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Welcome to “Cheat Sheet,” ROBOT 6′s guide to the week ahead. While some of you will be taking full advantage of the three-day Memorial Day Weekend by enjoying a summer blockbuster, a barbecue or the first dip of the year in the outdoor pool, others will be heading to the Phoenix Convention Center for the 13th annual Phoenix Comicon.
But while everyone else is packing their bags, and stocking up on sunscreen, ROBOT 6’s contributors are busy spotlighting some of the best books going on sale Wednesday.
Wired‘s Underwire blog has an exclusive excerpt of Alan Moore’s introduction to the Occupy Comics anthology, titled “Buster Brown at the Barricades,” along with a bit of background on his involvement. Here’s the first paragraph to whet your appetite:
The field of comics, formerly regarded as a more insidious threat to young minds and public morality than syphilis, has currently attained a level of propriety which it seems anxious to maintain. Having at last apparently become a critically-accepted and occasionally lucrative component of the entertainment industry, the comic-book is keen to foster its new image of social responsibility (and economic viability) with a bombardment of admiring quotes and press-release-derived puff pieces in the media.
Moore isn’t having any; his essay chronicles the long history of comics as an underground medium, used by common people and revolutionaries alike to take jabs at The Man. It’s incredibly interesting and well worth reading. The essay appears in the final Occupy Comics anthology, set for release in the spring.
Awards | Following the nomination of two graphic novels for the Costa Prize, the new chairman of the Man Booker Prize said he would welcome submissions of graphic novels as well. [The Telegraph]
Passings | Former Wizard staff member Marc Wilkofsky, whose efforts on behalf of Friends of Lulu earned him their Volunteer of the Year award in 2005, has died at the age of 42. He was also an enthusiastic member of the NYC Comic Jams. [Andrew Kardon, The Beat]
Conventions | Richard Bruton files a comprehensive con report on the recent Thought Bubble festival in Leeds, England. [Forbidden Planet]
Wired has the exclusive on David Lloyd’s cover for the second issue of Occupy Comics, which shows a figure in the Guy Fawkes mask that Lloyd and Alan Moore brought to the world in V for Vendetta taunting a bull.
The second issue of the Occupy Comics anthology was released Monday, the first anniversary of the movement; besides Lloyd, the contributors include cartoonist Matt Bors, activist Bill Ayer, and artist Molly Crabapple, who lives near the Occupy site and was arrested at the first-anniversary event. (And check out the Occupy illustrations that Crabapple did for The Nation — before becoming part of the story herself.)
Editor Matt Pizzolo says the emphasis of the anthology has shifted in this second issue:
Publishing | May was a huge month for comics sales in the direct market, and John Jackson Miller quantifies just how huge: It was the biggest month for dollar sales in the “Diamond Exclusive Era” (i.e. since 2003): “Diamond’s Top 300 comics had orders totaling $25.72 million, an increase of 44% over last May and the highest total since Diamond became the sole distributor in 1997. It beats the total of $25.37 million set in December 2008.” [The Comics Chronicles]
Comics | Art Spiegelman is contributing a prescient New Yorker cover from 2001 to the Occupy Comics anthology; other creators who are contributing work include Alan Moore, Jimmy Palmiotti and Dean Haspiel. [Underwire]
History | Joe Sergi takes a look at the comics burnings of 1948, a series of disturbing events in which children, no doubt goaded on by well-meaning adults, collected comics door to door and then burned them in a public bonfire. [CBLDF]
As announced at WonderCon, Steve Niles and Matt Pizzolo have teamed up with Epitaph Records to distribute creator-owned comics. That enterprise now has a name, Black Mask Studios, and its first project–Occupy Comics, the activism-inspired charity anthology and successful Kickstarter project that Pizzolo headed up.
“Initially I was hoping we could partner with a publisher or retailer to work with us on distribution, but we weren’t happy with any of the deals we were offered,” said Pizzolo on the project’s Kickstarter site. “So instead I decided to invent a solution we’d be happy with, and it wound up seeming like a pretty cool way to support comics creators in general. It’s called Black Mask Studios and you can read more about it over at Wired.”
Occupy Comics is planned for release in late 2012, and will include contributions from Alan Moore, David Lloyd, Mike Allred, Shannon Wheeler, Eric Drooker, Ryan Ottley, Darick Robertson, J.M. DeMatteis, Joseph Michael Linsner, Douglas Rushkoff, Ben Templesmith, Amanda Palmer and many more. Ales Kot and Tyler Crook are teaming on a story called “Citizen Journalist” (above); check out more artwork from the anthology over at Wired.com.
Although slow to react to the nearly two-month-old announcement that V for Vendetta creators Alan Moore and David Lloyd are contributing to Occupy Comics, one conservative writer has finally had enough with the “leftist” comics industry, suggests those on the right should “fight back.”
Dusting off a list of grievances that includes the controversial Tea Party reference in Captain America #602, pro-Obama sympathies and an unnamed series “blaspheming God and Christianity,” Paul Hair writes on Andrew Breitbart’s Big Hollywood that it’s time for conservatives to counter with their own version of Occupy Comics.
“Leftists have made no secret about who they are, and I see no reason why we shouldn’t simply wipe the dust of their town from our feet and stop throwing pearls to them in worthless attempts to change them,” he writes, loading both barrels with biblical allusions. “Instead, I propose we fight back.”
Arguing that, “I no longer see a point in engaging leftists in argument or debate,” Hair suggests the right’s Occupy Comics initiative should “simply move forward and promote who we are” and real-world solutions to economic problems.
He puts out the call for other contributors to Breitbart’s online network to become involved, drawing responses in the comments from Mike Baron and James Hudnall, among others. “The OWS comic is an example of comics people boarding the train after it derailed,” Hudnall writes. “I’ve been quietly working on projects I plan to do which will explore different arguments about society and government than what many comics pros tend to do but we aren’t all left wing. I find there are a lot of conservative and libertarians in the community. They just aren’t as vocal as lefties.”
With so much being reported about Alan Moore’s connections to the Occupy movement — through his endorsement of its ideals, his contribution to Occupy Comics, and protesters’ co-opting of the David Lloyd-designed Guy Fawkes masks — U.K.’s Channel 4 News coaxed the V for Vendetta writer from his home in Northampton to London to meet some of the demonstrators for the first time.
“It’s a bit surprising when some of the characters you thought you made up suddenly seem to escape into ordinary reality,” Moore told some disguised protesters. “I mean, what is it about the mask — is it just useful, or what?”
The report also delves into Frank Miller’s criticism of the Occupy movement, Moore’s displeasure with film adaptations of his works and, yes, the irony that each Guy Fawkes mask that protesters buy puts more money into the coffers of Time Warner, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates.
Comics | Matt Pizzolo discusses the Occupy Comics project, which raised more than $28,000 on Kickstarter: “The way the money is allocated is actually through the individual contributors. The artists and writers are all paid a proportional share of the revenue based on the number of pages they provide versus the total number of pages in the book, but all of the artists and writers are agreeing to donate that money to the protesters. Most contributors want to donate as a group to get the most bang for their buck, but they don’t have to — anyone can just take their share and hand it to the protesters at their local park if they want.” [The Morton Report]
Comics | Todd Allen compares the relative positions of DC’s New 52 titles in November with their September rankings; the November orders reflect the adjustments retailers made after seeing how the different titles sold in September. The results: Animal Man shot up by 10 slots, The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men sank by eight, but most titles only moved a few notches up or down. [The Beat]
Alan Moore, who characterized the Occupy movement as “a completely justified howl of moral outrage,” has joined his V for Vendetta collaborator David Lloyd and more than 50 other creators for Occupy Comics, an anthology project inspired by the protests.
“It’s fair to say that Alan Moore and David Lloyd are unofficial godfathers of the current protest movement,” Occupy Comics organizer Matt Pizzolo told Wired.com. “It’s really amazing to see two creatives whose work was inspiring to street protesters join a creative project that is inspired by the street protesters. It’s a pretty virtuous cycle.”
Moore will contribute a long-form prose piece, possibly with illustrations, exploring the movement’s principles, “corporate control of the comics industry and the superhero paradigm itself.”
The project, being funded through Kickstarter, is described as “a time capsule of the passions and emotions driving the movement.” It will begin as single-issue comics, followed by a hardcover collection; a making-of documentary is also being produced by Patrick Meaney, director of Grant Morrison: Talking With Gods and Warren Ellis: Captured Ghosts. With three days left in its fundraising campaign, Occupy Comics has raised $15,892, surpassing its $10,000 goal.
Organized by director Matt Pizzolo, Occupy Comics is the name given to an activism-inspired charity anthology intended to raise funds for Occupy protests while also creating art to symbolize the movement’s themes. Using the crowd-funding site Kickstarter, Occupy Comics‘ goal is to raise enough money to fund the creation of a hardbound book as well as pay the creators involved, who will in turn donate directly to the Occupy movement.
The roster of talent includes a host of A-list talent such as Charlie Adlard. J.M. DeMatteis, Joseph Michael Linsner, Steve Niles, Tim Seeley, Ben Templesmith, Susie Cagle and others. The plan is to release the comics as a rolling series of digital comics in early 2012, followed by a print edition and later a hardbound collection.