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August 21, 2008


Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Justin Bilicki has won this year's Science Idol contest. Its apparent full name is the Science Idol: Scientific Integrity Editorial Cartoon Contest. The winner, a Livonia, Michigan native now in Brooklyn, New York, has been put up for auction to benefit the contest's sponsor, the Union of Concerned Scientists. Over 20,000 people voted. The winner gets a cash prize, a trip to Washington, DC, and their cartoon will grace a calendar feature the 12 finalists.

image* I totally missed this post from Scott Edelman about the process by which Stan's Soapboxes were created.

* this interview with Scott Mitchell Rosenberg of the not really a comics company comics company Platinum is completely terrifying, and, I think, very much not good history. Speaking of which, does anyone out there have any idea what he's talking about in terms of a company that supposedly switched distributors on him in his distribution business days?

* I had a dream last night and in part of it I was reading a huge, over-sized issue of Legion of Super-Heroes featuring Jaime Hernandez on the art in a retro-'50s style. I don't want Jaime doing anything other than his own stories, but that would be sort of freakishly adorable, don't you think? Also: I need better dreams.

* Abhay Khosla vs. Scott Kurtz.

image* the yearly ICv2.com interview with Paul Levitz is a must-read, if only to take the temperature of one of comics' more influential executives: part one, part two, part three. A lot of it is broad strategy-speak, but one thing worth noting is the undercurrent of praise for the Random House distribution deal and the offhand revelation that it has apparently had a noticeable effect on a trade series as far along in its volume numbers as Fables. That distribution switchover isn't yet six months old, I don't think. A few other things stand out for me. First, like I wrote earlier this summer, I don't think comics have always done well in a recession -- not even the cheap comics. Second, I've seriously never heard of Watchmen being touted as a gateway comic, let alone am willing to join Levitz and acknowledge that fact as widespread industry conventional wisdom. I've heard more people mention GI Joe than Watchmen as a book that got them from not reading comics to reading comics. Third, someone out there is likely to interpret Levitz suggesting that it's not editorial policy or general direction but execution that has put Marvel's series ahead of DC's this summer as Levitz blaming the talent. That's not what he's doing, but I'm certain someone will see it that way.

* finally, here's a fascinating essay by Steven Grant that uses as a jumping-off point the recent Robert Kirkman video exhorting folks to readjust their careers with self-directed creation at its core. I don't agree with a lot of it, but it's well-stated. The only thing I'd really object to outright is his assertion that smaller companies don't have effective promotional arms. I think some of them do. I actually think folks like Peggy Burns and Eric Reynolds are more effective than big company PR people in most cases. Their creators get just as much press as many big companies get for their creators, and in many cases these creators enjoy a just-as-high profile despite not moving nearly as many copies in the overall scheme of things. Part of this is that they're good (especially in relation to functionaries in your average big-book publisher PR departments, who can be nightmarish), part of it is that they're allowed to be good and don't have to function as a cog in various inter-company political games, and part of it is that they aren't also being asked to promote some goofy fictional character and/or the company as much as they are allowed to focus on creators.
 
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