Pay Attention! Comics News Round-Up 04/25/10

Space Invaders Stephen Hawking has some advice for us: don't trust those aliens, no matter what you do. Says our world's closest equivalent to Reed Richards: "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans." Luckily, we've been trained by decades of high-octane action cinema to fight back against the aliens, in such reverse documentaries as Independence Day, Aliens, and Mars Attacks. Bring it on, I say.

That One Wasn't About Comics My bad, but my point remains: "Welcome to Earth."

Stumptown Awards Portland loves comics. No, correction: Portland loves comics more than any other city. This past weekend was Stumptown, the annual indie/DIY comics fest, and from all accounts, it was fantastic. Tom Spurgeon has a list of the Stumptown Award winners. The winner for Outstanding Webcomic, Wondermark, is fantastic, if you aren't a regular reader.

Cool Exec, Etc. Iron Man 2 is what, two weeks away? I'm pretty psyched, and this piece from AdAge on the tie-in advertising is pretty cool. Movies are big business, obviously, and comic book movies are the latest ultra-lucrative part of that business. I know that product placement is a touchy subject, but when done well, or in an inobtrusive manner, I don't mind it at all. It makes sense that the ten or eleven "marketing partners" for Iron Man 2 want to get their logos in what could well be the biggest movie of the year, and it makes sense that Marvel and Paramount want as many people dumping money into their baby as possible. I haven't noticed any overly-obnoxious ads with Tony Stark shilling Stark-brand Iron Maiden Pantyhose or anything, but hey, maybe you feel different. Product placement and cross-brand promotions– how much is too much? I think the Reese's one is pretty great, personally.

Cash Rules Everything Around Me Bill Reed at Comics Should Be Good! has something fun for you. July 2010: The Advent of the $3.99 Revolution. 68% of Marvel's output is gonna cost you four bucks, as will 24.2% of DC's, 91.4% of IDW's, and 27% of Image's. For me personally, $3.99 is a hard sell. For the odd anniversary issue or extra-sized issue of Amazing Spider-Man, sure, I'll pony up the cash. But, for an ongoing 32-page comic? Ehhh, I'll catch the trade on Amazon at a discount. At that point, the pages to dollars ratio just doesn't work out for me, comic shop discount included. Bonus points go to Dark Horse, though, who have stuck to $2.99 to $3.50 for the most part. Thank them by buying BPRD! BPRD: King of Fear has been fantastic, with the kind of payoff most comics can only dream of.

Novelist Comes To Comics Janet Evanovich has been writing novels since the late '80s, and if you've ever worked in a bookstore, I'm sure you know her name. She's writing a comic for Dark Horse called Troublemaker, with art by the excellent Joelle Jones. The Alex Evanovich listed on the cover is Janet's daughter and cowriter. Laura Hudson has a good interview with the author. While most comics outsiders give the old "I've wanted to write comics my entire life!" spiel when hyping their new book Evanovich seems like she actually digs comics. She shouts out some particularly good comics, is a fan of books like Little Lulu and Fruits Basket, and loves Carl Barks. I really like that she "pshaws!" a question about the predominately male readership of comics. Sure, the Direct Market may have a mostly male readership, but when you consider the book industry as whole, which includes manga and original graphic novel publishers like First Second, the subsection of society that could be called "comics fans" gets a whole lot bigger. It's a fun interview and some of Jones's art is previewed at the end of it.

Jeff Parker: Juggalo Revealed ComicsAlliance has the comics industry news of the millenium with these shots of Jeff Parker getting juggaloed up. …I got nothing, just click. Tons of awesome photos in the link.

Worst Comics Criticism of the 21st Century Comics criticism is great–I love seeing other people pick apart and interpret comics, whether that involves five thousand word essays on what works and what doesn't in _______, a snarky one-liner about why the latest issue of ____ sucks, or a quick essay on why _____ is the greatest comic of all time, and so cool that you'd kiss it if you could. But, wow, Jeet Heer found Harold Bloom's review of Robert Crumb's Book of Genesis to be the worst he's ever read, and after reading the excerpts he links to… I agree. It's one thing to be mean or ugly. That sort of thing has its place, and sometimes you gotta be brutally funny to get your point across. But to be actively and almost proudly ignorant… dang, homey. That's a mistake. Harold Bloom should definitely know better.

Glenn Danzig Swiped Michael Golden Now, this is something I didn't know, though I'm not really a Danzig fan. Frank Santoro tells the story of where the Samhain/Danzig skull really came from, and boy is it bizarre.

Southworth x TCJ Jason Leivian at The Comics Journal interviews Matthew Southworth, artist of Greg Rucka's Stumptown. He talks a lot about his influences and techniques, which makes this interview a must-read for process junkies. I found his comments about photo-ref to be really interesting, in that photo-ref can be a blessing and a curse.

We Are Such Little Men This is at least two years old, if not older, but here's a Garth Ennis interview about Hitman on Youtube. I dug it, but Hitman is one of my all-time favorite Ennis books. Check it out and look at the related videos, too.

That's MISTER Kaneda To You, Punk! Katushiro Otomo's Akira is one of my top ten favorite comics. It's a sprawling, beautiful mess of a book, and deserves a place on the discerning comic fan's shelf. I thought that Marvel's colorized version of the book, produced via the Epic imprint and colored by Steve Oliffe with a computer (!) looked great, and own volumes two and four in hardcover. The rest, sadly, are in simple black & white. This look at the differences between the two versions is a great compare and contrast, showing how the color brought a lot to some scenes and obscured details in another. Since my experience with the book is part color and part B&W, I have this weird amalgamated idea of the book in my head, so seeing the images side by side is really cool.

Bart Simpson Stands Up For South Park The Simpsons puts some brief commentary on the air about the recent South Park controversy. Good on you, Bart.


David Brothers writes for 4thletter! instead of having free time, and has spent the past couple weeks re-reading Usagi Yojimbo from the beginning. There are worse ways to pass the time, but very few that are better.


  1. That’s an awesome Ennis interview.

  2. I enjoy that Reese’s commercial too. Some of my friends are complaining about seeing Iron Man everywhere they go recently. Personally it has yet to annoy me. It could be because I watch less TV than most people I know. Or it could be because I enjoy RDJ’s Stark so much that every time I see him, I just shake my head smiling and think "Oh Tony. You rascal." In other words, maybe the character of Tony Stark is such a shameless self-promoter, that it doesn’t bother me as much as other blockbusters (I’m looking at you Avatar).

  3. My wife is extremely excited about the Janet Evanovich book.  She loves her prose.

  4. YES! Jeff Parker revealed! As a fellow juggalo i would like to say to mr. parker, Whoop Whoop!

  5. Including Hawking’s warning is really stretching it. Comparing him to Reed Richards doesn’t really make it comic news. But oh well.

  6. Most likely going to buy "Trouble Maker" thanks to the Joelle Jones art even though I dont know a think about the author and her books.  Just got finished reading "12 Reasons Why I Love Her" by Jamie S. Rich and Joelle Jones.  A quick but enjoyable read and I really enjoyed the art.

  7. I knew I liked Jeff Parker for a reason

  8. "68% of Marvel’s output is gonna cost you four bucks"

    Ouch. Personally, I don’t have a problem with paying $4 or $5 for a single issue…if it’s something I really like. But I only read a few monthly titles these days. (Hell, if my LCS owner held all the copies of Morrison’s Batman for ransom behind the counter and told me I had to pay $10 to read each one on the day it came out…I’d happily pay that.) But I really feel for you guys who read like 20 books a week. 

    And, wow, I gotta read that Harold Bloom thing. Bloom has been a great critic of literature, from what I’ve read. I’ve really enjoyed a lot of his books on Shakespeare and the Western Canon. Seriously: best contemporary critic of past literature, ever. On the other hand, he can be kind of a prick and I can definitely imagine him not doing a good, unprejudiced critique of comics. I’ve not yet read the Crumb book, but while I certainly love some Crumb, I can also imagine that Crumb might have done a poor, pointlessly irreverent job on something with religious themes. So neither Bloom nor Crumb are sacred cows to me–but I’ve valued a lot of their past work very highly. Seriously, though, I would rather have Harold Bloom totally trash a mainstream superhero series; I think that would be more entertaining and enlightening, to see one of the best literary critics all of a sudden be confronted with what passes for the contemporary superhero genre. That would be a prejudiced review as well, of course, but I think he’d be able to pick out negative aspects of the genre that regular readers of it (i.e., us) don’t even notice.

  9. From Harold Bloom attacking Stephen King and J.K Rowling to railing against Crumb just continues to show how full of it the man is.

  10. Harold Bloom is a fine critic when he’s working on a positive note, but when he’s doing the opposite i’ve never seen anything fair or thoughtful in his arguments. He always seems like he’s squirming to validate his own prejudices when he’s like that.

  11. @lantern4life Same here. I went back and looked at all his marvel work. Yep, knew something was up.

  12. As much as I admire Stephen Hawking’s brilliance, I think his insight into the behavior of a hypothetical alien culture is about as relevant as Jacques Cousteau’s advice on the best way to prepare calimari. It might be tangentially related to his expertise, but it is NOT his expertise. 

  13. Now I’m in a quandary – do I tell my Stephanie Plum-obsessed good lady about the Janet Evanovich book, or do I wait until it’s released and surprise her with it?

  14. Stan Lee’s Dr. Pepper commercial is awesome. He doesn’t even need to say anything and its still cool!

    It’s nice that prose authors are slowly getting into the mix of comics. Briggs, Evanovich, and a few others are just the right start for regular readers getting into comics. Although if we’re basing it on my store alone…..not doing so well. (They don’t sell at all down here)

  15. @TheNextChampion My favorite prose author in comics right now is easily Charlie Huston. His Deathlok series with art by Lan Medina is like a 21st century dystopia with ’80s urban wasteland style art. It’s fantastic.

     @Selfstyler Go for the surprise, I say.

  16. @brothers: Oh yeah, Huston is writing the current Deathlok mini isn’t he? Well maybe he should try adapting some of his prose work into comics. Might get some of those fans to crossover and read his comic work.