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Going to PAX East in Boston over the weekend was like going to a comic convention on another planet.
The gestalt was the same — the exhibit floor, the booths, the cosplayers, the panels — but everything was a little off. The crowd was bigger and younger. Huge screens advertised properties I knew by name only. A lot of the attendees were glued to consoles or computer screens, playing games; one side of the convention center was split into a massive tabletop gaming area and an even bigger PC gaming section. The part that really came closest to a comic con was the indie area on the exhibit floor, where developers were hand-selling their games the way indie creators promote their graphic novels.
Games and comics, especially webcomics, have a long history of collaboration and crossover, and now the lines will be blurred even further: PvP cartoonist Scott Kurtiz is creating an officially sanctioned Dungeons & Dragons comic Table Titans as well as a D&D-based PvP storylne.
In the tradition of PvP, this comic isn’t set in the world of D&D but rather in the world of the people who play it: Table Titans follows a trio of D&D players, Andrew, Alan and Valeria, in their quest to become the greatest D&D team ever. “I’ve been writing and drawing Table Titans in the edges of my D&D character sheets for the last 30 years,” Kurtz said in a statement. “It’s the culmination of my love for Dungeons & Dragons and the profound effect it’s had not only on my life but on the lives of so many gamers around the world.”
Creators | While acknowledging the agreement that names Bob Kane as the sole creator of Batman, The Washington Post’s Michael Cavna and Bill: The Boy Wonder author Marc Tyler Nobleman make the case for giving writer Bill Finger a screen credit on The Dark Knight Rises. [Comic Riffs]
Conventions | Although Comic-Con International is usually thought of as a stage for movie studios, major comics publishers and video-game developers, Mark Eades looks at the event as a showcase for small businesses, from artists to toymakers. [The Orange County Register]
Conventions | Robot 6 contributor Brigid Alverson reports on the kids’ comics scene at Comic-Con International, including news that Papercutz will produce a comic based on the viral web phenomenon “Annoying Orange.” [Publishers Weekly]
Digital comics | Archie Comics becomes the latest comics publisher to get a web-based store, allowing readers to purchase digital comics on basically any device that runs HTML5. While Marvel and DC have web stores built on the comiXology platform, this is the first time their competitor iVerse has gone outside the iOS. [Comics Alliance]
Awards | Joe Sacco’s Footnotes in Gaza is the winner of this year’s Oregon Book Award in the Graphic Literature category. [OregonLive.com]
Digital comics | Scott Kurtz, who knows a thing or two about digital comics, ponders the implications of Mark Waid’s aggressive move toward the digital realm: “This is something I’ve been warning my friends in webcomics about for a while now. That eventually, someone famous from the comic book industry would figure out that they should try what we’ve been doing for the last fifteen years or so, and would follow suit. All it would take is one or two high-profile creators succeeding at being ‘webcomicers’ and suddenly everyone would jump over. And the term ‘webcomic’ will finally die and just become ‘comic.'” [PvP]
Jerry Holkins and Mike Krahulik, creators of Penny Arcade, and PvP creator Scott Kurtz have begun collaborating on a webcomic even more off-mainstream than the ones they are working on now. Those comics were just about gamers, but The Trenches, which debuted last week and updates on Tuesdays and Thursdays, is a comic about a game tester. To sweeten the deal for the target audience, the blog will feature true-life adventures sent in by readers who are game testers themselves. It seems like narrowcasting, but the humor in the opening episodes seems to be fairly broad, so maybe it won’t be as tech-y as it first sounds.
The nominees have been announced for the 2011 Harvey Awards, which recognize outstanding work in comics and sequential art.
Named in honor of the late Harvey Kurtzman, the cartoonist and founding editor of MAD magazine, the awards are selected entirely by creators. Final ballots are due by Aug. 6. Winners will be announced in conjunction with Baltimore Comic-Con, which runs Aug. 20-21. Scott Kurtz will again serve as master of ceremonies.
The nominees are:
• Scott Brown, Box 13, Http://www.comixology.com and Red 5 Comics
• Darwyn Cooke, Richard Stark’s Parker: The Outfit, IDW
• Dustin Harbin, Casanova, Image Comics
• Troy Peteri, Witchblade, Top Cow
• Robbie Robbins, Locke & Key: Keys To The Kingdom # 1, IDW
• John Workman, Thor, Marvel Comics
• Veronica Gandini, Mice Templar: Volume 10, Image Comics
• Laura Martin, The Stand, Marvel Comics
• Ed Ryzowski, Gutters, http://www.the-Gutters.com
• Dave Stewart, BPRD, Dark Horse Comics
• Jose Villarubia, Cuba : My Revolution, Vertigo/DC Comics
If you’re a member of an industry that let Dave Cockrum die in a VA hospital after helping give us most of the X-Men characters that comprised three blockbuster films and you get pissy about what Mark Waid said, then you deserve to remain on this sinking ship.
When Diamond Comics can’t make money despite being a monopoly, it’s time to start listening to people like Mark Waid.
Half of the people he delivered his speech to were over the age of 50, currently not working on a project in comics, and are most likely without health insurance, retirement or savings accounts.
Mark Waid had the audacity to warn a group of people he cares about, that nobody is putting the internet in a god damn DeLorean and driving it 88mph towards the twin pines mall. And for that he got dressed down by Santa Claus in front of his peers.
That’s how scared people are right now.
And the bottom line of it all is that in about 5 years, a lot of people are going to owe Mark Waid a fucking apology.
–PVP writer/artist and Harvey Awards emcee Scott Kurtz reacts with characteristic, shall we say, candor to Mark Waid’s keynote address on copyright and piracy and white-beardedGroo cartoonist Sergio Aragonés’ heatedly negative reaction thereto.
(via Joe Keatinge)
Webcomics | According to the Macworld web site, PvP creator Scott Kurtz will speak at the five-day Macintosh symposium.
“In an interview with Chicago Sun-Times and Macworld columnist Andy Ihnatko, Kurtz talks about what digital self-publishing means to creators and publishers, and how devices like the upcoming Apple Tablet could continue to tip the balance in favor of independent artists,” the description of his panel reads.
Also, if you haven’t been checking out PvP lately, Kurtz’s long-running webcomic has a holiday story running, drawn by comics legend Neal Adams. Check out the CBR interview for more information, and after the jump you’ll find a video of Adams drawing PvP.
Con War is hell, and you never know who’s gonna get caught in the crossfire. Wizard owner Gareb Shamus’s evolving effort to rebrand his publishing and online empire and take on Reed Exhibitions’s C2E2 and New York Comic Con by aggressively counter-scheduling his Anaheim and Big Apple events has produced some nasty peripheral exchanges, even as direct confrontations between the two convention promoters have all but ceased.
Take the back-and-forth we noted last week between PvP creator Scott Kurtz and Comics Alliance honcho Laura Hudso . It started when Kurtz publicly blasted a Wizard/Shamus functionary with both barrels after the staffer obliviously sent him an email addressed to “Kurt” — hey, these things happen — soliciting his attendance at Anaheim Comic Con. Hudson took Kurtz to task for tarring all Wizard employees with a brush perhaps better reserved for the company’s decision-makers. This led to a lengthy and ugly comment-thread roundelay between Hudson — who, as the former senior editor of Tim Leong’s defunct Comic Foundry magazine, need bow to no one in the “taking cheap shots at Wizard and its employees as though the two were fungible entities” department — and Kurtz, some of his fans, and former Wizard staff writer Chris Ward. Over the course of the argument’s five pages, posts were deleted; accusations of trollery, spamming, egomania and hypocrisy were thrown about like so much confetti; Hudson’s problems during her tenure with Jenna Jameson-publishing Virgin Comics were hashed out; former Wizard President Fred Pierce was accused of buying off former Wizard critic Frank Miller; and a horrid time was had by all.
Full-scale warfare between convention promoters isn’t universal, believe it or not — some are giving peace a chance. In addition to the recent arrangement worked out by Heroes Con and Supercon to avoid a date conflict, Emerald City ComiCon‘s Jim Demonakos tells Robot 6 that following an unavoidable conflict with Orlando’s MegaCon the weekend of March 13, 2010, he and MegaCon’s Beth Widera collaborated on choosing dates for 2011 so that future overlap could be avoided. “We ended up on the same dates for 2010 and neither of us could move, but we’ve talked and coordinated and our mutual 2011 dates will not be on each other’s dates at all,” says Demonakos. “Con planning, always an adventure.”
Webcomics | Scott Kurtz, who hosted the Harvey Awards this past weekend, shares his thoughts on what he saw at the Zuda table over the weekend. Kurtz, the creator of the long-running and highly successful PvP webcomic, has been an outspoken critic of Zuda since they launched, but had a different take on DC’s monthly webcomics contest after this weekend.
“If companies like DC can enter the Webcomics world, and find a way to work with creators fairly and bring credibility and positive attention to this medium…that’s good,” Kurtz writes. “If Zuda can light a fire under the asses of talent that normally wouldn’t make progress, that’s awesome. We want that, don’t we? Doesn’t a rising tide lift all ships? I know I’m skeptical. I like being skeptical. But maybe I’ve witnessed so many Platinums in the past that I’m a little gun-shy. Maybe…maybe…Zuda isn’t going to fuck people over.”
Also worth reading on his blog, Kurtz talks about what it was like to host the Harveys.
Webcomics | In anticipation of the release of the ACT-I-VATE Primer from IDW, Graphic NYC has dubbed this ACT-I-VATE week and will run features all week about the webcomics collective and its contributors.