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

February 21, 2012

It's A Fine Day For Some Long-Form Reading About Comics

There's a bunch of reasonably meaty comics-related articles and postings out there that are worth your time -- or at least a bookmark -- and doubly so if they run up against your specific area of interest.

* here's the appeal brief in the Kirby Family Vs. Marvel legal tussle. I like that it's presented without any glossing over how devastating the defeat was in the case proper, because too often we look at appeals -- because anything can happen -- as just another round of legalities as opposed to the long shots they usually are.

* there's a terrific daily post up here from Gary Tyrrell at Fleen about various things happening in digital and on-line comics. He's essential reading generally and even more so right now. I don't think there's a single negative thing to be said about people raising staggering amounts of money for various webcomics-related efforts, and I hope that there's also a lesson for all of comics about the general value of creator-driven work and executing with aplomb the tools put in front of you.

* to my mind, this editorial about Bob Englehart's suspension from the Hartford Courant surges into political Fruit Loop territory pretty convincingly by article's end -- your mileage may vary considerably -- but I thought it was worth reading for a couple of reasons. One is that it's a reminder that a lot of people agreed with the sentiment that Englehart expressed, to the point where I can imagine that a subset of those folks have no problem at all with how it was expressed. Another is that I agree there was a lack of desirable clarity as to exactly why Englehart was suspended -- I mean, I couldn't tell you what a cartoonist facing a similar situation would have to do not to face suspension other than maybe avoid this kind of situation entirely, which seems sort of sad to me given how editorial cartoonists should be in the thick of things on various issues. That's not to say I don't have my own thoughts on what Englehart did and what I would have done in response; I'm just not certain where exactly the paper stands.

* finally, there's a fascinating editorial at Sequential about where various union-organizing activities in comics have ended up and why it's important to talk about those things. The best section ropes in Julie Taymor's dispute with the producers of the Spider-Man musical and shows how what her union has done in terms of establishing how credit should be assigned puts her way ahead of people with what seems like more fundamental issues to bring up with comics publishers. I actually think there's a chance some sort of guild could happen in the next five years or so -- basically because I think people want to be involved with comics and a lot of other opportunities for people to achieve this are saturated with participants; I also think if there's a fallow period coming for comics more generally this might be a natural, collective response -- but I think it will take someone with a pretty clever approach to see that it works for a lot of people as opposed to some of the other potential outcomes for an organization like that.
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