The top comics-related news stories from May 11 to May 17, 2013:
1. A Mike Peters cartoon was reworked by a publication so obviously it hurts one's teeth -- a common practice in this day and age of digital manipulation. Whether or not the attention driven to your issue balances against being criticized for this kind of activity, no one likely knows. Meanwhile, it's impossible to have a bad cartoon, the cartoon must be unfair.
2. The Brooklyn Comics And Graphics Festival, a successful arts- and alt-comics show that's been running since 2009, calls it quits.
Quote Of The Week
"Maybe that's why they never gave you an award before." -- my approximate memory of Doug Wright Awards host Scott Thompson to the cartoonist David Collier after Collier's rambling, chaotic acceptance speech.
today's cover is from the all-time series Classics Illustrated
The people on stage with you today stand right alongside the knowledge in your head as your greatest resource moving forward. May all your debuts be ACME #1s, and may all your contracts be more Kane than Kirby. Good luck. Please write. And draw.
Everyone Should Plan To Go To This Hellen Jo Show; Also: Please Stop Using Only Facebook For Events
So I just made a joke tweet about the artist Hellen Jo, using the time-honored construction of future generations judging us if we don't support that fine cartoonist and illustrator. People got worried. I think what happened is that the hosting store only used a non-accessible facebook page as the sole events page -- at least the only one I could find -- so when people couldn't get to it, it came across as worrisome.
So 1) please stop doing that, events-hosters. Not everyone is on Facebook and certainly not everyone is on your like list. 2) Everyone please plan to go to the above Hellen Jo show, because her work is really potent and funny and I think under-appreciated. The end. Sorry, Hellen. Sorry, everyone.
Extra apologies if this is just me not knowing how to link stuff, which is highly likely.
The Bill Finger Award committee headed by Mark Evanier announced today that Don Rosa and Steve Gerber will receive this year's award.
Don Rosa is best known for his work on the Disney duck comics, the exemplar of which is the 12-part The Life In Times Of Scrooge McDuck, an act of spirit and love based on various clues about the life of the Carl Barks character as dropped here and there over several years worth of comics publications. Rosa was a noted collected of comics -- he remains one, I believe -- and created Carl Barks-reminiscent work of his own before starting on the various ducks comics.
Like Rosa, Steve Gerber got his start in fan publications and made quality work of his own although his best-known and mostly highly regarded material was done for a corporate publisher. Gerber enjoyed several quirky and creative runs on various mainstream comic book series but remains best known for the co-creation of and subsequent series writing of Howard The Duck, a small publishing phenomenon of the 1970s and a distillation of various expressive elements of underground comics through the absolute mainstream; Gerber's work holds up on its own merits, too, sad and mournful and funny.
I believe Rosa's win is the first time the Finger Award has gone to a writer that is equally well known as an artist.
The award was instituted in 2005 at the behest and due to the hard work of the late Jerry Robinson. One living one deceased writer are selected. Its basic function is to recognize the contributions of writers that have yet to receive their proper due. The award will be given out at this year's Eisner Awards ceremony the Friday night of Comic-Con International weekend.
If you missed it, late yesterday the Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival announced its demise. This caught of lot of folks' attention for a number of reasons. First, conventions and festivals are super-popular right now, at least in terms of people trying to throw one, so someone taking a step in the other direction is worth noting. Second, that particular convention had been successful -- at least according to surface measures -- and popular. Third, New York shows are always interesting in and of themselves because New York is a major media center and the longtime capital of Comics USA; there should be shows in New York, massive and popular shows, but the degree of difficulty in pulling this off is immense. So those are three: I'm sure there are other reasons.
Reaction on twitter to news was immediate and generally laudatory in terms of assessing the event's brief history. As I imagine these things go, a show upon which people came to count -- I know of a couple of books that had already targeted the show for their debuts -- moving from a going concern to an "era" in the past made everyone in the small press, arts and alt comics worlds feel slightly older.
There are a couple of things worth noting the day after.
One is that apparently Tim Hodler is going to file a report, which is good because he was in the loop fairly early on and knows all the major players -- primarily the co-founders Dan Nadel, Gabe Fowler and Bill Kartalopoulos. That allows me and people like me to play catch for a while, at least until Tim files. If it's a good, we can maybe let his article stand as the one of record.
A second is that a lot of people are asking who benefits, which I think a fairly intriguing topic. I would imagine that a bunch of people/events could.
a) if a similar show comes from one of the co-sponsors and fill roughly that same calendar space, I think memories of BCGF are positive in a way that exhibitors and attendees would give that one a whirl.
b) I know that a bunch of folks are committed this year to the festival of cartoon art in Columbus, Ohio being held in conjunction with the opening of the new Billy Ireland spaces. That's actually been one of the cooler shows of the last several years, what they've done there every other year without the facility event to hang this stuff on. It's been primarily strip-oriented, but that's going to change a bit with this one. You might not get exhibitor interest, or creators that operate as exhibitors, with that one in the same way -- there's no small press room for folks to set up and sell things, as far as I know -- but if you're a fan like me looking for a comics-related trip between SPX and Angouleme, that would seem to fit the bill. Plus I like Columbus. So I'll be there.
Plus maybe if enough people show up we can convince Jeff Smith to host a cookout.
c) there's another festival in the same general neighborhood as BCGF. It's small, but a lot of early comics shows stay small for quite some time before something happens to make them grow. An operating show means an option for people in the borough to exhibit locally that might now be more attractive, and an infrastructure that could maybe move into an open Fall slot.
d) SPX potentially becomes that much more important for people that might not be bothered to go if they could just stay closer to home and hit Brooklyn. While the rest of us slept, Warren Bernard likely wrote a position paper on New York fan outreach.
e) NYCC might get a slight boost from those of us that want to travel to New York in the Fall under the auspices of a working comics weekend, even if the thought of spending a bunch of time on the floor of the mainstream- and con-culture oriented Reed-run show makes us queasy.
f) APE is suddenly in a much better position to become a more significant capper for the year in small press, and a trip to San Francisco is probably one of those experiences out there closest to a trip to Brooklyn if you were going to BCGF just to go hang out in a cool city for a couple of days.
g) TCAF. I'm sure TCAF wins in this scenario somehow, because TCAF usually just wins stuff. I guess they could maybe rope in one of the co-organizers into a more active role up there...? I don't know. They'll do something with this if there's something to be done.
h) MoCCA -- if this show fits into the Society Of Illustrators plans moving forward -- and I suspect it does for the short term at the very least -- I imagine they might get a slight boost from simply being a New York show and thus attracting a few of the folks for whom BCGF was their sole local comics show to attend. I know it would become more important for me to hit MoCCA if I had fewer chances to just get to New York, even for a little while. I suppose with TCAF in the Spring MoCCA might also consider a Fall date if one were suddenly open this way, but that's pure conjecture on my part.
I'm sure there are others. The thing about shows is that they're not only relatively successful right now as a group but they traditionally provide opportunities for non-comics makers to be involved in a significant way in the world of comics -- something that a lot of folks want. I have to imagine that all of these interests will coalesce into something similar as the departed show, but even if they don't, there will be a real impact felt in that creative milieu.
Bundled Extra: Oily Comics Makes Move Outside Of Its Mini-Comic Format With Josh Simmons' Habit #1
Oily Comics Publisher Chuck Forsman has announced a full-sized, more comic-book type comics work debuting at this year's CAKE show: Habit #1. Josh Simmons is the main talent on display here, this time working with collaborators such as Wendy Chin and Karn Piana. The format is 7 by 8.5 inches, 52 pages in black and white with color covers, $5 cover price.
Simmons seems a good choice for something like this: he's a compelling, prolific talent whose work seems suited to publication outside of on-line postings and book collections. He also has a pretty solid relationship with Fantagraphics for the latter, giving Forsman's mini-comics house an opportunity to work in a slightly different way. I also think that CAKE should end up being a solid show for debuts like this one. Simmons plans to be on hand.
* I greatly enjoyed reading this post from Gary Tyrrell about Team Foglio's use of crowd-funding mechanisms, if only because it's more of a piece from someone that covers the on-line comics world more than it is someone that's focused on the ins and outs of things like Kickstarter. It would seem something perfectly suited for that kind of campaign.
* this is so obvious it's almost silly to point it out, but it seems that a lot of what comiXology is offering right now in terms of sales is focused on tie-ins to wider media, like the Iron Man and Star Trek movies.
Go, Read: Brian Hibbs On The Serial Comics Mini-Series Format
The retailer and Direct Market advocate Brian Hibbs has a short piece up on the mini-series format, by which I think he means a short run of comic book issues with a limited publishing scope, something that is only supposed to run four issues, say.
It's a nice, compressed look at the different issues those retailers balance when presenting work to the public, and the way the North American comic shop market is beginning to resemble the French-language bookstore market a bit in one sense: that it's brutal for specific concepts to stand out because of the sheer volume of material out there. This is doubly, even triply true of concepts that are more tossed off than considered and planned. I think what he's saying along those lines supports a theory I float here as a kind of general, driving market force: that readers right now want to be directed to the books that matter, and there may be relatively very little consumer exploration underneath the bigger umbrella of sales. At any rate, it's worth a quick if you're interested in those kinds of issues at all.