Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Notable Links for 03/16

Did I really give Markisan Nato and Rich Johnston "the business" yesterday? Sean T. Collins seems to think so. Strangely, it didn't really seem much like "the business" so much as just pointing out that the rumor industry has been really boring lately. I mean, if the biggest revelation we got is that Rob Liefeld screwed someone over, well, damn. I guess it makes sense, though: after last year, both companies (but especially Marvel) figured out they were leaking like sieves and decided to plug the holes. They did great jobs - so great, no-one has anything to gossip about. I mean, its pitiful, when you think about it: there are all of two companies in comics worth gossipping about. Who cares which creator is starting a new book at indie company #345 - we want to read about Chris Claremont's drunken Taiwanese sex odysseys, particularly if they contain unfounded rumors about new editorial edicts regarding Wolverine's parentage (hint: he's not really Canadian, he's Icelandic, the revelation of which is going to lead into the new Wolverine/Bjork prestige format limited series - hey, she's about the only person he hasn't teamed up with yet...)

So, anyway, everyone has been bloggign up a storm in response to the recent Spanish tragedy. I have to take off my hat, I've seem some really good, really well-considered responses to the event on quite a few pages of this here blogosphere. Quite honestly, it has taken a few days for the event to seep into my consciousness the way that similar tragedies have. I was flipping through the TV late Friday morning when I saw clips of the aftermath on CNN (on mute, as the wife was sleeping in the next room). To be honest, my sleepy mind didn't really register just what had happened until the next afternoon, when I had recovered enough equilibrium to sit down and actually, you know, pay attention to a newscast with the sound on.

Where was I?

Oh yeah. I'm seeing some good blogging. Sometimes I think I'd like to contribute, but in all honesty i just don't think this is the appropriate forum for my political digressions. I consider myself as educated, informed and opinionated as the next guy, but I'm afraid of making myself look like a fool. Comics is a pretty small pool - hell, its practically a kiddie pool - and its easy to think you actually have something important to say given the relative size of the audience. But given that these issues involve everyone on the entire planet pretty directly, its just kinda silly to think something I say on my little blog is going to sound like anything other than hubris, right or wrong.

So, again, my compliments to the intrepid warbloggers out there - I read your posts appreciatively but for now I am afraid I will remain silent. "The Hurting" is a comics blog, and from what I understand quite a few people show up every day for this comics news. So, for the foreseeable future, we shall remain strident in our sharp focus on the comics page.

I miss "Journalista", I really do. This linkblogging thing is pretty consuming. I just happened to look back a few days ago on some old Journalista! items that someone had linked to, and I was impressed all over again by the depth and perspicacity that Dirk brought to his podium day in and day out. I cannot wait until "Journalista!" returns in some way shape or form, because on that day am planning on taking a long hiatus from this here blog. If "Journalista!" never comes back... well, I'm screwed then, eh?

But seriously folks, the only reason I do this is because I think it needs to be done. I don't presume the daily "Notable Links" feature (snappy title, eh?) to be anything more than a pale shadow of "Journalista!".

But that doesn't mean that I'm not grateful to everyone who's written in expressing their gratitude and appreciation - your appreciation is appreciated, believe me. The comic blogosphere is a wonderful place to hang one's hat, and I have to say I am having the time of my life (if you put aside the whole not having any time for any other writing than this, that is).

Hopefully "The Hurting" will remain a fan-favorite for many months to come (I can't see myself doing this for years, sorry...). I am going to try to step up the whole "reviews" thing, because if for no other reason I quite enjoy writing them. If anyone out their wants me to review their books, give me a shout. I'll be happy to see what I can do about it. Hell, if you want to call up and give me a job, I'd probably take that too. Hopefully tomorrow will see a review of "Cerebus" #300. I've been mulling it over for a week now and I think I have some thoughts well-enough in order to knock a few balls around the table, as it were (give me a break, its 6:00 AM and I still have to go do the dishes and try vainly to read more Newsweek before I can go to sleep). In any event, I hope I can bring something more to the table than I've seen any other blogger bring so far: I've been a Cerebus fan for many, many years and I've read the whole thing. You don't hear that very often anymore, now do you?

Anyway, on a totally unrelated subject it occurred to me today that John Byrne probably really hates Mark Waid. To wit: in 1986, when Byrne was hired by DC to shepherd their Superman relaunch, Byrne was still writing and drawing "Fantastic Four". If memory serves me correct he had, at the time, every intention of continuing to write both series, until Marvel management got pissed at the idea of the man who was writing one of Marvel's flagship books was also writing the Distinguished Competition's flagship character. So, off he went from "FF" (mid-storyline to boot). Flash forward almost twenty years and Mark Waid has succeeded in not only writing "Fantastic Four"... but in shepherding the new Superman relaunch as well. Crazy, eh?

(It gets better once you recall that Waid has been fired from both characters, by the publishers of both respective companies, no less, before returning with great fanfare. I mean, wasn't it Paul Levitz who said "Mark Waid will never write Superman?" And didn't Bill Jemas pull Waid off the FF because he had a new arbitrary direction for the book? And yet, Waid is somehow still writing both the FF and Supes. Seems like Waid has finally outgrown his self-destructive streak - you know, the one that had him follow up "Kingdom Come" with "X-O Manowar" and "Ka-Zar".)

* The big news, I guess, would be the fact that Raijin comics is going on official hiatus. Well, I remember when both Raijin and Shonen Jump came out - there were some (well, most, actually) who didn't think there was room for either in this here comics industry. Turns out, as we all know, they didn't need the comics industry at all. Or, at least, Shonen Jump didn't (even if it only sold 500,000 copies of that speical promotional issue, that's still not bad at all). Its a shame to see Raijin crumple, because I know that quite a few people aboslutely swore by this magazine. Oh well. Maybe this whole "manga" thing is just a fad, and people are gonna realize that you only get laid reading Spider-Man.

* "March 15, 2004--Marvel Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: MVL), a global character-based entertainment licensing company, announced license agreements with industry leaders LeapFrog(R) Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: LF) and VTech(TM) Electronics North America, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of VTech Holdings Ltd. (SEHK: 303; London SE: VTH; ADR: VTKHY) to design innovative and hi-tech educational toys utilizing Marvel(R) characters. Marvel's entrance in the fast-growing educational toy market reflects heightened consumer demand for Marvel-branded products for this influential new category. According to a recent NPD report cited in the January issue of TD Monthly, electronic toys had a strong year in 2003 with learning toys in particular accounting for more than $750 million in sales from November 2002 to October 2003." Read more here, courtesy of Business Wire.

* Here's a piece, courtesy of the New York Times, about up-and-coming manga publisher Vertical Inc. Its actually quite an interesting look at the thought processes which go into translating and publishing popular - and not so popular - foreign literature. Link courtesy of Sean Collins, who got it from Kevin Melrose. Complicated, eh?

* "Two exhibits at the Birmingham Public Library offer a glimpse into state and national politics through the portfolio of longtime Alabama political cartoonist Charles Brooks , according to a news release. The displays -- 'The Less Things Change: Charles Brooks and the Art of Alabama Politics' and 'Reading Behind the Lines: Charles Brooks and the American Political Campaign' -- will run through April 30 at the downtown Birmingham Public Library." Read more here, courtesy of the Mobile Register.

* "'Working It Out,' the new comic panel beginning this week in Good Morning, plays off the day-to-day outrages and absurdities that occur between workers and managers across corporate America. For creator Charlos Gary, having a daily cartoon that appears in about newspapers across the country is the realization of a longtime goal. 'Working it Out,' which appears in about 50 papers, has been syndicated about a year." Read more here, courtesy of OnWisconsin.

* Alan David Doane has his trademark Five Questions with erotic cartoonist Colleen Coover, of "Small Favors" fame, here.

* X-Tra Online reviews Fantagraphics' recent 9its actually been out for, like, a year or something) "Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution, 1963-1975" by Patrick Rosenkranz here (courtesy of BT at the Comics Journal board.)

* It's official: Macs are the new cockroaches. Courtesy of MacFixIt.

* "Super heroes are invading (Pittsburg's)Labette Community College's Hendershot Gallery! The latest exhibit, 'How Many Super Heroes Fly Off the Page, Comic Book Art of the Last 40 Years' will run through April 8." Read more here, courtesy of the Morning Sun.

* There's a new edition of the semi-weekly Ray's Place advice column up over at Achewood. If you're not reading Achewood on a daily basis, you're going to Hell. The Pope said so, or something.

* Just what is a hack, then? Well, its looks as if the clever scamps over at the Newsarama Institute have been discussing just this very topic the last little while here. Link courtesy of Fanboy Rampage.

* Courtesy of the blogosphere's own Dr. Joyce Brothers, Alan David Doane, we have this wonderful link to something that appears to be a bad Yahoo! translation of an article on the comics blogosphere phenomenon. Its funny, but also kind of a headache to pore through in entirety.

* Did you know that "Barbarella" was based on a 1962 French comic strip? Neither did I. I guess you learn something new every day. Link courtesy of Deutsche Welle.

* Courtesy of Augie deBlieck over at Comic Book Resources, we are given a link to what has to be the greatest comic book of all time. I reached a state of near-Nirvana reading through this thing, I swear to God.

Now, I've never played the video game on which this was based, nor have I really played many video games at all in the past decade or so, but if this is what video games inspire... man, this is a persuasive argument not only for banning video games, but for banning everything. Yes, just lock me in my room and paint the windows black, because this is just too much. Or, in the words of my new favorite super-hero: "There's nothing wrong with you that I can't fix... WITH MY HANDS!" If there was a Nobel Prize for mental retardation, whoever made this comic would be Nobel laureates.

Note to Chris Oliveros: don't you think this would fit nicely in the next D&Q anthology? I'm serious. See if I wouldn't buy two.

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