Remember that whole digital thing that’s supposed to knock off the printed comic book? Oh wait, that’s still happening!
If you want to be part of the industry now that we’ve passed “peak comic book,” ComiXology the “digital comics leader” is looking for a couple of new people.
First up is a LAMP Developer, someone with “2+ years of experience with Linux, Apache, mySQL and PHP. Additional experience with AJAX/JavasScript/HTML5 (jQuery), XML, HMTL, XMLRPC, SOAP and other development environments is preferred.”
Doesn’t everyone who’s not there wish they were at the New York Comic Con this weekend? Or is it just me?
Big announcements all across the board. Marvel and DC are cutting prices which won’t boost sales enough for the Big Two to make the same amount of money. But it’s good news for non-Big Two publishers who can try to tap into the money customers are saving and steer it their way. I’m looking at you Boom!, Dynamite, Moonstone and IDW.
DC’s also cutting the story count down to 20 pages. Since there aren’t that many paid ads anymore, anyone want to wager on when the $2.99 printed comics go from 32 pages down to 24 to further reduce costs?
And in the wake of his supervisor stepping down, Bob Wayne‘s been given a promotion and stays in New York. Well played.
At Project Child Murdering Robot, Ricky Sprague has some thoughts about the new Wonder Woman TV series in development by David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal; Boston Legal). His advice: “Please don’t shy away from her glorious bondage past.”
Toasting Toth: Who doesn’t love Alex Toth? John Kricfalusi posts panels from a really nice story and breaks down his love for it.
Toth II: Daniel Best at 20th Century Danny Boy has some great information of Alex Toth and the artist’s time in Australia. Bonus: lots of Toth artwork.
Sad news in the world of television and novels. Stephen J. Cannell, one of Hollywood’s legendary writers has passed away. The list of shows he worked on and created is legendary. Comic fans might know him best from The Greatest American Hero. He mentored a number of famous writer-producers, much like Roy Huggins had mentored him. When he got tired of television, he reinvented himself as a novelist – the ones I’ve read are quite fun – and actor (he had a somewhat recurring role on Castle). Jaime Weinman has a nice appreciation of one of my favorite writers.
The Flintstones: Now that they’ve turned 50 years old – yikes! – the classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon show has attracted a lot of media attention this week. Jerry Beck at Cartoon Brew noticed the coverage…particularly how stupid the Christian Science Monitor was about it.
Appy: It’s not too late to check in with the Appy Entertainment blog and see what I and two friends have to say about the digital age of comics.
Mark Waid says it best in the blurb he wrote for the book I most want this Christmas. Says the man from Boom! Studios: “I now have a new book for my ‘Five I’d Take to a Desert Island’ list. Gotham City 14 Miles is the perfect companion to my favorite pop-culture phenomenon of all time!”
In case you need an explanation, 14 miles is the distance from the Batcave underneath “stately Wayne Manor” to Gotham City in the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Gotham City 14 Miles is the title of a forthcoming book of essays about that TV classic, edited by my pal Jim Beard.
Inside, Beard’s bunch offers up a thoughtful reevaluation of the 44-year-old show, one of the first big comic book successes on the small screen. The series had an impact not just on pop culture, but on the DC Comics Batman as well. According to Beard, “essays examine Batmania, camp, the role of women, the show’s participation in ‘60s counter-culture, its many celebrated actors, its lasting cultural effects, and other critical subjects.”
So did you hear the big news? Marvel’s moving to a new office building in Manhattan!
Not to be outdone, Warner Bros. decided to shake things up with a large scale corporate shift. This interview with Diane Nelson from Comic Book Resources actually sheds very little light on the nuts and bolts of it.
And the lack of real answers has caused Tom Spurgeon to raise some questions he’d like to see answered about the situation forward-going.
Naturally, and because I sometimes can’t keep my mouth shut, I have my own take on the matter.
So did you read that great interview Adi Tantimedh had with Alan Moore over yet at Bleeding Cool? I was going to write about it precisely because I disagreed with almost every comment on the site and then I discovered that a much better writer, Tom Spurgeon at the Comics Reporter, did a much better job of encapsulating my feelings. So my work here is done.
Remember all those comic book movies that people outside of comics don’t really know are based on comics because they don’t have capes and boots, like The Losers, Scott Pilgrim, Road To Perdition, etc. There’s a new one coming up next month called Tamara Drewe, based on the graphic novel by Posy Simmonds.
The trailer looks awesome and I get a Reuben, Reuben vibe from watching it. (Yes, that’s the world’s oldest reference point, but go look it up.) Tamara Drewe looks like a lot of fun and I hope it moves a few thousand copies of the graphic novel, which is also well worth reading. Here’s a nice article on the movie from the BBC.
Now let’s see what else is out there.
We visit the Monster Costume offices to get a look at their awesome new iPad app, Bartleby’s Book of Buttons Vol. 1: The Far Away Land. Aimed at children and parents, Bartleby is a new take on what a book can be when you have the power of the iPad and its multitouch screen at your disposal. Rather than focusing on pages, the book focuses on interaction with the story, character, and elements.
We also chat about the potential future of interactive books in general, and where Monster Costume sees that they can take their publishing platform in the future.
It’s easy to toss around the word “genius,” especially when it comes to comics. We all have our favorites and we all like to think ours are the great ones. But one look at Roy Crane’s work and anyone can see that he definitely was worthy of the “genius” tag.
Crane created two great adventure classics, Wash Tubbs (which later became Captain Easy) and Buz Sawyer, with Wash being called the first true newspaper adventure strip. He’s been dead for 30 plus years, but looking through his strip work, you can see his influence in comics from Milton Caniff to Alex Toth to Howard Chaykin. Even the modern strip, Rip Haywire by Dan Thompson shows a Crane influence as does Randy Reynaldo’s Rob Hanes.
And in a classic Comics Journal interview, Art Spiegelman calls Crane an influence on Jack Kirby.
Continuing my series on cartooning and cartoonists, Roy Crane wrote about himself and his work back in 1964. This is pulled from an oversized saddle-stitched magazine from Allied Publications with the creatively-challenged title These Top Cartoonists Tell How They Create America’s Favorite Comics. It featured an introduction by Beetle Bailey’s Mort Walker and was compiled by Allen Willette.
Here’s Crane on Crane:
So did you see Iron Man 2 yet? Did you, huh, did you? Two things amaze me about the Iron Man franchise. One is that Robert Downey, Jr. was born to play Tony Stark. There’s none of the brooding self-importance that comes with other super-hero movies - Iron Man is serious but it’s also fun. The other is that in the right hands - and there are hundreds of right hands on any movie - even a second or third tier super-hero property can be turned into a good movie. If Downey, Jr. was playing Hank Pym in the Ant-Man movie, I’d be there in a minute.
Now while you’re saving your money for the Iron Man 2 DVD, here are a few fun things to occupy your eyes and mouse.
Brian Hibbs: I know why people, myself included, like to talk to artists and writers because it’s all so cool, but I think more interviews could be conducted with retailers since they are the comic book business. Retailer Brian Hibbs is a very smart guy - I may not always agree with him but he carries a good argument with him and he knows his business. Tom Spurgeon at Comics Reporter gets to the heart of the matter with a lengthy but hugely worthwhile interview.
If you’re a fan of the 1960s Batman TV show starring Adam West and Burt Ward, then you already know what that phrase means. It’s the sign you see denoting the distance from the Batcave to Gotham City. Wayne Manor was way out in the 1960s suburbs! Gotham City 14 Miles is much more than that, however. It’s also the title of a new book edited by Jim Beard whose full title is Gotham City 14 Miles: 14 Essays On Why The 1960s Batman TV Series Matters. Essayists include Beard, comics historians Peter Sanderson and Robert Greenberger, and a host of people whose names are being revealed one at a time.
The book will be published by the Sequart Research & Literacy Organization a “non-profit devoted solely to the study and promotion of the artistic and literary medium alternately known as comics, comic strips, comic books, graphic novels, manga, sequential art, and sequart.”
Beard says Gotham City 14 Miles is the first book on the old Batman TV series in over 10 years, and I say it’s about time. The book will examine the 1966-68 TV series and “quantify its worth and weight in current pop culture. It also intends to shoot down many of the cliches, falsehoods and outright misinformation about the show and illuminate its strengths and, yes, its weaknesses.”