Journalista for Feb. 2, 2010: Very discouraged

Posted by on February 2nd, 2010 at 10:06 AM




“From a consumer’s point of view, Amazon’s logic about lower, uniform e-book pricing is nearly unassailable, but we must not delude ourselves about Amazon’s true intentions; this is about grabbing and keeping market share while dozens of competitors loom over the horizon. And for Macmillan, this is likely about maintaining margins (since Amazon’s cut from every book sale looks to be closer to that of a distributor rather a retailer, arguments that publishers are saving money on distribution are either misinformed or insincere) or protecting their other customers, specifically the brick and mortar variety.”


“I’m not as hopeful about the iPad as I was this morning. The iTunes store just rejected Zesty, our tamest graphic novel, without citing a reason. We thought this could be a bright spot for us akin to our sales on Amazon Kindle, but we’re very discouraged right now.”

– Yaoi Press publisher Yamila Abraham


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It occurs to me that watching publishers and creators salivating for the iPad, a device controlled by a company determined to keep its apps store free of anything that might possibly offend parents, is like watching Frank Miller praying for the Comics Code Authority to return.


Recently posted to our homepage:

  • Claire Burrows reviews the new Alex Raymond collection, Rip Kirby: Complete Comic Strips 1946-1948.

  • Rich Kreiner reviews two minicomics by Colleen Frakes.

  • Kent Worcester presents a comics syllabus for higher education.

  • Not comics: Donald Phelps looks at Calder Willingham’s 1946 novel, End as a Man.

  • Over at The Hooded Utilitarian, Noah Berlatsky reviews the U.K. anthology The Mammoth Book of New Manga, as well as Howard Zinn, Mike Konopacki and Paul Buhle’s funnybook version of the former’s writings, A People’s History of American Empire — both pieces that originally ran in the pages of our print edition.

(Above: image from Tragic Relief, by and ©2008 Colleen Frakes.)

And in the news…


Above the Fold


Life in interesting times

  • A theme-park deal between Marvel Entertainment and Universal Studios is complicating Disney’s buyout of The House That Jack Built, according to Jason Garcia.

    Semi-related: Jon Fortt points out the Steve Jobs/Marvel Entertainment connection (hint: “Disney”), and Robert Reiss speaks with former Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo about the company’s rise from the Perelmen-engineered brink.


  • In the U.K., representatives of comics-and-everything-else publisher D.C Thomson are complaining that the British Broadcasting Corporation is unfairly using its advantages as a taxpayer-funded organization to compete with privately owned publishers. Oliver Shah has the story:

    Chief executive Andrew Thomson said: ‘The BBC seems to have developed an unfortunate habit of careering into markets where there seems to be no need for it to be and damaging the interests of independent businesses.’

    Thomson gave the example of the BBC’s launch of a magazine aimed at under-11s, All About Animals, which it said had battered sales of its own Animals And You.

    (Link via Joe Gordon.)


  • Apparently determined to solidify their bid for the title of Biggest Cunts In Comics Publishing, Tintin rightsholders Moulinsart censored an art exhibition at last weekend’s Angoulême Comics Festival in France, because one of the artists hadn’t sought permission to appropriate Hergé’s iconography (Google translation):

    [City officials] have been very annoyed to justify such an absence. Finally, I learned […] the organizers did not have permission to exhibit […] Daniel Goossens’ tribute to Hergé. [Quoted from the Google translation; cleaned up a tad in a hopeless quest for legibility.]

    Seriously, when you’re more restrictive in your reaction to artists interpreting your IP than fucking Disney, you have a problem (Google translation).

    (Above: sequence from another decidedly unauthorized take on Tintin, J. Daniels’ anarchist-themed novel Breaking Free, ©1989 J. Daniels. First link via Gianfranco Goria.)


  • “The Rev. Apolinario Batiansila, who drew the Amen cartoon for the Green Bay Press-Gazette for six years, died Sunday. He was 77.”

  • Another day, another WizardWorld convention.

  • According to Rachel Deahl, there isn’t a lot of love for in the publishing industry right now, following last weekend’s Macmillan fiasco.

  • Today’s perfect headline: “Robert Pattinson comic book sounds even more unnecessary once you think about it.”

  • Could someone please inform the folks at Meltdown Comics that cutting and pasting other people’s articles in their entirety into your blog isn’t cool? Thanks.


Joe McCulloch: New this week

A look at the best-sounding books scheduled to hit the comics shops tomorrow.




  • Laura Hudson on Ethan and Malachai Nicolle

    A conversation with the co-creators of the comics series currently burning down the Internet.

    (Above: five-year-old writer + 29-year-old artist + cop with an axe = That definition of “pure comics” everyone’s been talking about. Sequence from Axe Cop, ©2010 Ethan and Malachai Nicolle.)


  • Christopher Irving on Brian Michael Bendis

    The Marvel writer discusses his career at length.







  • John Seven on Logicomix

    “That mental illness crept into the lives of logicians with such regularity provides the thematic dots for [Bertrand] Russells story as it glides forward in time. If madness is the letting go of reality, the logic is shown to be the disregarding of it, and this same departure from the world manifests itself in mind similarly. By focusing on a singular line to be followed, despite the landscape surrounding that line, the journey of the logicians can sometimes be one of disconnection and disassociation to the wider context of life.”


  • John Seven on Pictures That Tick

    “[Dave] McKean shows himself to be the master of many forms, including storytelling. The book gathers numerous stories of various length that unfold with both a poetic obscurity and a personable humor.”







  • Sean Kleefeld: Race and comics

    “[Ethan] Young went on to ask what readers thought about Cartoon Ethan’s ethnicity. What race did they think he was, what kind of thoughts they had regarding the character or the comic, etc. I followed up with Young a while later and he relayed that the results were about what he expected: about 1/3 of readers thought Cartoon Ethan was Caucasian, 1/3 saw a distinctly Asian influence of some kind and 1/3 never thought about it one way or another. (I fell into this last camp since, as I noted at the time, Cartoon Ethan’s ethnicity was about as important to the story as what kind of cat Garfield is.)”

    (Above: sequence from Tales, ©2010 Ethan Young.)


  • Vince Moore: Bring on the black good guys (and gals)

    “However, there are times when the being black and the being a superhero fan aspects of my personality clash. Usually it happens when Im at any comics shop or comics convention. I enter these places and look around and see so many bright colors, so many different kinds of heroes. Unfortunately, I also see that little of that 20th into 21st Century mythology applying to people who look like me.”


  • Slashdot: A true Calvin story

    Just a short anecdote, but sweet and worth sharing.





Business and Craft


  • Alex De Campi: Understanding ePubs

    “[…] if you’re publishing a webcomic, or working to digest size, start mastering the ePub. And here’s how.”


Comics and Art


  • Ryan Sands: Shinobu Kazu’s “Violence Becomes Tranquility”

    “Noted in Manga! Manga! by Frederik Schodt as one of the first manga published in an American publication with ‘its original artwork intact,’ ‘Violence Becomes Tranquility’ is a short and colorful 10-page story by Shinobu Kazu. It appeared in the March 1980 issue of Heavy Metal, the long-running science fiction and fantasy comics magazine published by Leonard Mogel.”

    (Above: sequence from the story, ©1980 Shinobu Kaze and Hiro Media Associates, Inc.)


  • Illustration blog: Picture Book Report

    Picture Book Report is an extended love-song to books. Fifteen illustrators will reach out to their favorite books and create wonderful pieces of art in response to the text that has moved them, shaped them, or excited them. From sci-fi to children’s books to fantasy to serious novels, we’ll cover them all. For three weeks out of every month there will be a new illustration every day from one of us along with our thoughts, process, anything we can come up with. Together we will try to excite readers both new and old and capture some of that magic of storytelling.”

    (Above: a bookplate by and ©2010 Julia Sonmi Heglund.)





Comics Culture



  • Your Not-Comics Link of the Day:

    Charlie Brooker explains how to report the news.

    (Above: screenshot from the video.)


  • Your Scans_Daily Link of the Day:

    A short tour of Emmanuel Guibert and Didier Lefèvre’s The Photographer.

    (Above: panel from the book, ©2009 Emmanuel Guibert and Didier Lefèvre.)


Events Calendar




  • February 2 (Sackville, New Brunswick): Cult-favorite humor cartoonist Kate Beaton will give an illustrated talk at the Struts Gallery on Lorne Street, beginning at 7:30PM. Details here.


This Week:


  • February 3 (Winnetka, CA): Longtime comic-book artist Denys Cowan will appear at Collector’s Paradise on Winnetka Avenue, from 4-8PM. Details here.
  • February 3 (Newcastle upon Tyne, England): Grandville creator Bryan Talbot speaks at the Literary and Philosophical Society on Westgate Road, beginning at 6PM. Details here.
  • February 4 (New York City, NY): The Art of Ditko creator Craig Yoe will discuss the book and interview a fake Steve Ditko — no, seriously, click the link — at the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art on Broadway, beginning at 7PM. Details here.
  • February 4 (Carlisle, PA): Maus author Art Spiegelman will lecture in the Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium at Dickinson College, beginning at 7PM. Details here.
  • February 5 (Richmond, VA): Afrodisiac artist/co-creator Jim Rugg will be signing books and meeting readers at Velocity Comics on Broad Street, beginning at 6PM. Details here.
  • February 5 (New York City, NY): A reception for Seth’s new gallery show of work from George Sprott takes place at the Adam Baumgold Gallery on 66th Street, from 6-8PM. Details here.
  • February 5 (White River Junction, VT): A reception for an exhibition of Belgian comics art takes place at the Center for Cartoon Studies on Main Street, from 6-8PM. Details here.
  • February 5 (New York City, NY): Join Brian Wood and Becky Cloonan for a launch party celebrating their new Demo series at Brooklyn’s own Rocketship on Smith Street, beginning at 8PM. Details here.
  • February 6 (Toronto, Ontario): Girls With Slingshots creator Danielle Corsetto will be signing at Paradise Comics on Yonge Street, from 2-6PM. Details here.
  • February 6 (San Francisco, CA): Transmetropolitan/The Boys artist Darick Robertson makes an appearance at Comic Outpost on Ocean Avenue, from 3:30-6:30PM. Details here.
  • February 6 (Chapel Hill, NC): Afrodisiac artist/co-creator Jim Rugg will be signing books and meeting readers at Chapel Hill Comics on Franklin Street, beginning at 6PM. Details here.
  • February 7 (Charlotte, NC): Afrodisiac artist/co-creator Jim Rugg will be signing books and meeting readers at Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find on Seventh Street, from 2-5PM. Details here.


Want to see your comics-related event listed here? Email a link to and let me know. Please include an online link to which I can send people for more information. No sales-only events, please — it’s nice that you’ve marked things down at your store or website, but I won’t be listing it here.


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2 Responses to “Journalista for Feb. 2, 2010: Very discouraged”

  1. […] Meet Axe Cop!!! Artist Ethan Nicolle (SLG’s Chumble Spuzz) was home visiting family and playing with his youngest brother, five year old Malachai, a game Malachai dubbed Axe Cop. They evolved a story for the game and Ethan couldn’t resist turning it into a webcomic — and a rather cool one to, in that you can read it by looking at a traditional static picture or on the main page it moves with your cursor movements in a rather pleasing manner (much more satisfying and intuitive, I thought, than the regular scrolling up and down or left and right some webcomics require). Ethan intends to continue to get more story ideas from Malachai and turn them into strips — what a lovely idea, Malachai obviously has a very cool big bro. Who knows, maybe in 15 years he’ll be writing adult comics too. On Comics Alliance Laura Hudson talks to both the brothers. (thanks to Kevin F Sutherland for the heads-up, link to Laura’s interview vie Dirk at Journalista) […]

  2. Simon_Jones says:

    I think there was never any question that Apple would not officially allow pornographic/sexually risque material on iPad. In terms of e-book content, the new concerns are:

    1. Whether Apple would censor books that are critical of Apple. (Likely)

    2. Whether Apple would even allow submissions to iBooks (like Apps), or establish direct relationships with major publishers (iTunes music).

    3. If they choose to work only major publishers, whether Apple would allow Apps that provide eBooks and bypass iBooks altogether (Comixology).

    It’s scary that we even have to ask these questions…