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

March 3, 2014

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* so there's an art contest linked into the release of Paul Pope's Escapo. I'm not usually one to run word of promotional campaigns and contests, but I can see the resulting art for this one as being worth looking at.

* not comics: the director Alain Resnais has passed away. His significant accomplishments have almost nothing to do with how he intersects with comics history, but he was a friend of Stan Lee's and they attempted collaboration, which makes him a key player in Lee's life and thus, one could argue, the entire Hollywood-orientation of the American comic book industry. My sympathies to Mr. Lee, who lost his close friend Arthur Lieberman in Spring 2012. Bart Beaty wrote in after this posted to note that Resnais was a significant figure in comics beyond the Lee link --"Resnais was actually a member of Centre d'√Čtudes des Littératures d'Expression Graphique, which was the first important scholarly organization dedicated to the study of comics in the world, and the most important one in France. Further, his 1989 film, I Want To Go Home, was written by Jules Feiffer and is about the differences between French and American cultures as seen through the eyes of an American cartoonist who visits Paris. Indeed, an argument can be made that Resnais is one of the most important non-cartoonists and non-business men in the history of comics." I agree with Bart, and while my point was that Resnais' death made the New York Times for his accomplishments in film rather than those related to comics, I shouldn't have narrowcast his accomplishments in that world.

* Anne Elizabeth Moore on Julio's Day. Meagan Damore on Tomb Raider #1. J. Caleb Mozzocco on Breath Of Bones. Zac Thompson on Beautiful Darkness. Bob Temuka on Scream!.

* not comics: I keep on forgetting to provide a link to these caricatures commissioned by Gary Arlington in his last days. They're sort of fascinating.

* not comics: this run of tweets that show how the comedian Jonathan Ross went from being asked to host a science fiction awards ceremony to being told that members wouldn't attend for what they describe as a history of cruel joke-telling directed at women and then on to Ross deciding to take a pass is fascinating. I don't actually hold "this person will give us exposure and press" as its own value, or at least don't assign it superceding worth, so the criticism that this attitude costs the awards something doesn't really register with me. Actually, I think it says something about the strength of the protest if people are willing to forego whatever perceived benefit the presenter brings them. At the same time, this strikes me as a deeply unfortunate thing. I'm increasingly uncomfortable with the idea that you have to agree with everything everyone has done in order to participate with them in something; or, to put it in a less hyperbolic way, I think people should be more willing to a participate in a professional event with people with whom they disagree. I bet if you scratch the surface of every single person that someone believes is safe or preferable that there's some ugly element to their character or their work with which they wouldn't necessarily agree -- I know this is true of the sexism discussion I've seen on-line within the comics culture, where I've seen people discussed as "positive" or "supportive" or "a friend on this issue" in strong contrast to whomever with triumphant certainty, and these are people about whom I've heard equally distressing stories. I'm also baffled by the idea that is gaining greater hold where artists reject other artists making uncomfortable or even deeply problematic art (Ross is a comedian), as opposed to, say, openly supporting an aberrant belief system or having done something that violates law or social compact; I still think there's a difference. I wouldn't want a Klan member to present at the Eisners, or George Zimmerman (if it were revealed he was a lifelong comics fan), but I've seen plenty of people present that have made art with which I strongly disagree, or have conducted themselves within the industry in a way I think harmful. The person in the Ross article that proposes themselves as a counter-possibility baffles me for a completely different reason, although that person at least made me laugh.

* Hannah Means-Shannon talks to Christina Blanch.

image* Last Gasp has a logo contest going on right now, and are offering items-in-trade rather than a cash payment to the winner.

* this is a very sweet story about a comics shop, and cites the virtues of one in a way that I sometimes forget comics shops are important. The comics shop was the first place where I shopped regularly, with a local merchant, a man who knew my name and what I liked to buy and valued my business and my opinions. I have never shopped in one of those "community" comics shops -- or if I did, I was never a part of that community. But I did have some great experiences growing up at comics shops that I remember as being of a kind with the first bank that treated me well, the first bookstore that treated me well, the first music store that treated me well. It is indeed a thrill to be taken seriously in your interest, and to be treated with respect across the board. God bless good comics shops.

* I've seen worse.

* finally, I love this photo. We all owe a special thank you to the men and women currently aged 55 to 80 that worked in comics at some point, for all that they gave dignity to the form at a time when the general culture wasn't so generous.
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink

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