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NY Mag features Pizza Island

Domitille Collardey at work

New York Magazine has a slideshow up this week about Pizza Island, the Greenpoint, Brooklyn, studio where six comics creators make the magic happen.

The slideshow includes self-portraits of Julia Wertz (Fart Party, Drinking at the Movies), Kate Beaton (Hark, A Vagrant) Lisa Hanawalt (I Want You), Sarah Glidden (How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less) Domitille Collardey (whose works are mostly in French), and Meredith Gran (Octopus Pie) as well as comments on each one by a co-worker. (It was Lisa and Domitille who commented on that Frank Quitely piece, so it’s interesting to contrast their self-portraits with his version of a woman cartoonist.)

There’s a whole lot of talent working in that small space, and if you’re fortunate enough to be going to MoCCA, be sure to check out their panel, which will feature all six. If you’re not, then head on over to the Pizza Island blog, where, at the moment, everyone is showing off their work spaces and discussing the quirks of their desktops.


Page after glorious page of behind-the-scenes Strange Tales II art

line art for the Strange Tales II #1 cover by Rafael Grampa

line art for the Strange Tales II #1 cover by Rafael Grampa

Over at ComicsAlliance, Laura Hudson has a real treat for those of you who like your superhero comics with an alternative twist: 50-plus pages of sketches, thumbnails, pencils, inks, color studies and more from the Strange Tales II hardcover, which debuted this week. Click on over and get a glimpse at the creative process behind contributions from Kate Beaton, Jeffrey Brown, Ivan Brunetti, Farel Dalrymple, Rafael Grampa, Dean Haspiel, Jaime Hernandez, Paul Hornschemeier, Benjamin Marra, Edu Medeiros, Harvey Pekar, Frank Santoro, and Paul Vella. That’s hella Strange!

Hornschemeier covers Strange Tales 2 with help from Kate Beaton

How much do you love Marvel’s Strange Tales anthology? The mixing of independent talent with these mainstream comic icons is truly something to behold, and it looks like Marvel is continuing that with the recently leaked cover to the second volume’s collected edition.

Cartoonist Paul Hornschemeier recently released the cover he designed for Strange Tales II (as you can see on the right) , which features Hornschemeier’s design sensibilities with the art of Kate Beaton. Hornschemeier calls Beaton “one of the best, most pitch-perfect cartoonists working today,” and said he knew she wanted her work on the cover even before he started going through the book’s contents.

Make with the clicky to Hornschemeier’s blog to see the cover at a larger size as well as the back cover and more thoughts on the whole project.

Kate Beaton presents the Adventures of Sexy Batman

Okay, nerd internet, job well done — you can go ahead and retire now.

(Dare I point out that showing Batman strutting his stuff even in the midst of crimefighting turns him into gag-strip fodder — thus revealing how totally idiotic it is for female superheroes to constantly be shown doing the exact same thing? Or will that bring out the anti-Beaton He-Man Woman Haters Club again?)


D&Q announces a collection of artist Kate Beaton’s work

Tom Spurgeon broke the news that Drawn & Quarterly has acquired the North American rights to publish a new collection of work by cartoonist Kate Beaton titled Hark! A Vagrant.

Using the name of Beaton’s website, the book will collect comics she has published there, as well as some new strips. The Montreal-based publisher plans to have the hardcover collection on store shelves in the Fall of 2011. UK fans will see her book put out through Jonathan Cape.

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Food or Comics? | This week’s comics on a budget

John Byrne's Next Men

Welcome once again to Food or Comics?, where every week we talk about what comics we’d buy based on certain spending limits — $15, $30 to spend and if we had extra money to spend on what we call the “Splurge” item. Check out Diamond’s release list for this week if you’d like to play along in our comments section.

Michael May

If I had $15:

There are a lot of great periodicals coming out this week, so I’d have some hard choices to make. With only $15, I’d concentrate first on those with the cheapest prices: the first issue of Dark Horse’s new Mighty Samson ($3.50), Atomic Robo and the Deadly Art of Science #2 ($3.50), and Mouse Guard: Black Axe #1 ($3.50). I’m already a huge fan of both Atomic Robo and Mouse Guard and – based on its concept and vague memories of stories I read as a kid – hope to become one of Mighty Samson too. I’d spend the last of my money on Northern Guard #1, because I’m a sucker for Canadian superheroes.

If I had $30:

I’d add Doc Macabre #1 ($3.99), John Byrne’s Next Men #1 ($3.99), and Strange Tales 2 #3 ($4.99). “Doc Macabre” is an awesome name and I love Steve Niles’ pulp stuff, I’ve been waiting 16 years for that Next Men issue, and the Strange Tales book has a Kate Beaton story in which the Avengers go to a carnival. I’d pay five bucks just for Beaton’s deal, but it’s also got a Thing tale by Harvey Pekar (and yes, Harvey Pekar is in the story).

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Kate Beaton’s New York Diary

from "New York Sketches" by Kate Beaton

The Big Apple giveth, the Big Apple taketh away: After losing what would have been her latest Hark, a Vagrant! comic strip somewhere on the streets of SoHo, cartoonist Kate Beaton made lemonade out of lemons by instead posting “New York Sketches” — a sizeable selection of diary-comic strips about her life and times in New York City. From attending the New York Comic Con (see above) to dealing with drunk and disorderly fellow New Yorkers to assuaging the fears of her mom back in Nova Scotia, it’s a fun little portrait of the artist as she navigates the concrete jungle where dreams are made of [sic].


Comics A.M. | Diamond plans digital service? Eisner judges named

Diamond Comic Distributors

Retailing | Rich Johnston confirms that Diamond Comic Distributors is developing a digital comics service that, in the words of a company representative, “will be entirely focused on driving sales of digital comic-related content through brick and mortar comic book specialty retailers.” No details were made available, but an official announcement is expected “in the near future.” In the meantime, Johnston gathers initial reactions from several retailers. [Bleeding Cool]

Publishing | Amit Desai, who has worked at Warner Bros. since 2004, has been named as DC Entertainment’s senior vice president, franchise management: “In his new role, Desai will develop and implement the individual franchise plans for Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash, MAD Magazine, Vertigo titles, and other DC properties. This will include driving wider cross-promotional support across all Time Warner divisions.” [press release]

Publishing | Alex Segura, former publicity manager at DC Comics, has been hired by Archie Comics as executive director of publicity and marketing. [press release]

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What Are You Reading?

Hellblazer: India

Hello and welcome once again to What Are You Reading?, where the Robot 6 crew talk about the comics and graphic novels that they’ve been enjoying lately. Today our special guest is Bill Reed, who contributes to our sister blog Comics Should Be Good!. To see what Bill and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click the link below.

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Gabby Schulz on every Internet discussion of sexism ever

from "How Every Single Discussion About Sexism and Woman-Type Stuff on the Internet (and Real Life) Has Ever Happened and Will Ever Happen, Always, Forever, Until the Earth Finally Falls into the Sun. (Or Until the Patriarchy Is Dismantled.)" by Gabby Schulz

from "How Every Single Discussion About Sexism and Woman-Type Stuff on the Internet (and Real Life) Has Ever Happened and Will Ever Happen, Always, Forever, Until the Earth Finally Falls into the Sun. (Or Until the Patriarchy Is Dismantled.)" by Gabby Schulz

Last week Kate Beaton asked that male comics readers carefully consider their choice of words when complimenting female comics creators, so as to keep a bright dividing line between their work on the one hand and their gender and appearance on the other. The resulting discussion — or maybe the better word is backlash — made me fear for the future of the species.

Apparently I’m not alone in that. Cartoonist Gabby Schulz (aka Ken Dahl) crafted a masterfully mordant satire of the discussion, and countless others like it. Click here to read the whole thing. Then click back here to tell us why it’s ALL WRONG, god help us.

Friends of Lulu announces awards, new site

This year has been a difficult one for Friends of Lulu, but with their 2010 Lulu awards, a new website, and some plans for the future, they seem to be winding it up on a hopeful note.

The awards were announced last night at the Long Beach Comic Con, and despite some controversy over the nominations, it’s a satisfying slate:

  • Leah Adezio Award for Best Kid-Friendly Work: Diana Nock, The Intrepid Girlbot
  • Best Female Character: Ramona Flowers, Scott Pilgrim by Bryan Lee O’Malley
  • Kim Yale Award for Most Talented Newcomer: Kathryn Immonen: “The Runaways”
  • Lulu of the Year: Kate Beaton
  • Woman of Distinction Award: Lauren Sankovitch: editor, Marvel Comics
  • Female Cartoonists Hall of Fame: Alison Bechdel

Acting board member Kynn Bartlett also responded to Johanna Draper Carlson’s questions about the group’s IRS status and its plans for the future, saying that the interim board will be working on getting the house in order but keeping the organization’s options open for the elected board, and asking people not to make donations until the group straightens out its status with the IRS.

Robot 666 | Kate Beaton draws Dracula

Becky Cloonan’s “Sluts of Dracula” post hinted that this might be on the way, and behold, it’s a thing of beauty: Historical and literary gag cartoonist extraordinaire Kate Beaton takes on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the Victorian classic of horror and sex (and horror of sex). She nails it. Or drives a stake through it, whichever. Read the whole thing.

Quote of the day | Kate Beaton on sexist “compliments”

“dear internet, you are well meaning, but I’d like to make a point. when you tell a female creator you like her work so much you want to marry her and have her babies, you’re not doing anyone any favors. first of all, as cute as it sounds in your head, it’s a shitty, disrespectful ‘compliment.’ No one makes comics looking for sexual attention. secondly, by doing so you invite others to critique that person’s works based on their looks, which is uncomfortable, sexist and unfair.”

Hark, a Vagrant! cartoonist Kate Beaton, on the obliviously sexist compliments with which women creators are bombarded every day. (And yes, she knows these people don’t literally want to marry her and have her babies.)

A useful rule of thumb when discussing the work of a woman artist, positively or negatively, is to ask yourself if what you’re about to say would apply to identical work that just so happened to have been created by a man. If the answer is “no,” then you’re not talking about the work at all.

I was bummed to see that Beaton got a lot of pushback on this topic, too. Even putting issues of sexism aside, refraining from doing something that makes someone else uncomfortable, when there’s no possible way that refraining from it negatively affects you — that’s just simple common decency.

Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

The Walking Dead #77

Publishing | Image Comics Publisher Eric Stephenson talks at length about market share, the economics of creator-owned comics, fallout from the prolonged legal battle between Todd McFarlane and Neil Gaiman, and retailer concerns about simultaneous print and digital release of The Walking Dead: “… I was honestly a little thrown by the sheer amount of invective generated by the day-and-date release of a single Image digital title, sold at exactly the same price point as the print version of the book. Nobody was undercut, nobody had an unfair advantage, and I don’t see how it’s any different from offering the book for sale through any other storefront. Virtually every comic is available digitally on the same day it’s released to comic book shops — for free — and that has been the case for several years at this point. Publishers have slowly begun to establish a foothold in digital publishing, but I would be willing to bet more people downloaded The Walking Dead #77 for free than paid for it through our app. In fact, I’ll even go one better and speculate that more people downloaded The Walking Dead #77 illegally than bought the print comic. And you know what? The book’s sold out — we have more reorders than we can fill and we both know those reorders wouldn’t be coming in if retailers weren’t selling out of the books.” [Bleeding Cool]

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Comics A.M. | The comics Internet in two minutes

DC Comics

Publishing | Following Friday’s news that as many as 80 employees will be relocated or fired in DC Entertainment’s restructuring, Rich Johnston claims that most of the staff reduction will come from the end of temporary contracts. “DC has made it a policy to replace outgoing support staff with temporary staff for just this eventuality,” he writes. “New positions will open in Burbank to cover what is now needed over there, but there will be no cross-country moving arrangements for temps to fill them.”

Sean Kleefeld, meanwhile, provides commentary on the cuts: “Those layoffs? Those are for actual employees. Those are going to be admins and accountants and file clerks and licensing specialists and whatnot. Probably an editor or three. People who come in to DC’s offices in New York City to do their job. But what about the comic creators who also suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them? With Wildstorm and Zuda going away, won’t that mean all those creators who were working on books under those imprints no longer have an outlet for their work?” [Bleeding Cool, Kleefeld on Comics]

Digital comics | Deb Aoki interviews comiXology CEO David Steinberger about distributing Tokyopop’s Hetalia: Axis Powers, and the possibility of more digital manga. [About.com]

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