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

September 30, 2007

Random Comics News Story Round-Up

* Jennifer de Guzman follows up on the "Diamond to require bar codes" story, including a much-traveled link to a copy of the letter Diamond sent out to their vendors. So it looks like small press publishers will have a further, required investment. Whether this is enough to break them? I don't think it will be, and more importantly, I don't think it should be. Johanna Draper Carlson has a round-up of links concerning the economic travails of comics folk, which may put some of this in context. While I'm not driven to passion by the specific issue here, it does provide a jumping off point into a world of comics direct market dysfunction, from the notion that small publishers be given unfettered access to the marketplace to the idea that Diamond as a (not technically a) monopoly owes the industry a lax policy when it comes to small press efforts all the way up to the fact that these ideas are conceptualized in raw number forms in part because no one would trust Diamond, with their track record, to make non-insane judgments on potential vendors based on quality.

* Louis Delas of Casterman notes that any decision about their edition of Tintin Au Congo, under fire by some groups because of the depiction of Africans more in line with cartoon depictions of that time rather than reality then or now, has to be worked out with the Herge estate instead of just a summary decision by the publisher. He also notes that it's a traditional strong-seller in the series, leading sales last year with 40,000 units moved.

* I hadn't known of this Jason project, but then again, I suppose the English-language publication of his works is still a book or two behind European versions.

image* This is the week where the character of Lisa Moore passes away in Funky Winkerbean after a long bout with cancer, which will trigger a narrative shift in the soap opera/character-based comedy ten years into the future. The gruesome nature of the storyline has revived an ancient comics conceptual chestnut whether or not comic strips like Tom Batiuk's should be allowed reflect real life on occasion or should make their primary concern escapism from such matters. Here's one editorial in the "what the hell are you thinking with this storyline?" vein. Here's one in the "good for you, Mr. Batiuk" vein. My paper doesn't carry Funky Winkerbean, so I'll be following the storyline through the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

* Barry Windsor-Smith gives one of his projects new life on-line. Even if this were the worst strip in the universe, it would be kind of cool just for someone of BWS's generation taking full advantage of Internet-driven publishing possibilities in this manner.

* I like looking at Kevin Huizenga work close-up like this.

* I'm not going to pretend I've heard of Fangoria Comics, let alone kept track of their woes in negotiating the comics market since a 2006 launch announcement, but apparently they've shut down.

* A few of the better over-the-weekend interviews: Xavier Guilbert talks with Junko Mizuno for du9, Andrew Farago chats up Manga: The Complete Guide author Jason Thompson for and Dan Kois at New York checks in with Adrian Tomine.

* You're still following Mr. Wonderful, right?
posted 10:18 pm PST | Permalink

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