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Quote of the Day | Chuck Dixon on politics and superhero comics

From "Action Comics" #900

From “Action Comics” #900

“If you want to put politics in your own comic, go ahead, that’s a great thing. But to put it in mainstream superhero comics and use them as a platform for your own political views is something we object to. And we object to it from both ends. We don’t think these characters should be used for anyone’s point of views even if they agree with us. When I wrote these characters, I didn’t have them present my political views or any political views at all other than their own that are part of their character. Such as Batman is anti-gun. I wrote a lot of anti-gun speeches for Batman that were well-justified and compassionate. I am not personally anti-gun or anti-Second Amendment, but that’s the character. You don’t write it different than what’s established. That was basically our premise, that these were iconic characters shared by generation after generation and should be pretty much just left alone as good guys and bad guys.”

Chuck Dixon, talking with Comic Book Resources about the recent Wall Street Journal column he co-wrote with Paul Rivoche that sparked so much online discussion

Quote of the Day | Jim Lee on Bill Finger’s cover credit

detective27-special1

“Speaking specifically of that particular cover, we always list the writers’ credits on the cover, and he scripted that issue. No one is denying Bill’s massive contributions to the DC mythology — not just Batman. It’s never been our take that it was only Bob Kane. But the credit by Bob Kane, that’s a very specific thing, and has been around since the creation of Batman, over 75 years ago. It’s hard to talk about this publicly other than, we love what Bill Finger has contributed to the mythology, and we’ve always acknowledged and compensated him and his estate for that work.”

– DC Comics Co-Publisher Jim Lee, addressing Bill Finger’s credit on the cover of the upcoming Detective Comics #27 Special Edition, and renewed discussion of the late writer’s role as the co-creator of Batman

Quote of the Day | Geoff Johns’ 200-year run on ‘Superman’

superman32

“Two centuries. I would love to see what kind of foil or hologram Dan DiDio could put on a book in the year 2214.”

Superman writer Geoff Johns, responding to a question in his Reddit AMA thread about how long, in an ideal world, would his run on the series be. Other highlights from the Q&A can be found at Comic Book Resources.

‘Worrying about the life and death of superheroes is pretty meaningless’

wolverine-death

“I think worrying about the life and death of superheroes is pretty meaningless. The search for ‘importance’ by the superhero comic audience is a problem, a disease. The only thing that’s important is story. If it’s a good story, it’s important and meaningful. Saying ‘I’ll bet he’ll be back within a week’ is to proudly affirm that you know Kermit is just a puppet.”

Wolverine writer Paul Cornell, addressing a Comic Book Resources reader’s question about the often-temporary nature of superhero deaths

Quote of the Day | The economics of creator-owned comics

Rocket_Girl_5“Regarding single issue sales: they are incredibly important to a lot of Image creators. On Rocket Girl, it’s by far the biggest chunk (of course, we don’t have a tpb yet). And every reader counts. A few thousand copies can make or break a series. If Rocket Girl dips into the 8000s, we’ll start thinking about when to wrap it up. If it stays above 12,000 we can do it forever. At 12,000 copies I can make as much writing Rocket Girl as Hulk; Amy Reeder can make as much penciling/inking/coloring as she would on Batwoman. 8000 vs 12,000 is a significant difference in percentage, but it’s not a huge amount of readers. A lot of Image creators are in the same boat, albeit their individual line might be a bit higher or lower. Certainly collected editions and digital and ancillary media/merchandise contribute as well. But a lot of making creator-owned work is down to financing: and single issues have the biggest impact on cash flow – and the only impact on cash flow for almost a full year when you take into account early production to ‘get ahead’ as well as solicitation.”

Rocket Girl writer Brandon Montclare, commenting on The Beat’s monthly analysis of indie-comics sales, and the ensuing discussion

Quote of the Day | Cliff Chiang on drawing Wonder Woman

wonder woman7

“I felt a lot of pressure taking on this icon and knowing that Wonder Woman means so much to so many people. When I’m drawing her, I try to think about what that character is and make sure that I am paying respect to what other people feel about her. I’m trying to draw a character; I’m trying to draw a living, breathing person and make them feel as alive as I can to the reader. It’s funny when people come up to me and say they really like the way I draw her. They appreciate that she’s not oversexualized. That’s really a decision that an artist has to make — and it’s a lot of decisions. It’s not just, ‘Hey, whoops, my pen slipped and she’s suddenly too sexy.’ You’ve got to draw that thong bikini, you’ve got to draw those big boobs and all that stuff. I feel like we have to check ourselves and say, ‘Well, is this really accomplishing telling the story that we want to tell?'”

– artist Cliff Chiang, talking with CBR TV about developing his take on DC’s Wonder Woman

Quote of the Day | ‘Continuity is the devil’

batman-superman4

“The nice thing about coming in to write the New 52 is I don’t have to worry about what came before the New 52. That stuff is great and it can serve as inspiration, but continuity is the devil. [laughs] As a writer, having to slavishly make sense of too much continuity can kill a story. Yes, you want to stay true to the spirit of things, and continuity can absolutely be your friend in creating resonance and a sense of history and paying off certain emotional things – BUT: It was a beautiful, beautiful thing for me walking into the New 52 and being able to look at a small range of stories that had been told, and those are the things that are set in stone, and the rest of it we can make up as we go. We can build the stories that make sense for our characters in order to tell the emotional story that we’re telling.”

Action Comics and Batman/Superman writer Greg Pak, on juggling different timelines, and different worlds, in the two DC Comics series

Quote of the Day | Brian Michael Bendis on diversity in comics

Miles Morales“Sure, there are people who look like Captain America who read comics, but there are very few people in the world who look like Captain America. I go to conventions, and you meet hundreds of people over the course of the day, and no two of them look alike. You see women and people of color who love comics, and there’s nothing representing them in a way that isn’t sexualized or something.

“Now, you can’t make these decisions [to be more inclusive] consciously, because then you’re just writing in reaction to things, and that doesn’t work out, dramatically. But subconsciously, if you look at the world around you and see your readers, you go, I wanna write something that I know is true. So you start writing women better and you write people outside of your experience better, because you look at pages of other people’s comics and you don’t recognize it as the world around you.”

— writer Brian Michael Bendis, in an interview with Vulture in which he also discusses why Spider-Man was a multicultural hero even when he was Peter Parker

Quote of the Day | ‘Don’t give up’

Jim Zub

Jim Zub

“I know it may sound corny but I’m serious when I say this – Don’t give up. There will be lost opportunities and frustrations, regrets and anxieties. Do everything you can to focus on what you can control and keep your integrity intact. Do all you can with what you have. That’s what the year represents to me.”

Jim Zub, writer of Skullkickers, Samurai Jack, Pathfinder, Legends of the Dark Knight, Makeshift Miracle and Shadowman, and almost-writer of Birds of Prey. In a post titled “A Great Year That Almost Wasn’t,” Jim discusses how losing the Birds of Prey gig at the beginning of 2013 affected his self-confidence, how he bounced back from it and ultimately landed on Samurai Jack.

Quote of the Day | Sage Stossel on female superheroes

004_starling“It surprised me that outdated norms like those could still persist — especially in the cartooning world, since I think of cartoonists (at least the ones I know!) as exceptionally nice, sensitive people. I suspect there may be big-picture reasons for it — entrenched theories about what the comic book fan market is looking for, or maybe mainstream publishing houses still dominated by people or attitudes from an older era. But it’s hard to imagine that a concerted effort to make the comics world’s female characters more substantive and realistic wouldn’t pay off for male and female readers alike, making for richer, more interesting stories, and ultimately benefiting publishers’ bottom lines.”

Sage Stossel, talking with Hero Complex about her new graphic novel Starling.

Stossel wrote the story because she was interested in the double-life aspect of being a superhero; her lead character is a working woman who has to deal with real-life problems in addition to fighting crime. After the first draft was done, Stossel, who was not a regular superhero comics reader, started researching other comics to see how her story would fit into the market. “It was at that point that I became keenly aware both of how two-dimensionally, and often demeaningly, women are depicted in many mainstream comics, and also of growing efforts on the part of some fans and creators to reverse those tendencies,” she said. In the graphic novel, Starling chooses a practical uniform, dismissing the other choices with “Who’s your costume designer? A 13-year-old boy?”

Quote of the Day | Bill Watterson sets the record straight on “Calvin & Hobbes” ownership

billwatterson“Just to be clear, I did not have incredible autonomy until afterward. I had signed most of my rights away in order to get syndicated, so I had no control over what happened to my own work, and I had no legal position to argue anything. I could not take the strip with me if I quit, or even prevent the syndicate from replacing me, so I was truly scared I was going to lose everything I cared about either way. I made a lot of impassioned arguments for why a work of art should reflect the ideas and beliefs of its creator, but the simple fact was that my contract made that issue irrelevant. It was a grim, sad time. Desperation makes a person do crazy things.”

– “Calvin & Hobbes” creator Bill Watterson, during a rare interview with Mental Floss covering his career and the direction of comics moving forward.

Quote of the Day | Point-counterpoint on corporate comics

Batwoman“I really don’t understand why people keep trying to tell Marvel and DC how to do business. These are wholly owned subsidiaries of major multi-national entertainment conglomerates with a poor track record of rewarding the contributions of the individual. […]

Not all comic book companies can be all things to all people. And it is increasingly obvious that Marvel and DC do not want to be anything but superhero publishers selling superhero comics to superhero readers through the supply chain that they have spent two plus decades optimizing to do so. And yes, this limits the amount of money they bring in from demographics outside what they consider to be their core target – straight white males. But it’s not as if Marvel and DC are the only game in town.”

RM Rhodes at The Hooded Utilitarian, advising readers to stop telling Marvel and DC what to do

“These characters are part of our collective consciousness. They represent a lot more than just people in suits. Most of us grew up with them, and we want to be able to see them reflecting narratives that we identify with. For those of us who’ve recently acquired or who are still fighting for certain civil rights, for those of us who are still subject to a lot of discrimination, seeing the characters we love and grew up with fighting those same battles is gratifying in a way that seeing new characters we don’t know is not. It’s great that those stories are being written and told, and I appreciate every one of them, but there’s something much more powerful about seeing those stories told through the lens of characters that are practically part of our everyday lives.”

— A commenter named Tea, explaining why readers still care

It’s well worth clicking over and reading the whole article, as well as the comments, because both sides present their arguments cogently.

Gerry Conway on sexism in corporate superhero comics

Cosplayer Linda Le enjoying her version of one of Conway's characters. Photo by Anna Fischer.

Cosplayer Linda Le enjoying her version of one of Gerry Conway’s characters. Photo by Anna Fischer.

My point was that the ‘mainstream’ isn’t the whole picture. Frankly, to my mind, ‘mainstream’ comics are actually the least interesting and creative comics published today.

Gerry Conway, clarifying and adding context to comments he made at the Television Critics Association panel on PBS’ documentary, Superheroes: The Never-Ending Battle.

It’s always good to hear both sides of the story. Conway took to Twitter this morning to clarify his thoughts from the panel he was on with Superheroes‘ director Michael Kantor and fellow comics makers Todd McFarlane and Len Wein. It was during that panel that Think Progress’ Alyssa Rosenberg asked about sexism in superhero comics and got some disappointing answers.

Continue Reading »

Tom Scioli: “I love ‘Godland’ and I hate it”

Godland-tease

“It’s been my education in color comics. Prior to Godland I knew NOTHING about the comics business. Now I know SOMETHING. I used Godland as a laboratory where I could experiment. It’s not for me to say how successful any of these experiments were, but I came out of the experience the indestructible cockroach of a cartoonist I am today.

Had Godland been more successful, I would have happily worked on it until my dying day. Its difficulty finding traction in the market forced me to innovate and get out of my comfort zone. I mourn the loss of the Godland-that-might-have-been, but a successful Godland would’ve meant no American Barbarian, no Final Frontier, no Satan’s Soldier, no Mystery Object. I love Godland and I hate it. I was in my 20′s when it started, now I’m not. I can’t help feeling it stole those years away from me.

‘Life is at best bittersweet.’ Darkseid, Mister Miracle #18.”

Tom Scioli, artist of Godland. The epic “prog rock comic” by Scioli and writer Joe Casey kicked off eight years ago and ends in November.

Quote of the Day | Walter Mosley on the comics he read as a child

Fantastic Four

What were your favorite books as a child?

I know that as a working writer I should answer this question in such a way as to make me seem intelligent; maybe Twain or Dickens, even Hesse or Conrad. I should say that I read intelligent books far beyond my years. This I believe would give intelligent readers the confidence to go out and lay down hard cash for my newest, and the one after that.

But the truth is that the most beloved and the most formative books of my childhood were comic books, specifically Marvel Comics. “Fantastic Four” and “Spider-Man,” “The Mighty Thor” and “The Invincible Iron Man”; later came “Daredevil” and many others. These combinations of art and writing presented to me the complexities of character and the pure joy of imagining adventure. They taught me about writing dialect and how a monster can also be a hero. They lauded science and fostered the understanding that the world was more complex than any one mind, or indeed the history of all human minds, could comprehend.

Walter Mosley, author of the Easy Rawlins mystery novels, in a interview with The New York Times.

You can read more about Mosley’s comic geekery, including Maximum Fantastic Four, the oversized edition of Fantastic Four #1 that is blown up to show one panel per page, here.

(via Oz and Ends)


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