Kibbles ‘n’ Bits 3/16/22: Some excellent writing about comics has happened

Comic News

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§ Nice Art: Alex Maleev went on a tweet spree of posting Moon Knight art and it’s hard to pick just one, but this one’s use of negative space and MK’s crescents is a daring composition and my fave….but only for the moment. Oh one more, which Maleev says is his favorite – and yes, it is iconic.

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§ The FIBD comics festival in Angoulême has just kicked off, and I’m horribly sad not to be there, but I understand the Mangasplaining crew will have a lot of coverage, and Instagram is already packed with photos of Chris Ware standing around.

I’ve also noted a slight uptick in English language coverage of the festival – and even this local’s guide to Angoulême in the Guardian by Film-maker Isabelle Fougère.

The culinary heart of Angoulême (which is about 120km north-east of Bordeaux in western France) is the grand 19th-century Marché des Halles, a covered market showcasing regional produce – cheese, foie gras, organic vegetables, shellfish – with streetfood-style diners offering seafood platters, duck magret, artisan pâté and sausages. It has come back to life over recent years and everyone meets up here at the weekend.

So much to enjoy!

§ At TCJ, Austin English compiled more remembrances of the late Anne D. Bernstein from her friends and colleagues.

Anne was eclectic, intensely creative, extremely talented, and had a sure and confident ear for comedy and an eye for visual style. Longtime friend Robert Leighton remembers her love of the art of Disney artist Mary Blair from a very early age. It might be tempting to tell her story as a progression from 1980s SVA to her comics accomplishments, and then to animation, but she was always creatively active in many directions at once. Anne’s life wasn’t really separable from her creative interests; she was a lifelong collector of vintage art, clothes, and home décor, and her own artistic pursuits continued throughout her life. Even when drawing became impossible due to MSA, she continued to make collages, which were expressive and, in true Anne style, immediately entertaining.

§ Trevor von As asked Where To Buy Comic Books, Graphic Novels, And Manga? and answered it quite thoroughly in this piece!

Have you ever seen a comic book, graphic novel, or manga online and asked yourself, “where can I find that?” It’s a very valid question. Especially since these kinds of books can be considered a specialty item. Luckily, you’ll soon see that the answer is not as hard as you think. This comprehensive guide details all the places you can find and purchase comic books, graphic novels, and manga for your reading enjoyment. By the end of it, you’ll have a batch of solutions to how to get your next favourite read in your hands.

§ There have been several excellent interviews, reviews, and essays about comics since last we met here to kibble.

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§ Several brave fools trailblazers have actually ventured IN to the world of comics journalism of late. Perhaps the mantle can be passed after all.

Scott Cederlund and Mike Baxter launched From Cover To Cover, which is chock full of excellent content such as Baxter’s long but concise history of the many publishers who have put out Disney Comics. Even for someone like me who worked on some of these, this is a lot to digest!

At some point, it becomes necessary to take stock of exactly how many different comic companies published Disney-owned material within a few years of one another. Since its purchase of Marvel, Disney has published John Carter, Crosgen, Star Wars and theme park material through Marvel; Star Wars, legacy Disney, and Marvel material through IDW; a mix of modern and classic animation material through Joe Books; modern animation and Pixar material through Dark Horse; and legacy material through Fantagraphics. Yes, it’s confusing. And it only seems to be getting more so. Disney announced it would be moving the Star Wars all ages license to Dark Horse, the company that produced Star Wars books for over two decades. Moreover, following its acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Disney owns a minority stake in BOOM! Studios, meaning it somehow owns two comic companies. Who does Disney think it is, Rob Liefeld? 

And Cederlunds’s look at Lale Westvind’s Grip:

Lale Westvind’s Grip is a journey that starts in the most innocuous way with a woman walking down a sidewalk. Nothing special, no grand destiny waiting to be met or any sense of destiny in that walk.  Just a woman, our hero figure in this story, stumbling a break in the wall that she’s compelled/pushed to look into. Some internal or external force causes her a moment’s curiosity that changes her, turning her hands into whirling, tornado-like forces of nature.  Westvind draws this moment, and many more in this comic like it, as chaotic storms to be tamed and controlled. They’re not destructive but vocational and creative; they just need to be controlled and learned about.  And so begins this woman’s path to learn about her abilities to create and craft as a woman from other women who have already learned these things about themselves.

In short, bookmark, or follow on Twitter, or sign up for the newsletter, or however you like to get updated.

§ Speaking of newsletters, Graeme McMillan has launched his own regular newsletter covering the big comics stories, Comics, FYI. From his early protean work on Fanboy Rampage, to his reporting for THR and many other quality outlets, McMillan always has interesting things to say, so I’m sure you will also subscribe to this!

§ Alex Dueben interviewed Dash Shaw for the LA Review of Books. Shaw, known for his disquieting graphic novels and the animated films My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea and Cryptozoo, has been quite busy.

2021 was a big year for Shaw as New York Review Comics released his graphic novel Discipline, and his animated film Cryptozoo premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. He was also the subject of the book New Realities: The Comics of Dash Shaw. Shaw and I have met and spoken a few times over the years, during which he’s mentioned a book project centered on Quakers fighting in the Civil War — a project he admits that he quit a few times, but which would eventually become Discipline. It’s been exciting to see how Discipline came together, and we had a chance to speak recently about what the project required, using comics to convey the loaded silence of the meetinghouse, as well as about his experience making a new zine last year.

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§ At TCJ, Tom Shapira looks at Larry Hama’s fabled GI Joe run, a highly influential body of work.

Oh, the Marvel run takes a while to find its legs, and gets really shaggy towards the end – too many characters, too many plotlines, too many damn ninjas. The art side going stereotypically 1990s didn’t help much either. You can’t even blame any particular artist; the last three issues had three different pencilers. It was simply that the zeitgeist had passed the title by. Still, when it was on, Hama’s G.I. Joe was some of the best of the 1980s adventure team comics, right alongside the Claremont-written Uncanny X-Men, the Giffen/DeMatteis/Maguire Justice League International and the Ostrander/Yale/McDonnell Suicide Squad.

§ And Arpad Okay looks at another comics classic Bryan Talbot’s THE TALE OF ONE BAD RAT, a heartbreaking tale of childhood and abuse.

On the street, a girl and her rat. Dad is a monster and mother’s no help, Helen Potter leaves home, leaves a city even more monstrous, leaves it all behind but a ghost of the past. Helen’s affection for animals and reading and displeasure with the company of people is something she shares with Beatrix Potter, in whose books Helen found solidarity. Potter follows Potter to the countryside, where the latter found her peace and purpose.

§ And Chloe Mavael takes on the The Wild and Weird Work of Shaky Kane for NeoText

For more than three decades, Shaky Kane has been almost the very definition of a cult creator — someone who, to those in the know, suggests a particular style of story, of comic, of visual, as well as guaranteeing a level of quality that is, honestly, unavailable anywhere else. Maybe the closest thing to a comparison would be to describe him as the David Lynch of comics: a creator whose aesthetic and demeanor is rooted in comfortable normality and who is, nonetheless, utterly dedicated to the inexplicable and strange; a world just out of reach to most.

Amazon.com: Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American: 9780063067769: Gao, Laura, Gao, Laura: Books

§ From Input Mag, How a viral tweet turned into a queer coming-of-age graphic novel. Laura Gao’s tweet about her hometown of Wuhan took on a life of its own.

She tweeted the comic on March 17, 2020, and it quickly went viral. The Wuhan I Know was covered on NPR, which resulted in emails from prospective agents, and ultimately a two-book contract with HarperCollins. The experience transformed Gao’s life: She went from a nine-to-five routine in San Francisco’s tech world to a full-time artist with a nomadic lifestyle. “It’s like night and day in some ways,” she says. “I still feel like I pinch myself when I wake up and go ‘Wow, is this really the life I have?’” The now 25-year-old Gao’s first graphic novel, a coming-of-age memoir called Messy Roots: A Graphic Memoir of a Wuhanese American, comes out tomorrow. It details her experiences moving to the small town of Coppell, Texas from Wuhan at age three, plus the next 20 years of her life, during which she explores her identity as an Asian-American and a queer person.

§ Latonya Pennington rounds up a bunch of Magical Girls webcomics 

One of my favorite comic book subgenres is mahou shoujo or magical girl, a Japanese manga and anime subgenre involving female magic users who are usually witches, warriors, superheroes or idol singers. Not only are most of these comics considered feminist, but many of these manga also have LGBTQ+ characters and themes that appeal to a wide audience.

§ A listicle to make your heart beat faster: 10 Times Valuable Comic Books Were Found in Homes

§ And from Book Riot: 8 Fantastic Comics and Graphic Novels With Fat Representation – excellent choices!

Ms. Marvel' trailer reveals a June 8th premiere on Disney+ | Engadget

§ Much anxiety in the faniverse yesterday over the fact that Ms. Marvel’s powers in the trailer are different from her powers in the comics. George Marston has an excellent recap of her history in comics, including her origins in that whole weird Terrigen Mist thing, and wonders whether her Inhuman heritage will carry over to the new show, which is in MCU Canon:

For one thing, it seems like something of a stretch to envision Marvel Studios tying Kamala’s origins to the Inhumans, as they’re essentially persona non grata at this point due to the widely panned and financially unsuccessful Inhumans TV show, which ran for just one truncated season on ABC amid terrible reception from critics and fans alike. It’s also unclear if The Inhumans is even considered MCU canon, similar to the nebulous state of Agents of SHIELD which may occupy its own vaguely MCU adjacent side continuity – all of which adds up to the distinct likelihood that Kamala Khan’s powers will manifest a different way, without the Terrigen Mists.

Questions over Ms. Marvel have also led fans to wonder if Agents of SHIELD has made it to the MCU promised land…so far, signals are VERY mixed.

§ Shaun Stacy at Slash/Film took a crack at Every Pre-MCU Marvel Movie Ranked, and to be honest I actually forgot about a few of them. Incredibly it has Spider-Man 2 at #6 and X-men 2 at #1? If you wanted a fight, buddy, you got it.

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