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What Are You Reading? with Gardner Linn and Dave Lentz

Signs and Meanings

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading? Today our special guests are Gardner Linn and Dave Lentz, the creative team behind the webcomic Registered Weapon — “the internet’s only webcomic starring a robotic cash register who fights crime.” They just kicked off their latest story, Case 006, on Nov. 12, and you can also download the first ten pages from their site if you prefer to read in bigger chunks.

To see what Gardner, Dave and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …

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Kate Beaton has very limited-edition sketchbook for you

If you need a Kate Beaton sketchbook to go with that copy of Hark! A Vagrant and are one of the first 500 people to act, TopatoCo (an online distributor for merchandise by indie cartoonists) has you covered. There’s also a supply at Desert Island Comics in Brooklyn, which I guess means that less than 500 are available for online orders. The book was put together from scans of Beaton’s actual sketchbook. “Some are doodles, some are research,” TopatoCo writes. “You know how it goes with sketchbooks. We’re keeping the run small to make this a special thing, for fans who want something a little different and personal.”

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Comics A.M. | CBLDF goes to bat for SideScrollers in Connecticut

SideScrollers

Graphic novels | The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has written to the Enfield, Connecticut, school district to ask that Matthew Loux’s SideScrollers be reinstated to its summer reading list and to point out that the district did not follow its own procedures when it removed the book last month after the mother of a ninth-grader complained about the graphic novel’s profanity and sexual references. [CBLDF]

Digital comics | Digital distributor iVerse has unveiled a new deal to sell foreign-language translations of Marvel and Archie comics worldwide. iVerse will have exclusive global rights to Marvel’s foreign-language comics, both floppies and trades, while for Archie they will create apps in different languages for different countries, starting with Japan, China, and India. iVerse CEO Michael Murphy says that 50 percent to 65 percent of the company’s digital sales are to international customers (including Canada). Nonetheless, the comics will be “platform-independent”: iVerse will provide translation (through a combination of machine translation and human editors) and distribution, so the comics will be available through their Comics + app but also through other channels, such as Amazon or iBooks. [Publishers Weekly]

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Winners announced for 2012 Ignatz Awards

Love & Rockets New Stories #4

Love and Rockets New Stories took home three awards tonight at the 2012 Ignatz Awards, which were announced at SPX, the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Md.

Nominees for the awards were chosen by a jury of five creators and voted on by attendees at the show. This year’s jury included Edie Fake, Minty Lewis, Dylan Meconis, Lark Pien and Julia Wertz.

The 2012 Ignatz award winners are:

Outstanding Artist: Jaime Hernandez – Love and Rockets New Stories (Fantagraphics)
Outstanding Anthology or Collection: Hark! A Vagrant – Kate Beaton (Drawn & Quarterly)
Outstanding Graphic Novel: Big Questions by Anders Nilsen (Drawn & Quarterly)
Outstanding Story: “Return to Me,” Love & Rockets New Stories #4, by Jaime Hernandez (Fantagraphics)
Promising New Talent: Lale Westvind – Hot Dog Beach (Self-published)
Outstanding Series: Love and Rockets New Stories by The Hernandez Brothers (Fantagraphics)
Outstanding Comic: Pterodactyl Hunters by Brendan Leach (Top Shelf)
Outstanding Mini-Comic: The Monkey in the Basement and Other Delusions by Corinne Mucha (Retrofit Comics)
Outstanding Online Comic: SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

What Are You Reading?

Godzilla #1

Hello and welcome to What Are You Reading?, where each week we talk about what comics and other stuff have been on our reading piles. To see what the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.

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Drawn and Quarterly to debut Kate Beaton calendar at SDCC

There aren’t a lot of details, but I guess there isn’t much more to know than what’s in the title. Kate Beaton will be San Diego Comic-Con and so will her calendar. There are many reasons I’m excited to go to this year’s show, but this just jumped to the top of them.

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Kate Beaton comic explains how she started …

… Drinking coffee, that is. She posted this adorable strip on Twitter with the caption, “This guy came in every day for a week w/coffee and made hearts come out of my teenage eyeballs.” See the whole thing below.

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Quote of the day | ‘As a person with eyes, I am a little offended’

This is a drawing that someone drew and was like, “Yeah! That’s a good enough drawing!”

Man, I don’t even care if that drawing is official or whatever, I can’t believe someone drew it and thought it was okay to show people. People can see that drawing! PEOPLE WITH EYES. Why do I even fight so hard to make my art look good when someone else drew that. As a person with eyes, I am a little offended.

Faith Erin Hicks, not losing her funny while expressing offense about Guillem March’s cover to Catwoman #0.

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Kate Beaton’s color cover for The Walrus

Kate Beaton declares that she’s still in early days on her color work, and that most of that has been published by Canadian magazine The Walrus. For example, the cover to the current issue. Although she’s previously done some color interior work for The Walrus, this is her very first magazine cover ever for any publication, so it’s kind of a big deal. I imagine I’m not alone in hoping there are many more to come. Ahem, New Yorker.

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A new direction for Kate Beaton

Kate Beaton mentioned on her Tumblr last week that she’s working on new material for her follow-up to Hark! A Vagrant, but is exploring a different tone.

“I’ve been thinking that I’d like to see the next book take a different direction than the last,” she wrote. “Not just a Volume II, but something new to offer. And I’ve been ready to do something different as well. I’d like to tell some stories that mean something to me, with a personal connection.” To that end, she’s been studying her hometown and the people there.

“I am trying to find the tone I’d like, and practice a different way of telling stories,” she said. “Collections of small stories that paint a big picture. It’s the little moments that interest me, human, and funny, and sad, because that’s life. Relatable, and real. I figure now was the time to do it since I impulsively start drawing those stories anyway, and have sketchbooks full of little scenes. If I made this book it would be a smaller think than Hark!, quieter, but I wouldn’t mind.”

She’s already started posting some comics that demonstrate what she’s talking about and the results are — as she says — funny, sad and very human.

Kate Beaton, Ethan Rilly pick up Doug Wright awards

From "Hark! A Vagrant," by Kate Beaton

Canada’s own Doug Wright Awards were presented Saturday night in conjunction with the Toronto Comics Art Festival, and Kate Beaton, who the 2009 Emerging Artist award, fulfilled that early promise by taking home the award for the best book for Hark! A Vagrant.

Ethan Rilly won the Doug Wright Spotlight award for Pope Hats #2, and Michael Comeau received the Pigskin Peters award, given for experimental or avant-garde comics, for his Hellberta. In addition, cartoonist Terry “Aislin” Mosher, who has been drawing cartoons for The Montreal Gazette for 40 years now, was inducted into The Giants of the North, the Canadian Cartoonists Hall of Fame.

Comics A.M. | Ali Ferzat named one of Time’s Most Influential People

Matt Wuerker's cartoon in support of Ali Ferzat

Creators | Ali Ferzat, the Syrian cartoonist who was abducted and beaten last year because of his criticisms of the government, was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World.” “Tyrants often don’t get the jokes, but their people do,” Pulitzer Prize-winning Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker writes in his tribute to Ferzat. “So when the iron fist comes down, it often comes down on cartoonists.” [Time]

Publishing | In one of its wide-ranging interviews with comics publishers, the retail news and analysis site ICv2 talks with Dark Horse CEO Mike Richardson about the state of the market, the loss of Borders, his company’s 2011 layoffs, webcomics, and some early missteps with its digital program: “Quite honestly we’ve run into a few issues because the programs that we’ve done haven’t worked as well as we wished. We created some exclusive material and got less participation than we had hoped for. […] We gave codes out to retail stores to drive customers into their stores. They could pick up the exclusive content by going to their participating comic shop. Evidently we didn’t do a good enough job getting the word out, so we’re retooling that.” [ICv2.com]

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Hark! A Q&A: Kate Beaton on breaking in to comics

Kate Beaton has a great question-and-answer session up on her Tumblr (and it’s only Part One), covering topics from process to setting up a website to marketing and dealing with criticism. It’s a fantastic, informative read from someone who knows what she’s talking about, though the most important advice may be her response to a question about finding time to create:

Charles Schulz’s famous quote is something we’ve all heard. “Cartooning will destroy you, it will break your heart.” When you understand what he meant, you also understand why he did it for most of his life all the same.

Comics A.M. | Direct market experiences best January since 2008

Justice League #5

Sales | Sales of comic books and graphic novels to comic books stores through Diamond Comic Distributors increased 27.5 percent in January compared to the same month in 2011. Comics were up 32 percent while graphic novels were up 18 percent compared to 2011. DC Comics dominated all 10 spots at the top of the chart, with Justice League #5 coming in at No. 1. Batman: Through the Looking Glass was the top graphic novel for the month. [ICv2]

Passings | British comics artist Mike White, who illustrated Alan Moore’s The Twisted Man and numerous other stories for 2000AD, Lion, Valiant, Action and Score ‘n’ Roar, has passed away after a long illness. [Blimey!]

Publishing | Because the world demanded it, apparently, Random House plans to publish e-books of all the collected editions of Garfield newspaper comics. [Down the Tubes]

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Quote of the day #2 | Kate Beaton on pursuing new opportunities

“This is a funny job. Webcomics are often cited as the future of comics and the internet and I don’t know what else, but the fact that no one has retired from them yet means that I, at least, rest a little uneasy in these shoes sometimes if only for the lack of having a dependable compass by which to steer the ship. I just want to make the best decisions I can, so that I will be around longer, making drawings and comics and writing and other things that I hope people will enjoy. I’m not sure what will work out with these opportunities that have come my way, and I guess I can’t really say much about them, but I think I’d be a fool if I didn’t give them a try. So I am going to! Whatever I can let you know, I will.”

-Hark! A Vagrant creator Kate Beaton, explaining how the success of her webcomic and the subsequent print collection has brought a lot of offers her way, “from children’s books to television work,” which she plans to pursue. Which is good news for her, but the bad news is it means she won’t be updating her site with new comics as frequently. She has started a Tumblr where she’ll post sketches and other stuff in the meantime.


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