United Hollywood, the news blog founded by a group of Writers Guild of America strike captains, is reporting that the WGA has signed an interim agreement with Marvel Studios " that will put writers immediately back to work on the Marvel Studios development slate."
Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel said that they "look forward to resuming work with writers on our future projects including Captain America, Thor, Ant-Man, and The Avengers."
The WGA also signed an interim agreement with independent film studio Lionsgate, whose upcoming work includes Rambo, Tyler Perry’s Meet the Browns, Forbidden Kingdom, Punisher 2, and The Spirit.
As I’ve made clear in previous columns, I like reading. I have Bloglines subscriptions to almost 700 blogs, of which I probably read 400-500 pretty regularly. I tend to group my blog subscriptions into two major categories, culture and politics – what I call "news and views" – although lately I’ve been supplementing those with blogs speaking to other interests of mine, like food and grammar and LOLcats. And I’ve noticed the same problem with these blogs, particularly the political ones, which I came across in just about every hobby of mine through the years. By and large, the writers seem to believe their subject matter is the only one worth pontificating about, and any blogger who has "outside" interests is not worthy to be in their circle.
We live in an era of divide and conquer, where each faction is encouraged into its own little category, where the idea of a well-rounded individual is anathema to getting ahead, where specialization is the order of the day. Because of deadline pressures, many artists who make their living doing comic books have to choose between penciling and inking. My husband is fond of noting that in England, where he lived for the first 36 years of his life, there was no such artificial division of labour when he learnt his craft. Imagine his frustration when we were going over the rudiments of baseball and he found out about all the different subdivisions of pitchers and fielders! He still can’t understand how a professional ballplayer can’t field at just about any position, and why most pitchers can’t complete an entire game. To tell you the truth, the part of me that’s been a baseball fanatic since girlhood, and remembers lots of complete games, readily agrees.
But everything these days is compartmentalized to within an inch of its life. "General interest" and "Renaissance person" have become almost freakish notions these days. Why this is so in the days of "multitasking" is beyond me. We’re expected to juggle umpteen tasks simultaneously at work but we can’t choose more than one passion in our downtime?
Wow, new ComicMix contributors Shira Gregory and Rick Marshall have really done a yeoman’s (yeo-people’s?) job filling in our news section, haven’t they? Even I can’t keep up! In fact, they’ve posted so fast and furiously that many of our regular columnists have fallen off the "More News" window, so it’s a good thing I do a recap every week:
Len Wein writes that, had it not been for him blogging the terrific news about how the National Parks Service has added the cover of Batman: Nevermore to the permanent collection at the Edgar Allen Poe National Historic Site in Philadelphia, he might have left the house an hour earlier and become embroiled in a bank robbery. Notes Len, "The Batman saved my life… again."
Ran into Alex Simmons at the local diner last week, who reminded me that the next Kids’ Comic Con will take place at the Bronx Community College on Saturday, March 29. Ah, if only that wasn’t the date of my godson’s bar mitzvah! But no such excuses for the rest of you, particularly as the event will feature the announcement of the finalists in the first-ever KCC Comics Awards! The deadline for nominations is Valentine’s Day; check out this page for all the categories and to get a nominations form. The winners will be announced at this year’s New York Comic Con on Kids’ Day, April 20. And just as a reminder, Alex is also spearheading the Color of Comics exhibit at BCC, opening February 6 and running through mid-March.
For those het gals and gay guys looking for a little more parity in their superheroic objectification, it’s Shirtless Superheroes to the rescue! Although anyone who’s been to the beach can tell you shirtless men and near-topless women aren’t technically equivalent, it’s still something of a sight for sore eyes. Although so many six-pack abs in one place does start to look a bit creepy.
Speaking of deadlines and things of interest to female fans, Ginger Mayerson is pleased to announce the first issue of the Journal of Women On Comics, a print compilation of women writing on comics online. Deadline is February 29, gals!
For the last week of job searches and interviews, I’ve not been very immersed in pop culture, unless one counts giggling at some Craigslist classifieds. I’ve kept up my blog reading, I’ve played computer games, I’ve suffered the first couple of plothole-ridden episodes of the Terminator TV series for a few minutes each, I’m up to Oz book #16, I’m through most of my DCU comics from November/December, the usual consumption. And it occurred to me — consumption. There’s a huge foodie contingent out there, which more and more resembles other pop culture fandom, so why not pontificate about food this week? After all, everybody eats. Even Stephen Colbert has been known to down the grits and lo mein on his show, and who can forget the immortal Eddie Izzard "Cake or Death" routine?
As a woman of some girth and experience, I have a love-hate relationship with food. I unapologetically love food itself, the pleasure it gives me to eat a satisfying and delicious meal, even to prepare one. But I hate the way corporations and people (most of whom don’t even know me) take it upon themselves to lecture me about my food intake, particularly when I’ve never sought their advice, based solely on my outward appearance. I despise our current Culture of Deprivation, which in reality consists of mixed messages since we’re also encouraged to decadently indulge at the same time. I despair that "moderation" seems to be such a dirty word in our world of extremes.
I grew up with the relatively moderate Four Food Groups chart (grains, fruits & vegs, meat and dairy). This predated the modern Food Pyramid, which presumes to advise people not only on how to vary their diets but on the proportions the USDA deems appropriate. Of course I implicitly trust a government agency among whose tasks it is to inspect meat and yet there’s all this e-coli and mad cow and goodness knows what else. And hey, the current acting Secretary of Agriculture is the ex-president of the Corn Refiners Association, so I guess we’ll all be hearing scads about how bad high-fructose corn syrup is for us, being probably the highest contributing factor in the decline of culinary health in this country. So you can see where I maintain a healthy skepticism toward changing food standards (like changing weight standards, beauty standards, etc.). People aren’t charts, and what works well for one doesn’t necessarily succeed for another.
Thank goodness OJ Simpson and Marion Jones are serving time, making the world safe from rich, self-indulgent (and presumably murderous, in one case) black former athletes! Can rich treasonous white oilmen be far behind? Well, yeah, actually. Welcome to America, 2008! Fortunately, our ComicMix columnists have just the thing to take your mind off these weighty matters, and here’s the roundup of what we’ve done this past week:
In a comment to Mike Gold’s column on Monday regarding Marvel’s "One More Day" storyline, Michael H. Price noted, "It comes down to the question of ‘What is Sacred Screed, and what is negotiable?’ How far can the re-invention, or the seemingly likely evolution, of an established character go before the Powers That Do Be dictate a market-pandering reversal?" He even quoted the line that fanboy favorite Alan Moore borrowed for "Whatever Happened to the Man of Steel?" — the famous "This is an Imaginary Story … aren’t they all?"
Now, I must confess off the bat that I haven’t yet read the "One More Day" saga. I think I may have read the first issue, but I’m still waiting for delivery of most of my non-DC comics from December. It’s something I’ve learned to live with, this being one or more months behind the "early adopter" new-comics-every-Wednesday crowd of which I was once a part, ever since my former job moved out of Manhattan, rendering impractical my weekly visits to the local comics store. It makes responding to the fan outrage du jour a little trickier, as I can’t cite specific examples of one thing or another, so I’m left with responding to the response, as it were.
I like to think it’s a tribute to writers and artists of the past that the characters and situations they had a hand in creating have taken on such illusory "lives" of their own that inspire such passion in readers that they seem to argue endlessly over something that doesn’t exist. If only that energy could be harnessed for good!
Well, about 19% of eligible voters in the first atypically-populated state with way too much power to decide the country’s fate have spoken, Presidential campaign-wise, and rendered moot at least three candidates on the Democratic side, who are no longer Biden their time as they Dodd-er back to Washington with Gravel-y voices. Thank goodness Kucinich didn’t drop out yet, his name is awfully hard to pun. Meanwhile, a couple of our weekly ComicMix columnists have become a bit political of late; with the campaign season being so long there’s almost sure to be more where that came from. Here’s what we’ve given you this past week:
Say, did you know there was also a Republican caucus in Wyoming? How come Iowa and New Hampshire get all the press? (Just ’cause Wyoming Democrats caucus separately, two months from now?) If I were Cheyenne I would sue.
It’s the first business day of 2008 and, as I noted a few weeks ago, time for many pop-culture mavens to present their Best of 2007 lists. Alas, I will not be one of those. I can’t remember most of what I read in 2007, a blur of a year for me at the best of times due to the losses I suffered. But this isn’t new for me; I can barely remember the fiction I read or watch more than a half hour or so afterwards. It’s just the way my mind works. The only time I was able to do yearly wrap-ups and "Best Of"s was when I was regularly reviewing about a dozen comics every week, because I could refer to my previous work, but even then it was tough because I didn’t grade the stuff, I just talked about it.
My low retention rate is one reason why re-reading cherished books I’ve had for years is so fulfilling to me. It contains both the comfort of revisiting something vaguely familiar to me and the excitement of seeing it all anew. I was very happy to have received so many comments on my last column (thanks so much, all!). Obviously children’s books are beloved by a lot of adult pop culture geeks besides me. That’s really wonderful, and I think it proves the point that all-ages stuff really does mean stuff written for the young and the young-at-heart, rather than exclusively for the young. (It probably doesn’t hurt that we’re all comics people too, and have all experienced the knee-jerk reactions of many non-comics readers that we’re too old for our hobby, with its accompanying implicit assumption that all-ages literature ought not be enjoyed by, well, all ages.)