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

March 21, 2008

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* according to this interview at the Pulse, the fondly-remembered 1980s series Mr. X will be making something of a comeback through Dark Horse and its creator, Dean Motter, in the form of a giant collection and a new series. The original series, which featured the work of a lot of established pros and soon-to-be established pros, always struck me as a good idea and a vehicle for sharp design whose plot, over time, became needlessly complicated and much less interesting because of a compulsion to extend the story and the series. I don't think anyone can seriously and convincingly make the case that it was a seminal comic of that period -- I think the ads may have been more influential than the actual comics, and I can't think of a major comic it directly influenced -- but the core concept of a drugged up genius architect returning to a "city of the future" he designed in order to undo the damage caused in part by the psychologically harmful elements he let slip into the final product? Super-solid. And, like anything Dean Motter touches, it was always striking.

image* Steven Stwalley reprints his introduction for the fine Kevin Cannon effort Far Arden. Apparently, Cannon is making a limited edition in the hopes of placing it with the best publisher for the material he can find. As you may or may not recall, this was Kevin Cannon's 288-hour comic effort -- a comic made in a series of 24-hour comics projects.

* Ian Brill lets us know that the '90s weren't all that long ago.

* a retailer questions Marvel's label on a comic book that includes too many words, gore, and meth smoking. Sounds like a Friday night here at the Buffalo Bar, but, come to think of it, they don't let kids in there, either.

* one has to imagine that this interview by Dick Hyacinth of independent bookseller Andy Graves will be making the blog rounds today and through the weekend. It's an interesting perspective in that it's rarely heard.

* I'm hearing without being able to confirm it that the latest victim of Wizard's long-running, off-the-radar purge of various employees (many in the company's creative department) is Martha Donato, whom I believe is a (now former) Senior Vice President.

* here's an odd story -- well, odd to me -- that includes news of a British marketing company using in-paper comic books and eventual collections as a calling card.

* finally, the writer Matt Fraction talks about what is sure to be an Internet sensation for the next few days: a disgruntled insider at Marvel posting information from Marvel series as a way to get back at the company they're not enjoying. It sounds like Marvel is scrambling after the person to find them and shut them down. This is interesting in a ton of ways, not the least of which is the whole concept of plot information as currency, which also informs some recent scattered posts and inquiries into the notion of conventions as platforms for this kind of publishing news. Now that Marvel and DC so greatly emphasize their books as vehicles for plot permutations -- as opposed to peak experiences, say, or places to find this month's great art -- this heightens the value of that information as a kind of cultural currency, to the point where a once-novel pleasure, which probably had its greatest expression in the old Amazing Heroes Preview Specials, has become the unquestioned prize in a battle between fans and pros over what should be revealed and how. In other words, if the main selling point of your comic is a new and bold direction for Mucous Man, then anything surrendering for public consumption the details of that direction may work against sales. In contrast, if your emphasis is "another stellar effort from Claremont/Byrne" or "the latest babe drawings from Michael Turner," plot reveals won't devalue that experience as much.

Okay, maybe that's the kind of thing only I find interesting.

Anyway, there are certainly other reasons to read the piece. For one, Fraction articulates an idea in pretty convincing fashion that revealing this kind of information is doing the professionals who count on these books potential vocational harm. I think he also nails down a reason why some people do things out of step with corporate culture -- they feel rejected by those entities after placing a great deal of value on them. Also, Fraction turns out to be a really good writer of clever insults, so it's sort of worth checking out the post just for that.

(I'm taking it for granted this is all legit; you never quite know with on-line stuff like this)
posted 2:30 pm PST | Permalink

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