Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Wednesday Comicro - Happy Fun Times!

[First, a note: I have been absent from the Interwebs lately, not because I don't love you anymore, but rather I was tied up with annual budget season at my paying gig. After a few weeks of staring at a computer screen full of multiple spreadsheets, my bespectacled noggin needed a break.]

Hey kids! It's Happy Fun Link Time! A smattering of interesting (to me at least) stuff from the world of comics.

First up, Black Mask Studios is a comics/media group founded by Steve Niles (30 Days of Night), Brett Gurewitz (of Bad Religion) and Matt Pizzolo (founder of Occupy Comics). As recently seen on Bleeding Cool, they've announced a very ambitious 2015 release schedule of some Image-quality titles (and I AM judging by covers). The BMOC here is Sinatoro from Grant Morrison and Vanessa Del Rey. Morrison doing work for someone other than the Big Two or Image is an interesting development, and reminds me of Bobby Hull jumping to the WHA (ask your grandparents, I guess).

Get well soon, Gordie

There has been a fair bit of on-line chatter about the future of comics from many perspectives: the eventual death of the single issue format, the domination of the cinema, comics being marginalized at comic conventions, etc. etc. I focus on the actual content and it's never been better, at least in terms of genre options and available formats. Image's transformation from the best/worst example of speculative 90's drivel to the leading creative house in the business has been very fun to watch. Others are following that path (somewhat slowly in some cases - looking at you, Dark Horse), and in the past three years, there has been an explosion of new talented creators finding outlets for their craft. Black Mask has some very intriguing stuff in the pipeline, and I see some really cool new voices now available in places like Radiator and Paper Rocket.

This is most positive I've felt about comics in loooooong time. I just wish I had the time to consume all the good stuff.

Speaking of the good stuff, I've been (very) slowly gravitating to a wide variety of webcomics. Too many to mention right now but here's two lists that'll getcha started:

  • Last month, io9 threw out a Top Tenner with webcomics that would make good TV shows. Not sure if I agree with all of these, but I'd watch Trekker and Dicebox, at least.
  • To get you in the mood for Friday's Halloween shenanigans, here's a bunch of horror webcomics. Horror comics were an early fave of mine (loved the old ECs!), and there's quite a few very readable choices on this list.

I was an early adopter of Heavy Metal magazine WAAAY back in the late 70's. Due to my love of National Lampoon magazine, I was introduced to HM and teenage me was rather captivated by the striking difference between Euro comics and the North American (mainly Marvel) titles I was habitually reading. Plus, frankly, boobs. Sorry but it's true. Anyway, so now that the title seems to be in the midst of a rebirth, this tidbit jumped out at me from the massive wave of NYCC news. I hope the line is quality-driven, and not the recent Heavy Metal style of brainless hack/slash fantasy nekkid chick stuff. (I fear I may have contradicted myself).

Glaring omission department: Ever wondered what the #1 comics blog is? Well, The Beat has a handy chart right here. That's nice. One question - WHERE IS THE COMICRO? An investigation is pending, I assure you...

Lastly, I hear movies featuring comic book characters are catching on. oh my god, there's HOW MANY COMING UP? 56?! The Beat has another handy chart with all of the info right here. At this rate, The Comicro will be featured on the silver screen before we hit 1000 readers...

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A history of women in comics, the Tiny Report arrives, and much much more

Quite a few items to bring to your attention today (it is Wednesday, right? It's not? Damn...). First, Collectors Weekly's Lisa Hix offers up a thorough history of women in comics since 1896 (!) featuring Trina Robbins, an indy comics legend.

It is a fascinating look at the history of the form, and I highly recommend you go read it when you have the time - great interview and anecdotes, plus a wonderful array of images from the past 100+  years.

You can purchase Trina's Pretty in Ink: North American Women Cartoonists 1896-2013 by clicking the link. It's definitely worthy of your time and cash.

Speaking of women in comics, the indy micro-press world is well-represented by Robyn Chapman and the Tiny Report as well her own publishing efforts at Paper Rocket. I received the 2013 Tiny Report in the mail yesterday (thanks, Robyn, for the quick shipping!), and very much look forward to exploring the world of small press comics even deeper then ever before. It's nice to have everything in one handy resource - get yourself a copy here. You do have $3, don't you?

Heidi at The Beat featured a bunch of SPX news recently, including the Micro-Press and Beyond panel, moderated by Robyn. The post highlighted some of the data found in the Tiny Report, so go there now to get a sneak peek.

Here's a interview with Rachel Richey, who's been doing great work bringing Golden Age Canadian comics back into print. Great to have you back, Johnny Canuck!

Other stuff:

  • Why are mint condition comics so expensive? I say supply and demand forces fed by boomer nostalgia but there's more to the story here at Salon.
  • Another Canadian comic, this one from my teen years, is coming back too. Puma Blues was a unique book, and would stand out on the racks even now. Check out the story here at Bleeding Cool
  • And lastly, Last Gasp needs your help for their fall publishing line. Two weeks to go on Kickstarter and they're about less than a third of the way there. Beautiful books for every taste, and LG has been a survivor throughout many turbulent years in the comics publishing biz. Go help 'em out here.