Mark Evanier discusses Ditko's Dell Get Smart work [News From ME #1, #2] [Lady, That's My Skull with sketch page]
Whatever became of the New Mainstream? [The Beat]
The Beat observes SPX, sees direct-market superhero folks and artoonist media darlings in two nonmingling small camps, with mainstream genres like horror, fantasy, romance, sci-fi eschewed by self-publishers and not able to make it as singles. Neilalien's reminded of his mini-rant after observing MoCCA 02002 about small-press types not doing genre work.
Amen: "I think we should all get along like a house on fire" [Robert Kirkman's Buy My Books column]
Joe Casey talks the Cosmic Superhero Epic and Steve Englehart [The Genre column at GØDLAND Online]
The 32-page comic book periodical single should cost more; actually, it probably should die [Confessions of a Comic Book Guy column at ICv2]
Diamond expanding warehouse: "increasing the company's backlist capability will enable the company to better service the rising popularity of longer-lived SKUs such as graphic novels" [ICv2]
Posted 30 September 02005 - Permalink
Ditko's use of classic Marvel original art pages as cutting boards related again [Comics Should Be Good's "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed" #17]
Sneak peek of new Bowen Dr. Strange statue [posted to Statue Forum (you'll have to be registered to the message board to see any pics)] [larger pic] [thanks readers!]
Neilalien's not a statue guy, but this looks sweet, grand with nice flowing cape.
Defenders #3 out this week [this week's Diamond Comics Shipping List]
Preview: Action Philosphers #3: Self-Help for Stupid Ugly Losers covers Sigmund Freud, C. G. Jung and Joseph Campbell [Pulse]
Be sure to go to the Action Philosophers site and vote for the next Action Philosopher!
Joe Casey interview re: GØDLAND; #4 preview [Newsarama] [GØDLAND Online]
Neilalien's enjoying this wacky series. Interesting reminder here that the direct market's even wackier ways make the third issue a critical point in a monthly book's life, when retailers start ordering a series as they've already experienced and sold it instead of three months in advance. Entertainment Weekly gave the book a B+.
Small Press Expo 02005's big news seems to be Finder's Carla Speed McNeil's new business model: dropping floppies for a free webcomic; collections sell, floppies don't [Unqualified Offerings] [Update: Newsarama interview] [Update: McNeil post to The Engine via Fanboy Rampage]
Mark Waid interviewed: "Batman's broken... he's a dick now" [Monitor Duty] [via Lying In The Gutters with musings]
Is there light after the dark tunnel of Infinite Crisis?
Update: How does Mark Waid know what we're sick of? The grim stuff sells [Newsarama MB] [via Fanboy Rampage]
Retailers can soon adjust their DC orders for periodical comics 20 days before publication like they can with Marvel [ICv2]
Too many collected monthly series arcs and reprints called "graphic novels", not enough "original graphic novels" [Permanent Damage]
Congrats to columnist Steven Grant on five years at CBG, and good luck on the paying gigs.
Should comic book characters age? [One Fan's Opinion]
It seems to be one of Erik Larsen's favorite questions to argue and answer- Neilalien's surprised Larsen waited until column #7 for this topic.
Alan Moore interviews Brian Eno [Read Yourself Raw] [also via Lying In The Gutters]
"Honour thy accident as your hidden intention." Heh.
Posted 26 September 02005 - Permalink
Cool Doc illo by Andi Watson [Flickr] [thanks Johnny Bacardi for the FYI]
Love note to Strange Tales #136 [Dave's Long Box]
Listing of Dr. Strange TPBs found [Millarworld]
Posted 21 September 02005 - Permalink
Overview of Diamond Comic Distributors implementing its new $600 cutoff/cancel point [Newsarama]
There may actually be a Marvel book on the way called Marvel Zombies [All The Rage] [via Fanboy Rampage]
By Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and Sean Phillips (Sleeper). This old Marvel Zombie is tickled by the title, but uninterested so far.
For real and far more interesting Marvel Zombies, Neilalien suggests The Marvel Zombie Society Amateur Press Association.
Neat interview with Diana Schutz re: comic book editing [Comic Foundry]
On writers who don't read the book's bible, don't provide enough info to the artist, too many actions or words per panel, etc.
Fascinating reading guide to Grant Morrison's Seven Soliders highlights alternative to House of Mutant Decimation or Infinite Countdown to Crisis [Lying In The Gutters]
Fun superhero science stuff:
When Superman's heat vision beams should be drawn converging or staying parallel [Polite Dissent]
Superman's eye photoreceptor cells need to be super-tiny for telescopic and microscopic vision [Polite Dissent]
Superman shown hearing an event and arriving to stop it long before the event's sound waves could have possibly reached him [Suspension of Disbelief]
Comics blogosphere perceived in an each-blog-doing-its-own-thing news-filter mode right now [The Hurting]
Were the cross-blog conversations and kerfuffles as important, as nourishing (as opposed to draining), and as community-cohesive as we may have liked to think?
Posted 20 September 02005 - Permalink
Alphabetic tour of comics' key creators gets to D, Ditko [Ninth Art]
Will Licensing Doom Marvel? [Motley Fool]
A pretty damn good outside-our-community article at the investing site by Nathan Alderman which nicely summarizes the critiques of the day. Marvel gets called out for focusing on licensing and letting the publishing side wither neglected: kids into Marvel Superhero everything except the comic books themselves, no new big characters in 30-40 years, striking out with girls, manga's booming instead, work-for-hire makes creators passionate about other things which stifles development at Marvel, convoluted event stories instead of just good straight-up stories.
Alien Smugglers and Bounty Hunters in the Sci-Fi Comic Runners [Sean Wang interview at Sequential Tart]
John Byrne declared war on his Wikipedia entry [Kung Fu Rodeo] [via MetaFilter] [current Byrne Wikipedia entry] [revision differences] [Fanboy Rampage trackage]
A richly detailed documentation of Byrne's career, conflicts with others, and his controversial crackpot statements- granted, unflattering, one-sided, with a lot of opinion and conjecture re: behind-the-scenes stuff and Byrne's own internal thoughts and psychological states- has been removed- leaving only the most basic biographical facts and a sterile bibliography. Some interesting meta discussion about Wikipedia: that anyone can edit- open source, peer review, low gatekeeping- is both its greatest strength and greatest weakness; shouldn't an encyclopedia only deal with citable fact and not so much opinion?; but isn't "the comics press reported that Byrne and Shooter didn't see eye to eye" acceptable to include?; what is the correct response to finding an unsourced listing of unflattering opinions about yourself on Wikipedia?
Warren Ellis' new forum The Engine: just so much more hip posturing, wannabe creators trying to tap in, and kool-aid drinking, especially re: anti-superhero discussion rules [Ninth Art]
Posted 19 September 02005 - Permalink
Delightful panel comparison of Fantastic Four #19 and Doctor Strange #53 and the Rama Tut Ancient Egyptian adventure [Dial B For Blog]
Superhero comics have become way too dark with death, drugs, and unpunished evil to be more than a niche genre now (if they ever were) [Confessions of a Comic Book Guy Column at ICv2]
Much of what made superheroes heroic has been leeched out in the name of alienation and nihilism confused as "art" [ICv2; retailer responds to above]
Viva La Weirdness: Marvel's Whacked-Out Comics of the Seventies [Comics Should Be Good] [written by Filing Cabinet Of The Damned]
The Hurting turns his hilarious critical eye on The Human Fly [Prologue] [Chapter One] [Chapter Two] [Chapter Three]
You just knew that Progressive Ruin had something to do with this.
Comic creators pitch in for Katrina relief [Newsarama]
Posted 15 September 02005 - Permalink
Diamond raising the bar with stricter sales terms: comics that don't get orders of $600/500 copies will now have their orders cancelled? [The Beat; Update: #2] [Comics Reporter; #2] [The Engine] [Postmodernbarney] [Matthew High] [Riot Comics]
Sounds like huge serious news if official, and if that cut-off number really affects a lot of small-press and self-published comics (folks don't seem to know if either "if" is for sure yet). Given Diamond's current near-monopoly re: distributing comics to the Direct Market, and the steep-cliff drop of sales numbers after the top books, it's an understandable fear that this business move could potentially kill off a lot of the comics small press, and future stars "in their cribs". But most of the pundits seem more measured, actually, more Darwinist and elitist and comics-eat-their-own and dues-to-be-paid, suggesting that "a thinner catalog representing a higher bar for participation" might be better for Comics businesswise and aesthetically, as opposed to "too much glut, too little shelf space" and automatically "giving the keys to the executive washroom" to any mini-comicking fool with a dream and a photocopier. And hey, reality check: Diamond's not a charity or Team Comix advocacy group, and concert tours get cancelled and monies refunded due to low advance ticket sales all the time. Let's hope those pundits are right- and not confusingly musing on purely-economic standards as if they offered aesthetic standards as well. An old familiar binary is playing out- and especially given the scarily-low non-Big-Two sales numbers and tinyness of comicdom- Neilalien's punk sensibilities have usually erred on the side of the anything-goes unmoderated forum-bazaar, nurturing small press and the edges and new creator-idea DIY-energy, providing soil and freedom and preseason games for the fragile seeds of greatness and expression and cream-rising, open-mic outlets that allow unsigned bands with crappy demo tapes to still be heard, celebrating the internet as circumvention of old big media control- and not losing the long tail of niche nuggets and cliquey favorites to Someone Else's gatekeeping, control, editorial, moderation, payola, bottom line, exploitation, definition of "crappy", etc. Even if it means sifting through the chaotic lowest-denominator equal-democracy-mob unmoderated-message-board of All for ourselves, a much lower signal-to-noise ratio, and keeping Previews in our 90%-crap 500-channels-nothing-on info-overload world. If Diamond wants to be our monopoly like the cable company, then it had better indulge us with our choice of 500 channels and be legally required to support/provide us with some community-access ones, just like the cable company!- rather than carry only the white-bread safely-profitable Big Three TV Networks. This feels like just another business decision by someone else in that chasm between the creator and the potential reader (cake layers of publisher, editor, distributor, retailer, etc.) that renders the attempt to walk a self-published Art path free from exactly those corporate decisions of others (at least on the creator/publisher/editor level) such a challenging reality.
Diamond's sales standards have been lax; they should get out of the tiny-book business [T Campbell Letter to Comics Reporter]
Update: Alan David Doane weighs in; this cut-off policy would have been detrimental to the early work of so many artcomix creators; it's astonishing to set up yet another roadblock to people who want comics (and may have even already paid for a book) [Kochalkaholic]
Update: Retailer: indie prices would go up to make cutoff point; no more small-order tests for small press books [Postmodernbarney]
Marvel Masterworks: Doctor Strange Volume 2 should be out; hardcover color reprints of Strange Tales #142-168 and Doc cover gallery [this week's Diamond Comics Shipping List] [Marvel.com]
Stan Lee's third-person insider narrative connected, guided readers round the campfire and into the secret club; today it's all about creator invisibility [Basement Tapes]
Powers and the Comic Book Human [Timothy Burke] [via The Intermittent]
A call for superhero writers to make their unreal worlds more real, and risk trying to figure out what it means to be a normal person in a world with time-traveling conquerors, Reed Richard's inventions, and homicidal maniacs who escape every year, and how things would change. "Life in extraordinary fictions needs to be extraordinary in order for it to be identifiably human."
Neilalien fave The Silencers: Black Kiss TPB has shipped [Pulse]
Also from Fred Van Lente: more Action Philosophers later this month!
Marvel wants it both ways: an accumulated-history shared universe, and "accessible" anti-continuity no-consequences TPB-contained story arcs; the halfway results please no one [Ninth Art]
Graphic novel sales in comic stores rose a dramatic 33% in the first half of 02005 [ICv2]
It's where the business has been going. Comic periodicals/singles/floppies were near-flat at 2% growth, for 7% growth overall.
After the surprise frenzy re: Death of Superman, retailers uber-over-order Adventures of Superman #500; seen as 90's comics crash culprit [Progressive Ruin]
Power Girl and her huge rack: the premier superhero sex object in the DC Universe [Dave's Long Box]
Hello, libraries can do for comics what they've done for books [The Low Road]
Arabized Disney characters Meekee, Batoot and Bondock hold core positions in Egyptian culture [BusinessTodayEgypt]
It is a small world, after all. "Batoot [Donald Duck] is like any Egyptian, loud and tense."
The Curmudgeon Manifesto [The Hurting]
Never trust absolute glowing praise, or artists who aren't suicidal.
One of Neilalien's favorite blogs Franklin's Findings has ended its run
A valued ally against certain camps in comicdom will be missed.
Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort had an online chat [Comic Book Resources]
Brian Cronin: Was Dr. Druid your first pick to replace Dr. Strange in Secret Defenders?
Tom Brevoort: I believe the editor at the time came to me with Dr. Druid.
Kirk Jarvinen: Is Marvel going to do an Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus with the Lee/Ditko run?
Tom Brevoort: We've talked about it, but nothing's definite yet.
Kevinroc: Since "The Defenders" has been selling, I heard that Marvel would launch an ongoing by Giffen and Co. If it was deemed successful. Any truth to this?
Tom Brevoort: As usual, it depends on the sales of the limited series.
Posted 14 September 02005 - Permalink
Nice weekend for comics if you're in NYC:
Big Apple Con both days
Reception for Modern Fairy Tales exhibit at MoCCA Saturday tonight [Pulse]
Might see you there, Neilalienistas!
Sad week for punk if you're anywhere: CBGB Gets Eviction Notice, Remains Defiant; bands play on [Curbed] [NewYorkology] [Save CBGB]
Posted 10 September 02005 - Permalink
Hilary Barta's funny Dr. Strange pin-up from What The-?! [large B&W image] [Source: Comic Book Artist #25, June 02003]
Ditko on infamous inker Vince Colletta? From Mark Evanier's column in the new Jack Kirby Collector, gossip as repeated on Ditko-L:
In 1970 when Steve Sherman and I met Steve Ditko, he asked us about
the new Kirby books that were then about to debut at DC. When we told
him Colletta was handling the inking, he winced and said that he would
probably not look at the comics. Back when he was working for Marvel,
Ditko said he'd pick up the latest issues in the office and always
check the credits before taking the comics home. If he found Colletta's
name - especially as Kirby's embellisher - he would make a point of
putting the comic back, or even in a wastebasket. And he'd make sure
Stan saw what he was doing and knew the reason why.
Avengers: The Serpent Crown TPB out today, highly recommended [Brill Building]
Beloved John Ritter superhero movie Hero At Large now out on DVD [Amazon] [via Howling Curmudgeons]
New York Times love affair with comics continues: Times Magazine Debuting Chris Ware Comics in September [Editor & Publisher] [via Kottke]
Congratulations to comics weblog Progressive Ruin on his 1,000th post!
Each post a pocket dimension of pure entertainment.
A Chat About Craft With Grant Morrison [Pop Thought] [via LinkMachineGo]
Well, the way I see it, Alex, images, ideas and characters derived from comic books now cover just about every available surface in the civilized world. X-Men cereal! The Incredibles pajamas! Sky High! What more proof do comics fans need that the rest of the world has - at least for a moment - stopped laughing at all the crazy shit we're into?
Will we remain unsatisfied until every newborn babe has a Spider-Man logo tattooed on his head? Aren't Marvel and DC characters on the sides of buses enough evidence that the whole world has fallen under the spell of comics? Does every man, woman, and child have to swear allegiance to Captain America's shield before we finally accept that comics are already valid ? How much more validation do summathese goddamn fanboys need, for crying out loud!!
Everybody I've ever met thinks it must be great to do what I do for a living and I've met lots of people, including lots of famous ones. They all think comics are great. What more can I say ? They're not too sure about the more obsessive, stereotypical 'fan' type, but then obsessive fans of anything can seem be a little disconcerting whether they are fans of old skool hip-hop, football or Gwen Stefani. Otherwise, as far as I can see, just about every-bloody-body loves the idea of comics and superheroes. They would buy shitloads more of the actual books if the format, pricing and availability changed, but messages like that take a long time to get through to the brains of the big companies. Sell comics at cinema concession stands, for instance, and the sales would skyrocket shockingly overnight. Or rack them next to the week's new CD and DVD releases in Virgin megastores and pop shops. Manga size. They'd shift millions like they used to. All of this will probably still happen in one way or another before 2010.
Comics as an artform has done all right by me and my mates over the years, and, as far as I can see, everybody else is pretty cool with the idea that comics still get made. The people who can't stop whining about how the books are crap and all the writers are rubbish compared to 'real' writers, and all the artists aren't as good or as fast or as tall as they used to be, or whatever, are self-confessed comics fans, sadly. There's always a small hard core of 'Fans' who tend to despise, denigrate and insult comic books and their creators more than any other segment of the population would even imagine doing... in that good old-fashioned, ironic kind of way.
Posted 8 September 02005 - Permalink
Making Movies at Marvel, inks financing, changes name to Marvel Entertainment, Doc listed [TheStreet.com] [Washington Post (Reuters)] [BBC] [Newsarama] [Business Wire press release at Yahoo Finance]
Marvel Enterprises has watched movies based on its characters light up the box office in recent years, and now the company wants a bigger slice of the pie.
The company said Tuesday that it signed a $525 million debt facility that will finance the production of up to 10 films based on characters from its comic books. Paramount, a unit of Viacom, will distribute the films. The first theatrical release is expected in the summer of 2008.
Marvel will have complete creative control and greater profit potential than it has had with licensing characters to other studios. As part of the new strategy, the company is changing its name to Marvel Entertainment...
The ten Marvel characters in the Paramount arrangement are Captain America, the Avengers, Nick Fury, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Cloak & Dagger, Dr. Strange, Hawkeye, Power Pack and Shang-Chi. The company expects each film to have a budget of up to $165 million and a rating no more restrictive than PG-13. Although the financing allows for the production of animated films, Marvel currently intends to use the funds to make only live-action films...
The company said unreimbursed overhead expenses and any unreimbursed development costs represent Marvel's only direct financial risk.
Hurricane Thoughts: Comics Figures With Connection to Gulf Coast Speak Out on Tough Week [Pulse]
Manga are not comics, just as humans and chimps are not the same yet share 98% DNA; nor comics' salvation; responding to Journalista [Mild-Mannered Reporter] [Comicon.com MB]
July 02005 month-to-month sales at Pulse [Marvel] [DC, others; Red Sonja great 80K launch via gimmick bloat]
Defenders #1 respectable at 40K.
Neilalien knew he had missed something: June 02005 month-to-month sales at Pulse [Marvel] [DC, others]
Sep 04 Strange #1 (of 6) - 59,974
Oct 04 Strange #2 (of 6) - 48,410 (-19.3%)
Nov 04 n/a
Dec 04 Strange #3 (of 6) - 41,015 (-15.3%)
Jan 05 n/a
Feb 05 Strange #4 (of 6) - 37,449 ( -8.7%)
Mar 05 n/a
Apr 05 Strange #5 (of 6) - 36,970 ( -1.3%)
May 05 n/a
Jun 05 Strange #6 (of 6) - 35,842 ( -3.1%)
6 mnth (-12.6%)
Fairly standard miniseries numbers, although the book seems to have drifted off the radar over the last few months. As of yet, the book's revisions of Dr. Strange's history have simply been ignored everywhere else, and it remains to be seen whether anyone's actually going to pick up on them.
Big New York Comic-Con next February, space half sold [ICv2] [more]
Neilalien's lovin' this. It's almost like San Diego is coming to him instead of the other way round.
Jack Kirby would have been 88 years old last week [Mark Evanier]
First issue of fun retro-Kirbyist GØDLAND online free to check out [Newsarama]
Top 10: The Forty-Niners is the best graphic novel of the year so far [Comic Book Galaxy]
Note to self (and any interested wonks): Neilalien has just discovered that his website search function isn't smart enough to know that the quoted phrase "Top 10" is equivalent to "Top Ten". Which means that Neilalien's interchangeable or willy-nilly use of both terms to refer to Moore's creation, or quoting headlines verbatim from various websites in which some use one and some the other, has rendered this Neilalien website less usable by making it less searchable by creating two incomplete half-searches. Better to pick one and go with it consistently. All the official branding and copyright stuff Neilalien sees says "Top 10", so he will pick that, and do a global search-and-replace soon of all his weblog text and change any references to the series "Top Ten" to "Top 10"s, and be vigilant with future links. Any future search for "Top Ten" will come up with just this entry, and the searcher will learn from reading this that s/he should search for the keyphrase "Top 10" instead.
Congratulations to Comic Book Galaxy on its Five Year Anniversary
Devin Grayson on the comic book industry [Comic Foundry]
Though richly layered with decades of creator contributions and sometimes so archetypally pure as to survive almost any embarrassing mutilation, most mainstream superhero characters work not at crime-fighting or entertainment so much as at marketing. At the end of the day, Superman has to go sell Underoos and Batman gets his head planted on the top of a Pez dispenser. It is difficult to even begin to explain the ways in which this fundamental truth necessarily dominates and regulates character and story development. No one ever mentions it, but it is the financial driving force of the industry and ultimately influences every decision ever made about a superhero comic book. The next time you catch yourself balling your fists in frustration over a story line and yelling "Why don't they just-" I can almost guarantee you that the answer is "toothpaste."
Posted 6 September 02005 - Permalink
Dr. Strange animated movie news [Comics Continuum, but you're better off just reading it here, that website is so fucked it crashes Neilalien's browser every time (it used to be an Alpha News Surf site in the glory days) (also crashing: Comics2Film's Fan Feed of Continuum- grrr)] [thanks Pmpknface for the FYI!]
Doctor Strange will be the fourth title in the series of direct-to-DVD animated movies from Marvel Studios and Lions Gate.
Doctor Strange will follow two Ultimate Avengers movies and an Iron Man film in what is planned as a quarterly release schedule.
According to sources, it's likely that Greg Johnson, who wrote the first three movies, will be involved with the fourth.
Like Iron Man, Doctor Strange will be an origin movie.
Marvel Studios' Craig Kyle said that every movie will have its own look and feel.
"In your books, you follow creative teams, you follow artists, you follow writers," Kyle said. "When you watch the Ultimates, it will have one bone structure, one pallette, one look. Iron Man will have its own.
"That way when you grab one, it will be a fresh and new experience. If they do well, we will continue that look and that feel. It's like having its own universe each time."
Also: The new Wizard #168 on page 92 has a quick reference to this [thanks Pimp for the FYI!]
Strange miniseries TPB out this week [Diamond Comics Shipping List]
Neilalien's thoughts and support today are with the people displaced and suffering by the American national tragedy of the Katrina hurricane, and the disgrace re: the apparent lack of constructive organized preparation and response in its immediate aftermath. It will be a weekend of simple pleasures and the awareness of blessings in the orbital HQ this Labor Day.
Posted 1 September 02005 - Permalink
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