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CSBG Archive

Sunday Brunch: 1/30/11

The comics internet, in Dagwood sandwich form. (One bite! I dare you!)

THITHER THE COMICS CODE: Last week, I asked for actual journalists to investigate the Comics Code organization, in an effort to learn more about who these people were and how they conducted their business– and the internet answered my pleas! First, Vaneta Rogers at Newsarama does some digging to find that the Comics Code has seemingly been defunct since 2009:

“It used to be that everything had to go through the Code, be stamped and sealed, and then could be sent off to the printer,” Field said. “I think that, over the last number of years — and it’s kind of obvious, because there were things that wound up with a Code seal that would have never gotten through the code — if a company was up on their dues, they could put the Code on their book.”

Meanwhile, Mark Seifert tracks down the Code’s last director, and manages to find some tax forms from the organization:

Examining these few records, it’s worth noting that former DC president Paul Levitz (who stepped down in 2009), longtime Archie Chairman Michael Silberkleit (who died in 2008) and Archie’s Fred Mausser were listed as officers of the CMAA during this period. Noting this and given that Marvel dropped the Code in 2001 shortly after Joe Quesada became EIC, it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the Code faded in importance as a direct consequence of the next generation assuming leadership roles in the industry.

WHITHER WIZARD? A Wizard staffer reflects on the magazine’s demise, showing us that, yes, Wizard staffers are people, too:

What I find so amusing about the posts here and on other sites is that the same people that ridiculed Alan Moore for his absurd criticisms of comics today, only to admit that he does not read any, is that those criticizing also proudly proclaim that they stopped reading ages ago. If they actually had read, they would know how absurd so many of their criticisms were….

I am so glad that everyone is enjoying my, and many others’, misfortune, but having a legitimate gripe would go a long way, folks.

ITEM! Project Rooftop has announced a redesign contest which has gotten me very excited– Aquaman! And it won’t just be limited to one site, but to several, including Whitechapel’s Remake/Remodel crew I link to just about every week. Now, Aquaman’s costume is already perfect, so I don’t know how anyone could improve, but I encourage any artists out there to give it a go anyway; it’s open ’til February 20th. I’m looking at you, Line It Is Drawn guys!

ITEM! Matt Seneca writes about Jack Kirby, Gary Panter, portraits, self-portaits, and artistic consciousness:

There is such joy and life and depth of feeling in [Kirby’s] work that it is all too easy to imagine him as an illuminated beacon of pure human warmth and loveliness, the comics medium’s archetypal innovator, happily drawing multiple brilliant pages a day, never asking for more than the chance to keep doing it for a living wage. It’s an image with plenty of basis in fact; by all accounts Kirby was a truly lovely human being, and he absolutely did sit and bat out comics at a pace I’m not sure anyone has touched before or since. But there is more to Kirby than just that. Monumental rage, deep fear, paranoia, confusion, crippling frustration surge through the blank spaces of his panels along with the openhearted beams of light. Kirby was not pure. He was a conduit for positive and negative in equal measure. In his panels, these forces build and intermingle and ignite, braiding together into something so unique and powerful that one can’t tell which is which; only that it’s force.

SEXY ITEM! Kate Beaton introduces the world to Sexy Batman. World is never the same again:

ITEM! Colin Smith writes aboot Phonogram:

It strikes me that I can’t think of another comic where the traditional hero’s journey has been so convincingly cast in a recognisably modern context. The threat that Dave Kohl has to face up to, overcome, and learn from isn’t, for example, one that can be dealt with by muscle power and physical bravery, as if the world were still a place where testosterone-balled fists can be relied upon to solve every problem. Indeed, where most every other adventure comic this side of Sandman would resolve at least some of its conflict through punch-ups supposedly standing for less specifically brawny values, Phonogram’s showdowns are constantly closed through discussion and debate, through the development of self-awareness and the application of a benevolent cunning.

Story continues below

ITEM! Some fans condense the Scott Pilgrim movie into 60 seconds, and it’s just about as great as the full-length feature. Edgar Wright rates it “awesome,” and so do I.

ITEM! Eric Powell unleashes a call to arms for a greater diversity of material in comics, and does so in a shock! horror! vulgarity! way. I agree with what he’s saying, of course, but I’m not sure silly 1940s infotainment ass-raping is the way to deliver the message.

ITEM! Bully the little stuffed bull remembers every other time a member of the Fantastic Four died. It’s been a lot. Quite a lot.

OBLIGATORY CHRIS SIMS LINK? Not so obligatory, I imagine, as we haven’t had one of these in a while– but sure, here’s Sims talking about the current storyline in the Spider-Man newspaper strip, as Aunt May and Mole Man decide to get hitched for whatever reason.

AXE COP WEEK OF THE MOMENT: So it’s the one-year Axeiversary of everyone’s favorite webcomic this week. To celebrate, we’ve got the best interview ever

Nrama: What are your favorite cartoons ever?

Ethan: We love The Iron Giant. We watched it just last night.

Malachai: WHOOOSH! I like Fred!

Ethan: …who’s Fred?

Malachai: [as a robot] I-am-going-to-destroy-you.

…as well as the premiere of the live-action Axe Cop movie. It’s only one minute long, but it’s better than Zack Snyder’s Watchmen.

HEY EVERYBODY, go read Chad Nevett’s new essay about Marvel Boy. Yes, another one. But it’s goooood!

NOT ENOUGH ART IN THIS POST DEPT: So here is Dan Hipp’s Joker:

That is all.


Somehow I doubt Eric Powell’s shrill polemic will sway many readers who weren’t already on his side.

One thing I found funny about Powell’s video is that his character’s seemingly hopeless project sounds very much like the scifi genre-mashups that are – I would guess – second only to superheroes in terms of presence on the market. Most superhero comics combine tropes from a variety of genres to begin with, but even discounting them, books like Fables, Hellblazer, and American Vampire that pick and pinch from numerous genres remain steady sellers at DC, to say nothing of the myriad mashups produced outside the big two.

If anything, comics should be moving away from serialized genre fiction (including superheroes). A big part of the problem the industry faces in penetrating the mainstream is the conception of comics as trash culture. If Marvel and DC changed their publishing strategies to include romance comics, actual detective comics, and “gothic, sci-fi westerns,” it would do little to alleviate public skepticism about the medium. Comics would just have converted from one type of trash culture to another.

I don’t believe Powell meant for the bit about genres to be a key point, but it just highlights the poorly thought out, knee-jerkishness of the video that it suggests one of the weakest possible improvements to the industry. Not that one expects much when anal rape is used as a metaphor for being taken advantage of (very fresh, btw), but a little finesse and consideration might have been nice from the Eisner award winning humorist. The sad thing is that, like Bill, I agree with the gist of what Powell’s saying, but this video is just so awful, it can only damage our case.

Who’s the target audience for that video? Creators? Customers? Publishers? Is he trying to convince people of a point or rally and rile up the people that agree with him?

The first question doesn’t seem to have an answer, and the second it seems like the latter.

If the target audience is the creators, well it seems kinda moot, because a lot of the writers are publishing elsewhere with their own work (or at one of the imprints) AND working on capes and tights.
If it’s the customers, well, they tend to draw the line between DC and Marvel, who has the better writers, artists, characters, etc. I doubt somebody calling their favorite publishing house ass-rapists is gonna change their minds.
And the publishers? Yeah, insulting someone is a GREAT way to get someone to start thinking rationally about a point you’re trying to make.

His video had its faults. But better to say it then stay quiet while the water keeps rising.

Tom Fitzpatrick

January 31, 2011 at 6:36 am

I just saw the strips for Sexy Batman.

And I am never the same again. >:-=<

Never will I be able to read a Batman book after being so traumatised!!!!

Oh, the Horror, the horror …..

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