News ‘n’ notes: Bendis teaches, how to exhibit at SPX, and more

§ SPX is coming and cartoonist Sara McH. offers sensible advice for exhibiting, like how to tally your sales, keeping dinner groups manageable, and leaving the crappy stuff people gave you behind in the hotel room.

§ Professor Bendis will see you now: Brian Michael Bendis, who formerly taught a class on comics at Portland State University, will teach a new class at the University of Oregon:

During his time at PSU, Bendis sought to make the class workshop extensive, believing that that’s the best way to learn about writing. “I’m a big believer in workshops. It’s the only way you’re going to learn by doing it over and over again,” Bendis said.

“We’ll also show some Will Eisner documentaries and some hidden gems from Jack Kirby, pretty much the grandmasters who created this language. We’re going to look at the philosophical history of comics as well as doing plenty of workshop stuff.”

§ Hannah Gorfinkel has joined Dynamite Entertainment as Associate Editor. She was formerly at Zenescope.


§ Writer Jamie S. Rich is planning something for next weekend’s Rose City Comic Con and here’s the trailer.

§ That Salt Lake City Con the other day was very successful, but organizers may have let success go to their heads:

“Not only will we increase local participation by 50 to 100 percent, but based on analytics, we are going to be another San Diego Comic-Con,” Bryan Brandenburg, Salt Lake Comic Con VP of marketing, said on Monday.  

That may seem like a tall order, given that San Diego is the unquestioned comic con flagship, but a post on Salt Lake Comic Con’s Facebook page says that between 70,000 and 80,000 people attended Saturday alone. To put that in perspective, the next-biggest stated attendance for a first-time show was New York City at 33,000 — over all three days — in 2006. Salt Lake Comic Con officials said an official three-day estimate is not yet available.

§ Speaking of SLCC, there was a panel on Brigham Young, Porter Rockwell, and other Mormons in comics.

§ By now you have probably seen the touching picture of disabled comics writer Bill Mantlo, posted by Greg Pak. Mantlo was a prolific comics scripter in the ’70s before he left comics to practice law and was struck by a hit and run vehicle, resulting in permanent brain damage. Among the characters created by Mantlo: Rocket Raccoon. Pak suggests that if you like the character you make a small donation to Mantlo’s ongoing care, which seems a fine and karmically powerful idea.

§ Headline of the week, or perhaps epoch: Superheroes can be gay, but not happy

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§ On a happier note, here’s JH Williams III’s cover for Sandman: Overture #2.

§ Breaking! Ten Reasons Children Should Read Comic Books says this article with the usual rundown of benefits to imagination and reading. Comics offer an “Introduction to non-linear storytelling” as well.

§ Meanwhile, Comic book geeks have never had it so good. Okay then.

§ Frank Santoro was interviewed for the Tell Me Something I Don’t Know podcast at Boing Boing.

§ Lots of comics events are happening in the Washington DC area.

§ Retailer Mike Sterling points out there are a lot of comics now.

Comic fans only have so much to budget for their books, and every dollar that goes towards maintaining their run of Amazing or whatever at two or three copies a month are dollars not going toward maybe trying out something that isn’t a Spider-Man comic that month. It’s rack crowding and market flooding, and I don’t like it when Marvel is cranking out two or three issues per title per month, and I don’t like it when both Marvel and DC are cranking out a half-dozen titles or more for each of their franchises. We don’t need this many Batman books, or this many X-Men or Green Lantern or Avengers or Superman books, except we now have a marketplace that depends on devotion to the big franchises and doesn’t leave room in anyone’s budgets to try out or support something different.


Young screenwriter/comics writer Max Landis has mastered the art of making bold statements in Reddit AMAs, claiming he wants to write a Wonder Woman pitch, among other things, even as he looks at a bridge while thumbing his lighter.

Of course, were a Wonder Woman project to go ahead, Landis may have to curb his ire toward the current state of DC Comics. Asked what he would erase from comics if he could, he answered, “The New 52″ (DC’s reboot of continuity from September 2011). When asked about any future comics plans from the publisher — he wrote a story that appeared in last year’s Action Comics Annual, his answer was, “I dunno, man. I was working on something with [comic artist] Jock, but … I dunno. DC is … DC.”

§ This is from a while ago, but cartoonist/gardener Ursula Vernon looks at the graying of SF fandom as witnessed at the recent WorldCon.

I will say right now that it was by-and-large an older white con. Tina came along as part of my entourage (She said she’d never been on an entourage before!) and at one point she turned to me and said “Wow. I feel like the youngest person in the room.” Tina’s in her fifties. I’m thirty-six. In fact, the topic came up practically every time we talked to somebody–”Wow. Anybody seen a teenager?” Teiran claimed to have, and said they were the only ones who bought anything. The furry contingent sat around the bar shaking our heads. At Anthrocon—and indeed, by standard demographic spread—we are solidly middle-aged. At this con, we felt terrifyingly young. Of all the cons I do (and I have done many, over the years) this was far and away the oldest skew of any of them.

Comments

  1. Torsten Adair says:

    Well, SF cons usually do not include corporate participation.

    Yes, cons will work with studios to get a guest-of-honor, and GOHs will have corporate links. But a publisher booth? Not likely. A big media event, like a cast reunion? Also unlikely.

    WorldCon competes with Dragon*Con every year. This year, it was Texas vs. Georgia.
    It’s also a bit pricey. Here are the membership rates from 2013:
    Adult: US $240 Young Adult 17-21: US $120 Children under 17: US $75
    Daily rates range from $30 to $75 a day.

    Could be younger fans have other alternatives. Cons don’t have a monopoly on community like they used to. Or perhaps SF has “won” by going mainstream, and kids are not as fanatical or focused on specific genres or franchises.

  2. Torsten Adair says:

    “10. Improve Student Grades and EQAO/CAT Scores
    Parents might be surprised to learn that the Ontario EQAO and the CAT4 (Canadian Achievement Test) both feature comic strips and sequential narratives in their assessment of reading and writing.”
    - See more at: http://www.ourkids.net/blog/ten-reasons-children-should-read-comic-books-28236/#sthash.HMTPwVAk.dpuf

    Wait. WHAT?!

  3. Kate Fitzsimons says:

    Well, SF fandom as we know it has been going strong for four generations, it’s no surprise that it’s full of old people! Or that, if you don’t program carefully, one generation will be interested in different cons than another. It can be done – see DragonCon, for example. But I don’t know that it’s terrible that older fans are still fans and still like the same conventions. Though I guess if you market yourself as the world science fiction convention, it would be embarrassing to be so obviously confronted with the fact that you aren’t interesting to the whole science fiction world…

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