"Justice League": Exploring How Superman Returns (Again)
Comic Books, Film
Publishing | DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint is the first comics company to use the Wattpad “social reading app,” where writers and publishers can share their work with potential readers around the world. Survivors’ Club writers Lauren Beukes and Dale Halvorsen are starting things off with a list of their favorite horror movies, and Gail Simone and Holly Black are expected to check in as well. [TechCrunch]
Conventions | Journalist Tom Spurgeon and Bone creator Jeff Smith, co-organizers of Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, discuss their concept for a truly comics-focused festival. “We’re almost at the point where we’re treating comics as a weigh station before you make your money or impact,” Spurgeon says. “Comics are solely what we do and it’s solely where our efforts go. We want this to be important. We want to celebrate older cartoonists who may have fallen out favor. We want to celebrate the anniversaries of great comics. It’s solely comics-focused.” [Paste]
“I write for my partners. I write with them and to them. I seek collaborators and co-conspirators rather than employees. I share ownership of the books I do (Hawkeye obviously an exception) with the artists for whom I write as a rule. They make more than me, too, as a rule, and they earn it. Comics are a visual medium; to quote Mark Twain, ‘Thunder is impressive; but it is lightning that does the job.’
It is a high-class problem at all that anyone wants to write critically about a book I write and I understand that, but I find it fatuous at best and disingenuous at worst when any book I write gets referred to as ‘mine.’ These comics result from the work of ‘us.’ One may as well write a restaurant review without referring to the actual taste of a meal, or a piece of music solely by its duration.
Writer Matt Fraction appeared last night on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers, where he offered sex advice from Just the Tips, the book he co-authored with his Sex Criminals collaborator Chip Zdarsky, and discussed the inspiration behind his run on Marvel’s Hawkeye.
“The book was really about what Hawkeye does when he goes home to do his laundry,” Fraction explained. “It’s like Hawkeye on his day off. To me he’s the human heart and soul of the Avengers, so it was fun to do a book like that about somebody who compulsively can’t stop helping people, even when he’s a human crap-sack tire fire of a human being. That’s on the back of the action figure: ‘human crap-sack.'”
Matt Fraction, writer of Sex Criminals, Casanova, Satellite Sam and ODY-C, will be a guest Thursday, May 21, on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers.
“Like, a guest-guest,” he wrote in the latest DeConnick & Fraction newsletter. “Like, on the show. […] I have a really cool treat cooked up for the show, so — so yeah. Tune in! DVR that shit! Do whatever millennials do now, I don’t even …”
Fans of Hawkeye by Matt Fraction, David Aja & Co. at long last can get that figure they’ve been longing for: Pizza Dog. OK, sure, Hawkguy’s included, but … Pizza Dog!
Apparently, this Marvel Select Avenging Hawkeye figuring has been cropping up in Disney Stores, but now it’s available for order online from the Marvel Shop. Fully poseable, the 7-inch figure features “his classic black costume,” a bow, six arrows, a gun, interchangeable left hand, and two interchangeable heads (one with sunglasses, the other with a bandaged nose, of course).
Comics are art, and sometimes art is comics. The print collective Secret Panel, which ROBOT 6 wrote about last fall, has released two new limited-edition prints by Becky Cloonan and Matt Taylor focusing on Sex Criminals, the acclaimed Image Comics series by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky (now being developed for television).
This is the fourth release for Secret Panel since its launch in October, following prints based on Nameless, Hotline Miami and Revival. Here are Taylor and Cloonan’s prints, the latter of which isn’t exactly safe for work:
Writer Matt Fraction is no stranger to mixing a little bit of social activism into his comics work. But this weekend, the Hawkeye and Sex Criminals scribe is drawing attention to a charity not because of art he made but because of art he detests: Fifty Shades of Grey.
The international best-selling romance novel and its just opened film adaptation could charitably be described as having a complicated relationship with sexual violence. Or as Fraction put it on his blog, “So there’s a movie out this weekend based on books that romanticize, fetishize, glamorize and normalize abusive relationships…And while sex is great and finding someone into all the stuff you’re into is great, sex is not consent to violence, a relationship is not permission to abuse, and there are thousands of women and children who have to deal with that fundamental and erroneous misconstruing of truth and wild misinterpretation of love every day.”
In response to the fact that the film’s earning millions made him feel “a little sick to think about,” Fraction is planning on matching donations to the Futures Without Violence charity generated by the sale of Hawkeye merchandise on WeLoveFine.com between now and Monday. The proceeds of past t-shirt and messenger bag sales exceeded $2,000 for the charity that works to end violence against women. But if you didn’t get a chance to buy a “Hawkguy” product then (or are just grossed out by the Fifty Shades phenomenon), now is your chance to make your contribution count for double.
Conventions | At a press conference Thursday to kick off FanXperience, the Salt Lake Comic Con spinoff event, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker declared Jan. 29, 2015, as “Salt Lake Comic Con’s Day of Heroes.” Organizers, who have capped ticket sales for the second annual event at 70,000, say they expect a sellout. The Deseret News also looks at the origins of Salt Lake Comic Con in a profile of founders Dan Farr and Bryan Brandenburg, who were introduced to comic conventions not as fans but as entrepreneurs. FanX continues through Sunday. [KSL.com]
Festivals | Reporter Alex Turnbull files a video report from the Angoulême International Comics Festival that includes segments on the tributes to the Charlie Hebdo cartoonists, the Belgian cartoonist Hermann, and a 24-hour comics challenge. [France 24]
Hawkeye merch has been available at the WeLoveFine online store for quite some time — but did you know proceeds were going to an anti-violence charity? Kelly Sue DeConnick announced via Twitter that the Hawkeye-themed merch had raised $2,068.39, which has been donated to Futures Without Violence, which seeks to end violence against women and children worldwide.
Museums | The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., has added comics to its permanent collection for the first time. Abigail and William Gerdts donated 176 comics, including Zap Comix and Arcade: The Comics Revue. Judith Brodie, curator of modern prints and drawings, cited the influence of comics on artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein: “They were all drawing their inspiration from cartoons and comic books. It seems totally logical that we’d want a representation of those.” [The Washington Post]
Passings | Greek cartoonist Ilias Skoulas died passed away Thursday at age 87. Skoulas began his career as an editorial cartoonist at the age of 32, and his work was published in numerous Greek newspapers and magazines, as well as 13 books. [Greek Reporter]
Brian Michael Bendis shared some terrific photos from a weekend get-together at the Portland, Oregon, home of Matt Fraction and Kelly Sue DeConnick, where such artists as Matt Wagner, Skottie Young, Tony Moore and Matthew Clarke drew on the hallway wall. DeConnick provides a link to the “completely interactive” wallpaper, whose pattern features frames of different sizes and styles — ideal for one-of-a-kind sketches.
Check out a couple of the images below, and more on Bendis’ blog.
Hawkeye #19 featured the Marvel hero during his period of hearing loss, which writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja used as an opportunity to tell a story through American Sign Language. The issue’s title page included the dedication “For Leah,” and as it turns out, “Leah” is 17-year-old Utah resident Leah Coleman, KSL.com reports.
Her mother Rachel Coleman worked with Fraction on the issue. The two met through a concert held by Rachel Coleman’s Signing Time television series in 2012, when Fraction related how much he loved ASL due to its visual nature. He later contacted her for assistance in bringing ASL to Hawkeye #19.
“The new design is entitled ‘H Signs,’ and it is inspired by the plot of the latest issue of Fraction and David Aja’s critically acclaimed Hawkeye series,” wrote WeLoveFine’s Nicole Campos. “Each shirt is $25. In keeping with the sign language theme of the issue, Matt will be donating his curation commission for this particular style to the Signing Time Foundation, a charity whose efforts are dedicated toward making sign language fun and accessible to deaf children around the world.”
[Editor’s note: Each Sunday, Robot 6 contributors discuss the best in comics from the last seven days — from news and announcements to a great comic that came out to something cool creators or fans have done.]
I think by now we can all agree that diversity in comics is a great thing. Not only does it welcome in people who might feel ostracized by convention and provide a positive reflection of themselves in the pages of a comic, but it teaches readers and challenges us to go beyond comfort zones and understand the world around us.
Legal | Attorney Tom Goldstein, co-founder of the respected SCOTUSblog, has joined with Marc Toberoff to represent the heirs of Jack Kirby in their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court of the Second Circuit’s affirmation that the artist’s contributions to Marvel between 1958 and 1963 were work for hire and therefore not subject to copyright termination. In a response filed this week to Marvel’s brief urging the high court to decline review, Goldstein and Toberoff again challenge the Second Circuit’s “instance and expense” test and its definition of “employer,” and argue, “Many of our most celebrated literary and musical works were created before 1978 and signed away to publishers in un-remunerative transactions. Termination rights were ‘needed because of the unequal bargaining position of authors.’ It would be hard to find a better example of this than the prolific Jack Kirby, who worked in his basement with no contract, no financial security and no employment benefits, but without whom Marvel might not even be in business today.” [Hollyqood, Esq.]
Retailing | Memo to politicians: You don’t win friends and influence people by taking up five spots in a comic store’s parking lot with your campaign bus on a Wednesday — especially when it’s Batman Day. [The Clarion-Ledger]