibly controversial, as Israel’s history embodies a sort of perfect blend of serious life-and-death issues that almost everyone is extremely passionate about. It’s also, incidentally, not a a subject Pekar owns the way he owns, say, Cleveland; I don’t necessarily seek out graphic novels about Israel and its relations with its neighbors, but in the past few years the following have come across my desk: Sarah Glidden’s How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, Joe Sacco’s Palestine and Footnotes in Gaza, Marv Wolfman and company’s Homeland, Rutu Modan’s Exit Wounds and Jamilti and Other Stories and Guy Delisle’s Jerusalem: Chronicles From the Holy City.
As suggested by the cover image, a drawing of Pekar regarding the reader, standing in a field of empty space filled only with the title and credits, this is actually another book about Pekar, Pekar’s life, and Pekar’s city; the “Me” and “My Parents” in the title are almost as — if not just as — important as the “Israel” in the title.
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]