The Mix : What are people talking about today?

Milestones in new comics media

I may be typing this on a MacBook but mostly I’m old.  Ever so much older than I used to be. A real 20th century kinda gal.  So I’m way behind the curve on what those crazy kids are up to when they’re not trampling my theoretical lawn or treating the comics shop like a reading room. 

For one, they’re reading lots of comics online — by one estimate there may be as many as 36,000 different web-only comics out there, and that’s not even including syndicated print comic strips reproduced online.  There’s just no time to read them all, so we rely on others to announce special events, like today’s online ceremony for the 2007 Webcartoonists’ Choice Awards (congratulations to all the winners!), or the announcement that Ed Dunphy’s and Max Velati’s science humor webcomic Lab Bratz has just hit its 100th weekly episode.  At least the latter milestone makes us feel a bit better, as Dunphy used to write for such print titles as Munden’s Bar, Mongrel, Slash and Splatter.

I got those credits from ComicSpace, a sort of MySpace spinoff for comics folks.  Feel free to befriend me there; I don’t know how it works anyway.  It’s apparently "a community of over 12,500 comic fans and creators… hosting over 3,000 comic galleries… containing over 28,300 comic pages!" so, you know, who has time for that, a full-time job and sleep?  Well, MySpace now has its own comic book section, with over 20,000 "friends" so far.

The Internet is rapidly becoming the most expansive force in comics. It’s exciting to watch it grow.

Superbaby may suggest cure for muscular dystrophy

Superbaby may suggest cure for muscular dystrophy

A 7-year-old German child with a myostatin mutation that makes him super-strong led pediatric neurologist and geneticist Markus Schuelke and fellow doctors to step up efforts to design drugs that could let muscles flourish without onerous side effects, holding great promise for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. 

Wyeth came out with an experimental antibody drug which produced bulked-up mice in 2002, and results of a trial in adults with MD are expected as early as March.  Schuelke is still in contact with the boy, who is completely healthy despite fears that his heart muscle might grow too thick. He’s still strong, but no longer abnormally so.

Mike Gold: War is over

Mike Gold: War is over

No, not that war, I regret to say. That war is going to take a while. And probably a major turn-out at the polls late next year.

According to our good friends at Diamond Distributors, Marvel’s Civil War ends this week with the shipping of the seventh issue of the core mini-series. Joey Quesada and his roommates are to be congratulated, not only for finishing it off (believe me, I know how much work is involved) but for pulling off a remarkable task.

This whole mega-crossover event thing started inadvertently back in the summer of 1963 as a two-issue meeting of the Justice League and the Justice Society. It was a great story and an even better event. It put into action a bunch of characters most of us had only heard about, and it changed the nature of the DC universe forever. Twenty-one years later, Marv Wolfman and George Perez did a 12 part mini-series called Crisis on Infinite Earths, purportedly to straighten out DC’s continuity hiccups and train wrecks. They did a fine job. In fact, Marv and George established the benchmark for all future mega-crossover events.


Plenty of plans for NYCC

Plenty of plans for NYCC

Colleen Doran will be there (and posts her panel schedule).  Keith Champagne will be there.  The Chemistry Set webcomics collective will be there.  Becky Cloonan will be there. It’s getting easier to enumerate who won’t be at the New York Comic Convention than who will be! 

Some words of advice: At this point a lot of pre-planning may be in order – take some time this week to print out the panel schedule and circle the ones you want to attend; to contact folks you want to meet there and specify day, time and place (either at someone’s booth or, even better, a less hectic spot in the Javits Center outside the exhibition hall); and to get your gear together (water bottles, camera, currency).  It’s going to be a long and crazy weekend! 

And remember, it’s trade-only on Friday until 4 PM, so that’s a good time to queue up for entry and solidify any last-minute changes.

Ormes Society website launches!

As mentioned here on ComicMix back on February 12, Cheryl Lynn has been busy creating a new and very needed comics organization.  The website is now live and ready for your participation! 

The Ormes Society, named after the legendary pioneering cartoonist of color Jackie Ormes, is an organization dedicated to supporting black female comic creators and promoting the inclusion of black women in the comics industry as creators, characters and consumers.  In addition to their front-page weblog, the Society also has an active forum up and running. 

Cheryl is a real powerhouse so there’s bound to be tons of activity; get in on the ground floor!  The launch of the organization will be discussed in further detail at the New York Comic Con, where Cheryl will be a panelist on the Black Panel in prime-time, Saturday afternoon at 2 PM, moderated by ComicMix columnist Michael Davis!

Look for further updates on Ormes Society activities here in the near future!

Riding high at the box office

Riding high at the box office

Ghost Rider, based on the Marvel Comics series, dominated the box office this holiday weekend, opening at $44.5 million according to studio estimates.  The movie took in over twice as much as its nearest competitor, the Disney movie Bridge to Terabithia, based on the Newberry-award winning book by Katherine Paterson. 

This was Hollywood’s biggest opening so far this year, and the best opening weekend ever for comics super-fan Cage, beating his previous $35.1 million debut for National Treasure.  This showing bodes well for the movies’ continued association with comic book properties, which are still pleasing audiences despite critics’ misgivings that "the genre" is on the way out. 

Someond tell them comics isn’t a genre, it’s a format!  Sheesh.

RIP Bob Oksner

Mark Evanier reports the sad news of the death of comics great Bob Oksner at age 90. 

Oksner began drawing around 1940 for Funnies, Inc., an art service that supplied comic book material to a number of publishers, including Timely (now Marvel) Comics, who hired him to work on various strips throughout much of the decade.

In 1945, he began work on a syndicated newspaper strip, Miss Cairo Jones, that caught the attention of DC editor Sheldon Mayer, who invited Oksner to work for DC — where he wound up for the rest of his long and storied career,on titles as varied asThe Black Canary, The Adventures of Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, Sgt. Bilko, Leave it to Binky, Stanley and His Monster and many more. Oksner co-created The Angel and the Ape in the late sixties, received the National Cartoonists Society Award in its Comic Book Division for 1960 and 196, and won the Shazam Award in 1970 for Best Pencil Artist (Humor Division).

Mark has much more on his site.

The Sunday News, Mainstream style

The Sunday News, Mainstream style

Time once again to check in on what mainstream news sources are saying about comics:

  • It was only a matter of time before I came across another "Comics are not just for kids" header, but it’s a bit unexpected in a college paper.  The Cornell Daily Sun‘s Sammy Perlmutter discovers and reviews the Fantagraphics MOME anthology in the CDS blog.  Hey, he’s one up on me, I didn’t even know college papers had blogs…
  • The Washington Times profiles Bernie Wrightson.
  • Also iin the US capital city, the Washington City Paper takes a look at a shoujo manga exhibition running at the Japanese Information and Culture Center.
  • Lastly, down in Mississippi, the Joplin Independent’s Mark Allen reviews The Damaged by A-10 Comics.


From the ComicMix  mailbox

From the ComicMix mailbox

The great thing about suddenly being inundated with folks sending in introductions and announcement is all the cool stuff you find in the process!  Let’s get to the pass-alongs then, shall we?

  • Not only do the folks at have their own webcomic (The Paranormals, written by Mr. Raven Brown and drawn by Ronnie Werner), but visitors can try their hand at creating their own comics and avatars.  Time-sucker alert!
  • Congratulations to Robert Tinnell and Bo Hampton, whose graphic novel Sight Unseen (Bo’s first in eight years) tied in the voting for best horror comic/graphic novel for 2006 at Rue Morgue Magazine!
  • Richard Schenkman invites us to check out his current project, Jerome Bixby’s Man From Earth.  Neat website and intriguing plotline – I love me those immortal William Katts!

Got something you want to crow about?  Use our handy-dandy Contact Us form at the bottom of this page!

Hollywood does comics

Hollywood does comics

There was a great deal of hand-wringing and gnashing of teeth when word leaked out of Hollywood that Joss Whedon had left the Wonder Woman film project and David Goyer would no longer write and direct a Flash film. Similarly, people reacted in horror at the notion of Joel Schumacher having anything to do with a Sandman movie.

Here’s the thing: none of this is shocking. Disappointing, yes, but we long time fans have gotten our hopes raised and dashed countless times through the years.

For those less familiar with Hollywood’s inner workings, the studios are always looking for the next great thing, uncertain of what it might be and where they may find it. So, in addition to buying original stories from screenwriters or ideas from producers and stars then assigning the stories to screenwriters, Hollywood goes shopping. They will receive yet-to-be-published books in galley form, they will scour the news for stories to dramatize, and they will see what their kids are listening to, and so on.