§ This is not necessarily nice art but it is art. It seems Marvel is doing something with the NFL for their draft. They redrew five classic covers with draftees, including Kyler Murray, Nick Bosa, Dwayne Haskins, Brian Burns, and DK Metcalf. Above art by Francesco Manna and Carlos Lopez after Jack Kirby. Someone in Marvel’s “custom comics” dept, has good sports connections because they do something like this every few years.
§ PLUG PLUG PLUG: I wrote about the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table for PW. That’s the GNRCT, the ALA’s new comics focused group, and they are planning things like reading lists and awards and so much more. I talked to president Amie Wright, former Beat contributor and now librarian superstar Matthew Murray, the ALA”s Nick Fury, Tina Coleman, and graphic medicine specialist Matthew Noe.
The professional development tracks at comic cons are very important for local librarians who may not have a chance to go to library conferences. “It’s giving them the opportunity to still have professional development around comics and hear new ideas and hear creators and publishers,” says Coleman, who adds that this isn’t an idea many saw coming. “A few years ago if you said, ‘Oh, comic cons are going to become a great place for librarians to have professional development,’ people would have laughed.”
Comics publishers have come around to seeing librarians as experts in the field, Coleman says. “Even five or 10 years ago, if you were at a comic con and you went to a publisher’s booth and said ‘I’m a librarian,’ you would get a blank look,” Coleman recalls. “It was two separate communities, but now there’s some awareness. And so many more comic companies are coming to ALA conferences”—even Marvel, which had significantly lagged in this area, is now involved in the library market.
That last part is true, BTW. Last year I asked a peace loving librarian what they thought of Marvel and they yelled “Fuck Marvel!” because no one from Marvel worked directly with librarians or sent them info or anything. I understand that has changed, perhaps since Sven Larson rejoined Marvel, and now peace and books are spreading.
§ I missed this thing where some corporation reached out to Michael DeForge to do a comic about their gentrification projects in Toronto. Perhaps blissfully unaware that DeForge’s rent work like Leaving Richard’s Valley is a sharp critique on gentrification.
The payoff was awesome.
— Michael DeForge (@michael_deforge) May 31, 2019
§ Cartoon Brew reports on the First-Ever Inclusion in Animation Study which was presented at the Annecy Animation festival and it was Very Bad.
Today at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival, a new study that examines the state of inclusion for women in the business was presented for the first time. Dr. Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative created the study titled “Increasing Inclusion in Animation,” which is the first-ever investigation of this kind focused specifically on the animation industry. The project was conducted in partnership with Women in Animation.
The results confirm what we already know – there has been a historic lack of opportunities for women in the animation industry, and there continues to be a lack of opportunities for women — but also adds unprecedented detail and data, and explores the topic from many different angles. It finds areas where women have made significant strides in the industry (particularly on the management side, which has historically been where women had the most opportunities in animation), and also finds the weakest areas of the industry (providing opportunities for women from a variety of racial/ethnic backgrounds).
Here are some grim tables just to give visual representation of this non-representation.
§ If you’re looking for someone to do some freelance editorial/project managing comics work, the replies to this tweet are a great start.
Are you a freelance comics editor/project manager? Reply to this thread with your experience, contact info, and links. Include any secondary PR and crowdfunding experience as well. This’ll be a good resource for companies and creators looking to hire someone for books. #ComicJobs
— Chris Arrant (@chrisarrant) June 10, 2019
§ I was wrong that I would never write about Dark Phoenix again because THR’s Borys Kit delivered the autopsy of the franchise in a piece called “We Were Wrong”: Behind Fox’s ‘Dark Phoenix’ Debacle. Some of the details are painful.
With Dark Phoenix, Fox did not reboot X-Men. In some ways, it doubled down on what it had; it went back to the cast from Apocalypse and then decided to tackle a story previously adapted in 2006’s X-Men: Last Stand, the Brett Ratner-directed entry generally considered among the worst in the franchise.
Fox then tapped Simon Kinberg to helm the movie. Kinberg co-wrote Last Stand and resurfaced years later as a producer on 2011’s X-Men: First Class, which rebooted the series with a new cast and new time period. Kinberg became an architect of the franchise, but was not a director. However, he stepped behind the camera, to a lesser extent on Future Past, greater on Apocalypse, when director Bryan Singer would not show up on set, according to several sources. Kinberg’s work on Apocalypse won over the franchise’s A-list stars, whose three-film deals were up with that movie. The entire group decided to re-up for one last outing.
§ Here’s a win ofor creator’s rights! Pepe the Frog creator Matt Furie has reaches a settlement with Infowars over his creation being turned into a white supremacist meme and marketed by the right wing site.
The parties settled the suit this week, awarding Furie $15,000, $1,000 of which will be donated to Save the Frogs, an amphibian conservation charity. Not a small gesture from an indie cartoonist. Be nice, man, indeed.
Tompros noted that the deal is a settlement, not a licensing agreement. As such, Infowars has agreed to refrain from selling merchandise with Pepe’s image. We’ve reached out to Furie’s publisher for comment on the settlement.
§ R. Crumb Was Never That Great argues Matthew Surridge. Surridge is refuting that dumb Reason piece by Brian Doherty from a month or so ago.
Doherty tries to counter it with arguments from authority: such-and-such an art critic has praised Crumb, he hangs in galleries and museums, other creators have said he’s important, and so forth. There’s nothing here about individual works, no analysis of what Crumb brings to the medium, no discussion of form. Doherty’s piece comes off as a political argument thinly-disguised as an essay about art, an exercise in using the phrase “cancel culture.” For Doherty, Crumb’s critics have a politicized blindness to an artistic greatness that he thinks should be self-evident and that he doesn’t articulate.
I find the same lack of specificity in a lot of writing about Crumb. His greatness is assumed, not demonstrated. Crumb’s published for over half a century, and people have written about that work for almost as long. I’ve read critical writing about comics for 30 years, and inevitably Crumb’s the subject of a fair portion of that. But I’ve yet to find a piece that establishes what’s valuable in his comics.
I’ve recently come out as being numb to Crumb and this piece finally made me feel ok about that! It always just seems that people liked Crumb because he can draw like the dickens and they like that and that’s it.
Doherty refers in his article to Robert Hughes, who loved Crumb’s work and compared him to Breughel and Gillray. The problem is that Hughes (in the article Doherty quotes) argues that Crumb’s effective because his work refers to shared emotional experiences with the audience. But this says nothing to those who don’t share those emotional experiences and so are unmoved by Crumb. It says only that those who like his work will find his work the sort of thing they like.
§ The great Gary Panter is known for his punk comics and designing Pee Wee’s Playhouse, but he also designed this wild ad for Crunch Gym in the 90s – with animation by Tissa David and voices by James Urbaniak. Sadly it never aired. Crunch was my gym then (and still) and I would have worked out even harder had this run.
§ Cartoonist Chuck Forsman is the voice of Netflix. I Am Not Okay With This, the second series based on a Forsman comic, will be produced by the Stranger Things teams. It’s a YA series, and Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase star Sophia Lillis will star, Deadline tells us.
Other series regulars include Wyatt Oleff (It Chapter Two, Guardians of the Galaxy); Sofia Bryant(The Good Wife, The Code), and Kathleen Rose Perkins (You’re the Worst). Aidan Wojtak-Hissong and Richard Ellis have been tapped for recurring roles.
Based on the Charles Forsman graphic novel, I Am Not OK With This follows a teenage girl navigating the trials and tribulations of high school, while dealing with the complexities of her family, her budding sexuality, and mysterious superpowers that are beginning to awaken within her.
The series will be filmed in Pittsburgh. Maybe Frank Santoro will show up in it.
§ What is George R. R. Martin doing now that he doesn’t really have to finish his A Song of Ice and Fire now that the TV show did it for him? Oh, many things.
As confirmed Sunday in Microsoft’s keynote at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo (or E3), Martin is currently collaborating with FromSoftware on Elden Ring, his first non-Game of Thrones video game, according to the Verge.
Even without Elden Ring, Martin was already plenty busy doing things that are not writing The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring. He’s collaborating with HBO on multiple Game of Thrones spin-offs, including Jane Goldman’s prequel series starring Naomi Watts, for which he’s writing the pilot. He also executive produced Syfy’s Nightflyers series, based on his novella, though that was canceled after one season. And let’s not forget the other adaptation Martin has in the works: Wild Cards, which Hulu is currently developing as multiple series. Finally, he’s collaborating with HBO and his protegé, Nnedi Okorafor, on a series adaptation of Okorafor’s 2010 novel Who Fears Death.
Given the noxious response to the show’s ending, is it any wonder that Martin wants nothing to do with disappointing his fans further? Let them write their own endings and live a peaceful life.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.