Archive for the ‘Nursing my Sundays’ Category

NMS: Random Thoughts

Posted by ron On May - 8 - 2011

Nursing My Sundays: Random Thoughts

Sorry, Thor was a stronger concept when a Viking God learned from a average looking gimp the concept of not feeling sorry for oneself by helping those who can't help themselves.

Weren’t we all non-comic book fans at some point?
This summer marks the biggest blitz of Comic book adaptations to date. As the adaptations continue to be a mixed bag of source material and modernization, I keep hearing the excuse, “Well this was for the non-comic book fan demographic to make it more accessible.” by critics, random posts, and movie crowds. I’ve collected comic books for the last 25 years and believe it or not, I wasn’t born a comic book fan. What attracted me to comic books was the fact, I was born in downtown Detroit where art was a luxury item. It had no place in a concrete jungle. The local library branch had an art section that was literally one book shelf long. My parents couldn’t afford $50 for one art book. Comic books were the Picasso paintings for the poor. It was less than a $1 but for the uneducated it was more imaginative and accessible than any work of art after the Renaissance. Thanks to the internet, we all have our own updated Encyclopedia Britainnica. So why do we still have to cater to the lowest common denominator?

 

Believe it or not, the geek community was up in arms before Andrew Glover appeared in that funny show of random pop culture references.


At one point, Nathan Fillion became the random internet guy answer to every comic book casting call.
Comic book super heroes might just be the last vestige of American originality. For anyone who doesn’t believe America has its own culture needs to look no further than the Smithsonian and Comic Cons. If it seems possible Americans have culture shock within their own country. We erect Ferris wheels and over priced steak houses at baseball stadiums. Giants stadium in New Jersey has a mall. Super Heroes have problems like ordinary people to make them more relatable so when Wolverine puts on the butt tight spandex and cerulean blue go-go dancer boots we take him more seriously. Really people?

 

Knowledge has been replaced by looks at Comic Cons, as who is a comic book enthusiast.


Who are you, Karim Garcia?
On April 14th, Midtown Comics held an open Q&A with the Marvel publishers where a young woman asked the pompous question, “What are you doing to retain your female readers?” Marvel Comics Executive Editor Tom Brevoort replied, “I like to believe we are all comic book fans and don’t subscribe to this race, culture, or sex demographic.” The irony was this young woman had only started reading comic books a few months ago and was passing out her card to her website prior. So if modern story-telling and adaptations are skewed toward the non-comic book fan, how seriously should we take anyone who complained about Wonder Woman’s costume, a black Spider-man, or the absence of secret identities?

Kurt Vonnegut was right. The information age was billed as making things more accessible but it almost seems more exclusive and expensive.
Allegedly the movie adaptations of these comic book characters were supposed to expand readership, meanwhile the cost has escalated to almost $4 for 22 pages. Doesn’t sound to me like Marvel or DC are worried about readership drop off. Ok, so every one seems to think digital was the answer. At 2010 NY Comic Con, DC’s Town Hall meeting an intimate Q&A bitchfest with the fans Jim Lee explained the overly convoluted process to getting comic books digital on time. If you thought print had too many middle men, digital process was so convoluted writers and artists had to finish their story 2 weeks sooner than they would through print. In essence, digital does not save time or money but it is cheaper to the consumer for now. In the long run, it may ruin the market. Now that netflix and itunes has killed off your local record store and video rental spot, you’re their bitch to pay their prices.

Who knew reading 22 pages would be a chore right now? The problem isn't in creativity, it's acuity.

Awaiting the one who will bring balance to the Force
Whether readers like it or not, we have to become smarter consumers but we have to challenge ourselves to be more experimental with story-telling. Learning didn’t end once you left school, it just began. Take a look at Marvel and DC comics, you’ll find a ridiculous amount of Spider-man, Wolverine, Deadpool, Batman, Green Lantern crammed into as many titles as possible. How many titles of the same character do you need to collect? How many of the same regurgitated remakes do you need to pay $14 when you could rent the original for less than half the price? Who cares about updates, we can do that in our minds. What happened to not being afraid to try something new?

See you next Sunday,


Ron

NMS: MoCCA 2011

Posted by ron On April - 24 - 2011

Nursing My Sundays: MoCCA 2011

Learn a lot about the industry of commercial art through starving artists who never met a costumer they didn't like

Nursing Sundays: 2011 MoCCA Fest & the fallacy of Comic Cons

OP/Editorial: I was never more convinced that Comic Cons were reduced to a Winnebago sales pitch than the 2010 NY Comic Con. Pretty much every major comic book website, blogger, or TV personality failed to recognize the elephant in the room: Comic book movies weren’t translating to new readers. At the Image panel, pretty much the last 20 minutes was nothing but uncomfortable silence. Suddenly as a hand went up, the person called upon had asked, “Got any new movies coming out?” None of these established sites commented on the war between Marvel scribe Peter David and a fan over pricing. I loved the stink face on Rick Remender and Marjorie Liu. Nothing beat the body language of writers with their arms crossed and the facial expression, “I can’t wait for this panel to be over.” Forget the X-men panel, debate was so heated that you’d think the fan was asking David to move to the Marcy Projects over a $1 per issue. With all the individuals dressing up as it was the NY Halloween parade, this was the center of diehard geekery via the Disney route. I’m willing to bet very few of those individuals dressed up to be someone’s screen saver knew anything pertaining to the character they represented in the last 5 months. Shocked they didn’t have name tags of the comic book characters they dressed as. It’s about as sincere as fans who wear jerseys of players with their names on the back. If you can’t tell who #2 is, you shouldn’t come to Yankee stadium. However, there is hope for fans of comic books who want to attend a convention that doesn’t subscribe to Hollywood but rather humble writers and artists.

MoCCA 2011 didn’t support too many costumed attention whore clowns. On Sunday, I saw a lesbian couple dressed as Bucky and Batwoman. That was it. It’s because without the G4, MTV, and TV affiliations, you’re not going to see the theatrics. It’s a convention that supports self published creators who are often overshadowed by Marvel, DC, Image and other mainstream publishers.¬† Beware walking past any of the tables because starving artists can smell any loose change on you. As Ayn Rand taught us in the Fountainhead, society was always slower to come around to an innovative idea. Most of the most profound art in this world is about this very problem. So I’m sorry you brilliant minds, you’re going to have to suffer before you’re picked up. In the meantime, I’ll do what I can to help sell what most fans miss out when they are busy wiping the drool off their face whenever Geoff Johns, or Brian Michael Bendis walk the floor.

It never gets old when a creator signs your book. It just eels personal and intimate.

Meeting Sarah Glidden Up Close and Personal

I usually never walk the floor at a comic con. First of all, they’re always trying to push something on me without bargaining. My old school trick was to put $5 in my wallet and show the guy that was all I had. More often than not, he buckled and took it. Pretty much comic book retailers will take every red cent from you just to dump a book in your lap. I did however, talk to one creator, Sarah Glidden author of How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less. I introduced myself and said, I really liked her speech at the DC Vertigo Panel, by far the only panel where every seat was filled. I gave her $3 for an excerpt and she nervously handed me back $6. I advised might want to hire an accountant to handle your money. Bought her book how to understand Israel in 60 days or less at NY Comic Con. I told her how much I admired her for not only telling a great story but also admitting that she didn’t know shit about Israel and the other half about being “selectively” Jewish outside of a few extra handy holidays they’d like off. It was unique to converse with a female artist/writer who did her work by hand on a journalist/memoir kind of commentary about what an American knows collides with the grim realities of the world. Kind of like when Obama was elected to be the anti-Bush and then re-instituted the same policies as Bush including extending Gitmo, I imagined some NSA guy opening the big book of reality and his face knowing fear. Suddenly all the talk, means nothing. Survival takes precedence. Her next book will be about Refugees from North Iraq in Syria. Looking forward to it.

No matter what panel you sit through, it's all about the ability to sell, sell, sell! A lesson Eisner taught all his disciples.

1330 Enterprising Will Eisner Panel with Jules Feiffer (Village Voice Editoral Cartoonist), Denis Kitchen (Kitchen Sink Press), and Paul Levitz (Legion of Superheroes, former DC President)

Living in a time when business doesn’t even know a thing about business. The way to make a zillion dollars off traditional syndicated strips are over. Must know how it applies in order to be a comic strip artist.-Jules Feiffer

Sitting in a room less than 10 feet away from a bunch of guys who pioneered the comic book industry, I felt humbled by the brutal honesty that these madmen delivered their thoughts on the Will Eisner way and a career in the funny books. The Will Eisner way was pretty much being a better business man than an artist. This is a concept that Picasso often spoke about. Loved the memories of working for Will Eisner who never spent any money on his studio except when a light bulb burned out. The panelists also spoke about recognition and that artists shouldn’t think this was the industry to get famous or expect a great living. It took Will Eisner 30 years for him to sniff some measure of recognition. While more people celebrate his work more now than ever, keep in mind what I said about Ayn Rand in the Fountainhead. Artists being famous long after they are gone.

Girl Power is a much needed breathe of fresh air in an industry dominated by men for over 50 yrs

1430 Pizza Island Studio Panel with Lisa Hanawalt, Sarah Glidden, Kate Beaton, Meredith Gran, Julie Wertz, and some French girl

It’s rare to have a panel with more than 1-2 female comic book creators together. It’s considered a phenomena to have an entire panel full of young female creators. It didn’t take long for the girls to figure out that pictures of their studio were a little too precious for a panel. This was one of the few panels that asked some really great questions. Many of these girls worked either as a secretary or in media after college. None of them followed mainstream American comic books. Most of them preferred fine art. That was interesting because almost all of them have a very cartoonist look about them. One of them was dropped by their publisher and might give up being a comic book creator if she doesn’t find work soon. Another mentioned that sometimes you’ll have to buy back your rights to your book in order to promote it better before re-selling it back to the publisher. None of them collaborate with each other at their studio. None of them party. Loneliness is the Long Distance Runner in this industry. Creators have colleagues but they wear many hats. Lastly, only the Canadian artist said she would stay in NYC. Affordability has its virtue especially with the internet.

 

An image is worth a thousand laughs when it comes to the New Yorker

15:30 The New Yorker Panel

This was a pretty entertaining panel in that each comic strip artist got to share samples of their work and their demented humor. I think these cats pretty much were happy to work for the New Yorker. One, it was steady salary. Two, it was steady salary. I think one of the panelists took over 700 submissions to finally get a strip published by the New Yorker. I found it interesting that some of the work not published due to its content did not include the controversial image of Barak Obama and his wife. Guess every one has their own taste including the editor in chief.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Art has played a huge role in political activism, World War 3 has been the watch dog for many stories around the world.

1630 World War Three Panel

Here’s my problem with activist comic book creators, they are about as manipulative and one sided as the establishment they create. So while WW3 invokes Daumier, the Masses, and other socio-political issues. art and politics, propaganda¬† they forget to mention how activists unfairly pick their battles. Reckless images don’t tell the whole story but elicit a response. Any human being will elicit an emotional response upon seeing an image of a homeless black man on the street as a white man in a business suit walks by. That says nothing of the situation of class warfare, misplaced spending, etc. It’s a mean spirited way to symbolize a villain. Noting no criticism of Clinton’s banking policy leading to the housing market crash or Obama adopting Bush’s foreign policies. Every slide except 2 were personal criticisms of Reagan and Bush. While it’s deserving, I still didn’t understand what Peter Kuper meant when he said, oh we criticize indiscriminately. Really? Could have fooled me. At least half these guys, said “luck..” to ambitious artists trying to make their way in the world today.

For me, that was the best advice given at MoCCA 2011 where the place of art is uncertain in the midst of movies, and circus conventions threatening to blot it out.

 

 

Cheers,


Ron

 

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Thoughts on Cinema is dedicated to film reviews. An uncompromising opinion on the intellectual, artistic, and entertainment value to the consumer. With rising ticket prices, we dedicate ourselves to present to you content regarding what you should or should not be viewing. -Ronald H. Pollock Founder and Editor in Chief

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