§ Nice Art: I guess Benjamin Marra is just doing cool Tumblr posts fo Neotext and I’m going to Nice art all of them, but this bit on Milo Manara vs Fellini is a nice reminder that Manara doesn’t spend all of his time drawing women with their butts in the air. Marra doesn’t mention the provenance of this Fellini collab but who cares; it’s gorg.
§ It seems that veteran Mad cartoonist Al Jaffee turned 100 a week or so ago, and somehow we did not celebrate with a national holiday. There is, however, a special edition of Mad’s occasional one-shots coming up.
§ If you’re a comic history nerd, this is a big get at 13th Dimension: Former DC president Paul Levitz remembering the details of the release of the first issue of Frank Miller’s genre-changing take on Batman, Dark Knight Returns #1.
Dark Knight Returns #1 was vastly under-ordered. Retailers and distributors had been over-optimistic about Frank’s Ronin (in some ways his most comparable previous project in format… and DKR was going to go out even slightly more expensive, at $2.95 because we had added a spine) three years before and cautiously ordered, if memory serves, about 87,000 copies. Probably also a sign that we hadn’t managed to communicate our internal enthusiasm. We went ahead and gambled heavily, printing 125,000… a big enough overprint that if we were wrong, we could actually lose money on the project.
Of course, when the issue hit it quickly sold out, leading to internal discussions of…whether to reprint it.
It was good news, EXCEPT we hadn’t done a second printing of a comic for decades. I think the last may have been the Batman 3-D comic magazine in the ’60s fad, or it may even have been one of the earliest Superman titles in the Golden Age. All long before comic shops and serious collectors.
Just a little reminder of where the DM came from.
§ BUT THEN, in a kicker, DC editor Chris Conroy had the tweet of the day:
This is a fascinating anecdote about a very, VERY different industry. But I MUST call your attention to the very first comment. The ability of comics fans to stay petty over a period of DECADES is so breathtaking that you have no choice but to respect it. https://t.co/YzhxvCaVvb
— Chris Conroy (@ConroyForReal) March 21, 2021
This is a fascinating anecdote about a very, VERY different industry. But I MUST call your attention to the very first comment. The ability of comics fans to stay petty over a period of DECADES is so breathtaking that you have no choice but to respect it.
The comment in question, regards a reader still salty about not getting a first printing of DKR #1 all these years later. Comics fans love continuity.
Artist Cully Hamner delivered a little soupçon: a house ad with a special deal for “Batman and Robin as you’ve never seen them before.”
Found this. Since they were only offering 1200 copies via mail, that might be why he was disappointed it was only a third printing. Makes it seem like a special collector’s deal when it didn’t turn out to be all that special. pic.twitter.com/QnR67kQmlF
— Cully Hamner (@CullyHamner) March 21, 2021
Found this. Since they were only offering 1200 copies via mail, that might be why he was disappointed it was only a third printing. Makes it seem like a special collector’s deal when it didn’t turn out to be all that special.
§ Oh but the real Kicker: Conroy has been named editor of the whole “adult oriented” Black Label line, as well as Milestone and other pop-up imprints, GamesRader+ reports.
DC senior editor Chris Conroy has taken over management of the publisher’s Black Label program. As part of this new position, he also oversees the Milestone and Sandman Universe pop-up imprints, with a team that includes assistant editor Marquis Draper, along with associate editors Andrea Shea and Maggie Howell.
Conroy is a long time (16 years) DC editor, and worked closely with Black Label founder Mark Doyle (now at IDW) on the line, which ran into a spot of trouble at the start but the sales success of the line seems to have ensured its survival, thank goodness.
§ A story on the NY Times about how Facebook can mistakenly ban satire spotlights The Nib founder Matt Bors and his frequent career-threatening tussles with Facebook algorithms.
Since 2013, Matt Bors has made a living as a left-leaning cartoonist on the internet. His site, The Nib, runs cartoons from him and other contributors that regularly skewer right-wing movements and conservatives with political commentary steeped in irony. One cartoon in December took aim at the Proud Boys, a far-right extremist group. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Mr. Bors titled it “Boys Will Be Boys” and depicted a recruitment where new Proud Boys were trained to be “stabby guys” and to “yell slurs at teenagers” while playing video games. Days later, Facebook sent Mr. Bors a message saying that it had removed “Boys Will Be Boys” from his Facebook page for “advocating violence” and that he was on probation for violating its content policies.
Although the cartoons were reinstated, the bans led to “strikes” on his page, Bors says. Also:
Mr. Bors said he had also heard from the Proud Boys. A group of them recently organized on the messaging chat app Telegram to mass-report his critical cartoons to Facebook for violating the site’s community standards, he said. “You just wake up and find you’re in danger of being shut down because white nationalists were triggered by your comic,” he said.
§ At Comics XF, Vishal Gullapalli has a fascinating look back at Secret Empire, the very controversial Captain America run from five years back
I remember comic books. A few years ago I got a bunch of Marvel trades, all events, and voraciously read them. I knew comics. I knew their cycle of conflict and resolution, how each “event” only served to set the table for another, how nothing really changed. But what I see here, what catches my attention, is something different. Something I’ve never seen before. I see a Black man as Captain America. And he is beautiful. For the first time in a long time, I feel excited. A few days later, I do a cursory Google search and discover that the nearest comic book shop is actually less than a mile away from my house. I walk over there, ready to spend however much money I need to get this story. I’m ready to be completely and utterly consumed by the world of monthly ongoing comics. What I don’t realize is how important this trip will be.
§ The Center for Cartoon Studies is offering Scholarships for BIPOC creators, but hurry, deadline is April 15th.
These merit-based scholarships are to support the professional development for BIPOC cartoonists. CCS is offering 1 full scholarship for each of its summer cartooning workshops! Our workshops are for both beginners and advanced artists and cover topics from tools and techniques to writing and drawing for both comics and graphic novels. To be considered for a full scholarship, prospective workshop participants should apply by submitting a short written statement on how this workshop will aid their development as a visual storyteller, and for some workshops, a piece of their work (sketches, published work, website, etc). A committee of faculty and staff will review and make the selection. THE DEADLINE TO APPLY IS APRIL 15, 2021.
§ I frequently gently (I hope) poke fun at stories about comics makers in their local newspapers – as the Onion once put it, the “Area Man” story. Well, here is a story out of the Rome Daily Sentinel in New York State that actually has the title:
And it’s everything you could hope for:
Herkimer writer and cartoonist Mark Luther has published his first-ever graphic novel: “Frankie Crossroads — The Journey.” Luther said growing up, he’s always had a love for drawing that started when his mother placed a piece of paper and pencil in front of him when he was five. “I just started scribbling,” he said. “I’ve been drawing all of my life since then.” Luther said he was born in Herkimer in 1963 and moved to Long Island with his mother in 1973, only to move back to Herkimer in his 40s. For the last 12 years, Luther’s worked at the Frank J. Basloe Library in Herkimer and has even offered cartoon drawing classes for local children.
I had a very bad experience in Herkimer once, but I still wish Mr. Luther luck in his future endeavors.
§ Media corner: Oscar Isaac’s production company’s Instagram posted some footage of him training for his role as Moon Knight, which hasn’t been confirmed yet but…I think it was just confirmed. I found this footage of man-bunned, action Oscar positively pulse pounding!
§ If you saw the first episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, you may have wondered how it got life life in 2021 so spot on, even though the show started production pre-pandemic? Well, showrunner Malcolm Spellman (you are going to hear that name so much) explains they cheated a little:
The fact that you shot so much of the show before the pandemic makes this feel even more oddly prescient.
I want to be honest. The prescience the room had, in general, was staggering. How relevant we were going to be no matter what, it made me feel very, very good. But we had a cheat code. Because the mandate was to be of the moment, when COVID hit and shut us down, we were already playing with these themes, but it allowed us to really drill down. We were already responding to the snap, you know, to the blip, but it really allowed us to pause, and rework and retrofit to make sure the connectivity between what we’re dealing with in the real world today really, really resonated with what was going on MCU. So I do want to say we did cheat a little bit.