Friday, 12 August 2011

When Ira Glass met Wolverine and Nightcrawler

There is certainly no shortage of improbable crossovers in superhero comics. But this bit of cross-promotion between Marvel and NPR's program This American Life may rank near the top of the list:

This is a limited-edition print that TAL is currently selling on their website. The art is taken from a recent X-Men comic featuring art from Michael Allred. At some point the story features Wolverine and Nightcrawler on a road trip, during which they tune in to a broadcast of This American Life. That word balloon features host Ira Glass doing his familar intro:

The theme this week? Corporate Synergy!

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

'The corporation badly needs to be shamed into doing the right thing", Seth on the Marvel boycott

Over at his Mystery Hoard blog, Bryan Munn has posted an original essay from Seth about the simmering Marvel Boycott that Steve Bissette launched last week. It all comes down to a recent court decision that dismissed a suit by Jack Kirby's heirs that was seeking to get copyright on some of the characters and concepts that he created for Marvel in the 1960s.

These include The Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, The Avengers, The X-Men and Captain America. (That's a great list -- and I didn't even include Devil Dinosaur in there.) Marvel, which is owned by Disney, refused to even consider the fact that Kirby --- the inexhaustible engine behind most of their most enduring "properties" --- might be deserving of more than what he got during his time working for the company.

Bissette is calling for a boycott of all Marvel products, including comics and any of the movies that are currently running rampant in a multiplex near you. Seth chimes in on this, and supports the fledgling movement 100 percent; even saying that he'll never work for the company until they gives Kirby his due:

I am certainly in favour of it. I hope it catches fire and spreads. The corporation badly needs to be shamed into doing the right thing.

Admittedly, it's a pretty symbolic gesture on my part. I cannot even recall the last item I purchased from the corporation (maybe a Marvel Masterworks volume or something of that sort), nor have I ever worked for them. I certainly won't work for them in the future either until something is done to right this wrong.

Seth admits this is a largely symbolic gesture on his part, as he's never worked for Marvel, but symbolic or not --- it's still significant.

He also makes a suggestion for Marvel Maniacs: spend your dough on back issues of classic Marvel comics. That way you support the classic comics, but avoid giving your cash to a greedy corporation.

Sounds good to me: count me in. 

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

New 'Nipper' collection to be released next week

As covered on The Doug Wright Awards blog and The Comics Reporter, a new Nipper book is imminent from Drawn and Quarterly. Nipper: 1965-1966 is the latest in an ongoing series of classic newspaper strip reprints from Canadian cartoonist Doug Wright. (Here's a preview.)

As with Nipper: 1963-1964 Seth is handling the design chores on this puppy (the image above does not do the cover justice; it actually has a nice, comforting sheen to it) and I am providing the introduction. These intros are in some way more challenging to write that the wide-open essay I did for The Collected Doug Wright Volume One in that there's an economy of space operating here. The essay was around 10,000 words; this is more like 700 words and change.

As a result, I'm kind of forced to concentrate on one single facet of the subject (Doug Wright), which as anyone who's read my Volume One essay knows, I'm not a big fan of. What can i say? After years of writing 500-1,000 word newspaper articles I tend to relish the chance to go deep. But, I have so much to say about Wright at this point that I welcome any opportunity to write about him.

Plus, this period in Wright's life was actually pivotal personally and artistically. Here's a brief excerpt:

By 1965 Doug Wright was in an artistic and creative sweet spot. Mid-way into his 32-year run on Nipper, he was a heavyweight in the cartooning establishment: his strip was appearing in dozens of newspapers across Canada and the U.S. and he had fame to spare. It’s fair to say that his name was the most recognizable in Canadian cartooning at the time. But Wright was not content.

Privately he was bristling to start fresh, to pull up stakes and exit Montreal. His journal from 1964 captures his mindset: “Dreaming of being summoned by the Hall Syndicate or Hank Ketcham. Nice to dream anyway! Would like to live halfway between Milwaukee and Chicago. In that old Middle West. CHRIST! Imagine getting away from everything that irritates me around here!”
  You can read my full introduction in the book, which is scheduled to hit shelves August 10th.