* I'm grateful to Sean Kleefeld to cover the Patreon. To be clear, if I make a certain amount of money, I really do hire columnists to cover areas in which I'm weak. That would have to be a level at which I wouldn't mind failing to take home the 1000 an issue a full bank of columnists would cost, even if I were being super-cheap about it.
* this isn't comics, but it's horrible. The thing is, we live in a culture that if these folks were caught the cry would go up against serious punishment because it would be seen as an overreaction. I think it's deliberate, ugly act of harassment and constitutes a public danger by taking cops off of the street for duration of the prank.
Go, Read: Essays Of Note From Chris Butcher, Michael Hill
I have two essays saved to read again this week after intriguing first-reads.
* Chris Butcher writes about the relationship between the sales of manga and the sales of all-ages material. I disagree with most of what I read that first time through. Claiming the success of Raina Telgemeier as manga's, even in oblique fashion, feels to me like a last cry for manga triumphalism. That was a way of looking at comics in the '90s into the '00s that insisted manga was going to be the absolute dominant and defining market force in the US for decades to come, imagined a lot of enemies where they didn't really exist and made suggestions like complete and radical format change for North American publishers or the withdrawal of all money from direct market store support. It seems to me there was a lot of "othering" manga from pro-manga advocates, too, and while imagining it was subconscious resistance to female audiences that kept people from a full and mighty embrace is appealing rhetoric, that's a really specific construction to connect so many people with vastly different backgrounds and approaches to the medium. To me and a lot of writers I know, a lot of industry people I know, manga has always been and continues to be one of the great traditions of comics, and worthy individual efforts have been celebrated as such when encountered. Has that process of acceptance and publication and adoption been slower across the board than a super-enthusiastic fan of manga as its own thing might want? Sure. It's been slow for European comics, too. It's been slow genre to genre within English-language comics. And yes, there are one-true-religion superhero and American comics fans, always have been and always will be, but they're mostly dopes.
* Michael Hill argues Jack Kirby's consistency in terms of claiming credit for the achievements of Marvel Comics in the 1960s, and dissects the idea of the Marvel Method to an extent rarely seen. There's also some fun stuff in there about Kirby re-using past material in a way that makes it look that much more like Kirby was driving the car. I happen to believe Jack Kirby was the primary authorial voice of the 1960s Marvel Comics as a line and the dominant voice on the titles on which he worked. I also think Stan Lee's contributions were considerable in both of those ways and in a few others. I don't feel like arguing either every single time one of them comes up, and I've written about it plenty, so please spare me any contentious e-mails this time around. I just don't have the time this week. I love articles like Hill's. So much injustice has been done I welcome corrective. I am confident that most roads lead to the King, and with 2017 right around the corner I think we as an industry and culture can work to claim, in positive and forthright fashion, a space for Kirby in the firmament of 20th Century imagination.
* this Oliver Sava article on artists receiving credit is quite interesting, and I'd say necessary in terms of correcting general oversight and sloppy crediting. He has most of the reasons down why writers are favored, although I might additionally emphasize that 1) writers might look to other writers, 2) comics are increasingly seen as default narrative vehicles which is a way of looking at comics where people might favor their conception of what a writer does, 3) there's the Stan Lee thing where value of comics in a mainstream context is how they can be transposed into other media which in many cases might favor the writer's contributions.
I think in most cases it's pretty shameful not to credit contributing artists of all types. I also think there are exceptions where one might wish to look at single voices within a team framework. That can be done for a writer or for an artist or for a colorist or for an editor, even. I strongly feel the main genius of most prestige TV shows is what they've done for acting, and the performances drive the best of these shows, but I don't think it's a shot at James Gandolfini -- or even the other writers involved! -- to refer to The Sopranos as David Chase's show for a certain kind of piece. I think if you have respect for artists in general, of all types, positive and respectful ways suggest themselves in nearly every case.
Rounding Into A New Way Of Working: CR Patreon Update
So this was a crazy week for me and this site, as we begin to develop a new way of approaching my work in comics. I have a breakdown of desired featured interviews through the end of the year and a big list of interviews for the site I'd like to see done as well. The issue #0 material is imminent. I'm thinking of concentrating on feature material for that one. The #0 issue will help us settle into font and basic design choices.
My job right now is to diminish the learning curve as quickly as possible, hopefully to a non-noticeable standard. Judging by past efforts at TCJ, with the Wildwood strip and with this site, I've never been one to come out and just kill it Groucho-style from the opening number. I think #0 will be good, and give you and idea of what's to come, and be a bit quirky because of its "0" status, but I'm more fully confident #1 will be better in addition to being more complete and future issues will reine that until I get my sea legs underneath me.
This site solicited some opinions as to coverage areas. I was surprised by how smart they were across the board; I thought we'd get more goofballs. Because I hope The Comics Report will be a practical magazine, I want to make sure that lines of communication are open at all times in terms of things folks would like to see engaged, approached and examined. I'm thinking we might even get an old-fashioned letters column going.
Thank you so much for your patience as we've worked through this week's campaign. Starting next Saturday, really the only thing that matters is the result, both in that developing publication and right here at the traditional CR. If you've joined us, thank you twice. Comics in 2015 should be joyful and exciting and eager to stand up to the challenges that it faces. I look forward to covering the next thrilling few years, as best I'm able.
myself and my brother Whit on Thanksgiving 1987, during that three weeks in the late 1980s we were allowed to wear penny loafers without socks. Please forgive me. Columbus friends will note in the corner of the image my current sofa.