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28 April 2017

Other Comics News Parade-O-Links 04282017

(The Savage Dragon #34 1996.  Cover by Erik Larsen.  Stolen from Cover Browser.)

Here are some things I found interesting in the world of minicomics, comic books, graphic novels, small press, self publishing, zines, webcomics, cartoons, digital comics, other, etc. during the week ending 04282017.

"The takeaway here, as I see it, as that there is no lack of customers for periodical comics, and there’s no lack of passion and energy for the format, and that there is no indication that “casual” readers won’t be interested in purchasing periodical comics (A big chunk of those “Saga” readers, like the “Sandman” wave that happened two decades before, are not normal and traditional “Wednesday Warriors”, yet there are still stoked to buy periodical comics!) – but that Marvel (and DC, largely) have harmed their own sales and chased their own customers away. There’s a problem when I sell 160 “Saga” and 16 copies of “ASM”… but this is problem of Marvel’s making over the accumulation of time." -Brian Hibbs.
  • Guys guys guys guys guys guys guys guys guys!!!  The world is spinning at 1000 miles per hour and we are all going to die!  The future's so bright I gotta wear a radiation suit!  Doomed!  Doomed!  What can save us?  Comics?  Don't be ridiculous.  Of course not.  Nothing will save us.  There is nothing left to do but, ya know, whatever you feel like doing I guess. Me?  I'm going to go to the Fluke Mini-Comics and Zine Festival in Athens GA this Saturday, April 29th.  It's going to be great.  Robert Newsome, Patrick Dean and other people will be there.  Other people!  Come find my table.  I probably won't be at said table.  I'll be walking around blabbing my mouth off about professional wresting or guitars or some other nonsense but that's okay.  Just leave a huge stack of cash on my table and take whatever you want.  It's gonna be great I tells ya.  I can't wait to hear about how great you think I am.  Thanks in advance! 

  • Hey.  Are you super depressed about the world and clinging to comics as your chance for escape and/or inspiration?  Well good news, comics are super depressing too!  One of the things about comics currently giving me the sweet sweet butt hurt is Marvel's new "Digital Edition" policy.  To explain why this bothers me so much let's go back to my tender youth, way back to the year 2012 when the first The Avengers movie was on the big screen and the Avengers vs X-Men (AvsX) miniseries was on the comics stands.  At that point about the only mainstream comic I was reading was Savage Dragon but my daughter was just getting into comics.  She liked The Avengers movie ans she loved old X-Men comics so we bought AvsX.  It came with something that was new to me, the Digital Edition codes.  You could redeem these codes and read the comic you bought online or on your cell pad pod phone. You could also link your Marvel account up with a Comixology account and read them in the Comixology app.  It was around this time that the family first got cell pad pod phones so my daughter and I really dove into the Comixology app thanks to the digital codes.  The best thing was that I could buy the paper comic (because I'm an old man who loves paper) but my kid could read the same comic digitally without me buying two copies.  This.  THIS.  THIS MORE THAN ANYTHING IN THE PREVIOUS TEN YEARS got me back into going to the comic shop, starting back a "pull list" and buying ongoing Wednesday floppy comics again.  My daughter and I bought stacks of them.  And thanks to the digital codes we could read them anywhere any time.  And if the last comic we read made us curious about something we could pull up related issues on the Comixology app and buy those too!  (You can't do that anymore by the way.  Amazon killed the store feature in the Comixology app because they hate making money or something.  Again, always be super depressed.)  So yeah, it was good times.  It was a brilliant offering from Marvel and I spent years yelling at other publishers to follow suit.  Only Dark Horse tried.  DC offered a version where the comic with a digital code costed more.  That was stupid and awful and embarrassing for everyone.  But the Marvel deal was good and like all good things some stupid jerks would eventually decide to make it go away.  Recently Marvel has replaced their Digital Editions with a digital code where YOU DO NOT GET THE COMIC YOU PAID FOR.  Under the previous system, if you bought five Marvel comics in one week you got a code for each of those five comics you paid for. Now, you do not get the comic you paid for.  Instead each week's shipment of Marvel comics all have the same three promotional comics.  So, if you bought five Marvel comics, you just got three digital comics, none of which are the comic you paid for.  Let me say that part again; in the past, if you bought 100  Marvel comics you got 100 digital comics.  Today, if you buy 100 Marvel comics in one week you get three digital comics.  The digital comics in question are generally the first issue of something that has recently been collected in a trade paperback.  So these comics are not a promotional tool for you to buy more digital comics, or to return to your comics shop and add a comic to your "pull list".  These are comics promoting you to by a trade paperback. Or, to put it another way, if you are a regular Marvel customer, these are comics you already own. This my friends, is a situation I refer to as total bullshit. So, here's the thing;  Marvel, I love you.  I love your nutts.  You are a big part of my life.  For years and years.  Stop making it so hard to be your customer. 
  • Sigh.
  • And again with the Marvel... Let me just say this as open advice for all creators; Take risks.  Be bold.  Shake things up.  Challenge your audience.  But remember, if you have to explain it, you probably already failed.  And, more importantly, remember that you do not get to tell your customers how they should feel about it
  • Again with the Marvel part 3;  Every time I read an article like this it occurs to me that we are just one Disney executive saying, "Wait, we still publish paper comic books?" on a conference call away from the whole freaking  business being tossed into the crapper or the top characters licensed out to the highest bidder.  A publisher that is not Marvel now publishes the Frozen comics.  If Marvel can't be trusted to make money off the Frozen phenomenon why would you trust them to be able to make any money off Ant-Man or Doctor Strange?  Because they did six decades ago?  Good luck with that answer on the next investors call. 
  • Also, FDR Democrat Steve Rogers forever. 
  • Can there still be good news in comics?  Can there still be something to get excited about?  Yes.  Yes there can.  I'm excited about Alterna Comics' new line of newsprint comics for several reasons.  For one thing, they're gonna be super cheap with a $1.50 cover price.  And one of the series, Amazing Age, is created by pals Jeremy Massie and Matthew David Smith.  I checked out that comic in its original webcomic form and liked it a lot.  Those bros are the solidest of bros so I'm excited for what I believe is going to be a breakout book appealing to a new audience that may have missed their other stuff.   And, arguably most importantly, Smith has confirmed that the newsprint in his comp copies smells great.  The books start rolling out next week.  I'm not familiar with many of the other creators but at $1.50 I'm sure to check them out. 
  • Hey.  Do you like comics?  Do you like guitars?  Do you like comics that are guitars?  I recently built a Stratocaster using the Carmine Infantino drawn issues 14 and 15 of the original Star Wars comics.  It's probably the coolest guitar on Earth.  Maybe you wanna check it out. 
  • When it's time to comics we will always comics hard.
  • It was twenty five years ago several days ago Sergeant Malibu told his band to play.
  • Tom Scioli's new Princess webcomic is pretty rad.  Also, that Transformers vs. G.I.Joe The Movie comic he made is bonknanners
  • Ain't no party like a wizard battle party cause a wizard battle party don't stop until one of them dies and the other wizard creates a hyper sigil making people focus on the number of rapes in the other wizard's comics instead of their valuable contributions to the medium. 
  • And finally... Francis gave up candy for your sins.

  • Remember pals, life is hard.  Never stop running unless it's to pick up a friend.  Read comics and chew Glorp every day and you'll keep on livin' until you're dead. 
Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith

p.s. I write comics.  Do you make comics?  Maybe you should hire me to write comics. 
p.p.s Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
p.p.p.p.p.p.s.  Yeah, I do Instagram too.  I guess it's a law or something.

24 March 2017

Maybe you should go to the SC Comicon this weekend.

Hey you.  How's it going?  You busy this weekend?  Maybe you should go to the SC Comicon in Greenville, South Carolina.  A lot of my favorite people are going to be there.  Also, there will be comics there. You like comics right?  I've never been to this show but I hear it's really great.  Every year I say to myself, stop being such an a-hole and go to SC Comicon.  And then I fail. I won't be there this year because I'm going to take my kids to see adults in minimal clothing sweat on each other.  Professionally!  But, I will be there in spirit and also on paper as a new gag comic I drew will be in Comic Stars #6 debuting at the table of our most beloved The Dollar Bin.  The comic should be rad.  It has a cover by Patrick Dean.  Ya'll know Patrick Dean right?  He's kinda the best.  
So yeah, go to Greenville and buy comics.  Tell Neal Adams that I said that Superman miniseries he did last year was bonkers.  You like it.  You love it.  You want more of it.

Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith

p.s. I write comics.  Do you make comics?  Maybe you should hire me to write comics. 
p.p.s Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
p.p.p.p.p.p.s.  Yeah, I do Instagram too.  I guess it's a law or something.

29 January 2017

Other Comics News Parade-O-Links 01292017


(American Flagg! #10 1983.  Cover by Howard Chaykin.  Stolen from My Comic Shop.)

Here are some things I found interesting in the world of minicomics, comic books, graphic novels, small press, self publishing, zines, webcomics, cartoons, digital comics, other, etc. during the week ending 01292017.

"And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle's takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It's all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It's all part of taking a chance and expanding man's horizons. The future doesn't belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave." - President Ronald Reagan
  • Hello sisters and brothers of teh intronets and welcome to another episode of your Other Comics News Parade-O-Links.  My name is Shannon and I'll be your host.  Happy Chinese New Year.  To quote the last prophet of the 90s Keanu Reeves, "whoa".  What a week huh?  Just a week ago when we last spoke we had just seen the inauguration of a new President in these United States and inspiring marches all around the world.  Since then,  every day has been a series of events that were never supposed to be possible. There are millions of Americans and millions and millions around the world right now who are scared.  Their lives are uncertain.  Their future is uncertain.  I have my own fears of course.  Everything is fragile. A politician or an executive I've never met could end my livelihood with the stroke of a pen.  But I'm a white man in America so my fears are those of inconvenience and folly compared to those of different birth country, skin tone or religion.  I don't know much about anything but here is what I know about Muslims. Here is what I know about refugees.  For about four years my next door neighbors were a Muslim family.  They were refugees from Bosnia. If you walked by their house you wouldn't have known they were Muslim.  The father was an auto mechanic.  You'd see him outside working on cars or playing with his kids.  I thought he was Italian at first.  The mother was a brunette.  She was quite but polite and generous.  Most of my interaction was with the kids.  They were always outside playing and my daughter played with them all the time.  The kids had blond hair and blue eyes.  They could have passed for my kid's siblings. They had a trampoline and my daughter would want to bounce with them every day. If you were around enough you'd begin to notice the accent and that the parents spoke to the children in Bosnian.  You'd hear the kids playing games counting in Bosnian.  You'd notice that they had a pit for roasting lamb.  If you were around long enough to notice the lamb pit you'd probably be invited over to enjoy the feast.  They were generous beyond measure.   If they were eating popsicles you had a popsicle.  If the father and his cousins were drinking beer you had a beer.  The father fixed my car for free multiple times.  He loaned me tools.  He loaned me his lawnmower.  They were as good neighbors as I've ever know.  One time we were over for dinner at their house.  I think it was a holiday for them.  They had a lot of family over.  But, then again, it was like that every Sunday there.  They served lamb, beers and strong Turkish coffee.  They had a huge gold embossed painting of Mecca on the wall in the dining room.  I asked the father if he had ever been there.  He laughed.  He said that no, he had never been because he could not give up his beer.  This was a man, an auto mechanic who worked hard for his family.  He loved God and he loved beer.  What's more American than that?  Picture him in your mind.  Out in his yard after a long day of work at the garage working on another car either for extra money or as a favor to a friend.  He's got his blue mechanic's shirt on. It's untucked and his belly shows a little.  The kids are playing in the back yard.  The mother comes out onto the front porch to call them all in for super.  There he is drinking his beer and taking care of his family.  The American Dream.  And he was a Muslim refugee.  

  • Remember pals, life is hard.  Never stop running unless it's to pick up a friend.  Read comics and chew Glorp every day and you'll keep on livin' until you're dead. 
Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith

p.s. I write comics.  Do you make comics?  Maybe you should hire me to write comics. 
p.p.s Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
p.p.p.p.p.p.s.  Yeah, I do Instagram too.  I guess it's a law or something.

23 January 2017

Other Comics News Parade-O-Links 01232017

(Captain America #344 1988.  Cover by Ron Frenz and Al Milgrom.  Stolen from Cover Browser.)

Here are some things I found interesting in the world of minicomics, comic books, graphic novels, small press, self publishing, zines, webcomics, cartoons, digital comics, other, etc. during the week weeks ending 01232017.

"Brutal. The guy likes being the top of the heap and he likes staying there. He’d be an all-term president and probably serve as vice president and most of the cabinet too. Except secretary of agriculture. Bane has no interest in where his food comes from. Only that it’s hit when it arrives. Or someone will pay." -Chuck Dixon on what President Bane would be like.

  • Hello sisters and brothers of teh intronets and welcome to another episode of your Other Comics News Parade-O-Links.  My name is Shannon and I'll be your host.  Last week was pretty crazy huh?  But here we are.  We made it.  Most of us.  Saturday was an inspiring day.  Millions of people around the world making their voices heard.  Millions standing together.  I didn't march anywhere.  I took care of my two daughters though so that has to count for something right?  I'm not a woman (spoiler) but I am a dad and I tell you this, kids notice.  Kids notice when women or minorities create their favorite comic books, cartoons, music, movies and video games.  They notice when people stand up for themselves or others or for what they believe in.  They notice when people march for a cause.  They notice and it shapes their reality.  The reality where it wasn't impossible no longer exists the second they see the one where it is possible. Much thanks to all of those that fight the good fight.  It's bigger than you know. 
  • Lots of talk this week about "breaking into comics".  I guess everyone on twitter had the same new year's resolution to finally get their act together and get paid to make comics.  There were some good tips in there and some decent jokes.  I recommend Robert Venditti's testimony on the subject.  I don't know how to group tweets together or whatever but you can find his story of how he "broke into comics" on his twitter feed.  He has what I think is an ideal comics career; mainstream work with multiple publishers as well as creator owned work.  Read his story for yourself but the short version of how he built that career is that he 1) worked hard and 2) he put himself and his work in physical proximity to world of publishing.  You might make it with either one of those two things but I doubt you make it without doing both.  Especially the work.  Even if you get lucky, and fool your way in, without the work, it will catch up to you.
  • Remember pals, life is hard.  Never stop running unless it's to pick up a friend.  Read comics and chew Glorp every day and you'll keep on livin' until you're dead. 

Your best pal ever,
Shannon Smith

p.s. I write comics.  Do you make comics?  Maybe you should hire me to write comics. 
p.p.s Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
p.p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
p.p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
p.p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
p.p.p.p.p.p.s.  Yeah, I do Instagram too.  I guess it's a law or something.

11 January 2017

Other Comics News Parade-O-Links 01112017


(Star Wars issue 106.  Cover by Cynthia Martin.  Image stolen from Rebel Scum. )

Here are some things I found interesting in the world of minicomics, comic books, graphic novels, small press, self publishing, zines, webcomics, cartoons, digital comics, other, etc. during the week weeks ending 01/11/2017.

"Look, I don’t have time for this." - Steve Ditko.

  • Hello sisters and brothers of teh intronets and welcome to another episode of your Other Comics News Parade-O-Links.  My name is Shannon and I'll be your host.  I've been away for a bit.  Well, I've been right here.  I've just been busy.  September through November is my busiest time of year at work.  Then after that holiday and family stuff took over.  Family first right?  But 2017 will be a big year for file under other.  2017 is an anniversary year so more on that down the road. 
  • So, here we are.  My head and my heart are in knots.  I appologize in advance that this Parade-O-Links will be short on comics.  That's not comics' fault.  It's my fault.  I'm dealing with some things.  I'll get better.  For the 2nd time in the last five Presidential elections the person that received the largest amount of votes will not be our next President.  It happens.  Some people are concerned.  And with good reason.  Imagine the riots in the streets if two out of five Superbowl Championships were handed to the team with less points.  The last time this happened we invaded the wrong countries and went to war for fifteen years. So... good luck?  Look, our democracy failible.  Our democracy is fragile.  It's scary.  But one of the main reasons these United States have been safe from tyranny is that every four to eight years we have the peaceful removal and replacement of our top leader.  So whether your candidate won or lost, remember, this is temporary.  Maybe. 
  • And by Maybe I mean please remember that Vladimir Putin circumvented Russia's constitution and appointed himself Prime Minister and then President after having exceeded Russia's term limits.  Again, democracy is fragile.
  • Kompromat. 
  • Don't take democracy for granted.  It can end.  Democracies end.  Some times by force and sometimes by will.  Sometimes they get pissed away.  

  • Friends.  This isn't a political blog but I'm reporting to you live right now from the Unites States of America and this is just the world around us right now.  I know a lot of very smart people discourage artists, creative types and well, basically anyone that would like to attain employment at some point, to keep the political opinions off social media because it could be held against you and cost you gigs.  I get it. I get it.  But if we live in a country where you have to be afraid to speak your mind then we've already lost.  And personally, I don't want to work for or with people that don't respect my opinion. My mind, my glorious freaking mind, is exactly WHY you SHOULD want to work with me.  And if you're paying  me to shut up then you're wasting your money.  
 

  • Guys.  I just need to take a moment to say that this webpage is doing some weird things with font that and alignment that are driving me crazy but I just don't have the patience to figure out right now.  Sorry.

  • Enough about the future/end of the free world.  Let's talk about me. I recently drew a four page comic about "Handsome" Jimmy "The Boogie Woogie" Man Valiant and Magnet Man having a monster truck sumo battle for Brien Wayne Powell's Boogie Jam 4Ever. It's great.  You should buy seven copies.  Brien also has what has to be one of the longer running ongoing webcomics about Magnet Man and the Boogie Woogie Man's adventures over at Boogie Jam Online.  I've got some other wrasslin' comics in the works but they are top secret so you will have to wait to find out about them. (Or, ya know, just ask me.)
  • Speaking of the word "handsome".  Does the way Taylor Swift pronounces "handsome" weird anyone else out?
  • 2016 was a rough one for a lot of us.  It was a rough one for the world.  A lot of people have it worse than I do and I can be pretty miserable. There's a solid chance that tomorrow I'll wake up and my county's schools and hospitals will still be standing.  That's not true everywhere. So many have lost so much.  We focus on the death's of famous people because those folks are like our shared extended family.  There is a commonality there that we can empatize with.  I may know know you but if I know you loved David Bowie then I can understand how much it hurt a year ago when he left us.  You may not know me but if you loved Prince then I can tell you about how I bought my first guitar because of him when I was 15 and that I picked out a white one because of Purple Rain. Carrie Fisher meant so much to so many of us around the world.  She was the first girl I ever wanted to marry. She never stopped inspiring.  We need a million more of her.  Especially now. Comics also lost a lot of great ones. We will press on.  Forward.  Forward.  But don't forget. How could we?

  • Those of you have been reading file under other for a while know that I usually end these posts with a video from our youtube pal Francis.  I hate to break internet kayfabe but Francis is just a character.  The man behind Francis is Steven Williams, also known as boogie2988.  I grew up in the same small town, watchin' cartoons and readin' comics at the same library.  He was a year behind me in school but I've know him since pre-school. He's a sweetheart and was always the funniest guy in the room. This past year he received one of the highest honors you can receive in video games without actually making them. I'm proud of ya' Boogie.  Ya done good.  Saint Paul High School represent!
  • And now ladies and gentlemen...

    THE BEST NEW semi-recent COMIC comics I READ THIS WEEK recently.

    Disney Pirates of the Caribbean issues 1 and 2 by Chris Schweizer, Joe Flood and Marissa Louise.  Published by Joe Books LTD.  $2.99.

    I didn't know much about this comic going into it beyond the fact that Chris Schweizer was writing it.  I missed the whole Pirates of the Caribbean movie phenomenon at the time the films came bout because my kids were not at the PG-13 age yet.  Those movies came out during a time when I pretyt much only saw talking animal movies.  But, I'm a sucker for any movie with a boat in it so I watched the 1st movie on Netflix recently after I bought these comics at my LCS but before I read them.  I liked the movie a lot.  It had boats in it. 
    I loved both issues of this comic.  I think is really lovely from cover to cover. I don't know anything about the publisher Joe Books LTD or why they publish Disney comics instead of a comic book publisher Disney paid billions of dollars for but, the books are as good from cover to cover as anything on the stands and they cost a dollar or two less.  Consider me a fan.  
    Schweizer's writing is as great as I expected it to be.  Each comic is a fully realized self contained speedy adventure with a full cast of individually motivated interesting characters.  The character's speech and motivations are consistent with the one film I saw.  The wit is very sharp.  Schweizer doesn't go too many panels without a punchline. 
    I was a bit dissappointed to see that Schweizer was not also drawing this book but Joe Flood does a great job.  The design is solid and pleasantly consistent with the Disney Infinity video game style that I love so much.  The real challenge with this book is capturing Captain Jack's mannerism's Flood never drops character.  
    The book looks great cover to cover.  Marissa Louise is credited with the colors on the first issue and I'm assuming Flood did the colors himself on the second.  I like the style of both.  My personal preference in colors is for them to be very flat. I don't like colorists that are into rendering. I like flat colors with a bit of that enhance the light and dark of the inks.  That's pretty much the style we see here.  The pallet is a bit brown for my personal tastes but it fits the story, time and location and is consistent with the movie I watched.  Interior and night time scenes are appropriately dark but the characters still pop.  
    As I said before, I really don't know anything about Joe Books or these Disney comics yet (I'll look it up eventually) but if they put out 20 more issues of this with Schweizer as the writer I'll be sure to buy them and they'll probably be the first books I read from the ol' pull list any time they come out.  I couldn't find these on Comixology so if you're interested in them I suggest you ask your LCS to snag you some copies. 

    • And finally... Hey guys, 2016 wasn't all bad.  Francis made a friend!
    • Remember pals, life is hard.  Never stop running unless it's to pick up a friend.  Read comics and chew Glorp every day and you'll keep on livin' until you're dead. 

    Your best pal ever,
    Shannon Smith


    p.s. I write comics.  Do you make comics?  Maybe you should hire me to write comics. 
    p.p.s Say you want a leader but you can't seem to make up your mind. I think you'd better close it and let me guide you to my twitter feed.
    p.p.p.s. Let's pretend we went to high school together on facebook.
    p.p.p.p.s. Google + is another place you can read the same thing I posted here.
    p.p.p.p.p.s. I'll tumblr for ya.
    p.p.p.p.p.p.s.  Yeah, I do Instagram too.  I guess it's a law or something.