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Money

Joe McCulloch is here with his weekly guide to the most interesting-sounding comics new to stores. This week, he spotlights new books by Robert Triptow and Anna Ehrlemark.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

Heidi MacDonald writes at Slate on the increasing number of comics artists taking animation gigs at Nickelodeon and Adult Swim.

At one point, she writes, "If anything, walking around shows like SPX, I’ve noticed something of an Adventure Time track among many of the small press comics now coming out: Where once young cartoonists overwhelmingly produced gloomy masculine self-absorption and misanthropy in the tradition of Daniel Clowes or Chris Ware, these days many booths feature fantasy epics with colorful characters and invented worlds heavy on the talking animals. It shouldn’t be surprising that up-and-coming cartoonists are absorbing the Adventure Time aesthetic. A 20-year-old making comics now could have been watching the show since she was 15, after all."

While I have no doubt that some of this is due to simple artistic influence, I think a more obvious, simple, and powerful explanation for the change in emphasis is that fun/cute/cuddly fantasy is where the money is (or appears to be).

Laura Sneddon profiles Kate Beaton for The Independent.

Vice cartoonists including Peter Bagge and Leslie Stein remember their worst Halloween costumes.

Françoise Mouly is a guest on the Virtual Memories podcast.

Laura Fraser tells the story of Conundrum Press.


12 Responses to Money

  1. Ian Harker says:

    The Slate article raises a ton of glaring questions and then ignores them.

    Like, question number 1. How is this different than the work-for-hire scenarios that have seen the best and brightest for DC and Marvel get stiffed when there idea make hundreds of millions of dollars in merchandising, multi-media, and the big screen?

    Is a $500M live-action Adventure Time movie 5-10 years from now a far-fetched idea? The guy is basically saying SPX is a “gold mine” for them.

    What is it about the talent from comics that is so much more valuable than the much larger talent pool of animation. How is comics failing these people?

  2. Dan Nadel says:

    Ah yes, comics eats its own. Always looking for a way to knock Clowes and Ware. Anyhow, yeah, this is very much about the money and the proliferation of networks that can take people on, as well as the emphasis on character design and cheap labor over traditionally “good” animation. It’s also a generation of young executives who grew up on the first wave of internet animation pioneered by Peter Girardi (now at Fox), Mark Newgarden, Ben Jones, et al. In fact, it’s Peter and Ben that are hiring a lot of these kids. Ben is by far the most successful cartoonist-to-animator of our generation. Unlike nearly (?) everyone else mentioned in the article, Ben is producing, hiring and creating. And, uh, Adventure Time began as an homage to Mat Brinkman and Brian Chippendale, essentially. It was a canny exploitation of what was happening in Providence in the early 2000s. If we’re starting to somehow write this as history then let’s at least get the beginnings right.

  3. Dan Nadel says:

    @Ian: It’s not at all different from Marvel/DC. That’s what’s so unintentionally hilarious about SPX and Heidi’s and everyone else’s loving embrace of it. It’s pure capitalism. Comics is just so desperate for love that it’ll take any form of abuse as attention. There’s been a slide into this for a buncha years now. Some people understand and navigate it and some… well, the bodies will stack up fast. “Comics” is doing better for people than ever before, I’d argue, but it’s more like there are too many cartoonists. Like art, literature, etc., there’s just not much of a way to make a living, How that works out proportionally I don’t know. All this said, I’m incredibly happy for my friends who have made it their own. It’s a life choice and I wouldn’t judge that. Everyone is responsible for themselves. I just wouldn’t write a cheery/blurry piece about low-rung jobs that take most people nowhere.

  4. Ian Harker says:

    Before we get too excited about ROZZ TOX generation 2.0 (3.0?) it’s worth taking a hard look at what ROZZ TOX 1.0 has done for culture in general. I personally find It all a bit suspect.

  5. Frank Santoro says:

    uh-oh cage match!

  6. inkstuds says:

    Hey Dan, do you mean secret mountain fort awesome in regards to biting from fort thunder?

    also, while dc and marvel are pretty evil, they do pay royalties for past work. once you get your cheque for storyboarding an episode, that’s it. Cartoon Network owns it. Same with the horrible Boom freelance work, which hires a lot of folks that are looking to work in that area and paid terrible page rates.

  7. Dan Nadel says:

    I wouldn’t use the term “Fort Thunder”, but Secret Mountain Fort Awesome AND Adventure Time are directly descended from Brinkman, Chippendale, Ralph, Jones. I’m not sure how bad CN and Boom are… I mean, their rates are what they are, and nowadays you go in with your eyes wide open. If you don’t — if you didn’t bother to just google the company you work for, then, well, you can’t really complain. But yes, in terms of royalties, publishing is better. Asking for royalties from storyboarding would be kinda like a typesetter asking for royalties from a novel.

  8. Dan Nadel says:

    I don’t know what you mean about Rozz Tox generations. It’s worth noting the historical context of that statement as well as the dose of humor with which it was intended. I couldn’t even begin to debate the efficacy or worth of the statement.

  9. From my understanding of the Adventure Time production process, the people who storyboard an episode are writing the plot and dialogue and coming up with any new characters. So if Jack Kirby should get royalties, a storyboard artist should too.

  10. Ian Harker says:

    @Dan, just using it as an umbrella term for channeling challenging new art through mass-media outlets. I’d try to elaborate further but i’d probably trip all over myself.

  11. I’m also interested in how this is a ‘new’ phenomenon.

    I thought Kirby, Toth, Mark Evanier and many west coast comics people did this throughout the 60’s and 70’s?

    And I certainly seem to remember liquid television featuring some comics work.

    And how is it different from cartoonist doing work as graphic designers and cover artists to fund themselves. That would be the Pleece Brothers, Jamie Hewlett (think maybe he counts in this discussion?) Dan Clowes?

    Hasn’t comics ALWAYS had a history of people starting and moving on to PAYING pastures as they get older and favour regular healthy meals and somewhere not squalid to live?

  12. The scene has gone from a bunch of autobio/ sad bastard comics to a bunch of YA and genre erotica. It’s been about twenty minutes since we’ve all patted ourselves on the back, better do it again.

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