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].
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]
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
“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.
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]
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]
Hark! A Vagrant creator Kate Beaton provides the poster for the new Janus Films Charlie Chaplin series, which is on a tour that kicked off in Los Angeles earlier his month.
“She did an amazing job capturing the classic icon of the Little Tramp but treating it in a new way,” writes graphic designer Eric Skillman with Janus Films. “We wanted to remind people that these aren’t just stuffy classics to be studied, they’re honest-to-god funny films to be ENJOYED. (Something that even some of us at the office had forgotten until we started watching them again recently.) And I think Kate captured that spirit perfectly.”
Publishing | D.C. Thomson & Co., publisher of long-running comics like The Beano and The Dandy, is closing a printing plant in Dundee, Scotland, eliminating up to 350 jobs. The facility is used to print magazines and books. The company, which also owns The Evening Telegraph and Sunday Post newspapers, employs more than 2,000 people. [BBC News]
Publishing | Lori Henderson returns to the question of what led to the failure of the CMX manga imprint: “Its parent company, DC didn’t do anything to market that line. Putting a solicitation in Previews is not marketing. DC claimed they would bridge the manga and comic store gap, yet did nothing to help retailers or promote the books to bloggers, bookstores or librarians, their three strongest advocates. You can’t buy or recommend books you don’t know about. While there were other factors that contributed to its ultimate end, the mishandling of the imprint in its first year, and then being completely ignored for the rest was the main factor in its lack of sales.” [Manga Xanadu]
Enraged by the ongoing crisis in the gulf, and BP’s response (or lack thereof), artists have taken matters into their own hands and made … comics. io9 has a small gallery, featuring Aquaman, Spongebob, and the comics stylings of Kate Beaton.
Every day people post comics on the Internet. Here are a few that caught our eyes.
The Adventures of Bronzegold, Barbarian Rogue by Benjamin Marra
Since my repertoire of Canada-based witticisms is entirely derived from half-remembered viewings of Strange Brew, I’m just gonna skip the clever opening and point you straight to this rather amazing gallery of (mostly) DC Comics superheroes drawn by (mostly) alternative comics artists (entirely) from Canada. It’s The Doug Wright Awards 2010 All-Star All-Canadian Art Auction, in which these pieces are being sold on eBay to help fund the annual award program. That’s Jillian Tamaki’s gorgeous take on Catwoman above (DC editors, are you paying attention?); click here to see Kate Beaton’s Wonder Woman, Chester Brown’s Batman, Jeff Lemire’s Hawkman & Atom, Matt Forsythe’s Hawkman, Marc Bell’s Iron Man (guess he didn’t get the “DC Comics characters” memo), original art from Bryan Lee O’Malley and more, and click here to start bidding.
(via Tom Spurgeon)
These strips have been tearing up the Internet today like Zelda Fitzgerald tore up an open bar, but nevertheless I wanted to make sure I shared them with you: Hark! A Vagrant‘s Kate Beaton has posted a whole series of strips lampooning F. Scott Fitzgerald’s required-reading classic The Great Gatsby. From dragging the book’s subtext kicking and screaming to the foreground to simply making fun of what a bunch of jerks Nick, Tom, Daisy, Jay and the gang are, it’s the kind of thing that’ll make you wanna look your old high-school English teacher up on Facebook and send her the link.