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

May 26, 2016

Go, Bookmark: Halftrack

posted 9:00 am PST | Permalink

Missed It: comiXology Announces Netflix-Style Service

I didn't miss it by a lot of time, but I am playing a bit of catch-up. Here is a reasonably straight-forward comics industry oriented piece on the digital distributor comiXology starting a streaming service called comiXology Unlimited. It's similar to curated streaming experience for film like those offered by or Netflix. It's not really a deep-dive offering like some of the company-specific programs. Under this program you pay your six bucks a month and get a mix of first-few issues and representative titles that kind of rotate in and out. For film, this strategy has hit a sweet spot between a world when lots of stuff is being offered, but that you're also not over-exposing the catalogs involved in terms of total depth and breadth.

I made my usual inquiry as to how the pay model works, and was given a no-comment by the distributor. I've been told that creators get paid out of a pool based on the relative number of contributed pages, and that sounds like the kind of strategy that could be in play.

Marvel and DC, ideal candidates for self-launched services featuring their own libraries, are not included.

I'm reading things on Twitter that indicate Image Comics made this particular distribution decision on behalf of the creators who publish under their banner, with all the usual questions about the implications of that for the company's aura of self-directed publication. I'm not finding a piece that confirms that, though. Then again, I'm writing this at 5:31 AM and should be able to update when I'm fully awake, perhaps even before this rolls out.

There are also significant questions about the overall effect of such services on other art forms, and what a successful version of this program would mean for comics folks.

Also from what I've reading this has been an opportunity for comiXology to reiterate its branding as a dominant market player and a force to potentially expand readership.
posted 8:55 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Barry Windsor-Smith Mainstream Work Gallery At ComicsAlliance

always a pleasure; this has imagery I haven't seen used before as representative work
posted 8:30 am PST | Permalink

Collective Memory: Linework NW 2016

imageLinks to stories, eyewitness accounts and resources concerning the 2016 edition of Linework NW, held May 21-22 in and around the Sons Of Norway Grieg Lodge in Portland.

This entry will continue to be updated for as long as people


* Festival Site
* Physical Location
* Host City

Blogs And Personal Journals
* Hannah Means-Shannon

* Organization Page

* Alternative Comics

* Brian W. Parker

* ChiChiLand 01
* Chi Chi Land 02
* Chi Chi Land 03
* Chloe Eudaly
* Chris Cilla

* David Lasky

* Erik Nebel

* Fantagraphics
* Fyootcher Maan

* Know Your City 01
* Know Your City 02
* Know Your City 03

* Linework NW 01
* Linework NW 02
* Linework NW 03
* Linework NW 04
* Linework NW 05

* Rilla Alexander 01
* Rilla Alexander 02
* Rilla Alexander 03
* Rose City Comic Con

* Sean Casey Real

* Trillian Alexander

imageNews Stories And Columns
* Bleeding Cool
* Portland Mercury
* Willamette Week

* Linework NW 01

* Event Account

* Aaron Meyers

* Brian Lee

* Dave
* Dylan Meconis

* Jacob

* Kevin Czap 01
* Kevin Czap 02

* Laura Knetzger
* Laurie Pina

* Meg Hunt
* Melty Buddy 01
* Melty Buddy 02
* MK Reed

* Pam Wishbow
* Paul Tobin

* Sean Ford
* Suzette Smith

* Trillian!




posted 8:25 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Trillian Gunn

posted 8:00 am PST | Permalink

You Should Always Wear Clean Underwear Over Your Leotards In Case You Get Injured

Whoops. Never mind.
posted 7:55 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Jerry Siegel-George Tuska Angel Back-Up Stories


I try to avoid wholesale reruns of copyrighted stories in deference to posts that at least re-contextualize such material, but I do think there's enough that's interesting about these stories and George Tuska's art and Jerry Siegel's writing that you can absolve yourself of most of your guilty feelings by taking a peek. I think the period at Marvel between Jack Kirby's departure and the publication of Giant-Size X-Men #1 to be its most fascinating one, with comics that were like the flickering shadows cast by Kirby's vibrant flame.
posted 7:30 am PST | Permalink

Zapiro Slammed For Monkey Grinder Cartoon; Tells Press That The Depiction Was A Mistake


I sort of get why editorial cartoonists remain attracted to the monkey grinder metaphor. It's visually odd, and the message is clear: this person is in service to the other person in a crass way. It thus can be used in a way that's critical of the monkey, critical of the grinder and/or critical of the entire monkey-grinder enterprise of pulling money from pockets via base appeal.

It's also, by general cultural agreement, deeply fucked up to depict anyone as a monkey, a billion times more so when that person is black, as is the case with political appointee Shaun Abrahams. It's hard for me to fathom that someone that is as generally astute and knowledgeable about the savage elements of visual metaphor as South African's institution of a cartoonist Zapiro could do this, or that any editor of an African newspaper wouldn't jump into the presses to stop it coming out. Zapiro concedes it's a mistake, which, um, yeah. My cursory reading of the backlash is that this so completely dunderheaded there's little chance that the cartoonist tried to slip one by or get it out there in a way that a retraction would cover his ass once that point was made (the way a TV lawyer might slip out banned information in front of a jury and then withdraw). Zapiro's own explanation seems to promote artistic hubris as the cause.

It's always seemed to me that Zapiro has a significant amount of goodwill built up with his readers, which has enabled him to pound on certain political issues in a way that would be difficult for others to pull off. I imagine this has a chance of wiping out vast reserves of it with a lot of people. At this point, the only things to do are listen and learn.
posted 7:25 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: Leonie Brialey

posted 1:30 am PST | Permalink

The Never-Ending, Four-Color Festival: Shows And Events


By Tom Spurgeon

* dates and first round of guests announced for the Helsinki Comics Festival.

* NYCC has a new verification process for tickets. This kind of thing is the wave of the future, although convention-goers tend to be split in seeing this kind of thing as a necessary evil that discourages re-selling and a process designed to gather better marketing information. I think 100 percent people will do what's necessary to fill this show. The text:

Each year when we take over the Javits Center in October, we have one priority in mind: you, the NYCC Fans. We don’t run NYCC year after year because we love hanging out by the Hudson or we need to reach our step goal in October, we do this because we want to provide the experience of a lifetime to everyone who attends NYCC each year.

imageWith that in mind, we want the New York Comic Con 2016 Ticket buying experience to be as smooth and fair as possible, so this year we are requiring Fan Verification. What does Fan Verification mean? It means we are requiring anyone interested in attending NYCC to fill out a profile between Friday, May 20 and Monday, June 13. We recognize that this is an extra step before buying your Tickets and requires more commitment from you, but we also know that as true Fans of the Show, you won’t mind making it tough for the supervillains out there. Here’s a quick look at nine important points for this new process:

1. Fan Verification is required for NYCC 2016. Everyone who would like to attend NYCC (whether you are buying Tickets yourself or someone is buying them for you) must fill out a Fan Verification profile.
2. Kids who will be ages 6-12 at the time of NYCC 2016 and will be using a NYCC 2016 Adult Ticket or Sunday Kids Ticket do not need a Fan Verification profile for their NYCC 2016 Ticket.
3. Fan Verification will be open from Friday, May 20 at 12:00 PM EDT to Monday, June 13 at 11:59 PM EDT. Fill out your Fan Verification profile correctly and completely -- there’s no need to rush through it.
4. All NYCC 2016 Ticket Types will go on sale at the same time on a first-come, first-served basis. Fan Verification does not guarantee NYCC Tickets.
5. We will no longer be selling VIP Tickets for NYCC.
6. NYCC 2016 Tickets will only be sold online. NYCC Tickets will not be on sale at retailers or any events leading up to NYCC 2016.
7. All Fans who filled out a Fan Verification profile will be notified via email 48 hours prior to NYCC Tickets going on sale.
8. The email you receive with the NYCC on-sale date will include a unique link where you will have the opportunity to purchase Tickets first-come, first-served when they go on sale. There is a one transaction limit per link.
9. If you are purchasing Tickets for you and your friends or family, you must assign each individual Ticket to a person using the name and email address they created their Fan Verification profile with. If you are purchasing a Ticket for a kid ages 6-12, you will add their name and age to the Ticket.

These changes are being done with you in mind and the hope that more of you will get the opportunity to experience NYCC. Please visit for complete details on the NYCC Ticketing process along with other important NYCC Show news.

Thank you for your commitment and passion for the Show and willingness to take these extra steps to help us get more Tickets into your hands. We're looking forward to giving you even more amazing content to experience with us and can't wait to reveal more of what we've been working on for you.

NYCC 2016 is going to be our best Show yet and it's all going to start with Fan Verification improving the Ticket buying process for you.
Looking around for a place to link I noticed that The Beat says they're also rebranding their week-before stuff to put NYCC in the title.

* here's a walk-through of that NYCC process. I don't have a firm grasp of people's expectations when it comes to being an attendee of such shows, but this has to be a vastly different experience.

* two great questions remain for the calendar year in festival-attending: will there be a CAB this year? What will be the dates for CALA? If anyone knows, I can keep a secret.

* here's word of a focused 'zine show in Newark in early July.

* don't know that I knew about this Dan Clowes exhibit up at the University of Chicago. Here's a profile piece. Thanks to Joe Muszynski for the heads-up.

* finally, my friend Gil Roth sent me some photos of the Masonic Hall venue that TCAF picked up this year. He took them just as the venue opened. Wow, this is basically nicer than 80 percent of everyone else's primary venues. I look forward to seeing how they employ it in the years ahead.



posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This

posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This

posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink

If I Were In Brooklyn, I'd Go To This

posted 1:20 am PST | Permalink

Forthcoming Comics-Related Events, Through June 2016



May 27
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Anime North)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Festival BD de Montreal)

May 28
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Anime North)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Festival BD de Montreal)

May 29
* If I Were In Erlangen, I'd Go To This (Internationaler Comic Salon Erlangen)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Anime North)
* If I Were In Montreal, I'd Go To This (Festival BD de Montreal)
* If I Were In London, I'd Go To This (DIY Cultures)


June 2
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)

June 3
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)
* If I Were In San Diego, I'd Go To This

June 4
* If I Were In West Virginia, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)

June 5
* If I Were In Philadelphia, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Philadelphia)
* If I Were In SF, I'd Go To This

June 7
* If I Were In Los Angeles, I'd Go To This

June 11
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (CAKE)

June 12
* If I Were In Chicago, I'd Go To This (CAKE)

June 14
* If I Were In Columbus, I'd Go To This

June 16
* If I Were In New York, I'd Go To This

June 17
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Sacramento)
* If I Were In LA, I'd Go To This

June 18
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Sacramento)

June 19
* If I Were In Charlotte, I'd Go To This (HeroesCon)
* If I Were In Sacramento, I'd Go To This (Wizard World Sacramento)
* If I Were In Toronto, I'd Go To This (Toronto Art Book Fair)

June 20
* If I Were Phoenix, I'd Go To This

June 23
* If I Were In Berkeley, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Conference)

June 24
* If I Were In Portland, I'd Go To This
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Conference)

June 25
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Conference)

June 26
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Conference)

June 27
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Conference)

June 28
* If I Were In Orlando, I'd Go To This (ALA Annual Conference)


Events For July 2016 Onward Listed Here


posted 1:15 am PST | Permalink

Go, Look: The Nightmare

posted 1:10 am PST | Permalink

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

image* Sean Gaffney on What Is Obscenity?

* there's probably some sort of joke to be made about Randian philosophy and the use of white-out, but mostly I just love seeing any later-period Ditko.

* more recent picks from Team Trouble With Comics. I didn't notice that they were going to split this one into three parts, so my apologies for not therefore waiting until the entire series was posted. You'll get one more link from me on this.

* here's a roundtable on the first issue of DC's DC Comics: Rebirth series, a series meant to kick off a line reboot at the venerable mainstream publisher. One thing that always strikes me as odd about these kind of "weigh in on the entire line and potential across the board" articles is that they seem to end up coming at you from the perspective of people that will be buying or paying attention to these comics no matter what, and thus the range of effect in question is whether those comics with which they're going to be engaged are either enjoyed or not enjoyed. That's not a big sweep of the needle to go from one of those groups to the other.

* Rachel Davies talks to Aidan Koch. Alex Dueben talks to Rebecca Sugar.

* by request extra: congratulations to the Cool Dog Annual Sticker Fund crowd-funder, the only comics-related crowd-funder about which anyone need know.

* finally: boy, that's a good-looking Doctor Strange on the top of Kevin Nowlan's Twitter account page.
posted 1:05 am PST | Permalink

Happy 39th Birthday, Raina Telgemeier!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 46th Birthday, Nick Bertozzi!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 49th Birthday, James Kochalka!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 48th Birthday, Marc Arsenault!

posted 1:00 am PST | Permalink

Happy 39th Birthday, Dave Roman!

posted 12:59 am PST | Permalink

May 25, 2016

Go, Look: Tom Lechner

posted 11:35 am PST | Permalink

Our Fractured Industry Needs To Put Aside Our Differences & Unite Behind A Single, Vital Issue

Noah. My God. Shave.
posted 11:00 am PST | Permalink

Gary Brodsky's Passing Noted At The Beat

this apparently happened May 9 and I totally missed it. I think. It's been a rough year for my memory in addition to a rough year for people passing away
posted 10:00 am PST | Permalink

Marvel Responds To DC's Tossing Of Sadness Gauntlet

imageDescription of plot points in the new Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 here. Ew! It's like discovering film of your Mom making out with your elementary school principal, except for some reason it's trending.

These are corporate properties designed to move product, and sometimes that's a little more apparent than usual. It's really apparent this week! The way these companies occasionally seek to manipulate the affection and feelings of ownership that they themselves have encouraged in their fans is interesting to a point, but only a point.

Comics like these rarely satisfy. The focus on the characters as their own thing aggressively diverts from any insight into the human condition they might afford, even through amplification, and the attention paid to plot points and continuity almost always makes a low priority of the element of spectacle through which superhero funnybooks can be a beautiful thing to behold. What you're left with is static images declaring their own wikipedia entry updates. No thanks.
posted 1:25 am PST | Permalink

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