I was just cleaning out my feed-reader again, and I came across more links and stories of note. I’ve tried to add a little more in the way of commentary this time out. Hope you enjoy!

[WEBCOMICS]

macmillan.jpg

There’s an awesome artist named Kate Beaton that I just found out about 15 minutes ago, which is the exact length of time it took me to read all of her fantastic comics about Christmas in Cape Breton (that’s in Canada, on the East Coast). I have family on the east coast and this is exactly correct and hilarious. I actually thought that her drawing of her cousin, John MacMillan, was really kind of cute until I realised my second cousins are the MacMillans, most likely of Cape Breton, and we’re probably related. Anyway, it turns out that she’s got a whole awesome website of OTHER comics as well, http://katebeaton.com, and I’m going to go read all of those next. {Link: Rich}

[THE TOP MANGA STORIES OF 2007]

1. Over at Precocious Curmudgeon, David Welsh looks at the top manga-related stories of 2007. It’s a good list, and it’s made me want to post about it and give it a little more space than this format will provide. Look for a post about David’s post shortly…

2. Meanwhile, Icarus Publishing’s Simon Jones feels that the biggest manga story of 2007 was instead the debut of Aurora Publishing, the American wing of an established Japanese publisher of women’s comics, who has decided to forego the licensing game and publish directly in Japan. Without a doubt this was a pretty big deal, but the biggest story of the year? There have always been companies who have expanded into foreign markets directly, or by partnering with other businesses in a mutually beneficial fashion, or just by buying out someone in the market you want to crack. There are a number of successful business models for publishing, and while I think it’s interesting that Aurora has made a go of it on their own here in North America, I don’t think that’s going to be the right fit for every publisher. The number of domestic, New York book publishers that 4 and 5 years on STILL can’t figure out how the Direct Market for comic shops works is staggering, which means (to me) that Japanese publishers are going to have an even tougher go from half-a-world and 13 hours away.

[BEST OF 2007]

1. One of the many fights I picked this year was over Chris Ware’s guest-edited Best American Comics 2007, a collection of Ware’s favourite works with a decidedly specific focus. Apparently that focus sat… generally quite poorly… with the mom of comics journalist Laura Hudson, and the results can be found at her blog Myriad Issues:

Mom: “I can’t read this. This is awful. First of all, the panels are so busy. They’re jammed with lines and clutter, and it makes you want to get out of the panels as fast as you can. He has all these hash marks and no negative space. This guy just–he has this compulsion to fill everything. The only thing that has any space is the balloons… It’s too busy. And disconnected and rambling. It shouldn’t be published.” – Laura Hudson’s Mom on Jeffrey Brown’s Little Things

It’s worth noting that one of Brown’s many 2007 releases, Cat Getting Out Of A Paper Bag released by Chronicle Books, sold fantastically well and merited a second printing. I could never see that work getting picked for the Best American anthology though. I’m fantastically interested in the growing divide between comics ‘aficionados’ and newcomers, what’s easier and more interesting to read for someone without a dedicated interest in the medium. Comics fans dismissed Fun Home on release (and for quite a while afterwards) but it still made Time Magazine’s book of the year…

2. Man-oh-man. My personal bugbear seems to be bad best-of lists, but Ron Cox’s “In year of comics mediocrity, a shining dozen” takes the cake for piece of crap. No matter which respected comics critic you talk to or what’s on their best-of list, the one thing you’ll find is that none of them thought it was a particularly mediocre year. Maybe that’s because Ron’s dirty dozen includes 10 books from the front of the Previews catalog and two licensed books, indicating exactly where Ron’s attentions lie and why he might be finding so much of what’s released so excessively up… and down.

3. Back at Precocious Curmudgeon, David Welsh picks Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms as his favourite graphic novel of 2007. Created by Fumiyo Kouno and published by Last Gasp, the book technically came out in the waning months of 2006 but both David and frequent commenter Huff feel like the book deserved a lot more attention than it got. David does a good job of tracking down conversation about the book, but it really is an excellent graphic novel and I feel like a heel for forgetting it from my own Best of 2006 list, so I’ll be including it on my best of 2007 list. Because. Now:

[GO READ THIS:]

townofeveningcalm1.jpg

Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms
By Fumiyo Kouno
$9.99, 104 pages, Published by Last Gasp
9780867196658

Available everywhere.

[INTERNET PRIVACY]

Noted fantasy author Guy Gavriel Kay recently gave an interview during which he discussed the downside to information availability online, the complete lack of privacy that an author can experience.

Kay: “We are, in other words, always “on” now, at least potentially, always in a wider public than might appear to be the case, and it compels adjustments, and some regret.”

I know that I can’t have a conversation with more-or-less anyone in the context of comics and the industry without it being prefaced with some variation of “Now, this isn’t for print, but…” though I am at least getting the meat of the point still. Most likely because I’ve got a track record for not spilling people’s secrets all over the net (though I have SO MANY SECRETS). But yeah, the biggest lesson I learned in 2007 came at me twice, once from Calvin Reid and once from Darwyn Cooke, and it was essentially “People are listening to what you say, so make sure you’re right and make sure you want people talking about it.” And I learned my lesson. Do I have any sympathy for the foot-in-mouth disease of noted comics assholes like Chuck Dixon or Mike S. Miller? No, hang’em high as far as I’m concerned. But at least I’m running a tighter ship, and their unfortunate series of boners (and Kay’s own regrets) should be all the warning anyone needs about privacy in the digital age…

[FREE COMIC BOOK DAY]

Johanna Draper-Carlson has new news that long time FCBD-contributors Keenspot (and Co.) have been rejected for FCBD 2008. In an interview with Keenspot/Blatent Comics owner Chris Crosby, he reveals that his participation has been denied by “The FCBD Comittee”. Aside from the very obvious notion that the books should go out and the market should decide their viability (you know, like CAPITALISM!?), who the fuck is the FCBD Comittee? Seriously, who are these people making these decisions? Is it Diamond employees who’ve given themselves a neat new name and an arm’s-length for criticism? is it retailers? Other publishers? Why is it every time I hear about Free Comic Book Day something shady is happening/has happened/is going to happen, and no one is allowed to know why?

If this is truly the medium’s new holiday, then why is so much of it decided behind closed doors, without any input or participation from actual people involved in the industry? Johanna, I hope you can get someone from the organisation on record about this.

[FREE COMICS EVERY DAY: SCANLATIONS]

The guys over at SAME HAT! SAME HAT! bring us another awesome scanlation (a Japanese comic that has been unofficially translated into English by fans) by Erotic-Grotesque author Shintaro Kago. They’re up to 5 or 6 works online right now, and it’s truly wonderful and complex comics work as obsessed with formalist exploration as it is with dirty fucking. You can find a link to all of the author’s previous works on their website.

[SUPERHERO DECADENCE]

Videogame website Kotaku, a division of Gawker Media, announced their Best Games of The Year for 2007, the first time that the website had held the awards. They also announced their worst games of the year, with Marvel Comics licensed properties taking home two awards. It looks like “Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer” was as good a game as it was a movie, and the kiddified “Spider-Man: Friend Or Foe”… well, nothing clever here folks, it just sucked. You’d think a licensing company like Marvel might pay closer attention to the quality of those licenses…? Although it’s not like they’ve been paying much attention to the quality of their comics…! ZING!

[FRIENDS OF MINE]

Just wanted to take a sec to give virtual respect-knuckles to my buddy illustrator Dom Bugatto, who got a pretty sweet gig a few weeks back doing a music-related comic for EMI Music that appeared in Billboard Magazine. Apparently the art director came in and said they wanted something “graphic novel,” which is pretty cool and strangely gratifying to hear. I think Dom did a great job on it too, make sure to leave him a comment letting him know whatcha think.

That’s it for now! Thanks for reading.

- Christopher


6 Comments on “Link all aquaintances, now be forgot.”

You can track this conversation through its atom feed.

  1. David Welsh says:

    Thanks for the links, Chris. Looking forward to your thoughts on the year in manga news.

  2. Ryan says:

    Thanks for the link, Chris :)
    You’re the first to know, we have ANOTHER Kago strip ready to go… hopefully early next week. That scanlator (Anonymous K) is nothing if not prolific!

    on a more personal note, congrats on a great year of blogging! I really love what you’ve been doing on comics212 in 2007, and looking forward to your posts in 2008.

    on an even more personal note, i HATE jeffrey brown’s comics. I think they are pathetic and shrill and so pitifully boring. UGH. Just had to get that off my chest!

  3. Chris says:

    David- Thanks! It’s not that I disagree with anything that you’ve said, but I think that there’s a lot to talk about within the subjects you’ve touched on…

    Ryan- I totally, totally love Jeff Brown’s comics. I own them all. I own CHANGE-BOTS in hardcover. J’adore… But I have a friend who hates his work more than you, so I at least get where you’re coming from ;)

    I really hope 2008 sees a return to form for my blogging, since you mentioned it. I feel like I’ve slacked off too much, and I want to try to get up to once-per-day for 2008. I’m off to a decent start. :)

    I’m really enjoying SAME HAT though, and I hope you guys keep up what you’re doing. If anything, I’d love to see a custom site that was a little more robust feature-wise, particularly for comics-reading, as I think your content is tops.

    Cheers,

    - Chris

  4. Dan Coyle says:

    My brother bought me Incredible Change-Bots for my birthday, and not only was it a great comic, it was one of the best Transformers comics EVER. I’m not normally a fan of what Brown writes about, but I will seek out more of his work just for that. I didn’t even know there was a hardcover.

  5. Dominic Bugatto says:

    Thanks for the link Chris. Looking forward to future posts here.

    Cheers, Dom

  6. Blog@Newsarama » The Lightning Round says:

    [...] –Artist Dominic Bugatto shares a music-related comic he did that recently appeared in Billboard Magazine. (Via) [...]

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