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07 March 2021

Other Comics News Parade-O-Links 03072021


(Amazing Spider-Man Annual #14. August 31, 1982. Cover by John Romita Jr. with John Romita Sr.)

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 03072021.

  • Hello sisters, brothers and others and welcome to another episode of your Other Comics News Parade-O-Links.  My name is Shano and I'll be your host.  How are you doing?  How was your week?  I'm okay.  I have a headache but it's not raining so I won't complain. I'm in a state of spring fever anticipation.  The sun is out.  The sky is blue.  The mud is starting to dry.  I'm anxious for it to be spring but it is still cold AF and we all know that it's not safe to do things when it is cold. Your limbs could snap off.  But it should get warm and maybe we'll get a vaccine and maybe we'll get that stimulus and then, who knows, comics con season is right around the corner right?  Everything will get back to normal right?
  • Wrong.  Better luck next year Comic-Con. 
  • WandaVision ended the way all MCU movies end, with digital cartoon versions of the characters flying around shooting energy beams at each other.  It was fine.  Eh, better than fine. It was emotional.  I think that's the strength of TV.  Your talented actors get several weeks to engage the audience and make the audience care about them so when you finally get to the digital cartoon battle at the end the stakes are higher.  This is certainly the most emotionally invested I've been invested in live action Marvel since Howard the Duck and Tim Robbins got on that ultralight aircraft. I thought the series was great with fantastic performances by Olsen, Bettany, Hahn and Pariss. Unlike movies, TV shows work, often in spite of their writing, on the strength of their cast and this show worked.  I'm sad it's over.  Also, I'm a little surprised it's over.  I was surprised to see it promoted as the series finale and not just the end of Season 1.  I guess these MCU Disney+ shows are all just miniseries? That's a bit disappointing.  I'd honestly prefer if they stayed with this format even if they never made another movie. Some folks were even more disappointed with the finale. While the series as a whole exceeded expectations the finale could not live up to promises real and imagined.  Marvel will get a pass on those imagined expectations.  Going in, I expected that maybe this series would be the backdoor to the X-Men, the Fantastic Four, the multiverse or any number of possibilities.  Marvel didn't owe us any of that specifically. But there were promises the show made that it either didn't stick the landing on or just totally forgot to make the attempt.  You can't bring in an actor from a film franchise you purchased and not understand that your audience will expect a payoff.  You can't tease a Luke Skywalker level cameo and it just be one of your lead actors in different makeup.  Well, you can.  And they did.  But don't be coy when your audience is upset about it.  You've got 82 years of Marvel comics history to pull from so don't let lack of ideas be your downfall.  Teasing us has been a profitable business model for 13 years but the audience is eventually going to call your bluff. 
  • I think the one thing we can all agree on is that it was a catastrophic misstep not to end the series with the white "Vision Quest" Vision strutting down a city street to the sound of Queen's "One Vision". 

  • I also watched this week's episodes of the DC shows, Superman & Lois and The Flash.  I thought Supes and Lois was slow and boring.  The Flash was more interesting but tedious.  The simple truth of television is that the show works or doesn't work depending on if the audience connects with the cast.  That's really it.  The Flash's cast has proven it can return viewers despite comically bad writing.  Can Supes & Lois overcome it's writing?  Probably not for me.  I've got episodes of The Savage Dragon to watch on Peacock. 
  • A lot of this week's "comics discourse" was centered around NFT and CryptoArt.  I'll post a link explaining it clearly as soon as a find one.  As it relates to comics, the question is, how bad is this going to exploit and screw the comics artist and which comics artists can be the first in line to be exploited and screwed.  Same as always. Rinse repeat. I don't understand it but it reminds me of one Saturday afternoon at a comic book convention in the late 90s.  I was a dealer at the time. I remember standing up and looking at where all the business in the room was happening.  I looked at where cash was changing hands. At that moment it was trading cards.  There was a moment where comics trading cards were very hot.  And it in that moment it hit me right between then eyes.  Comics were over.  At least as they had existing.  We had people in a room full of comics, ignoring the comics and handing over cash for a piece of cardboard that delivered a tiny glimpse of the comic.  We had put the delivery mechanism over the art.  The 90s comics boom ended.  We've never gotten back what we lost.  Will NFT destroy.... the internet?  Capitalism?  We can only hope!  Will it help destroy the environment?  Yeah, probably. 
  • Some cartoonists dream of getting rich, others just want the literal torture to stop. 
  • Jason Horn has launched a new Patreon for his space comic "Settle" and it look super rad.  I'm in.
  • Jason has also been posting some neat DC comics house ads on the twudder so give him a follow if you know what's good. 
  • File under Wrestling:  This is not comics or zines but it stuff you can read with your eyeballs.  I probably read more wrestling than I watch. Remember in The Lost Boys when Grandpa Barnard Hughes explained that he didn't need to watch TV because he had the TV guide.  I'm kind of the same way with television wrestling.  I'll skip the shows then read about them the following day to see if anything interesting happened and then I'll check out those specific matches or segments on YouTube or the streamings.  Colette Arrand has been responsible for most of the best wrestling writing online in recent years and now Arrand is the editor over at fanbyte so "business is picking up".
  • I'm sure you guys are smart and follow Patrick Dean right?  He's getting better and better at drawing with his eyeballs. It's only a matter of time before he can shoot art directly from his mind into our minds. 
  • In other comics/zines/Fluke organizers dudes from Georgia news, Robert Newsome broke his arm. Look how happy it made him.  Maybe we should all break our arms.  I'm sure he'll be fine but that's no reason not to go buy some of his quality zines. 
  • Let's check in on our Carolina Man abroad and see how well Germany is adapting to Ashley Holt. 
  • More Dorkin is more good. 
  • I too am a sucker for a wacky cover and a Dave Letterman cameo. 


I still haven't made it to the comic shop but I'm working my way through a two foot high stack of books, comics and zines I've bought online during the plague. This week I read "The Burning Hotels" a memoir by Thomas Lampton from Birdcage Bottom Books. This auto-bio comic shows the cartoonist dealing with a lot of stuff.  On the surface it's about returning home and taking a closer look at your roots but it's also about divorce, autism, North Carolina, Appalachia, being a cartoonist, making the book itself and dealing with all of that during this very real and current pandemic.  It feels very of the moment and reads as if Lampton first considered each word as it was put on the page.  There is some neat drawing but I would say that Lampton's strength is in iconography.  This characters work as symbols more than drawings.  The art is working as a part of the writing though and that's the goal.  Or at least it should be the goal.  The result is more design heavy than drawing heavy.  There are art comics that are expression heavy and there are art comics that are design and function heavy.  This book is that latter.  My only complaint with the book is that Lampton changes font sizes from panel to panel. I'm sure it was a matter of presenting each panel at its best ratio to work with the rest of the page but I'm loosing my eyesight so I had to work at some of the panels.  


I think I'm through with my Vision and Scarlett Witch run for now.  I finished the original two miniseries and the related West Coast Avengers stuff.  Not great comics but weird enough to finish.  I might go back to the "Vision Quest" story next (John Byrne's white Vision) but I'm going to take a break from the Wandaverse and finish up some other things.  I'm still on my orange, brown and green hero books Doom Patrol and Suicide Squad.  I've also been re-visiting Jim "the most successful creative mind in Hollywood history" Starlin's Dreadstar. I was a big fan of the ongoing Epic comic when I was a kid but I've started at the beginning before the beginning and the beginning before that, "The Metamorphosis Odyssey" and Marvel Graphic Novel #3.  Those comics look very different than the ongoing Epic series.  For one thing, they are mostly painted.  Even when they are black and white.  It's simply the difference between late 70s early 80s adult comics magazines and 80s monthly direct market baxter paper comics.  Great stuff if you are into hardcore sci-fi fantasy. This stuff has been collected a few times.  If you want to star with the earliest stuff then the Dynamite collection "The Beginning" has that covered. 
  • And finally, Francis is sick of carrying your ass. 

Remember pals, life is hard.  Never stop running unless it's to pick up a friend.  Read comics and chew Glorp gum 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.  Yeah, I do Instagram too.  Maybe if 100,000 of you follow me there I'll be as famous as the average Cambodian teenager with a milk ring collection. 

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