Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

July 15, 2014

Bundled, Tossed, Untied And Stacked: Publishing News


By Tom Spurgeon

* the cartoonist Derf Backderf has released the cover image for his Alternative Comic effort True Stories. That one is set for debut at SPX.

image* here's an official listing for the forthcoming big Taschen book of Marvel history from the writer Roy Thomas and the art director Josh Baker. That should be something to see, what with all the imagery that's there to be utilized. I mean, look at that one below. That's not even an iconic Marvel cover.

* I missed this round-up of licensing announcements from Anime Expo provided by Sean Gaffney over on his mostly-reviews vehicle. I look forward to seeing a bunch of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure.

* this attachment to a Mile High mailer indicates there's a San Diego Con-related DC comic book out this year. That Harley Quinn character is very popular.

* here's a round-up of what's coming up with the DC characters Catwoman and Klarion The Witch Boy: the former is heading into a new direction, the latter is picking up its own series. I always thought Catwoman was kind of a tough gig in that this is a very effective character but not exactly one that holds up to a lot of interpretations that still encompass what's appealing about her. Divorcing that appeal from a very specific kind of juvenile, comic-book sexuality was what made the Ed Brubaker/Darwyn Cooke take interesting several years ago, but I'm not sure there are a whole lot of breaks with the past as interesting as that one.

image* a little higher profile was news a day or so later that Batgirl is getting a new look and a new group of creators, including but certainly not limited to the well-liked Cameron Stewart and the artist Babs Tarr. I believe this is Tarr's first interiors gig with a comic book company; she was in Charlotte at HeroesCon and her pin-up work was extremely popular. A redesign of the costume described as a tag-team effort by Stewart and Tarr arrives with the gig.

We're not really suited as a creative culture to make any sort of nuanced distinctions anymore, so it's always fun to see people process such news. On the one hand you get a lot of flipping out from people genuinely excited about such a project creatively, and others that believe there's a very important social/cultural aspect to how such characters are portrayed. Others are confused that anyone, or at least maybe anyone not a kid, spends any time at all caring about corporate superhero characters. This includes some that think that doing better work in that genre supports an exploitative, cruel system designed to facilitate junk. It's an argument that's been around for more than 30 years now as an active part of comics culture. Head-butting -- or talking past one another with snarky tweeting involved -- ensues.

I get both sides of it, at least partly. Rarely are things black and white except in such superhero comics. I'm happy for creators that want such opportunities to have rewarding gigs at the big companies, and for the work involved to be as good or at least as non-horrible and non-demeaning as possible. I realize that someone's corporate property may be another person's honest muse. At the same time, the kind of art that results from even higher end mainstream comics production holds only a modest amount of interest for me and I'm curious as to what's going on with those for whom that kind of art matters so strongly. I still remember a retailer from a San Diego Con years ago who pointed at a Seth drawing of the original X-Men and said, wild-eyed, "This. This is what he should be doing."

* DC isn't the only big superhero company announcing things. so apparently there will be a new Winter Soldier comic. I wasn't aware that we didn't already have a Winter Soldier comic. I still don't know how starting and stopping these titles makes anything easier.

* finally, there is new Andrea Bruno either coming or already here from the nice people at Canicola.

posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

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