"Rowdy" Roddy Piper Reported Dead at 61
Business | Marvel parent The Walt Disney Co., which just purchased Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion, reportedly has begun an internal cost-cutting review that could include layoffs in its studio and other divisions. The cutbacks are believed to focus on jobs that are no longer needed because of technological advancements and redundancies created by the acquisition of Pixar in 2006, Marvel in 2009 and Lucasfilm in 2012. Disney has made a series of staff cutbacks over the past couple of years, beginning in January 2011 with 200 jobs in its interactive division; Marvel trimmed about a dozen positions in October 2011. [Yahoo! Finance]
Publishing | Robert Stanley Martin takes a new look at Jim Shooter’s tenure as editor-in-chief of Marvel. [The Hooded Utilitarian]
“Hey Izadore! I’ve just realized that you have microscopic tribes of violent spore lords living on the surface of one of your eyeballs! One eye is at war with the other and both sides have been using your brain as a nightmare particle factory and fueling their attack vehicles with your blood! What are you going to do?”
What are you going to do indeed? So goes a sample of dialogue from Theo Ellsworth’s latest book, The Understanding Monster, the first volume in a projected three-book series. As the above excerpt might suggest, this is a trippy, almost hallucinatory comic, given to frequent bouts of digression. There’s a temptation to call it psychedelic, although that seems too limiting. Suffice it to say that that it’s an experience utterly unlike any other comic that’s out right now.
Hello and welcome to another edition of What Are You Reading? Our special guest this week is Matthew Thurber of 1-800 Mice and Infomaniacs fame. To see what Matthew and the Robot 6 crew have been reading, click below.
Comics are the visual representation of language. So comics are the most ancient and the most vital and most important art form that humanity has ever known. It’s also the oldest….Cave paintings, having the form of an image that represents an idea, is what comics are. I wrote an essay called, “Fuck Other Forms of Art.”
—Skibber Bee-Bye cartoonist Ron Régé Jr. represents for comics in no uncertain terms. As well he might: His next book, The Cartoon Utopia, is nothing more or less than an attempt to distill thousands of years of esoteric human endeavor — “Angels, Jung, alchemy, patriarchy,” “all the systems before science and religion and philosophy were all split into different things,” and “peace on earth” — into graphic-novel format. It’s a tall order, so comics as an art form had better be up to the challenge.
Read all about Régé’s amazing-sounding project, and see a lot of eye-popping art from it too, in his interview with Vice’s Liz Armstrong. And you can read pretty much every page from his under-the-radar masterpiece Skibber Bee-Bye on his original art sales page at Comic Art Collective.
Legal | Prosecutors in Macomb County, Michigan, rested their case Friday in the second trial of Michael George, a former retailer and convention organizer accused of the 1990 murder of his first wife Barbara in the back room of their Clinton Township comic store. The judge this morning will hear a defense motion for a directed verdict, seeking dismissal due to lack of evidence, before testimony resumes.
George, now 51, was arrested in August 2007, after a detective reopened the cold case, and convicted seven months later of first-degree murder and insurance fraud, among other counts, and sentenced to life in prison. However, the judge later set aside the verdict, citing prosecutorial misconduct — George’s mug shot was shown to the jury — and the release of new evidence that could lead the jury to believe another person was responsible for the murder. His retrial began Sept. 14, and should conclude this week. Prosecutors contend that George staged the killing to look like a robbery so he could collect money from an insurance policy and a shared estate, and start over with another woman. George insists he was asleep at the time of the shooting, and that his wife was the victim of a robbery gone wrong. [Daily Tribune]
Publishing | Chip Mosher, marketing and sales director for BOOM! Studios, left the publisher on Friday after four years. Marketing coordinator Emily McGuiness will take over his duties. [BOOM! Studios]
Apart from all the “new 52″ brouhaha, one of the more interesting and talked about bits of online was Michael Fiffe’s essay on the delineations between mainstream (i.e. superhero) comics and the alt/indie comics scene. Spinning off of his essay, I thought it would be fun to list my own favorite super-styled tales by folks who usually don’t do that type of material, some of which Fiffe talked about in his essay.
Note: For the purposes of this article I’m deliberately avoiding any of the officially sanctioned productions from the Big Two, namely Strange Tales and Bizarro Comics, just to make it a wee bit harder.
Wow: Cold Heat cartoonist and Comics Comics blogger Frank Santoro went to Los Angeles, and all he got was this wondrous photo of him and a gaggle of the greatest alternative comics creators on the West Coast. From left to right, you’re looking at Johnny Ryan (Prison Pit, Angry Youth Comix), Jaime Hernandez (Love and Rockets), Ron Regé Jr. (Yeast Hoist, Against Pain), Jordan Crane (Uptight, What Things Do), Sammy Harkham (Crickets, Kramers Ergot), and Santoro. I haven’t seen this kind of star power packed into one picture since Crumb, Ware, Clowes, Tomine, and Buenaventura straddled the cliffs of France like comic-book colossi.
Now this is a trend I can get behind! Alchemic Ale, the makers of Ron Regé Jr.’s pioneering minicomic/beer hybrid Yeast Hoist #15, have returned to the underground-comics well, this time with a bottle full of Mat Brinkman. The Fort Thunder alumnus and Regé’s fellow Highwater Books veteran has graced a 750mL bottle of Bokrijks Belgian Ale from Belgium’s Brouwerij Sterkens with a drawing entitled “Monsters,” from his current gallery show at NYC’s The Hole.
Here’s a guide to where the beer can be bought. Chug-a-lug, artcomix fans!
(via Ron Regé Jr.)
Now this is the sort of format innovation I can get behind: Yeast Hoist #15, the latest in cartoonist/musician Ron Regé Jr.‘s long-running (mostly) self-published alternative-comics series, is part comic, part limited-edition bottle of beer.
The aptly named Yeast Hoist #15 includes a 16.9-ounce bottle of St. Sebastiaan Golden Ale from Belgium’s Brouwerij Sterkens. A screenprinted Regé illustration graces the bottle, which comes complete with a minicomic featuring Regé’s usual “inspired by mysticism and alchemy” cosmic comics shenanigans. I’ll drink to that!
Tipplers and/or comics connoisseurs may order the issue/bottle from Bierkraft — provided you’re 21 years old and can sign for the delivery, that is. If you don’t drink, don’t worry: Regé’s entire Yeast Hoist series is slated for publication on Jordan Crane’s webcomics portal What Things Do. Here are issues #1 and #2.
I came to shop.
Seriously, I was just about as excited for this past weekend’s MoCCA festival as I’ve ever been for any comic convention. And it wasn’t because of the guests or the panels or even getting to see so many of my friends and colleagues — it was because of the comics. The best thing about a small-press show is your ability to dig into the tables and come away with enough treasures to keep you reading happily for weeks. Proceeding from the top left of the picture above in as logical a fashion as I can manage, here’s a rundown of my personal treasure trove…