Tagged: frontpage

Mike Gold: Hipsters, Inkwell Divers, and Misfits at MoCCA!

Last weekend I was with my fellow ComicMixers Glenn Hauman, Adriane Nash and Martha Thomases at the annual MoCCA independent comics convention. And by “independent,” I mean web comics, self-published comics, small press comics, and what Ms. Nash refers to as “I’d rather be hand-stapled” comics. It’s one of my favorite shows for one simple reason: the enthusiasm in the room is tremendous.

Gold Art 140409

I’d say that the average age of the creators who weren’t paying for one of the few corporate booths (Fantagraphics, Yoe Books, Abrams, etc.) was about 25 years old. Which means there was a lot of dyed hair and hipster hats in Manhattan’s Beaux-Arts 69th Regiment Armory. These are folks who, by and large, couldn’t care less about capes and masks and thought Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a fun movie but not necessarily a justification for one’s choice of vocation. They probably aren’t making a living off of their comics work, and they might very well be losing money. They are in the medium for the love of the medium, and they are taking the medium down roads undreamt by the folks at Disney and Time Warner.

The Armory was built in 1904 and is a grand place. It was built to house and train the 69th Regiment, which traces its roots back to America’s Civil War. I’m sure the idea of filling the space with many thousand young inkwell divers underneath a gigantic helium-filled Charlie Brown balloon eluded architect Richard Howland Hunt (1862 – 1931). Then again, Hunt probably couldn’t conceive his masterwork would also house the first Roller Derby television broadcasts or the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

I truly love the contradiction.

The prestigious Society of Illustrators acquired MoCCA several years ago, and we-all were worried they’d try to make it all frou-frou. And maybe they did try to appeal to their artsy-fartsy crowd a bit. Nope. No way that was going to work. These kids have their own artsy-fartsy crowd, thank you, and they’re very, very comfortable doing the types of stories they want to tell, in the manner they want to tell them.

To my ancient and besotted brain, this is wonderful. It was wonderful back when it started, attracting the likes of then-newbies such as Jessica Abel, Alison Bechdel and Dean Haspiel. These days, Jessica, Alison and Dean are getting comparatively ancient, but they remain lot less ancienter than I am. I’m sure their work inspired many of the young folks at this weekend’s show. Being a mentor is fun, but becoming an icon can be painful.

MoCCA got its start in 2002 and I attended the second show at the urging of Ms. Thomases. That enthusiasm I talked about was there back in 2003, and it revitalized my desire to work in the medium once again. One quick walk through the room and it was clear to me that the American comics medium had a future, one that was far beyond the traditional publishers, the traditional comics shops, and the traditional ways of thinking.

I am glad to say this enthusiasm has grown in the ensuing 12 years. When the Society of Illustrators picked up the show, I was afraid it was going to go on the legit.

Silly, silly me. Comics will never be truly legitimate. There are way too many gifted weirdoes slaving away at their drawing boards and kitchen tables. Some might be trustafarians, some might be downright freaks, and some might not be able to communicate in any other manner. More power to them.

As long as the comics art medium has a large pool of industrious misfits, we will have a wonderful future.

Death With Archie? Archie Andrews Dies In July

Archie Comics announced the unthinkable today: Legendary comic book character Archie Andrews will die to conclude the hit LIFE WITH ARCHIE comic series.

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The iconic comic book character, beloved by millions around the globe for over 70 years, will sacrifice himself heroically while saving the life of a friend in the pages of July’s LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36, the final issue in the flash-forward series, which spotlights Archie’s adventures after high school and college.

“We’ve been building up to this moment since we launched LIFE WITH ARCHIE five years ago, and knew that any book that was telling the story of Archie’s life as an adult had to also show his final moment,” said Archie Comics Publisher/Co-CEO Jon Goldwater. “Archie has and always will represent the best in all of us—he’s a hero, good-hearted, humble and inherently honorable. This story is going to inspire a wide range of reactions because we all feel so close to Archie. Fans will laugh, cry, jump off the edge of their seats and hopefully understand why this comic will go down as one of the most important moments in Archie’s entire history. It’s the biggest story we’ve ever done, and we’re supremely proud of it.”

The story will be available in multiple formats, including an extra-large magazine-size LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36, two comic-sized issues—LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36 and #37—and a trade paperback collecting the entire story, written by regular LIFE WITH ARCHIE writer Paul Kupperberg, with art by Pat & Tim Kennedy and Fernando Ruiz.

While LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36 shows readers Archie’s final moments, #37 leaps a year into the future, showcasing how the remaining members of the Riverdale gang—including Jughead, Betty & Veronica and Reggie—have honored the legacy of their dear friend. Both stories will be collected in the double-sized LIFE WITH ARCHIE #36 magazine and upcoming trade paperback.

In addition to the acclaimed regular LIFE WITH ARCHIE creative team, the two comic book issues—sold exclusively at comic shops in July—will feature a pantheon of artistic luminaries contributing covers to the historic issue, including Francesco Francavilla, Fiona Staples, Ramon Perez, Walt Simonson, Jill Thompson, Mike Allred, Cliff Chiang, Adam Hughes, Tommy Lee Edwards and Alex Ross.

No word yet as to whether Archie will be coming back in six months as a cyborg, an alien, a black man in a suit of armor, or a teenag– never mind.

John Ostrander: Whore To Culture And Other Working Relationships

I’m over at Facebook a fair amount. I use it not just for friends and family, people I actually know, but also as a way to keep in touch with fans which I think is important. I try to give them a good personal experience with me because I value them; their support enables me to make a living as a writer. Some publishers have an interest in hiring me because they know I have my own fanbase.

So I post things and answer questions or notes – sort of like at a Con – and it’s nice. Most of the fans are very respectful; sometimes, maybe a little too respectful. There have been those who refer to me as “master”. I appreciate it as a token of respect but, to be honest, I’m uncomfortable with it. To my mind, I’m just a working guy and my work happens to be writing. It’s how I make my living – buy food, pay the bills, and so on.

I’m a professional writer and I take great pride in that; people pay money to read what I’ve written and, as I’ve said elsewhere, that’s something I’ve never taken for granted and never will. There’s a big demand on your dollar today (mine too) and if you spend the money on one thing chances are you aren’t spending it on another. Maybe if you buy a comic I’ve written you can’t buy some other comic. So it’s my job to make sure you get your money’s worth.

I’m not a “fine” writer; I’m a storyteller. Both as a reader and a writer, my big interest is “and then what happened?” I’m not a stylist although I can turn a good phrase. I’m not apologizing in any way; I’m proud of what I’ve written but I know what I am and what I am not.

I had an interesting online discussion some years back with a defiantly amateur writer. He claimed he was “purer” as a writer because he didn’t accept money for his work. In fact, he claimed I was a whore and prostituting myself for taking money for something I should have done for the pure love of it.

I will confess to be a bit flummoxed by this. I wasn’t sure how to answer. I could have said that he probably couldn’t prostitute himself because nobody would pay him; it’s hard to make money if you’re an ugly whore. However, that would have been mere pique and invective and dodged the central question – does getting paid for my work inherently make one less of an artist? Shakespeare (a greater artist than I) got paid, as did Dickens, Shaw, and many other talented artists.

On the other hand, there are plenty of hacks out there who will grind out anything to make a buck. There are times I have taken an assignment, not because I loved the character or the concept but because I needed the work and the paycheck. However, I’ve never put in less work as a result. I have to find something in the character that I can relate to, into which I can invest myself. It’s not always easy but it is always necessary. In some cases I am more successful than in others but the effort is always there because I know that, at some point, someone will put down real cold cash to read it.

I write to be read. I know one of the cardinal rules of writing is, first and foremost, to write to please yourself and I do that. However, I don’t only do that. I’m aware as I write that, hopefully, someone is going to read those words as you are reading these words. If one writes only to please oneself, then I think that’s literary masturbation. I’m not saying there’s anything inherently wrong with masturbation; I’ve dated Five Finger Lucy myself. There’s the old joke that goes “if it wasn’t for masturbation, I’d have no sex life at all” and, at one point in my past, that was very true. However, I also happen to think that sex with a partner is, well, better.

When you connect with your reader, it’s like flipping the electric switch to “on”. The electricity flows and it can flow both ways. It’s that connection with the reader that I’m looking for. In my stories, I ask my reader, “Have you ever felt this? Thought this? Considered this”? If they have, then we share something. The electricity flows between us. There’s a bond between us. We celebrate a shared humanity.

That’s my job. That’s what I get paid to do. What I get paid has never determined the effort I put into the work; it has enabled me to do it without expending time and energy making a living some other way, time and energy that I need to put into the work.

I’m not a master; I could never claim that for myself. I’m a guy from Chicaguh who writes for a living; a working stiff like most of you. Most days, I love what I do and, on the other days, it’s a grind, like any other job. Overall I’m proud of the work I’ve done and I hope to keep doing it until I drop. To quote James Earl Jones in Field of Dreams, “It’s what I do.”

Photo by mpclemens

Final Four of Mix March Madness 2014 Webcomics Tournament! Vote now!

UPDATE 4/9: Round 6 has ended. Vote in the championship now!

UPDATE 4/5: After conversing with some of the contestants, we decided to extend voting til Tuesday, to give a fairer chance rather than run the thing on a quiet weekend. So you may still have time! Tell your friends!

It’s getting down to the wire! Round 5 is over, and we’ve raised another $42 for the Hero Initiative. Now we’re down to the Final Four! This round Mix March Madness 2014 Webcomics Tournament starts now, and lasts until Tuesday!

We’re down from over 300 nominees to four final contenders— Ava’s Demon, Paranatural, Grrl Power, and Monsterkind! Congratulations to the division winners! And now… the brackets.

[iframe_loader width=”474″ height=”550″ frameborder = “0” scrolling=’auto’ src=”http://www.bracketmaker.com/tmenu.cfm?edit=1&tid=452430&tclass=”]

(To see the previous brackets, go back to Round 4.)

[socialpoll id=”2195427″]

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As usual, we’re letting you support your favorite strips by paying for additional votes, with your money going to charity. Simply click on the Donate button below, and during checkout, click on “Which comic are you donating for?” and tell us who you’re voting for. We’re getting down to the wire, so we’re raising the price a bit to 25¢ a vote, with a minimum of four votes purchased at a time, split any way you want. All proceeds from paid votes will go to the Hero Initiative, an organization that helps comic book creators in need. At the close of the round, we’ll add the paid votes to the totals and announce the winners who move on to the brackets. (And yes, your donations to Hero are tax deductible.)




Again, voting ends at midnight Eastern Time on Tuesday night! Good luck to everyone!

Who Shot The Watcher? Take an Advanced Look at ORIGINAL SIN #1!

Today, Marvel presents a fuller look at beautifully rendered interior pages from ORIGINAL SIN #1 – the 8-part blockbuster event from writer Jason Aaron and artist Mike Deodato.

On the moon, the dead body of Uatu, The Watcher is discovered. His home destroyed. Looted of its valuable alien technology. His death sends shockwaves through the superhero community. The Watcher has borne witness to every event, every skeleton and every secret history of the Marvel Universe. Secrets that are now in the possession of the killer.

The manhunt is on as the Avengers, the X-Men, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and everyone in between desperately search for the Watcher’s killer – but with the killer in possession of all the skeletons in their closets, are they ready for their sins to be revealed?

As they unearth the motive behind The Watcher’s murder, they’ll uncover a shocking truth that will shake the Marvel Universe to its core. What did The Watcher see that made him a target? And it’s only a matter of time before more bodies start popping up…

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Dennis O’Neil: What the World Would Be Like if “Noah” Didn’t Exist

Okay, let’s begin by looking at today’s Times.  Bad news, there above the fold: A U.N. panel says climate change is getting worse.  Melting ice caps, acidic coastal waters, sea life migration – all negatives caused by ecological woes that we noble humans are causing.

And did you see last week’s Vice on HBO, the story about how Greenland is literally melting?

As Bill Maher observed, in other nations conservatives and liberals disagree about how to deal with global warming, but neither side denies that the problem exists.  Not true for us.

Seen Noah yet?  Me either, but apparently some religious folk are upset because the filmmakers have taken liberties with the source material.  Maybe somebody in a film seminar someplace will tell us how one could avoid taking liberties with that particular source material.  I mean, there’s not a whole lot of source material to take liberties with and… hey, I’m not going to enter the debate about the literal truth of scripture — I’m old and I don’t need anyone else hating me — but two of every living creature?  Every one?  In one boat? At the very least, that needs some explaining, and since no such explanation is given in the source material, any such explanation would be taking liberties and… you can see the problem.

Why did Darren Aronofsky,  who does not deny being an atheist, decide to direct this particular flick?  Maybe if I see it, I’ll have a clue.

I wonder: could it have something to do with our American monomyth?

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The Law Is A Ass # 312: The Superior Spider-Manslaughterer

[[[Fifty shades of grey]]] isn’t just a runaway best-seller of debatable literary merit soon to be a major motion picture of, probably, even more debatable merit. It’s also the world we live in.

No, I don’t mean it’s a world of erotic fantasies, BDSM role-playing games, and dominance. Although if it were, can you imagine how that would change the popular Disney attraction  “It’s a Small World?” (And I apologize for having put that now unwashable image into your minds.)

What I mean is that the world isn’t just “white hats” and “black hats,” good or evil. It’s a world of grey tones where everyone has some good and some evil, where everyone is grey. Some people are more good than evil, while others are more evil than good, which is why there are shades of grey; at least fifty of them if bad literature can be believed.

Otto Octavius, the former Doctor Octopus and now the controlling mentality in the body of Peter Parker, who is trying to prove he’s a “white hat” by being a superior Spider-Man is proving instead that, like Batman in [[[The Lego Movie]]], he “only work[s] in black. And sometimes, very, very dark grey.” And the world around him is trending darker too, like it’s got some sort of Goth hashtag.

Which brings us to The Superior Spider-Man #15 and the world’s reaction to the events of The Superior Spider-Man #14. (more…)

Peter David & Will Sliney unite for SPIDER-MAN 2099

Via Marvel:

Get ready to party like it’s 2099, bitheads! Because YOU demanded it – Spider-Man 2099 is back and he’s here to stay in SPIDER-MAN 2099 #1! From the splintered fringes of time comes an all-new ongoing series from legendary Spider-Man 2099 creator Peter David (All-New X-Factor, Amazing Spider-Man) and fan-favorite artist Will Sliney (Fearless Defenders, Superior Spider-Man Team-Up)!

Stranded in the present day after the events of the New York Times best-selling Superior Spider-Man series, Miguel O’Hara must come to terms with living in the year 2014. Undercover in the employ of mega-corporation Alchemax, he’ll attempt to change the course of his future and prevent the rise of one of his greatest villains!

“Miguel becomes determined to try and transform his grandfather, Tiberius Stone into a decent guy in the hopes that it will wind up informing the raising of Tyler Stone, and perhaps make him a better person,” says writer Peter David in an interview with Marvel.com. “In short, he’s hoping that he can influence the development of both the present and future of Alchemax.”

“He’s going to find that’s not as easy as he’d hoped,” David continued.

“It’s going to be a huge year for all things Spider!” added series editor Ellie Pyle “This is your chance to get to know Spider-Man 2099 before the Spider-Man universe gets more crowded, and Peter and Will have prepared quite the introduction!”

Can one man change the future? When the dust settles – will there still be a future worth fighting for? The battle for tomorrow begins this July in SPIDER-MAN 2099 #1!

SPIDER-MAN 2099
Written by PETER DAVID
Art by WILL SLINEY
Cover by SIMONE BIANCHI
On-Sale This July!