Weekender: ‘One Piece’, Jessica Abel, Jamal Igle and ‘Princess Love Pon’
The weekend is here! Put down your paperwork, throw your stationery out of the window, and do a victory spin in your office chair, because it’s time to catch up on that greatest of all media: comics! What’s been going on this week? There’s so much comics that there’s no way anybody can keep up with all of it — so Weekender is here to catch you up on some of the stories you may have missed, and some of the best writing about comics from the past few days.
Jamal Igle, best known for his work in superhero comics like Superhero and his creator-owned work Molly Danger, has announced thathe is no longer going to be selling his work-for-hire comics at conventions, and will focus on his creator-owned projects. He’ll continue to sign books he’s worked on, but he’s turning his attention to his role as a “producer” of comics rather than as a freelancer.
Igle brings up so many interesting points that it’s impossible to know where to start, but basically he’s talking about the idea that work-for-hire can’t sustain a creative life --- you work on a book, then you’re done on a book, and there’s no capacity for growth. His decision is likely a smart one --- Igle is one of the finest business minds in comics ---and Molly Danger is a comic well worth your time.
Speaking to that topic,Sabrina Taylor at DorkShelf wrote about creator compensation in an interview with anonymous creator ofFair Page Rates, a site seeking to establish what the industry actually pays. One particular quote stood out, especially in light of Igle’s comments:
“Many publishers may believe they are truly allies with the creators they employ, but it is still an employer/employee relationship and, as any business relationship can be, there is an antagonistic power dynamic that can’t be denied.”.
At certain smaller publishers, creators (and especially letterers) can get paid staggeringly low amounts of money. Have you ever tried lettering? It’s difficult! Pay letterers more, comics!
CrunchyRoll reports that One Piecehas absolutely smashed the sales chart once again for manga in Japan. Across the last twelve months Eiichiro Oda’s series sold over 14 million copies --- which is actually an increase from previous years. Oda released four volumes over the last year, and the huge sales speak not only to the greater popularity of comics in Japan than anywhere else, but to the continuing ways in which he keeps the series relevant.One Piece has been the best selling mangafor seven years in a row.
Dean Trippe’s much-admired comic Something Terrible was an important story told with immense levels of craft and heart. It’s not an easy comic to read, but it’s worth reading. However, Trippe’s Kickstarter to take the story to print was another case of a crowdfunding project somewhat overwhelming the person running it, as these things are complex, hard work. After a period of inactivity,it’s been announced this week that Spike Trotman and Iron Circus Comics have stepped in to assist on production. The publisher will work to make sure that physical copies of the comic are shipped out to everybody who backed the Kickstarter, and that the stretch goals (including a hardcover edition) will be completed.
NEW AND UPCOMING COMICS
Dare to Disappoint: Growing Up In Turkeyis a new comic from Özge Samancı, and it went straight to the top of Amazon’s sales chart upon release. A 200-page English language graphic novel, this seems to have been the subject of quite the bidding war,as detailed in this profile over on The Hurriyet Daily News. A work of caricature, this appears to be as political as it is personal, and a fascinating look into Turkish society.
Alone, from Olivia Stephens, is a series of short anecdotes told from the perspective of an interracial couple. The most recent storyline, “Familia,” is a particularly striking piece of work, which hits you straight through the heart. There are some really nice coloring choices made here, and this feels like a story that will strike true for many people.Here’s an interview with Stephens over on Afro Girl Talks!
Hey, does anybody think the readers of ComicsAlliance might possibly be interested in this upcoming zine aboutDragonball Z?
Shauna J. Grant wins for the most fantastical comic of the week withPrincess Love Pon. This is a wonderfully bright and bouncy series about Lia Sagamore, a cartoon-loving highschooler who gains powers after being knocked on the head by a magical cosmic bunny. In other words, this is perfect. Grant has a glamorous knockabout approach to her characters, who spring off the page with a surprising amount of force and persuade you instantly to love them. I caught it on an off-chance, and before I knew it I’d read the whole thing through. Well worth trying out!
Let’s start with a few pieces of advice.Jessica Abel wrote this compelling piece about time-management, and how she increased her effectiveness by deciding to be more conscious of the choices she made. Quoting Ron Wimberly, she says her attitude is now either, “HELL yeah, or no”. If she’s not passionately saying yes to something, she’s saying no.
On the subject of structure,Rob Williams wrote this post last week about building structure into your storytelling. As someone who handled both the five-page blast of 2000 AD and the longer-form American style with ease, Williams is a dead-on expert when it comes to structure.
There’s also some canny structure in this piece from Zainab Akhtar onthe clothing of characters like Batman, Daredevil and The Kingpin. Design choices in clothing are one of those subtle concepts that affect a lot of our experience with characters, even though we don’t realise it while it’s happening.She also links to this similarly interesting piece by Kristian Williams, posted on The Hooded Utilitarian last year.
If you want to read more about designing within comics,the New Yorker posted this spotlight on the currentJem and the Holograms series in which writer Kelly Thompson and artist Sophie Campbell discuss the character choices they made on a visual level.
Or, hey,how about this interview right here on ComicsAlliancewith the new artist onLumberjanes, Carey Pietsch?
The currently-downsizing Publishers Weekly still pushes onwards, with Rob Salkowitz writing this feature on the future of digital comics. Where do they move onwards over the next year or so - with Thrillbent offering a paid subscription, and Panel Syndicate going with a “pay what you like” model, what’s the best way for digital comics to remain buoyant?
You might know Dan Berry from Make It Then Tell Everybody, a superior one-on-one interview podcast in which the cartoonist chats with everyone from John Allison and Kate Beaton through Hope Larson and Scott McCloud. Berry has turned his considerable talking power to a new project over the last month, teaming with Britten & Brülightly artist Hannah Berry (no relation)for a show calledNo, YOU Hang Up!Each episode will see the pair chat about general topics in and out of their lives --- which includes a lot of comics chat, naturally --- with new guests wandering in from time to time.Episode two features Mike Medaglia, ofOne Year Wiserfame.
Meanwhile the Image podcast continues to push ahead,bringing in superior talker Alex de Campi to discuss her current ongoing series with Carla Speed McNeil and Jenn Manley Lee,No Mercy. Hosted by ComicsAlliance Hall of Famer David Brothers, the episode goes into the movies that motivate and interest de Campi and bring a level of grit, pulp and manic tension into her comics. The idea is that each episode looks beyond comics to see what inspires comics-makers --- with Image being a place where you can make any comic you like, those inspirations are more important than you might expect.
Jamie Smart’s digital all-ages anthologyMoose Kid Comics released a free Christmas special this week, bringing us that most wonderful gift of all: bountiful fart jokes. But this third free issue of the ongoing anthology is just the glorious tip of the story, as Smart has launched a crowdfunding campaign looking to print and send copies of the comic to children’s hospitals around the country. If you donate,you are literally sending children reasons to smile over the festive period --- so go kick in, give the project a boost! What better way to start your Christmas?
Have a great weekend, everybody!