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November 12, 2007

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Jacques Tardi is bringing his Adele Blanc-Sec series to a close.

* Comic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Charles Brownstein talks to Newsarama about the recent mistrial in the Gordon Lee case. I think the key point is that the Fund plans a motion about what they believe to be the prosecutor office's misconduct throughout the affair, of which the mistrial is only the latest permutation.

* A case brought by cartoonist He Ying against China's Examination Center of the Ministry of Education for using his material in a test booklet without attribution or compensation was tried November 8; no verdict was returned. Ying seeks an apology, remuneration, and damages.

* This seems like a nice story: Kevin McVey receives something called the Tim Rosenthal Award for Volunteerism from the NCS, for his years in organizing institutional visits by New Jersey area cartoonists.

* The Shortcomings review in the Times discussed yesterday on this site appears here.

* If I'm reading this post correctly, the second Wonder Woman Day charity event raised $27,000 between its events in Portland and New Jersey, which goes to local shelters. That's pretty great.

* This Paul Gravett-penned article about comics through book publishing channels in the UK is probably more valuable for its snapshot of publisher's lines and plans that it is as another entry in the "how comics are perceived" phenomenon. For instance, Jonathan Cape is jacking up its publishing plans by 300 percent and is actively looking for more domestic material to augment some of the books it has planned.

* Chris Mautner rounds up a number of opinions from comics critics about the necessity of unique language when it comes to writing about comics. This worries me, as I don't always do that well with the language we already have.

* Apparently a group of prominent female European comics creators formed l'Association Artemisia on October 5; this article talks about the formation and I think their first press conference.

* Mark Thornhill ends an 18-year run at the North County Times. A co-worker pens an appreciation.

* Scott Adams, restaurateur. (thanks, Gil Roth)

* While on the one hand it's amazing to read Chris Butcher, Dirk Deppey and Gary Groth name-checked in the New York Times, I'm pretty much down with Eric Reynolds in his negative assessment of this profile of Scott Rosenberg.

I'm told that younger industry members are sometimes confused why people of a certain age in comics suffer a gag reflex whenever Rosenberg's name is mentioned. Reynolds touches on the modern reasons, including but not limited to the fact that even Will Smith hasn't benefited as much by his proximity to Men In Black and Smith actually contributed something to that movie greater than shepherding a property from its creators into the hands of movie producers. Some might feel it odd that someone's still working a movie that many years old, although as someone with no relationships to big-ass hit movies anywhere on my resume, even ones from when Peyton Manning was still in college, I can't really throw that knife.

As for the classic, foundational reason for some folks' disdain, Rosenberg's crucial role when it came to crippling the rise of independent comics publishing in the 1980s -- or at the very least having sex with the wound -- for the sake of a few bucks unethically earned: Gary Groth wrote about it at the time. Just run a search on the phrase "cupidity and stupidity" if you want to get to the meat of it. I think it was probably worse than Gary puts it, as the crippling of the independent comics market at that point in its history may have changed the face of the comics market more than all the Deathmates and panicky Diamond exclusives combined, but I'm not yet ready to write that article.

I suppose some people might whine that those events were 20 years ago, but they matter because the manufacturing of a comic book event and minimal actual publishing described in the article is the same kind of unethical manipulation as running shell companies and shadowy distributors; it's just different markets being manipulated. They're both justified by a kind of vague, cynical "it worked/it works" appraisal of the deed, too, as well as attempts to show that there is some legitimate comics-making going on if you look hard enough.

I know this is probably too long for inclusion in Round-Up, but it doesn't deserve its own section. I know without looking that someone like Rosenberg likely considers negative assessments like this one as simply more buzz rather than bad PR, and it's hard to suggest summary, dismissive contempt on an Internet that measures value through number of hits, word counts and headlines. But please let me suggest that summary, dismissive contempt is the way to go here. There's about 18 billion things in comics more worthy of our attention than a long-time business hustler's latest sweaty enterprise.

* Tom McLean and I continue our discussion of early Image and mid-'90s comics history, brought about by his use of Image as a metaphor useful to understanding the current WGA strike, here.
posted 1:06 am PST | Permalink

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