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

April 13, 2013

Six Things The Comics People I Know Are Talking About

image1. Comics Festivals and Conventions.
We now have enough conventions that an aggressive festival schedule could provide someone with a show worth traveling to every two or three weeks from March to September. This is astonishing to me. There's a lot of practical chatter about which shows to attend, and why, and what shows at which one can sell, and how. Nearly everyone to whom I speak in comics these days feels like the shows are important in some way, even if it doesn't necessarily line up with their specific role in comics. The show about which there seems the biggest baseline curiosity? CAKE.

2. Money.
The basic shape of these conversations seems to be alternating between cartoonists not having any idea at all how they might make more money for themselves and a general, dawning horror that most people in comics probably make a lot less money than we might of thought using standard constructions for exploring these issues. In other words, a lot of people are broke and worried, but they're pretty sure they're not the only ones.

3. Comics Schools.
There are more people than ever out there that went to comics schools or established comics programs, enough that they have a presence unto themselves and that they've also caught the attention of those that don't have any schooling in comics at all. I've talked to maybe a dozen people in the last 10 days that are out-loud wondering if those educations have the value that their bottom-line costs indicate. It's not an aggressively negative appraisal, like one that needs to be defended; I think it's more that it's an idea that is largely removed from the experiences of a lot of cartoonists to the point where they're just of naturally curious about how those schools might work and to what ultimate end. There's also this interesting strain of people outright celebrating the virtues of such programs completely divorced from vocational concerns.

4. That Time Dan Nadel Saw A UFO
Captured on camera here.

5. Community
It's not the buzzword it was three years ago, but I've had a few reasonably sophisticated, lengthy to the point of being fulsome conversations about building on a strength of recent comics history: that there are a lot of nice people out there willing to support and engage with one another in a way that improves the worthwhile qualities of working either in or proximity to the comics medium. That's a conversation that needs continued development. Everyone's pro-community, but building one of meaning and value is a lot harder than declaring one con's afterparty the most awesome experience ever or to bask in the glow of a recent convention. There's also a danger that one may get so wrapped up in an idea of common causes and bonds of friendship that a community becomes a closed circle in a way that doesn't encourage audience-building and engaging others with your art.

6. Kim Thompson
A significant number of people have expressed continued concern about the health of Fantagraphics co-publisher and all around super-talented good guy Kim Thompson.
posted 11:30 pm PST | Permalink

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