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

August 25, 2008

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* industry veteran Bob Greenberger assumes the position of News Editor at ComicMix beginning today.

* someone tell the New York Times that the Berenstain Bears was an illustrated series; Watchmen is a comic book.

* there aren't a whole lot of blindly e-mailed items that I end up including in the non-Quick Hits portion of the site, but I don't think R. Crumb does a whole lot of podcasts. As one might expect, much of it is apparently about music.

* Brad Mackay of the Doug Wright Awards and a recent interviewer of Lynn Johnston writes in about the accusation that syndicate sales reps are misrepresenting the forthcoming format change on For Better Or For Worse in order to press a competitive advantage:image
Read your post and thought I'd chime in. Johnston herself said (both in person, and later on stage at the DWAs) that other syndicates have been eying her "real estate" for a while now and spreading disinformation about her plans; i.e., that the strip was just going to be straight re-runs. While she definitely seemed annoyed by this, she didn't appear to think that the tactic was wrong necessarily -- my sense was that she thought it was a sign of the times in an increasingly shrinking and therefore competitive marketplace.
I still think it's wrong, but I don't have the serenity that must come from a hugely successful cartooning career and a still-thriving 2000-paper client list. By the way, FBOFW is in its final week in this incarnation. Spoiler: Anthony wins.

* one retailer mulls over the question of what to do with selling a creator's work when you can't stand the political view held by that creator.

* I forgot to hit the right tab on this on the day it happened, so a belated happy 5th birthday to Mr. Eli Kochalka.

* one of the few cartoonists in the alternative/arts corner of the medium still making a serial comic book, Ted May talks about recent writings wistfully hoping for more of those publications. Dash Shaw wrote this site a strongly-worded letter that's now posted here. You should read both. I have to admit, I'm unfamiliar with the work that Shaw mentions, so I have some reading to do before I can respond.

* the PW comics blogger Heidi MacDonald is tracking rumors about downsizing at Virgin Comics. That line's almost non-existent impact on the American comics industry on any level is likely the cause of whatever might develop and also the reason why such changes won't have much of an overall impact.

* finally, some not comics news: in case you missed it, this is the article that most people read late last week regarding the direction of the Time Warner movie business and DC Comics' role within it. No one would pay me 25 cents for my opinion about the movie industry, but it seems to me that billions of dollars are being staked on the results of 1) one mega-hit movie with a unique pedigree and 2) swiping as theirs a Marvel strategy that is exactly one successful film and one not-as-successful film into its slow build, minus that company's partnership tracks on the X-Men (a Wolverine movie and perhaps a prequel) and Spider-Man (I have to imagine one more movie) franchises. In a way it's kind of interesting that Time Warner is going to be mirroring DC Comics' big event strategies, as those haven't exactly been setting the serial comics world on fire, at least judging from their thorough and consistent beatings at the hands of Marvel's books on the Diamond charts this year. Also, I would have guessed that Speed Racer's performance was a vote against a limited-release, go-for-the-fences movie strategy as much as The Dark Knight was a vote for one. One positive is that with Time Warner publicly castigating their 2006 Superman film (starring the Superman that lifted a lot of things and the second most evil real estate plan in a Superman movie... ever!) maybe a certain subset of Superman fans will stop insisting that it performed to expectations.
posted 3:30 pm PST | Permalink

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