SPIDER-MANDATE: The Lowe-down on "Secret Wars," Tie-Ins and Stacey Lee
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.
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.
… 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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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]
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.
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]
“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.
To see what Ao and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below …
The Toronto Comic Arts Festival, one of the high points of the indy comics year, has announced the first round of guests for this year. It doesn’t seem to be up on the TCAF site just yet, but Tom Spurgeon has the rundown at The Comics Reporter, and it’s an impressive list: Jeff Smith, Alison Bechdel, Guy Delisle, and Gabriel Bá and Fábio Moon are the headliners. Smith will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of Bone, while Bechdel’s Are You My Mother? and Delisle’s Jerusalem are both due out shortly before the show.
But wait! There’s more! Kate Beaton, German creator Arne Bellstorf, Scottish creator Tom Gauld (whose Goliath is due out soon from Drawn and Quarterly) Gabriella Giandelli, Jennifer and Matt Holm (Babymouse), Jason, Kazu Kibuishi (creator of Amulet and editor of the Flight anthologies), Bryan Lee O’Malley (Scott Pilgrim), Gary Panter, Michel Rabagliati, Andy Runton (Owly), Olivier Schrauwen, and Adam Warren (Empowered) will also be gracing the halls of the Toronto Reference Library this May. That’s an amazingly eclectic and talented group. If you have been thinking “Some day I’ll make it to TCAF,” this should probably be the year.
Publishing | Jennifer de Guzman announced that, after 10 years, she has left her position as editor-in-chief of SLG Publishing: “My decade SLG was, I suspect, like no other decade anyone has spent working anywhere. I had great co-workers and got to work with fantastic creators, all of whom I will miss very much. (Though because this is comics and a community like no other, we will always stay in contact.)” [Possible Impossibilities]
Retailing | Chris Powell, current general manager and chief relationship officer for Texas-based comic chain Lone Star Comics, has accepted the newly created position of executive director of business development for Diamond Comic Distributors. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund board member will start his new position in March. [ICv2]
Season’s Greetings and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading?, our weekly look at what we’ve been reading lately. Today our special guests are Geoffrey Golden and Amanda Meadows, editors of Devastator: The Quarterly Comedy Magazine for Humans. Their latest issue has a video game theme, with contributions from James Kochalka, Corey Lewis, Danny Hellman and many more. And if you head over to their website between now through Dec. 16, the code ROBOT6 gets you 20 percent off single issues.
To see what Amanda, Geoffrey and the Robot 6 crew have been reading lately, click below.