Kibbles 'n Bits, 5/25/12: Gay Superhero Week continues

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Some stories about comic books, some interviews, some gays-in-comics stuff.

§ PICK O’ THE WEEK: Michel Fiffe looks at the lost art of the One-Artist Anthology Comics, from Crumb to DeForge:

As if it wasn’t enough that comics are the domain of the obsessive control freak, there is a cartooning sect that perfectly defines the creative mania responsible for some of our greatest works: the one-artist anthology. It’s a publishing sensibility that may have had its moment in the sun decades ago, but it’s never really been a dominant point of interest for cartoonists. That’s not surprising; carrying the weight of multiple narratives issue after issue is not particularly alluring to those who just want to draw cool stuff for a page rate, or for those who just want to tell their stories one book at a time. What may seem like a dated platform to some may still be a viable option for those who would rather pace themselves as such, and for readers who appreciate the richer values that only this format can provide. I traced the lineage of the one-artist anthology to the underground comix movement, I waded through the black & white boom as well as the ’90s glut, and I examined the slim offerings that our current dry spell is responsible for. Looking back has reaffirmed my belief that some of the highest achievements in comics are results of the finely tuned succession which only the one-artist anthology format can lay claim to.

§ MTV Geek talks to Arne Bellstorf about his 5th Beatle story, Baby’s in Black, and the German comics scene, in a very nice piece, despite the fact it misspells Bellstorf’s name throughout:

Geek: What I think is most interesting about Stu’s story is that, other than of course his rather tragic end, there’s not a lot of conflict in his life… Everybody seemed to like him, and things came easily to him. Yet clearly his is a compelling story – why is that? AB: That’s exactly the absurd thing I was talking about. Why did the Beatles become famous, why did Stuart have to die before he could rise to fame as an artist? He will forever be the “fifth Beatle,” although he never was part of the Beatles as we know them. So I really tried not to look at his story as part of Beatles mythology, and Astrid’s perspective helped a lot. If you look at the typical dramatized biographic storytelling, the life of someone famous, even the ones who have died young, it’s always the same boring stuff. Life is not like in those biopic movies, where you’ll find the usual way a drama is constructed, and everything makes sense within the storyline.


§ The NY Observer looks at DEATH BY DESIGN, the new Batman graphic novel by Chip Kidd and Dave Taylor, which is obsessed with architecture (and looks great btw.)

Quite delightfully, he goes on to say: “There’s a cliché that Gotham is “hell opening up on Earth,” but that’s not the way I approached it. I see the architecture as much more hopeful than a zoning board gone berserk.” Really does sound like New York. It’s true that no comic book character is more architectural than Batman (with the possible exception of personal favorite Transmetropolitan). Superman may be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but he does not rely on “the buildings for transportation and defense,” as Mr. Kidd points out Batman does.


§ NEWS BLAST: SAGA #1 is now in its fifth printing:

SAGA #1’s fourth printing is on shelves today, but it sold out at the distributor before even arriving in stores, necessitating a fifth printing for the issue. The runaway science fiction hit by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples is the second new Image Comics series to receive a fifth printing of its first issue this year. The other is the horror noir series FATALE by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips.


§ NEWS BLAST! Conundrum will publish the English language version of the new Michel Rabagliati graphic novel:

Conundrum Press publisher Andy Brown has acquired English-language rights to Michel Rabagliati’s Paul au Parc. The latest volume in the author’s graphic novel series follows the titular character and his scout troupe during the FLQ crisis. Helgé Dascher will translate the title from French. Publication is scheduled for spring 2013.


(The FLQ was a Canadian terrorist group.)

201205250151 Kibbles 'n Bits, 5/25/12: Gay Superhero Week continues

§ A brief interview with Farel Dalrymple who is as busy as he is talented:

I’m working on a book for First Second, called the Wrenchies. I am writing and illustrating all 300 full color pages myself, due to be done by the end of the year. After that I intend to finish my next Pop Gun War book. I am also doing a regular web comic called It Will All Hurt on the Study Group Comics website. Lots of good stuff there, awesome creators. I am also working on a YA book yet to be officially announced called Pale Fire.


§ 4thletter’s Gavok offers an introduction to CHIKARA, the comics-themed wrestling promotion:

Despite reveling in fun and goofiness, the shows tend to tell strong, long-running stories that any new fan could pick up on. CHIKARA treats every year’s worth of shows as a season, usually giving closure to major arcs by the time they reach the finale. Seeds for future storylines come in various subtle and unique forms, existing sometimes years before they’re brought into action.

AND NOW THE GAY SECTION:

§ As sick as you may be of gay superheroes week, The Guardian has the best headline:Gay superheroes soar into comic book battle | Books.

§ The remarkably ineffective pressure group One Million Moms, which has thus far failed to stop Archie’s gay wedding or Ellen’s JC Penney endorsements, is now protesting this week’s gay superhero events because they might make kids gay.

Children desire to be just like superheroes. Children mimic superhero actions and even dress up in costumes to resemble these characters as much as possible. Can you imagine little boys saying, “I want a boyfriend or husband like X-Men?”

§ I quoted one pundit from Hotair, the top right wing blog site, who was up in arms about DC’s new gay hero not because of morality but because of the continuity thing. Allahpundit is also more skeptical for fanboy reasons:

Does the Green Lantern really qualify as one of “the major iconic D.C. characters”? I have only a passing knowledge of comics but my impression is that he’s the second-lamest “major” superhero there is, aside of course from you-know-who. Granted, he finally got his own movie, but that was after Hollywood completely exhausted Superman, Batman, and Spider-Man. (Well, not completely.) Even the Fantastic Four got their own movie before he did. I’m not even sure what his superpowers are. His main power now, I guess, is drumming up cheap publicity for D.C. Comics by magically transforming into a minor footnote in the culture war over gay rights.


§ If you want a true nutter, here’s your guy (and no the site is not a parody, alas.)

According to Wikipedia, “As of April 2011, approximately 3.5% of American adults identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual, while 0.3% are transgender—approximately 11.7 million Americans.” There was a time gays were “in the closet” and being homosexual was best kept private. Now gays parade in the streets, demand their “rights”, and seem to be everywhere in the public culture and media. For a mere 3.5% of the population, they make a lot of noise. Barack Obama has endorsed same-sex marriage and Mitt Romney does not. This is a major fork in the road for the nation’s voters that want to retain some semblance of sanity. I concluded long ago that gays have about as much choice over their sexual orientation as being born right or left-handed. I just wish they would not insist that all of society change in order to accept their behavior as “normal.” Normal it’s not.


Is being left-handed abnormal too, I wonder?

OKAY BACK TO THE OTHER STUFF:

§ Omigod, HOW WILL IT END?

Over the past month, students in Ms. Williams AP English class were asked to read and analyze graphic novels. You read that right. Graphic novels. In an Advanced Placement, college level course. So-called “comic books” are usually viewed in society today as being an entertaining past time for geeks and nerds. They are the basis for cosplay and Comic Con, activities which can never truly be understood by the casual passerby. Students were given the task of analyzing whether or not these texts could add anything substantial to the curriculum of high-achieving and intelligent students.

CRAFTING KORNER:

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§ How to turn your Warcraft character into a DC heroine.

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§ AND how to turn a comic book into a fetching little clutch!

Comments

  1. jacob goddard says:

    Any theories as to why Michel Rabagliati is no longer with Drawn & Quarterly?

  2. The journalisticly correct way to refer to the American Family Association’s anti-gay-superhero astroturf campaign is “One Million [sic] Moms [sic]”, since they are neither a million in number, nor primarily mothers of young children.

  3. Torsten Adair says:

    Hmmm… three of the four GNs in the AP class were memoirs. Do memoirs have a place in AP English? Was this generic “English” literature, or was it American or British, like I had back in the 1980s? (The College Board only list a generic English Literature course.)

    That clutch appears to be the post-Byrne run of Fantastic Four [sic], featuring Sharon Ventura. I believe it cost $0.65 (maybe $0.75).

    Saga #1 has sold roughly 70,000 copies through the fourth printing, according to Image Publisher Eric Stephenson.

  4. Submitted for your approval or lack thereof:

    http://tonyisabella.blogspot.com/2012/05/black-dont-come-off.html

  5. Sadly, up until a few decades ago, left-handers were indeed considered “abnormal” and had the “left” conditioned out of them. I’m left-handed, and so was my grandfather. He told me how the nuns in grade school (which would have been exactly 100 years ago) used to smack his left hand with a ruler if they caught him writing with it.

    Some people apparently have always wanted to assert violent control over others for thoroughly arbitrary reasons. We’d like to think it’s all in the past, but it’s not, until we make sure it is.

  6. Nick Jones says:

    “Does the Green Lantern really qualify as one of “the major iconic D.C. characters”?”

    No, and neither DC Comics nor its diehard fans seem to understand that the general public has an incredibly short list of characters that they’d actually recognize. I can’t think of any iconic DC characters beyond Batman and a handful of his villains, Robin, Wonder Woman, and Superman. When DC says that something is happening with an unspecified iconic character they could literally mean anybody, because the standards for being iconic are set at an incredibly low bar among superhero comic book readers.

  7. Jesse says:

    Have we hit the iconic gay superhero / character wall yet? I think we hit it. If so we should put up signs, just so we don’t get confused next time.

  8. @ Nick Jones: You’re right, but the commentator comes off like a major bonehead for thinking a guy with a ring that can create anything you imagine is lame.

  9. ron thibodeau says:

    How many of those ‘one million moms’ actually buy Astonishing X-men (or any other comics for that matter).

    Is it a protest if you didn’t buy the products in the first place?

  10. Nick Jones says:

    “You’re right, but the commentator comes off like a major bonehead for thinking a guy with a ring that can create anything you imagine is lame.”

    In theory “Magic ring powered by willpower that can create anything you imagine” is a really cool idea. In practice, when has DC ever used that idea to its potential? If people perceive Green Lantern as lame, I’d put the blame on DC for not being more creative with the characters’ powers over the years.

  11. Interesting piece Tony, but I am not surprised the black writer took exception with your assumption that a black character would necessarily identify with a gay one. I’ve seen whites actually tell blacks that they should be, given their shared experiences of discrimination. On one level it kind of makes sense, but on another it treats different groups as interchangable and that isn’t respectful. Its not the intention, obviously, but it is implicit in the assumption.

  12. So Green Lantern is coming out the closet? which one? If it is one of the lanterns ill short list my theories(though i still see this change as gimmicky counter programming, but I give up.) from most likely to least

    John Stewart
    Guy Gardner
    Alan Scott
    Hal Jordan
    Kyle Rayner

  13. David…I thought I made it clear that I was talking about Black Lightning being supportive of equal rights for gays in my conversation with the other writer…and I think I’m more qualified to make that call with that character than, well, any one else in the known universe.

    The situations aren’t interchangeable, but they are both civil rights situations.

  14. Do your research before spouting off things that aren’t true. OMM is NOT an ineffective group, quite the contrary. And their efforts should be applauded, society needs to quit pushing perversion as normal.

  15. Synsidar says:

    In theory “Magic ring powered by willpower that can create anything you imagine” is a really cool idea.

    That’s just wish fulfillment. The Cosmic Cube does that, the Infinity Gauntlet does that, the monkey’s paw did that. They’re all equivalent to a magic lamp with an unlimited number of wishes.

    There’s hardly any point in writing a story in which someone achieves bliss by having his wishes granted, because that’s the antithesis of reality. Better to write a story in which the wisher discovers that having his wishes granted harms himself, or others, and that it’s better to confront reality and deal with it as best you can, rather than hope for your problems to be solved by miracles. But then there’s the problem of getting people to read it.

    SRS

  16. Tony, I did understand the context and I agree that you’re in a unique position to understand the Black Lightning’s feelings and motivations. What I was explaining is why many feel the idea that they are both civil rights situations is not, in itself, enough to equate them.

  17. Thanks for the response, David. I don’t see how anyone could logically not consider equal rights for gays to be a civil rights issue. But logic doesn’t always play a key role in such things.

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