That's That Shit: 11/14/2012: Tony Harris, Goon Kickstarter Success and an ElfQuest MovieA comics news article
That's That Shit
Last Week's News, This Week's Comics for 11/14/2012
Hi. That's That Shit is exactly what it says above -- we talk in-depth about everything that happened in the comics world last week, and then look forward to some notable releases slated for this coming Wednesday.
Your panel of judges are Comics Bulletin Managing Editors Danny Djeljosevic and Nick Hanover, who pretty much have paper and ink in their blood, and CB Columns Editor Andrew Tan, who got his start in comics late in life through Adrian Tomine and is slowly dipping his toes into the broader aspects of the medium. So we deliver the news, Andrew asks the questions and hopefully everyone learns something.
BUT FIRST SOME MUSIC
This track felt especially appropriate given all of the idiocy displayed by some men in the comic industry this week. WE'RE ALL KILLER BABES, Y'ALL.
LAST WEEK'S NEWS
Tony Harris, Others Made Some Unfortunate Comments About "Fake" Female Geeks
He-Man Woman Hater Club Membership Grows Exponentially, Now Desperately Needs Mom to Bring More Kool-Aid to Clubhouse
Nick: Because it had been too long since someone had been oddly confrontational towards female cosplayers, Tony Harris took to Facebook to post a rant about how he's "so sick and tired of the whole COSPLAY-chiks [sic]," going on to declare "Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC [sic]." Harris' rant, which also featured his claim that the cosplayers who are actually into geek culture are the exception not the rule, was sadly met with a lot of "amen, brothers" from his Facebook friends.
Heidi MacDonald of the Beat responded to Harris' remarks with an editorial that also functioned as an expansion on a piece she had published the day before, which was itself a response to similar remarks (albeit in meme form) made by writer Dirk Manning, who took things an extra step further when he brought out the "whore" epithet and accosted "fake geek girls." Both of MacDonald's pieces attempted to understand exactly why girls who use geek iconography are seen as such a threat to some geek men and called for peace and understanding, with a specific demand that geeks on the whole stop questioning each other's bonafides and just embrace geekdom in all its flavours and varieties. As MacDonald pointed out in her initial piece on the Manning incident, she's not alone in this frustration with this element of geek culture as everyone from Image Comics' PR guru Jennifer de Guzman and Jill Pantozzi, a noted blogger and cosplayer, weighed in on the issue.
While this isn't strictly a news item, it is an unfortunately highly visible example of how far geek culture still has to go in regards to making newcomers feel welcome and while I already weighed in in the comments of the Beat with a mini-essay on my thoughts on this issue, I think any of us who have spent time in the punk and indie communities are pretty familiar with the hostility that comes when a subculture finds itself consumed by the culture at large. But what's especially unfortunate in the case of comicdom is that hostility and aggression is also wrapped up in the ongoing gender equality debate that has been a hot button issue in comics for far, far, far too long. If you're a male geek and you find yourself immersed in this kind of attitude, I promise that when you look back on it -- when that territorial pissing has finished and the war of isolationism is over and lost -- you will feel like a moron for how you behaved. So why not just save yourself the embarrassment and get around to embracing newcomers right fucking now? Or at the very least, can we drop gender from the hostilities altogether?
Andrew: There's a weird cognitive dissonance in embracing nerd culture and exclusivity at the same time. Like part of what makes this so odd to me is that nerds, now drunk off their own modicum of power have decided that they can play the role of the "jocks," which is startlingly similar to the premise of Revenge of the Nerds III: The Next Generation.
You bring up a really good point Nick, the indie and punk community, all created by outcasts who felt like they had no place in the mainstream, made their own subculture only to for it to later be absorbed by the mainstream. I specifically remember being 14 and at an MXPX show and being told by a man who was in his mid to late 20s that I was "ruining the scene." I would later get hit in the face with a tween's studded bracelet and kind of understand what he was saying.
But that aside, I think stuff like this tends to come from nerd trauma. Not to project too much onto Tony, but figuring out whether or not someone is genuine is always difficult and can be clouded by a shitty middle school experience where your so called friends thought it would be hilarious to pay a girl to pretend that she likes you just so she could publicly shut you down for a good old fashioned laff for the whole school in your suburban racist town in South Carolina. So as a result your first judgement of anyone being kind to you is "What do you want from me?"
But that doesn't excuse shitty misogynist actions that further alienate women in the male-dominated nerd subculture.
If you (the royal you, not you guys) were bullied and teased throughout school, I hope you find the strength to decide to attack the world with love. It's tempting to want to transfer that pain to someone else and take the easy route of inflicting pain on anyone you can, but the fact is you're only feeding into that bullshit and making someone feel as terrible as you felt.
And that makes you a shitty person, nerd or not.
Danny: This whole "fake geek girls" thing is so tremendously idiotic that I can't even get angry anymore. I'm just deeply disappointed in everyone with a penis. It's a complete non-issue, for one thing -- nobody likes inauthenticity, duh, and making it a gendered thing just breeds some seriously unhealthy thinking and behavior. Girls exist. There are some who like comics. There are some who like comics a lot. There are some who just want to see Tony Stark and Thor make out. That's cool too -- the fact that anyone cares about Thor is pretty awesome, actually. Either way, poseurs and dilettantes exist in every scene/subculture and it's ridiculous to assume that somebody is one just because he or she isn't like you.
I think you're right, Andrew -- a lot of this obviously comes from guys taking issues with girls who (one assumes) didn't like them in school while they were reading comics during lunch and having LAN parties on the weekends. And that's coupled with the popularization of nerd culture with stuff like The Big Bang Theory and The Walking Dead, so there's some wrongheaded preconceived notions about women and nerd culture that result in territorialism. But I couldn't give less of a fuck about those guys' juvenile problems. I understand about still smarting from stuff from more than a decade ago, but if you're not going to try to move on I don't want to hear from you.
Actually, I have a similar experience to yours, Andrew -- I went to a show in Atlanta wearing a Smiths shirt (admittedly bought from Hot Topic, but gimme a break, I was like 20) and the door guy decided to quiz me about which album the image came from. I didn't know -- MP3s don't have covers and the non-album Singles and Louder Than Bombs material are all anybody needs anyway -- and the asshole smugly informed me as I walked away. Pretty much ruined my night.
So, yeah, I don't approve of this kind of exclusion at all and don't really care why guys do it. Here's what it comes down to -- don't be a dick, not everybody likes stuff as much as you do and not everybody has been reading Walking Dead since 2003, and once you realize that you might be able to have a conversation someday. Seriously, how hard it is to be nice to people?
Nick: Not to derail or anything, but seriously, Andrew, do you get royalty money for She's All That stealing from a chapter of your life story?
Andrew: I'm pretty much the Rachel Leigh Cook of Comics Bulletin.
Goon Movie Kickstarter Succeeds
Next Up, Concrete: 3D
Nick: Now on to happier news. Remember when we told you about that Kickstarter to bring that forever going Goon film project closer to fruition? Well, it wrapped up and…it met its goal! Over the weekend, the Goon Kickstarter reached contributions of $441,900 which is nearly $42,000 more than what was required. Of course, this doesn't mean the film is 100% happening yet, this Kickstarter was actually more of an effort to raise money for what is effectively a demo of the film, intended to lure in potential investors through a filmed story board and other related concept art. But still, that's very promising and the fact that the Kickstarter surpassed the amount it had asked for also helps the Goon team in that it proves the concept has a dedicated, passionate audience already.
Andrew: Nick, we're one step closer to that "Phillip Seymour Hoffman sticking photos to the wall with his ejaculate" joke.
But seriously best of luck to the creators of the Kickstarter.
Danny: This is Kickstarter in a nutshell -- you can bypass corporations and other bullshit and just ask people who enjoy your work to help support your project. It pretty much democratizes the greenlighting process.
Team Behind Fan Film of ElfQuest Have Landed Rights to Franchise, Are at Work on Feature
Peter Jackson is Reportedly Bored of Hobbits and Fully Available
Nick: The team behind a live action fan trailer for the decades-spanning ElfQuest series have acquired the rights to adapt the series for a feature length film fate WB allowed its rights to the property to lapse earlier this year. ElfQuest is of course a well-known comic series that began in the late '70s and ran until the early '00s, but it has never truly been adapted for film or television, with the slight exception of an aborted attempt to make an animated series that resulted in a poorly produced and haphazardly assembled 50 minute "episode" on VHS in the '90s. WB acquired the rights to the franchise in 2008 and even landed a director and writer in Rawson Thurber, but the film was said to stall out because WB didn't want it to edge out their Hobbit adaptation, the first instalment of which will debut at the end of this year.
Which opened the doors for Stephanie Thorpe and Paula Rhodes, the production team behind a popular fan made live action trailer for the series that hit YouTube last year. This is potentially exciting news even if you aren't into ElfQuest because it once again shows how a well executed production made by fans of a property can not only get a good deal of attention, but also lead to bigger and better opportunities.
Andrew: Ok I had no idea what ElfQuest was when I watched the video. I'm not sure I understand it any better, but a lot of those people have really pretty hair.
Danny: It's an indie fantasy comic about Elves and other Tolkienesque races that Wendy and Richard Pini have been working on since 1978. Over the years Marvel put out some reprint issues and DC Comics published original issues for a while, but a few years ago the Pinis put it all online for free which is pretty badass. It's a respectable series that nobody really talks about anymore -- probably because of the era of its heyday and the fact that it's not about goddamn superheroes -- but the Pinis are working on their final storyline as we speak.
Andrew: Hehe. Pinis.
Nick: I swear, you get closer and closer to being a real life comic fan every week, Andrew.
DC's Digital Sales See a 200% Increase Over Last Year
Just Don't Ask Them About Sandman, okay?
Nick: Even though there still isn't reliable public data for digital sales, it's pretty clear that 2012 has been a huge year for digital, what with comiXology hitting the 100 million download mark last month (which means they doubled their downloads in less than a year, since March was when they hit the 50 million mark) and now the news that DC has seen a 200% increase in digital sales over the past year. But as Robot6's Kevin Melrose is quick to point out, since DC doesn't disclose sales figures for digital, there's no way of knowing exactly what that 200% increase is over, or as Melrose puts it "it could be double 50,000 downloads or 500,000, for all we know [emphasis is Melrose's]." Still, growth is growth and regardless of what the starting number is, this kind of growth seems to indicate that we can all expect to see more digital initiatives and promotions going forward.
Andrew: I've talked to Danny before about how hopes of collector's comics has kind of messed up the industry, but do you think the increase of DC sales is more significant in providing a reliable sense of how titles are doing and maybe even getting people to fully divorce the idea that meticulously preserving their comics in polybags and backing boards will have a high return on in investment?
Danny: I don't personally know anybody who collects comics, though the constant influx of variant covers certainly signals that obsessive practices are alive and well. I guarantee part of the sales increase can be chalked up to DC's devotion to putting out quality digital-first comics like Legends of the Dark Knight and Smallville Season 11.
Threat Letters Sent to Tokyo's Comic Market, Could Cause Convention to Reschedule
At least America doesn't have a monopoly on crazy fans?
Nick: Anime news sites are reporting that the Comic Market Preparations Committee, which holds Comiket, the largest convention of its kind in the world, have been receiving threatening letters with possibly hazardous material enclosed. While details are still scarce, there is a chance the CMPC will reschedule Comiket due to these threats, which have been sent to 20 locations that are tied to Tadatoshi Fujimaki, who created the Kuroko's Baseball series. This isn't the first the CMPC has faced a challenge like this, as in 2008 they dealt with a man who made threats on public forums, claiming he was going to "toss a hand grenade at the Comiket site," though this situation seems much more dangerous and widespread.
Andrew: Whoa. Is there any specific reason for someone to threaten this convention? Has there ever been a threat like this to SDCC?
Danny: Nothing I can remember, though the Westboro Baptist Church did protest SDCC in 2010.
THIS WEEK'S COMICS
Scene of the Crime HC
(Ed Brubaker, Michael Lark, Sean Phillips)
From the co-creators of Gotham Central and FATALE comes a lost crime noir masterpiece. Long out of print, and presented here for the first time in an oversized hardback edition, SCENE OF THE CRIME was the first time ED BRUBAKER and MICHAEL LARK worked together - before their acclaimed runs on Daredevil and Gotham Central - and it was inked by SEAN PHILLIPS, who also designed this deluxe edition. This is where it all began, with a hard-hitting mystery story, a modern day 'Chinatown' that garnered nominations for Best Miniseries and Best Writer in the 2000 Eisner Awards. Also included in this new collection are behind the scenes art and stories, a new foreword by BRUBAKER, and many other extras. This is the book you'll want on your shelves.
Danny: Perfect time to re-release this hardcover -- errbody love Ed Brubaker's crime stuff, especially when Phillips and Lark are illustrating it. Gotham Central, Criminal, Fatale, Sleeper -- all pretty great, and this release is likely the one people are probably the least aware of. Get excited.
Nick: Scene of the Crime doesn't quite reach the heights of Criminal or Sleeper, but it's nonetheless more than deserving of the reissue treatment. If you're a fan of Brubaker and missed out the first time around, then you know you need to buy it. But for Brubaker newcomers or those looking to check out his noir material after seeing his superhero stuff, Scene of the Crime is a good intermediary work, something to check out after the supes noir of Sleep and Incognito but before any of the Criminal volumes. It has a much more suburban feel than the bulk of Criminal (with the obvious exclusion of Last of the Innocents), but that helps make it stand out from Brubaker's otherwise urban canon. Plus, Brubaker's back matter for his work is always interesting and I'm actually anticipating his foreword to this, as geeky as that sounds -- his perspective on the mini now that he's got more than a decade of other noir work under belt could be fascinating. I'll shut up now.
Mind MGMT #0
Haven't tried Matt Kindt's visionary MIND MGMT series yet? Well, lock up your dolphins, shield your brain, and don't believe anything you see, because this specially priced issue is the perfect initiation into Kindt's electrifying tale of Mind Management's psychic spies, its most infamous defector, and Meru, the journalist who stumbles upon their incredible secrets! Available in print for the first time, these three stories introduce the series' key players and delve deeper than ever into MIND MGMT's secret history! Whether you're new to the series or already hooked, this special issue can't be missed!
Danny: Mind MGMT is such a crazy-ass book -- it's got covert intrigue, psychic powers and some amazing watercolor art from Matt Kindt. Even the paper it's printed on is interesting. This #0 issue is meant to appeal to new readers who might be afraid of taking the plunge into the series, but I assure everyone reading this: Mind MGMT is great.
Nick: I don't know that Mind MGMT or Bulletproof Coffin really have a genre, but these two works have really carved out their own amazing space in comicdom this year and it'd be great to see them pick up more readers who are willing to be seduced by their gonzo energy.
Andrew: Is the paper it's printed on, PSYCHIC PAPER?
*Adds nerd points to a ReallyWhoGivesAShit.txt*
Where is Jake Ellis? #1 (of 5)
(Nathan Edmondson, Tonci Zonjic)
'CHAPTER SIX,' Jon is in hiding. For almost a year, he has survived on his own in a remote corner of the world, but the powers behind the Facility have not forgotten him. The most wanted man in the world is soon in the crosshairs of powerful and mysterious people, and he will not be able to stop them on his own.
Danny: I never read the original Who is Jake Ellis? but Tonci Zonjic's art is gorgeous, as most artists from the Balkans are -- at least, the ones we let draw American comics.
Nick: Honestly, I haven't been totally sold on Nathan Edmondson yet. For the most part, he seems to have intriguing ideas that he can't follow through on or properly execute, as was the case with The Light. But Jake Ellis has been one of the few works of his that has actually hooked me and I'm intrigued by the notion of it continuing and expanding. Maybe that's because I'm a sucker for these kinds of stories.
Andrew: Whoa. Holy crap:
Danny: Yep, a very underrated artist.
Crime Does Not Pay Archives Vol. 3 HC
(A bunch of people who are dead and some who aren't)
One of the best-selling comics of the 1940s, Crime Does Not Pay focused on violent mobsters and murderous lowlifes who machine-gunned their way through the urban underworld . . . until justice landed them in the chair! In 1954, the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency targeted this comic series for its graphic violence, eventually leading to the creation of the repressive Comics Code Authority. Issues #30 to #33 of Crime Does Not Pay are finally collected in this deluxe hardcover, which includes "Million Dollar Robbery"-perhaps the first story in US comics history drawn by an African-American artist-and features a new introduction by comic-book giant Howard Chaykin (Marked Man,American Flagg!).
Danny: Pre-Code crime comics! These are probably dirty as fuck.
Andrew: Oh man. I've yet to read any comic pre 1980, but this one will have to be one of 'em.
Nick: I highly recommend reading David Hajdu's Ten Cent Plague either alongside these archives or before you pick them up. People don't realize how filthy comics were at this time, the closest analogue would be 1920s and '30s Hollywood, when sex was everywhere and everyone was an asshole and caused mischief constantly. The crime comics in particular are fascinating for this because even though they would seem to be moralistic based on titles like "Crime Does Not Pay," they were just straight anarchistic, with all kinds of giddy violence and gore and mayhem.
Great Pacific #1
(Joe Harris, Martin Morazzo)
'TRASHED!' Part One Chas Worthington dreams of big things, solving bigger problems, and making his mark on the world. Only no one takes the twenty-one year-old heir to one of the biggest oil fortunes in history very seriously. That is, until he turns his back on his cushy life of wealth and prestige, and seeks to solve an environmental disaster twice the size of his native Texas known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. The epic sci-fi adventure and survival tale begins!
Danny: I don't know anything about this. You like Joe Harris' stuff, Nick, you tell me about this.
Andrew: I really hope the Sci-Fi part culminates in a giant fucking spider. Not even going to link to the Kevin Smith bit about this, you all know it.
Nick: What I like about Joe Harris' work is that his central ideas and hooks are rarely what they seem. With Spontaneous the hook was that it was about a kid investigating spontaneous human combustion throughout his town. But there was a dark edge that was revealed after the halfway mark and you realized it was actually a story about the loss of innocence and what it means to give up on your childhood dreams and ambitions. That may sound cliche, but Harris is skilled at making those cliches feel new again. So even though this seems like a story about weird environmental adventures, don't be surprised if you find out that there's something more complex and emotional going on. Plus, Harris has a knack for winding up with the perfect artists for his stories and Martin Morazzo doesn't appear to be an exception to that in the slightest.
Danny Djeljosevic is a comic book creator, award-winning filmmaker (assuming you have absolutely no follow-up questions) and Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin. Follow him on Twitter at @djeljosevic or find him somewhere in San Diego, often wearing a hat. Read his comic with Mike Prezzato, "Sgt. Death and his Metachromatic Men," over at Champion City Comics and check out his other comics at his Tumblr, Sequential Fuckery. His webcomic The Ghost Engine,with artist Eric Zawadzki, updates twice a week.
When he's not writing about the cape and spandex set and functioning as the Co-Managing Editor of Comics Bulletin, Nick Hanover is a book, film and music critic who has contributed to Spectrum Culture, No Tofu Magazine, Performer Magazine, Port City Lights and various other international publications. By which he means Canadian rags you have no reason to know anything about. He also translates for "Partytime" Lukash's Panel Panopticon and you can follow him on Twitter at @Nick_Hanover.
Andrew Tan spends his days working on a bunch of different stuff he can't really explain here. Before that, he majored in Journalism at the University of Florida, where he worked for a few newspapers. He loves comics (obviously), sad music, duck confit and San Francisco. He also has a sentence published in McSweeney's that he is proud of. He was also mocked in Gawker for said sentence, which brings him roughly the same level of pride.
Andrew is one of the many people on the internet vying for the moniker of Tandrew. Some are him, some are not. You can find him on Twitter at @TandrewTan.