Sunday, January 29, 2012

Links...and a few thoughts

Did you take the weekend off? Well I didn't. If you did, then you missed a pair of strips I posted, regarding the state of my face and my new(-ish, at this point) apartment, respectively.


I'm not sure if this post on Abhay Khosla's group TUMBLAR thingee was in reference to the piracy debate that's burbled up here and there in the comics blogosphere this past week or not, but that's how I read it.


I don't have much of an opinion worth expressing on the matter of comics piracy, by the way. So I won't offer one. I personally would never read a comic that was pirated, nor would I pirate one myself, but I can't pretend to know how damaging the practice is to creators or publishers, or to assign it a designation in the hierarchy of Things That Are Messed Up About Comics.

I thought Spurgeon's post here was fairly smart, reasonable and well-informed, though, and it also links to some of the discussions on the subject from earlier in the week, so if you have no idea what I'm talking about, it's probably a good place to start.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about and also care, I should note. If you don't care, then by all means, just move on. I've got, like, a dozen more links below this one.


I enjoyed this post by Image Comics' Eric Stephenson, on his personal blog, which I saw linked to by both Robot 6 and the TCJ blog, though I can't recall which place I saw it in first, and thus can't credit either (So I mentioned them both). I particularly liked the cocky, anti-Marvel tone it struck, as in the year 2012 it's so easy to forget how and why Image Comics came about, but it was created in large part in reaction to Marvel (and, to a lesser extent, DC), and was, for a while anyway, as to Marvel as Marvel was to DC in the late 60s and 70s. That is, it was the younger, hipper, hungrier publisher, making the other seem old, staid and out of it...until that other started actively chasing it and evolving in its aesthetic direction.

It's easy to forget that though, because the Marvel of 2012 is so different than the Marvel of, say, 1989, and the Image Comics of 2012 is so different from that of 1992.

I also appreciated Stephenson's bit about Image's ability to continue to publish $2.99 comics, while Marvel and, increasingly, DC publish $3.99 comics, because they can make more money by doing so.


Some folks in the Robot 6 comment thread under a link to the post took issue with Stephenson referring to DC's "New 52" as awesome (as in the lines, "When DC launched their new 52 last September, Marvel didn’t fight back with awesome. They fought back with the only real tool in their shed: more.") I don't think Stephenson was necessarily endorsing the "New 52" as awesome (it is, in general, not; although clearly it is DC's current idea of what awesome is), but simply pointing out that Marvel didn't up their game so much as up the number of issues they were shipping.


I can think of at least three separate occasions in the last two months in which I was unable to pick up and try an Image book because the shop I shop at doesn't order even one extra copy for their rack of all Image titles—they only fill subscriptions.

It isn't an ideal shop, but it is so conveniently located...


I found this rather amusing.


Aw yeah eight-year-old girl reviewing Tiny Titans!


So I guess this explains how Rob Liefeld is now able to get so much work done of late, and is taking on even more work: One of his major project's is "over."

And it's apparently over due to creative differences with his collaborator. I hope that doesn't presage ill for Image's new take on his Extreme properties—two of which I rather enjoyed and will probably read in trade eventually (See above regarding my inability to read Image Comics as they're published serially). The two I've read—Glory and Prophet—seem very, very different than what I would imagine the original, Liefeld-created versions involved, and therefore seem to be dependent to some degree on goodwill from Liefeld to continue their existence.


I never noticed this aspect of Tiny Titans, although it is one of very few books I enjoy so completely that I let my finely honed critic's cynicism down while i"m reading it.

Thinking about it now, the girl characters in TT seem to be more responsible then the boy ones in general though, with only a very few exceptions. I think Cyborg would be the only male Tiny Titan I'd want to leave a baby with, whereas the only female Tiny Titans I wouldn't want to leave a baby with would be Terra, given her habit of throwing rocks.

Oh! Is it worth noting that all the kids have single father figures, but there are no real women in parental/mentor roles in Tiny Titans?

Wonder Woman and Lois Lane and Mera are the only adult females I can think of who ever appeared in this, whereas Alfred raises Robin and the Bat-kids, Trigon raises Raven (and kinda adopts Kid Devil in one issue), Principal Slade has Rose Wilson, Lunch lady Darkseid has Kaliban, The Joker has Duella and so on.

Blue Beetle has four dads but no moms (He is apparently raised by the, um, cartoon Beatles, as you can see from the panel above, excerpted from the issue where they had parent teacher conferences; Martian Manhunter brought Miss Martian, and Blue Devil brought Kid Devil, so there are two more single "dads").

I think that Aqualad and Arthur Junior may have the only two-parent household in the Tiny Titans-verse...


There's some dark—or just kind of sad—irony in these revelation about the creative process on Static Shock that co-writer John Rozum made, considering Static was one of the late, great Dwayne McDuffy's creations, Rozum noted that watching out for McDuffy's legacy was at least part of the reason he took on the assignment and the fact that, during his last stint at DC, McDuffy was also very vocal about the problems he had writing JLA due to interfering editors...for which he was eventually, ultimately kicked off the title.

I didn't read any of Rozum's Static Shock—it was another book written by an artist with no previous writing experience, and an artist I don't really care for—but yeah, I do always blame bad writing on the credited writers, so if I did read the book, and I did find it to be terrible, than I certainly would have blamed Rozum for it, and saw it as a reflection of his abilities. (He notes that part of the reason he decided to share his difficulties working on the book so publicly was because its poor quality was starting to effect his ability to find work).

I generally feel quite justified in blaming the credited writer for the poor quality of the writing, regardless if they were just a co-writer or if they had a heavy-handed editor, because, if nothing else, the writer signed off on it.

I suppose that's something I don't understand, and Rozum's post didn't really help me understand any more than I did before I read it. I suppose there are complicated contracts I don't understand involved in such endeavors, but I don't get why someone in such a position as Rozum, or a few others I can think of from what was published (McDuffie on JLA; J. Michael Straczynski on "One More Day") and others I know of only from personal conversations, don't just say, "Fuck that, take my name off of it" and quit ASAP.

I would like to think that's what I would do, but I've never been in that position, nor do I know what it entails, so I don't feel comfortable lecturing on it. But I do find myself very confused by Rozum's story, and the circumstances under which a writer can find himself in such a position.


Also, they cut Static arm off?! What the fuck...? They've only published like five issues so far. Aquaman and Roy Harper were both around for decades before they decided to cut their arms off in order to goose interest in the characters.


I know, I know: They didn't cut Aquaman's arm off; just his hand and part of his forearm.


I like this band, I like this song and I like Popeye, but I didn't care for this video.


I like the picture at the bottom Kate Beaton drew of herself reading.


I fear for the DCU next year when Geoff Johns when he turns 40...


Er, there's another archer superhero named Arrow...He debuted the year before Green Arrow, and, in case everyone forgot him, he was recently resurrected as part of Dynamite's Alex Ross-powered Project: Superpowers project.Can the DC Entertainment and the TV people really change Green Arrow's name to Arrow? At least, I imagine that's what they're planning, of the in-development TV series ends up being called Arrow (What else are they working on? A new Green Lantern show called Lantern? Catwoman and Superman shows called Woman and Man, respectively?).

Anyway, looking at the cast of characters included in the linked-to article, and what it implies about the show's premise, it sounds pretty doomed. Like that Wonder Woman show, it seems like they are changing the Green Arrow story up to a similar degree, although Wonder Woman is a flexible enough character and enough of an icon to sustain such fiddling-with. I don't think Green Arrow can stretch and shape anywhere near as easily.


When GA's costume shop Robin Hood style costume was redesigned to include a hood, they really bit off The Arrow's look pretty hardcore, huh?


So, do you guys watch The Colbert Report? If so, you already saw his feature "Grim Colbert-y Tales With Maurice Sendak," a two-part interview with the legendary children's author. If not, you missed an awesome interview: Sendak is the Platonic ideal of a misanthropic, cynical, cranky old man, whose opinions bear extra weight because of the weight of his work and, for the most part, he seems right about everything he's asked about in this (Example: New Gingrich is "an idiot of great renown...there's something so hopelessly gross and vile about him that it's hard to take him seriously.")

Here's part one, and here's part two.

In addition to discussing children's literature, the abysmal state of children's literature, his sexuality, how book signings suck, whether or not he's ever thought about killing someone and how adults and children suck, he and Colbert also draw together and work on Colbert's book (Colbert's not a bad artist, either, based on the picture he draws on camera).

My favorite part is probably his opinion of electronic books: "(Expletive beeped out) them is what I say. I hate those e-books! They cannot be the future! They may well be, I will be dead, I won't give a (expletive beeped out)!" (Colbert and Sendak make a remarkably good comedy duo; they'd be a hit on vaudeville, if vaudeville still existed. I thought the same thing after Colbert's week or so spent with Jack White).

It's weird—but maybe not that weird—how often I see Sendak interviews intersecting with the world of comics.

A few months back I read Metamaus, and there's two-page strip from a 1993 New Yorker in which Spiegelman illustrates a walk with Sendak (excerpt above). And then on Abhay's previously-linked to tumblog, he posted a Sendak interview, highlighting a quote about doing a sequel to his most popular work—"Go to hell. Go to hell. I'm not a whore"—I think in response to the latest round of Watchmen 2 rumors (If you have time, watch that whole five-minute video. Sendak talks a bit about his love of William Blake, which I found particularly interesting). And Tim Hodler linked back to the Colbert/Sendak interview on the TCJ blog too, although the first embedded part doesn't seem to be playing as I type this.


Holy shit look at the size of that kappa!


I wonder if this was the initial inspiration for Grant Morrison's Zibarro, the bizarro Bizarro in All-Star Superman...? Not visually, obviously, but the idea of "the only sane person" on the insane Bizarro World....


Do you ever have a hard time feeling really old? Well, I've found a great new way to feel really old. Go look at one of ComicsAlliance's weekly cosplay galleries, realize how many characters you've never, ever even heard of, and can't even guess where they might be from. I imagine a lot of 'em are from videogames, of which I know nothing, although I bet a whole lot of 'em are from anime too, which makes me feel older still, as I used to be pretty on top of all things anime...

1 comment:

Tony said...

I scrolled all the way to the bottom of the post, and forgot what I was going to comment about.

Right, piracy! I want to know who scans comics and puts them on the internet. That seems really time-consuming. Wouldn't you have to get ahold of (buy? steal?) the comic beforehand?

I guess people could be sending out the digital copies, but it seemed like there was piracy before digital comics became common.